Thursday, November 30, 2006

written before telescopes

"Spotless, pure, like the moon
—limpid and calm—
his delights, his becomings,
totally gone:
he's what I call
a brahmin."

-Dhammapada 128, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Saturday, November 18, 2006

manufacturing consent, since 1958

"We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent. We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late."

RTNDA Convention
October 15, 1958

Thanks to


"When I am alone
When I’ve thrown off the weight of this crazy stone
When I've lost all care for the things I own
That's when I miss you, that's when I miss you, that's when I miss you
You who are my home
You who are my home
And here is what I know now
Here is what I know now
Goes like this..
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies"

-- Alexi Murdoch, "Orange SKy"

Friday, November 17, 2006

a known known

"Force has no place where there is need of skill."

-- Herodotus of Harlicarnassus, c. 485 - c. 425 BC

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

nuremberg, revisted

Attorneys with the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a war crimes lawsuit today in Germany against outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and other high-ranking U.S. officials, for their role in the torture of prisoners in Iraq and Guantanamo.

-- "War Crimes Suit Filed in Germany Against Rumsfeld, Other Top U.S. Officials Over Prisoner Torture," Democracy Now
-- "Rumsfeld faces German legal test", BBC News

cuts like a knife

"Reality is like a face reflected in the blade of a knife; its properties depend on the angle from which we view it."

-- Master Hsing Yun, "Describing the Indescribable"

Saturday, November 11, 2006

a different drum

"In the last analysis, the individual person is responsible for living his own life and for 'finding himself.' If he persists in shifting his responsibility to somebody else, he fails to find out the meaning of his own existence."

-- Thomas Merton

Thursday, November 09, 2006

no ideas but in things

"Most people fail to see this reality, for they are attached to what they cling to, to pleasures and delights. Since all the world is so attached to material things, it's very difficult for people to grasp how everything originates in conditions and causes. It's a hard job for them to see the meaning of the fact that everything, including ourselves, depends on everything else and has no permanent self-existence."

-- Majjhima Nikaya

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

midterm elections

"In historical events, great men -- so-called -- are but the labels that serve to give a home to an event, and like labels, they have the least possible connection with the event itself.

"Every action of theirs that seems to them an act of their own free will, is in an historical sense not free at all, but in bondage to the whole course of previous history, and predestined from all eternity."

-- Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoi, War and Peace, IX, 1.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

pigs flying

"Baby I'm amazed at the way you love me all the time.
Maybe I'm afraid of the way I love you.
Baby I'm amazed at the the way you pulled me out of time
Hung me on a line.
Maybe I'm amazed at the way I really need you

Baby I'm a man and maybe I'm a lonely man
Who's in the middle of something
That he doesn't really understand.
Babe I'm a man and maybe you're the only woman
Who could ever help me
Baby won't you help to me understand."

-- Sir Paul McCartney, "Maybe I'm Amazed"

take a second II

"Having slain anger, one sleeps soundly;
Having slain anger, one does not sorrow;
The killing of anger,
With its poisoned root and honeyed tip:
This is the killing the noble ones praise,
For having slain that, one does not sorrow."

-Buddha, "The Connected Discourses of the Buddha"

Friday, November 03, 2006

take a second

"In a little while
I'll be gone
The moment's already passed
Yeah it's gone
And I'm not here
This isn't happening."

-- "How to Disappear Completely," Kid A, Radiohead

Thursday, November 02, 2006

skipping over the ocean like a song

These lyrics struck me as oddly Zen-like:

"Everybody's talking at me.
I don't hear a word they're saying,
Only the echoes of my mind.
People stopping staring,
I can't see their faces,
Only the shadows of their eyes."

-- "Everybody's Talking at Me," by Harry Nilsson

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

who's in bunker?

1-- There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, if we take strong action now.

The scientific evidence is now overwhelming: climate change is a serious global threat, and it demands an urgent global response.

2-- Climate change could have very serious inpacts on growth and development.

The most vulnerable -- the poorest countries and populations -- will suffer the earliest and most, even though they have contributed least to the causes of climate change.

3-- The costs of stabilising the climate are significant but manageable; delay would be dangerous and much more costly.

Ultimately, stabilisation [of greenhouse gas levels ] -- at whatever level -- requires that annual emissions be brought down to more than 80% below current levels.

4-- Action on climate change is required across all countries, and it need not cap the aspirations for growth of rich or poor countries.

The world does not need to choose between averting climate change and promoting growth and development.

5-- A range of options exists to cut emissions; strong, deliberate policy action is required to motivate their take-up.

Climate change is the greatest market failure the world has ever seen, and it interacts with other market imperfections.

6-- Climate change demands an international response, based on a shared understanding of long-term goals and agreement on frameworks of action.

Many countries and regions are taking action already: the EU, California and China are among those with the most ambitious policies that will reduce greenhouse gas emisions. . . . But more ambitious action is now required around the world.

-- Summary of conclusions, Stern Review on the economics of climate change, UK HM Treasury Office.