The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand
Good to have you back. I have those sections of "TEFL" bookmarked for easy reference. I think I'll pick up the "Notebook"
I'm not really "back." My schedule got changed. In the office until Tuesday, then back to the site again.
Starship Troopers is one of the most influential books of my earlier years. The politicians of today could do worse than read that book and comtemplate it's premis.
You're posting. Close enough. According to Jadetroll on Robyn's anti-gun screed, you're my "surrogate" so I have to get fix.
I always was partial to this one, "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects!"
"Specialization is for insects."
I've used that line many times. It used to REALLY piss off my boss, but he usually got the hell out of my way.
That was Dale's choice of quotes, and it's a good one.
At 4:00PM my schedule changed again. Back to site tomorrow, not Wednesday.
Are you still sure you like this new job?
Actually, from a stress standpoint, it's much better, and the pay is better too. I only have to work on one or maybe two projects at any time, not (literally!) the 48 (or more) project files that sat on my desk at the previous employer.
I just worked 10 straight 12-hour days. The majority of that time I sat in an air-conditioned control room waiting for the the construction electricians to complete the work they were supposed to have done a couple of months ago. Of course, the three hours of windshield time each day left a bit to be desired (that's included in the 12 hours, BTW.) I'm being paid for the overtime (straight time pay, but it's still pay), and I get to play with some fairly neat software for the Industrial world. No robotics or anything, but still...
Yes, I still like this new job.
To put that in perspective, where I worked for 22 years in St. Louis involved an ordinary work day that was, including lunch and windshield time, at least 11 hours. Rush "hour" (Hah!) in St. Louis was not pleasant. I usually had no more than two projects at once, plus the usual interruptions. I loved the work, but grew to really dislike the job. So, if the job is as enjoyable as the work, then you've found something good and rare.
"Never attempt to teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time and annoys the pig."
Not that I'm saying we want our free ice cream or anything, but with my Verizon Treo 700p and the cable I can get online at about DSL speeds from just about any city...
Of course I had to pay an extra bit each month for the PC connect on top of the unlimited data plan I've got.
But if you don't want a new cell phone you could look into one of their cards. Might even be able to get the employer to pay for it. As long as it's an unlimited data plan any 'personal' use wouldn't affect the bill. ;)
"The politicians of today could do worse than read that book and comtemplate it's premise."
Excuse me for saying this JR, but politicians, every damned last one of them, should be forced to read that book, as well as about 50 others that come quickly to mind.
I suggest we use restraints.
I find it interesting and somewhat perplexing that you and I share a love for Heinlein and yet have completely opposite views on socio-political issues. Stranger in Strange Land is one of my three favorite books (Catcher in the Rye and Slaughterhouse Five being the others)...read it when I was 12 and it pretty much dictated my philosophy on religion, love, and women :)
Of course, in so many ways he was really all over the map politically. His early work advocated many of the same things that FDR put into practice. Glory Road was very anti war and Stranger was really embraced by the hippies with all that good lovin' and free thought that went on. Starship was heavy pro military and some of his later books were more to the right. So, who was he really? That is what makes him most interesting in addtion to the fact that he was a fantastic writer of "hard sci fi" (the only way to go imo)
To me, though, he was a shining libertarian, believing nothing the government told him and ripping organized religon up and down in Job. All of his books have the general theme of the individual fighting against the oppressive and corrupt system.
I think we could use a little of that right now, eh?
More to the right, Mark?
Aside from a "For Us the Living", his books are shining to testaments to the conservative tradtion of America for one simple reason: self reliance.
Starship Troopers, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Time Enough for Love, Job: A Divine Comedy, Stranger in a Strange Land, and ALL the juveniles stress the importance of that most American of all values.
How exactly did FDR stand for self reliance? And which early works of Heinlein's, besides For Us the Living, advocated anything like FDR's ponzi schemes and government interference?
One of my favorite Sci-Fi stories is ABOUT Heinlein. Here it is - "The Return of William Proxmire" by Larry Niven.
It is about a Senator who decides that the Space race cost America too much, so he wants a scientist to build him a time machine he can use to prevent American Sci-fi authors from promoting space travel. He tries to remove Heinlein by preventing the early end of his naval career due to tuberculois. Mr. Proxmire discovers that while Heinlein the author could only encourage space exploration, Heinlein the Admiral could actually make it happen.
