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Monday, January 30, 2017

Episode 20170126 - On Liberty by John Stuart Mill Chapter 2 Part 2

 Chapter 2 Part 2.  Mill talks about the idea that persecution is always good for new (religious) truths.  Love this because so many of the new persecutors claim to be bringing back Old Time Religion.  Here's an intelligent religious philosopher from a century ago petty much slapping them down in so many ways.

Post truth?  Yeah, right.  It's in there.

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Don't Be a Sucker

Remember when the government was in the business of the truth? Well, mostly, anyway. Them was the days!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Episode 20170128 - Politically Correct

Was going to to a blogpost or podcast about Political Correctness.  I started by looking up the origins of the phrase, "Politically Correct."

 So I ranted a bit on YouTube.  But video takes a whole lot of space on my Libsyn account, so...

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Beware the Fury of a Patient Man

Was looking at Twitter again.

It's like watching the 9/11 coverage, those videos over and over again that day. That someone could do something so horrible to us -- and yes, it was done to all of us.

In some ways, this is worse. This is our hired help, taking actions from Our House, and saying it's from us.  It was done to all of us.

But another thing struck me. We're protesting a President governing by fiat, rather than via Congress. And Congress sits with hands folded and waits. Some, because they're getting what they want from the Executive Orders themselves.

But with every protest, more ammunition piles up against the power of the Executive.  So... Let us suppose with the next Presidential election, the Republicans still control Congress, but a Democrat takes the White House.

"Well, hey, all you folks marched in the streets to protest Executive Orders.  You all said very loudly that you wanted us to ride the President hard and keep them under our control.  We're only doing what you asked for.  Why complain now?"

How many of the actions against which we protest now, are what we have insisted on in the past, and will insist on in the future?  When Trump got elected, we complained about the Electoral College. I hear Trump wanted to start action to abolish it, and was discouraged from that by his staff. Why object now to what we thought was vital then?

The trouble with any radical view, is that it is radical. There are those who supported the radical Sanders against the radical Trump. I didn't and don't support Trump.  But does this mean that real moderation must cease to exist?

As for Sanders, well, he spent decades not wanting to be Democrat... till he wanted to run for President. Shouldn't have been a Democratic candidate. He's not a Democrat.

As for me, well, I'm not from any of the countries to which the bans have been applied. Not aware of anyone I know personally. But the bans are a Radical action. And like the surgery, radical actions tend to involve immediately hacking off large chunks. I look with suspicion on any radical.

Why? Pure, blatant self-interest. I'm not the guy who survives in a Radical world. If I stocked up on bottled water, canned food, guns and ammo... that'd just be more stuff in the basement for the Radicals to loot.

I'm a quiet man.  My dad was, too. I come from a quiet family.  My Dad was also one of those citizen soldiers who went off to Europe in the 1940s to shoot Nazis. To quote John Dryden, who was apparently quoting Publilius Syrus:

Must I at length the Sword of Justice draw?
Oh curst Effects of necessary Law!
How ill my Fear they by my Mercy scan,
Beware the Fury of a Patient Man.

 Unlike our ever-so-belligerent President, I wore a uniform with stripes on the collar for a few years. I wasn't particularly good at it. I held a firearm in uniform perhaps twice. Mostly I flipped burgers, or flipped omelets. But I showed up.  Peacetime military. Mostly because I couldn't find a job.

So like so many, I'm torn. I despise the belligerent bellowing of the coward in the White House. But I also don't trust marching in the streets. Eventually you run out of street, and the only place left to go is into the houses and such. Up to a point, I accept the marching as necessary, and perhaps at some point I may do a bit of marching myself -- rather better than the lifelong civilians, perhaps. But I don't trust it.

As for those who supported Trump, I can accept there are well-meaning and kind people who did that, perhaps for reasons they considered good and sufficient. Some of those supporters have been my friends for my entire life. But those who speak for his supporters are bullies and speak like bullies. And when they speak for him, they speak for those well-meaning and kind people, too. When Trump takes hateful actions and supports hateful people and ideas, he speaks for them, too.

And I wonder if any of them are having second thoughts.

And if not, why not?

