About Me

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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Monday, June 30, 2008

Maria Sibylla Merian - renaissance woman 1647-1717

Just back from an exhibition of Maria Sibylla Merian's paintings and notebooks, presented at The Getty. Merian was born in Germany in 1647, and lived a quiet 70 years. She was one of the great women of science and art, who surpassed her peers, but was forgotten -- was and is actively obliterated -- by the publishing charade which pretends to be "history".
SCIENCE. Merian studied the natural world, completely changing our views of our own gardens as well as introducing specimens of tropical flora and fauna from Surinam to Europe. She was perhaps the first serious Entomologist, making meticulous observations illustrated with accurate images. She studied insects, in a period when many bugs were considered Satanic, and no one else was bothering.
ART. Merian's favorite subjects were the caterpillars. Her accurate images of their complete life cycle transformations are stunning for their scale, dimensionality, shadowing and color. These are portraits of kings and queens, who happen to be worms.
The Exhibition traces her life and art, and notes her contributions to science in the most understated manner possible. If any one of these paintings had been found in the notebooks of a man, historians would have credited the author with having anticipated the theory of evolution.
When I taught History of Science, I actually challenged students with what I thought was an observation of fact: Why are there so few great women of science and art? Now it seems so clear to me. What I was observing was their supression, not their absence.

Parable of the Sultan with an ugly wife

A very long story in one parable:

In order to become Sultan, a young prince was forced to marry the daughter of a rich caravaner. The young wife was widely believed to be ugly because she was so skinny. In those days the Sultan then commanded that all women in the village be covered in public. In this way, he would not have to look at the beautiful fat wives of the other important men, and no one would be able to see that his wife was thin.
Even today, when you visit this village, the Sultan with the ugly wife will kill any woman who is not covered with cloth, head to foot. It is said that the ugly wife had many ugly daughters, all of them so thin and tall that they walk swaying and tinkling bells like camels. And they all married and had many children. Of course, no one knows how ugly they are, because they are never seen.
The men with beautiful wives beat their foreheads with frustration: No one knows how lucky they are. No one knows how lucky any man is, when he is with a woman no one can ever see.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Faith and Justice

What is the relationship between Faith and Justice? Both are universal ideals. Both require and result in belief. Both explore and demand examination of intention. Cicero wrote that "The foundation of justice is good faith".

When the judges ignore good faith, justice is uprooted. When an Attorney General disobeys the law, justice is denied.

Bruce Einhorn served as a prosecutor in the Justice Department, and later as a federal judge appointed by President H.W. Bush. In an editorial printed 6/28/2008 in Opinion, LAT, he summarizes a report issued this week by the Department's inspector general. He notes that while serving as Attorneys General, JOHN ASHCROFT, and ALBERTO GONZALES, set up screening committees for career positions in the Department based on ideological rather than merit-based factors. They politicized the hiring and promotion, in violation of the law. Reference: title 28, Section 42.1(a), US Code of Regulations. Compare also, the Civil Service Reform Act specifically prohibits discrimination based on political affiliation.

This injection of illegal bad faith has poisoned the Justice Department.

How to conduct ourselves...top down.

Accounts of Alexander the Great's attempts to conjure Rules of War, appear to be historically accurate. Curious. The lists themselves, however, are more disputed than the Ten Commandments. Still, for a dead on guideline, no matter the author, can this be beat?

LET US CONDUCT OURSELVES IN SUCH A FASHION THAT ALL NATIONS WISH TO BE OUR FRIENDS AND ALL FEAR TO BE OUR ENEMIES.

The next step is to have no enemies who know who They are.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Nothing is Entropic; Peace is Inevitable

Ever since Georgescu-Roegen introduced -- more, he physiologically implanted it under the skin -- the concept of ENTROPY into economics, we have had to pay attention. Pay and pay attention. Of course that's entropic -- it is the exaction of existence, the paying and the pain. The Entropic more is extracted than is given.

It is not a mystery that everything gets Colder, Slower, Darker, and Older; it is Law. The reality fixed by the structure of thermodynamic existence.

Of course, the key to this one-way vector is the "older" part -- the irreversibility of Time. Time is functioning as the growing medium of Entropy. We can variously make wine and vinegar out of grapes, but we cannot make grapes out of wine.

We have to wonder, however -- observe the rising bread of mystery -- whether Time could exist without motion, at maximum entropy. Mathematically, we have not shown that Time exists independently. Clearly, we have conservation of energy, but not of Time. Even in a low-entropy state, would there be confusion, or even a gradient, between yesterday and tomorrow?

