Thursday August 20th 2009

Thursday August 20th 2009

fat-imagesOn Friday at 11am Thom will be "Live" from the Barrymore Theater in Madison, WI - Get tickets at www.barrymorelive.com
Today - Thom is broadcasting "live" from "Space" in Evanston. It's sold out.

Hour One - Do you want fat cat insurance exec Steven Hemsley who makes $100k per hour between you and your doctor or the government beaurocrat with the green eye shades? Democrats need to be honest about what they are doing...with Dr. John R. Lott www.johnrlott.blogspot.com
Hour Two - Are you trying to being about a new civil war?? Richard Mack, retired Sheriff www.oathkeeper.net
Hour Three: Best of the Rest of the News...

Comments

Gerald Socha (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#1

What I see happening in the USA, our nation wants the perfect human being. The perfect face, the perfect body, etc! The world is not perfect. Thom has a theory that overweight people are economically disadvantaged. My theory is that heavy people have food as their comfort zone. They do not have the finances for a fitness center, or for membership in golf club, or for a swim club, or for other amenities outside of food. These are just some examples. I am retired and I see several overweight persons. I still wish them best and good luck in life. The USA is a land lilled with hypocrites. Heavy people are not accepted but crimes against humanity are accepted. For our perfect Americans the killing of God's children is a glorious event. My guess in their world war is perfect.

Mark (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#2

It appears that Susan Hutchinson, former co-anchor at Seattle's KIRO news station and (former) board member at the Discovery Institute, will be in a run-off election for the position of King County Executive, recently vacated by Ron Sims for an Obama administration post. She won almost twice as many votes as her closest challenger in this “non-partisan” race, which does not require candidates to reveal their party affiliation. King County, over all, is the bluest county in the state of Washington, yet it appears it will elect a Republican—albeit a stealth one—as county executive. This is either due to a lack of knowledge of Hutchinson’s political leanings, or because many people simply voted for the attractive female candidate, regardless of ideological considerations.

Admittedly, the local “mainstream” news media have fallen down on its obligation to unmask Hutchinson, although the Seattle Weekly did publish a cover story on the “real” Hutchinson, who besides being a believer in the “intelligent design” theory advocated at the right-wing Discovery Institute, and has supported Republican candidates and causes, also has had a checkered employment history at KIRO, which included personality clashes with co-workers and lying about the purpose of leaves-of-absence. Hutchinson sued the station when she was replaced as anchor; the case was settled, but curiously she has fought tooth-and-nail attempts to make public revelations of the case made against her. The question now, of course, is there enough time to convince the people who voted for her either out of ignorance or personal “activism” that they are making a mistake by doing so a second time.

Quark (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#3

B Roll,

Re: yesterday's blog comments on religion and my comments about the possibility that "God" is energy --- the life force.

If we do continue in some form after death, whether energy or matter, I hope to go from a quark particle to a tachyon...(tho I probably will just be a mass of elements from my former self.)

Mark (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#4

As a postscript to a comment I posted a few weeks ago about how I felt I was victimized twice—first by a mugger who “inadvertently” stole my airport ID badge, then by an airport bureaucrat who didn’t care what kind of police report I submitted, that it was at her “discretion” to determine if a crime had been committed. The implication that I was lying was particularly frustrating given the difficulty I continue to have moving my jaws in order to eat, due to the sucker punch that seems to have left a crack in my skull, although I can’t be certain of it; I haven’t seen a doctor , because of my substandard medical coverage has already left me thousands of dollars more in debt.

The reason why I refused to “confess” that the badge was merely lost wasn’t just because I would be lying, and would have to pay a $250 fee up-front for a replacement—money which I didn’t have, having already lost two weeks of pay because I wasn’t allowed to work. The bigger reason was one of principle; I refused to be called a liar, and treated like a criminal when I was the one who was victimized—not just from the stolen badge, but from the pay I was unable to earn. When the police officer who filed my case number came back from vacation, she attempted to find out what exactly was required as an acceptable report; the flunkies at the ID access office seemed to find this request an unreasonable one.

