Saturday, February 24, 2018

Betty Carter - I Remember You - If I Should Lose You

I believe the pianist was Marc Cary though I can't see that well,  I don't know who the bass and drums were played by.   What great performances.

Hate Mail - I'm still sick, I'm not bothering to write a new answer, here's one I wrote answering that

The Humanities Major Atheist Solution

Though never a whiz with the math,
And so on to science, no path,
I'll fake it with attitude,
Materialist platitude,
And pseudo-historical wrath. 

If the things I'm writing about the relationship of the pseudo-liberal atheists' claims about such things as the First Amendment (now articulated by the fascists on the Rehnquist and Roberts courts and the alt-right) and TV creating and putting Trump in office are hard to follow, it's because such things are complex and harder to follow than simple physical phenomena.   

It's not my fault if you can't keep up, it's obvious that the guarantees that the ACLU and such people as Nat Hentoff and the civil liberties industry made us about the results of their interpretation of free speech and free press and letting Nazis and fascists and, their intended beneficiaries, the red-fascists of Marxism say whatever they wanted to really benefited the billionaire sponsors of the first two.   Liberals who fell for that stuff were totally chumped by them.

I think the real key to understanding the Marxist dictatorships of the 20th century up till today isn't in their ideological claims, it's to consider them the same way you would any powerful crime syndicate and the tyranny they exercise over their turf, corrupting any civil authority they can buy off elsewhere.  That is how Putin turned the United States into an asset, though exploiting what the Courts and civil liberties industry did for our domestic billionaires to corrupt the country, the same media, the same weaknesses enhanced through the media and PR techniques, the progressive dumbing-down of The People by Hollywood and pop culture.   

Putin is no idiot, he's been trained by the same Russian-oligarchic tradition that has been chumping American lefties since before John Reed destroyed the the high-water mark of high-leftist political accomplishment, that of the Socialists in 1919.   The Soviets and later the Maoists instigated the most tragic chumping of the American left for most of the 20th century, the reason that the major success of the American left was through the religious left, especially under The Reverend Martin Luther King jr. and other associated RELIGIOUS groups and entities,  the anti-communist parts of the labor movement, and the Democratic party.   It was when the "new left" took over in the 1960s that that began to unravel, liberalism went into the political wilderness where it still is, led farther into it by such rags as In These Times, The Nation and such frauds as the Green Party.    As a former chump, I'm very familiar with that territory. 

Saturday Night Radio Drama Frederico Garcia Lorca - Blood Wedding

Translated by James Graham Lujan and Richard L.O. Connell
Adapted for radio by Walter Acosta

Starring Anna Massey, Juliet Stevenson, with Alan Rickman as Leonardo.
Directed by Walter Acosta

First aired in 1986, on the 50th anniversary of Garcia Lorcas's murder during the Spanish Civil War.  The wedding song is based on a melody by Garcia Lorca.

I don't usually post adaptations of plays but thought this one should be an exception.   It works for radio better than Lorca's most famous play, The House of Bernarda Alba probably could because there are fewer roles that come over more clearly than a larger cast consisting only of women's voices probably would - though I'll bet it could be done given the right actors and a good director.

I'm not as big on Lorca as I was when I was young, his attraction to violence has become seriously problematic for me in a way I could take more when I was young.  It's interesting to consider that the mother, played by the great Anna Massey, could well have been his conscience talking to him, though she shared in the kind of "honor" culture that inevitably includes violence.   A lot of what is analyzed as patriarchy probably is more accurately attributed to this conception of "honor". 

Second Feature - Katie Hims - Cops and Robbers

A dry cleaner's assistant falls for a customer but as he crosses the road outside the shop he is knocked down by a car. As she gets to know him it transpires that perhaps this was not an accident. 

Inspector - Philip Jackson 
Marion - Amanda Root 
Jonny - Nicholas Boulton 

Directed by Peter Kavanagh

I thought after the Lorca someone might want something a bit different or someone might not like the Lorca.   While I listened to this one I kept tearing my hair (figuratively) at the main character's romantic silliness, but she learns a thing or two by the end of the story.   So it's a sort of maybe happy ending.

I Love To Hear Addled Fans Whinging in the Morning

Hamilton isn't any more educational than Mamma Mia.  Since it falsifies history and pushes destructive myth it's probably less so. 

The Enlightenment Is A PR Myth Whatever Little Progress Has Happened It Wasn't The Source Of It

If, with all that brilliantly conceived of PR campaign, all those great slogans, the 18th century "enlightenment" was so great, where is the manifestation of that greatness?   Because when I look at what that phenomenon produced in the 18th century, stuff like the French Revolution, the reign of terror, the military despotism and imperial adventurism of Napoleon, the Brit system that threw up an ever more horrible class system, with death camps, such intellectual bright - lights as the putrid Thomas Carlyle, the pudding-headed utilitarians (and they were nice guys) and a whole bunch of other stuff  . . . I don't see much in the way of reason and light.   In the United States the "enlightenment" constitution protected slavery and allowed it to, as in Britain, become worse as the British gave up their few domestic slaves in favor of relying on those in the colonies and former colonies as well as the serfdom of their beleaguered working class.  And that's not to mention that in the land of the free, working conditions in factories and elsewhere had a lot in common with the lot of slaves, so much so that the apologists for slavery made the point that at least since they were property, they didn't have as much of an incentive to work them to death or injury and abandon them to die in the same kind of squalor that Northern industrialists and the investor class did.  And, then, there is the massively corrupt period up to the Civil War and the corruption that flourished not long into Abraham Lincoln's mouldering in the grave.  Our Constitutional government as an emblem of some enlightened order has to be the biggest of all jokes, apart from the French Revolution and its aftermath.   Granted the feudal aristocracy and royal rule had to be brought down but the character of what did that (in about two places) is presented in a dangerous fiction as can be rapped and danced on Broadway proving that when Broadway does history it gets it about 3/5ths wrong and when they include singing and dancing, they give up that last two fifths, as well.   That they do it with people of color playing 18th century slave owners and the merchants who worked hand in glove with them only shows how stupid musicals are.  I mean, is that supposed to mean something?