The point here, is What is the point of a Big Bang? Was there a high-entropy state behind the low-entropy origin of our Universe?

And may I suggest, with irony of course, that there is Peace through Entropy. For ALL of us who decry religious wars, is there salvation in Physics? In a world populated with men and women dreaming of a Heaven for themselves and a Hell for the rest of us, if only all aspirant bombers and child-murderers would pause in their endeavors, to explain What God would reward them for destroying what has been "created" in and over such a brief and enduring Time?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The crab sitting on the horse

The interconnectedness of things is underlined by the living. The spinal chord is but the tail of the shelled crab of the brain which sits atop the great horse of the body. What was once the gill of the floating fish is now the voice-box, pulsing the laryngeal linguistics of gloating expression. It was the trees that taught the brachiating primate the advantages of an opposed thumb. And the elegant earthworm continues to crawl over all the bones of the world.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Frederick Turner and "natural classicism" - the BASIS for giving Hope a Chance

The Culture of Hope; a New Birth of the Classical Spirit, by Frederick Turner (1995), English born son of Anthropologists. The book blurb says: ..."Its highly controversial positions have been attacked by both the right and the left; the right because of its foundational use of evolutionary theory and its defense of liberal freedoms, the left because it systematically refutes the logical and evidentiary underpinnings of much contemporary academic feminist, multiculturalist, environmentalist, and deconstructionist social theory. It welcomes a new era of evolutionary hope."

http://benturner.com/genesis/book_culture.html

Another scholar working outside the narrow confines of academia and politics, and contributes to the recognition of the ideas of EMERSON, the contributions to a nascent American Renaissance revival.

Unlike the current and late Nazis, and the hatemongering ilk of any day, and to the extent that Obama is expressing a philosophy of Hope, Obama has a scientifically valid and culturally authentic BASIS for his oratorical presentation. When Hitler pounded the podia, the tables, the air...he invoked feelings,, "You know in your heart this is true; you feel its correctness!" Yet, although he asserted power and sought to conquer everyone, and although many SS PhDs were awarded for teutonic studies, there is not a page of scientific vindication of his race-theory, and not a sentence of "cultural" authenticity. There has never been a "pure" culture, much less a "white" culture. ALL culture is semitic...and white, black, brown, yellow, red and blue and green. The intermixing is HOW "it" became culture.

We see this in NATURE. Emerson, for example, decades before Darwin, and a century before the sociobiologists, observed that "from any one object the parts and properties of any other may be predicted", because each part contains the "code" of the whole reality. There is no "other". No "there" here.

Now 200 years after Emerson, we are indebted to the author of The Culture of Hope (1995) for reminding us of the enormous depth of validity and authentication behind the message of Hope resurrected by Senator Obama in his political campaign.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Western Bluebirds in Orange County

As I was emerging from one of my morning Hesychasms, I heard a bird call that I believe is a Western Bluebird: Churr churr chuck cheer lee! I have had only one sighting....

After an extemely stressful week, and feeling the brush of those "other" wings not worn by a small thrush, the soft foreshadowings signaled by two traffic accidents, elevated cholesterol markers, confirmed high blood pressure, and the reported sudden deaths of several famous 58 year olds (Journalist Russert, Pastor Vandyken), I was overcome with gratitude that the decades of pain would certainly end.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Selected for Prosecution: Spitzer, Scruggs, Lerach - Conspiracy and Coincidence

After the shock of Dickie Scruggs' guilty plea for bribery, Eliot Spitzer's call-girl denoument, and the sentencing of Bill Lerach to prison for what was essentially capping, it is necessary to evaluate the implications. Is it coincidence that all three of these lawyers were "consumer advocates"? All three have caused real pain to the Fortune 500 billionaire CEO oligarchs. Now, they have been rendered harmless. Coincidence?

Half-way through the year 2008, as the Bush-Cheney-Rove term is expiring, we see the results of 7 years of prosecutorial efforts by the Executive Department coming to surface. They are now celebrating a trifecta in their twist on "tort reform".

You recall the Bush-Cheney-Rove appointment of foxes to guard the henhouse gates, the latitude given to the Lays and their Enrons (and other stratospherically-salaried CEOs), the purging of the Federal Attorneys General, the refusal to protect consumers, the failure to enforce environmental standards. Now add the selected prosecutions of Eliot Spitzer, Dickie Scruggs, and Bill Lerach which have all come to flower in the last year. Of course, all three of these successful advocates for public interests really did commit wrongdoing. But there is a quality of bogus-ness to the raft of "charges" they faced.