Finally, a supervisor was called who grilled me on my “story,” which seemed to satisfy him, anyways. I was then informed that the badge had just been received via mail without a return address. I had to make the point that if this was the service of a good Samaritan, surely he or she would not have been shy about advertising their good deed; but this was clearly someone who was afraid and did not want anyone to know who they were. The customs seal did look a little law-enforcementy. Naturally, after all the difficulties and pain I endured, all who were involved in it had to find ways to justify their actions by insinuating it was all my fault.

After work this past Saturday, I was waiting for my bus, which left later than the other buses; a couple of Port of Seattle police officers were “hanging out” near where I was standing. As the first buses passed by and I didn’t board them, they became increasingly “suspicious” of me, and kept glaring at me as if to say “If you don’t move on, we’ll ‘help’ you to.” When my bus arrived, they observed me board and decided they didn’t need to hang around. At least they didn’t make me show them where my name was on my netbook; the occasion of my first complaint of harassment against the Port police was when an officer singled me out while I was waiting for a bus, and made me show him where my name was on my laptop. Needless-to-say, after I was done with him, he seemed rather self-conscious of the way bystanders observed the event.

I have often heard people complain about trivial things like having to take off their shoes at the airport. This is nothing if you are “brown” and work at the airport, especially when nearly all the “security” types are white; if there are any non-white Port police officers at the airport, they’ve never bothered me. What is especially hard-to-take is you have to be provide a birth certificate, be finger-printed and go through an FBI background check in order to work at the airport. Yet you are still treated as if you are a congenital thief. Why?

The myth is that Muslims or people with Arabic-sounding names are singled-out for “special treatment.” Maybe a few are, but the reality is that police don’t want to appear to be stereotyping Muslims. It is Latinos who are almost exclusively targeted, even though they’re not likely to be “terrorists” save in a paranoid xenophobe’s mind. Police are not looking for terrorists, their looking for “Mexicans.” When such bigotry is exposed the bigot tends to become even more aggressive in justifying their beliefs. These days, if you say something negative about a “Mexican,” everyone either believes it without question, or agrees that it has some “merit.” On the other hand, when Timothy McVeigh bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City, nobody stereotyped blond and blue-eyed white people as potential terrorists. Quite the opposite: the Clinton administration did everything in its power to prevent the case from going beyond the “lone nut” scenario, despite the evidence of assistance from a militia compound that McVeigh frequented until a few days before the bombing.

B Roll (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#5

Quark,

You say that there’s some elements of truth in both my and Thom’s religious and spiritual philosophies. I don’t have what I would consider a religious or spiritual philosophy.

Thom seems to believe in an all encompassing spirituality and I don’t. The second paragraph in your post on Wednesday’s blog was very close to what Thom believes. When you add gods or spiritual forces or principles I’m not there. There was almost nothing that I believe.

When you talk about the amazing things at subatomic level, I assume that you’re talking quantum mechanics. There’s a whole body of literature that makes claims about quantum physics that aren’t supported by mainstream quantum physicists. I guess we'll have to see who turns out to be correct, Murray Gell-Mann or Deepak Chopra.

I’ve seen a several people on this site who say they’ve studied quantum physics and who make such claims. My position is that if your study isn’t full of equations, you’re not really studying quantum physics.

nora (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#6

Justice Roberts is on a mission

John Hightower Tuesday reminding us that Justice Roberts' is on a Corporatist mission:

http://www.jimhightower.com/node/6909

[excerpt]

A TRAITOROUS ASSAULT ON OUR DEMOCRACY
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | Posted by Jim Hightower

...Chief Justice John Roberts and others on the corporate wing of the court will try to pervert the founders' intent, nullify the will of the people, and radically rewrite a century of legal precedent – all to advance the political agenda of corporate power. At issue are longstanding laws that ban corporations from spending their bottomless financial resources directly on election campaigns.

