the storm, an emily dickinson manuscript, six ways conservatives just don’t get it

The Storm, 1946. By Grace Arnold Albee, American, 1890-1995. Wood engraving on paper.

Ghost-Hunters and Psychical Research in Interwar England. It sounds quaint, but they took it rather seriously for a number of years. Science or something resembling science was going to break through to the ethereal  plain.

The hand written manuscript of the Emily Dickinson poem that begins “HOPE is the thing with feathers” and the seldom cited “To die – takes just a little while”

HOPE is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I ’ve heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.

———————————————————

To die – takes just a

little while –

They say it does’nt hurt –

It’s only fainter – by degrees –

And then – it’s out of sight –

A darker Ribbon – for a Day –

A Crape opon the Hat –

And then the pretty sun – sunshine

shine comes –

And helps us to forget –

The absent – mystic – creature –

That but for love of us –

Had gone to sleep – that

soundest time –

Without the weariness –

Emily Dickinson (1830–86).  “HOPE” from the Complete Poems.1924. “To die ” from Franklin Variorum, 1998.

6 Ways the GOP Congress Is Out of Step With the American People. From drug policy to fiscal policy to gay marriage, a profound disconnect. Have you noticed that most of the world’s wackiest people have one  – or maybe more things in common. The one that constantly arise is the desire to live in another century. The Republican Party wants to put the country in a time machine and take it back to the Antebellum South of 1850. Fundamentalists Muslims want to take the Middle-East back to the 17th century.

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winged griffin sculpture, spanking and impact on vocabulary

Winged Griffin Nibbling on Sacred Tree, 8th-7th century BC (Neo-Assyrian). Levantine origins. Ivory & Bone.

 

If you’re a blogger, especially one with comments and you do not want to piss off your regular visitors, you do not write about two things, religion or how to raise children. Since I have been blogging long enough to have pissed off just about everyone I have nothing to lose, Spanking your kids could affect their vocabulary down the road

To spank or not to spank: For most American parents, it isn’t a question.

The majority of U.S. children have been spanked at some time in their life, despite a robust body of evidence that suggests spanking a child leads to problems in the future.

The latest evidence of the negative effects of spanking comes from researchers at Columbia University. After analyzing data from more than 1,500 families, they found that children who are spanked in early childhood are not only more likely to be aggressive as older children, they are also more likely to do worse on vocabulary tests than their peers who had not been spanked.

I have heard parents make good, if problematic arguments for at least a little corporeal punishment – much of it based on the parents being at a loss as to how to stop some bad behaviors. Though corporeal punishment may work to some extent, there also seems to be a price to pay. Perhaps some parents know that spanking produces resentment and hostility in their children, but see that as a good thing.

 

the mouse gnaws the net imprisoning the doves

“The Mouse Gnaws the Net Imprisoning the Doves”, Folio from a Kalila wa Dimna. 18th century. Origins of this version: Egypt or Syria culture. Ink and opaque watercolor on paper. This is part of an allegorical fable.

Climate change increased the number of deaths

The increased temperatures caused by ongoing climate change in Stockholm, Sweden between 1980 and 2009 caused 300 more premature deaths than if the temperature increase did not take place. In Sweden as a whole, it would mean about 1,500 more premature deaths, according to a study from researchers at Umeå University published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Global warming does not only give a general increase in temperature, but it also increases the frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves.

I don’t do many of these kinds of stories, but it is getting to be a crowded field of products, Apple iPad Air and 11 other tablets compared: which is best? While Apple products are still looking good, the competition has gotten much better. Those who like Android will especially like the new Samsung Galaxy Note. Sorry to say something good about Microsoft, but the Surface 2 looks good and runs traditional Office apps – which some of us still have to work with.

alien world with possiblity of life, secede and show us mortals how it is done

Electrotower, Coney Island. c.1903.

Electrotower, Coney Island. c.1903.

An alien world dripping with water? Scientists see possibility of life

Scientists have found the shredded remains of a large, water-rich asteroid raining down on the embers of a dead star, 170 light-years from Earth.

