Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 miscellany #7

In December we have had no real snow. Your cars are pleased. But earlier in the year, last winter we had more than enough. Supra, 2 February Cleveland east side, Route 2.
Sometimes, the picture you came for was not the interesting one. They were moving the replacement Columbus Road Bridge on the river, by barge. It was fun to watch, but no great pictures. Standing on another bridge to view the river Cuyahoga, i snapped this color picture that can pass as black and white. There are a lot of photographers that love black and white.
Dia de Muertos Ohio takes place around Cleveland Public Theatre at the old Saint Mary Romanian campus. In the old parish hall, Mexican Folkloric dancers performed. The room is too small for the crowd, and the dancers need some room. Before the Aztecs dance, they bring out smoke. It is good performance, my camera did not take good pictures with the non-dissipating smoke. And again rude photographers were to be found where people are tight around a performance, well it does not have to be tight. It is odd that these individuals are intent on the subject, yet are oblivious to other people in their proximity, even those they have body contact with.

I put most of this year miscellanies up early, these were the last few fotos. Some other good ones were held back because of similar subjects already posted. Some other ones do not stand alone, and either i did not want to write a description, or there is not much of one. How many pictures of house sparrows are needed?  Others were held back on account of my self censoring of snark. I wanted to post one of these mine sweeper people, and give a psychological portrait; let them go home with bottle caps and military garb.

I thought, i had some really good fotos this year. There are events worth going to for their fun and visual interest. Many are scheduled regularly. I have posted some events previously, and do not really need to make a new post for them. Still some local events i have missed (Wellington Scots' Games, Dragon Boat races, 19th century base ball), and some i can not find the interest. Some events, i can not produce or get fotos i like, it is rather disappointing to go to something and then nothing worthwhile.

I am of the current opinion that taking pictures outside in the cold is not fun. Got nothing in the near calendar. Snowy owls are in town.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Wagon Wheel

Fifty-six degrees on Christmas Eve singing "Wagon Wheel" on the corner of Ridge and Pearl, Parma Ohio.

“Thanks, Obama!”

some minutes ago on the corner of State and Snow, Parma O.

Selective memory, or blatant dishonesty? Some years ago, there was an oil crisis, some embargo on the US; gasoline was in shortage, and lines were long at the gasolineras. Now, i remember many Republicans trashing Jimmy Carter years after his presidency. I pointed out, that the same thing occurred earlier under Richard Nixon. These people were older than me, somehow they did not remember.

Some while back, i was in Medina Ohio, and i noticed the Republican bumperstickers on cars. One (i may be off a penny) was trashing Barack Obama on gasoline, it had the price of gas at $1.58 at his inauguration. Less than a year previous, it had been over $4.00, and then the bushjr great recession, and bankster national theft hit the nation, and the price of gas matched the downward flow of the economy. All of this is not remembered by Republicans. Yet, everything is Obama's fault. Yesterday, a stock index was above 18,000 for the first time, and gas is readily available at less than 2 dollars. Thanks, Obama!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Verschärfte Vernehmung

I remember reading a book by Condorcet, translated from the French. It was elegant and easy reading prose. Perhaps it was just an excellent translator, or even in translation there is a flow of French clarity. Now, German sounds klunky, and German word length appears longer, but each language makes sense in its own sphere. Now, much of the world has adopted the words 'television' and 'refrigerator'. Not too long ago these were new inventions. They were not items that existed in cultures for centuries. The Germans decided to use German words instead of adopting the new coinages. 'Fernseher' is a direct translation for 'television'. 'Kühlschrank' is a cold (or cooling) cupboard, not a direct translation, but an adequate local description. It is true, that, more languages and people recognise 'television' and 'refrigerator', than 'Fernseher' und 'Kühlschrank'; but they are accurate, straight forward, honest words.

'Verschärfte Vernehmung' is an orwellian term from the Third Reich. The first word's base is 'scharf' which is the exact same word as 'sharp', the prefix acts as an intensifier. 'Vernehmung' is an interrogation or verbal examination. After the war, those who conducted such things were prosecuted, and imprisoned. They were torturers, and the law did not permit this.