Roberts, a lifelong corporate shill, hopes to get a five-member majority of the court to rule that corporations have a First Amendment right to pour unlimited sums of cash into our elections. Never mind that the founders feared and abhorred raw corporate power and deliberately wrote the Constitution as a document guaranteeing power to "We the People" – not to bloodless, soulless legal constructs that know nothing of morality and care nothing for our nation's fundamental values of fairness and justice.

In a quiet move just before the justices' summer vacation, Roberts got the court to schedule an extraordinary September reconsideration of two major campaign finance laws that the court previously okayed as constitutional. By reversing those rulings and declaring that corporate speech is equal to human speech, corporations would be unleashed to spend billions of dollars to control all of our elections.

What the Roberts Court is up to goes way beyond judicial activism – it's a traitorous assault on America's democracy by corporate autocrats intent on imposing their political will through five old men in black robes.

"A Century-Old Principle: Keep Corporate Money Out of Elections," The New York Time, August 11, 2009.

"Heavy Workload of Complex Cases Awaits New Justice," The New York Times, August 7, 2009.

"Court Opens Door to Possibility of Corporate Political Spending," www.truthout.org, June 30, 2009.

[end excerpt]

DRichards (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#7

White House Will Weather Liberal Anger; Baucus Doubles Down

The White House and Senate Democrats won't buckle to demands from liberals that they revise their health care strategy, officials said today.

http://politics.theatlantic.com/2009/08/forget_liberals_white_house_sena...

I fear that what we will end up with is mandatory insurance for all (much like auto insurance). It will be a boon for the insurance industry, but no help for those of us who can't afford it.

It sure seems to me that us progressives got used. Perhaps it's now time to take off our rose colored glasses?

Quark (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#8

B Roll,

My understanding of what you say about your spiritual or religious belief is that you don't believe in such things, nor do you believe in existence after death.

When I talk about a subatomic level, I am thinking about something as basic as E=MC2. Matter can be converted to energy or vice versa. We are matter. We also happen to generate energy. Question: Can this energy be what some call god?

I don't want to argue about what energy or how much is created by the human body. Suffice it to say, for simplicity's sake, that such energy exists. Call it "life force" or even "god" if you want to, or don't if you don't want to. I don't care. I'm merely saying that we are part of the universe and its processes.

Yogis can concentrate, through meditation, to measurably reduce their heartrates or temperature; could they also be capable of becoming more in tune with other processes within themselves and also in the greater "systems" of which we are all a part? Who am I to say "no?"

I try to keep an open mind about these things. To entertain possibilities doesn't scare me. I am not a big believer in nihilism. It is not interesting and it is not creative. There are still too many mysteries in this universe to say "this is the only answer," especially when mankind has such a long way to go (if ever) to understand everything.

Quark (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#9

Thom,

TOWN MEETING GUNMEN UNMASKED (many aren't just random acts):

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/ns/msnbc_tv-countdown_with_keith_olb...

AZAFVET (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#10

I saw the best quote on a blog today.

The Republicans drove the economy into a ditch
and now they complain about the cost of the Tow Truck!
Perfect!

DRichards (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#11

India Will Become World's Most Populous Country by 2050. Almost All Population Growth Will Occur in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean

The 2009 World Population Datasheet - published by the Population Reference Bureau
http://www.prb.org/pdf09/09wpds_eng.pdf
- gives a number of important statistics on population trends, including the following:

India will have more people than China within a couple of decades
97% of global population growth over the next 40 years will occur in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean

http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/

DRichards (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#12

"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."
Steven Weinberg, quoted in The New York Times, April 20, 1999

It seems to me that we create God in our own image. Therefor, it seems to me that "good people" simply justify their actions by using religion; their actions were part of their nature to begin with, with or without religion.

