Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday Morning Scene: Churches of the West: Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church, former location of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Gillette Wyoming.

When I took this photograph, it was the location of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Gillette, Wyoming. As noted at the time, I had no idea how old the structure of the church was. An addition, not visible here, to the back side looked to be a rectory.

Since I took this photo, the Church structure sold to the Antiochian Orthodox parish in Gillette, and this Church is now Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church.  I don't know where the Episcopal parish formerly located here is now located.  The pastor of this church informs me that it has been redone inside, in keeping with Orthodox traditions, and he would graciously allow me to photograph the interior in the future.

Friday, June 23, 2017

June 23, 1917. War news of all types

I haven't been covering it much, although I've been meaning to post a separate thread on it, but the arrival of the Great War in Wyoming, and the expectation that thousands of troops would be flooding into the state's two military posts, produced a flurry of all sorts of activity. 

One of the collateral impacts of the war was Cheyenne going dry due to Congressional action (arguably unconstitutional) and, soon thereafter, the town fathers. . . and mothers, moving to shut down the "resorts".

Resorts, at the time, was the euphemistic term for houses of prostitution, of which Cheyenne apparently had some prominent ones.  The town reacted and the town's women in particular reacted to have them shut down, with the war as the ostensible reason.  The war may have been the reason, but it isn't as if Ft. D. A. Russell was brand new. . . but then thousands of conscripted soldiers going through there was a new thing.  Cheyenne was apparently more worried about vice and regular boys who ended up in the service, and recalled National Guardsmen, than it was about regular soldiers.

Anyhow, some of the soiled doves flew to Laramie and right away Laramie followed Cheyenne's lead.  In today's headlines we see a specific example of a "colored" house being closed.  The move was on against all of them, but for some reason that one got the axe first, with the others ordered to  quit serving alcohol.

Cheyenne's papers, in contrast, were reporting that Russia would stay in the war. . . which of course it wouldn't.  It would stay in a war, of course, one of its own horrific internal making.

And another headline gave a glimpse into the past, although it was a fairly recent past in 1917.

Ernie Shore's Relief No Hitter. June 23, 1917.

In a pitching event against the odds Ernie Shore came in to relieve Babe Ruth, then the Boston Red Sox's starting pitcher, and turns in a no hitter.

Ernie Shore on the left, Grover Cleveland Alexander on the right, 1915 World Series.  Shore was a remarkably tall pitcher, particularly for his era, as he was 6'4" tall.

What's amazing about it is that Shore had virtually no time to warm up and nearly pitched the entire game.  Indeed, at one time, this was regarded as a perfect game.

The reason for that is Babe Ruth.

Ruth pitched to just a single batter, the Washington Senator's Ray Morgan.  Morgan was walked, but not before Ruth hotly disputed three out of the four pitches that were called as balls, letting home plate umpire Clarence "Brick" Owens know it in no uncertain terms.  After the fourth ball he yelled out at Owens again.  Owens calmly replied and warned Ruth to calm down or he would be ejected, to which Ruth may have replied “Throw me out and I’ll punch ya right in the jaw!”, or might not have. At any rate Owens ejected Ruth at that point and Ruth took a swing at him, hitting him in the ear but knocking him down. The Boston police then escorted Ruth off the field.

Babe Ruth as a Red Sox pitcher, 1917.  {{PD-US}} – published in the U.S. before 1923 and public domain in the U.S.

Shore, a very good pitcher in his own right, then came in and pitched a nearly perfect game.  Indeed, at one time this was regarded as a perfect game, although now its only regarded as a no hitter.

That woman on a car photo?

Nephele A. Bunnell at the automobile fashion show held at Sheepshead Bay Race Track, New York City, June 23, 1917.

 Nephele A. Bunnell

 Ruth McDonald

Mrs. James H. Kidder.

Actress Gertrude McCoy

Gertrude McCoy

Beatrice Allen, Hazel Dawn, Consuelo Bailey, Eleanor Dawn, Ann Pennington, Gertrude McCoy, and Vera Maxwell

 The cars

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Why would that be a question?

 Vietnamese refugees being evacuated from Saigon in 1976.  This photo is closer in time to the Allied victory in World War Two and the Roosevelt/Truman administrations than it is to our current era. . .just like the formative years of the leadership of the Democratic Party.

Following the defeat of the Democrats in the election just held in Georgia, some are questioning whether Nancy Pelosi ought to be deposed from her position as a leader in the party.

Seriously?  They need to ask that?

She should have been deposed 20 years ago.

Now, I don't blame Pelosi for the Democratic loss in Georgia.  Any one state's election is, after all, a local election and Georgia has been in the GOP camp for some time.

But Pelosi bears about as much of a relationship to the average American voter now as . . . well. . . . Hillary Clinton.  Or Chuck Schumer.

Pelosi is 77 years old.

Schumer in comparison is practically a baby at 66.

Hillary Clinton is 69.

Pelosi, Clinton and Schumer have been in politics their entire lives. Their connection with the old blue collar base of the Democratic Party, in terms of actual work, is non existent.  She first held a position in California's Democratic Party in 1976.  In contrast Clinton has had much more in the way of "real work", but it's notable that she worked for Congress as part of the effort to impeach Richard Nixon.  Schumer became a member of the New York Assembly in 1975.  In short, these politicians formative years all have a lot to do with the ERA, Post Vietnam, Watergate era of Democratic politics.

A person may not be defined by their formative years, but then maybe they can be as well.

The ERA is not a consideration for current female voters.  Indeed, the rabid feminism of the that era, outside the leadership of certain current movements, has no relationship whatsoever to the views or concerns of young female voters today.   The Vietnam War is over and even the hand wringing over the results of the war are over.  Nixon is dead.

CH-54 landing in Saigon, April 30, 1975. At the time this photograph was taken, Hillary Clinton had already worked on the Nixon impeachment effort, Chuck Schumer was already in the New York Assembly, and Nancy Pelosi was already involved in California's Democratic Party.

It's time for the current leadership of the Democratic Party to move on too.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

$43/BBL and going lower

I haven't posted on the price of fossil commodities for some time and I've felt bad about it.

The reason for this is that I posted regularly on this as the price was falling last year and the year before but have remained mute as prices stabilize and recovered a bit. Certainly coal, which was really bad off last year, pulled out of a near crash and has recovered somewhat to everyone's surprise.  Oil stabilized before that and was hovering around $50/bbl for quite awhile.  Oil in Wyoming recovered a bit however and things weren't doing as poorly as they were.  The sell off, by some big producers, of Wyoming fields continues to go on, but there are buyers. The big producers are concentrating on the Permian Basin in Texas, but even that should give some older Wyoming fields a boost as the Permian has been in production for a long time and remains hot.

And then, oil dropped to $43/bbl.

That's right, today oil dropped down to $43/bbl.  

