The Watering Hole; Friday January 17 2014; “Take All Away From Me, But Leave Me Ecstasy”

A long time ago (‘and in a galaxy far far away’?), the American poet Emily Dickinson wrote:

His Cheek is his Biographer —
As long as he can blush
Perdition is Opprobrium —
Past that, he sins in peace —

Not sure just how she managed, but she did — in just three words — describe perfectly the essentially shriveled soul that has in recent years emerged as the defining feature of the Republican Party, an infirmity invariably pressed ever ‘forward’ by the GOP’s crackpot Tea Party fringe. The premise has at its heart a single goal: to mandate whatever is necessary to guarantee that the rich and the powerful have at their disposal the means to become ever more wealthy, ever more powerful, and that in order to make certain the devastation of everyone else is permanent and irreversible, they are prepared to let nothing stand in the way of their obscene goal. In poetic language, the words “Perdition is Opprobrium” (Spiritual Ruin is the consequence of Outrageously Shameful Conduct) perfectly define that which has become our national malaise.

Such a thesis is certainly not new nor fresh; more likely it’s about as old as is the human presence upon the earth. Still, one can only wonder at what price comes social progress? More than eighty years ago, newly-elected president Franklin Roosevelt inherited a devastated economy, one that had fallen into the dregs of a Great Depression that was brought forth mainly by greed, by the quest for wealth, by the craving for social prominence of a relatively minuscule segment of American society. Roosevelt grappled with massive unemployment, homelessness, poverty, starvation — all the things the American Founders dreamed of alleviating once and for all — and by his actions he brought the nation back from the brink of third world status. And in Roosevelt’s shadow the progress toward social equality and justice continued for another several decades, until . . . until from the ‘bowels’ of perdition and opprobrium the witless conservative ‘movement’ finally gained a foothold. Enter Ronald Reagan and the gradual evolution (read: descent) to the dismal poverty which today has come to define us as a nation . . . poverty implicitly extended and expanded by Republican efforts to defund and/or eliminate programs such as Head Start, Food Stamps, long term Unemployment insurance, disability, even Veteran’s benefits — along with each and every other program designed specifically to help people, to maintain social balance, even to educate the next generations.

Poverty is commonly defined as “the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor. Synonyms: privation, neediness, destitution, indigence, pauperism, penury.” But in today’s America, that rather ‘penurious’ definition leaves out a sizeable increment of the poverty-stricken, i.e. those for whom wealth and power mean everything, where the suffering of others is not even worth noting. In fact, the intellectual poverty of the monied and powerful is every bit as disabling to the national well-being as are the mirror-imaged homeless, starving, moneyless, sickly and dying masses.

So, therein lies the reality. Poverty does NOT refer simply to those who have “little or no money, goods, or means of support.” There is, too, that potentially far more dangerous and destructive intellectual poverty that clearly infects the vast majority of the nation’s upper crust, its rich and powerful, together with . . . sadly . . . a major chunk of its governing politic.

Curiously, however, we are (quite obviously) a long way from being the first Americans to ever have seen or experienced such ungracious invective as one today regularly witnesses emanating from the mouths and pens of our elected officials. And as the following will magically demonstrate, I’m far from the first to prefer MY level of ‘defined’ poverty to THEIR level of ‘intellectual’ poverty, aka the poverty of slothful soul. Many thanks once again to Miss Emily Dickinson who penned this little masterpiece of insight and understanding more than 150 years ago. It took her only five lines and 39 words to sum up the entire of today’s intellectual poverty — the poverty of soul that quite literally has come to DEFINE a major national politic AND the poverty-stricken rich and powerful who are served by that very same politic. That. Poverty. Of. Soul.

Take all away from me, but leave me Ecstasy,
And I am richer then than all my Fellow Men —
Ill it becometh me to dwell so wealthily
When at my very Door are those possessing more,
In abject poverty –

One can only wonder just how a reclusive poet in the 1860’s managed to so eloquently describe the “abject poverty” implicit in and defining of such early 21st century luminaries as, say, the Koch Brothers, Dick Cheney, Chris Christie, John Boehner, Rush Limbaugh, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Steve King, Darrell Issa, . . . well, you know, the list is absolutely endless!

