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Friday, May 31, 2013

Two Wrongs . . .

dont' make a bite

 
. . . I mean a right. . .

(source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/11/pop-tart-gun-bill_n_2852472.html)
7-year-old Josh Welch was suspended from his Maryland school for two days for eating a toaster pastry as below:
"It was already a rectangle and I just kept on biting it and biting it and tore off the top and it kinda looked like a gun but it wasn't," Welch told Baltimore Fox station WBFF. "All I was trying to do was turn it into a mountain but, it didn't look like a mountain really and it turned out to be a gun kinda."

A Maryland lawmaker, who is among those who think that Park Elementary School may have doled out too harsh a punishment, has now introduced a bill to stop students who chew Pop-Tarts, or other not-ordinarily-dangerous materials, into the shape of a gun -- or who merely hold their fingers into the shape of a gun -- from being suspended again.

Senate Bill 1058 -- "The Reasonable School Discipline Act of 2013" -- has been given an alternative moniker by conservative website The Daily Caller: the "Toaster Pastry Gun Freedom Act".

Sen. J. B. Jennings, a Republican representing Baltimore and Hartford counties, introduced this legislation to prohibit students from being suspended for "mak[ing] a hand shape or gesture resembling a gun" -- the bill would also stop principals from expelling students who bring to school "any other object that resembles a gun but serves another purpose."

(source: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/anne-arundel/glen-burnie/bs-md-nra-gun-pastry-20130529,0,1321969.story)
At a fundraiser for Anne Arundel County Republicans, House Minority Leader Nicholaus R. Kipke presented Josh Welch with the membership, which cost $550, during a tongue-in-cheek presentation that involved a Pop-Tart fashioned into pistol and gun safety tips.

Josh said he didn't know what the NRA was or what it meant to have a membership, but chimed in when his parents were asked whether anyone else in his family belonged to the NRA. "Nope, only me," he said.

He also said:  "Everyone keeps asking me why I did it," Josh said. "I don't know why I did it. ... I wish people would stop asking me about it. It'll probably go on for 45 years or something."




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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Friendship. . .


I have never 'unfriended' a person in my life.  Well, never intentionally anyway. . . until now.  And I've got to say it has been an emotional experience.  Why did I do it?  Quite simply the 'friend' in question was totally unwilling to be reasonable. More specifically, the 'friend' chose to continuously post personal testimonials for Rush Limbaugh, gushing about the vast amounts of knowledge that were imparted through his radio broadcasts.

Now we certainly all possess our own personal quirks, preferences, tastes, likes and dislikes, and that I can accept and live with.  Certainly my friends should be entitled to all these things and my perception (or acceptance of them) is most certainly totally irrelevant.

But no matter how much I agree or disagree with a friend on ANY matter, one  factor that determines just how good or desirable a friendship really is, is how one chooses to address (or not address) these matters.

Furthermore, in this digital day and age, it is quite inconceivable that anyone would accept, let alone forcefully evangelize armed with items which are at the very least shall we say, "suspect"? 

Maybe it's simply a matter of discretion.  Anyway, in the future, one quality for which I will heretofore assess any potential new friends, will most certainly be discretion.





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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Arresting. . .


(from wikipedia.com)
". . . (Mitch) Hurwitz was chosen by Ron Howard to create a sitcom about a rich dysfunctional family, which eventually turned into Arrested Development. Hurwitz wrote the pilot in 2002, which was filmed in March 2003. FOX added the show to its schedule in May. Although the show premiered to stunning reviews from television critics around the country, the show was plagued by low ratings throughout its three-season run. In July 2004, the show was nominated for 7 Primetime Emmy Awards and won 5, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series.

In the second season, ratings decreased further and the show was cut down to 18 episodes instead of the planned 22 episodes. Nevertheless, the show was still critically acclaimed and was nominated for 11 Emmy Awards.

In the show's third and final season on FOX, Hurwitz tried to keep Arrested Development on the air, but did not have the advertising funding to promote the series. The show was again cut down, from 18 episodes to 13. FOX announced the cancellation of the show before the production of the final five episodes.

After seven years off the air, Arrested Development returned for a fourth season on the online movie & tv streaming site Netflix on May 26, 2013. . ."





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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

More. . .

. . . or LESS than meets the eye. . .

(more from Christopher Hitchens circa 1998 http://www.american-buddha.com/material.high.htm)
". . .The Dalai Lama has come out in support of the thermonuclear tests recently conducted by the Indian state, and has done so in the very language of the chauvinist parties who now control that state's affairs. The "developed" countries, he says, must realize that India is a major contender and should not concern themselves with its internal affairs. This is a perfectly realpolitik statement, so crass and banal and opportunist that it would not deserve any comment if it came from another source.

