Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Due To Yucatan Adventure, Pax On Both Houses Is Suspending Activity Until May 15th

Cenote X'Keken 
My favorite.
Outskirts of Valladolid, Yucatan




Yucatan Adventure

NPR: The Downside Of American Conservatism And The Upside Of European Liberalism

The Paranoid Style in American Politics
By Richard Hofstadter
Harper’s Magazine
, November 1964, pp. 77-86.

There is a deep strain of pissy, backbiting bitterness in America... and an equally deep strain of "let's make it work for The Common Good" in Western Europe. 

By juxtaposing the following reports, these two world views come into focus.

"Kansas Town Destroyed By Tornado Spreads Blame For Lack Of Growth"

"Swedish Town Has 20 Year Plan To Move As Iron Mine Swallows It"

Fresh Air: Dexter Filkins On Iraq's Reversion To Civil War. (BTW: Iran Won The Iraq War)

Alan: While the new millennium was still in single digits, it was clear that Iran had won The Iraq War. In the following interview with Fresh Air's Terry Gross, journalist Dexter Filkins (pictured above) says Iraq is again in a state of open civil war and that Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has become a neo-dynastic thug at least as vicious as Saddam Hussein and immeasurably more determined to inflame sectarian hatred. Whatever The Butcher of Baghdad's faults, his personal preference was for domestic tranquility over domestic upheaval. Maliki on the other hand nourishes upheaval in what could be prelude to some sort of final solution to the "Sunni problem." (This last sentence is my surmise, not Filkins'.)

Read Filkins' New Yorker Article

New Yorker writer Dexter Filkins finds an increasingly authoritarian prime minister — Nouri al-Maliki — sectarian violence, and concern for the future. Iraq holds parliamentary elections Wednesday.
This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. To find out what the U.S. left behind in Iraq since pulling out less than two and a half years ago, my guest, Dexter Filkins, returned there for four weeks in January and February. What he found, according to his latest article in the New Yorker, is an increasingly authoritarian leader, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a return of sectarian violence, and a nation worried about its future.
Part of the country is now under the control of Islamist extremists. Iraq holds parliamentary elections tomorrow. Maliki is seeking a third term. Many Iraqis told Filkins that Maliki's sectarianism has driven Iraq to the edge of civil war. Dexter Filkins covered the war in Iraq for the New York Times and is now a staff writer for the New Yorker. His 2008 book, "The Forever War," was about his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dexter Filkins, welcome back to FRESH AIR. Why did you want to go back to Iraq?

The Psycho-Social Liberation Of Obamacare: Enrollees Now Free To Pursue Dream

Mike Smith, of Long Beach, Calif., now pays $200 for his family's health insurance policy, compared with the $3,000 a month he would have had to pay on the individual market last year.
Mike Smith, of Long Beach, Calif., now pays $200 for his family's health insurance policy, compared with the $3,000 a month he would have had to pay on the individual market last year.
Alan: Some large minority if not a majority of Americans are too obtuse to see the tremendous liberation afforded by Obamacare. Finally tens of millions of America's most creative people are liberated from employer provided healthcare to dedicate themselves to the realization of their personal genius. Such liberation is central to the work of democratic governments and I will go to my grave applauding Obama for this extraordinary achievement, an accomplishment that has eluded American presidents since Teddy Roosevelt first suggested universal healthcare in 1912. Although Obamacare is an ugly political sausage, it is The Milestone from which permanent movement in the direction of socialized capitalism will take place. It also bears mention that if Obama had rammed single-payer down the nation's throat he would have lost the 2012 election and the GOP would have repealed Obamacare. Now, thanks to Obama's political genius and/or political determination, there is no going back, only going forward.                                       
Audio File:

Until recently, Mike Smith, 64, of Long Beach, Calif., worked 11 hours a day, Monday through Friday and then half a day on Saturday. He was a district manager for a national auto parts chain.
He dreamed of retiring early, but it wasn't an option for him because he and his wife relied on the health insurance tied to his job.
"At our age, with some pre-existing medical conditions, it would have been very costly to buy insurance on the open market — about $3,000 a month," he says.
Mike and Laura Smith

