Recent comments

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago
  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    conservatives without conscience i s a great book to understand dick cheney and the right.

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    A few short comments about the debate with Christopher Hitchens (he's not the best person to advocate his side -- he's just driven, he has said, because of 9/11.)

    There are several books discussing the idea that religious/spiritual impulses may have been selected for, as sedentary culture and the ability to pass on memes with some fidelity arose, through evolutionary processes operating on the combined meme and gene space. It's possible that the human response to mystery and a sense of awe itself preceded the development of responses to those feelings as a survival benefit of its own. I can't say, it's a new field of thought still being researched and explored. But it's intriguing.

    Regarding the question more broadly and Thom's comment about the very existence of supernatural forces or objects, that's just our ignorance. When we understand the details, we call it facts or knowledge. When we don't, but want to personify or make manifest the object of our ignorance, we then ascribe what we feel we observe but cannot explain as "supernatural" in some way. But it's nothing more than just saying, "we don't know." That's all. But it feels nice to "put it in a box" somehow and talk about it as though it were a thing.

    Sadly, we will always be ignorant about things in the world around us. We will never understand everything. So there will always be a need to put that ignorance in a nice, tidy box to talk about and think about and worry over. We have a love for and capacity for a sense of awe and mystery. I wouldn't want to take that away from anyone. It helps to know what it is, though -- just our ignorance personified.

    On a final matter, which Thom addressed. We each have our internal belief systems. We probably couldn't survive long without them. The problems come in when we assign to our internal beliefs an external 'Truth Value' and then, on the basis of that presumption, further decide that others must be forced to embrace or otherwise accept them and/or behave accordingly.

    Then we've all got a problem.

    Politics is about finding common values and elevating them. And where our differences remain, finding those compromises we can each live with -- without resorting to violent coercion. Ultimately, politics and the legal system are about peace and tranquility among peoples of very diverse attitudes and beliefs. If we are to seriously engage in a political life that has any chance at long term survival as people's attitudes evolve and science and technology changes, we need to be mature enough to realize that politics is NOT a place for religious dogma.

    Not because religious dogma is inherently wrong. Some of it is more than fine. But because it is unyielding to objective evidence. We need to be able to engage in a debate over issues and this means we need to be able to bring forth arguments based on something where the other side can actually "see" some element there. That doesn't mean they agree with the implications, but at least they can see the same evidence.

    When we assign external Truth Value to our internally held beliefs, sufficient sometimes even to jail or justify the organized murder (death penalty) of others, it tears apart the very fabric of successful politics. We need to have evidence to consider in politics and law. Not unshown, internal beliefs with no possibility of debate because they are held "True no matter what." That simply shuts down political dialog.

    And this leads us to why the separation of church and state in the US is so important.

    Jon

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    Another gov't. website will contain data from all areas of the government. So far, a minimum of 60 agencies have contributed to it:

    http://www.data.gov

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    OK ... busted! Caught a typo in my post above that I missed on my proofread.

    In the last line of the first paragraph, the word "last" should be "least".

    OOPS!

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    Beth Noveck, the Deputy Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology, was on c-span’s “Washington Journal” this a.m. She was talking about recent (within the last 24 hours) additions to the White House website.

    http://www.Whitehouse.gov/open was just made available to encourage people to offer suggestions to make the government more transparent and open. Noveck said that the administration is looking for ideas to improve specific areas of government that could benefit from new technologies, systems, etc. They also want feedback to make the site better.

    A weblog for scientists and technology people went up yesterday. Members of the administration want to brainstorm via comments on the weblog with citizens for a limit of ONE WEEK. Then, the next phase of the process will begin. After that, another phase will begin, and so on.

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    Maybe I'm just a stick in the mud. I realize that this is the internet and all, but I assume that people who post stuff here would like to at least appear intelligent. Is it too much to ask, then, that we take a moment to read the stuff we've written, at last once, before hitting "POST"?

