To free from bondage
The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
~ Abraham Lincoln
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.
~ Potter Stewart
To reject the word is to reject the human search.
~ Max Lerner
Nature knows no indecencies; man invents them.
~ Mark Twain
Every burned book enlightens the world.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.
~ John Stuart Mill
We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.
~ John F. Kennedy
If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.
~ Noam Chomsky
Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.
Posted by W at 10/30/2010 02:22:00 PM
Friday, October 29, 2010
Dettmer v. Landon is a court case in which the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that although Wicca was a religion, it was not a violation of the First Amendment to deny a prisoner access to ritual objects.
The plaintiff, Herbert Daniel Dettmer, was a Virginia prisoner, and a member of the School of Wicca. Dettmer desired access to ritual objects, including several varieties of knife, with which to practice Wicca rituals. Knives, of course, are not available to prisoners. When the state would not provide him these ritual objects, he sued Robert Landon, the Director of the Virginia Department of Corrections in federal court to get access to objects he claimed were necessary for his religious practice. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia decided in Dettmer's favor, finding that Wicca was a religion, rejecting the argument put forward by the Department of Correction that it was merely a "conglomeration" of occult practices. This decision was appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and was argued before the appellate court in April 1986.
The Fourth Circuit, in a decision by Senior Circuit Judge John D. Butzner, Jr., affirmed the district court's ruling that Wicca was a religion, but vacated the injunction.
The appellate court considered but rejected the claims of the government about Wicca itself, which included that Wicca was a mere "conglomeration" of "various aspects of the occult, such as faith healing, self-hypnosis, tarot card reading, and spell casting, none of which would be considered religious practices standing alone,"and that even if Dettmer's beliefs were religious, the rituals were not.
The conclusion of the Fourth Circuit was that the District court had found that Dettmer had a religious belief entitled to full First Amendment protections, but that he was not entitled to an injunction, since "the decision to prohibit Dettmer from possessing the items that he sought did not discriminate against him because of his unconventional beliefs."
While not entirely a victory for Dettmer, this was the first time Wicca was recognized by a court of law as a legitimate religion.
Posted by W at 10/29/2010 11:23:00 AM
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Change scenery today, change neighbors tomorrow. Live near the city for awhile, and then in isolation. There were no real economic necessities, for an explorer at least, what with all the technology a grateful Interstellar Authority had provided for them. Work was whatever one wanted to work at.
~ Fred Saberhagen, The Veils of Azlaroc, 1978
Posted by W at 10/28/2010 11:54:00 PM
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Over at Freedom Guerrilla, we've been talking about water. If you haven't been over there yet, check it out. There's a lot of smart, cool people and a very interesting comments section, which I encourage you to contribute to.
Vertical Searcher has never really been a blog, per se. It's more like a butterfly flitting from one thing to another. For the person who wants to go deep into single subjects, there's a blog for you. Here, however, I prefer to be more like a rock skipping across the surface. I know what's in the depths, but I can't stay mired in them too long. Even molten rock spewing into the ocean eventually cools. The only way to keep my underwater fire going is to come up for air. Vertical Searcher isn't all quotes, sunshine and pretty pictures, it's just easier doing that than sitting here for endless hours trying to impress the masses with how brilliant I am, or convince everyone for the umpteenth time how horrible the world is. I've tried, but I'm not a very good liar.
I have my moments of decent writing, but they only seem to emerge when there's prior input from other people. There are others following this site from around the world who haven't seen that side of me, and I'd like to share it. Thus I've kidnapped Enviro's comment and my own material from FG for today's post. Enjoy.
Kate Griffen who posts here on occasion chided me for not taking advantage of harvesting rainwater in my new “sustainable” home. I hang my head in shame.
However, methods to re-use water (whether thru rain-water harvesting or using grey water for toilet flushing) are pretty pricey, and are fraught with logistical issues. In some parts (fewer and fewer these days) water is still too cheap to worry about going to the lengths (or costs) to conserve. I have come across this on many, many projects.
Buried within this phenomenon however, is a fundamental flaw: in order to be and act responsibly, we seem to need someone else to commodify something (like water) to allow us to justify spending money to be responsible about the something’s use. WTF?! So within there lies the conundrum. We actually need government, or corporations to charge us for water in order to not treat it irresponsibly, otherwise we will/b> waste it.
Is this social conditioning, or something innately human?
In response to Enviro’s query:
"Good question. It does make one wonder at the claim that we are intelligent. I speculate that what we “need” is governments and corporations to assist the scientific community in educating us about the importance of, and responsible use of water, thereby removing the incentive to waste it.
We always ask, “What are people for?” Well, what are governments and corporations for? If they’re not useful to us in this regard, why do we need them? When the primary argument for not doing the right thing is “it’s too expensive,” that’s an artificial barrier to progress which holds people back — the means by which the few continue to enslave the many. The flaw is in our culture’s motives, fabricated from lies that serve neither the individual or collective good (meaning “the good of other individuals”). The flaw is demonstrated by the abundance of ignorant prophets profiting from ignorance at the expense of civilization and life.