Now, Sunday, the New York Times [click] has called for prosecution of torturers who conducted Verschärfte Vernehmung, or as it is called in English, 'enhanced interrogation'. The list would include "Vice President Dick Cheney; Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington; the former C.I.A. director George Tenet; and John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the Office of Legal Counsel lawyers".

Until the aftermath of the 2006 elections, it was not possible to get a microphone to criticise the fascism of the régime. I wrote several times in the previous journal [click] touching on torture. After 2006 the power of the busheviks was dwindling. bushjr, himself, was known to be unhappy with his senior ruling partner. In the 2008 elections, the Republican Party was in a public panic about possible war crimes prosecution. Many Democrats within America (but not professional government officeholders) wanted investigation and prosecution. The new president, and his attorney general never acted, nor spoke on this. The Republicans were wanting to stall, or derail the confirmation of Holder, on the fear of such action. There has been this bipartisan pass on the criminality of Republican Party government criminality concerning international law.

The New York Times (even when it is less than perfect) is the standard of the press. We see repeatedly, when the 'conservative' or the 'reich wing' spout an issue, it is often echoed and continued through out the press, even when it is nonsense or mendacious. We wait to see if the press will call and cry for justice.
addendum: Why is torture done? Because it is effective? No, it is done because it is cruel.
Shakespeare told us it was ineffective:
PORTIA: Ay, but I fear you speak upon the rack,
Where men enforced do speak anything. — The Merchant of Venice III. ii. 33-4.
John McCain is a typical Republican, they goosestep the entire programme. But when some of these Republicans actually encounter something real, they can make an exception on that one thing they know. McCain was tortured. On this subject, he is knowledgeable. He is publicly always against it.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

the Rams 5

Hej, Peyton Manning is whoring himself all over teevee. No one is saying, "Hej don't he have enough football money?". In America, commercial speech is free speech. Campaign money, political contributions are free speech, so says the Supreme Court. The Bill of Rights allows freedom of speech free from government censure.

The National Football League is an extremely profitable, and protected monopoly. It shakes down cities to use their resources. They spent money on lawyers, and lying doctors to cover up and deny the damage the game does to players. Many teams have had unpaid cheerleaders for entertainment, and entertainment for big spenders. They have the government consider themselves as a "non-profit" enterprise. The public pays taxes, the NFL and its league of owners not so much...

The business manager of the St. Louis police, Jeff Roorda, became disturbed after a football game on 30 November began with the speech shown in the photograph above:

 "The St. Louis Police Officers Association is profoundly disappointed with the members of the St. Louis Rams football team who chose to ignore the mountains of evidence released from the St. Louis County Grand Jury this week and engage in a display that police officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive and inflammatory.   Five members of the Rams entered the field today exhibiting the "hands-up-don't-shoot" pose that has been adopted by protestors who accused Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson of murdering Michael Brown. The gesture has become synonymous with assertions that Michael Brown was innocent of any wrongdoing and attempting to surrender peacefully when Wilson, according to some now-discredited witnesses, gunned him down in cold blood. ...  The SLPOA is calling for the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a very public apology.... Roorda warned, "I know that there are those that will say that these players are simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Well I've got news for people who think that way, cops have first amendment rights too, and we plan to exercise ours. I'd remind the NFL and their players that it is not the violent thugs burning down buildings that buy their advertiser's products. It's cops and the good people of St. Louis and other NFL towns that do. Somebody needs to throw a flag on this play. If it's not the NFL and the Rams, then it'll be cops and their supporters."

Roorda is a whiny, hypocritical, bullying jerk. It goes with the territory. Darren Wilson is allowed to kill with impunity, i suppose, Roorda can demand the public punishment of men raising their hands.
postscriptum 14 December 2014: To-day's Cleveland Browns game, a similar incident. A wide receiver had a shirt with the words,  “Justice for Tamir Rice - John Crawford”. Immediate reaction from the outgoing Police Union President, Jeff Follmer, “It's pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law. They should stick to what they know best on the field. The Cleveland Police protect and serve the Browns stadium and the Browns organization owes us an apology.” A few days ago the U.S. Attorney General made public an investigation on the Cleveland police. Follmer's comment was, “It's disappointing when people take a look back and criticize what we did.

