My Two Cents on Random News: People Be Freaking at Obama’s Use of The Crusades

Insert Facepalm Here | The Big Blog of All the Shit I Know

I am no political expert, but I have a blog, so my opinion counts (duh).

Half an hour ago, surfing through the time-killing depths of my Facebook news feed, I found this article: “Obama Faces Criticism After Mentioning The Crusades During Speech At the National Prayer Breakfast.”

I know, I know, this is how many “Christians are just way too fucking sensitive – All hail Richard Dawkins” posts start. But relax, this isn’t one of them. For one thing, I don’t believe Christians are inherently stupid. You know who’s stupid? Stupid people. Yeah, I went there. And secondly, this made me laugh rather than drive me into a frothing rage. So basically, I’m just going to briefly link and quote some articles about this hyped up event because my views can be summed up thusly: people need something to be angry about, so they’re going to find something to be angry about. Oh, and ignorance is so not bliss.

Enjoy.

  • Obama and the Crusaders | The New Yorker – Not much frothing here, just a good dose of level-headedness and fair points. Although I don’t agree that Liberalism really “is the belief that toleration is not enough, that an active, affirmative pluralism is essential to social sanity.” That should exist, but that’s not what the reality is. Anywho, it’s a good read.

“The job of the good historian is to balance understanding with indictment; it’s the polemicist who tries to use history only to plead innocent. The acts of the Crusades, like the facts of slavery, happened.”

“[H]is comments on the Crusades and the Inquisition represent the latest ratcheting up in his quest to change how people talk about terrorism. He views Islamist terrorists as exploiting their religion; his opponents believe there is something about Islam that creates fanatics who are willing to carry out terrorist attacks… Words matter, and the way this issue is framed is going to go a long way toward determining how the “war on terror” will be waged.”

  • Obama, The Crusades, And The Alternate Liberal Reality | Western Journalism – And to round it all off, here’s a pretty priceless article to kick start your weekend, be it productive or lackadaisical. You deserve a good chuckle. It’s hard to find an excerpt that really encompasses the author’s whole mindset fairly, so I’m just going to encourage you to read the whole thing for yourself. To quote the New Yorker article above, it employs a lot of the “Ma, he started it!” tactic and some convenient historical shuffling. You’re welcome.

Have a great weekend, everyone. What are you weekend plans? Opinions on this little brouhaha of the week? (And maybe I should call these posts “Facepalm Fridays,” whaddya think?)

Cheers,
BBK

Hell Freezing Over: Rockefellers Oil Barons No More?

Some pretty kickass news in the world of finance and environmentalism: the Rockefellers are reinvesting from oil to clean energy.

“The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is joining a coalition of philanthropists pledging to rid themselves of more than $50 bn (£31 bn) in fossil fuel assets…”

Now, longtime readers of this blog will know that, in addition to being a George Carlin fan, I’m not the biggest fan of the environmentalist movement. Close readers will know that it’s not because I hate the earth or don’t care about the future of humans. On the contrary: it’s because I feel our middling efforts in recycling and saving the whales is a distraction from larger causes, such as unsustainable food production and an overall highly wasteful perception of life.

Sometimes, I feel a loss in hope. Have we done too much damage to our infrastructure to fix it? Could we be past the tipping point for our species? It’s no secret that those who hold the money hold the power. But it’s not always solely with bad intentions. These people don’t set out in their day to day lives like Dr. Evil, plotting for world domination – at the cost of the world. It is out of ignorance, blindness that CEOs and boards make the decisions that they do. Example after example, many corporations have withheld or stopped the production of sustainable technology.

Tesla Wardenclyffe Tower | The Big Blog of All the Shit I Know

The first example that comes to mind is Tesla’s Wardenclyffe Tower, which would have revolutionized public utilities with its transmission of wireless power. However, the property and the project were deemed unprofitable. All J.P. Morgan had to do was put a little more money into the works. It’s not like he was hurting for it. John D. Rockefeller was a fellow baron contemporary.

Today, the heirs of John D. Rockefeller aren’t going to continue to make that mistake. Sure, they’re going to work like hell to make sure they make tons of money off of clean energy, but it’s a highly significant step in the right direction – in a direction that will see us still around, living sustainably. From the BBC News article, linked here:

“‘We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy,’ Mr Heintz said in a statement.”

So here’s my nod to not only a savvy board over at the Rockefeller place, but also to the people who helped cause this shift. To the people who marched in the streets of NYC, demanding change from those who can make a difference, just a day before the Rockefeller announcement was made. And here’s a nod to everything and everyone that came before them, who’ve helped possibly push this sinking ship back upright.

Let’s see what tomorrow will bring.

NYC Climate March 2014 | The Big Blog of All the Shit I Know

Source: NBC News

The Battle of the Sexes: An Orwellian Reality, and How We ALL Can Win

From an e-mail written by Moose to the men in his ManKind Project group a few days after one of their weekly meetings. 


