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Current Topic: Society

RE: This Is Water
Topic: Society 11:14 pm EDT, Jul  9, 2014

As an addendum, I feel that Wallace was stabbing at something the Buddists have understood for centuries, but he never quite got there.

If you've got the right perspective on things, the fact that you can wash dishes is totally amazing. The universe is filled with inhospitable worlds - dead planets. The Moon has radical temperature ranges through out the day and is covered with jagged microscopic dust. Mars has an atmosphere but no electromagnetic field to shield the planet from the Sun's radiation. Jupiter is a ball of gas. Thats how most of the universe is. Totally hostile.

The fact that you exist on THIS planet and you can stand in line at a grocery store is amazing. A fucking grocery store! Imagine how many things had to line up through out history in order to create that grocery store for you. Contemplate the sheer complexity that caused all of the products there to be invented and to be assembled and delivered and organized and all the people that contributed through out time to that process and all of the things that influenced those people and how improbable it all is that you should exist at this time and in this place and you should be able to stand in that line.

An enlightened person can stand in line in a grocery store and be in total amazement of that fact and soak it all in and not get bored, and it is in the soaking it all in that greatly pleasurable experiences happen.

Its all just a matter of seeing things for what they really are.

RE: This Is Water

Washing the dishes
Topic: Society 5:52 pm EDT, Jul  9, 2014

Thich Nhat Hanh:

Thirty years ago, when I was still a novice at Tu Hieu Pagoda, washing the dishes was hardly a pleasant task. During the Season of Retreat when all the monks returned to the monastery, two novices had to do all the cooking and wash the dishes for sometimes well over one hundred monks. There as no soap. We had only ashes, rice husks, and coconut husks, and that was all. Cleaning such a high stack of bowl was a chore, especially during the winter when the water was freezing cold. Then you had to heat up a big pot of water before you could do any scrubbing. Nowadays one stands in a kitchen equipped with liquid soap, special scrubpads, and even running hot water which makes it all the more agreeable now. Anyone can wash them in a hurry, then sit down and enjoy a cup of tea afterwards. I can see a machine for washing clothes, although I wash my own things out by hand, but a dishwashing machine is going just a little too far!

While washing the dishes one should only be washing dishes, which mean that while washing the dishes one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. At first glance, that might seem a little silly: why put so much stress on a simple thing? But that’s precisely the point. The fact that I am standing there and washing these bows is a wondrous reality. I’m being completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions. There is no way I can be tossed around mindlessly like a bottle slapped here and there on the waves.

If while washing the dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not ‘washing the dishes to wash the dishes.” What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future – and we are incapable of actually living in a minute of life.

David Foster Wallace:

It is about simple awareness -- awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: "This is water, this is water."

It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive, day in and day out.

Washing the dishes

Pay No Attention to Salary Parrot
Topic: Society 2:27 pm EDT, May 20, 2011

“I have friends with the same degree as me, from a worse school, but because of who they knew or when they happened to graduate, they’re in much better jobs - It’s more about luck than anything else.”

Pay No Attention to Salary Parrot

RE: Assange responds to readers online - Page 3 - CNN
Topic: Society 5:39 pm EST, Dec  5, 2010

Rattle wrote:
It seems like no matter which way this issue is raised to the Wikileaks people, it is never directly addressed. This is why many in the FOI and transparency community can't get behind Wikileaks and Assange.

I'm not at all impressed with this "question" from JAnthony and I don't know why its making the rounds. Its a bunch of unsupported rhetorical assertions that rest on the arrogant assumption that they are all forgone conclusions culminating in a ridiculous "question" that is actually a thinly veiled act of rock throwing. Its easy to throw rocks at wikileaks. Its not insightful.

Obviously, Assange does not agree with JAnthony about the value of diplomatic secrecy. Obviously, anarchists do not believe that western diplomats serve the best interests of the people they represent, and the delta lies within that secrecy. These particular anarchists believe that strongly enough to have taken considerable action as a consequence of their beliefs.

JAnthony's message presumes as a forgone conclusion that all of this is wrong. However, this IS actually the question at hand, and if it were a foregone conclusion we wouldn't be having a discussion about it at all.

I'm not saying JAnthony is wrong, mind you. I'm just saying this message doesn't help convince me in any respect to his case, and he and his should stop assuming that convincing isn't necessary.

Its worth saying, on the other hand, that even if you agree with the anarchists, that doesn't imply that the actions of Wikileaks are necessary or even helpful to their cause. That is a whole other ball of wax.

RE: Assange responds to readers online - Page 3 - CNN

Thanks For Paying Taxes. Here's A Receipt. : Planet Money : NPR
Topic: Society 3:07 pm EDT, Oct  2, 2010

Taxpayers should get a receipt so they know what they're paying for, a think tank called Third Way argues in a new paper.

Here's a sample from the group. It includes federal income tax and FICA, which funds Medicare and Social Security. Details are here.

What we pay for provides a view of this.

Thanks For Paying Taxes. Here's A Receipt. : Planet Money : NPR

Hoder sentenced to 19 years prison
Topic: Society 3:22 pm EDT, Sep 28, 2010

Iranian-Canadian Hossein Derakhshan, 35, was a controversial figure among Iran's blogging community. Writing his blog from Canada, he was initially a critic of Iran's clerical leadership, and in 2006 he visited Israel - Iran's archenemy - saying he wanted to act as a bridge between the two countries' peoples.

But he later became a vocal supporter of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, praising him for standing up to the West and criticizing regime opponents. Derakhshan then visited Iran in 2008 and was arrested. Over the next two years, he was often held without communication with family or lawyers, according to rights groups.