All of that happened under what modern romantics consider the most "enlightened" of Western governments.  Speaking of romantics, if the enlightenment were so great, why did they quickly push it aside for the romantic movement?   

I think I'm going to start a project of looking harder at the "enlightenment" in the same way I looked at Darwinism because it, as well, has been the beneficiary of a cover-up of what it really was in all its sordid hypocrisy.  Since a good part of that phonied up history prevents us from looking hard at the aspects of the American Constitution that are driving us into fascism, it's way past time for us to give up the echoing voice of Barbara Jordan because the total confidence in it she asserted has certainly proven to be misplaced.   We can't even avoid a Trump through it.   

The supreme "enlightenment" value is a sometimes thing but it is often asserted to be a dedication to THE TRUTH, to a view of and assertion of reality in all its real ness and with scientific precision in observation and accuracy of measurement.   Well, that's a scam because the great supporters of the enlightenment myth are those who are the most opposed to allowing people lied about to sue the people who lie about them,  people who read what I write will know that I assert that is what got us here.   In the education that reading and interacting with many more people than I ever could before I went online has been, I've come to see that the biggest fans of the enlightenment are also some of the biggest fans of lying about thing beloved of them, the common received lies of their ideology (all ideologies develop those,  they even develop in science).   They are as wedded to their illusions and preferences as any of the benighted fundamentalists and as supportive of violence in defense of their ideologies.   The scandal of the secular left in regard to Soviet and, later, Maoist and a series of Nazi level murder regimes on account of alleged economic and "scientific" stands the regimes mouthed is something I expect to be dealing with the rest of my life.   That I bought that crap for a second of my adult life is something I can't help but be ashamed of.   When I see such journals of that secular left as The Nation and In These Times, such frauds as the Green Party in cahoots with the unmasked mafia state of Putin, essentially an updated version of the same thing, when I see even the Democratic Socialists putting up pieces that refuse to look at the immoral depravity that Marxism has been in real reality instead of stinking pubic relations bull shit, I'm glad to be shut of that left before I die.   

The secular left has done nothing to protect us from Trump, it has skidded the ways for him, either knowingly and duplicitously or unknowingly and stupidly.   The secular left's hero Bernie Sanders and his man, Jeff Weaver, this week, has made his role in giving us Trump newly relevant as, to my horror, I read that he's seriously thinking of pulling the Nader act in 2020.   I had been willing to believe Sanders saw the folly of what he did, I had hoped that much of him, but I've come to conclude that when you look at the effect of the secular left from the late 19th century till today, you can take your pick, both Nader 2000 and Sanders 2018 are a microcosm of what it will always bring you.   Materialism cannot produce what the real, traditional American liberalism of egalitarian democracy, economic equality and equally held moral obligations to produce a decent life because those are to be found nowhere in materialism or science or a Constitution set up by people like Madison, Hamilton, Jay and Jefferson.  

Friday, February 23, 2018

Aaron Copland - Piano Sonata

Samantha Angstman,  piano

This impressive performance was from when she was a student at the New England Conservatory.  It's among the best I've heard.

The Blessings Of Liberty - The Curses of Libertarianism

The preamble of the Constitution I've been writing about, like all quasi-religious writing, can be twisted to produce terrible results.   In re-reading what I wrote about it as a breached contract, knowing how the mind of such people work, I could imagine the last of those items promised,  that the following provisions would "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity," would be the mousehole through which the Republican-fascist elephant would be squeezed with the language of professional "rights" flacks.  

I think it's one of the defects of the Constitution that it is written in minor 18th century doggerel which can be twisted to produce the worst results,  results like the Dred Scott, the "separate but equal" Buck v Bell, Sullivan, Buckey v Valeo and a whole host of other judicial attacks on equality and democracy and even a person's right to their own body and the granting of unequal rights of speech to billionaires by Supreme Court fiat.   The thing isn't merely open to abuse, it invites abuse. 

When I look at such documents as Deuteronomy, especially the famous "Blessings and Curses" chapter, 28, its warnings about the consequences of evil living, how small evils have a way of multiplying and generating more evil and before you know it everything goes to hell, it is far more realistic than the absurd 18th century meliorism that you sense the Founders sucked in with that "Enlightenment" content mixed with what is now known to be a very misleading and flawed reading of the history of Rome then current.   Of course, they wanted to keep the evil of slavery so they wanted to make room for that institution for themselves and their slave-owning posterity, while pretending to be all about everyone being created equal. Their Northern allies, like Hamilton, had a similar, superseding, agenda of opportunism.   That's bound to snowball in pretty much the way it has.   Anyone who thinks that the Trumpian-fascism, the razor blade we are all sitting on, isn't an extension of that sin didn't notice his harnessing of racism to win with the racist vote on behalf of the billionaire boys club.  

