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Are_grits_groceries's Journal - Archives
Posted by Are_grits_groceries in General Discussion
Thu Dec 08th 2011, 06:29 AM
I hate Christmas. Years of working retail did in what spirit I had. We celebrate in July.

However, every year at this time I get out my copy of 'The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.' I laugh all over again. I usually read it more than once. BTW the movie doesn't begin to do it justice.

You have a group of young siblings headed straight for juvie who go to church after hearing they can get food there. They have never been nor do they have a clue about religion. They also show up for the casting for the Christmas pageant and snag all the lead roles. None of the other kids oppose them for the roles because they know the Herdman's will get them somehow.

While there are some gentle moments, the book isn't sugary and maudlin. It is snarky and hilarious. I have never looked at the Christmas story the same way again.

Please don't start a theological battle over the facts of the story or religion in general. I like the book regardless of my beliefs because it puts such a different spin on Christmas. Whether I believe it or consider it a myth, it's still a hoot.

So off I go to visit again with the gang and feel like there is some redeeming value in the tale beyond all the crap surrounding it from all sides.

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Posted by Are_grits_groceries in General Discussion
Tue Dec 06th 2011, 04:23 AM
Growing up in the South can be an odd and peculiar experience. You don't realize how odd until you venture into other places and meet other people. When you are kids, you may think everybody has the same experiences. Hell, I know adults who believe that.

Imagine my shock when I found out that people didn't know all the battles of 'The Great Unpleasantnss' in order and the bios of all officers. Didn't everybody have a picture of General Robert E. Lee hanging with all the family pictures. We called him Uncle Bobby for years.

Then there was CHURCH. We had to go to church no matter where we were. If I was visiting relatives, we went to their church. We were members of the Methodist Church which is a mild version of faith where I lived. When I would visit, I went to a lot of churches with a variety of styles. I never really connected the fact the that they were all Christian.

For as long as I can remember, I never liked church or any of it's auxiliary activities. I didn't want to be wearing a dress and listening to somebody wail about going to hell if I wasn't good. I figured my place in the Netherworld had been booked for a long time. There wasn't anyway around that. I didn't worry about the afterlife and decided to get my money's worth if I was spending eternity in the tropics.

I wasn't the typical Southern child to say the least. There was a group of five of us who spent a lot of time growing up together, and none of us fit the model of conformity. We got a good dose of church and local mores, but we never quite stayed in line or kept the right step. Our parents tried, but they wondered if we were changelings.

I believe there were 2 major factors that directed our lives away from the norm when we were little. First of all, we got it honest. Several of my aunts, uncles, and other relatives jumped off the beaten path from time to time. Some stayed on it. So we not only had a variety of role models, but also a streak of independence in our DNA. Our parents would conveniently forget about any of these people.

The second thing that lead us further astray was 'Mad' magazine. There was little or no access to a variety of views growing up. Rocky and Bullwinkle were great teevee models. Mr. Bunny Rabbit on the Captain Kangaroo was a budding rebel. Beyond that, we were on our on.

Our parents did vary from many in that they bought comic books for us, and they assumed that 'Mad' was just a larger type. Little did they know that it was a veritable gold mine for wayward youths. We learned Phd level snark and mockery from 'Mad'. Nothing was sacred, and that was fine with us. That magazine looked at the world sideways, and we adjusted our sight lines accordingly. They stayed that way.

The five of us were a tribe of independents within a culture of lockstep belief. As soon as we got out from under our parents, we never set foot in a church again. We didn't openly rebel earlier at going because it wasn't worth the hassle. We went and listened to the rhetoric and compared it to reality. That honed our sharp view of religion.

Off we have gone in many ways since we were little. None have been on the beaten path. My brother informed me that he was a Druid. I informed him that I could care less, but that Mama might be a twee bit unsettled. And so it goes.

There are many little tribes that have grown up down here. Many have lead to people dedicated to change. Some have lead to people such as Stephen Colbert who is dedicated to snark. Some of us are dedicated to both.

It is the Bible Belt, but a belt can only hold up so much.
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Posted by Are_grits_groceries in General Discussion
Fri Dec 02nd 2011, 10:00 AM
There has long been a theological argument about whether animals can go to Heaven. My opinion is that if they can't go, who wants to be there? At any rate, whatever happens in the afterlife, I know of one of Gawd's creatures that will be there. It's Brother Bird.

