Friday Reads

wheel_of_samsara_thankaI’m rather late getting this written today.  It’s due to stuff I like to refer to as samsara surfing activities.  It’s the entire basic Buddhist thing on the nature of this existence.  My washing machine overflowed last night in the laundry closet which has created a huge mess.  Thankfully, I seemed to have fixed the machines issues for the moment but the floor is just inundated with water.  Also, a friend of mine of over 35 years had a stroke on New Year’s Eve and passed on Wednesday.  She was only 65 and had just retired about six months ago.  Both of these items come under the heading of I’m not surprised, not shocked, expected it to happen sooner than it should but I’m still asking why now? Why now when I can least afford fixing up stuff and when I had put off talking to her because my voice was shot from the flu.  Timing is everything still, I guess and mine sucks atm.

Also, I still need to mention the timing of the font bill for the blog.  It’s in two days and I need to beg for donations.  I don’t need anything huge but a little from some of you would get it off my plate and then we have the blog free and clear again until October.

So, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to write a very cohesive post today but I will share what’s been attracting my attention even as distracted as I am.  My artwork today is the Tibetan Buddhist Wheel of Life or Wheel of Samsara.  It reminds us that nothing lasts for ever. Everything changes and eventually reformats.

By Samsara (bhavachakra) we are talking of all existences that are conditioned by: ignorance, suffering and the unexplainable flow of time, often represented by Yama holding the wheel of life. Nirvana, on the other hand, represents the world unaffected by negative emotions, which by definition is the nature of true happiness.

The notion of a rotation or cycle, is explained by the fact that humans or beings, as I will call them for the remainder of this article, do not occupy a stable place within Samsara, but depending on their Karma will pass from one type of existence to another.

I’m pretty comfortable in the idea that we all reformat constantly. I’m even fairly resigned to being okay with reformatting to just energy and dust. But damn, it’s always difficult to live the idea that time rolls over us.  Things we love never last long enough.  Things we want to go away seem to stick around for ever.  So, we just have to surf along knowing that’s the case.

So, here’s a new journal study from Science entitled:  The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene which essentially deals with time and our existence here on earth.  I quote the abstract’s background here.

Humans are altering the planet, including long-term global geologic processes, at an increasing rate. Any formal recognition of an Anthropocene epoch in the geological time scale hinges on whether humans have changed the Earth system sufficiently to produce a stratigraphic signature in sediments and ice that is distinct from that of the Holocene epoch. Proposals for marking the start of the Anthropocene include an “early Anthropocene” beginning with the spread of agriculture and deforestation; the Columbian Exchange of Old World and New World species; the Industrial Revolution at ~1800 CE; and the mid-20th century “Great Acceleration” of population growth and industrialization.

So, the bottom line is this: Human impact has pushed Earth into the Anthropocene, scientists say. New study provides one of the strongest cases yet that the planet has entered a new geological epoch.   This is a scientific way of stating the Buddhist idea that we’re creating our own hell realms.0d24e1aab3045183eb9852f1b7ddd75d

There is now compelling evidence to show that humanity’s impact on the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and wildlife has pushed the world into a new geological epoch, according to a group of scientists.

The question of whether humans’ combined environmental impact has tipped the planet into an “Anthropocene” – ending the current Holocene which began around 12,000 years ago – will be put to the geological body that formally approves such time divisions later this year.

The new study provides one of the strongest cases yet that from the amount of concrete mankind uses in building to the amount of plastic rubbish dumped in the oceans, Earth has entered a new geological epoch.

“We could be looking here at a stepchange from one world to another that justifies being called an epoch,” said Dr Colin Waters, principal geologist at the British Geological Survey and an author on the study published in Science on Thursday.

“What this paper does is to say the changes are as big as those that happened at the end of the last ice age . This is a big deal.”

This has a lot of implications outside the realm of science.

Phil Gibbard, the University of Cambridge geologist who set up the working group initially, told the Guardian the Anthropocene epoch might be more effective as a cultural concept than a scientific fact.

“We fully recognize the points [in the new study’s research]: the data and science is there,” Mr. Gibbard told the Guardian. “What we question is the philosophy, and usefulness.”

Popularity for an idea that the Holocene “entirely recent” epoch is giving way to a new epoch ruled by humans has grown since the Nobel laureate atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen used it in 2000. In 2013 alone, the word appeared in 200 peer-reviewed articles, Joseph Stromberg reported for Smithsonian Magazine.

