IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME COMIN'!

BREAKING:

Less than half of Republicans believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America, a new public opinion poll finds.

THEN AGAIN, A HIGHER PERCENTAGE ONCE THOUGHT THE SUN REVOLVED AROUND THE EARTH AND THE EARTH ITSELF WAS FLAT AND ONLY 6,000 YEARS OLD (Oh, wait, they still think that!) AND WOMEN COULD BE WITCHES WHO SHOULD JUSTIFIABLY BE BURNED AND PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT COLORED SKIN WEREN'T HUMAN...

WOW! THE REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR A LONG TIME!

HERE'S TO GOOD FRIENDS!


WASHINGTON — With mugs of beer and calming words, President Barack Obama and the professor and policeman engulfed in a national uproar over race pledged Thursday to move on and try to pull the country with them.

TODAY'S QUOTE!

"American conservatism could be described as a movement of denialogues, people whose ideology is based on disavowing physical realities. This applies to their views on evolution, climate change, foreign affairs and fiscal policy. The Vietnam war would have been won, were it not for the pinko chickens at home. Saddam Hussein was in league with al-Qaida. Everyone has an equal chance of becoming C.E.O. Universal healthcare is a communist plot. Segregation wasn’t that bad. As one of George Bush’s aides said: 'We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”
George Monbiot, journalist

TONIGHT'S QUOTE!

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
Mother Teresa

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST!!

Here we go again!

Another anti-choice Republican gets exposed being - Hmmm - not so much against the idea of sex when he wants the young ones for himself.

Right.

State Senator, Paul Stanley, Republican of Memphis, will resign his chairmanship of the Senate Commerce Committee tomorrow, NashvillePost.com has learned, in the wake of the revelation that he was the subject of an attempted blackmail scheme over a sexual relationship with an intern in his office.We're really cleaning house here, aren't we, folks?!

WITHER WILMA?

HEADLINE:

"Palin Resigns Today, Future Clouded By Ethics Probes, Legal Bills, Dwindling Popularity"

ON A DIFFERENT NOTE: IF YOU NEED YOUR MONEY, GET OUT OF THE STOCK MARKET!!

I found out the hard way that the stock market is exactly like casino gambling - rigged! The "house" always wins in the end, and in this case the house is a cabal of professional bunko artists with lots of cash and the latest technology.

READ THIS - "Is Wall Street Picking Our Pockets? Algorithms spot trends before small investors can even blink" - AND GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN!!

A MEDITATION IF YOU NEED TO DEVELOP PATIENCE!!

Revenge from lernert Engelberts on Vimeo.

AN INTERVIEW WITH PETER LOFFREDO

"Good, True, and Beautiful" -- Peter Loffredo from Scott Colthorp on Vimeo.

This is an interview with holistic psychotherapist Peter Loffredo from Scott Colthorp's upcoming documentary, 'Good, True, and Beautiful.' about Humankind's development.

AND LOFF56 WINDS DOWN AS WELL/PL RESPONDS!

Here's L56:

"Thanks PL, I appreciate your comments.

That aside, can you find for me in any of your cited enlightenment references (especially Buddhism which I'm most interested in), any writings that contradict my approach to finding a whole truth out of the many parts. Like in my concept of how to solve the Gun problem or the Affirmative Action problem - which you state is dualistic. (And I still disagree with...) I've been looking all over the internet (especially in Buddhism) for something that contradicts this way of approaching a problem but can only find support for it. Here's a link to a Buddhist's approach to the Abortion problem. I almost could have written this myself." (http://buddhism.about.com/od/basicbuddhistteachings/a/abortion.htm)

PL:

And I yours, L56!

I don't think I am contradicting the idea of "finding a whole truth out of the many parts," as you put it. I would add that also, one can find the whole in each of the parts. That is the Yin/Yang. That is why a sick part means a sick body and a sick body means a sick part.

Two great books I would recommend reading, written by a well-known Buddhist psychotherapist named Mark Epstein, are entitled "THOUGHTS WITHOUT A THINKER" and "GOING TO PIECES WITHOUT FALLING APART."

This is from a website, AnmolMehta.com, on non-duality in Zen Buddhism (their capital "T's", not mine!):

"Buddhism looks at non-duality as the absence of the sense of a separate ego. Simply because that is the Truth, it is not Hindu or Buddhist, it is simply the Truth. A shift of awareness is what creates an encounter with the non-dual nature of Reality. Such a shift of awareness can produce an experience such that one encounters the absence of the sense of separate existence. If you are experiencing the natural working of the organism, without any sense of separation, you are enjoying a Buddhist enlightenment experience. At the end, it does not matter what you label it, and if you wish to argue it differently you may. The point is that the roots of non-duality lie in the absence of the sense of separation."

Regarding your comments on gun control and affirmative action, what I would say is that the Buddhist, non-dualistic approach would be not to focus on whether its guns or people or guns and people that are the problem, but rather to observe and understand our creation and possession of guns as it relates to the well-being of the whole. Seeking the Truth first and foremost.

Great dialogue!

RICK WINDS IT DOWN/PL RESPONDS!

Here's Rick:

"Come on old man, tryto keep up brother!

Great stuff by you and Loff56. Whatever anyone believes to be the truth or whatever gives them purpose in life is fantastic. To be passionate about life is a special state. Waking up every morning happy, content and energized for what lies ahead is no easy feat and speaks volumes about a person's "place". That attitude can positively influence others around them to take cause as well.

PL, you are typically entrenched in your thinking and beat that drum to death. I don't always agree with your assertions but admire that you have such conviction and passion. I tip my hat to that. And yes, I could care less about you or me being right or wrong. My energy in focused on being informed and open.

Loff56, excellent work flushing out clarity vs truth and the dangers of the absolute position in the Buddhist philosophy. Well stated!

In the Gates-Crowley incident, I agree totally with PL when he said the cop is at fault because it is his job to walk away from such "arrogant+ pissed off" behavior and take his guff. I never thought that was in Crowley's right to act that way. Where I differed was that I accepted the plausibility of Gates being at fault as well. I am trying to get to the truth and to be one sided so early in the game would have possibly prevented that journey. Both sides are trying to polarize the debate which I feel negatively impact the situation. I never saw color and certainly wouldn't absolve either in this case based what I knew. We'll see...

Here's some truth for you, never before have DC charges been dropped before an arraignment. False arrests + unsubstantiated charges happen all the time but judges decide that, not the court of public opinion. Had it gone before a judge, Gates' charges of racism would have gained momentum or Crowely' assertions upheld.

I stated I knew the Irish Cambridge policeman type well. It is of no surprise he was the one who requested a meeting with Obama + Gates over a beer. For all parties to agree, clearly indicates there is some common ground and a sense of humanity. Let's hope that is what prevails in all of this and an understanding by all can be had.

From a sociological standpoint, this entire affair speaks volumes of our evolution. If the cop was in fact racist or Gates unjustifiably pulled the racist card, it does not bode well for our humanity. For someone whose life work is based on race relations and a cop who teaches other cops on how to deal with race issues, they BOTH should have known better than to act the way the did."

PL:

Well, amen, brother Rick! Just one correction, though - it was Obama who reached out to Crowley to suggest a beer, not the other way around. (STORY HERE)

NOW, THAT'S LEADERSHIP!!

BREAKING:

Gates Says 'Yes' To Beer With Crowley!

Harvard professor, Louis Gates, says he would meet with the cop who arrested him, as President Obama has suggested.CHEERS!

LOFF56 IS DEFINITELY SEEKING! PL RESPONDS - YES, CELEBRATE, WE'RE ALL SICK!!

This is turning out to be a really good search, L56, isn't it? I applaud your determination!

Here's L56:

"PL: A healthy body doesn't have a sick 'part,' and a sick body doesn't have a healthy 'part,'...

By this definition every single institution, group, profession, including, yours and mine... is 'sick'. Inevitably there's at least a percentage of people in every field that are corrupt, greedy, etc. therefore according to your non-dual approach the whole lot of it is bad. What you're essentially saying is that all of humanity is f#@$ed up. Should we then just pack our bags, head for the hills, pop 4 dozen Asprin and head to the great show in the sky? Where's the optimism in that? Or is optimism naive?