"Think different," says the ungrammatical Apple Computer advertisement that features the serene visage of His Holiness. Among the untested assumptions of this billboard campaign is the widely and lazily held belief that "Oriental" religion is different from other faiths: less dogmatic, more contemplative, more ... transcendental. This blissful, thoughtless exceptionalism has been conveyed to the West through a succession of mediums and narratives, ranging from the pulp novel "Lost Horizon," by James Hilton (creator of Mr. Chips as well as Shangri-La), to the memoir "Seven Years in Tibet," by SS veteran Heinrich Harrer, prettified for the screen by Brad Pitt. China's foul conduct in an occupied land, combined with a Hollywood cult that almost exceeds the power of Scientology, has fused with weightless Maharishi and Bhagwan-type babble to create an image of an idealized Tibet and of a saintly god-king. So perhaps the Apple injunction to think differently is worth heeding.

The greatest triumph that modern PR can offer is the transcendent success of having your words and actions judged by your reputation, rather than the other way about. The "spiritual leader" of Tibet has enjoyed this unassailable status for some time now, becoming a byword and synonym for saintly and ethereal values. Why this doesn't put people on their guard I'll never know. But here are some other facts about the serene leader that, dwarfed as they are by his endorsement of nuclear weapons, are still worth knowing and still generally unknown.

Shoko Asahara, leader of the Supreme Truth cult in Japan and spreader of sarin nerve gas on the Tokyo subway, donated 45 million rupees, or about 170 million yen (about $1.2 million), to the Dalai Lama and was rewarded for his efforts by several high-level meetings with the divine one.

Steven Seagal, the robotic and moronic "actor" who gave us "Hard to Kill" and "Under Siege," has been proclaimed a reincarnated lama and a sacred vessel or "tulku" of Tibetan Buddhism. This decision, ratified by Penor Rinpoche, supreme head of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, was initially received with incredulity by Richard Gere, who had hitherto believed himself to be the superstar most favored. "If someone's a tulku, that's great," he was quoted as saying. "But no one knows if that's true." How insightful, if only accidentally. At a subsequent Los Angeles appearance by the Dalai Lama, Seagal was seated in the front row and Gere two rows back, thus giving the latter's humility and submissiveness a day at the races. Suggestions that Seagal's fortune helped elevate him to the Himalayan status of tulku are not completely discounted even by some adepts and initiates.

Supporters of the Dorge Shugden deity -- a "Dharma protector" and an ancient object of worship and propitiation in Tibet -- have been threatened with violence and ostracism and even death following the Dalai Lama's abrupt prohibition of this once-venerated godhead. A Swiss television documentary graphically intercuts footage of His Holiness, denying all knowledge of menace and intimidation, with scenes of his followers' enthusiastically promulgating "Wanted" posters and other paraphernalia of excommunication and persecution.

While he denies being a Buddhist "Pope," the Dalai Lama is never happier than when brooding in a celibate manner on the sex lives of people he has never met. "Sexual misconduct for men and women consists of oral and anal sex," he has repeatedly said in promoting his book on these matters. "Using one's hand, that is sexual misconduct." But, as ever with religious stipulations, there is a nutty escape clause. "To have sexual relations with a prostitute paid by you and not by a third person does not constitute improper behavior." Not all of this can have been said just to placate Richard Gere, or to attract the royalties from "Pretty Woman."

I have talked to a few Dorge Shugden adherents, who seem sincere enough and who certainly seem frightened enough, but I can't go along with their insistence on the "irony" of all this. Buddhism can be as hysterical and sanguinary as any other system that relies on faith and tribe. Lon Nol's Cambodian army was Buddhist at least in name. Solomon Bandaranaike, first elected leader of independent Sri Lanka, was assassinated by a Buddhist militant. It was Buddhist-led pogroms against the Tamils that opened the long and disastrous communal war that ruins Sri Lanka to this day. The gorgeously named SLORC, the military fascism that runs Burma, does so nominally as a Buddhist junta. I have even heard it whispered that in old Tibet, that pristine and contemplative land, the lamas were the allies of feudalism and unsmilingly inflicted medieval punishments such as blinding and flogging unto death.

Yet the entire Western mass media is uncritically at the service of a mere mortal who, at the very least, proclaims the utter nonsense of reincarnation and who affirms the sinister if not indeed crazy belief that death is but a stage in a grand cycle of what appears to be futility and subjection. What need, then, to worry about nuclear weaponry, or sectarian frenzy, or the sale of indulgences to men of the stamp of Steven Seagal? "Harmony" will doubtless kick in. During his visit to Beijing, our sentimental Baptist hypocrite of a president turned to his dictator host, recommended that he meet with the Dalai Lama and assured him that the two of them would get on well. That might easily turn out to be the case. Both are very much creatures of the material world. . . "





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Monday, May 27, 2013

Humor. . .

. . . and truth. . .
. . . from John Kenneth Galbraith

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
"

"Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite."


"It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought." 

"The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.

as a form of employment for economists."

"The salary of the chief executive of a large corporation is not a market award for achievement. It is frequently in the nature of a warm personal gesture by the individual to himself." 

"Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof." 

