Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Play-Left's Favorite Whine: Kool Aid Made With Dirty Water

And speaking of things I can't believe we have to say in 2014: Water?
RMJ, in a comment yesterday

Getting Elected And Doing What Needs To Be Done

Berger's approach to politics flowed from his understanding that there was no immediate prospect for a transition to socialism in the United States -- of, for that matter, in any other part of the world. That led him to take the long view, and to seek alliances with other reformers. Among other things he was a leader of the Milwaukee local of the International Typographical Union and editor of the Milwaukee Federated Trades council's official publication. This approach led his detractors to call Berger a "sewer socialist" -- a reference to the Milwaukee local's promise to build a sewage system designed to last fifty years. In fact, the sewer was built, and it was only a part of the local reforms and stable electoral organizations that Berger championed -- all of which helped to make him the party's most successful politician.  [James Weinstein: 2003 The Long Detour]

Of course, in those days sewage and safe drinking water were life or death issues. Having bad water meant serious illness or a horrible and rapid death. No antibiotics. Often the purity of the water improved with income, sometimes not. A good sewage system meant life. While his more ideologically pure contemporaries might have scoffed at these reforms, perhaps believing that they were unworthy of their lofty goals, or for their exalted persons, Victor Berger helped get the sewer built. One assumes that this action saved lives, improved lives, perhaps made people stronger to fight for their rights. One of the most important political results would have been that it provided a tangible example of what the left could do for people. Nothing impresses people like not having to worry that the water is going to kill their children. Avoiding such vulgar projects, the pure of heart felt a higher calling. Which produced talk.

Victor Berger might have failed to enter the pantheon of the more legendary leftists, he was not a failure with the voters. Milwaukee sent him to the congress in 1910, the first Socialist to be elected to the congress and seated. It elected him twice more, though by then he had been convicted of essentially opposing the First World War and was not allowed to take the seat. But even that one time he did serve in congress he racked up a record that betters most of the more remembered leftists in our history. And after winning the right to his seat in court he was reelected twice in the 1920s.

What does this mean for us a hundred years later? Berger's practicality, of facing the situation without wishful thinking and of working with the means possible to produce real improvements for people is the model we need to follow. Nothing contained in the most brilliant minds with the highest ideals with the greatest daring and the most solid commitment to the cause is as radical as a bill voted on and made into a law that overturns a bad law. No brilliant idea, rigorous in its logic and comprehensive in its supporting facts is as good as a small civil service project that improves living conditions for people. It is only when the idea is made into law by people who hold elected office that the truly radical can happen, lives improve. Words, true and well chosen, only matter when they are put into effect and change material reality. It is simply a fact that political change relies on politicians who are dependent on the consent of the governed. If the governed see results they will support the politicians who deliver them.

first posted Monday, May 15, 2006

Note, 2006 is not 1910. I do not advocate a third party candidacy except that of Bernie Sanders this year. And you will notice that Victor Berger didn't start running for the Congress but won election to local office first. That's the only way to build a third party.

Updated for July 19th, 2014

That was a re-run of a piece I posted on my original blog.   I rerun it here because of the complete idiocy I read at the blog I'm hoping to stop writing about by the end of this month.

Bernie Sanders was running for his Senate seat in 2006, not in a doomed and symbolic presidential run, something I hope he doesn't launch in 2016.  I'm entirely against running presidential campaigns to "make a point" "prove a point" "move the agenda" or for any other reason than to elect the least bad person who has a realistic chance of winning the election, taking office and making laws or appointing judges and other office holders.   Anyone who advocates a symbolic candidacy to " move the agenda" must not remember as far back as ten years ago when Naders' Nutters were trying to do another of those ego-satisfying, attention grabbing candidacies a mere four years into the Bush II disaster.  Which is how they "moved the agenda" with a Nader candidacy a mere four years earlier.

Now they're trying to draft the great Elizabeth Warren for another of those marches of folly, something she has said she won't do.   If you didn't follow the last link, the blogger TBogg officially got a case of the cooties at Baby Blue for saying that it would be better to support Hillary Clinton and she appointed Elizabeth Warren to the Supreme Court, pointing out the advanced ages of a number of the present members of the Roberts court that has proven the importance of holding a majority there.   They could overturn any laws signed into law by Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or an Elizabeth Warren level dream president in 2020, lying with abandon and making words mean what they never were intended to mean.

