Election 2020

Election 2020
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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Work At It!

It dawns on a person. Or at least it dawned on this person, somewhere along the line, that you have to work at finding meaning and purpose in life. You have to work at being positive/optimistic. You have to choose to believe. Yes, you must make the leap, damn the torpedoes. 

It is actually much easier to choose not to play. To sit back, complain, refuse to participate, refuse to try, or to dream. Negativity comes so naturally. To be negative, to tear down, to knock, to belittle, to snark - makes you feel so superior, so smart.

Choosing optimism, choosing to be positive seems sort of naive, and the act of choosing somehow makes it seem less genuine. But it is just fear that holds us back. Once you start choosing to be optimistic, you can expand it into all areas of your life.

Choose to live with heart, hope, joy, cheer. Choose your Gods, choose your faith. Choose and work at choosing...

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Cocaine & Prostitutes!

I think Martin Scorsese gave us a pretty definitive picture of Wall Street. "Wolf" is the story of our times. A classic for sure.

I have always been pretty baffled by "the market." Wall Street seems disconnected from the rest of the country, but their activity helps drive and define the broader economy. Day to day activity seems like some kind of controlled madness.

Paul Krugman reminds us what it's all about: "The market wants money for cocaine and prostitutes."

Oh yeah. Almost forgot! Makes sense!

Friday, May 29, 2015

U2 - Can You Say Gargantuan?!

U2 kicked off their "massive tour" in Vancouver. Grantland was there. Massive doesn't really capture the scope of what U2 is unleashing on the world. Gargantuan. Big. Really, really big. It is not just a rock show, it's like a mobile, big-budget, Broadway production. On steroids. No, it's even bigger than that, more ambitious, more overblown. It will be a stunning, beautiful thing. For sure.

Every U2 tour seems to be bigger than the last. You wonder if there is a "law of diminishing returns?" I was so happy to see U2 "busking" in the subway in New York, it was just a "stunt," but there was something really cool about seeing those 4 guys just playing music.

4 people in a room, playing music. That is a wonderful thing. That is what I love. That special communication between 4 musicians. All the flash, and show-biz razzmatazz seems sort of pointless. I mean, I know people will flock to the shows, they will marvel at the big screens, and dazzling lights, but really isn't it just about 4 people playing in a room?

That is what is extraordinary. The rest seems sort of superficial. I know that's silly. U2 is too big-time,  there is too much pride and money on the line to just do a stripped down tour. They don't just want to win over the audience, they have to steamroller over them. If they actually just got up on a stage, plugged in and played, wouldn't everyone be so disappointed?

Not I. That really would be the must-see show. Why do I like U2? It really is the music, the spirit that animates, that is coiled around their best songs. Blow up the production, add more lights and theatrical drama? That's just a show-bizzy sideshow. And not the point. Really. But then again, I'm sure it will be a dazzling production. For sure.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Waking State/Dreaming State

It's funny. In my waking state, I have kind of discovered another level of calm and peace. Not always. There is still the endless churn, life is a roiling stream, but there is a small space inside, a calm center that seems to be there, I can find it in moments of stillness.

At the same time, while I sleep, a sense of chaos, of illness, and paralysis overtakes me. It is almost like the inverse of the day time peace. I sleep with the certainty that I am damaged, seriously compromised.

Last night, I dreamed that I woke up fractured, and irreparably damaged. It was unsettling, disturbing. 

I was pleased to wake up this morning feeling fine. All my extremities in working order. Refreshed. Ready to jump into the day.

So the dichotomy. Day & Night. Peace & Turmoil. Health & Illness. Strange. Light & Darkness.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"Something Rather Than Nothing."

This is funny...  as in "curious, strange, peculiar, odd..."

Dani Shapiro's "Quest for a Connected Consciousness," hits the bullseye. It's "funny" to read a blog post this morning that totally resonates with my own inner dialogue. Almost makes me think that I've finally found the road and the language and practice that I have been looking for all my life...