"We all agree that pessimism is a mark of superior intellect.
"  

"Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
"  

"Liberalism is, I think, resurgent. One reason is that more and more people are so painfully aware of the alternative."    


"The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking."  


"More die in the United States of too much food than of too little.
" 

"In economics, the majority is always wrong.
" 

"Few can believe that suffering, especially by others, is in vain. Anything that is disagreeable must surely have beneficial economic effects."   


"In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong."  


"Wealth, in even the most improbable cases, manages to convey the aspect of intelligence.
"  






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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Trying too hard. . .



I know a man who tries too hard
'Cause he wants to be liked
Both near and far
But it's not all that simple
A story to tell
And I'm sure it all started
Way back when
He was only a child
The whole world laying ahead of him
He couldn't get what he craved
No matter how much he tried
An uphill battle awaited
Then something clicked inside

Maybe he's okay
Not quite as bad as he seems
Am I expecting too much
It's not intentionally
Maybe it isn't polite
Looking so critically
Maybe I do it because
He's just not like me

I know a man who talks so much
He's got nothing to say
But it's never enough
And it's like second nature
He's as social can be
But the topic is always 'about me'
From his self-centered view
His egoist perspective
Subject of interest he's found
His world revolving around him
The real one beyond his touch
With real people there too

Please won't you understand I don't want every man
Doing just what I would do or moving the way that I move
or the the way that I sit or stand

Maybe he's okay
Not quite as bad as he seems
Am I expecting too much
It's not intentionally
Maybe it isn't polite
Looking so critically
Maybe I do it because
He's just not like me

Not Like Me
©2012 Raymond M. Jozwiak




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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Redemption. . .


. . . from WHAT?

(from http://myfox8.com/2013/05/25/heaven-for-atheists-pope-sparks-debate/)
". . . Atheist leaders welcomed Pope Francis’ comments that God has redeemed atheists, saying that the new pontiff’s historic outreach is helping to topple longstanding barriers. “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone,” the pope told worshipers at morning Mass on Wednesday. “‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!” Francis continued: “We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.” Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, said that although he has been skeptical of Francis’ outreach to the nonreligious, he welcomed Wednesday’s comments. . ."


(from http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/511016-i-find-something-repulsive-about-the-idea-of-vicarious-redemption)   [Christopher Hitchens, world-reknown atheist who preferred to NOT be called an atheist]
“I find something repulsive about the idea of vicarious redemption. I would not throw my numberless sins onto a scapegoat and expect them to pass from me; we rightly sneer at the barbaric societies that practice this unpleasantness in its literal form. There's no moral value in the vicarious gesture anyway. As Thomas Paine pointed out, you may if you wish take on a another man's debt, or even to take his place in prison. That would be self-sacrificing. But you may not assume his actual crimes as if they were your own; for one thing you did not commit them and might have died rather than do so; for another this impossible action would rob him of individual responsibility. So the whole apparatus of absolution and forgiveness strikes me as positively immoral, while the concept of revealed truth degrades the concept of free intelligence by purportedly relieving us of the hard task of working out the ethical principles for ourselves.”


(from http://content.unity.org/homepageArchive/features/ponderFuture.html on John Shelby Spong's writing)
". . .The trouble with traditional Christianity, he said, is that it is built on two assumptions that are inadequate and dying. First, salvation must come from a God outside us—a theistic God, in Spong's term. Second, human beings are fallen, broken, sinful and in need of redemption. In other words, Christianity is based on a God with the power to save and humans who need to be saved. People are cast as “quivering children before a punishing, divine parent figure.” Human depravity is necessary before we can see the grace of God, who “saved a wretch like me,” Spong said, quoting the old hymn. No one has been helped by being told how wretched they are. . . “”






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Friday, May 24, 2013

Shooting. . .

. . . ourselves. . . 

(from http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/18/opinion/brazile-democracy-in-danger/index.html?iid=article_sidebar) Donna Brazile says our democracy is endangered.  ". . . Not by the Russians, North Korea, the Iran regime, or even terrorists. To quote Pogo: "We have met the enemy and he is us. . . "

Knee-jerk partisanship rules. Abraham Lincoln said, "From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never...No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide."

People must go back to talking to people. It's okay to disagree.  Just disagree civilly.  The IRS debacle, the Department of Justice's tapping of reporters' phones and the congressional investigation of Benghazi all illustrate the danger of NOT talking, really talking.

We all need to stay focused on facts, causes and solutions. The inspector general himself said that it was bureaucratic mismanagement and no evidence of any political motivation or influence from outside the IRS that brought about the first of the three.  The focus must shift to solutions.

Leaked White House e-mails allegedly showing a coverup of a terrorist attack in Benghazi were actually shown to be altered.

The Department of Justice secretly obtained phone records of reporters as the result of a serious security leak. In short, Obama is not in charge.

Both Democrats and Republicans have misused and abused their constitutional powers. In a nutshell, Donna Brazile says, in her quite convincing way, that we're shooting ourselves in the foot.





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