INTRODUCTION:

Welcome to BobKat's Lair ®

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A lair is a home; A castle; A burrow; A haven; a place where one should feel safe. To ensure our safety especially in one's lair, we have laws. And some laws cause more harm than good!

This is a good place. There's lots to see and do. It's apolitical while providing non-partisan news about politics, which we can't escape.

Check out my aquarium and feed the fish; check out my post(s), my favorite media list and the many links to websites that promote what I feel is important.

Time for the awakening...

That is what my goal is here... to present topics which highlight the plight of people. Why, 2000 years after Caesar Augustus, are we still a people being hurt? With all our advancements in technology, medicine, communications, why are we a people still being hurt? Human nature hasn't changed much, but that doesn't mean it isn't time now for that to happen, and it is undoubtedly happening - hard to see however. This blog is part of that change and a witness to it.

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My blog is dedicated to my family, friends, mentors, and all others whom I am grateful to, and love(d).

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October 27, 2011

CRITICAL THINKING 101 - The Death Of Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse was a performer, singer, artist. I admit, I am unfamiliar with her work, her songs, but I am keenly aware of her death; she, like myself, are fellow artists. The death of any artist effects me deeply.
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In particular, Amy Winehouse's most poignant act might just be her death - a song she performed while dying. With all due respects... to Amy Winehouse, her family and friends, permit me, to continue. I do believe Amy sang us a final song in passing on.
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Wow!
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How many people can claim the success she'd achieved?
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Amy Winehouse died, July 23, 2011 at age 27. Speculation was she died of a drug overdose. After her death, the rumors began circulating. The irony is toxicology found no illegal drugs in her system; she died from consuming too much alcohol, vodka. Still, she gained a sort of notoriety in her latest album when she ranted against "Rehab"...
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"They tried to make me go to rehab / I said, 'No, no, no.' " --Amy Winehouse, "Rehab"
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She sang about her experiences in, "Back to Black": "released in the UK on 30 October 2006. It went to number one on the UK Albums Chart numerous times, and entered at number seven on the Billboard 200 in the US. It was the best-selling album in the UK of 2007, selling 1.85 million copies over the course of the year."
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Critical Thinking 101 is about common-sense. About how maybe "Rehab" isn't all it's cranked up to be. It's true, in my opinion, that rehab itself is an oft abused sentence of society towards an individual. Same with "community service". The question comes down to when is it appropriate to sentence an individual to either? And does it help? The individual that is.
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It's okay to drink alcohol and smoke tobacco (you wouldn't want to eat it), but it's not okay to use cannabis, aka, marijuana, although you can eat it, and most scientific research suggests it's not only not harmful, but beneficial too. Still, don't try to convince the ONDCP or Drug Czar of those studies, their job, by law, is to lie and do everything possible to create the worst possible scenario.
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Drugs are a class of substances in 3 categories. 1) Over-the-counter drugs: aspirin, vitamins, cough medicine, etc. 2) prescription drugs: those your doctor prescribes that you fill at a pharmacy. 3) illegal drugs, recreational drugs, prescription drugs given to you by someone else.
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Alcohol and tobacco are "drugs", but are never described as such, and the government makes a point of never linking those tow substances to the classification of a drug. The truth is, they are, drugs. Both have the potential to kill or cause injury, and do. Both are considered as being "regulated" by the law, and therefore, legal for adult consumption and any harmful effects or even deaths are written off as normal causes of death or in Amy Winehouse's death - "Death by Experimentation".
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But not so with cannabis/marijuana. It is classified as a "dangerous drug" and users or local home-growers are targeted by the federal government, state governments and local gov'ts as an imminent threat to society, and actually, so dangerous to society that billions of dollars are spent every day on cannabis prohibition enforcement, eradication, and arrests of persons found to violate those laws. Yet no one dies from using cannabis, nor is any cognitive impairment equal to the danger of a few drinks. So why the prejudice?
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Critical Thinking 101 is about looking at the law... the laws... and how they impact society.
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In Amy Winehouses's final song she sings about injustice, about hypocrisy, about right and wrong. About freedom, pursuit of happiness and the obstacles to attaining happiness. Our government prides itself on our supposed constitutional freedoms. On adherence to the laws because our laws are constitutional and just.
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The reality is not so simple, as laws are passed all the time that are not constitutional. Or federal laws trump state laws, where state laws - or their constitutions, are violated. An example is in NH, and it's Constitution, look at Article 83, and how it relates to agriculture, educational freedom, and how no law shall be passed that makes a commodity such as cannabis illegal.
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When news of the death of Amy Winehouse was first released, the former Whitehouse Drug Czar, William Bennett, Washington Fellow of the Claremont Institute and special commentator for CNN news, promptly jumped on-board to scrutinize Amy's death as drug related. He went even further in criticizing her latest Grammy Award, suggesting that because of her out-spoken criticism of rehab, and suspicions of recurrent drug use, she didn't deserve such an award.
William J. Bennett... an outspoken opponent against legalizing any plants/recreational drugs such as cannabis/marijuana.
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He commented the following on CNN:
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He continues:
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CNN: "It now looks like Amy Winehouse joins the sad list of other talented entertainers whose lives were cut down by drug abuse. Citing the drug-fueled deaths of other troubled musicians at the same age, some are speculating there is something special, or ominous, about the age of 27. But change the age by just a few years, and you still have too much evidence of too much talent cut too short by substance abuse. From Heath Ledger to Brittany Murphy to River Phoenix to Andy Gibb to Elvis Presley, the list just goes on and on. Age is not the problem; drug abuse is."
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Well, William J. Bennett, in my humble opinion, is a narrow-minded hypocrite whose understanding and knowledge is driven by a self-satisfying narcissism! He is a recovering gambler who lost a great deal of money gambling, is a drinker, and a man obsessed with his own ideals.
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Brittany Murphy for example, again speculation and rumor was rampant regarding the cause of her death. Again, as William Bennett chose to believe, drugs were the cause. But again, as in the case of Amy Winehouse, drugs do not appear to be the cause of death.
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At 08:00 (16:00 GMT) on December 20, 2009, the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to "a medical request"[33] at the Los Angeles home Murphy and Monjack shared. She had apparently collapsed in a bathroom. Firefighters attempted to resuscitate Murphy on the scene. She was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead on arrival at 10:04 after going into cardiac arrest.
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So why the fixation with drugs???
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Incompetence and stupidity is my opinion. Ignorance and the bliss associated with such blissful blindness to the facts. For politicians it sounds good, to themselves anyways, to come down hard on what they call "drugs". It feels good to point a finger at something, even if it lacks substantial proof. Cannabis/marijuana for example - listed as a schedule one drug with severe potential for abuse and zero medical benefit, has been patented by the fedral government as an anti-oxidant and with potential to prevent or shrink cancerous tumors - see patent, #6,630,507 which reads as follows:
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In response to a letter I sent asking for legalization of cannabis in America, my congresswoman, Senator Jean Shaheen, replied:
"Regardless of whether a state chooses to legalize medical marijuana, I believe that we should make a concerted effort to prevent recreational drug use, especially by youth. A study by the American Medical Association recently found that young people who smoke marijuana are up to five times more likely to move on to harder drugs. At a time when America's excessive demand for drugs is fueling violent crime at home and in neighboring countries, we need to strengthen initiatives to educate young people about the risks of drug use."
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All about young people, and more of the same about the "stepping stone" effect; and excessive drug violence; all but disproved, except maybe in Mexico. The message - better to wage war on Americans, ignore the constitutional rights of adults and make statements targeting children and young adults.
In conclusion, simple question:
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So, you want to protect the children, you have children or you know children. You care. But shit happens, and when you're not around you cannot always control what happens - that being the unexpected. So, albeit the fact that cannabis is "illegal" for adult use, tobacco and alcohol are also illegal for those under age 18. So, the question is this?
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Children in a home find an opportunity to search for, find, and experiment with one of 3 different drugs they might find.
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1) Tobacco
2) Alcohol
3) Cannabis/marijuana
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Which do you think is the safer drug for that young person to experiment with, if the worse were to happen? Which do you think is safer?
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My opinion... I pray that kid finds the cannabis first.
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We all contributed to the death of Amy Winehouse, since we as the people of this world are not able to distinguish between the different grays and colors of our reality. We are taught zero tolerance, passing standardized testing, accepting what we're told by those who are the authorities. We are encouraged to ask questions, but also encouraged not to question that which the authorities emphasize is unquestionable. We are herded into kennels, and raised as sheep. We are told it is for our own good.
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Without a doubt, I don't want to see any drugs in the hands of youth, but for adults, I want to experience freedom, not oppression. I think we all do, because without freedom, how can we properly raise our children?
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October 16, 2011

