Friday, September 23, 2016

Dashed Off XXII

Every explanation is reduplicative or aspectual. (Even total explanations are total by being of all aspects.)

kinds of commentary arising naturally out of ruminative reading

count numbers vs fixed numbers
(round numbers as perhaps intermediate conceptually between the two)

Arguments, to have their proper force, must be understood in their proper light.

To deny people the right to be proud of their heritage, whether by being one of their predecessors and doing great wrong, or by denigrating what goodness there is in the heritage, is a serious matter.

universalist arguments focusing on limits of punishment, universalist arguments focusing on limits of sin
each of these seems to break down into extent-focused and intensity-focused -- how long and how much, in a sense
A -- extent of punishment -- e.g., 'God would not be victorious'
B -- intensity of punishment -- e.g., 'God would be cruel'
C -- extent of sin -- e.g., 'No one can sin forever'
D -- intensity of sin -- e.g., 'No sin is an infinite sin'

piacular responsibility and hell

seal, trumpet, and vial as symbols of preaching

arguments as ancillary to truths rather than instead of them

Common appeals to Ockham's Razor are often excuses for accepting what one's prejudices would find most convenient.

love as participation in good

Hope anticipates union in love.

By light of faith we see that the world is rich with hints of God.

PS 51:18-19 seems to be a later prayer added to the original.

layers of problematic language
(1) slurs, etc.
(2) malassociations
(3) historical malassociations
(4) problematic phrasings

Bishops are not vicars of the Pope but successors of the Apostles.

the two key elements of poetry: to say something the right way and to suggest more than is said

Symbols and traditions are how people maintain good relations to other people they cannot personally know.

Every sacrament is a kind of sabbath.

partial identity as implying vague identity
? Are all candidates for vague identity analyzable in terms of partial identity?
This question is obviously complicated by the possibility of indeterminate parts.
if there are indeterminate parts, there is certainly vague identity, if there is partial identity.

life as playful vs life as problem-solving

Liturgy is the life's blood of holy Tradition; sacred Tradition is inherently liturgical.

"Sin is shameful only at the time we commit it. Changed into confession and repentance, it is honorable and brings salvation." (Francis de Sales)

Implicit in all evil is an initial potential for good.

Catechesis is structured by drawing all things back to Christ.

Each sui juris church is a distinctive witness to the apostolicity, unity, and dignity of the faith, and all together witness to the catholicity of the faith.

Human politics is complicated by the fact that we can see that it is appropriate to authority to rise paradisially like a mist from the ground, but authority as we find it is more likely to descend in inconstant rains.

arthapatti as fit

All sensory impressions 'contain' power and efficacy; this is precisely why we call them all impressions.

We should admit not only that with which we are acquainted but that which makes possible the acquaintance itself.

That which can be abstracted from experience is given in experience.

marriage as the most future-looking institution of ordinary civilized life

rich experience account of tragedy // soul-making theodicy

Literature shows us the importance of temptation and challenge to growth.

Most quarreling is consensual.

romance as structured by pleasure, attention, and connection

(1) We all have an obligation to care for the common good of the human race.
(2) Preservation of the species is part of the common good of the human race.
(3) A major element of the means for preservation of the species is sexual behavior.
(4) Caring for the common good of the human race involves restraining oneself for its maintenance.
(5) We should restrain our sexual behaviors to facilitate the maintenance of the common good.
(6) We should restrain our sexual behaviors so as to facilitate in general the appropriateness of sexual behavior for caring for the common good.

ineffability, noetic quality, transiency, and passivity in figurative language itself

The common goods of humanity organize civilizational priorities.

the principle of decoration and the liturgical commonwealth

two forms of victory: over temptation and over challenge

stable goods, cycles of goods, ecosystems of goods

ecology as a science of a particular kind of good

pity and fear as motivators of inquiry

behaviors detrimental to common good
behaviors insufficiently conducive to common good
behaviors inadequately respectful of common good

the failure to distinguish private/individual from public/common utility as a weakness of preference satisfaction utilitarianism

parents as provident causes and instruments of divine providence

moral character of conclusion arises from
(1) structure
(1a) means-end/consequence (e.g., utilitarianism)
(1b) consistency/intrinsic (e.g., Kantianism)
(2) content

4 ways of placing oneself in the presence of God (Francis de Sales)
(1) lively awareness of divine omnipresence
(2) reflection on divine presence to spirit
(3) thought of the regard of the ascended Christ
(4) imagination of Christ as near

"For the fundamental thing about the passion is to consider who he is who has suffered." (Julian of Norwich)

the temptation to substitute a documentary Catholicism for a liturgical one

the filial piety of Christ

practical reasonableness as the first moral step

faith as illuminating intellect, thymos, and desire

"The Church continually gives birth to Christ, despite the dragon's attack." (Bede)
"The Church, too, every day begets the Church, which rules the world in Christ."

