Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thoughts on Trust

I was asked by a respected Psychologist to offer my views on Trust. I realized while writing this that I am not an authority on much of anything. I am a wordsmith. For richer or poorer I engage in the simple craft of stringing words together. As such I offer only simple views. As simple (simplistic) as they are they are mine. Their value is as much in the writing as ever it might be in anyone's reading.


Trust

First, define "trust" as I observe and perceive it...

Trust is a primal value.

Trust is complete and unconditional faith in another person, idea or symbol.

Trust is not uniquely human.

Trust is a universal truth.

Trust requires no language of conveyance.

Trust can only exist across the dimension of time.

Trust must have a history to be validated.

Trust is the foundation of personal understanding.

A statement of trust is a promise of and to the future.

Trust need not be reciprocal.

Absence of trust generates angst (stress). (What is the opposite of stress? “It was so good last night I got all calmed out.)


Second, explore the "sociology" or history of the word...

Online Etymology Dictionary "trust"

trust (n.) Look up trust at Dictionary.com
c.1200, from O.N.[Old Norse] traust "help, confidence," from P.Gmc.[Proto-Germanic] *traust- (cf. O.Fris.[Old Frisian] trast, Du.[Dutch] troost "comfort, consolation," O.H.G.[Old High German] trost "trust, fidelity," Ger.[German] Trost "comfort, consolation," Goth.[] trausti "agreement, alliance"). Related to O.E.[Old English] treowian "to believe, trust," and treowe "faithful, trusty" (see true).
  • help
  • confidence
  • comfort
  • consolation
  • fidelity
  • agreement
  • alliance
  • to believe
  • faithful


[Author's side note: As language is the foundation of intellectual and rational thought processes then each invocation of a word carries with it its historical/sociological significance. (Roughly comparable to Jung's collective consciousness.)]


The Origins of Trust

Assertion #1: We have an innate desire to trust.

As a primal value trust transcends language (linguistic) definition. A newborn baby does not cognitively evaluate a trusting relationship with his or her mother while at the breast. However, there is very strong evidence that a newborn baby who is shunned or abandoned by his or her mother might not develop a strong foundation of primal trust.

I have arbitrarily chosen, for the sake of this discussion, the newborn infant's relationship with mother as a starting point, or the foundation, of trust. (I would like to acknowledge that heredity and pre-natal care as well play a part in the overall health of a newborn infant.) If a personal sense of trust were solely dependent on a one-time event then it is easily imaginable that mothers of newborns would engage in a formal ritual of 'Trust Instilling'. It is clear however that trust is a living value. It can only be established over time. Hence the continued affections of mothers and fathers on their newborn children affirm and reinforce the child's sense of trust.

If a personal sense of trust were absolute then it would become immaterial. It is only because trust is and can be broken that it is an issue in the first place. Expressed as such trust and the breaking of same are intellectual constructs. We recognize these concepts by example in the maturity of our experience. What of the pre-cognitive or pre-rational child who experiences a breaking of trust? I suggest that a void is created for a small child when he or she experiences the fracture of trust that occurs when parents separate. This void is not a singular event but is ongoing from the point of origin. The child does not have the personal resource of trust that once was present. Needless to say, once it has been broken it cannot be regained in its original state.

Some might suggest that the breaking of trust is inevitable. However lets examine a hypothetical circumstance. Sally grew up in a single nuclear family, matured to adulthood and then began a single nuclear family of her own. John's parents divorce when he was five. John grew up in an environment where there was equal contempt on the part of each parent for the other. I would suggest that Sally will have intact the personal resource of primal trust to serve as an example when she begins her own family. John's personal resource of primal trust stopped maturing after his parents divorce. From this albeit simple example it is not possible to determine the detrimental affect of John's breaking of trust only that a 'void' exists.

Assertion #2: Trust becomes a learned behavior.

Babies and dogs like some people and do not like other people. In both cases I suggest that they are responding to instinct. They are responding to perceptions that are characterized as primal, beyond definition or rationalization. Babies mature to what is euphemistically referred to as the 'Age of Reason'. I suggest that this is not circa age 6-7 but instead concurrent with the very first acquisition of language. As soon as a toddler begins to 'talk' they are subject to intellectual and rational management. It is at this point that a child's sense of trust begins to be modified by the intentional and unintentional input of other intellectual and rational beings in their environment. A classic example of this is that, "You can always trust a policeman."
An unfortunate side effect of this modification is the subjugation of a individual's primal instincts. This will become particularly important in later stages of trust and behavior.

Once we move away from primal trust we then begin to accept trust as a learned behavior. Experience tells us who and what we can trust. The adage, "you are skating on thin ice" alerts us intellectually that an issue of trust is present. We must decide, predicated on environments clues, the best course of action. Inevitably we learn that "thin ice" is not to be trusted. It should be noted that early on the validity of any given point of trust is often predicated on incontrovertible evidence. It is only when our faculties of intellect and ration become more sophisticated that higher orders of trust can be evaluated. These higher orders of trust are often validated with less tangible evidence. Often we are called up on to trust based on the 'word' of someone else. Other times we are called upon to trust simply by faith. ( I believe that to have trust 'by faith' is a "summoning" of primal trust. This might be the highest form of intended subjugation.)

Assertion #3: Trust becomes a social behavior.

More and more our social environment and our peers shape our learned trust. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" and "You can trust your enemies more than your friends because with your enemies you always know where you stand" are two examples of trust as very complex social relationships. Initiated by our families in the spirit of honoring our culture and our heritage we learn who we can trust and who we cannot. Social standing, economics and education defines who we are like as well as who is different. (Linguistically it should be noted how easy it is to move from "people we are like" to "people we like" and hence trust.) For the purpose of this exploration I put forth this example: George's parents feel that they are unfairly targeted by the authorities because of their political views. While George may or may not have political views of his own he certainly has an influenced opinion regarding the authorities and the validity of "You can always trust a policeman."

As we become social beings we begin to generate our own social trust relationships. "You can't trust her. She gossips all the time." Or, "Be careful, Jim is a tattle-tale." As we grew a bit older our maxims and platitudes became slightly more street wise. "Don't trust anyone over 30." (Ironically I have heard recently that now I am not to trust anyone under 50.) "Question Authority" was another that on the surface was a rallying cry for change but actually undermined our overall sense of social trust. Unfortunately social trust appears to be in radical decline with the actions of Presidents, Governors, Investment Bankers and even some religious leaders.

Final Assertion: Trust is permission.

As with any two-edged sword the permission granted by trust cuts both ways.

Trusting myself.

The extent to which I can trust myself is not determined by my desires or my intentions. Only by realistically evaluating my past circumstances and behavior can I with any certainty predict if I should trust myself. For example, acknowledging that as a child of a "broken" home I have a clearly defined point at which my primal trust was broken, the point at which my trust permission as revoked. I believe the resultant deficit, both subconscious and conscious, has been the root of a number of interpersonal trust issues in my life. The lesson for me is to temper feelings of distrust in a given situation until I can more appropriately evaluate the circumstances.

I can predict the future if only I would trust myself. A review of my personal private history shows me that I have been able to predict many small and a few major events in my life. My problem is I have not given myself permission to "trust" my instincts. I have subjugated or unlearned my primal abilities. I have convinced myself that I cannot trust what I cannot explain or reproduce.

Trusting another.

I can trust others only to the extent that I can trust myself. We have all encountered the individual who appears willing to share every intimate detail of their life at the drop of a hat. For me warning flags go up when I encounter this person. I know that I don't trust myself, or others, to share that freely so I immediately call into question the validity of the other person's sharing. While on the surface this can appear callused and judgmental I hold the belief that it is unhealthy to pour out the intimate details of one's life at the drop of a hat. As such I am weary of this person's motives and objectives. I do not trust them.

If an individual's sense of self trust is further compromised by environmental or health issues then it becomes that much more difficult to trust others. A person who "hears voices" will be more challenged to differentiate between the your real voice and the internal dialogue inside their head. An individual who's trust has been intentionally violated may be frightened by every person they subsequently meet. A person may have been trained or indoctrinated to not trust a specific situations such as an interview which could be misconstrued as an interrogation.

Trusting someone is both giving and accepting permission. The person that pours their intimate details out to you is pressing upon you the responsibility to be trusted. That person is saying that they want to trust you. Often times that individual is also asking for your permission to be trusted. If you accept their permission to be trustworthy you are in some way validating their self worth. By accepting responsibility for their trust you are in some way validating the content of their intimate details. I do not believe either of these particular scenarios are healthy.

Being trusted.

Responsibly accepting permission to be trusted does not mean unconditional acceptance. Being trusted requires the balance of listening, understanding and measured response. There are times when a confidant is called upon to be 'just someone who will listen'. Often just the act of verbalizing a problem or issue of concern is sufficient to afford the speaker some comfort. The more important role of the trusted is to in some way respond - if not we would all whisper our secrets down a well. Our response must be measured. It must reflect the views and values that we are given juxtaposed with our own. The value of our response is not in our didactic presentation but in the inherent comparison of similar and dissimilar views.

Being trustworthy.

Everyone trusts somebody to some extent. Being trustworthy is being prepared to be trusted by many different people. Being worthy of trust means being prepared to accept the responsibility of shared confidential information. Being trustworthy means being prepared in a measured fashion to share our own personal, often times, confidential information. As the sharing of personal information is often a very difficult task the trustworthy must endeavor to facilitate open exchange. The true art of listening must be cultivated. Careful non-invasive clarification practices must be employed to ensure what was heard was actually what was said. Finally the appropriate response must be offered. This is done as much as an acknowledgment as it is a humane reaction to what is being offered.

Executive Day Labor

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Speaking words of wisdom...

Om Malik's observation bears repeating...

Before I go, I will leave you with these words from Indian philosopher Mahatma Gandhi:

“Live as if you would die tomorrow, learn as if you would live forever.”

Stupid is as stupid does...

Posted on The Hill

RNC candidate distributes controversial Obama song
Posted: 12/26/08 12:10 PM [ET]

RNC candidate Chip Saltsman’s Christmas greeting to committee members includes a music CD with lyrics from a song called “Barack the Magic Negro,” first played on Rush Limbaugh’s popular radio show.


Thomas L. Friedman, from his posting "Time to reboot America"
We can't continue in this mode of "Dumb as we wanna be." We've indulged ourselves for too long with tax cuts that we can't afford, bailouts of auto companies that have become giant wealth-destruction machines, energy prices that do not encourage investment in 21st-century renewable power systems or efficient cars, public schools with no national standards to prevent illiterates from graduating and immigration policies that have our colleges educating the world's best scientists and engineers and then, when these foreigners graduate, instead of stapling green cards to their diplomas, we order them to go home and start companies to compete against ours.
From the country that not only brought you Dumb and Dumber ... but also produced a pre-quel Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd comes the RNC!

As long as we insist on being 'Dumb as we wanna be' I guess we will continue to "does stupid."



I so much so wish that we could put the stupidity of our previous political life behind us and move forward as a country. It just makes me sad to see such fine and upstanding people make such utter fools of themselves.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Can you believe it?


I am nerdier than 96% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

Slackware 12.2: Trials & Tribulations...

I have always insisted that an operating system isn't any good until it has been loaded 2 or 3 times. True to form this is the third loading of Slackware 12.2 on my trusty IBM R51 laptop. Load number 3 is important because the first two loads were very disquieting/uncomfortable/confusing.

As recently as Slackware 12.1 it was simply a matter of loading up the operating system and I was off and running. As I detailed in Slackware Linux & IBM Thinkpad R51 (Disclaimer: Slackware 11 - It was April of 2007 after all.) I had only to load Slack, download MadWifi and I was in business. Migrating to 12 and then 12.1 was just the same.

Then I loaded up 12.2 for the first time. Eagerly I went out and got the latest version of MadWifi. With resolute belief in Slack I did the make and... the compile did not complete. There were errors. My heart sank. This old laptop without wifi is a deal breaker. With disappointment and a sense of personal failure I took out the 12.2 harddisk and put the old reliable 12.1 back in.

Not to be denied a couple of days later I put my blank HD back in the old work horse. The second load and subsequent attempt to compile MadWifi met with the same end. At least the failures are consistent. Googling slackware 12.2 madwifi lead me to AlienBob's version of MadWifi. It was worth a try. Except for one small detail - something I read scanned - I would have to blacklist ath5k and manually modprobe ath_pci. Ok, anything to get and keep this antique working.

Then I noticed that the middle button on my touch pad wasn't behaving like it did in the past. I grep-ed dmesg and noted that there was no mention of "synaptic". Call me an old dawg but it is hard for me to learn new tricks - I really need that middle mouse button. This time I turned to IRC and Freenode: ##Slackware for assistance. I carefully crafted my middle-button problem as a question. I was quickly rewarded with an advice pointer to /etc/modprobe.d/psmouse. Remming out the default options statement and a reboot and I had my middle-button back, good as new.

Reload #3 affords me the luxury of a clean system. No installed/uninstalled packages leaving remnants about. Then I stumbled on the next and hopefully last sniggling little issue. Isn't it funny how the smallest things seem to be the most important. Favoring as I do Xfce I rely on a number of panel applets in my day to day work. One that is very important is the battery indicator. I had success with Netload, SystemLoad and NotePad but the Batter plug-in just would not compile. Of course I tried the previous version just to be sure. No luck. I would just have to make due without it.

Then in my travels I came across rworkman's Slackware Packages. The first thing that caught my eye was OpenOffice.org 3.0.0. Then, right below it, was listed xfce4-goodies for xfce 4.4.x. Starting the OO3 download I had some time to kill so I sifted through the Xfce plugins. There was my battery plugin. One download and an installpkg later and I have a working Battery level indicator. This is almost too good to be true.

