One Last Stab…

I gotta take one last stab at this insane political season before it is over.  David Horsey’s cartoon says it all to me.  If he is elected I expect he would put his family in as his cabinet so they and tell everyone what he really meant.  And then there is Rudy, he is kind of like the loyal dog of the family.

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SIX MORE DAYS……

Bent’s Old Fort…

5star-banner  On this 5Star Wednesday I want to celebrate Bent’s old Fort in southern Colorado. It is one of those mystical places where I almost feel the people that were there a hundred  and fifty years ago.  One of the things that make it special is that it was not a military fort but a commercial trading post.

They say it was the source of the TV mini-series “Centennial”that I much admired years ago. 5Star Wednesdays is about one picture or one thought so I will leave you here with my favorite picture of the place.

Bent's Old Fort.jpg

I Might Be More British Than American…

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When I came across this post in Instagram from my friends at BBC America I had a flashing thought that I may be more British than American.  I’m pretty sure my distant ancestors came from the Great British Empire a few hundred years ago so maybe it is in my blood.   I love looking at things from a philosophical angle and I devour almost everything on BBC America. We just seem to think the same way.

With two hundred and fifty years of history to look back on I kind of think we may have messed up by going our own way back then.  We were too impatient and impetuous to know what was good for us. British folks just seem to be more grounded than we Americans. Looking at our current political situation does nothing but to reinforce that feeling.

And then there are guns…  In Britain there are just not many of them around.  Even the police don’t carry them on their person while on patrol.  In a year the gun deaths in Britain equal about one weeks worth in the U.S.  Our obsession with guns is literally killing us. I, like my British friends, think that we could learn a lot about this from them if we only opened our minds.

Then there is medical care… In Britain it is just part of the social fabric of the nation that medical care is a right for everyone. We in the U.S. seem to believe it should be proportioned out depending on how much money you have.  In the U.S. we spend about $10,000 per person for healthcare. In Britain it is a little over $3,000 and if you listen to all the British expats in the U.S. they simply don’t see the U.S. version, if you can even get it, being any better than what they have at home.

These types of things have convinced me that I am more British than American.  The Brits say that Americans are basically brash in-your-face people and I for the most part see the same thing. I wonder what this country would look like if those young impertinent rebels had been defeated the same as the American South was during our Civil War?

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t see Britain as being superior in every way compared to the U.S. They have had their messy empire conquests the same as we have. Their basic belief in class and aristocracy turns me off and their politics sometimes almost border on the current insane politics of today in the U.S.  Nothing or no one is perfect but I still kind of think I may be more British than American…

I do love my country but I think we could learn a lot from  the rest of the world. If only we were not so brash and in-your-face to think that our way is the only way..

South Union Shaker Village..

ISOA Banner  I have visited and posted about Pleasant Hill Shaker Village many times here on RJsCorner but never about it’s sister village at South Union.  Unfortunately it did not have the fortunate fate of Pleasant Hill so most of the buildings and even the graveyard was destroyed.  But there is enough there to appreciate its unique beauty.

This post will concentrate on some of the rural farm artifacts found in just one of the buildings but in another post soon I will discuss its history and current status.

click on any picture above to see a larger slideshow view

Donald Trump and the Religion of White Nostalgia

2016-10-28_09-08-48.pngI am fascinated by the allegiance of the so-called Evangelicals to the Trump campaign. How can a great majority of this  loosely knit organization cling to him as their earthly savior when he is almost the anti-theisis of Jesus in his actions and 99% of his words.  This fascination causes me to pay attention to my feeds for possible answers.  The quotes below are part of that quest:

As Anthea Butler observes at Religion Dispatches:

The upshot of this survey is that white evangelicals want to go back to Ozzie and Harriet—in time, behavior, and gender roles. This does not bode well for their influence in the future, and their embrace of Donald Trump and his alt-right followers will hurt them far more than they can imagine politically.

There is also an element of religious peril in this overwhelming tendency to look backward anxiously: the confusion of spirituality with the comforting verities of the recent past. The most prominent conservative Evangelical critic of both the Christian right and its support for Trump, Southern Baptist Convention spokesperson Russell Moore, put it bluntly in a speech this week:  Christians [need] to see that they are indeed “strangers and aliens” to every culture, [and] that their allegiances transcend the political, the tribal, and the cultural.”

The temptation to divinize “traditional” culture runs deep. I used to have some relatives in rural Alabama who refused to acknowledge daylight saving time because standard time is “God’s time.” Anything old enough to evoke nostalgia is somehow holy. It’s what I call the Church of the Day Before Yesterday. And it’s a spiritually dangerous feature of religious fundamentalists across confessional lines, as shown most clearly by their common hostility to the emancipation of women.

