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As the US seems on the cusp of beginning military action in Syria, for the humanitarian reasons being touted by the State Department and in the news media, I’m reminded that cruel treatment of human beings is going on across the globe, with no military intervention by our country. What about the political gulags in North Korea, the suppression in China, the injustices in Russia, the mayhem in our mid-eastern countries, and issues in Africa and south and Central America?

Yes, poison gas is still a vicious memory lingering from WWI. But hanging, starving, shooting and dismembering are equally vicious, as are beatings and endless imprisonment. And what, fellow Americans, about water boarding and Guantanamo?

And yes, even if the Syrian government deserves to be punished for their inhumanity, what happens after an initial attack? What new fuse do we risk lighting? And why not take out Assad? Well, leaders don’t usually do that to fellow leaders — remember when Ford forgave Richard Nixon for Watergate, and the resulting 22,000 American deaths after Nixon killed the Paris Peace talks, so he could steal the 1968 election?

So, the least we can do is think once, twice and three times before launching our un-manned missiles to kill even more Syrians, and trip another wire in the Middle East. Those who are saying our President is weak and indecisive need to weigh a lot in the balance before they render judgement. America’s vested interest may lie just as much, or more, in NOT pulling the trigger in Syria as in doing so. As anyone who has been alive and awake over the last 50 years can attest, we’ve made the wrong call more often than not.

ALL THERE IS

My Facebook friends have already seen this, but I think it deserves a wider circulation on my blog, even if it means there will now be a low hum on my phone lines…

Mr. Toobin is naive. Whatever “damage” Snowden has inflicted to our intelligence system is more than offset by the benefits his transparency of the pervasiveness of our government’s monitoring capacity of private lives has revealed. If we are to be a democracy, even an awareness of our intelligence gathering processes is necessary, or we forsake that democracy for a totalitarian regime. Government’s fear of sharing too much of the truth with the people is a cancer which threatens our way of life. I choose to conclude that The New Yorker’s decision to run this ridiculous story is but a provocation to reasoned thinking.

Edward Snowden’s Real Impact
http://www.newyorker.com
The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy led directly to the passage of a historic law, the Gun Control Act of 1968. Does that change your view of the assassinations? Should we be grateful for….

Saturday night saw us climb the historic steps of Yerkes Observatory at Williams Bay, Wisconsin, for an evening of showering meteors, music wafting up from the lake shore, and fireworks over the Bay. Yerkes is the world’s first astrophysical laboratory, and home to the world’s largest conventional telescope. Visiting friends from Chicago prompted us to join Yerkes chief tour guide Richard Dreiser for a late night reverie under the annual Perseid meteor shower.

We began the evening in the darkness outside the observatory, straining our naked eyes and using binoculars to spot the first few meteors racing across the sky. We spotted several man-made satellites too, including the space station, making their slow un-twinkling progress, unlike the high airplanes with their strobing. Gradually we spotted various stars, and then the foamy Milky Way began to appear. Meanwhile soft strains of music drifted up to us from the waterside pavilion that is home to the Music By The Lake summer series at George Williams College.

Then, we walked the long corridor and up a three-story circular staircase to the dome of the 24-inch reflector. As the dome motor cranked away, and the giant curving blades parted, slight flashes reflected the fireworks show beginning a mile away at the Bay, where hundreds of pleasure boats gathered to watch. We then each had a chance to view Saturn and its rings, and M57, the spectacular summer centerpiece of the northern hemisphere night skies, pictured here. It was a magical evening under the stars.

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