My instincts are to give little weight to Conspiracy theories, and to chalk up many events, without condemnation, to the arbitrary eruption of Coincidence. Is it just coincidence that three of our most powerful consumer attorneys are now neutralized?

There are three reasons to re-visit this question.

THE TOBACCO CASES. I am one who studied the "conspiracy" of Tobacco. I documented the "sweet heart" suits in 9 States in which Tobacco Companies paid a drunk incompetent lawyer (nine of them!) to sue themselves and obtain victories appealed to the Supreme Court of each State so that they would have "precedence" against any plaintiff.

THE JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY. I also documented 20 years of publications by the John Birch Society accurately reporting the misfeasance of selected Negro men and Jews, while failing to report any of their achievements. This is racism hiding behind a veil of "truth", and it shows the invidiousness of this form of hatred.

STATE BAR PROSECUTIONS. I am also reminded of the prosecutions against me. While the State Bar has yet to disbar any attorney who counseled the pirates of Enron in pillaging the consumers of billions of dollars, the State Bar has yet to prosecute any attorney representing a criminal CEO whose depradations were enabled by hordes of lawyers who set up the off-shore shell corporations. The State Bar has gone after dozens of naive and impoverished Sole Practitioners, while ignoring the stench of the dead horse of corporate malfeasance in the profession. When I was a hungry and poor attorney just starting out, the State Bar came after me. Their "complaining witness" actually stated in Deposition that "the attorney did nothing wrong" and "I have no complaint with him". I gave the State Bar transcripts which showed that a rich attorney, Wolf Stern, had perjured himself in court. I gave the State Bar records which showed rich attorneys had joined their clients and enabled criminal CEO's to pillage the public and shareholders. The State Bar elected not to prosecute.

The point is that the Prosecutor (State Bar, or Attorney General of any State or Federal Agency) has DISCRETION for who they go after and which laws they enforce.

When Bush-Cheney-Rove hijacked the Republican Party and stole the Presidency, one of their goals was to remove the exposure of the rich to law suits brought by the victims of their Big Business concept of "opportunity". They called this effort to close the court house door, "tort reform". Not content with merely appointing unqualified judges who shared their ideology, the cabal went after the leaders of the plaintiff's bar.

I realize Spitzer, Scruggs and Lerach were all culpable. When the State Bar prosecutor went after me, after 21 hearings, financially exhausted, I gave up and compromised with them. By contrast, when Big Business went after Ralph Nader -- with prostitutes, hush-money, offers to persuade the jury with bribes -- Ralph Nader spurned their efforts. He passed that test of being a righteous man and did not compromise with the nastiness and insinuations. Many others, they really DO take the low road, they fall and deserve their fall. And I fell, because I was naive and weak.

Still, there is some significance here. It is not coincidence that the corrupted Big Business targeted the top, the most successful, the billionaire attorneys of the plaintiffs' Bar. The robber barons at the US Chamber of Commerce who were in bed with Enron, WorldCom, and Philip Morris, must be thrilled. But it is more than that. They must be seeing the return on their investment in "tort reform" -- the program of Bush in going after the people who were fighting for the rights of the oppressed.

Prokaryotic microbes 1 mile beneath the sea bed

Life seems to flourish even in unlikely places.

Canadian and French scientists have discovered prokaryotic microbes in searing hot sediments over one mile under the seabed off Newfoundland. This is twice as deep as the previous depth record of 2,760 feet.

y-Larvae - mystery of the "young"/ missing adults

We have puzzled over the identity of a tiny marine organism which is clearly a larval or immature form of an "adult" form which has never been found. The curious thing is that although smaller than a period, they appear in every ocean, and may play an important role, just from their sheer numbers.

As for the "adult" form, none has been found. Nobody knows what these babies become.

For more than one hundred years, we have resorted to classifying these creatures as "y-larvae". All attempts to raise them to adult forms have failed. Known as shrimp-like "facetotectans", they are the only crustacean with a taxonomy based solely on its larval stage, of which more than 40 varieties have been collected. What sort of abundant creature "disappears" completely when it grows up?

Biologist Henrik Glenner, University of Copenhagen, acting on a hunch, exposed the larvae to a hormone that causes other crustacean parasites to metamorph into juvenile adult forms. The result was that eyeless, limbless, juveniles lacking digestive tracts, wiggled out of their larval carapaces. It appears probable that the "adult" lives as a parasite inside the digestive tract of its host. That host has yet to be found.