The best way to defeat an enemy is to keep them fighting among themselves: divide and conquer. For millennia this technique has been practiced on enemies of all sorts, but i want to introduce you men and friends of mine to a theory I’ve come up with to explain the so-called battle of the sexes.

And it goes like this:

We’ve divided ourselves against each other.

A marriage is the closest thing to a tribe we have left. But if men and women are raised to be against each other then you truly do have (as God has been called) a spy in every bedroom.

Ever since the Renaissance and the great sanctification of the Individual that it ushered in, we have become a society of lonely, isolated selves crowded by other lonely, isolated selves. Luckily, hope lies in a new style of intimate, trusting relationship between men and women.

I say we drop the battle of the sexes and stop blaming “them.” It could ironically be the single best piece of work we could do to bond as a group of concerned men. We can stand together in full acceptance that there is nothing we can do to make women change, but much we can give them that they desperately desire by changing ourselves.

As we struggle to accept and see each other as men and do our work as the modern individuals that we’ve been programmed to be, we can literally cut the isolation of our modern world in half:

I say we call a truce. I say we take radical responsibility for OUR half of the divide. I say we start figuring out how to get what we want from — and give what is most truly, most deeply desired to — the women with whom we interact, be they mother, sister, daughter, or lover.

Let’s start assuming that the women in our lives are there because they love us. I say we start assuming — based on this love — that they are ready to understand and receive love from us men… just as soon as we figure out how to effectively give it. You guys are ready and you always have been. I accept that if i have not communicated with you effectively, not shared my ideas appropriately, not made myself visible to you such that i feel understood, heard, and seen, then obviously MY communication is where to start looking for the problem, and not with you.

Thank you, and

Aho!

Sir Moose Esq. Ph.D. ADHD. 


Where do you stand in the battle? 

Rainbow Gatherings: Rediscovering the Tribe

If your summer plans do not include schmoozing in a national forest with a bunch of dirty hippies, then your summer is not complete, because you know that’s where we’re going! Woodstock didn’t simply begin and end in the summer of 1969. It spawned a generation of people disenchanted by modern society and created the Rainbow Family of Living Light. I know it sounds like nothing more than woo-woo New Age crap, so bear with me. This might pique your interest (if not, nothing gained, nothing lost).

Rainbow Gathering "Welcome Home" | The Big Blog of All the Shit I Know

Every year, since 1972, thousands of people come together and basically party in the woods for a month. Rainbow Gatherings take place in a different national forest every year, as chosen by a Spring Council every mid-June. Once the site is picked, setup begins. The Council consists of anyone who wants to participate and for the most part – with the exception of the Montana site – no national forest is picked twice.

At first, these gatherings seem like an excuse for a few thousand homeless hippies to come together and recklessly do whatever the hell they want in the woods. While it is a celebration, these hippies are far more conscious than often given credit for. Marijuana is prevalent, of course. Hard drugs are present, but not common. Alcohol is frowned upon, but not explicitly forbidden. The alcoholics are allowed their own area, “A-Camp”, away from the main gathering, so as to reduce violent confrontations.

Rainbow Gathering Main Circle | The Big Blog of All the Shit I Know

And while it might sound hypocritical for a bunch of supposedly environmentally-minded people to go tramping about and destroying forest land for a month, I can tell you from experience that these people really are extremely conscious of their impact. All the shelters are made of material found in the woods and by the end of celebrations on July 5th, clean-up begins immediately. The clean-up crews are almost bizarrely meticulous. They scour the landscape in search of the smallest scraps of debris that do not belong. Of course, they cannot find every single scrap and there have been accounts of leftovers being found later. But once the Family vacates the premises, the forest looks no worse for wear.

I could go on and on and on about Rainbow Gatherings. But I’m going to conclude this with the following:

Rainbow Gatherings get a lot of bad publicity for the unethical stuff done by a minority of the folks who attend. Every clutch has their bad eggs and unfortunately, bad news spreads like wildfire, while good news travels slow. As a raging introvert raised in suburbia, I’ve felt more comfortable around these crazy hippy-dippy folks than I’ve ever felt in my life. If you’re free anytime from mid-June to July 4th, I suggest you drop by – even for just a day. The 2014 Gathering is taking place in Uinta National Forest (you can find directions here). Maybe you’ll see us there.

Cheers,
BBK

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[Edit: And when we get back, I promise to write more in detail about the Rainbow experience.]

If you want a pretty good idea of what a Gathering looks like, go to this “rainbowgathering” tag on Flickriver. Awesome images.

Podcast: Oneness, Kinky Sex, and The Meaning of Life

Moose and I like to pretend we’re philosophers-slash-culture detectives. And we like to hang out in parking lots well into the wee hours of the morning. (Unfortunately, no recreational herb is involved). Here is a product of one of those evenings.

Follow us on SoundCloud. Maybe we’ll make more podcasts. Maybe we won’t. Just follow us anyway. You know you want to.

[Warning: Moose’s finger slides over the mic at the 9:52 mark. He finally removes it at 12:05. Headphone users, you have been warned]

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. It helps to have an outside perspective – to figure out whether we’re onto something or just plain crazy. 

 

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