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Member since: Mon Aug 9, 2004, 01:39 PM
Number of posts: 25,203
Home country: Planet Earth
Member since: Mon Aug 9, 2004, 01:39 PM
Number of posts: 25,203
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I work at a public library. A few years ago, I was boxing up donated books when I came across a deleted library book from the '60s or '70s. It was an art book, not a style that would appeal to my tastes, but a kind of coffee table tome. I was mostly interested in the old library markings flashing me back to my childhood: date stamps from actual rubber stamps! An old library logo!
As I was looking through it, the lead librarian walked by and saw me. She told me a woman had returned it a few days before, 30 years late. The woman was sincerely apologetic, wanted to pay whatever late fees were due, but explained (somewhat sheepishly) that she was a retired art teacher who had just loved the book too dearly to ever return it before. Now, moving into an assisted living situation and downsizing her home, she decided it was time to make amends and clear her good name.
The librarian listened to her story. Instead of chiding her in any way, or demanding exorbitant fines, she invited the woman to pay her dues to society instead by offering a free art class for the library's adult enrichment programming. The woman happily and gratefully agreed.
It was the perfect solution. A retiree is given an opportunity to serve her community, to again be of use, and to clean one "sin" off her slate. The community got a free art class through their library. I will always remember and admire that librarian's wisdom and grace in this instance.
Posted by intheflow | Sat Nov 30, 2013, 01:18 AM (0 replies)
She fully understands what these girls will be doing, but she also understands that some women will always do this because some women think it's their only option, or they're seeking a twisted form of acceptance, or they think they're out thrill-seeking - all blind to other possibilities for themselves and/or blind to what will become of them. I think she's being too hard on herself - what she's doing saves lives as surely as the people who address the female self-esteem and male exploitation issues that drive the industry. Pornography doesn't have a one-size-fits-all remedy, it has to be attacked from many directions before it will die. This woman is helping to ameliorate some pain in a brutal industry. That says a lot about her character and her mission. I applaud her and her work while acknowledging the other work needs to be done, too.
Posted by intheflow | Sun Sep 29, 2013, 12:48 AM (0 replies)
Liberalism, as in, "a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market, and the gold standard." Assuming 90% of US media exists to make a profit, then they are indeed acting in a liberal manner.
It's precisely this interpretation of being liberal that made me stop calling myself a liberal and start describing myself as a progressive. I don't want there to be any ambiguity.
Posted by intheflow | Fri Aug 9, 2013, 08:35 AM (1 replies)
By so narrowly defining useful landscapes, the craze to farmify our surroundings has made it all about humans. There’s nothing wrong with a utilitarian view of nature. The problem is that we are ignoring the utility of plants like wildflowers and native ornamentals in favor of imported fruit trees.
All around us, even in cities, there are natural processes at work that we depend on. Although largely overlooked, these “ecosystem services” are critical to the survival of our species.
Pollination is one such service. The transformation from flower to fruit does not happen in a vacuum. Plant sex requires an intermediary, in this case, wild bees. They do the work of spreading pollen from flower to flower — a sperm delivery service. (Though European honeybees were imported to pollinate our crops, our native wild bumblebees and other insects pollinate a significant portion, and may be more productive.)
A farm-filled landscape would undermine this critical ecological process. Bumblebees rely on wildflowers for a steady supply of pollen and nectar. But fruit trees bloom for only a few weeks a year. When forests and meadows are lost (to development or farming), places for bees to eat also disappear. These wild bees feed us, but we are not feeding them.
Posted by intheflow | Wed Jun 19, 2013, 05:26 PM (1 replies)
You have top secret clearance and know every detail of the program to ensure it doesn't violate the Fourth Amendment? Because some version of this has always existed makes it a-ok legit?
Just because the government says something is legal doesn't mean it is legal or ethical and shouldn't be questioned. Please see historical precedent: US revolution from Great Britain, the end of slavery, the end of Jim Crow laws, the end of prohibition, the legalization of abortion, etc. Having other problems that need to be addressed does not negate the fact that this program also needs to be addressed.
Posted by intheflow | Tue Jun 11, 2013, 11:14 AM (0 replies)
I work at a library!
As such, I see many people who come to the library on a daily or weekly basis. Some are retired who want to be some place safe and comfortable to read the daily paper or weekly magazines - for free. Some are unemployed who come to use the computers to search for and apply to jobs. Some are teachers who order multiple copies of books for their classrooms; at least one is a school librarian from a nearby school district that has pretty much cut their school library out of the school budget. Some are parents who bring their kids for our reading and early childhood educational programs. Many are kids who need some place safe to go after school and over the summer. Many are people who come for the free movies, music cds, and downloadable emedia (including ebooks).
My branch is in a fairly upscale part of the city, and we are the busiest branch in the system. We offer free adult programming such as cooking classes, local history presentations, bicycle maintenance, crafts, book clubs, financial planning guidance, how to start a business lectures, English as Second Language classes, and music presentations, to name a few. During the summer our children's programming includes visits from magicians, a local bird of prey rescue group, story tellers, crafts for ages 5-18, and a reading program that offers prizes like tickets to the local Six Flags, professional soccer games, gift cards, iPods, and a grand prize of a laptop. HOAs & other community groups rent out our meeting room for the bargain basement price of $25/hr.
