June 11th, 2012


Rendering Unto Caesar: Venus Upstages the Imperial Orb‏

During my late teen years I faced the prospect of living in the adult world of slavery. I did not relish the idea. I found it as appealing as sour milk, something the neighbor's dog lapped up with gusto. If anyone had suggested that my distaste for slavery was due to a chemical imbalance, I would have offered them a carton of the stuff that I fed to the eager dog next door. I resigned myself to living in the gloomy domain of subjugation, attempting to live the best life I could regardless of the situation.

During the recent full moon, I got to talking with an acquaintance about celestial phenomena. He mentioned that Venus was due to transit the Sun again. It is a regular event that the ancients could not have observed. The celestial upstaging of the mighty Sol by the diminutive Venus coincided with intrigue at the Vatican. The pope's butler had been caught with internal Vatican papers during an investigation of a leak of documents to the press. The entertainment industry had upstaged the Vicar of Caesar Jesus and the Roman imperial orb. As above, so below.

At the same time the office of the Inquisition issued a ban on a handful of books. The one most prominent was authored by a member of the Sisters of Mercy. This put the book on my reading list. Although the ban may keep the book out of the hands of Roman students, it will become required reading for students of Rome. It advocates attitudes toward human sexuality that make Roman power brokers cringe in fear and disgust.

In a discussion of the Vatileaks and book banning affairs, one of our students observed that this could not be considered a corruption scandal. There is nothing scandalous about corruption at the Vatican. It constitutes business as usual. Another student observed that the book banning affair reminds her of the parable of the Garden of Eden. The naked aggression of Rome indicates her fallen nature. A third student wondered who would stand to gain most by the events of the past week. A variety of benefactors were mentioned including the followers of Ignatius.

Collapse )

What do you do to subjugate yourself and others to Rome?

Links: AFP evaluates fallout from leaks. American Catholics support censured Sister.
Godzilla, default

The War that Never Was: Operation Downfall:


One of the most fascinating and horrifying parts of WWII is the War that Never Was. This was the plan for the invasion of Japan, Operation Downfall, averted by the combination of Marshal Meretskov and Fat Man and Little Boy. If Downfall had been launched, it would have been required to strike in areas where the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy knew it could do so, always the most lethal of potential moves in warfare. Downfall would have been a horrific bloodbath, the Japanese were planning large-scale employment of the Kamikaze suicide planes and self-guided suicide gliders, they were going to mass teenage girls with broomsticks on the shores of the Kanto Plain and in Kyushu to resist the US invasion.

The most brutal statistic of Downfall is that the supply of Purple Hearts readied for it in the 2010s has still not yet been exhausted, even counting Korea, and even counting Vietnam. Japan's defeat was foredoomed before the invasion would have been launched, and the prospect of a bloodbath akin to Aachen, Konigsberg, Berlin, Danzig, Nuremberg, would have become reality again in Asia, as it had been in Manila. There is no question that the atomic bombs were an utter evil, in concept, and an utter evil in execution. The question posed, given that both the USA and Japan were in earnest planning this apocalypse, is what happens if the USA did go along with the invasion?

In reality of course Downfall never happened, but if it had happened, I think that the result would have been more horrific than the Bomb was for Japan. Given the Imperial Army almost deposed the Emperor and went through with extending the war anyway, this was a very near-missed apocalypse. Does this justify the atomic bomb? In reality it's never easy to use a hypothetical to justify a reality, though I think that given how in earnest those two states were that it's hard to argue that the one was the lesser evil to the other, though both were alike evils.

And this is without considering the prospects of Unit 731's bubonic plague bombs or the USA's plan to nuke areas *before sending its own soldiers right through multiple ground zeroes* for further fodder for the earlier paragraphs.....

Atheism in America

So, I know, I know, atheism is just something that middle or upper-middle class white folks have the luxury of thinking about and it's really just a #firstworldproblem that we atheists should be all too happy to have, right?

Well, yes and no. There's still employment discrimination.
For example:

South Carolina's State Constitution, Article VI
Section 2:
"No person who denies the existence of the Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution."

Tennessee's State Constitution, Article 9 Section 2
"No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state."

Texas' State Constitution, Article 1 Section 4
"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being."

I sure do love living in a country where I am free to believe what I want and nobody will hold it against me.

And since I'm sure a troll, devils advocate or honest believer will pop up out of the woodworks for this, who thinks that these sorts of laws are OK in the US? Or just in general.