What is it about the disaster of the Bush II presidency topping off a line of disasters going back to Nixon winning as the play leftists of that time dumped Johnson, hated Humphrey and voted for Clean Gene or someone else that these idiots don't get?

The Scriptures Are Radical (a short post during lunch hour)

Psalm 10 (New International Version)

1 Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
    Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
    who are caught in the schemes he devises.
3 He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
    he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
    in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
5 His ways are always prosperous;
    your laws are rejected by him;
    he sneers at all his enemies.
6 He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
    He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”
7 His mouth is full of lies and threats;
    trouble and evil are under his tongue.
8 He lies in wait near the villages;
    from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
9     like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
    he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.
10 His victims are crushed, they collapse;
    they fall under his strength.
11 He says to himself, “God will never notice;
    he covers his face and never sees.”
12 Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
    Do not forget the helpless.
13 Why does the wicked man revile God?
    Why does he say to himself,
    “He won’t call me to account”?
14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
    you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
    you are the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked man;
    call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
    that would not otherwise be found out.
16 The Lord is King for ever and ever;
    the nations will perish from his land.
17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that mere earthly mortals
    will never again strike terror.

Beginning with the author being willing to question God for not intervening, of that level of intimacy with the ultimate power and authority of existence.  Insisting, against any evidence, that the ultimate justice of God's order of its preferential option for the poor the weak and the oppressed (something that The Reverend Martin Luther King jr. insisted on) and calling out the powerful as being no more than the thugs, crooks and murderers they are.    Compare that to your typical pseudo-leftist discourse about the primacy of the "fittest" under natural selection as a substitute morality.   Even with the incoherent patch job of "mutual assistance" it is watered down sour milk by comparison.  Ultimately, under any atheistic formulation of "morality" there is nothing to prevent someone from saying, "“Nothing will ever shake me.” “No one will ever do me harm.”   That's a logical consequence when, "your laws are rejected by him"  and a gangster figures he can safely "sneer at his enemies".  

Traditional American liberalism is the product of that moral tradition.  It withers and dies if it's cut off from it.

Got Called In To Work Will Post Later 'til Then.....

There are days I think that the next person who says "Godwin's Law" or "Poe's Law" or "True Scotsman" or some such thing to me is going to get a fist in his mush.  That would be if I could get through the screen to do it.  

There are days I think the internet has made people just as stupid as TV did and others I think it just allows those made stupid by cable TV to articulate their stupidity.  And there are no people stupider than stupid people who think they are the Brightest of the Brights while they are just looping the stupidity they copied from their fellow stupid people.

Consider this a dope slap, in lieu of the real thing. 

Friday, July 18, 2014


Elizabeth Warren's 11 Tenets of Progressivism

- "We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we're willing to fight for it."

- "We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth."

- "We believe that the Internet shouldn't be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality."

- "We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage."

- "We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them."

- "We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt."

- "We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions."

- "We believe—I can't believe I have to say this in 2014—we believe in equal pay for equal work."

- "We believe that equal means equal, and that's true in marriage, it's true in the workplace, it's true in all of America."

- "We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform."

- "And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it. We will fight for it!"

Alternet Is A Vehicle of Hate Of The Kind Which Discredits The Left With The Majority of Americans

Alternet is an online magazine which, daily, features anti-religious, primarily anti-Christian articles and comments.  Any time you look at it you will find that anti-religious, primarily anti-Christian posts are among its biggest attractions for an audience that obviously loves to hate them some Christians.

Here's something up there right now

Americans Are Leaving Religion Behind and It Scares the Hell Out of the Christian Right  by the professional religion hater, Amanda Marcotte

A partial list of others in Alternet's regular stable of religion, primarily Christian haters include:

C.J. Werleman

Valerie Tarico

Dan Arel

I linked to the authors where you can find a list of what they produce in large quantities for Alternet.