For us, I'd say that the first problem is to distinguish between the blessings of liberty from the curses of libertarianism, because that is what this is.   It wasn't long after first reading a lot of lefties online that I realized a lot of them were not really liberals, that lots of them were libertarians whose goals were bound to defeat a real American liberal agenda of equality, economic justice and the common good.   I think I realized that the morning I read of of the, at the time,  big "liberal" bloggers was dead set against anything like the Fairness Doctrine because it offended his great-big free-speechiness.  It made me realize how much of his other stuff was really libertarian and not liberal.   And I also realized that those people, generally white, generally affluent or at least comfortable and contented, were often huge snobs who cost liberals a lot more voters than they would ever convince to come out.   And, as in his case, their attention drifts and they start the slide into apathy if not Republicanism. 

The distortion of those rights most important to the entertainment of the leisure class and the media profits into something that swamps everything else, even, as we see in the attacks on the survivors of gun massacres, the right of grieving and injured people to not be turned into the focus of attacks and lies as the attacks are called down by FOX and Alex Jones to their armies of trained attack baboons, is something that real liberalism has to recognize as poisonous to any real and sustainable egalitarian liberalism that promotes the real goals, a decent life for everyone and the blessings of decency and morality.   The civil libertarians will come to the aid of FOX and Alex Jones, they'll tell their victims to just suck it up because their lives aren't as important.  

American liberalism, founded on the rock of equal justice, economic justice,  is not compatible with libertarianism, libertarianism is very compatible with fascism, as we are seeing before our very eyes.  It is a curse.   Those 60s liberals, they weren't all liberals.   Nat Hentoff was very happy to end his days working at the Cato propaganda cess pool. 

We Are Reaping What The Civil Libertarians Sowed

As others have been pointing out, Donald Trump's TV spectacle where he exposed his daddy issues fantasies about retired marine-school teachers' six-shooter, clean-kill take downs of school shooters armed with AR-15s proves that his entire understanding of such things comes from shit TV shows and shit Hollywood movies.  Clint Eastwood was mentioned more than once in what I read and heard about it.   We have a president of the United States who effectively only knows what he sees on TV and so we have, in effect, a voluntary mental-defective as Chief Executive with all the horrific reality that that entails. 

I think this is the secret of his success with the stubbornly reality resistant third of the country that supports him, that, being a fellow "Mike Teevee" they inhabit the same non-reality that was warned about in Gene Wilder's best movie without Zero Mostel.   Our country is ruled by a man who doesn't know what an Ooompa Loompa knows because he was watching Dirty Harry and High Plains Drifter.

So, do you know now that all those lines about the innocuousness of the content of entertainment TV and movies that "civil libertarians" the "free speech - free press" shills were pushing from the early 60s till today (as they were being paid by the media to say it) was a huge lie?   That is what got us here, what people got as their minds were formed more by TV and movies than they were by the schools in the few hours they used to have or the even fewer hours that the churches had to try to inform the thinking and influence the moral character of people? 

Two years ago Mother Jones had an extremely good and important expose of the men behind the gun industry that has turned American schools into killing fields by putting their servants into office and onto courts - not without the help of the same "civil libertarians" etc. who sold that big lie mentioned above.  It is terrifying and important reading which I'll probably reference in the future.  But I want you to look at an older piece referenced in it because it is about that has taught Donald Trump and his supporters what to think on this topic.  6 Guns That Got a Barrage of Free PR From Hollywood  From Dirty Harry’s monster revolver to Borat’s golden gun.  I wonder if we do know if the PR was free of if there were payments for product placement or some buddy deal with Clint or someone else.  You might notice that at least one of the companies expressed gratitude to Hollywood for greatly increasing sales.  Since a number of these weapons have been used to murder people, it's clear we can credit Hollywood along with the gun manufacturers and sellers for doing their part to kill our children, as well as the lawyers and judges who have done so much to thwart Congress and state legislatures and local governments attempts - back before TV and hate talk radio put the servants of the gun industry in the seats servants of The People used to hold.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Donald Trump Jr.'s Bollywood Debut: 'The Dance Of The Greasy Son'

Rule For Living Longer

When you've got a really bad cough, don't watch the Desus and Mero Youtube channel because you might laugh so hard you'll risk suffocating. 

Hate Mail - There Is No Moral Or Rational Reason For People To Agree To Keep A Constitution That Kills Their Children

Anyone who is against an assault rifle ban is announcing themselves in favor of what we've seen them do, murder children from kindergarten to high school, even younger and in the college years.  In the United States, today, that means the Republican Party in reality is in favor of keeping things as they are as children are being murdered in public schools, they have put all of our children at risk to profit the gun industry, it's front groups like the NRA, favoring those over the lives of our children even as their position is getting them killed. 

If the Second amendment requires that there is no reason to retain the Second amendment as distorted by recent courts or, if they choose to pretend, as imagined by a bunch of 18th century aristocrats who had no idea of an automatic weapon. The preamble to the constitution makes promises, a guarantee of what it will do that reason demands must rule all of what comes after,

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

That's a contractual obligation, the Constitution guarantees those things, if it doesn't deliver those, including  domestic Tranquility, the common defense and general Welfare of our Posterity, it is a defaulted and voided contract.  

