May 9, 2010 archive

SOC Arks and change……the view from the sand box pt. 3

Please read Pt.1 and Pt.2

If you are on a sinking ship what do you do ?!?

You build an Ark !?!

What is an Ark ?!?

An Ark is an ensemble.

An ensemble is a collection of knowledge, instrumentality, skills, and resources which together generate a synergy, it makes something larger possible.

This is the key, and I will repeat it many times.

An Ark is an ensemble with the goal of trying to make sure humanity has a future.

The oldest ensemble of humanity is neolithic civilization.

The wisdom of this ensemble is contained in The sacred law of survival of aboriginal peoples of earth: shelter, water, fire, food, and others.

Without shelter you can die in hours from exposure.

Without water you can die in days of dehydration.

Without fire most food is marginally assimilable to unassimilable, and you can die from malnutrition.

Without food you can die in weeks from starvation.

Without others you will die in years from loneliness and insanity.

Without others you can not be fully human and humanity does not exist, humanity is a collection of others.

Humans are social animals and civilization as we know it requires others to form ensembles.

An ensemble is a collection of knowledge, instrumentality, skills, and resources which together generate a synergy, it makes something larger possible.

All of the game of humanities future exists in ensembles.  The ensembles we are interested in are generated out of the humans present in any given location.  These ensembles will confer adaptive vigor on those groups as the civilization they are embedded in degenerates around them.

What follows will be the beginning of a five part conversation concerning the future of humanity within global environmental catastrophea.

From Your Mother

Simulposted at Daily Kos

Brunch? Brunch?

Who needs brunch? No, you kids go on without me. I’ll be fine. I’ll just sit here in this cold dark universe huddled around my little sun while you go have a good time. Don’t worry about your poor old mother. Why start now?

And while your out make sure you spill a billion gallons of oil, make it ten billion! Blow the tops off of some mountains and clear cut a few hundred forests, I know how much you love that, and your poor old mother just wants you to be happy. No matter how much it hurts me.

So go ahead, I don’t even like eggs benedict, all that cholesterol! And mimosas give me the wind. If you want to finish fishing all the fish out of the sea and bring me some nice mercury laced, carbon smoked salmon that would be nice, as I sit here alone, in the dark. Maybe you could find some of them off of all those coral reefs you are destroying?

Go, go on without me if you don’t think you need your poor old mother. Drive your Hummers to brunch, what do I care? Destroy what’s left of my atmosphere…and make sure you laugh while you do it, you kids need to have fun. Even if it kills your poor old mother. Eat, laugh, destroy, think only of your selves! I’ll be fine!

(100,000 years after you are all in your graves, you ungrateful brats!)

What do you care how many billions of years I was in labor with you? Have YOU ever had your tectonic plates slip? I didn’t think so! Have YOU ever watched billions of your dinosaurs destroyed by an asteroid, only to have your kids drill them up and use them to destroy your atmosphere? Of course not!

Can you even imagine how much work it is to evolve a marsupial? Let alone a platypus? Do you know? Do you care???

So go, have your brunch, I will be fine. Don’t worry about me. I will just sit here in the dark and watch you destroy me.Piece. By. Piece.

Just know.

I love you anyway.

The Gulf Of Oil

I don’t do very many personal essays here, but as some of you here know,back in the day,  I was a gulf of mexico sponge diver,  and boat captain, and at one time the gulf was my backyard  or 2nd home if you will. I would spend most of the summer out there–a week or so at a time, and I’ve seen –and sometimes interacted with– every sort of sea life from the smallest reef dweller to the big pelagics.    

I’ve seen abundant life all over (except in the dead zone, miles off shore from the Crystal River Nuke plant). The kind of stuff recreational divers pay thousand to go see in far off places with better water visibility–and perhaps that’s one reason it remained so good for so long.  And, I’ve spent many peaceful nights out there, watching the stars, far from the light loom of shore.  

Today Greenpeace is reporting this:

I’m down at the oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico – or what for now is the Gulf of Mexico. Rick Steiner, a marine conservationist and oil spill expert, flew over the Gulf Wednesday morning and said, “It’s not the Gulf of Mexico any more. It’s the Gulf of Oil.”…

There’s more at the link, about the ‘theatre’ of a fake cleanup effort–booms not even being attended by skimmers, and are therefore useless, and so on.  

But, this disaster is taking away something beautiful, that I know so well, unlike for instance Alaska- where I’ve never been.     I have memories of favorite reefs, I’ve had friends die out there, memories of various storms, of nearly dying myself in diving accidents.  I’ve seen waterspouts – up to 5 at one time (friend on another boat got on the VHF said ‘that job at McDonald’s is looking pretty good right now’) , and lightning, rain and fog, and, way offshore, my dog fell off my boat in a storm.   I got him back.  I’ve made love out there. I’ve watched snowy star trek on a 5″ b&w tv. And I’ve watched the shooting stars pass over. I’ve seen where the shrimp boats have dragged their gear across hard bottom or reef tearing it all to hell,  and probably their gear too, but who cares about that. And I’ve pulled up thousands of sponges from deep and shallow water–wool sponge (bath) , yellow sponge (car wash) , grass and finger (tourist shop) .

Here’s a dead, unbleached wool sponge:

Open Dharma


More Offshore Drilling Exempted From Regulations

“Since spill, feds have given 27 waivers to oil companies in gulf,” says the headline from McClatchy.

Since the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded on April 20, the Obama administration has granted oil and gas companies at least 27 exemptions from doing in-depth environmental studies of oil exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico.

The waivers were granted despite President Barack Obama’s vow that his administration would launch a “relentless response effort” to stop the leak and prevent more damage to the gulf. One of them was dated Friday – the day after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he was temporarily halting offshore drilling.

About the Mineral Management Service, which granted the waivers for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico…

Three separate inspector general reports released last September revealed instances of wrongdoing among current and former MMS staffers who accepted gifts including tickets to sporting events and concerts from oil and gas industry representatives; allegedly had sexual relationships with subordinates; bought cocaine from fellow staffers; and arranged for hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting work upon retirement.

And now for the good news, from a “lesson plan” provided to schools by the Smithsonian.

When tankers running aground spill oil, that’s news, and currently these accidents deposit about 37 million gallons of oil into the ocean every year.

But these disasters only add about 10% to the total amount of petroleum and petroleum by-products which enter the ocean every year!

The largest amount of oil entering the ocean through human activity is the 363 million gallons that come from industrial waste and automobiles.

Arun Gandhi, Martin Luther King, And Looking Beyond The Impossibly Perfect Standard

From reining in Wall Street to preventing the next oil spill and tackling global climate change, we often hold back from taking important public stands because we’re caught in a trap I call “the perfect standard.” Before letting ourselves take action on an issue, we wait to be certain that it’s the world’s most important issue, that we understand it perfectly, and that we’ll be able to express our perspectives with perfect eloquence. We also decide that engagement requires being of perfect moral character without the slightest inconsistencies or flaws.

* * *

Gandhi’s grandson, Arun Gandhi, tells the story of how his grandfather’s family mortgaged everything they had–their land, their jewelry, everything of value–to send Gandhi to law school. Gandhi graduated and passed the bar, but was so shy that when he stood up in court all he could do was stammer. He couldn’t get a sentence out in defense of his clients. As a result, he lost every one of his cases. He was a total failure as a lawyer. His family didn’t know what do to. Finally, they sent him off to South Africa, where he literally and metaphorically found his voice by challenging the country’s racial segregation.

I love viewing Gandhi not as the master strategist of social change that he later became, but as someone who at first was literally tongue-tied–shyer and more intimidated than almost anyone we can imagine. His story is a caution against the impulse to try and achieve perfection before we begin the journey of social change.

“I think it does us all a disservice,” says Atlanta activist Sonya Vetra Tinsley, “when people who work for social change are presented as saints–so much more noble than the rest of us. We get a false sense that from the moment they were born they were called to act, they never had doubts, were bathed in a circle of light. But I’m much more inspired learning how people succeeded despite their failings and uncertainties. It’s a much less intimidating image. It makes me feel like I have a shot at changing things too.”  

Dear Mom


Holder: Let’s “Modify” Miranda, Weaken It

I awoke this morning to Eric Holder’s concession on ABC about “modifying” Miranda in terrorism cases.  I am really unhappy that the Administration is willing to give ground on this Constitutional principle, especially when in the most recent terror case the Pathfinder Bomber, who was twice given his Miranda warnings, is being such a conversationalist with the authorities.

