Saturday, 23 May 2015

The Problem with Meditation

I read a fair amount of newspapers from across the globe.  This morning, I went over a piece on the Daily Mail (a British daily).

There's this piece over how meditation can trigger mental issues.

Basically, some science folks did some analysis and studies.....then they did the statistical average.....roughly sixty percent of people who've been on some type of meditation retreat/trip.....end up with at least one negative aspect (confusion, panic, or depression).

Oddly, the way it works is that the early part of this meditation was positive and gave you some inspiration or positive thrust in life.  Then for some reason.....there's a 'rush' as you fall to the ground.  You probably could make up for this 'fallen and can't get up' episode by having another mediation moment, then just keep repeating this to avoid the confusion factor or panic attacks or depressive moments.

Relating to 'aholic' moments?  Over the years, I've encountered a few folks who were addicted to meditation-type situations.  Several times a day....they needed to retreat and have a couple of minutes of self-meditation....to reach a positive state of mind.  I didn't think much of it....just that they seemed to be like smokers and needed a 'nicotine-type' fix for their mental state.

How many people meditate?  Unknown.  Psychology Today, back in 2010.....said there were around ten million Americans who did at least one meditation moment per day.  How they reached this conclusion was not precise and had some rough estimation involved.  If true, then it means that you likely bump into three or four people a day as a minimum who are stuck on meditation.  Higher in urban areas than rural areas?  I might tend to agree on that.

Will this trigger anything?  Well....I'm guessing some TV dimwits will say it's a national problem and want to confuse people with anti-meditation talk and have anti-meditation gurus appear to chat on frustrations of meditation.  Eventually, some folks will wonder if they ought to flip over and become enthusiasts of mediation to fix some other issue in their life.

Bottom line?  Just get with your life and don't worry about rights or wrongs.  Sip some Mountain Dew, watch an episode of Gilligan's Island, get a haircut, or chat over septic tank knowledge.....just live a bit on the edge and be happy over that.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Odd Prospective

Somewhere among all the documents released this week on Osama bin Laden.....there's this odd collection (minor in detail) that relate bin Laden to Global Warming/Global Cooling/Climate Change.

A normal guy would just breeze through it and move on.  I sat and read through the details.  This is a Muslim high up in the leadership role....fairly deep into religious discussions....motivated by his interpretation of Allah (God) and the Quran.

So bin Laden comes to this reality.  Allah (God) willed Climate Change to occur, so it would be against Allah's will (God's will) to oppose this change.  In effect.....suck it up and accept it.....don't waste time fighting it or inventing gimmicks to stop it.

As bin Laden notes....it's part of the bigger plan in life and the Quran says you can't oppose what is laid out and part of the 'will'.

So bin Laden lays into the Muslim community....prepare for the various changes and simply accept them.

In some ways, he's a bit stoic in nature.  If you accept religion, it's attachments, it's mystical design, and holy documents.....then there's a master plan in play and you merely need to accept that...instead of challenging it.

It's an odd stance taken.  Basically, by Quran language.....you have to accept whatever comes your way in terms of life.  But then there are thousands of 'waivers' given by Muhammad and the Quran, where people need to interrupt and take charge of Allah's will.....to hand out punishment and execute as necessary.  One is ok to participate in, and the other is not.  One of those confusing things about religion and the amount of belief you want to put into it.

Simple Truths

1.  Politics have become like professional wrestling.....good guys versus bad guys.....soap opera-like theater occurring on a twenty-four hour basis.....and pretender wrestler analysis looking almost like a George Stephanopoulos-character giving minute-by-minute coverage.

2.  For every black guy (note, I didn't say anything about black women because they aren't getting this stupid) who gets shot by a cop somewhere in the US......there's a minimum of fifty black guys getting killed by black shooters.  Somewhere in the math....it's obvious that no one is smart enough to grasp the big picture.

3.  If some Alabama Republican dimwit tells you his Bible coverage and how he's so against casinos, lotto, and gambling.....then he comes out five to ten years later to say that you really need casinos, lotto and gambling for tax revenue purposes....then he's had some type of Biblical conversion episode.

4.  Hillary Clinton could reveal herself as a lesbian former bank robber-turned psycho-killer, and she'd still be charming folks and running for President.

5.  If you go over Republican primaries of the past twenty years.....you realize 2016 is different. The 1992 Republican primary:   Bush and Buchanan.  1996 Republican primary: Dole, Forbes, Buchanan.  2000 Republican primary: George Bush, McCain and Keyes.  2004 Republican primary: Bush.  2008 Republican primary: McCain, Paul, Huck, Romney, Thompson, Hunter.  There's at least five four-star characters in the running this time.

6.  If you forced all 1.1 million law enforcement (yeah, that's based on a 2008 collection of data) personnel to take a drug test tomorrow......how many would pass?  And if forty percent failed....would you even have the guts to fire them?

7.  If you gave people the opportunity to pick some TV show to live out their lives within the scenario....the odds are that most folks would pick either Breaking Bad (to be a meth producer) or Walking Dead (living in some zombie zone).  The days of wanting to live in Mayberry, or Little House on the Prairie.....are long gone.

8.  In 2011, we crossed the high-point for expenditures on septic tanks ($2.6 billion spent across the US).  The guys who keep the numbers indicate that there is a climb going on (2015: $3.2 billion to be spent).  And by 2018, they expect the  numbers to reach $3.5 billion.  If you were looking for a simple business concept with relative good success rates.....septic tanks would be in the mix.

9.  Some science folks did a survey and found that smokers are sixty-percent less likely to vote in elections.....than non-smokers.  What they generally said was that smokers have less trust than non-smokers, and don't participate as much in groups/functions/agendas as non-smokers.  This would beg a number of questions and why we didn't recognize this trend previously.  Luckily, they didn't survey drinkers and non-drinkers......it might spell doom for Democrats if we learned that mostly excessive drinkers voted straight-Democrat tickets.

10.  Finally, for years and years.....everyone assumed that foundations were created to act as charity units, and it's a shocker now for the American public to realize that the Clinton Foundation is mostly there.....well.....for anything but charity.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Yep, They Couldn't Think of Anything

One of the Bloomberg Business Channel guys did a sit-down with Iowa Democrats (ten of them).  Typically, I don't expect an awful lot of competent analysis via the Today Show, CNN, or any of the normal pretender news folks.  Bloomberg tends to shock me on occasion....they round up folks who aren't part of some foundation or pretender 'expert' status, and they kinda talk like guys at some barbershop or church group would talk.

So, Mike Halperin asks these ten folks.....from Hillary Clinton's four years as Secretary of State.....what would you say was her top accomplishment?

The ten folks just kinda sat there in a daze.  In Alabama....it'd be like some minister picking people from the audience to name all the miracles that Moses accomplished, or some cousin asking you to name five great University of Alabama quarterbacks from the past fifty years.

None of the ten could answer 'top' accomplishment.

Nor could any of them name any accomplishment.

So the ending of this question came to some guy who simply said that he'd watched her for twenty-odd years and viewed her as competent, and that you just couldn't possibly vote for Scott Walker.....mostly cause he'd destroy the unions in America.

I sat there and watched the minute-long clip twice.  Yeah, it's a pretty dismal explanation about someone who spent four years in a fairly noteworthy job and no one seems to remember much of anything they did.

I worked in an organization once with a Captain.  After three years, it was time for the guy to leave, and they needed someone to sit down and help him and his chain of leadership to write achievements.  I sat there looking at the Major who asked me to help and simply noted there was nothing this officer did in the two years I knew him....that was worth writing on paper.  The Major walked around and the next five people said the same thing.  Anything they wrote....mostly led back to what I or several others in the shop had actually done.  We didn't care if they wanted to use the words of our actions....but the Captain was the most marginal leader that I'd come across in twenty-two years.  When he showed up each day.....he was there to just show attendance and sign papers.

I see Hillary in the same light.  She walked around and attended meetings.....did two-star chats with news media folks, and repeated scripted answers for chaotic events going on in the world.  In terms of knowledge or expertise?  She was a marginal two-star person doing a job that required an awful lot.

What's this say for folks from Iowa?  They recognize the same thing.  So, it's pretty simple for a three-star former governor of Maryland to walk in.....talk a bit, and amaze the public.  It's not a pretty sight, but I think Hillary has lost momentum and blazing away on fumes only at this point.  The job as Secretary of State?  It didn't give her anything worth talking about, and we kinda know that now.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Asking the Right Questions

Was our participation in the 1775-1783 American Revolution a mistake?

Was our participation in the 1775-1890 Indian Wars a mistake?

Was our participation in the Shay's Rebellion mini-war of 1786 to 1787 a mistake?

Was our participation in the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 a mistake?

Was our participation in the Barbary Wars of 1800-to 1815 a mistake?

Was our participation in the War of 1812 (really going all the way to 1815) a mistake?

Was our participation in the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848 a mistake?

Was our participation in the intervention campaign in Hawaii (1893) a mistake?

Was our participation in the Spanish-American War of 1989 a mistake?

Was our intervention in the Samoan Civil War of 1898 to 1899 a mistake?

Was our participation in the US-Philippines War of 1899 (all the way to 1902) a mistake?

Was our participation in the Boxer Rebellion of China in 1900 a mistake?

Was our intervention in the Panama Revolution of 1903 a mistake?

Was our intervention in the Banana Wars of Columbia in 1909 to 1933 a mistake?

Was our intervention in the Russian Bolshevik situation of WW I a mistake?

Was our Iranian hostage rescue mission a mistake in 1980?

Was our intervention in Panama in 1989 a mistake?

(Note, I've left out approximately forty different military conflicts of the past two hundred years.)

When I sit and watch some dimwit reporter asking about Gulf War I or Gulf War II being a mistake and trying to get some guy to rile up Republicans by saying Bush was right, or Bush was wrong......I start asking myself why limit yourself to just one single conflict?

