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I am old enough to know better. I have a B. A. from Birmingham Southern College and a Master's in City Planning from Georgia Tech. I have worked in SC State government for over a decade leaving as the Deputy Executive Director of the State Budget and Control Board, the state's administrative agency. I have owned the Fontaine Company since 1984 and am the managing member of viscerality.com.llc a management, marketing and consulting company.I am the author of several novels, some of which you may buy and read if you are of a mind to do so.
Number of posts: 94
Email address: email
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By Mike Copeland:
an emotional landfill
Of my many faults, one of the most significant is a chronic inability to listen. Oh, I can and do listen in conversation long enough to respond, if not intelligently, at least in a way that demonstrates to both parties to the discussion that I am paying attention and offering argument or agreement that is, more or less, relevant. But, when it really isn’t a conversation, when someone is venting or lamenting or just delivering of herself a good old fashioned bitchin’, I am a terrible listener and always have been.
I, invariably, try to solve the problem. I do this knowing it is the wrong thing, even the insulting thing, to do.
blither v. dither
There is a gathering storm of American voter unrest from citizens tired of having to chose between the party of blither, Republicans, and the party of dither, Democrats. The former jabber endlessly, making no sense, spouting nonsense and being outraged when sensible people point out these failings. On the other hand, the ditherers believe they have a winning strategy in simply not being the other guy. Who can blame them? President Obama was awarded what had previously been the most prestigious prize on the planet, the Nobel Peace Prize, for the achievement of not being George W. Bush.
lifting the veil
I am not an attorney. Indeed, the entire contents of this article is to be considered nothing more than what it is, an observation and rant regarding the recent Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision and a potential unintended consequence thereof. As a citizen, I am entitled to make observations about any damn thing I choose. This is just such an observation and not legal advice and, again, I AIN’T A LAWYER.
a court gone wrong
It is now something approaching settled law in the United States that corporations possess “personhood.” Corporations possess the right to freedom of speech and now, thanks to the Hobby Lobby decision, possess the right to a religious conscience and the right to exercise that religious conscience free of government interference.
a big fan
Since we discovered rocks, it has been the desire of all thinking men to devise ways to kill from a distance. Drones are simply the latest step on that evolutionary chain. While still the stuff of special effects movies, remote controlled and/or robots you wear are receiving active research and development efforts as we write. So, whether the future foot solider turns out to be Iron Man or a materialized electro-mechanical monster operated by a champion video gamer situated in an undisclosed location next to Dick Cheney…
Something very interesting and, perhaps, very important happened in Mississippi last Tuesday. By now, everyone reading this knows that US Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi pulled out a remarkable victory in the Mississippi Republican primary for the Senate. He did so by increasing the number of black votes he received between the initial primary two weeks ago and the run off by something over 13,000 votes.
It is so strange that Amazon would institute a policy that fixes something no one thinks is a problem in order to placate 400 established authors trying to limit the market opportunities of other authors. In this case, Amazon is unilaterally deleting reviews people post regarding books being sold by Amazon.
This makes no sense as Amazon’s reason for being is to sell stuff, in this case books. Apparently, Amazon does not police for revenge reviews…
The modern oil industry, vertically integrated exploration, extraction, refining and distribution of oil on a mass scale, began no later than 1825 in Tsarist Russia. In 1825 Russia produced 3500 tons of crude and refined it, mostly into kerosene. By 1850 the Russian output had doubled to over 7000 tons. By 1906 Russia had a pipeline over 400 miles long stretching from the oil fields in Azerbaijan to the Black Sea port of Batumi, the first major pipeline in the world.
Let’s think about PRISM. The problem isn’t that someone is going to be listening to your telephone conversations or looking at your telephone records. They may well do so, no matter what the President says. Indeed, they will be because that is the nature of human curiosity. However, that is not the problem.
The problem is the machine that is PRISM will be looking at every telephone call you make and every email address you send something to or receive something from.
