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Above: Lake Geneva, Switzerland. At Montreux.

Fodderize v.t. 1. To break down individual components; to make fungible; to disregard difference; to render one easily substituted for another 2. To impose sub-quality goods or services upon, with little recourse 3. To cap role choices, hinder access to resources regardless of merit, and so avoid competition 4. To manage perception by propaganda-spin techniques, while concealing dispositive facts 5. To manipulate, lure, exploit, deceive


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Podium 101: RequireCourses for Candidacy. Bipartisan Call to Wake Up the Speech-Dozers

Democracy University Catalogue
Course: Podium 101
Goal: To improve candidate or potential appointee speech skills
Podium 101, Now Available Online

This is not an elective and must be completed prior to other vetting

Podium 101 Course Graduate

 I. Introductory letter

Dear Potential Appointee or Candidate:

You will be subject to hearings, debates, heavy questioning and delvings before reaching the promised land of an election or actual appointment. These courses are offered through a variety of institutions for your betterment in surviving, yea, even gleaming through such hardships. If you request a waiver based on existing superior skills, such will be given but only after rigorous scrutiny. If a similar course is offered at an institution near you, we also will consider such as meeting the requirements herein.

You must attend singly, without Joe Blow to support you or run interference. See see ://; ://; :// see ://; ://;

(signed) The faculty


II.  Institutions or Motivational Seminars Offering Equivalents of Podium 101A.
Pre-Approved, and with liberties taken in quasi-summaries herein:

A. Columbia College, Chicago.

"Oral Persuasion and Public Speaking for Managers," at :// This course helps develop the "ability to speak confidently and effectively in a variety of public speaking situations." The student will prepare and present speeches before large and small audiences trained in technique and style analysis. "Particular attention is paid to style, persuasion and credibility in public speaking."

B. Leaders Institute.

Drop your fears and become persuasive "literally over night." See://

C. Dale Carnegie (1888-1955).

"Public Speaking Mastery," see :// For information about Mr. Carnegie himself, see :// Mr. Carnegie died in 1955.

The Public Speaking effectiveness courses that continue through the Dale Carnegie methodology particularly appeal to those candidates born between 1928 and 1938, that is, within the ten years before the the invention of the ball-point pen in 1938. The ball-point pen was invented at that time by Laszlo and George Biro, but after a period of pre-development by others, see :// Special classes offered do not require that students be proficient in communications, research or data analysis skills beyond those required by the scrivener's miracle, the ball-point pen. Yellow pads are provided.
Carnegie, as well as other courses following traditions established when technology was the cursive, does not discriminate against progress-insulated persons. In your situation, however, voters familiar with and even addicted to the joys and persuasion opportunities of internet and computer, may witness your blotty jots with furrowed brows.

D. Wellesley College, Wellesley MA. Both courses listed here are required.

D.1 Wellesley's Rhetoric Course, Aristotle, 350 B.C.

This ancient and still relevant art of persuasion course is included in Classical Studies at :// Demands at this institution are rigorous. Leave ball-point pens at home. For down-time, look into the Spoonholders.

The Parthenon, Athens

D.2 Wellesley Propaganda Course. This course is offered through the Sociology Department. Knowledge of the history and techniques of sales by words and acts are invaluable to anyone seeking to persuade others of his or her position.

See ://

You can enroll as a male at this female institution for certain courses, semesters, etc, with certain restrictions. You are already well acquainted with one of Wellesley's graduates, and she, we are confident, can assist you in filling out the forms. She can be reached through her Senate office.

Advance work for the Wellesley program: Read about Aristotle and his treatise on the persuasion arts, at :// .  Ms. Clinton may be able to lend you her books.
  • Book I, see ://; and index to Book I at ://
  • Book II, see ://; and index to Book II at ://
  • Book III at ://; and index to Book III ://


Extra Credit: 

The committee notes that the Age of Denial (AD) is well over, during which hearers ignored or were kept unaware of the lack of substance and dependable factual background in persuasion. Blockades were implemented by the higher-ups against the lower-downs, in institutional religion, politics, consumer and environmental protection, etc.  Fact avoidance is a favorite tool:

Choose an activity of action from the following list:

  • Read this orientation, New World fact setting, "The Emperor's New Clothes," see :// In that reading,, the committee suggests you substitute "facts" for "clothes." We, as a committee, do not want it said of any of our students, "But his garble has no facts!"
    Pay particular attention to the role of swindlers in that tale.
  • Organize a referendum in your community to fund the teaching of propaganda-identification in the schools and in adult education programs, including from classical Rhetoric sources (Aristotle. See Wellesley College course offerings above). Add it to No Child Left Behind legislation. Practice identifying injurious propaganda, persuasion aimed at your constituency by the placed unanswered question, the suggestion, the subtle invitation to agree with a point without examination. Discuss your findings.
  • Housewives and househusbands: We commend you for your law school education, your intellectual record, your use of your talents while raising a family, and demonstrated skill in fundraising for public school matters and otherwise serving the public good. Now, go for the big stage.
    • Smaller groups appreciate that staying out of the limelight can be a commendable setting of priorities.  
    • However, at this point, perhaps some brushing up in the art of schmoozing in larger groups including those including reporters would be useful, as your handlers have whisked you away from those kinds of contacts. See schmooze at ://

II.  Individual request for waivers and personal comments
Handling Adversity

Podium 101A is designed to enable students to

a) enlist broad support in even antagonistic settings, and so

b) effectively manage the behaviors of those who seek to undermine the common good.  This requires practice in elocution, sentence structure and tonation. There are indeed those who will not wish you well.

There are always those who do not wish a candidate well

Podium 101, is addressed to all new candidate or Senate appointee-hopefuls, and reminds you of the requirement for you to complete Podium 101 before further vetting for the position you seek. 
  • Example: Mr McCain complied earlier this year.  Thank you for your letter of appreciation, Mr. McCain. We are pleased that you completed our course, and regret that it was not enough to bring the result you wanted.  Still, there was improvement among the speech-dozers in your audiences. There is also ongoing fear of outburst, leading this institution to tread lightly around thee. Those who have experienced heightened and prolonged stress, actual and acted upon threat to survival, and complete loss of control; sometimes bust out when those experiences threaten beloved ideology or status, is that so?
  • To those whose requests were denied, the committee decides on a case-by-case basis which course(s) are required of which candidates. The committee reviewed thoroughly your request for waivers. You requested a general waiver, and that is denied. Um, because, well, you know. Umm,  mm. Umm. You know.

Further decisions as to specific components of our course:

Successful Graduate, Public Speaker Holding Attention 

III. Progress Markers; Other topics

A. Individual Student Assessment Status. Counting speech-dozers.

The committee reviews submitted audios and videos, and those of audience reaction, and measures candidate media skills. Of these, audience reaction is given great weight. If persons that the speaker seeks to persuade, doze, the speaker loses - as does the Cause.

Speech Dozers: Podium 101 Counts and Watches

This clump of dedicated speech-dozers is not a good sign. Mr. McCain managed to improve his score, but not by much, except in belligerence. The committee has noted the polls and finds that the nation seeks appointees or winners who can SPEAK.


Thank you for your interest, and we look forward to working with you toward mastery of basic Podium skills.


Chair, Course Requirement Committee, America

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Conscience Rule and Conscientious Objector Status. From Easy to Hard.

