Saturday, February 27, 2010

A sisters gift....

When I was 8 years old, my sister let me play all of her records. It was really my first chance at playing music, especially HER music. Having the power over what I got to listen to! It was great! It seems so outlandishly primitive now, but you would put a vinyl record on a rotating turntable, place the tonearm on the spinning disc, and if the vinyl record wasn't too scratched up, music would play!

I played all sorts of records. She had quite a collection. Several groups from MoTown like the Supremes, Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gay. She had Steppenwolf, The Doors.Iron Butterfly. EVERTHING! I would listen for hours everyday, over and over again.

But eventually what I loved most would be classified as Hippie music or even maybe "long haired" music like Jefferson Airplane, WoodStock, Country Joe and the Fish, Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Beatles, and Bob Dylan.

Everybody seemed to be singing in protest of the Vietnam war and singing about love and peace. To me, it eventually transcended from just protesting the war to more of a marching call to creating a better world. If only people would make love not war. Reject this society that has created tools to destroy the world and people with the desire to do it. Who knows, maybe people just got tired of being scared of nuclear destruction.

The Merry Pranksters went on their Magic Bus and Timothy Leary was telling everybody to "Tune in, Turn on, and Drop Out". It seemed to peak around 1967 to 1969 with the "Summer of Love" and WoodStock. I followed all that stuff... always after it happened. My sister would talk and talk about current events, the war, all that was happening. I absorbed it like a sponge even though I think I was around 10 or 11 years old at the time.

Things always took a couple of years to reach Oklahoma. I say that not in a 6:00 o'clock news sort of way, as that was just an instant information thing. No, it was more like the general feel of things brought on by the music and the counterculture stuff. By this time, my sister had a Peace Sign hanging from the mirror, beads everywhere, and long straight hippie chick hair.

People were wanting to start a new society with, I guess, some sort of group love energy. Reject all of the current ideas and materialistic things. Just get it together!  I know that it really sounds stupid and naive when you try to explain it, And the fact of the matter is, it was stupid and naive.

By the time I was about 13, I probably was ready to run away to a commune. What a laugh!  I was just a little child!

Along with the stupid ideas, there WAS a sense of hope. Hope and a belief in the common goodness of humanity. Funny, but people actually thought that if only these could be brought together in a group, something new could be created. A new age of society! Everybody would tolerate each others differences and work on a common future where each participant is looked as being equal. Basic human needs, like hunger and health, were taken care of. Seems like some pretty radical "really out there" thoughts, huh?

My point being is that no matter how old I get, I never want to loose that naive optimism. I never want to become so cynical that I feel that it is pointless. I never want to believe that basic human nature will continue to always produce a never ending cycle of have and have nots. Never convince myself that it is right for the same country to have billionaires on one hand and on the other, poor families with starving or sick children. Be complacent when 8 figure bonuses are given to some people, while pink slips are given to others. Be silent while others are treated wrongly by the same people that are suppose to protect them.

That silly naive optimism was the greatest gift my sister gave me. The same will be the greatest I can give my children! Thank you, Karen.

Friday, February 19, 2010

New fish discovered in depths of slime pool.

 A completely new species of fish, called Roublard Le' Carpe, has been extensively studied for several months, revealing several never before seen patterns of co-existence thru the use of confusion and fear.

French scientist, Pierre LaFromage, who has made it his life passion to study the the feeding patterns of this strange fish, submitted several scientific articles describing in remarkable detail the curious habits of this creature nicknamed the "Cheney Fish".

Before an assembly of his scientific peers, Pierre discussed his insights to the bizarre creature during an interview with an American biologist, Herman Mandrake.

"Upon discovering a minnow school, the Cheney will use other larger fish, "Teabaggius Extremis" , to actually capture its prey. The Cheney only feeds on the remainder bits and pieces that are too small for the larger fish to bother with. The role that the Cheney assumes is to create fear and chaos in large schools of minnows, steering them into the larger group of fish that have learned to work together with the Cheney to create a collaboration of feeding. The minnows, with the brains the size of a small bb, allow themselves to be steered into the larger fish, not realizing they are running away from the Cheney because of distorted perception of terror that the Cheney creates by rapidly flapping its lips and nose in a rhythmic pattern."

"It tis a remarkable masterpiece of fish poetry" said Pierre,worthy of high praise. Like a Chateau de Pibarnon compliments a Chicken Velouté."

"So you have studied this fish for several months in its own natural habitat. Are you to continue with this research, producing more facts about this fish that quite frankly I think looks like a blob of crisco with a nose?" asked Herman

"Mind your own business, American PigDog!" Pierre replied. "I am thru talking to you and your silly court of jesters!"

"I hope that I didn't offend you with my off-handed description of  this fish. If I did, I apologize." exclaimed Herman

"Chantez à l'âne, il vous fera des pets" Pierre replied as he walked off the stage. "It is possible that you will get several more years if you are not careful!"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lunatic Fringe

In a recent poll, conducted by Daily Kos, 2003 self-identified Republicans were asked various questions to gauge their attitudes about current political issues, and particularly their opinions about President Obama.  