What do you think?

Food Fascist (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#13

Biff! Boom ! Kazaar! Way to wipe out that Free Market Piled High Deeper guy - oh, I have so many stories about having to share college rooms with conceeded empty arguments like that fellow was presenting-

Quark (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#14

AZAFVET,

That IS perfect.

Matt Taibi is arguing, in his latest piece, "Sick and Wrong", for The Rolling Stone, that we will get no real healthcare reform "because it’s encased in another failed system: the U.S. government:"

(http://www.rollingstone.com/nationalaffairs)

See Taibbi video on "Morning Joe:"

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036789#32489838

It makes me think that we, the American people, are no more than animals bred and kept around specifically as "food" for the corporate "ticks."

Then again, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the administration may present a 2-tier approach to healthcare reform:

"New Rx for Health Plan: Split Bill"

(http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125072573848144647.html)

It starts:

"The White House and Senate Democratic leaders, seeing little chance of bipartisan support for their health-care overhaul, are considering a strategy shift that would break the legislation into two parts and pass the most expensive provisions solely with Democratic votes.

The idea is the latest effort by Democrats to escape the morass caused by delays in Congress, as well as voter discontent crystallized in angry town-hall meetings. Polls suggest the overhaul plans are losing public support, giving Republicans less incentive to go along."

Quark (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#15

DRichards,

I think cults, whether religious, political or any other kind allow people to act without thinking rationally. Fear drives people into those cults and the hands of those who perpetrated it, as we know too well.

Food Fascist (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#16

President Obama DID put his principles together. I have posted them numerous times but not even the progressive media has been reporting them. I recieved them in my box the next day after requesting them on a conference call.

Here they are:

The Whitehouse

The Official Health Care Parameters

…see no one is trying to kill your grandparents-

• No discrimination for pre-existing conditions
• No exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles or co-pays
• No cost-sharing for preventive care
• No dropping of coverage if you become seriously ill
• No gender discrimination
• No annual or lifetime caps on coverage
• Extended coverage for young adults
• Guaranteed insurance renewal so long as premiums are paid
Read more of the above here:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/health-insurance-consumer-protections/?e=9&ref...

Here is David Axels’ ‘viral’ email that further gives weight to the desired principles needed for health care reform: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/The-Return-of-the-Viral-Email/

The Whitehouse

The Official Health Care Parameters

…see no one is trying to kill your grandparents-

• No discrimination for pre-existing conditions
• No exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles or co-pays
• No cost-sharing for preventive care
• No dropping of coverage if you become seriously ill
• No gender discrimination
• No annual or lifetime caps on coverage
• Extended coverage for young adults
• Guaranteed insurance renewal so long as premiums are paid
Read more of the above here:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/health-insurance-consumer-protections/?e=9&ref...

Then, Axlerod came out with this 'anti viral email'

Food Fascist (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#17

Shoot -

Here is David Axels’ ‘viral’ email that further gives weight to the desired principles needed for health care reform: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/The-Return-of-the-Viral-Email/

Food Fascist (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#18

So I am listening to the other station to hear the President- Rush L is on saying the 47 million uninsured include illegal aliens. And they do get health care in the emergency rooms. He is going line by line to Obamas conference call and 'debunking' all of the President's answers. Ie Planned Parenthood supports the health care reform [therefore, President must be lying] Also played some campaign promise and interpreted it sloppily saying He says we're lying but it s only because The President is lying] - ah how am I tolerating this, I miss the Thom Hartmann show! Everyone write the Whitehouse and tell them Barack Obama must be on the Thom Hartmann show!

Quark (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#19

Food Fascist,

Change of subject. Did you happen to see this discussion about "The Real Cost of Cheap Food" on Morning Joe today?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036789#32489722

DRichards (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#20

George Lakoff | The Policy-Speak Disaster for Health Care
http://www.truthout.org/082009B?n
George Lakoff, Truthout: "Barack Obama ran the best-organized and best-framed presidential campaign in history. How is it possible that the same people who did so well in the campaign have done so badly on health care?"