Four regular writers whose primary focus is writing anti-religious hate posts for one magazine.  What would you make of a print magazine that regularly carried articles saying the kinds of things these guys say about Christians, only saying them about Jews or Muslims?  If a magazine carried stuff like that about Jews it would be known, primarily as an antisemetic rag, its hate content discrediting the rest of its contents. If I had the time I would hold my nose and go look at the archive of magazines infamous for their antisemitism to see how the percentages of articles dedicated to hating on Jews compares to Alternet's archive of anti-Christian hatred.  I can guess that the results wouldn't compare to Alternet's credit.   I can assure you, if it's news to you, that even with the pervasive acceptance on the alleged left that for most people hate messages directed against them do discredit the other content of magazines and even political identities associated with them.

There are other Alternet writers who would qualify as hate mongers, even if they don't make that the primary focus of their writing.   Many of their other regulars write anti-religious, primarily anti-Christian articles, perhaps when they need to get their click counts up.   I used to notice the numbers of comments on articles and there are few topics, other than the promotion of commercial sex, that can compete with a good old-fashioned hate post against Christians to run up the old click numbers on Alternet and on Salon which regularly carries Alternet hate posts and has some of its own regulars who specialize in hatin' in the faith-heads. The few times they might carry nice things about religion hardly makes up for their regular content.  It looks like window dressing, which it is.  

Considering that after more than a decade of the atheist war on "Xians" and other "faith heads" that the vast majority of Americans surveyed identify themselves as Christians or members of other religions, this is about as good a political strategy as the Republican strategy of slamming women.  Though it might be even stupider since 1. women are slightly more than 50% of the population whereas far more than 85% are religious and, 2. religious identification is higher among women than it is men.

Atheist vitriol is ballot box poison for everyone except atheists.   I looked in at the "Friendly Atheist" the other day to see them whining about a recent Pew study that shows that Atheists poll as being the religious orientation that is the least popular with Americans, Muslims ranking down there as well.  Some of them seemed to be surprised about that.  Considering that Hemant, the "Friendly Atheist" is about as snide and snarky about religion as any of the other online atheists, if that's their idea of making friends, they're entirely benighted.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Glenn Gould As A Composer Who Lost His Way: The Idea of North

If the idea that a performer who plays music written by someone else has a moral responsibility to try to present the music as the composer intended, if that had not been drilled into me from my first music lessons, it might have been different.  But it was and so whenever the topic comes up I cringe knowing that if I have to say it, I'm going to upset someone.   I'm not a fan of Glenn Gould's playing and his conducting is worse.  I have to agree with Gunther Schuller's assessment that his interpretation of Siegfried's Idyll  is, "Probably the most inept, amateurish, wrong-headed rendition of a major classic ever put to vinyl."  Not that I'm especially fond of the piece, I can't stand it and I don't think most of his piano recordings are that bad but some of them are serious distortions of the clearly marked intentions of the composer.  Which is sort of a musical mortal sin, for me.  

Don't get me wrong I don't despise Gould and I respect some of his work, just not his playing.  For me, Glenn Gould was a failed composer, a victim to his misused virtuosity at the piano, and his own highly disturbed personality.  That is shown, in part, by some of the music he obviously loved (if to death) but even more so by his non-musical pieces for radio.   Here's the most famous of those. Don't let the brief contrapuntal narrative passage at the beginning put you off.

The Idea of North

Which is heartbreaking in a way none of those involved could have known, due to global warming and the destruction of the environment and the way of life he described in it, something that seems to have been foreseen by some of those he interviewed to make it.   It is great radio of the kind that is seldom produced in the United States.  You have to have something like the CBC to get this kind of thing. We don't have that.

Quick Lunchtime Post Good Grief! Bring Back Feminism

Jenny Kutner, "an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on sex, gender, love and feminism,"  has another stupid piece based on a bogus "study" entitled

Women who post sexy photos to social media are seen as less competent
A new study finds the virgin/whore dichotomy concentrated in a new place: Young women's profile pictures

Not going to bother boring you with the details of the bogus "study," you can go read it yourself if you want to take that kind of punishment.  I'll say what I said there.

I'll bet you one class of people who think that women, or men for that matter, who post or send sexy porny photos of themselves online are those women and men who did so and lived to regret it.  I wish I had a dollar for everyone one of them who said, belatedly, "I was so stupid to do that".   I'd be rich enough to start an online magazine to rival Salon.   And it's not just young women who pay a price for that kind of thing, males do, as well and they are just as stupid to do it.   I'll bet Anthony Wiener had such thoughts. 

