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Journal Journal: NYT Op-Ed calls for one-party rule 7

New York Times Op-Ed writer Thomas Friedman is showing his true colors. He's advocating "enlightened" one-party rule, as he tires of Republicans refusing to co-operate with Democratic initiatives. Friedman says that we currently have a "one party democracy" because of near-total GOP opposition to Democratic bills, and that perhaps an enlightened one-party autocracy with America's best interests at heart could be the answer. Friedman further thinks China is a good model of government to emulate. "One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century." Friedman flatly states that "our one-party democracy is worse". Perhaps we too can look forward to things like a one-child policy and extensive Internet censorship. Friedman is the type of Liberal Jonah Goldberg was talking about when he wrote Liberal Fascism.

Further, Goldberg says that liberals like Friedman are nothing new, that we've seen this kind of liberal pining for benevolent dictatorship many times before:

"I cannot begin to tell you how this is exactly the argument that was made by American fans of Mussolini in the 1920s. It is exactly the argument that was made in defense of Stalin and Lenin before him (it's the argument that idiotic, dictator-envying leftists make in defense of Castro and Chavez today). It was the argument made by George Bernard Shaw who yearned for a strong progressive autocracy under a Mussolini, a Hitler or a Stalin (he wasn't picky in this regard). This is the argument for an "economic dictatorship" pushed by Stuart Chase and the New Dealers. It's the dream of Herbert Croly and a great many of the Progressives."

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Journal Journal: This is what you need now... 3

Back when my wife and I were first married, we enjoyed music made from sampled sections of other music. Two of our favorite artists at that time were Thievery Corporation and Avalanche. For old time's sake we looked up one of our favorite songs in YouTube just to listen to it again.

Now, most of the time when you really like a song as rich and complex as this, the music video is a real bummer. In fact, watching the movie "The Wall" permanently ruined me from listening to the album ever again.

But this music video turned out to be a real treat. In fact, it may far eclipse the song itself...

Frontier Psychiatrist

And after that you may enjoy, Since I left you

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Journal Journal: Is The New Republic infected with a Trojan?

I rarely go there, but on two occasions now, I've gone to following a story link, and an attempted AntiVirus 2008 infection begins. Lucky me that I use a Mac this time of day.

National Review doesn't have this problem.

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Journal Journal: A poster named ScentCone...

... has really impressed me of late.

In the recent story McCain releases technology platform, one poster stood out in his responses against the usual left-libertarian grain here. He's ScentCone, and he consistently posts forcefully argued, well reasoned ripostes. Despite the left-libertarian slant here, he's usually modded pretty well because, frankly, he makes very good arguments. He's apparently a productive poster as well. I'm a little wary of adding friends here, but after his "performance", so to speak, in that story, I had to add him. Simply an outstanding guy, and a great read.

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Journal Journal: Safari/Slashdot problems? 3

Safari (on OS X Tiger, all the latest updates) seems to be dying way too much when I'm on Slashdot. It's gotten bad enough that when I report it to Apple, I put "Slashdot hates you" in the what-were-you-doing part of the crash dialogue box. I wonder if Slashdot has some funky scripts that Safari chokes on?

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Journal Journal: So Thompson is now out... 6

...and I just don't know who I'm going to vote for in the GOP primaries now. I'm down to a few very bad choices. This will very much be a lesser of the evils election for me.

I have to choose between John McCain, a man who seemingly has more fondness for Democrats than for his own party on the big issues of the day (save for the war), and Mitt Romney, a man who ran and governed as a liberal in Massachusetts, and now claims to be the heir to Reagan....which means either he's had the mother of all mind changes, or that he just tells the crowd whatever it wants to hear to win the next office. Nice choice,eh?

And don't even mention Huckabee, a man more like Jimmy Carter than a Republican nominee for President.

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Journal Journal: The chances against Christmas being Christmas... 3

... are 365/1. Mecco's Star Wars Christmas, with narration by C3-P0.

Just an update. As you may or may not remember, I promised to not lie to my children about Santa Clause. He is someone who lived many years ago and is dead. Now we have a bunch of people pretending to be like him. What is wrong with that?

Last year I saw defeat. My child, despite my best efforts, told me I was wrong. Santa was real.

This year, though I continued to say once or twice the truth, got caught up in the geek factor. My children and I watched in anticipation as Santa was tracked around the world by NORAD. This year it was even better because I could track Santa on Google Earth.

What a great way to teach my child that this is a whole world, with time zones and such. Around the time Santa crossed the Atlantic we gave NORAD a call. No circuits available. As we read the bedtime story we left our cell phone in re-dial, and it never went through.

As it was just my wife and I staying up putting the Santa gifts out, I watched Santa pass over my city. I told my wife even though it wasn't true, there was still something fun about the anticipation. I remember it as a child, and its not really dead now that I know the truth. Odd, huh.

But I see the cracks in the foundation. As my child watched the Santa cam via NORAD, she said, "I want to see Santa land."