Our Central library is a depository for federal documents and houses the largest collection of western history in the country. One of our branches holds the largest collection of western African American history. These special collections are invaluable for people conducting genealogy, labor, religious, and racial research.
You are mistaken if you think public libraries are no longer viable in the 21st century. They are invaluable - though sadly underfunded and unappreciated in many communities in the country. That's out of ignorance - a modern public library is as relevant today as it was to its time a century ago.
Posted by intheflow | Sat Jun 8, 2013, 05:33 AM (0 replies)
You all may remember I got Honey from a local shelter back in January, after she was rescued by the side of a road in NM, almost starved to death and nursing 8 puppies. We think she might have been a res dog who probably got pregnant the first time she went into heat. She seems very young.
We had oodles of problems with her at first. She was incredibly hyper-vigilant during the night, hounded (pun intended) our cats mercilessly, stole food and went in the trash any second we turned our backs, was terrified to get in the car, and, when we started our veggie gardens, she dug through them trying to dig up the compost (to eat, presumably). It's taken her all this time to get the hang of being a pet. Best of all, she's actually relaxed enough to smile now! The day she first smiled - about 2 weeks ago - was a happy day at our casa!
So I wanted to share some photos of our happy, smiling, adjusting-nicely girl.
Here she is, our own little flower child:
Just digging the fine weather, lying out in her very own yard:
Smirking in her sleep, content on the couch:
*Edited to add: Holy crap, that's a lot of dog hair on my couch!
Posted by intheflow | Wed Jun 5, 2013, 11:49 AM (10 replies)
I'm not a religious person, but I have a leftist religious background and these two pieces have always embodied all that I felt about war, warmongers, and soldiers. May we live to one day celebrate peace on Memorial Day.
The War Prayer (1904)
By Mark Twain
It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and sputtering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spreads of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country and invoked the God of Battles, beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpouring of fervid eloquence which moved every listener.
It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.
Sunday morning came – next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their faces alight with material dreams-visions of a stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! – then home from the war, bronzed heros, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation – "God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest, Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!"
Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was that an ever – merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory.
An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there, waiting.
With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal,"Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"
The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside – which the startled minister did – and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said
"I come from the Throne – bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd and grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import – that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of – except he pause and think.
"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two – one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of His Who hearth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this – keep it in mind. If you beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.
"You have heard your servant's prayer – the uttered part of it. I am commissioned by God to put into words the other part of it – that part which the pastor, and also you in your hearts, fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory – must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!
"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
(After a pause)
"Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits."
It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.
A Prayer Against War (1910)
By Walter Rauschenbusch
O Lord, since first the blood of Abel cried to thee from the ground that drank it, this earth of thine has been defiled with the blood of humanity shed by the hands of sisters and brothers, and the centuries sob with the ceaseless horror of war. Ever the pride of kings and the covetousness of the strong has driven peaceful nations to slaughter. Ever the songs of the past and the pomp of armies have been used to inflame the passions of the people.
Our spirit cries out to thee in revolt against it, and we know that our righteous anger is answered by thy holy wrath. Break thou the spell of the enchantments that make the nations drunk with the lust of battle and draw them on as willing tools of death. Grant us a quiet and steadfast mind when our own nation clamors for vengeance or aggression. Strengthen our sense of justice and our regard for the equal worth of other peoples and races. Grant to the rulers of nations faith in the possibilities of peace through justice, and grant to the common people a new and stern enthusiasm for the cause of peace.
Bless our soldiers and sailors for their swift obedience and their willingness to answer to the call of duty, but inspire them none the less with a hatred of war, and may they never for love of private glory or advancement provoke its coming. May our young men and women still rejoice to die for their country with the valor of their fathers and mothers, but teach our age nobler methods of matching our strength and more effective ways of giving our life for the flag.
O thou strong God of all the nations, draw all thy great family together with an increasing sense of our common blood and destiny, that peace may come on earth at last, and thy sun may shed its light rejoicing on a holy unity of all people. Amen.
Posted by intheflow | Mon May 27, 2013, 10:41 AM (2 replies)
A holiday in the city where the original Tea Party was held. It's not much of a speculative stretch to think the most extreme current tea party members imagines the tree of liberty needs watering on tax day. Of course that being said, why target the marathon and not, say, a federal office building? But whatever. A lunatic doesn't really need an excuse for their lunacy, it's us in the aftermath who feel the need to attach some meaning to the meaningless acts of madmen.
Posted by intheflow | Tue Apr 16, 2013, 01:06 AM (0 replies)
This is according to a Catholic version of the bible:
Mark 16: 9-11
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
9 Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
It's like they can't read their own book.
Posted by intheflow | Thu Apr 4, 2013, 12:11 AM (2 replies)