Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand; A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
History takes its time. Bush and Cheney's colossal debacle in Iraq cost so much blood and treasure -- and for so little return -- they insured Americans would not mess with Islamists again. At least, not any time soon. And even if they wanted to, Smirk and Snarl broke the national bank (not to mention the national will) by swashbuckling into a stupid Whimsy War - a war they never declared, never paid for, and never defined. An endless swamp of "mission creep." I wish Obama had not painted himself into a corner marked off by a crystal clear "red line." Near-pacifist that I am, I far prefer Obama's determination to toast Assad's tush than a dollar spent on Iraq. In a recent email to my brother, Kevin, I speculated: "If cruise missiles could be used to kill Bashir himself, or at least target him (and his generals) persistently enough to make the Syrian military less offensive (and more defensive), I would not oppose the move.
Uncle Sam has been very effective droning al Qaeda leadership.
I don't see why drones wouldn't work with Assad and his pals. Hell, you can conduct operations from Denver!
Or perhaps position an aircraft carrier off the Mediterranean coast just sixty miles from Damascus and pummel shit out of the bastard every time he acts up.
If "we" "spread the word" that any Syrian official who makes it possible to jam a drone up Bashir's ass gets $10 million, I think it'll be easier to toast the sonofabitch than it was to get Osama.
In the end, I think all weapons are chiefly used for obscene ends - including chemical weapons.
But, rightly or wrongly, it "feels" worse when every man, woman and child dies indiscriminately just for breathing.
Seamus Heaney is widely recognized as one of the major poets of the 20th century. A native of Northern Ireland, Heaney was raised in County Derry, and later lived for many years in Dublin. He was the author of over 20 volumes of poetry and...
Seamus Heaney in conversation with Michael Laskey, fellow poet and co-founder of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival. This is an edited version of an interview recorded live at the Poetry Prom 2010 organised by The Poetry Trust. Enjoy more podcasts on...
Seamus Heaney is likely the best-selling English-language poet alive. Famous, at this point, for being famous (he received the Nobel Prize in 1995), Heaney began earning acclaim with his first book, Death of a Naturalist (1966). Critical interest...
New Collected Poems, by Eavan Boland.W.W. Norton. $27.95. We open on a tiny flat in Dublin. A young poet sits by a window, writing. But something is wrong. The poem—eloquent, sonorous, carefully crafted—feels off. Studying the page, she...
Thursday, October 18, 2012 @ 6:00PM Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney will give the 2012 Poetry Day reading. Born in 1939 at his family’s farm in Northern Ireland, Heaney published his first collection of poetry, Death of a Naturalist, in...
In his native Ireland, he's known as "Famous Seamus," and indeed, Seamus Heaney, winner of the Nobel Prize in 1995, is that rare bird: a world-famous poet. Now 72, his newest collection, Human Chain, is, as always for Heaney, grounded in the...
Despite the common conception that they suck down everything that passes nearby, black holes are messy eaters. Gas swirls around them due to the strong gravitational field, but much of the material is blasted back into the surrounding galaxy. In many galaxies, that messiness makes the black hole extremely bright, but the Milky Way's supermassive black hole devours material so inefficiently that it's actually one of the quieter galactic nuclei around.
A high-resolution measurement of X-ray emissions near the galactic center shows the structure and feeding of the Milky Way's monster in new detail. Q. D. Wang and colleagues determined the light it does produce comes from a very compact region right near the galactic center. That supports the hypothesis that X-ray emissions are due to black hole accretion—mass falling into orbit around it. They also determined that no more than one percent of all the accreted matter ever crosses the black hole's event horizon.
The existence of the Milky Way's black hole is uncontroversial. The motion of nearby stars and the behavior of the local gas reveal the presence of a compact, massive object. Its mass is roughly four million times that of the Sun and its radius is smaller than the Solar System, which rules out nearly every alternative explanation.
However, some aspects of the black hole's behavior were harder to determine. The radio source at the Milky Way's center, known as Sagittarius A* (or Sgr A*, with the "*" pronounced as "star"), is much fainter than many galactic nuclei. Even assuming the black hole is feeding slowly compared to the maximum possible rate, theoretical models predict it should be brighter by a factor of 100 million. The general consensus is that Sgr A* is feeding in a particularly inefficient way, spewing more matter back into space than falls in.
There's a big challenge to testing this hypothesis: the region between Earth and the galactic center contains a lot of dust, which blocks visible light. Infrared and radio waves both pierce that dust, but their long wavelengths require correspondingly large telescopes to achieve high resolution. That places fundamental limits on how closely the light emissions can be pinpointed relative to the black hole. After all, astronomers are trying to study a region smaller than the Solar System at a distance of 26,000 light years.
