Boobs

Looks like it was female exposure week on Late Night with Conan O’Brien!  (Is it Sweeps again already?!!!)  It concluded last night with the Rennaissance Faire “tavern wenches,” then Tina Fey plugging her new movie Baby Mama … and, well, BABY, MAMA!!!  If things don’t work out with What’s-His-Name, *I’m* a nice Orthodox boy who always loved you on Update with those glasses…!*

It seems today we have not just cleavage, but various kinds of actual breast exposure: ‘top breast meat,’ ‘side breast meat,’ even ‘bottom breast meat.’  If you know what I mean!  At 1am it’s OK, but “not ready for prime time” IMHO.

(*–UPDATE … so to speak … 23 May 2008: I kid, of course.  God grant Many Years to Tina and family!)

A way out of Religious Establishment conundra?

Back in 1989 someone suggested the following:

Nor does the Constitution seek to create a secular public sphere. Religious pluralism and diversity — not secularism — are the animating principles of the First Amendment. [Emphasis Tiernan’s.]

The article provides a piercing analysis of conflicts over the First Amendment’s clause, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”  Are we ‘excessively entangled’ in “excessive entanglement” concerns?!  I’m not 100 pct. certain about this approach, but I think it raises necessary questions.

Elitists II

I’ve got news for ya.  America’s been in the hands of “elitists” since they wrested it out of the hands of King George III!  OTOH, is the Queen an elitist?!

The Disability system is broken

For a very good description of the farce that is the Social Security Administration’s disability determination system (for both Social Security Disability and SSI/Disability), see here, both the article and the comments.  And my idea a year ago for a great fix!

Freckles are not “imperfections”

Even if mannequins like Paris Hilton don’t have any!

Lindsay Lohan was most attractive before she started covering up hers, or as someone said, “hiding all signs of her ethnic background” or words to that effect.  Makeup for a TV, movie, or stage appearance is one thing, but out from under the bright lights too???

Freckles are God’s makeup!

“Business” in America’s roots

The Kings of Great Britain should’ve expected trouble when they colonized the Atlantic coast with “proprietors” and “corporations”!  Was this any improvement over feudalism, granting colonies to worthy nobles in fief to help preserve the nature of British society like ‘at home’?  These corporations – like all originally – were a way for the Crown to pool wealth it didn’t have or wish to expend on the project, but still wished the project to go forward.  But as even Tom Jefferson knew, corporations suck-in power like a Black Hole – and so now we have them basically ruling the planet over and above the sovereign powers that created them and theoretically keep them alive by mere sovereign prerogative.

Of course, promoting an economic model for colonization, rather than a more ‘wholistic,’ cultural, multifaceted, inclusive, realistic one – I’m sure other models were possible besides feudalism (even a ‘modernized’ version) if that offends you – meant it was only a matter of time before enough ignoble wealthy perpetrated a “hostile takeover” – read coup d’etat – of the colonies.  Today we’re still “plantations” – Plantation America – if seemingly better taken-care-of than their ones elsewhere in the world – better-deluded, better-bribed, better-pacified, whatever.  Ironically, the late Marc Chaitlin claimed even the branches of the federal government, and the (small-R) republican “states,” were themselves fake “corporations,” especially in his collection of essays, The Constitution Papers – corporations designed to oppress us and exploit the land.

Just like the original ones, only far, far worse, and unchecked.  Talk about “absolutism.”

Elitists

Where the well-paid, snooty, right-wing, corporate shills at Faux News Channel get off putting down anybody else as “elitists,” I’ll never guess!  And shame on Hillary Clinton for taking their talking points!

Proof: Obama’s right: They’re “bitter”

According to the Wall Street Journal of all sources!  This link will probably break soon unless you give them money (figures…), but they did a feature this weekend in and around the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in the runup to the PA Democratic Primary on Tuesday – not exactly small-town, but alot smaller than Philly, Pittsburgh, etc.  Front page headline, above the fold, full-color photo: “Trapped in the Middle: The incomes of most Americans have stalled; Tackling voter angst in Pennsylvania.”  (“Angst” is just philosophical-German for “bitter” worry!)  And this is just the middle-middle-class; as we know, most Americans’ wages haven’t just “stalled,” they’ve been falling in constant dollars for decades!