And why can't you say a body is sick AND healthy at the same time? Why does it have to be one OR the other?

Buddhists don't believe in clarity. They believe in seeking the truth, but not clarity. I think there's big a difference

'The absolute position, when isolated, omits human details completely. Doctrines, including Buddhism, are meant to be used. Beware of them taking life of their own, for then they use us.' - Robert Aitken Roshi (Author and Buddhist)

Moral clarity is not something that Buddhism is interested in. Your idea of assigning a body as simply either healthy or sick is an example of attempting to achieve clarity.

And PS I hope you don't think that I (or Rick) am trying to trap you into saying you're wrong. Quite the contrary, I'm enjoying the debate as it's forcing me to find out more about and refine what I believe in. I've done more research on morality, ethics, Buddhism etc. than I ever would on my own. I'm certainly not out to change your mind. I could really care less about your ego, or mine for that matter. And if I didn't think there were truths to be found, I wouldn't be wasting my time."

Here's PL:

Yes, yes, yes, L56, keep going, man! This is good stuff!

All of humanity - and certainly every institution created by human beings - IS sick/fucked up! Royally so! Certainly so, especially as long as we have egos that do more than just observe, which is what our egos were originally meant to do. Our institutions currently are manifestations of our overblown, distorted egos.

But if you're not thinking dualistically, and if you're not judging, you can also say that we're perfect and exactly where we're meant to be at the same time. I know that as sure as I know anything.

To be able to see one's fucked-up-ness is, in fact, a great cause for optimism. I have no doubt whatsoever that humanity is evolving. I lambaste certain individuals and institutions on this blog because I am optimistic about our potential for growth and change. Otherwise, why bother? Another word we might use for "illness" could be "evolving."

I am accepting the job as a spokesman/facilitator for humanity's awareness of itself, which will help to accelerate our evolution, if that's what we choose to do. That's what every teacher is charged to do. And you, L56, are obviously becoming a teacher.

P.S. BY PL TO RICK ON "TWO HOTHEADS!" I DON'T THINK SO!!

Here's the thing, my friend - when you're the one with the uniform, badge, gun and night stick, whose job it is to protect citizens and keep the peace, you don't get to be an "I'm not taking your guff" kinda guy, see? The police force isn't a street gang or a sports team. If you're a major league pitcher and your opponent brushes back one of your teammates, you retaliate in kind. But both team's pitchers have a hardball to throw. When you're the only one with a gun, you don't retaliate because your ego is bruised. You take the guff because THAT'S YOUR JOB! You're supposed to be the diffuser, not the egotistical escalator of a confrontation.

[FOOTNOTE: Now that the police report is being made available, it's clear that they had to drop the charges because Gates didn't violate the disorderly conduct statute. He was just arrogant and pissed off, which in non-fascist states is not a crime. No guff!]

Come on, Rick!

BACK TO YOU, RICK!

WHEW! YOU GUYS ARE KEEPING ME BUSY!!

Here's RicK, all Rick:

I wrote this before seeing Loff56's post so I apologize if there are redundancies. Loff56 is right to correctly write my intention regarding the use of racists. I illustrate only that race based decisions inherently demand discrimination of another group(s).

As far as blowing off the Gates-Crowley incident, you can't be more off base. This is my backyard. I have met Gates and know his work, which is facinating. I know the Crowley type of cop intimately. I still contend race had little to do with this and two hot heads just got into a regrettably escalated situation. I may be wrong but let's see when we look at all of the facts of the case. Even the President is backing away from it being a racist incident. Surely you can too if the facts present it as such.

On to exonerating the bunch with the sake of a few, my few are actually many in my experiences. Your life experiences are not those of everyone else’s but make up your “many”. To denounce the entire institution because of your few “many” experiences makes you guilty of the same crime as me exonerating it because of my few “many”. Who gets the free pass? (I know it’s your blog but humor me nonetheless.)

I like the disease analogy but am having difficulty with not taking the bad apple approach. If you have a cut + bacteria enters + festers, you get an infection. Does that mean there is something inherently wrong with your body? Typically not. I think it is just a singular event, not an institutional deficiency. Just like a broken bone, you fall a bone breaks, that’s it. Some ailments can be brought on by our own actions like drinking, overeating, smoking, working with hazardous materials, doing drugs, recklessly living etc, and I would contend that some institutions bring upon these “diseases” themselves. Wall street, healthcare, unions, government agencies etc

Name one “body” that isn’t prone to exceptional deficiencies? As long as humans are involved, there will be deficiencies and “infections”. I do agree that certain “bodies” lend themselves to attracting infections. Here is where your approach makes sense.

Let’s take your examples and see if there are institutional diseases or simply bad apples?

Cops-

I’ve seen insecure people enter the police force in hopes of gaining self worth and confidence from the default praise/fear + adulation. No chance. In addition I’ve seen otherwise good people get caught up in the cop title + become arrogant “diseased” officers who are worse than the criminals they arrest. Institutional?

Priests-What better place to be if you were a homosexual before recent times than the priesthood? No need to justify not having a spouse and you are well respected by your family + community. Only 5% of priests abused parishioners. Bad apples or institutional? A majority of the abuse cases were irresponsible homosexual behavior, only a few were actual pedophiles. Like the cops, they gained adulation + trust of people and became arrogant in thinking they could act so abusively. The institution shuffled these bastards around. Institutional?

Teachers- I am one and see the same default adulation/respect showered on us as priests + cops. Furthermore, we are also, mothers, fathers, therapists, ministers, Dr.’s, prison guards etc to them as well. The confidence in which students sometimes hold us has been too much of a draw for some insecure + predatory teachers. They cross that line and abuse their position in the teacher-student relationship and take advantage of the very people they are charged with protecting. Institutional issue?

Doctors. Same as the aforementioned. They benefit from the same default adulation. Try telling them they are wrong. Most won’t even consider it. Do egomaniacs/disease enter the profession or do they become that way because of the institution?

Lawyers- Do I need to explain this one? To make money morals and sense of “We are one” is out the window. A NYC lawyer was having his car towed because it was illegally parked + laid down in front of the truck. He was subsequently arrested and said, “I am lawyer, you can’t do this.” To which the cop responded, “You’re wrong, you’re a lawyer in handcuffs!”.

Therapists- Talk about intimacy, trust+ vulnerability! I defer to you to expound on the reasons why people come through the door. For me, I limped into therapy and was extremely vulnerable. ½ of psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers abuse that position + become sexually involved with their patients. (http://www.kspope.com/sexiss/sex2.php) Also, I can certainly understand patients becoming awestruck by these manipulative “saviors” who then abuse them. Institutional?

Dictatorships? Tough call. People loved the dictators of the mid century until too much distance came between these once revolutionaries as they all became tyrants + murderers. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin. Nationalism was pounded into the psyche of the people and education, health care, transportation and the economies were dramatically improved under these men. However, we all know what they did once their ego got the best of them. They systematically destroyed their countries. Institutional or bad apples?

OK - PL RESPONDS TO LOFF56 - SEEK AND YOU SHALL FIND!

Well, okay, I'm not at the beach yet, but I'll take a crack at this, L56.

Your moral relativism and Buddhist equanimity - in other words, your willingness to see "both sides" of most situations - is admirable in its intent, but more dualistic than you seem to realize at times.

To wit -

There is no opposite of love. There is only the absence of love (at times in some people). There is no opposite of good, only the absence of it. Hate is a function of fear. Evil is a function of emotional numbness.

What I am saying about social diseases like racism or militarism, etc., etc., is that they cannot be understood apart from the whole body of whatever group they infect, no more than an illness can be understood separately from the physical body it is infecting. I know that this is not the "western" way, but you seem to be gravitating toward eastern philosophy, so I presume you are attempting to understand the Yin and Yang and non-dualism.

For example, to say that law enforcement as a whole is diseased, even though there are good cops, is not the same as trying to say that a police force is good because there are some good cops. One is a non-dualistic description of reality, the other is an idealized projection and denial of reality. A healthy body doesn't have a sick "part," and a sick body doesn't have a healthy "part," except to a mind that sees things dualistically - classic western medicine's viewpoint. A healthy body is healthy. A sick body is sick. For a police force to be healthy, whatever attracts or allows for sick cops to be part of the force has to be addressed and healed or the body of law enforcement is sick.

