technology and life choices, black and white subway car wallpaper

From an essay by Jonathan Franzen in the NYT, Liking Is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts.

Let me toss out the idea that, as our markets discover and respond to what consumers most want, our technology has become extremely adept at creating products that correspond to our fantasy ideal of an erotic relationship, in which the beloved object asks for nothing and gives everything, instantly, and makes us feel all powerful, and doesn’t throw terrible scenes when it’s replaced by an even sexier object and is consigned to a drawer.

No doubt human beings are big on control. We have very little control over our lives in many ways – we’re born to random strangers and it is often downhill from there in terms of what we can and cannot control. Do electronic devices and social media give us the control we seek. Probably not. They are like the car, personal transportation, that theoretically gives us the opportunity to go where we want to when we want to go. After car payments, car insurance, maintenance costs and fuel, who really owns and controls who. Besides the roof over our head, cars, furniture and food one of the next biggest and most expensive must haves is electronics and the interwebs connections to go with them. All of this stuff goes into the luggage we call our life. The more of these things we put in the more the externals require we tow the line. The less we can speak up at work because the money has to keep flowing. those ethics we swore we would never compromise in our youth become the deep silence that is an answer to yet another boneheaded decision by our corporate lords.

But if you consider this in human terms, and you imagine a person defined by a desperation to be liked, what do you see? You see a person without integrity, without a center. In more pathological cases, you see a narcissist — a person who can’t tolerate the tarnishing of his or her self-image that not being liked represents, and who therefore either withdraws from human contact or goes to extreme, integrity-sacrificing lengths to be likable.

If you dedicate your existence to being likable, however, and if you adopt whatever cool persona is necessary to make it happen, it suggests that you’ve despaired of being loved for who you really are. And if you succeed in manipulating other people into liking you, it will be hard not to feel, at some level, contempt for those people, because they’ve fallen for your shtick. You may find yourself becoming depressed, or alcoholic, or, if you’re Donald Trump, running for president (and then quitting).

I’ve had some experience with this. A person becomes a friend, they realize you like them, warts and all. They think they’re fu*ked up. If you like them you must be needy or desperate or screwed up in some way, so they push you away. You can kinda of like these people as long as you’re not too obvious about it. Franzen is probably mostly right about the “like” phenomenon on social networking sites. Though not completely. I would allow that many people keep it all in perspective. It is a modern techno way of having fun. Even before FaceBook, MySpace and so forth I had web friends. I prefer the term acquaintances we were solely in the category of internet acquaintances. Most people put the people they know into categories of different kinds of friendships. The net has just added another category. As long as you do not become too obsessed with being added as a friend – friend requests – or whatever, you have just widened your circle of acquaintances. In some cases you keep friends who you cannot see anymore because of logistics. Nothing wrong with any of that.

I may be overstating the case, a little bit. Very probably, you’re sick to death of hearing social media disrespected by cranky 51-year-olds. My aim here is mainly to set up a contrast between the narcissistic tendencies of technology and the problem of actual love. My friend Alice Sebold likes to talk about “getting down in the pit and loving somebody.” She has in mind the dirt that love inevitably splatters on the mirror of our self-regard.

The simple fact of the matter is that trying to be perfectly likable is incompatible with loving relationships. Sooner or later, for example, you’re going to find yourself in a hideous, screaming fight, and you’ll hear coming out of your mouth things that you yourself don’t like at all, things that shatter your self-image as a fair, kind, cool, attractive, in-control, funny, likable person. Something realer than likability has come out in you, and suddenly you’re having an actual life.

