NFA surprised Ledyard with an upset last night. Ledyard had beaten Woodstock twice and split with NFA. NFA had split with Woodstock. Finals Friday night.
I’d add one more to your list of what American idealism of Equality also entails (speaking to LibDem): the freedom to all be treated equally, regardless of, well, most anything. This is a little different than the good list you describe.
One quick example I remember from Law School – whenever I met a certain type of person, they always seemed to ‘look me up and down’ and I could all but see the wheels turning in their head while they decided how to treat me based on how they found me. I found this despicable, for while we all may be guilty of this to some extent, when these people did it they sort of filed it all away and used it as a permanent reference regarding how to treat the person they met – this, in turn, colored their perception of this persons going forward. Can they help me? Are they someone who can benefit me in a kind of sleazy way? That is, how can they help my career and will knowing them be worth my while or ‘valuable time’? What I hated so much, was how they would not waste any time on someone who they reckoned could not help them nor benefit their career, they were not important, from an important family and offered no kind of mercenary quid pro quo instead of that which I valued – simple human interaction in which, to be hokey and quote John Lennon, “we all shine on”.
I could not stand being looked up and down like that and this showed, because a few more blatant types instantly rejected them – that is, until Interviews with big NYC Law Firms were publicly posted and they gleaned by my name on so many lists that I must have been in the top 5% of my Class – this changed everything for this type and they suddenly saw me in a different light. I definitely indulged that kind of immature feeling of superiority, even smugness, that I was a better person because I took people for how I found them and refrained from that smarmy up-and-down evaluation.
Smarmy – that’s how I still think of those who fail to treat people equally, giving them that valuable equal treatment not just under the law, not just with regard to all those on that good list, but also according to that simple, but ineffable kind of idea that we are ALL of us American and by virtue of that alone, or collectively if you will, EQUAL.
As discussed above, that unequal treatment with regard to wealth, power, etc. that is so important must be distasteful – for those judged and for those indulging in judging. I cannot stand it, like so many of us. Society teaches us over and over how wrong it is, yet it’s utterly pervasive and The Way of Life in America. What kind of Society has such innate hypocrisy? What does it say about us?
As a Lawyer in a huge Boston Law Firm I could see the change in people’s entire demeanor when I handed them my card, but after they got that first impression of me – kind of a simple kid from Woodstock with shorts and sandals in the summer, jeans and old, often torn clothes otherwise. Never buttoned-down, well-spoken, but not as though someone gave me a vocabulary for Christmas. Yet if asked, I could go on and on about IPO’s and Mergers & Acquisitions and Venture Capital Formation and Series A, B and C Investments in High-Tech Rt. 128 Firms during the Salad-Days of the roaring 1990′s. All to say, I never got used to that feeling of being judged on more what I did, how much I had than, as the ultra-cliche goes, WHO I really was.
To be treated equally in accordance with the true ideals of the Constitution, but more so traditional, school-taught (not Society taught-by-bad-example) ideals, etc. seems to me to be one of the most important aspects of this Nation – it at least starts with that idea that human interaction is possible, interaction that can truly have so very many opportunities for, again, all those tacky cliche’s we learn growing up (‘beauty on the inside’; ‘money means nothing when it comes to character’; etc., etc.).
Having seen, in my limited way, both sides of this type of society, been treated as either / or depending on how I choose to present myself up front (either as a scholarship ‘Law Fellow’ at some highfalutin and kind of famous Law Firm, known for running prominent IPO’s and top-secret Mergers & Acquisitions when NASDAQ Trading had to be suspend pending announcements and then made front-page news, etc. OR just some kid in torn jeans from another small town in Northeast CT who could easily affect having no money (having grown up this way) – to see the abject difference in not only how I was treated, but seeing those wheels turning and (unfairly) guessing them thinking “how can this person help me?”