There is no question that this is an impulse underlying the long-standing relationship of conservative white Evangelicals with secular political conservatives. Donald Trump is straining that relationship enormously — perhaps to a near-breaking point — with his casual attitude toward the political agenda of the Christian right and his openly heathenish lifestyle and worldview. But for the moment, so long as he fights the common enemy of those forces that have changed American culture (for the worse, they believe) since the 1950s, he’s their man.

Source: Donald Trump and the Religion of White Nostalgia

It seems obvious to me that Evangelicals are tainting religion in general with their backward looking “traditions” where everything old is better than anything new. Millennials are abandoning religion in vast numbers because of these trends. The Shaker community which I had a lot of respect for caused their own demise because of the celibacy. Will Evangelicals do the same with their political allegiances and 19th century traditions? Time will tell….

Part 9 – My Adventure Into Aspergers – What To Do??

This is Part 9 of 10 of My Venture Into Asperger’s.  This post is primarily about my what should I do with my new found knowledge.

After about two months of studies I am convinced that I exhibit in some degree Asperger’s Syndrome characteristics. That conclusion brings up the question “Now What??” What do I do with this new found information?  I am seventy year old today, do I really need any professional pronouncement of its validity?

There is no cure for Aspergers as it is not a disease but instead neurological traits. One of the books I read during this study was from a noted doctor in the field. Of course he said if you think you have Aspergers then you must get a professional diagnosis. Since I question everything I think that opinion might be a little biased. If I were a teenager  I might see some wisdom in this recommendation as it would have probably helped me with some coping mechanisms and would have made my life a little easier. But now that I am winding down my time on this earth what would be the benefit?  I have come to the conclusion that a professional diagnosis would do me no good except to put a final seal on it and I personally don’t really need that validation.

2016-10-09_11-06-54Early on I  talked about the Aspie Quiz I took that pointed me toward a self diagnosis. As shown on the right the professionals say this is simply a screening tool and should not be used as a diagnosis and that is probably true in some, maybe most, cases.  I know I have  unnecessarily faced some hardships in my life because of some Aspergers traits Some of my social interactions could probably been improved if I had discovered that most other didn’t think the same thing as I did.

Aspergers, at least to me in this stage of my life, is not something I need fixed. It has become part and parcel of my basic personality and true self.  So, in some maybe many ways I tend to celebrate these characteristics rather than think they need fixing.

Since I have learned so much about this topic it will likely continue on past this series and probably be a part of what it means to hang out at RJsCorner.  More on that in the last post of this series.

 

 

How to end voter suppression once and for all

The quotes below are a nice addition to the recent post about voter suppression. The solution given is to add an amendment to our U.S. Constitution to say that everyone over 18 has an inalienable right to vote. This sounds like an ideal solution to me.

A Fourth Circuit panel ruled a few months ago that North Carolina’s voter ID law violated the Constitution because it targeted “African-Americans with almost surgical precision…the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the state’s true motivation.” More recently, Berman discovered an email from a Wisconsin Republican official refusing to put up an early voting station at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay because “students lean more towards the Democrats.”…..

Such an amendment would be very simple. It would mandate that every single citizen over the age of 18 be allowed to vote, without exception. Any voter registration system which did not make it quick and easy to vote would be struck down; more importantly, no more felon disenfranchisement, not even for people currently imprisoned. The moral justification is also simple: Suffrage is a right so fundamental that it should not be possible to remove it — just as one cannot sell oneself into chattel slavery.

Source: How to end voter suppression once and for all

If this topic is of interest to you I would suggest you read the source in its entirety.

I’m Embarrassed…

This is one of my ranting posts so be forewarned.  I am embarrassed to think that there are a lot of vulgar, tacky, racists people in this country.  I don’t know, maybe it is my neurodiverse traits but it seems totally obvious that Donald Trump is a seriously flawed human being!  So, how can so many be duped to think otherwise is literally beyond my comprehension.

All you have to do is to listen to his own words to see the obvious. He has such thin skin that he can’t help but rant on incessantly if someone says something about him he doesn’t like. He fixates on it to an extreme degree.

He is a person devoid of any sense of reality.  He makes it up as he goes along.

  • Mexicans can’t be good enough judges to judge him.
  • Hillary is on drugs.
  • There is rampant fraud in our voting system.
  • I didn’t really mean what I said about being able to grope women.
  • I know more than the generals about anything to do with military conflicts.
  • I’d like to punch that guy in the face.
  • Putin is a great leader and my personal friend.
  • Nuclear bombs are the answer to the North Korean problem.
  • Drive Muslims out of this country and our terrorism problem will go away.
  • There is a vast conspiracy to make sure I am not rightly elected.
  • Hillary is evil.
  • I am perfect.
  • That is one nasty woman!
  • I’m going to sue all those women into abject poverty.
  • There is massive voter fraud so the election is rigged.
  • He’s a liar, She’s a liar, They are liars.

