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Your Founding Father September 17, 2009

Posted by Beth in Miscellaneous Musings, Politics, Uncategorized.
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“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United
States of America.”
— Preamble To The United States Constitution

Just in case you missed it at the bottom of 3 Ring Binder‘s post “Memorizing the Preamble:

Celebrate the Constitution and find out which Founding Father you’re most like.

–Then let me know which one you are most like!

(I am most like Madison.)

“Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression.
In our Governments the real power lies in the majority of the community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the Constituents.”
— James Madison, (1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President, Source: in a letter to Thomas Jefferson in 1788

Lady Justice May 2, 2009

Posted by Beth in Art.
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Statue of Justice from St. Loius Univeristy School of Law

Statue of Justice from St. Louis University School of Law

I came across this bronze when looking for an image to accompany a post on my poly-econ site. I love it so much that I wanted to share it with those of you who just visit me here. What thrills me is the strength and energy the sculptor portrays. Most if the time,  Lady Justice is a calm, passive figure who presents the scales as the center of attention. If present, the sword is draped at her side, ready at hand, but held relaxed and in reserve—just in case. This image reminds me that justice is an active force, not just a passive judgment. To be of real value, one must judge and then act on that judgment. Judge, and prepare to be judged.

Justice is the identification of vice and virtue, and then acting in concert with that identification–with admiration and praise of the good equal in importance to condemnation of evil.  The more important the principle at stake, the more vigorous one must be in it’s identification and defense.

My logo for Aisa Academy is the Scales of Justice, one pan labelled “fact,” the other “value,” accomapnied by the motto “Ideas Matter.” I am realizing now that the statue above is more complete. The scales represent the judgment, the blindfold represents impartiality, but the sword represents the follow through, the action required to implement one’s impartial judgment.  All three are essential and so elegantly captured above.

Addendum 5-28-09: LB located the artist, James Muir, for me . Thanks! The official title fo the work is “…and Jusice for All.”  See the comments to this post for more info on the piece.

Free Will and the Pursuit of Happyness April 18, 2009

Posted by Beth in Miscellaneous Musings.
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I don’t know a lot about Chris Gardner, but what I know I like. He’s the real life protagonist in the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” which if you haven’t seen it, the time to do it is now.

Mr. Gardner is coming out with a new book, Start Where You Are. I just love that title–for me it speaks volumes.  Gardner has a website with a series of video clips. A couple of my favorites is below. In it he emphasizes taking responsibility for your own life, and for your own happiness. By starting where you are, you stay focused on reality. Great concepts. Inspirational to see how he applies them.

Global Warming: Was it Ever Really a Crisis? March 2, 2009

Posted by Beth in Miscellaneous Musings.
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Hundreds protest Global Warming

Hundreds protest Global Warming

This was sent to me in an email from a friend, who got it from another friend, and so on, so I am unable to give it proper attribution. Let me know if you come across the originator’s name. I would love to give him/her credit.

On this subject, I would like to alert those interested in this topic to the existence of a conference which will occur next weekend in New York City: The 2009 International Conference on Climate Change “Global Warming: Was it ever really a crisis?”  March 8-10  NYC   The Marriott Marquis

I attended the one last year and found it very informative and encouraging. It was exciting to see and meet several of the authors whose scientific works and blogs I had been reading– Willie Soon, Bill Gray, Patrick Michaels, Roy Spencer, Ross McKitrick–and the absolute highlight of the conference, the keynote speech by Vaclav Klaus. So much was going on, it was hard to choose which lectures to attend. I really regret not being able to attend this year, but since I am “self-funded” -it is a luxury I cannot quite justify after seeing our savings shrink in half.  This year Richard Lindzen is speaking–perhaps the one major dissenting climate scientist who was absent from last years program. I regret I will not get to hear him speak.

If you are interested in listening to any of the talks from last years conference, you can access them here. I especially recommend the talks by McKitrick, Spencer, Gray and Klaus–though many others were very worthwhile.

In addition to the conference, I ventured out on my own and learned how to use the subway–no small accomplishment for this rural girl– so I could visit the Met–another wonderful experience. I also was able to meet up with my brother-in-law who lives in NYC.   Well, maybe if  the economy turns around, I can attend next year…..

Or better yet, enough people will hear what these scientists and economists have to say, and there won’t be a need for such a conference.

I can hope an dream, can’t I?

Musings on Anger September 15, 2008

Posted by Beth in Miscellaneous Musings.

This post was inspired by a friend’s post. Ripples in the pond.


Anger intrigues me. I too get uncomfortable around anger, both my own and that of other people.  It makes me anxious and defensive, which all too often puts me into an attack mode.


I have a psychologist friend who once gave a lecture on anger.  She described people as falling into one of three categories (in regards to anger):  anger avoiders, the chronically angry, and the relatively healthy.  I probably fall into the first category. Intellectually, I know anger has an important roll in clueing me in to important value judgments, but it is hard to stay with it long enough to work through what is going on.


I think anger is the emotion we feel when we conclude there is an injustice.   To deny or avoid anger is to deny or avoid the fact that I (or whoever is angry) has made that judgment. Not that we are always aware of having done so…in fact, most of the time it is only implicit. It the heat of the moment, it is hard to stop and reflect, asking, what is the perceived injustice?  Is that a valid conclusion? Why or why not?


We are so emotionally illiterate. That’s not quite the right word, but what I mean is that so few of us are able to “read” emotions and use them as entries to better understanding.  We just take them at face value.  They are what they are and that’s it.


Instead, each emotion arises from a conclusion.  It could be made subconsciously or consciously, correctly of incorrectly, but somewhere in our thinking we have made a judgment. We interpret a set of facts and react to them based on what we hold as values. What we experience is an emotion. It’s how our values take on life and become real for us. Happiness: I have gained a value. Sadness: I have lost one. Anger: there is an injustice done to me. Fear: I am in danger.


Since the conclusions giving rise to the feelings are drawn below our level of awareness, it takes an effort to understand their full meaning.  Do I have the facts right? Are the values I am holding healthy and life-promoting? The more we can make the implicit explicit, and not just take the feelings as “truth,” the better equipped we will be to deal with what is actually happening, the more in tune our feelings will be with reality.


I am thinking as I write, but, I wonder if it is anger itself which is so frightening and intimidating, or if it is primarily when the anger is accompanied by hostility. By hostility, I mean that there is an aggressiveness accompanying the anger, a sense that whoever is angry at us also wants to hurt us.


Anger does mean a negative judgment is being made, but it doesn’t always have to be an attack—or if it is an attack, separating out the anger from the hostility may help diffuse the situation.  If we could just see it as a clue to the fact that the angry person feels as though an injustice has occurred, and then take the time to ask ourselves or whoever is angry at us:  what is the injustice here? Do facts support that conclusion? Yes or no, where do we proceed from here?

The better we are at getting to the real issues at stake, the more effective we will be in our decisions and actions.  We can’t always successfully engage another person in the process, and certainly not when feelings are hot. But, I think this kind of reflection is helpful.  Now if I can only remember to do it!!!