It's clear that Republicans, legislative, executive and, especially, on the Supreme Court have delegitimized the Constitution because  they don't want to secure those things for our Posterity, they want fascists and fascist-inspired crackpots to have the weapon they use to kill our Posterity in their schools.  They don't because they get campaign money and other kickbacks from the gun industry and their supporters.  The Roberts Court, other justices and judges who have defeated past legislative efforts to ban access to assault weapons have the blood of those children on them.  They should be made to smell the satanic stink of it whenever they are mentioned.  So do the Republican politicians and others who have done the same. 

Any assertion about the Second amendment that leads to that is a breach of contract and nullifies the whole thing if it is allowed to stand.   The continued slaughter of school children in the schools they should be safe in mandates that we reject such a Constitution and refuse to abide by it.  If that breaks the United States apart, it's less evil than maintaining a country which allows this because the Founders couldn't anticipate such corrupt people as rule the country and control the media, today.  

That Cow Might Not Be Golden But It Does Talk, It's Always More Complex Than The Common Wisdom Has It

The truly great Charles Pierce wrote a somewhat nicer obit for Billy Graham than mine. My excuse might be because before I wrote what I did, on the advice of my irreligious brother, I did some web searching about the Billy Graham Library which I'd always ignored.  What I saw didn't do anything to sweeten my mood.  About which more in a minute.

Charles Pierce goes through a bit of the dodgy information about Graham, his accepting the sponsorship of the hardly Christian livin' William Randolph Hurst, his closeness to the former most criminal President in our history,  Richard Nixon, the Jew-baiting he engaged in with Nixon caught on Oval Office tapes, etc.   I agree with Pierce that the political effects of Billy Graham's efforts to increase the power of his brand of evangelicalism has born some pretty evil fruit over the past 40 years, though he doesn't name them, the Graham style of revivalist floor show has gone total TV and has given rise to a bunch of the most putrid hallelujah hucksters whose evil is blatant.   His son, the racist, Muslim hating, gay-baiting Franklin Graham, the inheritor of the Billy Graham brand is one of them. 

Which leads me to believe that Billy Graham wasn't especially effective in getting people who he could get to praise the Lord to do the far more challenging thing of following the Lord.  His own son and heir to his kingdom is clearly farther from the Gospel of Jesus than he was. 


I disagree with one of the things in the piece, a quote from the NYT that Pierce agrees with:

"A central achievement was his encouraging evangelical Protestants to regain the social influence they had once wielded, reversing a retreat from public life that had begun when their efforts to challenge evolution theory were defeated in the Scopes trial in 1925."

That's not how it went, one of the effects of the Scopes trial was the suppression of content about evolution in high school biology classes for about the next thirty-five years.  As Richard Lewontin put it, what happened was more complex than that conventional wisdom has it.  Talking about the revival of creationist pressure, he pointed out:

This sense of an embattled culture was carried from the southwest to California by the migrations of the Okies and Arkies dispossessed from their ruined farms in the 1930s. There was no serious public threat to their religious and family values until well after the Second World War. Evolution, for example, was not part of the regular biology curriculum when I was a student in 1946 in the New York City high schools, nor was it discussed in school textbooks. In consequence there was no organized creationist movement. Then, in the late 1950s, a national project was begun to bring school science curricula up to date. A group of biologists from elite universities together with science teachers from urban schools produced a new uniform set of biology textbooks, whose publication and dissemination were underwritten by the National Science Foundation. An extensive and successful public relations campaign was undertaken to have these books adopted, and suddenly Darwinian evolution was being taught to children everywhere. The elite culture was now extending its domination by attacking the control that families had maintained over the ideological formation of their children.

Considering that the accounts of revolution in textbooks such as commonly used before the Scopes Trial, including the Civic Biology, which Scopes was accused of teaching from*, incorporated vicious scientific racism and eugenics, I'm not sure that it being suppressed until, in horror at the Nazi application of natural selection, that aspect of entirely conventional evolutionary thought was suppressed wasn't a good thing.   I think what Lewontin points out probably has at least as much to do with the right-wing organization of Southern and other evangelical voters, when you mix in things like the ban on praying and Bible reading, and the enforced secularization of formerly non-secularlized local government activities has more to do with it than the Scopes trial did. 

It is an interesting manifestation of history that both the political militancy of fundamentalist creationism and the resurgence of Darwinian fundamentalism in biology and associated academic departments happened at just about the same time.  I think you could probably chart that pretty accurately from the mid-1970s, and I don't think they're oppositional except in that one thing.

I've often found it incredibly ironic that many of the politicians who were the strongest racists, the strongest proponents of putting fundamentalist religion in biology classes, while they opposed what they called "Darwinism" were some of the most radical of Darwinists when it came to social policy, adopting some of the harshest of passive eugenic proposals (and at times some active ones) that were an explicit part of Darwinism from the start.   You only have a problem with that if you refuse to accept that such people have no integrity, no problem with saying contradictory things and, essentially the same ethical standards as an atheist moral nihilist.  That's why such "evangelical" Christians can vote for and support Donald Trump.   And such hypocrites can be found in the conservative members of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, the putrid Cardinal Raymond Burke, the enemy of Pope Francis is something of a leader of such people,  the popular media priest, Robert Barron, another.   

All of that common received wisdom, as seen in the NYT, it's ahistorical and uselessly simplistic.  And it will generally be constructed to serve the ideological narratives of an elite who aren't really interested in the truth, regional and class issues will dominate them.   Especially when it's religion, it's never as simple and easy to categorize as will fit into a neat little narrative.


