Saturday, October 11, 2008

Obama In Ohio

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D), Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio), Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) during a campaign rally at the Ross County Courthouse on Oct. 10, 2008 in Chillicothe, Ohio. (Mark Lyons/Getty Images)
While the crash only took place six months ago, I am convinced we have now passed the worst and with continued unity of effort we shall rapidly recover. There is one certainty of the future of a people of the resources, intelligence and character of the people of the United States---that is, prosperity.
---President Herbert Hoover - May 1, 1930
Losing a job is painful, and I know Americans are concerned about our economy; so am I. It's clear our economy has slowed, but the good news is, we anticipated this and took decisive action to bolster the economy, by passing a growth package that will put money into the hands of American workers and businesses.
---President George W. Bush - March 7, 2008 on news that the economy lost 63,000 payroll jobs in February.
The singular feature of the great crash of '29 was that the worst continued to worsen.
---John Kenneth Galbraith.
Barack Obama campaigned in Ohio before this week, but his emphasis consistently had been upon the cities in the northern part of the state. Toledo, Cleveland, Youngstown. He had touched Columbus, in Central Ohio, and even swooped down for an invitation-only appearance at Hocking College in Nelsonville before the primary. I didn't get an invitation or even hear about the visit, as there was a huge push to get-out-the-vote that day at Obama headquarters in our town. I resented that his visit wasn't open to all and, even more, that he didn't make a surprise stop down here to cheer on the thousands of OU and Athens City students who were knocking door-to-door. It's a 10 minute drive, and would have made up a bit for ignoring Southeast Ohio.
I'm not stung because it's an ego thing. Southern Ohio is very different from Northern. Southwestern Ohio is dominated by Cincinnati but Athens, despite Ohio University's presence here, is too small a city to dominate anything. As my conservative friend at work reminds me constantly, Athens is a little blue island in an ocean of red. A couple hours drive 2 weeks ago along Route 50 from Athens west to Chillicothe took me past yard after yard, farm after farm, loaded with McCain-Palin signs, flags and spangles flapping everywhere. As Governor Strickland said in Athens last month, if Kerry and Gore lost Ohio it's because of politics right here.
It's true Michelle Obama appeared at OU during primary season, and I'll bet you it was one of the highlights of her campaigning. But that's not the same as the candidate himself showing an interest in the "West Virginia part of Ohio," and maybe providing a convenient opportunity for some Republicans to check him out. His 2-day tour of Southern Ohio featured spectacular appearances in Dayton, Cincinnati, and Portsmouth on Thursday, and Chillicothe and Columbus yesterday. It's a straight shot northeast from Portsmouth to Chillicothe to Columbus---and it cut us out completely...unless we wanted to take the time off yesterday for the workday-scheduled speeches, or stagger through Friday after arriving home past midnight from 2 hours of travel, which we did (if you drive the speed limit, which we didn't).
Opening speeches started 10 minutes early at Shawnee State in Portsmouth, with the school's president giving us heartfelt welcome. I was optimistic Obama actually was going to show up on time. A few addresses from local candidates and organizers and the next thing had to be the candidate himself. On came that Obama music, which is so good it's almost worth a visit in itself---but an hour and a half later, this writer really was starting to sag. The loop reached the end with Springsteen, and then Aretha started us over again. Where the heck was he? I figured Cincinnati had to be the most important stop down here, but that rationalization took me only so far.
Finally Sherrod Brown came out to introduce Ted Strickland, who's managed in the past couple years to become a simply terrific political speaker. We were steamed up by the time Barack Obama hit the stage. My 17-year-old daughter said she started to cry at the sight of him. It's true, he's every bit as phenomenal in person as they say. THE One, THAT One, well...I don't know about going that far, but we all forgot our impatience within seconds. He apologized for being late, and immediately launched into the Georgetown diner anecdote that clearly he was making up on the spot.
Georgetown, Ohio, is a little town about a third of the way down 125 from Cincinnati to Portsmouth. I've never been on that road, but I presume it's a 2-lane. It was suppertime (gates opened in Portsmouth at 5:30 for the 7:30 appearance) and the 3 men decided to stop along the route for a bite to eat. Once inside the place, however, things got predictably complicated. Patrons and workers were astonished---as anyone would be. Photos had to be taken, especially with the waitresses and guys behind the grill and at the dishes. We're deep in Republican territory here, and they said the owner was "diehard" for the other side. They planned to enlarge the photo, frame it, and get it up on the wall as a surprise. But at that point the owner showed up, thanks to an obvious cellphone call. The dialogue that ensued between this small business guy and Barack Obama is classic. A number of papers have picked it up, including a couple I'm linking below. I guess the delay was worth it.
Obama's tour of Ohio was fortuitous in that the baddest news about the economy kept on coming this week. He gave nearly half of his 45-minute speech to it, launching immediately into those issues. His quote line about the AIG people at the $450,000 spa is making headlines. Here was the government's first chance at "oversight" and what happened? Obama told us what he would do---and that was first, demand a check of repayment to us taxpayers and second, fire them all then and there. The response from us 6000 assembled was tumultuous.
He is radical, compared to what we've heard from such candidates in the past 40 years. And he's resolute, and he's plausible. Big money's had its fun, and now it's time to pay the piper...and that's us. Barack Obama's a reminder of what many of us old-timers learned in school of what the United States is about. But it's been a long while, and many liberals believe the population has been so dumbed down in the meantime the situation may be hopeless. McCain actually brought himself to correct one of his supporters yesterday who referred to Obama as an "Arab."
When we established ourselves as a republic there was a catch. Yeah, sorta you got the right to pursue whatever happiness you want---but the Founding Fathers, especially Jefferson, warned without public education the mass becomes a mob. During the Bush years, educators have been mandated to "leave no child behind"---but "behind" is a test measurement for this administration. It's a measurement produced by private contractors, who make up and grade the tests, many of whom never have been teachers. These are test results that punish schools that don't make the grade, that withdraw funding to them...and even can shut their doors. There are school administrators across this land that think the whole plan is to privatize everything else.
I'm not going to allow myself to go off on a tangent rant here, but Obama gives indication he will not continue this approach. I wish he had talked more about it, but he did promise "no more teaching to the test." That means teaching gets restored to work with your students, where they're at and what they need. I've gone pretty far out in my days in the classroom, but I've prided myself that if an administrator came in at any moment I could tell him/her exactly what I was doing and why. I've always told kids on the first day that I teach because I consider it a matter of life and death. That philosophy never has been borne out so obviously to me as the state of intelligence of this nation right now.
Barack and Michelle Obama are dignified and very smart people. But to call them elite is slander. Perhaps many in the audience at Shawnee, where Ted Strickland taught for 10 years, were educated people...but a large proportion, at least to me, did not particularly appear to be. I think what strikes everyone who goes to an Obama rally is the incredible diversity of people there. It's the opposite of a Republican convention, where everybody dresses the same---in their red, white & blue outfits and funny hats---and behaves the same, disparaging those who are "different." Forty years ago Yippies were arrested for wearing American flags as shirts and blouses. There was singing, there was dancing, there was laughter in Portsmouth, Ohio, a ravaged town at a big bend in the River. It's a town with a lot of spirit and pride. Revival's in the air there, and I hope Barack Obama caught some of it himself---and inspired even more.
Half of these links are to Ohio newspapers and their reports on the tour. The first 3 are exceptions. This is from Agence France-Presse this morning, and I think reflects well the feel of what Obama was trying to do down here~~~
The second is MSNBC's report on Obama's plan to encourage small businesses---which are hurting tremendously at present, since expanding inventory usually takes loans which are increasingly difficult to get~~~
and this is the Washington Post's story on the same thing~~~
Here's Dayton's coverage~~~
and Cincinnati~~~
The Toledo Blade covered the Portsmouth rally~~~
as did the Columbus Dispatch~~~


