"The US-led coalition praised the performance of the Iraqi forces in retaking Ramadi, an operation in which it played a significant role, training local forces, arming them and carrying out what it said were 600 air strikes since July."
"Mrs. Clinton is using a definition of middle class that has long been popular among Democratic policy makers, from her husband to Barack Obama when he was a candidate: any household that makes $250,000 or less a year. Yet this definition is completely out of touch with reality. It also boxes her in. The most recent Census Bureau data showed that median household income — what people in the exact middle of the American spectrum earn — is $53,657."
"The chaos came just a day after another brawl at a mall in Florida saw scores of teenagers - including dozens of girls - lash out at each other in the street. There were also minor disturbances on Saturday at shopping centers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Long Island, New York."
Merriam-Webster: navel–gazing useless or excessive self-contemplation
I'm not sure a agree with this definition's negative connotations.
Although I may be accused of over thinking I'm sure there are many others who may be considered in the same camp as I.
Recently I enjoyed watching the six hour miniseries entitled "Childhood's End" on the 'SyFy' channel. As a result I've developed an interest in the words of Arthur C. Clarke who also wrote the four "2001: A Space Odyssey" series of novels.
Below are quotations from the mind of A.C. Clarke from within his various novels that resonated with me and have given me further food for thought.
~ ~ ~
“Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all.”
“Imagine that you're an intelligent extraterrestrial, concerned only with verifiable truths. You discover a species that has divided itself into thousands - no, by now millions - of tribal groups holding an incredible variety of beliefs about the origin of the universe and the way to behave in it. Although many of them have ideas in common, even when there's 99% overlap, the remaining one percent's enough to set them killing and torturing each other, over trivial points of doctrine, utterly meaningless to outsiders. "How to account for such irrational behavior?
“There is no reason to assume that the universe has the slightest interest in intelligence—or even in life. Both may be random accidental by-products of its operations like the beautiful patterns on a butterfly's wings. The insect would fly just as well without them.”
“It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God--but to create him.”
“man’s beliefs were his own affair, so long as they did not interfere with the liberty of others.”
Sooner or later, as their scientific knowledge progressed, they would get rid of the fragile, disease-and-accident-prone homes that Nature had given them, and which doomed them to inevitable death. They would replace their natural bodies as they wore out—or perhaps even before that—by constructions of metal and plastic, and would thus achieve immortality.”
To expect the universe to be benevolent was like imagining one could always win at a game of pure chance.”
“The world’s now placid, featureless, and culturally dead: nothing really new has been created since the Overlords came. The reason’s obvious. There’s nothing left to struggle for, and there are too many distractions and entertainments. Do you realize that every day something like five hundred hours of radio and TV pour out over the various channels? If you went without sleep and did nothing else, you could follow less than a twentieth of the entertainment that’s available at the turn of a switch! No wonder that people are becoming passive sponges—absorbing but never creating.
“Naturally, the system would have to be rigidly closed, recycling all food, air, and other expendables. But, of course, that’s just how the Earth operates—on a slightly larger scale.”
“Long ago it had been discovered that without some crime or disorder, Utopia soon became unbearably dull.”
“The universe is full of energy, but much of it is at equilibrium. At equilibrium no energy can flow, and therefore it cannot be used for work, any more than the level waters of a pond can be used to drive a water-wheel. It is on the flow of energy out of equilibrium—the small fraction of “useful” energy, “exergy”—that life depends.”
“They had not yet attained the stupefying boredom of absolute omnipotence;”
“You can’t have action without reaction.”
Further Thoughts From Some Of Our Greatest Minds (1988)
Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and Arthur C. Clarke
I hardly believe these not to be 'Naval-Gazers" (such as I) either
Re-quoting, "They had not yet attained the stupefying boredom of absolute omnipotence”--- In short all this makes me wonder if all this was created because GOD (whatever/whoever that is) was bored as hell in whatever state it/he/she were in?
If that is so, there are two possibilities either (1) this is one big game of hide and seek to escape boredom OR (2) this creator is increasing itself through the use of planting the seeds of that which it created to further expand itself.
"It’s all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war,” Pope Francis said. “A war can be justified, so to speak, with many, many reasons, but when all the world as it is today, at war, piecemeal though that war may be—a little here, a little there—there is no justification.”
“What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now?” Pope Francis asked. “What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims, and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers.”
It really doesn't matter whether it's the military forces of Russia, Britain, France, Iran, The United States, Assad, ISIS or anyone else (in this free for all) who are bombing the shit out of the Syrian people. Each have contributed to making this place a Hell on Earth. Because of this Syrians (or what's left of them) are fleeing the place where they were born in droves.
Those leaving are not "immigrants" as some would have you call them. Rather most are innocent refugees fleeing hatred, violence and almost complete destruction of anything that makes life bearable.
Sorry if I'm sounding grim this Christmas, but in light of all the negativity coming from our cold hearted political candidates, those who support them and the never ending wars I'm finding it very difficult to be of Christmas cheer.
I once believed somewhere deep down inside there was some goodness in each person. Also the overall majority of mankind has goodness in their hearts. Each year that goes past there seems to be fewer and fewer left of those who seek commonality, empathy and understanding of others. I now question if there are enough peaceable good hearted people left on this Earth to allow it to remain livable for so many who want nothing to do with any of this.
