Thursday, February 28, 2019


Dogs live life to the fullest because they appreciate the present moment - a ball, a friend,
a treat, a touch, a sunbeam or a nap.  

Unlike dogs, who can find great joy in the present moment - humans spend time worrying
about today, tomorrow or yesterday. We are intelligent enough to know that there is
inescapable suffering in the world. No matter how hard we try to prevent, or escape
suffering, we are left with a transient world. Nothing is permanent including our lives
and the lives of those we love.

Religious, spiritual or philosophical paths can help us accept that sorrow, loss
and suffering are inevitable and give us the wisdom to appreciate the transitory
precious things in life all the more. Misguided notions of success-theology, the
advertising industry and society in general teach that material possessions are
the key to happiness. Anyone who has loved a dog knows otherwise.

Dear God help me to be as enlightened as my dog.


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

A New Meaning For Antifa

We are either in, or entering into, a new post-enlightenment dark age. This is a post-factual age where feeling and emotion trump logic and reason.

How did this happen?

America has become a nation of children.

People who stubbornly assert their freedom as Americans to believe whatever they want based on how they feel.

Adults who can't or won't grow up.

As a baby boomer I think of the generation before mine and how it felt to have adults in the room. Adults who fought a World War, survived a Great Depression, worked out a New Deal, built an interstate highway system, sent a man to the moon - and acted like - adults.

Now we are a nation of cartoon watching, video game playing, short pants wearing, plastic surgery enhanced; children - squalling and squawking because we have been victimized by some other group of children. Our debates have the intellectual quality of calling each other poop heads or fart brains.

You want to believe - yes we want to believe.

We want to and will believe anything - FEMA concentration camps (you bet), Trilateral Commission (sure why not), Soros (oh don't get me started), Vaccines Cause Autism (feels true), Obama's a Muslim and a citizen of Kenya (there's some proof somewhere) , College campuses overrun by radical leftists (for the last 60 years no less), scary black or brown people all over (oh my), contrails and black helicopters (scarrrrry), bigfoots and E.T. (I feel they exist so they do) we need our bug out bags and 30 clip magazines before the SHTF brother...

We have alternative facts baby...or no facts at all - we have truthiness which is better than truth because truth is hard (you can't handle it). Truthiness allows for simple gut-felt solutions to complex problems without all that effort that goes into actually being a free, thinking, human being.

So before we slip into a post factual and very dark world lets all join hands in the new Antifa (Anti-Fantasy) movement. You will join a group of citizens who believe the solutions to societies problems lie in science, data and facts -------- and in adults acting like adults.


"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me."

1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

From the book - "Public Opinion" written by Walter Lippmann in 1921

"For the real environment is altogether too big, too complex, and too fleeting for direct acquaintance. We are not equipped to deal with so much subtlety, so much variety, so many permutations and combinations. And although we have to act in that environment, we have to reconstruct it on a simpler model before we can manage with it." 
"Since position and contact play so big a part in determining what can be seen, heard, read, and experienced, as well as what it is permissible to see, hear, read, and know, it is no wonder that moral judgment is so much more common than constructive thought. Yet in truly effective thinking the prime necessity is to liquidate judgments, regain an innocent eye, disentangle feelings, be curious and open-hearted."  
"Theoretically, if each fact and each relation had a name that was unique, and if everyone had agreed on the names, it would be possible to communicate without misunderstanding. In the exact sciences there is an approach to this ideal, and that is part of the reason why of all forms of world-wide cooperation, scientific inquiry is the most effective." 
"Millions of those who are watching him can read hardly at all. Millions more can read the words but cannot understand them. Of those who can both read and understand, a good three quarters we may assume have some part of half an hour a day to spare for the subject. To them the words so acquired are the cue for a whole train of ideas on which ultimately a vote of untold consequences may be based." 
"The mass of absolutely illiterate, of feeble-minded, grossly neurotic, undernourished and frustrated individuals, is very considerable, much more considerable there is reason to think than we generally suppose. Thus a wide popular appeal is circulated among persons who are mentally children or barbarians, people whose lives are a morass of entanglements, people whose vitality is exhausted, shut-in people, and people whose experience has comprehended no factor in the problem under discussion. The stream of public opinion is stopped by them in little eddies of misunderstanding, where it is discolored with prejudice and far fetched analogy."
"Under modern industrialism thought goes on in a bath of noise. If its discriminations are often flat and foolish, here at least is some small part of the reason."  
"The intolerable burden of thought" is a burden when the conditions make it burdensome. It is no burden when the conditions are favorable. It is as exhilarating to think as it is to dance, and just as natural. 
From the book - "Public Opinion" written by Walter Lippmann in 1921. 