As I mentioned, I looked into the Billy Graham Library, something I'd never looked into before and can only say that it looks like it has entirely more to do with a cult of Billy Graham than it does about the Gospel or even Jesus.  As my brother pointed out, from the talking cow at the front entrance to the end of it, it's pretty much a commercial mall devoted to Graham memorabilia and a cult of his personality.  I wondered if they had a currency exchange for tourists, which would complete the a-Christian vibe I got from looking over their promotional material online.   Since I devoted a good part of the last two months to criticizing the Museum of the Bible I can't just ignore an even more blatant monstrosity masquerading as a center of the Gospel of Jesus.

Ask yourself if you can imagine any of the named followers of Jesus, in his name, erecting an edifice of the kind that the Billy Graham industry is.  When the closest of the Apostles of Jesus gave their blessing to Paul's arduous and dangerous missionary work their paramount instruction to him was "remember the poor" which he did.  I can't imagine anyone who heard Jesus teaching would do anything like that.  When Jesus gave his instruction to how they were supposed to do their missionary work, he told them not to carry money, not to wear shoes, to have only one set of clothes, to live on the charity of those they preached to, to not move in with someone who offered a nicer place to crash, to eat what they were given and to heal the sick.  I don't imagine Billy and Franklin go on a "crusade" without a change of suits or depending on maybe getting someone to invite them home.

There are plenty of Christians, many of them evangelicals who never would have anything to do with something like the Graham family industry.   For the record,  I think the Vatican complex is a similar thing.  If the Catholic church turned the entire thing into a world cultural center and moved the central governing apparatus of the Church into modest offices in some monastic setting, it would probably be the greatest advance in the spiritual life of the church in modern history.  I doubt it will happen, it's hard to get free of the trap of ownership and property that Jesus advocated.  If Pope Francis tried to do it,  Raymond Burke would probably go ballistic.  It was THE THING which started the Protestant Reformation, that some of the traditionally most anti-Catholic of Protestants (Graham opposed Kennedy because he was Catholic) created for themselves something of the same thing is worth mentioning. 

The word "evangelical" is used as cultural shorthand by a lot of people who don't really know just how different the beliefs that come from it can be.   There are liberal evangelicals who would have nothing much in common with the "evangelical" movement that most people mean when they use the term.  There are a lot of evangelicals who voted for Hillary Clinton.  There are evangelical Christians who believe in evolution, some who even believe in natural selection, there are evangelical Christians who aren't racists, many of them are members of racial and ethnic groups that the media "evangelicals" hate.  There are LGBT evangelicals who favor marriage equality.   There are liberal evangelicals who do try to do what Jesus said to do in every way.  But those aren't the ones that the NYT generally talk about because they don't gratify the preferred categories of the people who own it and work for it and their general run of readers.  I wonder what the evangelical readers of the NYT think about that. 

*  As I've written before, Scopes never did do the teaching he was convicted of in the Chamber of Commerce publicity stunt he greed to participate in.  The whole thing was a sham instigated by the ACLU in a stunt that didn't turn out the way they'd planned.   Though it might have gone better if they hadn't had the bad luck of having Clarence Darrow get involved and taking over the trial.  For fans of irony and students of the cinematic falsification of history, that's one of the richest examples. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

New - Old Same - Old - Old - Old . . .

It's my sad responsibility to warn you that the Douglas Adams industry is generating yet another of the unlimited iterations of  the very limited Hitchhiker's Guide, this one with the participation of Stephen Hawking.  Which is being sold as ultra-kew-el and groovy.   And, of course, sciency. 

I know it was years before I began blogging,  in my earliest months of being online,  I was amazed to find that among the sophisticate, nothing sacred,  in-crowd,  kewel-kids in blog commentary it was considered sacrilegious to make fun of Adams and his one-trick pony  and the repeated cloning of it,  the guarantees of deterioration that brings.   As I said at the time I liked the original radio series well enough (though I never thought it was great, it was merely entertaining) and kind of liked the original TV series (though not as much as the original, original) and that I'd looked at the novelization but found it boring.   Really, Douglas Adams wasn't that good a writer and his limited range of thought was quickly exhausted well before he died and his heirs hired other writers to create more money making opportunities off of that already exhausted brand.   

Once the impious, nothing-sacred kew-el kids let me know that dissing Adams got their knickers in a knot it certainly didn't do anything to discourage me from doing it.   One did bring up that he wrote for Dr. Who during the period when Tom Baker was The Doctor, but I really don't need remakes of that, either.  It was certainly never more than entertaining.  

The piece in Radio Today that notified me of this claims:

David Morley, producer of the new series of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, says: “When we were thinking of cameos for the new series I suddenly thought of Professor Stephen Hawking. Douglas Adams’ work is admired by many of the world’s top scientists because of its innovative and hilarious twisting of the real universe, so I took a punt and asked the Professor if he’d like to actually play a role in the new series.

which leads me to think if that's the case, many of the world's top scientists don't really ever grow up.  You have to wonder if they read any serious literature, as so many American college grads appear not to.  I'd also wonder how much actual science is really contained in it because other than a word thrown around here and there I don't remember it.   That is unless they mean the Brit style nihilistic cynicism about the ultimate meaninglessness materialism mandates, which has more in common with sports team fandom and peer-group conformity than science.    

