tagged w/ Values
“So, boy. You wish to serve me?”
Silhouetted against the blue-black sky, the horse-mounted samurai with the horned helmet towered over me like a demon as I knelt in the dirt before him. I could not see his face but there was no mistaking the authority in his growling tone, nor the hint of mockery in his question.
I tried to speak and managed only a faint croak. My mouth had gone dry, as parched as a man dying of thirst. But I had to respond. My fate-and though I didn’t know it then, the fate of all of Japan-rested on my answer.
Raising my head just enough to brave a glance at the demonic figure, I saw him staring at me, like a hawk poised to seize a mouse in its talons.
When I managed to speak, my voice was clear and steady, and I drew courage with each syllable.
“That’s correct, Lord Nobunaga,” I said. “I do.”“So, boy. You wish to serve me?” Silhouetted against the blue-black... more
Tomorrow night we start counting the 49 days that begin with Pesach and end with Shavuot: the 49 days between the exodus from Egypt and the revelation at Sinai. Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, provides a contemplative way of counting these days.Tomorrow night we start counting the 49 days that begin with Pesach and end with... more
Can we ignore how cute they are for how good they are for the planet? We tend not to want to eat of the "cute and fluffy" variety.Can we ignore how cute they are for how good they are for the planet? We tend not to... more
The Public as Public Enemy
In trying to explain why our political paralysis seems to have gotten so much worse over the past year, analysts have rounded up a plausible collection of reasons including: President Barack Obama's tactical missteps; the obstinacy of congressional Republicans; rising partisanship in Washington; the blustering idiocracy of the cable-news stations; and the Senate filibuster, which has devolved into a super-majority threshold for any important legislation.
These are all large factors, to be sure, but that list neglects what may be the biggest culprit in our current predicament: the childishness, ignorance and growing incoherence of the public at large.
Anybody who says you can't have it both ways clearly hasn't been spending much time reading polls lately. One year ago, 59 percent of the American public liked the stimulus plan, according to Gallup. A few months later, with the economy still deeply mired in recession, a majority of the same size said Obama was spending too much money on it.
There's nothing wrong with changing your mind, of course, but polls over the last year reflect something altogether more troubling: a country that simultaneously demands and rejects action on unemployment, deficits, health care, climate change and a whole host of other major problems. Sixty percent of Americans want stricter regulations of financial institutions. But nearly the same proportion says we're suffering from too much regulation on business. That kind of illogic – or, if you prefer, susceptibility to rhetorical manipulation – is what locks the status quo in place.
At the root of this kind of self-contradiction is our historical, nationally characterological ambivalence about government.
http://filipspagnoli.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/characteristics-of-good-governance.gifThe Public as Public Enemy In trying to explain why our political paralysis seems... more
FROM THE BOOK
From Chapter 1, The Missing Link:
It is an odd phenomenon, the way we react to the idea of eating dogs and other inedible animals. Even stranger, though, is the way we don’t react to the idea of eating cows and other edible animals. There is an unexplained gap, a missing link, in our perceptual process when it comes to edible species; we fail to make the connection between meat and its animal source. Have you ever wondered why, out of tens of thousands of animal species, you probably feel disgusted at the idea of eating all but a tiny handful of them? What is most striking about our selection of edible and inedible animals is not the presence of disgust, but the absence of it. Why are we not averse to eating the very small selection of animals we have deemed edible?
From Chapter 2, Carnism, Ideology, and the Status Quo:
We tend to view the mainstream way of life as a reflection of universal values. Yet, what we consider normal is in fact nothing more than the beliefs and behaviors of the majority. Before the scientific revolution, for example, mainstream European beliefs held that the sky was made up of heavenly spheres that revolved around the earth, that the earth was the exalted center of the universe. This belief was so ingrained that to proclaim otherwise, as did Copernicus, and later Galileo, was to risk death. So what we refer to as mainstream is simply another way to describe an ideology that is so widespread – so entrenched – that its assumptions and practices are seen as simply common sense. It is considered fact rather than opinion, its practices a given rather than a choice. It’s the norm. It’s the way things are. And it’s the reason carnism has not been named until now.FROM THE BOOK From Chapter 1, The Missing Link: It is an odd phenomenon, the way we... more
A quick rundown of America's misleading politic-economic labels and an excellent definition of the most maligned, and possible best, option we have for keeping some shred of the American Dream.A quick rundown of America's misleading politic-economic labels and an excellent... more
The Italian parties don't shine for consistency with their own programs. To understand our bad political situation is interesting to examine the strange metamorphosis through which the parties went through in the last few years. Forza Italia was born, at least on paper, as a center-right Liberal Party who wanted to modernize the Italian economy. In 1994, the official stance was to condem corruption of the old parties and even trying to bring former judge Di Pietro in their field.
