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Like our pandemic response, the U.S. Capitol riot is the latest cataclysm to be blamed on a failure of imagination.  Who could imagine a virus that crashes the entire global operating system, or an attack that narrowly fails to decapitate the U.S. government?
And the obvious answer?  Anyone who was paying attention.
Just as epidemiologists long warned of a pandemic, the insurrectionists helpfully advertised their violent intentions all over social media.  The phrase storm the Capitol, unleashing countless QAnon furies, appeared 100,000 times in the month before the attack, according to Zignal Labs.  The President clashed his cymbals and stoked the lie;  party leaders largely ignored or pampered him.  The day before the attack, an FBI office shared the warnings from online:  “Be ready to fight.  Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in  …  Get violent.  Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest.  Go there ready for war.”
Which means that it should have required no imagination to foresee an uprising that was planned, promised and promoted in plain sight.
But until we find our way back to a shared reality, lack of moral imagination will remain a national-security threat.  Lack of moral leadership at a moment like this imperils democracy itself.  In our schools and sanctuaries and clubs and communities, in our dealings with alienated friends and family, the vital work of replacing toxic fantasies with hard realities falls to each of us.
    —     Nancy Gibbs
From her op-ed:  “TheView Essay: America’s Moral Vaccum
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  1 / 8 February 2021
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On This Day In:
2021 Are You Rotating Crops?
Wrong Block, Dummy
2020 I Choose Justice And Mercy
2019 Close, Sustained, Careful, Daily
2018 One Brick At A Time
2017 Order The Rope, #DumbDonald
2016 Chains Of Habit
2015 That You Shall Remain
Did You See That?
2014 True, Vibrant And Open
2013 Remembering, Yet Again
2012 Something Of Value
2011 Sleep All Day

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Home of the Brave?

May 27, 2022 By Gabe Kapler
The day 19 children and 2 teachers were murdered, we held a moment of silence at sporting events around the country, then we played the national anthem, and we went on with our lives.
Players, staff and fans stood for the moment of silence, grieving the lives lost, and then we (myself included) continued to stand, proudly proclaiming ourselves the land of the free and the home of the brave.  We didn’t stop to reflect on whether we are actually free and brave after this horrific event, we just stood at attention.
When I was the same age as the children in Uvalde, my father taught me to stand for the pledge of allegiance when I believed my country was representing its people well or to protest and stay seated when it wasn’t.  I don’t believe it is representing us well right now.
This particular time, an 18 year old walked into a store, bought multiple assault rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, walked into a school with an armed resource officer and its own police district and was able to murder children for nearly an hour.  Parents begged and pleaded with police officers to do something, police officers who had weapons and who receive nearly 40% of the city’s funding, as their children were being murdered.
We elect our politicians to represent our interests.  Immediately following this shooting, we were told we needed locked doors and armed teachers.  We were given thoughts and prayers.  We were told it could have been worse, and we just need love.
But we weren’t given bravery, and we aren’t free.  The police on the scene put a mother in handcuffs as she begged them to go in and save her children.  They blocked parents trying to organize to charge in to stop the shooter, including a father who learned his daughter was murdered while he argued with the cops.  We aren’t free when politicians decide that the lobbyist and gun industries are more important than our children’s freedom to go to school without needing bulletproof backpacks and active shooter drills.
I’m often struck before our games by the lack of delivery of the promise of what our national anthem represents.  We stand in honor of a country where we elect representatives to serve us, to thoughtfully consider and enact legislation that protects the interests of all the people in this country and to move this country forward towards the vision of the “shining city on the hill.”  But instead, we thoughtlessly link our moment of silence and grief with the equally thoughtless display of celebration for a country that refuses to take up the concept of controlling the sale of weapons used nearly exclusively for the mass slaughter of human beings.  We have our moment (over and over), and then we move on without demanding real change from the people we empower to make these changes.  We stand, we bow our heads, and the people in power leave on recess, celebrating their own patriotism at every turn.
Every time I place my hand over my heart and remove my hat, I’m participating in a self congratulatory glorification of the ONLY country where these mass shootings take place.  On Wednesday, I walked out onto the field, I listened to the announcement as we honored the victims in Uvalde.  I bowed my head.  I stood for the national anthem.  Metallica riffed on City Connect guitars.
My brain said drop to a knee;  my body didn’t listen.  I wanted to walk back inside;  instead I froze.  I felt like a coward.  I didn’t want to call attention to myself.  I didn’t want to take away from the victims or their families.  There was a baseball game, a rock band, the lights, the pageantry.  I knew that thousands of people were using this game to escape the horrors of the world for just a little bit.  I knew that thousands more wouldn’t understand the gesture and would take it as an offense to the military, to veterans, to themselves.
But I am not okay with the state of this country.  I wish I hadn’t let my discomfort compromise my integrity.  I wish that I could have demonstrated what I learned from my dad, that when you’re dissatisfied with your country, you let it be known through protest.  The home of the brave should encourage this.
    —    Gabe Kapler
Manager, San Francisco Giants (baseball team)
Mr. Kapler’s personal blog can be found at:  Kaplifestyle – A Lifestyle and Fitness site by Gabe Kapler
The specific post can be found at:  Home of the Brave? (kaplifestyle.com)
[Disclaimer:  The above post has been copied from the original site without permission or prior approval.  I make no claim of ownership – implied or actual.  I read the original blog post multiple times to try to extract the hi-lights for a “fair-use” review / quote.  I lacked the skill (or heart) to do this, so I am reprinting the author’s post in its entirety.  If Mr. Kapler feels I have misused his intellectual property and asks me to remove or modify this post, I will do so.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 Make A Difference
What’s That Sound?
2020 Promise Her In Music
2019 But I’m Well Past 100 By Now
2018 Learn
Land Of The Free, Because Of The Brave
4 Appearances In A Row, 4 Wins To Go
2017 And Yet I’m Still Having Fun
2016 I See Coincidence Everywhere
CA3: Civil War
2015 I Resemble That Remark… (5!)
2014 The Writer’s Dilemma
2013 Just Paying The Rent
2012 Remembering…
2011 A Little Farther