I suspect that Hawking, ever eager for renewed attention, would have done it no matter what.  I read he was on a number of really dumb TV  shows like The Big Bang.   I found out there's some kind of,, perhaps, investment scam that's being peddled online right now that claims he predicts that it will make you jillions of dollars.   They mention that he's the official, world's greatest genius so it must be true. 

*  When my niece showed me that David Tennant was then playing the Doctor, I almost went back because I like Tennant so much but I couldn't help but feeling I was wasting my time.  I didn't find the stories interesting. 

I'm Asked About Billy Graham

I think that what Jesus said was true, so I imagine Billy Graham is going to have to wait for all of the tax collectors and prostitutes and a whole host of others before he has any chance to get into heaven. 

Or, that he's going to join his fellow rich man in a far more uncomfortable waiting room.   Maybe Billy Graham didn't really believe Jesus meant it when he told the story of Lazarus and the rich man.  He doesn't seem to have really believed that part of it. 

He was a snake-oil fraudster whose show biz "Christianity" did more to bring discredit to Christianity than to promote the Gospel, the Law, the Prophets.   I never believed he believed what he was saying, though he, like that Hollywood hunky Moses*, Charlton Heston, might have started believing in his own act.  But it didn't have anything to do with the Gospel.  He'd have given all of those millions away instead of becoming disgustingly rich and spawning a dynastic and irreligious con of the same kind if he really believed what Jesus said. 

*  The Ten Commandments has to count as one of the most irreligious movies ever made.  In the Bible Moses was 80 years old when he confronted Pharaoh and 120 when he died.   Hollywood almost never gets religion right, and only then when they tangentially touch on it.  Considering what Graham's act consisted of, bringing that up is totally relevant. 

Update:  I have never, ever subscribed to the absurd rule that when someone, as we all will, dies, that mandates you tell lies about them.   When someone pulled that on me when Reagan died, my answer was that with the tens of thousands he'd murdered in his terror campaigns in Central America, he needed the forgiveness of those people and their survivors, that I had no right to forgive him for wrongs he'd done to them.  And that I wasn't going to lie about it.   I'm also not going to lie now, saying things about Graham today that I'd have said about him while he was still breathing. 

The Constitution Is A Breached Contract A Mechanism For Murdering Our Children

I don't apologize for what I said about the Constitution being degenerate, especially as it is interpreted by courts which have created things like corporate personhood, the right for the media to lie and bear false witness, deceiving tens of millions, the creation of money-speech and a myriad of other corruptions. 

There should be a lot more attention paid to the opening contract in the Constitution, one part which hasn't changed since the thing was written, a promise of what the rest of it was supposed to deliver on.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Anything that follows that doesn't do that, such as the slavery-enabling passages, was an immediate breach of that contractual obligation, one that led, in time, to one of the worst wars in modern history and which didn't, actually, end much but de jure slavery as de facto slavery and apartheid was delivered by the corrupt deal with which Rutherford Hayes made to secure the presidency, a product of the Electoral College system which imposed both Trump and George W. Bush on We the People.  The infamous Dred Scott decision was just the regularization of the breach of contract by asserting that Black People were never covered under it. 

The rulings of the Supreme Court which has allowed the situation described in my earlier post is as blatant a breach of the contract contained in the preamble to the Constitution, it has guaranteed domestic chaos and mass murder, has failed to defend us, has shattered the common welfare or any kind of blessings.  It hasn't only made insecure any blessings for our posterity IT HAS TURNED THE CONSTITUTION INTO A MECHANISM FOR MURDERING OUR CHILDREN.

The First Amendment Gave Us Government Of By and For The Gun Industry The ACLU Argued For That Interpretation

There may be nothing that so obviously proves the degeneracy of the American Constitution as interpreted by recent courts at the behest of a range of lawyers from obvious corporate whores and shills who work for the gun industry and its front groups and the more inexplicably complicit lawyers like the ACLU than the total failure of the Congress, state legislatures and courts to protect Americans from the tsunami of gun violence that kills more Americans than wars have. 

That the Florida legislature killed a bill to ban assault weapons, of the kind that only most recently murdered and maimed and terrorized a Florida high school proves that the First Amendment rulings that have allowed lying a free hand in the media, that makes millionaires and billionaires have more speech than even tens of millions of Americans and which allows, not only domestic but foreign money interests to sway American elections has made the American political and legal system a tool of even the de facto Murder inc. of the NRA as it promotes the murder of Americans, even as it funded the gun training of the asshole who murdered the students and teachers in that one of many schools attacked with ASSAULT WEAPONS. 

I am as critical of the self-styled civil liberties industry as I am the willing white-collar servants of the gun industry because they largely provided the basis which the rest have used to further the corruption of American politics.  I think that was done because the fundamental ideology of many, perhaps most of the bright lights of those groups, the ACLU foremost among them, is essentially amoral.    Anyone who, in 1964, didn't know that allowing the commercial media in the United States, the media that Newton Minnow warned about in such dire terms three years earlier, was bound to turn it into a tool of the rich and the anti-democratic, the sleaziest of gangster-businessmen-lawyers -etc. would have been too stupid to make the arguments that were made at the time.  I think they did it because they didn't and never did believe in anything better. 

