Archive for October, 2001

Just go here.

Wednesday, October 31st, 2001

Just go here.

People who are viewed as

Wednesday, October 31st, 2001

People who are viewed as intellectually enlightened and informed are increasingly adopting the fanatical view that this conflict needs to become (or is already) a religious war.  The sane moderates maintain in a tragically diminishing voice that this is a political conflict masquerading as a spiritual imperative.  Not to diminish the extremity of the horrors which have occured, but unfortunately, framing this conflict as a merely political one offers only mundane, pedestrian benefits to the powerful elite compared to what they can gain through exploiting the frenzied hysteria of a patriotic American fatwa. 

Who will our Mohammed be?  FDR?  Lincoln?  Washington?  John Adams.  Benjamin Franklin?  George Mohammed Walker Bush?  And when it is all over how will we account for ourselves?  Will we bother to examine our collective conscience then?  Will we feel any need at all to do so? 

We are revealing our true selves as individuals and defining our nation by our response to this attack.  I daresay we are a nation of courageous individuals who, over the last thirty years, have abdicated arguably the greatest democracy (certainly the most powerful democracy) of all time, turning it over to an oligarchy of rich, mostly white, men who are using this crisis for their own narrow, selfish purposes.  They are the real fifth column in any battle brought today by true patriots and defenders of freedom. 

Freedom is not a prize to be awarded to either ‘us’ or ‘them’.  Ideally, freedom tolerates no imposed distinction; there is no ‘them’, only us.  There will always be those who seek rebellion against society and who repudiate the inclusiveness of freedom.  The danger is to adopt their destructive view as our own, to descend into their brand of hatred and to adopt their posture of judgementalism, thus becoming not defenders of freedom’s high ideals, but the petty custodians of some cheap imitation of freedom.  Let whatever distinctions there may be, be only the distinctions which others have chosen for themselves.  Let us not lose our grip on this precious gift of freedom in the tears of our grief, nor in the fever of our just rage. 

It is, least of all, a nation we defend; much more we defend the ideal of a free and open society which can exist anywhere but which, for a couple centuries now and to our great good fortune, has chosen to exist in America.  We are blessed.  Let’s not blow it.

I do not support the

Tuesday, October 30th, 2001

I do not support the so-called Patriot Act.  Since it is now enacted, I do support strict adherance to its ‘sunset’ provision limiting the life of this draconian act. 

I am embarrased to be a human today, on a planet where the dominant free society enacts a law that virtually criminalizes immigrant status.  This exceeds the shame caused by Bush-the-former when he blocked HIV positive people from entering the US. 

What is going on?  Callers to Talk of the Nation on NPR are actually advocating torture for suspected terrorists.  What’s even scarier is that such torture is the scheduled topic for today’s show

I lit candles, watched the

Tuesday, October 30th, 2001

I lit candles, watched the clock, shutdown everything electrical and precious (read: computer and monitor), snuggled into bed and began to read by flashlight.  At 1:30 AM the electrical shut-down in my neighborhood, scheduled for midnight, had still not ocurred.  When I woke, the microwave clock and the caller-id box indicated that there had been no shut-down. 

The candles were nice.  Going to bed early was nice, as was getting up early.  Maybe the lights will go out tonight. 

A sobering excerpt from a

Tuesday, October 30th, 2001

A sobering excerpt from a speech you should read

…  Would you like to know the memorial they would offer the almost six thousand people who died in the attacks?  Or the legacy they would provide the ten thousand children who lost a parent in the horror?  How do they propose to fight the long and costly war on terrorism America must now undertake? 

Why, restore the three-martini lunch; that will surely strike fear in the heart of Osama bin Laden. You think I’m kidding, but bringing back the deductible lunch is one of the proposals on the table in Washington right now. There are members of Congress who believe you should sacrifice in this time of crisis by paying for lobbyists’ long lunches. And cut capital gains for the wealthy, naturally, that’s America’s patriotic duty, too. And while we’re at it, don’t forget to eliminate the Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax, enacted fifteen years ago to prevent corporations from taking so many credits and deductions that they owed little if any taxes. But don’t just repeal their minimum tax; give those corporations a refund for all the minimum tax they have ever been assessed.

You look incredulous. But that’s taking place in Washington even as we meet here in Brainerd this morning. What else can America do to strike at the terrorists?  Why, slip in a special tax break for poor General Electric, and slip inside the Environmental Protection Agency while everyone’s distracted and torpedo the recent order to clean the Hudson river of PCBs. Don’t worry about NBC, CNBC, or MSNBC reporting it; they’re all in the GE family.  …

Bill Moyers, October 16, 2001

There’s more.  Go read it.  The truth hurts; in fact it hurts so much that it might — just maybe, if we are strong and see with open hearts, and if we are brave and feel the full depth and breadth of our national agony — it just might transform us for the better.  There is no question it will transform us — the only question is whether that transformation will be for the better or for the worse. 

I used to write essays

Monday, October 29th, 2001

I used to write essays for my journal, things that took time and tears to produce.  It was not a ‘blog’ kind of writing, not given to the staccato pace of a good weblog.  My journal entries were introspective, reflective and, too often, preachy.  I wanted my writing to have a better perspective, a view not limited to the world of me, I wanted to create these words with a view toward the broader world.  A blog — a thing perhaps best described as a narrative of websurfing, thick with links to and pithy comments about other fascinating websites — seemed a structure that might promote extroversion in my writing (and maybe even in my thinking), a format that might help me get out of myself. 

Every soul did once experience greatness in one of its incarnations.  Every crippled creator today has, somewhere in its karmic record, an experience of flowing, lush, endless-seeming creativity which perfectly and appropriately expressed the contents of every void, and every shadow, and every humble hiding thing within.  And everything has happened already.  In the moment that is life, the moment of the soul, there is no past and no future — all that was and all that will be, very simply, is.  My task is to give that creator, that god, an incarnation in this temporal plane — this existential flatness upon which god has smashed itself, splattering godself into its component parts; you, me, time, space, life, death, love, hope…  I am called to transcend my existence as a mere speck in an enormous abstract stain, to knit from these tenderly intimate, yet infinitely distant parts a coherence of god.  I am called to reclaim from the surface of this canvas, a whole truth, to draw up out of the accidental randomness of that flat reality a real, honest-to-goodness multi-dimensional creation which will be my contribution to the ultimate reassembly of everything into One. 

word Wallowing in the

Monday, October 29th, 2001
word

Wallowing in the balm of self-abuse.  Bomb.  Sometimes only it soothes.  I let reams and reams of words float through my brain, through the day, words like lost waifs that beg with poignant eyes and broken-hearted hope for recognition, or acknowledgement, or even just for some evidence that their existence is not totally and completely superfluous to the world.  Words.  Were. 

Like throwing pennies away.  It’s wrong.  It’s a waste.  I discard the most precious thing that could ever come this way, and I feel powerful — like the five year old who threw the Sunday roast on the kitchen floor.  I want to feel powerful, senselessly powerful in the way a drowning man in desperate panic attacks his rescuer.  I do what I don’t want to do; because I don’t want to die, and I don’t like to cry, and I do not want the responsibility of these precious things, words. 

So I throw them away.  Oh, if you only knew the words from today, the stories they told, the fictions they wove more true than any fact.  Characters with breaking-blooming hearts, plots of universal significance, songs of hoping-eyes brightened, of unlived lives brought to glorious joyous life…  I trash them all.  Then in tears I go back, as now, to recover, reclaim, retrieve; to regain some fragment of that which I discard as the result of trantrums so very infantile — as the result of agonies all too mature.

I must post this — whatever this is — before my electricity is shut off for the night (Mass Electric is doing upgrades in the neighborhood), and before I lose my fickle Internet connection.  The anxiety of the end is always the last reason to start.  Sometimes it is the only reason. 

Annoyingly entertaining.

Thursday, October 25th, 2001

Annoyingly entertaining.

My nausea at the fans

Wednesday, October 24th, 2001

My nausea at the fans of World War III is threatening to progress to projectile vomitting.  As if that is not bad enough, this from some idiot: “…it is now a commonplace notion that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged.”. 

Come again?  I beg your pardon, but I am a liberal, and I have been mugged.  I was 35 and I briefly wanted my mother (who was dead) and then I thought I probably should want a cop — but I recovered from that notion quickly.  Never, for an instant, was I even slightly inclined to any form of conservatism.  I did not, even once, want to scold myself for carrying things of great sentimental value while strolling alone.  I was not confused; I bore no responsibility for the theft of my possessions, the thieves bore total blame.  And though I did not want to see them again, I knew that the greater danger was to fear and hate them, and to engage in the pretense that I could prevent anything similar from ever happening again by who knows what absurd, irrational means — perhaps by costuming myself as poor and destitute before appearing ever again in public. 

Furthermore, if the mugging of this liberal did anything, it made me MORE liberal, wanting to promote investment in more social programs which might have disabused those fatherless high school dropouts of the notion that success in this society was only for others unlike themselves. 

The above quote, speaking of September 11, says that “America has been mugged.”.  Conservatism stockpiles, it worrys and reserves, and it keeps everything it can.  Liberalism casts to the wind, it invests in hopes and in insupportable dreams, and it seeks to give away everything it can.  Conservatism withdraws from what it fears — behind unmatchable military force, expansive police powers, and more severe social stratifications, and it seeks to make greater distinctions between itself and others.  Liberalism embraces what it fears — inviting its detractors to join its internal debates, refusing to make labels into badges of entre and even refusing to create seclusions which one might need entre into, and it seeks to minimize distinctions between itself and others; indeed it seeks to diminish all distinctions. 

A former liberal, become conservative, is a person who has learned fear.  A liberal who remains a liberal simply knows the difference. 

Insightful.

Wednesday, October 24th, 2001

Insightful.

The Times’,CAPTION,’thetimes.co.uk’, HEIGHT, 15, LEFT,

Wednesday, October 24th, 2001

The Times’,CAPTION,’thetimes.co.uk’, HEIGHT, 15, LEFT, BELOW);” onmouseout=”return nd();”>This will not help dissuade aggrieved Muslims from accusing the West of bias. 

Is there a real life? 

Sunday, October 21st, 2001

Is there a real life?  I know others have lived one.  I do not know how they found it, though.  Was it a chance opportunity which presented a new trajectory for life, an illness that unveiled another door, a blockage which redirected the flow?  Or was there an irrepressible urging, unknown even to the one being urged, a force that in most lives never finds its freedom, which in one life did?  Sometimes real life seems to happen as the result of a choice, and sometimes it seems to never happen, no matter how much you try to choose it. 

The longing to produce great inspirations didn?t produce anything but more longing. 
-Sophie Kerr

Well, what’s wrong with that?  I mean, there’s been some things in my life — like the longings I harbored for a straight boy or two when I was in high school — longings which, if satisfied, would have left me terrified and dumb.  Indeed, on occasion those romantic longings might have been satisfied had I not been paralyzed by the prospect.  So maybe the longing is not so bad; it seems I may have chosen to continue the longing instead of accepting the longing’s resolution.  But that’s disingenuous.  The longing is bad if, out of fear, it becomes artificial and insincere — a refuge from that which is ostensibly longed for.  If I choose to remain in the wilderness at the city’s edge, though I profess to be on a quest for civilization, then I am lying.  And lamentable. 

So why am I afraid of the inspiration that lies dormant within me?  Why am I afraid to emerge? 

Lately, I have buried myself within an excess 40 pounds of cover.  I must be getting uncomfortably close to the edge of my wilderness. 

Earth Web Sites

Saturday, October 20th, 2001

Earth Web Sites

On the other hand, fedworld.gov

Saturday, October 20th, 2001

On the other hand, fedworld.gov is still posting these images, which thoroughly invalidates the premise of my previous post. 

Nevermind.

University of Wisconsin-Madison has stopped

Saturday, October 20th, 2001

University of Wisconsin-Madison has stopped serving my favorite desktop wallpaper, which were weather satellite images of the US (one of the east coast and another of the west coast). 


I suppose if enemies of America want to know what the weather was (or more specifically, the cloud patterns, not the actual weather) on May 11, 2001, this photo will help.  If they want to know what the weather is today thay can still go here.  News flash to the government: Just because it’s a satellite image doesn’t mean it qualifies as intelligence.  And just because we do it out of fear does not mean it is intelligent. 

I am wide open for attack here; what possible benefit is there in having an image of my planet on my desktop, from a satellite in geostationary orbit, updated every 30 minutes?  None, of course.  There is no value to the comfort of seeing us as a single earth from an impossible altitude, no advantage to observing — as if removed from it all — the peaceful countenance of our strife- and hate-riddled world, and of course no gain in preserving (as much as possible) the way we lived our lives before September 11 — including such frivolities as a desktop with panache. 

If they are looking for Florida or Texas, they know where to find them without this image.  Concealing information that might be useful to terrorists is not the purpose of removing these images from the Internet.  This image has a resolution of about a mile — objects smaller than that do not appear as discreet objects, rather they are melded into their surroundings.  Furthermore these images remained available up until October 18, 2001, a full five weeks after the WTC attack.  Even as uncharitable as is my opinion of governmental competence, I think if these images mattered, they’d have been gone sooner.  There could be a lot of reasons that this view has been blocked, the misconception that it has a strategic value not least among them.  Forgive my cynicism, but five weeks after the fact is about when I would expect the newly assembled iron fist of Homeland Security to start tightening, and the place where oppression — however well intentioned it may be — first occurs is at educational institutions where free thought and dissent are nurtured and cultivated. 

Shame on the University of Wisconsin for not protesting.  It may be politically impossible to sustain such a protest in this case, since public access to satellite images is pretty much doomed these days, no matter how useless they might be to our enemies.  But the truth of the matter, both technically and morally, is that government should keep its hands off when compelling and legitimate government interests are not at stake.  The thing I fear is that the government today does have interests which are threatened by academic autonomy, as such those interests are illegitimate. 

Where did the free world go?