When asked whether President Obama should be impeached, 39% said yes and 29% were not sure.  Never mind that as grounds for impeachment the President must be guilty of breaking the law.  No evidence exists to support impeachment; they just feel like he should be. President Obama is, after all, black and Democrat, which is evidence enough of skulduggery and treason in the cynical hearts of that 39%. 

When asked whether Obama was born in the United States or not, 36% of polled Republicans said he was not--22%, not sure.  That points to a significant percentage  unwilling to acknowledge the legitimacy of Obama's presidency.  It gives them a basis on which to declare, he's not my president, notwithstanding the discredited fiction of the initial premise.

63% of polled Republicans believe that Obama is a socialist.  I assume in the minds of Republicans "socialist" is synonymous with "un-American" akin to communist, and definitely in opposition to their unarticulated concept of "freedom."  It troubles that 63% not that there is no evidence that Obama is other than he is, a left-of-center moderate.  Liberals are pissed that he isn't socialist!  But when you crowd against the wall of the lunatic fringe of the extreme right, everything to the left looks perversely liberal.

This one kills me:  24% of the polled Republicans believe that Obama wants the terrorist to win, with 33% not sure, thinking maybe, maybe not.  Christ almighty!  In the words of John McEnroe, "You cannot be serious!"  To believe that Obama is in league with Bin Laden is confirmation of delusional thinking, fueled by paranoia, and the need for psycho-therapeutic intervention.

53% believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than is Obama.  33% are not sure, and presumably need more time to think about it, not that all the time in the world to do so will result in any cogent, well-reasoned conclusion.  This hits on the issue of competence and wisdom.  People who possess any appreciable degree of competence attended by wisdom recognize the same in others when they see it, and instantly sense it when it is lacking.  Fact:  In the arena of competence Sarah Palin is to Barack Obama what an eight-man pee-wee league is to the NFL.  

Asked whether President Obama is a racist who hates white people, 31% said yes, 33% not sure.  Close and bolt the door shut to the room in your brain where reason resides, and get a load of this retarded logic.  Obama is half-white, half-black.  His mother is Caucasian.  Therefore, Obama hates his mother, and presumably half himself.  I guess all those white people in his administration are just window dressing to lure in all white people into believing that he actually likes white people.  Then, one day, having lulled all the white citizens of the United States into complacency, BAM!, all the honkies will be rounded up by employees of ACORN and incarcerated in cracker concentration camps and brainwashed into accepting Muhammad as their personal savior.  Please.

23% believe that their state should secede from the union.  68% do not want Congress to make it easier for workers to form and join labor unions.  51% do not want sex education being taught in public schools.  77% believe public school students should be taught that the book of Genesis is a factual account of how God created the world.  31% are of the opinion that contraception should be outlawed.  67% believe the ONLY path to salvation is through Jesus Christ.

The wide, open arms of Christ's compassion were not present in the poll with regard to undocumented Hispanics and homosexuals, shocking as that may be. 

Let's call these people what they are:  premodern, angry, scared, ethnocentric, insane and intellectually unfit to formulate reasoned, logical opinions.  Oh, here's a statistic for you.  83% of those polled intend to vote in the upcoming 2010 Congressional elections.  Look out.          

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Lawyer: Evolution and Democracy

Our founding fathers manifested their belief that government should be in balance with individual rights through the crafting of the Constitution, which in turn would evolve through changing circumstances of social and commercial realities by, and under, the checks and balances exacted between the three branches of government that it created.  For that Democracy is an ingenious invention.  The fathers of our Democracy understood that there would always be a need to rebalance the competing interests between individuals and the greater good.  

To be dogmatically dug in on one side of the debate, whether on the side of individual freedoms or the side that seeks constraints aimed at effectuating the greatest possible good for all, is to call one side of the coin the only real one.  Therein we have the crux of the age-old feud between conservatives on one side, and liberals on the other.  

Conservatives hoarsely bellow in favor of individual freedoms above all.  Their mantra is liberty from any and all government intrusion.  Played out to its logical conclusion, that belief leads to things like great depressions, devastation of the environment, the extinction of consumer protections against harmful goods and financial products, and the rich get richer while the middle class descends into poverty increasingly powerless to effectuate change in the political landscape.

Liberals champion putting the balance in favor of government to regulate the passions of personal freedom for the benefit of a greater social cohesion.  Carried to its outermost limits, the creative forces of the individual risk being smothered and caused to stagnate, thus denying the components of the body politic the delight inherent in the individual's imperative to create.  

A balance between the two is the key.  Unfortunately, to expect our leaders to be mature and sophisticated enough to understand that, and undertake the task of exacting that balance requires of voters a degree of maturity and sophistication that seems lacking.  Your average Jack or Jill, whether on the left or the right, is not particularly adept at holding two competing, and seemingly contradictory perspectives in his or her mind at once.  

Evolution is always about the coming together of parts, previously whole in themselves and separate from others, to make a greater whole, thus transcending and becoming more than the sum of the new unit's parts.  Our present problems, as a country, cannot be fixed except by an integration of the best that the right and the left have to offer.  That will not happen until the general populous understands that killing off one side ensures the damnation and ruin of the other.  How long will that take?  

What calamity will be required to touch off the impulse to reach higher?