The new observations used the orbiting Chandra telescope, which captures small-wavelength X-ray light. The researchers were able to resolve the region sufficiently close to the so-called Bondi radius, where material is more likely to fall into the black hole. They found the X-ray emissions were extended in an elongated structure on either side of the black hole, consistent with an accretion disk: matter rapidly orbiting around Sgr A*.
The astronomers could also rule out the hypothesis that the X-ray and radio emissions from this area came from stars since it lacked the expected spectral lines from iron and potassium. Additionally, they determined the emission had no appreciable fluctuations, as would be expected from flares or other stellar phenomena.
Everything they observed was completely consistent with extremely inefficient light emission from matter swirling around Sgr A*. Based on their observations, the researchers concluded that no more than one percent of the matter in the accretion region actually passed the black hole's event horizon. The rest is ejected back into the galaxy, where it contributes to the diffuse light emission in infrared and radio. That's a Cookie Monster approach to eating, but it ends up explaining why the Milky Way's black hole is so faint.
We are all hypocrites. I, for example -- after years away from the church because I couldn't stand the hypocrites there -- finally re-joined the flock after realizing: "Hey! There's always room for one more..." Even so, what distinguishes garden-variety hypocrites from modern-day Pharisees is that Pharisees consider hypocrisy - when brought to fever pitch - a virtue rather than a universal character flaw.
Liz Cheney, Wyoming Republican candidate for U.S. Senate and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, issued a statement on Friday saying that she is anti-choice and that she does not support same sex marriage, in spite of the fact that her own sister is married to a woman. According to Talking Points Memo, Cheney made no mention of her sister Mary or Mary’s partner Heather Poe, who were married in Washington, D.C. in 2012.
“I am strongly pro-life and I am not pro-gay marriage,” said Cheney in the statement. “I believe the issue of marriage must be decided by the states, and by the people in the states, not by judges and not even by legislators, but by the people themselves.”
The Cheney campaign was reacting to a “push-poll,” a campaign tactic in which telemarketers are paid to call masquerading as poll workers, but instead spread damaging information about an opposing candidate. The Wyoming push poll asked if voters were aware that Liz Cheney “supports abortion and aggressively promotes gay marriage.”
“The people of Wyoming deserve an honest campaign,” Cheney said in the statement. “They should not be subject to the kind of dirty tricks this push poll represents.”
Cheney is challenging popular and long-serving Republican Sen. Mike Enzi for the Wyoming Senate seat, a decision that has raised some hackles among the state’s Republican establishment. Recently, she was charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly lying about her residency status in order to obtain a Wyoming fishing license.
UPDATE: Mary Cheney responded on Facebook, according to the New York Times, by saying, “For the record, I love my sister, but she is dead wrong on the issue of marriage.”
“Freedom means freedom for everyone,” she wrote. “That means that all families — regardless of how they look or how they are made — all families are entitled to the same rights, privileges and protections as every other.”
We now know that the four canonical gospels were composite compositions
whose various authors believed that putting an apostle’s name on their own work was in no way an abuse of truth (as our current scientific mentality would argue)
but rather an act of homage, alignment and even submission to the lineage and
witness of the "named" apostle himself.
Recently, I posted about fundamentalism's conception of God-as-terrorist. Just as God is belittled and demeaned by representing "Him" as a deity who would create a Universe in which human beings might burn -- forever -- in a Lake of Neverending Fire," so too do they belittle and demean The Bible by shackling it to so-called (but intrinsically impossible) Literalism.
"Mistakes In Scripture: When The Bible Gets The Bible Wrong"
Live your life so that water tastes like wine. (Or, lacking the "miracle," be thankful for water as if it were wine.)
Aquinas observes that love infuses joy in the will. “The soul’s joy, flowing over into the
body, fills it with happiness in the form of health and incorruptible vigor.”[vii] He infuses love in us as a gift; and
that gift, or grace, is a foretaste of glory.God’s love descends to us, and our created intellect, with all its
limitations, rises toward God. We
love God as the root of our happiness. Furthermore, we
can love God wholeheartedly. Love
brings us toward union with God, a union that we can feel now, though the
feeling is not a sign that we are God.
Our response to God’s love is voluntary; it is an act of
will, so we are not a mere channel for God’s self-expression.
Elsewhere Aquinas notes that The Only-begotten Son of God, wanting us to be partakers of his divinity, assumed our human nature so that, having become man, he might make men gods.
