August 10, 2008 archive

APA Bureaucrats Try to Torpedo Anti-Torture Resolution

As Stephen Soldz, one of the supporters of an anti-torture referendum resolution now being mailed out to members of the American Psychological Association, reports:

The APA has launched a strong effort at spin and disinformation regarding the referendum. Unfortunately, some of our colleagues who should support this efforts have also parsed the text in such a way as to perceive a potential threat.

The referendum seems tame enough, stating:

Be it resolved that psychologists may not work in settings where persons are held outside of, or in violation of, either International Law (e.g., the UN Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions) or the US Constitution (where appropriate), unless they are working directly for the persons being detained or for an independent third party working to protect human rights.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Iraq demands ‘clear timeline’ for US withdrawal

By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer

1 hour, 22 minutes ago

BAGHDAD – Iraq’s foreign minister insisted Sunday that any security deal with the United States must contain a “very clear timeline” for the departure of U.S. troops. A suicide bomber struck north of Baghdad, killing at least five people including an American soldier.

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told reporters that American and Iraqi negotiators were “very close” to reaching a long-term security agreement that will set the rules for U.S. troops in Iraq after the U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year.

Zebari said the Iraqis were insisting that the agreement include a “very clear timeline” for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces, but he refused to talk about specific dates.

That Mortal Coil: A little fiction.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents reside only in the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is completely coincidental.

Chapter 5

The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

William Wordsworth

Intimations on Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

I like the day. Times past I worked most at night; the time on my beat as a street cop, the night-set cases I was assigned when I made shield. I learned a great deal. I found that the night hosts things that scrape the walls of a conscience and abrade the soul.

Under the dome of the daytime world, I reach my hand to the sky and touch the clouds. I close my right eye and puncture a passing cloud with my index finger. There it is; I feel blueness through the white and fluffy gauze. No dark shadows that blocks a streetlight, no evil to flavor the wind.

Introvert or Extrovert

The Director of my leadership group wants to fix us. We aren’t exactly broken as a group just flawed. To that end she has been sending us to extra training courses and among them was some based in the Myers-Briggs approach which subjects one to a series of questions and then based on that four dominant patterns emerge that help explain a broadly based personality. The idea is that if you understand the foundations of another’s dominant influences on personality you might have less conflict and communicate more precisely and communicate in a way that is tailored to maximize success.

Or not. But I am saving money for a retirement that will never happen and my annual review is coming up so like the rest of the herd I ambled along. Twenty years from now if we have a health care system all of the nurses taking care of you will be shuffling along on walkers. The questions consisted of things like,”I like when people are friendly to me” and “I enjoy being invited to parties.”

I ended up being an INTP.


Seek to develop logical explanations for everything that interests them. Theoretical and abstract, interested more in ideas than in social interaction. Quiet, contained, flexible, and adaptable. Have unusual ability to focus in depth to solve problems in their area of interest. Skeptical, sometimes critical, always analytical

I scored directly in the middle on the Extroversion/Introversion spectrum but with some additional exercises and probing from the trainer we decided that while I have a job the requires extroversion and I can hang with the extroverts, I spend a lot of time living in my head and being around large groups of people doesn’t interest me. The one person in my leadership group who really fucking annoys me is an extreme extrovert who cannot shut up. We tangled that day because he made a racist comment and the whole group rolled their eyes when I called him on it. They were annoyed that he said it and annoyed that I was compelled to comment and concerned a discussion would cut into break time. Social revolutions should be formulated in short manageable bursts so nobody misses their break or favorite reality show.

The two wings of the progressive populist movement?

Also available at the Red-Green-and-BlueStar

In a recent Burning the Midnight Oil (well, recent outside of the day-by-day time-scale of a hot primary fight), I thought a little bit about why progressive & populist is stronger than either alone.

Populism without progressivism risks pandering to the least common denominator of the prejudices and ignorances of a majority. And all too often, a populism built on ignorance becomes nothing more than a smokescreen for the beneficiaries of the status quo to hide behind.

Progressivism without populism risks leaving the majority behind, so that when the unintended (and unforseeable) consequences of reform are experienced, it becomes the point of leverage for the forces of reaction trying to undo the reform.

And thinking about the complementarity between progressivism and populism, where the two together are more than the sum of their parts, in combination with phrases I commonly repeat, it got me thinking about a different kind of potential complementarity.

It’s Official: Sheehan is on the Ballot!

This is brief, and I cannot be here today to visit; but, I’ll be back this evening, and I appreciate your interest in reading this and commenting.

Cindy Sheehan and her supporters collected enough signatures to place her on the November ballot for California’s 8th congressional district, challenging Nancy Pelosi.

I personally celebrate this because I have felt very frustrated by House Speaker Pelosi’s refusal to follow through on accountability of this administration, and because she insists on taking “bipartisan” rhetoric to the point of submission to Republican policies.

I realize that electing the representative for CA 08 is up to the constituents there; but, because Pelosi’s decisions affect us all, I will support Sheehan to try to unseat Pelosi.  I’m going to send Sheehan $10.00, because that’s what I can afford right now (I hope to send more between now and November); if all of us chipped in, I think we could make a significant contribution to her campaign.

