I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

January 16, 2013 - 11:26 a.m.

Out of hte Comfort Zone

I didn't do much yesterday so I can catch up here on thoughts and current events. My outing for the day was going to the post office to pick up my mail. I failed at that. I got there too late. That happens too often. I have to accept that it can take me more than an hour to get there if there are train problems. Once I was up there I went a little further up down and ate at the Chirping Chicken. I haven't done that in ages. It's good roasted chicken. Then I went to Trader Joe's and got shredded pepper jack cheese for my omelet. It's always useful to have around the kitchen.

Is that it? Did I come straight home after that? I did. The ride home was very unpleasant. the had ventilation problems. It was hot and stuffy and I started feeling ill. I had to take off my jacket, not just unzip it. It didn't help that my water bottle was empty. It as such a relief when I got off.

So you know how I always complain about people blocking the subway door when they are trying to get on the train? Yesterday I ran into someone that must get more annoyed at that than me, that or he's just a sociopath. I was the one getting on the train. As I always do I stood to the side of the door. Only one person was getting off the train and he felt I was too close to the door. Remember I was not blocking it, I was next to it. He said, excuse me. I didn't think he meant to me but he did. I had to take a step back from the door or he wouldn't get off. he could have walked out the other side of the door and not come close but he wasn't going to move till I did.

OK now on to politics and such. I made a list of things that I've been thinking about. Some of these might make you uncomfortable, that's very much the idea.

There has been a lot written about how Obama's appointments for his second half team are all white men. The emphasis is on men as with Obama as president there's always a black in the room. Everything I've read about it has missed the most important point. It isn't about discriminating against women or the harm done to women, We are talking about very few positions. It isn't like it is going to have an effect on women's employment numbers. Cabinet and White House Senior Staff jobs shouldn't be handed out to be fair to people. They should be given to the people that will serve the country best. And the thing that everyone's missing. Women have different experiences than men which lead to a different perspective. Just look at gender breakdowns in opinion polls and you'll see the polarization. Without women in the top cabinet posts that viewpoint will not be heard from. It isn't that women suffer from having only men, it's the country that suffers. Diversity helps institutions whether they are colleges, corporations, or government.

Now on to specific appointment, Chuck Hagel. It's Obama once again bending over backwards to show how non-partisan he is by appointing a Republican. Now that can be a good thing. It is part of the diversity. But it highlights a pitfall appointing people that aren't qualified. There are so few Republicans who could ideologically fit into Obama's view on the military that he had to pick one with such huge flaws. His past bigotry against gays and Jews should disqualify him if he isn't willing to totally disavow them. Not say that he misspoke, not say that he should have phrased it differently but say flat out that he was wrong but that he has learned since then. The Israeli lobby is NOT the Jewish lobby. The biggest organization that lobbies from Israel is in fact right wing Christian. It is not even the Israeli lobby but the right wing Israeli government lobby. When they left was in charge in Israel they had no problems with criticizing the government..

What Hagel said about gays is clearly worse. He objected to the James Hormel's appointment to be ambassador to Luxemburg because Hormel was "openly, aggressively gay."

This is Hagel's apology.

My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive. They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights. I am fully supportive of open service and committed to LGBT military families.

That isn't good enough. It wasn't insensitive. It was bigoted. It was saying that being gay disqualifies you from public office. It says that there is something wrong being gay. What I want to hear is him say, "I am ashamed at how I felt then. I have learned how wrong I was. It is hard to change the prejudices of a lifetime and he first step is learning that they are prejudices not facts. "

I'm going to skip to my last one because it's the one that is going to make you uncomfortable so it's the one you and I need to think about the most,

When you hear about the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State and the Steubenville Ohio football team rape case everyone is struck by how nobody said anything. People then go on to blame that on caring more about the football team's success than the victims. I don't think that's it is the major element. We hear about things like this in all kinds of institutions and people speaking out is the exception, not the rule.

While I'm sure it happens it isn't mainly misplaced values. It's people's reluctance to believe that people they know can do such horrible things. Jerry Sandusky didn't come across as a monster to people. Why? Because he isn't a monster, he's a human being who did something monstrous. We have this notion of their being a clear separation of good and bad people and we hate to think that we might know the bad people. It's frightening to think we do. The idea makes us uncomfortable. So people find it easier to deny that the people we know are doing bad things. Which of your friends do you think are capable of rape or child molestation? None, right? But everyone feels that way. They know there friends couldn't do it but of course some of us must be wrong. It happens all the time. It doesnt even have to be a friend. It can just be someone you know. People are even reluctant to believe things about people they know are creepy. The person I refer to as creepy guy number 1 openly advocated that teachers should be able to have sex with their 15 year old students. Yet people that know him and know he said this will still say, "but he's harmless." Maybe he is but people find it hard to even think about the possibility that he's not.

People keep quiet because saying something would mean acknowledging truths that are more than inconvenient but scary. Does this make you feel uncomfortable? Good. It makes me feel uncomfortable. I'd much rather feel that the ones keeping silent are terrible people and nobody I know would do that. But intellectually I know it's wrong. It happens all the time, from Penn State to the Catholic Church. Being aware of it is the best defense. Being aware that I might do exactly the same thing is the best way to make sure that I say something if I'm ever in that situation.

OK now on to more pleasant things for me, a Taylor ham and pepper jack cheese omelet and then seeing the captivating Kath Buckell (pronounced buckle) tonight.

Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017

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Horvendile January 16, 2013
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