    I'm no English teacher, but I do at least attempt to check my spelling, grammar and sentence structure before posting anything. Even the best ideas can appear pretty stupid if presented poorly.

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    Thom,

    Did it ever occur to you that your cats follow you guys around because they're social animals that require social interaction rather than they might worship you? Leave the worship to your many fans.

    I'm sure that you've been in settings where people are walking around with their dogs on leashes. What happens when two people with their dogs on leashes walk toward each other? The two dogs strain at their leashes to try to check each other out. They're so desperate to interact with their own kind. And I recall some woman wrote a book about how, if given a choice, dogs almost always choose the company of other dogs over the company of humans. And apparently, dogs don't have the problem accepting the dognity of dogs that are different from them as humans have accepting the humanity of other humans who are different from us.

    So, as to the question of whether you cat worships you, I'd guess that not having the option of associating with other cats, Higgins is willing to hang with you dawg.

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    all things have a buddha nature even a tree the daishonin wrote a letter entitle the enlightenment of plants

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    With regard to your discussion on religion ---
    Any religion is safe and pure regardless of which one -- until government and greed for power gets involved....then it goes all wrong. I think that's why our founders put in a separation of church and state, as well as the history of Englands state church....

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    budhism is also based on science tom not only a mysticism. buddhism talks about the oneness of man and his enviroment. the oneness of the mind and body. the ten worlds hell hunger , animality anger humanity heaven learning relization bodhisatva and buddhahood. these ten worlds are inherited in ones life. man has whats called the buddha nature .

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    Thom, quick observation.
    Obama isn't doing anything he didn't tell us he would do for two years on the campaign trail, and yet, when Cheney was asked about running for President, he said he was looking forward to retirement.

    Now Obama is President, the election is over, and Cheney is going around telling us President Obama is making the country less safe.

    Well, why didn't he run for President then? It's not like we didn't know what Obama's plans were. Cheney simply didn't want to be humiliated in a race he had no chance of winning. He was a coward during Vietnam, and he's a coward now.

    PS: Is it just me, or did Cheney confess to breaking the law "only three times" (waterboarding) on National television?

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    ralph waldo emeron observe that all sucessful people agree on one thing that is the law of causality.

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    nichren daishonin described what he called the mystic law of cause and efect. based it on the proof ones see in it. nam myho renge kyo . man creates causes by thought word and action.

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    Thom, while you are in Anchorage, please look into the MORE environmental pipeline proposed for years by Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority (ANGDA), chaired by Scott Heyworth. The big three oil companies have been running the biggest scam re running their 3400 mile pipeline.

    "Running a gas pipeline thru Denali National Park" for no real reason when an alternative environmental already disturbed corridor (along side TAPS.......and buried!) exists.

    If I can get him to call in will you speak with him?

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    senater sanders there has been many times our nation has used terorism against people of other nation and within our nation . i feel we must bring this up in the public debate and face our past action, to make us a more perfect union. what do you think?

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    Obama: Prolonged Detention

    Last night, Rachel Maddow talked about a new, radical, unconstitutional proposal that was included in Obama's speech yesterday. It is very disturbing:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#30877514

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    Beth Noveck, the Deputy Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology, was on c-span's "Washington Journal" this a.m. She was talking about recent (within the last 24 hours) additions to the White House website.

    www.Whitehouse.gov/open was just made available to encourage people to offer suggestions to make the government more transparent and open. Noveck said that the administration is looking for ideas to improve specific areas of government that could benefit from new technologies, systems, etc. They also want feedback to make the site better.

    A weblog for scientists and technology people went up yesterday. Members of the administration want to brainstorm via comments on the weblog with citizens for a limit of ONE WEEK. Then, the next phase of the process will begin. After that, another phase will begin, and so on.

    Other sites include: www.data.gov, www.ostp.gov, www.whitehouse.gov/open/innovations

    I think this sounds promising --- and interesting! 'Just wanted to pass it along.