The world battles the Church with equivocations. No doubt the devil uses them too, and often, but he is even more fond of red herrings.

All of human tradition is both fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

Who has been taught his task is more lucky at it.

For a phenomenon to be an experiment, it must be taken to represent other phenomena. Note that the phenomenon itself must be taken to be representative.

The strength of reasons often lies in how they are layered.

Ps 28: the voice of the lord mentioned seven times; suggestive of sacraments:
on the waters -- baptism
in power -- confirmation
in magnificence -- eucharist
breaking the cedars -- penance
shaking the desert -- orders
dividing the flame -- matrimony
prepares the stages -- unction
Bellarmine himself reads the Psalm as discussing preaching

De profundis and purgatory

Jn 12:32-33 // Jn 21:18-19 (but note difference in tense)

preaching as unsealing truth, trumpeting judgment, pouring out wrath

Sin without contrition is as terrible as it is contrition-free.

Civilizations are reasonably evaluated in terms of
(1) preservation of life
(2) endurance and material progress
(3) pursuit of rational truth and social harmony

People will endure extraordinary pain for the sake of victory.

elliptical orbits as projections of circular movement in four dimensions (think of tilted circle and its projection on a plane it crosses)
All ordinary inverse square laws have symmetry involving rotation in four dimensions.

The Baptism of Jesus turns a baptism of repentance (material) into a baptism of filiation (formal).

After baptism must come the desert.

This is Heaven: for that which is not divine to be given divinity as something not from itself.
This is Hell: for that which is not divine to seek to seize divinity as something of its own.

Concupiscence is a grasping after what should be given.

Hume's discussion of causes as an argument against natural signs

The Two Barbara Problem: Aristotle holds that Box-True-Box modal Barbara is valid but True-Box-Box modal Barbara is not.
Note that predicate modality makes Aristotle's divergence claim make sense, whereas it is more perplexing with proposition modality (which seems to require that either they both are valid or neither are).
The big issue, of course, is that Aristotle thinks of the major functionally.

That for which Christ on the Cross gives us hope is that to which Christ Risen leads us.

Note that Newton's First Law, as found in Newton, is not time symmetric.

Metaphysics is essential for bridging scientific physics and folk physics for the purpose of popularization.

Euclid's common notions as a (minimal) theory of measurement

(1) Ex 3:14-15 admits of a timeless interpretation.
(2) By the time of Philo at latest, the timeless interpretation already exists.
(3) Jn 8:58 appears to suggest the timeless interpretation.

aim, restraint, ardor

Rv 22:16 // Mt 22:42-45 as undesigned coincidence

The key ethical sea changes caused by Christianity: that the martyr enduring is more brave than the soldier fighting; that the consecrated virgin is more temperate than the person of the world; that the voluntary poor who act with love are more just than the magnificent citizen; that the fool for Christ is wiser than the sage.

Mutual consent is never by itself adequate to guarantee the preservation of common good in an exchange.

4 aspects of the 'Napoleonic' idea of war (Corbett)
(1) total war
(2) unrelenting pressure
(3) primacy of offense
(4) armed forces as objective
-- he notes that these ideas are not especially Napoleonic, but are a combination of primitive/barbaric view of war (war made with the whole force of the people) and ideas found in Cromwell (persistent effort, armed forces as objective) and Frederick (primacy of offensive).

Clausewitz and the means-end structure of war.

"counter-attack is the soul of defense" (Corbett)
"The object of naval warfare is the control of communications, and not, as in land warfare, the conquest of territory."

For any vocabulary, one may identify through analogy (using terms in the vocabulary) concepts not covered by the vocabulary.

(1) base mereology; (2) dimensions; (3) additional structure (metric, distinguished elements, etc.

radius-tangent definition of perpendicularity

To say that someone acts wrongly is to say that the action is objectively unreasonable and the person's engaging in that action is unreasonable, relative to the circumstances of that person, and in such a way that the person could recognize the objective unreasonableness of the action and act to avoid it.