Once OO3 was down I held my breath and did the installpkg. I should know better that to question rworkman but... the last three packages of OO3 that I had worked with didn't let me use the arrow keys or the backspace key in Writer. (I even went so far as to register an official 'bug' note to LinuxPackages - the package they offer still ha[s|d] the same issues.) I should know better than to doubt rworkman. His OpenOffice 3 is backspacing and arrowing perfectly.

Slackware 12.2 loaded for the third time is the charm. There remains however a couple of questions that leave me very unsettled. Specifically with the MadWifi and the Xfce Battery Plugin why do they not compile natively but Slackware rock stars like AlienBob and rworkman can get them to go? What setting did rworkman have to tweak to get OO3 Writer BS and arrow keys to work? I don't mind relying on smarter people than me but I do like the fact that for the most part Slackware just plain cooperates.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Trying to get connected...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Where I want to be...

...when the time comes.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

27,000,000

I encountered this sentence at kottke.org

There are more slaves in the world today than at any time in human history.
...again I am brought to the edge of my ignorance. I am so cloistered. I am so insulated. I am so privileged.

http://www.freetheslaves.net/Document.Doc?id=28



Free The Slaves

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It will take just a moment...


We can do anything -
- we just don't yet know how.

Thanks for the eloquence...

Ran across this in The Lumber Room...

as Orwell observed in 1984, take the word away and you take the possibility of its thought away also.
More will follow on the power of vocabulary...


Read smitten kitchen

Friday, December 12, 2008

Awesome but...



I have been watching this window manager for X for some time. I like everything about it except for one small thing. One tiny thing really...

DEPENDENCIES!!!










From the README file...
In order to build awesome itself, you need header files and libs of:
- cmake (>= 2.6)
- Xlib
- xproto
- xcb (>= 1.1)
- xcb-util (>= 0.3)
- Lua (>= 5.1)
- cairo built with xcb support
- pango and pangocairo
- libev
- glib
- Imlib2
- dbus (optional, use -DWITH_DBUS=OFF with cmake to disable)
- gperf

In order to build the awesome man pages and documentation,
you need these tools:
- asciidoc
- xmlto
- docbook XSL stylesheets
- luadoc

In order to build the source code reference, you need these tools:
- doxygen
- graphviz

Stock, right off of the .iso image, Slackware has allowed me to compile some pretty large applications with nothing more than...
./configure
make
make install
Then there are packages like awesome. I am not sure what Distro the author(s) of awesome are using. Perhaps theirs is natively better appointed. If, on the other hand, the author(s) had to download all this stuff just to develop the product then might want to reconsider.

The bottom line for me is if there are an excessive number of dependencies - I just turn my back on the product. it is sad and unfortunate but my time is valuable and I cannot afford to do the developer's work for them.

It might be awesome but...



Slackware

Real Patois

I chose "Pa^2 Patois" (pronounced Papa Patois) as a combination nerd-math-geek + poetic alliteration branding. In the mix is an allusion to my (ab)use of the language. Now on the occasion of this, my 1000th posting, I thought it appropriate to acknowledge the true(er) origins of Patois. To do so I will borrow from my cyber-neighbor (who of course borrowed from her...)

iriegal, in her blog A Fe Me Page Dis Iyah writes...

Jamaica Patois Sound Clips
To listen to a the patois sound clips, just click on any of the link with a next to them (requires Real Audio).
A fe me car It's my car.
Unno nuh fe heat de green mango dem You all are not to eat the green mangoes
Gwaan go heat Go on and eat
Whey yuh a seh! Whats going on!
Yuh too renk! You too out of order!
Mi a tutty years old I am thirty years old
A nuh jus Yessideh de pickney born! Isn't just yesterday that child was born
Mi nuh wan nutten fe eat I don't want anything to eat
Tretch out yuh han. Stretch out your hand
Ooh yuh fraid a? Who are you afraid of?
Weh Bigga puddung de bag? Where did bigga put down the bag?
Memba mi haffi lef Chewsday Remaber I will have to leave on Tuesday
Das why wi lose Thats why we lost
Audio sunshine on a winter's day...


Read Time To Eat Mon

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

Free The Children

Free The Children



Iqbal Masih was sold into bonded labor at a carpet factory in his native Pakistan at the age of four. For six years, he was forced to work 12-hour days in a dark room, tied in place to the carpet loom he worked on. He was never permitted to go outside, and was fed so little that he looked like a boy half his age.

At ten, he ran away from the carpet factory to hear a speech by the Bonded Labor Liberation Front (BLLF), and realized that he was entitled to the same rights as any other citizen. He refused to return to the factory, and began to travel the world, visiting rallies, meetings, and even elementary school classrooms, to tell the story of the abuses he had suffered as a child slave, imploring others to help fight for an end to human trafficking.

Iqbal was honored with many awards for his bravery, but tragically, he was assassinated at the age of 12.


Originally reported here...

Five Former Slaves Who Are Changing the World

By Kathryn Hawkins, Razoo.com [Story Link]


Free The Children

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I want to go anywhere...

/ambivalence

In pictures: world’s most dangerous places - Telegraph

In pictures: world’s most dangerous places - Telegraph

I know I am doing this link listing thing wrong but at least they are there.

I went to the Telegraph site and viewed ...

20 of the world's most dangerous places

The thing that leapt out at me was how much I would like to visit the places depicted in these photographs ... and how unwelcome I would be in most locales. Even in peaceful time I would not be welcome. Simply the color of my skin or my nation of origin would make me a target.

When I was very much younger I hitchhiked where ever I wanted to go. I summered in central Mexico without a care in the world. I thought nothing of walking the streets of New York City at all hours of the night. Perhaps I was naive, perhaps I was foolish. Either way I was able to go anywhere.


Read /ground

Five things...

Five things you do that help keep you mentally well

At the suggestion of MindApples

  1. Feed the birds - This helps to keep my "abundance" of riches in perspective.
  2. Engage my children in conversation - something we all need to practice.
  3. Let the muse loose - I seldom know where she leads but if I don't follow then I won't get there.
  4. Aspire to great things - while seldom achieved it gives me license to attempt (and to fail).
  5. Silence: practicing the fine art of being silent and then trying to listen.


Read Scripting News

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Act Now!


Act NOW!
Iran: Save the life of Farzad Kamangar

Please join with the thousands of trade unionists and human rights defenders around the world who are mobilising in defence of Farzad Kamangar, an Iranian Kurdish teacher and trade unionist who is at risk of execution.

Education International received information from reliable sources that on 26 November Kamangar was taken from his cell 121 in ward 209 of Tehran's Evin prison in preparation for execution by hanging. However, the latest information is that he is still alive and was able to meet with his lawyer on 27 November for the first time in over two months. His situation remains precarious nonetheless.

Kamangar, aged 33, was sentenced to death by the Iranian Revolutionary Court on 25 February 2008 after a trial which took place in secret, lasted only minutes, and failed to meet Iranian and international standards of fairness. His lawyer, Kahlil Bahramian, said: "Nothing in Kamangar's judicial files and records demonstrates any links to the charges brought against him." Indeed, Kamangar was initially cleared of all charges during the investigation process.

