ayjay

The United States has dealt with American citizens who had commit acts of terrorism before. We Mirandized them, we charged them, we ensured that they had competent legal counsel, and we tried them in civilian courts where they received the typical rights and protections guaranteed to the accused. In none of those cases did this decision endanger more lives, prevent adequate prosecution, or otherwise present any threat to the country or its people.

Timothy McVeigh: killed 168 people. Injured over 800 more. Was motivated by political convictions. He was arrested, Mirandized, charged, appointed with legal counsel, and tried in a civilian court. Ted Kaczynski: killed three people. Injured 23 more. Was motivated by political convictions. He was arrested, Mirandized, charged, appointed with legal counsel, and processed through a civilian court. Eric Rudolph: killed two people. Injured at least 150 more. Was motivated by political convictions. He was arrested, Mirandized, charged, appointed with legal counsel, and processed through a civilian court.

If you recognize that the results of these legal cases were consonant with our system of jurisprudence and with justice, you cannot ask for a separate status for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev without supporting legal discrimination based on ethnicity and religion. To deny Tsarnaev the legal status conferred on prior domestic terrorists, or to support such a denial, is to abandon the most elementary commitment of modern jurisprudence, which is the equality of all people under the law. It’s to stand for legal bigotry.

Freddie is absolutely right. (via ayjay)
invisibleforeigner
Religious despair is often a defense against boredom and the daily grind of existence. Lacking intensity in our lives, we say that we are distant from God and then seek to make that distance into an intense experience. It is among the most difficult spiritual ailments to heal, because it is usually wholly illusory.

Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss, 108. (via invisibleforeigner)

The truest thing I’ll read all day. 

My grandmother died today. It was expected. She was 91. A few days before Christmas, she went into the hospital with heartburn and emerged five or six weeks later with a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and a failing heart. Still, it was half-surprising. She had been on the verge of death several times in the past couple of months, and I thought, somehow, that she would pull through and live another year, maybe longer.  She was the toughest woman I’ve ever met, and she had cheated death before. 
 One day, when she was about twenty, she was washing dishes in the kitchen. Her father was at the table cleaning his shotgun. He didn’t realize the gun was loaded, and it went off. For whatever reason, my grandmother had opened up a cabinet door under the sink. The pellets ripped through the door, and lodged in her knee. She spent a month in the hospital, which was far enough away from the hamlet’s tiny cluster of farms that no one visited her. In fact, the villagers thought she was dead, and when she returned, one mistook her for a ghost. If the cabinet door had not been open, she would have lost the leg and likely bled to death. Instead she escaped with a nasty scar and thirteen pellets that stayed in her knee for the rest of her life. 
A few years after accident, she met her husband, my grandfather, at a farmer’s dance. They were married, and my mother was born shortly after. I don’t know if it was a happy marriage or not. I don’t think her generation tended to concieve of things in terms of happiness. Life was a struggle, and you made the best of it. She would say, rather, that the marriage was difficult. My grandfather had started drinking when he was a boy. His father pulled him and his brothers out of school to help on the farm. If the boys worked hard, he would give them booze on the weekends. So it was that my grandfather became an alcoholic, a binge drinker. Somehow, he was still successful and ran a sawmill and a farm with one of his brothers. 
 But his alcoholism is the single most salient aspect of my grandmother’s marriage—and my mom’s childhood.  My grandmother had wanted to be a teacher, but Sweden was still a poor country. She was forced to leave school after the sixth grade to work on her family’s farm. Now, as a wife, she was a homemaker. And in her anxiety over her husband, she threw herself into house work, cooking and cleaning, even straightening the fringe on the rugs with a comb, a practice she probably picked up at the homemakers school she was sent to when she was 18. Perhaps because she didn’t like her home life, my mom spent much of her time at church and became a Christian, which led to my grandmother’s conversion. She and her sister-in-law converted—or they might say, were born again—after they had hosted a village revival meeting in one of their barns. My uncles remember my grandfather and his brother sitting out on the porch not long after, hungover, asking each other “what the hell had gotten into the women.” 
 When my grandfather died, and his brother hung himself the next year, my mother was still a teenager, and her brothers were something like ten or eleven. It was not long before my mom left for Bible school, and then for the U.S. One uncle joined the merchant marines when he was 15 or 16, and the other left the farm not long after. My grandmother continued to run the farm with her sister-in-law for over twenty years.  
 I passed my first five summers playing on that farm.  I loved the smell of diesel coming from the tractor bar, loved searching through my uncles’ old toys, loved going to the neighbor’s dairy in the mornings to fetch a pail of fresh milk with my grandmother. For me, it was an echanted place, and I had no idea about the pain that had lived there or why anybody would have wanted to leave. 
 When I was five, my grandmother sold the farm and moved to the nearest city. She also sold her car and started biking everywhere. She was almost seventy. A few years later, a bus hit her and she lost a few teeth and wound up in the hospital. She biked for several more years, until she was almost eighty, when a teenage girl on a bike ran into her head-on and she wound up in the hospital again. Her mobility declined over the last decade, and more than once she was admitted to the hospital with various, life-threatening ailments. But she was still strong. Even a year ago, she was pushing her walker through through several inches of snow to get to church. 
 I spent out a lot of time with my grandmother over the past few years. I started visiting every year after college, when she became too old to travel to the U.S. Then two and a half years ago, I moved to Sweden. As a child, I had viewed her as a sort of saint, someone who could do no wrong (and who baked the world’s best cookies and rolls). When I got older, and my Swedish got better, her shortcomings became apparent to me. She was stubborn and demanding. Like many in her generation, she was a tough parent. She was also an unyielding fundamentalist; her unease at my reception into the Catholic Church was palpable.
 But if her faults emerged, so did her virtues, which were considerably greater. I had never before considered her fortitude and her courage, which persisted throughout her life. One simply soldiered on. She was also generous. She took the money from the sale of the farm and gave the lion’s share to her children, which helped them to buy their first houses. (Until I was 22, I had never understood how, when I was six, my family had suddenly had the money to stop renting and buy a large house.) A couple of years ago, my grandmother’s sister-in-law died.  My great aunt, who was childless, had lived very simply, and it was assumed that the only inheritence would be the meager amount from the sale of her house. But a few days before the house was sold, they found a box under the kitchen sink with several hundred thousand dollars in cash. My grandmother split up the money and gave it to her children. 
 Most important, though, was that she prayed for her children and her grandchildren twice a day. I am a man of an uneven, often unsteady faith. But even on my worst of days, I cannot understimate the difference this has made, unmeasurable as it is. So when I said goodbye to her on the phone on Friday, I simply thanked her for her prayers, for the privilege of having a grandmother who prayed for me everyday. 
  