We find yet another "niche" in which Life somehow manages to flourish. Life in the guts of other forms of life.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Love...Harmony...Peace...Gratitude -- these are the Taught Values

The CORE of what we call Christianity today was summarized in a variety of letters composed by the Roman Paul of Tarsus during his efforts to build a community of believers. In his letter to the Colossians [chapter 3], a large community of Christians who lived in what is now Turkey, he wrote:

"Above all, clothe yourselves with Love which binds everything together
in perfect harmony...and let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts...
and be thankful."

The Church Fathers ever since have recognized this letter as a true and inspired grasp of the message of Jesus Christ, who is referred to by name. It spells out what Christ taught people to DO, and BE, and How.

It is only left to us to recognize that the authentic "Religious Fundamentalist" must be one who acts to achieve harmony out of Love and gratitude. Nowhere, did Christ teach us to deceive, defraud, cheat and steal. Nowhere, did Paul construe any teaching point or rule of Christ, so as to justify misleading anyone, or in any way burdening others to the benefit of yourself.

Those who benefit themselves at the expense of others IN THE NAME OF CHRIST are NOT "Fundamentalists" in any sense of the word. They are the Hypocrites, the false leaders, the miscreants who who been consistently excoriated in detail since the days of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Amos, and Jesus Christ. One simply cannot injure, disenfranchise or insult others AS A CHRISTIAN.

Just as we must recognize "liberal" for what it is and always has been, we must also recognize what "fundamentalist" is and always has been. And do not forgive or forget the crimes committed by those who have distorted the meanings of these words for their own mean-spirited ends. The days of spin-politics are numbered, simply by the reckoning brought on by the collapse of the Bush-Cheney-Rove take-over of the Republican Party.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Blaming Bush-Cheney-Rove

Make a note to just "get over" seeing the guilty hand of Bush-Cheney-Rove in every disaster civilization now faces. Just because they usurped the office in which we otherwise would have had someone helping us, rather than weakening us....is no reason to step into that BOX, the enclosure, in which blame resides.

Even the most ignorant and vicious cabal must be forgiven. Not because they deserve forgiveness. Few do. But because we who must live with consequences must see clearly, must move to action in the face of real disasters, foreign and entropic. The impulse to blame is almost never helpful.

For example, we huddle in the bilge of a ridiculously small boat, most of the oarlocks broke and the paddles lost. Huge waves rock the world, and sheets of wind-fisted rain conspire with the sea itself to drown out our last hoarse voices. Perhaps the remorseless hunger of a Leviathan has keened its predatory eye upon us. Our fellow oarsmen are in shock, or clinging to themselves, or foolishly falling upon the weak to drink their fatal blood. Now, now, does it do ANY good to rail against the pirates who captained away the ship and set us adrift?

No.

Look to the remaining oars! Shelter the weak, and let everyone bail who can cup disaster in his hand, or sluice it away! Secure the remaining stores. And above all, turn to the last young men and women of vision, speak to them of science and hope, and put all your love and confidence into their shoulders.

Of course, if we survive the Troubles, we do not rest until Justice is done.

Burning Man

Build a fire for a man, and he'll be warm for an evening. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Another Bush Defector: Scott McClellan

...These are the same people who were screaming 10 years ago that we should impeach a President if he is A LIAR....

On the occasion of the publication of a book by Bush's former Press Secretary, Scott McClellan, the Times Staff Writer, Tim Rutten, introduces his review: "The evidence seems to suggest that you'd have to go back to the Borgia court to find anything close to the miasma of feral self-interest that must hang in the air during one of this administration's staff or cabinet meetings. If you worked for this crew, you'd want to wear a Kevlar undershirt to the office."

McClellan did not publish this monument lightly. His book, WHAT HAPPENED; Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception (2008), clearly and repeatedly documents examples of LIES and deceit as a practiced lifestyle of this Administration.

McClellan has worked with Bush since Texas. In his confessional, he notes that Bush spent almost no time investigating actual crises, and was devoted to a kind of "permanent political campaign" of distortion. The following points appear undisputable -- fully and long-ventilated, with uncontested public domain documentation:

* The War. The President KNEW that each reason given for going to war against Saddam Hussein was pure fabrication -- there was no evidence of links to international terrorism or weapons of mass destruction (except for the poison gas that Cheney/Halliburton cynically sold to Saddam 20 years earlier).

* Karl Rove and Cheney's Chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, lied to McClellan about their roles in leaking false information in the Valerie Plame affair. In turn, McClellan ADMITS that he lied to the public and the media.

* Karl Rove's influence led Bush to play power politics even in the face of and in spite of other priorities such as national security, natural disasters (Hurricane Katrina), or moral imperatives.