I know some people have been confused and upset when I've written about this in the past because it violates the most sacralized items of secular-pseudo-liberal piety, it certainly is against the self-interest of the media and those who work in it.   I have come to realize that even some of those in the ever diminishing roles of journalists and reporters I still have some respect for either are unwilling to admit to the self-interest that the "liberal" media has in never changing the law to make lying by the media punishable by civil action or who know that they would be black-balled by the majority of the media that enjoys their and their companies ability to lie with impunity.   But that is where this all starts, it starts by a big mouth on radio or TV blathering a string of lies about a liberal politician, about the Second Amendment, or in favor of a whore of oligarchy and them swaying votes on the basis of their entertaining ranting.   Newton Minnow could probably not have imagined the degeneracy of the American media today in the wake of the ACLU's success in deforming the First Amendment.   They don't really need to go through the motions anymore because the depraved membership of the Roberts court, as the Rehnquist court before will issue such oligarch-gun-industry favoring First Amendment interpretations without bothering to look at the rotely generated briefs from that fraudulent public-interest group. 

That is what happens when the law is allowed to pretend that it is not a serious sin to lie, to bear false witness.  The reason the Florida legislature, not a week after the slaughter of school children refuse to listen to them, to their parents, to their teachers, to the millions who want protection from assault weapons for their children because they know the media will lie them back into office because money has power granted it by the Supreme Court along with the protection from lying. 

If I were in a real jam, legally, and the ACLU offered to come to my help,  I'd turn them down because I wouldn't want to be part of their cover-up operation of their real agenda.   Their real success is on display whenever school children get killed and the government won't protect them.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Sick Tuesday Radio Drama - Don Webb - RIGHT PLACE WRONG TIME

Crime Drama - Alan Morgan is a hot shot salesman, but always short of cash. He has just secured a new job, which could make him a fortune, if he can pull it off.

There is also a murderous criminal on the lose, who robs his victims and is not afraid to shoot them. The problem? Alan looks exactly like the wanted man - and the Police want to know where he was when the crimes were committed.

Alan ...... Shaun Dooley
Perkins ...... Greg Wood
Cheshire ...... James Quinn
Jill ...... Fiona Clarke
Berry ...... Roger Morlidge
Margaret ...... Ruth Alexander-Rubin

Still Sick

If you get this virus, bless you.   I haven't been this sick since the last time I was this sick. 

Oh, yeah.  How come every video that says "healing music" turns out to have annoying music?    

To hell with David Brooks and the New York Times whore house that publishes him.    The NYT is obviously shifting in a hard right direction.  If, by some miracle, Democrats got the Congress and started a real investigation into the Trump treason and other crimes the NYT would be calling for a halt to it.  

The Sulzberger family and their rag is disgusting. 

Atheists Say The Dumbest Things

That's an example of a faulty analogy,  in order for it to work there would have to be some strongly held ideological position against stamp collecting based in belief, as atheism is against theism.   Show me one.

That was the point of what I said.  See the Bertrand Russell quote in the side bar. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Miriam Gideon - Of Shadows Numberless

Jeremy Siskind, piano

Miriam Gideon is one of the most underrated composers of the 20th century.

Allegretto: magic casements opening on seas of perilous foam
Animato: the blushful Hippocrene
Ritornelle: magic casements opening
Presto: The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves
Tranquillamente: White hawthorn and the pastoral eglantine
Moderato: Adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades past the near meadows

Jeremy Siskind, piano
Live at Spectrum NYC (May 26, 2016)

Miriam Gideon’s Of Shadows Numberless takes its title from a phrase in John Keats’ poem, Ode to a Nightingale, and each of its six movements, likewise, draws inspiration from a phrase in Keats’ work. 

Ode To A Nightingale

Sicker And Sicker

I'll post something tomorrow, if the fever doesn't come back.   I've been covered with blankets a wool hat and two large cats all day.   One the fabled and enormous Maine coon cat, the other her daughter.  If that doesn't bake it out of me nothing will.   

An Epigram Of Martial


You imagine yourself Caecilius, a man of wit. You are no such thing, believe me. What then? A low buffoon; such a thing as wanders about in the quarters beyond the Tiber, and barters pale-coloured sulphur matches for broken glass; such a one as sells boiled peas and beans to the idle crowd; such as a lord and keeper of snakes; or as a common servant of the salt-meat-sellers; or a hoarse-voiced cook who carries round smoking sausages in steaming shops; or the worst of street poets; or a blackguard slave-dealer from Gades;1 or a chattering old debauchee. Cease at length, therefore, to imagine yourself that which is imagined by you alone, Caecilius, you who could have silenced Gabba, and even Testius Caballus, with your jokes. It is not given to every one to have taste; he who jests with a stupid effrontery is not a Testius, but a Caballus.3

1 See Juvenal xi. 163, and Mayor's note.
3 A play on the word Caballus, which, as an appellative noun, meant a hack-horse.

If No One Said It Before, They Should Have

Following fashion and what's kewel is a voluntary form of mental disability.  Modernism is that turned into an ideology.  So is conservatism, which isn't that far removed from it. 

Update:  He did. 

Hold you content. What, man! I know them, yea, 
And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple,— 
Scrambling, out-facing, fashion-monging boys, 
That lie and cog and flout, deprave and slander, 
Go anticly, show outward hideousness, 
And speak off half a dozen dangerous words, 
How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst; 
And this is all.

Antonio:  Much Ado About Nothing. V, 1

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Things Atheists Don't Understand #23

Ridicule isn't the same thing as refutation.  

Irrelevancy isn't engagement. 