The court sentenced him to 19 1/2 years in prison, the report said, adding that Derakhshan can appeal. It was unclear if he would benefit from time served.

Derakhshan helped ignite blogging in Iran by posting simple instructions online on how to create sites in Farsi in 2001. The flourishing of blogs by Iranians at home and abroad that resulted gave the country's reform movement an online platform that has helped it survive heavy crackdowns at home - though authorities tried to block many, including Derakhshan's.

His later embrace of Ahmadinejad angered many reform bloggers. Before returning to Iran, Derakhshan on his blog dismissed worries he could be arrested for his previous writings.

Rattle writes:

Decius and I sat on a panel with Hoder several years ago. To say some of his positions angered people would be putting it lightly. However, I was still quite dismayed when he was arrested.

19 1/2 years in jail is definitely excessive, but it's way better than the death sentence the prosecution was pushing for. Hopefully the political climate in Iran changes, and he can be freed...

Agree or disagree with Hoder's opinions - the idea that he faced death for expressing them, and that he has been sentenced to 19 years in prison for expressing them, is horrific.

Hoder sentenced to 19 years prison

RE: Taliban Using Mosque Controversy to Recruit
Topic: Society 1:20 pm EDT, Aug 30, 2010

Rattle wrote:
I am seriously disheartened by what I'm seeing take place in Murfreesboro. It's a town that I love, but I'm ashamed of what's going on down there.

The arson in Murfreesboro was an act of terrorism. These people are moving in a direction which will ultimately make them just as evil as the people they oppose.

Beyond what this says about how people don't get the 1st amendment, it's also helping our enemies recruit:

What Bin Lauden wanted to spark was total conflict between Islam and the west. People who believe in such a conflict walk with him, regardless of what side of it they think they're on. The politicians who have pushed this issue ought to know better.

RE: Taliban Using Mosque Controversy to Recruit

RE: WikiLeaks disclosures are a 'tragedy' -
Topic: Society 7:45 pm EDT, Aug 11, 2010

I've purposefully avoided taking a position on the "Wikileaks - threat or menace" debate. Here, Rattle does:

I completely agree with Gen. Hayden's comments in this article. Wikileaks has been completely irresponsible. I don't see any positive side to the release of these documents.

Hayden's essay sure throws down a gauntlet at the hacker scene:

And all of this because of some corrupted view of the inherent evils of the modern state, a pseudo-romantic attachment to the absolute value of transparency, a casual indifference to inevitable consequences and a neurotic attachment to one individual's self importance. Rarely have we seen such a dangerous combination of arrogance and incompetence.

This isn't just a challenge to Wikileak's disclosure of this particular set of documents. This is a challenge to the idea of transparency itself. In this regard, Stratfor is wrong. The Wikileaks event isn't really about the war in Afghanistan - its about the Internet.

Apparently, this leak wasn't all that valuable to the general public. The event certainly has focused the public's attention on facts that insiders already know about the war, and the importance of the focus of the public's attention should not be underestimated. However, given that there is no great secret here that insiders were unaware of - this event represents an opportunity to debate the subject of freedom of information in a context where there is nothing to loose from siding with the establishment.

The results of this debate, in terms of public opinion, as well as the resulting legal framework within which the state can respond to public disclosures of this sort, will impact future situations in which the leak does matter to the general public, because it does reveal a secret that insiders weren't aware of.

In the world of the eternity service, ultimately, some things are going to be posted there that you'd rather not have out in the open. If you believe that there should be information resources that are beyond the reach of the state, you have to accept that. If you can't accept it, its all a matter of where and how to draw the line - the events of the past few weeks have circled around that very question.

So it doesn't really matter whether or not Wikileaks was irresponsible. It is inevitable that Wikileaks or someone like them is going to do something irresponsible, or at least something that a lot of people think is irresponsible. The important question is what ought to be done about it.

If you stop at simply deciding that you think Wikileaks was irresponsible, you avoid the opportunity to address the more important question being debated, and you concede the matter to a particular side by association.

The leaders of the Republican party have made their case - they would draw the line in such a manner that the military can use any and all capabilities at its disposal... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]

RE: WikiLeaks disclosures are a 'tragedy' -

WikiLeaks and the Afghan War | STRATFOR
Topic: Society 9:27 pm EDT, Jul 28, 2010

The WikiLeaks, from what we have seen so far, detail power, interest and reality as we have known it. They do not reveal a new reality. Much will be made about the shocking truth that has been shown, which, as mentioned above, shocks only those who wish to be shocked. The Afghan war is about an insufficient American and allied force fighting a capable enemy on its home ground and a Pakistan positioning itself for the inevitable outcome. The WikiLeaks contain all the details.

Stratfor strongly implies that the US intentionally "leaked" all this information in order to influence the political debate over the war and help build the case for withdrawl.

At some point, the U.S. Government is going to have to sell the American people on withdrawing from Afghanistan without Bin Lauden and letting the Taliban come back into power. I don't know how they hell are going to accomplish that.

This also raises the question of what the hell is going on with Bradley Manning? Its interesting that Manning appears to be responsible for all the leaks *except* this one, which is the important one.

WikiLeaks and the Afghan War | STRATFOR

Justices extend gun owner rights nationwide.
Topic: Society 12:38 pm EDT, Jun 28, 2010

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court held Monday that the Constitution's Second Amendment restrains government's ability to significantly limit "the right to keep and bear arms," advancing a recent trend by the John Roberts-led bench to embrace gun rights.

Writing for the court in a case involving restrictive laws in Chicago and one of its suburbs, Justice Samuel Alito said that the Second Amendment right "applies equally to the federal government and the states."

The only justice who got this right was Thomas.

Justices extend gun owner rights nationwide.

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