Sociologists Andrew Greeley and Michael Hout uncovered this (slightly-) indirectly two years ago in their book The Truth about Conservative ChristiansAs it happens, Obama has a rural/farm plan along with his general economic plan.

Dust mites win

It seems we’re unable to get rid of enough of them – or their ‘leavings’ – to make a difference for allergies, allergic asthma, etc.

@#%&*!

The older we get…

the happier we get?  Or more content, at least.  Though with Boomers it seems questionable.  Sad.

Channel Island abandoning Feudalism?

That’s what media are saying (this news link will go stale), but I don’t believe they are correct to say so.  The heart of feudalism, or manorialism if you like, is the combination of holding land from and closely regulated by, the feudal lord (in this case, the Seigneur of the Isle of Sark) … and the obligation of service to him or her by those who hold their property from him or her.  The reforms will replace a legislative body made up mostly of the 40 main “tenants” ex officio (out of a current permanent population of 600) with one of 28 totally elected councilmembers.  But land tenure will be unchanged, and apparently the 40 main tenants will still be obligated to keep “muskets” to provide the first line of defense of the Isle, not unlike Switzerland’s requirement (not “right” as claimed in the U.S.) to keep and bear arms [for civilian defense, not revolution!]

One of the lesser-known “services” also required of feudal tenants was Counsel, advice.  So whether that counsel is provided by ex officio landholders or elected representatives of *all* the landholders doesn’t change the feudal system.  (As the sources say, there are two kinds of landholdings on Sark, the 40 main original and largest ones, and a number of smaller, newer ones, with traditionally fewer rights and obligations.)  Actually, electing hereditary representatives is not unprecedented in ‘the British system’: after suborning the Irish (Protestant) Parliament to merge itself into the British Parliament in the 1800s, Irish Protestant noblemen elected “representative peers” to the House of Lords, rather than theoretically admitting all of them to that House; and since Tony Blair’s “reforms” in the 1990s *all* United Kingdom hereditary peers elect 90-some of their number to the House of Lords for the time being (though the “ruling” Labour Party anticipates abolishing a hereditary right to sit in that House before long, though allowing those who also have Life Peerages to sit there, and others to run and vote for the powerful House of Commons like they traditionally could not – because they are not Commoners).

So democracy is no more incompatible with “feudalism” as it remains on Sark, than it is with certain forms of Monarchy itself, as in many First World countries.  In fact, think of Sark as a tiny subordinate monarchy: the Seigneur holds the whole Isle on loan from the Queen, conditioned upon annual rent of something like five dollars U.S. (the rate hasn’t been inflated since Queen Elizabeth I originally made the grant over 400 years ago) and maintenance of a first-line defense arrangement – the guys with the “muskets.”  The only way Sark’s “feudalism” could be abolished under Her Majesty’s Monarchy as currently constituted there would be if the Queen revoked the Seigneur’s tenancy of the Isle, or abolished the Seigneurship as it were.

Although, remember that the Queen is considered to legally own nearly all of the land in her Realms.  *All* “landowners” merely hold their property from her; hence the Sovereign right of Eminent Domain, which of course is asserted by all sovereign States, including the American States, not only Monarchies.*  This is a worldwide remnant of feudalism, although under Rule of Law, the sovereign power should only be used according to previously-publicly-passed and written-down laws or well-known/attested custom, and property’s ostensible “owners” actually own real rights in respect of the land, which the sovereign power is considered required to honor.  So the situation on Sark is not different in genus, only in species, so to speak, from that elsewhere in the UK or even in the US.

Why do I care?  The coverage of the Sark reforms is yet another manifestation of the historical and constitutional ignorance that plagues much of the English-speaking world, within and outside the Commonwealth, imperiling not only the Monarchy there but the legal tradition itself, everywhere.  If law becomes merely what ignorant or partisan judges or politicians say it is, they will ride roughshod right over the rest of us, just like has been happening in the U.S. since 12/12/00 (PDF).  And if WE are ignorant, or successfully fed propaganda by the likes of Rupert Murdoch/Sky News/Fox News, or his Sarkese comrades the Barclay brothers, we will let them.  And the biggest threat to our freedoms will have come not from abroad, but from right here at home – right inside each of our countries.