All of these things came directly from Mr. Trump’s mouth, they weren’t made up by an evil media conspiracy.  He just can’t seem to understand that his actions actions and words have consequences.  Is that really the person that maybe 40% of the citizens in the U.S. think would make a good leader of the free world!  Even twisting this stuff in the most grotesque ways imaginable I can’t begin to understand that.

Some of the people clinging to Mr. Trump for their salvation seem to be totally oblivious to the content of his words.  The Evangelicals who claim to be followers of Jesus are a major voting block for him.  When I read the words of Jesus I see love, forgiveness, humility, empathy and I see NONE of these characteristics in Mr. Trump. I actually see quite the opposite!

Another block are those that are totally disgruntled with the world. Do they really think that Mr. Trump actually cares about them? He has never showed it in his life except for the last few months. What he does love is the attention they lavish all over him. Like all extreme narcissists he feeds off their adoration. He sucks it up like an addict does heroin.

I AM EMBARRASSED!!!

Pets…

One of my great pleasures in life are the pets I have had over my lifetime. So I am including a couple of pictures here in my 5Star post to celebrate them.

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I have to admit that the picture of me is a little dated. It was taken in 2001 when I still had some hair on my head.

Suppressing The Vote…

I see where the federal courts have struck down some State’s voting laws as unconstitutional in that they were really about suppressing the vote. To me that is a good thing. But in my mind our entire election process needs to be changed to allow everyone to vote when it is convenient for them.  Why are we stuck to one work day to cast our choices of who will do the people’s business?

One of the basic problems with America’s democracy is that we vote at a much lower level than almost any democracy in the world.  Too many of us, for whatever reason, just don’t bother to show up to do our duty at the polls.  I kind of like Australia’s solution to their similar problem.  They made it against the law not to vote!  Well not quite but they did impose a fine on those who don’t vote. There solution caused participation to leap to almost 100%.  Amazing… but that is probably not a viable solution for us. We are too ornery to use such a simple answer.

Politics-2.jpgAnother possible solution is to make it very easy for everyone to vote. Don’t just open the polls during working days or especially working hours. Give people more options. One of those current options that I recently took advantage of is early voting. That is going to my local courthouse and casting my ballot when it is convenient for me. But according to the graphic at the right only about half the States provide this option and it seems abundantly clear which States are denying the choice to their citizens.

It is widely recognized that southern States have a history of  doing everything possible to prevent minorities for voting. In the past they did with with poll taxes and tests. Now they do it by other means. In my opinion the federal government should regulate voting processes and take it out of the hands of States with their racial and gender biases.  Voting should be as easy as going to the grocery store for milk.

Corvette Museum – Bowling Green

ISOA Banner  On my most recent uRV trip I visited the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green KY.  I am not necessarily a Corvette or even a car fan but I recognize that Corvettes are a significant part of America. They are our answer to all those expensive foreign cars like Porsche and such.

One of the things that drew me to this particular place was the story on the Velocity channel about how the main display area collapsed into a giant sink hole a couple of years ago. Of course this event is a major part of story now for them.

I worked in a service station in the 1960s but can honestly say the only things I recognized when looking at these modern day motors were the alternator and the master cylinder. Every thing else is foreign to me.  :)

click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view..

Part 8 – My Venture Into Asperger’s – Myths..

Neuro Banner  This is Part 8 of 10 of My Venture Into Asperger’s.  This post is primarily about myths that have grown up around Asperger’s and Autism in general. Since the source is rather long I have edited it somewhat and  will for the most part let it stand by itself..

 2016-10-09_10-38-37.pngMyth:Asperger’s Syndrome only affects children: Therefore adults can and should grow out of it with time.Many people have a tendency to think that Asperger’s Syndrome only affects children and that adults can and should be capable of growing out of it.

Such thinking has evolved in parallel with the idea that all children with ADHD can be medicated and will  eventually grow out of the condition.Similarly, people also presume that adults with Asperger’s Syndrome, should somehow have been cured of it via early intervention therapies and other treatments by the time they reach adulthood.

Such ideas are both erroneous and extremely harmful to adults with Asperger’s Syndrome who struggle daily to attain some small degree of acceptance and understanding for their symptoms.

As it stands, there is no cure for Asperger’s Syndrome because it is neither a disease nor a disorder that people can turn on or off at will or that can be treated and made disappear by the use of medication.

Myth:Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome are attention seeking, cold, aloof, loners, who don’t care about the needs of others.

This is perhaps the most harmful myth of all. It has been said (and sometimes by fairly prominent people within the media) that Asperger’s Syndrome is just an excuse for some people to behave like sociopathic jerks.