"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, and believed as a child.  But I became a man, and put away childish things."

I'm sorry

I made, perhaps, a mistake in reading Twitter for several hours tonight.

I follow a lot of people who are on the same political Side as I am.  Don't think it's a party thing anymore, just people who think we shouldn't be a shining example of hate and intolerance to the rest of the world.

The other Side elected a President who feels he has a mandate to be a bully and say it's on behalf of all of us.  It may well be that many who voted for him are saying to themselves "What the hell is this?" now.  But it's too late.  He was elected.  And he's got a Congress who will say nothing, and soon a Supreme Court who'll collectively do the same.

Even if every single person who voted for him changed their minds tomorrow, the Status Quo will remain for at least two years.  The midterm elections might change the balance, though I doubt that. And given the destruction that's been wrought already in only a few days, two years will be too long.

If the President were gone tomorrow, we'd still have his Vice President, and we'd still have the same band of idiots in Congress. I'd compare it to the "Basic Training Stress Curve."  If you're not familiar, when you first get to Basic, you spend a week or three getting screamed at and stressed out.  A few weeks in, they stop screaming quite so often.  You're still stressed, but compared to the earlier weeks it seems like relaxation.  You may not actually poop for six weeks straight.  But you're "relaxed."

After however-long with the current President, even if he left, we'd still have Pence. Who might be less Evil, though you'll note he's nodding and smiling and going along. We'd think he was Good. Because we would have lost touch with a real sense of what Good is actually like.

People have been marching in the streets, and I respect their intent.  They marched by the millions. And the President is still doing what he does.  And Congress is going along, while doing their own evil and spewing their own lies. So I feel in my gut it's too late already. I wish it wasn't. I'd be joyful if it wasn't. But I think it is.

I'm sorry.

I did what I was supposed to do. I voted for the candidate of my own Party -- not terribly exciting to me as an individual, but I think she would have been a good President. Not a great one, but at least good. Might have been great, I suppose. We'll never know. She got the majority of the popular vote, by a long long way. And it still didn't matter. We lost.

The destruction of the America I believe in has already started. The majority of the elected leaders are nodding and smiling and doing their own destruction, while profiting handsomely. And our leaders in business nod and smile and talk about how much money they'll make.

Someday, future generations will hate us, and look back, baffled, on how we could possibly have been so stupid.

Years ago, I recall reading "The Lives of the Ceasars," as I think it was titled. I noticed something. Every single solitary Ceasar promised to restore the Republic.

None of them did.

Sorry, kids. We screwed up.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Episode 20170126 - On Liberty by John Stuart Mill Chapter 2 Part 1

And now it starts to get good!  Chapter 2 Part 1, including some opening comments on freedom of the Press which kinda sting to listen to.  I could tell Mill was getting rolling, and so did I.  Enjoy!


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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Episode 20170124 - On Liberty by John Stuart Mill Chapter 1

Since I'm at a low ebb in confidence and energy, I'm bringing back a project I started back in 2012 and didn't finish till 2014, "On Liberty" by John Stuart Mill.  I think it's on point for current events.  And I think some things bear repeating right now.  And this time I'll just put it all up right away.


In the meantime, perhaps I'll manage to record something new for you?  Still haven't gotten the recording I needed to finish Swinging Doors.  And there's three or four other possible Next Projects.


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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Episode 2017-01-21 On the Bias

On the Bias

January 21, 2017

Hello again.  Just me.

Wanted to talk about a pet peeve, not really an issue as such.  Unbiased Journalism.

You're out there saying, "But wait, unbiased journalism is a very important issue!"  I understand your feeling that way.  But actually it's only an issue because of misuse of terms.  Everyone who has a job in what we still call the Press for some reason, wants to be called a Journalist.  This is understandable.  Journalist sounds like a cool and hip job.  Assuming anyone not my age still says cool and/or hip.  Most jobs in the press, quite frankly, sound kinda geeky, and perhaps even sleezy.  Journalist means one particular vocation, or perhaps an avocation, and not all of them.

