Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Very Sad Loss

From LisB:
Hello, Paradigm family. It’s with much sadness that I must inform you of a huge loss. Our beloved friend “othepeoplechoose” has passed away.

The People Choose, as you know, migrated here after Josh Marshall closed the reader’s cafe at Talking Points Memo, and through the years he has become a very close friend to several of us here. Most especially Dick Day. TPC, as we affectionately called him, shared emails and phone calls with Dick and I on a regular basis, and earlier this year he came up with the idea of flying Dick out from Minnesota so that the two of them could finally meet. TPC also invited me, and was ecstatic when Dick and I both agreed to make the trip up to Syracuse for this Labor Day weekend. TPC made all sorts of plans for us (we were to visit the State Fair, attend a concert, and have a beautiful dinner together this past Friday night). I can’t tell you how much the three of us were looking forward to this trip.

Although I did not hear from TPC after Wednesday of last week, I went ahead on Friday and made the three hour drive up to the hotel in Syracuse that he had booked for us, and once I got there I tried him on the phone several times, only to keep getting his voicemail. It wasn’t until I called Dick Day’s cell phone and found that Dick was stranded at the airport in Syracuse, waiting for TPC to meet him, that I realized something was very wrong.

Dick told me to drive over to TPC’s house, while Dick took a taxi from the airport to the hotel. I had TPC’s address and a map from Google, so I had no problem making the short drive over to his place. But when I got there, there was no one home, although the front door was open. This made me very wary, so I called Dick back, and he told me to hang up and contact the police right away. Two officers arrived shortly thereafter, and they were able to get into the house. Unfortunately, they discovered that our dear friend had passed away at home. I can’t tell you how shocked and saddened Dick and I were by this discovery. I can’t tell you how much we will miss our friend John (his real name) and how sad we feel for his family.

I was able to leave information with the authorities, and John’s sister called Dick and I on Saturday to thank us for contacting the police. What a very sweet lady she is. She was able to answer some of our questions, and we were very pleased to let her know about her brother’s writing and our friendship with him. Those phone calls with her really helped Dick and I, and we are so grateful to her for getting in touch with us.

John, TPC, thank you for planning this wonderful weekend for us, and thank you for being such a good friend. You will be missed.

Rest in peace, friend. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Fable

John Haddock had been with the company for almost 25 years and at 58 very close to retirement now. He was one of the most successful design engineers they had. Graduated from Columbia Engineering School with his Masters degree and went to work for a communications firm. When the opening in his current company for an assistant design position opened up, he jumped at it. Marshal Control Systems was just the place he wanted to be. Helping to design the necessary power and charge control systems needed for photovoltaic and wind turbine systems. This was the future.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

True Believers

"I saw someone peeing in Jermyn Street the other day. I thought, is this the end of civilization as we know it? Or is it simply someone peeing in Jermyn Street?" Alan Bennett
Well the date of the rapture, apocalypse etc. has come and gone. Many people apparently believed that it was going to come and even though it did not - and likely will not for some time to come, say a couple thousand years or so, give or take a few thousand - most of these same people will continue to believe and believe in the person who made this prediction.  With Camping not even opening the door.

Friday, May 6, 2011

What's the difference....two recessions.

Dick Oberholtzer and his wife listening to radio signals from Sputnik I.

I remember when Sputnik went up. It was so exiting listening to for the Beep Beep signals on an old crummy shortwave receiver.  It was like having a new toy to play with.  And getting that first one transistor radio kit for my birthday. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

File:Billboard Challenging the validity of Barack Obama's Birth Certificate.JPG

History doesn't repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes.

Birther conspiracies are at the heart of Trump's recent rise to the top of Republican presidential polling and it's largely the reason Trump is grabbing political media coverage nearly everywhere he goes these days.
At the center of his birther chatter is Trump's claim that he's got "people working on" the issue in Hawaii and that they're about to expose something -- Trump won't say what -- about Obama's true past.

When asked to expand on the investigation before he addressed the Palm Beach County Tax Day Tea Party rally today, however, Trump declined.
"I've looked very closely and have continued to look," he said. "I'm not going to say anything further than that, but we've looked all around and we are continuing to look and it's very interesting and that's all I can say."
So are you paying investigators to look around in Hawaii? TPM asked.
"I don't want to comment on it," Trump said.
At with that, he cut off the interview.
So Trump is leading in all the polls for the repubs. The guy who was telling us ten years ago that w bush was the single worst President of all time, the guy who told us that a 14.5% one time tax on the properties of the richest among us would solve any debt problem, the guy who was for universal health care and the guy who claimed that Iraq was a miserable lie and mistake.

What the hell is going on here?

I suppose even the Bible thumpers would accept a guy with four wives although Newt appears to be having one hell of a time with only three.

I think this prick simply watched the rise of rush, savage, hannity and others on fascist radio and tv and then watched the rise of idiots like palin and bachmann and found his mojo. He just feels that there is a constituency out there who do not care about facts or history or anything documentary in nature.

Newt tried this but is getting nowhere. On the other hand Newt has not had a TV show for years during prime time.

Facts mean nothing. After all how do we know what we know? How many facts do you have to research to properly judge some pundit's conclusions. Why would somebody working fifty hours a week and attempting to help her kids with homework and keep porn off of the pc's in the home going to find the time to check out what our national debt is and how it affects the average American's life?

If the shale oil mining companies are poisoning your land and your rivers and your lakes and your groundwater you would be up in arms. But if you are an American paying four bucks for a gallon of gasoline (with dick cheney out of the WH) why would this be of concern to you?

While the GOP's blowout win in the midterm elections sent shock waves through the political world, the general public is apparently having a difficult time remembering that it even happened.
According to a new Pew poll, less than half the nation is aware that Republicans won back control of the House of Representatives, although 75 percent correctly identified the GOP as outperforming the Democrats in the midterms.

Now to be fair, maybe it was difficult understanding the questions—at least ¾ of those taking the survey knew the dems suffered big losses in 2010.

But results of polls like this send me into a deep despair over any chances of defeating the GOP next year!

NCD noted recently that most Americans know nothing and believe in anything.

Don't know much about history! My friend Jon Wisby recently sent me this wonderful melody:

The Science of Why We Don't Believe in Science is a good read at Mother Jones.

I mean it is not on a par with PhilosophiƦ Naturalis Principia Mathematica but the author at least touches upon reasons for the ignorance of the masses.

The essay discusses the problem in debating subjects with certain people.

Trump claims that the President is hiding something. At one time he claimed that the 'real' certificate would tell us that Barack was somehow 'born' a Muslim. So you might do what Lawrence O'Donnell did and demonstrate that birth records in Hawaii never have noted the religion of a baby.

Arizona passes a silly law that compels those running for President to present more evidence of birth than just a Hawaiian Birth Certificate. Oh says Arizona, we do not like Hawaiian Birth Certificates. Well the Full Faith & Credit Clause of the US Constitution means that Arizona cannot tell Hawaii how to issue Birth Certificates.

You might tell Trump that he could read the Birth Notices in two different Hawaiian newspapers but he will tell you that those notices were published 8 days following the birth. Except that the publications were less than 8 days, more like four days and that all birth notices are published only on certain days of the week.

This is already too much information. And Birthers and most Teabaggers are going to tell you after a two hour presentation of facts with graphs and pictures and notices and....that President Obama was not born in this country, that he is a Muslim and that he hates Jews or is a socialist or …..

The essay underlines the fact that human beings are reasoning individuals but also emotional individuals and that you cannot easily separate the cognitive component of a belief from the emotional component of the belief.

A MAN WITH A CONVICTION is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point." So wrote the celebrated Stanford University psychologist Leon Festinger (PDF), in a passage that might have been referring to climate change denial—the persistent rejection, on the part of so many Americans today, of what we know about global warming and its human causes. But it was too early for that—this was the 1950s—and Festinger was actually describing a famous case study in psychology...
Festinger and several of his colleagues had infiltrated the Seekers, a small Chicago-area cult whose members thought they were communicating with aliens—including one, "Sananda," who they believed was the astral incarnation of Jesus Christ. The group was led by Dorothy Martin, a Dianetics devotee who transcribed the interstellar messages through automatic writing Through her, the aliens had given the precise date of an Earth-rending cataclysm: December 21, 1954
See, history doesn't repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes! Ha

How many cults have arisen telling us all that the world is about to end. 

Maybe the end comes in 2012 because it's etched in Mayan stone.

Beck has been telling us all of the coming caliphate and how this somehow fits into the Book of Revelations for years.

Mass suicides have always plagued man and in most cases the cult congregation could not be debriefed even if you tried. 

Does a Muslim male really believe that he will get access to 72 virgins? 

Well a lot of Christians think the universe is 6,000 years old.

Getting back to MJ, the cult group in question waite and waited and no aliens appeared. So that was the end of the cult, right?

At first, the group struggled for an explanation. But then rationalization set in. A new message arrived, announcing that they'd all been spared at the last minute. Festinger summarized the extraterrestrials' new pronouncement: "The little group, sitting all night long, had spread so much light that God had saved the world from destruction." Their willingness to believe in the prophecy had saved Earth from the prophecy!
Why do we act and think like this for heaven's sake?

The theory of motivated reasoning builds on a key insight of modern neuroscience (PDF): Reasoning is actually suffused with emotion (or what researchers often call "affect"). Not only are the two inseparable, but our positive or negative feelings about people, things, and ideas arise much more rapidly than our conscious thoughts, in a matter of milliseconds—fast enough to detect with an EEG device, but long before we're aware of it. That shouldn't be surprising: Evolution required us to react very quickly to stimuli in our environment. It's a "basic human survival skill," explains political scientist Arthur Lupia of the University of Michigan. We push threatening information away; we pull friendly information close. We apply fight-or-flight reflexes not only to predators, but to data itself. (ibid)
...We may think we're being scientists, but we're actually being lawyers (PDF).

So we have deregulation and tax rebates to the rich for eight years, and our economy collapses. People lose their pensions, people lose their jobs and people lose their homes.

Within a year of the actual 2008 collapse, the repubs demand deregulation and tax rebates for the rich.

Why not?

I mean that message sure worked for the 2010 elections.

MJ cites a study using 50 people who were convinced that Sadaam worked with al Qaida. 

The 'scientists' presented evidence against such nonsense including w bush's own lie that he never linked the two.

Only one fellow out of those 50 changed his mind.

Now the MJ article does not change my world view either.

You cannot just listen to Kyl and then come to the conclusion that 90% of the business of Planned Parenthood involves abortion.

And Breitbart can cite all sorts of documentation to prove that all dems are totalitarian socialists; but I need to take some time and check on his purported facts.

Now just because a guy has lied before does not mean he is lying now.

The bullshit cross of a defendant in court inquiring:

Were you lying then or are you lying now

proves nothing to me.

As House says:

Everybody lies!

But there are certain individuals and organizations that have lied on such a consistent basis that I refuse to believe anything that comes out of their fascist mouths, like Breitbart.

And I have sat and watched some fascist panel sponsored by Heritage or AEI 'prove' that lowering tax rates automatically creates jobs and increases tax revenue for the government. 

And I have to really challenge every 'fact' presented. 

So I would say, yeah but Clinton raised taxes for the rich, balanced the budget and over 20 million jobs were created. Under w bush, there was little if no job creation....blah blah blah.

Now the new Governor of Hawaii throughout his campaign told us that he was going to publish all documents in Hawaii relating to President Obama's birth.

I have seen no action by this governor to produce anything on this subject since he took office and he was one of my favorite Congressmen. And if the Governor of Hawaii had issued any info on this subject, believe me every goddamn member of MSM would be writing about it.

And this causes me some concern. Who knows, the President might be attempting to preserve the memory of his mother. Perhaps some obscure medical record demonstrates she had VD at one time.

So I guess I have some capability of looking at 'both sides' of an issue.­

Well, check out MJ at the link provided. I will get back to this subject another time.

This is all I got right now!