This is not true. As with the formerly more well-known form of classic Autism, those with Asperger’s Syndrome do not choose to have this challenging condition.

They are not trying to be deliberately rude by avoiding eye contact, social interactions or loud, unfamiliar environments such as parties or large family gatherings simply as a way of gaining attention.

Part of the problem for those with Asperger syndrome is that personal relationships, including familial relationships, often require them to try and take part in hyper social activities that contain all of the many unwritten rules and social cues, those with Asperger’s Syndrome find so confusing.As a result they will often avoid taking part in such activities.

Yet get a person with Asperger’s Syndrome in a one on one situation, without all of the distractions of a loud or unfamiliar environment, and you will often find that they are very warm, witty and generally caring people. It really is as simple as that….

Another very simple truth is that the vast majority of those with Asperger’s Syndrome desperately want to be liked and accepted by others. They just don’t know how to achieve this because unlike neruo-typicals, those with Asperger’s Syndrome were not born with the same intrinsic toolbox of social understandings and awareness’, that those born without Asperger’s Syndrome take for granted.

Myth: Asperger’s is a dangerous mental illness that makes People more prone to Violence

Asperger’s syndrome is not a mental illness. It is a neurological/developmental disorder.  Unlike classic or severe Autism, those with Asperger’s syndrome are often not diagnosed until school age when they’re lack of interaction with peers and the inability to automatically understand social cues begins to mark them out as being in some way different from their peers….

Those with Asperger’s Syndrome are no more prone to violence than the general population.  The only crime it appears those diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome are guilty of is that of being somewhat eccentric by exhibiting behaviours that do not fall within the realms of what society considers ‘normal’. Once again these are issues of socialization, not violence.

In conclusion, Asperger’s Syndrome, is considered a “developmental disorder” that a person is born with. 

While no one knows exactly what causes Asperger’s Syndrome, what is becoming clear is the fact that the levels of misconception and suspicion that often surrounds adults with Asperger’s Syndrome, make it a tough and lonely disorder to live and deal with on a daily basis for many. 

One key way in which we can begin to redress many of the myths and misconceptions that surround the experiences of adults with Asperger’s Syndrome would be to encourage those with the condition to discuss their struggles openly and honestly without all of the leering suspicions that have become so much a part of their daily lives.

Source: Myths, Lies and Suspicious Minds – Debunking the popular misconceptions that surround the lives of adults with Asperger’s Syndrome | Seventh Voice

For whatever reason I tend to wash my dirty laundry in public here at RJsCorner. That is certainly what I am doing here. But one reason I am doing this is to try to personally understand and get you to understand this condition.  I will likely continue to do that even after the 10 posts I have originally dedicated to this topic.

Empowering Fascists,Racists, and Bigots…

2016-10-16_09-41-50.pngWhen I came across this posting on Facebook recently  it struck me as the biggest harm done by the current political environment. I might also add conspiracy theorists to the list.  Putting evil words in your opponents mouth does not make it a reality.

Of course Mr. Trump and his poisoning rhetoric is the source for most of these things.  But Mr. Trump could not have spread his contempt for our country  and almost everyone  except old white uneducated males, and of course himself, if it has not been for the GOP voters who rushed him to the presidential nomination.  That is the main point for this post.

Mr. Trump by his hateful rants has given an emancipation proclamation for white supremacists, racists and bigots. He is telling them that it is alright to openly hate others different from you. He clothes this proclamation in “throwing off being politically correct”. As most things coming from Mr. Trump’s mouth that is flat out wrong.

But in the end it is not about the GOP party but instead about the GOP electorate, that is those who voted to put this guy in office. That is why the fascists, racists and bigots have been able to take control of the GOP.  If the party is to survive this political season they have to broaden their base and ideology. They cannot continue to drive blacks, hispanics, women, handicapped, and most other minorities away from their party.  They can no longer keep a segment of the populace in their fold simply by their  placid rhetoric. Actions are required, maybe radical action…. but this time sane radical actions.

But then again recently I saw the GOP Speaker of the House say that if Hillary is elected that she will take the country down in flames with all her evil intent.  Even though I put the primary cause of this current toxic environment on a radical fringe in the GOP electorate there is still plenty of blame for the leadership.

Another thing that is poisoning our political processes is the mantra that the other party is EVIL and intent on destroying our nation.  To some extent both parties have a hand in this toxic stew.  We as a nation have to accept as we have in the past, particularly before 1980, that the other party loves our country as much as they do. They just have a different approach to doing what they think is necessary to preserve and even enhance our greatness. We need to recognize that this is not a good guy/bad guy scenario. Like it or not we are all in this together…

Our primary view should be what is good for the nation, not what is good for the party. Parties mean nothing in the overall scheme of things…

 

“Anybody But Hillary”…

“Say something often enough and people will believe it.”