Libyan production going on line big time has a lot to do with that.  Libya is a mess right now and there's no reason to believe that Libya, or whoever is in control in Libya, will control production as long as overproduction brings in money, and that it will do.  The New York Times further reports:
HOUSTON — The price of oil keeps sinking, and there is no shortage of reasons: American oil companies are producing too much petroleum. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has not cut production enough. Motorists around the globe are not driving enough to shrink crude and gasoline inventories as quickly as expected.
There's no earthly way that American producers can economically sustain $43/bbl.  And there's some thought it will go even lower.

I feel bad for coming in and mentioning that. But my gosh, $43/bbl.  

That's unsustainable.

Blog Mirror: First Things; Dress Up: What We Lost In The Casual Revolution

Perhaps more than we think. At least First Things thinks so.
Dress Up
What We Lost In The Casual Revolution

For quite a few years now, academic philosophers and socio­logists, as well as pop­ular social commentators who get paid to pronounce on such matters, have been telling us that people have been abandoning their formal personas in favor of the whims and behavior of their individual selves.
I think maybe they're right.

I've posted on this before, in terms of the development of dress.  Indeed, I've written on it quite a bit. And indeed it fits in nicely with the them of this blog.  But as I've also asked before, does it matter

Well, I think it likely that it does.  First Things adds to that discussion.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Chesty Puller on simpilfication

We've been looking for the enemy for some time now. We've finally found him. We're surrounded. That simplifies things.
Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Big Picture: Troop A, Michigan State Troops

Copyright deposit on this day, 1917.  Troop A, Michigan State Troops.

The Solar Eclipse of June 19, 1917

This isn't, as we have noted, the "one hundred years ago today blog" or the "This Day In 1917 Blog".  Those blogs may of course exist (I don't know) but this isn't it.

Still, I note quite a few things that are exactly a century past in the context of this blog, some in the context of things that have changed and some in the context of things that have stayed the same.  In that context, I was surprised by this partial solar eclipse that occurred on date in 1917.

I was mostly surprised, fwiw, as we're having a total eclipse on August 21 here, and this town is in the dead center of its path.

That's neat enough, I guess, but we've been hearing for months that thousands of people are expected to be here for it.  Some people I know are expecting guests.  A lawyer I spoke to last week, who lives in Denver, told me that he had rented a pontoon boat and plans to be on Glendo for the event.

I don't get it.

I either have too little imagination, or perhaps too much, but it gets dark every night.  I don't see why people would travel thousands of miles to experience something for a couple of minutes that the experience for hours every night.

The Casper Record for June 19, 1917. Changing standards. . . an advertisement you are unlikely to see today

How about a suit for the 4th?

Hmmm. . . . I'll bet you aren't planning on wearing a suit for the 4th, nor are you planning on buying one, are you?

Monday At The Bar: Mistrial

The American public is getting an education regarding its legal process via the recent Cosby trial.

I'm not going to go into the allegations in part because I don't follow criminal stuff very closely.  Quite a few people who aren't lawyers would find that odd, but quite frankly just because a person is a lawyer doesn't mean that they follow every aspect of their own profession in the same fashion that sports fans follow a favorite team.  Indeed, most of us don't.  I've done very little criminal law myself and most major crimes leave me queasy in one sense or another, so I don't really pay very much attention to them.

Some you can't ignore, however, no matter what as they're Really Big Deals, and by that I mean big deals in either the true societal sense or, alternatively, in the sense of the press following the story closely.  The "O. J. Trial", for example, gives us an example of the latter.

Anyhow, the jury hung in this one, and a mistrial was declared. So now people are familiar with what that means. 

I wonder if it also means that people personally paid much attention to the legal maxim of "presumed innocent until proven guilty".  I doubt it.

But maybe they have no obligation to on a personal level.  

Certainly hardly anyone thinks that about O. J. Simpson.  It's pretty much universally agreed that he was guilty and that the jury that found him innocent was out to lunch, or perhaps beguiled by spectacular lawyering by his defense team and other factors.

Here, it would seem, Bill Cosby was well represented.  But additionally, jurors might have had evidence that we basically never hear.  The press generally does a really poor job of reporting any legal matter.  In this instance, without knowing the details, at least half the jurors apparently thought that whatever happened, the tort didn't. 

But that takes us back to the public's eye.  No matter what actually happened, Cosby's reputation is permanetnly shot and its never coming back. He's not going to experience a latent revival of his reputation like Fatty Arbuckle, who enjoyed that only briefly.  Indeed, Arbuckle's fall for being accused of a crime he didn't commit lead him to being shunned by Hollywood for a long time, and he only came back really as a director in 1933, finishing a film, celebrated a marriage anniversary, commenting that "This is the best day of my life", and dying that night at age 43. 

Not really a happy ending.

Cosby is well past 43.  His reputation as a family man and a man who successfully became an American icon while also representing the urban black demographic, is completely shot.  Maybe that's punishment in and of itself no matter what his crimes or torts may have been, for leading a personal life of decadent sexual behavior irrespective of its legality.

In the film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence John Ford counseled When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."  The lives of the famous, in the current age, tend to suggest that this is no longer true.

It probably never should have been.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

American Father's Day

Today is Father's Day in the United States for 2017.

 Almost like a scene out of the Andy Griffith Show, father and son fishing, Jackson County West Virginia.

It's set on the Third Sunday of June, meaning you father's don't get the day off.

I'd have guessed this was some sort of uniquely American holiday, but it isn't.  The US actually came to it late in comparison to Catholic Europe and Latin America, where it was established on conjunction with the Feast of St. Joseph, which is celebrated on March 19.  The separated Coptic Church, interestingly, also makes this connection but celebrates the feast day on July 20. 

 St. Joseph depicted with Jesus as a young boy.  This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less.

The connection comes due to the obvious role of St. Joseph.  In this connection its also interesting to note that the focus on St. Joseph has increased in recent years in association with his role as the patron saint of workers.  Indeed, he's sometimes called St. Joseph the Worker.

Another depiction of St. Joseph, who made his living as a carpenter and passed that trade on to Jesus.  This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less.

Those two roles, it occurs to me, are probably more connected than it might at first seem. . . . 

Father's Day as an American holiday was first proposed in the early 20th Century and Woodrow Wilson wanted to make it such. Wilson seems to have experienced his first early troubles with Congress, which would become enormous later on, with holidays as Congress would have none of it.  Note that we just passed Flag Day which didn't become official until after World War One, but which was subject to a Presidential proclamation in 1916.   In regards to Father's Day, Congress feared it would become commercial so they wouldn't go for it. Finally President Johnson made it subject to a proclamation in 1966 and it became an official holiday in 1972.

Based on the advertising found this time of year, Congress may have had a reason to worry about the day's commercialization. . . . 

 It's been a really long time since you could get a plate of anything for .30.

On this day I always see, now that we have so much cyber stuff going on all the time, posted dedications by some to their fathers.  And that's great.  What strikes me, however, is the interesting connection between the example of St. Joseph and the day, and in a way that occurred to me about this day before but not quite in the same context.  If we look at St. Joseph's veneration's, that of father and of a worker, what we're left with is the example of a really dedicated individual who carried his family through some really horrible times, to say the least, and who passed his trade on to his son through direct example.  

We don't know a lot, indeed, about St. Joseph.  We know that he was older than Mary but much is debated beyond that.  Quite a bit of early church attention suggests that he may have been a widower at the time that he became betrothed to Mary and indeed that explains a lot about their relationship that seems to completely baffle modern Americans in particular, given that they think relationships between men and women as portrayed by Friends or The Big Bang Theory are normal, rather than pathologically abnormal in the real and natural sense.  What that means is that a lot of St. Joseph's life was about duty and example.  Indeed, his life, to the extent we know about it, was pretty much about dedication.  He may very well have suffered the tragedy of the loss of his first wife, and may have had children from that union (again, this is maintained by quite a few students of the Gospels and it seems to be a fairly valid argument).  His betrothal to Mary seems likely to have been under circumstances in which he was marrying a young woman (Mary was likely quite young, perhaps about sixteen) who was perhaps a consecrated virgin (again, something argued by some students of the Bible and which seems to be a pretty valid argument) which meant that the marriage was going to be a Josephite Marriage from the onset.  He wasn't making his life easier in any sense by the marriage and right from the very onset it took a turn that made it marketedly worse for him on a real physical level.  And yet, he just kept on keeping on.

Immigrant farm laborer with his sons, the older two of which were already working with their father at the time this photo was taken in the late Great Depression.  Note the depiction in the background which sort of ties into this dicussion.

Which is part of my point.

A lot of fathers today just don't stick around.

Indeed we've grown accustomed to a situation in which they're not even expected to quite often, even by the women they get pregnant.  This has made, to a degree, us accustomed to the concept that fatherhood is somehow optional.  It isn't.  It is, rather, an obligation, and being there is a big part of that obligation.  And, by being there I mean in the sense that St. Joseph was.  

Now most of us won't endure trials such as his.  Most of us won't have to flea for Egypt.  But then most of us wouldn't pass that test and men who just ignore the situation in general have already flunked it.  Women who allow them to are flunking it as well.

But being there means more than being physically present.  It also means being some sort of example.  We all fall short on that, particularly in comparison to a Saint, but a lot of us fall very far short of it. Being an example only in the acquisition of wealth doesn't mean very much at all.  Conveying a value to things that are done means a great deal more, but that's not always easy in a society which measures everything simply by monetary gain.  Very few young men today grow up in a situation in which they see their father's work, and a lot of that work has a value that's somewhat mysterious at best.

Idaho father and son, late l930s, in a cleared field.  Agricultural families today remain really rare examples of families in which children actually see what their parents do and what the value of it is.

And of course there's a lot more of value to life than work, although we seem to have forgotten much of that.

Sunday Morning Scene: Churches of the West: The Masters School, formerly St. Paul Lutheran Church., Lewistown Montana

Churches of the West: The Masters School, Lewistown Montana:

A Christian school, located in Lewistown Montana, in what was formerly St. Paul Lutheran Church

Friday, June 16, 2017

"Tractored Out". A mechanized tragedy (that perhaps is ongoing)

Original caption:  Native Texas tenant farmer. Near Goodliet, Texas. Aged seventy; seventeen years on the same farm. Is to be "tractored out" at the end of 1938. One son has been tractored out and has been on WPA (Work Projects Administration) for two years. Another son was tractored out in 1937. Has moved to town and remains temporarily off relief by selling his livestock. "What are my boys going to do? It's not a question of what they're going to do. It's a question of what they're going to have to do. They're not any up there in Congress but what are big landowners and they're going to see that the program is in their interest. As long as the government is paying the landowner more to let the land out than they make by renting it, they won't rent it."

I've written about it here before, but one of the really huge changes of the 20th Century was pretty much complete by mid 20th Century, although the ripples of it are going on and on.  That tragedy, and it isn't usually put that way, was the mechanization of agriculture.

I started on this post with a different theme, or perhaps a different idea for the post entirely, but then I ran across the photograph above which summarized, in visual and caption form, so perfectly what occurred.   Today tractors are almost one of the romantic things about farming, or at least our idea of tractors, but the adoption of the tractor and other combustion engine driven farm equipment not only revolutionized farming, but it allowed one farmer to farm much more ground. That soon translated into a requirement that a single farmer do just that, and that impulse has never stopped.

The revolution right as it was occuring, farmers using a tractor to plow on the left, while on the right a farmer plows with a mule.

It didn't happen all at one, contrary to what some people like to imagine. Economics and habit meant that as late as the 1950s there were still some who were using horses, in full or in part, for farming.  Indeed, I know one such man.  When he was drafted at the start of the Korean War he had time to help his brother put the farm in one lat time, using mules.  When he came back from the Korean War that era was over and the mules were gone.

And of course some still do.  Oddly enough, up to a certain acreage size horses and mules are actually more cost effective than fossil fuel burning machines. According, additionally, those who know, the soil benefits as well, as its less compacted. . . no heavy equipment rolling over the ground.

But most don't farm that way anymore and most can't.  American economics, which is perpetually driven towards large scale, favors large scale farming. That drives the cost of everything else. The price of food goes down and the farmer must farm more. The cost of land and taxation on land goes up, which means exactly the same.  Even if most farmers today wanted to use the old methods, they couldn't.

But that has meant a real loss.

 Original caption: 
Native Texan farmer on relief. Goodliet, Hardeman County, Texas. "Tractored out" in late 1937. Now living in town, and on the verge of relief. Wife and two children. "Well, I know I've got to make a move but I don't know where to. I can stay off relief until the first of the year. After that I don't know. I've eat up two cows and a pair of horses this past year. Neither drink nor gamble, so I must have eat'n 'em up. I've got left two horses and two cows and some farm tools. Owe a grocery bill. If had gradutated land tax on big farms, that would put the little man back again. One man had six renters last year. Kept one. Of the five, one went to Oklahoma, one got a farm south of town and three got no place. They're on WPA (Works Progress Administration). Another man put fifteen families off this year. Another had twenty-eight renters and now has two. In the Progressive Farmer it said that relief had spoiled the renters so they had to get tractors. But them men that's doing the talking for the community is the big landowners. They got money to go to Washington. That's what keeps us from writing. A letter I would write would sound silly up there."

And that loss is that fewer people live on the land on fewer and fewer real farms.  And by real farms, I mean that farms that afford their owners a living.

Some would say, of course, that this is the American way.  Tim Worstall of Forbes magazine, for example, isn't bothered by such things.
We have some muttering from Maine from the blueberry farmers, that crops are up, prices are down and people are losing money doing the farming--at which point we have to make the simple observation that some of those blueberry farmers should indeed go bust and go and do something else instead. For this is the way that economic development, economic advance, works. People stop doing things which make a loss and instead go and do something else which at least potentially might make a profit.
That's right, doggone it. . . the point of everything is that it should make a profit, right?