* Vice President Dick Cheney raised the VP office to unprecedented levels of secrecy, expense, and arrogance, either with delusion, lies, or both. He seized unprecedented power, demanded unprecedented secrecy, and ran rough-shod over the concept of balancing power with separation of Powers ("checks and balances").

* The two campaigns in the national elections were filled with fraud. The slogans were designed to deceive. For example, "no child left behind" while stealing from education budget, betrayal of the "Christian coalition", lies ("Swift Boating"), distortion (Reaganomics, tort reform), criminal influence (Secretary of State of Florida announcing result before counting ballots). At bottom, Bush was not actually elected on either occasion. The office was stolen.

Perhaps history would have wanted to be kind to a President who will claim to have been elected, twice, by the American People. This book should put that possibility to rest. These are the same gentlemen who were screaming, screaming, "IMPEACH!!!" when Clinton denied "having sex" with Monica Lewinsky and the accuser's attorneys defined "having sex" as penile-vaginal intercourse. Semen stains in the breast area of the infamous blue dress is actually PROOF that Clinton did NOT lie.

Pollution, the heavy price to pay for Business

Is there a lobby for victims of pollution?

Once again, we find another price that we (and future generations) will be paying for the irresponsibility of the Bush Administration. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was one of the first Federal agencies to be eviscerated by Bush-Cheney-Rowe. The EPA has yet to complete studies on lead paint, mercury, or even Dioxin, which were ordered by Congress many years ago.

After control was captured by pirates, the Republican Party has beaten a drum, constantly, about how environmental regulations drive jobs and industry out of business. Do we ever hear about the cost -- in jobs and money -- of pollution?

POISONING. Regardless of socioeconomic factors, children exposed to lead dust or particles, develop smaller brains, and are more likely to suffer ADD, and learning disabilities. The higher the concentration of lead in the blood, the more likely a child will commit crime as an adult. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 310,000 preschool-age children in Los Angeles have levels of lead that exceed the minimal Federal guidelines. 80% of the homes they live in were built while lead paint was still in use.

The public does not want to hear about what it will end up paying for having polluted the brains of the children.

Teaching

How did that work for you?

I loved learning, and was always grateful for the kindness and stout-hearted courage of teachers committed to a task which can only be Sisyphean at best.

Half of all the new teachers recruited by Teach for America leave the profession within five years, usually emotionally drained.

As for school Administration, the Bush Administration has put into place a Testing regime which punishes the Principals of schools that do badly on the tests, with the predictable result that NO ONE WANTS TO BE THE PRINCIPAL in those schools, resulting in high turn-over and even worse school administration.

And although there is no law that requires the Tests be administered without making each Taking event itself a "learning" event, that remains how the Tests are administered -- diagnostic, punishing, each student in isolation, removed from any pretense that the "answers" are interesting, worthy of study, or can trigger the curiosity in any way. The student learns that Tests are bad. Sickening.

The Gleaners of Faith in the Fields of No God

It cannot be said any simpler: Without Faith, we are not Human. But of course, there is No God. There is only the abundance of Nothing to have Faith In.

In a letter written one year before his death, Einstein wrote: "The word 'God' is for me nothing more than the expression and produce of human weaknesses...". That letter, curiously sold at auction in London on May 15, 2008 for $404,000. Somehow this controversy, and this price, further reflects upon our wont for "childish superstition". We gladly and continue to pay dearly for it.

Turning to another milestone in Faith, the Templeton Foundation published the responses to its call: "Does science make belief in God obsolete?" Most of the respondents did not fall upon the sword of their Yes. The more we indulge Science, the more we find ourselves Believers. Ecce Homo. Of course, Science has left no place at all for even a remnant of "the God of our Fathers". That part of what we once took to be real is gone.

Finally, it is clearly wrong to claim that "God cares" or "Science is neutral". There is no tenable position which either supports or finds use for a "divinity" which is moral, or a science which is "immoral". The reality is that "God" is demonstrably indifferent, and that Science has overwhelming moral valence.

Increasingly, we look to Physics, or the science of Volition, for guidance in what is right and wrong. History and Archeology are filled with blind alleys into which our forebears thronged in attempts to "follow" a revenant ghost with a promise of righteousness. That was clearly the wrong track. No moral precepts have survived the practitioners of religion.

There is, and always has been, a rationale for "listening to one's conscience" -- one's body/mind, the sine qua non, the interactive social connectivity of our lips and our cities, our eyes and our judgment, our walk in space and time. Moral fiber is not molded from Olympian spit. The steel of a man, the eagerness of a woman, the bold curiosity of child, the wonder of wisdom across cultures and generations, are all artifacts of being human.