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Russia is still contending with the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Russia can meddle in Ukraine at the margins, but threats to fully invade and occupy a country of more than 44 million people aren’t credible.  That big a move would cost too many Russian lives and too many rubles for a chronically weak – and weakening – Russian economy.  In recent months, Belarus provided the latest example of the post-Soviet demand for fundamental change and the need to shoot people to keep protests under control.  In the most recent presidential election in Moldova, a Harvard-educated economist toppled a pro-Kremlin incumbent.  Last year, Turkey’s backing for Azerbaijan dealt a humiliating defeat to Russian ally Armenia in a region that Russia once dominated.  Beijing is increasingly competing for influence with Moscow among the former Soviet Central Asian states.
    —     Ian Bremmer
From his opinion piece:  “The Risk Report: What game is Putin playing?
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  dtd:  21/28 June 2021
[It seems the “threat” of invasion was a little more “credible” than Mr. Bremmer believed (the editorial was from 2021).  IF the West continues to support Ukraine and IF Putin doesn’t resort to tactical nukes, it appears Mr. Bremmer will ultimately be proven correct that Russia bit off it bit more than it could chew (let alone conquer).    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 Or Faith In A Creator…
It Seemed The Taste Was Not So Sweet
2020 Nearer My God To Thee, By George
I’ve Got To Keep Working On It
2019 Laugh With Me
2018 Both Sides, Mr. President?
2017 Republicans Better Wake Up
2016 Truth Telling
2015 To Be Effective In The Modern World
2014 A Little Cover
2013 Binding
2012 Lift
2011 Another Good Movie, Another Excellent Book
miSFits
I’m Just Not Sure