CRITICAL THINKING 101 - Welcome To Second Class...

I knew I was in trouble the next morning; when nothing bad happened.
Previously, you might recall I ended by saying I'd smoked marijuana with two good friends. I said I believed it to be the first time I'd really thought critically about a decision I had to make. It's important to understand I was very much against "drugs". And in my mind at the time marijuana was the number one worst drug out there.
So why did I do it?
Possible reasons put forth by various theories includes:
1) A need to belong; abandonment of good judgement and what's right or wrong.
2) A naive individual easy manipulated by his peers.
3) The search for truth being more important than accepting the word of others.
4) The criminal mind is just that, Criminal.
5) The desire to rebel against the system and blatant disregard for conformity and, the law.
6) Don't believe everything you're told!
I'll give you a few moments to decide what you think. You may want to go back to my previous post - "To Do or Not To Do", to get a better understanding of my question. Please do.
Without a doubt, my reason's centered on #3, and #6.
The next morning, after using marijuana - for the 2nd time, actually (the first time was 3 years earlier and I felt absolutely nothing, though it was without question marijuana), and actually experiencing "getting high/stoned, I fully expected to wake up needing heroin, or brain damaged. But I didn't. I felt fine. Better than fine, in fact. For the first time in my life I'd actually laughed my ass off, laughed so hard and good that I thought I would die (I didn't). I also got to really feel what paranoia feels like, followed by more laughter and camaraderie.
When I work up and realized I felt quite fine, I had to think about it for a few days. At the time, drinking age was 18, and I was 19. The Viet Nam War draft had ended just shy of my 18th birthday, and they had a draft lottery then, and the number picked for my DOB was 16, sweet 16, and straight out to Viet Nam, only the draft ended and then the war. The year was 1972... I was 18 and Pres. Nixon did the only good deed I'll ever remember him for, ending the war.
Promptly starting a new one, called the War on Drugs, with even more victims in the years that followed, and still do today. I my next post I will shed more of my expertise on this topic, as there is much more to it.
This topic isn't about marijuana. But without the influence of marijuana there's a good chance "critical thinking 101" would have never happened. I had never questioned anything in the past like I did from then on. That night, more than any other, defined the divide between my past and my future.
I no longer saw the world in black and white. I know longer looked at education as something I was expected to do. I no longer believed everything was as it seemed, or that those in a position of power knew what was truly right, or wrong. I began to make my own decisions, and sought knowledge and advice from people I respected when I had a question.
Ultimately I grew to understand the question was more important than the answer, that being free was a challenge, and difficult, but also worth every effort.
I was close to stopping my education prior to that night, simply because I was expected to do so, just getting a job in a factory, getting married, having children and buying that white house with the white picket fence. Staying put where I was born - in that locale, no interest in bettering myself. After-all, the only thing I heard from my parents was how I needed to succeed, get married, buy that house, etc... I was frankly overwhelmed by the expectations and sacred traditions.
I did NOT think outside the box then. I wasn't capable of doing so and would have looked at anyone who suggested it as nuts.
Sometimes I do miss the fact that I didn't simply succumb to the status quo and say NO to using marijuana. But I'm reminded that at age 16 I almost died from a overdose of alcohol, and that fact, held a wealth of information, in that, legal, didn't/doesn't mean safe to use. So why I wondered, even before I knew what I was thinking, was marijuana illegal when (I discovered later) it was "safe" to use, in the sense it being is virtually non-toxic? And why, when I woke up that morning after using marijuana, why did I feel real good, even motivated, when everything I'd been told had said I'd regret the decision the rest of my life.
When actually I didn't.

October 15, 2011

CRITICAL THINKING 101 - TO DO OR NOT TO DO?

You're presented with a present, doesn't matter from who; The reality is what matters... inside that box could be anything. ANY THING! This is not simply an obvious fact, but rather, it's Quantum Physics.
Rule #1: Nothing hidden is fixed on a quantum level until experienced on the physical level.
"Critical Thinking", the art of painting, creating, surviving with the human mind.
I think most professionals in the field of education, in particular, our public school system, as well as many private, religious, and charter schools know that "critical thinking" is key to a good education.
Trouble is, critical thinking is being pushed aside, in favor of standardized skills and standardized testing. That to be a contributing adult in the 21st century requires standardized skills, not critical thinking. The process and integration of standardized curriculum is well established already; most prominently in the Federal Government's, "No Child Left Behind", NCLB act. A noble idea maybe, gone wrong.
In addition we have a New right in schools... Today, a child can be arrested for bringing a pocket-knife to school; or a squirt-gun, even a toy soldier. If they write a story about war, murder, rage, destruction, they are suspected child-terrorist. They're not considered creative, or expressing themselves in the sense that students prior to the 1990's experienced things. Everything a student does or says today is noted and documented... if it's unconventional.
I know of one story where a student, I believe in middle-school, returned to school after Summer break, was asked to to the boring "What did you do over your summer vacation" assignment, and he wrote that he experimented "making bombs". It was a big story... he was arrested, his house searched, parents questioned, and they found pipes, matches, and other "bomb-making" materials at his house.
Yet, I know of another story where a student describes "over the summer", he ordered nuclear material, experimented with explosives, a nuclear reactor, and nuclear fusion. Turns out he's a child genius, and he works for the Dept of Homeland Security. He built nuclear reactors at home!
As a kid I had occasion to experiment with building exploding things using matches, or gunpowder (secured by opening a live bullet). I've asked people my age if they did the same (men), and they answer "sure, who didn't?"
Critical Thinking 101 involves making decisions based on circumstance, knowledge, rational interpretation, and either doing something or nothing. We always have at least three choices in life: 1) Do, 2) Do Nothing, 3) Take a moment and think about it.
Situation: You're 19 years of age; you graduated from HS; You're going to the local community college pursuing an AS degree in a subject that you are led to believe is your destiny; you don't question this reality.
Good or Not Good?
A dumb question actually, as we always have at least 3 choices. It may be neither good, nor not good. It may require "critical thought and consideration". At age 19 things aren't anywhere near figured out. To blindly accept one's situation is folly.
Situation 2: You're 19 years of age; it's a Friday night, the weekend, you're spending time with two childhood friends. You're able to drink alcohol legally, being as it's early 1970's, and most staes considered 18 the legal age; you haven't decided to go to a bar this night, instead, one of your friends asks if you want to smoke some Panama red - marijuana?
In school they taught you that "marijuana is a dangerous drug". They told you it would quickly lead to harder drugs, would destroy your brain, and you'd possible jump off a roof. As a result you're very ant-drug, and you think in right and wrong. You're presented with one of the worst challenges in life. Marijuana is illegal, you'd call the police, so righteous you are, if anyone offered such a deal; but in this case, you do the most unusual thing you've ever done. You say, "sure, I'll try it".
Somehow realizing there were more than two choices here, one being calling the police, and two being abandoning everything I'd ever been led to believe about marijuana, right and wrong, by simply saying "sure, let's spark it up!" I had perhaps the longest moment in time right then. I looked at my other friend who seemed to be teetering on the same edge as was I.
I finally decided, the truth about marijuana meant more to me than any principles, or what I'd been taught in school to believe without question. I thought critically perhaps for the first time in my life about a situation, and my options. Both my friend and I decided to try it.
Next Time: My cat is addicted to Kitty-Treats... and Now What???
Additional reading:

October 02, 2011

BOBKAT'S HISTORY OF HUMANKIND, PART 3; Creationism and Gov. Rick Perry

My apology for how long it's been since I last posted. I've been a bit preoccupied - a lot is in the news these days, especially with the 2012 Presidential election looming ever closer. Much piques my interest, and it's hard to focus in on what my goals are.
Continuing my History of Humankind is one of those goals.
History is forever in the making... forever being formed, and forever investigated, disputed, explained, espoused and exploited/used everyday, often.
Our history is who we are, where we've been, what we're to become. History is both immutable and in flux, depending. It's in flux because much of history is not fixed, and open to human interpretation. On the other hand it's immutable as certain facets of history are fact, established fact; they are indisputable, immutable.
The picture to the upper-left there is Charles Darwin, 1809-1882.
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In 1859 Charles Darwin, stunned the world with the publication of his book - "On The Origin of the Species". On that day the "theory" of evolution was born... a "theory" that's not so much a theory as it is presently, but rather a science subject to continual scrutiny and reform. It is also science that is disputed by so called "Creationist", who believe not only that "evolution" is simply a theory, but that the science behind evolution is unnecessary, and flawed.
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It is governed by a higher power, that of the Bible, and of God who created the Earth and all living things. A God who placed man as the supreme being on earth, and a companion called woman. This God created two human beings, according to the Bible, one man, called Adam, and the other woman, called Eve. They lived in a garden, called Eden. And as long as they abided by God's rules, they could continue to live in Eden. Eden, was God's paradise...
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In history it is noted that it was Eve who screwed things up. Eve who was twice cursed, suffered twice the guilt and shame, who at least until the 1920's AD, had little in the way of person rights or equality. They'd been pretty much viewed as men's concubines. Eve's first sin was to eat of the fruit of the "Tree of Good and Evil". The second sin was turning Adam onto the consumption of the fruit. Together they donned fig-leaf's to cover their nakedness, to flee Eden, their idyllic home, a home they could have remained at for eternity, if only Eve hadn't sinned.
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It's quite the story. And what we've made of it as a society is even more amazing. Adam and Eve weren't created to live out life in Eden. Rather, it's a profound story of how we became who we are today, suffering feelings of guilt and shame. Of course the Tree of Knowledge was forbidden... as it was undiscovered. The story of Eden is one of self-awakening, of how Eve discovered a "fruit" that brought about enlightenment. How she shared it with Adam. How they became aware of themselves/self-aware.
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That is "CREATIONISM". The "science" originating from the Book of Genesis, from the Christian Bible. That man and women did not evolve, but rather, were "created in God's image". As such, those who believe in creationism, believe history is immutable, and that all humankind needs to know about evolution is what is described in the Bible. And that the "theory of evolution" is just that, "a theory", and for the most part a myth, or deviation from the truth, embraced by atheists and non-believers. That we could have ascended from a linage of apes and monkeys is blasphemy.
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A history derived from the Bible, in which Eve was tempted by an apple, from the tree of Good and Evil, and though the Bible does not specifically mention her being seduced by a serpent, to eat of the fruit, our history has it as such, that Eve was dared by a serpent to eat the fruit God forbade her to eat, thus discovering the truth. Having discovered the truth of "good and evil", Eve convinced Adam to experience the same fate, and thus they broke God's law, and were evicted from paradise.
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It is a this point in time that "God's curse on humans" is pronounced. Man, Adam, must live by the sweat of his brow", tilling the fields, and women, Eve, are cursed to become subservient to man, and to bear children. Humankind will grow old and die. Their offspring will populate the earth and based on God's law rule the animal and plants. Catholics therefore believe it is a man's place to dominate, and a woman's place to be his slave, and to bear children. Sex is for procreation only, and no pleasure is to derived from sex except for the man, for whom his duty is to impregnant his woman, and thus fulfill the curse.
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That is Creationism.
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The state of Texas is on top of the list of states wanting to teach Creationism, and distance itself from teaching the science of evolution in schools. At the top of the list of proponents to abandon teaching the science of evolution in favor of creationism, is Governor Rick Perry, a current contender in the 2012 presidential elections.
So, how smart are we as Americans? And which is right?
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According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earth is 4.54 billion years old. According to creationists, the earth is 6015 years old - the origin of the world as we know it today occurred at 4004 BC. That Gov. Perry doesn't know that surprises me.
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How do I know that? "A UNIVERSAL HISTORY", published in 1855 by Emma Willard.
That's 4 years prior to Darwin's publication of the "Origin of Species". At the time, the author acknowledges that history and the age of the world, and it's history, is limited to one's understanding and the "science" derived from the Bible. In 1855 this was the textbook used by teachers to teach the history of mankind and of the world.
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Let's explore:
Index, from the beginning, 4004 BC to 2085BC, the "Shepherd Kings", with much more to follow, obviously.
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The facts derived from the Universal History are that little of the world is unknown by 2000 BC, that it is fact that Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden, which is thought to be located in the area of the Mediterranean.
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By 2348 BC, Mankind is out-of-control, and the sins of man force God to bring on the Great Flood that wipes out all of humankind, plant and animal, other than those safe in Noah's Ark. It is God's hope that mankind will exit the ark and live a life of obedience to God's rules, abstain from sin, and the women will bear children, and stop causing trouble. That those children born of Noah's sons will grow up obedient to God's laws.
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Okay, great in theory, but hardly realistic. I also note a obvious disregard for the children of "the mother of Noah's children"... at least this author disregards them completely, but it should be noted, this is a textbook, this is what you learned at a "good Christian school".
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Rather naive, if you ask me, and shortly thereafter, the Tower of Babel happened, 2300BC and rather confirms my suspicions mankind has an affinity towards vice and sin. What surprised me however, even more than that obvious fact, was how mankind was divided up after the waters of the Great deluge (Flood) receded, and humankind once again inhabited the earth.
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This from the book "Universal history":
"The mosaic history informs us that of the descendants of Noah, were three peoples..."
1) The children of Japheth: the Caucasians, from the Isles of the gentiles," Children of Eden..
2) The children of Shem; moved west to Eastern and Southern Asia. The Mongols.
3) The children of Ham, Western Asia and Africa. The Blacks.
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"Scientists of the time classified the human species by using logic based on these three distinct races":
The Mongol, the Negro, and the Caucasian.
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The Negro race without explanation, as far as I was able to find, was "held to servitude by their brethren". But for what reason - things didn't go well in the Ark? Did Noah have more than one "wife"? And maybe he had his favorites? Ham apparently had done something to destine his children into servitude.
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Such was the world in 1855AD, during the height of, and the unquestionable period of Creationism. Evolution at the time was if not unknown, it was scorned. And the only source of the history of humankind was extracted from the Bible.
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It is no wonder that in the year 2011 there are those who long to go back to those simpler times... simpler in that one relied on the Bible for facts, and for reality.
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The following are reprints from that early history from A "Universal History" by Emma Willard.
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To Be Continued...