Friday, December 24, 2010
Go ahead and click on the music, and I'll make this brief; Merry Christmas!
Later today I take my prime rib and begin the process. Tomorrow morning, the rolls will start rising while the final motions of getting ready for the arrival of Christmas grind to a halt. And then? It's Christmas.
Lots of fellers have made an impact on what you've read here this year, and thanks to all of you who have contributed, from Anonymous, to Max, T.D., graphics from Ignatowski at Endangered Owl, LT, Inno, BB and others, thanks. Especial thanks to Max for cleaning up my video embeds.
I'll leave you with this thought, from a dry academic:
"We value authenticity. We want to be loved but that is not enough. We want to be loved for what we truly are, not what someone imagines us to be. We want love and respect to be earned. We value it so much that we imagine the love of others to be earned even when we don’t deserve it."
As we move toward Christmas Day, it is time to remember that Christmas is a simple story. It's a story that begins with God's love for Abraham, and ends with John 3:16. The story of the Life of Christ is worth knowing about, studying and understanding.
Authenticity. Rigour. Robustness.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Whatever macro-economic effects that were "supposed" to accrue to our benefit were dodged by our own Immaculate Conception; the Oregon State Legislature.
They are all virgins in Salem. Never a one had a job, made money, or signed checks. But, to their credit, they all believe in the same thing. Change!™
So, here we are looking at the New Right, talking about things that should have had a hearing years ago.
What is even sillier? The folks who passed it, Democrats all, still don't understand how their plans went aglee.
Gotta love the wave. The wave never thinks. The wave just...
More importantly, if you haven't yet, get her latest book "Sarah Palin: Faith, Family, Country." There are things in my life I call "priors." These are the fundamental beliefs that I hold, and believe that most people will discover over time, that lend credence to the idea that the United States of America is the most gifted nation in the world.
We begin the establishment of our country with the recognition of Natural Law. What is true is true because it is true. That there is, within the process of reduction, no further reduction possible. I think, therefore, I am. I cannot be unfaithful to myself. To do so would be madness. If I see a thing, no a thing to be real, and someone suggests that what I see, feel, experience, know is false, I must refute it. Thusly.
People don't need perfection. They are perfect. Yes, a certain segment of the universe of "people" make mistakes, some of them serially. (We usually call these serial abusers "criminals.") Government, "elitist" types view ordinary people as rather pedantic, if they regard them at all. Elitism is a curse of the educated class. Elitism teaches our children that if they adopt certain views, then they will be successful. This as counterpoint to the view that if you are faithful to yourself, and to your beliefs and ideas, you will be happy.
When I look at the founding documents of our Nation, I don't stop at Madison. The year of the Renaissance wasn't 1776. But, the Renaissance was the end of the tyranny of force. The lessons learned from the Renaissance Movement were spurious attempts to defend a secret of humanity; those who attempt to tell you that they deserve your feasance are probably the worst malefactors against the human condition.
There is a reason why I've been successful in my endeavours while others, engaged in the same industry, have failed. The attributes with which I comport myself are simple: be honest; be as intellectually rigorous as is necessary to bring to my clients a robust solution to their problems; to agree that I am not the expert in any situation, since it isn't my money I end up dealing with.
I'm a consultant. With a degree and everything. Year of experience. My oldest son has been told, when I lose my grip on my gifts, well...it's okay to think about pulling the plug. Serially. I don't want to be a doddering relic. It would be time to retire.
That point is far, from my way of thinking, away. But my understanding of human beings hasn't changed in 46 years. I was ten years old when I recognized that there is a serious imbalance between popular opinion and thoughtful inquiry. (My fault lies in my inability to understand that other ten year-olds wouldn't have the same world view that I held. I've learned a lot about projection since then. Scroll down to "Freudian Projection.)
I know that there are among you who repudiate Freud, so, I offer you a Jungian interpretation.
Wanted to be a hero, found out you were a goat?
There. Even Joe Campbell would be pleased with the realization that word don't always convey the meaning we wish others to hear or interpret correctly. All that I can tell you is, if you project upon others your interpretation of what they should think, should feel, should value, should understand, then you're an idiot.
Imagine, tomorrow, waking up and finding that you're a goat, or a fish, or a cockroach. Interpretations of how others would find you, relate to you, accept you, even recognize your existence might be laden with expectations of how you expect to be found, related, etc. It wouldn't alter the fact that those who ran across you would find themselves, at the least, puzzled by your appearance. And for those we don't understand--apparently--we find ourselves guessing about how to deal with what is apparent. Our expectations aren't being met. It's frustrating. We get angry. And fearful.
I'm making grade-school spaghetti tonight. I made taco meat last night, and tonight I've mixed the excess taco meat with marinara. (What I hated most about "institutional" spaghetti wasn't the sauce, it was the noodles.) I have a certain expectation about the flavour, consistency and enjoyment I'm going to receive in fifteen to twenty minutes. If I don't hit that level of expectation, I'm going to be a little disappointed with myself.