Can we agree that religious discrimination for a secular govt position is unacceptable?
Kill Commie

No soviet in Euro-2012

I`ve never been to any football fan or even a sports fan, but...    
Big request to the Polish people, if during the "Euro-2012" you will see scarlet T-shirt adorned with the image of a funeral wreath - the emblem of the USSR, I beg you do not to limit yourself to the tolerance, you will need to free those feelings that makes you this symbolism. It is necessary to clearly understand that red commie pigs - have no place in a Europe, soviet assholes on Polish land - not the place.

You don`t need to keep their emotions and impulses, best of all  remember like Marshal Pilsudski kicked  the ass red aggressor Tukhachevsky. Did you forget Pilsudski and polish-soviet war 1919-1921? Did you forget 20000 polish officer killed by KGB murderers in Katyn? Did you forget 45 years of soviet occupation? 
I don`t want to believe it. 
So don`t be shy in the media, brothers, and remember that in Russia many of those who will applaud you for each beaten commie snout, for each kick in the red ass. 

Prohibition of the the soviet and nazi symbolics even according to your law.
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Is There a House for all of us?

During my long and winding road through undergraduate hell, I took a developmental psychology class (basically a fancy way of saying “we will explore how we learn and develop over time the way we do”); the concept of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was discussed.  The context the class used MHN was to explain how infants internally navigate the various desires and needs, given that they have no way to enunciate to their parents or caregivers other than through the most basic ways to express themselves: babbling, crying, smiling, etc.  For the uninitiated, the Hierarchy of Needs (see image)
Source: Wikipedia tries to explain and categorize the various physical and emotional needs that humans possess in a way that is easy follow and rational. Maslow’s Hierarchy is not without critics though, and those who wish to add on to it based off of original research, but I think for the example of this OP the current accepted version is acceptable.  There are five steps of levels: from the most basic needs to self-actualization.  The pyramid implies that the lower level needs have to be met before the individual can achieve every level or step above it.  For example, to meet employment security, you need to be able to have access to a place that is safe, have access to food, water, etc.  As you move up the chain, the needs become less bodily oriented and more psychological (needs of acceptance, intimacy, self-esteem/worth), and even then they are met, there is no guarantee that due to outside circumstances you can’t slide down the chain as well as go up it.

[Moar below (click to open)]
If anyone is wondering, I do have a reason for this OP; I would like to give an anecdote: when I was younger, my father and I were reduced to living out of our car for a couple of weeks, due to our house being foreclosed on and my father not having any visible means to support us outside of living in and out of hotels for most of the summer of 1994.  It was probably the worst summer I have ever experienced, from the most basic needs or having a stable roof over my head not met on a consistent basis to the constant threat of physical safety due to the checkered areas we would stay due to the paradox of things costing more to poorer people due to the economy than their wealthier counterparts. For example: an extended stay hotel could easily run 800 dollars every four weeks (not a month, gotta figure in those extra few days) compared to 500-550 a month for a larger apartment, but due to poorer people not having credit or references or the security deposit... you get the idea. But that's not what I wanted to discuss though, but it is on the same vein: housing. 

I recently came across an Amnesty International web page that said that there are roughly 3.5 million homeless in the United States, but there are 18.5 million vacant homes as well, about a six to one ratio. Call me the most bleeding heart you wish, I personally believe that it is unconscionable to allow millions of Americans who are at the lowest point to wallow while millions of homes sit vacant and depreciating in curb appeal and selling price.  I can see how the matching of homeless Americans with vacant houses can be a win-win-win for all involved: the homeless get a place they can call home, the banks get a person to live in the house and will be motivated to keep it up (hopefully, but I have a way to better ensure this, read on), and neighbors who have been seeing their home values plummet due to the glut of unsold houses will get a reprieve.   

How is this possible? It would take a major act of government, but it's doable: first the government would have to take ownership of the houses to be parceled out to homeless and needy.  This is a major hurdle, but I am sure banks would be happy to work with the government knowing that they can offload houses they can't sell for market value.  Second, the houses and tenants would be put together government via agencies with the knowledge that those people who can work who would live in said house are offered jobs (possibly to work on repairing their own house and others like theirs) in exchange for living.  The houses in turn aren't so much a welfare act, but as an opportunity to gain job skills while being able to not live on the street.  Also, the government should make the private ownership of the property available to those people that have taken advantage of what was offered and prospered, given them another reason to take care of where they live.

Anyway, this is all pie in the sky (and probably not well thought out, but hey, it's a Monday night) liberal bleeding heart, but I think it could be successfully implemented if there was enough support for all sides to at least give it a pilot and see how it went. What say my you, my talk_politics friends?