Monthly Archives: November 2012

To the Moon, Alice, To the Moon!

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The Dissident Frogman doesn’t come online much anymore, but when he does – Pow, right in the kisser!  (Did I date myself with post’s title?  Will it make a difference to y that I only saw the Honeymooners in reruns?)  If you want to get a little prescient commentary on where the election is taking us, look no further than France.  If you are not too afraid, read the whole post.  Here’s a few salient paragraphs to whet your appetite.

“Hear ye, hear ye, Great American Tribe: thou hast lost thy ways and hast forged thyself chains of iron. Hear the Revelations of the prophet Frogman, he who wandered through the barren wasteland of Europa under a wooden yoke and witnessed the terrible plight and dreadful blight that will now descend upon thee:

TO THE GLOATERS crowing over the comments sections of every conservative and Republican websites: burn through every gallons of that sweet euphoria as quickly and fully as you can, for it will very soon become stale and leave only the putrid taste of rot in your mouth. I know you, for I’ve seen your peers and walk among them in the Land of the Frenchmen. Tomorrow, the effects of your plebiscite will pierce through the exhilaration of your victory, and they will crush you as much as they afflict those you mock today.

Just as they did in France, the policies you champion will affect everyone’s standards of living, directly and indirectly. If you are wealthy today, your wealth will dwindle tomorrow. If you are already poor or believe yourself so, you will never rise and prosper.”

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Rant #2 from the Monster Hunter Blog Comments

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Amen, Saintonge235, Amen.  Thanks for the history lesson.  And I’d love to see some new writing on your WordPress site, hint hint!

saintonge235 commented on There I go, offending people again….

Bob W.:         You say:  I was brought up in a liberal union household. I was taught that hard work was the most important thing. I was taught that you work your way up, and you don’t take welfare or handouts, but that they need to be there for those who need them. … I don’t think you have a realistic view of what liberals are really about.

Well Bob, I’m an amateur historian.  I’m also the son of a welfare mother who got off welfare by getting a job with the welfare bureaucracy (WE NOW PAUSE FOR VARIOUS SMART REMARKS ABOUT GETTING OFF WELFARE BY STAYING ON WELFARE . . . THANK YOU; MOVING ON).  I have to tell you that you don’t know what liberals are really really about.         Back in 1968, when we had just gotten off welfare, a nice young white, middle-class summer school teacher told my class about a shocking encounter she’d had the day before.  At a basketball court, she’d met a nineteen-year old girl with three out-of-wedlock children, and a thirteen-year-old with one illegitimate child.  She had just encountered welfare as a voluntarily chosen way of life, and was gobsmacked.         At the time, the nineteen-year-old was eligible for Aid to Families with Dependent Children till the day her youngest child moved out of the house, eligibility being of course extended if she had more children, and the thirteen-year-old would become eligible for that deal the day she became sixteen, as long as she swore “under penalty of perjury” that she didn’t know where the bairn’s father was, and that she received no money from him.  (For a look at how that worked in practice, see George Gilder’s Visible Man, which among other things recounts a sixteen-year-old taking that oath, then going out to lunch with a couple of friends and telling them about how much she loves her child’s father, who lives with them; the acquaintances are welfare workers she ran into at the office the day she applied for welfare, and committed perjury.  It doesn’t occur to the welfare workers to report her to the cops.)         Do you know the history of AFDC?  It was created during the Depression, and Congress was told that only widows with children would be eligible.  After it was law, administrative fiat extended coverage to those never married.  Through the fifties, some efforts were made to get the fathers of out-of-wedlock children to provide support for their kids, and to curtail welfare payments when support was received from the father, or money was earned by the mother, with the aim of getting people off welfare.  In the 1960s the bureaucrats stopped doing that.  It was invasive and intolerant to try to curtail fornication outside marriage, or curb bastardry.  Caring liberals shut that down.         The results of such payments “for those who need them” (your words) was a great likelihood that the mothers would remain in poverty their whole lives (which reduced their life expectancy), that the children would have a much higher likelihood of being murdered or ending in prison, and that the next generation would get the same shitty deal.  Throughout the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties this continued, with the living conditions of the poor getting ever worse (boy, what I could tell you about the housing project we lived in when on welfare, if this wasn’t going to be too long already).  Finally, the evil, uncaring Republicans got control of both houses of Congress, and partially changed this, over the objection of liberals who predicted disaster.  The change is now likely to be undercut by Obama’s administration, which is unilaterally attempting to change the law by executive fiat (arguably illegally, but who cares about law anymore?).  If the welfare rolls start expanding again, and the murder rate among the poor starts rising again, how many liberals do you think will say ‘Gee, maybe we shouldn’t have fucked with welfare’?  Mickey Kaus will say it, and then he’ll tell you to vote for Democrats who will continue that welfare policy.  And he’s the only liberal I can think of who will be that honest about the situation.         You say of Obamacare:

It doesn’t make determinations. It’s pretty simple – it just says that you have to have health insurance. Hell, Obamacare was devised by the Heritage Foundation! The private sector is still in charge!

