Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Teach your children better

I amused my daughter this Saturday by talking to some LDS Missionaries -- whom she had to deal with by herself earlier when I was out.

She shooed them off earlier by pointing out the Magen David affiches on the windows and saying good by.

Next time, there were three, and at least one tried with me to be somewhat more diplomatic, noting the previously mentioned decorations and the mezuzot on our doors -- asking me to explain them (I wonder if they were hoping I would stumble).

The conversation had some interesting dialog I would like to mention.

Missionary: Have you ever met missionaries before?
Jew: More than you can possibly imagine.
Missionary: Have you read the book of Mormon
Jew: Yes, and the Koran, what you call the New Testament, and the Bhagavad Gita
Missionary: What did you think of it
Jew: Honestly?  A poorly written fraud. [Would you want me
          to lie?]
and then the subject monotheism* and the origin of evil came up 
Missionary:  God is the source of truth
Jew: ...and lies.  Jews are fairly thorough monotheists, we don't have a
         trinity or a devil, so all has to come from God.
Younger Missionary: But Lucifier is written about in Genesis.
               [This is the reason for the title of this blog]
Jew: [Long slow look]
         You really should read the book before you talk
         about it.
         Lucifer isn't mentioned until Isaish. 
         Satan isn't mentioned in Genesis -- just a snake.
         The first mention of 'a' satan I can recall is in the
          story of Balaam's Ass.
              [A lecture on satan as a word and the meaning
              of the character followed]
and finally:
Missionary: Well is there anything we could do for you?
Jew: Yes let me enjoy the rest of my sabbath in peace.

I don't often get gifts like this.

*For the record, and seriously the concepts of the trinity and the Devil inherent in the creed really do lead me to think of Christianity as a polytheism.

Missing the point

As with many gun safety advocates, this article How Lax Gun Laws In The U.S. Let Domestic Abusers Buy Guns| Huffingtonpost, misses the point. Just as the Spitting, Stalking, Rape Threats: How Gun Extremists Target Women | Mother Jones article did.

Intimidation is a gun rights advocacy goal, not a side effect. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

A sling without out a prayer.

The first Queen Elizabeth occasionally used the  motto 'video et taceo', 'I see, but say nothing'.

This generally meaning that she knew much -- she had a superb intelligence service -- but that knowing did not require her to act.

And while I could use this quote as the basis of a screed on the NSA, I have a more personal set of plaints.

For the past month, I have been wandering about with a sling on my left arm (as you may recall bears dropping off six foot high ladders do not bounce -- they suffer dislocated shoulders).

This has not seemed to cause strangers to offer to hold doors open for me, nor avoid running into my left side, or suggest helping with packages.

The sling has -- it seems -- given people the belief they have the right to invade my privacy -- a phenomenon which it seems to share with a pregnant woman's abdomen.

On Saturday, while walking, my wife Margaret got an earful about how different injuries could indicate psychic stress -- specifically shoulder injuries indicated that a man was under too much pressure -- and how there was a great book on it.  Saying that the injury was due to a fall didn't phase the speaker at all.  (I later suggested asking if discomfort in the fundament was due to dealing with a pain in the ass.).

People have walked up saying 'What happened to you', or just 'Rotator Cuff, huh?', and of course offer to tell me all about their own experience.

The reaction when I respond briefly -- and neutrally -- is one of injured offense.

Maintaining a private space seems to have become bad manners, and a limitation on the right to curiosity.

I should note, that I do not object to people saying, 'Excuse me, I know its none of my business, but could I ask what happened to your arm?' That is a request and an acknowledgement that the information is mine.

However, there appears, in the mind of many, that one has an obligation of 'letting others help', to provide a venue for 'sharing', to build community. I do not for a minute believe that such interactions is any form of altruism, as it show no concern for another person's 'otherness' -- the boundaries which make each of us free individuals.

So, two cheers for formality and manners -- the bane of freedom and the mark of civilization.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Penrose's Law Dilemna for Moderate Reactionaries

Boies Penrose (1860-1921),  a Republican boss in Pennsylvania, proposed the Political Law*: "Politics is a profession. Better to lose an election than lose control of the party."**

How the 'establishment Republicans' will react to the head line Eric Cantor succumbs to tea party challenger - The Washington Post, should be interesting.

In the old days, when party's meant something, leaders might follow this sensible, though long term, advice.

I think, in the end, the political leaders of the Republicans will buckle down, and accept.  After all they want power, and believe (with good evidence) in co-option by money.

The moneyed interests behind the party seem to believe they can turn the extreme reactionaries to their will in the end (they being moderate reactionaries).

Anyone choosing to draw and analogy between these forces and the Rhur industrialists are welcome to.

However, I think those moneyed interests may be right.  You see there is another Pernrose insight worth considering -- "I believe in the division of labor. You [moneyed interest] send us to Congress; we pass
laws under which you make money...and out of your profits, you further
contribute to our campaign funds to send us back again to pass more laws
to enable you to make more money."


* There is another Penrose's law, attributed to  Lionell Penrose, which posits an inverse relationship between the number of psychiatric beds and prison population.

**This is often ascribed to "Tammany Hall."  This is incorrect.

Canada's loss.... not the United States' gain.

Ted Cruz officially gives up his Canadian citizenship

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The origins of a killing.

In a article, Occaisionally, our local newspaper, the Seattle Times, stops fronting for developers and does part of its job.

In the article, Oso neighborhood never should have been built | Local News | The Seattle Times, we are told that neighborhood wiped out in the recent landslide should never have been built.

That over 50 years ago, unenforced lasw, underfunded agencies, dishonest developers, and unwarranted deference to supposed land rights perpared to kill people this year. 

It would be good to recall, that things have not gotten better.  In the early 1960s, agencies were better funded and there was actual respect for people in government agencies trying to do their jobs.

Expect more disasters to come.