Tuesday Morning Open Thread

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On the religion calendar, we are in the midst of a period of introspection known as Lent or "The Great Lent." According to Dorothy Day, this can be a time to consider "the significance of our smallest acts ... the significance of the little things we leave undone ...the protests we do not make ... the stands we do not take."

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It can also be a time to contemplate what COULD be!

I think of myself as a Zen-Episcopalian. So, in the spirit of experiencing a great Lent, I want to share three prophetic voices who speak words that matter to me..

Fred Rogers richly deserves a place in the pantheon of pacifists who tried to shake the foundations of society and culture. To the day of his death, he was a radical Christian pacifist—fervently committed to the end of violence and the presence of social justice in its full glory. The time has come for us to pull him out of the shadows so we can celebrate him just as he was—a fierce peacemaker”

“Rogers held that there is not one fact or piece of data that will ever make war (or even preparing for war) morally permissible.”

"While he emphasized that peace is wonderful, Rogers was not altogether starry-eyed in this first week. In fact, he seemed quite the political realist in teaching us that peacemaking will be hard work. It will certainly require the most creative thoughts our moral imagination can muster. Like Daniel Striped Tiger, we will have to move beyond typical options and come up with creative strategies that surprise and shock the warmongers we seek to influence. Peacemaking will also no doubt be time-consuming. It will require us, as it did Lady Aberlin, to take time off from our regular work to create and carry out unique plans we would not normally even consider. And peacemaking will lead us into moments of doubt and uncertainty. Like Lady Aberlin and Mister Rogers, we will find ourselves wondering whether our ideas will really work.”

“Rogers’s belief that a ruler’s power, like King Friday’s, is ultimately dependent upon complicity or cooperation from those he or she rules, and that when the governed begin to withdraw their cooperation, as Lady Aberlin and Daniel Striped Tiger did, the power of the ruling authority begins to crumble.”

― Michael G. Long, Peaceful Neighbor: Discovering the Countercultural Mister Rogers

"Fred Rogers was not just a compassionate human being; he was a practicing Christian who firmly believed that human compassion has its ultimate source in a God whose love for all of creation never ends. For Rogers, we can and should be compassionate because God is compassionate toward us — always and everywhere. Again, context matters here, and when we place Rogers's spiritual beliefs in their historical perspective — a time when Billy Graham's judgmental God was wildly popular — we can clearly see just how prophetic Rogers's compassion was."

SPIRITUALITY PRACTICE

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How I long for supernatural powers!
said the novice mournfully to the holy one.
I see a dead child
and I long to say, Arise!
I see a sick man
I long to say, Be healed!
I see a bent old woman
I long to say, Walk straight!
Alas, I feel like a dead stick in paradise.
Master, can you confer on me
supernatural powers?

The old man shook his head fretfully
How long have I been with you
and you know nothing?
How long have you known me
and learned nothing?
Listen; I have walked the earth for 80 years
I have never raised a dead child
I have never healed a sick man
I have never straightened an old woman's spine

Children die
men grow sick
the aged fall
under a stigma of frost

And what is that to you or me
but the turn of the wheel
but the way of the world
but the gateway to paradise?

Supernatural powers!
Then you would play God
would spin the thread of life and measure the thread
5 years, 50 years, 80 years
and cut the thread?

Supernatural powers!
I have wandered the earth for 80 years
I confess to you,
sprout without root
root without flower
I know nothing of supernatural powers
I have yet to perfect my natural powers!

to see and not be seduced
to hear and not be deafened
to taste and not be eaten
to touch and not be bought

But you-
would you walk on water
would you master the air
would you swallow fire?

Go talk with the dolphins
they will teach you glibly
how to grow gills

Go listen to eagles
they will hatch you, nest you
eaglet and airman

Go join the circus
those tricksters will train you
in deception for dimes-

Bird man, bag man, poor fish
spouting fire, moon crawling
at sea forever-
supernatural powers!

Do you seek miracles?
listen- go
draw water, hew wood
break stones-
how miraculous!

Listen; blessed is the one
who walks the earth 5 year, 50 years, 80 years
and deceives no one
and curses no one
and kills no one

On such a one
the angels whisper in wonder,
behold the irresistible power
of natural powers-
of height, of joy, of soul, of non belittling!

You dry stick-
in the crude soil of this world
spring, root, leaf, flower!

trace
around and around
and around-
an inch, a mile, the world's green extent,-
a liberated zone
of paradise!

"Zen Poem," by Daniel Berrigan

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Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.

People say, what is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.

Don't worry about being effective. Just concentrate on being faithful to the truth.

Dorothy Day
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Hop aboard our magic time machine ....

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1725 - A group of 88 scalp hunters led by John Lovewell attacked a band of Abenaki Indians living in a wigwam near Wakefield, New Hampshire. Motivated by state-sponsored programs that offered rangers payments for Indian scalps, the men tracked the Abenaki for 11 days then opened fire near midnight on February 20. Lovewell’s posse killed and scalped 10 men and received a bounty of 100 British pounds per scalp.

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1933 - The U.S. House of Representatives completed congressional action on the amendment to repeal Prohibition.