http://www.inaltreparole.net/en/whatpoliticiansdo/partititaliani311209.htmlThe Italian parties don't shine for consistency with their own programs. To... more
Get what you want, when you want it. That's the phrase that has dominated the entertainment industry over the past decade. New technologies have given us access to countless channels for music, television and film — and we can sample them whenever we find it convenient. But as the options multiply, are we losing our sense of a common culture?
Take "The Outing," the Seinfeld episode in which a reporter thought Jerry and George were lovers. Even if you didn't see it — not that there's anything wrong with that — you heard about it: at work, at school, in the checkout line at the grocery store. And suddenly the show about nothing, says Stanford University communications professor Clifford Nass, meant something even to people who didn't watch it.
"That's really what marks cultural touchstones," says Nass. "Things that people are aware of; that they can share; that they can make reference to — that they don't actually have to consume themselves."
More than 40 percent of American households saw the final episode of Seinfeld in the spring of 1998, according to the Nielsen ratings company. Fast-forward about 11 years: American Idol may be the most popular program on television today, but only about 16 percent of American households saw this year's finale.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121986877Get what you want, when you want it. That's the phrase that has dominated the... more
You can learn a lot about "alignment" from cats.
(-If you get it, you're a pretty big geek.-)
I thought I would "D" laughing.
http://splinteredportals.com/cat_alignment/4_neutral_good.jpgYou can learn a lot about "alignment" from cats. (-If you get it,... more
Next Year, Employers Likely to See Surge in People Quitting
by: Diane Stafford, Kansas City Star
The job market remains the worst since 1983, but November's unemployment rate improvement — from 10.2 percent to 10 percent — may begin feeding an employee exodus.
Based on surveys, several management consulting and human resource organizations said about half of U.S. workers are likely to try to change jobs next year.
What better proof that this
Sun, 12/06/2009 - 17:59 — Axel Ztangi (not verified)
What better proof that this economy - read "society" - sucks! The decline in "company loyalty" has been in steady decline since the 60's I believe.... What does this say about the waste of "human capital" as the Management Guru's refer to it? Or as I would say, based on the old Romantic view of things, the waste of wonderment and engagement in life? We live lives of "quiet desperation" said the philosopher (Thoreau) and every charlatan has taken this quote to serve their "positive thinking" purpose. But it comes down to this: we strive for dignity but the work we are compelled to do hardly ever achieves the quest we each harbor for personal fulfillment. Another quote from Thoreau: "If a man walk in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. As if a town had no interest in its forests but to cut them down!" In other words, displace your anxieties about a wasted life to the saloon, and "get to work." AZ
http://www.truthout.org/1206096Next Year, Employers Likely to See Surge in People Quitting by: Diane Stafford,... more
Yes, we do have elitists in America. But elitism isn’t necessarily bad – on the contrary, depending on what sort of elitism we’re talking about, it may be a very good thing. It may be the very quality that allowed the US to become the greatest nation in the world, or it may be the quality that is eroding our greatness more and more each day.Yes, we do have elitists in America. But elitism isn’t necessarily bad –... more
The immigration debate these days looks more like a balance sheet than a political conversation. Reflecting the economic anxieties besieging politicians and voters, two competing views of immigrants emerge: as a vital contributor to the economy or a burden on public resources—as an indispensable cheap labor source or a parasitic scourge. The polemics increasingly revolve around how immigrants can be used, not how they deserve to be treated.
Without a human rights-based counterpoint to the demand-supply rhetoric, lawmakers would be all too willing to cede immigration policy to the corporate gatekeepers of the private sector, while preserving a the structure of inequity.
Immigrants can be assessed in terms of GDP. But the labor movement is founded on the idea that workers must be recognized as more than just units of production. Two-dimensional views of immigrant “contributions” crystallize the assumption that certain neighbors are less deserving of the full breadth of humanity. Is that a privilege to be earned, or an inalienable right?
http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/5251/immigration_reform_whats_it_worth/The immigration debate these days looks more like a balance sheet than a political... more
"Today's first base is kissing ... plus fondling this and that. Second base is oral sex. Third base is going all the way. Home plate is learning each other's names."
So wrote Tom Wolfe in his 2000 book "Hooking Up" -- a term that describes a wide range of coupling from making out to intercourse.
For more than a decade, the "hookup" has been an integral part of the American college experience -- a result of the increased permissiveness that came with the sexual revolution of the 1970s.
Just recently at Harvard University -- sometimes pegged as "godless and liberal" -- the hookup culture came under fire, mostly from a small but growing abstinence group called True Love Revolution.
They argue that women who invoke a new kind of feminism -- the right to have sex whenever and with whomever they choose -- is demeaning to women.
"A popular thing to say among this intellectual crowd, in the ivies and in feminism in general, is to say that sex is empowering and a real woman uses her sexuality in any way she pleases," said Rachel Wagley, a 20-year-old sociology student who is TLR's co-president. "It's blatantly false and a lie that this culture tells to girls for their own benefit." Silpa Kovvali, a 21-year-old computer science concentrator, argued in a Harvard Crimson editorial that there is nothing "inherently degrading" about engaging in casual sex -- in fact, she said, it can be "empowering."
But chastity groups seem to be on to something -- a growing unease that although hooking up can be liberating, it can also be annoying and sometimes destructive.
"It's a huge part of life here," said Maariya Bajwa, a senior at the University of Florida. "When I used to take the bus I'd hear random people having conversations about random hook ups they had. I was like, 'Uh guys, we're on a bus. I don't need to hear about your one-night stands.'"
By the end of senior year, the average college student has had 6.9 hookups, mostly after a "good bit of drinking," according to a survey of 4,000 students at five universities by Stanford University sociology professor Paula England.
Her work revealed that while 24 percent of the respondents had reported never having hooked up, 28 percent had more than 10 such casual sexual encounters.
England, who set out to explore the dating habits of college students, found they were kissing, having oral sex and sometimes intercourse with "no expectation that either party has an interest in moving toward a relationship."
"There's a lot of degrading treatment of some women and it is empoweringly free for other women," she told ABCNews.com."Today's first base is kissing ... plus fondling this and that. Second base... more
"In the absence of the warrior-protector, the only way that a government can protect a society is to remove the freedom of its people. And in such a society, the sons and daughters of Lions become sheep".
Nami Ryu Aiki Heiho
James Williams is the President of Bugei Trading Company, Inc. He has been studying martial arts since 1960 and teaching since 1975. James has trained, competed in, and taught a number of different martial disciplines: Japanese, Okinawan, Chinese, Filippino, as well as the Brazilian system of Jujitsu as taught by Rorion and Royce Gracie. His experience includes western wrestling, which he also coached, as well as competing in boxing and kickboxing. His love of samurai martial traditions came with his study of the Yanagi ryu of the Yoshida han under Don Angier Sensei and the martial traditions of the Kuroda han as taught by Kuroda Tetsuzan Sensei. James also studied Daito ryu Roppokai with Okamoto Seigo sensei.
James also teaches Close Quarters Combat to police and military both foreign and domestic. The method used, "The System of Strategy," is based on those skills developed and cultivated by ancient warriors. He is the designer of the "Hissatsu," a close quarter battle knife that is produced by Columbia River Knife and Tool. James is certified as an instructor of Systema, an Ancient Russian Martial Art taught by Mikhail Ryabko and Vladimir Vasiliev. Williams sensei teaches Nami Ryu Aiki Heiho, (kenjutsu, iaijutsu, tanto jutsu and aikijujutsu) and The System in Encinitas California.
"James Williams of Bugei Trading Company fame, treated the Blade Show attendees to a rare show of skill with the Japanese sword. We were all quite impressed by Mr. Williams' poise and presentation as he used both one and two handed cutting techniques to sever 4 inch and 5 inch bundles of Tatami (rice straw) mats. In particular, we enjoyed seeing Mr. Williams make multiple cuts in rapid secession and even sever falling mats in mid air. But perhaps the greatest exhibition of skill was the finale where Mr. Williams demonstrated how a highly killed swordsman could suddenly drop low to the ground to avoid an opponent's blow while simultaneously drawing and cutting with his own blade. Most impressive! While Bugei Trading is a fierce competitor of ours in the sword business, we never want to become so mean spirited that we can't recognize real skill and ability when we see it. We congratulate Mr. Williams on the fantastic demonstration we were privileged to watch and encourage all of our readers who love swords not to miss it next year!"
Lynn Thompson, Cold Steel Knives (read more testimonials)
Martial Arts Experience
• Wrestling at the high school and collegiate level
• Kenjutsu-Japanese sword art
• Iaijutsu-Samruai sword art
• Shorin ryu Okinawa-te
• Tanto jitsu-Samurai knife art
• Hojojitsu-Samurai restraining art
• Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
• Temple Tai Chi
• Arnis de Mano
• Hung Gar Kung Fu
• Tang Soo Do
• Aiki Jiu Jitsu-Samurai unarmed art
• Systema-Russian military art (certified in Russia)
• Coached wrestling - Jr. High and High School Level
• Tang Soo Do
• Coached Boxing and Kick Boxing
• Currently teaching
Military combatives and knife defense
Police Arrest and Control and knife defense
• Teaching seminars and giving demonstrations throughout the United States &
• SureFire Institute Low Light and Combatives Instructor
• Employed as personal bodyguard
• State of California Concealed Weapons Course
• Current CPR qualified.
• Designer of the Hisstasu, a CQB/Anti-Terrorist knife being produced by
CRKT (Columbia River Knife and Tool).
• U.S. Army Infantry
• Military Police
• 6th Army Competitive Pistol Team
• Officer Candidate School Graduate
• California Post Certified Firearms Instructor
• Advanced Hostage Rescue Course graduate • SFI Low Light Instructor
Agencies and Personnel Taught: List incomplete
• Naval Special Warfare Combatives Instructors
• Law Enforcement SWAT agencies nation wide
• USAF Air Mobility Warfare C
http://www.bugei.com/virtue.html"In the absence of the warrior-protector, the only way that a government can... more
If you were to judge the success rate of monogamy by the sex lives of public figures, perhaps couples should change their marriage vows to say, "Till a tempting new partner do us part."
Talk-show host David Letterman recently joined former presidential candidate John Edwards, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer on a long list of politicians and entertainers (think Jude Law) who have admitted having sex outside their marriage or committed relationship.
But do they just illustrate the realities of modern life?
In the age of hookups, friends with benefits and online dating, and as human life expectancy grows, is it still reasonable to expect people to pair up and stay monogamous until death do them part?
"It's realistic that some people can mate for life in the same sense that some people can play the Beethoven violin concerto or other people can ice-skate beautifully or learn a new language," said psychiatrist Judith Eve Lipton.
Added evolutionary biologist David Barash, "It's within the realm of human potential, but it's not easy."
Lipton and Barash, who have been married 32 years and are the co-authors of "Strange Bedfellows" and "The Myth of Monogamy," said serial monogamy may be more realistic -- a model in which people move from one committed long-term relationship to another and choose partners for different reasons at different stages of their life.If you were to judge the success rate of monogamy by the sex lives of public figures,... more
Maybe it is time we look deep into our society and our culture to find that common ground that bound are founding fathers so tightly together. Maybe, just maybe it is time.Maybe it is time we look deep into our society and our culture to find that common... more
Our current cultural politics are organized by the obsolete culture war, which has put secular liberals on one side and religious conservatives on the other. But the slide in economic morality afflicted Red and Blue America equally.
If there is to be a movement to restore economic values, it will have to cut across the current taxonomies. Its goal will be to make the U.S. again a producer economy, not a consumer economy. It will champion a return to financial self-restraint, large and small.Our current cultural politics are organized by the obsolete culture war, which has put... more
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------As culture jammers, how can we live in a world that is poisonous to our souls, harmful to our minds and at odds with our ideals? Common sense tells us that we have two options: either imitate or hate the world. But if we remain stuck within this binary opposition, we will lose ourselves. If we imitate the world we sacrifice our core beliefs. If we hate the world we succumb to being reactionary and lose the passion that grounds our affirmation. What then can we do? This is the question that Seneca, the great Stoic philosopher, posed nearly two millennia ago. And his answer speaks to today’s struggle of being culture jammers in a consumerist society.
sit down this one might be a thinker.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------... more
The search for truth is probably one of the most difficult and dangerous that a person can pursue, and always find it brings not only good but also bad consequences. The important thing is that there are always people who like you put your integrity and values ahead of any risk to put in the spotlight what others unscrupulous strive to hide.
Laura and Euna you are heroes, and there is no power, jail or government who can take that away from you.
This horrible experience its a medal of honor and only shows how low a government or some people in the power can go to silence what it could be an inconvenient truth.
Keep the good work and be blessed, so you can keep giving us that truth that now more than ever we desperately need.The search for truth is probably one of the most difficult and dangerous that a person... more