river rocks wallpaper, people do not apologize because there are egotistical benefits

river rocks wallpaper

river rocks wallpaper


Are there universities that offer degrees in historical revisionism. As an industry it really should be monitored  and indexed like NASDAQ. It pays very well, either in money or back slapping, or both. It might also be as addictive as morphine derivatives. People start and they just cannot stop without intervention,  How to debunk George W. Bush’s attempts at revisionism. Your definitive guide to the Bush cronies’ talking points, and why all of them are insane. It is probably just a coincidence that Bush’s reputation is being refurbished as his library opens. All modern presidents have them. They are privately funded, though some of them receive local or state funds – the thinking goes that they are tourist attractions and will thus pay for themselves. The prblem is that once they are built “transferred to the Federal government and operated and maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) through its congressional appropriated operating budget.” If you hate Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan, you still pay for their library. I tend to think their funding should be completely private. We need libraries, but not particularly presidential ones. Their papers are stored, by law, in the National Archives, so it is not like you cannot research them by way of primary sources. Anyway, back to the revisionism. Why are so many grown-up people with mortgages and good educations lying, massaging and spinning the G.W. Bush record. In addition to the money these analysts and “experts” get paid, they might also be getting some ego gratification from themselves and the conservative circle of deceit, Refusing to apologize can have psychological benefits (and we issue no mea culpa for this research finding)

Despite an understanding of the perception and consequences of apologies for their recipients, little is known about the consequences of interpersonal apologies, or their denial, for the offending actor. In two empirical studies, we examined the unexplored psychological consequences that follow from a harm-doer’s explicit refusal to apologize. Results showed that the act of refusing to apologize resulted in greater self-esteem than not refusing to apologize. Moreover, apology refusal also resulted in increased feelings of power/control and value integrity, both of which mediated the effect of refusal on self-esteem. These findings point to potential barriers to victim–offender reconciliation after an interpersonal harm, highlighting the need to better understand the psychology of harm-doers and their defensive behavior for self-focused motives.

Not always, but sometimes I don’t like to apologize. Not literally, but certainly figuratively, I grit my teeth and do the right thing. Though I have never felt any satisfaction from not giving an apology to someone who had one coming.


john steinbeck’s FBI file, eugene o’neill and bugatti, girl recieves bioengineered organ

A letter in Pulitzer Prize winning writer John Steinbeck’s FBI file

 A letter in Pulitzer Prize winning writer John Steinbeck’s FBI file. The redacted letter objects to Steinbeck’s portrayals of rural life in America, “For some time past I have resented books by Steinbeck, for they portray such unrepresenative pictures of our American life in rural districts. I live near the Everglades farms district and most of the migrants there live better than I do, while they are here for the picking season.” Because WW II caused labor shortages the government did provide some camps for migrant workers in addition to already existing private camps. many of the workers in the east and south were black. While those in the west were mostly Latino. The story of those workers and the farmers that absolutely needed them to harvest their crops, is complicated, Steinbeck’s portrayal of the plight of those workers was generally accurate. Note how current the tone sounds. Large land owners and businesses in the South still resent labor, labor laws and anyone who writes about labor conditions.

a letter from a Lt. Col. Pash in 1943

Also from Steinbeck’s FBI file, a letter from a Lt. Col. Pash in 1943 in item number 3, concerning Steinbeck’s desire to join the regular military, he writes that, “In view of the Subject’s loyalty and discretion, it is recommended that Subject not be considered favorably for a commission in the Army of the United States.”

In 1945 Steinbeck received the Haakon VII Cross of freedom for his literary contributions to the Norwegian resistance movement. While working s a World War II war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune, he also worked with the Office of Strategic Services (predecessor of the CIA) – a round about way of saying he did some spy work for the government.

Playwright Eugene O'Neill in a racing Bugatti

Playwright Eugene O’Neill in a racing Bugatti. The driveway at Chateau du Plessis, 1930. Photographer unknown. I imagine him thinking much like anyone, oh yea, take my picture while I’m in this cool new car.

“None of us can help the things life has done to us. They’re done before you realize it, and once they’re done they make you do other things until at last everything comes between you and what you’d like to be, and you’ve lost your true self forever.” Eugene O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

Amazing story of the day, Groundbreaking Surgery for Girl Born Without Windpipe

PEORIA, Ill. — Using plastic fibers and human cells, doctors have built and implanted a windpipe in a 2 ½-year-old girl — the youngest person ever to receive a bioengineered organ.

black and white grain elevators, the law and virtue

Grain elevators

Grain elevators, North Dakota. c1971 by D. Plowden.


Book Review: Law, Virtue and Justice  (Law, Virtue and Justice. Amalia Amaya and Ho Hock Lai (eds.). Hart Publishing. December 2012.)