AND having already had the seeds of social injustice planted in me during some really great college courses with truly enlightened professors and then more of the same but on such a higher plane at Columbia for 2 years – all of this rendered me jaded more than I cared for, and it stuck with me all this time and has become part of me that I cannot change, even if I wanted to. In many ways, I consider it like a Mule pulling a plow – not only doing all the work having to do with this kind of unfairness, but always driving me in ways that I can hardly control at time (and often unfairly, especially when it comes to the anger at bullies – true bullies who don’t just pick on those weaker, but take advantage in every way, ESPECIALLY financial, on those weaker, on up to the cliche’ CRONYISM that we all can despise utterly as long as we’re not benefitting from it all).
Well, this got far more personal than I intended and I could go on forever – but I’ll leave what I wrote and just cut it short, hoping I made some small bit of sense… Thanks.
I acknowledge my own presumption saying so, but even your chosen name (Doubtful) bespeaks a rather easy way out insofar as your questioning can often avoid the Socratic method, but instead belies a set of skeptical assumptions and conclusions – this is easily interpreted as someone whose already made up their mind and is less inquisitive and more pedantic. Someone who knows better and seeks more to instruct than learn; to pursuade in what can sound more like a passive-agressive instruction to those who must be corrected than honest discourse seeking mutual learning. When limiting one’s self to questioning more akin to interrogation than asking because one truly seeks another’s try opinion. Without expressing your own conclusions and making your case, continually asking seems a way to challenge that of others (that is, what you assume is the opinion of others, which may not be correct). It’s easier to find fault with some of these ideas than to present your own counter-point. This can seem like a passive-aggresive way to disagree without just saying so and backing that up. I think it’s much harder and courageous to simply lay one’s own ideas out in the open and allowing others to examine them closely, rather than shrouding them in questions to which there can be many interpretations – it’s safer that way.
In that way, I found your comment / questioning to be based on your own assumptions rather than what was actually said – erroneously so, in my view. Why was it your tendency to a) accept and believe such a fundamental assumption rather than b) taking the time and effort to first determine whether it’s true and viable and your correct in basing your own seemingly biased questioning? Admittedly I’m (unfairly?) using your comment as an example of how one way a mutually respectful manner of discourse can so easily be run off-track, whereby we’re no longer pursing one line of ideas, but instead defending the idea itself in rather wasteful exercise debunking what you incorrectly identify as what LibDem has said, was thinking when he wrote it and as if you posses the ability to read into it all so much that could or could not be even correct? So many online comments read this way to more of an extreme, as though the writer could read minds and is a kind of know-it-all, not open to learning or challenging one’s own ideas. I don’t see your comment this way, but it does remind me of them (just see so many comments under, say, CNN Article Comment’s sections).
You certainly may be right, but rather than making a naked kind of accusation, why not first determine whether your own assumption is truly correct and pursuing it all from there? It’s seems easier to pull something down than to take the time to ask a series of questions in the Socratic method aimed at determining whether it IS, in fact, correct. It’s just more intellectually honest.
Anyway, that’s truly just my 2 cents worth. I obviously think that jumping in to think out loud and off the cuff this way has it’s own value, though it has it’s own inherent intellectually dishonesty of it’s own – if I’m of the mark, I use that as a kind of lame excuse. Either way, I appreciate being able to do it without worrying about walking on eggshells, afraid to offend. Thanks.
See this article at Forbes
“Today, the international community, the European Union, and the United States face the greatest threat to world peace since the Cold War. After all, if Putin can get away with Ukraine, why would he stop there? If the West will not respond forcefully to such imperialism in a country as large as Ukraine, it is unlikely that it would be ready to stop him on behalf of tiny Estonia and Latvia. The world should have learned from World War II that stopping aggression before it spreads is the best way to prevent geopolitical and humanitarian catastrophes. The West cannot close its eyes to fascistoid imperialism. It must express its full support of Ukraine and tell Putin, in no uncertain terms, that only an immediate withdrawal of all Russian troops can forestall Russia’s transformation into a rogue state.” Alexander J. Motyl, Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University–Newark
In basic chemistry we have something called “chirality” which refers to a molecule with two possible non-superimposable configurations. One way to picture this is to look at your hands and place one on top of the other (not palm to palm) – your left and right hands are essentially the same shape but their shape is reversed. At the molecular level we can use one of the main building blocks of all proteins and all life, the amino acid alanine in the picture below to examine handedness. The diagram shows the arrangement of atoms of two alanine molecules, both of which exist in nature, arranged so that they are mirror images. They are the same molecules but if you turn the one on the right around so that it is facing in the same direction as the one on the left, the R (a single carbon atom in alanine with three bonded hydrogen atoms) on this alanine molecule faces toward the palm of the hand and the COOH moiety (a carboxyl group) and the NH2 moiety (an amino group) face outward away from the palm. Mo matter how you rotate the alanine on the right, you can’t get the three moieties attached to the central carbon to line up in the same position as the alanine on the left. Likewise, you can’t get those hands to super-impose each other no matter how much you twist and turn them. So the alanine on the left is called L-alanine (levo- for the direction the molecule rotates photons) and the alanine on the right is called D-alanine (dextro- for the direction the molecule rotates photons). They are called “enantiomers” of alanine or chiral isoforms and both exist in nature both with identical chemical properties except for the way they rotate polarized light.
There are 20 natural amino acids which are the building blocks of all proteins. Of these 20 only glycine is symmetrical around a central carbon atom and therefore glycine has no enantiomers. The other 19 can exist in the L- and D-conformation.
Funny thing though, only the L-enantiomer is used to make proteins by our protein synthetic machinery – the protein synthetic machinery of all life-forms from single cell organisms up to humans. It’s quite easy to understand why one enantiomer is used in life over random use of either enantiomer. The pictures below show the three dimensional globular structure of human beta-actin on the left and architectural arrangement of this actin in the cytoplasm of a cell. The protein composed of 374 amino acids has an intricate folding pattern with coils which would not be possible if both amino acid enantiomers for the 19 amino acids were randomly incorporated into the protein. This three dimensional structure has to be preserved in order for actin to perform its dynamic architectural function inside living cells shown in the picture on the right. The coils are possible because the amino acids are all L-amino acids and glycine is neutral. Otherwise the protein would behave like a wet noodle. The precise structure of the actin protein determines its function which has been preserved and conserved since the beginning of all eukaryotic life-forms (cells with a cytoplasm and a nucleus). Understanding the atomic forces that fold proteins in a unique shape is what Linus Pauling got the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for in 1954.
It is not well known that Linus Pauling was an avid reader of science fiction. During the 1960s in an interview he described his motivation to write a science fiction novel. The story line was to be the discovery of a human-like race from another planet that had evolved to use only D-amino acids (D-humans) rather than the L-isoform (L-humans). He explained that he never got around to writing this novel because the real science he was doing took all of his time.
If our L-humans merged with those D-humans, what consequences would there be? What we would see in D-humans is people virtually indistinguishable from ourselves – that is, barring the possibility that these extraterrestrials evolved out of some unearthly environmental niche. However, no mating, blood, or tissue sharing would be possible between these two races.
To explain this, consider the experience you have had when you accidently put your hand in the wrong glove. As you know, this doesn’t work well. All protein interactions and reactions catalyzed by enzymes require a direct fit to work. Substrates of enzymes have to fit precisely into the catalytic active site of the enzyme like your hand fitting into the right glove. Since L-humans have a different chirality from D-humans, nothing would fit and be transferrable because of asymmetric incompatibility between L- and D- macromolecules. Even the food on our planet would not likely be nutritious for D-humans because all living things on Earth are L-organisms. In D-lifeforms the actin coils would coil in the opposite direction and the DNA double helix would have to spiral in the opposite direction as well; otherwise the analogous D-proteins would not bind/fit on the chromosomal DNA.
It seems reasonable that D-humans might be found on other planets if you consider how life got started. By a quirk of nature on Earth, L-amino acids got a head start and self-assembled into peptides (small proteins) when this essential process in life as we know it got started. The assembly of only one enantiomer isoform into a peptide may have been favored thermodynamically over co-random assembly of L- and D-isoforms. This essential process evolved into a well-organized membrane-protected, energy-driven protein synthetic machinery in single cell organisms like bacteria. Today humans have essentially the same protein synthetic machinery that evolved in primordial bacteria and all life-forms on Earth have the same genetic code.
There are two essential enzymes that work together to catalyze protein synthesis in all living cells. One enzyme, called aminocacyl-tRNA synthetase, binds the amino acid to a transfer RNA molecule (there is one of these enzymes and a specific tRNA for each of the 20 amino acids). The second enzyme, peptidyl transferase, catalyzes the formation of a peptide bond linking two amino acids at the start of a chain and does this over and over again until the full length protein is synthesized and folded into its functional conformation. These two essential enzymes do not recognize the D-isoforms of the 19 asymmetric amino acids. Thus, our chiral L-specificity has been preserved since the beginning of life.
I can’t think of any reason why the D-amino acids would not support life, but it has to be one isoform or the other, not both. Apparently Pauling felt the same way. D-humans will be interesting to meet and they will be equally interested to meet us hopefully without mutual disappointment.
Congratulations to Headmaster Christopher Sanford for cleaning up the Academy website and making it functional for the first time. The new motto reads, RESPICE FUTURUM; may we all “Look to the Future.”
Academy Mens’ Basketball Schedule
12/18 7:00p @ Ellington (Ellington, CT)Location: Ellington High School Score W 58 – 55, Lowry 17 pts.
12/20 7:00p Ledyard (Ledyard, CT) *Location: Woodstock Academy Score L 58-63, Lowry 24 pts.
12/23 7:00p @ Suffield (West Suffield, CT)Location: Suffield High School Score W 44-39, Lowry 16 pts.
12/27 5:00p Waterford (Waterford, CT) Valley Regional E.C.C./Shoreline Challenge Score W 56-52, Lowry 20 pts
12/28 7:15p Valley Regional (Deep River) E.C.C./Shoreline Challenge Score W 74-58, Lowry 18 pts and Bourgeois 30 pts
01/03 7:00p @ East Lyme (East Lyme, CT) *Location: East Lyme High School Score W 54-32, Lowry 17 pts
01/07 7:00p Stonington (Stonington, CT) Location: Woodstock Academy Score W 73-55, Lowry 15 pts, Converse 18 pts.
01/10 7:00p @ St. Bernard (Uncasville, CT)Location: St. Bernard High School Score W 71-53, Adam Converse, 18 pts, Trent Peters, 15 pts, John McGinn, 13 pts, Will Bourgeois, 12 pts, Chris Lowry, 9 pts.
01/14 7:00p Fitch (Groton, CT) *Location: Woodstock Academy Score W 72-43, Adam Converse, 10 pts, Trent Peters, 18 pts, Will Bourgeois, 22 pts, Chris Lowry, 13 pts.
01/16 7:00p @ Bacon Academy (Colchester, CT) *Location: Bacon Academy Score W 46-45, McGinn, 11 pts, Will Bourgeois, 10 pts, Chris Lowry, 14 pts.
01/18 12:00p @ Putnam Vo-Tech (Springfield, MA)Location: Putnam Vo-Tech High School Score L 45-77, Converse, 14 pts
01/24 7:00p @ Montville (Oakdale, CT)Location: Montville High School Score W 95-64
01/28 7:00p Norwich Free Academy (Norwich, CT) *Location: Woodstock Academy Score W 58-48, Will Bourgeois, 22 pts, Chris Lowry, 9 pts, McGinn, 9 pts.
01/31 7:00p @ Ledyard (Ledyard, CT) *Location: Ledyard High School Score L 91-77, Converse, 25 pts
02/04 7:00p East Lyme (East Lyme, CT) *Location: Woodstock Academy Score W 61-22, Converse, 24 pts, Bourgeois, 10 pts
02/07 7:00p @ Fitch (Groton, CT) *Location: Fitch High School Score W 78-55, Converse, 27 pts, McGinn, 17, Bourgeois, 14 pts, Peters 13 pts.
02/11 7:00p Bacon Academy (Colchester, CT) *Location: Woodstock Academy Score W 62-48, Lowry 17 pts, Converse, 14 pts, Peters 17 pts.
02/17 7:00p Killingly (Killingly, CT)Location: Woodstock Academy Score W 66-41, Will Bourgeois, 18 pts, Chris Lowry, 12 pts, Converse, 12 pts.
02/18 7:00p @ Tourtellotte Memorial (North Grosvenordale, CT)Location: Tourtellotte Memorial High School Score W 66-63, Will Bourgeois, 19 pts, McGinn, 18 pts.
02/21 7:00p @ Norwich Free Academy (Norwich, CT) *Location: Norwich Free Academy
As you and I have discussed a few times in other ways (and contexts), so-called ‘Capitalism’ in America has not only lost it’s way, it has totally lost it’s very meaning (speaking to LibDem). So much of what you describe and we’ve talked about isn’t, I believe’ the result of Capitalism, but of the ABUSE of Capitalism.
Using the Wal-Mart example (which is all it’s good for, but it is a most excellent example – one of the very best!) as associated with so very many of the enormous and enormously unfair problems created by such a Company, their behavior and all manner of repercussion – nearly all negatives point to an Abuse of Capitalism rather than it’s comprehensive practice. One such element is how Wal-Mart has managed to create in itself a state-sponsored monopoly and uses this power for all the bad reasons monopolies are anti-free market, anti-capitalism and “anti-American”.
How did Wal-Mart obtain this franchise? By corrupt means; by buying and selling Congress in the same way done so today by rampant cronyism and especially the Defense Contractors and the Trillions of tax dollars involved and up for grabs. The revolving door by and between Defense Contractors, Companies like Wal-Mart (and Haliburton, which does far more than Defense, like making and selling concrete and Oil Platforms which destroy lives and, oh, the Gulf of Mexico incidentally, all without consequences and at enormous continued profit!) – the revolving door between them AND Congress, the White House and the Pentagon is an excellent example of how these companies succeeded wildly not because of Capitalism, but because of it’s very Abuse.
The list goes on and on and on (and is absolutely infuriating once we look at it and know ‘this is America!’). When we look at the true tenets of true Capitalism, there is far less to indict than one may think. Certainly there are aspects that are imperfect, that are wrong-headed and that are harmful, but for the most part it actually is supposed to be a system based on Fairness, Freedom and Behaving By the Rules on an Even Playing Field – and these Rules have a fundamental and classic basis in Fairness, Morality and, yes, the Christian ethic – but that can also mean the good stuff the Pope has highlighted recently, none of which is new and all of which has (like those good aspects of Capitalism) been distorted and twisted by the Spin and wrong-headed criticism of pompous buffoons like Rush Limbaugh.
Without listing example after example and speaking a little in shorthand because I know you understand the references and allusions, one other good example is the wage depression issues we’ve discussed recently. That is not a result of the practice of Capitalism, not at all. The classic benefit that comes from the Fair, Honest and By The Rules Capitalism is not only Wage Fairness, but eventual worker-owned businesses as a result of their value contribution and the relative success of the given enterprise. That and that kind of thing has gone completely out of the window in America and is even labeled (by people like Rush, who are totally wrong and small-minded, but highly influential) as being anti-Capitalistic. Those kinds of examples, where average citizens and average workers are the very ones benefitting the most – and instead of Owners and the Wealthy who are doing so today – are the very heart of True Capitalism.
So instead of wholesale rejection of the system, I consider modifications with the best of these given systems, because each one tends to actually incorporate the best of others (or if I read it correctly, the best of True Capitalism as I understand it, has been incorporated into Distributism). Thanks.
Well if you’re looking to me to defend the Church against pedophilia and its coverup, you’ll have to look elsewhere. It’s a shameful, not to mention criminal stain on the Church and will always remain so. The Church, as an institution founded by Christ, is holy. The people who make up the church are anything but. We are all sinners. We are supposed to be sinners who are working on not giving in to the temptation to sin. We are supposed to be sinners who are striving to be and working to become saints. But clearly that does not apply to every, single person who identifies themself as a Catholic. There are problems and problematic people within the church and some of them even seem to be working to bring it down from within. The percentage of priests and bishops who are criminals was/is thankfully small compared to the number of priests and bishops that exist overall. There are many more good priests who are dedicated to Christ and are striving to serve Him and their fellow man day in and day out. I will add that as a result of the sex abuse scandals in the church, much work has been done and continues to be done to protect the innocent from such an evil happening again. As a result and a precaution, now the church has swung the other way. It is now common to see good, holy priests who are innocent of sex abuse allegaions be taken out of ministry and have their good names tarnished for life in the face of unproven allegations. From time to time someone who has not been abused will make an accusation to try to get a settlement out of the church and take down a good, innocent priest in the process. That’s not to down-play the very real cases of abuse that did occur and were covered up, but there are false claims made as well. The point is that you take people as you find them, whether they are members of the priesthood, nuns, or Catholic laity. If you do, you will find good people and bad as in any other religion and as in any walk of life. These days, even a parent is not supposed to be allowed to volunteer in their child’s religious education classroom without first taking a training class about signs of abuse to look for and how to report them if found. Every church employee as well as priests, deacons, and religious must take these same “safe environments” training classes. Moral people take responsibility for their immorality and take steps to correct it and to make amends for it as best as the circumstances allow.
As for the pope emeritus, all I can tell you is that I’ve read quite a bit about him by fans and critics alike. If any of them could have proven that pope emeritus Benedict was a Nazi sympathizer, it would’ve come to light by now. I have yet to see any credible proof of such a thing. What I have seen is rumor and innuendo, none of which is backed up by any evidence. Benedict was and continues to be a target of hate-mongering, even from within the church and IMHO he bears it with patience, love, and humility.
In any event, if you check out the links I provided above, but especially the link that LibDem provided (his comment #10), I think you’ll find some of your concerns addressed.
As a reader whose not really that involved or well-informed on WA Football programs, I could use some specifics and concrete examples of what we’re really talking about here (talking to William and Frankincensed).
I found William’s initial comment provocative (which is usually good, depending), but right away I wanted to know both what specifically John wrote in his comment to which William objected and specifically why, with examples and a line of thought/argument that is well reasoned, backed up by logic, reason, etc. instead of vague assertions. That is – it was a good start, but left me wanting more and I wanted William to know that not everyone has strong feelings on the subject one way or another and part of the role he (and anyone commenting here) can play is to inform and possibly persuade those of us who are ignorant or uniformed.
Given that, I then found frankincenced comment in which he rightfully states that to William that “…We enjoyed having you…share your thoughts.”, but gave what I thought was the wrong advice that William was “…wasting your breath.” – erroneous advice that seems rooted in the buried, incorrect assumption that “…We know that but others think it’s just too expensive, gets too much attention (that’s actually funny), is too loud, and is the ONLY reason WA built the new fields.” This is the basis for classic mistakes commentators make when posting on most any subject or issue that’s controversial: that the writer KNOWS what I or others am thinking and builds an actual argument based on that erroneous assumption, meaning he/she is starting off with fallacious basis on which to build ANY argument, pro or con.
We know that all good arguments, discourse and classic examples of effective persuasive writing begin with the idea that the Reader is a blank slate about whom NO assumptions must be made, lest that Bias in an of itself, renders the comment merely an expression of emotion and prejudiced description of the situation. How can a reader be expected to trust any comment that is admittedly biased?
Whether deserved or no, the best comments and the most effective arguments and persuasive writing will always give the Reader the benefit of the doubt, make no assumptions except that the Reader is capable of listening/reading and digesting the comment in the spirit in which it is written; that the Reader is at least as capable of the writer to logic, reasoning, rhetorical methods and the slow, scrupulous development of an argument based on facts, examples, well-reasoned lines of thought, etc.
When a comment tells us outright that he/she has already concluded that most everyone listening has a closed mind, will not even listen to what’s presented and that they are so stuck in their close-minded OPINION that “It is folly to try to convince them otherwise.”
I think we are all guilty to an extent of allowing our personal bias and emotion-based Opinions on a given subject to affect our comments – I think it’s impossible to avoid this. However, from the Reader’s perspective I found that the most persuasive comments are based on a respect for the Reader’s ability to be open-minded and definitely capable of challenging their own assumptions, ideas and conclusions when confronted with an argument that contains all of those classical elements of a Good Argument.
This almost always means either admitting one’s own bias and how that may compromise the comment, being specific and using examples as the excellent tool it is to support an argument, basing the argument on Fact, logic, reasoning, etc. and giving the Reader at least as much respect and benefit of the doubt as the writer would ask for themselves as readers.
I’m sorry to be so preachy and know that this stuff is both fundamental and probably doesn’t need to be explained to anyone, but when the situation calls for it, it doesn’t hurt to state the obvious. Please don’t assume you know what I am thinking and pretend I have not formed an Opinion or conclusion on the subject that is implacable. If you feel your opinion/conclusion on the subject is the correct one and is opposed by incorrect ones, please go ahead and persuade me specifically Why and How and exactly In What Manner?
After all, that’s why I’m here – that’s why, as a Reader, I take the time to read what others have written on a given subject or Issue, especially the controversial issues. Imagining what it is about the opposing arguments that is incorrect, based on erroneous assumptions or ideas, etc. and then setting forth in a clear, reason based argument not only why they are incorrect, but what the correct conclusion is and on what exactly it is based – THAT is what readers are looking for and is the most effective way to dispel erroneous ideas and persuading us of the correct ideas.
The Football Program seems to have a lot of moving parts, each subject to their own description and opinions. It would help to be educated on the subject about which we are discussing, but only if I can trust the writer to do so impartially, as objectively as possible and in a way that illustrates that I’m not wasting my time merely reading someone’s Opinion based on personal Bias, illogical emotion or any of the many weaknesses that make persuasive, argument-based writing so difficult and time-consuming. Thanks.
In my experience, the volunteer fire departments and emergercy services do a lot of fundraising for their units and for other beneficiaries. I was also very impressed with their performance after my mother had her stroke at our house (she died 12 days later). John
The volunteer model of providing fire and emergency response services works as well as it does because of the personal motivation and altruism of the volunteers. I respect that.
However, does it work as well as having a dedicated paid service? It would be interesting to look at staffing patterns, response times, patient outcomes, skill level, etc of volunteers vs. paid staff.
Lauding of volunteers is a wonderful feel good thing, but it cannot be the only argument to support a volunteer model of fire/rescue. When it does, it comes across to me as being a red herring.
I remember going to a Woodstock town budget meeting many years ago and timidly asked a few practical questions about the fire department budget. Instead of answering them, Delpha Very began lauding the volunteers- bringing emotional distraction into the conversation and diverting from having to challenge the fire department. I resented her for doing that. [Delpha Very also proposed bird feeders for the town ] My intention then and now was not to undermine the volunteers, but rather to question the status quo- and not just for my sake, but for the sake of the community and for the volunteers themselves.
IN my previous statement, I simply said that asking volunteers to fund raise was inappropriate. Would you ever think of asking teachers to fundraise for new books in their schools? NO. But we ask this of our volunteers because it is thought we can appeal to their altruism (or their ego) and get away with it. What volunteer would say “No” ? Whether they realize it or not (and I’m sure many do and that is why we don’t have enough volunteers), their good will is being exploited.
You ask, ‘Why would volunteers perpetuate a system that not only doesn’t benefit them, but actively manipulates and exploits them?” Good question, but boy is that loaded. I’m tempted to broaden the sphere of this conversation by asking in return why people support a capitalistic system when clearly it doesn’t benefit them. Or why does anyone who works for a living vote Republican? But I won’t go there. These are not easy questions to answer without getting into a polemical argument, but I will say that most people don’t think any deeper than what an immediate situation does to benefit their egos.