Popularity alone does not change geologic fact, however, and some of the scientists who specialize in rock layers have said the Anthropocene epoch has more pop-culture appeal than scientific validity. Agriculture made its mark on Europe’s rock layers as long ago as 900 AD, Whitney Autin, a stratigrapher at the SUNY College of Brockport told Smithsonian Magazine, so the Anthropocene epoch, “provides eye-catching jargon, but from the geologic side, I need the bare bones facts that fit the code.”

hqdefault (1)The SOTU address will be next Tuesday.  We will have a live blog as usual.  The President is going to be doing something unusual to call attention to the many many victims of US gun violence.  

President Obama will pay tribute to victims of gun violence by leaving one seat empty in the first lady’s guest box at Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

Obama told supporters Friday that the gesture is meant to send a message of Congress that they must act to make it harder for guns to fall into the wrong hands.

“We want them to be seen and understood; that their absence means something to this country,” he said on a conference call with Organizing for Action.

“We want to tell their stories, we want to honor their memory and we want to support Americans whose lives have been forever changed by gun violence and remind every single one of our representatives that it’s their responsibility to do something.”

The announcement is another indication of how the president will address the contentious debate over gun control in his final State of the Union.

The President also vetoed a bill that would’ve defunded Planned Parenthood and ended the Affordable Healthcare Act.  

President Obama on Friday vetoed legislation that would repeal much of ObamaCare, the first such measure to reach his desk since it became law in 2010.

Obama used his veto pen without fanfare on a legislative package rolling back his signature healthcare law and stripping federal funding from Planned Parenthood.

In a lengthy message to Congress, Obama said repealing the law would reverse improvements made in the nation’s healthcare system.
“Because of the harm this bill would cause to the health and financial security of millions of Americans, it has earned my veto,” the president wrote.
Obama noted that congressional Republicans have attempted to roll back the law more than 50 times, to no avail.
“Rather than refighting old political battles by once again voting to repeal basic protections that provide security for the middle class, members of Congress should be working together to grow the economy, strengthen middle-class families, and create new jobs,” he wrote.
The veto was the eighth of Obama’s presidency and the sixth since last year, when Republicans took over both chambers of Congress.

Even though Obama long threatened to veto the measure, Republicans touted the vote as an important step toward reversing the Affordable Care Act if the party wins the White House in November.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Friday pledged that Congress would vote to override Obama’s veto. The party lacks the two-thirds majority necessary to achieve that, however.

Radical Christianists continue to plague women’s health and constitutional rights.  Here’s an interesting thing going on here in New Orleans where the city’s free-tibetan-buddhist-meditation-wallpapers (204 of 347)street banners are displaying political speech and not the usual event ads.  Our lone Republican woman/city council member is challenging the city to take them down in line with the “offensive” logic used to remove Confederate Statues on public property.  Stacy is definitely her own kind of woman and has spent her terms on the city council generally doing things that unnerve a lot of groups.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu should explain why anti-abortion banners festoon the St. Charles Avenue neutral ground, since he has decided to be the arbiter of what symbols are so offensive that they must be removed from public property, City Councilwoman Stacy Head said at a recent meeting.

Head didn’t mention the monuments specifically, as she spoke at a committee meeting Wednesday (Jan. 6), but her comments were a clear reference to Landrieu’s push to have Confederate-related statues declared nuisances and removed from public property.

As a woman, Head said, she feels like the banners are a nuisance since they “negatively influence the perception of my civil liberties as a woman. I believe I’m being discriminated against.”

Head asked the administration to explain in writing the process by which the city decides what banners are allowed, and how much money they generate.

The mayor should explain at least that much since, “We are looking to the admin to decide which objects and symbols are appropriate for the city on city property. Which ones offend us. Which ones are negative,” Head said. As a woman, it offends her to have to drive by them and be reminded of the oppression, she said. Does that give her standing to call for their removal?

Head called the banners “political signage for a particular position that I perceive as a nuisance. I perceive it as offensive. I do not see it is a promoting awareness.”

A city spokesman said the city allows “community awareness banners” on city streetlights provided they are not commercial in nature and do not endorse any specific candidate or another political campaign up for a vote. The St. Charles banners did not appear to violate that standard when the application to hang them was submitted, he said.

The banners are the usual fetus porn used by the group.

Bigfoot Yeti Sasquatch cannibal type but really Tibetan version of Yama Lord of the Dead WQSo, I hope everything is going okay with you.  Let us know what’s on your reading and blogging list today.