Regarding your thoughts about guns, affirmative action, etc., at this point, I can only say generally, right now, something similar to what I already said - seeing both sides of every situation as having equal weight on the scale of reality is not what the spiritual philosophies you're reading about are saying. The deep messages in these great teachings are about seeking The Truth and The Way, not your truth versus mine, or your way versus mine.

To be frank about it, L56, you and Rick, because of your egos, imagine that I am using my blog to espouse some personal ideology that will inflate my ego and prove that I am "right." Of course you think that because you don't believe that there are universal truths that we can all seek, let alone all find. But there are.

Whew! LOFF56 in a seminal piece on: "Semantics, Gun Control, Affirmative Action and the Chicken or the Egg!"

[PL: I'll need to go out to the beach for a few days to respond to this, so for now, I'm just putting it up for my readers to study!]

This is all Loff56 - here it is:

Ooo, ooo, ooo, let me get in on this one...

I know PL's gonna' hate me for this, but Semantics IS important. Language is how we communicate. If we don't do it correctly, our views get misconstrued.

PL: "But it seems that you want to exonerate the diseased collective because of those good individuals..." on Rick trying to explain that there are in fact some good cops out there. PL is correct in stating that you can't say every cop is good if not exactly 100% actually are. But in the same breath PL states: "Being a cop is a psychiatric disorder", and then says there are exceptions. Again, take your own advice, "you can't drag down the good because of the bad."

PL is making the argument again that there is a good reason to generalize (as long as you acknowledge the exceptions). But only if the generalization is something that he agrees with. ??? Right??? Clearly, when Rick generalizes as he did about cops being good, that's apparently wrong, but when PL generalizes that cops are bad, that's OK??? PL is discrediting the semantics of Rick's argument while simultaneously using the same language to advocate his own. Personally, I see the whole generalization is good for the argument as an intellectual, psycho-philosophical side-stepping of just plain being stubborn. Furthermore, PL, you're right to hold Rick accountable for his reckless generalizing, but you have to hold yourself to the same standard.

How about the real truth, plain and simple - however messy it is. Some cops are good, some cops are bad. Period.

When you make the "generalization" argument you reduce the debate to true and false, when in fact it deserves a lot more detailed analysis. Like, why are these particular cops bad? What makes these cops good? How do we make the bad ones like the good ones? That debate would be far more interesting, and far more productive. Though, I'm sure it wouldn't be such of an attention grabber. (I hope that's not what your after PL.) The proof is in the pudding. The response that PL got out of Rick wasn't about why these cops have these problems it was literately about defending the true/false nature of the statement. How is that helpful?

Gun Control - Here's my take on gun control. One side of the argument says that guns kill people, the other says that people kill people. That's basically what it boils down to. Again at the risk of sounding too wishy-washy, here's my response: "People with guns kill people!" Both guns and people are the problem, not one OR the other. If you remember "Bowling for Columbine" Michael Moore pointed out pretty remarkably that there are more guns in Canada per capita (by a lot - don't remember the number exactly) and much fewer murders per capita than in the United States. That's the people problem. There are too many crazy people in this country, (whether they have legal or illegal guns doesn't much matter, they're still crazy). There's also too many guns that are easily available. Moore also points out how easy it is to get a legal gun and ammo in this country. That's the gun problem.

Here's the thing, you have to deal with both. Making it illegal to buy an AK-47 is a smart idea because there's no other use for it but to kill people. I've never seen a deer hunter with an AK-47. But it also lets us know that our government - thus our society - is responsible enough to say that we know what owning an AK-47 is for, and we don't stand for that. Leadership by example. But we also need to improve our education system. Obviously intelligent, productive citizens don't kill each other as often. That's an easy one.

Here's the Chicken or the Egg problem. The old philosophical question asks which comes first - cause after all you can't have an egg without a chicken and you can't have a chicken without an egg. Trying to apply that paradox to the gun control argument makes as much sense as it does with the chicken species. For the chicken and the egg, the way out of the paradox is evolution - they developed together. So too the whole killing people with guns problem is the same. The solution to both problems simultaneously is essential. After all what's the point of educating people not to kill people if our Government says it's ok to own an AK-47? Similarly what's the point of banning AK-47s if we don't educate people to not kill people with illegally obtained AK-47s.

Here's my take on Affirmative Action - First of all I think Pete's right here that there is a difference between racially conscious and racist. But I think perhaps because the number of true hard-core racists in this country is rapidly decreasing, the term "racist" is becoming more and more a politicized inflammatory rendering of what's probably more accurately represented as "racially conscious". I'm half defending Rick's (and many of the other politicians that used that word to describe the situation with Sotomayor and the firemen) use of the word "racist" the way he did in the sense that he doesn't say it to actually mean "to hate another race". However, Rick and co. are no less accountable for the use of that term as a political contrivance. There was no "racism" (reverse or otherwise) going on in that case, and Rick and co. know that, and should know better. Note that I'm not making a judgment about Sotomayor's decision in this case, just pointing out that the use of the word "racism" either way is bogus. Even if you think she was wrong in the case, you're disagreeing with her racially conscious decision, not claiming that she's actually racist.

At the heart of the matter is whether or not being racially conscious through means of Affirmative Action is still a moral imperative.

Personally I think the usefulness and effectiveness of Affirmative Action has almost run its course. I can't imagine that it was ever intended to be a permanent fixture in our society. There's a point where it starts to become counterproductive. And if we're not at that point yet, I don't think its very far off. Obama's take on this is pretty good I think. His encouragement to the black community in saying, "look, we don't need this affirmative action stuff, we have the power to do it on our own", (I'm paraphrasing) is very spot on. The danger of keeping Affirmative Action around is that it will ultimately just serve as a reminder to white people that black people still need an artificial advantage and are therefore still inferior. And for Black people to be reminded that they may in fact still be inferior.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." - MLK Jr.

Well, as long as Affirmative Action still exists we're still judging by the color of their skin. Whether that judgment in this case is helping or hurting doesn't matter, it's still judgment.

That's not to say that Affirmative Action didn't help us bridge the gap to MLK Jr.'s vision, but ultimately it needs to be done away with before this vision is totally seen.

Going back to the Chicken or the Egg. Again, let's fix education and do away with Affirmative Action together, not either/or. Here's the paradox - with Affirmative Action, kids don't need to try as hard in order to succeed so even with a better education system, they're still underachieving. Just getting rid of Affirmative Action without fixing the education system gives them less hope and no tools so underachievement is inevitable. You have to fix both at the same time.

Well, I'm sorry to take up so much space but I just thought that a more detailed driven argument was called for on these issues. I know my solutions can seem convoluted and/or compromised to some, but the truth is that I believe that everyone possess at least a tiny part of some truth, and I'm completely interested in investigating if two (or more) seemingly disparate ideas can actually create a better whole truth than any pure version of any one. I don't consider this a compromise at all but rather a genuine solution to a seemingly unanswerable question such as "Which came first, the Chicken or the Egg?"

MORE ON RACISM AND COPS - WHY ARE THESE EXAMPLES SO EASY TO FIND?!

BREAKING:

Texas Police Officers On Leave After Circulating Racist Anti-Obama Email

ANOTHER IMMINENT EXTINCTION!

On the July 22 broadcast of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh said this:

"There isn't global warming and there isn't a health care crisis, but Obama says he's gotta raise taxes and take over the private sector to fix both those things."

SEE YA!

A REAL PRESIDENT YOU'D LIKE TO HAVE A BEER WITH!!

BREAKING NEWS:

President Obama is trying to arrange a beer at the White House with himself, Sergeant Crowley and Professor Gates as a gesture of reconciliation between the parties involved in the incident the other night.

Now, that's a president you can really have a beer with!

MORE ON IMMINENT EXTINCTIONS

BREAKING NEWS:

CNN president Jon Klein sent an email to a handful of "Lou Dobbs Tonight" staffers last night regarding the coverage of the so-called birthers and the validity of Pres. Obama's birth in the U.S.