Sorry, that’s not true.  It does say that certain classes of people have to purchase insurance or pay a tax, but it also says many people with insurance will be legally required to pay much more for than their insurance than it should cost them, in order to subsidize the ‘insurance’ of others.  If the Heritage Foundation came out with a plan to do that, please give me a cite to the plan, and the part about the mandatory subsidies.  I’d really like to read it.         But regardless of what the Heritage Foundation did or didn’t think up, a plan that tells the insurance industry ‘You must sell insurance to some people at a loss, and overcharge others to compensate for that loss’ can NOT be described with the words “the private sector is still in charge” — not honestly, at any rate, by anyone who knows what he’s speaking of.         I leave aside, as unimportant, the people who are going to dropped from full to part time employment to avoid the higher premiums, or whose workplace will just stop offering insurance as an employee benefit.  And it would be churlish to bring up the Republican attempt to allow individuals to buy health insurance with pre-tax dollars, thus giving people more control over their insurance.  Could’t have that.  But I really must ask if you have read the “Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act” from beginning to end.  If so, perhaps you can tell me why a law that supposedly does nothing but require people to buy health insurance runs 906 pages in PDF format?  (The brave may find it here.)  On the other hand, if you haven’t read it from beginning to end, then I have to rate your sentence that says “It’s pretty simple – it just says” as a deliberate lie, since you don’t actually know what’s in it.         Finally, you write:

            I’m against forcing a woman to have an abortion. But I’m also against refusing her an abortion. That’s a decision that the government should stay out of – it’s between her and her doctor.

Let’s try a few slightly different versions of that:

        I’m against forcing a woman to own slaves.  But I’m also against refusing her slaves.  That’s a decision that the government should stay out of — it’s between her and her slave dealer.         I’m against forcing a woman to pimp her five-year old.  But I’m also against refusing to allow her to pimp her five-year-old.  That’s a decision that the government should stay out of — it’s between her and her customer.         I’m against forcing a woman to shoot her kids through the head.  But I’m also against refusing her the right to shoot her kids through the head.  That’s a decision that the government should stay out of — it’s between her and her gun dealer.

The entirety of the abortion argument comes down to this: the “pro-life” group sees the unborn as a human being, with a right to life, and wants the govt. to protect said unborn.   The “pro-choice” groups sees the unborn as having no rights, and thus says its fate may be left to the mother.             I can see how reasonable people might disagree on whether and when an unborn becomes a human being, and acquires a right to life.   I can’t see how a reasonable human being can regard the unborn as a human being, and abortion as the moral equivalent of infanticide, and still say ‘Yeah, go ahead and let the mother murder her child at will.’   Still, I know there are people who say just that.   But I absolutely can’t see how any honest liberal can be blasé about abortion.   Liberalism’s proudest boast is that it cares about the poor, the weak, the powerless.   I can see honest liberals being in favor of policies that I regard as horrendously harmful to the poor, weak, and powerless, precisely because they disagree with me about the effects said policies will have.   But no one can pretend that abortion is anything but killing an unborn something that might or might not already be a human being, and that will certainly become a human being if it lives long enough.   Yet modern liberalism says that a full-term neonate that is in the process of being born, and that can be delivered alive without any physical harm to the mother, can be slaughtered at the mother’s whim.   Nay, further, modern liberalism insists that if the child somehow survives the attempt to kill it and is born alive, it may be finished off by the doctor at the mother’s request.             Joe McCarthy was famously asked if, at long last, he had lost all decency.   Liberals defend outright infanticide as a mother’s sacred right, and congratulate themselves on their humanity.   At long last, liberals, have you lost all honesty?  Have you lost all sanity?

“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”

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One of my favorite things about meditation, mindfulness, prayer, whatever you choose to call it, is the wonderful unity I feel once I’m at peace and all the thoughts emptied from my head.  I can feel that I’m part of something bigger, a wave of souls all feeling and trying to do good, now and forever.  The ego goes, the pride goes, finally the thought goes and then I can hear what I need to hear – the still, small voice speaks.  Not every time, but enough to give me hope.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from my favorite Buddhist, Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen monk, author and peace activist.

