Tag Archives: National

“Scandal:” The meaning of the word

(Originally posted 2012-07-28 at Trojan Horse Productions. Note that this was after Aurora and prior to Sandy Hook.  Reposted 2014-01-11.)

I don’t have the wherewithal to actually buy and read newspapers; at the convenience store, I merely read the headlines. I found this article by doing a news Google on “Crofton massacre” — which fact illustrates the point I’ll make below.

Police: Md. man made threat, ‘joker’ reference

The English word “scandal” comes from the Greek skandalon, which literally means “stumbling block;” as in Matthew 18:6, where in the King James Version it is translated as “offense,” and Matthew 13:57, which would be translated literally, “They stumbled at him.”

We find that scandals make two different kinds of people “stumble” in two different ways.
Continue reading “Scandal:” The meaning of the word

Advertisements

The New Age is a lot of hooey

(Originally published 09/06/13 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Reblogged 12/16/13.)

I keep telling them not to let guys sit on the bench in the shower buck naked.

They don’t listen.

So again, Friday night 08/30/13, when I went to put my stuff on the bench, here was this heavy brown smudge.  I carefully avoided it, but I told the peacekeeper, Philip, since he has access to gloves, rags and bleach, and I don’t.  He was texting.

When I came out of the shower to dry off and dress, the smudge was still there.  Philip was still texting.

This is a perfect example of why I think the New Age is just so much hooey. There is work to do here and now.  That it may not all be pleasant doesn’t change the fact: there is work to do here and now.

HOW IT HAPPENS

The ecliptic is a great circle in the sky along which the Sun, moon and planets all move.  All eclipses occur along this line; thus the name.  The constellations of the Zodiac are lined up along this circle as well.

Although the Sun is on the ecliptic at all times, every day it moves a bit westward along the ecliptic, almost but not quite completing a full circle once every year.  The degree as a unit of measure for angles, came to be as ancient astronomers sought to plot this motion — 360 degrees makes a full circle, just as 365¼ days make a full year.  The Sun moves about one degree westward along the ecliptic each day.

The Sun’s position on the first day of spring is called the “equinoctial point.”  Because the Sun does not quite complete a full circle along the ecliptic in a year, the equinoctial point moves very gradually eastward along the ecliptic, completing a full circle every 25,800 years.  The equinoctial point passes through each constellation of the Zodiac in an average of 2,150 years.

Right now, the equinoctial point, where the Sun is on the first day of spring, is in Aquarius. Thus we are said to currently be in “the Age of Aquarius.”  Since this began only a few years ago, it is being called the “New Age.”  Immediately previous to this was the Age of Pisces (the Fishes), which began circa 30 CE; previous to that was the Age of Aries (the Ram), which began circa 1400 BCE.  It is notable that at the dawn of the Age of Pisces, the New Testament focused on twelve fishermen (Matthew 14:19); and that at the dawn of the Age of Aries, the Bible focused on twelve shepherds (Genesis 46:32).

WEATHER FORECAST

The most familiar expression of the promises that have been made concerning this “New Age,” is in the lyrics of the opening song of the 1967 musical Hair:

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius …

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation

I have what I feel are good reasons to believe in something like astrology. But as to all this “New Age” stuff, I have my doubts.

SKEPTICISM

On the one hand, I see no evidence that it’s going to happen.

The Age of Aquarius so far seems to me no different from the Age of Pisces before it, nor from the Age of Aries before that.  Human behavior hasn’t changed in the last 10 years, or 50, or 100, or 500, nor 1000.

From the Bible: ca. 1000 BCE, David “defeated the Moabites and, making them lie down on the ground, measured them off with a cord; he measured two lengths of cord for those who were to be put to death, and one length for those who were to be spared. *** [H]e killed eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.” (2 Samuel 8:2,13)

Was that age more brutal than our own?

Pol Pot’s “killing fields,” the genocide in Rwanda, “ethnic cleansing” of Darfur, activities of Charles Taylor, massacre at Srebrenica, and 9/11 were all New Age events.

On the other hand, to lose oneself in dreams of an inevitable wonderful future is the antithesis of presence.  It does not empower one to do the work that must be done here and now; not to deal with an abusive boss, a cold spouse, a rebellious child, a terminal illness.  It will not lift me out of homelessness or joblessness.