"This story is dead!" was the message to Dobbs from his boss.

SEE YA!SERIOUSLY WOULDN'T WANNA BE YA!!

STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES! HAPPY EXTINCTION!!

Not too long ago, like back in the dark ages of 2004, a President never would have stood up on national television and declared that a police sergeant acted "stupidly" by arresting a black man in his own home because he was angry about having his private premises invaded by the authorities erroneously. Never would have happened. The old guys back in the Cretaceous Administration would have spun this just the way my dear friend, Rick, tried to, blowing the encounter off by framing it as "a pompous blowhard 'Do you know who I am?' guy (Professor Gates) verses a working class, 'I'm not taking your guff' cop" (Crowley).

But you see the Flintstones aren't in power anymore. They've been ousted by a populous that has woken up, come of age, finally had enough of the denigrating labeling of anyone who has an education higher than the back of a cereal box as an elitist or a "pompous blowhard," and likewise, the majority of the public know longer falls for the bogus, jingoistic attributing to the "working class" (the term itself hijacked by the elitists in the GOP who exploit the genuine working class) of some kind of higher morality or righteousness (except perhaps self-righteousness). We have seen Joe The Plumber, the Republicans recent "working class" hero, and his name isn't Joe and he's not even a plumber, and as Meghan McCain said: "Joe the Plumber - you can quote me - is a dumbass!"No, not this time, folks. The "birthers," "tea baggers," secessionists, the just-say-no-to-everything-Obama-wants crowd is in its death throws, but like the dinosaurs after the comet hit, they still don't know that their extinction is imminent, so they continue to bellow in raging confusion. They are actually trying to call a "reverse racism" foul on Sonya Sotomayor, for instance, as if the oxymoronic phrase actually makes sense. Racism against racists isn't racism, boys. It's called corrective action, antidote, justice, unless of course, one thinks that if the Jews in Nazi Germany had somehow risen up and exterminated the Nazi's they'd have been guilty of "reverse-genocide."

The comet has hit, boys, and it was the election of 2008. Happy extinction!

FOOTNOTE: RICK'S "CORRECTION" OF PL's "COPS" POST - PL RESPONDS WITH SOME 'SPLAININ'!

Here's Rick:

"I am flattered to think you knew your suspect assertions would flush me out. Grazie!

Think, process then speak/write is what I always tell my students. Maybe you should have let the coffee kick in before you penned your response.

Sorry to disappoint you PL, nothing in my writing indicated that I reject affirmative action, reparations or any other policy/initiative aimed achieving equality or making any group whole. I actually wrote they are worthy!! To make the assertion that I "detest" these policies clearly indicates either your lack of honesty, narrow characterization or hopefully just a senior moment. Your response reads like, "He opposes my view so he probably has a Swastika tattooed on his chest and is a skinhead." I’ve tussled with people who employ manipulative political speak and have publicly debated people who have tried to put me in a box to boost their own position. I’m no stranger to such tactics and I do applaud your effort but I’m throwing the BS flag on you."

PL:

Well, Rick, if I misconstrued these words from you - "Judge Sotomayor's decision to support the disallowance of test scores in hiring firefighters can only be construed as racist. The reason the city ignored this practice is that it feared a lawsuit because actually hiring the most qualified would mean no blacks would get hired. Sooooo, it was a race based decision. MLK would cringe at this. You can say the end justifies the means. Get more blacks on staff. Affirmative action. Those are certainly worthy, but racist nonetheless." - then, indeed, I'll stand corrected.
But you might have some 'splainin' to do!

TODAY'S QUOTE

"People who want to protect the police and who are afraid of criminals like I'm afraid of criminals are looking for something that I could have done to justify Sergeant Crowley's actions. There's nothing that I could have done to justify Sergeant Crowley's action."
HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR. (on his erroneous arrest in his own home by an unapologetic police sergeant)

WOW! HAVING COPS IS ALSO A SOCIAL DISORDER!

These are some incredible statistics from TIME magazine:

Police in the U.S. are almost always armed, yet over 225 died in the line of duty in just one year - ONE YEAR! - compared to about 70!! unarmed bobbies in Britain who died in the last 30 YEARS!!!

And furthermore, avoiding an arms race with criminals (virtually all guns are illegal in the U.K.) has helped keep Britain's firearm-murder rate to less than one-thirtieth the U.S. level.

HELLO??!!

RICK ON COPS AND GUNS! PL RESPONDS!!

Well, I knew the stuff about cops would draw Rick out, and sure enough, he sent me an "earful!"

Here's Rick:

"Surprise surprise!

Christ never failed to distinguish between doubt and unbelief. Doubt is can’t believe. Unbelief is won’t believe. Doubt is honesty. Unbelief is obstinacy. Doubt is looking for light. Unbelief is content with darkness.
- Henry Drummond

Wow! There are only a few people who actually know the truth about this "racist" incident. The facts keep coming out. However, people have taken the irresponsible and intellectually dishonest liberty to paint this as racist. That is a "cop" out if there ever was one. Or, people are just so trapped in their narrow thinking that it couldn't be anything else.
Me? I see it as a pompous blowhard "Do you know who I am?" guy verses a working class, "I'm not taking your guff" cop. You write about this all the time how our egos get the best of us and it appears as though this certainly played a role in this story. Race? I, along with anyone who wasn't there can't make that claim.
I grew up next door to Cambridge and if there is a force that is more politically correct and racially sensitive, it is Cambridge's. We used to think of them as wussies because they were so careful with murderers, rapists and thugs making sure to protect their rights. Even so, the force just settled a race based case for $4 million. (Yes, I'm actually providing a fact to weaken my own position because I know there are 3, yes 3, sides to every story.)

It might help your readers to read the following article that has a black commissioner previously recruiting the arresting white officer to teach cadets about racial profiling. He's an expert on racial profiling and defusing situations.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_harvard_scholar_arresting_officer

Nice try diffusing the obvious argument of good cops by only claiming that we all only have exceptions of them. Also, nice work in shaping our responses by trying to make us feel as though we should also feel intimidated by cops with guns. Lions and tigers and bears OH MY! You probably know the fear mongering, intimidation and self-proclaimed truth loses its ability to steer my thoughts. Some people may tiptoe on this blog because of fear of your usual demeaning and angry wrath. I, like you, say bring it on!

My experience with cops? All have been extremely supportive, professional and even kind.

It started in elementary school when they would routinely come to school to speak about life choices and tell us about their jobs. Cops were wicked awesome up to that point. I am not intimidated as you are by a cop. They could be outfitted with machine guns + machetes and that wouldn't change my impression.

Next?? During middle school cops were the only guys to volunteer as football coaches. No biased uneducated (in sport), inexperienced father overcompensating for their lack of success as a youngster. These cops were great coaches as life lessons ruled over x's + o's. It takes a village? These guys were very special people who helped shape the lives of generations of young players.
Next? A deacon at my church was an officer. Again a role model and real person who was welcoming, compassionate and really was there for teens (he actually grew up in Cambridge).
Next??? Friends who became cops. They remain the same humble kind people, men+ women, who I knew growing up.
Next??Just the other day I was taking carrying a pizza in one hand and my son in the other out of a pizzeria. A cop, whom I've never met, saw me and offered to carry the pizza out to my car.

Now I have had a few run-ins with the PO-PO that were ugly but they were because if inexperience on the cop's side. Their lack of judgement and strict adherence of protocol got the best of them. (Sound familiar?) I didn't paste all cops as bad after those incidents. The Judges rightly dismissed everything. They just were rookies who made rookie mistakes.

Hopefully, once all of the hateful + incendiary rhetoric subsides, we all can learn from this incident.

As an aside, Judge Sotomayor's decision to support the disallowance of test scores in hiring firefighters can only be construed as racist. The reason the city ignored this practice is that it feared a lawsuit because actually hiring the most qualified would mean no blacks would get hired. Sooooo, it was a race based decision. MLK would cringe at this. You can say the end justifies the means. Get more blacks on staff. Affirmative action. Those are certainly worthy, but racist nonetheless. Obama won the election because the voters felt he offered more than anyone else, not because we need a black guy in the white house."

PL:

Well, Rick, first of all, I do generalize for a reason, and likewise, I make the disclaimer that "there are always exceptions" for a reason. In the final analysis of any situation, the responsibility of the individual rules. And there are certainly good cops, priests, teachers, doctors and lawyers, therapists, heck, even "benevolent dictators" in history. But it seems that you want to exonerate the diseased collective because of those good individuals, which is of course, no wonder, why you and others detest affirmative action. "If we aren't discriminating against blacks and women, now, why do we need to help them catch up or, God forbid, make reparations?"

Right.

Racially conscious is not the same thing as racist, Rick.

See, I don't take the approach to social illness typical of our psychopathic and utterly non-holistic medical establishment's approach to physical illness, which is to isolate the infection or tumor, then cut, burn or drug it out. If I have an infection, the first thing I ask is why do I have this? Then, I enlist my entire body's immune system to heal the sickness. I don't play the convenient "bad apple" game with myself, whether I'm dealing with a flu, or a sexually acting out priest abusing his parishioners, or a corrupt cop abusing citizens he's supposed to be serving, or a soldier abusing, humiliating and torturing a prisoner he's supposed to be guarding. I want to know why the particular body in question has a particular infection, and then I want to heal the whole body.

And the reason I don't subscribe to the "bad apple" cover-up? Because I don't need to idealize any parental authorities anymore. I'm a grown-up!

Rick (on gun control):

"We have over 20,000 gun control laws on the books. So you think we should have more?? Unless you banish all guns, an impossibility due to the black market, write all the laws you want and you will not limit the violence.

Education, community policing and removing illegal guns from circulation are the only things that have proven to be effective in reducing gun violence.

I do not know the facts, but would be interested to know how many legally owned guns were responsible for the deaths of the officers you quoted. Also, unintentional deaths???? You flushed those numbers out + your "truth" becomes clearer and less convenient. I agree with BM and would encourage % to be used the first time around not just numbers. But, as you usually prove, your do over is much better + believable.

It's like universal health care. You already exposed the waste + profit based, inefficient healthcare system we have. Soooo, lets add more people to an already flawed system?? It doesn't make sense and neither does adding gun control laws unless you add the only one that matters-ban them all."

PL:

I am actually not that interested in researching how many laws we have or should or shouldn't have on this subject. I am more interested in being honest about why people own guns. I mean... really honest. Is it for shooting tin cans to improve our eye-hand coordination? Yeah, that's the ticket!

Guns, unlike some other devices or tools, do not have a variety of uses. Guns are specifically designed to kill something that is alive. Now, look, I eat meat, which means an animal was killed for that purpose. And I could definitely kill in self-defense if my life or the life of a loved one was being immediately threatened. Although I choose not to, I can possibly understand someone having a handgun in their home for self-defense. But I couldn't kill for sport or fun, because killing is neither, nor could I choose a profession that included killing as part of the job description, and finally, I couldn't kill for any paranoid fantasies about rooting out groups of people who weren't like me or with whom I disagreed about something... because I'm not insane!

"BloggingMeg" rebuts PL's post: "WOW! COPS ARE ALSO A SOCIAL DISORDER!" PL responds

Here's "BloggingMeg:

"America has 6 times more people than England but only 3.2 times as many deaths in the line of duty. If you mean the entirety of the United Kingdom, then America only has 5 times as many people as the UK but still only 3.2 times as many death in the line of duty. Please try again."

PL:

Okay, BM, I will.

My source for the original post was TIME magazine. What is yours? The subject here, remember, is what is the cause and effect value on crime of cops carrying guns, not just comparing the death ratios of cops to population. More cops in general here are killed in automobile accidents that gun fights, but that's neither here nor there.

Here's more from another source, the Law Enforcement Encyclopedia:

"Firearms were implicated in about half of all deaths of police officers in the 20th Century in the U.S. Since the 1970s, guns have been claiming more lives: 405 officers were killed in the 1970s, 426 in the 1980s, and 651 in the 1990s. Guns claimed the lives of 6,846 officers over the last century, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund."

Do we need stricter gun control laws in this country? Could such legislation help control police deaths? Hmm.

Try harder? This is from the BMJ Publishing group on preventing injuries to police officer:

"During the 20th century, 585 police officers in New York and 160 police officers in London died while participating in law enforcement activities. New York had markedly greater intentional police mortality rates compared to London throughout most of the 20th century. Intentional gunshot wounds comprised 290 police deaths in New York, but only 14 police deaths in London. In New York, gun shot wounds (both intentional and unintentional) accounted for 51.6% of occupational police deaths. In London, motor vehicle collision was the most common cause (47.5%) of occupational police death."

I welcome the challenge, BM. I always do my homework. If you have better research than me, please share it. I'm not trying to win an argument here, just trying to get to the truth.

FOOTNOTE TO COPS BEING A PSYCHIATRIC DISORDER!

"ANONYMOUS" sent me this relevant and very impactful link: "Tasered Man Bursts into Flames In Australia"

SUING BUSH!

As I've said in previous posts, "Let the prosecutions roll!" (ALSO SEE PL's "INTEGRITY AT LAST?!" This is so right and necessary a part of our national and global healing. CHECK IT OUT. ILLEGALLY HELD AND TORTURED CAPTIVES OF THE BUSH-CHENEY REGIME OF DARKNESS SUING THEIR ASSES!

LOFF56 COMMENTS ON PL's "NO ONE GOES TO THE MOON ANYMORE!" - PL RESPONDS WITH "SPACE IS OUR DESTINY!"

Here's LOFF56:

"I remember thinking the same thing ten years ago, around the time of the 30th anniversary. It still boggles my mind to think of them going to the moon with the technology of that era. The computer was just barely invented. To match the computing power of the laptop I'm writing this on in 1969 you'd probably need something the size of a house. They went to the moon without even the power of a laptop computer!!

Imagine what we could do if we had the same will power to do what they did in 1969 with the technology we have today. The ingenuity to invent new propulsion systems, advanced navigation, life support systems, imaging capabilities. etc. We'd probably be able to stay there for a year if we wanted to.

I always wonder what it is that keeps us on the ground these days. Maybe it's simply the fact that we found out that there's nothing really there. As if we spent a hell of a lot of effort and money to visit the Sahara. Maybe it's the fear of the high human cost that has plagued space exploration from the beginning. Is the risk worth the reward? The conspiracy theory could be that big business doesn't like the idea that space exploration out of necessity demands the invention of new technologies. Technologies that could threaten the existence of some of the worlds biggest corporations. Perhaps we just don't have an immediate need to go to the moon right now. Yes, we most certainly have a long term, for-the-good-of-humanity kind of need, but those needs are always pushed aside for immediate needs. In 1969 we had an immediate need to beet the Russians. I bet if Al Qaeda or North Korea were making a run for the moon, we'd be there faster than you can sing 'Fly me to the Moon!'

Bit of good news on the Space front. The two rovers that we sent to Mars at the beginning of 2004 (which they expected to be operational for only 3 or 4 months), are still operating!! 5 and a half years later!!!"

PL:

Hey, L56. Nice comment. I'm just thinking about how walking on the moon in the '60's became less important than "moonwalking" in the '80's! But anyway...

I have always felt that traveling into space was necessary because exploration and expansion of our horizons is a crucial part of human evolution, both individually and collectively. It's not just about the technology or the economics. As sentient beings of a higher order (at least on this planet!), moving beyond our borders and limitations is what prevents atrophy and stagnation in our psyches.

On this 40th anniversary of the moon landing, I remembered that in 1986, when the space shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28th of that year, I wrote an open letter to President Reagan and the NY Times not only saying why I thought the human exploration of space must continue, in spite of that tragedy, but I also offering to go myself on a future mission! (Ha! My wife at the time cried for a number of days fearing that Reagan might actually take me up on it. She knew I would go!)

Here's my letter that the Times published on February 9, 1986:

"SPACE IS OUR DESTINY!"

"To the Editor:

The shattering tragedy of the Challenger on Jan. 28 will no doubt stir up such sentiments as 'If man were meant to fly, he'd have wings.'' Some will say that we should send only unmanned probes into space.