“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”

“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”

“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.”

“When you say something really unkind, when you do something in retaliation your anger increases. You make the other person suffer, and he will try hard to say or to do something back to get relief from his suffering. That is how conflict escalates.”

 

 

Another favorite who inspires by his quotes AND his life – Diedrich Bonhoeffer.  I lived an hour and a half from where he was murdered at the end of World War II.

“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”

“In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive. Don’t insist on your rights, don’t blame each other, don’t judge or condemn each other, don’t find fault with each other, but accept each other as you are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts…”

This is one I think of often before I visit friends who’ve lost someone.  “Where God tears great gaps we should not try to fill them with human words.”

Quotes are little inescapable truths that we recognize when someone else says them, don’t you think?

 

Words of Warning and Wisdom

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Merry go round horses

Here’s a great Robert Heinlein quote from one of his books: “Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome.” – Robert Heinlein

And here’s a Tea Party rant today.  See any similarities?  Unless we make the right to vote conditional on paying taxes or being off government support, this is what we will get.

“By any objective measure, Mr. Obama’s first term has been a colossal failure. His signature legislative achievements — the economic stimulus and Obamacare — are unpopular. Unemployment has remained chronically high. Economic growth is sputtering. The recovery is anemic. Inflation is rising. He has presided over multiple, consecutive trillion-dollar-plus budget deficits. He has amassed more than $5 trillion in debt. The national debt is more than $16 trillion — a staggering amount that threatens our economic security. We are sliding toward Greece and impending bankruptcy. Yet the electorate rewarded him with another term.

“Why? The answer is simple and ominous: because more than half the population — 50 percent plus one — is dependent upon government benefits. For the past four years, the Obama administration has created a Franco-German welfare state whose sole purpose is to forge a majority political coalition wedded to the Democratic Party. The stimulus; the health care overhaul; the redirecting of financial resources to the inner cities; the explosion in the number of Americans on food stamps and welfare; the massive spending increases in public education, infrastructure and agriculture; the green-energy boondoggles; the bailouts of the auto industry; the contraceptive mandate; the federal funding of abortion; support for homosexual “marriage”; and pushing amnesty for illegal aliens — all of these measures directly bought off key liberal constituencies, such as unions, public-sector workers, environmentalists, blacks, Hispanics, feminists and the homosexual community.

“In short, America has been fractured into two nations: the tax producers and the tax consumers, the givers and the takers, those who generate wealth and those who exploit it. Mr. Obama has peeled off the larger chunk. The productive classes are being harnessed into subsidizing the nonproductive elements. Statism and sex trump entrepreneurship and self-reliance.”

Zuppa!

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It’s sniffles and flu time.  I was going to get my flu shot on Friday, so I’d have the weekend to recover, but of course my husband starts getting sick so I can pretty much guarantee I’m already incubating something lovely.  It looks like I’ll have to wait a week.  So far it just looks like a head cold, which is never too bad as long as I have tea and a good book.  Currently reading Larry Correia’s Monster Hunters International, and staying under the duvet is never a hardship!

We have provisions to survive – I made Zuppa Toscana last night and it turned out well.  Thank you, Get Crocked website!  We have enough to nosh on soup and yeast rolls for the next two days.  I used a one pound package of Tennessee Pride sausage, hot version-it’s cheaper and there’s not as much sodium (not as much sodium being a relative term for sausage, of course) and the bunch of kale we had in our CSA pickup at the farmer’s market yesterday.  The red pepper flakes from the sausage opened our heads up and the cream combined with the chicken broth and kale got our stomachs ready for the night time cold medicine.  Hmm, think I can stretch this illness long enough to get at least one sick day from work?

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Another Meditation Time

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I read copiously and find little secrets everywhere.  Especially the mysticism of the Catholic Church.  Although a Southern Baptist, I have always been drawn to the beauty and ritual of Catholicism.  See Thomas Merton below – I think we share many of the same feelings.

I ran across this one today at  thinkJesuit.org.  It’s called Rummaging for God – Praying Backwards.  I’m going to add this meditation to the end of my day, along with my one in the morning before work, to see what else I can learn and apply to my spiritual life.  (This is just the meditation part.  Read the whole article for a beautiful explanation of the purpose of this meditation and why Father Hamm’s called it Rummaging.)