The task I face most consistently right now is to see God’s image in my neighbor, who in my current context is disproportionately likely to be ugly, filthy, addicted, deranged, dependent or criminal.  I cannot wait for a time when my neighbors will all be beautiful; I must do it now.  This is my task, without any reference to any New Age.

Don’t get me wrong.  The future has my permission to be just as glorious as it may choose.  Right now, however, someone needs to clean the shower bench.

on air talent, talk show host, talk radio, the homeless blogger

The Rich and the Rest of Us

(Originally posted 04/18/12 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Reposted 12/11/13.)

From a flyer announcing a presentation tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Enoch Pratt Free Library:

Record unemployment and rampant corporate greed, empty houses but homeless families, dwindling opportunitites in a paralyzed nation — these are the realities of America, land of the free and home of the new middle-class poor.

In The Rich and the Rest of Us, award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West, one of the nation’s leading public intellectuals, take on the “p” word — poverty. They challenge all Americans to re-examine their assumptions about poverty in America — what it is and how to eradicate it.

I cannot attend that presentation, even if I wanted to, since as of 3:00 p.m. I must head back to the shelter to stay in for the night.

I know little about Cornel West and nothing about Tavis Smiley, but I do know something about poverty. I do not believe it can be eradicated. Thus any analysis that supposes that it can, is mistaken at its core.

talk show host, on air talent, talk radio, the homeless blogger

The most outrageous feature of the Secret Service scandal …

In 2012, during a trip by President Obama to a conference in Columbia, a number of Secret Service agents hooked up with some — hookers — in a hotel room.  One service provider wound up having a dispute with one client over how much she should be paid.  She evaluated the services she’d rendered at ~$750.  He did not.  The dispute spilled over onto the street and drew the attention of the police.  Thus we had a bit of a scandal.

In my view, however, the most outrageous feature of the event …

… is that he only offered her $30.

Any woman I’d engage gets more than that merely to bat her eyelashes and giggle.

In context, this detail only epitomizes the overwhelming hubris of the entire situation, and is well worth costing the gentleman his job.

(Originally posted 04/17/12 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Reposted 12/04/13.)

talk show host, on air talent, talk radio, the homeless blogger

We are the 47%

(Originally published 09/18/2012 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reposted 10/24/2013.)

Romney: Obama voters ‘believe they are victims’

First, let me say I believe the Republicans nominated the right person. Second, I have no special mission here to post things that put Mitt Romney in a bad light. I also am not keen on secret taping of anyone. (Remember Linda Tripp?)

Those things said, this report gives me lots of mixed feelings.

And my “facts” are certainly subject to correction.

I find it hard to believe 47% of Americans pay no income taxes. For the past several years I have had income so low as to have no income tax obligation, so that I get a complete refund of all taxes withheld; but one has to have a REALLY low income for that to happen, and with the U.S. median household income at roughly $50,000/year, I have to believe most of the folk in that lower 50% face some income tax liability.

The characterization of people who work full-time as “dependent” is questionable.

And I would look forward to polling or other public opinion research to verify what portion of this 47% hold to “entitlement” or “victim” mentalities. Such data will be much harder to come by during the current controversy. Please note that I myself speak to those frames of mind in this blog.

Not all the 47% will vote for Obama. They include a disproportionate number of folk who don’t vote at all, including convicted felons who cannot vote. And I have to assume a significant portion of the 47% have been Romney supporters all along.

Postscript, 09/20/12:

Who are Mitt Romney’s 47 percent? A breakdown

This article helps some, but I want still more information. How many of those who don’t pay income tax, support Romney?
talk show host, on air talent, radio talk show, the homeless blogger

Will the real Malala please stand up?

Malala, survivor of Taliban, resented in Pakistan hometown

Malala Yousafzai’s friends wounded in Taliban attack continue education

Malala Yousafzai: Why the global hero is scorned in Pakistan

The media have been bringing us contradictory reports of how Malala is viewed in her homeland.