Every right is a form of authority.

decisions as microplans

Finish with a thrust, not with a cut.

To adapt dynamic logic to means and ends would require breaking any distinction between programs and states -- a program can be a state to be achieved by a program.

nondeterministic readiness to appear

plans appropriate and inappropriate to human beings

genius as relative to a domain

In inquiry as in physical search in the dark, one may receive insight from false patterns that seem true but fail; for there is a reason they seem true despite failing, & sometimes this is a useful clue.

inappropriateness of means to its end; inappropriateness to context; inappropriateness to agent; intrinsic impossibility of appropriateness

sense of external world as habitus

natural law and moral sociology

ethical reasoning based on
measure by standard
-- strict and approximate (error-tolerant), developed & estimative forms

The measure of a rebel is that against which he will not rebel.

sloth and envy as vices opposed to joy (this seems to make devotion and kindness joy-supporting virtues)

hell as the point at which every sin becomes suffused with sin against the Holy Spirit

prayer as a way of seeking good and avoiding evil

Humean associationism as a sort of exemplar causation

greatness as goodness with power and wisdom

'parva sed apta mihi' as a motto of temperance

society as imitation of providence

analogy as at-least-some-overlap

analogical inference as possibility-preserving

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Music on My Mind

Tom Lehrer, "The Irish Ballad"

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ward on Clifford

Not only, however, according to Professor Clifford, is the rustic supposed to have this "immediate personal experience" of " right in general," but he is also reasonably entitled to "assume" the "uniformity of nature." Professor Clifford indeed "lays aside for the present" the "question" what this uniformity precisely is, and how the rustic is able to assure himself of its existence. I hope he will satisfy a not unreasonable curiosity by treating this question at some early date. I hope he will explain what is the exact logical process, whereby every uneducated rustic can reasonably satisfy himself that nature proceeds universally on uniform laws.

William George Ward, "The Reasonable Basis of Certitude" (p. 385). William James, of course, is the most famous of the critics of Clifford's thesis in in "The Ethics of Belief", but Ward is in some ways the funniest. People already inclined to agree with Clifford won't find Ward convincing, but he does at least raise a set of questions that tend to be ignored, all of which are concerned with how this high-toned account is supposed to work when it comes off the paper and into the real world -- with children, with ordinary decent people without fancy educations, with the kinds of minor silly prejudices people have when it comes to sports teams, and so forth.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Buddhist Parable

Once there was a village in which there lived a man of great wealth and importance. He was so important, in fact, that whenever he spit on the ground, other villagers would stomp the spit into the earth, which for them was a sign of great respect. Being the first to show such an honor was also itself a great honor for the one who did it, and such a person would often receive favors from the wealthy man.

There was a villager, however, who was slower than others, and so he never had the honor and privilege of showing the wealthy and important man this traditional sign of respect. So he reflected a while on what he should do, and finally came to his decision. He watched the wealthy man very carefully, and when he saw that the wealthy man was about to spit, he rushed up and kicked him in the mouth.

"Are you insane?" cried the wealthy and important man, holding his mouth from the pain. "I should have you thrown in prison for assaulting me! Why did you do that?"

Then the man said, "O Wealthy and Important Man, I did it to be in your good graces! When you spit and the spit touches the ground, everyone rushes to stomp on it, in order that they might be in your favor. But I have always been too late to show respect in this way, so to show my respect I stomped on it while it was still in your mouth. Now that you know why, you can be pleased about it!"

But the wealthy man said, "Having the right timing is a very important thing!"

Schiller on Gracefulness

Friedrich Schiller has a fascinating little essay entitled, “Ueber Anmuth und Würde”, i.e., “On Gracefulness and Dignity”. He begins the work by considering the girdle of Aphrodite: according to Greek myth, this girdle had the power to give gracefulness to the wearer, which would draw the love of those around her. Schiller notes two things about this, both of which he regards as important for a genuine account of gracefulness:

(1) It distinguishes gracefulness from beauty. The girdle properly belongs to the goddess, but the intrinsic glory of the goddess is not affected by wearing the girdle or not. Thus beauty need not be graceful, although gracefulness by its nature requires a connection to beauty.