While teaching I had a variety of classes both in subject matter and make up of the students. However, no matter what kind of class it was or who was in it, the last period of the day was difficult a lot of time. The kids were tired. I was tired. It was a gut check at the end of the day.

One year I taught 7th grade Life Science. There were about 25 kids in the class. I looked up their reading levels to get an idea of where they were in that area. I didn't want to be condescending about their skills. I wanted to get an idea of where to start. I had a two pronged approach. I wanted to give them material that would teach them the subject matter AND help them learn to read better. I have always felt that every teacher should know how to teach reading, and that textbooks should be designed to teach subject matter as well as reinforce reading skills.

I digress. Anyway, the highest level in this class was a reading level on the 2nd grade. I wanted to beat my head on the desk, and then go find some education poobah in the state system and beat them. There was nothing I cold do but give it my best shot. Sometimes that shot ended up in my foot.

This class was particularly hard for them because it was the end of the day. I'm sure they had had their fill of feeling like failures in some ways. I also didn't have the energy I needed. These kids needed my very best! After a day of several classes, I was not at the level I needed to be.

Some days were what I called 'straw days.' One more straw of any kind would break the camel's back and ANY type of learning or cooperation would evaporate. On those days, we talked about whatever. I gave a happy damn about being observed by an administrator. I don't know how often anybody really tried to talk and listen to these kids.

On one of these days, I happened to have a sick bird wrapped upon in a shoe box. Somebody had brought it to me at the beginning of the day. It was on its last wing, so I named it Lazarus. That was the sum total of my attempt to help the bird.

When the kids in the class arrived, they were all het up about the bird. There is no faster or accurate grapevine than the one that runs in schools. I found out more shite that was going on that from the kids than any administrator. I told them to sit down, and we would check on Lazarus. Alas, sometime in the last few minutes he had expired. I didn't hide this from them. They wanted to peek at the bird, and its condition was obvious.

When I gave them the sad news, they were upset. Then they demanded that we hold a funeral. There had to be a viewing as well as a short service. They weren't being silly. It was a very serious matter to them. So,I thought "What the hell?"

They immediately began planning all stages of the event. They put most funeral directors that I had ever seen to shame. I did tell them that they couldn't touch the bird, and the box would have to do as a coffin. They decided that some greenery would make up for that. A couple of students went outside nd picked out some leaves, flowers, and whatnot. They tastefully arranged it around the box/coffin.

Then they all lined up and solemnly walked by my desk and paid their respects. Again, they took this very seriously. There wasn't an organ, so a couple of kids who could carry a tune hummed softly in the background.

Then came the service. They had chosen a student named Russell to give the eulogy. Russell couldn't read a lick, but he tried his bet. I was curious about what would happen.

Well Russell went to the front of the classroom and flat out took over. He gave one of the bet eulogies I have ever eard. He referred to Lazarus as Brother Bird. He extolled Lazarus as a bird among birds. His pitch would rise and fall, and the kids were testifying. I heard more amens in that time than I believe I ever heard when I attended church.

Russell spoke for about 10 minutes and then lead a prayer. I put the box in a bigger box and solemnly put it in the storeroom. I had told them that we couldn't bury it at the school. I would take it and bury it in the woods near my house. I promised that I would say a prayer and put some type of marker on the grave. The bell rang just as the service ended. They didn't try to rush out as usual. They solemnly filed out slowly.

I sat at my desk for a while. I wondered if I had wasted a day or had had a moment that meant something. I decided on the latter. I also decided that Lazarus, Brother Bird, was one being that went to Heaven that day. He might be the only bird there, but I was sure that Russell had preached him into paradise.
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Posted by Are_grits_groceries in General Discussion
Fri Dec 02nd 2011, 05:51 AM
The Internet has been abuzz with mentions of Carrier IQ, a analytical monitoring software that has been found to be present on numerous Android smartphones, as well as Apple’s own iOS platform.

As we are still coming to terms with what the service is actually monitoring and sending back to the company and our operators, Engadget brings us news of a new app from forensic specialist François Simond, a.k.a Supercurio, who has developed a neat little piece of Android software in just four hours that can be installed on your Android device and tell you if Carrier IQ is present on your smartphone.

Luckily, it doesn’t require root access or following complicated instructions.

Whilst the application isn’t 100% finished, it is already available on the Android Market and on open-source code repository Github for developers to want to expand on Simond’s early work.
Android Market:

Whilst you might not be able to do anything with the Carrier IQ code references on your device should the app detect them, you will at least be armed with the knowledge that your handset could be reporting your usage back to Carrier IQ and your operator.