“The right thing” is the edification of the human mind, and the elevation of the human condition, whose purpose is to better serve the needs of the planet we live on — and thus ourselves. We can start from the inside, or we can start from the outside, but the needs are the same. There is no social conditioning that we cannot change. If we are to focus on “innate” human qualities, we should become our own natural selection, choosing to shed a skin of bullshit we no longer need to inhabit.
At one point we found it appropriate to live in caves and huddle around a fire. Now we find it appropriate to sit in front of computers and talk to each other. Certainly the future holds many more such steps, and no twisted ladder can stop us if we really want to climb. Thus the innate human quality is to want to see those steps, and continue the ascent. There’s more to be gained from solving logistical problems than avoiding them because they’re “expensive,” because a far more dangerous expense incurs if we don’t.
Why are we here? Because the universe is a wondrous place, as supported by all the evidence we’ve ever gathered about it, and whose many gems include the planet we inhabit — an ideal location for exploring the extreme limits of both life’s inner and outer horizons from our astrophysical “center.” It seems the ultimate evolutionary challenge is for mankind to adapt to itself. Though I’m in the minority, I think we will. I believe in human success. That’s what I’m “for.”
As a bonus, here's the reply to my reply from Auntigrav...
"We have become conditioned to think in terms of price. Greenspan even admitted there is a flaw with this model, but his admission has been mostly ignored because it means there is a flaw in our culture.
This also comes back to the concept of “intention”, and how much people actually think about what they are going to do before they do it. I think that we mostly don’t: we simply follow the easiest path for most things, and that is a natural way to behave. The problem is that we BELIEVE that we are making choices and guiding our way through life when we have actually put a lot of manhours into creating systems of systems that make life automated for us. Need to choose a place to live? Look at the prices. Need to choose a school? Look at the prices vs. the cost of moving. This is Capitalism: the Belief in Money as our ‘decider’. The failure arises when costs are not reflected in the prices which we use to make choices. If we actually lived by thinking and choosing, then education would work. Since we know that education rarely works, then we have to acknowledge that we live in a Price-ocracy, controlled by those few who set the prices and devise systems to externalize costs (income tax codes and advertising). In their eyes, the answer to “What are people for?” is “to make and spend money”. Very simple. Very destructive: especially when the success of those few is worshiped by the many."
Posted by W at 10/27/2010 04:04:00 PM
I'm so sick of all the goddamn gloom and doom. Fuck the apocalypse. The world is not going to end. That is unless your imagination, what's in your heart, and your outlook on life is already completely dead, in which case it's already happened. If you insist on continually pounding the drum of world ending scenarios, please rent a private jam space and play by yourself. I'm tired of listening to all the negative shit, spilling like recycled drivel from the cloned mouths of people who mistake cynicism and pessimism for intellectual and artistic vigor. If you want to inspire positive change, do the work of seeking it out, and contribute something inspiring and positive to help your fellow humans get there.
Posted by W at 10/27/2010 03:15:00 AM
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
The United States is the only developed country in the world today that prohibits its farmers from growing hemp, and our economy is suffering because of it. Once a staple of US agriculture, hemp is indeed a miracle plant that can be used for textiles, paper, food, fuel and — hold on to you hats — can produce eco-friendly versions of any product currently made from petroleum, including gasoline.
While the rest of the world is ramping up hemp production, in the US, where it remains illegal, companies must import the thousands of hemp products grown, processed and manufactured in more than 30 countries across the globe. Britain, Germany and Canada have all lifted their bans, and China, the source of most of the hemp fiber used by the US clothing industry, has planted nearly 2 million acres of hemp. In the European Union, farmers are subsidized to grow hemp, which is legally recognized as a commercial crop by the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
Most of America’s imported hemp products come from Canada, where hemp has been grown commercially since 1998 and has become one of the most profitable crops for its farmers. Agriculture expert Ray Hansen notes that while America farmers struggle to survive on less than $50 per acre for soy and corn, Canadian hemp farmers are raking in an average of $250 per acre.
Read full article...
Posted by W at 10/24/2010 09:00:00 PM
It's hard existing in this day and age without feeling totally ripped off. We should have all been living in the future a long time ago. We're a minimum of 100 years progress behind based on this one issue alone. Yet more evidence that Earth is the stupidest planet I've ever lived on. Take this quote from the video above:
"A hundred years ago the farmer produced all of the fiber, all of the medicine, all of the fuel, and all of the food that this society consumed. That's what farming is -- you raise those four basic categories -- fiber, food, medicine and fuel, and you sell them in the cities. They're the basic necessities of life, the money flows out of the cities back to the land owner and to the producer, where land is the means of production of wealth. It's been that way for thousands of years.
Today, a hundred years later, the farmer doesn't produce any fiber. If they do, it's cotton, which accounts for fifty percent of the pesticides and herbicides used in the agricultural sector. The farmer doesn't raise any medicine, it's all been monopolized by the pharmaceutical companies. The farmer doesn't raise any fuel, it's all been monopolized by the petrochemical companies. And if you go into a grocery store and look at the ingredients on a package, you'll find out how rapidly the farmers have been displaced in their heritage of food production.
It's all been taken over by the synthetic manufacturers, who in producing these synthetic products, create the toxic waste and hazardous byproducts with which we're having such a tough time dealing. And not only that, it concentrates wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people all the time, because the means of production of wealth is no longer the land. It is now the factories and the shareholders and the people who own the controlling interests in those corporations."
"Does government have the right to tell man or woman that they cannot plant a seed in God's green earth and consume the green natural plant that comes up out of it? That seems such an inalienable right. That seems such a natural and basic way of communing with Mother Earth and the natural cycle of things."
Yet here we are, in a wasteland of bullshit created by morons who have no right to tell any of us how to live. Fuck them and their sick, diseased world. Thanks for ruining civilization, you fucking assholes.
Posted by W at 10/24/2010 12:18:00 PM
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
The pictograph is the stinger of the Scorpion connected to a representation of the human reproductive organs. This was the symbol in ancient times for the phoenix, bird of immortality and regeneration. In symbolic terms, the curved lines and arrow represent strong emotions tied to practicality and aiming toward higher consciousness.
Posted by W at 10/22/2010 12:47:00 PM
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The pictograph represents the Scale, which is in perfect equilibrium. This was the ancient Egyptian symbol for the setting sun, which was regarded as the doorway between two worlds. In symbolic terms, the glyph is a crescent moon connected to two straight lines resting above a third line. This represents emotion bounded on either side by reason; the line below symbolizes partnership.
Posted by W at 10/21/2010 08:56:00 PM
I'm posting this because it's makes me smile and feel good. I want to have more fun in my life.
For those who enjoy the video but find the censorship as annoying as I do, here's the way it really is, without some jackass deciding what you can or cannot hear.
Free Fucking Speech, Damn It!:)
For those who enjoy the video but find the censorship as annoying as I do, here's the way it really is, without some jackass deciding what you can or cannot hear.
Free Fucking Speech, Damn It!:)
Posted by W at 10/21/2010 05:05:00 PM
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
The saltarello was a lively, merry dance first mentioned in Naples during the 13th century. The music survives, but no early instructions for the actual dance are known. It was played in a fast triple meter and is named for its peculiar leaping step, after the Italian verb "saltare" -- to jump.
Posted by W at 10/20/2010 12:57:00 PM
Two gates for
of honest horn,
and one of ivory.
Issuing by the
ivory gates are
dreams of glimmering illusion,
those that come
may be born out,
if mortals only
Posted by W at 10/20/2010 03:00:00 AM
I tried to leave the following response in the comments section (in reply to TK/"Why Are We Here?") but am yet again being locked out by own website. It worked once before, so why it isn't now is a mystery. Nonetheless, I'd like to say this:
Fixing our problems "down here" always seems more pressing because Earth is where we live. But when we look at all the waste of time and resources that causes those problems, we see that it doesn't have to be that way. Our time and resources could be used monumentally better from top to bottom. It's within our power to change that, so it doesn't have to be one or the other. We can fix things "down here" while also exploring things "up there." We should never let our terrestrial problems blacken the vision of our extraterrestrial future. I think we humans have it in us to make the Earth better, while also expanding our understanding of its place in the universe and how we relate to it. Explorers can't wait for everyone else to create paradise first. They must blaze the trail so the settlers can follow, even if none do. Earth will not always be the only planet humans live on. There will be problems on every world we inhabit, but also people to solve them. I think we owe it to the pioneers of the past to carry that same spirit forward so they can.
Posted by W at 10/20/2010 02:44:00 AM
Monday, October 18, 2010
Among other reasons, because Earth is not humanity's final destination. The only reason we haven't been to Mars already is because we've been unwilling to embrace the virtues required to get there. Yet all we have to do is change our priorities and start trying. That's what opens up a new direction of progress, whether we get to Mars or not, and that's why trying to explore other worlds is a noble goal. It's the striving for something that's really hard to do.
Earth is a great place to live, but that doesn't mean we're never supposed to leave. It's okay if some people don't want to explore, but as a policy for human progress, it just doesn't fly. We didn't wait to solve every other problem on Earth before visiting the Moon, and the same holds true for Mars. It's true that there's no place like home, so among other things, let Earth be the place we come home to celebrate after accomplishing something great.
An amazing voyage awaits us.
Posted by W at 10/18/2010 06:08:00 AM
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Bullshit is a rare and valuable commodity. The great masters have all been superb bullshitters. Horseshit, on the other hand, refers to downright crap. The free, playful, entertaining flight of ideas is bullshit, and more often than not will be found afterward to accord perfectly with universal truth. Horseshit is contrived, derivative, superstitious, ignorant.
~ Art Cleps, The Boo Hoo Bible
"Bullshit is creative, inspired myth-making intended to provoke growth, while horseshit is bottom-feeder derivative manipulation aimed at the endless acquisition of slaves, servants, and followers."
~ Alan Cabal, Village Voice
Posted by W at 10/16/2010 11:13:00 AM