(2) It indicates that graceful is transferable from the beauty to which it belongs. The girdle is something that Aphrodite can give to others; for instance, when Hera wishes to draw the love of Zeus, she borrows the girdle from Aphrodite. Only the goddess of beauty can bestow the girdle of gracefulness; but gracefulness can be given to other things. Thus the gracefulness that belongs to beauty may be thrown around something less beautiful, or even around something ugly; it still derives from some beauty, but it can make pleasing other things.

On the basis of these two considerations, Schiller draws the conclusion that gracefulness is movable beauty:

Grace is a movable beauty, a beauty that can appear in a subject by chance and disappear in the same way. In this it distinguishes itself from static beauty, which is necessarily granted along with the subject itself. Venus can remove her girdle and give it to Juno for a moment; her beauty could only be given in conjunction with her person. Without her girdle she is no longer the charming Venus; without beauty she is no longer Venus. (p. 125)

Anmuth ist eine bewegliche Schönheit; eine Schönheit nehmlich, die an ihrem Subjekte zufällig entstehen und eben so aufhören kann. Dadurch unterscheidet sie sich von der fixen Schönheit, die mit dem Subjekte selbst nothwendig gegeben ist. Ihren Gürtel kann Venus abnehmen und der Juno augenblicklich überlassen; ihre Schönheit würd sie nur mit ihrer Person weggeben können. Ohne ihren Gürtel ist sie nicht mehr die reizende Venus, ohne Schönheit ist sie nicht Venus mehr. (p. 172)

Yet we must be somewhat careful here. The girdle does not make someone merely apparently graceful; it gives them the quality of gracefulness, so that they do not merely seem but really are lovable. To receive gracefulness from a beautiful source is to receive an objective characteristic, not a mere extrinsic adornment. But, on the other side, transferring it does not change what the source originally is – Aphrodite does not become less beautiful by giving her girdle to Hera – nor does it change the nature of what receives it – it is a girdle Hera wears, not a change in Hera herself. The way Schiller puts it, this is not a natural effect, but a 'magical' (magisch) one: it does not affect natures, but changes what things are, nonetheless.

This is perhaps puzzling, an objective characteristic really received without lessening the giver or modifying the receiver herself. But we already know of something like this: movement (Bewegung), which is an objective characteristic, in some way transferable, and yet allows that what receives it be unchanged as to intrinsic features. Thus gracefulness is not only movable beauty in the sense of being transferable; it is movable beauty in the sense of being a beauty-movement, a beauty of movement.

Gracefulness can be transferred even to what is not beautiful; so what this means is that even the non-beautiful can have the possibility of having a beautiful manner of movement. On the other side, this explains why we can still distinguish between beauty and gracefulness. Beauty has a sort of necessity to it: Aphrodite is beautiful by nature. But gracefulness has a contingency to it. If something is necessary, we don't call it graceful, although it may be beautiful; but something graceful is something that is a sort of extension that can be or not be.

Schiller, however, notes that the Greeks tended to associate gracefulness not with every kind of contingent movement, but only with human kinds. Now, to be sure, we can always extend this by figure of speech, but in a proper sense does all gracefulness have to be human as the Greeks tended to think? Schiller is inclined to say so, and suggests that gracefulness properly requires movement that is expressive of moral (moralischer) sentiments. It is an expression of soul, and thus he draws his final conclusion from the myth: “Grace is a beauty not granted by nature, but brought forth by the subject itself” (p. 127); Anmuth ist eine Schönheit, die nicht von der Natur gegeben, sondern, von dem Subjekte selbst hervorgebracht wird (p. 175).

This is all, of course, simply drawing out an allegory from a myth, but Schiller goes on in the rest of the essay to argue that this myth anticipates and reveals what philosophical reason can also prove.

Quotations from Schiller's “On Grace and Dignity” in Its Cultural Context, Curran and Fricker, eds., Curran, tr., Camden House (Rochester, NY: 2005).

Monday, September 19, 2016

XKCD on Reductionism

Rating Party Platforms on Things Other than Politics

It's a Presidential election year, which means that it is time for one of our traditions around here: it's the fourth quadrennial rating of party platforms on things other than politics. The first time I did this, the Libertarians won by spartan basics. The following Presidential election, the Republicans squeaked by with flash and gloss. Last time, the Democrats won as a pity prize. And now we are off again! Which party put the most thought into its party platform cover sheet? Who has the best preamble? Will the Major Parties avoid the temptation of blah-blah-blah? Who gave their party platform the best title? The thoughtful public wants to know.

