Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Comic Strip
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."
Apparently, the crossword puzzle just disappeared from the blog. Sorry!
I may have written about "Satoshi Kanazawa" before. He is an "evolutionary psychologist." That's a fancy name for someone who tries to explain human psychology in evolutionary terms. He writes a blog for Pyschology Today (a magazine that intrigued me once upon a time). He got into a bit of trouble some years ago for writing a post that seemingly demeaned women, something about beautiful women, I believe. Weirdly, I received an email from Pyschology Today on Saturday in which a number of his posts were laid out with links. This one was very interesting. In it, there is a link to an earlier article which might intrigue you. I do not know why PT sent me this, I haven't been to their site in many years but perhaps they have some "bots" that figured that out and send intriguing emails to re-capture one's interest.
Reading various analyses of the president's State Of The Union (SOTU) speech, I began to notice something. It was hard to see it in the murk and fog that such speeches create but it was there. What I noticed was what I think is indicative of the schism that exists in my country... Those on the left believe that the wealthy control the country while those on the right think it is the poor (or, more accurately, those catering to the poor) who runs the country... The vast majority seem to wonder if anyone is running the country. Examples... the Republicans and Democrats may be ready to join hands, once again, and come up with more of their devious, deceptive strategies, tactics, techniques and procedures for favoring Wall Street and the top 1%, while successfully, once again, scr*wing the middle class, the American people and our nation for another 30 + years. [Comment in the Washington Post] But on Main Street large numbers of Americans have dropped from the job market, middle-class wages are stagnant, and even larger numbers of Americans are now dependent on some form of government subsidy for disability, jobless benefits or food stamps. [Another comment in the WaPo] I would quote something by the vast and muddled majority but they do not seem to leave comments. I am conservative now but I was once liberal and, for a number of years, tried being middle-of-the-road. Unfortunately, that meant getting run over fairly often. I got tired of laying there crumpled, bruised, and bloody. There was a lot of talk about the "middle class" in the president's SOTU speech and got to wondering just who that is. I was born into a lower middle class family, I believe, with parents who aspired to move up a little. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Not because they didn't work hard but because, as my mother often said, "Life isn't fair, get over it." She dreamt of riches and often tried various schemes to get them but which never worked out. And, so, I wait patiently for Faye to win the Lotto...
Last night, the president of the US gave a speech before Congress, it is a ritual played out each year called The State Of The Union speech. Since I am writing this on Tuesday, I have not heard what he said. But I will listen in and I will read the various news articles claiming to analyze it accurately.
They won't be accurate, they will be biased... either for or against what he proposed... and those on the left and right will argue about what he said, how he said it, and whether it was a good or bad speech. I really don't care. No, really, I don't care.
He has already stated that he will veto legislation giving the go-ahead to the Keystone XL pipeline project. The interesting thing about that pipleine project is that it is not a "pipeline down through the center of the country to the country to the Gulf of Mexico", as I heard it descibed. It is merely a shortcut that comes down from Canada through Montana and South Dakota into Nebraska where it will tie into an existing pipeline which takes it down to the Gulf.
The fuss is about an aquifer through which this section will pass.
It has been litigated to death, it has been demagogued to death, I am sick of the politics of it. But I suspect I will hear even more about it. Here's a link to the map of it from the Washington Post, decide for yourself.
I suspect the proposed section will be built and then the fight will continue on...
The president is alleged to be asking for more taxes on the higher incomes while extending some tax breaks for the so-called "middle class." He will also be asking for government to pay for the first two years of college, for those who qualify, and who can demonstrate a need. When any president says the government should pay for, he means the taxpayers. Because the only money the government has is what we taxpayers give it.
Been enjoying the relatively low gas prices? The Powers-That-Be in Washington have taken notice and are contemplating an increase in the gasoline taxes. It seems that the low prices translates into lower revenue to the government. Here, let me offer a quote from one article: Debate over the gas tax is picking up in Washington as policymakers prepare to hammer out a federal transportation bill before May 31, when funding will run out. Tax-hike proponents say that raising gas and diesel fees could help cover some of the $100 billion in additional revenues needed to fund the six-year transportation plan shortfall. They add that lower fuel prices should give lawmakers political cover to lift the tax above 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline and 24.4 cents for diesel — the prices set by Congress in 1993. Perfect! Why should we get a break? A couple of teenagers who went on a crime spree in the southeast were captured in Florida. An 18-year-old boy and his 13-year-old girlfriend stole some vehicles, cashed (or tried to) some stolen checks, and may have committed a few burglaries along the way. Next, they will get a lesson in legal proceedings. I predict the girl will claim she was kidnapped. Meanwhile, in Niger, churches were burned and people were killed as members of that "peaceful" religion of Islam became outraged over images of the Prophet Mohammed. They also rioted in Pakistan over that. As I said before, this will not cease (or even abate) until the alleged moderate Muslims demand it. And they will not demand it until the rest of the world treats Islam as a destructive ideology. And people wonder why I do not view the future in a more positive way...
But why would I? I have been, for most of my life, a loner. I think of myself as independent, as sufficiently resourceful enough to deal with whatever life throws at me. I have rarely wanted to rely on anyone else. It is, of course, impossible to do so and it is a conceit to even think it is possible. I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island. And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries. Some of you, many of you, will recognize those lyrics by Paul Simon. I first heard that song when I was dating a young woman in a place called Lomita, California. I immediately identified with it. It told me that my self-isolation was not real. But, deep inside, I already knew it. Still, I persisted in believing it. It had become habit, a part of me. At the time, I was in the Navy and assigned to a ship, a destroyer, with around 300 sailors. Yet, I saw myself as apart from them; a part of a crew and separate from them at the same time. And now I wonder about the radical Islamists who have joined (and continue to join) ISIL and al Qaeda and other groups of that ilk. I think they too feel isolated and alone in the world and want to become a part of something large and which has purpose. But what I do not understand is why they willingly submit to a philosophy that denies them any freedom. The other day I watched an episode of Criminal Minds which involved a cult. It brought these thoughts to mind. I have only known one person who joined a cult and it was a benign one which allowed her to leave when she wished to. The dangerous ones do not let anyone go and they are rare.
But, yet, people join them. Some of these joiners help keep those who want to leave in the cult. I think that is what radical Islamic groups are: cults. They are not very different than the radical Christian cults except that violence appears to be the purpose of the Islamic ones. They profess a desire for a caliphate. A caliphate is nothing more than a dictatorship, as is any monarchy. What I truly do not understand is why anyone would desire to be ruled by a dictator.