Education International, the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Transport Workers Federation, Amnesty International and LabourStart are appealing to the Iranian authorities to commute the death sentence and ensure his case is reviewed fairly.

Click Act NOW! to make your voice be heard.

Act NOW!

Linux Fortune #991

Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.
-- Frank Zappa


Read olechko

Friday, November 28, 2008

Blue Friday

Went with the Saint to take care of some banking in Whitesville. It isn't quite a trip to the big city. But it is the closest thing we have - out here in the County. So it was into the branch office of BB&T so the Saint could make her deposit. As a special treat she returned with some of those individually wrapped soft mint candies. You know the ones that seem to just dissolve when they touch your tongue. Yupper, simple pleasures are the best.

Across the street then to the IGA (#46). Its the usual stuff; milk, eggs, cereal, cheese, peanut butter. When the Saint asked the bag boy Mikey if he had eaten his fill of turkey yesterday he allowed that he had. Then it comes to light that he had also come into work. Grandma at the register was quick to assert that Mikey had volunteered. (Seems as though she might not have been as willing.)

Everyone knows Mikey over to the IGA. After all he has been there ever since anyone can remember. The younger kids make a point of saying "Hello" and "Good-bye" to Mikey. To them he an adult that they can call by his first name. Older folks just appreciate that Mikey is all about polite service. He'll take your groceries out the car and carefully put them in the trunk for you. Always a smile from Mikey.

Down the block on the other side of the main street, Highway 54, is the Dollar General. Half jokingly I suggested that we should stop there so we can pretend we are rich. Turns out the Saint had DG on her list, just neglected to mention it to me. So we stop in to enjoy the small town mercantile ambiance.

It began to close in on me. Too many people (12) milling around in isles so narrow that two of those tiny shopping carts can't pass without sideswiping. Sales women stocking shelves with Taiwan toys and knock-off electronics. Each of them wearing plastic head bands with spring bobble reindeer careening around their lacquered bouffants like the stars and exclamation marks from a cartoonists knock-out blow.

Then from a far corner comes a stern matronly voice, "What is that smell?"

Another, responding from the opposite corner of the store, "I don't know but it sure smells."

Then a third voice chimes in, "Smells like its coming from over there."

It was closing in on me fast. The isles felt narrower. The Christmas music seemed louder. Then the matron voice piped up again, "Murial, you want a cheeseburger or something?"

I started to make my way toward the door. Just before I made my escape the guy carrying a 50 pound bag of dog food crossed in front of me. Just caught a whiff - like to knock me down. Might have been his deer hunting outfit doused with 'Buck Lure' or it might have been too much time with his dogs.

Either way I was thankful it weren't me they was complaining about.


Read PostSecret

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bit-head with propeller beanie

I was very pleased that Diigo would "Auto Blog Post" directly into Blogger. I thought now I can share my surfing highlights with the world.

FAIL!

Being a bit-head with a propeller beanie means that my auto-blog-posts read more like a Linux HOWTO page than an exciting journey through the web.

I really gotta get a life. :)

Anyway, that is why I deleted the geeky link posts.


FOLLOW UP NOTE: The latest Diigo "update" took the unauthorized liberty of SCREWING with a key Firefox setting (about:config keyword.url). THIS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE!!! I have deleted my Diigo account.



Read Urban Sketchers

Sunday, November 23, 2008

But wait, there's more...now how much would you pay?

I posted the previous piece ...

Now you can own a piece of history


... as a joke ...er, commentary... on Icon Reduction. This is the practice of reducing important personages or monuments down to their least valuable state: Kitch.

I can hardly wait for my "Barry" Bobble-head doll.

...but wait...

Currently unavailable.
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.


Oh the anguish, oh the disappointment...


Read Wirearchy

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Now you can own a piece of history



Read Obama

Fear of Freedom

In my internet travels I encountered these headlines...

Journalist group honors Cuban political prisoner


Castroism is bad for the stomach



Two stories about journalists living (and dying) in Cuban prisons.

Naively I question why any government feels the need to imprison journalists. I came up with one answer: Fear.

Cuba's Castro and his brother Raúl are the perfect example of fear. They know personally that if the people are incited to make a change in the government then a revolution is possible. Quite possibly a violent revolution. The oppressed rising up to overthrow the oppressors. The very means that allowed Fidel and Raúl to enter into Cuba's government is the foundation of their fear. Fidel and Raúl are now the oppressors and fear for their lives. No matter how benevolent a dictatorship is still a dictatorship.

Despots and dictators have a profound fear of freedom.

We effectively let the 'revolution' happen every four years. Our is a government based on representation. We have established rules for the orderly transfer of leadership. Part of the overall process which insures the representation of an individual's views and opinions is freedom of speech. This extends to journalism and the freedom to report on any aspect of our society.

In our Democracy there is a bell-curve of opinion on every topic of discussion and concern. Depending on the topic the curve can be skewed to the left or the right. By allowing individual opinions we franchise every member of our society. By employing the democratic process of choosing our leaders we allow our social orderety to moderate itself. This usually means that extreme ideologies and positions are shunned in favor of the more moderate choices.

Revolutionaries are allowed to express themselves - the will of the people determines the direction of our government.

When we as a nation empower every individual to be a fully qualified participant in self-rule then we operate from a position of strength. Founded on the strength of our democratic process we then have nothing to fear.



Read WinExtra

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What am I still carrying?

As I was reading yet another in the long line of "I can't believe America elected a [Black|African-American|Muslim parented|mixed race] President" the following story came to mind...

A senior and a junior monk were walking back from the market to their monastery, after a rainstorm.

They reached a river-crossing which was usually shallow, but now they found it hip deep. A pretty girl was on the riverbank crying because she would ruin her clothes to wade across the river.

The senior monk picked the girl up in his arms and carried her across the river, carefully placing her down on dry ground.

The 2 monks continued back to the monastery, but the younger one was appalled...monks were not allowed to touch women, even look at, or speak to them...how could the senior monk justify this breach of his vow?

Eventually he had to ask the senior monk...How could you?

The senior monk said,"When I reached the far riverbank, I put the girl down and left her there. It is you that has been carrying her back to the monastery and can't put her down."
I am disquieted by the thought that so many dwell on the most superficial aspects of the past election. If any conditional statement should be made it is ...

Barack Obama is the President [Elect]

As I went searching for the story (which I found here) I felt the chill of conscious realization in the question: What am I still carrying?


Read Scripting News

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The paint isn't dry...

...so please, be careful where you step.

I wrote myself into a corner...and you might well ask, "What color was your prose?"

Umber. In name it is noble with a foundation of humility.

I thought what better use can I make of this chill rainy Saturday morning alone in the house but to write. For the past couple of days a reoccurring thought had been pestering me. In this time of comfortable solitude I was intent on bringing this errant concept-thread to the page. I furrowed my brow, set my jaw and ... took myself way to seriously.

To start I would employ the convention of an illustrative quote ...

I DO NOT WANT WHAT I HAVEN'T GOT
- Sinead O'Connor*

The quote would adequately speak to my central theme but I was immediately concerned about the social and political overtones implied by citing this particular author. I was determined to move forward but only after adding the "*" and disclaimer.