Democratic Party Platform

Republican Party Platform

Libertarian Party Platform

Green Party Platform

In every party platform there are always things you see before anything else! The title of the Democratic party platform is, "2016 Democratic Party Platform," which is not even trying; but the Republicans aren't, either, since theirs is called, "Republican Platform 2016". The title of the Green Party Platform is "Platform" or "Platform 2016". And the title of of the Libertarian Party Platform is "Libertarian Party Platform". Fail, fail, fail, fail.

Cover Sheets
On cover sheets, the Democratic Party continues not to make much of an effort, since its cover sheet is black and white with no graphic. Sad! The Republican cover sheet is far better, with red, white, and blue stars and stripes. There is a lot of red. The Libertarians have no cover sheet, but they do have a nice logo. But the one that stands head and shoulders above them all is the Green Party. That's a nice cover sheet -- lots of green, but not monotonous and overwhelming, and with an elegant logo. So cover sheet win goes to the green Greens, followed by the red-white-blue Elephants, followed by the just-a-logo Libertarians, and in last place the lazy black-and-white Donkeys.

The Libertarians have no table of contents, but their platform is always short enough that they can afford to do without it, especially since they have their usual admirable taste for clear and well ordered headings. The Green and Democratic tables of contents both have a nice breakdown of their platforms. The Republicans are definitely last place on table of contents, because their table has six entries, with titles like, "Restoring the American Dream" or "America Resurgent". Silly Elephants, you're supposed to save your vague and useless titles for the whole party platform, not the things inside it! The Democratic table of contents at least reads like it's out to do things, practical things. Lazy Republicans in last place. The rest is a bit of matter of taste -- I put the Greens and the Democrats as tied at the top and the Libertarians underneath, because, again, having no table of contents when it makes sense is better than having a table of contents that is just wasting our time.

As to internal structure. The Greens organize the main part of their platform around certain basic themes: Democracy, Social Justice, Ecological Sustainability, Economic Justice and Sustainability. The Libertarians, of course, have always done the same. The Democrats, on the other hand, organize theirs around particular actions, things like 'Create Good-Paying Jobs'. The Republication organization is much better than one would expect from the table of contents, and the 'Restore Constitutional Government' section is especially nicely done. A strong year all around for internal organization.

And now, the moment everyone always waits for, the glamor category of our non-political contest among party platforms, the preamble category! Who gives us the best preamble?

The Republican preamble talks a great deal about beliefs. It helpfully lets us know that Republicans don't disagree with the rights in the Declaration of Independence and believe in the Constitution as the founding document of the United States. That's a relief; important to let us know. They then tell us that their party platform is in clear language, which is handy for those who can't actually judge the matter for themselves. They daringly deviate from Republican tradition in terms of the main thrust -- Republicans usually use their preamble to talk about how great they are, but this time they try focusing a bit more on how bad the Democrats are. Also, Party of Lincoln (TM), I have not come across a single Lincoln quote yet. Was this really written by a Republican?

The Democratic preamble is remarkably similar -- a lot of 'We believes' this year. We also learn that things are going great, except in the case of a lot of people, and all the bad stuff is the fault of the Republicans. Donald Trump is also very bad. But it does have a nice, resounding ending, which the Republican preamble lacked. Saying that our belief that we can make things better is "unerring" seems a little strong, though.

The Green preamble opens with "Never has our country faced as many challenges and crises as we do now." You only thought the Civil War or the Great Depression was bad! It has nothing on now. Of course, they suffer the usual Green mistake of having too much non-preamble preambular material -- they feel they have to have a Call to Action, first; and the PDF also has an 'About the Party' section. All of these things are what preambles are for, folks. But they do have the nice feature of actually explaining their platform rather than (like the Republicans) telling us that it is optimistic and in clear language, and the explanation also makes sense of the preambular non-preambles.

The Libertarians helpfully let us know that they understand what a party platform is: "In the following pages we have set forth our basic principles and enumerated various policy stands derived from those principles." But, as usual, it has a nice, to-the-point feel to it.

I give the advantage to the helpful Greens, followed by the no-frills Libertarians, followed by the melodramatic Democrats, followed by the reads-like-bullet-points Elephants.