And now for something completely different … if you’ve gotten this far, you’ve earned it. 😉

(*–In America the “sovereign” is considered to be the people of the State … though as I always say, If everybody’s sovereign, nobody’s sovereign – or the sovereignty is being usurped by one or a few, known or unknown!)

We must go with Obama

I urge everybody who still has a chance – primary or caucus voters, delegates, superdelegates – to vote for Barack Obama for the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States.

If the Repugs don’t steal another one, Obama has the best chance of keeping them out of the White House.  He’s bringing all kinds of new people into the Democratic Party and the political / electoral process.  If Clinton’s nominated, she’ll just hyper-activate all the Hillary-haters and Clinton-haters out there in the electorate, AM radio, Fox News Channel, etc., and some of the new Obama supporters certainly won’t vote Republican, but are sure to stay home.  This election, more than any other in a long, long time, must not be a spectator sport!  The only risk is whether enough people will be able to set aside their race or bigotry issues and vote for a man who had a lapsed Muslim father from Africa* and a White mother.  Maybe I’m the one out of touch, but I think it’s likelier than Hillary winning the White House.

In international affairs, what Obama lacks in explicit experience, he’ll more than make up for in the good will he generates around the world; plus, community-organizing experience is a plus in international affairs!  Domestically, his pledge to investigate Bush lawbreaking is necessary.  I can accept him.

(*–Didn’t I tell you they’d start hammering on his middle name?  As if King Hussein was a bad man!)

McCain, torture, revenge?

Might McCain allow torture as revenge for the torture he suffered in Vietnam?  Something to think about before voting for him for President.

More Torturegate

I approved.”

–George Walker Bush, de facto 43rd President of the United States of America

How many confessed (non-sexual) “high crimes and misdemeanors” does it take to get impeached in this country?  Do we really have to get him an intern?!!!

Torturegate

The torture ball rolls on and the administration unravels.  At least ABC News didn’t sit on this one like the supposedly-liberal NY Times on Spygate!  Way to go, Charlie!  Condi must go, and they all must go before The Hague!

What shocks me almost more is that this isn’t having signed-off on a general memo a few years previous, this is pre-choreographing specific torture sessions with specific individual “suspects,” probably mere hours before the specific torture acts occurred.  Bush and the other “Principals” were basically puppetmasters, all but going to Gitmo or Abu Ghraib or Afghanistan or Poland or wherever and doing the torturing themselves!  Not that the actual torturers bear no responsibility for following unlawful, unconstitutional orders, but that these civilian officials BEAR MORE!  Even the Nazis weren’t this dumb!  No “plausible deniability” here!

Tsars, Serfs, and the West

One of the worst charges laid at the feet of the Tsars (Emperors) of Russia by Western and Western-influenced critics is considered to be possibly the largest, harshest, and latest-ending system of serfdom the world has ever seen.  What these Westerners don’t tell us is that making Ukraine and vicinity “the breadbasket of Europe” came at a price to most of the Russian people.  As this Wikipedia article points out, Eastern Europe was Western Europe’s first source of cash crops, a practice which of course the West later exported over much of the Earth because it worked so well … for the West!

Serfdom declined in Western Europe because of peasant rebellions, the Plague, Enclosure of the Commons (a great Crime Against Humanity), industrialization, the growth of wage labor even in agriculture (you win some, you lose some!), urbanization, etc.  So they effectively transferred it to Eastern Europe!  They off-shored it!  Eastern landowners, nobles, and monarchs shamefully turned to the profits available in exporting cash crops to the West, and so had to hold on to their own peasantry, in some cases well into the 19th century.