My oldest sister believes in the Goddess Gaea. She views herself as an "White Witch." She and I don't talk. I call her on her birthday each year. I get electronic cards for seasonal events. The key is, she won't pick up her phone. She doesn't want to talk with me. What can one say about expectations? I, her only brother, represents to her a white/male/patriarchy that she has repudiated. As a Jungian analyst, she has a practise set up in Lake Oswego. She has repudiated the lessons of Freud as a necessary pre-cursor to her "Jungian Analysis." She believes that Capitalism is the tool of white male domination. It is the edifice of a Patriarchy. Her hatred of things that make sense is based upon a certain group-think that attempts to repudiate common sense in order to create an appreciation for a new set of values; values that contemplate a certain realization of the Feminine. Feminine, I ask, as opposed to what, human?
The "Feminine" is an occult branch of Jungian "psychology." If you have read C.G., you'd realise that he hadn't intended his works to become cultish. He was simply trying to help people understand, in a different way, the frustrations that occur under his teacher's tutelage, that of Freud. The best example of this, in my opinion, are the writings of Erich Fromm. Which ties back, almost directly, to Freud's views. Expectations of others beliefs, actions, heartfelt wishes are simply our own projections of what you or I believe to be the necessary outcomes of a certain train of thought. However well I express myself, I know that given to a general audience, most of what I say, believe or write will be missed. Most readers read for their own reasons. Most writers--such as I--write for our own reasons. I remember my favourite writing coach, Dr. Steve Curray saying, you write for our audience. Your success as a writer depends upon your recognition of your audience. And if your writing has wide appeal, you will be noted as a successful author.
I have no such vanity here. I write for myself, for you, and a select handful of others. Same with Sarah Palin. "America By Heart."
It's the book I'm reading now.
Sarah is writing about her priors. Those beliefs that she holds as central, critical, to her beliefs about you, me, and the guy who lives next door. Regardless if he is an angel or a crack-dealer. Because we start with the same, natural, origin, it is critical that we adopt an agenda--such as that adopted by our Founding Fathers--that reflects our understanding of our nature and origins. Who we are in a State of Nature. Without the oppression of the other. How would you be, and would expect others to be, without government?
Sarah's willingness to admit to the goodness of her fellow man is revealing to me. It is what I would expect from someone who has truly looked into, not only her own heart, but the heart of those she loves, to see the commonality of those she, you and I, live among. We will find ourselves let down by our expectations, from time-to-time. She admits this. I admit this. But she is unwilling to give up on how wonderful free men are. We care about each other. We are patient. We are industrious. We are human.
We are not perfect when it comes to meeting of exceeding the expectations of others, at all times. But I would assert to you, that the fault lies not in your imperfection, but in my expectation that you would choose to do that which I wish you would do, when I wish it.
That, my friend, is vanity. Tolerance, on the other hand, allows you to choose a path that I choose not to take. Tolerance allows me to question my own, closely held, beliefs. Tolerance allows me to ask questions that I feel must be asked. How much money do we need to spend on Green Technology before we ask the question, is there going to be a return on investment? How much money must we give people who choose not to work, before we begin to realise that these people choose not to work? How much can we cut budgets for art, before art disappears?
So, yes, Mike, I like her, too. She's hot.
So, Governor Mike Huckabee. Always willing to do the reasonable thing, and government is the tool of that reasonable thing. Just look at the kids in third grade! (I was the chubby cheeked kid in third grade. I mean, cheeks!) Both of my sons were "chubby" in grade school. Their mother was horrified. I told her to relax. I was 5'10" and 176 when I graduated from high school. When I graduated from college I was 6'00" and 184 pounds. The chubby was gone. How did that happen?
I don't know. And I don't know if I should have been part of a study on obesity. Which, again, begs a whole lot of questions. In a New York Daily News story, the writer refers to "studies" that show that less than half the kids are overweight, or obese. Which is pretty good, I think. But that's simply because I think of the Bell Curve and what percentage of the population lies under the first standard deviation. The Bell Curve would, under assumptions of normal distribution, tend to predict that two of three kids--or around there--would be included within the first standard deviation. That is, not so far from normal.
I've spent a lot of time with kids, coaching soccer, basketball, even chess, and the one thing I have noticed with kids, especially with the fatties, is that when they become adults it all makes sense. One of the hugest kids in my youngest's class turned out to be a great football player and trackster. Even ran the Fat Man Relays.
Earlier this year, my college roomie showed up and mocked me for my size. He bullied me. Ridiculed me. Then, after he left, I noticed something in the mirror as I walked down the hall that preceded me. It was my belly. So, I made the choice, and dropped forty pounds. I can take my shirt off when I'm working in the yard, again. (Still too white, but the previous image was unattractive,too. It was a personal step-up.) No longer Beached Whale. Liberated from my fattitude.
We must do something. We are always told so. If we don't do something, who will?
So, I have a problem with the ole Huckleberry.
I also have problems with Mitt. Massachusetts Health Care.
But there's a huge difference between Sarah and either of these guys. How do you learn what you are responsible for? Are you responsible for your choices, or not?
Huckabee had a stomach band. I mean, before the stomach band, this one one seriously large guy. Some people are cursed by their genes. You and I both know there are men and women out there who, try as they might, are not going to lose the weight you and I are able to lose. And nothing is worse than a fat man who isn't jolly. It's just ugly. One of my friends is close to 500 pounds. Hella cook. Enjoys his cooking and his eating. Do I worry for him? Yeah. He's like one stairclimb away from major infarction. I've talked with him about his weight, since I do care, and you can't help but notice. He's big and will always be. Just one of several examples of folks I know who are grossly obese.
Are there outliers then? Yes. One girl who was in my class from First Grade through high school was always a bit chubby. I met her one day on the bus as I was headed to PSU and she was headed to the Art Museum.
Beautiful? Man, oh man! What a change. From little porky-pie to goddess.
I don't buy all the "studies." What I do buy is the idea that you let people grow-up. And that, friends, is the difference between Sarah and Huck. Sarah thinks of you as adults. Huck? Not so much. Or, not so much that a little government in your life wouldn't be appreciated.
Oregon State University CLA Dean Larry Rodgers, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. English:
“CLA takes its foundational teaching role very seriously. Every student in the university takes our classes. But if you take a more specific area like climate change, you find that while scientists have strong, data-based research validating disturbing planetary trends, the move to public action has been a tough sell. Why? I would say that we haven’t yet found a persuasive public narrative that translates solid science into policy and policy into action. How to achieve buy-in is where CLA needs to be a world-changer. We teach our students how to communicate, how to think deeply and ethically about tough issues, about the responsibilities of citizenship. I strongly believe that our ability to address an issue like climate change lies in how well we use these kinds of skills.”
No need to worry about precision. No need to question. Think deeply and ethically about tough issues. That's all. (The voice in my head was Ralph Henshaw's, "That's all, I didn't mean to kill 'im.")
The purpose of the State? To do good. To help us achieve the Vision!™ That we haven't established Ecotopia yet is a sign that we haven't addressed the issue of communication, not that the ideas implicit in Ecotopia are either impractical, or worse, juvenile. We need "buy-in."
How practical is that? Here are some announcements that have come across my desk recently:
Oregon Arts Commission Awards Opportunity Grants to Oregon Artists. $12,839.00.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is soliciting public comments on reporting protocols for facilities and businesses required to report their annual greenhouse gas emissions. DEQ is updating the reporting protocols to conform with recent amendments to Oregon’s greenhouse gas reporting rules and to conform with new federal reporting requirements. (Cost to government and to business? Left unsaid.)
At their monthly meeting, the Commissioners of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission voted unanimously in favor of beginning the rulemaking process in regard to an alcohol impact area in Downtown Portland. (No word why the State is dealing with a city issue. But I don't think this will be costless. No budget numbers were supplied.)
The Oregon Department of Transportation is seeking input from the public on 85 projects from around the state under consideration for funding through the Transportation Enhancement program. The Transportation Enhancement (TE) program provides federal funds for projects that strengthen the cultural, aesthetic and environmental value of the transportation system, such as bicycle facilities, historic preservation and archaeological research. Projects that have advanced to the public comment phase represent about $92 million.
The Oregon Environmental Justice Task Force has received a National Achievements in Environmental Justice Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for effectively implementing Oregon's environmental justice legislation and incorporating environmental justice considerations into state agency programs. (No mention about the increased costs to the private sector that led to "winning" such a prestigious award. Remember, we need to achieve buy-in.)
Oregon has moved up a notch, from sixth highest unemployment, to fifth. How to achieve buy-in. Oh, we'll just rely upon our schools. Merry Christmas!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
A post, over at Chas' Compilations, sparked the comment below.
When I attempted to post it as a comment there, Blogger got upset.
Had a conversation with a fella who wanted to replace the current, privately-held utility with a public utility.
I asked him what the difference would mean to either him or to me. He pointed out that he believed the PUD would be able to produce electricity more cheaply, since there wouldn't be a profit motive.
Well, the chickens are coming home to roost, and the states, in my opinion will not be able to use bankruptcy in order to avoid the oncoming financial disaster. So, who will be made to pay? The bondholders or the public employees? Which group is evil, which group is good?
Got enough hope and change yet?
You and I have been free to choose the level of service we have from a wide range of providers competing for our business. That will end under the FCC's plan. They will regulate the type of service you receive, something never needed before. And once they have their hands on the internet, they can begin to regulate content.
And who wouldn't want the FCC to tell you what is permissible?
UPDATE: From Reason TV.
Monday, December 20, 2010
This is 240 60 watt light bulbs. Soon, these will become contraband. When the "public" becomes aware of the contraband nature of lightbulbs, the price of these lightbulbs will go up.
You will not be able to purchase them, because the Congress of the United States of America has determined that in order to save the world, these bulbs will kill polar bears, raise the level of the oceans by thirty feet, and lend themselves toward the destruction of all that is important in a neo-post-apocalyptic world.
I figure I have about twenty years worth of light bulbs here. When you are struggling to read at night, I'll have warm and cozy lighting and a year's worth of books. Thankfully, I have UPS back-ups at each of my outlets, so even when the power is "blacked-out" I'll be able to read. And, I have several pairs of glasses, so even if I step on a pair, I'll still be able to read.
Maybe, neo-post-apocalyptic is the wrong word choice. Mebbe the right word choice is going Mormon on technology. I don't know. I never thought that Congress would be able to use the Constitution to outlaw the production of the miracle of light and electricity. When I was a kid, the fact that there were still large areas of the U.S. that didn't have electricity seemed an idea that couldn't be right. Until Kathy Cobb came back from time in Appalachia, and told us first-hand, that that was not only true, but seen, first-hand.
Appalachia is an odd thought. Fifty years ago, we were being asked to relieve the Appalachians from their backwardness. Now we're being told that becoming Appalachia in a fifty-year redux, is the goal of society. Talk about wheels within wheels. Oh, and Man Made Global Warming? It's now Man Made Global Cooling. Which does have a shorter cycle than electrifying Appalachia.
I know that there's a chance that the ban on incandescents will be repealed. But the Senate won't come under Republican control--if House Republicans can remain consistent with Tea Party priors--until 2012. During the next two years, if not repealed, the price of incandescents will be going through the roof. Even if the ban on incandescents is repealed, by the time the repeal is removed, the cost, through increasing inflation, still makes this a smart investment.
If you have a chance to lay-up some everyday provisions, why not do so? This isn't a bunker mentality, or, survivalist mentality. It's a common sense thought, what do you want, that has an unlimited shelf-life, that will increase in cost more quickly than your income? There are a lot of things that come to mind: clothing, such as socks and t-shirts; laundry detergent; sheets and linens; aluminum foil, plastic wrap and kitchen utensils. If you don't have a back-up coffee maker? Time to put one away.
The next project I have, and I have several right now, is pricing out an LNG generator. It is not the type of aquisition that I would have thought of a year or two ago. But, in Oregon, we do things differently. Right now, the State of Oregon is pressuring one of our two largest utilities to close an electrical generating plant by 2012. This plant produces 25 percent of Portland's electricity. Mebbe 20 percent of the state's total energy. This isn't new. I've posted before about the decision to close Trojan.
Keeping the cost of energy low is viewed by many--a majority?--of Oregonians as an evil.
The cost of such an idea will become apparent at a certain point. Just as the cost of California's ridiculous adherence to carbon trading will become apparent, at some point. The problem will be, finding one's self in a death spiral is a different experience that avoiding a death spiral. When one is in a death spiral the only outcomes are either death, or luck.
Anticipating behaviour that can produce a death spiral, and backing away from that behaviour, well that's different.
I only hope that Oregonians can appreciate the difference. And truly, do things differently here.
This morning in my inbox was a note from the Oregon Arts Commission announcing grants of 110-thousand dollars for "Arts Build Communities."
"These grants reward and encourage the work, planning and innovative arts partnerships that were developed to improve lives in communities large and small across Oregon," said Jean Boyer Cowling, Chair of the Oregon Arts Commission who led the proposal review. "The most competitive and interesting projects responded directly to challenges facing Oregonians today."
Hey, I like art. My son's middle name is Art. I can read music, play the piano. Sing from time-to-time. MOMA? Hey, if you're in New York and can't spend some time at MOMA, you're missing one of the world's great treasures.
The problem is, the state is broke. We spending hundreds of millions of dollars we don't have. I've a clue I'd like to share; art won't go away simply because the government fails to pay for it. Art, from the mediocre to the great will persist. Art for art's sake. (Did you ever see those words in Latin? Used by a private corporation?)
The next session is going to be bloody. We have the votes in the House to block excess spending, but lack the votes to pass legislation because of a Democrat majority in the Senate. And, from his track record, I don't think we'll be able to count on the Governor-elect to provide the leadership the State needs to overcome this legislative impasse. Democrats get elected because they pander to any and every "group" out there. The Arts represents one community. There are lots of other "communities." Each with their own message of indispensibility. We simply can't live without them.
They are wrong.