This poetic turn of phrase might be interpreted in this manner: 'If I do not have it I do not want it.' Regardless of the version offered the allusion still remains. Meaning is not conveyed by the statement but by the framing of the 'negative' space.

That's right, I am going to write about talking about something that is by virtue of it's not being.

I recently encountered a situation in which extreme disappointment was expressed regarding unfulfilled expectations. Frequently such dissatisfaction is a result of high expectations - unrealistic goals and objectives and the resultant failure to achieve them. Often there are clearly defined metrics for evaluating such circumstances. Examples might include not scoring a winning touchdown against a better team. Or not receiving the 'expected' bid for a sale item being auctioned.
Unfulfilled expectations ... something that is by virtue of it's not being. Yes, I felt the concentric rings of circuitous ambiguity beginning to constrict. Yet I felt compelled to push on.

Other expectations are less quantifiable. John laments, "My life didn't turn out the way I had expected." The man, John, married his sweetheart, started a family, raised 3 good children, was well employed, lived a long life in a modest home and still his life didn't turn out the way he had expected. While this example is a bit forced it serves as a point of reference when exploring the 'negative' space of expectations.

Well, I have made my premise. Now I should be made to lay down in it. I have drawn you, gentle reader, down this rat rabbit hole with promises of lucidity and insight (I can hear the Red Queen in the background, "Off with his head!")

John's expectation references the negative space of his life while discounting or dismissing his life in situ. John did not endure 3 messy divorces, 2 blended families, being layed-off (twice) or declaring bankruptcy...

Wait, wait, this isn't at all what I expected! There was to be a clearly defined conclusion with a pertinent observation. At least that is what I expected ... when I started.

I was serious when I started. My brow was furrowed, my jaw was set... then I reread what I had written and began to giggle then laugh out loud. In the end the only thing to do was share the entire silly episode.

Gratuitous closing illustrative quote...
I was taken by a photograph of you
Fountain of Sorrow
- Jackson Browne

* I offer no criticism of Ms O'Connor's politics or beliefs. I chose this quote as a handy example of a linguistic illusion.

Read the head lemur

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Micro Review: Kubuntu 8.10

Kubuntu installed flawlessly on VMWare Server


DHCP by default, that is OK at home but I need to set a static IP address.

Network "Connection" config is still lacking. First it was hard to find. Then it didn't set the new network configuration correctly. Finally while I was investigating from the command line (Bonus Tip: sudo bash ) the correct IP addy and netmask mysteriously appeared. All in all not very comfortable for this ol' admin.

KDE 4 is beautiful (and cumbersome) - Eye candy to appease the MS desktop junkies. Desktop widgets are OK. Personally I don't care for the perpetual coming-n-going of tool bars. Either show them or don't but fading in and out is a bit much every time the cursor moves across one.

I did not find the menu choices I expected (e.g. Firefox) Nuff said.

Conclusion:

Kubuntu in a Microsoft world is a significant step in the right direction. It is ideally suited to Joe-the-Plummers who want a real OS and the stability that it brings to a home user's desktop.


Advocating Slackware since 1997

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Hidden Victims

ATHENS, Ga. -- On the eve of the election, long after the late fall sun had set, I went for a walk down Lexington Ave. on the East side of Athens, Ga. I heard from a man named Ed that there was a homeless encampment in the woods down there, something people referred to as Tent City.
When gas prices went up to $3.95 (we're fortunate here in Kentucky) my lunch money dried up. No more 2 and 3 times a week going out for lunch. My expendable income, my recreational 'egg' money ended up going right into my gas tank. I was really beginning to feeling the pinch.
Down the sidewalk after several hundred feet, we came across a fence made from slender logs and some wire. It framed one side of a slight clearing in the woods, opening up for a path. Up a gradual incline, two small wooden structures were visible in the light of a fire, stoked by a man in a baseball cap. We made our way up the path and after a few feet, the beam of our flashlight caught a man lying down directly in front of us, arms sprawled out, either dead, drunk, asleep or all three.

A woman stood up in the second shack, just behind the fire, stretching her arms above her head. Approaching the two, I waved. "Good evening. Somebody told me this was a good place to camp out for a couple nights." The man shook his head and poked the fire with a stick. "Nope. All fulled up."

I pointed to where the path continued behind them. "How about up there?" The woman then, too, shook her head. "You don't wanna go up there. They're crazy up there." She paused. "And they don't like newcomers."
Recently my wife, The Saint, and I sat down and reviewed the state of our family economy. Understanding the degree of sacrifice necessary we decided to acquire a 10' x 16' storage shed. Lacking a garage we are hoping that the additional space will significantly unburden our 1800 square foot 5 person family dwelling.
I went over and said hi to Bobby, poking my head inside his wood hut while he tidied. Above the door was a Georgia Bulldogs flag, a little tattered. Inside, Bobby sat on a small bed, straightening items on top of an old wooden, furniture-style television set. The room was small enough that he could sit on the bed in one spot and touch all four walls, but he keeps it tidy. He smiled bashfully when I asked him if the TV works. He told me, "Yeah, it work, but I don' watch it much." He quickly went back to his tidying, laying out a folded t-shirt on the bed.
. . .
Ed explained to me that the wood shacks were built a while back by members of a Chicago-based organization called The Mad Housers, who visit places like Tent City and assemble these simple, permanent structures for people. "They're a good group," he said. "They have an understanding of housing as a basic human right."
When the Saint said she wanted to home school I made the observation that we would be 'poor' - being a single income family in a two-income economy. The Saint taught home school for 12 years. Just this last fall our youngest transitioned into public highschool. Across those years my single income has bouyed us well. However it has been our austere life style that has made it affordable.

The Saint is in the process of becoming a Certified Home Child Care provider. This will compliment my income nicely. The space freed up by storing our stuff in the shed will be turned in to her 'day care' space. We will continue to enjoy the fruits of our labors and the simple rewards they afford.
Everybody went to bed early, so I watched Obama's acceptance speech alone on the couch. I knew it was an epic moment, one that would define my generation, but I couldn't grasp it. It felt like I was watching underwater or in a thick fog. I watched footage of thousands of crying and cheering people, dancing in the streets all across the country. Sitting alone on a couch in Georgia, a state that voted overwhelmingly for McCain, it all felt very far away.

I knew that there was no dancing in Tent City that night, no tears of joy. I wasn't sure how relevant the lives of those sad and struggling Americans in Tent City were to the lives of these other sad and struggling Americans, who now managed to find their redemption in Obama's victory.
I too stayed up to watch Obama's acceptance speech. In the comfort of my middle class home, surrounded by my family, I celebrated the victory of democracy.

Today I am reminded that my new Amish built 10' x 16' shed would make a very nice home for someone or some family not as fortunate as I or mine.

Excerpts taken from The Place that Hope Forgot to Visit on Election Day
New America Media, News Report, Russell Morse, Posted: Nov 09, 2008


Read Akma

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Simple Soup: Potato Corn Chowder

From the Urban Gourmand series...