More: /

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Posted by Are_grits_groceries in General Discussion
Sun Nov 13th 2011, 06:38 AM
One of the points used to defend Joe Paterno is a list of all the good things he has done during his life especially at PSU. I'll stipulate right now to that list so it doesn't have to be repeated as it has been ad nauseum.

It is precisely because of this list of good deeds that the action or rather inaction of Paterno is so shocking. When people view that list that many hold up against any criticism of Paterno, it appears to be a shield for him rather than examples of how an ethical and caring person acts. Paterno is not and has not ever been infallible. However, that point never seems to have gotten through to his supporters or to people that view him from afar. The first group is blinded because they are too close and the latter group can't see because they are so far away.

Paterno was given an inordinate amount of power because of that list. If he had been forced to acknowledge earlier missteps then he might have paid more attention to basic rules of life rather than operate on a higher plane that does not have to take them to account. One of the bad habits he begun to display was a minimization of actions of his players. Here are some things that Paterno minimized:

In 1999, Paterno defended linebacker LaVar Arrington after he assaulted a defenseless Pitt punter in the middle of a game.

Then in 2000 he allowed quarterback Rashard Casey to start every game despite being charged with assaulting a cop.

In subsequent years according to Chris Korman, “Players were constantly getting into violent altercations with other students…. There were fights at the ice skating rink, the union building at the center of campus, frats, apartments, houses.”

Former Ravens cornerback Anwar Phillips was accused of sexual assault, yet was allowed to “play in a bowl game before serving his two-semester suspension”.

Korean looked into “probably a half-dozen others that never went to trial. Women were fearful they’d never get a fair trial in State College. Victims of beatings knew the scales of justice were already tilted against them.

ESPN actually compiled numbers to show just how rambunctious it got in Happy Valley, reporting that from 2002 to 2008 there were 46 players charged with 163 counts.

In 2006, LaVon Chisley, a defensive end who spent three years in the program, killed a fellow student by stabbing him 93 times. This was after he took loans from sports agents and became academically ineligible to play football. However, he was allowed to participate in Penn State’s Pro Day.

Paterno even went so far as to say Tony Johnson, a wide receiver arrested for DUI “didn’t do anything to anyone.”

Sports Illustrated in 2011 declared Penn State as one of the worst schools in college football for players with police records with 16 players charged.

A coach does have to have his players' backs but only up to a point. They have to be willing to take action when those players have gone too far. Paterno never seems to have thought a player went too far. Paterno then received the same kind of unconditional backing from others. This is why and how a separate
culture was allowed to develop that considered itself above the law.

You can't and shouldn't give people gold stars and allow them to cover up later black marks. Each action has to be considered separately. That doesn't obviate those good deeds and in some cases they will moderate the punishment. However, when considering some problems that are so beyond the pale such as child abuse or covering it up, no amount of prior good deeds should excuse you from being held accountable.

If those first reports in 1998 had been dealt with without consideration of PSU's image and that of its football program, Penn State would not be in the mess it is now. There would have been an immediate PR hit, but when the first wave of rage and disgust passed, people would realize that the right action had been taken ASAP. The University would have done the right thing from a moral and ethical level. That would have eventually overtaken any bad PR and given PSU much higher ground to stand on. As it is, they covered up and began to sink into this horrific hole.

That inaction also allowed more kids to have their lives ruined. There aren't enough gold stars in the universe that can be gathered that can penetrate the darkness of that picture.

Paterno will join what I call my group of 50/50 people. These are people on the one hand who have done great deal of good, and on the other hand conducted themselves abominably.

General Douglas MacArthur is one of those people. In the early part of his career he earned The Congressional Medal Of Honor. He was considered a great commander. In his later years, he had begun to think of himself as infallible. He barely avoided a complete disaster at Inchon in the Korean War. He became insubordinate and refused to follow Truman's orders. President Truman had to fire him, and luckily he had the grit to do it. That avoided even more hegemony by the military over the civilian command.

LBJ is also on my list. On the one hand he pushed some of the most progressive and controversial legislation ever considered through Congress. In a biography, I read a story that has stuck in my memory about him. His first job after college was as a teacher in a small Texas town near the Mexican Border. Many of the kids he taught were poor Hispanics who had little and expected even less. LBJ refused to let those kids fail. He pushed them to succeed in his class and changed some lives forever for the good. He had grown up dirt poor and never or forgot it. Then you have the LBJ of Vietnam and election shenanigans. One doesn't cancel out the other. You have to look at both sides when considering his legacy.