I generally agree. Love is messy, it causes one to ask questions and duties of oneself that might be new or they are selfless in a way that is scary in its existential Buddhist kind of way. On the other hand maybe the net is the answer that many people have been waiting for. The right to be alone and still be part of humanity. yes it takes courage and fortitude to love someone, but it takes the same to say to oneself that while I get lonely, a long-term relationship marriage – is just not for me. It is only not just me, but I’m doing at least one person a huge favor by not trying to make a lifestyle work that I know I am not suited for. It takes courage to say that conventions are great and good luck to all of you that want that, but ultimately, on balance it is not for me. Hopefully between the those ever sleeker devices, the net and flesh and blood friendships that decision to set ones own course will not be as desolate as it would have been in ages past.

black and white subway car wallpaper

A slide show of Irish painter Chloe Early . The predominant theme of her work is the lone individual,  trying to preserve their individuality and thrive in an urban environment.

painting by Chloe Early

Rep. Weiner to Explore Civil and Criminal Charges in Alleged Twitter Hack Attack

Wolfe, who describes himself as a “conservative Reagan Republican,” has a photo of Ronald Reagan as his Twitter icon. Cordova is siding with Weiner, telling the Daily News Sunday she and the congressman were victims of online pranksters.

You think? What’s the likelihood of Andrew Breitbart “discovering” a lewd photo of Rep. Weiner, in the middle of Weiner’s public fight with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas over his stake in voting against universal healthcare? What is the likelihood of Breitbart allegedly “reporting” a story that isn’t really a story, but the result of hacking someone’s computer? Worse off, how do you sully the name of an innocent college student to get back at Weiner and think it’s justified? Will the smart and decent Republicans please stand up?

Twitter has been hacked a few times. It is an odd coincidence that Justice Thomas may vote on the constitutionality of the ACA. Judging by he and his wife’s political activities, should, if ethics mean anything, recuse himself from hearing the case. Now one of the political thorns in Thomas’s side has this very convenient little scandal. A scandal blown up by a serial liar named Andrew Brietbart who thinks no dirty deed is unjustified in the name of the cause.

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black and white city night wallpaper

black and white city night wallpaper

 

As Physicians’ Jobs Change, So Do Their Politics


To Catch a Creep

How do you know who’s lying and who’s telling the truth about a rape? From no-name scoundrels to big-power suspects like Dominique Strauss-Kahn, these cops crack New York’s most shocking sex crimes. NYPD expert Christopher Dickey profiles the Special Victims Division, in this week’s Newsweek.

 

 

religion gray matter and choices, purple summer wallpaper, why doesn’t your bedroom have glass walls

Study finds brain differences based on faith

A study of believer’s brains, based on scans such as this image of a normal brain, finds size differences among denominations and those with no religious identity.

The study, which examined the hippocampus region of the brain, found that Protestants who did not have a “born again” experience had significantly more gray matter than either those who reported a life-changing religious experience, Catholics, or unaffiliated older adults.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Templeton Foundation, included at least two MRI measurements of the hippocampus region of 268 adults between 1994 and 2005.

The researcher does note there might be other causes for the correlation between the amount of gray matter and certain religious beliefs. One of the downsides to studies like this is that it shaves off a few degrees of responsibility for one’s behavior. Born-again fundamentalist in the USA have regressive beliefs regarding cultural social norms, education, science, gender roles and economics. They tend to support government as authoritarian enforcer of religious based beliefs. Much of their planning for the future is inconsistent with their beliefs in that they in fact do plan. In all of these attitudes and actions that make conscious decisions. There are choices and they make theirs. They should be held responsible for those choices and the harmful consequences, not the amount of gray mater in their hippocampus.

Sociologists of religion, meanwhile, aren’t buying it. They say the researchers’ theory flies in the face of U.S. religious demographics. While it’s true that evangelicals are a minority, they’re a sizable one — 40% of the U.S. population, according to Gallup Polls — and not exactly a stressed-out minority, especially in the South.

That may be a weak way to argue against the study. having grown up with them and attended some religious training in that regard , born-again Protestants tend to be a little manic and obsessive. They are also unlikely to be completely honest when asked about their feelings. The reason is simple enough. being reborn is supposed to be a key to happiness and contentment. If you say you’re born-again and anxious or depressed to some degree you are also admitting your mojo is not working as advertised. Sociologist who study religion have always faced this hurdle – the defensive posture of the subject. Much of what drives red state Evangelical is the felling that someone is getting something they did not work for – note the plethora of far Right anecdotal stories on the web about seeing some one on food stamps driving up in a new Cadillac to buy some sirloin steaks with their food stamps. On the other hand they are not the least concerned with Exxon or Richard Mellon Scaife or executives at some Wall St firm being compensated far beyond any reasonable salary for work done or services rendered. They tend to be obsessed with petty nickel and dime stuff ( most of the food stamp stories have to be fabricated if you know anything about the amount of money allotted per day for recipients). This comes partly from a corruption of Christianity by protestants that goes back to at least John Calvin and concepts of self-flagellation. Whether part of it comes from fewer than average brain cells almost doesn’t matter.

