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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

If Obama Doesn't "Make it Happen"

We're Screwed
Brooks of the NYT wrote today:
"The great paradox of the age is that Barack Obama, the most riveting of recent presidents, is leading us into an era of Congressional dominance. And Congressional governance is a haven for special interest pleading and venal logrolling."

Like a bridge designed by a committee

You can trust the U.S. Congress to make a dog's breakfast out of anything it touches

Friday, June 26, 2009

Born in '34-Donald Duck, The Dalai Lama and I

We were born in the same year. We're all, or soon will be, 75. Which one of us will be remembered 15 or 125 years from now? Totally rhetorical. It's gotta be "Uncle Donald". Among the hundreds of characters turned out by the Disney machine, Donald Duck was one of the very few that I could relate to. His irascibility, even in my childhood was easy to identify with. He understood how terribly daffy, people (like ducks) could be.
Shouldn't the Dalai Lama get top billing over the duckster? Yes, he should but he won't even though the His Holiness is one of the most human beings I know and his compassion and empathy plus his incredible intelligence should put him on top but it's his perfection that eliminates him from the starring role. He's just "too good".

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Republican Party's Moral Bankruptcy- Chapter/Section 8

Long ago, when I was a young Marine, some guys were separated from the service because they were unfit for service due to mental disability. It was referred to as a "Section 8 Discharge" Now we have an entire political party showing symptoms of moral and ethical disability. Under the circumstances I think they should file for bankruptcy and total reorganization. Would that be Chapter 8?
The severe strain of dealing with the misrule of one of their own, a 6th generation Republican stalwart, followed by an embarassing defeat in the last elections due in least in part to the nomination of a candidate in advanced state of early senile dementia paired with a VP to be,who though not senile, was and still is, severely demented, and currently, the party's worst "nut cases" leading their caucus.

Let's face it guys it's time for you Republican "leaders" to give up, say uncle and walk away. Let's have a brand new second party, one led by mentally competent individuals who can provide a conservative opposition without the kind o "Lonney Tunes" behavior that we've seen lately.
It worked in Lincoln's time (though he may be spinning in his tomb when he sees the way the "Party of Lincoln" has turned out) Maybe somebody can do it again.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Religion- Opium or Salvation?

Since 2004 I have made four trips from my home in Texas to Southeast Asia. Each had a "spritual" aspect and each one was interesting and rewarding but not the life-changing experience I had envisioned. I studied meditation techniques at a Monastery in northern Thailand and learned to focus my mind quicker and easier. I spent a month in Nepal and learned a great deal about Tibetan Buddhist practice and the Dharma and discovered that not withstanding Gautama Buddha's instructions to the contrary, many apparently intelligent practitioners that I met tended to ascribe divine powers to the Buddha and their teachers and worship them accordingly.

Now, I find myself in India at an international community known as Auroville where the founder insisted in her teachings that anyone, from anywhere in the world, could find the path to wisdom and enlightenment, providing they were willing to leave their religion behind. An idea that I found personally appealing and eminently sensible but discovered that the Aurovillians I have encountered have merely traded their "Old time religion" Christian, Buddhist, Bahai whatever, for the worship of "The Mother" and Sri Aurobindo. Today, I found a four page printout of songs, poems and writings extolling the divine virtues of the founder and her Guru.

The almost completed heart of Auroville is a six story golden spere with the world's largest crystal ball illuminated by a giant "sun tunnel" that is a ostensibly a meditation center (and would serve that purpose very well) is treated by the staff and the Aurovillians as the inner sanctum, the holy of holies.

Recent research on the evolutionary development of the brain would seem to suggest that man could be genetically prewired for religion and a belief in some divine being. Students of religious history wlll also confirm that there is a strong tendency for those associated with any new spiritual movement to try to create a hierarchy and complex dogma around the initially simple and universally admired messages of Great Teachers like Lao tse,Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ and Mohammed.
Apparently "Great Ideas, like the Sermon on the Mount, the Sutras etc" are not enough unless they are packaged with "mystery", divine inspiration, miracles and other evidence of supernatural, "divine power"

Twitter Your Life Away

Has anyone stopped to wonder why Twitter, Myface, Youtube and similar sites have grown exponentially over the past five years? Obviously, they were created to fill an existing need, the need of the current generation (particularly), and most of those born in the post WWII era,for 'real" connections with other humans via electronic devices for want of any other method.

Mental health practitioners in the first half of the last century were known as "Alienists" and were primarily concerned with helping patients connect to the world around them. So the apparent need has been with us for a very long time and probably has its' roots in the industrial revolution and the ensuing rapid growth of cities.

Since then entrepreneurs in the U.S. and elsewhere have sought to exploit the apparent demand with "quick buck" commercial applications. The end result, however has been to exacerbate the situation. Twittering is no substitute for real,face-to-face contact. Even when I can see your face on "My Face" it still gives me very little information about what you're actually thinking or feeling.

When I was a boy, I would walk miles to avoid using the phone and when someone insisted that I call before visiting, I didn't visit.
Call me a curmudgeon but just like Popeye, ("I y'am what I y'am) and offer no apologies