Tuesday, January 20, 2009

George Bush's Legacy

Solemn and sad day! King George is saying farewell to his subjects. Let us pray that the new president does not betray us with higher taxes and, God forbid, social programs for the poor and undeserving. Do you know what a higher tax bracket will mean for the Waltons of Walmart, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdock, Warren Buffet, and those others that are really needy? Needy of government non-interference, that is.

Now that our true American hero is about to leave the throne, it is time we talk about legacy. Yes, he has taken some hits for policies, but legacy is another matter. Legacy is about the long-lasting effects King George's actions will have. Here are some:

*His Majesty promised to cut taxes. He did so. With the savings we can buy a little food, maybe enough gas to drive home, and put the rest on credit cards.

*He got government out of business. Now we can buy cheap goods from overseas and export jobs. That's what I call a balance of trade.

*He was "The Education President." He taught us the meaning of words like freedom and democracy. Who needs Pell Grants for college when you have that vocabulary?

*Under his reign, foreign relations are better. You're either with us or against us -easy choice. You don't need the U.N. when you've got a simple choice like that.

*The environment: His Majesty promised to clean up the Everglades with the help of the Crown Prince, Jeb. They have restored the Everglades, but it was in New Orleans.

*Communications have improved. You can now have a conference call between you, your friend, and the government without asking or paying for it.

*Treatment of prisoners has improved. Now they get non-stop Heavy Metal music and hydrotherapy (on boards) treatment whether they like it or not. Just ask them at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib.

*Respect for the U.S. is now very high. Other countries just keep buying it up.

*He's increased commerce. Foreign tourists come over to raid our department stores. The dollar is such a bargain!

*He has decreased government spending...except on the military. You've got to have one guilty pleasure.

*He has increased aid to those in need: oil companies, timber companies, mining companies, you-name-it big companies.

*We have brought peace to Iraq. We could be there another twenty years to enjoy the peace.

*His Campaign Manager, Karl Rove, brought such integrity to the electoral process. Bugging your own offices and then having the FBI investigate your opponent is not really a crime, is it? I mean, wasn't it the Communists who burned The Reichstag?

*Individuals have prospered under the King. Just ask Cheney and anyone holding Haliburton stock, or the Boys of Enron.

*He has promoted family values. Domestic life is better, except that families don't actually have houses to practice that domestic life in.

*He has increased tourism. If you seem to be an enemy of the U.S., his men will send you to other countries known for their "physical therapy", like Syria.

*He's a man of the people. Now he can join some of the people on the unemployment line.

*We entered the New Millenium with a sense of new understanding between nations and peoples of the world. Barriers between cultures are coming down. French fries are now freedom fries.

Therefore, go proudly, our deposed King, into your new life in Dallas. We know you and the Queen will find some way to spread your grace on the world. And, if it doesn't work out in Dallas, I'm sure you can find some abandoned shack in the lower ninth ward to set up house in.


He's a man of the people.Now that King George is out of a job he can join the people on the unemployment line. Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Aren't We Working These Kids Too Hard?

Hey, here's a link to a fascinating article on how some kids are getting the opportunity to get health problems from overwork:

Hunter College High School is on New York City's Upper East Side. I love this part:

Elite, which opened in 1986, is one of several cram schools in New York
that has imported the year-round enrichment programs of the Far East, giving
students the chance to forfeit evenings, weekends, summer break and winter
vacation for test preparation.

Maybe we can curb their sleeping habits to optimize time for studying vocabulary. They may grow an inch or two less, but they'll know what deleterious means.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Readers, here's a link to my arts reviews for The Epoch Times Just turn on the language you need, and type Stuart Kurtz in the search bar. Thanks. Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

The End of Humanism?

Humanism was a secular movement of the Renaissance and following (c.1400-1650) that taught personal independence and individual expression. It moved away from the fixed points of Medieval mysticism and toward the potential of man.

Human experience, man himself, tended to become the practical measure of all things. The ideal life was no longer a monastic escape from society, but a full participation in rich and varied human relationships. ~Steven Kreis, 2000 (see above link)

Think about the following from the International Humanist and Ethical Union:
Minimum Statement
All member organisations of the International Humanist and Ethical Union are required by IHEU bylaw 5.1[4] to accept the IHEU Minimum Statement on Humanism:
Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality.
Apart from the need to ensure that member organisations are bona fide Humanist (or like-minded) organisations, Humanism rejects dogma, and imposes no creed upon its adherents.[5]

The statement of the American Humanist Society is this:

The AHA's definition from its website:
"Humanism is a progressive Lifestance lifestance that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity." —Humanism and Its Aspirations

I believe we in technological nations are moving away from Humanism under Globalization and open markets. These forces put pressure on lives to compete in a global society. People are constantly put upon to produce more, seemingly for individual good but really for the common good. I argue that neither is benefitting.

When work hours increase, workers have less time to educate themselves through reading, taking courses, pursuing hobbies, attending cultural events. We spend too much time producing and then taking care of errands. We are letting the spirit of Humanism suffer by not reaching our potential. When we do that, we are not aiding the greater good of humanity.

As quoted above, we need to practice reason and free inquiry to be Humanists. These need to go hand-in-hand with leisure time and the means of supporting oneself available to everybody. For those people who have no work or are in such low paying jobs that they have no time for anything but survival, there is little chance of reaching potential.

There is a large industry built on culture in America, but that's just the problem. It is an industry, not an avenue for expressing the vitality of human emotion, in most cases, or a direction for change for the greater good.

In the Renaissance art was the vehicle for expressing this new philosophy. True, it was used also to shore up the power of the Medicis and Pazzis and by the Church to intimidate (The Sistene Chapel), but the power of human independence flourished.

Globalization and a disintegration of civic values are eroding Humanism. Most culture is crass and exploitational, buffeted around by market forces. We do have individualism, but too much of it is about acquisiton of goods and expression of style and not about each person expressing him or herself for his or her betterment. It is certainly not done with an eye on civic good.

When we act in this way we hurt ourselves, we hurt every other member. And when we hurt everyone, we hurt ourselves.

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Not My Quotes of the Week

Here are some old quotes you've heard before. I don't think we should take them for granted just because they are famous and put to text.

1. "Less learnin', more earnin'"
Maybe if we had less of this, American students (up to high school, I think) could identify Mexico and Canada on a map.

2. "Might makes right."
That's the kind of p.r. Ivan the Terrible had.

3. "Nobody ever said life was fair."
What's wrong with this quote? Throw up your hands because life isn't fair?! Isn't it our duty to work to make it fair? Don't resign yourself to defeat because the world stinks. Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Fools On Parade

Hey, here's a link for you to put into your "more gall than a gall bladder" file:
Referring to Madoff, a.k.a. Ponzi sending jewelry and other gifts to family members and violating terms of his bail

I think it was the mittens that did him in. Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Monday, January 5, 2009