I’m not sure who originally said the quote above but it is certainly true during the current presidential campaign. But if you step back and look at the facts it often tells you a different story. The below words are from Red Letter Christians by Kathy Vestal. She has managed to address almost all the things in a small number of words that most people criticize Hillary for. (I hate blah, blah, blah..) :

2016-10-18_08-18-16.pngTake, for example, Benghazi. Exactly what did Hillary do? What should she have done? It’s hard for most of us to say. And it’s easy to forget that, during the George W Bush administration, there were 13 attacks on embassies and consulates, and 60 deaths. Or that in 2011 Hillary, then Secretary of State, warned Republicans that their proposed budget cuts to her State Department would be “detrimental to America’s national security.”

But we have been told, over and over again, that Hilary failed Benghazi. We’ve heard it so many times it sounds reasonable.

And then the emails. According to Newsweek Magazine, between the years of 2003 and 2009, the Bush administration “lost” 22 million emails, many likely pertaining to the controversial Iraq War. I think I can understand  how this might happen, and how you and I might make that same choice.

Let’s bring this down to a level we can understand. What if someone hacked into your personal or work email server, and all of your emails were now accessible to the public? Would you go in and try to delete before others found them? I would….

Many other attempts to discredit her have been tried. Her husband’s infidelity. Her religion (Yes, she’s Christian).   I even read once that she missed Chelsea’s first day of school, making her not only an unfit president but an unfit mother. By all indications, Chelsea is a well-adjusted, intelligent, and promising young woman whose relationship with her parents is admirable…

But I like Hilary because she’s tough and smart. She has proven she can stand up through public humiliation, through the tensest of partisan opposition. She understands foreign policy. She understands diplomacy and how to interact with world powers. She knows what the presidency entails. And as the Obamas have said repeatedly, she is more experienced and qualified for the presidency than any other candidate of either party in our lifetime.

After years of “Anybody But Hilary,” it may be hard for Americans to really see the first female nominee of a major US party. But we who follow the red letters of Scripture should look again. Jesus looked at those he was taught to despise–the Samaritan, the woman at the well–and saw their gifts. The gifts of the despised, Jesus showed us, are sometimes the only thing that can save us.

Source: Red Letter Christians

They say Hillary is not trustworthy and that is why many don’t like her.  I will admit that she doesn’t have the charisma that often is associated with our president. She is not the “good old boy” that her husband was.  She is not a back slapper that George W was.  She does not have the “simplistic” characteristics of Reagan.  She is a wonk who concentrates on the best way to solve problems. Does that make her untrustworthy?  Maybe to some, but in the end that is what makes a good president in my mind. I never liked LBJ very much as a person but the things he accomplished as president were extraordinary.

I don’t mind telling you that when I voted early yesterday I did not even slightly hesitate when it came to the presidential selection.  There was no choice in my mind.  “It had to be Hillary”.

Wisconsin Cows…

5star-banner  Sometimes 5star images including the one below come from overlooked places. When we do our annual visit to northern Wisconsin to see the in-laws my brother-in-law takes us on a leisurely trip into the hinterland. On one of those recent trips we came across a herd of dairy cows and stopped to say hello.

Since Wisconsin is known as the “Dairy State” this scene is somewhat common.  I enjoyed our “up close and personal” visit to my dairy producing friends and I kind of think this picture is well deserved of its 5star Status

wisconsin-cows

If Only…

It is nice to read an article that finally admits that we can never unite under a common political cause. Our fundamental beliefs prevent that from happening:

When they disagree, it’s often because they have incompatible values.

Most Democrats believe it’s inhumane for society not to guarantee a certain minimum standard of things like food, shelter, and health care; most Republicans don’t.

Most Democrats believe women ought to control their own reproductive lives; most Republicans don’t.

Most Democrats believe the wealthy ought to shoulder more of the burden of funding the things government does; most Republicans don’t.

These aren’t just fleeting preferences — they spring from fundamental ideas about how the world works and how it ought to work.

And yes, we do live in a polarized age. But that’s in large part because both parties have become more internally consistent about what they believe. There are problematic consequences for the government’s ability to perform basic functions (even those that ought to be removed from ideology), but the differences are substantive and substantial….

What I’d like to hear is a presidential candidate answer the unity question by saying,

“I wish I could unify the country, but I can’t. All I can do is do the best job possible, even if I know that no matter what happens a healthy portion of the population is still going to hate me.  But I’ll try to do right by them too.”

That would at least be honest, even if the candidate would be pilloried for not buying into the myth of a unity that is always supposed to be awaiting us if only we can put aside our differences.