A Method: Five Steps

Pray for light. Since we are not simply daydreaming or reminiscing but rather looking for some sense of how the Spirit of God is leading us, it only makes sense to pray for some illumination. The goal is not simply memory but graced understanding. That’s a gift from God devoutly to be begged. “Lord, help me understand this blooming, buzzing confusion.”

Review the day in thanksgiving. Note how different this is from looking immediately for your sins. Nobody likes to poke around in the memory bank to uncover smallness, weakness, lack of generosity. But everybody likes to fondle beautiful gifts, and that is precisely what the past 24 hours contain — gifts of existence, work-relationships, food, challenges. Gratitude is the foundation of our whole relationship with God. So use whatever cues help you to walk through the day from the moment of awakening — even the dreams you recall upon awakening. Walk through the past 24 hours, from hour to hour, from place to place, task to task, person to person, thanking the Lord for every gift you encounter.

Review the feelings that surface in the replay of the day. Our feelings, positive and negative, the painful and the pleasing, are clear signals of where the action was during the day. Simply pay attention to any and all of those feelings as they surface, the whole range: delight, boredom, fear, anticipation, resentment, anger, peace, contentment, impatience, desire, hope, regret, shame, uncertainty, compassion, disgust, gratitude, pride, rage, doubt, confidence, admiration, shyness — whatever was there. Some of us may be hesitant to focus on feelings in this over-psychologized age, but I believe that these feelings are the liveliest index to what is happening in our lives. This leads us to the fourth moment:

Choose one of those feelings (positive or negative) and pray from it. That is, choose the remembered feeling that most caught your attention. The feeling is a sign that something important was going on. Now simply express spontaneously the prayer that surfaces as you attend to the source of the feeling — praise, petition, contrition, cry for help or healing, whatever.

Look toward tomorrow. Using your appointment calendar if that helps, face your immediate future. What feelings surface as you look at the tasks, meetings and appointments that face you? Fear? Delighted anticipation? Self-doubt? Temptation to procrastination? Zestful planning? Regret? Weakness? Whatever it is, turn it into prayer — for help, for healing, whatever comes spontaneously. To round off the examen, say the Lord’s Prayer.

A mnemonic for recalling the five points:
LTJF (light, thanks, feelings, focus, future).
Do it.

Take a few minutes each day to pray through the past 24 hours, and toward the next 24 hours, with that five-point format.

Michelangelo – Genius Painter, Brilliant Poet

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From another one of my favorite blogs, A-Mused.  If you need an uplifting read, highly recommended!  Before you start, or when you finish, you can see a beautiful 360 degree panorama with heavenly music here.

THE SISTINE CHAPEL – “Without having seen the Sistine Chapel, 
it’s not possible to have an idea of what one man is capable of doing” | Goethe

On November 1, All Saint’s Day, Pope Julius II celebrated a mass in the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City for the first time in at least four years. Those who attended were the first people to see one of the most celebrated works of Western art—the magnificent frescoes painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti on the chapel’s ceiling.The earliest witnesses marvelled at the ceiling as much as people today do. Giorgio Vasari, artist and biographer of artists, wrote nearly forty years later that “When the work was thrown open, the whole world could be heard running up to see it, and, indeed, it was such as to make everyone astonished and dumb.”Below, is Michelangelo’s own poem about the awkward parturition of the Sistine Chapel. He provides a refreshing dose of reality. He writes energetically about despair, detailing with relish the unpleasant side of his work on the famous ceiling.

Michelangelo: To Giovanni da Pistoia 
When the Author Was Painting the Vault of the Sistine Chapel” —1509

I’ve already grown a goiter from this torture,
hunched up here like a cat in Lombardy
(or anywhere else where the stagnant water’s poison). https://i2.wp.com/25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mcrk57VSuK1qfvq9bo1_1280.jpg
My stomach’s squashed under my chin, my beard’s
pointing at heaven, my brain’s crushed in a casket,
my breast twists like a harpy’s. My brush,
above me all the time, dribbles paint
so my face makes a fine floor for droppings!

My haunches are grinding into my guts,
my poor ass strains to work as a counterweight,
every gesture I make is blind and aimless.
My skin hangs loose below me, my spine’s
all knotted from folding over itself.
I’m bent taut as a Syrian bow.

Because I’m stuck like this, my thoughts
are crazy, perfidious tripe:
anyone shoots badly through a crooked blowpipe.

My painting is dead.
Defend it for me, Giovanni, protect my honor.
I am not in the right place—I am not a painter.

Translated by Gail Mazur