Reporters....bluntly.....are idiots.  They pretend to up on history, but most are marginally capable of holding a discussion on anything other than recent history (the last twenty years).  When they start asking 'got-you' questions.....the candidates needs to stop the discussion and ask them about the Whiskey Rebellion or the Panama Revolution of 1903.  If they want to turn this into some history review episode.....let's make it interesting.

How about asking some Democrat about the Clinton handling of the Kosovo War?  Would Hillary get such a question?  No.   That kinda tells the whole story.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

What is an Obama-Phone?

Once upon a time.....the federal government.....compliments of your Congressmen and Senators.....decided that the public didn't have access to the vital requirement of having phone-access.  So, they invented a subsidy.

To get at the subsidy, you had to go to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) because they were given control over the funding.

In the beginning, there was Lifeline.....created during the Reagan era.....in 1985.  Lifeline was to provide a discount on your basic monthly phone service.

You had to meet one of two goals, in order to get Lifeline: (1) Make an income that is at or below 135% of the federal Poverty Guidelines.   Or (2) Participate in one of the following assistance programs: Medicaid; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps or SNAP); Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Federal Public House Assistance (Section 8); Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); National School Lunch Program's Free Lunch Program; Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance; Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF); Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR); Head Start; or State assistance programs (if applicable).

The limit?  One single phone per household.

Link-Up America was program number two.....coming from the 1996 Telecommunications Act.  Yep, same folks....your Senators and Congressmen.....from the Clinton era.

Link-Up America had a slightly different theme.  It was built to pay 50-percent of the initial installation fee for regular old-fashioned telephone service (up to a max of $30), or wireless telephone.  The remaining cost?  It could be put on a interest-free and deferred schedule deal.

So you look over these.  Both started up in 1980s and 1990s.....long before Obama came into the picture.

Lifeline barely got noticed in the 1980s.  Some counselors and community action people hyped the program in urban areas, and it got picked up.  Link-Up America got the same attention.  An odd thing came up roughly a decade ago....in that cellphones suddenly became the popular way of people communicating.  Companies aimed their product at the masses and sold them on cheaper phones.  Both programs got pumped up even more since the 2008 election, but they've been around a minimum of twenty years.

The best you can say is that cellphones arriving in bulk within the poorer communities of America occurred during the Obama administration, and people took advantage of them.

Friday, 15 May 2015

When to Hit Mute

One of the greatest devices ever made to benefit mankind.....is the TV remote control.  Somewhere on everyone's remote.....is a singular button called "mute", and with this enormous power.....you can silence stupidity, slowwittedness, sexist comments, racist comments, or boneheaded remarks.

There are a few political figures now that I will simply hit 'mute' automatically when I see them come on the air: Jimmy Carter, John McCain, Harry Reid (unless he chatting over how he got punched), Sean Hannity, and Governor Brown of California.

There are a dozen-odd characters who appear on CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News as some "expert" and I've kinda figured out that they are anything but an expert.....so I'm rather quick to hit "mute" on them (Karl Rove is one of them).

Most religious figures will get the 'mute' punch quickly.  Franklin Graham is an exception to that punch.

Oddly, sports figures have gotten themselves onto my mute-list.  I can't sit and listen to anything that Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, or Alex Rodriguez says or discusses.  To be honest....in the two weeks leading up to NCAA bowl March-Madness picks.....I usually hit mute on just about everyone who wants to do analysis on their prediction picks.

If someone starts talking on why you need to stop a casino from getting placed in such-and-such town......that'll get me to a mute situation rather quickly.  Having some guy defend a riot in Baltimore as legitimate.....will at least get me to pick up the remote.....as I carefully listen to see if they deserve a mute or not.

If I were to watch a thirty-minute piece of NBC news at night.....there's probably six occasions that I'll hit the mute and wait till they get to the next piece.  I don't usually act that way with local news or any part of 'The Five' (from Fox News).

I'd take a guess that I probably punch the mute button around 2,000 occasions in the year, and I'm not sure if that's average or excessive (or maybe even less than the normal guy).

In the middle of a typical TV show.....it'd be odd if I hit the mute while Captain Picard was talking to some visiting alien, or Hoss was helping out some guy on Bonanza, or watching Jeopardy.

Generally, I'd have to rate mute as the second most used button on my remote control.....after channel selection.  I used to get the urge to change color backgrounds or flip a situation to black & white, but my wife got flipped out over that practice so I tend to avoid doing that these days.  My present German TV has a video/audio capture deal where if I'm really into something.....I can hit one button and it just automatically captures that minute or two of action and I can play it back later.

It would be curious if the TV folks would analyze such things and comment in a public forum that Jimmy Carter gets muted by sixty million Americans when he comes on to chat about something, or that Karl Rove gets an automatic mute by fifty-five million Americans when he appears.  But I doubt that they'd want folks to know about such things.

The curious thing here?  Up until the 1970s.....we didn't have mute.  And we pretty much had no choice about listening to folks.  Technology has given us a wonderful tool.....which we never seem to appreciate.