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Rumsfeld wins Harold Laski Memorial Fellowship

Joe Pluta
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Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Posts: 1376
No, actually Map my family thinks that most of the people here with very absolute views have no desire to learn new things or change their attitude. Those of my family who understand the word "troll" firmly believe that many of them post here. They think that my constant attempts to act as a reasoned example of a patriotic American are wasted among people who have fixed mindsets and no intention of changing.
Joe
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by Alan Labout:
Thanks, Jason, for being so consistent in your reasoning. Again, though, you seem to be missing my main point, which is that this is "your" idea of what freedom is, an American one.

Lest anyone think I was naming an all encompassing list of liberties, I want to point out that I finished with "that whole life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness thing". I do however feel the need to point out that while you may believe these to be uniquely American ideas of what freedoms are, many can be seen in some form in the Magna Carta, written in England in 1215, as well as "The Petition of Right" (England, 1628), "An Agreement of the Free People of England" (1649), and of course the English Bill of Rights (1689).
Regarding freedom of the press, we can also thank England. Specifically, we can thank William Blackstone and his Commenataries on the Laws of England (1769) for his revolutionary concepts regarding freedom of the press, most notably that no prior restraints should be placed on publications.
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
AL: Shall we play competing authorities on the subject? Here's the opinion of the UN's former head weapons inspector, a former U.S. marine
Looking back on this speedy dismissal of what I posted, did you even bother to read the links? Is there anything in particular in those links that I posted that you find hard to believe or of dubious nature? Do you believe any of the sources or people quoted are unreliable? Or do you just prefer to disregard it in preference of what the activist has to say because it fits in better with your preconceived notions of the way you wish things to be?
[ December 04, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Joe: No, actually Map my family thinks that most of the people here with very absolute views have no desire to learn new things or change their attitude.
I got the same idea, but then, you never know! Maybe people think the same about me! Or you! Or Jason! And we know we have desire to learn new things!
They think that my constant attempts to act as a reasoned example of a patriotic American are wasted among people who have fixed mindsets and no intention of changing.
At least they aren't wasted on me, and unfortunately there isn't much else I can show... Joe, you do not know how many people read this forum without posting, so how can you say your posts are wasted? There is always hope and this is the best thing about this forum!


Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
Rufus BugleWeed
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
How many read the forum w/o posting?
The best thing about this forum is you always get to finish your sentences.
Alan Labout
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 25, 2003
Posts: 100
Originally posted by Jason Menard:
[b]
Looking back on this speedy dismissal of what I posted, did you even bother to read the links? Is there anything in particular in those links that I posted that you find hard to believe or of dubious nature? Do you believe any of the sources or people quoted are unreliable? Or do you just prefer to disregard it in preference of what the activist has to say because it fits in better with your preconceived notions of the way you wish things to be?
[ December 04, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]

I was not dismissing your post. In fact, everything that you said and everything that you posted there looks perfectly legitimate. But that's not the point. The point is that that way of thinking represents only one side of the issue. But there are others. And they look perfectly legitimate as well. I'm in no position to know conclusively where the truth lies because, as I've repeatedly stated, I do not have my own personal experiences in Iraq and have no way of knowing which side of this complicated issue should be trusted. This has been my point all along: that the average citizen like myself--in other words, those of us who do not have direct knowledge of Iraq--must rely on other people to feed us information. Of course we will either accept or discard this information in light of our own personal biases. We are all guilty of this. Even you.
John Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 08, 2001
Posts: 2937
Hey Al, what does it mean when a book "is not available"? Too much interest or too little? It's a bit off topic, but you don't publish your email, and I thought of contributing to your financial success. Maybe Map can send her copy from Oregon?
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Eugene: Maybe Map can send her copy from Oregon?
No way. Don't even dream.
It's a bit off topic, but you don't publish your email, and
and I second this! What the heck is your E-mail? Do you need another Amazon review? Or do you want me to publish it right here, in Meaningless Drivel? :roll:
And I need to get more copies too! For all my friends -- maybe these guys will learn English at last!
[ December 04, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
Joe Pluta
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Posts: 1376
Of course we will either accept or discard this information in light of our own personal biases. We are all guilty of this. Even you.
Ah pooie .
This statement implies that human beings are incapable of making informed decisions about events which they have no first-hand knowledge and that we base all opinions on personal prejudice. This is simply untrue. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine that apartheid was happening and that it was wrong. Similarly, it doesn't take a trip to Iraq to understand that the overwhelming evidence pointed to regular and ongoing atrocities perpetrated against the Iraqi people.
Sure, you can't blindly believe everything you hear, read or download, but at the same time, reasonable individuals can come to reasonable conclusions about the veracity of the data they receive. The Internet makes this so much more possible, because I can easily read the farthest extremes of any position I care to research, as well as more moderate views, and I can thus base my opinions on those I find most credible.
You would have us believe that we only find credible those whom we agree with, but that's a narrow view and one I personally disavow. Just about everyone here has made statements I find important enough to weigh into my decision making process. Even someone like Ravish, whom I am diametrically opposed to on most everything, will occasionally say something that causes me to rethink something. And of course Map and I fight like an old married couple, yet she consistently broadens my horizons, and I hope I do the same for her.
Anyway, as it turns out I have a new responsibility that may significantly reduce my time here. It's only temporary, but it's an important part of my life outside the computer world, and I'll probably be reduced to infrequent postings. Those of you who care to may now rejoice .
Joe
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Joe: And of course Map and I fight like an old married couple

That's why I love you, Joe!
Those of you who care to may now rejoice

Anyway, as it turns out I have a new responsibility that may significantly reduce my time here
What's this?
[ December 04, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Joe: And of course Map and I fight like an old married couple, yet she consistently broadens my horizons, and I hope I do the same for her.
I am probably getting too old to be able to appreciate abstract ideas, I prefer to appreciate people who impersonate those ideas! You and Jason are a treasure, and I am so happy I met you (both) if even online!
And out of solidarity with our Indian buddies:
--------------------
Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.
-George Bernard Shaw
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Jason: Growing up in a free society. That's not your fault of course. As Joe has said, I just happened to have won the lottery and have been born in one of the better societies this planet had to offer. These early experiences shape us and color our perceptions..
It still hurts. These words sound horrible arrogant, but I can live with it. What's worse, is that you believe that spending your life in a "free" society somehow mysterically makes you see things clearer than somebody (me in this case) who saw both societies can.
And now whatever I will say that you disagree with, wil be attributed to my flawed childhood! It's just because I was born in a Wrong country, this is why I cannot see Things How They Really Are!
I do not know why it hurts me so much that I cannot get through your layer of preconceptions, but I cannot, and it hurts.
[ December 04, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
Alan Labout
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 25, 2003
Posts: 100
Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
Hey Al, what does it mean when a book "is not available"? Too much interest or too little?

Both, I think. Actually, it means the book sold out but not fast enough for them to order more
It's a bit off topic, but you don't publish your email, and I thought of contributing to your financial success.
Thanks, Eugene. Sorry I can't mail a complimentary copy to you as an official card-carrying member of our Slavic Union...but I just mailed out my very last copies to my distributor a couple weeks ago. Actually, there is a different edition of the book somewhere at Amazon, and I think you can even find "used" copies that are cheaper. (These copies are actually new, but are labeled as "used" so as to cause the author much anguish and self-doubt.) If this doesn't work, let me know and I'll send you an electronic version.
Speaking of our Slavic Union, I'd like to introduce a new member....drum roll, please.... Zirf!!!
Map: Do you need another Amazon review? Or do you want me to publish it right here, in Meaningless Drivel?
I believe you've already given it quite a review here at MD...! Thanks for that....
Alan Labout
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 25, 2003
Posts: 100
Joe: You would have us believe that we only find credible those whom we agree with, but that's a narrow view and one I personally disavow.
But, Joe.... !
Oh, nevermind! Anyway, good luck with your non-computer-related endeavor. I hope it brings as much fun and joy into your life as Map does....
As for me, I'll be leaving next week as well (for a couple of weeks), so I guess that means that in the overall scheme of things our respective absences will kind of cancel each other out....
Jason: By the time I get back I expect that the Dolphins will be sitting firmly atop the division in preparation for their run to the Super Bowl--and that when (not if) that does happen, the U.S. will still not have found WMD's in Iraq....
Alan
John Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 08, 2001
Posts: 2937
Al: Speaking of our Slavic Union, I'd like to introduce a new member....drum roll, please.... Zirf!!!
What makes you think that Zirf is Slavic?
Al: As for me, I'll be leaving next week as well (for a couple of weeks), so I guess that means that in the overall scheme of things our respective absences will kind of cancel each other out....
Too cold in Langley this time of the year I am out next week too, Cancun. Found a spectacular deal: 7 days in 5 star hotel + direct flight = $500.
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Al: Speaking of our Slavic Union, I'd like to introduce a new member....drum roll, please.... Zirf!!!
Eugene: What makes you think that Zirf is Slavic?