Thanks to the 24-7 news cycle, we are more familiar than ever with the personalities involved in legal decision-making, such as judges, legislators, and lawyers. When academics and commentators debate the actions of legal actors, it is often in terms of consequentialist or deontological ethics, proclaiming that they should make a certain decision because it’s the best thing or the right thing to do. Ironically, given how closely we may feel we “know” these people, we rarely focus on the moral character of the legal actors as a factor in the decisions they make.

It has been the general public’s tendency to rush to judgment about guilt and innocence, and the sentencing or other system of punishment for as long as there have been printing presses and pamphleteers. And probably longer. Though easily accessible media, certainly modern electronic media from cable and increasingly Twitter, both encourage and magnify the formation of the instant opinion. Whether it is a good thing or not, doing so around the living room has become a cultural standard. It all became very surreal and dangerous when so much of the media, encouraged by net denizens like Drudge and the New York Post, and even CNN, echoed a lot of wild speculation. They could not bring themselves to say this is what we know for sure and it would not be ethical for us to speculate or just babble about possibilities of other factors. Even their legal experts or supposed experts, go far beyond real world legalities. Having inserted themselves into the legal system and due process, where is the restraint, where is the virtue: Conservative Media’s Own Legal Experts Undermine Campaign To Shred Due Process .

Amaya spends the balance of her concise chapter weighing strong and weak versions of her arguments, as well as confronting objections based on the priority of reasons (which she calls the publicity objection), the authority of the law, and disagreement about virtue themselves. These three distinct objections share a common element in that they all call into question the focus on the agent which is the hallmark of virtue ethics. They claim that too much emphasis is put on legal decision-makers rather than on the reasons on which they make decisions, the extent to which these reasons rely on legal materials, and the particular virtues that serve to justify their decisions. In response, Amaya deftly explains that the objections oversimplify the role of virtue in legal justification: for instance, virtue does not obscure the role of reasons based on the law, but rather governs how the legal agent develops and incorporates them.

It is difficult for me to read that without some irony. We live in the age of the Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonie Scalia. Judges who see venality, a childish spitefulness, as part of the law and legal decisions. Thomas, who is not much more than Scalia’s puppet, and Alito too for that matter, see their authority as a way to take revenge on groups of people – minorities, women, gays, lesbians, laborers, the non-wealthy. Virtue to them seems to be based on some old Calvinistic drive to make people suffer for their own good or because their dogma dictates that they suffer. Consequential virtues, with a positive outcome, do not factor into their legal thinking because it is not part of their character.

fireworks in naples, implants may restore capacity for memories

Fireworks in Naples by Oswald Achenbach

Fireworks in Naples by Oswald Achenbach. 1875. Oil on canvas.

Memory Implants

Theodore Berger, a biomedical engineer and neuroscientist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, envisions a day in the not too distant future when a patient with severe memory loss can get help from an electronic implant. In people whose brains have suffered damage from Alzheimer’s, stroke, or injury, disrupted neuronal networks often prevent long-term memories from forming. For more than two decades, Berger has designed silicon chips to mimic the signal processing that those neurons do when they’re functioning properly—the work that allows us to recall experiences and knowledge for more than a minute. Ultimately, Berger wants to restore the ability to create long-term memories by implanting chips like these in the brain.

Their title to the article is probably a little misleading. They are not implanting memories, an ethical minefield, they are restoring the brain’s ability to store long-term memories.

Vienna, Austraia - Spanish Riding School

Vienna, Austraia – Spanish Riding School. This is the school where they teach  Lipizzan horses the the haute école or “high school” movements of classical dressage. As I remember, Disney made a very sentimental movie about them. I found this picture among some Creative Commons photos and cleaned it up in PS. I thought the depth, perspective and the contrast of the dirt floor with the classical architecture was interesting.

whitman’s i crossed the nevadas, big govmint can be a good thing, workplace mobbing

I cross'd the Nevadas

Walt Whitman’s hand written poem I cross’d the Nevadas…

I cross’d the Nevadas, I cross’d the
I ascended the towering rocks along the
Pacific, I sail’d out to sea,
I sail’d through the storm, I was re-
fresh’d by the storm,
I watch’d with joy the threatening maws
of the waves,
I mark’d the white combs where they
career’d so high curling over,
I heard the wind piping, I saw the
black clouds

This essay manages to weave together some well deserved ridicule and some clear headed observation, Where would you rather live: small-government Somalia or big-government Sweden?

Small-government supporters claim that countries with high levels of public spending grow more slowly. Yet, as the Columbia University economist Xavier X Sala-i-Martin concluded in his 1997 study I Just Ran Four Million Regressions, “no measure of government spending . . . appears to affect growth in a significant way”.