People who send smutty photos of themselves out into the world are, in the words of so many of them, "really stupid".

[Sigh!]  I remember when feminism meant that women were finally demanding to be seen as full human beings, not objects, not items to be consumed and used and used up, which is what all smut is, inevitably, based in.   Now it's so compromised with the worst of male supremacy, the porn-prostitution industry, that it encourages young women to turn themselves into objects to be used by men.   See last weekends' post about how one of the original professional liars convinced women to smoke as a mark of their liberation to see how A MAN IN THE MEDIA INDUSTRY can convince large numbers of women to do stupid things that end up in their oppression and even death.

Open Letter to Chris Mooney Over His Faith In Neuro-Cog Just-So Stories

 A large body of political scientists and political psychologists now concur that liberals and conservatives disagree about politics in part because they are different people at the level of personality, psychology, and even traits like physiology and genetics.

That's a big deal. It challenges everything that we thought we knew about politics—upending the idea that we get our beliefs solely from our upbringing, from our friends and families, from our personal economic interests, and calling into question the notion that in politics, we can really change (most of us, anyway).  Chris Mooney: Scientists are Beginning to Figure Out Why Conservatives Are.... Conservative 

Chris, Chris, Chris. For something called "political identity" to have a genetic basis, there would have to be an actual "thing" that was a political identity. The difficulties in determining what a "conservative" or "liberal" is are enormous. Your claim that, "the conservative ideology, and especially one of its major facets—centered on a strong military, tough law enforcement, resistance to immigration, widespread availability of guns—would seem well tailored for an underlying, threat-oriented biology," is a good example of why it is impossible to define those categories. President Kennedy was considered to be a liberal but he was also a major proponent of the military and military spending, he was quite aggressive in military terms. His successor, Lyndon Johnson, was the most liberal president of all in terms of domestic policy and he was talked into escalating the war in Vietnam - urged on by, among others, hold-overs from the supposedly more liberal Kennedy administration. I'd argue that the more "conservative" Johnson was, in fact, far more liberal than Kennedy was. Though I would also argue that the even more conservative Eisenhower was the one who warned about the military industrial complex, something that the allegedly more liberal Truman hadn't done. Truman did, however, have a big hand in initiating the red-scare, according to I. F. Stone and he indisputably had a big hand in one of the more disastrous moves by an American president, to create the CIA. Look at the last two conservative popes who were, none the less, opposed to the various wars of the Reagan-Bush administrations, opposed to capital punishment, opposed to cuts in budgets for aid to the poor and oppressed.

You really think you can tease out a genetic basis for that real life existence of those categories "liberal" and "conservative" and come up with some Just-so story to explain how it relates to human cultures in the very remote and lost past? How about people whose political positions change rather drastically, sometimes in a very short time? How does that fit into your genetically fixed political identity. Read Richard Lewontin, someone who actually knows something about genetics and the actual limits of what can reliably be attributed to them.

I think what you're seeing is the thorough ideological indoctrination of those who rise high enough as "behavioral and brain scientists" that produces the far easier to explain and account for why those selected to respond would be in agreement as to what this nonsense means. And the problem of them being selected would be enough to make the alleged significance of their agreement suspect. They would have had to buy that kind of pseudo-science in order to gain any status in the field, already. This stuff isn't science, it is ideological pushing that has a habit of washing away within a few years, sometimes we are lucky enough to not have a lot of people hurt by it, though sometimes, such as in the backlash against feminism, people do get hurt.


I could add that I had been intending to write on this stuff last week when I read this piece of tripe at Alternet.  I will point out that atheists seem to be the ones pushing biological determinism, about which, more in a minute.

One of the biggest problems, other than the kind of stuff I pointed out above, is that it is a total negation of the liberal idea that political progress on the basis of good will and an ability to appeal to our better natures and our reason is even possible. Which could help explain why liberalism has been in decline since the mandatory requirement of college and university students to take psych courses became widespread.  I'd guess the explosion in the popularity of psychology in the late 60s and early 70s isn't unrelated to the cynical sense of futility that fed that decline.

On a related note, and while listening to the BBC's reporting on the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One, I remembered how Vernon Kellogg warned about the political and military results when a culture buys into biological determinism, which I'd say is an inevitable result of the kind of materialism that is the basis of this kind of thing.   As another aside about the fixed content of "things" called "conservatism" and "liberalism" when Leonard Darwin wrote to the putrid Charles Davenport to bemoan the failure of Germans to adopt eugenics during the Weimar years, he identified their resistance to eugenics as being due to "conservatism".   The champions of eugenics, including those who approved of the Nazi eugenics program, saw it as "progressive" if not actually "liberal".   I doubt that such opponents to eugenics as Franz Boaz would have used those same terms, not to mention those in the civil rights movement who opposed the inherent racism and class bias contained in eugenics.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

No More Preppy-Ivy Leaguer Secs of Education

Quick word before I go to work.   It should be a matter of statute that the Secretary of Education and their higher subordinates should have been the product of the public schools and public universities.  Arne Duncan* should never have become the Secretary of Education, he has nothing but contempt for the public school system that is one of the pillars of American democracy.  Michelle Rhee could serve as evidence in local school administration, as well.  Not to mention that Democrats should seriously consider the prep-school-Ivy League president who, it is rumored, appointed Duncan to have someone he liked playing basketball with close by and so appointed him to a position he seems to have spent attacking teachers and promoting the public funding of quasi-private prep-schools, which is what charter schools are.   Considering the sleazy record of that flash in the panacea in its trial period, anyone still carrying water for it today is either an idiot or they're a crook. 

I suspect Hillary Clinton will be the nominee for president in 2016 but her vice president should be someone who has at least attended a public school and a public university as a student.  I'm tired of the prep-school-Ivy axis that is way, way too comfortable with privatizing public institutions, public education most of all.   She should know better than Barack Obama, having gone to  public schools before she went to rather elite private colleges and universities.  I hope she had the experience of being looked down on by the preppies who held that all public school graduates were stupid and that she remembers what that is like. There are a lot more of us who will be her constituents than the Arne Duncan class of folks.  I hope that Wellesley and Yale didn't impart to her that odd form of oligarchic dementia that it seems to produce in even those from a humble beginning. 

*  Arne Duncan education: Harvard University (1987), University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, University of Chicago, Harvard College
Michelle Rhee education: Cornell University, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Maumee Valley Country Day School
Hillary Clinton education:  Yale Law School (1969–1973), Wellesley College (1965–1969), Maine South High School (1964–1965), Maine East High School (1964), Yale University

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Maud Lewis The Person Behind The House

The House 

From My E-Mail In Box

MADISON (WKOW) -- A coalition of church organizations launches a campaign demanding reforms within the State Department of Corrections.

Wisdom kicked off its "Reform Now" campaign at the state capitol on Wednesday.

The group says the D.O.C. is failing to parole nearly 3,000 inmates who they believe should be released.

Jerry Hancock, the Prison Ministry Project Director with the United Church of Christ says, "These inmates cost the state of Wisconsin $96 million a year, if that money were invested in treatment alternatives or diversions, it would save the state of Wisconsin almost $200 million."

Wisdom plans to hold monthly news conferences through October to draw attention to a number of prison issues

Denatured Liberalism

de·na·ture dēˈnāCHər/ verb past tense: denatured; past participle: denatured take away or alter the natural qualities of.
"empty verbalisms and denatured ceremonies"

Must say that the hostile response my little call to restore a meaningful weekend for working people got yesterday on an allegedly liberal blog from people who present themselves as champions of liberalism surprised me a bit.   It seemed to get mixed up, not only due to the distorted form my argument was presented in but also with the rote reaction of the pseudo-liberal, pro-business, anti-religious ridicule of the old blue laws, opening hours and sale of alcohol on Sundays, that kind of thing.

Or it could be that the desk jockeys, many of whom have never done an hour of physical labor as paid work, never mind more than 40 hours of it at low pay and stingy benefits, just don't get why the labor movement struggled against the 6 or more day work week.  And here I provided a visual hint as to why even a secular version of the Sabbath was important from even a non-religious point of view.  I practically spoon fed it to them.

