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Sunday, July 31
whaddaya say we distract ourselves with a few good tunes apropos to the "situation"
Leave your video link/song title in the comments, and I'll add them to the post.
...Why don't we give love that one more chance?
(the lyrics are posted in the comment section if you want to sing along)
I just had to pass it along...
Mother Nature is always speaking. She speaks in a language understood within the peaceful mind of the sincere observer. Leopards, cobras, monkeys, rivers and trees; they all served as my teachers when I lived as a wanderer in the Himalayan foothills. They shared the kind of lessons that elevate the spirit.
One particularly illuminating lesson from the forest comes in the form of the Himalayan musk deer. The musk deer is referenced in Sanskrit poetry and philosophy owing to its peculiar behavior. Prized by the perfume industry for its exceptional aroma, musk is one of the world’s most expensive natural products, fetching more than three times its weight in gold. The aroma of musk is so alluring that when the musk deer’s sensitive nose catches wind of it he roams the forest day and night in pursuit of its source. He exhausts himself in a fruitless quest, never realizing the bitter irony: the sweet fragrance he was chasing resided nowhere but within himself. Musk, you see, is produced by a gland in the stag’s very own navel: it was searching without for what was all along lying within.
The sages of India found in the musk deer an apt description of the human condition. We are all pleasure-seeking creatures wandering a forest of some sort — replete with pleasures and perils alike. Moreover, we are prone to the same type of folly as the deer: we seek our happiness externally. Misconceiving our true needs, we wrongly equate our fulfillment and self-worth with possessions, positions, mental and sensual thrills. We are often drawn into superficial relationships which hold the promise of lasting satisfaction, yet leave us feeling empty.
The true treasure lies within. It is the underlying theme of the songs we sing, the shows we watch and the books we read. It is woven into the Psalms of the Bible, the ballads of the Beatles and practically every Hollywood film ever made. What is that treasure? Love. Love is the nature of the Divine. Beneath the covering of the false ego it lies hidden. The purpose of human life is to uncover that divine love. The fulfillment that we’re all seeking is found in the sharing of this love.
The power of love is most profound. It has various levels. In its crudest sense, the word love refers to acts of physical intimacy, and its influence over society is obvious. But on a deeper, more emotional level, not simply of the body but of the heart, there is no greater power than love. For the sake of money and prestige, one may be willing to work long hours, weekends, even holidays. A mother’s love, on the other hand, is selfless and unconditional. There’s nothing she won’t do for the well-being of her child, and she asks for nothing in return.
When love is pure it has the power to conquer. Lover and beloved conquer each other by their affection. The source, the essence, the fullest manifestation of love’s conquering power is the love of the soul for the supreme soul, or God. The sages who authored India’s sacred texts found that the most astonishing of all of God’s wonders was His willingness and eagerness to not only be touched by our love, but to be conquered by it. The cultivation of that dormant love is called the path of bhakti (devotion). This love is within all of us. It is the greatest of all powers because it is the only power that can grant realization of the highest truths and the only power that can reveal the deepest inner fulfillment in our lives. On the strength of this love we can overcome envy, pride, lust, anger and greed. There is no other means of conquering these diseases within us.
One who loves God sees everything in relation to God. Therefore their love flows spontaneously toward everyone, at all times, everywhere. They even love those who wish them harm. If you love God, you can’t hate anything or anyone. If the love one offers is met with hate, it doesn’t die, rather it manifests in the form of compassion. That is universal love. It is not just a sentiment. It cannot be manifested merely by a shift in mental disposition. It can only come from inner cleaning, an inner awakening. Then that love becomes the reality of life.
This inner cleansing is the goal of all spiritual practice. Every prayer offered, mantra chanted, or ritual performed should be for the purpose of removing the impurities which impede the full blossoming of unconditional love and compassion. This is the only way to peace, both individually and collectively. When our intrinsic love is awakened and our divine qualities shine through, we will not only find the pleasure we’ve been seeking but also become powerful agents of change in the world.
We are all searching, roaming the forest like the musk deer, seeking the pleasures outside. When we recognize what we are really looking for and begin searching for the lost love within, at that point, the real journey of human life begins.
Check out theRadhanath Swami Fan Blog
Thursday, July 28
I also enjoy reading him for some of the links he tosses into his posts.
The German magazine Der Spiegel weighed in on the debate now raging in DC, collecting views from a broad cross-section of ideologies in Germany. This article was put up on July 15th, and here's what was said:
Bild: "Most importantly, the Republicans have turned a dispute over a technicality into a religious war, which no longer has any relation to a reasonable dispute between the elected government and the opposition." (Mass-circulation)
Die Welt: "The influence of the Tea Party movement … can not be overestimated. … The movement sees traditional politics as corrupt and regards Washington as a den of iniquity. … They see the other side as their enemy. Negotiations with the Democrats, whether it's about appointing a judge or the insolvency of the United States, are only successful if the enemy is defeated. Compromise, they feel, is a sign of weakness and cowardice." (Conservative)
Süddeutsche Zeitung: "The Republicans are playing with fire. Nobody can imagine what the repercussions might be if the unthinkable happens and the US is suddenly no longer a safe haven for investors." (Center-left)
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "A US default and a lower credit rating would … send stock prices through the floor and could choke off America's economic recovery -- with global repercussions. The politicians in Washington are playing with fire." (Center-right)
Now, the BBC is reporting (July 28th) that the markets will basically force the government of the United States to knuckle under and get things done. It's going to be hard, with Boehner facing a near-open civil war within his own ranks and even the Chamber of Commerce starting to have a serious case of buyer's remorse regarding the Tea Party bums they supported back in 2010.
The rest of the world watches, and worries.
Saturday, July 23
Wednesday, July 20
- United States Constitution, 14th Amendment, Section 4.
A very long time ago, the United States had a debt problem. You see, it owed a boatload of money to the nations that had aided it in shaking off British rule - France, Spain, and the Dutch Republic - and was having trouble paying. The Secretary of the Treasury, a guy named Alexander Hamilton, hit upon an idea.
Embrace the debt, borrow money off that debt and set up a line of credit. In a trice, America had a functioning economy and was on its way to establishing a balance of trade with the rest of the world.
Okay, it's a gross oversimplification, but it gets the damned point across.
After the Civil War, we faced another debt problem. The Confederacy had borrowed money, and had racked up debts with Britain and France. Since these were states in rebellion, we didn't want to have to pay the CSA's debt back.
Hence Section Four of the Fourteenth Amendment. The redacted bit in the quote cited above sets that exception in Constitutional stone - the traitors' debts will not be paid, and will not be considered valid. I'm sure it pissed off both London and Paris, but fuck 'em for backing the wrong horse.
So, let's fast forward to today.
We're facing a problem with the debt ceiling now. The US debt ceiling's an artificial line drawn in thin air and on ledgers, and is usually raised without a murmur by the US House of Representatives - which has the power of the purse anyway, so the Executive Branch has historically been quite happy to leave them to it.
During the Bush Administration, the Congress raised the debt limit three damned times, and Devil take the budget deficit. Vice President Cheney is even on record saying that "Reagan proved deficits don't matter."
So what's the hubbub now?
Two words. Tea. Party.
The Teabagger faction in the GOP has their collective testes resting on John Boehner's forehead right now. If he tries anything he'll face an open revolt in his own caucus as well as a possible coup by Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor. So far, he's managed to stave off this denouement.
The House passed a Teabagger wad of phlegm yesterday that would cut social spending benefits, cap any possible tax increase (because Lord knows the richest 1% all need new Rolls Royces) and force a balanced budget amendment. The bill - passed on party lines, of course - now goes to that beehive of activity, the Senate. Obama's already declared he'll veto it.
So, the Legislative Branch is largely paralyzed by partisan gridlock.
Which leaves the Executive to act.
I forget who suggested it, but the legal precedent for the President to act by fiat and disregard the Congress of the United States was established by the legal lights of the former Administration. That would be the George W Bush Administration, by the way - the one that many conservatives would rather you forgot about.
The concept's known as The Unitary Executive. The door was opened; all Obama has to do is walk through it.
Bill Clinton actually said that he'd urge Obama to do it and let the courts hash it out. It'd be quite simple; a brief Executive Order directing the Treasury to raise the debt limit by such-and-such amount. The markets would breathe a sigh of relief, the rest of the world will be happy, and the Teabaggers will foam at the mouth.
Tuesday, July 19
“When I was in Norway one of the Norwegian politicians sat next to me at a dinner and said, “You know, there’s one good thing that President Obama has done that we never anticipated in Europe. He’s shown the Europeans that we can never depend upon America again. There’s no president, no matter how good he sounds, no matter what he promises, we’re never again going to believe the patter talk of an American President. Mr. Obama has cured us. He has turned out to be our nightmare. Our problem is what to do about the American people that don’t realize this nightmare that they’ve created, this smooth-talking American Tony Blair in the White House.”
Topics: The jobless recovery; the debt ceiling and default charade; China; Greece: banks, not countries, receive the bailouts; financial warfare; IMF and EU; European Central Bank; US credit default swaps; US agricultural exports create food dependency; currency devaluation devalues the price of labor; class war of banks against the rest of society.
h/t to TheBigPicture
Monday, July 11
Saturday, July 9
This is a true story from Oak Park, Michigan. UFB
Here is The Agitator's post about this ruckus:
Their front yard was torn up after replacing a sewer line, so instead of replacing the dirt with grass, one Oak Park woman put in a vegetable garden and now the city is seeing green.
The list goes on: fresh basil, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, cumbers and more all filling five large planter boxes that fill the Bass family’s front yard.
Julie Bass says, “We thought we’re minding our own business, doing something not ostentatious and certainly not obnoxious or nothing that is a blight on the neighborhood, so we didn’t think people would care very much.”
But some cared very much and called the city. The city then sent out code enforcement.
“They warned us at first that we had to move the vegetables from the front, that no vegetables were allowed in the front yard. We didn’t move them because we didn’t think we were doing anything wrong, even according to city code we didn’t think we were doing anything wrong. So they ticketed us and charged me with a misdemeanor,” Bass said . . .
City code says that all unpaved portions of the site shall be planted with grass or ground cover or shrubbery or other suitable live plant material. Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are what Basses see as suitable.
However, Oak Park’s Planning and Technology Director Kevin Rulkowski says the city disagrees. He says, “If you look at the dictionary, suitable means common. You can look all throughout the city and you’ll never find another vegetable garden that consumes the entire front yard.”
So what is suitable? from another local report
“If you look at the definition of what suitable is in Webster’s dictionary, it will say common. So, if you look around and you look in any other community, what’s common to a front yard is a nice, grass yard with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers,” he said.
God forbid your yard doesn’t include beautiful trees, bushes and flowers. It’s your job, Oak Park citizens, to give Kevin Rulkowski pretty things to look at. According to Bass's Blog - oakparkhatesveggies, -she’s demanding her right to a jury trial. So the city plans to throw the book at her:
"our attorney spoke to the prosecutor today. (for the record, my crush on him is totally finished after today.)
his position: they are going to take this all the way.
officially, this means i am facing 93 days in jail if they win.
Comment from agitator reader:
#3 | ThinkAnarchy | July 7th, 2011 at 4:25 pm
What a crazy woman. Where did she get the stupid idea she should have
control of what she plants on her front lawn? The nerve of these
citizens who refuse to follow rules that are in intended for the good
of all humanity. Just imagine if she were growing a plant with vines,
a child could easily get caught in them while trespassing, resulting
in death from strangulation.
I for one am happy they are prosecuting her and think possible penalty
is to light.
comment @ myfoxdetroit from Fgdfgxcf
Garden in front yard
How dare this wage-slave serf attempt to grow her own food to feed her
family and educate the community on gardening during these tough
times. That is seditious and unlawful behavior and the
snitch...er...patroit who turned her in should get the German Cross
Medal of Service! This is a terrorist victory garden and plot against
the government plain and simple! She should just get foodstamps and
eat GMO processed food from the frozen section. For her sake I hope
she doesn't prove herself to be an enemy terrorist of the state by
quoting the Constitution or the Bible (Gen 1:12) for that matter.
Maybe the 93 day sentence in a reeducation concentration camp would
cure her of her rugged individualist terrorist spirit!
AND - here's The agitator's post from Friday July 8, 2011:
So this site has had close to a half million visitors in the last 24 hours. Busiest day in my 9 1/2 years of blogging. (For some perspective, last May was the first time I topped a million visitors in a month.)
The source of the traffic is the post below on the vegetable garden in Oak Park, Michigan, which made the front page of Reddit, then got a link from Drudge. If you’re new here, welcome. Hope you’ll stick around. I actually have to close comments on that post, because I just can’t keep up with them. There are about 300 still awaiting moderation.
That story is ridiculous, of course. And I imagine the Oak Park servers and phone lines are getting a workout. Which is good. But it’s also a little strange that of all the stuff we cover here, this is what blows up the Internets.
I left The Agitator a comment saying that I hope this fires up the intertubes in a way that eventually sparks SOMETHING in EVERYONE to WTFU.
You can bet your sweet bippy that I’ll be using this story to agitate a few in need.
Friday, July 8
But he did make time to have lunch with reporters at the Pentagon - that five-sided Monument to Murphy's Law.
Admiral Mullen told the reporters that there is evidence that the Islamic Republic of Iran is supplying increasing amounts on increasingly more sophisticated weapons to Shiite militias in Iraq - weapons, of course, that these same militias are using to attack the American troops that are still in that country after combat operations have supposed to have ended.
One has to wonder if any of the reporters was heard to say, "Well, DUH" to the distinguished admiral.
Prior to 2003, the two biggest military powers in Southwest Asia were Iraq and Iran. Back in the Eighties we supplied Iraq with weapons in the hope that the Saddam regime would be a counterweight to the ayatollahs in Tehran. All that changed when we invaded and occupied Iraq.
I've said repeatedly, over the years, that the only real winner in this war was Iran. We can't stay there forever, and the al-Maliki Government in Baghdad is just as Shiite as Iran's. We have already strained our military and our economy to the breaking point and likely beyond even that, so we cannot continue to be the counterweight, nor can we reasonably expect the other powers in the area (Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States) to step up.
And no, don't even think of mentioning Israel. Saudi Arabia relying on Israel to protect it against Iran? Quelle idee! The Saudis have already announced their intentions to build nukes if Iran does, and Tehran's announced the construction of hardened missile silos.
All we can do is watch.
And listen to our military leadership say things that we knew years ago, and expect us to think that it's an original notion.
Thursday, July 7
The sky looks so different from the Southern Hemisphere. Kind of like just watching a beautiful scene then actually seeing it in person.
Those familiar with the constellation Orion will find it curious to see it "upside down" (as we in the north are not used to) at around the 2:15 mark (at the left side of the video.
Make sure you view it full frame!
Wednesday, July 6
Monday, July 4
Those of you who never cornholed before don’t know what you’re missing and really should try it. Cornholing is just that enjoyable! In fact, it’s can be a lot of entertainment for the whole family! You can cornhole with just two people, but it’s a lot more fun with four or more. And even if you can’t participate, just watching others cornhole is entertaining and could stimulate you to get into it whole heartedly!
Trying to get your bags close to or into that hole can be a real challenge. If you miss the hole or just come close, don’t worry, you get more chances to pop one into that opening to score. Of course, you can score for just getting close but the goal is to get into that hole or at least get your bag close!
It’s a great game and really lots of fun for everyone. Did I mention this is a game similar to horseshoes? Oops! My Bad!
For those of you whose curiosity is piqued, playing “cornhole” is a new fad. You don’t need to worry about digging pits like horseshoes or driving stakes in the ground or clubbing someone silly with a heavy horseshoe (by drunken accident or on purpose!). There’s even an organization to help you get started playing the game. You can build your own cornhole setup or you can buy one online or even at some sporting goods stores.
Here is the url for the American Cornhole Association:
And here are the rules:
If you’d like to build your own cornhole set, here’s a link to one of many that will guide you through the procedure:(or just google cornhole - but use caution! LOL!)
cornhole how to play
To play a game of Cornhole you need two specially made platforms with a six inch “cornhole” in each.
As I said before, it’s a lot of fun, You throw 4 small sacks (per team) of corn (1 pound of shelled corn in each 6 inch square duck cloth bag) toward a latex painted plywood platform 27 feet away. The platform is 4 feet by 2 feet with one side elevated to 12 inches off the ground. There is a 6 inch diameter hole centered 9 inches from the far end and 12 inches from each side.
The object is much like horseshoes. You toss the bags in sequence with your opponent and try to get your bag into the hole. That counts for 3 points. Getting a bag to stay anywhere on the platform is 1 point. Bouncing off the ground onto the board doesn't count at all!
If you and your opponent each has a bag on the board, unlike horseshoes, it doesn’t matter which is closest to the hole, both cancel each other out.
If you have two bags on the board and your opponent has one, you subtract the least bags of one color from the most bags of the other color and get that many points. (Player one has 3 bags on the board and player 2 has 1, so the scoring would be 3 minus 1 or 2 points for player one).
If a bag goes into the cornhole it’s 3 points unless countered by your opponent canceling your scoring "cornhole." The scoring goes the same whether the bags are in the hole and/or on the board. You play the best of 3 games with 21 points being the goal.
Some of the designs for the boards are extremely well done, from “football fields” and sports logos to pictures of people, pets and other things. I’ve even seen one of attractive young ladies in various poses (ahem!)
It was a lot of fun. Brackets were set up for competition for the “July Madness.”
Winners got varying prizes and there was even a “losers” bracket set up to see which team was really the worst!
I really recommend building or buying a set and go out and have a great time. It’s much safer than horseshoes and so far, it hasn’t been banned (yet) by Congress like Lawn Darts!
Here are some pictures. Enjoy the game.
(Click to enlarge)
Friday, July 1
"So why? Conventional wisdom and sense (if you want to call it that) tells us that those with fat bank accounts have it made: steady incomes, nice homes, luxury automobiles, and lots of help in the way of secretaries, personal chefs, housekeepers, gardeners, pool tenders and a myriad of other folks that make their day quite pleasant. In addition, they have all the latest and toys gadgets and when a new model comes out they are first in line to get it.
"So initially, these fat cats will be just fine in the event of a global economic collapse. But wait? What will happen to their cushy life when money becomes devalued or even worthless? Well first of all, they will go through their pantries in a week or two – possibly a month – and then find that when they need basic supplies, the shelves at the grocery are empty. The gardener is long gone and they did not learn to grow their own food because all the digging and tending would ruin their manicure.
"And then there is fear. Fear that their money is worthless, fear that the zombies will come in and steal their possessions, and perhaps the biggest fear of all, the fear that someone will shoot them dead for no reason other than unmitigated chaos within our cities and society in general."
More at Survival Woman's Blog.
And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high
Your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry
One of these mornings
You're going to rise up singing
Then you'll spread your wings
And you'll take to the sky
But till that morning
There's a'nothing can harm you
With daddy and mamma standing by
And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high
Your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry
If'n yore a 'publican, Wall Streeter, CEO, Bankster or Congressional Critter or ev'n the Pres and wealthy, things be just fine, doncha know?
Uuuhh Huh! Honey!
Happy Days are here agin for the 21st century new Robber Barons.
Them slaves is a working for peanuts in them furrin' countries so's the barons can make them big bucks.
Them 'murikans are learnin' their place in the New Order, apathetic to the end.
Yessir! Summertime, and the livin' is easy...for the 2 percenters!
The rest of you...get back to work or get out!
(With apologies to George Gershwin)