Remember, along with the SOTU, we will be live blogging both of the upcoming primary debates.  The next Republican debate will be: Thursday, January 14, 2016.  The next Democratic debate is scheduled for  Sunday, January 17, 2016.

The first caucuses and primaries are in February and are being held in Iowa and New Hampshire respectively.

Hopefully, the Republicans will be tossing a few of their clowns to the curb and we’ll have a better look at their “best” and “brightest”.


16 Comments on “Friday Reads”

  1. Enheduanna says:

    Hi Dakinikat – just sent a little love your way via Paypal. I can relate to the onslaught of annoying problems! The broiler on my beloved 1970 Hotpoint electric range (brown enamel!) just quit; my 13 year-old Himalayan has been in hospital almost three weeks ($1,000); my 20 year-old car is acting up; my youngest cat just finally calmed down (she Goes Wild even though she’s fixed thanks to remnants of a missing ovary) but her boyfriend has taken up residence in the backyard and I don’t have the heart to make him scram….

    Oh well – I do know that there are millions of people on this Earth who would love to switch places so I’m not going to feel sorry for myself (much). lol

  2. Enheduanna says:

    Oh and I am sorry about your friend and didn’t mean to imply that was just an annoying problem. I lost a long-time friend in July from throat cancer. He was only 72. We emailed every day and I miss him terribly.

    • dakinikat says:

      Thanks on all accounts and I understand. This friend of mine has been sick off and on for about a year. It’s mostly the fallout from a lifetime of unhealthy decisions so I knew she’d continue to have issues. I will really miss her but have to say she lived and died on her terms and would’ve had her life greatly diminished had she carried on. I just mostly feel like I should’ve talked to her more and that this happened way too quickly. I suppose it’s a lesson to not put anything off.

      • NW Luna says:

        not put anything off

        So true. And even with the best of healthy lifestyle choices, there’s still much that we can’t control in the environment, the water, the air, the places we work or go to school in.

        Fed the kitty; thanks for the reminder.

        • dakinikat says:

          Thx! We pay for the word press stuff like the domain and storage in October. This for the font and basic look. I hate asking but JJ,BB and I thought it less irksome than ads.

          I keep thinking of those poor Sandy Hook parents when I think of impermanence. That’s the ultimate nightmare to me. Send your little ones to school and then some gun toting maniac thug just shoots up everything in sight.

      • Fannie says:

        My condolences to you Dak. I don’t know how long my friend will be around, the treatment didn’t work (radiation beads for liver cancer) and went to her lungs. Whatever length of time she has left, our last chat we both spent much of that telephone time talking about our mothers, and our children, and the joys they brought to us.

        That’s a good lesson to not put anything off, and another lesson is to add up all those moments of happiness and good times, and even add on the roads we walk that aren’t so smooth.

        • dakinikat says:

          Yup. I pulled up some pictures for her niece to use for a slide show. Brought back a lot of memories. Not going up for the wake, etc. Because I prefer to keep my own memories of her at her best.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Nice post, Dak. I’m so sorry about your friend. You certainly didn’t need a flood on top of that sad news. Take care.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Have you all heard that NARAL and Planned Parenthood have each endorsed Hillary for prez?

    HuffPo: NARAL Endorses Hillary Clinton, After Backing Obama In 2008

    WaPo: Planned Parenthood will make unprecedented primary endorsement of Hillary Clinton

    • bostonboomer says:

      The political arm of Planned Parenthood will endorse Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire on Sunday, a Clinton campaign official confirmed.

      The endorsement marks the first time in the organization’s 100-year history that Planned Parenthood Action Fund has endorsed a candidate in a primary. The endorsement was first reported by CBS News.

      “Let’s be clear — reproductive rights and health are on the ballot in 2016,” said Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards. “We’re proud to endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

      “No other candidate in our nation’s history has demonstrated such a strong commitment to women or such a clear record on behalf of women’s health and rights,” she added. “This is about so much more than Planned Parenthood. Health care for an entire generation is at stake.”

      • NW Luna says:

        Glad NARAL got logical about the candidate it endorses! And the Planned Parenthood endorsement is historical.

        Of course the Berniebots will be p-o’d. On 2nd though, they probably don’t think NARAL and Planned Parenthood are important.

  5. janicen says:

    I’m sorry about everything you are going through, dak. Especially losing your friend. I’ve not been around here much, just peeking in once in a while but my life has been a whirlwind lately. Thanks for the reminder about donations. I meant to and then I forgot. I’ll do it now. Take care.