Map: How did you know?! Articles abuse?
Al: As for me, I'll be leaving next week as well
Eugene: I am out next week too

This means me and Jason will have to drive each other crazy without anybody's help
Joe Pluta
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Posts: 1376
AL: As for me, I'll be leaving next week as well (for a couple of weeks), so I guess that means that in the overall scheme of things our respective absences will kind of cancel each other out....
Hell, you haven't responded to one of my posts in days, Al. I realize I've been systematically destroying every one of your statements, but that's no reason to ignore me .
Joe
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
It still hurts. These words sound horrible arrogant, but I can live with it. What's worse, is that you believe that spending your life in a "free" society somehow mysterically makes you see things clearer than somebody (me in this case) who saw both societies can.

My apologies. However the intent wasn't to say that things are seen clearer, or better, or worse, rather simply differently.
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by Alan Labout:
By the time I get back I expect that the Dolphins will be sitting firmly atop the division in preparation for their run to the Super Bowl

Proof that you're not quite in touch with reality.
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Eugene, can you modify your word frequency calculating program so that it would calculate for a given person a list of "MD buddies" - people who most often could be found posting in the same thread?
Something fishy is going on: since Joe joined our "pathological arguers" club, Tom Paul reduced his participation in political threads to almost zero. Have you noticed? I have strong suspicions that "Joe Pluta" is but a hoax run by Tom Paul.
--------------------
"Let's not beat around the bush" - Joe Pluta
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Al: Thanks, Jason, for being so consistent in your reasoning. Again, though, you seem to be missing my main point, which is that this is "your" idea of what freedom is, an American one.
I think this problem is totally congruent to Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in linguistics.
In the first half of the 20th century, most linguists were friendly to the idea that different languages divide the world up in fundamentally different ways. In the second half of the 20th century, most linguists became deeply hostile to that same notion. The primary motivation in both cases was the same: respect for "the other."
For anthropologically-minded linguists after Boas, who saw language as a cultural artifact, this respect meant examining other languages and cultures carefully, on their own terms, without European preconceptions. Being open to finding out that things might be very different, in content as well as in form. Even things that look the same may be deeply different, as Whorf argued about Hopi.
For generative linguists after Chomsky, who saw language as an instinct with a universal biological substrate, this same respect led to the view that all people and all languages are basically the same. Even things that look deeply different must turn out to be the same, if you analyze them the right way. At least, anything important about language (and language use) must be that way.
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/000129.html