There is a scene in the story when the Senator returns, and asks his scientist cohort what the shining things on the moon are. "The solar panels for the lunar colony", the scientist responds. And for the poor Senator, it all goes downhill from there.
I am pretty disgusted as well about our government's lack of interest in space travel. Kennedy's dream and vision of putting a man on the moon should be updated for the 21st century but no one in our governemnt seems too excited about it.
I see Stranger as being very anti conservative--poking fun at folks like Falwell and outmoded puritanical beliefs about sex.
Kevin - You've been awarded a "Thinking Blogger Award".
Part compliment, part meme-ish.
I don't have the text in front of me, but in 'To Sail Beyond the Sunset', Maureen states that either individual rudeness and loss of civility or filthy public restrooms are a sign of a sick culture. Both are signs of s dying culture.
A dying culture. Sorry.
And I previewed it, too.
Thinking blogger award? Hmmm, did the list include any liberal blogs?
Given that I wander all over the political spectrum of the blogosphere- some interests of mine are more blogged about by liberals than conservatives- I can safely say that the Thinking Blogger Award (which is not centrally distributed, but by individuals to their favorite thinky blogs) is bipartisan.
I'm not a Heinlein fan, though that's not because I don't like him than because I've never read him- and I do intend to fix that the very next second I have more free time and don't fall asleep five pages into the novel on my nightstand. My science fiction/fantasy guru is Terry Pratchett- and I agree with him that "science fiction is just fantasy with nuts and bolts". Or at least, the good stuff is.
It always strikes me as interesting that my fellow fans of his work come from all sides of the political spectrum, including those I disagree with strenuously. One of his most popular books- Small Gods- is appreciated equally by atheists who believe it to be an indictment of organized religion, and the religious who believe it to be an endorsement of the power of real faith. Speaking as an atheist with an appreciation for faith as practiced by those who make a serious effort to understand life through that framework as opposed to using it to prop up shallow thought, I believe they are both entirely correct.
Most of the deep values- freedom, the power of man to be as good as he can be bad, pretty much all concepts of man as having principles that transcend his short life- are shared by EVERYBODY who has values at all. It's just that what appear to be small differences in that perception, when magnified over an entire philosophy, prove to develop into huge ones. I prefer to see this not as evidence that mankind (or that subset that disagrees with me) is hopelessly stupid or evil, than as a reason to keep in mind that we really are basically alike.
Jerry Falwell wasn't just a "conservative", any more than Noam Chomsky is just a "liberal". He was a strong believer in authoritarian rule and the power of the state to mold the people- and so was Marx. There is a lot more to it than just a simple left-right axis; the most basic human temptations corrupt both, and the best authors recognize that and criticize the same tendencies in both. It's just a matter of whether you feel as you read it that they are ripping apart the other side or attacking the rot in yours.
Another point on "For Us, The Living":
If I remember correctly, the whole "legacy" system was predicated on the perceived need to constantly inject new capital into the economy to avoid a shutdown of manufacturing. Very Keynesian.
I suspect that RAH dropped this idea once it became clear that the economics behind it were flawed, and that monetary manipulation proves to be deadly in the real world.
(Also interesting that even at the late date of its writing, RAH believed that Roosevelt's intent was to stay neutral in WWII. FDR was the true warmongernot that I have any objections to it, much the contrary.)
Odd Mark, I see Stranger as being anti-people-who-stick-their-noses-in-other-peoples-business. And do you honestly think that the Left in America, or Europe, would be any more tolerant of Valentine Micheal Smith than the government in the novel was? Smith stresses personal responsibility and achievement. He has capacities that the government cannot control or undertsand. And what is worse, he freely offers to teach these abilities to anyone.
As much as the Left shrieks about firearms, knives, fatty food, and tobacco, how do you think they would feel about a man who rip people clean out reality?
LabRat, good points all around and it made me think about something inside of myself. I consider myself to be a Christian and yet I loved the book Job by Heinlein, which was a severe indictment of people of faith. Odd. If you haven't read Heinlein, I would start with Starship and then work your way up to Stranger.