Hmmm. . . maybe not so much.  At least Wendell Berry would question that line with the title of a book and essay; What Are People For?

Well, if that's what their for, nothing else matters much really.  As long as we're making a profit, robot like, well we're serving our purpose, apparently.

Which would probably make  Tim okay with computerization, the latest aspect of the mechanization of the Industrial Revolution to hit us.  In the gist of a single picture is worth a thousand words way of doing things, this Phoenix University advertisement captures it quite poignantly:

And that's sort of how we imagine things working.  The (apparently single), middle class, Mom looses her job in the factory, but it's okay as she reeducated and gets a better job in IT.

But that assumes a lot. For one thing, it assumes jobs in IT really are better.  Truth be known, there's plenty of people who'd rather operate a drill, or a lathe, or swing a hammer every day than to stay inside in a sickly air conditioned room operating the HAL 9000.  But that doesn't matter, after all, as "What Are People For?".

HAL, of course, famously and fictitiously decided that the people were for him, and a tragic Frakensteinian ending to a film whose only good moments are associated with Bicycle Built For Two and the rise of man, but its a real question to what extent we're looking at that long term.  I don't want to sound too apocalyptic but we should rest too comfortably thinking that that IT will always be "it". At some point, IT takes over a lot of lower level IT, perhaps, after displacing droves or workers first, and then only the higher level jobs are left.  At this point, not even retail jobs are safe from the advancement of technology, as any trip through a store will show, and you have to ask yourselves what happens to the droves of people.  Real optimists imagine the universal adoption of a Universal Basic Income, basically saying retire everyone, but there's no good reason to believe that has a good end in any single imaginable sense.

Indeed, the Washington Post had sort of what I suspect is an interesting example of how this turns out in a recent article on disability.  The article, entitled  Generations, disabled:  A family on the fringes prays for the “right diagnoses” applies the current concepts of disability to its tragic subjects but it might have missed the larger picture fairly widely.    I frankly wonder if what the story reflects is a societal evolution that's causing us just to cast aside, warehouse and medicate a bunch of people as technological evolution has made it easy for us to do so and by doing it in this fashion we somewhat ease our consciences about it.

This first occurred to me following some of the recent, non political/terrorist, mass killings. No, I'm not saying that these folks in the newspaper are like folks who commit mass killings. But in several of those instances we leaned that the killers were suffering from some sort of psychological condition which basically mean that they were highly withdrawn. Their intelligence varied from highly intelligent to very low, but their united characteristic is that they were socially very awkward and as a result had basically ended up as young men living in their parents basements, with no friends, playing video games.

Now, that doesn't describe the people in the article at all, but there is something that maybe makes them similar.

And what that is, is this. We've gone from a society which had useful jobs for people, almost everywhere (except in bad economic times) for people who otherwise had personalities and abilities that would hinder them greatly now.

If you are about 50 years old or older, you'll know what I mean as you worked with them if you ever had any sort of manual job.

There were guys who worked on the shop room floor with everyone else and never said a word to anyone, but on Fridays they were taken along with everyone else to the local bar after payday. They sat their in the group of their coworkers and had a beer and felt like they were part of the group.  If you were in the big Cold War era Army, there were guys you served with who were really withdrawn and not always very sharp, but they had a job they could do and they were relied upon to do it, and when everyone else got leave to go into town, or had time off and went to the 1-2-3 Club, they did too and were included.

Now these exact same people have nowhere to go. The automated shop room floor isn't a place they can always work. The cubicle at Innertrobe isn't the place for them. So they don't go anywhere and instead they sit at home. At some point, a lot of them are medicated for some "disorder" that wouldn't have even been regarded as a disorder until recently.

In some ways, the people in the article sort of fit that, at least to the extent that we can really tell anything about them. They aren't going to get a job at Amalgamated Amalgamated, and they aren't going to work in IT either. Probably 30 years ago, they would have been working somewhere nearby doing something. Now, it's just easier to put them on disability and mediate them.

The article notes how this has expanded over the past 20 or so years. This coincides with the destruction of a lot of simpler jobs through technology. This certainly wouldn't apply to every example, but I have to wonder if, as we become more and more urban, and more and more technical, and more and more people work in cubicles in big cities, the societal solution to displacement, unintentionally, is to decide that more and more of the people who we're tossing out of the workplace have something medically wrong with them and need to be medicated, and that they are disabled.

Maybe, anyhow.

If so, part of the solution to this is economic, but economic at the systemic level. If modern work is becoming the enemy of people, the work needs to be adjusted.

But we don't seem to do that.

Of course, maybe this is just all too darned pessimistic.  More optimistic people would point out that my pessimism here has a certain Luddite quality to it and that the Luddites have never been right before.  Work conditions have improved, people have become wealthier, and some would say that the average condition of human beings on all things has improved.  So, as technology keeps advancing, we just keep boosting the bliss.

Maybe, but I'm not entirely certain that they're actually correct as to right now.  That is, I'd concede that this has been the case in the past up to a point, but it seems to me that it hasn't been one straight line by any means, and that at present we may have past the technological bliss curve.  Indeed, I suspect we did that back in the mechanization age and before the electronic technology age.

A person, I'd note, has to be really careful about this as it gets to the concept that everything was much better in (fill in favorite date or era here).  Some would pick the 1950s, some would pick any date in the 19th Century. I've seen people pick as far back as the Middle Ages.  And very often, indeed almost always, those sorts of ideas are based on heavily rosy views of the past.

Indeed, not all that long ago I saw a post like that on the 100 Years Ago Today Subreddit, which is fairly amazing if you read that Subreddit as its deep into World War One right now.  It's pretty difficult to see World War One as a happy time.  Added to that, if you catch the numerous headlines that are featured on old newspapers there and you'll see lots of stories about disease, accidents, racism and violence. That person longing for 1917 on the Subreddit had an excuse for all of them, as if they weren't really so, but they were really so.  It's much easier to see the good in the past rather than the bad, and there was plenty of bad for sure.

Still, it's a mistake to assume that all things get better for all people at all times.  Progress, assuming that its generally real, is cyclical.  And things can and do decline. And some things in the past were better than the present.  It's not unreasonable to worry that you are in such a cycle of decline, or even in one of the disruptive eras when things cycle over to a new era, leaving some behind.  It's also not unreasonable, if certainly not provable or disprovable, that a curve has been reached in which the overall impacts of technological advancement are generally negative for most people.

And it starts to really come in.

You can't tell so much from this photo, but with the vast buckets of rain we've been getting, and the interludes of warm weather, the garden is really coming along this year.  It's far head of where it was last year.  Of course, I got it in earlier too.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I had a hat when I came in. . .