"Yeah," I said, "me too. It is pretty odd how he can deliver presents to so many houses while he is flying over these cities".

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Journal Journal: I'm back, though I don't know for how long 2

Just out of morbid curiousity, I've returned to Slashdot after almost a year and a half. To my utter surprise (not), Slashdot is still the land of the Idiot and the home of the Troll. And the "America Sucks" people are more prominent than ever.

Oh well...I'm in a mood to give the virtual finger, so bring 'em on.

I have to say one thing...I'm surprised I don't see more Ron Paul supporters here. I figured Slashdot would be a breeding ground for them. Most here are just generally apathetic assholes that complain a lot.

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Journal Journal: AMDs new CPUs

AMD has released their new CPUs. Other than the low clock speed they look great. They are very fast for the clock speed and have made some real big jumps in SSE performance. The really big win is in power use. They use no more power than the dual cores they replace.
Now the big question. What about the CPUs for notebooks. Quad cores are very exciting but the real truth is that very few people need a quad core CPU. If they can really get the low power version of these CPUs down to the 50 watt level then what can they do with a duel core version? Could we see a 30 watt dual core for notebooks? Maybe a 50 watt duel core with a GPU for notebooks and desktops?

These server chips are very interesting but I think that wee will see a lot more interesting stuff in the consumer area.

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Journal Journal: New iPods

Apple will be coming out with new iPods very soon.
I will go out on a limb a make a wild guess about the future iPods.
I think we will see an iPod with 160 gigabyte drive and Wi-Fi and or bluetooth.
Why Wi-Fi and or bluetooth?
Simple, they will allow you to stream content to your iPhone!
You will get the big screen and good battery life of an iPhone with a massive amount of storage on your iPod.
You don't believe that Apple would want people to just buy an iPhone do you?

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Journal Journal: Interpretation (p2): The Good Samaritain 7

By the way, if the name of the country is "Samaria" then why are its people called "Samaritains" rather than "Samarians" or "Samarites"? It seems a strange combination of the two suffixes.

In the last JE, I pointed to a rather in-depth study of a single interpretation of a single word. What interested me in it was how the motivation for interpretive speculation was a serious denial that "steel" could possibly have existed. Yet, it could.

The discussion I want to point you to today is a good example of figurative or moral interpretation (as in the moral of a story). A New Testament parable, to depart a bit from the Genesis theme. Again you might see how different starting points influence the outcome of how they read the story. You might even be able to detect where your own starting point might influence your interpretation of the story.


MH42 mentioned that I have discovered that interpretation is private. Yet perhaps closer to the truth is as Calvin said to Hobbes, "People always make the mistake of thinking art is created for them. But really, art is a private language for sophisticates to congratulate themselves on their superiority to the rest of the world." There is a process where someone can truly discover the intended meaning behind a story -- whatever worth that might be. And that meaning will have much more to do with our humanity than our personality. The more inspired the writer, the more valuable the meaning. It is somewhat elitist, but that is not what interests me. I find that its accessibility is the most prized jewel in this pursuit.

Now some side-news....

* I fear no spoiler. I finished "The Deathly Hallows".
* I looked at Multiply, but for my purposes I am not interested in joining Facebook or MySpace, or anything like it. I always found the journal system as a way to my submitted Slashdot stories being turned down. Just as the Diary at K5. That is all. I have vamped up my Google Reader and find myself in touch with much more information (Slashdot included) then I can possible digest. Slashdot may not be what it was, but then neither is the Internet, and neither are the people who are a part of it. I do not mourn the loss of the great place it was, because for me the loss happened about 1999.

Next up: Looking at interpretation visually through collected artworks of the Ark of the Covenant.

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Journal Journal: Interpretation (P1): The Steel Bow 3

Deep in the thread of the last discussion, I let slip something of my own view on this general topic of interpretation...

Unfortunately, for all the learning that has been presented here on Slashdot, the process itself has been woefully neglected in everyone's commentary. Many are willing to tell us how smart they are, but smartness is only approximately the same as truth, the best it can ever be is an estimate in matters of cultivating one's own life with richness and truth. I have no problem with that, as I realize for myself that is so far my process. The way to make that further step is my pursuit.

Interpretation is a tricky thing. The Greeks had a concept of "Muses" a team of supernatural beings who whispered great ideas into peoples ears. These muses would give them inspiration, a general get up and go try something new and improved that was from beyond the narrow focus of our survival of every day problems. That was inspiration, and it made everyones lives more rich and full. But they also noted that inspiration, as it was passed from one hand to the next, seemed to dilute or corrupt. Even when copying verbatim, the inspiration of the muse was best found in the origional work, and in Alexandria (IIRC) they tried to collect as close to the original work as they could.

As I continue what has been a very enriching look at the book of Genesis, I find I need to pause a bit and ponder on this topic of interpretation. To those who follow the belief of the muses, interpretation is nothing more than an incomplete copy of the original idea or thought. It is an approximation, a best guess. It is our own words.