Franklin Bar&Grill Under the Brooklyn Bridge ca. 1945 @Corbis

Discussions about privacy are usually inhabited by the spirit of the Great Parrot of Privacy with one of history’s shortest and most inane examples of circular logic – “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.” – Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’ – A few debate tacks to break out of that mindless circle

*My response is “So do you have curtains?” or “Can I see your credit-card bills for the last year?”
*So my response to the “If you have nothing to hide … ” argument is simply, “I don’t need to justify my position. You need to justify yours. Come back with a warrant.”
*I don’t have anything to hide. But I don’t have anything I feel like showing you, either.
*If you have nothing to hide, then you don’t have a life.
*Show me yours and I’ll show you mine.
*It’s not about having anything to hide, it’s about things not being anyone else’s business.
*Bottom line, Joe Stalin would [have] loved it. Why should anyone have to say more?

On the surface, it seems easy to dismiss the nothing-to-hide argument. Everybody probably has something to hide from somebody. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn declared, “Everyone is guilty of something or has something to conceal. All one has to do is look hard enough to find what it is.” Likewise, in Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s novella “Traps,” which involves a seemingly innocent man put on trial by a group of retired lawyers in a mock-trial game, the man inquires what his crime shall be. “An altogether minor matter,” replies the prosecutor. “A crime can always be found.”

To illustrate the last, examples are not difficult to find. In the national debate over the health insurance program for children(SCHIP) , right-wing smiley-faced-fascist Michelle Malkin found what appeared to be granite counter tops in the home of a recipient. So there, crime defined by Malkin, evidence found by invasion of privacy and convicted by the right-wing media.

day dreams of purple summer wallpaper

Norse god has a day of his own

“Tuesday is named after the god Tyr or Tiw,” Stephen Ashton admonishes us. “So Tuesday night is the night of Tiw, or Tiw’s night.”

Kevon Kenna is quick to agree: “If Thursday is Thor’s Day, Wednesday is Woden’s Day, and Tuesday is Tiw’s Day,” he asserts, “it may well be correct to write ‘Tue’s Night’ for ‘Tiw’s Night’.”

And Sunnudagr/Dróttinsdagr being the Sun’s day or the Lord’s day.

Mushrooms Can Break Down 90% of Diaper Materials Within 2 Months

…cultivating the right type of mushroom on soiled nappies can break down 90% of the material they are made of within two months. Within four, they are degraded completely. What is more, she says, despite their unsavoury diet the fungi in question, Pleurotus ostreatus (better known as oyster mushrooms), are safe to eat. To prove the point she has, indeed, eaten them.

Wonderful idea for dealing with thrown away diapers, but everyone feel free to eat my share of the mushrooms.

What’s Driving Projected Debt? The amount Newt Gingrich charges at Tiffany at discount interest rates? The cost of Dick Cheney’s government provided health care? The cost to buy lipstick for Paul Ryan’s(R-WI) pig? As expensive as those items are, no.

President Bush’s tax cuts, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq explain virtually the entire federal budget deficit over the next ten years.  So, what about the public debt, which is basically the sum of annual budget deficits, minus annual surpluses, over the nation’s entire history?

The complementary chart, below, shows that the Bush-era tax cuts and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — including their associated interest costs — account for almost half of the projected public debt in 2019 (measured as a share of the economy) if we continue current policies.

presidential rankings and intelligence, muted colors country road wallpaper, most memorable photos are those that contain people

What is another new day without another fake controversy created by a conservative rectal pucker, Study: Liberal leanings hurt Republicans’ place in history

According to a University of Miami study, those historical rankings of American presidents that pop up every year or so are significantly weighted in favor of Democrats, thanks to the liberal leanings of academia.