Pantry raids, unlike their collegiate counterparts, are an exercise in econolapse survival. Before you go all organic free-range fresh-is-best on me this is about making the best of what we have, not what we want. In this foray we have located ...

  • 1 can GV diced potatoes
  • 1 can GV corn
  • 1 can Swanson Low Sodium Chicken stock
  • 2 cups Half&Half
  • 4 oz. Bacon
  • 3 Tbls Butter
  • 2 Tbls Flour
  • 2 Tbls minced onion
  • some garlic powder
  • some pepper
Fry the bacon in a largish skillet to done but not crumbly. Drain off the free flowing bacon drippings being careful to save all the tasty brown bits. (I am going to use the drippin's later today so I saved 'em.) Drain the potatoes and corn*. Reheat the skillet and deglaze (whoa, I finally got to use that word) with the potatoes and corn infusing them with the bacon brown bits goodness. Add 1 Tbls spoon of the minced onions and stir throughly.

Once the deglazing is done add the potatoes and corn to a small stock pot (Ha! The larger of the two sauce pans I have - the 2 quart size). Add the can of chicken stock and set on the back of the stove. No heat yet.

Rought chop the done bacon and add to the potato, corn and stock mixture. Stir it all together but no heat yet. Just let them get to know one another.

In the smaller sauce pan slowly melt the butter. (BTW we are making a roux here so go slow.) Add in 1 Tbls of the minced onions, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder and ground pepper to your taste. When the onions become tranlucent add the 2 Tbls of flour.

Keep a watchful eye on this new roux. Go slow. Keep the heat low. Stir often.

Personal preference note here: I say that my roux is ready when it is frothy with largerish bubbles and appears to have expanded in the bottom of the pan by 2 or 3 times. (It is imperative that all of the flour granuals are coated with the butter or you will end up with tiny dumplings instead of a smooth soup.)

CAREFULLY add the 2 cups of Half&Half to the very HOT roux. Leave the heat LOW. Stir and then leave it alone over low heat. (Notice the theme here?)

Editorial time-out: Cooking is a present process. I believe that it is important be fully present when cooking. Cooking is a primary activity, not something done while you are doing something else.

So even though it has taken some time the roux and Half&Half have joined to make the creamy base of our chowder. I say it is done when the mixture just barely begins to bubble around the edges of the sauce pan. You milage may vary.

Add the creamy sauce to the potatoes, corn and bacon. Put it over low heat and cover. Bring the entire mixture up to a simmer (very low boil). Remove the pan from the heat keeping it covered and let it rest. Excesive cooking will cause the potatoes to break down which isn't terribly bad but I like the little cubes.)

Bonus: That half a loaf of faux french bread on the second shelf of the fridge - you know the one - slice it thick on an angle. Brush each slice lightly with olive oil, sprinkle one side with a hint of garlic powder and the pan fry (toast) until both sides are slightly browned.

Simple Soup - does a human good!

* Oh yeah, almost forgot that asterisk. When I am making a strong savory soup I will sometimes add the potato and corn liquid right in pot. In the case of this chowder I feel that the corn flavor is just a bit too overwhelming.


Read Mining Nuggets

Intellectual Discrimination: Protest groups forming now.

Intellectual Discrimination

Living in a conservative Bible-belt region when I uttered the above phrase I was quickly questioned about its political correctness. Can discrimination ever be a good thing? Isn't espousing intellectualism an elitist stance? Is combining the two some sort of insult?

My utterance of the phrase was in fact a statement of criticism.

"One of the problems with our current social situation is a lack of intellectual discrimination."
A great portion of our population appears to have stopped thinking critically. Who, in their right mind, would accept even a third of the rhetoric offered in the last political campaign. Yet there are those today who believe the half truths and innuendos put forth by radical propogandists.

In a recent conversation with an acquaintance I was impressed with the two-dimensional approach she was taking in putting forth her issues of concern. Citing the inequity of CEO and Chairperson salaries in light of government bail-out plans that involved her hard earned tax dollars. She touched momentarily on a number of hot-button topics but neglected to in any way connect the dots of real economic mechanics.

I believe this 2-D approach to opinion formation is a direct result of herd mentality coupled with a sound-bite perspective of issues. People, who's lives are already to complex, simply want to have answers that they can feel good about. Nothing legitimizes an opinion like a shared view by a group of your peers or congregation members or softball team mates. Distilled sound bites offered by authoritative mouthpieces replace personal discernment. In a 'do you want fries with that political perspective' it is much easier to take some "expert's" position than to develop one of our own.

It turns out that Intellectual Discrimination, as well as possibly being un-PC, is a great deal of hard work. Anyway, isn't that what we have leaders for? To tell us independent self-determinists exactly how we should think?


Read Don't Eat Alone

Friday, November 07, 2008

Leader or Servant: Who's team will you be on?

America has developed a "Lead the world but serve me first" mentality.

I find it curious that people do not want leaders but rather they want Public Servants. They shun governance in favor of what they believe is self-determination. They want politicians to meet their perceived wants and needs but refuse to support them as leaders of our communities, states or even our country.

This must change.

If we, as a democracy, are to survive and grow then we must move away from the 'serve me first' position. Too long the sense of entitlement has lead us to maintain a false sense of warm-n-fuzzy status quo.

This must change.

We must allow and endorse the difficult decisions that our Leaders will make to move our country forward. We must see beyond our immediate comfort zones and recognize that as a nation we must all be moving forward. To force the football analogy we as a team, under the guidance of our accepted head coach, must work together to move the ball toward the goal line. This cannot be done when players stand in the backfield and second guess the plays being called.

This is not to suggest that we are mere automatons. Team work requires the participation of each member to the level of their ability. When it is our time to carry the ball then we, as individuals, can claim the right of self-determination.


Read Listics

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Openness to Experience

Wednesday rained down on folks around here even though it was a sunny day...
There was a pall, a shroud, a haze ... why are so many of my fellow Kentuckians so ill at ease?

Kentucky is a red state - the first to be reported as such on the evening of November 4th. Most assuredly at the end of the evening Kentuckians felt no great sense of elation at the outcome of the election.

Certainly the advent of a Harvard educated, intellectually curious, eloquent newly elected president should not cause such states of malaise. A president who's every breath will be critically reviewed, analyzed and then commented on. A president who will be more carefully monitored and managed than any of the 43 before him. A president who will be more accountable to the American public than any other elected official in this nation's history.

Slowly the lecture "The Real Difference Between Liberals and Conservatives" offered by Jonathan Haidt to the TED community began to resonate for me...







Vacationing with TED

Who changed my signature?

I wonder who changed my signature? As you can see in the previous post it is intact. In the post before that I manually edited it to add the colors and the uppercase letters.

Curious, who changed my signature? Certainly I would not have left just one "<"

...very curious.


<

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes we can!!!

Obama is President!!!


I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

1 Winner and 1 Loser

Which ever way the election turns out...