Mike and Laura Smith
Stephanie O'Neill for NPR
But the Affordable Care Act changed that. Smith retired in January. So did his wife, Laura, also 64.
The couple now has a private health insurance policy bought through Covered California, the state's insurance marketplace. It costs $200 a month.
The coverage helped the Smiths make a major lifestyle change. Just after noon on a recent weekday, Mike is at their Long Beach home, cooking lunch.
"We've got organic shallots, organic Brussels sprouts and organic apple cider vinegar," he says, stirring the ingredients with a wooden spoon. "I love the smell of the shallots, don't you?"
Smith says he's now also able to take care of his elderly in-laws and his 2-year-old grandchild. He gets to practice his guitar more often, too.
recent study by Georgetown University and the Urban Institute predicts the ACA will enable up to 1.5 million Americans to leave their jobs and become self-employed, start new businesses or retire early. It's a finding that runs counter toforecasts by critics of the federal health law, who contend it will cost the nation jobs and cripple America's small-business economy.
It will take years to know how the health law will change the work landscape in a broad sense, but already the law has changed life for Rebecca Murray.
Tim Williams and Rebecca Murray, of Chicago, with their daughter, Margaret (Mugs) Williams

Tim Williams and Rebecca Murray, of Chicago, with their daughter, Margaret (Mugs) Williams
Courtesy of Barbara Goering

The Borowitz Report: Sterling Says He Will Miss Being Around People He Hates

LOS ANGELES (The Borowitz Report) — After being banned by the N.B.A. Tuesday afternoon, the Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling told reporters that he would miss being around people he hates.
“Sure, I’m saddened by this,” Sterling said. “Sitting in the stands night after night, a boiling cauldron of hatred bubbling inside me—it doesn’t get better than that. Those were good times.”
“Knowing that I’ll never be able to sit in that arena again and look down on the people I despise—that hurts the most,” he said.
Looking back on his three-decade tenure with the Clippers, though, Sterling said he felt some measure of satisfaction: “No one hated more people than I did, and the feeling was mutual.”

Privacy, Donald Sterling, Jon Stewart, The Easter Exsultet And Paradoxical Theodicy

Image result for privacy

Dear Fred,

Thanks for your email.

Earlier today, I applauded Antonin Scalia for his ardent defense of privacy.

Ironically, I had just copied the following link for you when I saw your incoming message.

Stewart is in top form here, partly because he embraces the breadth and depth of moral complexity.

Not surprisingly, "privacy" itself can be as problematic as Sterling's convoluted view of "race." 

I staunchly oppose any invasion of privacy and advocate stiff penalty for such penetration - a kind of rape, not only upon people but on the body politic.

Here's the rub. 

Once a "private communication" becomes "public record," we cannot turn our back on revelation (even though tawdry) any more than reasonable people can ignore anthropogenic global warming, evolution, granting LGBTs "equal protection before The Law" and the cumulative benefit of vaccination and universal healthcare.

It is lubriciously tantalizing to abuse publication of "the private." 

Lamentably, rung bells cannot be un-rung. 

And it is the ringing of deceptive, manipulative, de-contextualized "bells" that lies at the heart of American conservativism's well-oiled concubinage with The Prince of Darkness.  

Here is the drill...

John McCain sired bastard childen.  

Obama is a Muslim, Marxist Kenyan. 

Kennedy was an agent of the Pope. 

Obamacare is a train wreck.

Blessedly, great good can come from evil, a circumstance that resides on the flip side of the same coin where "imposition of The Best" results in evil.

Consider the Easter Exsultet, traditionally sung by the vigil mass celebrant whose full-throated clamor competes with acolytes instructed to ring their bells as cacophonously as possible.

In this remarkable prayer -- this sonic duel -- the following passage cuts to the quick of the human condition, and (for me) expresses the most satisfying of all theodicies: how evil -- even great evil -- can elicit good - even great good. The summum bonum

"This is the night
when Christ broke the prison-bars of death
and rose victorious from the underworld.
Our birth would have been no gain,
had we not been redeemed.
O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!
truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!
happy fault
that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!"


Here is a beautifully sung version of the Easter Exsultet as translated in the new Missal: 


I leave for Mexico tomorrow and will not be back until May 15.

Primero Dios.


Pax tecum


On Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 1:56 PM, Fred Owens <> wrote:


The privacy of a phone call is more important to me than this racial controversy.
Bigots have a right to a private conversation. If an old man wants to talk trash with his girl friend, then I really, really don't want to know what he said.
You can't hang Sterling for what he said to her. You gotta hang him for his public words and deeds or not hang him at all.
Curiously, the girl friend was not white, indicating to me that Sterling's attitude towards black and Latinos is complex.
But mainly I am saddened by the lack of concern for this man's expectation of privacy.
It's not even mentioned -- that we have no right to listen in, and in fact it's down right creepy that we did listen in.

Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My gardening blog is  Fred Owens
My writing blog is Frog Hospital

send mail to:

Fred Owens
35 West Main St Suite B #391
Ventura CA 93001

The Borowitz Report: Donald Trump Turns Donald Sterling's Life Around

LOS ANGELES (The Borowitz Report)—The Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling offered a “total and remorseful” apology for his racist comments today, telling reporters, “Once I saw that Donald Trump was defending me, I knew I had done something horribly wrong.”
Sterling acknowledged that he had turned a blind eye to a mountain of criticism from basketball luminaries and national leaders, but said that seeing Trump defend him on Fox News on Monday had left him “shaken.”
“Look, I know I’m not perfect,” he said. “But when Donald Trump takes your side, you have to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself, ‘Have I become some kind of monster?’”

Gun Enthusiasts Stalk/Threaten CEO Who Developed Weapon Only Owner Can Fire

Armatix USA CEO Belinda Padilla (PBS)
"Gun Cartoons And Gun Violence Bibliography"

‘Gun enthusiasts’ stalk and threaten CEO after she develops weapon only owner can fire

By David Edwards
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Belinda Padilla, president and CEO of the U.S. division of firearm manufacturer Armatix, says she was stalked and threatened by “gun enthusiasts” after she tried to bring a safer handgun to market.
Armatix, a German company, has developed so-called “smart guns” that can only be fired by the owner. The company uses a watch that ties the owner to the weapon, called the iP1. Armatix isalready selling the personalized weapons in Europe and Asia.
In an interview published by The New York Times on Monday, Padilla explained what happened when a forum of online “gun enthusiasts” published her cellphone number.
She said it began with a “few fuming-mad voice mail messages and heavy breathers” that got her to stop answering her phone.
And then photos of her home were posted online.
“In a crude, cartoonish scrawl, this person drew an arrow to the blurred image of a woman passing through the photo frame. ‘Belinda?’ the person wrote. ‘Is that you?’” according to the Times.
The Armatix USA CEO said that President Barack Obama’s administration had supported her company’s efforts after the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. But it had been difficult to bring the gun to market because of opposition from the gun lobby.
“Right now, unfortunately, these organizations that are scaring everybody have the power,” Padilla explained. “All we’re doing is providing extra levels of safety to your individual right to bear arms. And if you don’t want our gun, don’t buy it. It’s not for everyone.”
The Oak Tree Gun Club near Los Angeles had agreed to sell the Armatix smart pistol until, a forum of second-amendment rights advocates, found out about the news.
“I have no qualms with the idea of personally and professionally leveling the life of someone who has attempted to profit from disarming me and my fellow Americans,” one comment said.
Within days, any trace that Armatix merchandise had ever been at the Oak Tree Gun Club had vanished.
“Honestly, I was in disbelief,” she recalled. “It’s like I never existed.”
Padilla said that she now worries that even people emailing her for information about buying the gun actually wish to do her harm.
But she vowed not to give up.
“This is my mission in life,” she insisted. “If they really understood our technology, they wouldn’t be afraid of it at all.”
Watch the video below of Padilla explaining how her iP1 works to PBS, broadcast Oct. 17, 2013.

Jon Stewart: The "Mosaic Of Racism In America"

Good Christians All Rejoice!


"Terrorism And The Other Religions"

Daily Show host Jon Stewart held court on Monday on the weeklong resurgence of racism in the national spotlight, pointing out the spectrum inhabited by Cliven Bundy, pro basketball mogul Donald Sterling, and the Ku Klux Klan.
The remarks, Stewart said, showed the “gorgeous mosaic of racism in America. All the way from those who say, ‘You can f*ck [African-Americans,] just don’t be seen with them,’ to those who say, ‘You can be seen with them, just don’t f*ck them.’”
The news about Sterling’s alleged racist statements toward the Black community, Bundy’s confirmed observations about “the Negro,” and the Klan’s desire to “rebrand” itself, Stewart said, came amid the Supreme Court’s decision effectively gutting affirmative action college admissions policies, which he mockingly declared a statement that racism was “over.”
“Just days after being declared dead by the Supreme Court, racism has arisen,” Stewart observed. “It’s a week-after-Easter miracle.”
Stewart then played clips of a person identified — but not confirmed — as Sterling telling girlfriend V. Stiviano he didn’t mind if she had sex with Black men, as long as she didn’t let herself be seen in public or his Los Angeles Clippers’ games with them, making him a rare creature: a “racist swinger.”
“It’s that age-old story,” Stewart said. “Yeah, I’m racist, but my d*ck and my wallet are not.”
But weirder than that, he said, was the fact that the L.A. chapter of the NAACP was scheduled to give Sterling a “lifetime achievement” award before the audio was published. (The NAACP subsequently rescinded the honor.)
“Take that, Sterling,” Stewart said. “Because of your unrepentant racism, you only get one NAACP lifetime achievement award.”
Watch Stewart’s commentary, as aired on Monday, below.

