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klook

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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: GA
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 4,809

About Me

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Journal Archives

Prez and Lady Day die, "Kind of Blue" is born - watershed year

Wow.

Thanks so much for posting this.

Whenever somebody tells me they'd like to know more about jazz but just don't know where to start, I loan them Kind of Blue. That's the best door in I know of.

Trane's Giant Steps (OK, released in 1960 -- but recorded in 1959), Thelonious Monk at Town Hall, Jazz in Silhouette by Sun Ra. And later that year and into 1960, Miles and Gil Evans record Sketches of Spain. It's as though every orchid in the world bloomed at once.



And Sonny Rollins was on sabbatical, playing on the bridge every night, germinating his own musical garden.

Wow.

There are two factors that make Republicans white hot with rage over "Obamacare" ...

1. The "Obama" part, of course.
2. It's a government program that helps people in need.

#1 is simple, as we've discussed on hundreds of DU threads since January 2009. Right-wingers think Obama is the Anti-Christ.

#2 is the other key, I think. Their orthodoxy tells them that nothing the government does can possibly be any good, except intrusions into private morality and the military. But it's more than that. I really believe a lot of them have this Randian/Libertarian view that if you're in need, it's your own fault. And any help you get should come from your church. (What? You don't have one?? Then just die.)

Many on the Right apparently take satisfaction in punishment of the "indolent" by means of the free market's Invisible Hand. When poor people suffer, when government employees lose their pensions, or when the buyers of sub-prime mortgages lose their homes, it's their proof that "the system is working." Of course, many of them don't actively relish this suffering -- more often they're just indifferent to the suffering. If forced to consider the misery, the general reaction is "What do I care? It's not me or my family."

I know you know all this... I'm just scratching my head along with you over their illogic and obliviousness. (And I'm lumping all conservatives into the same mindset, when really there are variations and nuances within the group. But I think this describes the prevailing mindset.)

Sometimes in a paranoid moment, it seems to me that this is just the end game of an elaborate right-wing conspiracy to get the Heritage Foundation's plan in place. But the way it's played out, with all the attempts to stifle "a government takeover of health care," I really think it's more that the RW spinmeisters have manipulated the popular conservative imagination into seeing the ACA as the demonic offspring of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. We hear the law described as the undoing of the Constitution, proof that Obama is a dictator, a victory for Marxism, the triumph of evil in this world, and so on.

In a weird way, I have to just stand back and marvel at the ability of the right-wing brainwashing apparatus to convince their flock that a plan based on an industry-friendly model cooked up by a conservative think tank (and implemented by a Republican governor) is somehow "socialism."

And I predict, that like moon landing-deniers, many of them will never believe the successes of the ACA are for real, no matter how much evidence is presented to them.

Rick Steves' Iran: Yesterday and Today

The first thing I thought of when I heard about the nuclear deal with Iran was the amazing Rick Steves TV program, Iran: Yesterday and Today. I know it takes a lot of hard diplomatic work to make a deal like this succeed, but somewhere in the mix, doesn't Rick Steves deserve some credit for nudging public opinion just a bit and humanizing the people of Iran?

As he says at the end of the documentary:
Iran is an ancient and proud land, with a rich culture. Traveling here, it felt like a paradox, its contradictions difficult to understand. While our governments may be at odds, the people we met were consistently curious, generous, and friendly. I found that, like in my country, there's a tension between modern and traditional, liberal and conservative, secular and religious.

Maybe we're all just struggling to defend the moral fabric of our respective society. I've been wondering to what extent the U.S.A.-Iran tensions might be explained by caring people on both sides motivated by love and fear. And the flip side of fear is understanding.

... I came to Iran a little nervous. I leave impressed more by what we have in common than by our differences. I've overcome my fear by getting to know the Iranian people. Granted, there are no easy solutions to the problems confronting our two nations. But surely, getting to know this culture is a step in the right direction.

I'm Rick Steves. Happy travels. And as they say here, "Peace be upon us."








And here's the whole documentary -- well worth your time to watch the entire thing:



Hats off, Rick!

A few other areas, too










Looks different when you look at the winner-take-all map of electoral college results, of course. I won't copy that one here, because it's easy enough to find in hundreds of places.

I'm from the South, and I'm opposed to both South-bashing and North-bashing.

And West-bashing and East-bashing. And Midwest-bashing. And Pacific and Arctic bashing. And so on.

What I support is Rightwinger-bashing. But even that is tempered by a desire to see more Morans converted to Progressivism.

Just grind up some burned tires,

blend with pencil shavings, and steep in dishwater. Make your own Starbucks!

Make mine a double short grande soy boysenberry frappucino, no foam, with an extra shot of decaf, add hazelnut and whipped goat's milk.

