Bitter Grace
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Below are the 19 most recent journal entries recorded in amaebi's LiveJournal:

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    Thursday, July 10th, 2014
    7:44 pm
    Taxing wealth
    A really excellent, clear article by Paul Krugman. His two requirements for an argument that low taxes on wealth are better for the economy than higher taxes on wealth:
    (1) comparison of the well-off's use of that untaxed wealth with what use the government would put it to, and
    (2) addressing the issue of wealth's political power.
    2:51 pm
    I rooked the other knee a while ago. Maybe a week and a half. And there's that balance: rest a strain, but my wretched old de-padded knees need the support of regularly exercised leg muscles. Not normally a problem, and my knees adore skating. But at the moment, I'm at a point in the steps-programme-for-fabulous-prizes from Sheeyun's workplace that cuts into leg energies. Especially since I usually go over the specified steps by more than than thousand-a-day I'm trying to maintain.

    And then, I'm an idiot. I have abused the treadmill. There are advantages in using a tool that gets you to regulate and up your pace, but not when you use it to overwork a strained knee and strain it again. Maybe even a few times. I have insufficient willpower and too much macho.

    The steps programme threatens to pull the rest/exercise balance for my knee out of line. Yesterday, I thought I'd really cooked the knee. Tuesday I was 1200 steps under what I needed to do for the day-- official, not Mary Ann. We're allowed to do a catchup the next day and only the next day. We cannot bank steps. I do not try to catch up on Mary Ann goals-- just the official fabulous-prizes ones. To make the official minimum-steps I need to be a trifle intentional. Since I'm farming knee rest, I try to gauge this fairly carefully against anticipated normal steps.

    Yesterday I needed to do 8200 steps for official minimum and make-up on official minimum. I radically underestimated the number of steps that would be involved in a visit to a friend. I wound up having done over 13,000 steps and my knee hurting so badly that nearly all postures hurt. A lot.

    Ah, rest and an elevated leg. Also prayer, which I'd forgot about.

    Today I skated a bit with the Chun man, receiving instruction from him and a smaller colleague. Miraculously,I think I now have the juju of forward swizzles-- knee bends and rhythm give the ability to persist. I'm still at the high end of catching-the-whistle on it-- but for today, I actually got it together so it wasn't hard. (Forward swizzles are harder for me than back. Something about the weight shift that goes from back to frontish to center of the foot. Backward swizzles go from front to back to middle to front. Much easier. I'm no *good* at them, but I can do them indefinitely. Forward swizzles always felt like I need a bunch more innerthigh muscle, but that's because I hadn't caught the rhythm.)

    And then I did half an hour on the treadmill, gently, while Chun Woo continued to skate. And now my legs are up, with a cold pad on my right knee. I think I'll be okay canvassing for Senator Udall [and Representative Perlmitter].
    Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
    10:12 am
    Transmitter, receiver, channel, message, noise
    "During my first term at Stouts Hill I found it almost impossible to make myself understood. It drove me insane. I would say things perfectly plainly and always receive the same reply--

    "`What? Hng? What's the boy saying?'

    "Was everybody deaf?

    "My problem was eventually diagnosed by a keen-eared master. I was speaking too quickly, far too quickly; I talked at a rate that made me unintelligible to all but myself. The words and thoughts tumbled from my mouth in an entirely pauseless profusion.

    "For example, `Sir is it really true that there are no snakes in Ireland, sir?' would emerge as something like `Sriseeltroosnayxironss?'

    "I heard myself plainly and was most hurt and offended when the same insulting word was thrown back at me again and again.

    "`Don't gabble, boy.'"