Medieval Bishop Anticipated Big Bang Theory And Multiple Universes By Centuries

Robert Grosseteste via Wiki
By David Ferguson
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 
A 13th century British bishop’s theories of the origin and structure of the universe were centuries ahead of their time, says a group of scholars. According to, Durham University’s Ordered Universe project has found that Robert Grosseteste, the Bishop of Lincoln from 1245 until his death in 1253, anticipated the ideas of Sir Isaac Newton and other scientists by centuries.
Grosseteste was a philosopher, church reformer, poet, theologian and politician.
“Nearly 800 years later the example of Grosseteste’s works provides the basis for doing great interdisciplinary work, offering unexpected challenges to both modern scientists and humanities experts alike, especially in working closely together,” wrote the group of scholars who are attempting a modern revision of the 1912 publication of Grosseteste’s work.One of the more startling finds among the Medieval thinker’s papers and notes is his work “De Luce” or “Concerning Light.” In it, Grosseteste made one of the first known attempts to apply a set of physical laws to the universe as a whole, transferring what he knew of light and matter to apply to worlds beyond our own.
Grosseteste formulated a theory of the universe’s beginning as a single point of light fused with matter, which expanded outward to its furthest extension, which he called the first sphere. A second type of light radiates inward, Grosseteste said, compressing matter until it will go no further, thereby establishing the second sphere.
The scientist reasoned that these nested spheres form our universe, a theory that is surprisingly in line with modern physicists’ contention that it is possible for multiple universes to exist simultaneously.
The team noted that Grosseteste’s mathematical calculations were “very consistent and precise,” and had he had access to a computer, they theorized, he would have arrived at the assumption of multiple universes all on his own.
“As well as inspiring the surprising new science, all of these investigations sharpen our knowledge of this thinker and his texts by urging a closer, ‘functional’ reading of the text,” wrote the team.
They concluded, “Each step is also deepening and widening our historical appreciation of Grosseteste and his creative, disciplined and vivid intellectual imagination.”

The Christian Equivalent Of Sharia Law In America

Sam Clovis (YouTube)

Iowa’s GOP Senate candidates vow to block judges who won’t follow ‘biblical law’

By Travis Gettys
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 

Four Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate fell over themselves to show deference to religious right voters in a forum sponsored Friday by The Family Leader.
Right Wing Watch reported three of the candidates vowed they would block federal judge nominees who did not adhere to “natural law,” which the candidates described as handed down by God.
Radio host and retired Air Force colonel Sam Clovis (pictured above) said he would use natural law as a “litmus test” for judges, while Sarah Palin-backed state Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Red Oak) said judges and senators should understand U.S. laws “come from God” and make their decisions “within that criteria.
But Matt Whitaker, a former federal prosecutor, declared his opponents had not gone “far enough” and said he would demand federal judicial nominees be “people of faith” who “have a biblical view of justice.”
“As long as they have that worldview, then they’ll be a good judge,” Whitaker said. “If they have a secular worldview, where this is all we have here on earth, then I’m going to be very concerned about how they judge.”
Iowa Democrats had urged Republicans to denounce the event’s moderator, conservative pundit Erick Erickson, for his comments on women and LGBT people, and about 10 Democrats stood outside the forum in protest.
“It’s shameful that instead of standing up to intolerance tonight, Republicans all chose to stand on stage with it,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Scott Brennan. “Erick Erickson represents the fringe of the Republican Party that thrives on fear, ignorance and obstructionism, but that’s the exact type of senator these Republicans want to be.”
Republican candidate Scott Schaben did not participate in the forum.
Bob Vander Plaats, head of the conservative Family Leader group, opened the forum by declaring that God had three institutions – “the church, the family, and government.”
He warned that legal abortion and marriage equality would remove God’s blessing from the U.S.
“As we have a culture that runs further and further from God’s principles, His precepts, from God’s heart, it’s only natural consequences that we’re going to suffer,” Vander Plaats said. “You cannot run away from the heart of God and expect God to bless the country.”
Vander Plaats helped orchestrate the 2010 ouster of Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, and Jacobs cited that ruling as an example of unacceptable judicial activism.
“I will look very, very carefully at the track record of anybody who’s nominated for a judicial position and make sure in that record I’m comfortable that they uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and they do not have a record of legislating from the bench,” Jacobs said.
Watch Vander Plaat’s opening remarks in this video posted online by RWW Blog: