blivet – 2004/09/26

Weblogs in Motion #

I guess the time has come to announce this here. I have set up a WordPress weblog, blivet 2.0, over at a new domain, halrager.org. blivet radio and my old student pages have moved over there as well (for historical interest, I am an archaeologist after all). There may be a Southwest/Great Basin archaeological wiki in the works, we’ll see.

The final step will be moving this site to a format that WordPress can accommodate. The last time I tried, my brain melted, but I know it can be done, thanks to Susan. Of course, just because she can doesn’t mean I can.

blivet – 2004/09/11

Fifty-two Days #

We have 52 days to make a difference in 2004 and beyond. Kerry is not out of the race. Bush is not ‘winning.’ Nothing has been decided, yet.

Operation Ignore #

A chapter excerpt from Al Franken’s book: Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. via Atrios

9/11… #

Kevin Drum on Juan Cole’s reminder of what Osama bin Laden was trying to accomplish with his attacks three years ago.

Drum sums up with “We are where we are because of George Bush. Never forget that.” Exactly.

9/11 #

A sad anniversary of a terrible day. Remember, we can put our flags out in commemoration as well, the stars and stripes do not belong only to the Republicans…

blivet – 2004/08/16

The Best Gift #

But the best gift was one that is available nowhere else. Audrey and Ian had a ‘no daddies’ session in his room last night. There was a great deal of squealing and giggling accompanied by a little boy running out and giggling at me, returning to his bedroom when reminded ‘don’t tell Daddy!’

This morning I was presented with a large hand made birthday card bearing the unmistakable active involvement of a not quite three-year old.

Priceless! Thank you, Ian and Mommy!

Things You Receive… #

Wonderful things that arrive on the unsolemn anniversary of your birth. Audrey, thank you so much!

What Is Conservatism and What Is Wrong with It? #
Philip E. Agre Red Rock Eater News Service

"Liberals in the United States have been losing political debates to conservatives for a quarter century. In order to start winning again, liberals must answer two simple questions: what is conservatism, and what is wrong with it? As it happens, the answers to these questions are also simple:

  • Q: What is conservatism?
  • A: Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy.
  • Q: What is wrong with conservatism?
  • A: Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world.

These ideas are not new. Indeed they were common sense until recently. Nowadays, though, most of the people who call themselves “conservatives” have little notion of what conservatism even is. They have been deceived by one of the great public relations campaigns of human history. Only by analyzing this deception will it become possible to revive democracy in the United States. (…)

The Destruction of Reason

Conservatism has opposed rational thought for thousands of years. What most people know nowadays as conservatism is basically a public relations campaign aimed at persuading them to lay down their capacity for rational thought.

Conservatism frequently attempts to destroy rational thought, for example, by using language in ways that stand just out of reach of rational debate or rebuttal.

Conservatism has used a wide variety of methods to destroy reason throughout history. Fortunately, many of these methods, such as the suppression of popular literacy, are incompatible with a modern economy. Once the common people started becoming educated, more sophisticated methods of domination were required. Thus the invention of public relations, which is a kind of rationalized irrationality. The great innovation of conservatism in recent decades has been the systematic reinvention of politics using the technology of public relations.

The main idea of public relations is the distinction between “messages” and “facts”. Messages are the things you want people to believe. A message should be vague enough that it is difficult to refute by rational means. (People in politics refer to messages as “strategies” and people who devise strategies as “strategists”. The Democrats have strategists too, and it is not at all clear that they should, but they scarcely compare with the vast public relations machinery of the right.) It is useful to think of each message as a kind of pipeline: a steady stream of facts is selected (or twisted, or fabricated) to fit the message. Contrary facts are of course ignored. The goal is what the professionals call “message repetition”. This provides activists with something to do: come up with new facts to fit the conservative authorities’ chosen messages. Having become established in this way, messages must also be continually intertwined with one another. This is one job of pundits. (…)" (more)

Day Off #

My employer (for a little while longer) gives a ‘personal day’ for birthdays, so I am taking the day off. Perhaps additional postings will ensue. I know, you’re not holding your breath…

Happy Birthday #

Forty-nine years ago this evening (in 1955), an ambulance carrying Mrs. Patricia K. Rager and Dr. Niles Stout screamed its way north on US75 to Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka, Kansas from the small town of Lyndon. A blue and green ’53 Buick driven by James W. Rager was in high-speed pursuit with Patricia’s mother, Naomi A. Boyle, riding shotgun. Naomi was a Registered Nurse, so she probably didn’t have to call ‘shotgun.’

About an hour earlier, Mrs. Rager had tripped and fallen six weeks out from the projected due date of her first child and gone into premature labor. Several people got pretty excitable and Dr. Stout made the call to get her to the hospital ASAP.

So today is my 49th birthday. Way to go Mom and Dad! Yea Grandma! Yea Dr. Stout! Yea, me!

blivet – 2004/08/12

Random #

Things has really been chaotic around here of late. My wife’s summer DOE-derived funding suddenly disappeared two weeks after the spring semester ended. That is about six weeks after everyone has lined up their staffing, so that was a significant part of the income equation that did not appear. Hilarity has not ensued, however, thugs have not knocked on the door threatening to break my kneecaps either.

Ian is doing as well as two doting parents can imagine. No ear infections (knock wood), he has taken an acitve interest in phonics and those marks on his book pages. Folks keep thinking he is a couple of years older that he is. The fact that he is the tallest in day care (3 months to 5 years) could have something to do with that. Yesterday, there was a large trac-hoe (think backhoe on steroids) working on the US95 widening project and visible from the day care’s playground. The little Y chromosome was very, very excited and completly lost it’s budding linguistic competence when we talked about it. Lots of arm waving while discussing the "BIG YELLOW HOE", all things past that are in Ian-speak. I don’t know what he is saying, but he sure is cute saying it.

More in a bit…

I’ll Try Again #

We’ll try that "post when it’s daylight" thing again.

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blivet – 2004/08/11

I had the best of intentions of getting back here this morning when I flipped the page. There has been plenty of notions about blogging, but not been too much actually getting it done. So it goes…

Migration of this site through the tools available in Radio turned into a complete fiasco. My brain just melted down along with my emotional maturity. So I have left it for the time being. Perhaps later…

It has been way too hot here in southern Nevada (offically 112°F, weather service substations in Green Valley have reported as high as 122°). Ugh. I know this is the first time it has ever gotten this hot here. Otherwise I wouldn’t have stayed…, right?

I had the distinct pleasure of spending five days at Bonneville Estates Rockshelter a couple of weeks ago. A busman’s holiday I suppose.

I am actively hunting for a job while trying to remain positive about the situtation, that little boy is turning into a moose (tall for his age but slender) and Audrey is getting ready to start the new school year under a NASA fellowship. Life is really pretty darn good.

My Buddhist order has a new website. Still a work in progress, but it is coming along nicely.

I am going to be 49 on Monday the 16th. How the hell did that happen? As far as I am concerned, it should be about 33 or 34.
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blivet – 2004/06/09

AG Ashcroft Comments #

I can’t believe it. I saw this astonishing clip of Ashcroft basically giving the Senate Judiciary Committee the finger over the release of details concerning the Torture Memo followed up by Senator Biden’s pithy response along the lines of [paraphrase from memory] “that’s why we sign these treaties. So when our troops are captured they’re not tortured.” I can’t find any mention of Ashcroft’s testimony today, much less quotes, on ‘major’ news sites.

Or, perhaps more accurately, I continue to not be surprised at anything anymore. What is the fun in being cynical if reality consistently trumps you…?

later: NYTimes

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