Tony Kushner and Jeremy McCarter: Radical Stories

Here's an interesting dialogue with a few questions answered at the end.  I think Tony Kushner is the kind of radical who is more radical for understanding that there's nothing more radical than the possible at any given point.   I'm sure we'd disagree on some things, I'm entirely disenchanted with Marxists and think it was always an obviously catastrophic. anti-democratic horror due to its materialism.   But I don't know, you really can't pin him down as some have.   There's always more to his thinking than the bullet points version of ersatz intellectualism can encompass. 

What he said last December is still remarkably up to date, though what he said about #MeToo already, sadly, seems dated.  I don't know if that could be related to what he said about the mistake of Bernie Sanders to run for president but it feels like it might be.

You've got to do something to take your mind off of being sick. 

Pseudo-Science In The News

The CBC radio science program Quirks and Quarks from yesterday had an interesting piece about termite hunting ants in southern Africa and how when their soldier ants are wounded in battle, if they aren't too badly injured they send out a distress call, in the form of pheromones that brings other ants to their aid, carrying them back to the nest for treatment of their wounds.  Here's the entire piece describing what was said.

The battle

Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, termite-hunting ants battle termites up to five times per day. The ants kill the termites and return them to their nest to be eaten later. Termite soldiers kill and wound many of the invading ants. So the ants have a multifaceted system that deals with injured individuals.  It begins with an injured ant sending a pheromone call for help. This is a chemical secretion - similar to a scent - that other ants can detect.       

Ant triage

Dr. Erik Frank, who is currently at the University of Lausanne but researched these ants at the University of Wurzburg in Germany, found that there are three facets to the system of care that these ants employ.  It is similar to triage.  First, an ant that has lost a limb in battle is carried back to the nest where another ant administers cleansing of the wound and some form of 'medication' using its mouth parts.  Second, ants that are heavily injured in battle do not attempt to send the pheromone call for help.  And third, ants that are lightly injured were observed 'acting' more injured than they really are in the name of providing incentive for others to pick them up and return them to the safety of the nest.     

The purpose

Termite-hunting ants live in colonies of one to two-thousand ants, which is relatively small.  They also have a very low birth-rate, so it is important for the colony that as many individuals survive as possible. The injured ants learn to run on fewer limbs so they can return to battle termites again.  Even though this behaviour is similar to human medical care, in this ant species it has nothing to do with empathy or cognition; social wound treatment in termite-hunting ants is derived from evolutionary selection

Of course it was that last series of claims that jumped out at me, both in listening and in what was printed.   The first question is how in the world would they know what is being described "has nothing to do with empathy or cognition" and how do they know it is derived from "evolutionary selection" by which is meant, of course natural selection.

There is certainly no way for any scientist to know how ants see or experience their lives and behavior, everything that human beings can conclude about that isn't from the ants, it's a human explanation of what they're looking at.  Someone being indoctrinated in mainstream biology doesn't remove some kind of veil to direct understanding of that, it imposes a bias as to what is being seen.  There isn't any way to remove such biases, if it were not that of conventional neo-Darwinism, it would be whatever other set of conventions that are there in its place.   So the attribution of non-empathy is an ideological claim, not a scientific one.  The scientific claim would be that there is no way for a human being to discern such a thing.  It's hard to impossible to discern such things within human beings.  The attempts of the pseudo-sciences to define and classify human thoughts and emotions is fraught with all kinds of problems, to think you could begin to discern the experience of an ant is ridiculous.

Even more absurd is the claim that what the ants are doing has nothing to do with cognition.  The claims of the scientist, themselves, refute that.  If the behavior of the ants is a product of their perceptions of the pheromone signals, they would have to be conscious of perceiving those, their decision to take the complex actions he describes, appropriate to the circumstances, producing a beneficial result for the individuals and the colony obviously are explained in human terms only by the consciousness of the individuals involved based on their perceptions of circumstances.  That is especially obvious in his claim that individuals which are too seriously injured to be savable don't send out the signal and in "lightly injured" individuals sending out the signal to be helped

You have to wonder how this research was carried out, how accurately and adequately described the actual facts are, how much of what was seen by the researcher(s) might have been discounted and how many events which would not fit into their hypothesis were thrown out as "outliers" or "anomalous".   I don't have answers to these last questions but they're something you need to know before you can judge even "science" done about human behavior, nevermind animal behavior in which the individuals tested can't testify as to their own perceptions and experiences.   I have to wonder if they ever even take these things into account or if science reporters ever think to ask such questions.

The conclusion of the researchers aren't a matter of anything rigorous enough to deserve the name "science" it is a ideological assertion based on a perception of events presented in a specific ideological framing.  That's always the case when such sciency assertions are made about behavior which is too complex to really be subjected to the methods of science.  Of that I am very certain, far more certain than the claims made about ant behavior and, especially, ant consciousness.

I like Quirks and Quarks but this stuff is bull shit.


Also of interest is this lecture that Ros Barber did about the pseudo-scientific character of "stylometrics," as a means of determining authorship of literary pieces.   It's a complex topic, mostly made complex by the wildly ridiculous and varied claims, the totally wacky series of "methodologies" that the would-be "stylometricians" use to, as she and I suspect, get the results they want to get.  Her point alone that the methodology, first developed to make claims about the frequency of letter pairs in English was irrationally extended to words (without any demonstration that it was meaningful) and that even the "experts" in the practice claim that you need samples of at least 5,000 words to determine anything of any validity.   In short, the literary works are generally too short (scenes, acts, even entire plays or poems) to even begin to make claims about it.   You might want to consider that the next time you come across the claims about authorship from the "science of stylometrics."