Friday, December 26, 2008

A Ponderous Chain

I think that this made it up here last year at this time, but not nearly enough has changed in the world since then so back it returns. We start with a delightful tidbit of reading, then finish with the much loved feel good retort.

To begin, take a look at Frozen Scandal a New York Review of Books discussion on Scandal in America. Quick snippet:
Scandal is our growth industry. Revelation of wrongdoing leads not to definitive investigation, punishment, and expiation but to more scandal. Permanent scandal. Frozen scandal. The weapons of mass destruction that turned out not to exist. The torture of detainees who remain forever detained. The firing of prosecutors which is forever investigated. These and other frozen scandals metastasize, ramify, self-replicate, clogging the cable news shows and the blogosphere and the bookstores. The titillating story that never ends, the pundit gabfest that never ceases, the gift that never stops giving: what is indestructible, irresolvable, unexpiatable is too valuable not to be made into a source of profit. Scandal, unpurged and unresolved, transcends political reality to become commercial fact.
Weigh this against the constant stream of nonsense on television.

Now comes our man Marley:
"It is required of every man," the Ghost returned, "that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow men, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world -- oh, woe is me! -- and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!"
"You are fettered," said Scrooge, trembling. "Tell me why?"

"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?"

Scrooge trembled more and more.

"Or would you know," pursued the Ghost, "the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!"
"But you were always a good man of business, Jacob," faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

"Business!" cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. "Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"

Perhaps next year at this time it will be somewhat less applicable? I suspect not.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Punch Drunk

Things have been, as usual, a little busy here at the set.element household. Life in the body politic has been quite busy as well. Not everything happening is bad for a change so I am still trying to get my head around it.

I will take a moment of Peace while I think of an actual Scientist being places in the position of Secretary of Energy. I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with Dr. Chu in the past and am thrilled that he will be in a position to influence policy and create the possibility of change.

Moment of Peace complete.

That out of the way, I have a couple of things on my mind. The first is something that has received considerable press - and quite reasonably so. There is little original to add to this, but still a little complaint seems to be in order. Rick Warren is a smirking pinhead used car salesman (again, my apologies to that profession). He is a graven homophobic shit who deserves nothing but spite but will get the sort of recognition that will improve his Dr. Phil like book sales tremendously. I do not know what the real rational is for the Obama administration to provide a nod of acceptance, but Warren is the shiny face of false centrism. I am not an Obama Fan Boy and feel quite comfortable complaining about this - lord knows the right has been whining like a bunch of little kids for months now. If we do not complain about this and any other decisions that are made, the left will not get a place at the table.

By the way, that fucktard Warren demonstrated yet again why I dislike him so. From this:
All of the great questions of the 21st century will be religious questions.

This thought being tempered by the inclusion of a number of actual adult like people in the administration.

The second thing is the drect confession of the Vice President in war crimes and the continuing whitewashing of the (still) current administrations wrongdoings. In yesterdays Boston Globe a column by Derric Jackson said the following:

VICE PRESIDENT Dick Cheney said this week that he directly approved waterboarding to torture terror suspects. "I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared," Cheney told "ABC News." Asked if he believes the simulating of drowning is an appropriate technique, he said, "I do." ...

...Cheney told us after 9/11 that the administration would protect us by working on "the dark side . . . in the shadows in the intelligence world." Cheney, Rumsfeld, and President Bush turned the dark side into a blind eye, the shadows into a shroud, and obliterated intelligent discourse on terrorism with raw fear. That was only the warm-up for twisting intelligence to invade Iraq for weapons of mass destruction that did not exist.
Currently there are no serious plans for repercussions for the wholesale violation of international, constitutional and local violations of the law. Crimes against humanity, theft of trillions of dollars, countless infractions of individual rights will go punished by lucrative positions in NGOs and Boards of Directors.

At the same time there is a great deal of 'aw shucks' going on by the press and the series of players. They know that nobody is going to do anything about this and honestly do not seem to give a shit.

I have been saying this for years now. With the dissolution of Rule of Law, comes the dissolution of Constitutional Democracy. We have come to a period of hard choices and if we do not make them, they will be made for us.

Must go. BAB will be waking shortly and I have to get some graphs done on a research paper.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Social Networking

Tired of being mocked as a grumpy old fart, I have established a Facebook presence. This will probably get to be as ignored as my blog here in light of the frantic state of work and life, but the style of dialog seems to be driven less by the essay and more by the blurby stream of conscience. I am doomed.