It is the first time that scientists have found a mix of rock and water in a solar system that is not our own. The discovery also suggests that hundreds of millions of years ago, this distant solar system could have been conducive to life as we know it.

“What we know is that this system had the main ingredients to build planets like the Earth,” said Boris Gänsicke of the University of Warwick in England, who coauthored a paper about the discovery.

Finding life, especially something advanced as say a plant, would be a starling discovery just in terms of pure science. Though it would also create, not some theological and philosophical problems, but even more than we already have. While Wikipedia is not the last word on every detail of a subject, they do a fair job of introducing one into the shear number of creation myths that exists, without taking extraterrestrial life into account. Just a sample: Creation from chaos: Sumerian creation myth,  Greek cosmogonical myth; Emergence myths: Hopi creation myth; Ex nihilo (out of nothing):  Islamic creation myth, Genesis creation myth (Christianity and Judaism); World Parent: Heliopolis creation myth, Hiranyagarbha creation myth; Central Asian: Mongolian creation myth.

For Every Fighter a Woman Worker

For Every Fighter a Woman Worker/ United War Work Campaign/ Care for Her through the YWCA. Designed by Adolph Treidler, 1918.

Pat Buchanan: Is Red State America Seceding?

In the last decade of the 20th century, as the Soviet Empire disintegrated, so, too, did that prison house of nations, the USSR.

Out of the decomposing carcass came Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Moldova, all in Europe; Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus; and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia.

The spirit of secession, the desire of peoples to sever ties to nations to which they have belonged for generations, sometimes for centuries, and to seek out their own kind, is a spreading phenomenon.

What are the forces pulling nations apart? Ethnicity, culture, history and language – but now also economics. And separatist and secessionist movements are cropping up here in the United States.

Conservatives have been flirting with secession as far back as i can remember – certainly during the Clinton administration and have read stuff from the 1950s by the old John Birch Society conservatives advocating secession. While some libertarians have also joined in, they generally stick with some nebulous ideas about creating some utopian state of their own. There are many decent, moderate minded Americans living in every state where these secessionist’s yearnings are loudest ( Texas, Arizona, Alaska and North Carolina come to mind) so I’m not in favor of punishing those moderate Americans with the spiteful cravings of a vocal minority. Though I do wonder about what seems to be holding up the secessionist and the utopian crowd. Where are the candidates  running on a secession platform. Why haven’t the conservatives and libertarians who have all the answers and are more perfect than the rest of us used their fortunes and skills to create a new nation. They’d finally be able to have some solid proof, a living example of how anything and everything should be done in their pure societies. Back in middle-school we had a saying, put up or shut-up.

treating the commons like brats gone wild

Head of a Young Girl, c1740s - 1750s. Oil on canvas. By Francois Boucher

Head of a Young Girl, c1740s – 1750s. Oil on canvas. By Francois Boucher

 The Travesty of the Anti-Commons

In his 1968 essay “The tragedy of the commons,” Garrett Hardin argued that unrestricted access to resources held in common, and, likewise, unrestricted ability to dump waste, inexorably leads to the destruction of the commons. At the time, he may not have suspected that the term would become a formidable propaganda weapon in the hands of those who would do exactly what he was arguing against—used to sing the virtues of unrestrained self-interest while destroying the ecosystems on which we, along with all life, depend for our survival.

Later on Hardin said that perhaps he should have called it “The Tragedy of the Unregulated Commons,” because in his article he presented another concept—that of negative commons, now better known as externalities, of which air and water pollution are prime examples. Since the Earth’s atmosphere and the oceans are rather difficult to privatize, this poses a general moral challenge to society. If everyone concerns themselves only with their own interests (taking while the taking is good, not expending effort on collective efforts since they are a waste of one’s precious time, and so on) one cannot avoid the tragedy of the commons.

