Saturday, December 19, 2015

The 12/19 Democratic Debate

I watched it all in pieces on YouTube.

O'Malley continues to run for mayor of the U.S.

Hillary Clinton is running hard to maintain the status quo.

Bernie's defiance of the billionaires is inspiring.

They all dropped the ball on gun violence.  Martha Raddatz asked, in the event sales of assault weapons could be stopped, what could be done about the 7 million or so that are already out there.  Would the candidates advocate confiscating those guns?  Of course, no one would touch that possibility.  If any of them had given real thought to the issue, it would have been simple to point out that confiscation is not needed.  Once you stop the sales, the next obvious step, as Australia has shown, is to set up a buy-back program to get the guns off the street.  Whatever the cost, it has to be cheaper than dealing with 30,000 gun deaths a year in this country.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ninth Life

Richard is twenty years old.   He is clearly less agile than when he was younger, but he still gets around pretty well.  Cats seem to have good memories and they are fast learners when they choose to be.  It does not seem that Richard wastes time fretting over past indiscretions or what may come in the future.  He lives in the moment.

For most of his long life Richard has enjoyed the devoted attention of our female cat, Rio, though he is never the one to initiate these close encounters.  They argue occasionally, but they work things out.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Picturing Time

I snapped this shot on a recent visit to the El Morro National Monument in northwest New Mexico:

When I was back home the next day, I found in a quick web search that Alexander Gardner had made a picture while standing at nearly the same spot in 1868:

Wikipedia -- Photo by Alexander Gardner
Aside from the coincidence, the really interesting thing in comparing the two images is the difference in the vegetation.

The oasis at El Morro was used by many cultures over a period of centuries, so it is possible that the surroundings were denuded of trees by people's needs for wood for construction and fire making.  It is also conceivable that the management of the runoff from the cliffs and protection of the surroundings have allowed new growth without precedent.  Hard to say for sure.

Here are a few more shots made on our last visit to the site:

We stayed the night about a mile down the road from El Morro at a charming little cabin behind the Ancient Way Cafe:

The El Morro site is also know as Inscription Rock due to the many ancient petroglyphs and more recent graffiti which adorn the sandstone cliffs.  The light on this visit was not conducive to making images of the rock art, but I did get some pictures of it on a previous visit:

Two Views of the Education Dilemma

Free Tuition Is Not the Answer
By Catharine Hill

Bernie Sanders’s ‘College for All’ Plan Is Fair, Smart and Achievable
By Heather Gautney and Adolph Reed Jr.

Catherine Hill's essay is an op-ed that appeared in the NY Times on Nov. 30th.  In my opinion Hill's presentation is deceitful and dishonest in that it presents a straw man argument which misrepresents Sanders' proposals for educational reform.  Though she does not admit her partisanship, Hill is clearly making a case for support  of the Clinton candidacy under the banner of the NY Times, and she is basing it on Hillary's line in the last debate about providing Trump's children with a tuition-free education at tax-payer expense.  The problem with that concept, as I pointed out in the previous post, is that it conveniently ignores the fact the American middle class is already paying for the one-percent's access to higher education along with all the other perks granted to them by a money-corrupted political/economic system.

The article by Bautney and Reed which appeared in The Nation places the Sanders education proposals in their proper political and economic context and demonstrates that "Sanders’s College for All offers a way out of a corrupt system that ensnares masses of young people in the prison of debt..."