Pardon me as I pause to bow in the general direction of the obvious and perceptive genius, the coolest of the cool; the one known to us as Miss. Emily. Dickinson! 😎

OPEN THREAD

72 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Friday January 17 2014; “Take All Away From Me, But Leave Me Ecstasy”

  1. DOTD:

    ~”It all makes sense now!….Gay marriage and marijuana are being legalized at the same time.
    Leviticus 20:13 says if a man lays with another man, they should bot be stoned.

    We were just misinterpreting it! “~

  2. the RWNJs will have an all-day boner over this:

    Ohio Killer’s Execution Takes Almost 25 Minutes
    by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    January 16, 201410:14 PM
    LUCASVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A condemned man appeared to gasp several times and took an unusually long time to die — more than 20 minutes — in an execution carried out Thursday with a combination of drugs never before tried in the U.S.

    Dennis McGuire’s attorney Allen Bohnert called the convicted killer’s death “a failed, agonizing experiment” and added: “The people of the state of Ohio should be appalled at what was done here today in their names.”

    An attorney for McGuire’s family said it plans to sue the state over what happened.

    McGuire’s lawyers had attempted last week to block his execution, arguing that the untried method could lead to a medical phenomenon known as “air hunger” and could cause him to suffer “agony and terror” while struggling to catch his breath.

    McGuire, 53, made loud snorting noises during one of the longest executions since Ohio resumed capital punishment in 1999. Nearly 25 minutes passed between the time the lethal drugs began flowing and McGuire was pronounced dead at 10:53 a.m.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=262933145

    • Compared to how long Joy Stewart suffered? And her “agony and terror” while he raped her before stabbing her to death? I don’t agree with death penalty for a number of reasons, but any kind of sympathy for McGuire is not one of them.

    • We have to import our death penalty drugs? Seriously.

      You’d think these chemicals should bear a proud “Made in the USA” sticker, and someone would start up a company near the Westboro Baptist Church to make such drugs.

      Unclear future for executions after Ohio’s longest – Yahoo News

      States are in a bind for two main reasons: European companies have cut off supplies of certain execution drugs because of death-penalty opposition overseas. And states can’t simply switch to other chemicals without triggering legal challenges from defense attorneys.

  3. 20 years ago this morning, at 4:31, we were all violently thrown from our beds, while our house felt and sounded like it was repeatedly being picked up and dropped. Gathering up kids from their bedrooms, narrowly avoiding falling furniture and bookshelves, the four of us huddled at the end of a hallway which had the most supporting interior walls, and we waited for the the unbelievable pounding noise and and violent shaking to stop and wondering if we would live through this.

    In some ways, we still haven’t fully recovered from the Northridge Earthquake.

  4. Ted Cruz, Suddenly the GOP’s Biggest Loser – Joan Walsh

    Sen. Ted Cruz’s fearless crusade to defund what he calls Obamacare ended with a whimper not a bang Thursday, as the junior senator from Texas dropped his demand that the Senate vote on amendments to defund the Affordable Care Act before passing the $1.1 trillion spending bill.

    “The majority leader and Senate Democrats have chosen not to listen to the American people,” Cruz said. The Senate voted 72-26 first to cut off debate, then to pass the bill.

  5. When you’re logged in to WordPress, and have a WordPress blog open, there’s a black band across the top of the page. On the right, next to your screenname, is a little icon that lights up when someone has replied to one of your comments. It doesn’t require a refresh to indicate a new reply. I just recently noticed this and started using the feature. Who else is using this and how long have you been using it?

  6. The idiotic anti-wolf campaign in Idaho accelerates:

    Idaho has reached a new low in its all-out war against wolves.

    Governor Butch Otter has made wolf extermination a top priority for the state. His latest scheme, announced just last week: A proposed $2 million state death fund that is 100 percent devoted to wolf extermination.

    In the past month alone:

    Idaho has hired a state-funded hit man to go deep within the vast Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and kill two packs of wolves;

    A group called “Idaho for Wildlife” held a wolf-killing competition where they offered cash prizes in return for killing the largest wolf; and

    Governor Otter has proposed allocating $2 million in taxpayer money to kill even more wolves – an unprecedented effort that would spell disaster for Idaho’s wolves.