General Informativeness
What about the workhorse category of our contest? Republicans, you promised clear language. Did you deliver? Of course not; you're a Major Party, and therefore vague and verbose is your MO. Here, for instance, is the Republican tax proposal:

Our proposal is straightforward. Wherever tax rates penalize thrift or discourage investment, they must be lowered. Wherever current provisions of the code are disincentives for economic growth, they must be changed.

That's a winning plan, for sure; it beats all the tax plans that have the goal of penalizing thrift and discouraging investment, and I don't think anyone can deny that! The Constitutional chapter, the best section of the Republican platform, is admittedly much better in terms of information, as is (to a lesser degree) the Goverment Reform section, but on energy and environment the platform is only specific when attacking Democratic plans, and on health care and education most of its specific claims are about what the Republicans won't do. In foreign policy, we learn that the Republicans are really big into solidarity and friendship this election, but at least they are occasionally specific about what that means in terms of treaty obligations.

The Donkeys are trying something new this year by being far more specific than the Elephants. To be sure, we do get a great many vague generalities, but you can regularly find definite proposals. The foreign policy section is the worst part of the platform, since we don't get an actual foreign policy so much as an extended reflection on how bad Donald Trump is, with vague assurances that they are not Donald Trump. It has in the past been a standard Democratic flaw that their platform ends up being about the Republican party -- both parties consistently seem to agree that the single most important political institution in the United States is the GOP, and that every election turns entirely on the agenda set by it. This is not quite so obvious this time -- the Republican platform is a bit more reactionary against the Democrats than usual, and the Democratics focus less on Republican party policies and more on the character of Donald Trump. But it is still noticeable to the eye that knows to look for it. Nonetheless, there is no question that the Democratic Party platform is more informative this year than the Republican Party platform.

As always, the Libertarians are the best party at getting to the point and sticking to it; the only criticism to make is that Libertarian brevity sometimes works against specifics -- the Major Parties are more blah-blah-blah, but they also through all the fog give us occasional first steps in policy, whereas the Party of Principle has difficulty getting much more specific than general principles.

The Green organization -- affirming their general commitments and then giving specific "Green Solutions" -- works very much in their favor in this category, since it helps them rival the Libertarians in conciseness while descending into specifics. Yes, there are a lot of cases in which we are left wondering how they are going to accomplish their 'solution', or how the 'solution' is going to accomplish anything, but at least they don't waste our time babbling on and on about it like the Major Parties do, and we do get a lot of first steps in specific policy, which is about all that one can usually ask in a party platform.

This round definitely goes to the Greens; then Democrats and Libertarians, whose very different approaches make them difficult to compare; and the Republicans are last.

Page Formatting
The Democrats are not even trying this year; I can literally format pages better in fifteen minutes on Microsoft Word. The Libertarians go with clean and simple, as they always do -- easy to read, but unexciting. So it's really a duel between the Republicans and the Greens. The Green layout is more interesting, but also sometimes comes across as more busy. I will declare this one a tie.

Principles and Values
The Libertarians have explicit principles, which makes sense because they call themselves the Party of Principle. The Green Party has explicit values, which makes sense given that they say in their Call to Action that they are committed to values-based politics. Democrats and Republicans have decided to have neither principles nor values this time around. I guess they might have been assuming that their preambular creeds covered that?

Internet Accessibility
Democrats, I can't find your party platform from the Democratic Party website front page. That's just lazy and saying you don't care. The party platform I could easily find is on the Democratic Convention website in a black and white PDF.

The other platforms were easy to find. Republicans, of course, are the flashiest. There is an easy-to-navigate HTML version, quite glitzy, and a PDF. The Libertarians have HTML and PDF, and the promise of a future Spanish translation. The Green Party has HTML and a PDF of the 2014 Platform; it's usually quite confusing which platform you are getting in which format with them, so this is par for the course. One nice feature the Greens have is that they have a button for sharing pages of the platform through Google+; as far as I can tell, they are the only ones to make any use of social media for their platform, slight though it is.

* The Republicans continue their tradition of dedications for their party platforms, and they seem to have put some serious thought into this one; very nice.
* The Green Party Call to Action cracks me up. "If not us, who? If not now, when? We are the ones we have been waiting for." OK, then; easiest wait ever. But I suppose if you are Minor Party, you get a lot of practice asking who is winning instead of you and wondering when you'll win, since it's not now.
* The Republicans not only do well with online accessibility this year, they easily have the best platform website.
* The Party of Lincoln mentions once that it is the Party of Lincoln, but only quotes Lincoln briefly and in passing once. Sad!
* Donkeys, Donkeys, can I just reiterate how stupid it is that no one can find your actual party platform very easily when they go to your website. You don't have to be just the party of non-Donald.

This was a very bland and conservative year for party platforms -- no bold experiments or interesting shifts in approach -- but the result has arguably been good organization all across the board. The undeniable winners of the contest this year, however, are the Greens, who seem finally to have gotten their platform act together this year. It's a great improvement over a couple of cycles ago when they couldn't even manage to make available anything more than a disorganized and out of date platform draft. The Greens it is, then. I would send them a certificate of achievement, but that would be a bad use of trees and I couldn't justify the carbon emissions of mailing it.

Rainbow in the Sky

My Heart Leaps Up
by William Wordsworth

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Music on My Mind

Camille and Kennerly, "Hotel California (Instrumental)".

A Poem Draft and Two Poem Re-Drafts

It's firefly season here, and there seem to be more than usual; I see them in great numbers while walking in the evening.


Sparks of the flame, bright, swift,
tracing their paths through the air,
dip, dive, vanish with flash,
lighten the heart's way.

Augustine's Hymn

O pure and holy God of Love,
The angels sing before your Throne,
By sharing all, each will each own:
The Voice, the Lamb, the burning Dove
Are each in all and One alone.

The Three are One, the One are Three,
Where each is all and all are each.
And when God gives as we beseech,
He gives this truth, an endless sea
Beyond the mind's most brilliant reach.

Great anthems in my head will ring,
The sky is never blue but gold,
And as the earth, so new, is old,
So is this song the mornings sing
On days of light in breezes cold.

You drown us with Your holy grace,
As dust must drown within the sun,
You drown us ere we have begun
By casting light from off Your Face:
The Three You are, and Three are One.

The wooing of my soul is here,
Astride this point, as we ascend
With those who count our God a friend,
Enflamed with love and holy fear
By First and Last and Without End.

So It Goes

There is love,
there are lies,
there is lying in love,
there is living a lie
(and loving it too),
there is love like to hate and hate like to love,
there is lying in wait,
with surprise in their eyes when shots ring out.

She hates him, he her,
he loves her, she him
at times all the same;
it's a jumbling game where the prize is a heart,
or a life,
or a death,
and the sudden exhaling of everyone's breath when shots ring out.

And so --
the gun's in her hand and the shots ring out,
and how it ends who can tell?
I suppose no one knows who has not been there.
So it goes.

And so --
the gun's in her hand,
life-lines are tangled with lies,
and soon somebody dies,
and death is an untensing of breath.
And so it goes.

The dark is a friend,
the dark is a foe,
the tears on her cheek recall no memory,
wandering in darkness before hint of dawn;
only sound stays as shots ring out.

He is dead.
There --
it's said.
He lied;
let him lie.
It cannot be recalled.
So it goes.

And so --
the gun's in her hand;
who can tell who it is who suffers the more?
I guess we would need to be there.
So it goes.

And so --
the gun's in her hand,
and when love is a lie,
or a lie is a love,
there is lying in wait,
a doom and a fate that cannot end well.
And so it goes.

We are fools for our loves,
we fall for their lies,
and so --
the gun's in her hand:
who will cry over spilled blood?
The tears were already shed,
and she works out a fate she chose long ago.
So it goes.

And so --
the gun's in her hand;
what's past has passed --
we would love to recall our past lies,
and yet there they lie.
It makes no sense,
but it cannot be reasoned away.
And so it goes.

Maronite Year LXXIII

First Sunday after Holy Cross
2 Timothy 2:1-10; Mark 10:35-45

By the cross we are raised up,
by it we are perfected,
in it is our protection.
Through it we participate
in the Holy Trinity.

Through the cross nations repent,
beneath it nations worship,
bowing down to the Father,
in it is seen the sacred,
for Christ gave Himself on it.

A soldier faces hardship,
focusing on needful tasks,
as we fix our minds on Christ,
for God's word enduring all,
that all may know salvation.

We take up our cross for Christ;
who would be great must serve all.
it opens paradise-gates,
protecting from the great fire,
and opening realms of light.