Political science professor Joseph E. Uscinski, one of the study’s authors, said the new analysis shows that the overwhelmingly liberal academic community consistently ranks Republican presidents about 10 spots lower than the public would.

So the vast majority of America’s brightest historical scholars lean liberal and those very bright people do not rate the horrendous leadership of conservative presidencies as being especially stellar. Maybe Republican presidents could learn to govern well. It also turns out that the hack who write this piece for the Moonie Times is about as lazy, mentally feeble and enterprising as the wing-nutty presidents he admires. This is from a poll of public opinion and US presidents,

A Gallup poll about presidential greatness, taken February 2-5, 2011, asked 1015 adults in the US, “Who do you regard as the greatest United States president?”[21]

Ronald Reagan (19%)
Abraham Lincoln (14%)
Bill Clinton (13%)
John F. Kennedy (11%)
George Washington (10%)
Franklin Roosevelt (8%)
Barack Obama (5%)
No opinion (5%)
Theodore Roosevelt (3%)
Harry Truman (3%)
George W. Bush (2%)
Thomas Jefferson (2%)
Jimmy Carter (1%)
Dwight Eisenhower (1%)
George H. W. Bush (1%)
Other(1%)
None (1%)
Andrew Jackson (0%)
Lyndon Johnson (0%)
Richard Nixon (0%)

Isn’t it a little more bizarre that at least in this poll the public rates Reagan over George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson and Lincoln. I’m not crazy about snapshot polls like this as great proof of anything, but WTF were these people using for their criteria. This Rasmussen poll taken June 13–24 of 2007 ( they seem to use a larger sampling of conservative respondents in their polls gave these results,

George Washington (94% favorable, 2% unfavorable)
Abraham Lincoln (92% favorable, 4% unfavorable)
Thomas Jefferson (89% favorable, 4% unfavorable)
Theodore Roosevelt (84% favorable, 8% unfavorable)
Franklin D. Roosevelt (81% favorable, 12% unfavorable)
John F. Kennedy (80% favorable, 13% unfavorable)
John Adams (74% favorable, 9% unfavorable)
James Madison (73% favorable, 8% unfavorable)
Ronald Reagan (72% favorable, 22% unfavorable)
Dwight D. Eisenhower (72% favorable, 15% unfavorable)
Harry S. Truman (70% favorable, 14% unfavorable)
Andrew Jackson (69% favorable, 14% unfavorable)
Gerald Ford (62% favorable, 26% unfavorable)
John Quincy Adams (59% favorable, 7% unfavorable)
Ulysses S. Grant (58% favorable, 24% unfavorable)
George H.W. Bush (57% favorable, 41% unfavorable)
Jimmy Carter (57% favorable, 34% unfavorable)
William Taft (57% favorable, 15% unfavorable)
Woodrow Wilson (56% favorable, 19% unfavorable)
Bill Clinton (55% favorable, 41% unfavorable)
James Monroe (49% favorable, 10% unfavorable)
Herbert Hoover (48% favorable, 34% unfavorable)
Lyndon B. Johnson (45% favorable, 42% unfavorable)
Andrew Johnson (45% favorable, 26% unfavorable)
Chester Arthur (43% favorable, 17% unfavorable)
James A. Garfield (42% favorable, 16% unfavorable)
William McKinley (42% favorable, 24% unfavorable)
George W. Bush (41% favorable, 59% unfavorable)
Grover Cleveland (40% favorable, 26% unfavorable)
Calvin Coolidge (38% favorable, 31% unfavorable)
Rutherford B. Hayes (38% favorable, 19% unfavorable)
Richard Nixon (32% favorable, 60% unfavorable)
Benjamin Harrison (30% favorable, 35% unfavorable)
Warren Harding (29% favorable, 33% unfavorable)
James Buchanan (28% favorable, 32% unfavorable)
James Polk (27% favorable, 21% unfavorable)
Zachary Taylor (26% favorable, 18% unfavorable)
Martin Van Buren (23% favorable, 19% unfavorable)
William Henry Harrison (21% favorable, 16% unfavorable)
Franklin Pierce (17% favorable, 25% unfavorable)
Millard Fillmore (17% favorable, 25% unfavorable)
John Tyler (9% favorable, 15% unfavorable)

Why Andrew Jackson rates above 20% is a mystery to me and I would call it a tie between Lincoln and FDR for first place. And finally there have been studies published which rank Presidents according to liberal and right-wing historians. This was on Wikipedia so it is not hard to find, but what else could we expect from a Moonie Times hack.