    It makes you wonder – what could they possibly do next?

    Governor Otter has gone too far. Surrounded by anti-wolf livestock owners, outfitters, sport hunters and right-wing extremists, he has devoted himself to ridding the state, in his own words, of the “wolf population that was imposed on Idaho almost 20 years ago.”

    Since Idaho wolves were delisted in 2011, more than 1,060 Idaho wolves have been killed. Governor Otter’s extermination plans promise to dramatically increase this number.

    Defenders’ legal team is fighting Idaho’s extreme anti-wolf practices in court. We are holding state and federal officials accountable for their failure to manage wolves as they do other wildlife. And we are mobilizing wolf supporters as never before.

    • Governor Plastic Man, doing his best to appeal to the lowest of the low.

      When all wolves in Idaho are dead, how will ranchers explain their dead livestock? Aliens did it?

      • Somebody should ‘splain to ol’ Butch that Rednecks are a far bigger threat to cattle, sheep, elk, and deer than wolves could ever even imagine. Plus, there’re a lot more Rednecks in Idaho than there are wolves anyway, so if you’re gonna go after something bigtime, why not make it worth the effort? Besides, I’m not sure it’d cost two million bucks to exterminate the Redneck population. Could probably get that done for next to nothing if the word is spread to the right people.

        This much for sure: if i ever run across anyone I know who lives in Idaho, I’ll sure urge them to move out and fast, maybe to Oregon or someplace decent. 😉

    • large predators, wolves, bears, lions etc. keep fragile ecosystems in balance. we continue to fuck it up by moving into their territories and deciding what species will be eradicated into extinction. the Mexican Gray Wolf is a prime example of what almost became a disaster..

  7. Looks like Governor Christie is gonna get ratted on, big time.

    Player in NJ bridge scandal will talk for immunity

    I sense a blimp deflation in the governor’s near future.
    Irony abounds at the end of the article
    “Christie himself, meanwhile, gave a speech at an event outside those at the State House for the first time in more than a week, telling people in a community devastated by Superstorm Sandy in 2012 that storm recovery remains his top priority.

    “I am focused as completely this morning as I was when I woke up on the morning of Oct. 30, 2012, and nothing will distract me from getting the job done,” he said. “Nothing.”

    On Friday, he’s scheduled to administer a ceremonial swearing-in for a new justice on the state Supreme Court and then head to Florida for multiple political fundraisers. (My bold)

  8. Is our childrens learnin’? I suppose that being taught a pack of lies is a form of learning but doesn’t it do more harm than good?

    There have been numerous stories lately about what we teach children, religious indoctrination, and the whole flap with Putin warning teh gays to stay away from Russian kids during the Olympic Games. This confluence has spawned an idea. Why not raise the age at which children can be exposed to religion to the age of consent for sexual relations or legal age for voting? We protect children from sexual content in the media, tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs until they are deemed old enough to make informed decisions. We also assume that they can’t make an informed decision at the ballot box. Should not the mind warping power of religion be treated as equally damaging to those ill equipped to understand it? Is it not time to stop raising ravening monsters who thirst for the blood of heretics? At the very least can we stop giving tax dollars to overtly religious “charter schools”?

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/17/taxpayer-funded-texas-schools-blame-world-wars-on-evolution-and-lack-of-religion/

    • Those students will be completely lost once they enter the real world.
      These parents want a private education paid at public expense…
      wrong, wrong, wrong.
      Time to stop paying (tax money) for ignorance.

      • There was a time that I thought kids indoctrinated into this foolishness would be “lost” as well but one only needs to take a brief peak at the GOP to realize that they are just too stubborn to negotiate about anything that doesn’t fit their preconceptions.

    • Neither of my two daughters were baptized or ever brought into a church other than for a wedding and a funeral. We made no effort whatsoever to impose any religious belief of any kind, figured they could make their own choices upon adulthood. My younger one said to me, one time after spending a weekend with a friend and going to church with her and her folks, “Dad, THANK YOU SO MUCH for not making us do that!” And she meant it. Today she’s not awash in sin, not doomed to hellfire and damnation, she’s simply a college grad (first in her class as a chem major) and is currently employed as a chemist for a large firm, where she’s doing what she always did: Kicking ass!

      Her older sister is a new mom now, and has gravitated just a bit toward a belief in something out there. But she’s not possessed by it.

      Things can, indeed, work out IF children aren’t propagandized from their moment of birth.

  9. Fridge Sends Spam Emails As Attack Hits Smart Gadgets

    A fridge has been discovered sending out spam after a web attack managed to compromise smart gadgets.

    The fridge was one of more than 100,000 devices used to take part in the spam campaign.

    Uncovered by security firm Proofpoint the attack compromised computers, home routers, media PCs and smart TV sets.

    The attack is believed to be one of the first to exploit the lax security on devices that are part of the “internet of things”.

    I think I’m going to keep my appliances ‘stupid’. I don’t need them doing anything without my permission.

  10. Another graduate from the Palin/Bachmann school of American history. I suppose it must be comforting to know that anyone stupid enough to listen to you is too stupid to check and see if you have the faintest idea what you are talking about. Personally? I have always thought being corrected about something I have wrong is a great gift.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/17/fox-host-unwittingly-demonstrates-own-point-about-ignorance-of-american-history/

  11. Freedom Industries Files Bankruptcy After Elk River Spill

    Freedom Industries Inc., the chemicals maker whose leaky storage tank polluted the Elk River in West Virginia, filed for bankruptcy eight days after the incident shut water service to the state’s biggest city.

    Freedom Industries listed assets and debt of as much as $10 million each in its Chapter 11 petition filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Charleston, West Virginia. The filing seeks protection from the company’s creditors and may halt more than two dozen lawsuits that residents and business owners have already filed over the incident.

    Didn’t see that one coming. Accountability. It’s only for Democrats and poor people.

    • Nantz doesn’t bother me too much. Simms is pretty awful but he’s not as bad as Joe Theisman was. I still think some of the worst color commentary ever is when they let Troy Aikman cover a Cowboy’s game. For that matter, the national networks shouldn’t allow former players or coaches to cover their former teams’ games.

    • How lucky for all of us that it’s only people on pot that do shit like that. I won’t worry at all next time I run into a bunch of drunken rednecks in a rural watering hole, I can call them any names that come to me and at no risk to my own well-being!

      Is pot legal, btw, in Newtown CT, or was that shooter smoking it illegally?

      Q: What is the real source of the massive STUPIDITY that, these days, “graces” this nation? Illegal immigrants? Freed slaves? Interbreeding? Pot? The Tea Party?

      • Some humorist made a quip that the sum total of human intelligence is fixed and there’s less to spread among more people as the world’s population increases. I rather think that the more accurate theory is that knowledge and belief is cyclical. There have been many ages of enlightenment and many dark ages. It does seem that we are entering a dark age, ironically, brought on by the information age.

        The good thing about the information age is that just about anyone on the planet can tell just about any other person on the planet what he/she thinks. The bad thing is that there’s no method to ensure those thoughts are based in reality or even honest expressions of what the person actually thinks.

        A quick glance at the comments section of most blogs will reveal that we live in a world full of trolls. It’s just very sad that the mass media grants airtime to trolls and there’s no real way, other than our bullshit detectors, to identify which ones are trolls.

  12. VICTORY! Federal Court Strikes Down Demeaning North Carolina Ultrasound Law

    A federal district judge today struck down a North Carolina law requiring abortion providers to show a woman an ultrasound and describe the images in detail four hours before having an abortion, even if the woman objects.

    The court ruled that key provisions of the law violate doctors’ free speech rights. The law was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

    • We don’t hear or read about defrocked priests being turned over to local authorities for that heinous crime.
      Wonder what that’s all about?

      • Well? I think the smart money falls on the church leadership being flat-out terrified that they would lose power if they admitted said church is sick to it’s core. I am, however, waiting to see if there’s any change with the new Pope. He seems to genuinely want to treat all people with respect and kindness and I hope that extends to those who have been victimized by his subordinates.

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