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WORD- EB White

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. — E.B. White

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SPIN at its best… how the politicians do it….

Judy Wallman, a professional genealogy researcher in southern California ,
was doing some personal work on her own family tree. She discovered that
Harry Reid’s great-great uncle, Remus Reid, was hanged for horse stealing
and train robbery in Montana in 1889.  Both Judy and Congressman Harry Reid
share this common ancestor.

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Congressman Harry Reid

The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows in
Montana territory.

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On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research is this
inscription: ‘Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison
1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton
detectives, convicted and hanged in  1889.’

So Judy recently e-mailed Congressman Harry Reid for information about
their great-great uncle.

Believe it or not, Harry Reid’s staff sent back the following biographical
sketch for her genealogy research:

‘Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory . His business
empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and
intimate dealings with the   Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he
devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking
leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key
player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective
Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held
in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.’

NOW THAT is how it’s done in politics folks!  That’s real SPIN.

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Political Axioms

If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed. -Mark Twain

Suppose you were an idiot.  And suppose you were a member of Congress…. But then I repeat myself. -Mark Twain

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
-Winston Churchill
A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. – George Bernard Shaw

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -G. Gordon Liddy

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. -James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries. -Douglas Casey,

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. -P.J. O’Rourke, Civil Libertarian

Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases
If it moves, tax it . If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. -Ronald Reagan (1986)

I don’t make jokes… I just watch the government and report the facts.
-Will Rogers

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free!
P.J. O’Rourke

In general, the art of government consists o f taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.-Voltaire (1764)

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you! -Pericles (430 B.C.)

No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.
-Mark Twain (1866 )

Talk is cheap…except when Congress does it. -Larry Nevels (2008)

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. -Mark Twain

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
-Edward Langley, Artist (1928 – 1995)

AND FINALLY…

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. -Thomas Jefferson

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Thelonious-

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INTERNET SIGHTINGS: MEMORIES OF MONK

Circulating on the web are some great quotes from Thelonious Monk, as collated by fellow musician Steve Lacy. Some excerpts:

– Just because you’re not a drummer, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to keep time.

– Pat your foot and sing the melody in your head when you play.

– Stop playing all that bullshit, those weird notes, play the melody!

– Make the drummer sound good.

– You’ve got to dig it to dig it, you dig?

– Don’t play the piano part, I am playing that. Don’t listen to me, I am supposed to be accompanying you!

– The inside of the tune [the bridge] is the part that makes the outside sound good.

– Don’t play everything (or everytime); let some things go by. Some music just imagined.

– What you don’t play can be more important than what you do play.

– A note can be small as a pin or as big as the world, it depends on your imagination.

– Stay in shape. Sometimes a musician waits for a gig & when it comes, he’s out of shape & can’t make it.

– (What should we wear tonight?) Sharp as possible!

– Whatever you think can’t be done, somebody will come along & do it. A genius is the one most like himself.

– They tried to get me to hate white people, but someone would always come along & spoil it.

Your editor never heard Monk, but recalls one evening in the late 1950s a friend returned from a Boston club to report seeing Thelonious sit at the piano for innumerable choruses, just smoking and listening to the bass player and playing no more than one or two notes. Someone at a front table shouted out, “Hey, Thelonius, play something.” Monk let his cigarette drop to the floor and then kicked it onto the complainer’s table. He then got up and slowly stalked the outside aisle of the club before leaving and reportedly ended up in a mental institution that night.

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Change You Won’t Believe

The peak oil story has not been nullified by the scramble to unload every asset for cash — including whomping gobs of oil contracts — during this desperate season of bank liquidation. The main implication of the peak oil story is that we won’t be able to generate the kind of economic growth that defined our way of life for decades because the primary energy resources needed for it will be contracting.
Just as global oil production peaked, our economy evolved into a morbid hypertrophy, and the chief manifestation of it was the suburban sprawl-building fiesta that has now climaxed in the real estate bust. By the early 21st century, when so much American manufacturing had been swapped out to Asia, there was no business left except sprawl-building — a manifold tragedy which wrecked the banks that financed it, and left the ordinary people mortgaged to it with ruinous liabilities.
That economy is now in its death throes. The “normality” it represents to so many Americans is gone and can’t be brought back, no matter how wistfully we watch it recede. Even so, it was obviously not good for the country. The terrain of North America has been left scarred by unlovable objects and baleful futureless vistas that, from now on, will shed whatever pecuniary value they once had. It represents the physical counterpart to the financial mess that has been left to the young generations to clean up — and the job will take a very long time.
We have to, so to speak, get to place mentally where we can face the kinds of change that are now necessary and unavoidable. We’re not there yet. It’s not clear whether the elected new national leadership knows just how severe the required changes will really be. Surely the public would be shocked to grasp what’s in store. Probably the worst thing we can do now would be to mount a campaign to stay where we are, lost in raptures of happy motoring and blue-light-special shopping.
The economy we’re evolving into will be un-global, necessarily local and regional, and austere. It won’t support even our current population. This being the case, the political fallout is also liable to be severe. For one thing, we’ll have to put aside our sentimental fantasies about immigration. This is almost impossible to imagine, since that narrative is especially potent among the Democratic Party members who are coming in to run things. A tough immigration policy is exactly the kind of difficult change we have to face. This is no longer the 19th century. The narrative has to change.
The new narrative has to be about a managed contraction — and by “managed” I mean a way that does not produce civil violence, starvation, and public health disasters. One of the telltale signs to look for will be whether the Obama administration bandies around the word “growth.” If you hear them use it, it will indicate that they don’t understand the kind of change we face.
It is hugely ironic that the US automobile industry is collapsing at this very moment, and the ongoing debate about whether to “rescue” it or not is an obvious kabuki theater exercise because this industry is hopeless. It is headed into bankruptcy with one hundred percent certainty. The only thing in question is whether the news of its death will spoil the Christmas of those who draw a paycheck from it, or those whose hopes for an easy retirement are vested in it. But American political-economy being very Santa Claus oriented for recent generations, the gesture will be made. A single leaky little lifeboat will be lowered and the chiefs of the Big Three will be invited to go for a brief little row, and then they will sink, glug, glug, glug, while the rusty old Titanic of the car industry slides diagonally into the deep behind them, against a sickening greenish-orange sunset backdrop of the morbid economy.
A key concept of the economy to come is that size matters — everything organized at the giant scale will suffer dysfunction and failure. Giant companies, giant governments, giant institutions will all get into trouble. This, unfortunately, doesn’t bode so well for the Obama team and it is salient reason why they must not mount a campaign to keep things the way they are and support enterprises that have to be let go, including many of the government’s own operations. The best thing Mr. Obama can do is act as a wise counselor companion-in-chief to a people who now have to leave a lot behind in order to move forward into a plausible future. He seems well-suited to this task in sensibility and intelligence. The task will surely include a degree of pretense that he is holding some familiar things together and propping up some touchstones of the comfortable life. But the truth is we are all going to the same unfamiliar new territory.
The economy we’re moving into will have to be one of real work, producing real things of value, at a scale consistent with energy resource reality. I’m convinced that farming will come much closer to the center of economic life, as the death of petro-agribusiness makes food production a matter of life and death in America — as opposed to the disaster of metabolic entertainment it is now. Reorganizing the landscape itself for this finer-scaled new type of farming is a task fraught with political peril (land ownership questions being historically one of the main reasons that societies fall into revolution). The public is completely unprepared for this kind of change. We still think that “the path to success” is based on getting a college degree certifying people for a lifetime of sitting in an office cubicle. This is so far from the approaching reality that it will be eventually viewed as a sick joke — like those old 1912 lithographs of mega-cities with Zeppelins plying the air between Everest-size skyscrapers.
The crucial element in the transformation underway will be emotion. The American experience for a few generations has produced an adult population with very childish instincts, increasingly worse each decade. For instance, the desperate power fantasies among the younger tattooed lumpenproles — those with next-to-zero real economic power — suggest a certain unappetizing playing-out of resource competition when the supply of Cheez Doodles and Pepsi starts to dwindle. But even the heretofore gainfully employed middle classes are pretty lost in fantasies at least of comfort an convenience. For years now, I have wondered how their sense of grievance and resentment will be expressed when the supermarket shelves run bare and the cardboard signs get taped over the local gas pump and the cable TV gets cut off for non-payment. You wonder, to put it bluntly, how far gone we really are.
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My new novel of the post-oil future, World Made By Hand, is available at all booksellers.

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Headnotes – WTF!?

106 Courts 106II Establishment, Organization, and Procedure 106II(K) Opinions 106k106 k. Preparation and Filing. An opinion in prose the law does not demand, for judicial pronouncement may in poetry be if that suits the judge’s hand; metrical line is not perverse and rhyme will do just fine. Brown v. State, 216 S.E.2d 356 (1975)

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WORD

Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.

– Susan B. Anthony

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WORD

This tongueless, toothless instrument, without larynx or pharynx, mimics your tones, speaks with your voice, utters your words and centuries after you have crumbled into dust, may repeat every idle thought, every fond fancy, every vain word that you choose to whisper against the thin, iron diaphragm

– Thomas Edison on the phonograph