Conflicting Standards, Similar Issue:
When Are You Required to Do Unto Others
  • Why should a simple personal statement of "objection" enable avoidance of civilian employment in providing medical services.
  • In military duty, release from service as conscientious objector means interviews, substantiation, exploration, before highly skeptical entities; and often - a court.
I. The conscience rule.

A. How it works.

This proposed new rule means that, in employment, an employee or primary care provider now can anticipate avoiding doing acts unilaterally deemed against the employee's conscience, regardless of the impact on the person seeking the lawful service. See "Controversy over new 'conscience' rule," at ://

It sets up a bus for public services where people who want certain of those services have to sit in the back. Or give up their seats and stand. Or are asked to get off the bus entirely. Go walk. Get out.

This allows the worker or doctor in control of treatment to impose his or her religious belief on others, and refuse treatment.

It prioritizes religious belief and imposes it: that the worker believes that his certain religious-moral viewpoint is

a) divinely "inspired;" and therefore
b) the seeker of treatment is wrong in the seeking and
c) won't get it here.

It is my inspired founder in my religious system over your inspired one.

B. How to obtain this conscientious objector status in the civilian healthcare field?

What does it take to succeed in forcing this moral area conviction, in what is inspired and what is not, on others?

All it takes is a simple, "No, I am morally opposed." Even if the person took the job knowing the kinds of services it entailed, a last minute duck-out is fine, leaving whoever unfortunately is on the gurney.
C. Why does the arbitrary duck-out violate other people's civil rights. Equal protection. You name it.

It is arbitrary. No standards. No notice. Invasion of privacy of the seeker who may have to explain the circumstances so the counter troll can decide if the counter troll thinks the situation, which is none of his business, passes muster and will fill the prescription.

Unfairly prejudicial to the seeker of the service who just happened to be at the counter of the Self-Proclaimed Inspired Objector, rather than at the counter of the other chain across the street, and now it is closed.

If an establishment is open to the public, the public is there to be served. No discrimination.

There must be someone else on duty who will do it immediately without others around even knowing the switch has been made, or else the troll is imposing his religious views on others. If there is immediate recourse in the particular emergency room or drug store or whatever, and no prejudice to the seeker who could care less who gives over the substance, there is no imposition. Does that make sense?

Meanwhile: post big signs in the window until this issue of discrimination against the public in places open to the public is decided.
Abandon Individual Responsibility, All Ye Who Enter Here. Self-Proclaimed Moral Superiority Objector Trolls Lurk Behind the Counters and May Impose Their Views On You and Your Doctor In This Establishment.
II. Conscientious Objector Status: The Military.

A. How it works.

Military applicants or employees can seek discharge from service on honorable grounds by claiming and substantiating moral or religious objection to the actions required by the military, the proofs to accord with statutory and case law parameters. There is formal application, formal affirmative proof.

When employed by the government in the military, or where service is sought, a potential employee-soldier-medic-other has no such easy course traditionally.

B. How to obtain this conscientious objector status in the military service field?

An applicant must leap multiple hurdles to prove affirmatively that he or she "conscientiously objects" to the service on particular grounds as laid out by the military employer.

See criteria and definitions at, "Who Is A Conscientious Objector," at // That site refers to Section 6(j) of the Military Selective Service Act, shown as 50 USC (United States Code) 456(j).
Go there.
  • Surprise. Find it "omitted." Is there no longer a conscientious objection proision at 50 USC 456? Go to :// and search for 50 for Title, and 456 for section, and find zip. Omitted it says.
But there are ongoing examples, so until we find the newest statute in the US Code, here is what is happening. In these sites and cases, the Army says no, the status is denied. The person goes to court and the court says yes. Why are all these on one side? How many are simply accepted by the Army? We have no access to that information. It does appear, however, that the process is a difficult one.

C. Why does the formal process protect other people's civil rights. Equal protection. You name it.

There are checks and balances. Other soldiers remain ready to serve. The Army does not easily approve applications, based on internet research to date. There is notice, opportunity for hearing, findings to test sincerity or whim. Most cases we found involved awakenings.

A. Rekindled faith. The Boston Globe reports that a federal appeals court upheld a doctor's request for conscientious objector status, as one who experienced a "rekindled" faith, in her Coptic Christian faith. This reprieve was only after an extensive inquiry into her sincerity and the timing of the request, and the matter even had to go to court even though the doctor offered to repay the government for training received. See ://
B. May occur while in service. NPR has an article dated 12/19/2008 on someone claiming conscientious objector status while on furlough from Iraq, see Slate's Explainer at ://

C. Religious awakening. A religious awakening can also be the basis for conscientious objector status, even for a soldier while in Iraq. See :// But that also came only after the army first denied the request, and the soldier had to go to court. The army's claim of "insincerity" had no basis in fact, said the judge.

D. After years of service. The status can even be proven after years of service. See the whole routine at "Conscientious Objector Application," from 1996-97, by John R. Goldthwaite :// site is in the form of a log, like a diary, with attachments and links to the documents and records. He had served for 12 years before seeking the severance from service on the conscientious objector status.

E. Much persistence needed. Here, a West Point graduate is granted the status, but only after the army refused and the case was pursued with the help of the civil liberties people. See the New York Civil Liberties site at ://

F. The religious belief need not be mainstream. Here, a Navajo marine is granted the status on grounds of being a medicine man, the product of new found tribal beliefs, a "spiritual transformation." See Military Ltd. site at ://

Not many seek the status these days, see article by James Foley in MedIll, but that could result from underreporting or peer pressure not to seek, see ://

What makes a conscientious objector in the military?

No set rule - late conversions, early upbringing, sudden enlightenment, and probably some opportunists among the sincere.

Delve deeper.

Look up Aidan Delgado's book, "The Sutras of Abu Ghraib: Notes of a Conscientious Objector," review at

There, however, arguably the actions ordered were not "legal," wait and see. Still, given the Milgram Studies - the Milgram Experiments finding that people are highly likely to inflict pain on others if they perceive they are ordered to do so by authority, his resistance is commendable and rare. See the studies again in the news at ://

The point is that the conscientious objector status in matters where the person seeks release from doing what is legal and part of the job must be affirmatively proven.

Merely claiming personal opposition on moral grounds is not enough for the military, and should not be in the also important healthcare field where services are not up to the druggist to assess. How can a druggist assess morality in an overall situation based only upon a prescription?

III. Conclusion for both civil and military.

Civil, tighten up. If you, dear druggist assistant, as an individual want to discriminate based on your personal views, find a private drugstore, or private emergency room to work in. Surely a person can choose employment consistent with belief in the first place, and not wait until the gurneys are lined up to say no. This asks for abuses; and sudden deprivations as to people in line. This is like moving next to a kennel and then complaining that dogs bark.

Military, loosen up. Address the moral conflicts, acknowledge the disjoints as part of any military context. Normalize it then be as stringent as military needs for personnel and obedience to orders require. Offer moves to other areas of the military. Don't wait until someone applies for discharge, then pounce.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Barack - Meaning of the Name Barack. Cultural Cross-Pollination.

What is the Meaning of Barack as a Name.
Which Authority?

Cultural Concepts in Naming; Linguistic Roots

I. The name, "Barack," has complex and ancient multicultural roots.

Some other names that look obviously connected in our alphabet, such as "Barak," the OT Hebrew general in Book of Judges, are not connected etymologically, to "Barack" say some. Barack, they say, is from an Arabic root, and traveled with traders and migrations to East Africa, Kenya, Tanzania. But there are other old Semitic roots to the name: BRK for example. Those apparently are etymologically correct. Baruch as a form of the name is related as well. It and other old Arabic Semitic forms, mean "blessing" or "blessed."