The thread on Caps, Hats, Fashion and Perceptions of Decency and being Dressed, was always one of my favorites here.  That being the case, I can't resist.

Not your cup of tea (or glass of stout)?

Shout out to the Frontier Partisans website on this one.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Flag Day. June 14 (1917 and 2017)

1917 Flag Day Poster noting the 140th anniversary of the adoption of the Stars & Stripes.

It's always on June 14.

The date commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the on July 14, 1777 as the national standard.  The day was established as a commemorative day by proclamation of Woodrow Wilson in 1916 and then National Flag Day was proclaimed an official commemoration, but not a national holiday, by Congress in 1949.

 Woodrow Wilson delivering his 1917 Flag Day address.

Wilson used the occasion to deliver a speech:
My Fellow Citizens: We meet to celebrate Flag Day because this flag which we honour and under which we serve is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as a nation. It has no other character than that which we give it from generation to generation. The choices are ours. It floats in majestic silence above the hosts that execute those choices, whether in peace or in war. And yet, though silent, it speaks to us. —speaks to us of the past, * of the men and women who went before us and of the records they wrote upon it. We celebrate the day of its birth; and from its birth until now it has witnessed a great history, has floated on high the symbol of great, events, of a great plan of life worked out by a great people. We are about to carry it into battle, to lift it where it will draw the fire of our enemies. We are about to bid thousands, hundreds of thousands, it may be millions, of our men. the young, the strong, the capable men of the nation, to go forth and die beneath it on fields of blood far away, —for what? For some unaccustomed thing? For something for which it has never sought the fire before? American armies were never before sent across the seas. Why arc they sent now? For some new purpose, for which this great flag has never been carried before, or for some old. familiar, heroic purpose for which it has seen men, its own men, die on every battlefield upon which Americans have borne arms since the Revolution?

These are questions which must be answered. We are Americans. We in our turn serve America, and can serve her with no private purpose. We must use her flag as she has always used it. Wo are accountable at the bar of history and must plead in utter frankness what purpose it is we seek to serve.

It is plain enough how we were forced into the war. The extraordinary insults and aggressions of the Imperial German Government left us no self-respecting choice but to take up arms in defense of our rights as a free people and of our honour as a sovereign government. The military masters of Germany denied us the right to be neutral. They filled our unsuspecting communities with vicious spies and conspirators and sought to corrupt the opinion of our people in their own behalf. When they found that they could not do that, their agents diligently spread sedition amongst us and sought to draw our own citizens from their allegiance, —and some of those agents were men connected with the official Embassy of the German Government itself here in our own capital. They sought by violence to destroy our industries and arrest our commerce. They tried to incite Mexico to take up arms against us and to draw Japan into a hostile alliance with her, —and that, not by indirection, but by direct suggestion from the Foreign Office in Berlin. They impudently denied us the use of the high seas and repeatedly executed their threat that they would send to their death any of our people who ventured to approach the coasts of Europe. And many of our own people were corrupted. Men began to look upon their own neighbours with suspicion and to wonder in their hot resentment and surprise whether there was any community in which hostile intrigue did not lurk. What great nation in such circumstances would not have taken up arms? Much as we had desired peace, it was denied us, and not of our own choice. This flag under which we serve would have been dishonoured had we withheld our hand.

But that is only part of the story. We know now as clearly as we knew before we were ourselves engaged that we are not the enemies of the German people and that they are not our enemies. They did not originate or desire this hideous war or wish that we should be drawn into it; and we are vaguely conscious that we are fighting their cause, as they will some day see it, as well as our own. They are themselves in the grip of the same sinister power that has now at last stretched its ugly talons out and drawn blood from us. The whole world is at war because the whole world is in the grip of that power and is trying out the great battle which shall determine whether it is to be brought under its mastery or fling itself free.

The war was begun by the military masters of Germany, who proved to be also the masters of Austria-Hungary. These men have never regarded nations as peoples, men, women, and children of like blood and frame as themselves, for whom governments existed and in whom governments had their life. They have regarded them merely as serviceable organizations which they could by force or intrigue bend or corrupt to their own purpose. They have regarded the smaller states, in particular, and the peoples who could be overwhelmed by force, as their natural tools and instruments of domination. Their purpose has long been avowed. The statesmen of other nations, to whom that purpose was incredible, paid little attention; regarded what German professors expounded in their classrooms and German writers set forth to the world as the goal of German policy as rather the dream of minds detached from practical affairs, as preposterous private conceptions of German destiny, than as the actual plans of responsible rulers; but the rulers of Germany themselves knew all the while what concrete plans, what well advanced intrigues lay back of what the professors and the writers were saying, and were glad to go forward unmolested, filling the thrones of Balkan states with German princes, putting German officers at the service of Turkey to drill her armies and make interest with her government, developing plans of sedition and rebellion in India and Egypt, setting their fires in Persia. The demands made by Austria upon Servia were a mere single step in a plan which compassed Europe and Asia, from Berlin to Bagdad. They hoped those demands might not arouse Europe, but they meant to press them whether they did or not, for they thought themselves ready for the final issue of arms.

Their plan was to throw a broad belt of German military power and political control across the very centre of Europe and beyond the Mediterranean into the heart of Asia; and Austria-Hungary was to be as much their tool and pawn as Servia or Bulgaria or Turkey or the ponderous states of the East. Austria-Hungary, indeed, was to become part of the central German Empire, absorbed and dominated by the same forces and influences that had originally cemented the German states themselves. The dream had its heart at Berlin. It could have had a heart nowhere else! It rejected the idea of solidarity of race entirely. The choice of peoples played no part in it at all. It contemplated binding together racial and political units which could be kept together only by force, —Czechs, Magyars. Croats, Serbs, Roumanians, Turks, Armenians, —the proud states of Bohemia and Hungary, the stout little commonwealths of the Balkans, the indomitable Turks, the subtile peoples of the East These peoples did not wish to be united. They ardently desired to direct their own affairs, would be satisfied only by undisputed independence. They could be kept quiet only by the presence or the constant threat of armed men. They would live under a common power only by sheer compulsion and await the day of revolution. But the German military statesmen had reckoned with all that and were ready to deal with it in their own way.

And they have actually carried the greater part of that amazing plan into execution! Look how things stand. Austria is at their mercy. It has acted, not upon its own initiative or upon the choice of its own people, but at Berlin's dictation ever since the war began. Its people now desire peace, but cannot have it until leave is granted from Berlin. The so-called Central Powers are in fact but a single Power. Servia is at its mercy, should its hands be but for a moment freed. Bulgaria has consented to its will, and Roumania is overrun. The Turkish armies, which Germans trained, are serving Germany, certainly not themselves, and the guns of German warships lying in the harbour at Constantinople remind Turkish statesmen every day that they have no choice but to take their orders from Berlin. From Hamburg to the Persian Gulf the net is spread.

Is it not easy to understand the eagerness for peace that has been manifested from Berlin ever since the snare was set and sprung? Peace. peace, peace has been the talk of her Foreign Office for now a year and more; not peace upon her own initiative, but upon the initiative of the nations over which she now deems herself to hold the advantage. A little of the talk has been public, but most of it has been private. Through all sorts of channels it has come to me, and in all sorts of guises, but never with the terms disclosed which the German Government would be willing to accept. That government has other valuable pawns in its hands besides those I have mentioned. It still holds a valuable part of France, though with slowly relaxing grasp, and practically the whole of Belgium. Its armies press close upon Russia and overrun Poland at their will. It cannot go further; it dare not go back. It wishes to close its bargain before it is too late and it has little left to offer for the pound of flesh it will demand.

The military masters under whom Germany is bleeding see very clearly to what point Fate has brought them. If they fall back or are forced back an inch, their power both abroad and at home will fall to pieces like a house of cards. It is their power at home they are thinking about now more than their power abroad. It is that power which is trembling under their very feet: and deep fear has entered their hearts. They have but one chance to perpetuate their military power or even their controlling political influence. If they can secure peace now with the immense advantages still in their hands which they have up to this point apparently gained, they will have justified themselves before the German people: they will have gained by force what they promised to gain by it: an immense expansion of German power, an immense enlargement of German industrial and commercial opportunities. Their prestige will be secure, and with their prestige their political power. If they fail, their people will thrust them aside; a government accountable to the people themselves will be set op in Germany as it has been in England, in the United States, in France, and in all the great countries of the modern time except. Germany. If they succeed they are safe and Germany and the world are undone: if they fail Germany is saved and the world will be at peace. If they succeed, America will fall within the menace. We and all the rest of the world must remain armed, as they will remain, and must make ready for the next step in their aggression: if they fail, the world may unite for peace and Germany may be of the union.

Do you not now understand the new intrigue, the intrigue for peace, and why the masters of Germany do not hesitate to use any agency that promises to effect their purpose, the deceit of the nations? Their present particular aim is to deceive all those who throughout the world stand for the rights of peoples and the self-government of nations; for they see what immense strength the forces of justice and of liberalism are gathering out of this war. They are employing liberals in their enterprise. They are using men, in Germany and without, as their spokesmen whom they have hitherto despised and oppressed, using them for their own destruction, —socialists, the leaders of labour, the thinkers they have hitherto sought to silence. Get them once succeed and these men, now their tools, will be ground to powder beneath the weight of the great military empire they will have set up; the revolutionists in Russia will be cut off from all succour or cooperation in western Europe and a counter revolution fostered and supported; Germany herself will lose her chance of freedom; and all Europe will arm for the next, the final struggle.

The sinister intrigue is being no less actively conducted in this country than in Russia and in every country in Europe to which the agents and dupes of the Imperial German Government can get access. That government has many spokesmen here, in places high and low. They have learned discretion. They keep within the law. It is opinion they utter now, not sedition. They proclaim the liberal purposes of their masters: declare this a foreign war which can touch America with no danger to either her lands or her institutions; set England at the centre of the stage and talk of her ambition to assert economic dominion throughout the world; appeal to our ancient tradition of isolation in the politics of the nations; and seek to undermine the government with false professions of loyalty to its principles.

But they will make no headway. The false betray themselves always in every accent. It is only friends and partisans of the German Government whom we have already identified who utter these thinly disguised disloyalties. The facts are patent to all the world, and nowhere are they more plainly seen than in the United States, where we are accustomed to deal with facts and not with sophistries; and the great fact that stands out above all the rest is that this is a Peoples' War, a war for freedom and justice and self-government amongst all the nations of the world, a war to make the world safe for the peoples who live upon it and have made it their own, the German people themselves included; and that with us rests the choice to break through all these hypocrisies and patent cheats and masks of brute force and help set the world free, or else stand aside and let it be dominated a long age through by sheer weight, of arms and the arbitrary choices of self-constituted masters, by the nation which can maintain the biggest armies and the most irresistible armaments, —a power to which the world has afforded no parallel and in the face of which political freedom must wither and perish.

For us there is but one choice. We have made it. Woe be to the man or group of men that seeks to stand in our way in this day of high resolution when every principle we hold dearest is to be vindicated and made secure for the salvation of the nations. We are ready to plead at the bar of history, and our flag shall wear a new lustre. Once more we shall make good with our lives and fortunes the great faith to which we were born, and a new glory shall shine in the face of our people.
Not surprisingly, the speech featured the crisis of the hour, World War One, which the US had of course just entered.
It is coincidentally the birthday of the United States Army as well, which was created by Act of Congress on June 14, 1775 in a fashion on that date.  The act actually authorized the enlistment of ten companies riflemen in Continental service for a period of one year.  It seems at the time that expansion of a Continental Army was contemplated at the time and positions associated with it began to appear within days of the June 14 original authorization date.

Related Posts:  June 14 on This Day In Wyoming's History, which features some similar items on this day.

Lex Anteinternet: Mid Week At Work: So is that work what you expect...and so what if it isn't?

I've been running a series of Wednesday Mid Week At Work posts recently that are career oriented, rather than featuring a photo of some work in the past or the like.  The last one was this one:
Lex Anteinternet: Mid Week At Work: So is that work what you expected?: Jerome Facher :  I f I were you I'd make it a point in that lunch hour I'd find a place that's quiet and peaceful and I&#3...
On this, one thing that occurs to me is that the constant happy thought that people can leap from one career to another is really common, to include some fields that require a massive investment of time, labor, and yes cash, to even get into.  As I've noted before, law schools propagate this absurd myth regarding the career their young charges are studying for.  That's complete baloney.

After I started this thread, the thought that the reason that this claim is made so often for lawyers may be because so many end up abandoning their careers for something else.  It isn't that being a lawyer prepared them to be lawyers, its that desperation or disappointment after become a lawyer prepared them to make a pretty significant move.  The post we recently posted on involved a lawyer in Anchorage Alaska who became a cloistered nun, less of a move, intellectually, than many might suspect.  Indeed, the nature of being a cloistered nun, for people who entered the law as introspective, might frankly be closer to their original expectations than people outside the law might suppose.

Which leads me to this.  Even if a career field isn't what people expected it to be when they were young, I suspect that most people who enter any one field and find long lasting work in it stay in it.  Another factor is that even if it isn't what they initially expected they may become so acclimated to it that they are adapted by their work, rather than the other way around.  A couple of examples, both from the same people, might illustrate that.

I had a partner who died in his early 80s who, when I was first practicing law, I went to Denver with for work.  As we were driving towards the city we passed a large farm implement dealer and he commented on how his brother in law had farm implement dealerships and had tried to set him up in that, and that he always regretted not doing it.  He stated that he wished he had and he though that he would have been happier as an implement dealer.

That was a bit of a shock to me at the time and highly awkward as well.  Everyone always regarded this individual as the consummate lawyer, but he was telling me he'd rather have been an implement dealer.  What do you say to a thing like that?