An attack on Miranda, a precedent that has weathered 42 turbulent years, even a concession as mild as Holder made today, is usually an offering to certain kinds of voters, voters who are afraid, who are “law and order,” who are ready to sacrifice the Constitution for “safety.”  So I see today’s remarks as a dog whistle.  But I don’t know why Holder is calling these particular stray dogs.

Join me in the pound.  

Why aren’t other companies doing this? Employees wonder.

Michael Moore’s new film puts spotlight on Petaluma company

By Jeremy Hay, Press Democrat

In “Capitalism: A Love Story,” which opens today around the country, Moore takes aim at what he characterizes as a capitalist culture run amok.

He holds up the bakery – with 117 employees and $24 million in annual revenues – as an example of a successful capitalist alternative, where workers are as powerful as executives, profits are shared equally and workers are valued for more than their labor.

“This could be potentially a new model,” said Cory Fisher, a field producer and researcher for Moore. “A way for workers to feel engaged and not marginalized, and that they have a stake in their future.”


“They stood out,” she said. “They’re successful, their workers are able to make a living wage, they seem empowered and happy and you just start to look around and wonder, “Why aren’t other companies doing this?”


Why aren’t other companies doing WHAT?

Starting their own, Employee Owned Business.

40yrs ago: “Guard, prepare to fire!”

On the day before the Kent State Shooting anniversary I placed a post on a few sites, this link goes to my site, with some reports about that tragic day. In the reports it was mentioned that an audio tape, recorded by a student, was being analyzed, that has taken place and the results are being reported. The question still remains, for me and many, why these National Guard weapons were loaded with live rounds, added to the many other questions!

40-Year-Old Audio Recording Reveals Ohio National Guardsmen Were Ordered to Fire at Kent State

On This Day in History: May 9

On this day in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson issues a presidential proclamation that officially establishes the first national Mother’s Day holiday to celebrate America’s mothers.

The earliest call for the establishment of Mother’s Day in the US came in 1870 with the “The Mother’s Day Proclamation” written by Julia Howe. It was a pacifist reaction to the US Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. It was Ms. Howe’s belief that women had a responsibility to shape society at a political level.

Arise, then, women of this day!

Arise all women who have hearts,

Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears

Say firmly:

“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,

Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,

For caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn

All that we have been able to teach them of

charity, mercy and patience.

“We women of one country

Will be too tender of those of another country

To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with

Our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!”

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!

Blood does not wipe out dishonor

Nor violence indicate possession.

As men have of ten forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war.

Let women now leave all that may be left of home

For a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means

Whereby the great human family can live in peace,

Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,

But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask

That a general congress of women without limit of nationality

May be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient

And at the earliest period consistent with its objects

To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,

The amicable settlement of international questions.

The great and general interests of peace.

Mother’s Day

So I wanted to do something special for Mother’s Day and it turned into another research sinkhole.

I had it in my mind to do Schubert at some point (probably still will) and I recalled that somewhere in his wiki was a piece he had dedicated to hs mother.  Sure enough- an Octet for Winds (D. 72/72a) but try finding it on YouTube.

Ok, now Google is my friend and classical+music+mother turns up… a gagillion hits for Amazon’s Mozart Lullabies for Mothers.

And Brahms’ German Requiem.

But ek, you say, we just did Brahms and Requiems are so… morbid.

And lingering too I will add, this monstrosity is Brahms’ longest work consisting of 7 movements and clocking in at a whopping 65 to 80 minutes depending on the generosity of the conductor.  On the other hand the Octet is also a memorial for Schubert’s mom who died in 1813.

I had the good fortune to stumble across a complete collection of YouTubes posted by Nachtmarchen.  It’s split into 11 parts and features-

  • The Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • The Leipzig Radio Choir
  • Mari Anne Haggander
  • Siegfried Lorenz
  • Conducted by Herbert Kegel (that glowery looking guy in the thumbnail)

The video part is not at all expressive so I’ve shrunk it in the interests of space.  It’s not particularly loud, but it is all the same loudness so I hope you won’t have to fuss with your volume much between the pieces.

It is ALL 7 movements complete by the same artists.  They are ALL embeddable.

I hope those virtues compensate for whatever deficiencies the recording and performances have.

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