Source: No president can unify our hopelessly divided country

Given the still adamant Trump supporters even after so much ugliness about him has come out  I have to agree that values differ greatly among us in the U.S.  Some concentrate on one part of our constitution as being sacrosanct, and some another. Some want to throw the entire document and all of government along with it out the window.  As the article above says Democrats  believe that everyone should be their brother’s keeper. When our fellow citizens fall on harsh times we should be there for them as a society. (Kind of sounds like the words of Jesus if you ask me but I won’t go any further with that thought here. ) Democrats believe that government has the duty to do the people’s business especially when individual citizens can’t do it themselves.

Since it has been a long time since I claimed the Republican mantel I can only guess by their actions what my Republican friends believe . Republicans put the pre-born into a much higher category than those who have left the womb.  They will fight to insure that every life conceived is brought to birth but then don’t seem to care much about it after that.  They believe that government is to do the least possible and let the capitalist systems take care of the rest. They ferociously cling to their guns as their main protection against their conceived evils of the world.

With this great disparity  of values I agree there can never be  a president to unify the country.  All we can hope for is that whichever party holds the power they do the best within their mindset and we  count on checks and balances to reign them in when they exceed their bounds.  Maybe there is something that can bridge this gap between us but right now I seriously doubt that it can happen anytime in the near future.

Is WikiLeaks is part of Wikipedia?

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Snippet Banner   One of my favorite sources of information is Wikipedia. They do a good job of checking the validity of their information and even provide a means for me to challenge the validity of their documents.

Here is what Wikipedia says about Wikileaks:

2016-10-17_12-47-39.pngWikiLeaks is not affiliated with Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation in any way whatsoever.“Wiki” is a generic word that anyone can use; it is not a brand name or trademark. A wiki is any website that allows the creation and editing of interlinked webpages via a web browser. There are many wikis in existence, run by various organizations, which contain various types of content; thus, albeit one of the largest and best-known examples, Wikipedia is only one wiki among many.

Source: Wikipedia:WikiLeaks is not part of Wikipedia – Wikipedia

I give rather generously to Wikipedia each year as I know their funding is somewhat limited.  With all of this Russian hacked stuff coming out from Wikileaks I questioned the wisdom of continuing to do this this year and in the future. What I found is that WikiLeaks is no more a part of Wikipedia than Trump is a part of the Republican Party…

All of these unchecked and Russian hacked documents out there now is from a rogue hacker who cares less if they are legitimate or not.

Please Don’t Confuse WikiLeaks with Wikipedia.  They are not even remotely the Same…

Something Soothing…

ISOA Banner  There is just something soothing about seeing people do good words in Jesus’ name.  Given our totally insane political season we all need something soothing. Catholics seem to be especially suited and tuned to doing good works. With that in mind one of the places I HC Tqg226.jpgvisited this year during my uRV trips was St.Meinrad Archabbey in Ferdinand Indiana. It is one of only two archabbeies in the nation. I visited here many years ago but the experience  affected me even more this time. The serenity of the place almost melted away my pent up anxiety caused by our current times.

Catholics seem to be much better at doing good works as Jesus commanded. It is a strong part of their heritage and I much admire that.  The monks who live there have dedicated their lives to prayer and and a simple life of few possessions. I have to admit that I don’t quite understand a life totally committed to prayer. I’m sure I could never even begin to do that.  Too much patience required and too little technology…🙂

Here are some more pictures of this peaceful place.  If you are ever in the area I would strongly suggest you take a few hours to visit.

The Stone Ceiling of Religions

There are a lot of things about today’s religious establishments that hinder their outreach to the 21st century population. The glass, or maybe stone ceiling is one of them.

Faith leaders grappling with women’s inclusion in religious leadership roles are in danger of the same pitfall. By focusing exclusively on “what is traditional” for their religion rather than asking the crucial question: “What change is necessary for religion to thrive?” they risk alienating 50 per cent of their flock. They also deprive the entire community of the talent, skills and enthusiasm that women would otherwise contribute.Insisting
that men continue to wear the trousers when it comes to religion might be traditional, but, as the pantalon rouge debacle illustrates, it may not be worth the price.

Source: Religion must either modernise or face obsolescence

I know much of the Christian establishment takes their traditions in this matter from the Apostle Paul, who by the way was a lifelong bachelor, instead of Jesus who had several women in his inner sanctum.  To me it is important to realize that early Christian writings, including much of the New Testament, were written at a time that women were not much above slaves in the social hierarchy.  It would take another 20 centuries that women began to be accepted on an equal basis as men.

Just because most religions started a couple of millennia ago doesn’t mean that they should be stuck in that time period. Things change and the church should change with them. I am willing to bet that Jesus would celebrate women being in full leadership roles today, even if it was unheard of in his day.  I think the church would be better off but instead we stick to following centuries old traditions that were formed by ancient cultures as if somehow they were better than today.

If religion is to strive, or maybe even exist, it must use all human resources at its disposal.

 

A Step Forward..

It continues to trouble me how many so called Evangelicals are lining up behind a candidate that is very contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Are they really that duped to think that the candidate really cares about them or their beliefs? With that in mind it is heartening to see at least some standing up to the hateful rhetoric.

Which is why I and several other Red Letter Christians joined #EvangelicalsAgainstTrump yesterday. You can read our full statement here, but I’ll quote the crux of why I joined this public witness:

2016-10-08_07-49-32.pngBecause we believe that racial bigotry has been a cornerstone of this campaign, it is a foundational matter of the gospel for us in this election, and not just another issue. This is not just a social problem, but a fundamental wrong. Racism is America’s original sin. Its brazen use to win elections threatens to reverse real progress on racial equity and set America back.

Donald Trump’s campaign is the most recent and extreme version of a history of racialized politics that has been pursued and about which white evangelicals, in particular, have been silent. The silence in previous times has set the environment for what we now see.

The only thing that can challenge bad religion is true faith, lovingly bearing witness to a better way. I’ve decided to  join my sisters and brothers in #EvangelicalsAgainstTrump because I love my sisters and brothers who’ve been deceived and because I love my neighbors who’ve been the targets of this hateful campaign.

Source: #EvangelicalsAgainstTrump & the Struggle of Faith – Red Letter Christians

It is a step forward to see not every Evangelical is falling for the hype of a very narcissist candidate. Now if only the main stream media would cover these types of thing being Christian might get some credibility back it has lost in the election cycle.

 

Part 7 – My Venture Into Aspergers – The Aspie Quiz

Neuro Banner  This is Part 7 of 10 of My Venture Into Asperger’s.  This post is primarily about the Aspie Quiz.

After studying this condition for a good while I took the Aspie Quiz. The Quiz is a pre-diognostic tool to help determine if you might be autistic.  The quiz is a group of 50 questions that are rated on a scale of 1 to 6. The answers to the questions are grouped in various categories including: Talent, Perceptions, Communications, Relationships, and Social skills.

After completing the quiz I was given the results as shown below. It took some time to really determine what this graph says but I have come to the conclusion that I am significantly skewed toward the Neuordiverse/Aspergers side of the spectrum. Particularly in the talent area and to a lesser degree to the other categories.   As I was looking over the results it struck me that I have never thought to group these situations together but when I do that trends definitely appear.

HC Tqg219

The basic results of the quiz are that I have both neurodiverse and neurotypical traits. That is, like my deafness, I am in between two worlds.  I am probably described at a highly functioning Aspie.  That is, the neurodiverse side of me has not greatly impeded my ability to function in the neurotypical world.

My strongest Aspie category is in the Talent area. Part of those characteristics are:

  • I get extremely focused on special interests almost to the exclusion of everything else. When I get involved in some things the world completely disappears. My total focus is on the topic at hand. That proved to be somewhat beneficial in my last career stage in the business world. I was a software tools developer and was able to create apps that would normally have taken 2 to 3 people to accomplish.
  • I have an extreme need to catalog information. During my thirty year career I religiously kept a weekly index card of all the things I did. This card stack grew to over 6 inches high before it was moved to a computer when PCs were available.

Perceptions is my second highest neurodiverse category:

  • It upset me greatly when someone says they will be there at a particular time and then don’t show up or are even late.
  • I dislike it when people walk behind me but I literally hate it when people are tailgating me.
  • My eyes have always been sensitive to glare and I am hypersensitive to many smells, particularly  the smell of mint; it overwhelms me. My brain doesn’t see anything but the smell.
  • I can’t seem to do anything unless I have it down in list form and thoroughly follow it.
  • During conversations I guess I often miss when it is my turn to talk. There just doesn’t seem to be any pattern to it. If I don’t barge in when I want, I have to wait until there is a very noticeable pause to know it is my turn. I often just barge in.

There are numerous other areas in day-to-day traits that I don’t seem typical but I will leave those things to another post. Stated simply I often have always had trouble getting my feelings across and communicating with others.

So here I am between two worlds.  That seems to be where I have been my entire life. That is not necessarily a bad thing but it has presented many challenges in my life. Much more on these sort of things in future posts….

Maybe Hillary Is Right After All…

Snippet BannerHere is a little snippet about this political season.

2016-10-13_11-34-39.pngDuring my four hour drive of on my latest uRV trip yesterday a political epiphany hit me. Maybe Hillary is the best Democratic candidate for president after all.  The main reason for this is that she is probably the best equipped to take on the GOP choice for 2016. Hillary has been around for a while and has some pretty thick skin as well as experience and is probably the only candidate in the party that can go toe-to-toe with Trump and make him look the fool that he is.