Food Fascist (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#21

Health Care Reform: A Medical Emergency
TOWN HALL MEETING & LIVE BROADCAST
Monday, August 31, 2009 6-10 PM EDT

The Dom Giordano Show

Part 1 - THE LEGISLATORS: Dom hosts and open discussion with several Philadelphia area congressmen. They will discuss all aspects of health care reform legislation in a civil and respectful manner.
Guests include:

Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA 2nd)
Rep. Joe Sestak (D- PA 7th)
Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA 6th)
Rep. Bob Brady (D-PA 1st)

http://thebigtalker1210.com/pages/5021278.php

PS from last post I missed this: Says more Rush Even if abortion is not in the bill, we know the Supreme Court will add it in.

Food Fascist (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#22

President is now on and is walking through his basic requirements, for which I have listed above. They do seem slightly modified now, he is

1 must be deficit neutral, 2 gets cost under control 3 insurance reforms for those who already have insurance 4 wants a health exchange similar to what Congress has. You can look at a bunch of options and if you can't afford a market based

choice, competition, reducing cost

Host is now talking about personal responsibility - what incentives are there?

President: Safeway for example is giving incentives that you will see on your paycheck if you do these things - even cash incentives could be a good idea and be a part of the plan.

DDay (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#23

Having spent most of my life in the mid-west, I remember old timers often saying that the only two things you don't talk about in polite conversation are religion and politics. This troubled me on several levels. First of all, with the exception of sex, they were the most interesting topics to me. Secondly, being a student and ardent freak for our political history, it seemed to me, that our democracy depended on people discussing the important issues which governed their lives. The Revolution which resulted in our country's founding began in taverns and inns over mugs of rum. Public discourse ignited the people to act and guided our founders leadership.
Religion poses a more complicated consideration. It has been my opinion that whatever your religion, it should stay out of my government and in return, I'll keep my government out of your religion. We as a people have many religions from which to choose or reject, but, have one shared government. Mixing them is not only usually bad manners but dangerous to both. Values, morality, traditions, YES! Personal, spiritual or religious beliefs, when poured over the public discourse of how we do everyone's business gums-up the works and is damaging. It's not that I would presume to muzzle free speech. I love a good philosophical discussion of religion, just not when I'm trying accomplish something else. Mixing religion with politics is like mixing alcohol with gunpowder...dangerous. Of course, by posting this I kind of feel like David Lynch when he made "Elephant Man". He made a movie that moralized about the evils of exploiting, when by doing so, he was continuing the exploitation. By engaging on this issue I am feeding the troll and encouraging what I would seek to limit. See what happens when you start dancing in a mine field?
I've given myself a headache. You physicists and big brains are too smart for me. Never mind.

Food Fascist (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#24

The President has just finished and has done well.

I think we need to realize that we need to be working with the President and not putting all of this on just him. Just the other day for example, in emailing a question to the President I suggested he be on a radio show and take calls from callers - who knows ...but somehow that is now what just took place. So be on the liberal call with us today at 2PM today and make some contributions. I think I posted the info on yesterdays board.

Those of us in OFA are constantly setting events and doing creative ways of education. For example, here in SAC each week we screen SICKO and have had neat gleaning days and even days on the farm to get back in touch with our own natural health care responsibilities.

Brenda (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#25

I called my senators and congressman yesterday. Congressman Price has a really great FAQ and Myths and Facts sheet as well as analysis of the health reform bill here: http://price.house.gov/issues/health/health_insurance_reform.shtml

What I want to tell you about is my conversation with someone at Senator Richard Burr's office. I asked what his position was on healthcare reform and was told the senator is for reform and does NOT support the public option. I asked what his reform would include. The staffer said "Tort reform, tax breaks and subsidies for private companies". I asked if that means my tax dollars would be given to private insurance companies instead of to a program like Medicare. The staffer answered this would be the best way to save money--tax breaks and subsidies. I asked if any of that money would go to help people instead of companies and how this would save money. The staffer answered "well this would save money because less people would be covered".

