Monday, May 4, 2015

FC top 10

1. Bayern Munich\
2. Barcelona
3. Juventus
4. Real Madrid
5. Paris St. Germain
6. Chelsea
7. Cruziero
8. Benfica
9. Atletico Madrid
10 Manchester City

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Brief Childhood Notes

The worst injury of my life so far happened when I was nine years old.  I was riding my bike in flip flops that got caught in the slats of the pedals and left me unable to control where I was going.  I ended up plowing into an old chevy's rear windshield head first and splitting a section of my brow open down to the skull.  I remember looking at my reflection in the windsheild seeing the blood and feeling mortified.  I went to the nearest house for help which was a halfway house as it so happens.  I asked the recovering crack addict/car thief there if I was going to die and he said no.  He got the ambulance on the way got a towel for the bleeding and was perfectly kind in every way.  At the hospital the doc needed to scrape bits of glass off of my skull before he put in the stitches and this I'll always remember as very awful.  Overall the wound wasn't anywhere near life-threatening but I still remember feeling very sore and bruised if if I had the flu for several days after.  I can't imagine what the pain must be like for people who sustain truly dangerous injuries, a bullet to the liver with the bleeding stopped just in time or what have you.

On that note I recall someone else in the North Platte ER at the same time.  A visitor from Arizona who found out the wrong way that a scorpion had made home in their luggage.  Any one-doctor clinic in Nebraska has rattlesnake anti-venom but of course there's none such for scorpion stings, why would there be.  So the ER doc was on the phone with a Phoenix hospital trying to find out how to keep the victim alive and in agony long enough for her immune system to break down the venom without help. I would guess with some confidence if she survived.  It would have been major news if someone had died of a scorpion sting in North Platte, probably talked about to this day even, and there was no such news.  Still though.

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My classmate Tyler Heim (we weren't friends per se though we got along well enough) shotgunned the top of his head off in an apparent hunting accident out in the wilds beyond Imperial at the beginning of the 99-2000 winter.  All evidence, anyway, suggests that it was an accident.  They found the dead pheasant that he was apparently marching to retrieve when he slipped on a creek bank....; and of course deliberate suicides rarely have quite that much of an absurd spontaneity to them.  Still it is possible.  He was in some light legal trouble, harassing animals at the park or some such, and though he got only probation for it we all know how awful that first taste of trouble can be when you're young and you haven't experienced the real pain of ruin, mortality, existential dread.  He was also an infamously terrible student (as was I at the time) at a total loss for what to do after senior year was done. 

Still the evidence does point towards accident; and this brought great comfort to the surviving class of 2000.  Though at this point in my life I've no idea why.  The magnitude of my grief was based far more on being our first grief than whatever our personal closeness to the boy was.  He was buried at the Imperial cemetery, and I made the drive out to see him once or twice in my dying teens; feeling terribly sensitive and noble for doing so.  Now my grandparents are dead, my mother smokes at 57 and a pair of college classmates who were younger than me are gone.  Perspective. 

I've met Tyler's older sister three or four times in the years since and we've always get along well. She's married with kids teaching grade school in Denver or is it Littleton to be precise?  His parents kept the Christmas tree they were going to decorate on his return up for six months; all the way to the next summer when it had long gone to dead sticks. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

FC top 10

1.  Barcelona
2. Bayern Munich
3. Juventus
4. Real Madrid
5. Paris St. Germain
6. Chelsea
7. Porto
8. Cruziero
9. Atletico Madrid
10. Arsenal. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

FC top 10

1. Bayern Munich
2. Barcelona
3. Juventus
4. Paris St. Germain
5. Real Madrid
6. Cruziero
7. Atletico Madrid
8. Lyon
9. Arsenal
10. Porto

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

For Da Police

On Tuesday the unicameral was near-unanimous in support of a symbolic resolution giving police a pat on the back.        That was sweet of them, to be sure; and of course the resolution was drawn up in reaction to the latest controversy involving Senator Chambers.       Ernie's statement, for the record was an intentionally provocative statement in response to the sort of culture war tree pissing bill that has actually been historically rare in Nebraska, conservative as it indeed is.  A senator from the Sarpy County suburbs introduced a bill that would legalize concealed guns in bars & liquor serving restaurants, invoking ISIS & the 'radicalized world situation' as rationale.  It was precisely the sort of absurd, asinine, Merica Fuck Yeah statement (which again is comparatively rare in Nebraska government) that Ernie Chambers has always loved to pounce on with pungent reminders of real problems faced by real people, and he did indeed do his thing here. Bringing up tensions between the black community and police may seem irrelevant in this case but then what is 'relevant'  in the face of absurdity anyhow.  The truth is that there is indeed social privilege involved in an environment that not only encourages white male 'heads of household' to LARP as petty Lancelots but passes laws to support this childish fiction; and Chambers statement was again a deliberately brutal reminder that the government of a free people has real duties in the real world.

At any rate there is of course no actual contest between people who support the police and people who oppose them.  If those who theatrically support the police take pleasure in being more righteous than Others that deep down even they know aren't there than I suppose there's no stopping them. But of course only a tiny handful of dogmatic anarchists reject the utilitarian need for law enforcement; and of course it goes without saying, ( I know I say nothing radical here but only what people already know) that acknowledging the practical need for police does not in any way require a presumption that police are exceptionally virtuous.  Police work is not exceptionally dangerous  ( Thus not exceptionally heroic if one buys into that perverse reasoning) and there are few outside the jobs themselves who would suggest that plumbers electricians or dentists are entitled to admiration even though society does indeed require such skills.  People rob houses and people made of the same mischievous human stuff have to go catch them. There's an obvious 'Watching the Watchman' problem at work here.  And though democracy is theoretically designed to balance the practical need for authority with the dangers of authority it's quite clear that the balance is not yet ideal.  It simply does no good to wish police to be noble through force of will; and it is downright perverse to get a vicarious sense of power through identifying with someone else's civil authority and calling this duty.
I would like to close here by saying that even if one does think that the police are overwhelmingly good guys and that claims of institutional racism are overblown, even dangerous; well, I am not one to make a god of populist intuition.  To endow 'common sense' with infallible powers of determining truth is itself a defiance of common sense.  Inherent reasoning skills can and must be polished through education.  Even so I would go so far to say that our baseline powers of human reasoning are hardly weak, and that the reason that different communities perceive police as a positive or negative force it because of perfectly accurate perceptions of whether the police have been a positive or negative force upon their communities.  To put it more simply,  police are despised in places where it is not 'believed'; but factually known, that they have caused more harm than good.  One may say that you need only do nothing illegal and thus have no reason to fear the police.  Very well, yet in communities where the police are generally reviled; well, of course there's no such thing as criminality being general to any community.  Since society is nowhere near as racist as us liberals carry on and since you of course or no racist I'm sure you'd agree that in not even the most notorious urban neighborhood will one find vast rings of hoodlums eternally stealing the same wallet from each other like a line of cartoon food chain fish.

There is indeed a close relation between pharisaic shows of being pro-police and fantasies of shooting down terrorists in the Applebee's parking lot.  Both delusions are based on the presumption that people outside one's own social group are far more brutal and feral than any creature recognizable as human has ever been.  It is based on the presumption of being exclusively righteous and pure in a world full of devils; a world where only the brave violence of long, strong, big tall manly men (like oneself, naturally) can protect the small flames of decency from the savage human default.  If such a worldview is not based on racism per se; then it is a close enough sibling of racism to be the same moral poison.

Monday, March 16, 2015

FC top 10

1. Bayern Munich
2. Barcelona
3. Juventus
4. Real Madrid
5. Cruzeiro
6. Paris St. Germain
7. Chelsea
8. Atletico Madrid
9. Porto
10. Boca Juniors.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

There is No Foreign Policy Expertise Except Conservatism!

    In regards to Iran we should let yesterday's stunt by GOP Senators serve as a reminder that conservative foreign policy is premised upon being tougher braver and manlier than the hippies and that there is simply no greater logic end or rationale beyond that.
 
 I recall reading about a plan in the aftermath of 9/11 for placing suspected terrorists in domestic prison from within the Bush administration. Or in other words a plan to treat them as if they were just another class of criminals from within the Bush administration, that supposedly shockingly weak option which only the most flaming liberals would consider sufficient for the most Evil Beasts to ever live.
  
The reasons for why this plan was scrapped in favor of Guantanamo and all the now familiar atrocities are in fact somewhat arbitrary. This conservative administration could have chosen to deal with terrorists through our civil law if different moods led to taking different advise or a butterfly flapped its wings. And if this had been the course that a Republican White House happened to choose we can be rest assured that conservatives would have considered it to be the self-evident, common sense default way that Strong Leaders deal with such evil, just as they consider the path of torture and secret confinement that 'their' administration did choose to be such a default in the path that our history happened to take. We should understand that these people are in no way hardened "realists". They are not rationally assessing the risk/reward values of different tactics and have no interest in trying to. Rather there is an emotional need to presume their own superior hardness that precedes whatever someone in their tribe might choose to do.
The second Iraq war was an obviously just act of self defense because conservative white men said so in a stern voice and because those damned alien hippies said that it wasn't. Benghazi is a 'scandal' because of the circular assumption that Democratic administrations are weak and that therefore anything that goes wrong in foreign affairs is proof of Democratic weakness. Negotiating with Iran is weak because a Democratic president is doing so, and never mind that negotiating with enemies has been utterly normal since the days when god-kings were building piles of severed heads.

    Just as there are people who are able to feel moral only in contrast to imaginary godless decadents or able to feel civilized only in contrast to ethnic Others foreign and domestic so there are those who are able to feel brave and strong only in contrast to cartoon straw hippies. There are such people in every society and it is only the happenstance of our military being uniquely powerful which makes our jingoists uniquely dangerous when they gain control of it. Meanwhile it is futile for Democrats to try to match a conservative measure of courage that it wholly fungible self serving and dare I say 'relativist'; as Kerry and Hillary Clinton famously did in voting for the Iraq War. You had might as well be the total peacenik that they shall will themselves into seeing you as no matter what you do.