Or maybe it's as I've been saying, what "liberal" means got distorted by the scribbling, desk set class of "liberals" who really don't have any skin in that fight, other than a bit at the very tips of their fingers, at most and who are generally not even the ones who risk repetitive stress disablement in relation to their jobs.  Those who aren't trust-funded or something out of even that much work.  I would suspect that a lot of them don't have the slightest idea of what I was talking about, which, perhaps is too much to ask of an online "brain trust".   Here's the substance of a short article by Krissy Clark about where that slogan on the T-shirt came from.

Ricardo Levins Morales is an artist and labor activist in Minneapolis. And he, in fact, makes that bumper sticker. He designed it in the early 1980s, in an era when unions were losing favor.

Since then, he's sold tens of thousands. He says it's funny to watch people in the rear view mirror squinting with puzzled looks at the stickers. "For people who are not steeped in labor history, it might take a few minutes to figure out what on earth they are talking about." Because, Morales says, most people think the weekend has always been here, "you know, like the weather."

It is hard to imagine life without the weekend. But the word didn't even exist until the 1870s, when Americans were deep into the industrial revolution. "Many working people who were in the factories of the industrial revolution were fresh off the farms, and they were used to regulating their own day, and their own working rhythms," says Morales. "And here, all of a sudden they're having to adapt themselves to whistles, to bells, to the clock."

Many workers—men, women and children—put in 10 to 16 hour days, seven days a week. And you remember this part from history class: Labor organizers called on the government to mandate shorter hours. Workers lost lives in the struggle. At Haymarket Square in Chicago, police gunned down protesters and men were hanged for inflammatory speeches.

The men were demanding, as they put it, time for "what we will."

"The right to have time with our families. To pursue education," says historian Michael Feldberg. And to go to the zoo, the museum, the church. Actually, getting Sunday off for worship was relatively easy. Feldberg says, it was Saturday that was the tough part. "If the Jewish Sabbath had been on Wednesday, we would not have a weekend. We would have Wednesday and Sunday off."

And what kind of weekend is that? Feldberg says even as Americans agitated for more time off, two days off right next to each other was not a foregone conclusion. He says for that, we can thank the massive influx of Jewish immigrants in the late 1800s. They made up a big part of the factory work force. And, Feldberg says, their holy day wasn't Sunday. "Jews for the most part had to either voluntarily not conduct business on Saturday while the rest of the country did, or abandon their religious principles to make a living, keep a job."

But Jewish and gentile factory workers aren't the only ones who brought you the weekend. Some of the people who owned the factories helped too. People like Henry Ford. Ford hated labor unions. But he shared their hope in this strange new thing called a weekend. He gave his workers two days off back in the early 1900s, even though the federal government didn't mandate the forty-hour work-week until 1938. Ford pretty much invented weekend road trips, and promoted his own weekend romps in breathless newspaper editorials.

Christian Overland of the Henry Ford museum explains it like this: Ford wanted to sell his Model T. And if people were stuck in factories all week, "when are they going to use it? If your workforce is your consumer, you have to give people the time off to buy the things." And to take them out on weekend adventures, and drives in the country, and, later, trips to the mall, and little league practice, and all those other weekend errands we've come to know and love.

So, who invented the weekend? It was brought to you by the Labor Movement, but also Management. Jews. And Gentiles. And you may as well throw in God, since he came up with the whole "day of rest thing" in the first place.

Though I think she was being far too even handed with that Henry Ford stuff, in the typical. denatured, quasi-liberalish media style.   Considering his attempts to squeeze every bit of work out of his workers for the money he gave them, he probably saw it as resource management more than anything respecting their humanity.   And he was entirely atypical of the management class of his or our time, the class that my critics and the media snarkers over blue laws oddly always end up enabling.  Getting the weekend involved a genuine struggle in which people really got more than their feelings hurt.

If it's not too much like work for them to have read this far, the rest of Clark's article is something like what I meant.   Not everyone works at a desk with the kind of work pace that allows you to keep up on your blog community.   Really, it's like some even more boring, geriatric, Peyton Place for the radically otiose over there.   Maybe you don't have enough to do, which would explain why you don't get the point.  Or maybe it's as I really suspect and your liberalism is a mere pose behind which there is just a tiny bit more pose.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Stream of Consciousness

Thinking of Carl Ruggles piece posted below got me thinking of other pieces by him, he didn't write all that many, all of them great pieces, some of those masterpieces by any honest measure.  Anyway, I thought of his orchestral suite Men and Mountains, which got me thinking of the largely forgotten writer Dorothy Canfield Fisher.  She was a neighbor of his in Vermont and I read somewhere that she was the one who suggested the title "Lilacs" for the middle movement, something about the bass lines reminded her of how lilacs grow all tangled together.