I simply said "Isn't THAT the problem now?"

He quickly stated i would need to speak with the Health care specialist for the senator and put me through to voicemail.

I'm pretty sure this is exactly the issue --Republicans want to give more money to private companies under the ruse of "reform" while not actually letting anyone have healthcare. Spot on, staffer for Senator Burr! Maybe he wasn't paying attention when Senator Dole ran for election....and lost.

Food Fascist (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#27

woops that liberal conference is at 11:30AM today http://www.barackobama.com/index.php

B Roll (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#28

Filibuster and Cloture

Until 1975 breaking a filibuster required the votes two-thirds of voting senators. That would be 67 votes if all senators are present, but the two-thirds ratio applied even when not all senators were present. If only 80 senators were present, a cloture vote would only take 54 vote (67%) to end a filibuster.

The rule was changed in 1975, lowering the ratio to three-fifths (60) votes, but as a compromise, the three-fifths ratio doesn't apply if less than a full senate is present. 60 votes in the absolute minimum now.

Quark,

I'm coming for you girl... with a response to your reply to my post about religious and spiritual beliefs.

Quark (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#29

B Roll,

Thanks for the warning! I'll put my protective wrist bands on!

http://inplacenews.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/wonderwoman.jpg

DDay (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#30

A little over an hour ago, George Lakoff, Berkley professor, author, cognitive linguist, etc. released at: www.truthout.org/082009B?n "The Policy-Speak Disaster for Health Care". I'm still chewing thru it, but, it is an amazingly coherent read. I hope THOM checks it out. What am I saying...he reads everything! Not only that, I bet his lips don't move when he's reading ...like mine sometimes do. For all you amateur, semi-pro, aspiring campaign people or policy wonks, this is a must read. Seriously. I would have added an link but I'm a Luddite.

Loretta (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#31

Does everyone know about Obama's healthcare forum happening in three minutes? Here's the link: Show your support for the public option by signing up to watch. Please pass the word on so our Prez knows we have his back

http://www.barackobama.com/forum/live.html

Quark (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#32

Thanks for the link, Loretta.

DDay (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#33

OK, I guess the conceit of my being a Luddite is partially punctured. Truth be known, I was surprised to see the link work! Never mind. I'm new to this S--t!!

Quark (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#34

DDay,

If I didn't have a computer-literate son for the last 2 decades, I would be as saavy as Max Baucus who, at a recent town meeting, accused people of pointing their "YouTubes" (i.e. cameras) at him.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show#3248...

B Roll (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#35

Quark,

Please don’t think there’s any animus on my part or towards you or even Thom on this topic. People have the right to believe what they will. However, I don’t like Thom defining the non-belief of atheists as a religion and calling atheists who speak about their view or criticize religious or spiritual beliefs “evangelical”. I don’t recall him labeling astronomers or physicists “evangelical”. Don’t they try to win people over to their views?

I think I may have been listening to Thom longer than you have (not to pull rank) and I may have heard things you haven’t. Thom used to say that if a word ended in “ism” it was a religion. That might (tragically) make autism the fastest growing religion in the world.

While Thom labels un-closeted atheists evangelical, he often expresses his spiritual and pseudoscientific ideas on the show. He asks listeners to pray for or “send light” to people he cares about who are having a health crisis. Now he says that he favors tax exemptions for people leading a monastic life (for the most part men) because he believes that their sitting in meditation improves the world in some manner. But he said he no longer supports churches (and temples, mosques?) getting the same tax benefits. He’s saying that the government should favor practitioners of his spiritual beliefs over practitioners of other beliefs and traditions. Isn’t that contrary to the spirit of the First Amendment?

You wrote that when you talk about a subatomic level, you’re talking about something as basic as E=MC2. This is just a minor point and I could be wrong, but I don’t know that Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity (E=MC2) has much if any application to the subatomic level. Part the reason I’m replying later than I wish is that I did a search for explanations of the Special Theory of Relativity and clicked on close to 50 links (a few wouldn’t load) and I searched for the word “subatomic” and it only came up twice and seemed to be related to quantum physics. (For the record I searched for “sub” so I might find it as “subatomic” and “sub-atomic”).

Of course, we know that energy and mass can be converted into each other. And yes we are matter and we convert matter into energy. Most of the energy we create is heat, some is motion and some is biochemical. You can call the recycling or living matter an afterlife if you wish. That’s physical. But I don’t expect that my thoughts or my spirit/personality will continue after I’m gone, unless it’s in the memories of others or the effect I may have had on their live or as my archived comments on the Internet.

If you want to call the energy of living creatures “life force” you can. My impression of that term is that it’s more of a spiritual concept than a physical concept. Even if it’s intended to mean a synthesis of both, I would reject it because of the spiritual implication. We are part of the universe, that’s not the issue. The question is whether there is a spiritual force that permeates the universe and that we’re connected to. Thom thinks so and I think not.

Your example of yogis being able to affect their heart rate and body temperature is interesting. It’s an example that there’s a mind/body connection. Similar things can be accomplished with hypnosis. But what verifiable evidence is there that they can become more in tune with a spiritual force that can only be experienced subjectively.

Is there any proof that we can use our minds to affect things outside of our bodies? Some people think so and point to experiments showing that prayer can affect medical outcomes, but those experiments have been criticized for their methodology. The largest experiment that I know of came to the conclusion that prayer didn’t work.

You may have heard of the Chinese practice of Qi Gong which is a meditative practice, in some ways similar to Tai Chi. Some practitioners of Qi Gong claim that they can channel energy through their bodies into the bodies of others. They claim that this energy can be used to heal. They would demonstrate their powers by using this energy to move the limbs of a person at a short distance from them.

This claim was tested experimentally. A Qi Gong (aka Chi Kung) master and a person would be in the same room. The subject would be lying down on a bed or table and the Qi Gong master would apparently be able to move the subject’s limbs from a distance by making movements with his body. The movements of the Qi Gong master and the subject seemed to be coordinated. Then the next phase of the experiment took place. As agreed to by the Qi Gong master, a curtain was put between the master and the subject so they couldn’t see each other. At that point, the synchronization between the actions of the master and the subject were lost. It worked when they could see each other but didn’t when he couldn’t. There was a similar experiment with a horse reputed to be able to answer math questions by tapping his foot on the ground. He answered correctly when he could see his owner, but not when he couldn’t. In that case, it seemed that the owner would make subtle, maybe unconscious, movements that the horse picked up on.

You express your opinion that you keep an open mind about things and that entertaining possibilities doesn’t scare you. Some people who believe in things that can’t be objectively proved often assume that people who don’t are closed minded or even frightened by the possibility of what they don’t believe in. I guess that’s true in some cases. A spiritual dimension doesn’t scare me; I just don’t believe in it.

I hope in my case, my skepticism is rational and fact based and that I require a higher level or maybe different kind of proof than some believers. You seem to be taking the position that “maybe” is a good standard of proof. If we can’t prove it’s wrong we can believe that it’s right. That’s one of Thom’s arguments.

I heard Thom say that he holds his spiritual beliefs because they make him feel good. If that worked for me, pizza and ice cream wouldn’t be fattening. The problem there is that it can be tested empirically.

I do have a spiritual side, but it doesn’t have to do with any kind of cosmic consciousness of the universe. It’s in some things that resonate with me in a special way. Watching waves roll into shore at the ocean, feeling the breeze and hearing the sounds. Seeing the colors of sunsets and sunrises. Holding someone special in your arms or maybe just touching their hand or cheek. Maybe the most amazing is the existence of a little tiny person who feels comfort in your presence so they crawl to be close to you. When they can walk they want their little hand in yours and you walk at their pace. That’s as spiritual as it gets for me and the way I see the world it’s all I need.

Now look what you’ve done! You’ve turned me into an evangelical atheist.

Loretta (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#36

In case you didn't catch President Obama's healthcare forum, I wrote an article on it for my blog. It became clear to me during the forum that he is indeed playing to win, and that we will have a public option, but he must strongly assure those who have insurance and are terrified they will lose it, that they won't be forced onto a public plan.

http://portlandlivingweird.blogspot.com/

Quark (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#37

B Roll,

After reading your last post, I have tears in my eyes for a second time on this blog, though not for the same reasons, of course.

I owe you an apology. I was out of line in my previous comments. Certainly you, I and everyone else have a right to include in our world views whatever is compatible and comfortable , religiously speaking.

I mentioned E=MC2 because it relates to further discoveries regarding subatomic levels (for example, a photon particle is also a wave.)

Based on life experiences unique to me, I have reached my (albeit limited in the broad scope of universal --- or even earthly -- knowledge) ideas of religion and spirituality. I guess that's what it comes down to.

Please, dear friend, forgive me for being overwraught and not really getting it that you were criticising Thom for not being consistent, etc. He intends kindness toward others and maybe uses his beliefs to try to do so. (I shouldn't speak for him nor anyone else.)

My husband, son and I have this kind of discussion frequently. Maybe I assumed (subconsciously) that you were continuing his rants, which do make me crazy at times. (There are times I feel I have to defend humankind during some of our discussions.) But go to my member profile page on this website and you will see a (really wonderful) example of Mike's thoughts on religion and its (mis)use in our culture (i.e., "This Jesus Means Business.")

B Roll (not verified) 5 years 17 weeks ago
#38

Quark,

As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing for you to apologize for. I didn’t see anything in any of your posts that I thought was out of line. Maybe your comment about nihilism was aimed at me, but I didn’t take that personally. Anyway, back in the day this older hippie I knew had an album by a group called The Fugs. They had a song I liked called “Nothing”

I can only remember the beginning of the song now but the lyrics went like this:

Monday nothing
Tuesday nothing
Wednesday and Thursday nothing
Friday for a change a little more nothing
Saturday once more thing

Since I liked that song, maybe there’s a bit of nihilist in me. If anything I wrote upset you, I assure you I meant nothing by it.

The Death of the Middle Class was by Design...

Even in the face of the so-called Recovery, poverty and inequality are getting worse in our country, and more wealth and power is flowing straight to the top. According to Paul Buchheit over at Alternet, this is the end result of winner-take-all capitalism, and this destruction of the working class has all been by design.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Through compelling personal stories, Hartmann presents a dramatic and deeply disturbing picture of humans as a profoundly troubled species. Hope lies in his inspiring vision of our enormous unrealized potential and his description of the path to its realization."
David Korten, author of Agenda for a New Economy, The Great Turning, and When Corporations Rule the World
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"With the ever-growing influence of corporate CEOs and their right-wing allies in all aspects of American life, Hartmann’s work is more relevant than ever. Throughout his career, Hartmann has spoken compellingly about the value of people-centered democracy and the challenges that millions of ordinary Americans face today as a result of a dogma dedicated to putting profit above all else. This collection is a rousing call for Americans to work together and put people first again."
Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO
From Cracking the Code:
"Thom Hartmann ought to be bronzed. His new book sets off from the same high plane as the last and offers explicit tools and how-to advice that will allow you to see, hear, and feel propaganda when it's directed at you and use the same techniques to refute it. His book would make a deaf-mute a better communicator. I want him on my reading table every day, and if you try one of his books, so will you."
Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall