Thursday, June 23, 2005

burning question...

ok, so if it becomes illegal to burn the American flag, what about symbolically/virtually burning the flag? what constitues the flag? it's a symbol right? -- it's not an actual object. what you see above is an American flag. so, on the slippery slope of legal interpretation that little picture could conceivably cause YOU the reader to break the law just because it was displayed on your computer -- if, due to some digital alteration, the owner of said image changed it to an "American flag burning". "well", you say, "that's not what they mean, they mean really burning a real flag". ok, what constitues a "real" flag? think along the lines of what constitutes a "assault weapon" (another ill-thought law we know about here in CA).
what freedom are we protecting here? just a thought.

and what if someone put up a web page where you could symbolically burn a flag as a legitimate expression of protest (against this stupid proposal for example)? if you say "yes, that should be illegal", then you probably think merely suggesting the idea smacks of un-Americanism if not outright terrorism ("giving aid and comfort to those who would destroy us").

remember, the first amendment gives you the right of free speech, but it does not give you the right to yell "fire!" in a crowded theater (unless of course someone really is burning a flag).

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Bush's GOP Allies Are Breaking Ranks

todays LA Times has Robert Scheer writing and quoting the recent discussions in congress: increasing number of Republicans are admitting that the emperor has no clothes — having lied his pants off about our motives for invading Iraq, and ever since about how great things are going there.

"Too often we've been told, and the American people have been told, that we're at a turning point," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on NBC's "Meet the Press," as he disagreed with Cheney's absurd claim last week that the Iraq insurgency is in its "last throes." "What the American people should have been told and should be told [is that] it's long, it's hard, it's tough."

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, was even more blunt: "Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse," he told U.S. News and World Report, as the latest suicide bombings claimed the lives of dozens of Iraqis. "The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

Even Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.), who brought us "freedom fries," has found enough of his wits to admit publicly that he has lost confidence in the Iraq occupation and would sponsor legislation calling on the administration to more clearly define how, and when, it intends to bring the war to a close.

the emperor may not be a lame duck yet, but do I detect a limp?

BTW, I was going to provide a "proper conservative analysis" link to "liberal" Scheer, but all I could find is years old material... little help here?

Monday, June 20, 2005

ojai/ventura weekend trip

the awesome family celebrated the last day of school with a trip to the country cousins for the weekend. yes, the Ojai Valley, where a unique blend of people coexist (more or less) with nature and each other. where you get your food from the mountain people's co-op, trader joes, or the back yard. we weren't invited to Jacko's casino party in nearby Santa Ynez Saturday night, so instead we went to Eric Ericcsen's (see review) on the pier at Ventura:

...and talked about the "not guilty" individual instead. Ventura has some interesting places and a good farmers market Saturday mornings, but for a large part it's ugly and utilitarian. I did enjoy the sculptures and talking to the artists with their works in progress at Art City:

there are a lot of gems like this hidden away in "San Buenaventura". but I digress, let's get back to the meal. for dinner I had charbroiled (rare) Ahi with an olive oil and green something or other sauce. with pilaf and veggies it was a nice light meal complemented by a glass of pinot blanc (sorry, forgot the brand -- sheesh, what kind of review is this?!) for dessert we decided to get fancy and went to the luxurious Ojai Valley Inn. there we had a really good chocolate delicacy described as:

"Valrhona chocolate fondant with raspberry coulis brandy chocolate sorbet".
anyway, it was a fun weekend with sailing, kayaking, pinball, pool, darts, tennis, oil painting and last but not least -- banjo pickin'!
if anyone cares I'll post more about whatever, just ask :-)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

another trackback experiment

note to self: put this under the "learning experience" category. so I was reading Matt's ( "trackback traffic for dummies" post (not really what he called it, but that's what I need). he describes trackbacks as something that:

"allows a blogger to see who has viewed the original post and has written another entry concerning it (and usually links to the original post). For example, if I were to link to a post on Engadget, that link would be put in the trackbacks section of the Engadget post. There would probably be Engadget readers curious to see who linked to that post, and would end up clicking the link to my blog through the trackback."

I tried a trackback before and did something wrong. this post is another attempt. and if anyone knows of a real "trackbacks for dummies" web page, please let me know :)

p.s. I see have a little trackback thing below each post and that haloscan is managing it for me. I also see that none of my posts have any trackbacks. so what does it take for someone to do something that causes an entry to appear in there?

p.p.s. maybe I'll write my own "trackbacks for dummies" here when I finally get my head around it.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

"The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment"

came across this little gem by happenstance. you can buy the book/read reviews or just read it online. here's an excerpt from chapter 7:

Never pull your attention away from a scene impulsively because it looks ugly, unpleasant, or painful.

Make a conscious decision, the words are enough, to love yourself for seeing it as revolting. If possible, keep your attention on it until it turns beautiful, or at least until you are indifferent to it.

You don't have to go looking for bad scenes to test yourself, or remind yourself of all that is wrong in the world, but once a scene manifests itself in your presence, become as fully aware of it as you can.

Staying with it is important. You may hide in your room or leave the city, but you as an entity will still be stuck on a low vibration level of denial if you pull away suddenly. It will seem like the strangest of coincidences when, having withdrawn your attention sharply from one unpleasant scene, you keep running into others like it. That will baffle you, and keep happening until you come to an unpleasantness you can tolerate or love, and your vibrations go up.

Look at it, love it, and then get away! It's all right to channel your attention to what is pleasant for you. What else is freedom for? And as long as there is free will, there are always going to be some beings creating vibrations you do not like, no matter what level you are on. The point is to take your leave in a way that doesn't hang you up.

After a few experiences with loving weird events, you will be tuned in enough to get early warning when someone is likely to rip you off or otherwise stir up bad vibrations, (when the cup is starting to fall, so to speak,) and you will be able to make the right moves before it gets too involved.

Don't feel that it is "unspiritual" to perceive unwholesome possibilities in other people: it isn't paranoia if the object of your fear is real.

It's just carelessness karma if you ignore early warnings. Keep your mind open and unresisting to any possibility: that's what gives you the information to keep evil from manifesting in your life. Pay attention, here and now. It's all right to say No.

No matter what others are doing, you are the only one who is responsible for what happens to you. There is nothing in the external event that in the least way determines your feelings and experiences: your life is entirely governed by your vibrations, what they tell you and how you respond.

The slower your vibrations, the more unpleasant your life: you will contend with more conflict, mass, and pain. Events will happen too fast for control, yet time will seem interminable because you can see no way out.

But when you raise your vibration level, you can neatly sidestep collisions, both psychic and physical, and quite literally change the world for the better. Love is the strongest magic of all.

When you learn to love hell, you will be in heaven.