2016-10-13_11-37-07.png In the primary season Trump managed to humiliate, bully, and shout down 16 GOP wannabes. He was sure he could do the same thing with a Democrat but he totally underestimated Hillary’s ability to withstand his attacks.  I suspect as more shoes fall in this last month of the race this election will rival the Johnson/Goldwater one for one-sided results.  Simply speaking someone of Trumps demeanor has no place in any public office let alone the Oval Office. That hopefully will be abundantly clear very soon.

In the Name of Jesus, Stop Executions

I am thoroughly pro-life in all its forms.  Yes, abortion kills a living being but so does war and executions. Pro-life means believing in the sanctity of life before and after birth. Jesus made that pretty clear in his teachings and I intend to follow him in that and most all other regards.

Some folks will argue that the death penalty is necessary for the most heinous crimes, the “worst of the worst.” But it is increasingly clear that when it comes to executions in America, we are not killing the worst of the worst. We are killing the poorest of the poor. One of the best determinants of who gets executed is not the atrocity of the crime, but the resources of the defendant. As renowned death penalty lawyer Bryan Stevenson has said, “Far too often, you are better off being rich and guilty, than poor and innocent.”….

Geography often determines who dies. Texas is the death state, accounting for roughly half of all executions. This year six of the 15 executions in the U.S. were in Texas, and every remaining execution of 2016 is in this one state…

It blows my mind and breaks my heart that we continue to trust our very imperfect government with the ultimate and irreversible power of life and death. It is time to end the death penalty in America. In the name of Jeff Wood. And in th2016-08-20_06-47-21e name of another executed man … named Jesus.

 

Source: In the Name of Jesus, Stop Executions – Red Letter Christians

It is amazing to me that one State is responsibly for half the executions in this country.  What is it about Texas that makes it the execution capital of the world? Why are they so intent on vengeance, even wrongfully pointed vengeance? There must be something significantly different about the people in that region of the country than the rest of us. Anyone who has read many of my posts know I don’t have much respect for the State of Texas. For being such a bible-thumping State they just don’t seem to care about people, especially people different from them.

Geography,  race, and wealth,  have much more to do with who dies by execution than the type of crime committed. Thanks again Shane for helping me remember that….

 

Starting Out…

Today’s 5Star post is when I was just starting out treating photography as a serious hobby in 1970. It was taken with my first 35mm camera that is absolutely primitive by today’s standards. The picture quality is pretty low as it was scanned about 6 years ago from the original 5×7 print, but the composition is pretty good for a beginner.🙂

The Pyramids.jpg

Why America’s good fortune won’t last

All we seem to hear lately is how the bottom rung of the employment ladder is stuck at dreadfully low conditions. Part of that of course is the low minimum wage level. Historically, mainly due to GOP gridlock, it has not been increased nearly enough to keep up with the times.

But it is nice to see that significant gains have taken place in recent years.

The 2015 Census data on income and poverty is out — and for the first time since the Great Recession, it’s unambiguously great news.

Median household income was up 5.2 percent compared to 2014 — the largest one-year gain since 1967 at least. Income gains were strong up and down the income ladder, with the biggest percentage gains coming from the bottom income brackets. Poverty fell by 1.3 percentage points….

Second, this huge gain in median income is actually the first statistically significant increase since the recession struck — and despite its size, did not recover the lost ground since 2007. Median household income is still down 4.6 percent from 2007, and 5.2 percent from the all-time 2000 peak.

Source: Why America’s good fortune won’t last

While this report is good news, we still haven’t recovered from the meltdown that  was caused by poor regulation during the Bush administration and the way the GOP still stalling budgeting enough to fully carry out Dodd-Frank there will likely be another meltdown in the not too distant future.

I am going to make a “47%” comment here that might not be acceptable to some but I kind of think that many “trapped” in low wages are there because of their unwillingness to take personal responsibility for their circumstances.  The unemployment rate is now at historically low levels. The median income is rising but still there are those who are not benefitting from these statistics.

Yes, the employment opportunities are different than they were when I joined the job market some fifty years ago. For whatever reasons we have allowed large corporations to shed their pension plans, kill labor unions, and even the idea of a full-time employment.  I worked for thirty years at the same company while it is said that those entering the job market today will change jobs seven times during their working lives.

When a business is making something that is no longer in demand they often recover by retooling for a more modern version. It seems that is what job seekers need to do also. Retool by doing what is necessary to get skills that are in demand. One of the hindrances to doing that is the high cost of education right now. In order to get a good job you need a good education. In order to get a good education you need a lot of money.  Kind of a catch-22.

That is where government should step in. There is no reason why schooling has to be as expensive as it is today anymore than why healthcare needs to be so expensive.  Many European, and especially Scandinavian countries, provide free education and healthcare for all it’s citizens. That seems like a no-brainer to me but stubbornly we in the U.S. refuse to follow their example.

 

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