We’ve had some excellent essays on the subject of Pelosi, including those posted last week by dharmasyd and Edgar.  I think we understand the situation, and  some of the things we can do to help.

Please, support Cindy Sheehan – please, send a message to Pelosi that we need representatives who respect the values and laws of this country.

Thank you!

Blog Voices

I thought I’d revive my tour around the diversosphere this week because I’ve run across some pretty interesting stuff lately. Lets jump right in and I’ll tell you what I’ve found.

The first one is more about a process than a particular story. A few months ago, I wrote about the coming together of bloggers to form The Sanctuary. Other than being a one-stop-shop on the issue of immigration reform, these bloggers have organized in some pretty effective ways.

Recently they put together a questionnaire that was sent to all the candidates running for President. Obama responded and McCain did not. They have not yet released Obama’s answers, but this kind of organizing has gotten a good bit of media attention. For example, Kety Esquivel, one of The Sanctuary founders, has been on CNN twice to discuss their efforts. Here’s video of her second appearance.

This is a wonderful example of what bloggers can do when they are focused and organized!!! Check out kyledeb’s recent essay for a summary of what they’ve been able to accomplish in a few short months and keep an eye on The Sanctuary to watch how it all unfolds.

On The Nature Of Consciousness – 2: It’s ALL Your Responsibilility

Samadhi and the God-laugh of creation

         I found myself one night sitting back with my eyes closed and witnessing what I could never truly describe but what I can best suggest as the dynamic, uncreated, convulsing, primordial energy of the universe; the fiery, orgiastic rippling cauldron of molten prima materia, cascading about within me, and then pouring out into the world as form; and it was upon opening my eyes that I recognized what I had never conceived as plausible- that I was carrying within myself this living, undulating, cosmic clay which I was projecting out and thus manufacturing the world; which is to say, I knew then that …I was God, and that we are all God, effortlessly producing a world yet without a clue of how we are doing it. I was making everything that night. The whole thing. That is, I was making the world, but not the I who the world thought I was, not even the nobody who I was, but the I which lives before the me in all of us; the original self, casting out the glowing, red, swirling energy of creation, out of the core, out of the mind of God, out into the realm of form, figure, and content.

         And let me tell you I was laughing. I was laughing a laugh I had never laughed before in my life. I was laughing God’s laugh- the God-laugh which has never known care, nor worry, nor entrapment; the God-laugh which sprays out the universe from the immanent, infinite, incomprehensible bliss of formless consciousness; the great, emancipating God-laugh of hilarious nonexpectation, disbelief, and ambitionless wonder at the impossibility and unavoidable realization that I, God, was creating the miracle of creation.

         I had come to exist in the non-existent space. An infinite bridge across a finite chasm. A flame within an inferno. A drop inside the storm.

         I was in the storm. I was the storm. And everything else sped up and catapulted through the living stasis of my soul. It was an exhilarating, innocent act of creation; I gave ground in the hollow of my wonder and the world grew through that infinite hole. The unworldly, horrible stillness in which I basked seemed impossibly to produce the song of everything else. How is that possible I haven’t a clue. Not one.

         I can only presume that the whole shmeer about becoming what you are, or what you could be- but as yet you never have been- eventually comes right back to where it started- to you. But when it gets there- and let me tell you it gets there, with all the fire and brimstone of your day- there is no ‘you’ left to conceive of it. Because, instead, you conceive it, immaculately conceive it.

         That night the prisoner and the warden had changed places. Good and Evil fused into one. And God leapt up for joy inside of me.

         The primitive understandings which had so embalmed me all my terrible and fabulous life instantly vaporized away, and the Creator’s eyes …looked through me. The pulsing, primal, fluid medium flowed out of me, I did not know what I was making, nor how I was doing it, but to be sure it was me.

         When finally you encounter the Great Soul, you will not hesitate to call it I. You are the source of all things. All of it. Like the root-stock of a great underground rhizome, when you stick your head finally out of the ether, whoever is around you …is you.

from IN AND OF, by Jack Haas

Pony Party: Sunday music retrospective

On the Way Home

Beatles:  Blue Jay Way

Pony Party: Sunday music retrospective

On the Way Home

Beatles:  Blue Jay Way


Redemption is an important word to add to your current vocabulary and an even more important concept to allow in your consciousness. Follow me below the fold for a story of a man, an ordinary human being in so many ways, possessing so many of the same flaws as the rest of our species.  

Sunday Morning Over Easy

I am thinking about the Tribes of Men this morning. So here’s my Sunday Sermon….

Thats what it always come down to, is it not? Whether your tribe is the Religious Right, and you see your kindred as upstanding God-loving people trying to save the world for the Love of Jesus….

whether your tribe is GLBT, trying to live free of hate crimes and discrimination in the way you were created….

whether your tribe is Zionism, trying to make a safe place by and for only your people…

whether your tribe is Lakota, trying to stop the desecration of the Black Hills, and have your treaty rights honored….

whether your tribe is intellectuals, trying to direct like Gods those you deem lessers….

whether your tribe is businessmen, trying to provide goods at a profit for your shareholders…

whether Indigenous, immigrated, expatriated…

it seems to me everyone is looking for a home where their “kindred” are looked after and go unmolested.

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