My grandmother died today. It was expected. She was 91. A few days before Christmas, she went into the hospital with heartburn and emerged five or six weeks later with a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and a failing heart. Still, it was half-surprising. She had been on the verge of death several times in the past couple of months, and I thought, somehow, that she would pull through and live another year, maybe longer.  She was the toughest woman I’ve ever met, and she had cheated death before. 

One day, when she was about twenty, she was washing dishes in the kitchen. Her father was at the table cleaning his shotgun. He didn’t realize the gun was loaded, and it went off. For whatever reason, my grandmother had opened up a cabinet door under the sink. The pellets ripped through the door, and lodged in her knee. She spent a month in the hospital, which was far enough away from the hamlet’s tiny cluster of farms that no one visited her. In fact, the villagers thought she was dead, and when she returned, one mistook her for a ghost. If the cabinet door had not been open, she would have lost the leg and likely bled to death. Instead she escaped with a nasty scar and thirteen pellets that stayed in her knee for the rest of her life. 

A few years after accident, she met her husband, my grandfather, at a farmer’s dance. They were married, and my mother was born shortly after. I don’t know if it was a happy marriage or not. I don’t think her generation tended to concieve of things in terms of happiness. Life was a struggle, and you made the best of it. She would say, rather, that the marriage was difficult. My grandfather had started drinking when he was a boy. His father pulled him and his brothers out of school to help on the farm. If the boys worked hard, he would give them booze on the weekends. So it was that my grandfather became an alcoholic, a binge drinker. Somehow, he was still successful and ran a sawmill and a farm with one of his brothers. 

But his alcoholism is the single most salient aspect of my grandmother’s marriage—and my mom’s childhood.  My grandmother had wanted to be a teacher, but Sweden was still a poor country. She was forced to leave school after the sixth grade to work on her family’s farm. Now, as a wife, she was a homemaker. And in her anxiety over her husband, she threw herself into house work, cooking and cleaning, even straightening the fringe on the rugs with a comb, a practice she probably picked up at the homemakers school she was sent to when she was 18. Perhaps because she didn’t like her home life, my mom spent much of her time at church and became a Christian, which led to my grandmother’s conversion. She and her sister-in-law converted—or they might say, were born again—after they had hosted a village revival meeting in one of their barns. My uncles remember my grandfather and his brother sitting out on the porch not long after, hungover, asking each other “what the hell had gotten into the women.” 

When my grandfather died, and his brother hung himself the next year, my mother was still a teenager, and her brothers were something like ten or eleven. It was not long before my mom left for Bible school, and then for the U.S. One uncle joined the merchant marines when he was 15 or 16, and the other left the farm not long after. My grandmother continued to run the farm with her sister-in-law for over twenty years.  

I passed my first five summers playing on that farm.  I loved the smell of diesel coming from the tractor bar, loved searching through my uncles’ old toys, loved going to the neighbor’s dairy in the mornings to fetch a pail of fresh milk with my grandmother. For me, it was an echanted place, and I had no idea about the pain that had lived there or why anybody would have wanted to leave. 

When I was five, my grandmother sold the farm and moved to the nearest city. She also sold her car and started biking everywhere. She was almost seventy. A few years later, a bus hit her and she lost a few teeth and wound up in the hospital. She biked for several more years, until she was almost eighty, when a teenage girl on a bike ran into her head-on and she wound up in the hospital again. Her mobility declined over the last decade, and more than once she was admitted to the hospital with various, life-threatening ailments. But she was still strong. Even a year ago, she was pushing her walker through through several inches of snow to get to church. 

I spent out a lot of time with my grandmother over the past few years. I started visiting every year after college, when she became too old to travel to the U.S. Then two and a half years ago, I moved to Sweden. As a child, I had viewed her as a sort of saint, someone who could do no wrong (and who baked the world’s best cookies and rolls). When I got older, and my Swedish got better, her shortcomings became apparent to me. She was stubborn and demanding. Like many in her generation, she was a tough parent. She was also an unyielding fundamentalist; her unease at my reception into the Catholic Church was palpable.

But if her faults emerged, so did her virtues, which were considerably greater. I had never before considered her fortitude and her courage, which persisted throughout her life. One simply soldiered on. She was also generous. She took the money from the sale of the farm and gave the lion’s share to her children, which helped them to buy their first houses. (Until I was 22, I had never understood how, when I was six, my family had suddenly had the money to stop renting and buy a large house.) A couple of years ago, my grandmother’s sister-in-law died.  My great aunt, who was childless, had lived very simply, and it was assumed that the only inheritence would be the meager amount from the sale of her house. But a few days before the house was sold, they found a box under the kitchen sink with several hundred thousand dollars in cash. My grandmother split up the money and gave it to her children. 

Most important, though, was that she prayed for her children and her grandchildren twice a day. I am a man of an uneven, often unsteady faith. But even on my worst of days, I cannot understimate the difference this has made, unmeasurable as it is. So when I said goodbye to her on the phone on Friday, I simply thanked her for her prayers, for the privilege of having a grandmother who prayed for me everyday. 

 

jmharper
The early rounds of American Idol feature inappropriate contestants with little or no talent who are intentionally let through the cattle call weeding process. This represents an ugly and compelling entertainment spectacle that allows viewers to enjoy the drama of a few elite upper class celebrities verbally torturing some unfortunate neurotic caught in their web. These early scenes are job interviews designed to go horribly wrong. The hopeless contestants seem to deserve this fate because their grotesquely delusional overestimation of their talents and complete lack of understanding of what is expected of them by their prospective employers violates some primal sentiment of self-preservation in us. What they are really being punished for is not a lack of talent. They are being punished for being socially maladapted. Sadistic spectators at a ritual enforcement of conformity, we enjoy watching these sickly deer being culled from the herd. In the later rounds, when we root for the talented underdogs who have made it through the culling process, our sentiment shifts: now we’re thrilled at someone else’s success. But we’re also connecting with our own desire to sell out. Can this person hold on to a vestige of their humanity and individuality while achieving the extreme-sports version of selling out? American Idol openly and engagingly celebrates the triumph of commercialism over art. As viewers, we are rooting for the corporate machine that manufactures these celebrities as much as for the contestants themselves.

KILLER KARAOKE: Reality Television and the Death of the American Middle Class | Press Play

Please go and read this extremely intelligent take on how reality tv contest shows reflect the conditions of our awful economy.

(via perpetua)

I’m into books not Mags. I will read Guns and Ammo and such. I like to read Time even if it is biased as hell.
I have a huge bible library that keeps me occupied.
Would you like one?

A response to the Yahoo Answers Question, “Which magazines do Senior Citizens find entertaining or helpful in their lives?” A strange rabbit hole I found myself going down for work.

Another unfortunate answer “Victoria Secret, works at any age.”

ckck

Swedish Lesson #11

ckck:

Ogooglebar [o:g’o:ɡelb:ar]

You’ve probably heard of this one by now after all the worldwide press it got that Google had pressured the Swedish Language Council into dropping ogooglebar (“ungoogleable”) from its annual list of new Swedish words. A classic case of the Streisand Effect, it backfired in the most spectacular way and birthed the word into several other languages, making it the most rapidly influential Swedish word of all time, I would think.