The Arabic languages: watch how they spread to East Africa, see "Melting Pot" at ://

The Hebrew (see early definition of Hebrew as "stateless people" at Nationmaster, :// Their language(s) also spread to Egypt and elsewhere. See Moses.

Pharoah, roadside, Poland (interest-sparker for a bar down the way)

Many cultures, cross-pollinating, each naming a child as a blessing. And Benedict? Same blessing, different language. Unwind the twine, common core. People mingling, same roots.

II. Finding roots is a hunt.

A. Baby-namer site: too simplistic

Here, we find two angles on Barack. "Barack" as "African." And meaning "blessed." But what is "African?" My name is "European." That is too broad without the linquistic source. See "Babynames" at ://

The site goes on to say in a note that "Barack" is a Hebrew form of the Hebrew, Baruch. It leaves the issue at that. Mention and run. We would like to know more. There are Hebrew connections to Africa, of course. Mary and Joseph went to Egypt. And earlier - "Cush," the land where one of Eden's rivers flowed, means "Ethiopia."

Points: 1 of 10, because the at least mention the Old Testament connection to Hebrews, but then they pass it by.

2. Internet Encyclopedia - different sites produce different information .

a. Barack.
  • The given name, Barack, is explored at :// We are told that "Barak" in Hebrew usage is etymologically unrelated. But the very old BRK is related. So it may be that the "blessed" connotation is from the Arabic, the Sufi, in root. But it is related to ancient Semitic Sabean - Semitic - back to Hebrew roots? See the Semitic Museum at Harvard, at ://
  • The name origin - See Wiki Answers at :// This only takes us to Swahili, a/k/a Kiswahili, an African language, where Baraka means, again, "blessing." It also acknowledges roots in Arabic, however, from traders on the East African coast, and that is a common name in Kenya, and Tanzania.
b. Baruch. Baruch was the scribe of OT Jeremiah. Baruch is a Book in itself, included in some versions of the Bible - says this encyclopedia site. See overview of Book of Baruch at Wikipedia - ://

a) the Greek Septuagint (LXX),
b) the Vulgate, and
c) and Theodotion's. What is that?

You can see a process going on, where some books are in and some are kept out of various groups' Bible forms, at Bookrags at :// Listed there are its references, other information.

Here is the text of Baruch, for the curious, at a Google book at ://

c. Barak. That form has more Hebrew roots - it means "lightning" in Hebrew. And Barak is a general at the battle of Megiddo. The name can mean either of these two good things, a) a blessing or b) one that is that blessing that the individual can pass on to others. See also berek and baraka. To kneel, a supplication to bless God, that kind of idea, roughly.

Closer. Closer, but the list of people with the name "Barack" in Wikipedia still does not include Barack Obama. Somebody add it. Score: 7 out of 10.

3. Blog - Juancole

This blog person tracks back to religious sources and puts the "blessing" part of Barack, and puts it

a) back to Eden where God "blessed Adam and Eve," see Genesis 1:22, and that gives the derivation. See "Informed Comment" at :// / and

b) to its uses in the Bible, our version.

The site also provides a click to see all the times that "Barak" is in the western Bible. But if that root word is not connected etymologically, is this relevant. If the "Barak" root is connected, it goes back to Barak, the General who defeated the Canaanites at Megiddo, now symbolizing "Armageddon." See :// Start reading at Judges 4:6.

There were many battles at Megiddo, the battle plain, hill, mountain area, that we now refer to as "Armageddon."

For more on the history, watch out for religious agendas in any religious site, but this one seems straightforward - See "Bible Studies, Battle of Megiddo" at :// Victor in conflict. See the name at "Barak" at :// See also Barak and Deborah (the Judge at the time) and the conflicts intermingling Judges 4- Deborah and Barak, at ://

c) Hussein. Aside to the middle name. This site goes on to Hussein, as an affectionate diminutive for semitic words meaning "handsome," or "good." There is more on the "Hussein" name in different contexts, including families with the name whose ancestors were forced to convert from Islam to Christianity in the Inquisition era, Spain.

See more there, on the name of our General Omar Bradley. Should he have been fired because of the Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam.

Do we have it right or not?

Points: 9 of 10 for digging into a new area.

III. Amalgam.

Do we have a blessed (Arabic) general (Hebrew figure), with naming roots in Judaism, People of the Book. Then ask, what is the modern Canaanite in concept today, that "Barak" conquered at Megiddo? See the Canaanites at :// Much mingling. Are we the Canaanites?

IV. So: Summary - Where have we come since the name-busting in the campaigns?

Barack, Barack. The Name They Whack. First Name Attack! Like Bric a Brac,
Or Klik and Klak. Oh, the flack! From Jill and Jack whose wits are lack. There is a knack, so find the crack yhrough which, no slack, we can unpack more yak about the name, Barack. Baruch Barak.

Benedictus. Benedictus? Benedict?

Ecumenism in naming, Benedict. Proof of the many roads. No monopolies.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mixed Origins: Clues to Religions, Cultures. Europe Black Madonna, Roma Sara-la-Kari, Slavery, Melungeon, Secret Life of Bees,

Traces of Merged Cultures
Art, Music, Religion:
The American South
Black, European, Roma (Gypsy), Native American

What is passed on when cultures meet, clash, mix. Bits of lore, a treasured thing, a custom, language, a reference point, a story.
See how three cultures merge in the book, now a film, "The Secret Life of Bees," by Sue Monk Kidd:
1. The European - The Black Madonna from Medieval Poland; Poles arrived with Columbus' second voyage, and at Jamestown, Virginia. A long history.
2. The Gypsy or Roma - Their early immigration and even enslavement in this country. The Indo-Iranian branch, and from more northern Europe, other groups with a similar lifestyle. Did they bring the notion of a female intermediary, not just the Christian Mary, but her servant - the Roma patron saint, Sara-la-Kali.
3. The American Slave South. Did their African and then exposure to Christian religion, mix with Roma groups, downtrodden like themselves, leading to an affinity for - in the book and film - the wooden African-appearing "goddess" or other figure, aid and succor and protection.

The watch the brew. Consider how another element of the book (this was changed in the film, to the detriment of the film), a copy of an iconic painting of a Black Madonna, from Czestochowa, Poland, come into the hands of a Black family in the American South, descended from slaves.

Is there really a historical likelihood of a connection to the history of that painting, in their slave-descended geneology: to some Gypsy, Roma or Polish source.  Through enslavement of European gypsies, or Roma, and other immigration patterns, yes. Having the picture could also be simply a Roman Catholic painting picked at random from a magazine. But consider a more interesting alternative.

The Boatwright slave-descended family in the film-book has elements of many cultures in it. Look at their location, at a crossroads of slavery and immigration patterns of other groups.Consider the number of surrounding ethnic groups making their way in the South and moving toward Appalachia and elsewhere since colonial times, their heritage may include Gypsies, or Roma, and ultimately groups now known as Melungeons. The Melungeons share proud elements of several cultures, a blend over centuries of Black slave, Gypsy slave, Native American, others, with a local variation as in the film. See Gypsies, Roma, Romani, Melungeons: Parse for American Roma. Explore with us.
And, if there is that cross-cultural connection, with the painting brought into the fold by one ancestor, and passed down, what else came with that other culture. What talents, interests, characteristics, and how did those reinforce, supplement and echo similar traditions from the Black slaves' own African past.

Traditions in support.

There is a specific tradition that connects at least some of the Gypsy slave history in America, for example, some Gypsies brought to South Carolina as slaves; with other Gypsy persecution, and their worship of Sara-La-Kali, Patron Saint of the downtrodden. She is not the same as the Roman Catholic Saint Sarah. The role of a female intermediary, is common in Christianity and African religions as well. A common link, that survives. The Black Madonna, and Sara-La-Kali in intermediary role. Representing the dark-skinned heritage, more likely in the Middle East, than the white-outed.
A. Connecting The Dots

1. The Black Madonna from Medieval Poland

There is an image of a Black Madonna used on the book cover, "The Secret Life of Bees," see :// The book is by Sue Monk Kidd.. 

This is the Black Madonna from Jasna Gora Monastery, Czestochowa, Poland. Here is our photo of a copy at Gdansk. This Black Madonna is seen throughout Poland, and no photographs were permitted at Jasna Gora itself. Find it in an Images search also.

Black Madonna, copy in Gdansk Cathedral, Poland (original at Czestochowa) - used on the honey jars, see book cover

Black Madonnas are found throughout Europe, each with its own history of miracles, battles, how it came to be.  See varieties of the Polish Black Madonnas at Poland Road Ways, Black Madonna, Jasna Gora, Wroclaw, Gdansk. For an overview of the kinds and nature of the true, historic Black Madonnas, see "Black Madonnas" by Michael C. Duricy, at ://; and the site's follow-up at://

There are several lines of thought about Black Madonnas: One tradition of Black Madonnas dates from the Middle Ages and earlier, some claiming 2d Century - one supposedly made by Luke, even. This early tradition with the dark skin is represented by the one shown on the book cover, whether in painting or sculptural form. Some have been shown to have darkened only from fire or exposure, but others have no such explanation, and appear intentionally dark. Mary had dark skin, is the message.

Another tradition is contemporarily cultural to the times. The artist or sculptor reproduces ethnic features on the Madonna to appeal to a particular group, to show universality or similarity..

The Black Madonna idea either way is watered down in the film.

The film substitutes a modern face and style and pose, for the classic and real painting in Czestochowa. It removes a significant mystery from the story. The effect is to diminish the level of culture to which the Boatwright family had been exposed. And ignores the general distribution of Black Madonna images in the world.

How did the Polish Czestochowa Black Madonna end up in South Carolina, in a slave-descended family.

2. The Role of "Sara-La-Kali"
Servant to Mary, Sainted by the People
The second religious figure in the book-film is the role of the wooden figure. Revered. Reputed to have done good works, or brought them about. A protector. African in appearance here, but with a role like that of Sara-La-Kali, who has become the patron saint of the Gypsies, or Roma. The patron saint of those who serve, or are held in servitude. Roma often adopt the religion of the dominant culture, while continuing with their own practices and beliefs, see "Roma People" at :// It can also, of course, be a fully independent goddess or succor figure from slavery times, without further overlay.

But with the Black Madonna already central to the story, do look at other Polish and Gypsy connections, as roots.

The story is that Sara-La-Kali, or Sara the Black, was a black companion to Mary the Mother of J, long term. She accompanied Mary the Mother and Mary Magdalene, says tradition, to France after the crucifixion. Sara is said to have guided the ship through a storm.

Tradition says that Sara-La-Kali came from Egypt, staying with Mary after the sojourn to escape Herod, or from India perhaps (less likely - the deity "Kali" is very different there). Perhaps she is the unnamed third woman at the tomb. See overview of Sara-La-Kali as patron saint, at :// The Catholic Church deflected interest in Sara-La-Kali by sainting another "Sara" as Saint Sara, but the older tradition remains strong despite them.
The connection here: is of course, speculative, but the pieces fit. The good works of Sara-La-Kali in France have made her the Patron Saint of the Gypsies or Roma.

Current worship of Sara-La-Kali.

See where the Marys and Sara La Kali are supposed to have landed in France, see the Gypsy rituals at the Church at Saintes Maries de la Mar at the mouth of the Rhone River, Ile de la Camargue, France.  Videos at;  See photos of the church and the festival at ://

This is an important person in those traditions. Would traditions honoring her in Europe carry over here, to enhance the role of a Black female figure, whether goddess or not.

And how would a French tradition get to Poland? Why connect it to a Black Madonna.

We suggest it because there are paintings connecting the two already, in location, at Gdansk, Poland. The Black Madonna from Czestochowa is displayed in Gdansk,  in the same Gdansk cathedral as this next painting - but this one has symbolic and other differences.  It does not look like merely another 'Black Madonna.'

Look.  Here, in glorious gown, here is a painting in the same cathedral in Gdansk as the Black Madonna.  See the similar framing. - but it does not look like a Madonna.  No baby. And there is a crescent form beneath.  That crescent depicts the Roma or Rom or Gypsies, and Sara-La-Kali is patron saint of the Gypsies, the Roma, the Rom.

Black Madonna, or is it Sara La Kali, Gdansk, Poland

Why would this golden garbed figure be Gypsy?

She herself, as Sara-La-Kali, may not be herself, as Gypsies apparently did not migrate from India uncil centuries later.

But her role as servant, serving, aid and succor, unrecognized, invisible, is like them. No land of her own. A Traveler. Did these elements of the story play a part in Sara-La-Kali becoming the Gypsy patron saint.  More choices: The crescent can even signify the horns of Mithra. See where the symbolism and the absence of the baby can lead to that conclusion, at Bogomilia, Sara the Black or Sara La Kali.  Those of you with more information, can you translate, can you help here.
3.  The American Slave South:

The Wooden Inspirational Figure in the Parlor

A. Religious Roots.

African slave religious roots include goddesses. Start on African history and events at Fordham University's History Sourcebook, at :// Find religious issues at the NationMaster Encyclopedia, at 

African slaves were exposed to and absorbed Christianity to a large degree, adapting it to their needs and expression.

But other religious backgrounds had an influence as well. Gypsy or Roma culture and religion. And those of any other group out of the white mainstream in the South.

B.  Roots in a common slavery; a common rejection.  
The Roma Slave, the Gypsy Slave. 

England and Scotland shipped Gypsies as slaves to Virginia and the Caribbean in the 17th and 18th Centuries, other countries sent Gypsy slaves here to other places, see the Patrin Web Journal at  In the South and elsewhere were undocumented immigrants - those who are not on the roles of Ellis Island, or ship lists, for example. Some were Gypsies or Roma, collected from Europe and dropped off often at places like the South Carolina coast often to be enslaved here, if not already slaves. See the Patrin and Burke sites.

Check history.  There has been far more cultural diversity in our land, and since colonial times., than we, most of us, imagined - or see.  
  • Free Moors and Turks.  For example, read of the Free Moors and Turks who were specifically brought over and then sold into slavery here. See "The Never-Ending Road American Roma (Gypsies), Travellers and "Others," at :// .
Do go there and click on the other Roma history and heritage sites there. .
  • "The Never Ending Road." It is likely from that site's information, and others, that Roma or Gypsy populations were indeed, if not forcibly intermingled as slaves, particularly in the South Carolina coastal areas, or connected by necessity as outcast persons. 
Roma, Levice, SlovakiaAre there elements of the Roma, Gypsy religion(s) that would have been passed on to the blended families. Why not?  What comes to mind:  skill at stringed instruments; strong sense of independence; females running the household, even if the male is nominally in charge. Or not around at all. Cultural absorption, not merely the adversity of slavery. Mulatto. Not merely white owner-black slave, but also slave to slave, European Roma and Black slave. Each with a broad range of characteristics, skin color, within the larger group, as with any group. The Roma writing at the site says he has red hair, blue eyes. These Roma, in Slovakia, were dark, India-Indian in appearance. How many of  our Appalachia population is not merely Scots-Irish, or Scots, but the Melungeons.