Monday, February 25, 2019

So You're Thinking of Buying a Cow?

This brochure from the University of Wyoming gives
some basics you’ll need to know.

Here’s a few basics that stand out to me.

You buy the cow in November and it weighs 700
pounds.You then feed the cow until June and it
weighs 1100 pounds. After butchering the cow you
end up with 450 pounds of beef.

For that 450 pounds of beef you’ll feed the cow 3000
pounds of hay and 1350 pounds of grain.

Your total expenditures for raising that cow are
$1,845.86. If you skip buying and raising a cow
you can go to the grocery store and buy your
450 pounds of beef for $2,081.25. Cow growers,
like all farmers, operate on very small margins.


Actually the thing that really stands out to me is
that you will feed a cow 4,350 pounds of food to
get 450 pounds of food you can eat. Why not just
cut out the middleman(cow) and eat the hay and
grain yourself? Alfalfa hay is high in protein.

If your a human, with only one stomach and a weak
set of chompers, eating hay is not a good
choice for feeding yourself. We grow alfalfa
to feed cows not people - silly.

What if instead of alfalfa we used that land to grow
peas, lentils or soybeans? That means we’d miss
the smell of fresh cut alfalfa (if you’ve never smelled
it that’s a pity) but the upsides when it comes to
saving our planet probably outweigh the downsides.


I’m not going to bore you and myself with a lot of
facts and figures to make a point of why not eating,
or cutting back on eating, beef is good for the
environment. Just think about it...we use petroleum
powered machines to grow and transport crops to
use as food for cows. If instead of growing and
transporting cow food, we grow and transport
human food, it reduces the amount of CO2 we are
putting into atmosphere. Right?

How much CO2 you ask? I don’t know and neither do
you - partly because we live in a society where cows
are sacred. Not Hindu sacred but McDonald’s
sacred. Talking about the negative impact of beef on
health or the environment is a bit of a taboo in the
good old US of A.

I kept reading interesting stories in the Guardian
(an independent non-US newspaper) about how
cutting back on beef consumption reduces our
carbon footprint and is an important element in
combating climate change, but wasn’t
seeing much of anything like that coverage in
the New York Times or Washington Post.

If you would like to confirm for yourself that there
is some bias when it comes to beef and climate
change - search The Guardian, New York Times
and Washington Post using the search term
“beef climate change”.

Here I did it for you…

The Guardian
The New York Times
Washington Post

See what I’m talking about?

The Post has some relevant articles relegated to
the food or wonkblog section, the Times not much
and The Guardian puts articles on the front page.


Yes for sure it’s complicated - lots of people are
employed in raising, selling, transporting and
cooking cows. If we all turn into Tofu heads what
are all the people employed by Burger King,
McDonalds, Wendy’s, Carl Juniors going to do?
Good question but they’ll be replaced by robots
soon enough anyway so not exactly a convincing
argument for continuing to eat dead cows.


Here’s a small science lesson about the carbon cycle
before I go.

Plants absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide to grow.
In that growth cycle they output oxygen. Plants
absorb carbon. Petroleum is a super-concentrated
form of plant matter. There’s a lot of dead plants
(carbon) in that gallon of gas. When the gas
combusts in our internal combustion engines
we release a whole bunch of carbon dioxide,
a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.

Scientists have known for over a hundred years that
one way to warm up a planet is to create
greenhouse gases like CO2. James Hansen testified
before Congress over thirty years ago how humans
use of fossil fuels was causing the climate to change.
Ronald Reagan pulled the solar panels off the White
House roof, installed by Jimmy Carter, and
for good measure rolled back the EPA CAFE
standards. Money talked then as now, and people
wanted to believe in myths provided to them by a
Hollywood actor, so they did, but I'm not really
interested in assigning blame - we are all culpable.
I can't help but think we all want future generations
to live in a world that includes the Monarch butterfly.

Did you know water vapor is a potent greenhouse

It is indeed which leads us to one of the vexing
challenges of studying our climate and how it’s
changing. Changes to the climate are non-linear.
There are feedback loops all over the place that
we don’t understand completely because we can’t
model them accurately. Here’s what I mean -

As the oceans, rivers and lakes warm - more
water evaporates which means we have more
of that strong greenhouse gas, water vapor,
in the atmosphere. This warmer air is able to hold
more water vapor than colder air which only
exacerbates the problem.
See how this works?