Well, whatever he thought on that he kept working until he died, in his 80s.  What's that mean?  He didn't need to, he just did.

In between, of course, he'd raised a family and the like.  At some point, if he'd ever have been serious about being an implement dealer, the thought of moving and setting up a new endeavor made that impossible.

Another late partner of mine, who recently died in his 90s, told me that he wanted to be a doctor but World War Two had taken him out of school for years and when he came back he didn't feel he had the time to invest in that career, so he became a lawyer instead. Again, what do you do with that information?  He was regarded as a fierce litigator and he worked in the office next to mine until he was in his 90s. He always seemed a pretty happy lawyer so things must have worked out okay.  Be that as it may, he also told me how he'd been a city judge early and had thought about the judiciary but the amount it paid wasn't sufficient for his growing family, so he didn't do it.

My own father became a dentist.  As I knew him as my father, a man with broad interests and a very active mind, I never really particularly associated him with his career.  He was very loved by his patients and was very good at his profession, but I know that as he grew older (he died at age 62) he was looking forward towards retirement and was getting tired of it.  He never spoke much about his career as a career, but later in his life he did express that he wished he'd stayed in the Air Force, where he first practiced, as he could have retired younger and have been spared the agony of office operation, which is indeed a much bigger endeavor than people imagine.  Indeed, on that, I've heard quite a few people who had service time express regrets about not staying in as they could have taken advantage of the early retirement, which is interesting in that it expresses a career goal in terms of quitting it, rather than anything else.  Anyhow, he had entered Dentistry much the same way that I entered the Law, in a roundabout fashion.

I'm not sure what the point of this entry on this running thread is, but I guess what it may be is that lots of careers, maybe most of them, aren't all that grand and glamorous to the people who do them, but they're done because at some point the people who do them have little other choice and they know how to do them.  If that's correct, and I suspect it is, all that advice about "find something you love" and "you'll be a success if you love your work" may just be claptrap.  There are likely a lot of highly skilled people who do really outstanding work everyday but who would have rather have been implement dealers.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

And just when you thought border troubles with Mexico were off the front page. . .

replaced by war news from France (and today Greece). . .

It was back. 

In the form of a cross border raid by "Mexican bandit" who attached a patrol of the 8th U.S. Cavalry.

Of course the rest of the news had a focus on the war in Europe, to be sure. 

General Pershing, 100 Years Ago Today, June 13, 1917.

Quite a change from where he'd been just a few months ago.

Hilaire Belloc: On Islam

It has always seemed to me possible, and even probable, that there would be a resurrection of Islam and that our sons or our grandsons would see the renewal of that tremendous struggle between the Christian culture and what has been for more than a thousand years its greatest opponent.

Hilaire Belloc-- The Great Heresies, Ch. 4, "The Great and Enduring Heresy of Mohammed." Published in 1936.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Monday at the Bar; A Career Change: Former attorney professes first vows as cloistered Dominican nun

 The Abbey of St. Walburga, a Benedictine Abbey in Northern Colorado.

An interesting news story that might not be quite as unique as it at first seems. . . at least in an historical context, but which will still catch many off guard in this secular age.
Of course quite a bit of the reaction to this is in the nature of surprise.  I.e., why wold a person give up a "high paying career", etc. to live a life of cloistered isolation?

Well, because she has a religious calling is the reason.  Pretty simple.

Indeed, in this instance, we the level of her faith can be truly termed profound, so we should not be surprised.  Her nearly decade long stint as a practicing attorney was due in part to having to pay off her student loans and, as noted, an outside organization came to the rescue on that so that she was able to follow her vocation.

One of the interesting aspect of something like this is, however, always the "surprise".  I'm not surprised.

Law is a profession, in the classic definition of the word.  "Professions", as that term originally had meant, were the "learned professions" which, by their nature, professed. They were quite limited in number, being; 1) the clergy; and 2) the law, and 3) medicine. That's it.

Indeed, the definition was so narrow that some things we'd think today as naturally fitting these definitions didn't, originally.  Veterinarians weren't regarded as a profession until the Napoleonic Wars, at which time they became one in the UK due to a movement lead by them to correct the horrific veterinary care being afforded to horses.  Dentistry was practiced by barbers, oddly enough, rather than dentists in the Middle Ages when the concept of the professions came about.  Accountants, which we'd certainly regarded as professionals today, were not at that time irrespective of their valuable skills.  The clergy, law and medicine, that was it.

Which isn't to say that they were all held in equal regard. They certainly were not.  Lawyers in particular were widely looked down upon as being corrupt, which was something many truly were.

Which may be why, into antiquity, you can find quite a few examples of lawyers entering the clergy.  The morals of their first profession could not be reconciled with their own.

But beyond that, the law draws a lot of mentally inquisitive people, quite a few of whom are deeply introspective and a fair share of whom are introverts.  The practice of law, however, often values skills that don't fit this set.  Litigation in particular is not a scholarly endeavor, but having said that, much of the rest of the law isn't either.  This may be part of the reason you find lawyers in so many other things.  It isn't because the law lends itself to them, it doesn't, so much as their polymath minds took them out of the law.

I can't say that I've ever met a lawyer who became a monk or a nun, but I have known a few who became clergymen of other types.  One I knew somewhat became a Rabbi.  Another I knew became a Protestant minister.  I knew one Priest who had been a successful lawyer in Denver before entering the Priesthood  A couple I had cases against left their firms to enter Protestant seminaries.  Two I knew left their practices to enter Catholic seminaries but did not complete their studies and resumed practicing.  I've known a few who practiced law during the week and were Protestant ministers on Sunday or whom were Catholic Deacons.  It all makes a lot of sense to me.

What makes quite a bit less sense to me are people who take the opposite path, which occasionally you'll read about.  I suspect that a lot more people leave the law to enter the clergy but a few leave the clergy to enter the law.  I always suspect that involves an element of delusion, frankly, and I doubt that their later careers are very happy.  People entering law often claim that they "want to help" people but we mostly do partisan work for pay.  I don't know how many people really have that "helping people" motivation (fewer than claim it, I'm sure) but if a person really wants to help people, the clergy is a better option than the law and those who go the other way probably soon learn that after actually going to work.  Indeed, one such fellow I was aware of now seems to be working for his old institution, a Catholic Diocese, so his trip through the law with happy law school photographs seems to have lead him back to where he started, but in a lessor role.  I'm not sure what that means, but it probably means, if correct (and it might not be) that his old employer didn't hold grudges against him but his new career didn't turn out to be what he thought it would be.  He shouldn't have left it.

Anyhow, this is an interesting news story.  Sister Marie Dominic taking the better road.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Commentary on the British Terrorist Attacks

I started this post prior to Theresa May calling an election and taking a pounding in it.  Given that, I thought about not posting it at all, but as it was nearly already done, I will.