Let's go back in history for a bit.  The Press actually started with folks who actually used presses, to print newspapers.  On actual paper.  And at least hypothetically, newspapers conveyed news.  News was gathered by news reporters -- not journalists, reporters.  News is very simple.  It's what happened, who what when where and how.  That's all.  Not why.  Why is not news.  If someone said what they thought was why, I suppose that's news, the "somebody said" part is.  That's something that happened or didn't.  But that last bit is hopefully done with caution, because "why" itself, is not News.

As for Bias, well, a news report is not biased, if it simply states who what when where and how.  It can't be.  What happened happened, and it's news.  If it didn't happen, then it's not news, it's a lie.  If someone lies, the lie is news, and the truth is news to demonstrate, if you will, the truth about the lie.

And a news reporter, had better not be a Journalist.

A journalist is a whole 'nother sort of animal.  Back in the day, most people didn't travel much at all.  It's still pretty rare for folks to go very far from where they were born.  Travelling was something special, and usually very expensive.  Sometimes some fairly well-known person would get to travel out of their own home area, maybe even to another country on another continent.  They might keep a journal of their adventures on their travels, possibly so they could write a book later.  And they might agree to occasionally share a page or two of their travel journal with a newspaper, and they might well get paid a bit for doing that.  So they became a Journalist.

Is a Journalist biased?  Of course, absolutely.  A journalist is supposed to be biased.  We read the works of a journalist because an interesting person is visiting interesting places, doing interesting things for interesting reasons.  We don't just want an elementary school "What I Did This Summer."  We want their impressions.  We want their opinions.  We demand their biases.  If they are not biased, they are boring, and we'll go read the news instead.

Travel today is marginally cheaper, and it is marginally easier for regular folks to go some other places.  But still, most of us don't leave the country without wearing a uniform and possibly carrying a government issued firearm.  Journalists may go to places we could conceivably visit.  But we still expect their impressions.  We still demand bias.  An "Investigative Journalist" is exploring another sort of place, the dark and stinking underbelly of a beast with an innocent and mostly pristine face. They often can't be sure what happened, they can only draw conclusions from what limited facts they can gather.  Again, we demand bias, and hope they are biased in the same direction we are.  We hope they value the truth, and strive toward it.  But we want their attitudes to be part of their stories.

The news is just the news.  Does this mean a newspaper can't be biased?  No, quite the opposite.  In 1886, Adolph Simon Ochs applied the slogan "All the News That's Fit to Print" to the New York Times. Other papers were blatantly sensational.  He wanted his paper to be a NEWS paper.  From what I've read, he did his best to live up to that.  Realistically, newspapers print "all the news that fits."  They have to be selective about what they print.  They are selective about what gets on the front page, if for no other reason than no more fits.

They are also selling papers, which in turn sells ads.  So, like it or not, they have to pick and choose.  A news report that is News will state the simple truth, as I said earlier.  But given the editors have to select anyway, they select what suits them and sells papers. A newspaper, with the best of intentions, will be biased.  A headline, to capture reader attention, will be biased.  But news is news, or it is not.

An editor is not a journalist.  An editor is an editor.  And an editorial is opinion, not news. An editorial is intended to convey the opinion of the paper, usually of the owner, and sometimes of the editor which may not be the same.

A columnist is not exactly a journalist.  A columnist expresses opinions, on important or on frivolous subjects, but usually within the day-to-day experience of the reader.  A column is not news.  A column is intended to convey the personality of the columnist in an entertaining fashion.  In doing that, it is at least going to be affected by the opinions of the columnist.  If it lacked that columnist's personality, that columnist's biases, it would simply not be worth reading.  Even if it does,  sometimes it's still not worth reading.  But that's another story.  You're probably buying the wrong paper.

Editorials and columns are thus, not ever unbiased.  Of course they are not.  They are opinion.

So, there is no such thing as "unbiased journalism," and there shouldn't be.  News is news or it is not. But no news outlet will contain All The News, so it will be selective, and will one way or another be biased.  A news outlet, so-called, will also contain opinion.  Opinion is opinion.  If it isn't biased, then I suppose it isn't opinion, is it?