Water evaporates, causing higher temperatures,
causing more water to evaporate causing even
higher temperatures. That’s what’s known as a
positive feedback loop in control theory.

Enough for now - whatever food you choose to use
to power your body, be good to each other.


Saturday, February 23, 2019

Real Men Don't Punch Down

I was in Montana last summer and saw a young father with his family. He was wearing a t-shirt that said "Trump Strong".

I felt pity for that young man with his t-shirt praising a man-child bully and entitled spoiled brat, who's demonstrations of being "strong" included making fun of a disabled reporter.

I felt shame, that some segment of the population of our country, could be so ignorant.

Saddened that people in this country are hurting so badly that they are willing to give allegiance to a dangerous despot who will use their pain to ensure his (and his cronies) gain.

That level of ignorance brings to mind something Walter Lippmann wrote in 1921 -

"The mass of absolutely illiterate, of feeble-minded, grossly neurotic, undernourished and frustrated individuals, is very considerable, much more considerable there is reason to think than we generally suppose. Thus a wide popular appeal is circulated among persons who are mentally children or barbarians, people whose lives are a morass of entanglements, people whose vitality is exhausted, shut-in people, and people whose experience has comprehended no factor in the problem under discussion. The stream of public opinion is stopped by them in little eddies of misunderstanding, where it is discolored with prejudice and far fetched analogy."

It's shameful and frightening, how some American's - who legitimately feel that their interests have not been served by the government for decades, are willing to suspend disbelief and live in a fantasy world where the current president is not a complete and total embarrassment, but rather someone to be praised and honored. Particularly when we consider what people in other countries have to say about Individual-1

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Refusing to Step Down from the Bridge

Losing the ratings war and having your show cancelled is tough for some fantasy figures. I anticipate that in 2020 when the fantasy figure occupying the White House is asked to step down we will see a similar inability to deal with reality.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

In Politics - Young People Are Our Future

In the 2016 presidential election Donald Trump lost the vote by wide margins for voters under the age of 45.

For those who were 18-29 years old Trump received 36 percent of the vote.

For those who were 30-44 years old Trump received 41 percent of the vote.

Why was Trump so unpopular with voters under 45?

Fox News and Right Wing Hate Radio are not particularly popular with the younger crowd.

Younger people are less fearful than older people in general. The two most significant issues for older people who voted for Trump were immigration and terrorism - which Fox News and Right Wing Hate Radio has taught them to fear.

Younger people have the technological savvy to pick whatever media sources they want and don't have to wait for Hannity or Carlson or Fox and Friends to come on cable TV to tell them who to hate and what to be afraid of.

I heard Bernie say that he won more votes from that younger cohort in 2016 than both Clinton and Trump combined - so there is hope.

Monday, February 04, 2019

Blessed Be The Peacemakers

In 1967 Dr. Martin Luther King nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize with the statement,

"Thich Nhat Hanh is a holy man, for he is humble and devout. He is a scholar of immense intellectual capacity. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument of ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity."

In his book "Living Buddha Living Christ" Thich Nhat Hanh writes,

"To take good care of yourself and to take good care of living beings and of the environment is the best way to love God."


That sentiment seems uncontroversial but...

You will find any number of professed Christian people who want to show by their theology that Thich Nhat Hanh a Buddhist has little or nothing to teach them since they have the way, the truth and the light all to themselves.

Believing the only way to God is through Jesus Christ shuts down dialogue with people of other faiths or no faith at all and opens the door to all sorts of human calamities. Any fundamentalist belief in concepts we arrive at through faith is insanity - as we see from so many insane wars, driven by insane hate and insane fear of our fellow human beings.

Christianity like any religion is a human construct and being so is ultimately corruptible. We have mega-churches where mega-pastors teach the prosperity gospel which has nothing to do with anything Jesus ever taught. In the political realm we have evangelicals (whatever that means) a majority of whom think lying, being unfaithful, cheating and being cruel are acceptable characteristics for a leader. We have Catholic priests and bishops who apparently can't stop sexually abusing other human beings.

What Jesus taught was radical compassionate anarchism but that doesn't fit into our consumerist war mongering society.

You want radical?

Here's what Dorothy Day the Catholic Anarchist has to tell us -

"if you have two coats, you have stolen one from the poor."

In our fake free market capitalist randian libertarian society that's radical.