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In absolute terms, moreover, the mass and volume (to say nothing of the cost) of all that was required, particularly in fuel and munitions, to maintain an army in field operations at an intensive rate against a similarly equipped opponent, was now very great.  It had taken a quantitative jump since the Second World War.  Warfare in the Middle East in the seventies had shown this very clearly, if on relatively small scale.  It was just no longer possible, at the rate at which stocks could now be exhausted, to sustain intensive operations of war for months on end.  Head – and equipment – counts were no longer the true measure of an army’s capability.  Formation in large numbers could be a liability rather than an advantage unless they could be kept effectively in action.
The Soviet war-fighting philosophy, from whatever origins it may been evolved, was in the circumstances of the 1980s exactly right.  It enjoined the initiation of total and violent offensive action, swiftly followed through to the early attainment of a valuable objective.  The position of military advantage thus secured would then be exploited by political means.  Speed was everything. The corollary was that failure to secure the objective in good time must result in a thorough-going reappraisal, in which to continue to press towards the same end might very well be the least sensible course.
    —     General Sir John Hackett (et al)
From the “future-history” novel:  “The Third World War: August 1985
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On This Day In:
2021 Facing Life
70’s Sunshine Sound
2020 #IncompetentTrump And His Pandemic Briefings
#IncompetentTrump
2019 I Hope So
2018 Painted Into
2017 Prayers, Miracles And Lottery Tickets
Roman View
2016 Dignity And Grace
2015 Is It Warm Enough For You
2014 What The Right STILL Wants
2013 Embrace Serendipity
2012 Your Order, Please
2011 Well Enough Anyway

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We were very encouraged by the rapid development of the vaccines, and everybody really thought we were going to vaccinate our way out of this,” he said.  “But then we had people that wouldn’t even take the damn vaccine.”
“We know vaccines work.  We know masks work.  We know social distancing works, and we know crowd control, limiting crowded spaces, works.  This is like a no-brainer, but we cannot seem to do it.”
    —     Dr. Robert Murphy
Executive director of the Havey Institute for Global Health
Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine
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On This Day In:
2021 I’ve Still Not Found #45’s One Thing
Chewin’ On A Piece Of Grass
2020 Listening To A #IncompetentDonald COVID-19 Press Briefing
2019 I Am Doubtful
Future Justice Looks Corporate
2018 True Measures
2017 Hoping For Tapes
In It Now
2016 On Viewing This Mudball
2015 It Takes A Village
2014 In God’s Eyes
2013 We Root For Ourselves
2012 Like A Shark
2011 Discernible Virtue

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The Fed has had almost no success gently bring down inflation once an economy has started to overheat.
The long-run threat (facing the economy) is that we will cease to be one effective country.  Whether that’s a failure of public investment in everything ranging from collecting the taxes that are owed – where there will be $7 trillion in taxes that are owed but not paid over the next decade;  that is a huge loss to the government  …  [and] a huge source of injustice because most of the nonpayment comes among the highest-income Americans.  Whether it is the fact that at the early stage, we were dependent on other countries for masks, and we were not well prepared for a pandemic, despite the fact that there had been repeated warnings that a next pandemic would come.  Whether it is the fact that it takes half an hour longer on the schedule to fly from Boston to Washington that it did when I first started taking the trip regularly 40 years ago.  This falling-apart of society is our greatest long-term threat.
I think another important part of the calculus is that when governments lose control over money, people tend to lose confidence in them.  Progressives need to ponder the fact that when they’re not able to keep inflation under control, they can pay a very large political price.
    —     Larry Summers
Former Secretary of the Treasury
In an interview with / by:  Eben Shapiro
The interview was titled:  “The Leadership Brief: Inflation worries are keeping Larry Summers up at night
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  dtd:  21/28 June 2021
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On This Day In:
2021 Questioned By Life
If There’ll Come A Time
2020 Trying To Grow Pearls?
2019 Instantly Turned
2018 Sitting
2017 No Right Way
2016 Still Ticklish
2015 Maybe Sooner Than You Think
2014 The Path Of Mastery
2013 Love’s Ignorance
2012 Here’s To Enjoyment
2011 Not Just The Facts, Ma’am

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God created war so that Americans would learn geography.
    —    Mark Twain
[Just over a week ago, I was discussing the Ukraine (at that time the Russian threat of invasion) with someone who said, he didn’t want the U.S. to get involved in the problems of some “tiny, insignificant country in Europe that I can’t even point to on a map”.  I replied Ukraine is bigger than California (almost twice the size) and just smaller than Texas (roughly 90%), and you probably can’t find it because it was part of the U.S.S.R. when you were studying world geography.  I added the Ukraine President is the guy who stood up to #45 when he (#45) tried to extort them into a announcing a bogus investigation of Joe Biden in exchange for military funding for Ukraine’s defense.  The funding had already been authorized by Congress and #45 was withholding the funds to try to “buy” the U.S. election with a made-up scandal.  Maybe Twain was only part right.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 I Welcome The Questions
6:00 AM
2020 Increasing Importance
And Now Joe
2019 But Yours
2018 And Smile More Often
2017 He’s Keeping The Light On For Us
2016 The Results Of Trying Too Hard
2015 Make Me Look
2014 Fresh Drink
2013 Good Business
2012 Unsure Spirit
2011 A Lost Valuable

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I wish I had an answer to that because I’m tired of answering that question.
    —     Yogi Berra
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On This Day In:
2021 Guns Or Butter
Caught Up In The Magic
2020 Haunting Illusions
True Color
Crackin’ The Flags
2019 Maybe A Slight Advantage
We Should Never Give Up On Our Dreams
2018 As I Recall
2017 Truly Generous
2016 Choose Your Destiny
2015 Fast And Firm
2014 Neither Head Nor Heart
2013 Lonely, Foolish, Love Songs
Batting 1.000
Coward, n.
2012 At Least A Little More Difficult
2011 Speaking Of Fear

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If according to times and needs you should be obliged to make fresh rules and change certain things, do it with prudence and good advice.
    —    St. Angela Merici
[It would be “nice” if politicians (both side) could just vote on issues.  The problem is:  if you vote, you can be held accountable by your constituents.  If you don’t / never vote, you can’t.  The Senate is “supposed” to be a deliberative body.  It is supposed to slow the blood-rush from the House.  It may even deny what the “people” want because it feels the House is acting from exuberance.  This was the initial purpose of the filibuster.  Then, when it started to be used to prevent all activity, it was modified to allow the “paper” (i.e., non-talking) filibuster.  This effectively killed a bill with no explanation, debate or vote – on cloture or on the actual bill.  Perfect non-accountability!  Reverting to the “must talk” prior rule, would be a good start, but the bottom line is we must end the filibuster completely.  It is not in the Constitution and is merely an agreed convention within the particular chamber (the Senate).  At the moment, we allow our political “leaders” to avoid debating the merits of a bill, voting to vote on a bill (cloture), and voting on the actual bill.  And then they say (claim):  “It wasn’t me!  It never came up for a vote!)    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 Be Creative, Question Assumptions
By No Means
2020 I’ll Eat To That (Gemütlichkeit)
To The Front
2019 #ContinueToResist
Except Willful Ignorance And Prideful Stupidity
2018 More Executive Time For #DumbDonald
2017 Watched The Inauguration
Two Geniuses
2016 Come Dance And Laugh With Me
2015 Looks Good To Me
2014 Desire For The Sea
2013 The Fierce Urgency Of NOW
Happy Inauguration Day!
2012 One Path
Sorrow And Joy
The Seven Year View
2011 Emergent Practicality

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The high-minded man must care more for what is right than for what people think.
    —    Aristotle
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On This Day In:
2021 DIY: Outdoor Gym Modifications (2)
Inauguration Day 2021
(Hopefully) Good-Bye To The Trump Dark Ages
2020 Posting As A Continual Exercise
2019 Border Security – Yes, Border Wall – No
2018 Supporting Survival Values
2017 Inauguration Day 2017 [Sometimes, I hate it when I’m right! — KMAB]
2016 Or A Pot Of Gold After The Storm
2015 One, Two, Three…
2014 Lend Your Hand
2013 Amnesty, n.
2012 Best Resolv’d
The Clock Is Running
2011 Magic

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That a thing is true, is no reason that it should be said, but that it should be done.
    —     Cardinal John Henry Newman
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On This Day In:
2021 Tomorrow President Biden Starts Wrestling
Good-Bye #45
2020 The Burden Of Faith
On To Superbowl LIV (54)!!
2019 Are Your Dogs Barking?
Dangerous Waistcoats
2018 And 40+ Years Later?
2017 He Is Alone
2016 Compensation
2015 Charlie Redux
2014 The Crux
2013 Erosion And Rechannelling
Alliance, n.
2012 How Many Thought… (One I Know Of)
Choices And Decisions
2011 Speed Spoils
Simply Intended
2010 A Second 4 Hour Jog

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The house of delusions is cheap to build, but draughty to live in.
    ––     A. E. Housman
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On This Day In:
2021 An Obligation To Condemn Is Not An Obligation To Ban
Caught In The Rain
2020 Me Too
2019 #45: Whitewalkers Tremble, Treason Is Forever
2018 Light Or Darkness
2017 Doubtful Education
2016 Absolute
2015 Still The Best Teacher
2014 Inside The Soul
2013 A Toe In The River
2012 Believe It Or Not
2011 The Road To Recovery (And More Myths)

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Science is … a way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility.  If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we’re up for grabs for the next charlatan, political or religious, who comes ambling along.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 I’d Argue Wealth, Then Income
Knock Him Off His Feet
2020 Steppin’…
2019 Every Vote Counts
2018 Or A President
2017 Pleasures
2016 Why Not?
2015 Je Suis Charlie
2014 To The Nines
2013 Higher And Truer
2012 Life’s Last Question
2011 A Single Heartbeat
A Little Male Humor – WHY MEN SHOULDN’T RETIRE

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Black people, like all racial groups, are knowledgeable and ignorant, law-abiding and lawbreaking, secure and insecure, hardworking and lazy.  The racial groups are equals, and what makes the racial groups equals is our common humanity;  and our common humanity is imperfect and complex.
Mobs have amassed in front of our Capitol and told us we are stealing their country, and told us to go back to our “sh-thole” countries, which caused us to lean in and create more unapologetically.  When the violence and intimidation did not work, the discrediting began, saying we hated white people since we didn’t worship white people;  saying we hated America because we didn’t worship America as exceptional.  Because in racist minds Black people either worship white people or hate white people.  In racist minds, white people can’t just be people like we are.  Black people can’t just be ourselves, like they are.
    —    Ibram X.  Kendi
From the essay / article:  “The Renaissance Is Black
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  dtd:  15 / 22 Feb. 2021
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On This Day In:
2020 At The Very Least Smile More
Your Touch
2019 Still Working On Both
2018 Two Jordans To Heaven
Speaking Of #45
2017 All Greek To Me
2016 Judgment
2015 I Love Bacon, Too
2014 The Wee Bit
2013 Reading Rules
2012 Cadet Prayer
2011 Easy To Tell
2010 A NEW Lion In The Senate (Channeling Mr. Smith)
Inception Redux
A Quick Hit Of Stats

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There is no other species on the Earth that does science.  It is, so far, entirely a human invention, evolved by natural selection in the cerebral cortex for one simple reason:  it works.  It is not perfect.  It can be misused.  It is only a tool.  But it is by far the best tool we have, self-correcting, ongoing, applicable to everything.  It has two rules.  First:  there are no sacred truths;  all assumptions must be critically examined;  arguments from authority are worthless.  Second:  whatever is inconsistent with the facts must be discarded or revised.  We must understand the Cosmos as it is and not confuse how it is with how we wish it to be.
     —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2020 Precarious Fools
A Shining City Upon A Hill
2019 How #45’s Father Raised Him For Incompetence
2018 Describing #45 – “The Loser” – As A Successful Businessman
Raking – #PresidentIdiot Proposes Full Employment For California
2017 Federal Deficit, National Debt And Tax Cuts For The 1%
2016 Picky, Picky, Picky
2015 Another Limitation On Religion
2014 Enduring
2013 Tell Me More…
2012 Passing…
2011 Fake It ‘Til You Make It

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