"Something, rather than nothing." Exactly!

Dani Shapiro:

“I believe that there is something connecting us,” I said. “Something that was here before we got here and will still be here after we’re gone. I’ve begun to believe that all of our consciousnesses are bound up in that greater consciousness.” 
I looked at my friend for any sign of ridicule, but saw none. She was nodding. 
“An animating presence,” she said. 
That was as good a word as any: presence. As in the opposite of absence. By training my thoughts and daily actions in the direction of an open-minded inquiry, what had emerged was a powerful sense of presence. It couldn’t be touched, or apprehended, but nonetheless, when I released the hold of my mind and all its swirling stories, this was what I felt. Something — rather than nothing. While sitting in meditation or practicing yoga, the paradox was increasingly clear to me: emptiness led to fullness, nonthought to greater understanding.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Lit Up from the Inside!

I didn't realize that Mary Karr's three books - "The Liar's Club," "Cherry," and "Lit," were a trilogy. Memoirs all. That together they constitute a beautifully rendered interconnected exorcism. Anyone raised in a family, anyone with a difficult childhood, (basically anyone) with memories, demons, and unfinished business, will totally understand.

I didn't realize that Mary Karr would change my life with her carefully chosen, totally engaging, funny, robust and exhilarating words. I just didn't know. I originally bought "The Liar's Club," for a friend, many years ago. I thought she would love it, relate to it. It wasn't until after I read David Foster Wallace, that I thought I should check in myself.

I started with "Cherry," that's the one my friend thought I'd relate to. And I did. I recognized the world that Mary Karr lived in. Her life in the 70's resonated with my experience. I was there too, in a different locale, but I was there too.

Starting with "Cherry" is kind of like starting with "Sticky Fingers" from the Stones. If you liked that one you also have to check out "Let it Bleed," and "Exile on Main Street." No sense trying to decide which is best. They are all essential.

Same with this trilogy of memoirs. I shied away from "Lit" thinking it was about the literary world. Now I realize it's about being "on fire," lit up from the inside, via emotion, via alcohol, via madness. Oh yeah, it's that kind of "lit."

So yes, just read the books. That's all I can really say. Read the books. You will laugh, you might cry, you might get a little pissed off. The three books are a conjuring, an exorcism and a story of redemption. The story of our lives. If we just open our eyes.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

It's Not a Method, It's My Life!

Am I a "method actor?"  Well, I do tend to totally identify with characters I am playing, and I do correlate my experience to the character I am playing. So I guess the answer would be "Yes!"

Yesterday, I played a character (see previous post), that looked "hungrily" at another character. How did I prepare? I didn't eat all day. So yes, I was hungry, really, really hungry. My character was supposed to be "deranged," and how did I embody derangement?

I stayed up late the night before playing a r&r show, and I got up really early, and I drank lots of coffee all day, and I jumped into a flurry of action all day before I arrived for the shoot. I spent the morning in the recording studio mixing tracks, so by the time I arrived at the little diner for the shoot late afternoon, I was tired, hungry, stoked up, jittery, and ready to do whatever the Director wanted me to do.

I was upgraded. I was given two lines that weren't in the script. I sat in a booth at a diner, before a plate of cold french fries. I don't eat French fries! I don't eat fried food! I always tell my friend that eating French fries is like "smoking a cigarette!" Still, I ate French fries. I did.  I sacrificed. I compromised. I plunged into the moment. I did it for the scene, for the Director, for "art!"

And just how did it all go over? I did my scene, I said my lines, I stared intently, wildly, madly at the camera and chomped on some fries. And when I finished my little scene the whole crew - Director, Lighting person, Cinematographer, Script person, Best Boy, and Grip all burst out in uproarious laughter. It was kind of stunning. We did another take, same thing. The second time I did it the camera guy was laughing so hard he could hardly keep the camera pointed at me.

Not sure if I will make the final cut or not! But it felt pretty good. I guess I can do deranged! Not sure if that's a good thing... or not... but there it is... my life.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Deranged as Possible!

I have an acquaintance who is a dynamo of creativity - an actor, writer, director. He's working on a web-based series. Today there is a shoot in the City. I have been cast in a very, very small role. Don't even have a line, although, I was told I could try to "improvise" something on the spot.

And what role have I snagged? Here's the description of the character I am to play, and well, in some ways, I have been totally typecast, and I wonder, how did he know?

"As deranged as possible, while somehow still fitting in society unnoticed."

Friday, May 22, 2015

Artist or Soup Can?

This little article from Vulture is fun & funny, and well, kind of interesting... and really,  it sort of gets one to wonder: Is Kim Kardashian's ass a work of Art?

Is Kim Warhol? A Warhol who is only interested in taking pictures of herself? Or is Kim the soup can? A soup can that can take pictures of itself?

Is she a huckster, a media whore, a fraud, or an artist presenting her own body as the ultimate art object? 

How to think about Kim? And why bother? And how to get to the bottom of the subject? I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder. And what to bother to behold?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Actively Surrender

Surrender. That's the message. I think I get it. Surrender. To yield power. To give up. Everything tells me I need to take this step. And then I look back over events the last few years, and more, and think everything has been leading to this moment. Actively, definitively, happily surrender. It's a kind of spiritual thing. I have been working towards it. Swimming. Spinning. I think I am finally there. I think.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Power and Depth!

Just as expected, Maria Popova has invaded my consciousness. Her voice, on the radio, her posts on her website Brain Pickings, have been kicking around in my head ever since I found her speaking on the radio waves Sunday morning.

She mentioned that she is always looking for writers who "lift us up," and I realized this is exactly what I have been doing most of my life, since I first discovered that I loved to read. I have piles of books, shelves and shelves of books, looking for that "lift." And this is not "happy talk," not just the "power of positive thinking," it's not a trick of the mind.

No. What I'm looking for, always, never-ending, are those books, those writers, those words that will open me, that will deepen my experience, that will enlighten and confound me, that will put me into a state of wonder, joy, and a sort of creative madness. Not easy books, easy words, but words and works of power and depth.

Works that can change and mold my consciousness.This has been a major feature of my life. The life of concentrated, determined reading. One of the great joys and missions of my life. Sitting alone with a book. Not a solitary experience. The world.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Iraq War - Entirely Negative or Even Terrible!

The GOP Hawks are gearing up for another Presidential run in 2016. You'd think they'd be too ashamed to even try, but of course, that's not how it works around here.

And they are all grappling with the recent past: The Iraq War. Bush's war of choice, or as some of us call it, Bush's debacle. There should be a reckoning, but the Right's powers of hard-headed denial are prodigious and reality-defying.

Here's Josh Marshall on Iraq today: "If the Iraq War was a mistake it was a mistake of gargantuan proportions. It went on for roughly a decade and in some ways continues. Thousands of Americans were killed. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died if you figure in the costs of the insurgency, the invasion and various collateral effects of both. And it is difficult to argue that its effects weren't largely or entirely negative or even terrible."

And that's putting it mildly!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Extraordinary Morning Read

Yes, something tells me that Maria Popova (see previous post), will be directing my intellectual wanderings from now on...

This morning an extraordinary post about Oliver Sach's autobiography "On the Move," from her website, Brain Pickings...

We make the world by what we pay attention to, by whom we spend time with, by what we choose to care about... that's what makes us too.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Thoughtful, Intelligent Souls

This morning I "discovered" Maria Popova and her website, Brain Pickings, via Krista Tippet's radio program On Being.

So pleased to find thoughtful, intelligent, inspiring souls out in the Universe. 

Better to "lift ourselves up," to imagine the world we hope to live in, as opposed to the one we fear we live in... and yes, to see and experience the Universe as we are!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Bounty on A Head!