It's been interesting to hear American commentary on the terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom.  Indeed listening to them sort of emphasizes that we're pretty much clueless here on what the British should do. We feel, as do they, that they need to do something, but it doesn't take much to reach that conclusion.

Some of our commentary has been surprisingly muted.  One thing that hasn't come up is a discussion on firearms, which did come up a bit in regard to the attacks in Belgium and France.  The reason it hasn't come up is that the attacks haven't involved firearms. They've involved explosives, knives and automobiles, but not firearms.  In the UK, that is.

Nobody should take false comfort on that, fwiw. The UK endured a decades running IRA campaign in Northern Ireland and on Great Britain which involved plenty of firearms.  So the fact that the British have strict firearms laws probably doesn't fully explain the lack of arms.  We probably don't really know what does other than a lack of organization and the ad hoc nature of the attacks we're seeing.

Which probably points out that the attacks are ISIL inspired, but not really ISIL controlled.

Before we look at that, its really clear that British police should be armed and the fact they aren't is just stupid.  I know that its a tradition that they be unarmed but its a dumb one.  Facing a domestic terrorist campaign, they need to be armed and all the time.  Probably more people than just that do, although I do not intend to launch into a general discussion on firearms and British society.  I will note that during World War Two British soldiers took their arms home with them while on leave (British firearms control laws, fwiw, were much less restrictive at the time in any event).  That made sense because if something bad happened while they were on leave, they were armed.  And the British issued a lot of long arms to members of the Home Guard.

British Home Guard Stand Down Parade.  That isn't "Dad's Army".  Those are soldiers.

Again, as I'm not British and it doesn't directly relate to what I'm trying to say, I'm not going to use this as a springboard for a 2nd Amendment discussion.  Rather, I think maybe the British need to think at this point about having more official folks carrying, both openly and concealed.

I am going to make this a 1st Amendment conversation, however.

One thing that has come out since the second attack is that the current British government wants to clamp down on the transfer of information via the net.  They argue, not without merit, that ISIL inspires and conspires with domestic Muslims to cause these things to happen.

That may be true, but as an American I gasp at the suggesiton that clamping down on information is ever a good idea.  I think you combat it, but preventing its transfer is dicey in my view.  NOt that we haven't done it ourselves.  In wartime we have, but this would require a global effort and its one we can't participate in.  Beyond that, plenty of hte world's governments are already all too keen on restructuring information and that seems to encourage that sort of behavior when I don't know that we should be doing that.

This gets into an interesting aspect of a debate like this that we don't hear in the United States very much because the 1st Amendment is regarded as so untoubable, principally by hte Press, that disucssions like this just don't come up. Are you willing to restrict information if it saves lives?

We do hear that in regards to the 2nd Amendment (okay, I can't help but touch on it some), but not the 1st.  I.e, are you willing to impose restrictions on the 2nd Amendment to save lives.  It's a question most people don't want to answer who are 2nd Amendement supporters (and I'm one, and it makes me uncomfortable.  But are you willing to restrict free speech if it saves lives.

Most people are during wartime, that's clear.  But what about to counter a terrorist campaign that goes on for years, maybe for decades? That comes close to a different type of censorship than we're generally comfortable with in the US.

And, quite frankly, if the US doesn't participate in the effort, it isn't going to work.

So, are you so comfortable?

I'm not terribly comfortable with arguments in this area that have the warm squishy feel of oatmeal to them, and there's a few of those around.

John Kerry offered one that has a definate element of truth to it, but which is far too simplisitic, but which is an example of what we tend to hear all too often in this area.  Again, having said that, there's an element of truth to it.  His is the economic and social argument.

Basically, what he said (and he wasn't the first one to offer this explanation over the past week, is that the British in particular and the Europeans in general have done a fairly poor job of integrating Islamic populations both economically and socially. That's quite true.

Indeed, this entire aspect of this story fits into an odd "how bad are you doing" story regarding race, class and religion.  It's likely that Brits hearing this from us would stammer back that we're hardly in a position to lecture them on integration of any kind when we had slavery as late as 1865 and segregation all the way up into the 1960s.  And they'd really have a point.

Indeed, expanding this out a bit, the French (who have the same problem noted above, along with the Belgians) were much better about integrating our black troops (but not theirs) as early as World War One and the British were, to their credit, fairly horrified by the US having segregated units during World War Two and on how badly black Americans were treated.  Having said that, it's difficult to credit that too much when the British and the French had major empires from which they recruited foreign nations to fight for them during those wars.  That is, how much more benevolent are you really in this situation?  Not much.  There's plenty of finger pointing that could go on back and forth on both sides of the Atlantic, on  history, on this one.

But importantly the US has made enormous strides in this area since 1900 and in particular since 1945.  The Europeans, to include the British, really haven't.  That seems to be a cultural thing as European populations simply don't mix very much where as Americans famously do, even if not perfectly by any means.

So now we do have all over Europe populations of ghettoized Muslims, and that's a bad deal by any measure (much less noted, on the continent, we also have a Muslim population that's taking up a lot of conservative traditional European culture more aggressively than Europeans have maintained it).    They're ethnically distinct and kept poor, to some extent, which is not good at all.

But the story is a lot more complicated than that.  Most of these groups are very recent arrivals having come onto the continent only since 1945 and a lot of them only since 1970.  Given that, they managed to arrive just as much of meaningful European culture disintegrated post 1968 and became apatite based, something we here in the US have done as well.  Their cultures, however, remained conservative and were religiously based quite often.  Indeed this has been so much the case that its sparked some conversion, particularly by European and British women, to the immigrant religion as its clearly centered, whether you think it right or not, and based on something other than materialistic and hedonistic pleasure.

In that situation its clear that a certain massive culture shock is going to occur. Added to that, the immigrant religion has a strong call to forced conversion and licensees violence in some circumstances. That's a fact, not propoganda, although modern Westerners are so schooled in thinkign the opposite they are loathe to admit that.  Those who heed ISIL's call aren't irrational by any means, they're thinking and fairly devout.

Of course, ISIL is added to this mix as a motivating force and this brings in other elements.  ISIL isn't crazy.  Looking at the world they way they do, they're acting in a rational fashion.  This may be due to a plethora of external forces and its highly likely to be overcome by developments in culture, technology and economics, but that it would struggle for a Caliphate at this moment, and that some Muslims in the US and Europe would heed the call, makes quite a bit of sense.  That's a lot more complicated story than simply assuming that a terrorist could never get his dream job of being an actuary.

Both the US and the UK used versions of this poster during World War Two. Today, the same poster would likely be regarded as culturally insensitive.

And part of that means reexamining ourselves, or I guess the British reexamining themselves (and the Europeans, and us too).  That doesn't mean that ISIL is right and we need to surrender to an Islamic Caliphate, but it might mean that some aspects of our culture that have decayed may need to reassessed.  The Europeans should be able to grasp that, as should we, as we've done it before.