31 July 2012

Mitt Gaffe-ney?

Corporations are people, my friend
Many find Presidential candidate Mitt Romney petulant and secretive about his personal income, but at least the US electorate has a compendium of public statements to gather insight into his character:
  • Corporations are people, my friend…of course they are. (August 2011)
  • I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. (January 2012)
  • I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. (January 2012)
  • He [President Obama] says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people. (June 2012)
  • Let Detroit Go Bankrupt (Romney's New York Times op-ed 2008)
  • I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this [automotive] industry's come back. (May 2012)
  • You can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye - i.e., if GM, Ford and Chrysler got a government bailout (Romney's New York Times op-ed 2008)
  • I'll tell you what, ten-thousand bucks? $10,000 bet? (December 2011) - Romney's wager following disagreement with Rick Perry about health care.
  • I should tell my story. I'm also unemployed. (2011) --- speaking to unemployed people in Florida (Romney's net worth is over $200 million). 
  • [My wife] drives a couple of Cadillacs. (February 2012 in Michigan) 
  • I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love. (January 2012)
Mitt, the Presidential candidate, has become a fount of tone-deaf gaffes. Mr. Romney seems like an automaton with intractable bugs in his communication software.

If elected, Romney hopes to further the interests of the 1%. The rest of...he'd like to fire. Evidence from his campaign suggest he will gleefully abandon the interests of the other 99%.

Question to @MittRomney on Twitter:
If corporations are people, what kind of a parent would name their kid Lockheed or Northrup Grumman?

22 July 2012

The Uncertainty Convention

A Facebook update alerted me to a local billboard for an Atheist Convention. With no ax to grind, my buddy Kurt wrote that this convention seemed...odd.

I imagine him asking in his whiny, Bowery Boys wise-guy voice, "What do they talk about at an Atheist Convention? Disgust with mono-theism?.

From his Facebook update:
If you went to a convention for people who didn't like Star Trek, what would you talk about? How much you hate Star Trek?
I suspect well-adjusted people would not bother convening to discuss something they hate. People convene for many reasons. People have to convene. It's animal nature to get together to shoot the shit. A geneticist could probably isolate a gene for packs, tribes, and cabals in animal DNA.

Like-minded people convene to connect, share stories, imbibe, and to feel the love of tribalism.

Atheists tend to be attuned to, and appreciative of, the physical world. As it happens, being attuned to the physical world gives atheists plenty to talk about. Ahem...starting with the known universe.

I dismiss certainty in most realms. I respect conviction, but only if it is conviction associated with ideas that make common sense, or support the common good.
As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.
 ― Albert Einstein
I am uncomfortable with dogmatic anything. I am uncomfortable with dogmatic atheists. And I am very uncomfortable with dogmatic theists. The people closest to me are not theists, but if a theist strikes me as otherwise simpatico, I cultivate common ground before I wave buh-bye at the edge of the superstition abyss. 
I took a test in Existentialism. I left all the answers blank and got 100.
― Woody Allen
Human-conjured deities that take on the metaphoric image of man repulse me.

The whole of nature, the living world, is much more sublime than the human species. We are familiar with the shortcomings of man. It takes a lifetime to know the profound beauty, and ruthless efficiency, of the living world.

When atheists respect my uncertainty, they are, generally speaking, easier to converse with than theists. Like atheists, I too am attuned to, and appreciative of, the physical world.

My convention is The Uncertainty Convention. Would you attend The Uncertainty Convention?

I wouldn't want to go to the expense of a billboard if you weren't going to show up.

13 July 2012

Nobody in his Senses

SS Vallejo
I first read Alan Watts' The Way of Zen (1957) in the early 1980s. I was alerted to Alan Watts by my then future father-in-law who kept a picture of the SS Vallejo on the wall of his bedroom in Minnesota.

The Vallejo is a legendary ferry that was converted to a houseboat and moored in Sausalito. Alan Watts inhabited the Vallejo from 1961 to 1969. The epicenter of the 1960's counter-culture was centered around San Francisco, if not this venerable but dilapidated houseboat.

The Way of Zen became a seminal book that introduced a burgeoning youth culture to Eastern Philosophy, and specifically to Buddhism, throughout the decades of the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

The teachings of Alan Watts, and of my father-in-law, continue to guide me.

The video of Awareness Meditation (below) is from a KQED TV program called The Silent Mind  (1960 © KQED).

If we live in entirely in a world of thought, all the things we pursue in life tend in a way to become arid and unsatisfactory because we are living in an abstract world. In other words, nobody in his senses is going to eat a menu instead of dinner.
~Alan Watts (23:40)