If Seymour Hersh's reporting can be believed, (see previous post), then all that money spent on our elaborate, all-knowing, all-seeing, and all hearing Surveillance State, AND all that money, time, and human treasure plowed into the Bush/Cheney Torture State - black sites, enhanced interrogation, Abu Graib, human degradation formalized as a policy - then well, it was all a waste of money, time and treasure. Wasted and worthless. Oh yeah, immoral and counter-productive too.

How did we find Bin Laden? It wasn't great intelligence gleaned from listening in to every cell phone conversation in the Universe, and it wasn't gleaned from torturing terrorist suspects, no, it was a "bounty," - a Pakistani intelligence officer, walked into the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan and betrayed Bin Laden for a $25 million reward.

A bounty. Cold hard cash. Maybe more bounties and less surveillance, less torture, would be the smarter strategy? Cheaper, and less degrading for all?

Friday, May 15, 2015

All An Elaborate Cover Story!

You may have thought you knew the story of the "Killing of Bin Laden." If you saw "Zero Dark Thirty,"  the Oscar nominated film written by Mark Boal and directed by Kathryn Bigelow, you may have thought you were watching "the story of history's greatest manhunt for the world's most dangerous man." Many of the details of the movie were also highlighted in reporting from the New York Times. So, yes, like I said, you thought you knew the story…

According to Seymour Hersh, it was all just an elaborate cover story, concocted by the CIA and the U.S. Government. And the story is not the story you thought you knew. Yes, believe it, the CIA lied to cover sources, to cover their asses, to justify torture, to make them look good.  You wonder if Mark Boal and Kathryn Bigelow knew they were just carrying the cover story forward? Were they on the Spook Payroll too?

Once you enter the world of Spooks, of Secret Operations conducted by Special Forces, you enter a hall of mirrors. Who's telling the story? What is their motivation? Who are they covering for? What is their real motivation?

Hersh's article makes fascinating reading. He is one of our last great journalists. A dying breed for sure. He has sources deep in the Spook World, deep in the Military Industrial Complex. You wonder if his reporting is definitive, it reads like it, but of course, we've been fooled before, and once you are fooled, you then look at all accounts somewhat skeptically.

The big news according to Hersh…

1. The U.S. was tipped to Bin Laden's hideout by a high-level Pakistani looking to collect the $25 million dollar reward. He "dropped a dime" on Bin Laden. Torture had nothing to do with finding Bin Laden. The CIA did not track him down by following "Couriers." A guy "ratted" a guy out.

2. The Pakistanis were holding Bin Laden under "house arrest" and kept him as a bargaining chip.

3. Bin Laden was old, an invalid, pretty much isolated and unconnected to the terrorist network. An isolated, handicapped old man.

4. The raid happened with the Pakistani's knowledge. There was no resistance. 

5. Special Forces shot Bin Laden down without a fight. Bin Laden was not armed, did not shoot back.

6. There was no "burial at sea." Bin Laden was shot up so bad, basically his body was blasted into pieces, there was nothing to bury. His remains were scattered, some may be in a secret lab somewhere.

7. The original cover story was that a "drone strike" killed Bin Laden, but the Black Hawk down in Pakistan, called for a new cover story.

Read it. What 's a "fact," what "really happened?" I guess, it depends. Yes, Bin Laden is dead. But the how gets a little fungible. And supposedly the truth does matter. It all depends on who is telling the story, and what their interests are - that's the world of secrecy and Spooks.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Progressives and History!

Paul Krugman is right! Again. How often could I write that sentence? Over, and over, and over again.  He is so right, so often, I think people tend to tune him out. A smart Progressive who looks at the evidence and makes his call. He adjusts his economic models and re-thinks things if the evidence is in conflict with his opinions. How refreshing. Look at the world with open eyes. And adjust! How Progressive. How Liberal! How Smart! Yes, changing your mind in the face of overwhelming evidence is not a fault, or failure.