And this is probably no better seen than visually, in how people paint or draw their interpretations rather than say them. In the next installment I will study the ark of the covenant, so I will ask for everyone to send me their favorite pictures of what the ark looks like. If you draw your own, that would be even cooler.

But for now, I want to start with another object of antiquity. The steel bow of Nephi, the prominent first author in the Book of Mormon. What makes this fun is that it is more controversial, the authenticity of the Book of Mormon is often disputed. And the presence of the steel bow is a common conundrum in that struggle. The Book of Mormon, as noted by Joseph Smith, was an act of interpretation by inspiration. A single step of interpretation aided by divine inspiration.

So why do I bring this up? Because while the presence of a steel bow is presented as problematic for the Book of Mormon, the King James Version of the Bible mentions steel bows also. But, we are told, that is a mistaken translation on their part because Israel in that time didn't have steel, let alone steel bows. So interpretation is sought to reconcile this dilemma by both Mormon orthodoxy and more generally Christian. But as the following link shows, if the interpretation of the Bible that Joseph Smith had was flawed, then perhaps he knew the problem and aligned the mention with the false interpretation already in place?

Read on as people explore this dilemma through an attempt at understanding interpretation.

So does steel really mean serpentine? Bronze? There are very compelling cases for each. Is the KJV translation just flat wrong on the matter? And did Joseph Smith know it was wrong, but follow along for conformity sake? Though there are other comments along a similar vein, projecting many feelings of frustration on every side as they grapple with the issue, it is with the dry drawn out timing simular to Monte Python that the last comment gets to the punchline. Which I won't spoil for people who wish to read the above thread...

Next stop, the road to Jericho and a lone traveling good Samaritan. And then if no more diversions are requested then we'll head straight for the lost ark. I look forward to seeing entries for the Ark art display :) Just submit them in any of the JE's between now and then.

Many thanks,

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Journal Journal: Genesis 14 18

Abraham saves the day ... for Sodom and Gomorah?

Its an interesting story, if I have it right. A large multi-national army leaves a large swath of destruction, including Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot, perhaps already abandoned the plains and now a citizen or inhabitant of Sodom, is taken captive along with the rest of the spoils. Abraham takes a raiding party made up of his own employees, and recaptures the spoils. Then gives them back (except for a tithing he gives to the priest).

This brings up one of my favorite people, Melchizedek (various spellings abound) who Abraham payed tithing too and from whom received bread and wine. Long after his brief mention in the Genesis, we see that the priesthood is named after him. It has many differentiating characteristics we learn from the Aaronic priesthood. It is not inherited. The Aaronic priesthood is very formalized and full of ritual. It is the priesthood of prophets and seers who act on a different mission and purview. Melchizedek mysteriously disappears, along with his city Salem from any note of any of the next generations to inhabit the same valley.

Moses perhaps acted under this priesthood when he instituted and officiated in the Tabernacle under this priesthood while the Aaronic was being set up). While Aaron could only visit the Holiest place once a year, and then with obscuring smoke, Moses was in divine presence (face to face) both in the Tablernacle and elsewhere. Perhaps Samuel acted under this priesthood when he was an officiator of sacrifices outside the Tabernacle. Perhaps Elisha who did miracles and sacrifices. Yet why is it still named after Melchizedek?

For something completely different, it was late night on "Coast to Coast" radio with George Nory where a particular woman was on the line accepting calls. She was helping people interpret their encounters with ghosts, etc... One person encountered what she called a "Mel-chee-see-dek" who are a group of angels particularly engaged in helping out us mere mortals. I have no idea where she pulls her "insights" from, nor does that matter much to me. I do not relay the story to paint her as a purveyor of truth. The odd pronunciation (I almost didn't recognize the word) along with the mention of them being an order of angels was interesting in that I was completely unaccustomed to hearing such a reference from such a source. The source seems independent from my own both in insight and in understanding for having some parallel.

But this brings me to ask, especially for those who wonder about my commentary here, what does "priest" mean to you?

For me a priest is someone who officiates in ordinances. My etymological research narrows its origins down to meaning the "lead ox", someone who is lead by the herdsman or Shepard who in turn inspires others to follow. I like that, it relates the word to a concept rather than protocol or official act of authentication though I admit there are those dimensions to the role. Is there something I might be missing? Perhaps in the protocol and authentication?

Are all prophets priests, or are none, or is the fact that the prophets both lead and officiate mean they are other than priests somehow?

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Journal Journal: Conversion 6

The last JE I wrote has me thinking a lot about conversion. I do not know of many philosophies, religions, political parties, that do not attempt in some degree to handle a strange human phenomenon that people may change their minds and wish to join another's point of view.

So, how does your political party, philosophy, or religion handle conversion?

What steps precede a conversion, and what steps certify, mark, or account for the conversion?

How would you tell someone they can be sure that their conversion has set them on a valid path, what re-assurances does the converted have of knowing their change is really for their own good? How do you measure if they are truly converted or just (to borrow from the Republicans) RINO's?

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