Bobby Knight is a third person in my group. He had no trouble with the NCAA and his players reached high academic standards. Google Landon Turner and find out how Knight helped him. He had been in an accident that paralyzed him. Knight saved him from total meltdown.. Then you have the arrogant Knight who would and could be abusive to his payers and other people. Again, one set of actions does not exclude the other..

Being a 50/50 person is not compete ruination of character and a legacy. It just means that there are huge contradictions in someone's actions and few shades of gray. Most people are many shades of gray. Then there are the stark portraits in black and white.

The picture your life paints cannot be covered up forever.

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Posted by Are_grits_groceries in General Discussion
Thu Nov 10th 2011, 05:57 AM
It happened at the hands of the proverbial trusted and beloved figure.

The storm of emotions this evokes until this day are numerous. In an instant you have fear, guilt, love, anger, sadness, confusion, isolation, and many other feelings hitting you at warp speed. It is impossible to slow them down and to try and sort them out especially when you are young. Even now when I am a brazillion years old, the memory remains an impenetrable and entangled mess that rivals the Gordian Knot.

I had no idea what to do or even where to begin to deal with it. I don't remember even thinking about telling someone who would believe me compared to the person I would be accusing? It would be chalked up to an overactive imagination. I did tell a cousin about ten years ago. She intimated I was confused about what happened and asked whether I was bringing up false memories. The was an undercurrent of anger in her words. I never mentioned it again. The only person I have ever spent any time trying to find a glimmer of understnding are the psychiatrists I have seen.

I have been affected by depression since I was a teenager. I can't prove that the molestation brought it on, but I do feel that it exacerbated the problem. The depression itself also invokes some of the same feelings. It is a disease that is so misunderstood that I feel guilt, anger, isolation, and realize there is nobody to talk to that might understand.

This ball of emotions hardens into a memory that doesn't belong anywhere. It is not unlike a tumor that creates a shadow if glimpsed, and the darkness is in the soul. The lump also has some volcanic qualities such as a sudden eruption of all those balled up feelings when some action or scene flips a switch unexpectedly.

In my case I have always had an undercurrent of anger and sadness that varies in strength. I have felt isolated for as long as I can remember. Trust in people is another casualty of the abuse. I will reach a point of comfort with someone, and I find I cannot force myself to move any closer. The ball of horror pops up and becomes a barrier that grows quickly into a huge and powerful wall that is impossible to breach. It doesn't obviate the need to be closer. My inability to take any more steps forward transforms into frustration and an even stronger sense of being separated from others.

When I become aware of situations of abuse such as the one at Penn State, it instantly brings out a rage and a yearning to slap those who could have stopped it. I have no forgiveness for those people because I know what they are doing to those kids beyond any physical scars or problems. They have started the hurricane of shame in those kids. They will be buffeted by it all their lives, and their ability to deal with it will vary. The act of dealing with it or keeping it boxed away takes a lot energy that is badly needed to deal with other problems.

I don't consciously dwell on this memory, but I believe it causes a constant undercurrent of anger and other emotions that drain some energy from me all of the time. It is always present in some form and some strength in some part of my mind.

When I saw those students rioting at PSU because they were mad about JoePa, I wanted to reach through the tv and shake them for an eternity. They have no clue about JoePa's role, but what bothers me the most is that they are not attempting to find out. His is a sin of omission that erased the worth of those kids. Those boys can see and feel how little they are worth to a lot of people. That leaves another scar.

I hope those kids can find some help and some peace. I wish I could shield them from that storm that I know is with them. How can you shield someone from an integral part of themselves? They have to try to learn to do this.

I didn't post this to be pitied. I wanted to express how abuse made me feel, and how it may possibly affect Sandusky's victims. I ask that you do something or say something if you find yourself in a situation where you have some knowledge that abuse is occurring. You won't change my life, but you might change somebody else's. You might give them a feeling that they do have worth, and that they mean something to someone.

You might be surprised at how much this will mean to someone, and how large a life jacket you have thrown them. It might be big enough to begin to carry them to a brighter future.

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Posted by Are_grits_groceries in General Discussion
Sat Nov 05th 2011, 04:54 AM
by Lemony Snicket
Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance

1. If you work hard, and become successful, it does not necessarily mean you are successful because you worked hard, just as if you are tall with long hair it doesn’t mean you would be a midget if you were bald.

2. “Fortune” is a word for having a lot of money and for having a lot of luck, but that does not mean the word has two definitions.

3. Money is like a child—rarely unaccompanied. When it disappears, look to those who were supposed to be keeping an eye on it while you were at the grocery store. You might also look for someone who has a lot of extra children sitting around, with long, suspicious explanations for how they got there.

4. People who say money doesn’t matter are like people who say cake doesn’t matter—it’s probably because they’ve already had a few slices.

5. There may not be a reason to share your cake. It is, after all, yours. You probably baked it yourself, in an oven of your own construction with ingredients you harvested yourself. It may be possible to keep your entire cake while explaining to any nearby hungry people just how reasonable you are.

6. Nobody wants to fall into a safety net, because it means the structure in which they’ve been living is in a state of collapse and they have no choice but to tumble downwards. However, it beats the alternative.

7. Someone feeling wronged is like someone feeling thirsty. Don’t tell them they aren’t. Sit with them and have a drink.

8. Don’t ask yourself if something is fair. Ask someone else—a stranger in the street, for example.

9. People gathering in the streets feeling wronged tend to be loud, as it is difficult to make oneself heard on the other side of an impressive edifice.

10. It is not always the job of people shouting outside impressive buildings to solve problems. It is often the job of the people inside, who have paper, pens, desks, and an impressive view.

11. Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending.

12. If you have a large crowd shouting outside your building, there might not be room for a safety net if you’re the one tumbling down when it collapses.

13. 99 percent is a very large percentage. For instance, easily 99 percent of people want a roof over their heads, food on their tables, and the occasional slice of cake for dessert. Surely an arrangement can be made with that niggling 1 percent who disagree. /

Rachel has asigned #7 as homework.

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Posted by Are_grits_groceries in General Discussion
Wed Nov 02nd 2011, 03:30 AM
I understand your confusion. How is one to act when on the one hand you are turned loose apparently willy nilly with orders to clear the park by any means necessary, and then on the other hand, those you really did 'clear' were allowed back?

Is 'clear' now another euphemism for using flash bang grenades, rubber bullets, tear gas and LRAD to move people? You and your allies from other areas came in from all entrances and exits. This was a quasi-military action that treated those in the park as if they were armed with Uzis and AK47s and not rocks and bottles. I use the term quasi because it is clear that you need much more training in when and how to use the items you have at hand to repel the Visigoths. You don't toss them around like candy from a float in the Macy's parade. Maybe #occupyMarines could help you.

Just because people don't act as fast as you would like when they are senseless from the barrage is no need to have a tantrum and attack them further. There are other police departments who were able to conduct a mostly peaceful clearing.

I understand that you are saying that the other departments were brought in as backup. Well, your backup was upfront in the thick of things rather than waiting to see if help was really needed. I shudder to think what your backup to the backup was, but then I knew there were snipers. What else was waiting in the wings? Seals? Rangers? The Penguin?

You see OPD, we don't understand. You cleared the park with horrible measures and tactics that match some of the violence I have seen in riots that are condemned by one and all. Do you follow the Geneva Conventions? The Hague might be calling soon.

You are the 99% in terms of your economic position.However, you are also the 1% in terms of apparently unfettered power. Do you realize #occupyOakland was supporting your rights to have unions and to bargain? Do you realize they were asking for an end to the assault on programs such as your police department in terms of funding? In a broad manner, they were supporting you while you were attacking them? The irony meter broke a looooooong time ago.

Please don't tell me you were following orders. Follow your conscience and some of you might come to a different conclusion. When you participated did you job hinge on how many people you traumatized or along the way did you have an option to act more humanely? I wonder what you were told about what you would face and how jacked up your commanders got you. Maybe if you visited the encampment and talked to people there you might learn something. They probably will consider you to be spies, but give it a try.

So OPD, I suggest you don't ask Quan and her cohorts for more consistent orders. They are politicians and you will never get them from that sector. Try to come up with a better solution that doesn't leave an Iraq War veteran with a fractured skull.

Are you the 99% or the 1%?


The 99%

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Posted by Are_grits_groceries in General Discussion
Fri Oct 14th 2011, 08:33 AM
in the next few weeks, the stakes are raised every day. As more people join, it is becoming more and more about who will govern. Will it be the 99% or the PTB? They have the paddy wagons and the ability and will to bend the law. OWS increasingly has a larger and larger voice. The fact that the MSM is reporting this is important. In addition, polls show that people are aware of OWS and many agree with the protestors.

Many people, especially elected officials, have been insisting that there has to be more leadership and cohesiveness. They want that because they want to co-opt the movement by taking over any structure that is set up. There is a message, and they know it. The 99% are tired of having the shite pounded out of them by the economy that the PTB screwed up with their greed. The financial system is rigged anyway in their favor. However, by gaming it for every last penny, they brought it own. People could see a direct correlation between their own misery and the 1% who made this mess.

The PTB would have you believe that people are demanding free money. They want you to think that the demands are about sitting around and collecting more unemployment as if that is a luxurious life. People want a chance. They want to feel and see that it is possible to make a decent living if they work hard. They don't want a free lunch. They do want the ability to buy their lunch.

People in the protests need to be very aware that every measure will be taken to discredit OWS. The PTB want violence and other acts that will turn people away from approving it or joining. That is why it is so very important to keep it peaceful no matter the provocation. It is very much an US against THEM feeling. Up until now, the Vaders have lost the perception battle. they have been the ones who have been the thugs, and spinning the story hasn't worked.they will spin harder and try to change the message that is heard.

The most danger probably comes from those who you might think would be supportive. They want to ontrol this movement just as much as the RW does. With a lack of control, they lose some credibility in their own eyes. The truth is that the only way to gain any credibility I to join the movement as simply a participant. People are tired of being mislead instead of treated fairly. Those who actively try to push their own message or ideas about structuring the masses will not be trusted. While there are those who have fought the good fight, they will be judged with a gimlet eye if they have been in any position of power. Ask Congressman John Lewis. It might not be fair, but that is where we are these days.

I have no idea where this is going or where it will end up. I do know that many people no longer feel as powerless as they did. More feel that way every day as the OWS message is heard. Getting people to think, move and act may ultimately be the most important thing that happens.

The 99% have built a bully pulpit and it continues to grow. That collective voice may be what saves us all in the end. It is very true that we are the ones we have been waiting for.

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Posted by Are_grits_groceries in General Discussion
Wed Sep 28th 2011, 05:45 AM
It would appear from the cruel but not so unusual actions of Inspector Javert (oops, Bologna) that there is no longer any pretense of rule of law by the forces of the system. If those in command positions do this type of thing with impunity, then what do you expect the people of lesser rank will do?

The only thing holding some of them back may be knowing where the power in the system lies. This Mook obviously has a very powerful 'rabbi' somewhere in the chain of power. The people in lower levels may not be so lucky. If they are caught and their ass is burning in a sling, they will be sacrificed in order to satisfy the mass of the great unwashed who object. Javert and his like will never be touched without a sustained and loud outcry. Even then, nothing may happen.

The Great and Powerful Maceman is already under scrutiny for his actions at the GOP convention. No doubt it takes a while to thoroughly investigate the actions of someone of such stature before any measures are taken.

This is one reason I am glad Anonymous has taken some action against him. For those who worry about his family or as it's called, collateral damage, the system has always taken the view that if someone is even accused of a crime, it's their own fault for any consequences. Anonymous has used one form of retaliation that is still available.

These days, all of us are considered collateral damage. The drones from Wall Street or other entities regularly take out an untold number of people economically and in other ways. They have been punished sooooooo severely.

The brutal truth of war is that in the end there are no rules. People such as Cheney and those of a like mind don't have any limits. They are also legion. They count on the ones arrayed against them to try to conform to some semblance of structure. That is a noble principle, and I am not being sarcastic. However, when the going gets very rough, it gets gone by a lot of people. One of the major differences between past conflicts is that rarely have people like Cheney been so open and dismissive of the Constitution.

Unless there is a major push back NOW against the brazen acts we see, Bologna sandwiches will be our meal of choice forever. They have a certain type of power. Make no mistake about this power. It is strong and they will use it. They being from those who control the media message to elected officials who utter few words of condemnation.

We have the power of information and groups like Anonymous. That is even tentative. It is a war, class or otherwise, that will define the future for decades to come. Do you wonder why guerilla tactics are used when the opposition is so entrenched in the power structure? I am not talking about violence because that is one edge they definitely have and will gleefully use.

As it has ever been, we have the power of numbers and information. In addition, we have the capacity to develop ways to use it to great effect. The only question is, "Do we have the will?"
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Posted by Are_grits_groceries in General Discussion
Wed Sep 28th 2011, 04:58 AM
The Queen of Hearts has decreed that when state employees answer the phone, they are required to say "It's a great day in SC."