Progressives look to a better future, but they also should remember the past, no reason to let the backward-looking crowd own the past. Being consistently wrong, and clinging dearly to that wrongness is not an admirable quality.

Krugman: "To hear Republican contenders for President unveil their big ideas, which are to slash taxes on rich people, deregulate banks, and bomb or invade countries we don't like. What could go wrong?"

Yeah, right!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Practical Ethics - In Practice!

I discovered a blog from the University of Oxford this morning, via, Marginal Revolution. It's called Practical Ethics and the first post I've read is entitled: "If Your a Conservative, I'm Not Your Friend." Written by Rebecca Roache.

I can relate!

Seems they had an election in Britain, and the Conservatives won. And their policies will be promoted - their "Austerity" will make war on the poor and middle class. As Roache puts it: 

"to express one’s support for a political party that does these things is as objectionable as expressing racist, sexist, or homophobic views. Racism, sexism, and homophobia are not simply misguided views like any other; views that we can hope to change through reasoned debate (although we can try to do that). They are offensive views. They are views that lose you friends and respect—and the fact that they are socially unacceptable views helps discourage people from holding (or at least expressing) them, even where reasoned debate fails. Sometimes the stick is more effective than the carrot. For these reasons, I’m tired of reasoned debate about politics—at least for a day or two. I don’t want to be friends with racists, sexists, or homophobes. And I don’t want to be friends with Conservatives either."

Yes, Practical Ethics indeed!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

U2 Busks Back Into our Good Graces!

This little video made me so happy. Put a big smile on my face. And reminded me how much I enjoy listening to these guys play music. 

Good to see Bono up and about, looks like he's recovered from his bicycle accident. Love the blond hair and goatee. Plus of course, there's something classic about an Irish soul singer in a cowboy hat.

And to see U2 playing an acoustic set in a NYC subway station is just the best. They sound great. Maybe as part of their penance for that spam record, on their next tour, they do a set in a train station in every town on the tour?

That would be cool...

Monday, May 11, 2015

You Say You Want to Shop!

In the consumerist paradise, the ever-expanding, all-consuming utopia of market capitalism, there are no revolutions, no revolutionaries; there are only new products - gizmos, gadgets, bright new, shiny things, AND new, multi-platform advertising campaigns - mobile, desktop, TV, print,  AND new demographics - micro-market segments which are identified and groomed,  AND smart, discerning shoppers!

To shop or be shopped. That is the question...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Science and the Market - More Powerful than Dirty Hippies!

The Beatles (see previous post), stopped being a band in 1970. Some think that was the true "end of the Sixities." But the music, and the legend, continued, and so did the seismic changes unleashed during that decade.

Think about it: Civil Rights, Gay Rights, Woman's Liberation, Eastern Religion, World Music, Yoga, Meditation, the Environmental Movement, Organic Food, Left-Wing Politics, LSD, Marijuana, the Drug Revolution all were on the ascendant in the Western world. And the Beatles were at the forefront of most of this social upheaval.

They were the most popular, most fully embraced Pop band in the world, but they were also quite experimental, avant garde and unconventional. They got "weird" around 1966 and they kept getting weirder and weirder until their breakup.

They actually did get more popular than Jesus. And Lennon, after taking massive quantities of LSD, briefly believed that he was Christ reincarnated. Freaky. In many ways, the Beatles do seem bound by their time. Some of their music is timeless, but at the same time, you can't really understand those songs without knowing what was going on in the 60's. World shattering events. The Revolution in the Head.

That decade was more than fashion, more than long hair and peace symbols. And then there was the counter-narrative, primarily promoted from the Right, Nixon, Reagan, Thatcher - that the 60's shook the foundations of the West - destroyed elitism, destroyed the shared values of our culture. We were told it was the "Dirty, Fucking Hippies" who ruined the West.

Ian MacDonald points out that this was only partly true, and not really true at all. The most revolutionary forces in our society, the overpowering forces that destroyed the old ways, that knocked tradition on it's ass, were actually Science and The Market! All that social upheaval actually arose out of the ashes of the triumph of these two overwhelming, devastating and tradition-crushing phenomena.

