Monthly Archives: September 2012

Wondering Aloud

Will the years treat us well

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Morning Reads

President Morsi of Egypt makes the case for democracy in the New York Times, while Henry Porter at The Guardian presents the other side of the coin.

An excellent article in the NY Times on data center power consumption. It makes Blogger’s new user interface more bearable I suppose.

Apple’s new data center  gets some context at ARS. The first link is PR the second is smart kids, the context is money.

And some excellent harmony from the blogosphere.

More Alike Than We Care To Admit

Josh has a post up on Dylanology which is an interesting read,

It took me a second to sort out the worlds collide moment. Because if you’re a big fan of an artist at some level you imagine (baselessly) that you’re a kindred spirit somehow with everyone else who is. And yet here I am (or there I was) realizing that I’m on the verge of a lawsuit with this dude over his completely loopy documentary about how Obama is some sort of Afro-Marxist Manchurian candidate.

Now, how these two things fit together I really have no idea. Dylan’s politics are largely inscrutable. As a devotee of Dylan’s lyrics I would suggest there’s an undernoted strain of cultural conservatism lurking in some of their recesses. And yet, well, c’mon, I got no idea.

I’ve got Dylan’s new album and I think it one of his most enjoyable albums to date, but I have to admit to never trying to understand exactly what he is saying, and to whom, in any of his songs, nor for that matter any other poem or song by other artists because I think to some extent we internalize the words with the vibes we’re packing, which I think any poet understands, but with a songwriter we have the added impact of the tune itself playing on our senses which we put together in our own combination of feelings and thoughts that are totally divorced from the songwriter or poets feelings and thoughts.

I am reminded of the guy that climbed over John Lennon’s wall at his farm house and walking up to the porch and actually getting to meet the man, which in all it’s senses is not what, or who, the guy was expecting. We can only put our load on these people in our own heads however, as John pointed out, he wrote songs but after that he was just another guy. I could be wrong about it all but I like to assume that the video of the fellow eating at John’s table is the same table as the one that George Harrison was sitting at when he came by to play on “How do you sleep,” and George ate there too. In many ways none of us is too far removed from any of the three people mentioned at all.

Bob’s a little pissed off, well maybe a lot, in this interview with Rolling Stone,

 I’m working within my art form. It’s that simple. I work within the rules and limitations of it. There are authoritarian figures that can explain that kind of art form better to you than I can. It’s called songwriting. It has to do with melody and rhythm, and then after that, anything goes. You make everything yours. We all do it.

If you think about it, it’s not just the artists that do it either, you and I do it, with them and their work, and with each other and our own works.  And so it is easier to understand what he is saying,

 Later in the interview, Gilmore presses Dylan for more details on his ideas.  “You can go and learn about it from the Catholic Church,” Dylan says. “You can learn about it in some old mystical books, but it’s a real concept . . . So when you ask your questions you’re asking them to a person who’s long dead. You’re asking them to a person that doesn’t exist.”

 We have historical memories of people that we actually grew up with, and yet none of those people exist any longer either. If you don’t see a sibling, or friend for thirty years, then neither one of you have any other basis to go on than the historical record. If you interview Bob Dylan he doesn’t even have that, even if you do. There is absolutely no reason to expect him to do so, but I would imagine that most interviewers do, after all he’s been so influential. In a way it dehumanizes the man.

Politics isn’t so subtle.

Largest Protest In Benghazi Since Revolution

The BBC reports:

At least four people have been killed in the Libyan city of Benghazi after military police and protesters took over militia bases.

The violence followed a day of protests by tens of thousands of citizens demanding an end to the armed groups.

The bases include the HQ of the Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia, suspected of involvement in an attack on the US consulate in the city.

It then wonders off into the weeds a little,  but returns,

Earlier, some 30,000 protesters marched through Benghazi calling for an end to the armed groups and a return to the rule of law.

The NY Times reports:

At the seized headquarters of another militia, protesters burned and pillaged a large number of weapons, and hundreds of looters could be seen walking away with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.
The killing of the ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, a well-liked figure in Benghazi because he had worked closely with the rebels who toppled Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi last year, appeared to be the catalyst for the protests on Friday, though hardly its only cause. 
The militias, which started forming soon after the February 2011 uprising against Colonel Qaddafi began in this eastern Libyan city, emerged as a parallel and often menacing presence after his downfall in October 2011, seizing territory for themselves and asserting their authority over the fledgling government.

 The Washington Post article is here,

I know I am repeating myself here, but there are many people in America who wish the revolutions in the Arab world failure, for their own domestic agendas I suppose, but I myself am happy for the people of Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia, my thoughts and prayers are with you, and I continue to urge peace and reconciliation both within your nations and in the region as a whole.

One must not overlook powerful forces in America that wish you ill, either for religious or geopolitical reasons. It is my highest hope that the people of the region will disappoint them completely.

The lesson of Iran should not be lost, the memory of the US led overthrow of a democratic government in that nation should be warning enough. To this I have no answer. I can only imagine that the folly will continue unabated so be forewarned.

I cannot be said often enough, but the authoritarians have no tools or response to non-violence. Peace begins within, may God grant you that.

Hmm

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It’s That Freedom Of Conscience Thing

It goes to the head.

Three-quarters of the world’s 7 billion population live in countries with high levels of government restriction on religion or where there exist serious “social hostilities” involving faith issues, according to researchers, with the US and the UK among countries showing a worrying rise in religious discrimination.

A research project conducted by the US thinktank Pew Research Centre‘s Forum on Religion and Public Life, whose findings were published on Thursday, identified a sharp rise in religious restrictions worldwide. It reports a 6% increase in restrictions in the four years until 2010.

It’s the beacon on the hill, lamp on top of the basket stuff.

A Stranger In A Deranged Land

*Grokking the big bucks,

One of the questions that popped up was the road signs that accompanied the highway and bridge work of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Apparently, these cost $20 million of the $785 billion dollars spent on that stimulus.

I told listeners it was disingenuous (I believe I used the words “idiotic”) to discuss such a piddly sum relative to a $14 trillion economy, and that we didn’t have time to go over such meaningless (in government terms) sum.

There are two things I wish I had time to discuss on the air:

snip

Hence, someone can easily grok a $20 million expenditure as “large”, but a $14 trillion economy is simply beyond their ability to comprehend.

 *Cultural reference for the uninformed

What’s Wrong With Kansas

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The House yesterday passed a far-reaching new farm bill that preserves the existing system of subsidies for commercial farmers and adds billions of dollars for conservation, nutrition and new agricultural sectors.

Passage of the 741-page bill by a vote of 231 to 191, after partisan battling unusual for farm legislation, was a major achievement for the new Democratic leadership.

 07/31/12