I VOTED FOR OBAMA


I VOTED for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Last Day: A fitting end to "Open" posts

November 2nd, 2008 marked the 1 year anniversary of my "Open" post theme. It is only fitting that on this, the last day of the 2008 Presidential campaign, that I make a definitive change in my blogging. With the close of this most involved political journey comes many needed changes.

  1. Instead of relying on the never ending litany of political gaffs, blunders and outright contemptuous media blasts I resolve to return to actual observation and commentary.
  2. I am intent on returning to process of chronicling the world as I view it through the lenses of my technological window.
  3. While still a staunch advocate for all things open my intent is to move beyond the 'stating the need' to observing and affirming the practice.
Tomorrow, hopefully, the world with have the answer to the question that has branded itself on the heart of peoples everywhere. Tomorrow, hopefully, will be the day of true new beginnings. Tomorrow I will celebrate with everyone, winners and losers, who no longer have to bear the burden of this most difficult quadriannual event.

Please go vote tomorrow!


I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Open disclosure???

Paulson's Swindle Revealed

by: William Greider, The Nation

photo
A protester in front of the New York Stock Exchange. The United Steelworkers conducted its own financial analysis of the $700 billion bailout and concluded, in a letter to Secretary Paulson, that the bailout constituted a $350 billion gift from the American taxpayers. (Photo: Getty Images)

The swindle of American taxpayers is proceeding more or less in broad daylight, as the unwitting voters are preoccupied with the national election. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson agreed to invest $125 billion in the nine largest banks, including $10 billion for Goldman Sachs, his old firm. But, if you look more closely at Paulson's transaction, the taxpayers were taken for a ride - a very expensive ride. They paid $125 billion for bank stock that a private investor could purchase for $62.5 billion. That means half of the public's money was a straight-out gift to Wall Street, for which taxpayers got nothing in return.

Emphasis mine! Who is looking out for us?!?!?!? Hey Hank, ya gonna pay my mortgage?


I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Open Voice of Authority (?)

Dick Cheney Endorses McCain




"In three days we'll choose a new steward for the presidency and begin a new chapter in our history," the Vice President said Saturday morning. "It's the biggest decision that we make together as Americans. A lot turns on the outcome. I believe the right leader for this moment in history is Senator John McCain."

Note: Mr. Kettle and Mr. Pot, open is the new black!


I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

Open Humor: Simple Lessons

Borrowed from the Russia Blog

While the financial crisis continues around the globe and in Russia, we offer you a joke sent to us by Bohdanna Diduch, a reader from Ukraine. We hope it will help you relax from the financial headaches and enjoy the cultural references. -- The Editors

A lawyer and a Ukrainian are sitting next to each other on a long flight. The lawyer is thinking that Ukrainians are so dumb that he could get over on them easy...So the lawyer asks if the Ukrainian would like to play a fun game.

The Ukrainian is tired and just wants to take a nap, so he politely declines and tries to catch a few winks. The lawyer persists, and says that the game is a lot of fun. I ask you a question, and if you don't know the answer, you pay me only $5; you ask me one, and if I don't know the answer, I will pay you $500, he says. This catches the Ukrainianʼs attention and to keep the lawyer quiet, he agrees to play the game.

The lawyer asks the first question. 'What's the distance from The Earth to the Moon?' The Ukrainian doesn't say a word, reaches in his pocket pulls out a five-dollar bill, and hands it to the lawyer.

Now, it's the Ukrainian's turn. He asks the lawyer, 'What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down with four?' The lawyer uses his laptop and searches all references he could find on the Net. He sends e-mails to all the smart friends he knows, all to no avail. After one hour of searching he finally gives up. He wakes up the Ukrainian and hands him $500. The Ukrainian pockets the $500 and goes right back to sleep.

The lawyer is going nuts not knowing the answer. He wakes the Ukrainian up and asks, 'Well, so what goes up a hill with three legs and comes down with four?'

The Ukrainian reaches in his pocket, hands the lawyer $5 and goes back to sleep.

Don't mess with us Ukrainians.

|

I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Open Doors?





I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Open Perspective: The silver lining of our current economic cloud

I have posted this excerpt as a record of a view that nationally, socially and culturally has its origins outside of mainstream American perspectives. Please consider reading the entire post at The Ivanov Report. Once you have done so then take a peek at the author's Bio.


[The Ivanov Report]

The End Of Biography: John McCain's Last And, Hopefully, Unsuccessful Run For Presidency

Only an incorrigible optimist can find a silver lining in the ongoing financial crisis engulfing the United States and the rest of the world. Yet, if there is one, it is that the gloomy prospects for the American economy will most likely put an end to Sen. John McCain's bid to become the 44th president of the United States.

His rival, Sen. Barack Obama, often charges that McCain's presidency will bring four more years of Bush's. Here, Obama gets it wrong. Bush's blunders notwithstanding, his policies have been driven by Bush's vision, however mistaken, of the country's future ("compassionate conservatism" in domestic politics and "democracy promotion" in foreign affairs).

McCain is different, for he hasn't articulated any comprehensive, forward-looking, political philosophy at all. McCain is a man of the past, and his insistence on "experience" is a subconscious admission that his mind belongs to the times long gone. His repeated references to the K.G.B. (disbanded in 1995) and Czechoslovakia (ceased to exist as a state in 1992) aren't just memory lapses, forgivable for a 72-year-old. Rather, they are bold statements that McCain sees the world not as it is, but as he chooses to remember it.

At the center of McCain's world is the Vietnam War. McCain loves wars in which America fights ("to love your country is to fight for it") and he divides them into those that have been won -- with troops coming home "with honor" -- and those that could have been won had not defeat been snatched from the jaw of victory.

. . .

McCain's current presidential run repeats the major theme of his life. He ran in 2000 and was humiliatingly defeated in the primaries by whom he called back then "agents of intolerance", the religious conservative wing of the Republican party. And since then, he's had scores to settle.

He is not running to promote any particular ideological agenda -- as Bush was and Obama is -- for he's got none. He's running to get even with people who stopped him eight years ago. His selection of Alaskan governor, Sarah Palin-- inexperienced and immature populist -- as his running mate is a clear indication that McCain's goal is to get elected at whatever cost. The very thought of what may happen come January 21, 2009 doesn't appear to have descended upon him.

(McCain's choice of Palin shows that he shares Vladimir Lenin's belief that under right circumstances, every kitchenmade ("kukharka") can "run the state." Just put expensive lipstick on her.)

McCain likes to highlight his patriotism by saying that he'd rather lose the election, but win the war. Well, lose the election he most likely will, and it'll be up to President Obama to win all the wars McCain has helped to start.

But I'm not sorry for John McCain. He has enough wars to fight in his head. He'll be busy for the rest of his life.



I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Open Odds but no gamble.




I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

Open Concern: Laying down with dogs

Chile: The 1985 Meeting Between McCain and Pinochet

In 1985, a U.S. Congressman named John McCain traveled to Chile and met with dictator Augusto Pinochet, among other government officials. The previously unreported meeting was revealed by journalist John Dinges, who published the findings in his blog CIPER [es], as well as in the Huffington Post, where he writes about John McCain “who has harshly criticized the idea of sitting down with dictators without pre-conditions, appears to have done just that.” with “Pinochet, one of the world's most notorious violators of human rights credited with killing more than 3,000 civilians and jailing tens of thousands of others.”

Chilean blogger Juan Guillermo Tejeda writes about some of the details of the meeting [es]:

El senador estuvo media hora con nuestro monstruito, y además conversó con el almirante Merino, cuyo humor sádico conocimos tan bien… El encuentro, organizado por el entonces embajador de Chile Hernán Felipe Errázuriz, no apareció en los medios y el senador se abstuvo de realizar declaraciones.

The senator spent half an hour with our little monster, and also met with Admiral Merino, whose sadistic humor we know all too well… The meeting, organized by the then-ambassador Hernán Felipe Errázuriz, did not appear in the media and the Senator did not make any comment.

Dinges wrote about some of the context of the meeting in the Chilean blog of the Center of Journalistic Information and Investigation (CIPER for its initials in Spanish)

Al momento del encuentro, realizado la tarde del 30 de diciembre, el Departamento de Justicia de Estados Unidos intentaba obtener de las autoridades chilenas la extradición de tres hombres cercanos a Pinochet –el ex jefe de la DINA, Manuel Contreras, y los ex oficiales DINA Pedro Espinoza y Armando Fernández Larios- por un acto de terrorismo ocurrido en Washington DC. Un juicio en Washington determinó su procesamiento por el asesinato en 1976 del ex embajador y ex canciller Orlando Letelier y de la norteamericana Ronny Moffit, quien viajaba con él. La bomba puesta en su auto y que estalló en Sheridan Circle, fue descrita en esa época por la prensa internacional como el más flagrante acto de terrorismo internacional perpetrado en suelo estadounidense por una fuerza extranjera.

En esos mismos días en Chile, la oposición buscaba desesperadamente el apoyo de líderes democráticos de todo el mundo en su intento por presionar a Pinochet a poner fin a la dictadura que ya cumplía 12 años y permitir el retorno a la democracia. Otros congresistas visitaron Chile después de la vista de McCain e hicieron declaraciones públicas contra la dictadura y en apoyo del retorno a la democracia, convirtiéndose en el blanco de violentas demostraciones pinochetistas.

At the time of the meeting, in the late afternoon of December 30, the U.S. Justice Department was seeking the extradition of two close Pinochet associates - the ex-chief of the DINA (National Intelligence Directorate) and DINA officials Pedro Espinoza and Armando Fernández Larios -for an act of terrorism in Washington DC. A trial in Washington determined that they should be charged for the 1976 assassination of former ambassador to the U.S. and former Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier and of U.S. citizen Ronny Moffit, who accompanied Letelier. The car bombing on Sheridan Circle in the U.S. capital was widely described at the time as the most egregious act of international terrorism perpetrated on U.S. soil by a foreign power.

At the time of McCain's meeting with Pinochet, Chile's democratic opposition was desperately seeking support from democratic leaders around the world in an attempt to pressure Pinochet to allow a return to democracy and force a peaceful end to the dictatorship, already in its 12th year. Other U.S. congressional leaders who visited Chile made public statements against the dictatorship and in support of a return to democracy, at times becoming the target of violent pro-Pinochet demonstrations.

At his blog Chile From Within, Chilean-American blogger Tomás Dinges links to the articles written by “document-maven and father” and provides additional links to information, including a response from the McCain campaign that appeared in the Miami Herald's Naked Politics blog.

Many Chilean and Latin American blogs are republishing John Dinges' articles, as a way of spreading the information.




I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Open Disenfranchisement: Bush to meddle in local politics

Bush, Boehner Want DOJ to Look Into Ohio Voting

by: Matthew Murray, Roll Call

photo
A voter casts her ballot in Ohio. (Photo: Al Behrman / AP)

President Bush is asking the Justice Department to look into whether 200,000 Buckeye State poll-goers must use provisional ballots on Election Day because their names do not match state databases.




I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

Open Innocence Lost: A view of American politics

The first time I heard Barack Obama speak (as a 2008 primary candidate) I drifted into the childlike dream state of believing in integrity and virtue and altruism and equality and fairness and the innate value of human beings. I believed that Barack Obama embodied those qualities. I knew from that point forward that I would vote for Barack Hussein Obama in the coming primary election.

Moreover, I drifted into the state of believing in the integrity of the American political process. I relished the prospect of civilized discourse and intelligent debate. I longed for dramatic and compelling stump speeches that rallied Americans with visions of the future and acknowledgments of progress and growth. I began to have faith in the American political process.

That is until the final stages of the primary campaign. Then I began to see that pursuit of power corrupts (and the pursuit of absolute power corrupts absolutely.) I began to see that the candidates in attempting to remain PC (Politically Correct - How wonderfully ironic is that?) would not say "Sugar" with a mouth full but their handlers and spokespersons would just as easily use the other "S" word.

So the days, hours and finally minutes ticked off and to some small extent my faith in American politics was restored. Not because a well qualified African-American was nominated over a well qualified woman but rather that the process was allowed to proceed with out artificial encumbrances - like the Democratic Party elite making some backroom decision based on an obscure technical party rule.

My faith was restored at that point for a somewhat more self centered reason as well. Certainly that has to do with the affirmation of my choice. But it more importantly has to do with the affirmation of our choice. I want to have faith in our ability not just as Democrats but as Americans to make good decisions. Now one may argue that had we nominated Hillary Clinton that would have been a good decision but I contend that a.) we did not and b.) the criteria used by the majority was more in line with my views than the minority. The conclusion that I can draw is that as far as the Democrat primary election and subsequent nomination are concerned I can depend on my views as a bellweather for the future of the political process.

Faced now with the field of candidates running for the office of the President of the United States I can without equivication affirm my support for Barack Obama. I can do so because I can have faith in my own person perspective and I can have faith as a bellweather for American voters. I can state that American voters will elect the best candidate. It is my most fervent hope that we are allowed to do so without artificial emcumberances.


I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Openly Presidential



This is why...


I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Open Opie Endorsement: Americana speaks.

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die



I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Open Crisis: The sucking sound of Mortgage meltdown

The clearest explanation I have heard ...





[H/t to Nati Shalom ]


I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Open Panda-monium

Some 1,600 papier mache pandas set up by members of WWF (World Wildlife Fund) in Paris to highlight that there are only 1,600 pandas left on earth

Some 1,600 papier mache pandas set up by members of WWF (World Wildlife Fund) in Paris to highlight that there are only 1,600 pandas left on earth

Picture: AFP/GETTY

[H/t to Jeremy Hunsinger's To Many Topics, Too Little Time ]

I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

Open Theater of Politics




Yes, I am a cynic.

I have to ask how convenient this entire exchange is. Level headed, lucid and erudite McCain supporters just happen to intervene in "critical" discussion of views and first amendment rights? All while the camera manages to capture the scene? To be finally punctuated by an extremist tucking his tail between his legs and slinking off?

Easily the best (contrived) television on television...


I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

. . .