Friday, December 29, 2017

Discussion around the Me Too hashtag could bring some credence to the concept of original sin

Discussion around the Me Too hashtag could bring some credence to the concept of original sin; a concept that most of us liberals tend to discredit. Original sin is thought of as an unhealthy idea to tell everyone that they are broken at birth. Still, it depends on how one interprets things. "Broken" could just mean no one is perfect. It could just mean a check on one's ego.

Everyone fails, but there's also forgiveness. I sometimes wonder if "conservatives" have a more robust system for weathering these issues than "liberals." I realize the terms conservative and liberal are not the best, but I'll use them just for thinking. It's all kind of gross stereotyping, I know.

When someone in the liberal camp, like Al Franken, falters, is he thrown under the bus while Donald Trump can survive his falters? What's the difference?

Maybe it's the concept of sin and then forgiveness? On the campaign trail, Trump admitted to locker room talk that he wasn't proud of.

Was just admitting that he wasn't proud of it enough to give him a pass? It seems to work for some conservatives.

Is there a similar system of redemption that liberals can use?

Personally, I think the idea of original sin can be useful, tho I am definitely not a fundamentalist. I'm not one that believes in so called scriptural infallibility even though I'm open to the possibility that there could be a "spirit dimension" to things.

Aside from what one thinks about religion, there are many secular parallels to the concept of original sin (I would think if I understand it at all, maybe I don't). It's just basically the idea that we are not perfect. A check to our egos. Also a check to our tendency to feel entitled to everything. Entitled to money, sex, or whatever. It's a form of humbleness which can be manifested in different ways.

In science, there's a form of humbleness that comes from the fact that we don't know everything. I've heard the phrase, "the more we know, the more we know that we don't know."

Speaking of humility, President Obama made some conservatives mad when he said, "If you've got a business – you didn't build that." Those who wish to take credit for their successes might not like hearing that, but our successes depend, to a large extent, on the tapestry of society that we live in. Obama was talking about the need for public infrastructure, such as roads and so forth. Also people's inventions and triumphs are built on the shoulders of others who came before us. Even something as great as Facebook was not totally the cleverness of Mark Zuckerburg. It took many inventions along the way.

We could all use patience, some humility and a bit of check to our egos and senses of entitlement. Also paths to forgiveness.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Will the Move On organization want to change its name?

This short article discusses the rethinking of Bill Clinton's sexual affairs as a reason weighing against Hillary in recent favor-ability polls. Personally, I think her low rating has more to do with frustration about so called "establishment candidates." I also think there's a human tendency to abandon ship from people perceived as losers. In some ways, these polls are moot points as I would doubt Hillary would plan to run for another election at this stage in her life. That being said I still have respect for her. Below more of my thoughts about the rethinking of the Clinton era that's in the news today.

Given the newer scrutiny of Bill Clinton's sexuality, I wonder if the the organization Move On will regret choosing that name? I think when that organization was starting, the name related to the concept of moving on to more important issues than what the Clinton impeachment trial was about. Move On to issues such as the economy and global warming.

While some of the hashtag Me To is needed, I do think there is the danger of over correction.

One thing I can say for Hillary Clinton is that she stayed in her marriage. Something that was more common in the past. These days, people are pretty quick to dump their relationships and political alliances when things aren't ideal. As time goes on, I hope the Me To hash tag can be more about abuse of power, bad bosses and so forth, rather than just focusing on sexuality. Sexuality is one of the many things that is abused, but there's more to the problem than just that. I realize that women tend to be victimized more often than men, tho so sexuality is a factor. It's just not the only factor in what could be a good movement for holding people's personal lives accountable to their political ideals. Think, how do people treat their own employees? What are people's carbon footprint?

As for one's personal life being held to high scrutiny, I'm remembering the controversy, a few years back, about Al Gore's big house. Back then mostly conservatives brought up the problem of Al Gore being such a leading environmentalist while living in a big house with a larger footprint than the average American. Yes, I think even most people who drive cars can be seen as hypocrites, tho I understand that people feel driving is a necessity to function in this society. I can't become too bitter, myself. I can also justify a bigger house for someone, like Al Gore, who is a major public figure. He would need more things like space for home security staff and so forth. I would guess he also flies in jet planes occasionally.

Be wary, I think some of the heightened criticism of public officials could be coming from "divide and conquer" strategy from Republicans. Both parties have lots of internal bickering these days and some of that atmosphere could be fueled by the other party.

I still have respect for the Clintons, but I do think its time for new energies in politics. Focusing on building a sustainable world, such as use of things like solar power. Less about older aspirations of wealth, consumerism and power. Some new thinking is needed in a lot of places.

Monday, December 25, 2017

My pictures on Flickr under Christmas label

People have placed ornaments on evergreens along the South Bay Trail at Boulevard Park. Probably not officially sanctioned by the parks department. Litter? Guerilla Art? Looks nice however. I hear that whoever put these up plans to take them down soon after the holidays.

More of my Christmas images on Flickr.

A great Birthday / Christmas present, 1971

During my sophomore year in high school, My mom bought us a trip to Spokane from Pullman on the Greyhound Bus. Just her and me. Primary objective was to buy the multi band radio I had been dreaming about in the Radio Shack catalog. No Radio Shack store in Pullman, back then.

While in the "city" she wanted me to see some sights.

The Crescent Department Store was all decked out in holiday trimmings. A must see; the animated window with moving Santa mannequin. We walked around to the front of the block and entered through the main door where said window would be. When we got there, my mom just kept walking while I stopped. I wondered why she suddenly lost interest. With some disgust in her voice she said, "it's Christmas on the moon." Santa was in a space suit. No warm fire, snowy fields, or chestnuts roasting. It was moon rocks and grey dust. Santa picking up rocks and placing them in specimen pouches.

Moving on, we did had a nice meal on the Crescent's top floor cafe named The Tea Room. Then did a bit more window shopping in downtown Spokane before heading to pick up my prized radio.

I still have that radio. It served me well for many years, but today the only thing that works is the dial light. I taped what I thought was a better AM dial onto the radio. Used another Christmas gift; a label maker, to put my address on this prized possession.

Some other memories below.

Baked goods that we exchanged with neighbors. To increase variety of goods in everyone's home, folks would bring around what they baked to share with the neighborhood. The doorbell would ring and it was the Stevens. Then the Swansons and so forth. Often carols were sung. Each year, we had the chore of passing out our goodies as well. One year, while I was back home from college, I noted that most of the neighbors were at a party next door. I thought we should pass out our plate at that house to save having to go to each house. My brother Jack nixed the idea thinking it would be awkward picking out just the neighbors at that party where others would be also. He thought we would have to say, "okay, here's one for you up the street and you from across town don't get one."

A climax of our family Christmas was opening presents on Christmas morning. All excited, I would get up early. The house was filled with the sweet smell of my mom's holiday bread. It had very sugary frosting with a strong ting of orange. My sister Judith Ashworth and I would stake out our heat vents on both sides of the tree where warm air from the furnace would blow into the living room. Warmth would flow up into my shirt. We would wait, somewhat impatiently, as my older sister, Lillian, would remain in bed. After traveling to Pullman, from Seattle, she would be getting more sleep. Sometimes we would be waiting for my brother, Bill Ashworth also. When everyone was up and around the tree, we would start opening packages. A big pile of spent wrapping paper would accumulate in the laundry basket that my mom would set up. We reused much of the wrapping paper year after year. We would reuse paper, ribbons and bows that were still in fairly good shape and weren't torn up by the cat jumping into the basket.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Staying local for the holidays

In recent times, I've stayed local for the holidays. Last time I took Greyhound Bus to visit family in Pullman, WA. it was crowded. Buses were delayed with snow on the mountain passes. By the time I got to Spokane to transfer for Pullman, the buses were being mobbed by the crowd. Terminal staff was doing the best they could trying to get people where they were going.

I sort of regret what I said when I finally got on my bus. I said, "next time I'll ride my bicycle." It's true. I did ride my bicycle the following summer, but I'm afraid the ticket taker took that as just another insult. I didn't mean it that way, but the comment came as part of a long line of snarling passengers. Now I wish I could do that moment over again. The reaction of the ticket taker wasn't bad, however. I think he just said, "not in the snow." I was appreciative of how they were doing a hard job to get everyone on their way. Many of the passengers are patient with good mindset while others grumble. I try to look at situations from both sides; the side of the customer and employee.

On the bus, it's kind of a long tedious day to get from Bellingham to Pullman with transfers in Everett and Spokane. By bike it's usually 6 or more days with camping along the way. I bike in summer tho I met someone from Norway who biked across Canada in the winter.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Skylark's Cafe in old Fairhaven District Christmas lights 2017

Skylarks Christmas lights.

Around 20 people celebrated my birthday at the Wednesday Dinner Group which I send out notices for. My birthday is December 16th, but they celebrated on the Wednesday before.

At another social function I go to, I brought my lighted helmet which I use quite a bit riding around town. This at Bellingham Bar and Grill. A gathering that happens after the Friday Bellingham Peace Vigil.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

High speed may not be such a holy grail for rail

The train accident here in Washington State is tragic. Some people might feel it tacky to use this occasion for political, or long term thinking, but what else can I write except I wish my condolences to everyone involved. In years past, I've been along that train route coming back from various bike trips. I appreciate the train.

High speed rail is kind of a holy grail that we can't really do in USA. Not very easily at least. Rail travel is good, but speed isn't necessarily the only criteria to judge travel by. Rail could become more convenient also by offering more choices for departure and arrival times. Often there's only one train through an area per day. This isn't likely to fit many people's schedules. Imagine if there was a train each hour. Much more convenient. That's one reason why people like private automobiles. Leave when you want.

A problem with both speed and convenience is that there just isn't enough right of way for rail anymore in USA. Too much private property. For speed, there's just too many crossing points where higher speeds are a hazard. In China, they can build high speed rail and just tell property owners to get out of the way, we are coming through. In USA, their are just too many diverging interests, each with a voice, to stop building a new large scale project, like a rail line. It's easier to connect with air as flight uses a different dimension than the cluttered landscape. Elon Musk wants to do high speed rail by going into the dimension of underground. He has plans for the Hyperloop. Can that work? We will see.

Lack of right of way also makes more frequent train schedules difficult. Congestion on the track due to sharing with freight and so forth.

Speed, of course, isn't everything tho it's highly regarded in our society. Friendliness of travel can be a factor also. Make the trip part of the destination. Social life on a train can be pretty good compared to a plane, from what I hear. I haven't had occasion to fly since the 1980s.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Will there be enough bandwidth for all content producers?

Washington State may preserve net neutrality for ISPs operating within our state. I would guess other states may take action also.

Personally, I'm not sure how serious the loss of net neutrality is. It may not be as big of a problem as people think. On the other hand, it could be. I'm in favor of net neutrality and against the recent changes made by the Republican dominated FCC. It's complicated tho.

Basically the new ruling allows ISPs to favor certain sources of data over others. If there's plenty of bandwidth, maybe there's no problem. Enough for all. Who knows.

Will small outfits get the same priority as the big folks? Will the net remain interactive or will it become more of a one way vehicle for delivering entertainment? Will the net remain seamless?

There is lots of opposition to this new ruling. Court challenges, states, like Washington, who are setting up their own islands of net neutrality and, of course, we can elect a new Congress in 2018. Congressional action is still possible.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Hurray. Democrat Doug Jones wins over Republican Roy Moore in Alabama

I'm very happy that Doug Jones won out over Roy Moore in Alabama. Moore's right wing politics is very toxic including his anti LGBT stands. His alleged sexual misconduct is a problem also.

I wish to not use the word pervert, tho, in a derisive way as that tends to marginalize folks who's sexuality falls outside a norm. Many unusual forms of sexuality and fetishes are harmless. Screenshot below is from a website called Fet Life which serves a community of people with various fetishes. As a subtle form of humor, the abbreviation "perv" is used instead of "prev" for navigation buttons while looking at pictures on the site.

As for going out with teenagers, sexual morality is definitely changing in society. The me to hashtag is pushing that change along. Hope the changes are beneficial and not bringing the unintended consequence of a new puritanism. I would guess that consent is held in higher regard, these days than in the past. Underage people are not considered able to give consent. There was a time when marrying a young teenager was quite common, however. A sign that ethics are changing. Back then, homosexuality between consenting adults was taboo while marrying an underage person was normal. Marriages in the past were even arranged by parents or village matchmakers. I recently heard in a BBC Radio documentary where someone can be married off to their rapist in USA. Common in a lot of other countries, but it still can happen even in USA.

From what I gather, underage marriage is still legal in many states besides just Alabama. Seems strange to me that age of marriage and age of consent are different. A sign that we are in a time of transition. Out goes the old order, in comes the new.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Personal hypocrisy in each party

Looks like support for Democrat Al Franken is diminishing among Democrats. Too bad Republicans seem to act differently in their at least tepid support for Republican Roy Moore. Are Democrats shooting themselves in the foot by taking the moral high ground? I still say the problem is more about power than sexuality. There are also degrees of offense.

It does seem like there is a lot of hypocrisy in each party. Do people's personal dealings measure up to their campaign rhetoric? In many cases I'm sure it doesn't. Lots of great politicians are lousy bosses. I wouldn't be surprised if many are lousy landlords, lousy drivers, folks with a heavy carbon footprint and so forth. How we live at the grassroots level is often not what we espouse. I do think it's time for a lot of paradigm shifts.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Pervert isn't a good word to use in these cases

The word pervert isn't a very good word to use when describing sexual misconduct of people in power. That word tends to marginalize people who's sexuality may not be like mainstream society, but isn't necessarily being used to harm others. A better word to use might be psychopath. I think a lot of the me to issue is about abuse of power rather than sexuality itself. Sexuality is just one tool that is often abused.