And let us not forget the news reporter.  The news reporter is not a Journalist, doesn't need to be, and can't be while remaining a news reporter.  Reporting the news is an honorable profession, when done well. It is usually an unglamorous and unsung profession.  Opinion needs a byline. The truth doesn't need a byline.  A rose, by any other reporter, will smell as sweet.

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Saturday, January 7, 2017

I was just thinking about this...

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

To that new order we oppose the greater conception—the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.

Since the beginning of our American history, we have been engaged in change—in a perpetual peaceful revolution—a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly adjusting itself to changing conditions—without the concentration camp or the quick-lime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society.

This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women; and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights or keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victory.

Citation: Franklin D. Roosevelt: "Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union," January 6, 1941. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

More tech please!

Tonight while fooling with OBS Studio again, which means not actually producing another vidcast...I figured out a couple of things.  With minimal configuration, I was able to send the studio-out from SAM Broadcaster, my usual tool for DJing on Second Life, to the "Desktop Audio" input on OBS Studio.

Sure, could keep using the Yeti microphone attached directly to OBS and it works great.  Actually sounds better by default (in my opinion) than recording via Audacity. Even added a noise gate to the mike setup, removing the computer-fan noise floor before it hits the stream.  Very nice.   Doing that, I was setting up separate "Scenes" for each little chunk of audio/video I wanted to add to my casts.  This is mostly a practical way to handle things like the intros and outros.

But combining OBS Studio to do the video, and SAM Broadcaster to do the audio, opens up all my audio and video options.  I could (for no discernable reason) load all 16 audio episodes of The Everlasting Man and stream them in sequence on YouTube.  No big deal, just 16 hours, I'm sure everyone would love to listen to that on YouTube, right?  Or Facebook?  People love 16-hour-long live-ish streams on Facebook, don't they?

Downside of the Intro and Outro scenes with the audio file included is that OBS Studio doesn't offer a mechanism (that I've been able to locate) to monitor what's going out on the audio stream.  I have to watch the visual level bargraph thingie till that goes down to know when to start.  No reason, though, I can't just load a scene that doesn't include the audio file, just the video slide(s). 

Play the audio on SAM and I'll be able to monitor and know when it finishes.  Can do voice over background music or sound effects, too.  Can pick on-the-fly whatever video I want up over whatever audio makes sense next.  Oh, and I can (probably) simulcast the video stream to YouTube while streaming the audio on a Shoutcast stream via SAM.  The computer can handle it, though bandwidth might be an issue.

Oddly, OBS is easier to set up with Skype, for panels or interviews, than SAM is. 

I tell Skype to capture from the Yeti and output to the Yeti headset.  OBS captures video from the Skye window,  and catches the audio from both the Yeti's headset output and microphone input (separately).  I set the Yeti so no app gets exclusive use, so the mike output goes to both without complex configuration.  This doesn't quite do mix-minus.  The folks on the far end of the Skype call can hear me, but not the local music.  But I've got a mixer, so that could be done.

Which means, of course, I'm back to my usual problem.  I have dozens of ways to produce and distribute content.  But I don't have much original to say.  That's why I started recording the old public domain books in the first place.  I get lots and lots of words I don't have to write myself, that were written by more skilled and knowledgeable writers than I.

So it could be worse.  But it could be better.  I could write stuff.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Citizens or Subjects?

VIDEO: Theodore Roosevelt's column, "Citizens or Subjects" from the KC Star, April 6, 1918 -- My live reading for my Grizzly's Growls podcast, on YouTube earlier this evening.

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Citizens or Subjects?

VIDEO: Theodore Roosevelt's column, "Citizens or Subjects" from the KC Star, April 6, 1918 -- My live reading for my Grizzly's Growls podcast, on YouTube earlier this evening.

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Episode 173 - The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton - Conclusion - The Summary of This Book - Appendix I & Appendix II

Finally I'm done!  A slight change in style, partly due to losing much of my voice...


Conclusion - The Summary of This Book

Appendix I - On Prehistoric Man

Appendix II - On Authority and Accuracy

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Episode Zero -- A Minor Local Celebrity

With "Meditation Impromptu" by Kevin MacLeod Originally posted to Libsyn under my original setup around 02/2007.  When I ran out ...