Eric, I agree with you. The current Democratic leadership would not like Mike. They would probably come out with some bulshit pussy statement (like the do every other day now) about how he is detrimental to the well being of government etc. In the end, however, their voices would be drowned out by the gargantuan shouting from the right about how Mike is the devil incarnate, an Al Qaeda operative, and someone who wants to corrupt our children with his sinful ways.
Yes, the book is "anti-people-who-stick-their-noses-in-other- peoples-business" which means it is anti Patriot Act, anti-wiretapping, and anti-legislating morality (gay marriage). I don't see the Bush administration as stressing personal responsibility and achivement. I see them as saying, "Believe everything we say, we are protecting you... otherwise you are a traitor and will perish in a boiling pit of sewage."
So, how do you think Mike would view Bush Co.?
Mark, do bear in mind that a TON of conservatives don't think Bush is particularly conservative.
I hate to threadjack, but realistically, in a world in which a handful of guys from around the world can coordinate logistics for a terror attack, what alternative is there to something like the Patriot Act?
Note: I work in the financial planning industry. We go through a lot of crap to comply with the Patriot Act. I also think that the inbred moron who imagined that a name as Orwellian as "Patriot Act" was a good idea should be tarred and feathered for sheer incompetence and disrespect for the English language.
But still. I'm asking seriously here, because total governemnt surveillance makes me profoundly uncomfortable even while I consider it necessary. What alternative do you suggest?
Back on topic: it is possible to believe, as I do, that RAH fundamentally misjudged human nature and the effect of sexuality thereon in arguing for libertine sexuality, yet still enjoy reading him make his case.
First of all, if our government intelligence agencies were working correctly then 9-11 should never have happened in the first place. We didn't have the Patriot Act when Bush was handed a report saying "Al Qaeda determined to attack in the US." All of the attacks leading up to that point should have put us on the path to stopping these guys. We need an answer to why this happened before we can decide what kind of surveillence we need--simply because we don't want to repeat the same mistakes again.
Second, when our intelligence agencies say that Al Qaeda has rebuilt it's infrastructure in Pakistan and can launch attacks from there, we need to act and not sit around doing nothing as we are now. We need human intelligence, not wiretapping, in these areas to really stop these guys. That means making nice with moderate Muslims and working towards a common goal--something else that isn't happening now.
Third, I think we need to figure out why, as the new NIA report has stated, that US Muslims are not as radicalized and are less likely to support Al Qaeda here than in Europe, for example. I have some ideas on this but our national defense folks really need to get into this because it could be the key to defeating Al Qaeda once and for all.
Fourth, we will still need wiretapping in some form but it needs to have oversight so we know that we are actually listening to potential Al Qaeda. What is happening now is that Cheney-Rove is using the Patriot Act to control their power domestically NOT protect us from Al Qaeda. Not suprising since Cheney came from Nixon's team of criminals. So, there needs to be men and women of good nature that will make sure that we are actually listening in our enemy, not our political enemy. Sadly, the question then becomes are there any men and women out there who have good nature anymore?
Maybe a few folks that post here could be a start.
While I'm hardly the one to defend our dysfunctional intel agencies, saying that you need to determine exactly what happened before you can react is a recipe for inaction, full stop.
Let's face it, no defense in impenetrable. I'm frankly shocked and impressed that we have been able to prevent any serious attacks since then. But eventually, they will be able to pull off another one.
What is happening now is that Cheney-Rove is using the Patriot Act to control their power domestically NOT protect us from Al Qaeda. Not suprising since Cheney came from Nixon's team of criminals.
Sorry, Markadelphia, you lost me there. There has been no evidence, or even an unsupported claim by an otherwise credible figure, that Patriot Act provisions have ever been used against a political adversary.
So your real problem with the Patriot Act is that it was passed while Cheney was vice president?
My problem with the Patriot Act lies in its ability to seize and detain anyone for whatever reason the administration sees fit. Oddly, conservatives seem to go along with this as they feel it "benefits" the security of our nation. Isn't government interference in our daily lives something we all would like non-existant?
Check out what I found recently. It spells out much of my problems with the Patriot Act
Kinda scary, huh?