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1938 - Hitler demanded self-determination for Germans in Austria and Czechoslovakia. As Hitler's quest for Lebensraum ("living space") expanded into Czechoslovakia, thousands of Czechoslovakian soldiers and airmen escaped to participate in the liberation of their country.

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1942 - Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast.

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1962 - U.S. Marine Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn, Jr. (1921-2016), became the first American to orbit the earth. Launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., Glenn made three 90-minute orbits of the earth in Friendship 7, radioing down to Earth, "Oh, that view is tremendous!" When the ship's automatic altitude control system began to fail, Glenn, a decorated WW II pilot, took manual control for the rest of the flight. During Friendship 7's approach to Earth, Glenn saw some flaming material breaking off the capsule, but the parachute opened and the capsule landed safely in the Atlantic Ocean. It was some time later that NASA mission control determined that the sparks were crystallized water vapor released by Friendship 7's air-conditioning system. Friendship 7's flight lasted four hours and 56 minutes.

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1994 - With ski masks and automatic rifles in hand the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) descended from the hills of Mexico's impoverished Chiapas province and commenced a unique armed struggle. The EZLN have relied heavily on sympathetic organisations, public relations and the internet rather than force of arms to present the group's ideology to Mexicans and to people around the world.

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2007 - The General Assembly proclaimed 20 February as World Day of Social Justice, inviting Member States to devote the day to promoting national activities in accordance with the objectives and goals of the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth session of the General Assembly. Observance of World Day of Social Justice should support efforts of the international community in poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all.

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2007 - An American appeals court has upheld an anti-terrorism provision that states that the Guantanamo Bay inmates will not be able to challenge their detention in the U.S. courts. The provision is a key element in a law for prosecuting the terror suspects that President Bush passed through Congress in 2006. The appeal court has said that civilian courts cannot determine whether detainees are being held illegally. The ruling is likely to go to the Supreme Court, which had thrown out the government's original plans for trying detainees before military commissions. The Court of Appeals upheld an act of the 109th Congress to remove the right of Guantanamo Bay detainees to challenge their detention in lower federal courts. The Military Commissions Act suspends the right to habeas corpus and bars anyone deemed an 'enemy combatant' access to the federal courts.

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2014 : Tons of contaminated and radioactive water leaked from a storage container at Japan's earthquake damaged Fukushima nuclear plant. Officials say that a valve was mistakenly left open causing the leak, they also stated that it was unlikely that the contaminated water went into the ocean.

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2016 - Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump grabbed a big win in the South Carolina primary, while Democrat Hillary Clinton breathed life into her sluggish campaign with a victory over Bernie Sanders in Nevada.

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Whew ... what a ride! I need a nap.

My part in this today's open thread draws to a peaceful close with a collage of mountain dulcimer, Kentucky state instrument, tunes. I'm not a great player. But I do jam with a few friends every Saturday. Be well ... and enjoy the music! See you next week.

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year on February 16. Unlike our New Year, Chinese New Year lasts for over two weeks.

Many superstitions and traditions are common to East and West, such as eating foods that "speak to" money. For Chinese New Year, this takes the form of eating things that are golden, usually fried things--Peking dumplings, egg rolls, spring rolls, fried wontons, etc. A personal "golden" favorite: scallion pancake. Scallion pancakes are also round, which is the shape of coins, at least Western coins.

Cooking and eating things whole, so that you do not cut off your luck, is another Chinese New Year food tradition. For example, fish is served whole, with the head on. You don't cut noodles, no matter how long, either when you cook them or when you eat them.

East and West both share an "out with the old, in with the new" tradition. Thus, wearing new clothes is a Chinese New Year tradition!

Both in clothing and in decor, red in a lucky color. And children typically receive money in red envelopes. This being 2018, "there's an app for that" called Red Envelope. It enables relatives to give money online, even from afar.

Am I superstitious? Not so much. I just really enjoy learning about traditions and superstitions and honoring at least a few, just for fun. And I love Chinese food, so I'm all in (but maybe not on the fish heads). I don't think I have any unworn clothes, though. Time to shop? Or, I'll just wear my newest clothes.

After Chinese New Year, maybe we can talk about cleaning our homes to make them ready for Passover.

Thanks for an interesting and reflection-provoking open thread post, phillybluesfan!

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enhydra lutris's picture

@HenryAWallace
them ready for houseguests, that's what's up here. The rest, meh. Feng shui has no role to play in my diet, though it sounds like a delicacy, nor my life, except tfor hings like "don't put furniture where you are certain to kick it barefoot in the night." One could argue that money here is green (folding green) so one should eat lots of kale and spinach, but in the EU it is rainbow hued, so eat everything and anything. OTOH, in most places today, money is more and more a piece of plastic, and I have no plans on eating any plastic that I can avoid eating. Wink

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

The Aspie Corner's picture

And the response is as typical as one might expect.

"But Keynesianism. But 10 Planks of Communism. But Soshlizum. But Crony Capitalism. But Social Programs bewhewhewhewhew!!!!11!"

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.

enhydra lutris's picture

@The Aspie Corner

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

enhydra lutris's picture

picture of Jean Richie is such a classic that I remember it from my distant youth, and am glad that I could identify her by name because it shows that I am not fully senile yet.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Lily O Lady's picture

I’m getting sick and have been napping.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"