It appears Social Security is doing quite well and would continue to do so with a few adjustments in combination with either one or more of these simple fixes. (1) Raise the rate by one of two percentage points. (2) Raise the minimum wage (thus increasing the contributions going into it). (3) Raise the maximum annual earnings amount.
As far as critics of SS...
In the private sector if a company is coming up short over what they pay out, they would increase their billing and/or enroll wealthier clients (larger wage earners). I fail to see how Social Security should be run any different. Utmost to keep in mind "the government" is not contributing one damned nickel towards this program no matter what some would otherwise have us believe.
I appalls me some have no problem volunteering to risk gambling their hard earned incomes trusting the crooks on wall street with their 401K contributions up to $24,000 in 2016 (with no guaranteed results). Yet oppose SS benefits which could vastly out perform what they ever hoped to see monthly coming in at retirement age from their 401k's. Often SS contributions are a fraction of that many risk playing the stock market only to end up disappointed. If there's anyone to be less trusted then the government it just has to be these money changers. Some folks need to learn that this hard way I suppose.
If people want to spend another pile of money outside SS, do that on your own dime. As for me, I support long term viable solutions keeping SS strong for the rest of us who aren't thinking along those lines.
We constantly hear about building more apartments and houses so as to encourage more people to relocate here as if this were a good thing. That's not the way I see it.
Bigger Isn't Better
We already have way too many here in the Lehigh Valley unable to find work. This especially in light of Rodale, Air Products, Mack Trucks and Kraft announcing layoffs of over a 1,000 of well paying jobs that can never be replaced.
If bigger were better why are the New York City & Philly schools broke along with MTA & SEPTA as just two examples?
To my way of thinking we are heading in the wrong direction. Instead of crowded highways as a result of over development we should be focused on how we should deal with people who are already here.
How about this instead?
(1) Preserve what little farmland is left and utilize the older vacant properties we already have.
(2) Focus on quality over quantity when it comes to future taxpayer investments.
(3) Provide for the needs of those already living here for decades before assuming people coming here from outside will have a vested interest in what lies ahead in the future of the Lehigh Valley over the long term. Most of these will just be passing through.
I have nothing against change, but when changes are made I have a problem with crowding every possible person within every square inch as if it were an improvement in the quality of life. I absolutely cannot understand how putting people into chicken coops (apartments) and having to slave away at minimum wages to pay for them should be a goal. Neither should we try and pack people (and their kids) like sardines onto public transportation to cart grocery bags home nor go to/from work. Yet that seems what will be the outcome if we continue to head in this direction.
The continued goal of growing this area (as I see it) is NOT a good thing. People leaving New York City or other areas are wishing to escape that sort of thing. Yet they are creating the very same conditions down the road they sought to leave behind. Therefore I see no good reason to pursue the path we seem to be headed on here in the Lehigh Valley.
There will be those who say "if you don't like it... leave".
"Why should I?"
"You're the ones...."
Shannon hasn't been active since September 2013. I've tried to contact her. Unfortunately I've not heard back. It seems as though she disappeared on all her other social media sites as well. I hope she is ok.
YouTube has changed their algorithms which pretty much excluded her and others like her with the kind of tremendous talents they possess. What a shame. Be that as it may, I wish to present to you one of the most talented young ladies I've ever had the privilege of listening to
Shannon (from upstate NY) once uploaded 172 videos. What follows are 57 of my favorite videos representing almost 3 hours of my favorite tunes she has performed over the five years she was on YouTube joining it June 26th, 2008
The first video in the playlist was uploaded in April 2010
I wonder how many more talented people have gone unrecognized and have given up on their dreams. I consider that a loss for both listeners and the industry. Both could have benefited otherwise. In a few days I intend to post such another playlist of various other performers. It's my hope you'll take the time to view and enjoy these musical artists.
According to LehighVallleyLive.com the vote, 4 to 2 came in around 1:01 AM in what was apparently a packed meeting. Attending was nearly double the capacity of council's chambers. The two dissenting votes were those of Jeanette Eichenwald and Councilman Ray O'Connell. Concannon finally did attend a council meeting, but left early w/o voting.
Those who regularly read this blog will note that Mr. Van Rainey (CBES Global, LLC ) who was the competitor for this project said on this blog..
Ok, something stinks here.In Short: Once again the public's input was negated. Only one proposal was accepted without doing due diligence to alternative proven trash to energy successes elsewhere. The financial aspects are highly speculative. Most of the background going into this project was already done far from public and council's scrutiny.
All in all, politics in Allentown has once again triumphed over careful scientific and sound financial methodology and public review.
To those folks who say, "well you voted for them".
Neither the incinerator project, the sale of Queen City Airport or the arena project was ever brought up in the election campaigns. How in the world is anybody supposed to base a vote on anything and everything imaginable when voters weren't told of such things in the first place? This whole thing is like getting on a plane where you have no idea where's it's going.. and you can't get off!
Does anyone still wonder why people in Allentown get (a) frustrated. (b) Angry. (c) Feel it's pointless to give a crap?
Pareidolia: A psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds."