I disagree with Hightower.

What you will find here is: a centrist's view of current events;
a collection of thoughts, arguments, and observations
that I have found appealing and/or amusing over the years;
and, if you choose, your civil contributions which will make it into a conversation.

He not busy bein' born, is busy dyin'. - Bob Dylan

Please refer to participants only by their designated identities.

suggestion for US citizens: When a form asks for your race, write in: -- American

Monday, March 31, 2014

Common Core

Here is a video on Common Core. http://commoncoremovie.com/   It is not flattering. That matches the tone of most of the articles I have recently read on the subject.  In addition I have seen an example of a math problem (seemingly a simple subtraction problem) from CC that involved, what was to me, an incomprehensible number line solution.   

Still I am not swayed to take a side, either side.  Thoughts from the group!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Title 9 consequences

Parents at Plymouth High School in Canton MI raised the money to build stadium seats for the boy’s varsity baseball stadium.  The U.S Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights issued the school a citation because the new seating was no longer equal to the seating at the girl’s softball field.

The boy’s new bleachers had to be torn down. Read the details at this URL

The mindset that when things are unequal and there are not sufficient resources to bring the lower up to the level of the higher then “fair” dictates we bring the higher down to the lower reinforces my desire for less government.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The relevance of intent

Intent is an important - essential - ingredient in determining, for example, the nature of a crime that has been committed. Unless there was a  intent to kill we call it manslaughter or negligent homicide.  We save the word murder for those cases in which the death was the objective.  Even in chess contests intent must be present to enforce the requirement for moving a "touched piece".  Players, who wants to simply adjust a piece on a square, have long used the French expression J'adoube (I adjust) before doing so in order to make it clear that moving not their intention. In this context  "touch" a piece  has been clarified to mean "touch with the intent to move ".  

One can overdo the importance and role of intent.  If you listen to the debate over the Obamacare act you will hear, hidden between the adulatory adjectives, the supreme confidence that the left holds in intent.  The aim is to give every American healthcare. Therefore the outcome must be good.

After hearing Bill Maher explaining to his audience the unmitigated horror that religion has always delivered for our species, I mentioned to a friend who more or less shares that opinion, that I disagreed.  I believe that the conflict between church and state was a major contributor to the development of modern humanism and human rights in the lands that had been Christendom.  The Muslims on the other hand combined church and state into a theocracy which shined for awhile and then sank into such a sorry state that theological leaders who have no base of secular power can order the death of anyone who is, in their mind, in conflict with Islam. My friend thought that the argument had no validity because the leaders, both secular and spiritual, were pursuing their own interest and did not have as their objective the improvement of the lot of the average person.  This is the flip side.  If the intent is not good then the result cannot be good either.  I think this helps turn liberals away from capitalism.  I heard William Ayers respond to the argument that American Capitalism was the greatest wealth building machine that had ever been created.  He dismissed the argument as irrelevant because we stole the land from the Amerindians.  The intent of the capitalist is to get rich.  Therefore he cannot get credit for even “incidental” accomplishments of his system. 

One of my two central beliefs on this is that the Church prevented the European Kings from gaining absolute power.  Because of that the people could benefit from their conflict with each other and internally.  For example, out of the 14th century peasant’s revolt came the following ditty:(gentleman = nobleman)

When Adam delved,
And Eve spann.
Who was then,
The gentleman.

Another example of how intent does not necessarily determine the primary result.
In 12th century England Henry II (whose "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?" led to the "Murder in the Cathedral" of St. Thomas Becket) was a very strong king.

The nobility ran the courts of the land and collected the fines that came from them. Henry thought that the King's courts should determine what was justice in England.  The Baronial courts used various means to determine guilt:  trial by fire, by water or sometimes even trial by combat.  Not the kind of courtroom you'd like to go into.  

Henry offered a different kind of justice.  His version had one of his agents call on all of the people who knew anything about the case to come and tell what they knew.  His courts then acted on that evidence.  People got to choose which court to use.  Thus was born the grand jury in particular and the jury in general - that renowned bulwark of English-American freedom.

Now perhaps Henry had a deep appreciation of modern ideas of justice and knew what the outcome would be.  But my bet is that he wanted the money and power.

Monday, March 24, 2014


I thought this was nice and worth sharing. This article is from a few years ago but I just stumbled upon it today. Josh Radnor is an actor is writing for actors (which I am not), but a small part of his piece stuck out to me and I wanted to pass it on.


“It really shocks me when I encounter people who think kindness doesn't matter. Because I think it's pretty much the only thing that matters….We just need to be kind, unconditionally and without ulterior motive, even—or rather, especially—when we'd prefer not to be. For me, it's simple and not entirely unselfish: When I'm kind, I feel good; when I'm not, I feel horrible.”

Josh Radnor

Monday, March 17, 2014


When groups march in parades they routinely carry banners indentifying the group.  It is also true that a common motivation for marching in a parade is to provide exposure for a group.

Here is the link to an article about a St Patrick’s Day parade in Boston where the parade organizers forbid LBGT organizations from marching openly.  They were not forbidden from marching, just from marching openly.


While I would agree that a St. Patrick’s Day parade is not the proper venue for publicizing a group’s sexual orientation what should be done when the name of the group does just that?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Settled Science 2

The quote below is from comments Obama recently made in the Central Valley in CA.  It is an example of what I consider fear mongering by the misstatement/misuse of scientific finding.
"We have to be clear: A changing climate means that weather-related disasters like droughts, wildfires, storms, floods are potentially going to be costlier and they're going to be harsher," the President said visiting a farm in Los Banos. "Droughts have obviously been a part of life out here in the West since before any of us were around and water politics in California have always been complicated, but scientific evidence shows that a changing climate is going to make them more intense."
Let me comment on 2 sentences:
1.     “A changing climate means that weather-related disasters like droughts, wildfires, storms, floods are potentially going to be costlier and they're going to be harsher," 
A changing climate does not mean that at all.  It simple means the climate will change.  Indeed, If climate changes to warmer (than today) the atmosphere would have the ability to hold and transport more moisture.  The increased moisture might be transported somewhere else or it might fall as rain on Los Banos.  “Warmer” and “droughts” are not interchangeable words.  The warmest parts of the globe today are around the equator and they are statistically the wettest. Storms - There is significant evidence (real scientific evidence) that the capacity of the atmosphere to hold more moisture would actually decrease the harshness of weather events. Increased flooding – this one might be true but it is hotly debated on whether the increased atmospheric moisture would stay in the clouds or fall as rain, not to mention where it would fall. 
2.     "Droughts have obviously been a part of life out here in the West since before any of us were around and water politics in California have always been complicated, but scientific evidence shows that a changing climate is going to make them more intense."
Assuming that the subject of “them” is droughts and not politics it may/may not be true. To support a scientific theory the existence of scientific evidence may be necessary, but it is not sufficient. On balance I have seen published scientific evidence from credible sources that the Southern CA climate would be wetter in a warmer climate model.
Open questions for the blog:
1.     Who decided that the optimum temperature for the globe occurred somewhere around 1975?
2.     Worldwide (and in the US) more people die yearly from cold related conditions than warm.  From a humanitarian point of view should we not be hoping for a warmer climate?
3.     Records show that global temperatures increased from 1850 until 1997.  I will assert as an obvious consequence (without referencing scientific findings) that the global gross growing season must have increased as a result.  Why is that a bad thing?
4.     One of the most arid (least precipitation per year) place on the globe is Antarctica.  Why is there an almost universal tendency to equate drought with warmer climate?
5.     Heat is energy.  I repeatedly hear that storms in a warmer world would be more severe due to the increased energy level.  From my 9th grade general science class I recall that heat engines (a T-storm is basically a heat engine) do NOT operate on heat rather they operate on heat differential.  How does the heat differential increase if the global temperature rises? 

Friday, March 14, 2014

pi day

As Terry reminds us this is pi day.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Settled Science

The Senate just staged a Climate Change all nighter.  I did not watch and I saw only a few selected clips on the news, most proclaiming the science is “settled”.

The results of a NASA study on how the carbon cycle works was widely published in the media today.  The results indicate that the science is far from “settled”.  The article below is a report on the study from Climatescience.com

Politic and science seem to be very dubious partners from both sides of the political fence.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

the cat

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


The central question was: "Should Ukraine maintain close ties to Russia or move closer to the European Union and America?"

For the greatest part of the last 300 years the Crimea has been part of Russia and a hefty majority of its people are Russian.  The last elected government of Ukraine was leaning too far toward Russia to suit the people so they ran him out.  They did not make use of any legal process.  Therefore the current government is of questionable legality.

I do not say this to argue in support of Russian President Putin, but rather to point out that the people currently in charge of Ukraine have badly overplayed their hand and they should also be more restrained.

So - how do things work in the new Post Cold War Nuclear age that we live in? We saw in the dissolution of the Soviet Union the decline of a great power.  Now we shall see how the world handles a great power's attempt to expand.

By a great power I mean one that is too big for military discipline.

PS  I recently watched a few minutes of Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.  She was clearly very impressed (as I have always been) with how well the dissolution of the Soviet Union was handled.  The trading of Ukraine's nukes for assurances of its sovereignty by the US, Britain, and Russia(!!).  I didn't see it all, but in what I saw she never once mentioned that it was the Republican, Bush 41, who very deftly handled our side of that.

.Historical - Lincoln's Second Inaugural Addres

Some things are worth repeating and this is one of them.
It is also a useful reference for anyone who wants to do one of the following:
a) Refute the claim that the civil war was not about slavery.
b) Refute the claim that the American government has never had a place for religion in it.
c) Read good literature and/or history.

Lincoln'sSecond Inaugural Address

Monday, March 3, 2014

Chess players from the past

please put comments on the Chess blog to update this list:

Graduation Dates for Murray City Schools Chess Players
1991      James Chu
1993      Peter Johnson             David Vandegrift       David Chu      Woods
1995      Caleb Johnson            Mark Vandegrift        Gary White      Stephen Crouch
1996       Joey Woods
1999      Josh Mitchell
2000      Josh Price                    David Crouch        Mark Stockton     Nathan Hughes
2001      Stephen Breeding
2006      Justin Arnold
2007      Blake McCuiston       Nathan Crafton
2006      Justin Arnold
2007      Blake McCuiston       Nathan Crafton
2008      Chess Volp                
2010      Patrick Hughes,  
2011      Daniel Hughes, Stephen Arnold, Jordan Smith

2017      Sam Lewis, Nathan Weber,