    - Stephen Fry (2003). Moab is My Washpot. Soho Press.
    8:25 am
    7:00 am
    A new Twitter follower
    has this profile: Business Admin/Bible Theology Major @EmmausBibleCo | Field Sales Manager @cutcocutlery | Tweet about: #Business #Faith #Knives #Sales #Leadership.
    6:08 am
    The discerning critic
    "Hugh Laurie made me laugh for a week early on in our friendship when he re-enacted the youthful party scene in which some nameless figure will approach a stack of records next to the hi-fi, go through them one by one and then say, his brow wrinkled with cool,sour disfavour, `Haven't you got any decent music then?'"
    - Stephen FryHugh Laurie (2003). Moab is My Washpot. Soho Press.
    Monday, July 7th, 2014
    8:41 pm
    This isn't just hail, this is holycraphail, now in its eleventh minutes, though the worst seems to be over.
    12:31 pm
    National income accounting and incentives
    This good New York Times essay talks about how valuing government expenditures at cost alone leads to a tendency to view them as cost-only, rather than as providing benefits throughout society. Some of those benefits are nicely exampled in the article.

    I think that paragraphs 6 and 7 are non-transparent unless you're familiar with national income accounting basics, which most people are not. First of all, national income accounts attempt to measure the value of a nation's production in the course of a year. This is done through sales at market prices, so unpaid production, such as when you sweep your floor, make your dinner, teach your children or repair your car, isn't counted, though it's recognized that these are forms of production. (It's worth noting that those forms of work are typically disvalued in our economy.) Note that if you bought your broom and dustpan, stove and sink, books, tools or car parts this year, they are counted as part of national product. And certainly food ingredients and power and water used for any of these activities are counted in consumption. All those purchases are intermediate inputs in your production.

    You can count national product at either the sales-of-product end, firm by firm, or the agent-expenditure end, by households, firms, government, and the rest of the world. (Or by household income and undistributed firm income and the government's net revenue.) Every year they're counted both ways, but they come out very differently, largely because of difficulties netting out the value of intermediate inputs. When you hear about Gross Domestic Product (GDP), you're usually hearing about Consumption (by households) plus Investment in plant and equipment (mostly by firms, but including new house construction and repair expenditures) plus Government expenditures on goods and services plus Net Exports (to the rest of the world).

    What's said in paragraphs six and seven is that a good deal of what appears in the accounts as Consumption expenditure and mentally attributed solely to households-- is financed by government provision of "social insurance and the social safety net." Those government expenditures are not counted in national income accounts as such, because they are not expenditures on the production of goods. They are called transfers because they consist of the moving of funds from government accounts to household accounts with no purchases being made. And so part of the production of good and services for household consumption, which is normally viewed as a Good Thing, is attributable to government activity but that this is forgotten because of the form of national income accounts. (Are you asking whether much the same could be said of Investment in plant and equipment by firms as supported by government transfers to them? Why, yes!)

    A point that's not a bit technical and that occupies more of the article is how the government invests in productive capital of many tangible and intangible sorts, and that these government expenditures have enormous benefits to household consumption and firm Investment and indeed to the existence and smoothness of market functioning. Decades ago Robert Eisner suggested doing a form of national income accounting that values the national wealth created by the government and owned by all U.S. residents.

    “In addition, Eisner pointed out that assessing the adequacy of either public or private investment and saving requires that investment measures consistently include all purchases of goods and services that produce a stream of benefits over time. For instance, the purchase of a building by the government should be counted as investment, just as the purchase of a building by a business is counted as investment. He also argued that investments in natural resources and intangibles such as human capital (education) and technology (research and development) should be treated as investment. Additionally, he stressed the importance of adjustments for inflation and of measuring both the flow and changes in the value of stocks in assessing the adequacy of savings and investment.
    “The effects of implementing Eisner’s proposed changes can be significant. For instance, as he pointed out, establishing a capital account for government and adjusting the Federal debt for the effects of inflation [which increases the market value of public capital] would produce a significantly different picture of the Federal budget deficit and would significantly reduce the gap between the U.S. saving rate and foreign national saving rates.”
    Saturday, July 5th, 2014
    8:07 am
    Defeating the purpose
    Again Thom Schultz and Joani Schutz's Why No One Wants to Go to Church Any More: First they talk about genuine conversation as relational and non-gladiatorial, and really seem on point to me. Then they say:

    "No passage sums up Jesus' example of GENUINE HUMILITY better than Philippians 2: 1-11. Use this Scripture passage to rate your level of GENUINE HUMILITY. Then rate your church.

    "How does it score?
    "Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ?
    "You: Hardly ever <========================================================> Most of the Time
    "Your Church: Hardly ever <================================================> Most of the Time
    "Any comfort from his love?
    "You: Hardly ever <========================================================> Most of the Time
    "Your Church: Hardly ever <================================================> Most of the Time
    "Any fellowship together in the spirit?
    "You: Hardly ever <========================================================> Most of the Time
    "Your Church: Hardly ever <================================================> Most of the Time
    "Is your heart tender and compassionate?
    "You: Hardly ever <========================================================> Most of the Time
    "Your Church: Hardly ever <================================================> Most of the Time"

    Okay, granted that I take my notion of humility from C.S. Lewis, to whom it meant concerning oneself primarily with one's work, not with one's self. I bet that their notion of humility is different.

    I'm a little wigged out by their invocation of that particular passage for making a rating chart, too. Not so much verses 1-4, but verses 6-11, which are called "the christological hymn": scholars think Paul is quoting from a hymn sung by early Christians. That is mighty high christology. And in a high christology, the idea of humans putting off God like Jesus did is a little strange, regardless what Paul said in verse 5. I would bet that the Schultzes have a high christology.

    Thanks to mdlbear , I insert this little discussion of christologies:
    I think that, not long after Jesus's execution, when his follower found the movement they were part of astonishingly hadn't dissolved, they started trying to figure out who that guy Jesus had been. We don't really know what the people who knew him personally thought. Despite the names attached to the gospels of Matthew and John (and Mark and Luke, for that matter), it isn't likely that disciples wrote them. Reading the gospels, in fact, scholars have a lot of different views on who Jesus thought he was and what role he was to play. The gospel according to John, universally agreed to have been written considerably later than the other three, more narrative gospels, and is the only one to express a consistent view.

    One of the major questions that became explicit among early Christians was whether Jesus was a man or a divine being, and if a divine being, of what sort. If you think of that as a seesaw, various groups of early Christ-followers were at all sorts of points on the plank. From the Ebionites, who are said to have viewed Jesus strictly as a human, though a supremely moral one, and who lived as Jews because they tough that the essential way, to docetics who held that Jesus was God and only appeared to be human.

    The division between low christology, in which Jesus is (or is primarily) human, and high christology, in which Jesus is divine, became more and more hostile. The relationship between two rather high christologies became particularly hostile. One of these was associated with a priest named Arius, who held that Jesus was indeed human and indeed divine and the son of the creator God, and secondary to that God. The other view was that Jesus was wholly human and wholly divine.

    When the Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal within the empire, he wanted Christians to agree on their doctrine. After a bunch of back-and-forth, the Council of Nicaea wound up endorsing the non-Arian view.

    But despite that decision, which determined what became orthodoxy, the see-saw is still in play. For some, with low christology, Jesus is primarily a teacher. For others, with high christology, Jesus is primarily God, unique, salvific in a way that defies emulation.
    7:28 am
    Lying and acting
    "The virtue of this particular lie was that it was pointless, a pure lie, its vice that it was so consciously, so excellently done.... It was as if I had discovered my very purpose in life. To put one over, to dupe: to deceive not only without shame, but with pride, real pride.... Telling lies would bring about in me that state that the sportsman knows when he is natural and rhythmic, the sound of the bat/racket/club/cue sweet and singing: he is simultaneously relaxed and in deepest concentration....
    "Of course, someone might try to make the connection between all this and acting. When acting is going well, the same feeling of mastery of time, of rhythm, control and timing comes over one. Acting, after all, is lying, lying for the pur exquisite joy of it, you might think. Only acting isn't that, not to me at any rate. Acting is telling truth for the pure, agonising hell of it.
    - Stephen Fry (2003). Moab is My Washpot. Soho Press.
    6:38 am
    "Mortal soldiers discover that they differ from the immortals in this heartbreaking wy: They cannot save, cannot protect, cannot resurrect the comrades they have come to value more than themselves."
    - Jonathan Shay (1995). Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character. New York: Simon and Schuster.
    Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
    9:28 pm
    I don't know how I got on this email list
    "Dear Pastor,

    "Perhaps you have heard the heartbreaking story. A Christian ministry in Israel has been partially shuttered (and its income taken away) - thanks to the demands of homosexuals and the courts.

    "Read the account [link here].

    "Think it could not happen to you? To your church? Think again.

    "Perhaps a better question is this: what can we do to continue to enjoy the religious liberty that has characterized the nation.

    "(Note of caution: Please don't say what some are naively saying, `What difference does it make if we have religious liberty? The church flourishes under persecution.' One Christian leader recently cautioned young pastors `to stop glamorizing persecution.' As one who has a Ph.D. in church history, let me assure you that the accounts of persecution through the ages (and now) are very painful to recount.)

    "Here is my question: what can we do to make a difference - now - before it is too late?

    "Answer (and you already know what the answer is): lead your people in the loving pursuit of God in such a way that it transforms every aspect of their lives, including even their understanding of the stewarding of their vote. As they steward their lives, their resources, their influence for Christ, they should be taught how to be Christian citizens.

    "But sadly, based on surveys, we know that most laypeople don't know how to do that. But you can change that. May I ask you to join an exciting movement called `Project 75' in which we, as pastors, agree to make every effort to get 75% of our church attenders to vote, and to vote biblically.

    "Will you go to right now and sign up, joining with pastors across the nation to make a difference, helping our congregations live out the `Jesus life' everywhere they go, including the ballot box.

    "Please go to now and be part of what God is doing in your community, our nation, and our world: restoring authentically biblical Christian citizenship.

    "Blessing on you today,

    6:09 pm
    Gonads and narrowness

    Scylla: Deciding that declared faith of corporation owners trumps Everything Pretty Much, and accepting all the many and wandering ways precedent leads from there.

    Charybdis: Declaring that anti-abortion tenets are Extra-Special for the Supremes, meriting exemption from federal policy, and violating the Madisonian principle of the feds not supporting one faith tradition above others-- a key interpretation of the First Amendment's requirement.

    The Supreme Court majority chose Charybdis, but they have to wrestle with Scylla anyway.
    Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
    9:02 pm
    7:08 pm
    Ah, you lovers of the spinach,
    your passion leads you to my drains.
    4:30 am
    Rabbit rabbit rabbit
    Happy Canada Day!
    Monday, June 30th, 2014
    1:45 pm
    Proclamation of identity
    Today I saw a bumper sticker that read, "Heavily Armed/ Easily Pissed".

    smart_ted tells me that she has seen one that said, "My other vehicle is a .45".

    I so desperately want to go down on those guys.

    Saturday, June 28th, 2014
    7:42 pm
    No need to hug Scylla or Charybdis: balance is possible, just unfashionable
    "Homophobia, like misogyny, is still terrible, just not as horrible as it was in, say, 1970. Finding ways to appreciate advances without embracing complacency is a delicate task. It involves being hopeful and motivated and keeping eyes on the prize ahead. Saying that everything is fine or that will never get any better are ways of getting nowhere or of making it impossible to go anywhere. Either approach implies that there is no road out or that, if there is, you don't need to or can't go down it. You can. We have.

    "We have so much further to go, but looking back at how far we've come can be encouraging...."

    - Rebecca Solnit (2014). "Pandora's Box and the Volunteer Police Force," in Men Explain Things to Me. Haymarket Books.
    6:50 pm
    Rond de jambe
    Tuesday through Friday, Chun Woo was at Cub Scout Twilight Camp, playing games, learning some astronomy and physics, to tie knots and to shoot a bow and arrow and a beebee gun. He had a splendid time.

    Thursday and Friday, I did my duty as a parent-attendant. First of all, what an amazing wealth of generosity, love, care, thought, and expertise went into making that event. It really was all excellent, and all relevant cheese was of sorts not-so-old boys love.

    But oh Lordie my legs. I can walk and I can sit, but standing around for much of five hours really got me, particularly my knees, but also all the muscles that support their continued functioning. Thursday night's rest helped a lot, but then after yesterday's go I wasn't sure what I'd be able to do today.

    Miraculously, rest helped, and then today, walkies helped, and I find that I've walked about six miles, mostly incidentally aside from a couple of miles in morning walkies.
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