Anonymous said...

As jazzolog's conservative friend at work "reminds [him] constantly, Athens is a little blue island in an ocean of red." what does that mean? What would John McCain or Sarah Palin make of it?

By Sarah Palin's standards does that make Athens part of "REAL AMERICA." Or should Athens be disqualified and removed, maybe, from the Union?

I mean, in Sarah Palin's own words, is Athens part of "the best of America that [She] get(s) to visit"? Does being "blue" somehow disqualifies Athens from being part of "these wonderful little pockets of what [she] call(s) the real America"?

What about the color purple? What about those purple Sates of the Union, are they red enough for Governor Palin? Or should we have the Governor's Pastor, Thomas Muthee, who is an expert on "mapping" (i.e. "Spiritual Mapping": research and prayer to identify individuals or locations to be accused of witchcraft or of being occupied by demonic forces, used by some Evangelicals to conduct spiritual warfare) exorcise the blue out of it?

Aren't blue, red and purple not all equally REAL? Aren't they all equally part of the Union?

How real does the Governor need one to be in order to be recognized as a real American?

Doesn't Athens, too, qualify, by Sarah Palin's standards, one of the "hard-working, very patriotic, pro-America" areas of this great nation?

Doesn't Athens qualify as a place where "the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans: those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food and fighting our wars for us, those... who are protecting the virtues of freedom" can be found, too?

"Hath not a Athenian eyes? Hath not a Athenian hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer as any other American, red, blue or purple? If you prick citizens from one of the so-called "blue" areas of the political map, do they not bleed? If you tickle them, do they not laugh? If you poison them, do they not die? And if you wrong them, shall they not revenge? "
---The Merchant of venice (revisited) Act III, scene I

Or does quoting/paraphrasing Shakespeare makes one too "blue," too "elitist," perhaps, for the Governor? Should Shakespeare's books be burned? The Governor does support the practice of banning book (or she did during her Wasilla's mayoral tenure), doesn't she? I mean, too much critical thinking and "intellectual" freedom can't be good for America, now, can it? And isn't Ohio university located in Athens---GASP! How un-American! How anti-Libertarian!!!

Don't REAL Americans know that education is best provided by corporations:

We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended. We call for the repeal of the guarantees of tax-funded, government-provided education, which are found in most state constitutions.
---Source: National Platform of the Libertarian Party Jul 2, 2000

Education is best provided by the free market... Recognizing that the education of children is inextricably linked to moral values, we would return authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. Parents should have control of all funds expended for their children's education.
---Source: National platform adopted at Denver L.P. convention May 30, 2008

Nausicaa said...

All that "anti-government" and "divide and conquer" rhetoric seems so old. But somehow, it doesn't seem to stick in the way it did in the old days---not this time.

Are we witnessing the end of Rovian politics?

According to Ariana Huffington:

"McCain is running a textbook Rovian race: fear-based, smear-based, anything goes. But it isn't working. The glitch in the well-oiled machine? The Internet.
Thanks to YouTube -- and blogging and instant fact-checking and viral emails -- it is getting harder and harder to get away with it..."

More here.

There is a possibility here that, as Ariana suggests it in her article, Age might be the issue for John McCain---not so much because of the candidate's age per se, but because of "the antediluvian approach of his campaign." A little bit like those people who still remember fondly that venerable old VAX line of computers, McCain might be suffering from vaxocentrism [vak`soh-sen'trizm/ n. - analogy with `ethnocentrism'], a notional disease said to afflict C programmers who persist in coding according to certain assumptions that are valid (esp. under Unix) on VAXen but false elsewhere.

It's called Evolution: Many people still run VAX hardware, but it is only a matter of time until those machines are no longer supported or maintainable. So it could be that while a new Zeitgeist is emerging and new paradigms are born, the Senator hasn't made the adjustment and is still living in the past---running a campaign that might have had more impact a decade or two ago (or even as recently as in 2004), but is less effective in this new development of the Information Age and grass-root citizenry.

Anonymous said...

Is Sarah Palin a Neolibertarian?

Neolibertarianism is a political philosophy that combines libertarian economic and social domestic policies with a neoconservative interventionist foreign policy.

Eric Dondero, here, (a self-described "Libertarian Republican"- whatever that means) seems to think so.

Eric Dondero's site LIBERTARIAN REPUBLICAN is "always looking for news of interest to libertarian Republicans. This could include campaign & election news, opposition research on enemies of freedom and nanny-state legislation ."

Nausicaa said...


I quote:

"Democrat Presidential candidate Barack Obama has taken two days off of the campaign trail to visit his very ill Grandmother. (...) This is an admirable thing for any politician to do, and Obama should be congratulated for risking so much political capital with two weeks left to go in the election. Libertarian Republican blog will henceforth refrain from any criticisms of Obama until his return to the contiguous 48. That said, it should be noted that even Adolph Hitler had a soft spot in his heart for his dog Blondie."

Say what?

This from an entry titled, A kind word for Barack Obama from Libertarian Republican blog

You've got to be kidding.

I'll just say this, regardless of how I personally may feel about the Libertarian movement (I, personally have a hard time taking it very seriously: ask ten libertarians to define Libertarianism, you'll get twenty answers), I think Eric Dondero's so-called Republican Libertarian site is not doing any Libertarians anywhere any favor with the kind of rants he has been publishing on his blog. In fact, if I didn't know better, I would have suspected him of being a plant, set out there to discredit the Libertarian movement (with friends like this, who needs enemies?).

Sadly the guy is for real. And, even more amazingly, he is favorably regarded by many Libertarians who speak highly of him. I mean the site proudly advertises that it is sponsored by Bob Barr's running mate, Wayne Allyn Root. And Eric Dondero's blog comes with high recommendations from Ron Paul out of all people:

"Eric, your enthusiasm for liberty is infectious. Stay that way. Your help is deeply appreciated."
--- US Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX)

I don't know.

Maybe, Noam Chomsky was onto something, after all, on this one:

"There isn't much point arguing about the word "libertarian." It would make about as much sense to argue with an unreconstructed Stalinist about the word "democracy" -- recall that they called what they'd constructed "peoples' democracies." The weird offshoot of ultra-right individualist anarchism that is called "libertarian" here happens to amount to advocacy of perhaps the worst kind of imaginable tyranny, namely unaccountable private tyranny. If they want to call that "libertarian," fine; after all, Stalin called his system "democratic." But why bother arguing about it?"
--- Noam Chomsky

jazzolog said...

Four years ago it was the Libertarian Party that united with the Greens---and provided the money incidentally---to challenge corruption in the Ohio re-election of George Bush. The Democrats showed a flicker of interest in the mountain of evidence that eventually turned into books and documentaries, but then Kerry gave up and went home. The other 2 parties fought on, but funds dwindled and they gave up.

At the time I found Libertarian overlap with liberal concerns sorta interesting, but I knew they were coming from an entirely different foundation and eventually we'd cross swords. I know quite a few Libertarians around these parts, and I must say ultimately the argument comes down to an incredible need for a personal need for security. I mean like Mommie and Daddie. There's a suspicion of other people that can become sociopathic in a twinkling, and this Dondero dude is here to prove it. If we saw him all alone with his blog on a big sign picketing the White House, we'd have the appropriate picture. Many of the anti-government Americans that have developed these past 30 years truly are sick people...and unfortunately quite dangerous.

LarkDander said...

Vaxocentricism...?! All political analogy set aside, I take offense at that. The comparison is totally out of place.

For your information, Nausica, I'll have you know that those so-called "obsolete" VAX/VMS systems are still doing just fine, thank you very much! No crashes or reboots (my system have not had a reboot in 6 years!), flawless clustering, rock-solid security, and tools that let admins manage huge networks of servers and workstations with ease.

So-called modern systems, like Unix, are now where VAX/VMS was, what, 15 years ago. Get your facts straight buddy, the failure of VAX/VMS is one of DEC's marketing department, not their engineers.

Anonymous said...

No reboot in 6 years?
Ha Ha Ha...that's nothing... I know of a computer that has not had a reboot in almost 13 years. Hard to imagine, isn't it? In fact it's still somewhere in the closet.

LarkDander said...

Laugh all you want, buddy, but FYI the US Army is still using VAX systems for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle turret simulator to train crews in gunnery.

What do you make of that, huh?

Most of the simulators that were bought in the early 80's are still going strong. AFAIK, no plans to replace them anytime soon. The damn things have be set on fire to get them to stop working.

Anonymous said...

Hear Hear. Tell your decadent government that the Libertarian Separatist Alliance is on the move! The oppressor will be forced to bow down before our Superior dogma!

For Life, Liberty and Property.

Anonymous said...

BOFH meets Edgar Alan Poe: Missing Novel Server Discovered after Four Years!!!

There is that story about how 8 yrs ago the University of North Carolina has located one of its servers - which nobody had seen for FOUR years:

"One of the University's Novell servers had been doing the business for years and nobody stopped to wonder where it was until some bright spark realized an audit of the Campus network was well overdue.

According to a report by Techweb it was only then that those Campus techies realized they couldn't find the server. Attempts to follow network cabling to find the missing box led to the discovery that maintenance workers had sealed the server behind a wall."

Nausicaa said...

LOL... OK, I can see that some apologies to LarkLander, and other VAX aficionados which my comment may have offended (many people still run VAX), are in order here.

Actually, I do remember VAX quite fondly.

Just as I remember my Abacus quite fondly... Hey, don't scoff that abacus was handed down to me through 3 generations. It has had an uptime of nearly 100 years!!!! And apart from missing a few of the counters (I was a curious child) it still works great.

So, let me just say that I understand, I do, I totally do.

In the same way, and perhaps for the same reasons, I am also very attached to my Hamster. (Except that the average life expectancy of a hamster is only between 2 and 3 years of age.) I must say that the continuous running in circle sometimes get to me. Like other rodents, hamsters are highly motivated to run in wheels; it is not uncommon to record distances of 9 km (6 miles) ran in one night. Other 24-h records include 43 km (26 miles) for rats, 31 km (18.5 miles) for wild mice, 19 km (11.5 miles) for lemmings, 16 km (9.5 miles) for laboratory mice, and 8 km (5 miles) for gerbils.

Hypotheses to explain such high levels of running in wheels include a need for activity, substitute for exploration, and stereotypic behavior, but various experimental results strongly suggest that wheel running, like play or the runner's high, is rewarding in and of itself and highly valued by the animals.

Running hamsters are often said in jest to be the true power behind computer networks, especially slow-moving ones.

Nausicaa said...

But - all joking aside - the question I had submitted in my first comment still stands:

Are we witnessing the end of Rovian politics?

Bob Cesca, here, doesn't sound so sure:

For the last eight years, we've observed Karl Rove's non-reality based universe in which logic was entirely abandoned in lieu of whatever reality the administration invented in order to serve its ridiculous policies and to mask its glaring nincompoopery. Intellectually dishonest at best -- destructive and criminal at worst.

This didn't end on Election Day.

Since their thumpin' last week, the far-right has pushed the crazy to eleven and snapped the knob clean off -- an opening salvo of twisted hackery portending an insane four-to-eight years of attacks on the Obama administration. If the last seven days have been any indication, the far-right is shaping up to make the 1990s seem quaint -- even erudite by comparison. That which used to be your basic, off-the-shelf intellectual dishonesty has grown into, as Digby pointed out recently, full-on intellectual violence.

Intellectual violence. While not a new term, it perfectly defines what we're seeing now: accusations and smears that so severely confound logic they literally attack -- violate -- reality and the human intellect. It's like a berzerker dervish of argumentative elbows and fists indiscriminately flailing around, thwacking anything in its orbit, so much so that constructing a counterpoint is literally painful, "Why the hell am I trying to debunk this?! Ow! My head. Aw hell, I need a drink."

The "Impeach Obama" Facebook groups, for example. No, I'm not making that up. They're real and there's a constant variety of disgruntled far-right Republicans joining up every day. And, to our total lack of surprise, they're not ashamed in the slightest to post comments like this one:

"Damn dems stole the election like they always do. GOD wanted McCain and Palin in the White House. That's why it's called THE WHITE HOUSE."

Nausicaa said...

The article is actually quite funny (or it would be, if, sadly, what the author reports weren't part of a sordid daily reality).

Bob Cesca describes how, shortly after discovering the Facebook group of which he is speaking, he was talking with a colleague and found himself instinctively trying to form a rational argument (like your friend Quinty often does) in response to some of the Facebook members' most non-nonsensical allegations:

It began with the obvious: "He's not even the president yet!" And then, after I segued into Article II and the constitutional grounds for impeachment, I stopped myself. What in name of Randall P. MacMurphy am I doing? Arguing against this crap is like explaining to a meth tweaker that the shadow people aren't real. That's when I decided that it'd be more fun to just infiltrate one of the groups and post comments like, "The moon landing was staged!" and, "Obama is a bionic -- just like his half-aunt! I have proof!"

Then on Monday, Michelle Malkin posted an item in which she referred to the president-elect as the "overlord-elect." And on Tuesday, Congressman Paul Broun told the AP, "You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I'm not comparing him to Adolf Hitler. What I'm saying is there is the potential." Uh-huh. On the scale of probability, "Obama is a fascist dictator" is about as likely as "Broun is a Jedi Master." But it doesn't matter. Reality is irrelevant.

The obvious intention here is to cobble together an abuse of power meme against President-elect Obama, despite President Bush and Vice President Cheney having, you know, spent the last eight years consolidating executive power, authorizing torture, suspending habeas corpus, illegally invading sovereign nations, ignoring congressional subpoenas and eavesdropping on American citizens.

Whoops. There I go again, talking about facts and treating the crazy like it's real.

But clearly the most egregious post-election trespass came to us from John Hinderaker of Powerline. Some back story: following the president-elect's lighthearted Nancy Reagan séance remark, Michelle Malkin referred to Obama as a "classless jerk" (unlike President George W. "Those Weapons Have to Be Around Here Somewhere" Bush, of course). And she treated the séance comment as if it were part of an on-going pattern of ridiculous Obama gaffes and bloopers.

Picking up on Malkin's lead, Hinderaker wrote this week:

"Bush never gets sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed. If Obama doesn't raise his standards, he will exceed Bush's total before he is inaugurated."

No, seriously. I didn't make that up. A popular member of the far-right intertubes actually wrote that. On a public website. That people go to and read. Every day.

Smarthas said...

ROFLMAO, are you sure that we aren't all part of some giant sitcom that we don't know about? Like Night Gallery or the Outer Limits, HaHaHa.

I see too much concern in Bob Sesca's piece. I have an intuitive belief in the all-saving power of healthy-minded attitudes and the conquering efficacy of courage, hope, and trust, as well as a correlative contempt for doubt, fear, worry, and all nervously precautionary states of mind.

Gyate Gyate Hara Gyate Hara So Gyate Bodhi Sowa Ka..... and all that sort of things.

Nausicaa said...

Night Gallery...oh wow...yes, I remember that... LOL

The original, uncut version of the series was available on the Encore Mystery cable network. The show is also accessible in some markets through the Retro Television Network.

Anonymous said...

Hmm...a bizarre little item here offered to the gourmet who takes their banquet seriously.

A word to the wise:

"If sometime you're invited to a picnic under the moon, you might best check the other guests, the ones who didn't arrive in automobiles -- who, as a matter of fact, parked their brooms in the corner of the meadow."

If you're interested in joining, send an e-mail to

Rosaleen said...

I am familiar of such picnics such as you speak and the rituals that come with them. Quite simple and redundant, as I remember it.

"The social role of rituals is always immanent if not explicit. It has long been observed that social structures and the forms religious practices takes among a given group are related... Rituals can serve as mnemonics devices, aiding in the production of shared memories within a community."
~~Connerton (1986)

The redundancy, in the repeating of acts and phrases, serves to naturalize the ritual and has the effect of instilling further the message inherent in the ritual itself.

Huntsman said...

There are at least two planetary hours each night that correspond favorably to such rituals: The hour ruled by Saturn (good for spirituality of all kinds) and the hour ruled by Mercury (communications, including divination). Some participants favor other planets, and many add the Moon to the hours, since it relates to psychic gifts.

Rosaleen said...

Where did you spring from?

Huntsman said...

Lost my horse and lost my companions...

Rosaleen said...

And lost your way too.

Huntsman said...

I do believe I just found it.

Rosaleen said...

But don't you know you should never leave the path?

Huntsman said...

I just got onto the path. I was perfectly safe before.

Rosaleen said...

Aren't you afraid of the wolves?

Huntsman said...

Why should I be frightened of wolves?

Rosaleen said...

You must know the worse wolves are hairy on the inside.

Huntsman said...

Old wives' tales! Peasant superstition! What, a bright young girl - pretty, intelligent girl like you believing in werewolves!

Rosaleen said...

But Smarthas said that -

Huntsman said...

I'll show you I'm not afraid of the wolves... I'll make a bet with you. I'll bet you anything you like that I get to your Granny's
house before you do.

Rosaleen said...


Huntsman said...

I'll use my compass to help me across while you trudge along the dreary path!

Rosaleen said...

Bet me your compass.

Huntsman said...

Bet me your heart's desire.

jazzolog said...

Sometimes I'm just so grateful for the psychedelic experiences of the '60s---so that I can follow Internet threads like this with ease and enjoyment. Some Libertarians may be able to talk crazy and know they are doing so, but I know of none who can truly lift off like you people [if there's more than one (Max von Sydow: "There is only one!")].

I love David Warner, despite the self-destruction of all his roles, and don't you think Angela Lansbury was more attractive when she played the nasty sidekick girlfriend in the old musicals of the late '40s and early '50s? I am a devotee of horror flicks (that get romantic rather than slashing) but haven't cared for the werewolf genre since Lon Chaney Jr. chased me out of the theater in Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein.

And I'm not into child molesters either, although I do appreciate a good child molester joke. Here's one:

The child molester is walking in the woods with the little girl, and the child says, "Ooooo, it's dark and spooky in here. I'm scared."
And the molester says, "You're scared! I've gotta walk out of here alone!"

For what I consider a wonderful movie on this subject, look for The Woodsman, from 2004, with Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. This married couple is really sensational together, and the film gets to the heart of the matter.

I know this has nothing to do with programming computer networks, but fortunately Barack Obama has that technology as a top priority on his agenda. In Dubuque he said, "When I am President, the very first thing I'm going to do is sign into law the VAXocenter Similarity Act." Go Obama!

Quinty said...

Regarding Rovian politics and GOP economics.....

There’s a great deal of hope and cautious optimism today and much of that is based upon the assumption that the ideological frameworks of the past will crash and settle. At least that’s what we progressives hope for.

But Reaganomics goes further back than thirty years. It may go back to the eighteenth century (any further back than that I would classify as “human nature.”) when Capitalism was fairly small and a hedge against the power of the aristocracy. That enlightenment intellectuals may have been drawn toward Capitalism’s liberal and progressive aspects didn’t inhibit its profoundly self-serving aspects. (Were there any founders who saw slavery as an expression of Capitalism?) Which apparently were powerful enough to have Marx crying out in horror by the 1840s. By which time the industrial nightmare had taken firm root.

Reaganomics was simply a new justification for this ancient striving.

Here’s Lincoln on the subject.....

"It is the eternal struggle between these two principles — right and wrong — throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, "You toil and work and earn bread, and I'll eat it." No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle."

Because we are undergoing several crisises as a result of this ancient self-centered greed does that mean we will forever abandon it? I think there still remains a very solid framework in American society for the economic tenets of the right. As well as unchanging human nature which may be temporarily held back, due to the crisises, but which will probably emerge again as a new philosophy.

jazzolog said...

There he goes again---with that reason stuff. Have a great weekend, good buddy!

Tom Bombadil said...

“We meet ourselves time and time again in a thousand disguises on the path of life”
---C. G. Jung

Two fundamental takes on Human nature here by Jazzolog and Quinty.

Human nature or perhaps just the nature of Life on Earth. Two sides of the same coins---or, as I sometimes like to say, the same side of two different coins.

What is Mankind to do? Just like any species before it, in the chain of evolution, the Human species just plays the cards it was dealt.

Is it right?

Is it wrong?

A sophisticated cinephile like jazzolog has, visibly, some appreciation for Jean Giono’s old classic, “A King without Distraction” and the famous movie adaptation that Francois Leterrier made of it in the 60’s.

A Jacques Brel song, "Pourquoi faut -il que les Hommes s'ennuient?" "(Why Must Men Be Bored?), is heard during the credits:

Pourtant les hôtesses sont douces
Aux auberges bordées de neige
Pourtant patientent les épouses
Que les enfants ont pris au piège
Pourtant les auberges sont douces
Où le vin fait tourner manège
Pourquoi faut-il que les hommes s'ennuient

Pourtant les villes sont paisibles
Où tremblent cloches et clochers
Mais le diable dort-il sous la bible
Mais les rois savent-ils prier
Pourtant les villes sont paisibles
De blanc matin et blanc coucher
Pourquoi faut-il que les hommes s'ennuient

Pourtant il nous reste à rêver
Pourtant il nous reste à savoir
Et tous ces loups qu'il faut tuer
Tous ces printemps qu'il reste à boire
Désespérance ou désespoir
Il nous reste à être étonnés
Pourquoi faut-il que les hommes s'ennuient

Pourtant il nous reste à tricher
Être le pique et jouer le cœur
Être la peur et rejouer
Être le diable et jouer fleur
Pourtant il nous reste à patienter
Bon an mal an on ne vit qu'une heure
Pourquoi faut-il que les hommes s'ennuient.

If like our good buddy jazzolog you have a thing for the psychedelics experience of the 60’s (and Nausicaa would tell us, no doubt, that the term comes from the Greek words for "soul," [psyche], and "manifest," [delos]), Robert Silverberg’s masterpiece ”Son of Man”, which writing was possibly influenced by the use of LSD, is the book for you.

“Science Fiction is as much a guide to where we are as it is a vision of where we are going.”
---Robert Silverberg

The book follows Clay's thoughts as he tries to come to terms with what humanity was, what it has become and his place in it all:

Del Rey (1980):

In the beginning...

there was no Brooklyn, no St. Louis, no Shakespeare, no moon, no hunger, no death...

In the beginning...

there were no real men, no real women, nothing but dispassionately passionate ambisexuals of the lowest and highest order...

In the beginning...

the heavens, the seas and the Earth belonged to more intelligent species than a man called Clay could ever have dreamed possible in his own time

but his own time as a man had passed, and now his time as the son of man had come!


Clay is a man from the 20th Century, an educated person who considers himself open-minded. His mind is in for quite a trip when he is caught up in a time-flux and whisked untold billions of years into the future (not the beginning of time). The earth of this distant era retains no recognizable features from our time, and its population consists of wildly variant life forms. In the intervening eons, the human race has taken many forms, from squid-like aquatic creatures to tyrannosaur-like eating machines to grotesque goat-like creatures. Clay is befriended (if that's the word) by a group of humans called Skimmers, who can change form at will, sometimes male, sometimes female, sometimes a pale gray cloud that can travel interstellar space. All of the strange human forms are called sons of men, races descended from Homo sapiens. With the Skimmers, and in spite of them, Clay goes on a journey of discovery, which takes him around the future earth into the depths of his own soul.

What is it to be human?

How do I fit in?

These are some of the questions Clay must answer.”

”… although our beginnings require the certainty
that begets trust, our mature abilities to negotiate life’s
vicissitudes require the capacity to hold together in the
face of uncertainty.” --- L. W. Sander

Anonymous said...

"When I dream and invent without return, am I not . . . nature?"

I don't know that, as some Libertarians "talk crazy", they always "know they are doing so" when they do it, as jazzolog put it. But this would be a judgment's call and I would have to know, of course, who those Libertarians are that jazzolog is referring to: I've met many (which is not saying much, as there are Libertarians and Libertarians); some of them I have met online (but, here again, it's hard to say, as the denizens of some ultra-right wing Web sites like and other "ditto-heads" roaming the world wide web often pause as Libertarians---some of them even believe they are); so, who knows, some might even happen to be the very same Libertarians Wannabe that jazzolog is speaking of.

To be sure, at times, the self-contradictory ex-cathedra pronouncements and dogmatic assertions of some die-hard Libertarians make for some odd ideological fruit salad, which is not always without a certain poetical quality (possibly one of its redeeming values, if you ask me, speaking as a yellow hat, of course), but, more often, it makes for a stale mix, as the freshness of the fruits has been long squeezed out of them and the dry fruits are recycled with nuts and spice for the next seasonal fruitcake.

"Craziness" is another matter entirely. Why, considering the physiological/psychological evolutionary cauldron humanity emerged from, it is maybe a miracle that mankind is not stark raving mad as a a species.

Or is it, now?

I think that battle is fought again and again, by each and every member of the species, during at least two phases in a lifetime. Once during adolescence. Another time during what has been referred to as mid-life crisis. (For the cinemaphiles amongst us, "American Beauty" is a most perfect movie on that topic---allegedly, Alan Ball who had originally written American Beauty for the stage, saw a paper bag floating in the wind near the World Trade Center plaza and was inspired by it to write the film.) Remarkably there are individuals who manage to go through life without experiencing any crisis of any kind---I am not sure that those individuals are the sanest members of the species.

Quinty's comment (above) about "human nature" and "ideological frameworks" is a good one. So is Tom Bombadil's take on just plain "Nature" (aka Life), and the place of Man in the midst of it all.

In "The Birth of Tragedy," Nietzsche exalted Life above Thought, a very Libertarian outlook on Life with a capital L, in a way. But then, throughout all of Nietzsche's books which came after that, for 10 years or so, that tendency is reversed. Socrates is reinstated and truth becomes the only important aim.

Then comes "The joyful Wisdom," and "Thus spoke Zarathoustra": Energy is eternal delight!

And then comes the mental break down (1889, the same year that Van Gogh committed himself to the mental hospital of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole in a former monastery in Saint Rémy de Provence, a little less than 20 miles from Arles). What actually happened remains unknown, but the often-repeated tale states that Nietzsche witnessed the whipping of a horse at the other end of the Piazza Carlo Alberto, ran to the horse, threw his arms up around the horse’s neck to protect it, and collapsed to the ground. Shortly after that comes a long period during which Nietzsche begins writing strange letters, signing them "Caesar" and "The King of Naples" and more significantly, "The crucified one."

His last letter to Cosima Wagner reads: "Ariadne, I love thee - Dionysus."

jazzolog said...

Wonderful comments, thank you. Good tips from Tom (so he was Uncle Remus?) and much to learn, as usual, from Anonymous. I'd better clarify my remark about Libertarians and crazy. I was thinking of a particular Libertarian I know, who happens to be a psychiatrist. He loves to let off steam by unleashing the schitzy part of his own personality from time to time. He does not kid around about taxes and the magical truths of market maneuvers however.

Quinty said...

I see Libertarians as uniquely fierce individualists who believe government prevents them from living a fully free and independent life. It is an ideal based far more upon a homespun form of native American self-imagery and fancy than upon any reality.

For don’t these Libertarians ever look about and see how many social ties they actually have with the rest of the community? If they ever stop in any kind of market (super, farmer’s or neighborhood) and buy a dozen eggs someone - a complete stranger - had to feed the chickens which laid them, then collect them, then drive the eggs to market and, finally, allow the merchant to sell them.

Because of this fierce unobtainable dream of individuality, which seems to constantly drive them on, Libertarians do not see that by necessity we are all to one degree or another interdependent. They seem to often see themselves as standing alone on the mountain top breathing free, masters of all they survey. Living without restraint. Kind of like John Wayne on steroids.

Perhaps such a life ideal could be fulfilled if each of these “free men” lived in a cave thousands of miles from civilization. If each made all his own tools and provided completely for himself in every regard. Though it’s hard to imagine some of these individualists giving up their fire arms catalogs, intriguing gadgets, and large patriotic camp meetings. For many Libertarians still believe in an abstract entity called the United States and remain proud flag wavers. This symbolizes freedom to them too. Though the motto of the United States is “e pluribus unum.”

So from a Libertarian point of view any form of “big” government is seen as oppressive - even if it should provide national healthcare for one and all. Even if it IMPROVES life for millions of citizens. Even if, by providing mass public education, roads, bridges, libraries, healthcare, mass public transit, and other basic public necessities it makes the world a better place to live in, allowing many people to grow and to improve their lives. As occurred after World War II with the GI Bill and other progressive measures which built up the American middleclass.

What has occurred over time here in the United States is that the historic money interests, unlike every other democracy in the world, have won the national “propaganda” war. To the extent that even common sense government regulations and programs are ridiculed as intrusive “nanny state” interferences in personal freedoms and the rights of property. For as Thomas Frank pointed out, as a society there is an ongoing constant tug between practical government solutions and the ideological slogans of the far right with their deep roots in the Gilded Age. An ideology which finally developed a life of its own which has become detached from its original motivations. Ie, to protect the power of bosses, oligarchs and the moneyed interests from oversight and regulation.

For the decades long struggles against organized labor - plus McCarthyism, the Cold War, and finally American prosperity itself and the fall of the Soviet Union - went even beyond discrediting Marxism but eventually government itself with its numerous regulations, taxes, and laws intended to protect labor, the environment, women and other so-called “special interests.” (That phrase in itself, used to describe women, blacks, etc., is quite telling. And there are of course many more like it.)

Today Obama appears to be on the tipping edge of this debate. The far right has already begun a campaign against him as a “Socialist.” If he wants to provide health coverage to all the citizens of the United States a large government program will be required. For, of course, the private sector - not seeing any self-benefit or profit in it - will pass on that opportunity. Who else, then, but big government can do it?

Obama often claims he wants to bring us all “together.” But can he without betraying his most basic obligations to the American people? Can he achieve progress without being a progressive? Or will he somehow outmaneuver the old rhetoric, those basic core principles which have been so successfully defined by the right? And outwit those empty slogans and words by being genuinely practical?

What’s more, with the current Palin/Paleocon split the Republican Party is currently in disarray. Illogic brought the most fiercely illogical into the party, whom Palin represents. While the Paleocons represent the old moneyed interests, the traditional “true” Republicans who put money and power first. Between greed and God who will win?

These are going to be an interesting four year.