Presidential Rankings according to liberal and conservative historians

Even conservative historians admit that FDR belongs in the top three. Again, why is Andrew Jackson on either list. Have these people read the history of his presidency. Maybe they think he was a good president because his picture is on the $20 dollar bill. He should be replaced with FDR. I know that Ulysses S. Grant’s administration was pretty corrupt, but some historians have made a good case that he was not in the loop. Grant was a better president than Jackson, and John Adams.

Some related thoughts on the Right and newspapers in general perennial dumping down of knowledge and discourse. Some good points are made, though compared to broadcast news, newspapers remain one of the best sources of news in the U.S. Of all the far Right’s grievances about the media the last three years, one of the events they remain most bitter about is Katie Couric asked Sarah Palin what she reads. To read the accounts of that simple straightforward question by Palin herself and conservative web sites is to listen to humans squeal like self-pitying pigs. A tremendous amount of whining over a simple question. A question which only made Palin look bad because she was dishonest and revealed she lacks the kind of basic awareness of the world round her that should disqualify her for public office.

next time try the train by Dorothea Lange, Depression era

What makes an image memorable?

A new study from MIT neuroscientists shows that the most memorable photos are those that contain people, followed by static indoor scenes and human-scale objects. Landscapes? They may be beautiful, but they are, in most cases, utterly forgettable.

[  ]…Each image’s memorability rating was determined by how many participants correctly remembered seeing it.

In general, different research subjects tended to produce similar memorability ratings. “There are always differences between observers, but on average, there is very high consistency,” says Oliva, who is also a principal investigator in the computer vision group at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Not that people are not beautiful but doesn’t this suggest that people’s imaginations are more stimulated by other people rather than by pure esthetics. Despite the inundation of our consciousness by other people, other people are what we are most curious about. Every photo gives us a little window into the world of someone else. This ceaseless curiosity about other people and what they’re doing, what they are really, like fuels a lot of articles on the web. It seems like there can never be enough articles, revealing personal essays and even historical accounts of people’s personal lives. Finding photographs of people the most memorable would be consistent with what draws our attention in writing.

summer spring wallpaper

muted colors country road wallpaper

population genetics reveals shared ancestries, art by wendy macnaughton and jane freilicher

Debating achievements of Homo Sapiens by race has always been problematic, at best, for quite a few reasons. The one that we can’t shake that goes deeper than skin, eye color, flat or pointed noses or the shape of one’s eyes is our shared genetic ancestry, Population Genetics Reveals Shared Ancestries

Analyzing publicly available genetic data from 40 populations comprising North Africans, Middle Easterners and Central Asians were doctoral student Priya Moorjani and Alkes Price, an assistant professor in the Program in Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology within the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Moorjani traced genetic ancestry using a method called rolloff. This platform, developed in the Reich lab, compares the size and composition of stretches of DNA between two human populations as a means of estimating when they mixed. The smaller and more broken up the DNA segments, the older the date of mixture.

Moorjani used the technique to examine the genomes of modern West Eurasian populations to find signatures of Sub-Saharan African ancestry. She did this by looking for chromosomal segments in West Eurasian DNA that closely matched those of Sub-Saharan Africans. By plotting the distribution of these segments and estimating their rate of genetic decay, Reich’s lab was able to determine the proportion of African genetic ancestry still present, and to infer approximately when the West Eurasian and Sub-Saharan African populations mixed.

“The genetic decay happens very slowly,” Moorjani explained, “so today, thousands of years later, there is enough evidence for us to estimate the date of population mixture.”