Anyway, that got me thinking of the collection of her stories I bought at the Goodwill store in Sanford, Maine decades ago and, especially, the most interesting of those stories,  Sex Education.   As luck would have it, the story is posted online with a bit of not bad at all commentary, though the story is a good one without the comment.  The commentator says she's a forgotten writer, which is too bad because she was a good writer and should be read.

See also

Carl Ruggles


Played by Donald Berman arranged by John Kirkpatrick 

You Can Always Tell An Atheist But You Often Can't Tell Him Much: An Unedited Exchange At Southern Beale's Blog

  1. The faith in the omniscience of geneticists working for or in the pay of , agribusinesses is one of the most bizarre things in the group that thinks they are the great bastion of the highest sciencyness. One of the big problems of the totally artificial manipulation of genes is that, once out here, in the one and only biosphere we’ve got, once it’s gone feral, it can’t be called back. The generally otherwise admirable Chris Mooney and I broke over this issue. His faith in the benevolence and omniscience of scientists who are just as corruptible as anyone else is willful blindness.
    • I agree with one nitpick. As individuals, scientists are no more or less prone to being honest than any of us. As a profession, scientists tend towards honesty as it’s difficult to snow your peers in areas where data is data and not opinion.
      • Science, as a profession, isn’t notably good at following its own rules, as the frequent retraction of papers, at times due to fraud, quite often due to the review process being either faulty or fraudulent, itself. There is no one reviewing the reviewers and unless there are real, effective, professional punishments given to reviewers who rubber stamp and all who commit fraud, there is no reason to believe that scientists will police themselves. No profession should ever be trusted to police itself, especially when there is money to be made from fraud and lies.
        I always refer people to the excellent blog, Retraction Watch, if they want examples.
        The second lead story just now is: Three PLOS ONE papers retracted for totally made-up data.
        One can only imagine how many papers out there to be cited haven’t been caught for that, even as reviewers OKed them.
  2. Right. That shit happens in every profession except politics and religion. The guardians of our morals whether they are standing in the pulpit or sitting in a swanky D.C. restaurant, think only of us and would never do ANYTHING dishonest or unethical.
    I don’t believe in omniscience, being atheist I expeshly don’t believe in GODLY omniscience.
    So, who brought the fraud to the attention of the scientific journal? It had to be someone with at least a modicum of scientific training, yes?
    • Who brought up religion? You. And if your argument is that science is as well self-policed as religion, I don’t see how you can make the claim that religion loses due to the superiority of science if science isn’t automatically superior. Since most of the legitimate criticism of religion comes from people in religion, that’s not much of an argument in your favor, either. People in different religions are far better at criticizing what people in other religions write than scientists would seem to be, and in many cases they are far better at internal criticism as well. The “social sciences” are a centuries long scandal which has never been adequately critiqued by physicists or chemists, sciences with an infinitely better record in upholding the methods and practices of science, though not as good these days, apparently.
      I could give example after example of scientists who have committed even obvious fraud using their credentials and standings as scientists who have not been defrocked, as it were. Some retaining major academic positions and renown within the community of scientists, Fritz Haber was given the Nobel in Chemistry in 1918 when he should have been on trial for war crimes using his science, for example. But I won’t abuse the hospitality of Southern Beale to do so. Only, apropos of her post, when it comes to biological creations that could reproduce, uncontrolled and to horrific results, there is no reason to trust scientists to police themselves and good reason to not allow them to.
I'll point out, for you retraction fans, that the lead article at Retraction Watch yesterday was even more shocking.  Especially considering the attempts of corporate "persons" to suppress the exposure of their frauds and harm.   Here's the link to Southern Beale's very good blog.

On The Very Familiar Blank Look I Got Yesterday

Why does it matter to you that someone doesn't care about who wins The World Cup?   I don't ever remember people indifferent to sports rioting or beating a rival fan into a coma or death - always a possibility when some team loses.  Or when one wins, for that matter.  That last sentence carries one of the more unexpected and salient aspects of what sports are really all about, but that's for the third paragraph.