I suppose she thinks that these Potempkin greetings will bring employers and tourists flocking to the state. Her next decree will be to order the creation of a 10 minute break in the day during which all employees will be required to think positive thoughts and concentrate on certain companies she has picked in order to magically influence them to invest in the state.

I think trying to be positive isn't necessarily a bad idea except ordering it is a twee bit overreaching. In addition, when this type of hooha is a substitute for concrete action, it is just another ring in the state government circus.

Sorry Queen! Can't eat or spend Happy!
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Posted by Are_grits_groceries in General Discussion
Sat Sep 24th 2011, 07:23 PM
I am not advocating not protesting. I think everybody better be as aware as they can of the ramifications. When the Patriot Act was passed initially, it was onerous enough. I still don't believe we know what all of it entailed. There was a taste of it at the GOP convention when some people were charged under the much broader statutes that was being used to arrest and prosecute them . They were caught in the huge terrorism net as it is defined.

Once you are in that net, your rights and other expected protections are not necessarily going to be recognized. It is a very neat way for the PTB to wrap up people who oppose them and control the story. If their arrest are questioned, gawd knows what 'evidence' will be used against them.

In addition, when the Patriot Act was approved again, there were changes. Two Senators have hinted at how dangerous the new Act is and how it reaches into domestic surveillance. They could not be explicit because it was a classified briefing, and I'm sure they were warned thoroughly. I have no idea what is in this Black Law that apparently supercedes all of our other laws and branches of government with the approval of people who should know better.

DHS took the RICO act that had worked so successfully to net a lot of people, and morphed into their own version on steroids to build their terrorism trap. RICO was passed to provide much stiffer penalties for people and groups who were individually going to get charged with much lesser crimes. Using RICO, if a conspiracy among people could be proven, the punishments were much harsher. Good idea, huh? The problem is it began to seep into every are of law in order to force people to plead to admit guilt to lesser crimes they might not have not been convicted of in exchange for taking the onerous RICO sentences off the table.

I know Michael Vick is anathema to many. He eventually pled guilty to avoid the chance he would be brought up on RICO charges related to interstate gambling and dog rings. That may warmth cockles of some hearts, but there are others you don't hear about who are trapped by RICO and shouldn't be. They may not have been up to any good, but neither did they deserve the threat of major RICO penalties.

DHS and all the others who fall into the 'security' areas of government are squeezing protestors in the same wy. In addition, the Patriot Act is much scarier because as I have stated, who the hell knows what is in it, how it's applied, or what rights you have once you fall under those statutes. It is SECRET.

Just be aware that it is really a cowardly new world that you are now entering especially when you protest. I fully believe that it is a much more dangerous time for those who speak out. At Kent State, innocent people were shot. At this time, the result y be no less deadly but much more quiet.
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Posted by Are_grits_groceries in General Discussion
Thu Sep 22nd 2011, 03:54 AM
They think they do, and they have this idea because for them there is no correlation between justice and executing the person who actually killed the police officer. The system to them and the sentence of death is about vengeance. Those people do believe in an 'eye for an eye', but they don't care about which particular eyes are involved in the equation.(I am not going to argue the morality of the DP here. I don't believe it is moral, but that is a different discussion than this one.)

You can argue all you want with them about the lack of evidence and recantations of statements. That isn't the point to them. Officer McPhail was gunned down in cold blood by someone of color. Troy Davis was involved by being in the same area code when the event occurred, and because he was a person of color with a rap sheet. The facts that someone of dubious character mentioned his name, he was obviously a triflin' person up to no good, and that Davis was not someone who had powerful connections made him a perfect fit.

In this case and others, the system uses "The Neighborhood Play' from baseball as a guide. When a double play is turned in baseball, second base has to actually be touched for a force out to count. However, if the fielder is in the neighborhood of the base during the play, it will still be ruled an out by custom in many cases. Troy Davis was in the metaphorical neighborhood so why bother with being exact and adhering to the letter of the law? If it's good enough for baseball.............

People don't see individuals. Instead they see groups of interchangeable parts. That has been a major societal problem for years, and it is getting worse. If a Congressmook knows of ONE example of theft, fraud, or cheating in a program such as unemployment benefits, that one person becomes the standard by which the entire program is judged. That view is then passed on to people who are predisposed to believe it anyway, and voila! Unemployment benefits need to be cut because it's used only by frauds.