In 1916 the Argent Lumber Company commenced work in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Beginning in 1904 several whaling and sealing operations commenced along the northern shore of South Georgia Island in the far South Atlantic Ocean.
Argent was one of a number of similar lumber companies that operated in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia beginning in the 1880’s. The various whaling operations began on South Georgia somewhat later, the first and most successful being the Argentine Fishing Company (Compañía Argentina de Pesca).
If You Had The Power
I woke Easter morning and, like I do most mornings, thanked God for the gift of Jesus. I do this although I have long ago ceased to really buy into the whole Jesus thing. I suppose I continue to do this because there is an immediate sensation of comfort received from the familiarity of it all. However, it could be a lingering vestige of a faith that died some years back. In any event, a question occurred to me in that moment that intrigues me. I asked myself if it were in my power to either make the whole Jesus thing true or make it all go away, would I do one or the other and which one?
Tyranny Afflicting Us
There is an old story told about Orson Welles. It seems Wells encountered a beautiful woman in a bar. He approached her and introduced himself. The woman was flattered, for he was famous, rich, handsome and charming. After a brief conversation, Welles asked, “Would you go back to my rooms and spend the night with me if I paid you a million dollars?”
The woman, who was not a professional sex worker, was taken aback. However, Welles pressed on, assuring her he was very serious. After some hesitation she agreed…
Voting for Change
If you are a South Carolinian and support President Obama for re-election you should consider voting for the Green Party candidate for that office. Your vote for Barrack Obama for president is meaningless. South Carolina will elect to cast all its Electoral College votes for Mitt Romney. Voting for President Obama in South Carolina is simply throwing your vote away.
Historically, All The Time
I have to tell you, right off the bat, that I am going to use a philosophical term the definition of which is not so much evolving as it is emerging toward a meaning. As such, the term has no ‘official’ meaning and can be used to mean just about anything the wordsmith chooses.
This freedom from meaning is pretty heady stuff. It is even more so when, as is the case here, the wordsmith doesn’t define the term in any specific way, allowing it to be defined solely by the context of the essay that contains it.
Lewis DVorkin of Forbes Magazine may have offered the final and definitive answer to the old question “If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one to hear it, does it make a sound?” Based upon DVorkin’s apology published on Forbes.com on August 6, the answer is an unqualified no.
I encourage you to read Dvorkin’s own words as they are as fine a declaration of the surrender of whatever pretense to some social benefit journalism had left to claim. Though he might argue with my characterization, DVorkin says the only value left to information platforms like Forbes, is simply that; it is a platform that provides a space for information, period.
If you assume that Harry Reid knows what he is talking about, then who is “Deep Tax?”
Harry Reid, the current Majority Leader in the United States Senate, is a cautious man. In fact, when it comes to standing up to the Republican machine, he is out and out timid. There could be no more unlikely source for the “Romney paid no taxes” charge than sweet Harry.
Books, Crackpots & Contagions
A great deal has happened in the one hundred and twenty-two years between the publication of Anthony Trollop’s short novel An Old Man’s Love and Amy Sohn’s novel My Old Man. Indeed, such a statement seems unnecessary since everyone knows that a great deal has happened and changed society. Changed it so profoundly that a character from either book would, recognize the society portrayed in the other book as Hell, if made to live in it.
A few disclaimers are in order.
War & Peace
Several days ago, a friend and business associate sent round a short video that illustrated the remarkable effect of a new anti-tank weapon allegedly being used by the Israeli army. The weapon is a bullet like projectile of about eight to ten inches long that contains a payload of white phosphorous. The projectile is designed to pierce steel armor and, once clear of the armor and inside the tank, explode, spewing the phosphorous throughout the interior of the tank.
Jamie Dimon is the stupidest smart person on planet Earth. In fact, he is so far stupider and smarter, on average, than any other human being that he should be barred from any consideration in a future contest for ranking stupid smart people in order for other qualified persons to have a shot at winning. Furthermore there should be an annual prize and award made to the future designees and it should be named “The Jamie Dimon Award.”
According to CNBC, official tool of Wall Street, delicate Jamie, at a conference sponsored by Goldman Sachs, said, he has worked on Wall Street for most of his life and “has contributed his share.”
God, how the poor man must have suffered. The heart weeps.
Right now there is a big tempest taking place in South Carolina related to whether or not our governor, Nicki Haley, allowed herself to be improperly influenced in favor of Georgia’s efforts to dredge thirty-eight miles of river bottom in Savannah to take the controlling depth of the Savannah River to forty-eight feet. This means miles of river bottom will be scraped away, as much as ten to fifteen feet of river bottom for miles. It will also require the dredging of a turning basin some half-mile into the migratory wildlife refuge at the upper end so the vessels can turn around and go back down the river when they are done with service at the dock.
Imagination Exercise I.
Imagine three major league Wall Street scumbags (WSS) having a conversation at Moran’s. The first WSS says, “I have a two part riddle.
The other two WSS’s love riddles, as so many of the WSS do, and urge WSS one on.
Compliant, as ever, WSS asks, “What is the difference between a prostitute’s privates and the public interest?”
Going to Hellenic
The Athens office of the international management consultants, McKinsey and Company states its purpose in the first paragraph of the new study, Greece 10 Years Ahead. “… is a study that aims to define a new growth model and strategy for economic development in Greece for the next 5 to 10 years, founded on the principles of competitiveness, productivity, extroversion, investment stimulation, and employment opportunities.” The study is very interesting. It offers numerous insights into the current “crisis,” lots and lots of data and critical analysis by, I assume, many highly qualified folk of various appropriate business and academic disciplines.
McKinsey sponsored the study in conjunction with the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises and the Hellenic Bank Association.
It is, of course, crap.
The “Occupy Wall Street” movement is being talked about as if it originated on another planet and, in its completely alien form, showed up in lower Manhattan with no warning. Naturally, the establishment dealing with it with a combination of bullying and condescension.
To the establishment’s amazement, the movement, like some science fiction horror movie creature, is not going away. Indeed, it simply continues to grow and morph into other “Occupy” efforts in various cities around the country and, now, around the world.
The events of 9/11/01, for those of us who witnessed it and have lived through its effects on foreign policy and the subsequent assault on civil liberty in this country, the date will forever mean only one thing. That thing is, of course, the destruction of the World Trade Center, the attack on the Pentagon and the crash in Pennsylvania.
Historically speaking, 9/11 is one major bitch of a day. On this date in the year nine, Quinctilius Varus led three Roman Legions into the Teutoburg Forest and nobody came out … On this date in 1185 Isaac II Angelus murdered his way to the throne of the Byzantine Empire … September 11, 1973 is the day the CIA inspired and supported military coup in Chile came to a head with the murder, or suicide (depending on who is doing the talking), of Salvador Allende, the democratically elected President of the Republic of Chile.
It probably won’t happen but if Rick Perry ran as a third party candidate for President and did so as a far right, rabid populist, these are the states his advisers believe he could win in a three way race against a Democrat (Obama) and a Republican:
Nevada, Rhode Island, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, New Jersey, Oregon, Ohio, Colorado, Indiana, Texas, Arkansas, Maine, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Montana, Iowa, Wyoming, Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska. (I am not sure why they do not include Alaska.)
If you grew up believing FDR and Truman and Kennedy and Johnson first saved the country and then worked tirelessly to improve it by expanding the social network, then you cannot help but be disappointed in President Obama. Compared to these pillars of the Twentieth Century Democratic Party, the current President comes off as timid, perhaps downright craven. Also, the current “occupant” appears to be none too savvy when it comes to political infighting. Compared to all the Democratic Presidents since 1900 President Obama comes off as excessively eager to avoid conflict. There appears to be nothing he believes in enough to risk a chance of a second term. He presents himself as all rhetoric and self interest.
During the Great Depression President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to impose a prohibition against United States citizens owning gold in any form other than ornamental. This prohibition was granted him by Congress and subsequently upheld in a five to four vote by the United States Supreme Court. The decision of the Court upholding the prohibition was one of four, so called, “Gold Cases” issued in 1935. The total effect of these cases was to clarify how the prohibition would work and the limitations thereof.
Since the end of the Johnson administration the Democratic Party has based its existence on one single point, “We are not Republicans.” Indeed, the argument can be made that even Johnson, in his campaign against Goldwater relied primarily upon the same political point.
To be fair, Mondale, in his run against Reagan, tried to differentiate himself from Reagan by saying he would raise taxes to balance the nation’s budget. Mondale and McGovern, alone among the host of Democrats since Johnson have been willing to speak plainly to the people about the need to properly fund the government because government is a good thing in their lives.
It just keeps getting worse.
I remember, it was not so long ago, when a sex scandal always involved actual sex. That is, penetration of somebody’s body somewhere by another somebody with some appendage of the second somebody’s person. That was it, pretty plain vanilla sex. The kinkiest it ever got was the penetration point being some orifice other than a vagina belonging to an inappropriate partner.
The appointed hour has arrived. Of course, this is not the “appointed hour” in any but a cosmic sense. No committee composed of responsible non-governmental organization officials have, sitting in an emergency ad hoc body, set the day and the hour. But, it is really way past time. Since no one else will do it, it is left to me …
We need a National Reconciliation and Atonement Day. We need a NRDA and we need it badly. Like a teenage couple on a hot summer night by the lake, we need some relief. A little bit of instant gratification would not be out of line. Our broken, beaten and busted nation deserves a bunch of apologies. Our public and private sector leaders and our media moguls need to apologize. “We, the people,” deserve some healing. The specific healing we need is an acknowledgement that damn near everybody that was supposed to be watching our back was sticking it to us instead. We need those responsible to own up to it, accept a little public humiliation and retribution so we can correct the course and move on.
Now seems as good a time as any to address the issue of biomechanical evolution. This could be, I will admit, because there is no good time to address biomechanical evolution. So, now will do as well as any other moment you could pick.
Why, you may ask, address this issue at all, regardless of the time? I cannot give you a very good answer to that question. What I can tell you is a lot of people who are either a) very smart, b) have too much time on their hands, c) are really just dumb folk in possession of a good vocabulary or d) some combination of two or more of these are addressing it. Indeed, there are an abundance of resources, fiscal and human and other resources being expended on some facet of this very issue. This has been going on for some time and it seems to be accelerating.
Now I am not saying there are people out there working under the aegis of the Institute for Building a Better Human or some such as that. Nope, it is just that the pieces and parts required to pull this off are coming into focus and are doing so rapidly.
I believe I may have told you that I have three dogs. Each was a gift from one of my daughters while they were in high school and/or college. The smallest of these mutts is a little over eighty pounds and the largest something over one hundred pounds. They are what some might call “big dogs.”
For the most part, they are sweet and well behaved. However, they do appear formidable, especially when they charge out from the dark shadows of bushes at night. So, I tend to keep them on a short leash, so to speak …
Tonight, as I approached an intersection on the way to the release field, I first heard and then saw a young couple walking on a trajectory that was perpendicular to mine …
Following the Silvio Berlusconi trial in Milan is a real revelation. This is what a real sex scandal is. Not a pathetic one dress/one stain deal like Watergate or whatever we ended up labeling the “Starr crossed” fiasco of the Clinton years …
While nothing that has come out about the Berlusconi scandal, so far, would shock anyone who ever attended a quiet dinner in the Jungle Room at Graceland when the King was in town, these revelations do serve to remind Americans how far we have fallen behind in the political sex scandal business. This need not be so. The fact is, we have a long and illustrious history of scandalous mixing of politics and sex.