The Hippies were just looking for another way. But ultimately everything was consumed by market forces. Science upset the apple cart. Money flowed and everyone and everything became just another market segment, a demographic, and advertising target.

World Religions looked foolish and unimportant. Money and Consumerism became the new Religion. Money really the last thing bringing us all together.

Which is the world we live in today. The Left is irrelevant. Just another demographic to sell products to. And the Right is irrelevant too. A backward movement based on a world that no longer exists. But they do have their spending money. Buying luxury cars and Led Zeppelin remasters.

The Beatles music reflects a time when everything changed. That's why it still resonates. Even if we don't totally understand what it means. Those days are gone, gone, gone. Science and the Market rule the day. Music is just a branch of the entertainment complex. The Beatles were the first and last band that really did matter. And what made them important wasn't just about them. They were more than a band, they were a social/cultural phenomena, they were in the vanguard of the Counter-Culture. They were Avatars, Holy Fools, Bodhisattvas, Rich, Young, Silly, Crazed, Super-talented, a challenge to all the old ways.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

You Think You Know the Story...

Ian MacDonald's "Revolution in the Head," is the best book about The Beatles music. No question, no doubt. It is definitive. He listens to every track they ever recorded. And he listens with intelligence. The intelligence of a musician, a producer, and someone who was there, when it all really, really mattered.

MacDonald almost does the impossible. He makes you go back and listen to the amazing catalog of songs with new ears. But maybe even more impressive is his ability to put the Beatles and their music in the context of the 60's. 

The essay about the 60's fronting the book is astonishingly great. Totally opens your eyes and head to the "revolution in the head," that resonates all these many years later. To hear the Beatles music, without understanding the times, the politics, the social upheaval, the rise of the counterculture, totally drains the Beatles songs of their power and resonance.

You can enjoy the music without the context, but so much is missing. The story of the times, the seismic changes of the culture are reflected and anticipated in the music. To really get it, you need to understand where the Beatles came from, and how they impacted everyone around them.

And MacDonald shows us that the 60's never died, that all that change and upheaval of that decade resonated through the 70's, 80's, 90's and 00's. The Beatles represented, reflected a time and place, they birthed Pop Culture as we know it. And nothing was ever the same again. They surfed the energy, and added to it, and strangely, almost impossibly helped mold it.

It's a story you think you know, but if you haven't read MacDonald's book, you don't really know the story. Really.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Keep the Game Going!

Some days it's all just about keeping the game going. Don't make any hard decisions. Don't make any final judgements. Just roll along. Keep moving. Keep your head up, or down, carry on.

It's just another phase, all part of the process. Something will turn up. The tide will change. Don't sit still. Don't brood. Don't think too hard. 

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Active Segregation!

Racial segregation in big cities of America didn't just magically happen. It was a policy, a plan, that was thought up and enforced. It happened in cities all over our country.

Chicago, the city I live in, is one of the most segregated cities in the country. It didn't just happen. Local governments made sure it happened. Baltimore too had an active segregationist policy that was instituted and enforced starting in 1910.

So, when people ask, "Why," and "How," we must acknowledge that there is a clear history. People made it happen and worked to keep it that way. 

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Lord Litter - Renegade Sonic Pioneer!

Our favorite DJ in the Universe is Lord Litter, broadcasting out of Berlin, Germany. He has 2 shows, one on Radio Marabu, and one on KWTF in California. His radio show is called Lord Litter's Magic Music Box.

It is a cool, unique show. You will hear music you don't hear anywhere else. Including whitewolfsonicprincess! Yes, Lord Litter has been playing songs from our album 10+1 for the last few months.

It is so gratifying to find a renegade sonic pioneer like Lord Litter. His shows always feature unique, challenging, out of the box music. So happy to be included in that club! Check it out! Our song "Sad-Eyed Prophet Reprise" is featured smack dab in the middle of the show.

Don't know German, but love how Lord Litter pronounces our band name!

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Motto to Live By

My good friend advises: "Don't do anything ridiculous." Yes, good advice. When you are deciding what to do with yourself, you should make sure you don't do anything extremely silly or unreasonable. Sounds reasonable. But maybe not as easy as you think, I mean, we often find ourselves in situations of silliness, and our lives are bounded by unreason, but still it sounds like a good motto to live by.

Monday, May 04, 2015

We Can Solve the Problem!

Are there some problems that can't be fixed? Like racism? Is it so entrenched in our culture, our psyche, our DNA that it can't be overcome?

I don't think so. 

It may be one of those deep, entrenched problems, which is entwined with poverty and lack of education, and much of society may have stacked the deck between "winners" and "losers," but most of this is "cosmetic." It is not inevitable. 

A change of consciousness can happen in the blink of an eye. If we all admit there is a problem, that it can and should be fixed, that it's in all our interests, that it's best for society to ensure that people are treated equally, to have the same opportunities, to be educated, and to have the common comforts of a decent existence then we all have a common goal.  We can work together to create a better world.

That puts me in the idealistic camp. Still, we can't just wish it to happen. We all have to do our part, and be willing to sacrifice for each other. As the Dali Lama likes to say, we must admit "we are all human beings first!" We are the same. And our differences should be celebrated, they should inspire us, not divide us.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

A Big Problem

Cops in Baltimore charged with homicide. The Union responded to this as if this was an outrage. Don't we all give the Cops the "benefit of the doubt?"

Nope. We shouldn't. A young man is shackled. His hands and feet bound by iron. He is in the back of a police van. No seatbelt. And mysteriously he ends up with a severe spinal injury. And dies.

What happened? No explanation. And the Cops act like we should all just move along. Never mind. Business as usual.

And of course, that is a problem. A big problem. And it's not just isolated in Baltimore. 

Here is the "tick-tock" of Freddie Gray's arrest and death. It all started with a look. A man looked in the eyes of a Cop. 

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Human Being's Death Wish Realized: AI

You can read Sci-Fi as just forward-thinking entertainment. Or you can read it as a critique of the now, or maybe you can read it as "precognition." Future sight, second sight. Check out Philip K. Dick for a robust body of work that shows how Sci-Fi can be entertainment, critique and future sight.

Are we on the path of building AI, Super- Intelligent Robots, who will then come to the realization that what is best for the survival of the Planet, the Universe, and themselves is that they should exterminate all Human Beings?

Yes. How many Sci-Fi novels and movies show the machines taking over? Starting a war against Human Beings? Is this all just a dread fantasy? Or is there some kind of logical inevitability to the whole scenario? Is that actually Future sight, second sight?

And maybe that's our hidden wish, our secret desire. As we hurtle forward, consuming everything in our path, well past the point of sustainability for the little blue planet we have over-run, maybe we will intentionally build the machines, the AI geniuses that will come to understand that the best way forward for all life, is to eliminate human beings.

That leads us to this morning's burning topic: How Humans Can Keep Super-Intelligent Robots From Murdering Us All.

Friday, May 01, 2015

American Apartheid!

Riot or Rebellion? 

Riot: a large group of people act in a violent and uncontrolled way.

Rebellion: an effort by many people to change the government or leader of a country by the use of  protest or violence.

A riotous rebellion? Or a rebellious riot? Sparked by a young Black Man, being manhandled to death by Police, again! Maybe a little bit of both. We have a problem America. American Apartheid.

And where does lawlessness and violence originate? Science tells us lead, yes, lead, is one of the culprits. Maybe people aren't the free agents we think they are? And just who is the victim? A generation of young people poisoned by lead, their brain development stunted via lead paint and leaded gasoline. Youngsters, shaped and formed by their environment. Makes you wonder if all your preconceptions about violence and poverty, and young black males is totally, completely wrong. 

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