In his 2004 book Growing Public, the University of California economist Peter Lindert agrees – countries with high levels of government spending don’t perform any worse than countries with low levels of government spending.

But doesn’t big government crowd out the private sector? Stifle free enterprise and innovation? Not necessarily. Consider the arguments of Mariana Mazzucato, the Sussex University economist and author of The Entrepreneurial State. “Where would Google be today without the state-funded investments in the internet, and without the US National Science Foundation grant that funded the discovery of its own algorithm?” she wrote in the Guardian in April 2012. “Would the iPad be so successful without the state-funded innovations in communication technologies, GPS and touchscreen display?

“Where would GSK and Pfizer be without the $600bn the US National Institutes of Health has put into research that has led to 75 per cent of the most innovative new drugs in the last decade?”

Critics of big government say it crushes community spirit and civic engagement. Again, the empirical evidence suggests otherwise. “Among the advanced western democracies, social trust and group membership are, if anything, positively correlated with the size of government,” the Harvard academic Robert Putnam observed in his acclaimed book Bowling Alone (1995). “[S]ocial capital appears to be highest of all in the big-spending welfare states of Scandinavia,” he wrote.

Ah yes, Scandinavia. Despite having, I accept, much smaller and more cohesive societies than the US or the UK, the highspending, high-growth Nordic nations continue to baffle and frustrate Anglo-Saxon small-staters. Take the UN’s first ever World Happiness league table in 2012: Denmark, where government spending accounts for 58 per cent of national income, topped the list, followed by Finland (54 per cent) and Norway (44 per cent).

I don’t know that those who agree with this are lone wolves. It is just that the other side, while smaller in number, are very vocal and own a lot of the media. Certainly no one complains about the experimentally expanding military spending and surveillance state that treats everyone as a potential suspect in some wrong doing. Human nature being what it is, most of us probably do have something to hide, even if only some little embarrassing history or thoughts. Yet in some ways, in the U.S. at least, we need specific parts of government to be bigger, not smaller. We need to expand public health care so that everyone can enroll in a Medicare-like program. We need to expand health and safety inspection so we don’t have another fertilizer plant blow-up or a mine leavings slag heap overflow.

Sigmund Freud’s home and offices, Vienna 1939

Sigmund Freud’s home and offices, Vienna 1939. A scan from a book of the same name with photographs by Edmund Engelman.

Workplace mobbing: add Ann Curry to its slate of victims

Whatever your personal opinions of Curry and her work, she was clearly mobbed out of her Today show job. Workplace mobbing is a process of humiliation and degradation of a targeted worker with the purpose of removing that worker from the workplace or at least from a particular unit of it. It is a dark side of organizational life, involves co-workers ganging up on the target, and includes management’s involvement through active participation in the mobbing or through failure to stop it once it becomes known to them. Mobbing in the workplace includes a characteristic course of events that were first described by Heinz Leymann, the psychiatrist who conceptualized the problem in the 1980s.

All the morning news programs tend towards watered down infotainment. They have two to three hours where they could genuinely inform the public about government, the environment, education issues, the almost daily constitutional issues that arise, the sociology of crime, economic issues like the massive income inequality and the redistribution of income from working class Americans to the wealthy and plenty of other issues. It does appear to be true that Curry was still given her contradict salary in her role as special corespondent. So no need for crocodile tears for Curry on that aspect. Though we should all be concerned about how she was treated, and done so with management participation. If mobbing happens at that level it can happen at the level of sales clerk, brick layer, nurse or assistant engineer.

smooth river stones wallpaper, green spaces good for health, watching the new day rise

smooth river stones wallpaper, spring stream

smooth river stones wallpaper

Green spaces boosts wellbeing of urban dwellers

Parks, gardens and green space in urban areas can improve the wellbeing and quality of life of people living there, says a University of Exeter study.

Using data from 5,000 UK households over 17 years, researchers found that living in a greener area had a significant positive effect.

The findings could help to inform urban planners and have an impact on society at large, they said.

The study is published in the journal Psychological Science.

There are some encouraging trends in architecture, just judging from my visits to architectural news sites over the last couple years. One is incorporating green spaces into remodeled and new buildings. Sometimes meaning a roof-top garden, occasionally having green areas on every floor (part indoors/part outdoors  mini-parks on upper floors). Space is at a premium in cities so the growth of small street level parks is limited. While not directly a green space, many architects are getting away from the rectangular box. Incorporating curves – sometimes with jetting with balconies. They at least give the impression of being in a structure that is more organic, a more natural part of the environment. I like the nice clean lines of some minimalist rectangles, but we can have both.

watching the morning sun

watching the morning sun

A few quick links of note, How the “Koch Brothers Bill” will mean fewer happy sunrises

In February, 11 congressmen—10 Republicans and 1 Democrat—joined some two dozen [2] industry groups, including the Fertilizer Institute, the American Chemistry Council, and the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration, to back the General Duty Clarification Act [3]. The bill is designed to sap the Environmental Protection Agency of its powers to regulate safety and security at major chemical sites, as prescribed by the Clean Air Act.

“We call that the Koch brothers bill,” Greenpeace legislative director Rick Hind says

Just because the Koch brothers get a kick out of seeing towns blow-up and American workers getting sick, does not mean its true freedom, of the the new improved conservative libertarian variety.

Once in a while a squirrel finds a nut or a conservative stands for truly American values, Bill for compulsory science fiction in West Virginia schools

Republican state delegate Ray Canterbury says move would inspire pupils to use practical knowledge and imagination in the real world.

Lucky I wasn’t drinking milk when I read that or it would have been spraying out of my nose.

Some conspiracies are true or at least there is enough rational based evidence to warrant a deeper look, Filmmaker claims CIA kept innocent man jailed to cover up drug trafficking

the history of the chewing gum man, makart’s portrait of a woman, the paranoid conservative mind

The Most Peculiar History of the Chewing Gum Man

The Most Peculiar History of the Chewing Gum Man

The Most Peculiar History of the Chewing Gum Man, 1894 November, was a children’s book.

WILLIE, an’ Wallie, an’ Huldy Ann,
They went an’ built a big CHEWIN’-GUM MAN:
It was none o’ your teenty little dots,
With pinhole eyes an’ pencil-spots;
But this was a terribul big one—well,
’T was a’most as high as the Palace Hotel!
It took ’em a year to chew the gum!!
And Willie he done it all, ’cept some
That Huldy got her ma to chew,
By the time the head was ready to do.

Well, Willie he chewed it for days ’n’ days;
They brung it to him in gret big drays;
An’ fast as he got it good an’ soft,
Then Wallie he come and carried it oft.
Then he’d roll it into a gret big ball,
An’ he made a-more’n a MILLION in all!
Then Huldy Ann she spanked ’em flat
An’ pinched an’ poked, an’ the like o’ that,
Till she got it inter a gret big hunk—
My! didn’t Huldy have the spunk!
And then she sliced one end half-way
To make the laigs (’cause they never stay
When you stick ’em on in a seprit piece—
Seems like the ends was made o’ grease);
And she slit an arm right up each side,—
I couldn’t a done it if I’d a tried!
O’ course, her brothers they helped her, though,
An’ rolled the arms an’ laigs out, so
They all was smooth with roundin’ bends
An’ chopped the fingers inter the ends!
An’ when their mother had chewn the head,
She went an’ stuck it on, instead!

An’ then, when the man was almost done,
They had an awful lots o’ fun.
A-walkin’ down his stummick was best
To make the buttons onter his vest!
They struck big cartwheels in him for eyes;
His eyes was both tremendous size;
His nose was a barrel—an’ then beneath
They used a ladder, to make his teeth!
An’ when he was layin’ acrost the street
Along come their daddy, as white ’s a sheet,—
He was skeert half outer his wits, I guess,
An’ he didn’t know whatter make o’ the mess,—
But Huldy she up an’ begun to coax
To have him down town, to skeer the folks!
So her dad he grabbed him offen the street,
An’ Willie an’ Wallie they took his feet,
An’ they dragged him clean down to the Cogswell fountain,
An’ stood him up as big as a mountain!
You’d orter seen him a-standin’ there,
A-straddlin’ Market street in the air!

I’m not sure of the moral of the story or if there even was one. Perhaps it had something to do with some things just not belonging. That making, what would become, a parade balloon size man out of chewing gum was a doomed project from the start.

An’ that was the end o’ the CHEWIN’-GUM MAN
For Willie, an’ Wallie, an’ Huldy Ann.
They come along with an ax next day,
An’ chopped him up, and guv him away.

Portrait of a Woman by Hans Makart

Portrait of a Woman by Hans Makart (Austrian,1840 – 1884). Late 19th century. Oil on panel.Not so much in this painting, but in others you can see how Gustave Klimt was influenced by Makart.

Quote of the day from, The Conservative Paranoid Mind

But it isn’t liberals who are jumping the gun here. As usual, conservatives are rushing to judgment, shredding the Constitution, using the bombing as an pretext for derailing immigration reform, and generally seeking any excuse to reimpose their paranoid and authoritarian worldview, which needs fear like a vampire needs blood, on the rest of us.

It is not that the average American has nothing to fear, but you’re more likely to die from a botched medical procedure or being shot by another American in an ordinary act of gun violence than from a terrorist.