This reasoning is pervasive and unfortunately has deadly consequences. People who wanted Troy Davis executed no matter what other information was presented are sitting smugly in their moral certainty because he was in the neighborhood and close enough to their idea of someone who would be involved. People of color are seen as a monolithic entity too many people.

Todd Willingham who was executed by Texas for arson and the deaths of his daughters was caught in the same neighborhood trap. He didn't have the added burden of being a person of color caught in the system, but he was poor and did have a rap sheet. To Perry and others, so what if he didn't really do it. He was a drag on their view of society so it was no loss to them. The Memphis Three were lucky to have been freed. They also fit the neighborhood ideal as suspects. Damn any facts!

If you are caught in the system and perceived as "an other" who is outside the circle of those people seen as acceptable by the PTB, you might as well start gnawing your foot off at the start. You will be lucky if you escape with just the loss of a foot if you escape at all.

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Posted by Are_grits_groceries in General Discussion
Wed Sep 14th 2011, 03:41 AM
When I think about my high school days, I can let them play across my memory in a clip of bits and pieces that stand out to this very day. They are from all areas of that time such as sports, the marching band, moments from the academic side, and many others.

The moments from the academic side are a varied lot. They range from bits of poems by Robert Burns, Emily Dickinson, and e e cummings that I can still quote to the thunderous words of Jonathan Edwards in 'Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God.' I have never felt such empathy for a spider before or since.

There is one moment that froze me in my seat when it occurred. We watched a short movie that someone had made of 'The Lottery' by Shirley Jackson. When it was over, I felt a mixture of emotions from stunned to horror and beyond. I felt the same way after watching the moment from the GOP debate when the audience cheered when deciding to let a sick person die.

(Here is a link to the entire short story, 'The Lottery' by Shirley Jackson: if you want to read it. I have no idea why there is a difference in the word count. I'm sure somebody will be trifling enough to count them and report in.)

In that moment it seemed as if we had won That Lottery of fear, superstition, and just plain evil. The cheering was jarring enough. What was even more deafening was the silence by everyone after the cheering and in these days that have followed. I know that the cheering has been pointed out and condemned here and there. However, what is missing is a ringing voice of moral clarity asking people what have we become in this 'Christian' and munificent nation. I am talking about a voice from many spectra from the religious to the political. I am not talking about just President Obama. There are a lot of people who should have been heard from.

It would seem that we are now a nation of people who would let the stranger die on the side of the road because we are too scared either to act or scared of those who do espouse not helping. Either way, we are a nation of shame at the least.

Links to the video clip:
Part 1:

Part 2:

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Posted by Are_grits_groceries in General Discussion
Wed Sep 07th 2011, 10:15 AM
I do not give a happy damn about Rick Perry and his shite in the face of the tragic consequences the people of Texas will suffer. As much as I would like to smack him up side the head with a harsh message like no aid, it is not only counterproductive, but harsh and inhumane.

The problem now in the ENTIRE country is that people don't see each other as individuals. They only see monolithic groups that are easily denounced. Until everydamnbody begins to see each other again as people and not ideologies, this country will continue to fracture and grow apart. The whole argument sounds like a childish game of "They started it."

Stamp "FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT" on everything, but get it there NOW. Why do you think Katrina was much more of a mess than it had to be? Mississippi got more aid, and they got it faster. It was the damn political game. The Governor of LA and the Mayor of NoLa were Democrats, and the city was regarded as a 'hellhole of anti-whatever' beliefs by W and all those jackasses around him.

Eric Cantor is playing the political game with aid too. Do you really want to be a part of this game?

It isn't a damn game. People and every bit of land and nature are caught in this firestorm just as surely as the NE was caught in the flooding. One area could be seen as blue and liberal and the other as conservative and red. They are HUMAN BEINGS and deserve every bit of help they can get in both areas.

For gawd's sake, when other countries have disasters do we parse their politics and hold back? As I recall, we are the first in if we can be. And you want to do less for other Americans??????????????????????????????????????????

If Auburn fans can go to the aid of Alabama fans when the tornadoes hit Tuscaloosa, then ANYTHING is conceivable. That is not a joke.

Shylock was a momser, but he had it right in 'The Merchant of Venice.'. His trial was a mockery of justice and those who judged him were no better.
Shakespeare puts one of his most eloquent speeches into the mouth of this "villain":

Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.
—Act III, scene I

Send the damn aid or it will justify every heartless act some of those people have committed. Two wrongs........

My damn hair is on fire, and I have to go get some damn water to put the damn mess out. And I was hard pressed not to use a lot of other words besides damn.


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