Conspiracies do occur. In my previous work as a legal secretary, I was privy to secret campaigns to manipulate public opinion in various ways. That often comes to mind when I see a flurry of media coverage on any given subject. In recent years, for example, there was an explosion of coverage of the creation of vaccines for new, terrifying strains of the flu — that may not have proved so terrifying after all, but for the media hype itself — that impressed me as very likely a campaign to raise public esteem for pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Here we have two competing constituencies that, for whatever reason, are competing for U.S. public opinion concerning this woman.

(Originally posted 10/14/13.)
on air talent, radio talk show, talk show host, the homeless blogger

My record cannot be expunged. (UPDATED)

(Originally posted 10/04/13.  See update, below.)

Yesterday I researched expungement in Maryland. My conviction was in mid-October 2010, and I’d understood one could get a misdemeanor expunged after three years, so I was hoping to take care of that now. Turns out there is no expungement of any guilty verdict, except in the case of any of a long list of truly trivial nuisance crimes, e.g. urinating in public or not paying one’s fare on the subway. To clear my record, I must apply for a pardon, for which I become eligible only after five years of being arrest-free after the end of probation (Oct. 2011). The paperwork is extensive. One’s application must include copies of one’s high school and college diplomas, any discharge from bankruptcy, and certified copies of one’s driving record from any state in which one has ever had a license (as in my case, Ohio until 1978).

So for the time being, until October 2016, my one (1) misdemeanor conviction will continue to bar me from employment with many of Maryland’s largest employers.

Previous post: Hiring discrimination and “backgrounds”

Update

At this writing, I have no intention of seeking a pardon.  My current job search history shows that, since the “ban the box” legislation took effect, my record poses no obstacle to interviews with, and even job offers from, the employers of interest to me.  As noted in the post linked to, however, before that change in the law, certain major employers were rejecting my applications out of hand.

Change your diet.

(Originally posted 05/28/12 at Trojan Horse Productions.)

Garbage in, garbage out.

I spent Memorial Day at Dunkin’ Donuts writing “A star is born.” As of noon, I’d developed the plan to wrap up about 3:00 and, on my way back to the shelter, check out this new strip joint on The Block.

I finished just in time, bought smokes at a convenience store, and headed for the bar …

… which will remain nameless. No show was happening. The bartender was in no rush to take my order. Not one female made a move to pay me any mind.

The killer was Weezy comin’ out the juke box with language I wouldn’t use in the presence of a whore.

The time had come to write this post.

I got a Heinie and a Corona, chugged them both down, and left.

Garbage in, garbage out.

Some people choose to swim in filth.

Would you choose to swim in a septic tank?
How long can you swim in there without swallowing some deadly poison?

(A little-known Baltimore fact: in the block north of City Hall, the “municipal building,” where you can pay your parking tickets and water bills, is named after a man who deserves to be a hero. Abel Wolman played a major role in putting chlorine into America’s drinking water. Before then, American tap water — like tap water in most other countries — was not safe to drink. Wolman’s work saved many tens of thousands of lives that would otherwise have been lost to cholera, typhus, or other deadly diseases.)

If you wouldn’t swim in material filth, why swim in a filth of ideas?

As an adult, you can choose what does or doesn’t come into your home.
You choose what music, if any, your children “swim in” in the car.
At any age, you choose what goes into your CD or mp3 player.

You choose what to buy.

You choose what you feed your mind.

If it has one of those “explicit” stickers on it, buy something else. Play something else.
If it’s already in your house, put it in the trash, where it belongs.

Your quality of life will improve.

talk show host, on air talent, radio talk show, the homeless blogger

* The End of Anger, by Ellis Cose (2001) …

… is a slim volume for $24.99. The description on inside front dust jacket concludes it “may well be the most important book dealing with race to be published in recent decades.” That strikes me as presumptuous. The front matter includes a list of the author’s other titles, from which it appears he seldom writes about anything else.

Yet the portions I browsed remind me of something I want to do on my own show. The preface examines in some detail changes in public opinion polls between 2008 and 2010. I don’t attach the weight to these facts that Cose does. But if, for example, the President’s approval rating rises with one group and falls with another group in the same time frame, I would like to find out from listeners whose opinions changed and why; to examine with listeners how their thinking works, and on what bases their opinions change.

(Originally posted 05/12/12 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Reposted 10/26/17.)