I disagree. Human beings do have wings. Our wings are our minds, and our minds have always compelled us to reach out and look beyond the boundaries of the observable. We honor the spirit of Christopher Columbus for daring to explore 'the edge' of a flat Earth, as we reveled in the spirit of Christa McAuliffe, who dared to teach from beyond the classroom.

The logic of statistical probability tells us that we are only one of perhaps millions of civilizations in this universe, that we most surely have brothers and sisters out there. We are compelled to meet them and know them because we are all part of the same whole. Perhaps we can be helped in our development someday by a more advanced civilization. Perhaps we can make a contribution. But we cannot stay at home, retreating into ourselves. People must be prepared to travel in space. It is our destiny.

I envied Mrs. McAuliffe. She was living out my greatest fantasy: to view the Earth as a whole planet from space. I am a psychiatric social worker, waiting for the day when a President or NASA asks for someone from the human-services field to volunteer for a similar mission. I am ready to go!"

PETER V. LOFFREDO

For more of my letters to the NY Times over the years, GO HERE.

"NO ONE GOES TO THE MOON ANYMORE!"

That's the title of a song, believe it or not, that I wrote 20 years ago on the 20th anniversary of the very first Apollo moon landing. It was a lament about life in America at the end of the decade of the 1980's, a stretch in which our country seemed to have been on a ten year lost weekend, a time during which social consciousness died en masse, or at least went underground, a time during which greed and militarism were extolled as high values, a time during which the the rampant psychopathy in our ruling classes that may be finally coming to an end now began.

The song I wrote was not so much a personal lament, because for me, in 1989, I was not only making music, but I was at the beginning of a wondrous exploration of my own spiritual nature and the spiritual nature of all things. That changed me more than any cultural event ever could, of course.

But still, 1989 wasn't 1969.

'69 was a year of all years for me. I turned fifteen that summer and the yearning for independence, for a great transition, for a connection to the sensuality of life as a human being made everything seem connected - to me! The moon landing, the Woodstock concert (which my parents wouldn't let me attend), the Miracle Mets, Hair on broadway (which had opened a year earlier), my hair (which I fought constantly with my father about), the last Beatle album (Elton John's first album was still a year away)... it all seemed so perfectly relevant to my life, somehow.

Beginnings, endings, adventure, exploration... and the endless stream of music! The universe was listening to me!

Tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. No one goes to the moon anymore, but my two young step-kids listen to the Beatles with the same avid joy I once did. Our eleven year old's school put up Hair as the school play this year (and it's back on Broadway!). I regularly vacation in Woodstock now, maybe in defiance of my parents' prohibition 4 decades ago, and the Mets suck, but that's okay because I'm a Yankee fan!

But most importantly, what I now know better than I could have in 1969... is that it's me who must listen to the universe.

"AND THAT'S THE WAY IT IS..."

TODAY'S QUOTE

"The Sotomayor hearings were still rich in historical significance. Someday we may regard it as we do those final, frozen tableaus of Pompeii. It offered a vivid snapshot of what Washington looked like when clueless ancien-rĂ©gime conservatives were feebly clinging to their last levers of power, blissfully oblivious to the new America that was crashing down on their heads and reducing their antics to a sideshow as ridiculous as it was obsolescent. It’s the American way that we judge people as individuals, not as groups. And by that standard we can say unequivocally that this particular wise Latina, with the richness of her experiences, would far more often than not reach a better conclusion than the individual white males she faced in that Senate hearing room. Even those viewers who watched the Sotomayor show for only a few minutes could see that her America is our future and theirs is the rapidly receding past."
Frank Rich (in today's NY Times)

TODAY'S LYRICS!

"AND IN THE END, THE LOVE YOU TAKE IS EQUAL TO THE LOVE YOU MAKE."
Paul McCartney (ending the first of three concerts at CitiField, replacement for Shea Stadium where the Beatles played... a long, long time ago that still seems like Yesterday.)

LOFF56 DISAGREES WITH PL'S "THERE AREN'T ALWAYS TWO SIDES..." PL RESPONDS!/L56 COMES BACK!

Here's LOFF56:

"Generally I agree with your assessments in these matters. Your conclusion about Pat Buchanan is spot on. The analogy of watching a car wreck is funny and appropriate. Although...

I have to say that your premise isn't logical. 'There aren't always two sides to an argument.' There HAS to be at least two sides to every argument. Otherwise it wouldn't be an argument! Insanity, hate, and ignorance, whether we like it or not, does exist as an opposition to logic, love and enlightenment.

Writing off the opposition in this manner makes our position just as ignorant as theirs. If we're so sure that our position is correct, then we shouldn't have any trouble proving that with logic and a respectful discourse. If in the end we provide a respectful discourse and they don't then it's simply up to the public to decide for themselves. (That's the Buddhist way.) :-)

If you believe in the premise that every soul on the planet has the potential for enlightenment, you have to look at the prospect that the souls that spew insanity, hate and ignorance (or more appropriately the readers of your blog who potentially buy into that) are simply not well enough educated in logic, love and enlightenment. We would do better to stop labeling people as insane, hateful and ignorant and start finding a way to better educate the world directly in logic, love and enlightenment. Let them decide for themselves. The best we can do is consistently and perpetually provide the best truth possible. Wasting time on labels and tearing down our opposition doesn't add anything to our argument. It's like saying: 'I'm right and you're wrong.' Ok. So what?

In the end I believe people are more interested in why you think you're right than they do about why you think they're wrong."

PL:

Here's the thing, L56, and it's something that many people searching for the "middle way" of Buddhism - or even true Christianity - misunderstand: there is Truth and there is Right, and Buddha and Jesus say it often. But that truth and right isn't dogmatic or part of an institutionalized philosophy or creed, it is what every person truly conducting the search for one's own soul eventually finds out to simply be so.

I mean, come on, L56, you're playing semantics a bit with me when you say things like "There HAS to be at least two sides to every argument. Otherwise it wouldn't be an argument!" I think (hope?) that you know that what I'm saying is that not all positions are valid and that not all positions are even positions. Some "positions" are simply primal expressions of raw, unexamined, untamed impulses.

Furthermore, in true Buddhist practice, yes, all are invited to the path of enlightenment, as they are in any spiritual practice, but the first step towards the truth is always identifying what is false. To give credibility to distortions, lies, fear-based hate and deliberate ignorance posing as ideology doesn't serve to help the person in question to ever want to seek enlightenment. You are imagining something, idealizing at best, that is not based on how human beings actually grow. We need to experience the pain of ostracism and rejection at times to know that we are on a dead end turn in our path to enlightenment.

You can't "reach out" to the likes of a Pat Buchanan with the kind of guidance you talk about until he has fully felt the karmic pain of his own willfulness and bile.

Again - Come on, L56. I love that you are seeking that loving, open-minded place where we all must arrive to eventually, but part of true love, as I've said before to you and Rick, is kicking ass where there is ass that needs to be kicked!

Here's LOFF56's comeback:

"Well, I agree with your first paragraph.

However I don't believe that the point I'm making is semantic. I think it's deeply philosophical. If there truly is just one valid truth, which you say Christianity, Buddhism etc. suggests, than the concept of having a debate at all is logically flawed. For there truly is nothing to debate against, and any 'ass kicking' that we do can only be done in a hypocritical way for we'd be debating against a position that we can only justify by stepping around our belief in an absolute truth. If we concede that a debate must indeed happen in order to help people become enlightened than we must accept the fact that there has to be two sides to the debate. (Two valid sides). I don't think you can have your cake and eat it two in this regard. Either you accept 100% that there is only one truth and therefore any debating of the truth is hypocritical, or you pragmatically accept a second (valid, despite how despicable) position in order to achieve a debate.

I hope I'm not sounding semantic here again, but I believe you can give credibility to a person's position without giving credibility to their argument. The fact of the matter is that they believe what they believe. You can't say that that whole person has no credibility because they believe something that's false. You're throwing the baby out with the bath water. And again this is not about semantics this about finding the good in everyone and working WITH that, not AGAINST the bad.

Constantly highlighting the bad qualities as you have a tendency to do with many of the republicans that repulse us all doesn't help us find the overall humanity in the world. Instead it reminds us that there are a lot of unenlightened people out there that are ready to stab us in the back at any moment. I know this is not your intention at all, but the fact is, pointing it out can only have the potential of creating more fear in us than anything else. If you and your readers have achieved a level of enlightenment that can see through their BS, why not just ignore them then?

You are correct, you can't 'reach out' to people like Pat Buchanan. They don't want to be reached out to. At the same time 'kicking their ass' as you say, is equally ineffective if they're not willing to accept the benefit of an 'ass kicking.' This is equally true for any of your readers who still follow those guys. I understand the benefits of your 'ass kickings,' I just think it's being done in a bit of a vacuum. People need to be simply reminded of the good truth and reminded that they should simply ignore the ramblings of the lunatic fringe. After all, if we all learned to just ignore them, after a while they wouldn't be on TV. It's the constant acknowledgment of their stupidity that as you say, 'makes us want to watch the car accident' over and over again. And that I don't think puts us on the path to enlightenment."

TODAY'S "THERE AREN'T TWO SIDES TO AN ARGUMENT" QUOTE

"The serious question here is whether MSNBC will continue to finance his [Pat Buchanan's] clearly white supremacist views. If there's anyone in America who doesn't deserve more air time, it's people like Pat Buchanan. They had their time and they failed. Their reign was destructive and a blight on American history. They have no place in the discourse anymore."
Bob Cesca

Postscript from PL: As I've said before, there aren't always two sides to an argument. "Insane" isn't a political philosophy. "Hate" isn't a different opinion. "Ignorance" isn't a preference. (Well, okay, maybe it is.) And Pat Buchanan isn't a commentator on the news. He's a circus freak that MSNBC is exploiting because some people love to stare at car wrecks.

I TRY TO NEVER USE PROFANITY IN THE TITLE OF A POST, BUT... HOLY SHIT!!

"White men were 100% of the people that wrote the Constitution, 100% of the people that signed the Declaration of Independence, 100% of the people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, probably close to 100% of the people who died at Normandy. This has been a country built basically by white folks." PAT BUCHANAN - Yep, he said this! I repeat: HOLY SHIT!!

REPOST: "SAY IT: RACISM IS A PSYCHIATRIC DISORDER! COME ON, SAY IT!"

Okay, now get this: The American Psychiatric Association has never officially recognized extreme racism as a mental health problem, although the issue was raised more than 30 years ago. After several racist killings in the civil rights era, a group of black psychiatrists sought to have extreme bigotry classified as a mental disorder. The association's officials rejected the recommendation, arguing that because so many Americans are racist, even extreme racism in this country is "normative" — a "cultural problem" rather than an indication of psychopathology.

The psychiatric profession's primary index for diagnosing psychiatric symptoms, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), does not include racism, prejudice, or bigotry in its text or index. Therefore, there is currently no support for including extreme racism under any diagnostic category. This leads psychiatrists to think that it cannot and should not be treated in their patients in therapy.

How do I say this?

WHAT?!

Could anyone who scapegoats a whole group of people and seeks to eliminate them to resolve his or her internal conflicts NOT meet the criteria for a major paranoid delusional disorder?

Are you kidding me?!

Am I ever going to be able to stop asking...

"HOW STUPID ARE WE?!"

If we don't start treating extreme racism, greed, homophobia, xenophobia and religious fanaticism as psychiatric disorders, we will never be rid of them. A "cultural problem" is figuring out and debating whether or not we want to watch sex and violence on public TV or celebrate Christmas as a national holiday or if Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" is more relevant than CNN for getting the real news. But hating someone you don't know because of their skin color or sexual orientation or nationality, or stealing a person's pension so you could have a $50,000 ice sculpture at your daughter's sweet sixteen party, or believing that an all-knowing creator God could truly love only your particular sect of believers is... right - DELUSIONAL!

Say it!

TODAY'S QUOTE

"Try to remember that working's no crime; just don't let 'em take or waste your time."
James Taylor

(For further reference see PL's "THE END OF THE JOB" and "THE JOY OF QUITTING")

REPOST: FEAR OF THE OTHER IS ALL THAT MOTIVATES THE EXTREMISTS!

Let's just be brutally honest and direct, okay?

The primary motivation of what remains of the Republican Party and the right wing fringe in this country is no different than what drives all fundamentalist groups throughout the world - FEAR. Specifically, fear of the Other.

The driving mania behind a ludicrous economic philosophy that presumes that welfare and socialism for the wealthy is good for the country, while the same for working class citizens is destructive is rooted in a primal terror - of all races other than one's own, of femininity in general, and sensuality overall, of the young and elderly, of artists, of truly spiritual people and of any whose overt sexual orientation is other than heterosexual.

Who does that leave, obviously? Pseudo religious, pseudo-straight fanatics between the ages of 35 and 65, lacking in any real depths of sensuality, artistic sensibilities or true spirituality, latently riddled with castration anxiety and misogyny, who are full of paranoid rage and the hormonal balance of a pubescent boy.

Oh... and Ann Coulter.

Anonymous comments on PL's post: "SAY IT: RACISM IS A PSYCHIATRIC DISORDER!

"I am a recovering drug addict/alchoholic and in order for me to find recovery, (serenity) I had to work the 12-steps to the best of my ability. After somewhat achieving this herculanean task, it is my opinion that everyone over the age of 35 years should have to work the same 12-steps, whether he/she/it is an alchoholic or not! We are all sick to a degree."

Amen to that!
See my original post HERE.

TONIGHT'S NEW REPUBLICAN QUOTE!

"Joe the Plumber - you can quote me - is a dumbass. He should stick to plumbing."
Meghan McCain (who also said she'd "be flattered to be considered the anti-Ann Coulter, the anti-Rush Limbaugh," and that she "loves gay men!")

Of course, Meghan, I don't think I would want a dumbass as my plumber either.

TONIGHT'S OLD REPUBLICAN QUOTE!

"You'll have a lot of 'splainin' to do."
(Republican Senator Tom Coburn invoking Ricky Ricardo in a quip responding to Sonia Sotomayor during today's Supreme Court confirmation hearing scenario)WHAT ARE YOU THINNIN', SENATOR?!

TODAY'S AIN'T THAT AMERICA? QUOTE

"Your idea is that after investigating Bill Clinton for a blow job for like five years, we shouldn't investigate the huge, grossly illegal things that were done under the Bush-Cheney administration?"
Marcy Wheeler (of FireDogLake, appeared on MSNBC Monday to argue for an investigation of secret C.I.A. operations under President Bush)

INTEGRITY AT LAST?!

THIS IS FROM NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE:

"Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States, may be on the verge of asserting his independence in a profound way. Four knowledgeable sources tell NEWSWEEK that he is now leaning toward appointing a prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration's brutal interrogation practices, something the president has been reluctant to do. While no final decision has been made, an announcement could come in a matter of weeks, say these sources, who decline to be identified discussing a sensitive law-enforcement matter. Such a decision would roil the country, would likely plunge Washington into a new round of partisan warfare, and could even imperil Obama's domestic priorities, including health care and energy reform. Holder knows all this, and he has been wrestling with the question for months. 'I hope that whatever decision I make would not have a negative impact on the president's agenda,' he says. 'But that can't be a part of my decision."

YES! This is not about politics, punishment or revenge, people. This is about the integrity of our government and the very Constitution of laws that our government was formed upon.

Check out the 16th and 17th words of our Constitution in the first paragraph of the preamble:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Clearly, the reasons for establishing this Constitution are not in alphabetical order, but rather in order of priority. Establishing justice comes before providing for the "common defence." Why? Because our founders understood that there first and foremost had to be a country worth defending, and that without justice, there wouldn't be. We were under the unjust rule of the British crown until 1776, a rule by an empire that was deemed not worthy of defending.

Whatever we may have to endure today in order to expose the crimes of our leaders to the light of our system of justice, is nothing compared to what those citizens endured 233 years ago in the face of an extremely powerful and corrupt government.

History shows us that the price of integrity is always worth the cost. Without it, there can be nothing but fleeting, illusory gains, at best, and inevitably, debasement and destruction at worst. Our founders understood this, as did the revolutionaries in France and elsewhere in the 18th Century, as did Gandhi, Nelson Mandella and Martin Luther King in the 20th Century.