While the researchers detected no African genetic signatures in Northern European populations, they found a distinct presence of African ancestry in Southern European, Middle Eastern and Jewish populations. Modern southern European groups can attribute about 1 to 3 percent of their genetic signature to African ancestry, with the intermingling of populations dating back 55 generations, on average—that is, to roughly 1,600 years ago. Middle Eastern groups have inherited about 4 to 15 percent, with the mixing of populations dating back roughly 32 generations. A diverse array of Jewish populations can date their Sub-Saharan African ancestry back roughly 72 generations, on average, accounting for 3 to 5 percent of their genetic makeup today.

According to Reich, these findings address a long-standing debate over African multicultural influences in Europe. The dates of population mixtures are consistent with documented historical events. For example, the mixing of African and southern European populations coincides with events during the Roman Empire and Arab migrations that followed. The older-mixture dates among African and Jewish populations are consistent with events in biblical times, such as the Jewish diaspora that occurred in 8th to 6th century BC.

Since all non-native Americans can trace their ancestry to Europe, Africa and Asia those percentages of gene mixing would generally apply here. Ultimately our genetic kinship dates all the way back to Africa 2.5 million years ago. Some recent archeological finds in Asia suggest that humans may have evolved relatively early there also. There is not as much evidence for the origins of humans in Asia as there is for Africa. So the pieces to that puzzle may be filled in as more archeological evidence is found. there is  gap between African and Asian fossil remains of about two hundred thousand years. It is possible that in that span humans migrated from Africa to Asia.

from the farmer’s series by wendy macnaughton. her web site is here –  wendy macnaughton.com the road picture is part of a series. each series tells a story. most of the subjects have to do with northern california. her illustrations of people can be clever, satirical or warm, or usually a combination of all three and always beautiful.

House Republicans Escalate Attacks on Elizabeth Warren and Agency Created to Protect Middle-class

McHenry (Patrick McHenry (R-NC) was once known as Tom DeLay’s “attack-dog-in-training [3],” a title he more than earned today. Before the hearing had even begun, McHenry went on CNBC and brazenly accused Warren of lying to Congress [4]. He claimed that Warren had misrepresented her role in advising state attorneys general who are seeking a multibillion-dollar settlement [5] with the country’s largest mortgage service providers, who stand accused of massive and widespread foreclosure fraud. As evidence, McHenry pointed to a leaked internal document prepared by the CFPB that laid out different settlement options for the state AGs. McHenry claimed this went beyond the scope of the “advice,” that Warren had already admitted to providing, at the behest of the Treasury Department, in earlier testimony to Congress in March. “We’ve given advice when asked for advice,” she reiterated this afternoon.

The CFPB is in itself the very modest financial reform the middle-class and working poor got after that little meltdown that started in 2007. While a little like handing the public a trash bag in a hail storm it was the best we could get from a Beltway so thick in financial lobbyist a blind pebble thrower would probably hit one standing on the Capital steps. Once Warren admitted that yes she had as is her job and as she had testified at another hearing, indeed advised state Attorney Generals, McHenry’s show trial fizzled. How can you make someone look bad who admits they did the job they were hired to do. The consumer program director at US PIRG, summed up McHenry’s bizarre tactics and waste of tax dollars, “If the law is on your side, argue the law. If the facts are on your side, argue the facts. If you don’t have either, just argue.” The last election and supposedly all those tea stain rallies were about people fed up with being used and abused by Wall St. Elizabeth Warren was appointed to protect everyone from just that kind of abuse. Warren is even a recess appointment because Republicans blocked her appointment. Now that she is protecting the public, or trying to,  Republicans have tried to undermine her role of consumer protector by trying to block agency funding. So the Right and the tea stains learned nothing from the Great Recession. Some of McHenry’s political contributors include American Bankers Association, Mortgage Bankers Association, American Express, American Financial Services Organization, Cash America International, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley. It is back to business as usual for the culture of crony capitalism.

 Backgammon (1982) by Jane Freilicher

Freilicher’s work has been described as simultaneously lush and restrained. Her influences include Morandi, Redon, Marsden Hartley and Henri Rousseau. Some more of her work here – Now on View, the View From Jane Freilicher’s Window .