I don't remember any time that non-sports fans have demanded that public funds be massively funneled to support their non-fandom and to the benefit of million or billionaire owners of sports teams.  Not to mention the disruption of life that the actual events regularly bring to cities and regions that sponsor big sports events.  Not to mention how sports eat up enormous amounts of public school budgets as education suffers in a country that can hardly afford to waste its money or its time on something that doesn't make those doing or watching it smarter.

Non-fans don't whip up people to hate other people for the artificial division that team rivalries usually are.   Sports are an odd form of entertainment that depends on one half of its consumers wanting half of the performers doing badly and half of the audience being unhappy with the results.  It's not good to want people to be unhappy so you can take pleasure in their unhappiness.  Or doesn't that count when it comes to sports.  When I was a kid the big lie was told that, "Sports builds character"*.  Other than the grammatical ambiguity of the sentence, any kid who thought about most of the jocks they'd ever known would know it was a lie.  While it wasn't impossible to find a jock who was a nice guy (they were all guys back then) they were rare as compared to conceited bullies with a sense of entitlement and, more often than not, a contempt for learning and thinking and women.  If you were a short, skinny kid with bad eyesight, you were often the one they attempted to pick on, sometimes encouraged by the P.E. instructor, who was really a coach who was made to pretend to actually be a teacher.  Which can lead to a short, skinny kid with bad eyesight developing a really good ability to deflate them with sharp words, which can turn into a bad habit, itself.   I don't like sports for all of those reasons and I resent being told that it's required to not see what a fraud they are.  I won't pretend to like them.

*  As to the health effects of sports, the minor struggle in the United States over the name "football", which world-football fans are bound to lose, they've got a point.  While "soccer" has the clear health advantage of the effects of all of that non-stop running, American "football" is more like a violent, mass corruption of sumo mixed with American professional "wrestling" which would more honestly be called "fatball".   Brain damage and other forms of mayhem are intrinsic to both, though only in "American football" is it an intrinsic part of the game, something you can expect from a game invented by the vicious economic elite that populated private universities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Which I thought I'd point out, again.    I'm not known as The Thought Criminal for nothing.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Demand A Return of The Sabbath

It's been an exhausting week with a new job, the gardening, trying to get the minimum of practicing in, in case I can get back to where I can be a musician again (longer recovery from the accident than I'd anticipated).  

The Sabbath is one of the greatest gifts that the Hebrew tradition gave humanity, one of those things which capitalism and stinking commerce duped people in the English speaking world into giving up so they could push us ever more to make money for them, to give up our own lives in service to their greed.  Of course, for some of us it's also given up because we have to do our own work and the work for our families during the few hours that our laboring ancestors managed to grasp back from the owners and bosses and corporations.   Ah, yes, those neo-persons, those judicially created "persons" with vastly more power and the proven ability to crush mere people and living beings (animals benefited from the Sabbath as well)  and entire environments and eventually the world under its enormous boots that the Roberts court is placing, solidly, on our necks.

As a beginning, a mere beginning, we must start grabbing back what the retailers and others duped us out of giving up, the Sabbath, if not the entire weekend, as much of it as we can get back, pushing for what the French and Germans have wisely kept, up till now.   Of course, Jesus wisely pointed out that people were not made for the Sabbath but that the Sabbath was made for people.  Isn't it odd that so few of those always eager to assert their fidelity to the scriptures so easily ignore one of the most important parts of that tradition,  one that couldn't possibly be older and more important all through the tradition and in The Book.  Only, not if you take that gift to Mammon as an indication of their true God.

What God gave us, we shouldn't let Mammon rob us of.  It's the religious duty of those who believe in The Sabbath, either on Saturday, Sunday or Friday, to insist on having that day for ourselves and the other Sabbaths for those to whom those belong.  I'd say that two days or one and a whole half day is preferable, not to mention a living wage being paid for a reasonable working day with no extra hours robbed from workers, their children and their families.  

For those who don't feel comfortable with demanding it in religious terms - and for all of us, too,  here, reclaim the heritage your ancestors worked, bled and died for.