Gotta say, very weird worldview, dude

I've worked with people who are hell-bent on advancement through office politics and internecine warfare. They often don't last long, either because they're constantly changing jobs to find an edge or because they create such an aura of rancor that somebody eventually has enough of their shit and finds a way to get rid of them.

I can think of one job I had where a bully boss (not mine, thank goodness) fit this description. He was always snooping around for dirt on people, telling people different things to pit them against each other to his advantage, and so on. The standard Looking Out for Number One Machiavellian orientation. His assistant -- who was cordial to him with gritted teeth while they worked together -- stabbed him in the back, which he richly deserved, in her exit interview. He was gone within the month.

I have a few other examples from the long landscape of my work life, but I don't really feel like spelling them all out here. I'll just say that the patterns are sickeningly repetitive.

My own approach has been to be a cooperative team player, to learn all I can, and try to provide good value to every organization I'm a part of. It hasn't always worked out for the best -- shit happens sometimes -- but in most situations I've received stellar feedback about my performance, advancements and raises, and the high regard of superiors and colleagues. (No brag, just fact.) I've advised my kids to take the same approach (one I learned from my dad), and it's served them well in their scholastic and work lives as well.

I find the approach you describe akin to road rage. It's like going into the office every day as though it were a battlefield or a viper pit. I know some work environments are like that, but sometimes when we go into a situation expecting enemies on all sides, that's just what we get.

As a wise man I used to work with said once, "Some people have bad neighbors everywhere they go."

Outside the Facebook wall

As a non-Facebook user, I've been increasingly disturbed over the past few years to see not only the erosion of privacy that comes with dependency on Facebook, but also the insular quality of interactions between Facebook users (to the exclusion of those of us outside the Facebook wall).

Today came the harshest example yet: I took a look at the Facebook page of one of my best friends, for the first time in a long while, and discovered that his mother died fairly unexpectedly -- several weeks ago! So I feel like a jerk for not offering condolences sooner, but I haven't talked to this guy recently, neither he nor his wife emailed or called or wrote with the news, and I didn't hear this sad news from any mutual friends either.

Just the latest reminder that if you're not on Facebook, you assume peripheral status in the lives of many people you may regard as being in your inner circle.

I've chosen to avoid Facebook not because I'm a Luddite -- I work in IT; I've used various computer operating systems for many years; I manage a couple of blogs and a couple of non-profit web sites in my spare time; I use a smartphone; and I try to stay current with fresh technological developments in many areas, because these things interest me. I find Facebook's privacy policies to be untrustworthy, based on many reported incidents and personal observations over the years.

Sure, maybe I should just lighten up and climb over the wall to enjoy the Facebook life -- connected, informed, affirmed, responded-to, etc. But I'm just not feeling it, and don't expect I ever will. Facebook's tracking of members' online activity is scary. Many users agree with me and have filed a class action lawsuit over their policies. So no, I won't be sacrificing my privacy any time soon for the warm, friendly experience that Big Brother Zuckerberg wants to give me.

It's also true that I don't have strong "affiliation needs." I'm not reclusive by any means, but I don't need constant affirmation from -- and contact with -- friends and acquaintances either. You wanna talk to me? It's pretty easy -- give me a holler, ping me, stop by the house, meet me for a beer, whatever. I don't necessarily care to join 500 of your closest friends to read online what you're eating tonight, what funny cat video you just discovered, or how many people "Like" your vacation photos. But if you're my friend and it's you and me talking or hanging out, pretty much whatever comes up is cool. (And yes, btw, I do love funny cat videos, so let's laugh at a couple together over a beer.)

I know many people love and use Facebook daily. If you are one of them, please don't take this personally -- I'm not condemning Facebook users or saying they're all narcissists. But I am really disturbed by what it's doing to relationships. And I'm not giving up (what's left of) my privacy just to be on the other side of the wall with you.

Sure, Facebook is great for members to stay in touch with other Facebook members. Life inside the wall can be rewarding. There are many happy stories of people connecting with old friends via Facebook and deepening emotional connections with those they already know. I'm not talking about all that. I'm talking about the wall that Facebook puts up between us, between those of you on the inside of the wall and those few pathetic losers like me outside the wall.

Ultimately, this is really just a plea for those inside the Facebook wall to fold up a note into a paper airplane and send it over the wall now and then, or maybe puff up a smoke signal the rest of us can see. We miss you.

Pardon the rant -- just had to get this off my chest.

Affirmative action, Romney style

I'm sure the ReBag base will be thrilled to know Rmoney handed jobs to "undeserving female applicants" in Mass.

There's also the unavoidable resonance with women in servitude, the real Republican subtext.

And just the sheer superfluity of Rmoney's response was breathtakingly tone deaf.

Hope he enjoys his renewed status as leader of the Free World's misogynists.

In search of the Internets

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