BTW, Rumsfeld's passage is currently under discussion on my favorite translators forum, and they started to rhyme their posts! Rumsfeld as a source of inspiration, hm...
John Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 08, 2001
Posts: 2937
Eugene, can you modify your word frequency calculating program so that it would calculate for a given person a list of "MD buddies" - people who most often could be found posting in the same thread?
Yeah, I guess I can concoct something like this.
Something fishy is going on: since Joe joined our "pathological arguers" club, Tom Paul reduced his participation in political threads to almost zero. Have you noticed? I have strong suspicions that "Joe Pluta" is but a hoax run by Tom Paul.
Notice the relative inactivity of the cactus boy, too. I think what's maybe happening is that he considers posting in MD almost a bad taste for a sheriff. He hinted on your hyperactive participation in MD, as well. The doctrine is that MD is just an add-on to the Java forum, so Jim is taking his responsibilities very seriously. Tom Paul seems to be following the example. Joe Pluta, like many of us, has become a better human being since he joined the MD, but the path to goodness is long, and Joe is still on the journey.
Luckily, we have a slow but steady influx of new people in MD. Without them, we would just compromize with each other and that would mean the end of MD as we know it.
Joe Pluta
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Posts: 1376
but the path to goodness is long, and Joe is still on the journey.
I have only one thing to say to you, Eugene: Meega Na La Kweesta!
Joe
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
Notice the relative inactivity of the cactus boy, too.
Well that's partly because I was mostly internet-deprived this week, especially the last couple of days. Should be around a bit more now...
I think what's maybe happening is that he considers posting in MD almost a bad taste for a sheriff.
Mmmmm... I wouldn't say that. I'm going through a phase of being tired of many of the lengthy serious discussions here; I read them (or at least skim them) but don't always have the energy to post lengthy replies. Plus my own views are often somewhere in the middle of the mixture we already have here - if someone on side A says something I disagree with, someone on side B will usually post a much stronger rebuttal than I would have, so if I wait a short while I may find I then want to post a pro-A comment rather than the pro-B comment I would've originally made. Often it's easier to just shut up and let A and B beat each other up.


"I'm not back." - Bill Harding, Twister
John Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 08, 2001
Posts: 2937
Map: [...]mysterically[...]
I like this word, it has a lot of energy. Sometimes there are not enough words to describe what you see or feel, especially if the idea doesn't fit well into the familiar world.
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Jim: Often it's easier to just shut up and let A and B beat each other up.
This is what we call "beating crap out of each other". In doing so we help each other to become a better human being.
--------------------
"Let's not beat around the bush" - Joe Pluta
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
This is what we call "beating crap out of each other". In doing so we help each other to become a better human being.
True. Yet somehow, many people here remain full of crap when the process is complete. I'm not sure why; must be a process defect...
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Eugene: I like this word, it has a lot of energy. Sometimes there are not enough words to describe what you see or feel, especially if the idea doesn't fit well into the familiar world.
My another contribution to improvement of English language was the word "introvercy" that I typed instinctively and then was surprised (and disappointed) to learn that the correct word is "introversion". Even Jim agreed that my version is better!
Al: Jason, Stop for a moment and take a look at that last paragraph of yours. Please. Here you are trying to convince me that your convictions are not a product of propaganda, and all the while you’re offering up the very political cliches that would suggest that they are: "brutal and murderous", "dictator", "Millions of Iraqis. . . free", "mass graves", "chemical weapons against his people".
I understand your outrage, but it is misplaced, I am afraid. I just read that this is a traditional liberal idea: "all meanings should be literal". And this is how we got to the place where conservatives aren't ashamed to claim that people are ashamed to identify themselves as "liberals"! Using language as a weapon, which basically amounts to manipulation, and this is a very anti-liberal idea, and it seems that liberals will have to engage themselves into this game -- or lose. Actually, a sad perspective.
Michael Ernest
High Plains Drifter
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 25, 2000
Posts: 7292

Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
This is what we call "beating crap out of each other". In doing so we help each other to become a better human being.
True. Yet somehow, many people here remain full of crap when the process is complete. I'm not sure why; must be a process defect...

When is the process complete, Jim, and how is it you assess who is still full of crap and who isn't?
The politics of persuasion may be fairly called a process, I suppose, but I'd very surprised at anyone who felt they could determine who was advancing or regressing along those lines...


Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.
- Robert Bresson
John Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 08, 2001
Posts: 2937
ME: The politics of persuasion may be fairly called a process, I suppose, but I'd very surprised at anyone who felt they could determine who was advancing or regressing along those lines...
I would agree that it would be difficult for someone to assess the advancement of someone else along the process. However, it seems to me that the evaluation of yourself is an objective and a measurable thing. The criterias may be different, but whatever benchmarks you are using, you can't lie to yourself. And if you can, maybe it's the first thing to overcome in the process.
Joe Pluta
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Posts: 1376
However, it seems to me that the evaluation of yourself is an objective and a measurable thing.
I agree, Eugene. While I'd like to say I've progressed a long way since I've been here, the truth is that all I've done so far is perhaps added a bit to my tolerance level and opened up a little more to more divergent views than I would otherwise. I still tend to get hyper-sensitive on issues and drop into inappropriate sarcasm and even bombast. However, I think the biggest plus on my own personal meter is the ability to OCCASIONALLY let a subject slide for an hour or three or even a day before responding - this at least lessens the adrenaline-induced ranting I'm so good at.
Joe
Michael Ernest
High Plains Drifter
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 25, 2000
Posts: 7292

Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
[b]However, it seems to me that the evaluation of yourself is an objective and a measurable thing. The criterias may be different, but whatever benchmarks you are using, you can't lie to yourself. And if you can, maybe it's the first thing to overcome in the process.

Perhaps we're thinking about different things along different lines; my first reaction to this response is "don't be ridiculous."
People deceive themselves ALL the freakin' time, Eugene; it is the mind's only means of avoiding pain. Perhaps the process of self-evaluation can be made into something that appears objective and measurable, but I'd be highly doubtful of anything that could be said to accurately measure itself.
John Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 08, 2001
Posts: 2937
ME: People deceive themselves ALL the freakin' time, Eugene; it is the mind's only means of avoiding pain.
Yes, and the process is to overcome the pain. I actually call it the fear of knowledge.
Perhaps the process of self-evaluation can be made into something that appears objective and measurable, but I'd be highly doubtful of anything that could be said to accurately measure itself.
I can see through you, Michael, and I know what you are talking about. But let me propose this criteria for self-evaluation: if you feel content and happy, if you know the reason why you are here and accept it, if you are able to align yourself with that reason, then you improved. Other people may tell you that you deceived yourself, or that you talk nonsense, but it's completely irrelevant. There is no compromizing with the opinions of others when you evaluate yourself. Same thing as your Thomas Jefferson quote, only expressed in different terms.
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
When is the process complete, Jim
Never, really. Unless one party leaves for good.
and how is it you assess who is still full of crap and who isn't?
Informally and subjectively, as usual.
It was just an off-the-cuff not-so-wisecrack, not intended for serious analysis.
Joe Pluta
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Posts: 1376
but I'd be highly doubtful of anything that could be said to accurately measure itself.
Accurately "measuring" yourself is probably difficult; that implies a scale against which to compare. However, I think one can identify progress. A very powerful concept in personal growth is "progress not perfection": a realization that as human beings we can never achieve a goal of some sort of "perfect behavior", but that we can identify character defects in ourselves and work on improving them. This same concept can actually be applied in many areas of life; my boss applied it to software development by saying "the perfect is the enemy of the good" which neatly encapsulates the fact that no software is perfect because it is in the end used by human beings, and even if you've done everything the client said, you probably still haven't done what they wanted .
Applying these principles to your own personal traits, though, is indeed a very painful process. But it's definitely enlightening and sometimes liberating. If I work at it, it is possible to identify character traits which have trapped me in unhealthy behavior patterns, but yet which can actually be changed.
Joe
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Joe: I still tend to get hyper-sensitive on issues and drop into inappropriate sarcasm and even bombast.
Good thing about you, Joe, is that your being offensive can fool nobody, or so I hope! First time, I did not know how to interpret your outbursts (Jim can prove this!), but a bit later it somehow became obvious that when you were bad , it hardly hurt anybody but you. I do not know how to express it clearly... Ok, this: when you were in your bad moments, it was clear that it was because of you suffering, so instead of rage your posts woke up compassion in me.
But if we are to speak about bettering ourselves, I need to confess. I noticed a curious thing: as I am crazy about Jim, this made me hyper-sensitive, or maybe over-sensitive would be a better word? Not sure. But damn thing is as soon as he say anything remotely critical about me, or even something that wasn't intended so but what could be interpreted as such, I freak out and then it takes days to bring me back to my sane state of mind.
Mike: People deceive themselves ALL the freakin' time, Eugene; it is the mind's only means of avoiding pain.
And this is freakin' good thought, Michael. I think, you are right, and this gives us direction. (!) By putting us in a properly harmful environment (Joe said I have a masochistic streak! What a misconception! Ha!) and learning how to tolerate it, we can achieve deeper insight. At least, it worked for me so far.
 
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