C. Melungeons

For a known mix in our country, see "Origins of the Melungeon-Appalachian Subculture," by Henry Robert Burke, at://  The idea is the blend of African slave, Native American, Black, Gypsy, Moor, - do not miss that site. It focuses on Appalachia and north to Ohio. Good heavens - it says that some Rom accompanied Columbus on his second voyage. They were in Virginia in the Colonial period. Others were enslaved, and it says that the same proportion of Rom were exterminated by the WWII Nazis as were the Jews.

Meet the Melungeons -

The Melungeons are a blend of ancient cultures, that may help explain this particular question, something about the Boatwrights in the movie, and whose broad range of people you may not have noticed.

  • By way of update in 2012, DNA testing has narrowed the reality to the union of sub-Saharan African men and women of central or northern European roots:  see .
  • Will DNA satisfy those who research the Melungeons?  There have been wide variations in theories, and I will keep them here for reference.
  • The Roma, or Romany:  are they included in the DNA of women of central or northern European roots?

See "Origins of the Appalachian-Melungeon Subculture: A More Plausible Explanation for the Origin of Melungeons," by Henry Burke at :// and "A Possible End to the Mystery of the Melungeons," at :// Read about them in "Patrin," a Roma Journal, article "The Black Dutch, German Gypsies, or Chicanere, and Their Relation to the Melungeons," by Linda Griggs at ://

With a landing point at the South Carolina coast, see "The Never-Ending Road American Roma (Gypsies), Travellers and "Others," at ://, this makes sense. Start there, many end up in Appalachia.

June and August Boatwright, are you interested?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Procrustean Bed: The Individual and Social Role


Meet The Trap of Roles and Loss of Identity: 
The Procrustean Bed -  

The Procustean bed stands for forced conformity.  Identity lost. Forced lengthening, shortening, to suit others. Visit "Dynamics of Human Identity," by Vladimir Dimitrov and Kalevi Kopra, 1998 - a venerable site - of the University of Sidney-Hawkesbury, Richmond, Australia, at :// 

Meet Procrustes - he was a Greek mythological giant who stretches and torments people until they fit the length of his bed. 

Or he chops their limbs off to make them fit. See :// great procrustean bed. 

Finally, hero Theseus defeats him. But Procrustes lives on in our institutions.

The tale stands for enforced conformity, says this site, "Freedoms Ring" at :// (gets subjective at the end, on religion); and see Wikipedia for its other many uses as a concept, in cutting rooms for film, etc. at ://

What does it tell us?  It shouts that an individual identity is basic to full development.  

We find it in modern times, and in other animals.  Even cows that are named produce more milk than the unnamed, those that are merely milked.  

Those that have an identity apart from the others or a mere ear-tag, are more productive than the merely tagged.  See Anthrozoos, March 2009 - this clearly an update on the topic -  and the researcher-authors received a Nobel Peace Price in Veterinary Medicine for it in October 2009. See ://  here a fair use quotation from the Nobel site --

Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK, for showing that cows who have names give more milk than cows that are nameless.
REFERENCE: "Exploring Stock Managers' Perceptions of the Human-Animal Relationship on Dairy Farms and an Association with Milk Production," Catherine Bertenshaw [Douglas] and Peter Rowlinson, Anthrozoos, vol. 22, no. 1, March 2009, pp. 59-69. DOI: 10.2752/175303708X390473.
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Peter Rowlinson. Catherine Douglas was unable to travel because she recently gave birth; she sent a photo of herself, her new daughter dressed in a cow suit, and a cow.
Not convinced?  Visit "Dynamics of Human Identity," by Vladimir Dimitrov and Kalevi Kopra, 1998 - a venerable site - of the University of Sidney-Hawkesbury, Richmond, Australia, at :// 

The inquiry uses their framework -  searching for a human identity drive. We found this creative, bright person - one Vladimir Dimitrov - on the topic - a Ph..D in Engineering Sciences, Doctor of Science in Mathematics and Physics); Kalevi Kopra (undescribed). Our summary follows, with cites to other references (not in the web paper):

Thank you Vlad.  We prioritized and summarized their thoughts this way -

1. Roles. We are surrounded by roles, pushed into some and not others, depending, until we may even think of ourselves as our role. See proposed specifics for our culture at Demographic Poll, Cultural Roles.

The culture likes identities to be fixed - that makes it easier to manage the people in them, as mediocre components; compared to the unique, fluid individuals that result from flexible role movement.

2. How roles work. Cultures like to fix people in them: Who is who is very important to some. (Robin the Hood. Joe the Plumber?).  Numbers ascribed, ID cards, all that. Long list. And the form of fixing the role identification feeds the data bases. And each fixed ID has one interpretation, says the article. In the System, obey the rules. It can be criminal not to obey the rules.

Sounds right so far.

3. Specific application to a modern culture. Vlad's site goes on, then, to analyze Australia's systems for systematizing the identities of its various component parts, revise that, people. Stress increases as the quantity of roles increase with social complexity. Some people respond to that stress by being overcome - what's the use. Others, however, respond to stress in other ways, including individually with an inward journey as the individual life unfolds. Society does not encourage that. But the drive to identity is a deep one.

4. Our choices. Basically, people gravitate toward one of two models, two kinds of behaviors
  • A model of separateness, me vs. you, read competition, conflict, supremacism. Take the gap between rich and poor - so vast by now as to be different species. This model fosters gaps, divisions. Divide in order to rule.
  • Amodel of unity - me and you, the outstretched hand to help, respect, celebrate difference, drive to understand
5. A plan. How to get to the second one, the unity model. 

Vlad suggests that it takes people with a tolerance for diversity, and the capacity for self-reliance. Then you get a rich creativity - complementarity. The new group identity that emerges is not fixed, static, "role" but instead dynamic, "co-evolving individual identities."

Cheers, Vlad. Meet Obama. Obama, meet Vlad. Vlad, glad to meet you.

Conclusion so far: So we prioritize educating our children and adults to tolerance, not fear; for independence in decision-making and productivity. We can do that.

Is this like the study finding that there are left-leaning or left-wing brains that thrive on tolerance, and right-leaning or right-wing brains that thrive on fear? See the Los Angeles Times, at ://,0,5982337.story


Anyone who is forced to conform out of fear and violence, is a victim of terrorism in its many forms. Is that so? How do we harness force so that the conformity is for the greater good, and not to serve the greed, power, of the forcers.Get out of their Procrustean Bed.

Definition. Terrorism.

Terrorism is forcing conformity on others, out of fear by a) threat of violence and/or b) actual violence, and c) to enhance the power position of the actor.

By that definition, terrorism lies not only with the detonators, but in the abuse in
  • our homes,
  • our violations of voting rights,
  • our invasions of other countries for economic reasons,
  • our local gangs, bullies,
  • even our brass ceilings.
Where is the limit to the concept of terroristic force.

The limit is in the purpose: power; or a common good. How to keep it at bay.

Some defend their forcing of their conformity. They claim that they use threat and violence not to enhance their own power over others, but to glorify their interpretation of a deity's alleged message. And that they they alone have received a deity's message "correctly."

If you believe that, we have a nice bridge to sell you.


What happens when individualism is broadly tolerated, and when it is not. What society results. What creativity, energy. Do you want it. What motivation drives the controllers.
    The Procrustean Bed. The ancient mythological monster captured travelers passing by and tortured them until they fit his bed. Stretch or chop. And see the interpretation of the myth, as representing the dysfunctional violence and absurdity of forcing conformity. Who is served. Theseus killed him.
    • Then toy with kinds of social models, identifying and weighing cultural elements. See a culture at work.
    We offer a process and visualization for that. Then consider where extremism in social role conformity thrives best. And with what results.

    In extremism, that force to conform shows up globally and nationally. Extremism:  Each pole has its extremists, each extremist makes his or her own bed, and forces others into it thereafter.

    Interesting. If we can't or won't stop it in its smaller manifestations at home, the brutes inflicting pain for pleasure or profit on living beings anywhere, or the bullies at school, or even forms of voter suppression (did the Yup'ik get their bilingual assistance, even get to the polls? was there force, threat?), how do we expect to do anything for anyone else anywhere else.
    III.  A Less Lofty Social Analysis
    A.  Triangle idea.

    Make an Equilateral Triangle. Sitting firm on its flat Base. This is a Culture.

    Three color bands are off to the side, ready to be placed in the triangle in some fashion.

    1) A blue one for tolerance of the individual;
    2) A red one for pressure to conform to a role;
    3) A purple one for social controls (government).

    Which is given most space at the base, where everything rests.  How deep is it.  Which is at the tiny apex.  Or does that spread almost to the base.

    • broad tolerance of the individual at the base; then comes a narrower band representing the push to perform a group role; and finally, at the narrowest top, social control (government)? or
    • broad tolerance for social control (government) at the bottom, and great big push to perform a group role; and finaly, at the narrowest top, individualism?
    B. Rock-scissors-paper idea.

    The palm as the Individual.
    The scissor fingers as Role.
    The fist as Government.

    The Individual trumps Role.  The Role trumps Government.  Government trumps the Individual.

     Or Social control trumps role pressure trumps the individual trumps social control. See models for the rock, scissors, paper model at Joy of Equivocating, Today's Rock, Scissors, Paper

    C. Drive

    Brainstorm the idea of "drives."

    Put it in drive.

    Put what in drive?

    There's drive 1, drive 2, and overdrive.

    Driving? Who's at the wheel? Are you preset for standard, with its flexibility vroom; or automatic, yadda yadda.

    Drive for an identity. As an individual, or as a group. Drive to impose your identity on others. Drive to control everyone's identity, manage their individual drives for your purpose? Enter the government. Is that so?

    Forced conformity, under threat or violence, to enhance the actor's power, is terrorism. And the proof is in the pudding. If they get more powerful because you conform, you know it is terrorism, not the deity. Individual identity fosters creativity.  Mass identity fosters followers.

    FN 1 Do go to the Vlad homepage here, at :// See sections, Complexity of Human Dynamics, Fuzziology, and Wholesome Ecology and Spirituality. Fuzziology. Talk about creativity. Make room for more.

    Monday, November 17, 2008

    Blog Post - Palin Tale. The Cheery Lady. RedivideR. Bee's Knees.

    Blog Post - Palin Script:

    Sequitur Non Sequitur Segue

    The Story That Went Thataway FN 1

    The Cheery Lady
    And the Opening Door

    The Setting.

    Once upon a time there was a cheery lady who bounced and bounced, and you know she would have been able to wear those great big hats because of all that hair that she had right under there. But that was gosh a century ago and she just wasn't around then, so she just put them on anyway in her own house there and perked everybody up who came to call.

    Smiling lady in big hat with big hair under: See Hatpins Collection, faces

    One day, she decided that where she was. was just too small and all that, and that she wanted to see the big, wide world also, that she just hadn't had time to see before with all that family, and running for office, you know, and like that. And she wondered also just how she could do that and really get somewhere.

    Just like a jail!

    So she had that other baby that she didn't let get in the way at all, and kept on with, you know, just what she had been doing and stepping on a toe here and there, like everybody does, you know that. With an eye to opportunity and the door there.

    She looked around and thought, maybe there's more to this office business than this reformin' and all, where it suits that bottom line there, and don't look at me and I bet you have too. And a little misusing that over there and you know about bridges how they are, what he did to my family, and that. And that was bad so we just had to get that set straight also.

    Yes, she was a strong little critter, she was, not quite Lincoln, but lots of that sass, polarize like those polar bears in the water and that why worry about them and all, and maybe even those emails will get reported on but doubtful also because there's nobody really gets to cross her up there. See The Fodder Site, Update on Orders, Recruitergate.

    The Opportunity At Last

    The cheery lady did that for, oh, maybe two years big time. Then, just you look.

    There was this band of angels just opened that door a crack and whoosh! The lady with the hair was right through that thing so fast, and out the other side. Why, nothing can keep a body down when the door just opens like that! Where's my gun? Oh, that's next weekend.

    That's my party!

    And she ran and she was spunky all right.

    Everything, as a matter of the true fact as you real Americans know it, is black or white. And you just call it like you see it and it doesn't make any difference if it's so or not, so long as you just repeat it like that. Ever study history? Big decibels.

    Just wait. And if somebody says that's not right, or that isn't so, and that's even a lie, and she never waivers, never looks it up her self, just keep on with that name-callin' there. And says to let the voters decide if she's tellin' the truth, if they want factcheck they can have it, but this is free speech also and she'll just call 'em like she sees 'em and let 'er rip.

    Still that door had opened, and you know if it opens just a crack, you gotta go through it. So she did. And went South.

    But there were big bad people pallin' around out and against the lady, asking all those questions. Who just didn't get it.

    And they just didn't take her message the way she was used to getting her message taken, and so she skipped the big issues and she just put on that similipstick and revved up her fans with the sound of it all until they were ready to hit on people, and even though she wore those NM skirts that are so cute popping round a stage and behind a podium. And did she talk that code about end times. But you know what?

    The Bee's Knees

    There the perky lady was, but there was a puzzle also. Why was she never shown in a nice, extended time with somebody, a journalist or something, just walking and talking, and, yes, here's a bench.

    Why she couldn't sit.

    Not one bit. She just tried in that one interview and where on earth is that skirt? This is not an issue of wardrobe: it is an issue of awareness. Where one is in time and space. Deportment even. Savvy. Wits, not wittiness. Surroundings. Surroundings. Perception of same.

    See :// -- and again! What was the RNC thinking, or don't ask. See :// Oh, those cute little bees' knees and more. Set her up for TV in the Middle East? What was she thinking? Was she thinking? She couldn't even sit in a row on stage at the PTA in that. Hem and haw. Gap gaffe over and over. Awk-ward. Hike it again! And diminishing also. Totally.

    And that's why we never saw a full interview, start to finish. This was Brian's big opportunity and all they'd show of that was five cut-up minutes a day. Awareness of surroundings. Brian, where were you supposed to look during that outdoorsy interview all casual on the bench. No wonder they didn't show her walking up and shaking hands and sitting down, easy like, because it couldn't be done. Also.

    The perky lady looked oblivious. She thought to herself, and here is a true inner view of the workings of the mind behind scenes. Just let other people decide down there at Saks what I should wear - they must know. See:// Why this little number is just the bees' knees. See Alt.Usage Faq at :// Just like that Bee Jackson. Did that Images search there. I think I'll just take it along, too.

    Pan away, pan away, pan away the camera. Never even a half hour all at once. Cut! Cut!