The full essay is at the link. I must not be a complete cynic yet since I am a little surprised that we’re still having this debate in the U.S. and Europe, and increasingly in Asia. Even those who do not have children remember being a child. We had to have some limits on our behavior because it could be damaging to people and property, and endangered ourselves. Sure strictly speaking our adult caregivers were taking away freedom, but they did so for obviously good reason. The same code of behavior applies writ large to coal companies, oil companies and manufacturers. Given complete freedom or the license to run wild, they will, and have done, even with regulation, considerable damage and wasted tremendous amounts of resources. Such behavior is beyond irresponsible it borders on nihilism. They seem to operate on the assumption that either there is no future to worry about, or screw future generations. Conservatives and libertarians who think this way – and there are millions who do – can make many claims about their behavior, be moral is not one of them.

the day after labor day

Alma Sewing

Alma Sewing, 1935. Oil on canvas. By Francis Criss. Criss, along with Charles Sheeler and Charles Demuth were part of the Precisionists movement. Viewers will have already noticed the clean graceful lines gives the painting an almost 3D appearance.

Protecting the Promise of Labor Day: Five Ways Workers are Under Attack

In 1897, President Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a federal holiday, reacting to pressure from unions following the contentious Pullman Strike.

Over the next century, unions fought to win all sorts of benefits for Americans, ranging from widespread employer-sponsored health care to reduced workdays. But this Labor Day, many of these hard-fought benefits are under attack:

Pensions: Thanks to federal reforms and labor activism, private sector pension plans proliferated in the twentieth century. In March of 1949, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that companies had to bargain with their unions over pensions. Walter Reuther – the famous United Auto Workers (UAW) leader who also addressed the 1963 March On Washington – demanded that Ford Motor Company offer retirement security in the form of pensions, and led his workers in a strike in order to win it. By September 1949, Ford agreed to a $100-a-month pension – a decision that had huge ramifications for pro-pension activism nationwide.

Today, pensions across the country are under attack. In 1979, 38 percent of workers in the private sector had access to a defined benefit plan. By 2010, only 15 percent had access to such a plan. Meanwhile in the public sector, both state and local governments continue to cut pensions even while handing out massive tax giveaways to corporations.

The Right To Organize: One right unions gave America is the ability to collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, hours and working conditions. In the 1950s more than a third of Americans belonged to unions; in 1952, there were 470 strikes involving 2.7 million workers. The recent wave of anti-union laws and aggressive anti-labor tactics by businesses has meant that far fewer Americans have been able to join a union. By the end of 2012 only 11.3 percent of Americans were unionized. Today, right-wing politicians have signed laws aimed at undermining collective bargaining in both the public and private sectors.

Income Equality: As unionization peaked in the middle of the last century, so did income equality. Incomes became “dramatically more equal in the 1940s” and “remained roughly stable through the postwar economic booms of the 1950s and 1960s.” But as researchers at the Center for American Progress found, as union membership decreased, the middle class’s share of national income shrunk at a similar rate.

Access To Health Care: “The rise of unions in the 1930s and 1940s led to the first great expansion of health care” for all Americans, as labor unions banded workers together to negotiate for health coverage plans from employers. In 1942, “the U.S. set up a National War Labor Board. It had the power to set a cap on all wage increases. But it let employers circumvent the cap by offering ‘fringe benefits’ – notably, health insurance.” By 1950, “half of all companies with fewer than 250 workers and two-thirds of all companies with more than 250 workers offered health insurance of one kind or another.” Today, corporations are cutting health benefits and fighting the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which unions helped pass.

Fair Hours: In the late nineteenth century, unions started to call for an eight-hour workday, and on May Day in 1886, over 300,000 Americans went on strike for a shorter work day. Within decades, railroad workers won an eight-hour workday, and by the 1950s, most other workers had 40-hour weeks as well. Before this burst of labor activism, the average workweek for Americans was much longer — in 1870 it was 61 hours.

In the post-WWII era, the average American worker worked less hours than even a French worker, but the trend reversed itself in the 1980s and the last few decades have seen Americans working more for less. During the same time, productivity decoupled itself from wages, meaning Americans were working more hours while not necessarily reaping the benefits – likely another outcome of declining unionization.

While these attacks on workers and their rights have been incredibly damaging, there is reason for optimism. Last year’s massive Chicago teachers’ strike won a number of benefits for both teachers and students. As Allison Kilkenny documented, for the first time in modern American history, labor strikes are becoming a widespread tool for workers in the fast food industry – with strikes in dozens of cities this past week. As workers continue to organize to beat back attacks on American labor rights, they can turn to those workers in the fast-food industry for inspiration. “I know I’m risking my job, but it’s my right to fight for my deserve,” said Julio Wilson, a Little Caesars worker in Raleigh, North Carolina, who dreams of the day his $9-an-hour wage will be large enough to care for both himself and his daughter.

candlelight wallpaper, remotely controlled brain experiment works, the moral deficit of conservatism

candlelight serenade wallpaper

candlelight serenade wallpaper

 

Maybe because of recent news that an NSA employee used their position and authority to stalk an ex-spouse, I’m feeling a little more cynical about this news than I should, Researcher remotely controls colleague’s body with brain

On Aug. 12, University of Washington researcher Rajesh Rao sent the finger-flicking brain signal to his colleague, Andrea Stocco, in a demonstration of human-to-human brain signaling, according to a university announcement.

…A video of the experiment released on the lab team’s website shows Rao observing a cannon-firing video game while wearing an electrical brain-signal reading cap. By imagining his right finger flicking during the game, he triggered the actual motion in Stocco, who sat in a distant lab, wearing a cap designed to send magnetic stimulation signals to his brain. In effect, Rao’s thought was transferred across the campus, via the Internet, to trigger the motion in Stocco, who described it as feeling like an involuntary twitch, according to the announcement.

The development of sophisticated electronic surveillance and the ability to store vast quantities of data was also a great advancement in our national security toolbox. Many of as realize that technology has been badly abused. So there is little reason to believe that advances in directly controlled brain technology will not be abused as well. If only our ethical standards would keep pace with technology.

Starry Night

Starry Night, 1893 by Edvard Munch. Oil on canvas. An interesting contrast with Vincent Van Gogh’s painting The Starry Night. Munch is said to have been more interested in conveying the mood of the setting, or his mood anyway, rather than emphasizing the picturesque qualities.

Pennsylvania, Rep. Tom Marino (R) Tells The Elderly ‘We Do Not Have The Money’ To Fund Meals On Wheels

At a visit to the Meals on Wheels program headquarters in Monroe and Lackawanna counties in his home state of Pennsylvania, Rep. Tom Marino (R) said that he supports the program but that he is concerned with reducing long-term debt. While calling the funding of Meals on Wheels a “no-brainer,” he still said “I can’t stand here and tell you your agency won’t be cut.”

“It’s going to take two decades — even if we start now — to try to eliminate this debt,” he said. “Folks, we do not have the money. The revenue is not there. How are you going to pay for it?”

The executive directors of the program delivered comments written on paper plates from the low-income elderly recipients of the meals asking him to help end sequestration cuts and increase the program’s funding. The local programs haven’t had to reduce meal days yet, but Linda Steier, executive director of Meals on Wheels in the area, told the Pocono Record, “It’s looming large.”

Still, those programs are among the fortunate, as many others across the country have had to reduce the number of meals they serve, freeze new enrollees, shutter community centers, and furlough staff. In fact, nearly 70 percent report having to reduce their meals. All told, initial projections were that $41 million in federal funding for the program would be cut, resulting in as many as 19 million fewer meals served.

We, the gov’mint have enough money to pay Tom $179k a year, subsidize his and his family’s health care insurance with a gold plated plan. The deficit has gone down every year since 2009. So he is lying about having some kind of deficit emergency. If you grow old in the USA you’re entitled to the dignity and respect of having enough nutritious food to survive. Tom, who obviously has no interest in representing or respecting elder Americans not only feels differently, he feels so strongly about not feeding seniors he is willing to lie and exaggerate to not feed them or respect them. Tom has an emergency deficit. A deficit of basic morality.,