The Banana Republic Phenomenon gives us an idea what they would’ve faced if they’d balked at such abjection.  So do, more recently, it is alleged by many, the current Oil Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  But the West blames the Tsars, Orthodoxy, Eastern “backwardness,” “need / desire for strong leaders,” and all that other claptrap, when it needs to paint the system from which it benefited so much – which probably saved its life, since without food you die – as bad.  This is not different from the Western Powers blaming “Balkanization” on the Balkans, after the West has spent over 200 years trying to dissolve that region into smaller and smaller statelets.  (The newest, Kosovo, is “slightly larger than Delaware,” for crying out loud!)  Or blaming Indian Tribes for behavior akin to Banana Republics after setting them up on the worst land on the continent, eviscerating their cultures, imposing non-traditional (small-R) republican governments on them, then reinvading them for mineral resources when these are discovered, just like the Third World!!!!!

What’s the definition of a legal mind?: the ability to think about something intimately related to something else, without thinking about the thing to which it’s related!  IOW, Compartmental Thinking, that great gift of Western Christianity to the world, which has allowed the West to basically rape the planet and commit the worst crimes, absolve itself of blame, and in fact turn the blame onto its victims!!!!!

Fox Attacks Iran

Fox News Channel beats the drums for war against Iran, just like they did against Iraq a few years back, and with as little justification.  See this short video and sign a MoveOn petition to the real networks not to be bullied by Fox this time around!

(I wonder if the Republican National Committee and McCain campaign report as donations, all the air time they receive from FNC, AM radio, etc etc etc.?  Surely it’d put them way over the top: after all, it’s basically 24/7 free advertising!)

Violent Demonstrations

When did they start using the word violence to refer to demonstrations, rallies, etc., where nobody is hurt, just property is damaged?

Lessee now, corporations and property are people, but unborn babies aren’t, including embryonic stem cells that are called that because they basically are embryos?  And immigrants and the poor and workers and people of color aren’t much of people either?

WHO’S behind this Strange New World?!!!

MRS. McCAIN DEALS COKE

Maybe Pepsi too.

That is, if the big beer distributorship she’s heir to also includes soda pop among their supplies, as they sometimes do!!!

😉

Superdelegate mystery

What’s with all this “mystery” some are trying to whip up or allege around Democratic Superdelegates?  All they are is ex officio Convention delegates, not committed by a primary or caucus or State convention to any Presidential candidate.  There are hundreds of them: How can you call them all “insiders” or “elites” or “party bosses”?  They’re mostly elected officials, in either government office or party posts such as elected committeemen/women.  They are the elected leadership of the Party officially or unofficially, and they are authorized by the current rules, adopted democratically a generation ago, to exercise free choice in hopefully helping guide all of us together, the Party and the American people, to victory in November.  Many Democrats you can actually name are the Superdelegates, they just usually carry other titles, such as Congresswoman, Senator, Governor, Mayor, Chairperson, Committeeman, etc.

The consensus of the Party’s voters so far, or of the other candidates they voted for who are now endorsing one or the other surviving candidate, seems to be that we have two very good candidates left at this point in the process.  This is a good thing!  (The Repugs are stuck with McCain because they had only losers running!)  If the nomination comes down to the Superdelegates, the rules allow us to trust them to add their judgment to our own in putting forward the best candidate in November, because we all want to win, we all need to win, now more than ever, for America and the world, for now and the future.  There is way too much at stake here for each side within the Party to destroy the other, because we’re going to need each other to do our best together to keep the Republicans from stealing a third consecutive Presidency, and Congress also again!  It’s a campaign, but winning must not be a pyrrhic victory, where one campaign destroys half the Party and the Christo-Fascists walk all over all of us and all of the American people, right back into the White House and the Capitol Building!

If it goes to the Convention, is that necessarily a bad thing?  Imagine, a Convention that means something!  Face-to-face democracy they dare to call “a brokered convention” and a “smoke-filled room”!  In New England they call it a Town Meeting, and business-as-usual, not a “brokered town meeting” or a “smoke-filled town meeting”!  They’re not really supposed to be meaningless week-long TV commercials after all, but Conventions — democratic, rule-of-law decision-making bodies of Our Party!  Imagine, a political campaign as an ongoing civics lesson, not just devolving into one long fundraising-moneybegging commercial from now till Labor Day!

Who’s afraid of a little democracy?  The Republicans?  The Mainstream Media?  Big Business?  AM radio?  The Christo-Fascists?  Faux News Channel?

They oughta be!!!

Nashville monarchists

The former website of their “Royalist Party of America” is of interest.  IIRC so was the site of their Joseph Crisp was too, but the Wayback Machine seems currently down.

This looks like a GREAT monarchy blog

A governmental experiment in class harmony

The Senate of Ireland.  Inspired by a papal encyclical, no less!  If only it were open to actual members of the “vocational panels,” instead of their self-appointed (or party-appointed) representatives using it as a stepping stone to the far more powerful lower house of parliament, the Dail (pronounced DALL, sort of).  I thought I’d read about something similar on the Continent during the Middle Ages, like maybe the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire (so-called), but maybe not.

Intriguing is the “University panel,” anybody with a degree from the two big Universities in the Republic.  Though since college education is becoming more common, maybe it’d make sense to raise the qualification to holders of advanced degrees like Master’s and Doctorates.  Certainly it shouldn’t be abolished like some want: it’s ancient Gaelic tradition, going way back in Scotland; plus their expertise and study could be useful to a Republic, since Republics are normally so beholden to passions of the moment.

What about the equally-ancient tradition of senior churchmen – or women nowadays perhaps! – in upper houses, such as the leading ones in the four biggest religious groups in the land – Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, and mainline Presbyterian – who are lifelong or very-long-time citizens of the Republic?  What about minority religions in modern, multicultural Ireland?: Quakers, Hindus, Jews, Muslims?  A lay Orthodox Christian?  (Orthodoxy traditionally bars clergy from government, preferring a “symphonic” relationship with the State, counseling its leaders privately [usually], from its perspective of Faith and Truth.)  I know some Irish religious leaders have big mouths, but where else can they be debated with, publicly and in-person, politely, as I’m sure Seanad Eireann requires?

I’m intrigued about suggestions of Diaspora representation in the Seanad, but not sure how they’d work this out, with over 70 million of us worldwide….

There’s one other significant ethno-cultural interest among Irish at home and abroad that seems to cry out for representation, what are commonly called the Clans – a term borrowed from the Scots – or sometimes more technically the Septs, one of which is a collection of people (apparently) descended from the same original hereditary surname and place and/or instance* – IOW the same (apparent) extended family – or sometimes a collection of such with the same surname but differing places of origin or of instance within the Island of Ireland.  Who represents a Clan has sometimes been a matter of controversy, even involving the Irish government itself, understandings of different legal systems and traditions that claim to have been followed in Ireland and elsewhere, competing claimants to Clan Chieftainries or organizational legitimacy, alleged outright fraud in this regard, etc.  But Clans are often a means of aiding reconnecting with Ireland for Diaspora Irish, emotionally and not infrequently physically, with Clan Gatherings there promoting localized and broader tourism.  But I think it’s fair to say that the leading undisputed representative of any Clan is The O’Brien, Prince of Thomond, Baron Inchiquin, descendant of the best-known Irish High King Brian Boru (d. AD 1014), and a predecessor of whom was considered for restoring the Gaelic Monarchy in Ireland in the 1930s-40s.  I believe he’s Anglican also, so in Seanad Eireann he could wear three hats at once, covering Clans, Diaspora, and Protestants!

(*–I say instance to cover families who have come to definitely identify and be considered as Irish down through the centuries but originated outside Ireland, such as the Scottish Gallowglas families, the “Old English,”  Norman Irish “more Irish than the Irish themselves,” etc.  Although often these too must be identified or distinguished with the help of varying Irish geography.)

A New Mother England Taking Over

As in “John Cleese Letter to U.S. Citizens.”  Yes, apparently it’s fake, but I just had to read through this whole thing so now you do too!  Actually the longest, the version I only first saw today here,* is the funniest and most enjoyable (apparently some Yanks – or fake Yanks? – haven’t done enough traffic circles to appreciate Brit humour!); fortunately it’s near the top of the Snopes column, so you can dispense with the rest if you like.

(*–A good Philadelphia Lawyer AND a monarchist; now that’s irony for ya!)