    We all had to go to YouTube, for gosh sakes. May we tour the cutting room floor?

    The Elephant, the Witch and the Wardrobe? Known jovially as The Elephant, the Which and the Wardrobe. It was all about sales, wasn't it. Not merit, not depth, just if it could sell. Advertising product placement for Nummy Markups.

    What wardrobe choice means to us, aside from letting lobbyist Nummy Markups treat politics like a runway.

    We focus not on the money here, but on what the wardrobe fiasco tells us about the perky lady's lacks:

    a) her own sense of the appropriate,
    b) to whom she delegates decisions, and why,
    c) her instinct for the gravitas of a situation,
    d) her ability to make an independent assessment; then stand up to (or sit down, if only she could, and discuss with) the personal shoppers from Saks and NM, who couldn't wait for the advertising that was bound to come out,
    e) accountability. That wasn't me, she says all coy, that was just them out there making those decisions...

    Ask: What would her first big negotiation look like:

    Pardon me, Sheikh, now that we have met all upright and walking across over here, and I'll just go change so I can sit.

    And that cute Mr. Putin.

    Putin waitin'.
    Why the last time he flew over, he himself looked and he was hoping for this election to go that way.

    Whar's the b'ar. In the yard.

    But the election just came out all wrong, and there's hard knocks and meanness out there, and they're just out to getcha, and she just said I'm a quick study and I can memorize whatever you want, just give me some time, just a little more time. But no, they had to squeal and tell tales and count blouses, for heaven's sake also.

    And, you know what?

    Future Plans, Signs

    The perky lady finally picked up a book.

    And she read right there that there was an Olivia Floyd, a teenager, in 1864, who concealed military orders in her hair in a desperate ride to get the message through.

    See "Famous Secret Service Agents," NYT archives, 4/15/1915 - at :// Is that how to win, she asked her also cute self.

    Just hide some crib notes, a little earpiece.

    Just blendin' in here
    Maybe did already up there, nobody knows, like we knew about the box shape showing up at the back shoulders of other people in suits in debates.

    Now to using up this time openin' back up:

    Did the little lady then just go back to her business, to reflect on a little wisdom, after that bad election that people just made into something else.

    Has she called Cindy, as a friend. Does she care about Cindy.

    And is she ever willing to blend in and reflect for a change, doing some listening, absorbing other angles, especially after those turkeys gave so much for her enjoyment, and maybe just a learning a little about getting informed and world stages and analytical ability and accountability in the big world? Can she?

    How about some worthy projects up there, that kind of like got ignored, like Shishmaref . Or finally making friends with NARF. Todd would like that. Nosirree Bob!

    She was last heard saying to herself, she did just the other day like that, I could'a' done that. I don't have to learn a thing. I'm gonna pull an Olivia Floyd maneuver next time you betcha, rig up this hive to get me some messages right in time and right then when I need it, no teleprompter for me!

    I will and don't you forget it because I haven't forgotten any of you. Bye bye (Little fingery wave). Oh, doggonit - they said to do a royal palm-tick-tock? - Gosh, I forgot that again.

    Tsk. That's just the way we do things up here, and I'm gonna keep on going it, do it right to the people. Got some interviews also.

    Bet she'll be back. Edges fixed for public consumption. Or perhaps in a more balanced match. Leaving people's privacy alone? Only for her family. Dtr-of-a-gun. After all, Hillary is back.

    Palin. Palindrome. Here is one that reads the same backwards and forwards Live redivider / Revider evil?

    Evil? Of course not, but any me-first, polarizing divider, at this point in our national and global crisis, is a negative. And that's the truth. All the world is not a stage. Progress? Learning? What will be the next dreadful little epiphany, about whether someone has awareness of her surroundings. Surroundings? Gobble.

    Monday, November 10, 2008

    Fodder: Authority-Assessment Vet List. Trust That One? This One?

    Time to Vet Your Authority.
    Criteria List Here; Applied to Several "Personalities"

    Take Your Authority to the Vet.


    October 2009.  Update.  With new "personalities" emerging, we are updating some resources for your own vetting.  

    1.  Glenn Beck.  See High school graduate, dropped out of college, straight into radio work, sequential marriage, several children, difficult family circumstances in a variety of ways, history of substance abuse (in past, not current), media employment, talk show host, ADHD, Mormon.

    2.  Michelle Bachman.  See Law school graduate, married, several children, global warming skeptic, birther, focus on who is unAmerican, Lutheran, Representative from Michigan, no outside employment experience listed prior to becoming politician

    3.  Rachel Maddow.  See  Ph.D., Rhodes Scholar, lesbian in long-term relationship, studies focused on politics, public policy, media employment, no religious affiliation listed, no outside employment experience listed prior to becoming talk show host

    Now - main post.


    Vet Authority Before You Swallow.

    We should vet anything being sold to us. Products or ideas. Anything that produces money to a seller.

    The optimist who refuses to look behind the curtain, because he believes in the benevolence of the seller, is foolish.

    The pessimist who looks because he expects to find malevolence in the profiteer, and finds it, is unhappy because the worst he believed is true, and he is so helpless.

    For everyday cautiously optimistic pessimists, keep checking things out. Buy accordingly.

    Look it up. Look the purveyor up.  Vet. Especially, vet the airwaves. Left side, right side. Here are the top 13 things to look for: the Fodder Opinion Resource Assessment List. And, "authorities" follow. Limbaugh, Stewart, O'Reilly, Olbermann, Hannity, and Michelle.

    I got a horse right here
    I. Fodder Site Opinion Resousrce
    Assessment List

    1. Travel, international experience

    2. Education

    3. History of personal relationships - can this person keep a friend, a spouse; learn a little something here

    4. Employment history, variety of exposures to walks of life, different jobs perhaps, even if not for long

    5. Talents, hobbies, use of leisure time unrelated to income; if no leisure time asserted, note for further analysis. Time in community work? Is that important.

    6. Domestic and international policy background, participation, analysis; journalism insight; basics include whether the person believes - here is a big divider - in Irredeemable Evil so that everyone stepping over somebody's line goes to jail and stays there. For example. Fear or tolerance as a guiding principle.

    7. Volunteer service, what kinds of entities, boards

    8. Foreign language familiarity

    9. History expertise

    10. Charitable or other community work - donations or work record

    11. Documented time during day spent listening; researching all sides of any issue in order to verify any statements to be made about it, and before the statement is made. This may include log-in time to Fact Check or other fast reasonable if not perfect verification source

    12. Documented retractions or revisions to statements made that are not objectively verified; and the timing of such relative to when the flawed statement was noted

    13. Ability to communicate as an exchange, that is, non-defensively, or without rousing defenses in the person addressed; or is this area devalued, considered wussy, that it is more important to conquer than solve a problem, see samples from any search for non-defensive communications.

    14. Mere authority - no. It is time for the vet. Time is up for the Jerome Effect - that bland acceptance of somebody's claimed authority over an issue, without independent vetting - like Saint Jerome and his Latin Vulgate. What if he made some mistakes there? Anybody check recently? Did his work get changed? See the overall issues at Joy of Equivocating, Jerome Effect Trumps Fact Check.

    15. Creds. Do the opinionator's qualifications match the area as to which the opinionator is opining. Or is the opinion given as entertainment, so it will be absorbed by osmosis and laughter at others' expense, or to promote the financial benefit of the speaker and not you, and without time to permit objective assessment. Is that helpful, or a problem. You decide.
    II. Application of List to Opinionator, or other Person of Note *


    Or does lack of horns not mean anything at all as to the opinion on the table. What criteria matter?

    Salaries:  have to double check if these are only salary figures, or include a performance bonus.  Need to look up performance bonuses in addition, or other income.  Use these "salary" numbers as rough guides to something, until we can find a site that breaks down everybody's tax return. If we bother.

    First Candidate

    A. Rush Limbaugh.

    From the biographical website at IMDb,:// Rush was born in 1951, married and divorced thrice, probably a high school graduate because most people are (no info) but no college degree; radio personality, disc jockey, #1 radio talk show host, Radio Hall of Fame 1993; deaf in one ear, most hearing gone in other ear, has cochlear implant there but "Limbaugh remains entirely deaf." Recovering addict, painkiller addiction, generous donations and work for leukemia cure work.

    From :// - in 2007 he was #37 in Forbes Magazine's list, "Celebrity 100."

    Rush Limbaugh salary some $59,000,000 per year, rough math from $400,000,000.00 through 2016, see :// It was only 30 million back in 2006 - // at 

    See Joy of Equivocating, Ein Feste Burgemeister, Sunday Limbaugh Vetting Service
    Second candidate

    B. Jon Stewart

    From the IMDb website, ://, "after graduating college (from William & Mary, studied chemistry)" Jon drifted around jobs, including busboy at a Mexican restauraut, changed his name from Liebowitz to Stewart, graduated from high school in 1980 (that would make him born in about 1963??) but site says he is 38 (that makes him born in about 1970?? how old is this site? pretty old - says Colbert is a costar, and Colbert has been on his own for several years), married in 2000, has two children, wife is a veterinary technician, 1999 People's Magazine - a most beautiful person, 2004 Entertainment Weekly #2 funniest person, 2004 Columbia Journalism Review #4 on insightful journalists (ahead of Washington Post, NYT and other professional news organizations), does NYT crossword. Long time friend with McCain. College honors him with soccer team "Liebo" award. Not interested in fraternities.

    From ://, college major was psychology, lists awards

    Jon Stewart salary $14,000,000.00. See ://
    Candidate #3

    C. Bill O'Reilly

    - nothing on IMDb as a biography except film clips - all pictures! See ://
    So went to ://, history degree Marist college, Master's in broadcast journalism, Boston University, Master's in Public Administration, Harvard, married, taught history and English at a high school, charity favorites include Habitat for Humanity and Haitian Health Foundation.

    Bill O'Reilly Salary  - $9,000,000.00. See ://  (back in 2006)
    Candidate #4

    D. Keith Olbermann -

    Bio at IMDb at ://
    Wrote first book at 14, began as radio announcer for sports in high school, started college at 16, Cornell graduate at age 20, radio and TV sports and program host, and also news, including at ESPN radio, then Fox, MSNBC, went to ABC radio, changed course after 9/11, got Edward R. Murrow Award for coverage of post-9/11 on ABC radio for 40 days, is a baseball historian, 1995 Cable Ace award for sports broadcasting, 11 Golden Mike awards "for excellence in TV and radio," 4 Sports Emmy Awards, writes for numerous publications, has a loss of visual depth perception from a 1980 head injury hitting a subway door top (does not seem to have affected depth analysis. Just slow down, Keith), can't eat wheat (Ezekiel bread anyone?), cousin by marriage to Mike Tyson, never married.

    From - :// Add a long narrative, many awards, tributes, these stick out: the 2007 "Most Honest Man In News" by Rolling Stone magazine, weekly columnist for, raised as Unitarian, doesn't drive because of the loss of depth perception (but one-eyed people drive, and they have no depth perception either? good for you on safety, K), Bachelor's degree in Communications Arts from Cornell, and we are also nice but dumber than a suitcase of rocks and enjoy it. Did you save the tapes, K? Has 6 lumbar vertebrae, not 5.

    This is longer than the others because the two sites we picked not knowing had lots on him, and others not so much necessarily - luck of the draw. Do find your own bio sites. We are going to have lunch now.

    Keith Olbermann Salary -  $4,000,000.00 - see ://
    Candidate #5

    E. Sean Hannity

    IMDb at ://
    No info about education, jobs, just that he is married, does radio and TV talk shows, born 1961, and it specifically says conservative

    At :// - education info - began studies at seminary to be Catholic priest, changed mind. Began freedom concert series to benefit children who lost a parent in the service since 9/11, wrote book in 2002, "Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism", several talk-show host awards, substitutes for friend Rush Limbaugh

    Sean Hannity Salary -  Perhaps $10,000,000.00 over 5 years, or some $2,000,000.00. See :// (figures "reported")
    Candidate #6

    F. Michelle Obama

    IMDb at:// Michelle was born in 1964, Chicago; graduated from Princeton in 1985; graduated from Harvard Law School in 1988;

    From - at Add that her is in Sociology, with a minor in African American Studies, went from first grade directly to third grade (excellent!), an expert at jumping rope (down in the valley where the green grass grows....), she is 5'10" tall; married (now president-elect) Barack Obama in 1992, two daughters, Malia and Sasha.

    Dessert. And, this just in, from the Hartford Courant 11/10/08 at A1- in the years after that bio stops, Michelle served as an associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley and Austin 1988-1991; became assistant to the mayor of Chicago in 1991 and then assistant commissioner of planning and development for the city; in 1993 founded and was executive director of Public Allies, Chicago; 1996 became associate dean of student services at the University of Chicago, and developed the first community service program; in 2005 was appointed vice president of community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

    However, Hartford Courant, you misquote her. See Spin and the Truncated Statement; worse, she may have been spliced? see Tennessee Attack Ad - possible splice?

    Michelle Obama salary in 2007, $103,000.00, the year she reduced her work schedule. See ://  In 2005, full time, she earned $316,962.00, including a performance bonus. Same factcheck page.

    III. Does Challenging an Authority Make You Nervous?

    Is there an area of your life where you were told just to accept? Whatever the road looked like?

    IV. Where It Pays To Check

    1. Buying a car? see;;;;; and on and on. We all need help. Sometimes just looking under the hood isn't enough. Sure looks shiny in there!

    This car sure looks good, is the right color, but is it relevant to today's roads2. So, is buying in on someone's opinion all that different? how many have even looked under the hood. What end have you been listening to? We all need help here as well. Who is saying what, why do we believe it.

    V. What next?

    Vetting our own opinions. Writing is a process, not a goal. We write blogs to clear our own heads, vet things ourselves. Figure out the world when there is no time for discussion groups, the old WWI era "salons", no gathering places with real contact with real people. Who reads anybody else's stuff? That is not the point, not the process. Technology is a poor substitute for bouncing real ideas off real people, but it is what we have.

    So whose stuff would I read?  Michelle's. Her life has been turned inside out by all of the above and the cameras and mikes and what we all at our house, garbagenik. And we would put reading Michelle's views on legislation, national purpose, identification and implementation of common good ideals, ahead of all the above.

    Go on your own for anybody else. The criteria are there. Read the label. Read the directions. Source, ingredients, effect. Is it healthful or toxic. Who wins if you swallow. Does it provide what it says.


    *  We looked only at; and, if that showed too little, went on to for bio information. Look up the person's history on your own - not easy issues. Try to get at basic orientations. We. They. Judgments or flexibility. Live with or live in counter to. Whatever. No clear answers. Then ask what does matter for you to take an opinion seriously. Does it come down to gut - this person thinks like I do - and no analysis? Probably.