  • May 20th 2009 - Wednesday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    I've been tuning in to Scott Horton's interviews via podcast on www.antiwar.com
    and I am truly worried about the direction Obama is moving in. It seems he says what we want to hear with no intention of following through. I'm also worried about Cheney being in his face at every turn. I'm sorry to say that the future of the world looks very bleak to me.

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    To continue Thom's discussion with a caller on Thursday on the term "Nazi," the Encyclopedia Britannica’s article on fascism lists a dozen or so characteristics of that political system. Opposition to Marxism; opposition to parliamentary democracy; opposition to political and cultural liberalism; totalitarian ambitions; conservative economic programs; corporatism; alleged equality of social status; imperialism; military values; extreme nationalism; scapegoating; populism; antiurbanism; “racial unity” and a few others.
    It doesn’t take much reflection to note that to some degree all of these characteristics are implied in Republican politics. A concern country turning “communist” under Obama has been expressed by lesser lights on the right. Congress as a check on executive power—or rather Republican power—we have seen in action for length of the Bush administration. We don’t need to tarry with the right-wing opposition to anything smacking of liberalism. Totalitarianism is tough prove, although Nixon did say that the president was above the law, and Bush/Cheney did trample on the Bill of Rights. Conservative economic programs and corporatism goes without saying. Alleged equality of social status—when Alex Castellano recently stated on CNN that Republicans were a “bottom-up” party, Donna Brazile told him to “stop your lies.” And so on and so forth.
    Some of these characteristics, like scapegoating and “racial unity” were taken to their “logical” extreme by the Nazis. It can be detected in this country as well. Frankly, if someone regards a certain demographic in this country in terms of vermin and pests—and Thom knows what demographic I’m talking about—much as the Nazis portrayed the Jews in the propaganda film “The Eternal Jew,” then that person is little to be differentiated from the Nazi who espoused such a view. And those who remain silent in the face of it do, as Thomas More said, betoken their consent—which why when Pat Buchanan declared on the McLaughlin Group that “Hispanics are out to destroy America” the total silence of his co-hosts in response to this racist fulmination was more eloquent than what that bigoted, anti-Semitic fulminator actually said.

  • May 18th 2009 - Monday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    The torture of 135 african americans, over a 20 year period, by area 2 police commander Jon Burge blows your "emailers" suppositions out of the water. Jon Burge did it then for the same reasons they do it now: to extract false confessions. But because the victims were black, they are easily dismissed Everyone wonders how did this happen? I wonder why it took so long. Please you can save it.

  • May 22 2009 - Friday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    In regard to Dick Cheney's shenanigans on Thursday, if it is true that Cheney’s poll numbers are going up, that’s merely proof that fear still trumps hope for many people. Cheney is clearly worried about how history will judge him. He may believe that inventing facts or twisting facts may allow him to be viewed favorably by those still see America surrounded by dark-skinned enemies, as Richard Slotkyn’s “Regeneration Through Violence” argued. But most thinking people ought to see through the pose; Cheney’s claim that “a hundred thousand lives have been saved” thanks to the Bush/Cheney civil rights destroying policies, and that the Obama administration is “hiding” the evidence that “many” terrorists plots have been foiled is mere demagoguery. Just like all those WMDs and mass graves that were never found, wouldn’t the administration have touted its “successes” with a bit more specificity? Or were the only “successes” worth mentioning the Miami 7 and Jose Padilla fiascos? Facts are facts, and they are not on Cheney’s side, and history will judge him on that criteria rather than on his fantasias.

  • May 20th 2009 - Wednesday   10 years 8 weeks ago
  • May 21 2009 - Thursday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

    Richard Jackson - November 21, 1755

    "Give me Liberty, or give me death."

    Patrick Henry - March 25, 1775

  • May 21 2009 - Thursday   10 years 8 weeks ago

    If Guantanamo is such a showplace, then why haven't Condo's been built their.

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Will Racism Backfire on Trump...Or not?

Thom plus logo Trump's son Eric said on Fox News that he's loving the Democrats being upset about Trump's racist language. He argued that it's playing right into their hands.