Let us applaud and
give thanks that we have become not only Christians but Christ himself. Do you
understand, my brothers, the grace that God our head has given us? Be filled
with wonder and joy—we have become veritable Christs!—St. Augustine of Hippo
He has given us all
the things that we need for life and for true devotion, bringing us to know God
himself... through them you will be able to
share the divine nature.— II Peter 1:3-4a
In this way we are all
to come to unity in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God, until we
become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.—St.
Paul, Ephesians 4:13
Souls wherein the
Spirit dwells, illuminated by the Spirit, themselves become spiritual, and send
forth their grace to others. Hence comes . . . abiding in God, the being made
like to God, and, highest of all, the being made God.—St. Basil the
Great, On the Spirit.
"the highest of
all things desired is to become God."—St Basil the Great
indispensable: but the Divine Life, which gives itself to us and which calls us
to be gods, intends for us something in which morality will be swallowed up. We
are to be remade. . . . we shall find underneath it all a thing we have never
yet imagined: a real man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise,
beautiful, and drenched in joy.—C. S. Lewis, The Grand Miracle
At the other extreme of the Christian spectrum, we see the sectarian corruption of all that is good.
walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge,
about to jump off. So I ran over and said "Stop! Don't do it!"
"Why shouldn't I?" he said. "Well, there's so much to live
for!" "Like what?" "Well... are you religious?" He
said yes. I said, "Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?"
"Christian." "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant ?
"Protestant." "Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?"
"Baptist" "Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist
Church of the Lord?" "Baptist Church of God!" "Me too! Are
you original Baptist Church of God, or are you reformed Baptist Church of
God?" "Reformed Baptist Church of God!" "Me too! Are you
Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church
of God, reformation of 1915?" He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of
God, reformation of 1915!" I said, "Die, heretic scum", and
pushed him off.” Emo Phillips
St. Symeonthe New Theologian
(St. Symeon preferred the experience of divinity to faith.)
When faith displaces intellectual rigor, "the faithful" believe it their duty to champion intellectual blindness and deliberately impugn any reasonable, rational finding that contradicts their faith. When faith is considered the most important divine directive, it is not only acceptable to trash scientific findings that threaten the faith of true believers: it is necessary to trash them. (See "sola fide" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sola_fide) Fidelity to preconceived beliefs (regardless the measured conclusions of reason, logic and Love itself) is the summum bonum for anyone whose faith is everything.The prime directive of "true believers" is to represent fact-as-fiction while confecting de novo fictions to bolster faith. Lacking formation in intellectual integrity, "the intellectually stunted" must preserve blind faith by the deliberate degradation (and ardently desired destruction) of Truth. Alongside St. Paul, blindly faithful Christians argue that the world's wisdom is foolishness and thus exempt themselves from any rational challenge even when rationality and The Law of Love are co-terminous, even when irrationality rejects The Law of Love.
The greatest threat to the human psyche is dissolution of identity so that those who identify themselves with rigid beliefs, must - above all -- preserve those rigid beliefs so that they not shatter or crack.
In the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas "threw a life-vest to humanity" when he described the proper relationship between faith and reason:
"Arguing against those who said that natural philosophy
was contrary to the Christian faith, (Aquinas) writes in his treatise
"Faith, Reason and Theology that "even though the natural light of
the human mind is inadequate to make known what is revealed by faith,
nevertheless what is divinely taught to us by faith cannot be contrary to what
we are endowed with by nature. One or the other would have to be false, and
since we have both of them from God, he would be the cause of our error, which
is impossible." "Aladdin's Lamp: How Greek Science Came to
Europe Through the Islamic World" by John Freely - http://www.amazon.com/Aladdins-Lamp-Science-Through-Islamic/dp/0307277836/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327882581&sr=8-1
Except for those who cultivate high order thinking skills, humankind is experiencing a groundswell of Aggressive Ignorance based on whole-cloth falsehood.
At ground zero in America's culture war, we are living through "The Death of Epistemology"
Bradlee Dean: Gays Commit Half Of All Murders, Obama Is A 'Homo' And Maddow Is A 'Shim'
SUBMITTED BY Brian Tashman on Tuesday, 8/27/2013 4:10 pm
On this weekend’s edition of Sons of Liberty Radio, hosts Bradlee Dean and Jake McMillan claimed that gay people are responsible for half of all murders committed in large US cities, among other crimes.
After Dean said that homosexuality and abortion are the “last two stages that a country takes before God judges that country,” McMillan charged that “half of the murders in large cities were committed by homosexuals; thirty-three percent of child abuse cases were committed by homosexuals; half of the foster children molestations were done by homosexuals.”
McMillan explained, to Dean’s agreement, that gays are prone to criminality because “when a person’s mind has gone to that extent of committing an abominable act, it shows what else they are capable of.”
McMillan later recounted an interview with a gay reporter in which he charged that all people, including gays, are created equal, “but not when you make choices; if you break the law you’re no longer protected by the law.”
“God gives us strict orders to deal with people that commit such crimes in this life,” Dean said, “as a mercy to society.”
Dean wondered if gay people are “thinking to themselves, ‘These people are really falling for this.” But of course gay rights are gaining ground, Dean claimed, since “they got their homo in office,” and have “infiltrated” the White House.
The right-wing commentator also discussed his hugely unsuccessful lawsuit against Rachel Maddow for accurately quoting his claim that Muslims who want to execute gay people are “more moral” than Christians. Dean repeatedly referred to Maddow as “shim,” since he doesn’t know if the MSNBC host is a “he or she,” and said that he “started getting death threats” as a result of her program.
“Folks you need to understand what you’re dealing with, when you’re looking at the homosexual agenda, gay marriage, this administration, folks, by you tolerating their lawlessness, I want you to understand something, by you tolerating their lawlessness you are moving the seat of violence closer to your front door,” Dean stated. “Without you dealing with it, evil will prevail and rest assured evil is prevailing against you.”
- See more at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/bradlee-dean-gays-commit-half-all-murders-obama-homo-and-maddow-shim#sthash.BLzCdUiv.dpuf
Alan: It is a hard, garish truth that many Americans prefer the sort of austerity and pay-as-you-go "free market" capitalism that would rather see people dead (or at least suffer unnecessarily en route to an early grave) than to conceive cost-effective healthcare as a human right.
when Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have A Dream” speech, America spent
5.5 percent ofgross
domestic product on health care.Today we
spend 18 percent, while most other wealthy nations
spend 10 to 12 percent through systems that deliver equal or better health
outcomes. In a $16 trillion economy, our excess health-care spending — that is,
money we devote to health care that plainly isn’t needed for quality care —
thus comes to a staggering $1 trillion a year.
a trillion-dollar “diversion” or “opportunity cost.” Call it a “rip-off.” Or
even “theft.” Whatever the label, the point is the same: No leader
commemorating theMarch on
Washingtonand urging the nation to pursue our unfinished progressive agenda
will draw a link between our out-of-control medical-industrial complex and the
price of justice. They should.
fellow at the Center for American Progress and the host of the new podcast
“This...Is Interesting,” Miller writes a weekly column for The Post.
Dr. King said, “the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American
society.” Half a century later, if you want to know why too many Americans of
every race and creed are still languishing, our outsized health-care costs, and
the way they divert public and private resources from more urgent uses, are a
big part of the explanation.
of poor children lack access to the high-quality preschool that would give them
a better chance in life. We can’t give them such access because “there’s no
of poor children are warehoused in schools across the United States today with
unqualified teachers. Still, the United States won’t invest in making teaching
an attractive career for our most talented young people, which is what nations
with high-performing school systems, such as Finland, South Korea and
Because, we’re told, we don’t have that kind of money.
wages have been stagnant for years, in part because in our employer-based
health-care system, soaring health-care costs have devoured all the cash
businesses might otherwise have had available to give workers a raise.
has given the Negro people a bad check,” King said in 1963, “a check which has
come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’ But we refuse to believe that the bank
of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds
in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.”
would King have made of this needless overpayment of a trillion dollars a year?
A trillion dollars not available for higher wages and better teachers. A
trillion dollars we can’t use for gleaming new infrastructure and world-class
preschools. A trillion dollars that could dramatically lower the cost of
college for every young American working to build a better future.
mob told us to hand over a trillion a year in protection money, we’d call the
conquering foreign power tried to extract a trillion a year in tribute, we’d
respected doctors in white coats and local worthies on hospital boards
essentially hold America up for the same aggregate sum, we say nothing. We do
as dramatic asBull Connor
and the hoses. The martyrs to excess health-care
costs are less visible, and the links between cause and effect seem more
attenuated. But in a world of scarce resources and trade-offs, every new merger
lets hospitals hike prices helps deny poor children a fair start in life.
radically inefficient health-care system isn’t a matter of accounting for the
budget. It’s a question of justice for the pulpit.
take creativity to frame these issues in ways that make the tumblers click and
mobilizes voters to demand new answers. Advocates for young people, workers and
the poor will have to give up their traditional unwillingness to meddle in
other people’s sandboxes when it comes to public funds. You can’t play nice or
“stay in your lane” when the stakes are this high.
know, we’ll never get a thundering MLK refrain here, but even a wonky columnist
can have a dream.
at last, cost-effective at last, thank God almighty, our health-care system is
cost-effective at last!”
years on, with King’s economic vision so far from being fulfilled, there’s no
choice. Getting serious about justice means getting serious about health-care