If our Constitution is treated as if it was up for grabs during the Bush-Cheney years, and therefore, so too was our country and system of government, then the damage will remain permanent.

Make no mistake - the rabid, far right-wingers loathe a great deal of what it says in our Constitution, because it is a great challenge to live by those principles of justice for all when you are riddled with hate and fear of growth and change and difference, when you are insecure and ignorant, intellectually lazy, morally bankrupt, and numb to the callings of your soul. These are people not interested in defending our country or our Constitution, but rather, they seek to protect and defend their own dark, dank hiding places filled with the black mold of paranoia.

Come on, people! Let the prosecutions roll!

LET THE PROSECUTIONS ROLL, PART 2 - BREAKING: Cheney Is Linked to Concealment of C.I.A. Project!!

Efforts to reach Mr. Cheney through relatives and associates were unsuccessful.

WHAT'S UP WITH NETWORK TV, PART 2! Or "WHO WANTS TO MARRY A MULTI-MILLIONAIRE?!"

A few months ago, I wrote a piece asking "What's up with network TV?"

In that entry, I wrote this:

"So much of what is shown in prime time, presumably for adults, is unwatchable, unless you're heavily medicated, which is why I guess there's so much advertising on network for pharmaceuticals. Even worse, the glimmers of hope that occasionally appear end up getting canceled prematurely because of mediocre ratings early on, which has everything to do with how much control advertisers have over network television. Quality shows that may need a little time to catch on frequently get a quick axe."

At that time, in April, I was bemoaning the premature cancellation of NBC's "KINGS," an imaginative, high quality, cable-style drama that should have revolutionized the failing network. Now, we are on a kind of death watch around here, religiously watching the remaining episodes, which just get better and better as the various characters evolve or devolve according to their arc.

Simultaneously, we've been watching on dvd, the entire series of "NORTHERN EXPOSURE," a show from the early 1990's. I'd never even seen one episode at the time, even though people who knew me then were always telling me that I would love it because of its off-beat spiritual and psychological underpinnings. But I was too busy in the early Nineties actually pursuing my own off-beat spiritual and psychological underpinnings to follow the evolution of "Dr. Joel Fleishman," the shows main character.

But here's the thing. The show didn't really hit its stride until the third season. (The episode from the third season we watched last night, in fact, won an Emmy for its excellent writing.) The show started as an eight-episode summer replacement series on CBS in 1990. It returned for seven more episodes in spring 1991. Then, by its third round in 1992, Northern Exposure became a regular Emmy and Golden Globe contender.

CBS, in other words, gave the show a chance!

By 1992, the ensemble cast had really gelled, and the characters' growth and changes over time had become compelling, and the writing stood the test of time. This kind of investment in quality doesn't seem to happen anymore on network television. No different than the manipulations of the stock markets by day traders and hedge funds that appeared in force in the 90's, networks became penny-wise and pound foolish, going for the instant bucks of reality shows that perfectly fed into the immediate gratification needs of a depressed populace being fleeced and lied to by the denizens of Wall Street and Washington on a regular basis. But programming that could actual uplift viewers to a higher place and be entertaining at the same time - in other words, shows that people actually had to watch to be enriched by, rather than stare at in a Xanax-induced haze - was deemed "not profitable enough."

Needless to say, this kind of addiction to short-term profit - this infection, to call it what it is - also caused, as we all know, the demise of any real news programming on network that was based on actual news.

Anyway, I highly recommend Northern Exposure and Kings, folks, if you have any time or energy left after working two jobs and trying to get your kids into private schools thanks to the demise of our economy and collapse of our public infrastructure caused by the malfeasance of the types who brought you "Who Wants To Marry A Multi-Millionaire?"

NATURE DOESN'T SCREW US WHEN IT COMES TO SEX! CHECK THIS OUT!!

WOW! This is literally a hot news story from the UK!
(Story by Jack Grimston)

Here's the scoop:

"A National Health Service leaflet is advising school pupils that they have a right to an enjoyable sex life and that regular intercourse can be good for their cardiovascular health. The advice appears in guidance circulated to parents, teachers and youth workers, and is intended to update sex education by telling pupils about the benefits of sexual pleasure. For too long, say its authors, experts have concentrated on the need for 'safe sex' and loving relationships while ignoring the main reason that many people have sex, that is, for enjoyment. The document, called 'Pleasure,' has been drawn up by NHS Sheffield, although it is also being circulated outside the city. Alongside the slogan 'an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away,' it says: 'Health promotion experts advocate five portions of fruit and veg a day and 30 minutes of physical activity three times a week. What about sex or masturbation twice a week?' Steve Slack, director of the Centre for HIV and Sexual Health at NHS Sheffield, who is one of the authors, argues that, far from promoting teenage sex, it could encourage young people to delay losing their virginity until they are sure they will enjoy the experience. Slack believes that as long as teenagers are fully informed about sex and are making their decisions free of peer pressure and as part of a caring relationship, they have as much right as an adult to a good sex life."

This is a slam dunk, people!

It does my heart so much good - as a parent and as a psychotherapist - to hear a professional in the field of sexual health saying that young people are naturally sexual and that a healthy sex life for them would be... HEALTHY!

I know that so many repressed, over-protective (i.e. - controlling) parents will be appalled at this report, but who are they kidding?

Hey - Weren't you sexually charged-up after puberty? Didn't you masturbate? Didn't you experiment with sexual play as a teenager? The vast majority of you did, of course.

But... did you feel guilty? At odds with the outer voices of authority telling you not to act on any of those feelings, or maybe worse, that those feelings were bad, sinful, inappropriate, dangerous even? Were the resultant inner prohibitions then so harsh and punitive that you dared not even really enjoy sex fully as an adult? Right. And are you still paying the price now for those negative messages about your own human nature... with sexual dysfunctions, intimacy problems and much worse? Right again.

This is wonderful news, everyone, and like the man says, this kind of honesty and openness doesn't lead to acting out and wanton, irresponsible promiscuity. It leads to loving one's body the way nature created it, and it leads to an increased capacity for pleasure and intimacy. In many countries where sexual prohibitions are rare, there are less incidents of rape and teen pregnancy and sexual dysfunction.

Get it? NATURE DOESN'T FUCK UP! Only human egos do!

Come on, fellow Americans, let's catch up. Let's be part of the new millennium in this most fundamental of areas.

REALITY HAS A "LIBERAL BIAS," AND SO DOES SCIENCE!!

A new study by the non-partisan Pew Research Center finds that only six percent of America's scientists identify themselves as Republicans; fifty-five percent call themselves Democrats. The ideological discrepancies were similar: nine percent of scientists said they were "conservative" while 66 percent described themselves as either "liberal" or "very liberal."

Hmm, why is that?!
BARNEY: "Gee, Fred, aren't we all in search of the Truth?"
FRED: "Maybe not the GOP, Barney."

"ANONYMOUS" RESPONDS TO BARNEY'S QUESTION ON REALITY & SCIENCE HAVING A LIBERAL BIAS! PL RESPONDS!!

HERE'S "ANONYMOUS":

"Hmm, why is that?!' Because they work in the land of Academia and the government, rather than in the real world. The reality they live in is outside the real world."

PL:

Ah, yes, Anon, thank you for reminding me. I always forget that only uneducated people live in the "real world," where the thoughtful examination of events, attitudes and things doesn't take place, where only dogmatic thinking and reflex-based, primal and ritualized behavior can be trusted.

Right.

WHO KILLED MICHAEL? AN UPDATE ON PL'S "THE PUBLIC'S OPTION!"

"Above all, do no harm"

This is from the Hippocratic Oath, traditionally taken by physicians pertaining to the ethical practice of medicine.

Meanwhile, a picture is emerging of Michael Jackson's copious consumption of prescription pills that is astounding. CNN obtained a confidential document that portrays the pop singer as heavily addicted to the powerful anti-anxiety drug Xanax. Jackson was routinely taking more than 10 Xanax pills a night, down from 30 to 40 Xanax pills a night. Additionally, TMZ reports that they've confirmed via law enforcement sources that Jackson had "dozens of injection sites and punctures all over his body the day he died."

ABOVE ALL, DO NO HARM.
 

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