Criticism is prohibited by the police of the police.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thomas Merton

There is a Trappist Abbey in Kentucky. In 1848 forty-three monks arrived in central Kentucky from the Abbey of Melleray, France. They arrived on 21 December 1848. They state themselves: the next day they prayed seven times, and every day they pray seven times, unto the end. Perhaps, the best known resident was the spiritual writer, Thomas Merton (†December 10th 1968), Father Louie. The success of his auto-biography, The Seven Storey Mountain (1948), was a Godsend to the monastery, in both financial support, and increase in numbers to more than 300. Merton was also a poet, and an artist. He wrote on inter-faith dialogue, social and racial justice, and peace issues. Not every one was happy with this, including the government. To-day, there are few monks there who wish to discuss Merton, “he’s just another monk”.
“Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.”

“We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God.”

“We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have - for their usefulness.”

“We stumble and fall constantly even when we are most enlightened. But when we are in true spiritual darkness, we do not even know that we have fallen.”

“A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.”

“It is true that the materialistic society, the so-called culture that has evolved under the tender mercies of capitalism, has produced what seems to be the ultimate limit of this worldliness. And nowhere, except perhaps in the analogous society of pagan Rome, has there ever been such a flowering of cheap and petty and disgusting lusts and vanities as in the world of capitalism, where there is no evil that is not fostered and encouraged for the sake of making money. We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.”
Two hours before he died, he gave a speech in Thailand, here is an excerpt:
“The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.”
He touched a light coming out of a shower. He was under government surveillance. His body was flown back on a military plane from Viet Nam. When the brothers back in Kentucky were asked whether they thought it was not an accident, they said, No. Merton was accident prone.

 He is buried next to the abbey church. Many people have come to visit his grave.

Monday, December 8, 2014

narthex reflection

reflection of stained glass on narthex floor of Immaculate Conception Cleveland

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Saint Ambrose was elected by the 'mob'

To-day is St. Ambrose, (Aurelius Ambrosius) *339, 397†, one of the four Latin Doctors of the early church. Ambrose lived in a time when Arians (anti-Nicene) and Catholics (Nicene) were both active and adversarial in the Church. In those days, Milan was more important than Rome. Auxentius, an Arian, was bishop of Milan and died in 374. An assembly of Christians were to elect a new bishop. Ambrose was the governor of the region, and came to prevent a disturbance. Ambrose was spontaneously elected bishop by the assembly. At that time, Ambrose was not baptised. He went into hiding, but he was discovered. In a week, he was baptised, ordained, and installed as Bishop of Milan.

He is the only early Christian that we have an existing likeness of, see the mosaic in the Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio Milan, the church that was first built when Ambrose was bishop as Basilica Martyrum (379-386), it has been expanded several times. In 1943 it suffered aerial bombing.

The saying, ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’ is popularised from his words, “When in Rome, live as the Romans do; when elsewhere, live as they live elsewhere”, and “When I am at Rome, I fast on a Saturday; when I am at Milan, I do not. Follow the custom of the church where you are”.

He said, and wrote, other stuff too:

“Wealth, which leads men the wrong way so often, [should be] seen less for its own qualities than for the human misery it stands for. The large rooms of which you are so proud are in fact your shame. They are big enough to hold crowds -- and also big enough to shut out the voice of the poor! The poor man cries before your house, and you pay no attention. There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there, confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

“There is nothing evil save that which perverts the mind and shackles the conscience.”

“It is not from your own goods that you give to the beggar; it is a portion of his own that you are restoring to him. The Earth belongs to all. So you are paying back a debt and think you are making a gift to which you are not bound.”

“God, who preferred the correction rather than the death of a sinner, did not desire that a homicide be punished by the exaction of another act of homicide.”

“Nothing graces the Christian soul so much as mercy; mercy as shown chiefly towards the poor, that thou mayest treat them as sharers in common with thee in the produce of nature, which brings forth the fruits of the earth for use to all.”

“Jesus came as a gentle, humble man. He excludes no one, nor does he send anyone away.”

“If you have two shirts in your closet, one belongs to you and the other to the man with no shirt.”