“I have always gone my own way,” Freilicher told the New York Times in 1998. “My work was deviant enough to explain why I was not rising through the ranks. But I liked not having the demands made on me a big career would have made. It allowed me a certain freedom to fool around. I felt the other painters respected me. Nobody treated me like a dumb broad. I felt I was smarter than those young painters who were tough guys and threw themselves around with this macho thing. I thought it was not terribly interested.”

She is the artist and she knows the angle from which she approaches her art. Though I do not find her art to be uniquely or especially feminine. This becomes easier to see when you compare her portraits and landscape ( rather than the flower studies at the link) to artist like Monet, much of early Picasso, Cezanne or even Jackson Pollock. Though with Pollock there was generally a kind of kinetic masculine narrative that ran though a much of his paintings, still not to be the point of being overwhelming. Many of them showed his view of the struggle between men and women.

private prisons found to offer little in savings, dunes beach grass wallpaper, is fascism winning

How many people believe in magic potions. A concoction which remedies all ills. I would imagine that there are not a lot of people in western industrialized countries that would answer in the affirmative. So it is another paradox of our times that many people do believe in cure-all elixirs of sorts. That so many people believe in free market solutions to every problem is like saying they believe in magic potions of public policy. Private Prisons Found to Offer Little in Savings

The conviction that private prisons save money helped drive more than 30 states to turn to them for housing inmates. But Arizona shows that popular wisdom might be wrong: Data there suggest that privately operated prisons can cost more to operate than state-run prisons — even though they often steer clear of the sickest, costliest inmates.

The state’s experience has particular relevance now, as many politicians have promised to ease budget problems by trimming state agencies. Florida and Ohio are planning major shifts toward private prisons, and Arizona is expected to sign deals doubling its private-inmate population.

The measures would be a shot in the arm for an industry that has struggled, in some places, to fill prison beds as the number of inmates nationwide has leveled off. But hopes of big taxpayer benefits might end in disappointment, independent experts say.

“There’s a perception that the private sector is always going to do it more efficiently and less costly,” said Russ Van Vleet, a former co-director of the University of Utah Criminal Justice Center. “But there really isn’t much out there that says that’s correct.”

Such has been the case lately in Arizona. Despite a state law stipulating that private prisons must create “cost savings,” the state’s own data indicate that inmates in private prisons can cost as much as $1,600 more per year, while many cost about the same as they do in state-run prisons.

Hold on there. Aren’t some corporate prisons actually proving to be cost-effective. One of the dirty little secrets of cost effectiveness found in this study is that prisons-for-profits are only taking healthy inmates. They not only refuse prisoners who have an illness, but also prisoners who have physical disabilities. This does not mean that all privatization of prions is wrong or not cost-effective, only that privatization is not the one size fits all solution that proponents claim.

summer wallpaper

sand dunes beach grass wallpaper

I had an introduction to this, but read it first and see if you can tell when it was written, Anti-Monopoly

“Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people. The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any other controlling private power.

“The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living. Both lessons hit home. Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing.”

A speech to the nation by President Obama? I wish. Or even Ron Paul? No this from an address to the nation by President Roosevelt on Monday, May. 09, 1938.

Not so much as it turns out, Bob Dylan – Times They are a-Changin. Happy birthday to Bob, who turned 70 this month.

eurydice by titian, the mythical bad girl, conservatives are pushing america towards becoming an idiocracy

Eurydice by Titian (Tiziano Vecellio b.1488/90 d.1576 ) 1538.

Eurydice is best known as one of Apollo’s daughters and of the legend of Eurydice and Orpheus. In one version of the legend Orpheus and Eurydice were married and one day while dancing ina meadow to the sounds of one of Orpheus’s beautiful songs she was distracted by a Satyr and bitten by a viper. In another version the Satyr is absent but she is still bitten by a venmous snake. In the mot elaborate legend the rustic god Aristaeus was consumed by lust for Eurydice. he attempted to seduce her, but his ugliness was so grotesque that she fled and in her hast stepped on a viper and was killed. In every version Orpheus is consumed by grief. he descend with his lyre into the Underworld where he and his lyre charmed Cerberus – the three-headed monster dog of Hades and gained passage where no one had before. Once past Cerberus he faced Hades the god of the Underworld and Persephone goddess of harvest and the Underworld. Orpheus charmed both gods of the Underworld with his music and the depth of his heart break. They agreed that Eurydice could return to the light of the upper world, but not to look back to see her before they reached the upper world. Or they would not allow Eurydice to return. He listened closely for her footfall behind him, but a shade makes no noise. The closer to the light he got, the more Orpheus began to believe that Hades had tricked him to get him out of the Underworld. Eurydice would still be nothing but a shade at this point. Just as he approached the light of the upper world Orpheus lost faith and turned around. Eurydice appeared to Orpheus for just a moment before she disappeared, whisked back down to the Underworld forever by Hades as a penalty for losing faith.

Finding good in bad girls

But what’s the allure of this mythical creature? There’s no specific definition – it’s a catch-all phrase which scoops up sulky teens and hard-faced ballbusters alike – but we all have a vision of what it means to be a bad girl. It goes something along the lines of Bettie Page in an Eighties power suit, teamed with Wonder Woman boots and wielding a bazooka – that is to say, a hybridised version of any given cliché of female independence. So far, so foggy.

The bad girl, and all her attendant archetypal baggage, has however become less of a personage and more a mental motif in the latterday power struggle between men and women. American psychiatrist Carole Lieberman has recently published a self-help book, entitled Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets, which argues that a bad girl mentality is something we could all use to our advantage – even if we’re undeniably good girls.

I tend to think that everyone male and female enjoys these stereotypes of women, and men for that matter. The stereotypes are both empowering, appealing, the objects of easy scorn, counter productive and just silly all at once. Individuals have tendencies toward certain personality types, but everyone is a mix of qualities. I’ve asked self described “bad” girls and boys what is it about them that makes them bad, what bad things do they do. The question is so fundamental that all of them have seemed taken aback. I’ve never gotten an answer that went much beyond -you know, stuff. This desire to project a bad girl/boy image generally doesn’t last long. Middle-age has a way of making such behavior or aspirations seem pretentious and tiresome.

On going agendas – Conservatives Are Pushing America Towards Becoming an Idiocracy

In the 2006 satirical science fiction comedy, Idiocracy, the protagonist Joe Bauers, “Mr. Average American”, is selected by the Pentagon for a top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakens 500 years in the future, to discover a society so incredibly dumbed-down that he’s easily the most intelligent person alive and their only hope for survival.

With the Republicans bullying their way through state and federal legislation, the movie has become prophetic to the point where the only thing that isn’t believable is that this devolution will take another 500 years. Idiocracy already has its living, fire-breathing poster child, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the ranking Republican and former chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

[  ]…Even better is Barton’s explanation of how wind power could speed up climate change. “Wind is God’s way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it’s hotter to areas where it’s cooler. Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? Now, I’m not saying that’s going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale. I mean, it does make some sense. You stop something, you can’t transfer that heat, and the heat goes up. It’s just something to think about.” Yes, Joe, that sure is something to think about!

Yes its true The Invisible Friend in the Sky meant for the US to be covered for smoke stack from coal plants not wind turbines because the winds travel on highways. Block the highways for giant propellers and The Wind will fall asleep behind soft green hills and we’ll all slowly boil to death.

Wind power is tricky( land use, habitat destruction issues) and certainly should not be thought of as the end all of our national energy problems. Saying such in plain speech, unadorned with psuedo-science is not that difficult.

A slight majority of conservatives are probably a little embarrassed by the Joe Bartons and James Inhofes of conservatism. They don’t say anything for the same reason that the majority of Republicans, who are not particularly racist, will not purge conservatism of it’s eliminationists. A vote is a vote and a win is a win. If putting up with the anti-rationalism zealots and the xenophobes gets their candidate elected, oh well, politics is a blood sport and you do what you have to do to win. The two phenomenon together do constitute a kind of Faustian deal with the devil since the Bartons do try and pass legislation that is both unconstitutional and a waste of tax dollars.