Thursday, July 28, 2005

We See What We Are Taught to See ...

... or what we want to see, or what reinforces our social, cultural, religious/spiritual, etc. outlook. And it is very difficult to do otherwise.

It is said that someone once remarked to the philosopher Wittgenstein about how stupid medieval Europeans were to have looked at the sky every day and believed that the Sun was going around the Earth. Wittgenstein is said to have responded, "Yes, but I wonder what it would have looked like if the Sun did go around the Earth."

His point, obviously, is that it would have looked exactly the same.

Barf for Bush

Hundreds of Boy Scouts fall ill while waiting to hear the Preznit speak.

Res ipsa loquitur.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Exposing CIA operatives vs. Exposing the Johnson

(First, thanks to Pete for offering the chance to guest-blog this week. I shall do my level best.)

Republicans are funny people. Not "funny" as in "Chris Rock is funny" but "funny" as in "there's something funny going on here." It's been established by the Republican party that a president getting a hummer from an intern in the Oval Office is a far greater crime than intentionally outing a covert CIA operative for political payback.

Funny. Hysterical, even.

The Democrats in the Senate sent a letter today to the majority leader, "Dr." Bill Frist, demanding a Congressional investigation into the Plame affair. I'm sure it's already been filed under "as if."

But the Dems are having a little "fun" with the situation in their own way. When you're the minority party, you have to do what you can to make your point. My favorite part of this web page is the last two points.
Minimum number of hearings held by Senate Republicans to investigate accusations against President Clinton involving the "Whitewater" case: 20

Total hearings held by Senate Republicans to investigate the leak of the covert identity of Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife: 0


I know it's a lot to hope for, but wouldn't it be great if the populace woke up to staggering corruption and partisanry of the GOP and voted them back into the minority in '06? I have a picture in my mind of Shrub, Rove, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Libby, and McClellan being frog marched out of the White House and into a US Marshal's van.

Now THAT would be "funny."

The Goal of Work / The Measure of Wealth

I presume that most readers of this page work for a living, and will continue to do so for the indefinite future. Since that is so, it seems worth while to contemplate (i) what it is that we are doing and (ii) how it fits into the larger picture of things.

"The object of work for many is not to work. The end of labor is not to do what must be done, but to get somebody else to do it. The wealth of the nation — the land and water, the coal and oil, the iron and aluminum — aught [sic] not to belong to the nation, some say, but to those who by chance or cheating, have legal power to make you pay their price for what God gave to them.

"Even if ten-thousand men combined, and in sweat and sacrifice, make steal, wheat, corn, meat, or shoes, the results of a combined labor belongs to one or a few of them, while the others scramble to keep from starving. What has gone wrong? . . .

"We should measure the prosperity of a nation not by the number of millionaires, but by the absence of poverty, the prevalence of health, the efficiency of the public schools, and the number of people who can/do read worthwhile books."


--from a lecture by W.E.B. DuBois, Feb 23, 1953
http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/WEB-DuBois-23feb1953.htm

According to that standard of what constitutes prosperity, Canada, a few European nations, and a very few others are very prosperous indeed. But the United States of America is a third world country.