Egos aside, I believe we should get rid of the volunteer model for community service and create jobs for men and women. Taxpayers pay their salaries and for all the equipment needed to do the job right. I think this would go far in providing consistent services and holding people accountable for quality outcomes. We can extend this not only to Fire and EMS, but also to Town Boards where finding qualified volunteers is becoming harder and harder. Ask yourself why this is and how this detrimentally effects our town. Wouldn’t paid positions bring out the best and brightest? Isn’t that what we want? In the long run, wouldn’t that be most fiscally prudent?
See the second article of a two-part series on my work at the Linus Pauling Institute in Palo Alto in the 1980s published at Oregon State’s Pauling Blog honoring their alumnus and two-time Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling.
Becki is featured in this part. The first part was published last Wednesday.
See the first article of a two-part series on my work at the Linus Pauling Institute in Palo Alto in the 1980s published at Oregon State’s Pauling Blog honoring their alumnus and two-time Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling. The second part will be published next Wednesday.
Following these two articles I will be writing a series of articles on Pauling’s 1949 prediction of mutations in hemoglobin which cause Sickle Cell Anemia due to the sickle shape of red blood cells and the 1959 paper describing the Biological Clock which supported the divergence of the species.
I am sending this comment to John based on his initial post.
My name is William M. I went to Woodstock schools and played football in the community my entire life.
Woodstock Academy having a football team is more than the losses you exaggerate. The football team is not there to win games, however as a player the few we won are legendary to WA football Alums.
The mere prospect of painting the program in this light makes me sick to my stomach. If it wasn’t for the team, I would have gone else where. From 2006 to 2010 I worked and played rigorously hard (Getting three consecutive All-Star ECC awards who I give thanks to program leaders for making possible) to help build that program into what it is today.
This football program and the leaders who helped install it inspired me to do better in academics, extracurriculars and life. This program is about building responsible student-athletes with a sense of sportsmanship. It’s promotes a healthy lifestyle and creates deep brotherly bonds.
Before you sit at your desk and ponder your almighty keystrokes, go to a game. Stand near the sidelines. Listen to the kids as they play. They are winners, every single one of them. Your embarrassing attempt at intelligently putting down the school, the program, and the student-athletes on that team failed and inspire me to go back to my home and lobby for this program until naysayers like yourself who loomed as a shadow during our whole playing experience, finally just let the kids be kids and play there heart out.
I agree, Db. Even with yet another verbose comment from me, I inadequately conveyed that same idea as what I think may be central to Volunteers motivation. The idea (even kind of a fantasy) of the benevolent Status of being the one in the crowd wearing that powerful uniform that means ‘I will be the one to save a life if the emergency occurs’ is a very potent image. Not, as it may sound, in an aggrandizing manner, but just the opposite. The Volunteers I’ve known and interacted with seemed very competent and well trained to do that specialized job, but also seemed sincerely modest if not humble.
I think there is something deeply humbling about being the one actually attending to an acquaintance or even a friend whose just collapsed in a crowd of one’s peers and of being the one whom everyone looks to for that instant expertise that will save the day like some movie. I’ve heard doctors describe the ‘Halo Effect’ they sometimes feel burdened with, when they are expected to have super-human capabilities because of our desire to have a positive outcome and to be able to influence all outcomes (when reality is so different, experience shows).
But I use the word ‘fantasy’ above in that context as well as the recognition that volunteers are rightly looked up to as they walk through these crowds they are in to serve – they are not strangers, but often those people who matter most in their lives, I think. To be the object of their open, sometimes gushing, admiration when such admiration is undeniably earned does fulfill the elements of fantasy. And like all fantasies, the reality counter-part is probably where they pay a price when best efforts do not influence or magically produce that positive outcome and the far-more powerful force of nature intervenes. I can imagine how good it feels to be the one in uniform, recognized and admired by those who matter to me, but I don’t think I can fairly imagine the feeling of my best efforts coming to naught and seeing someone who is in my care slip away, especially with that same crowd watching in silence. Obviously, I don’t suggest it’s all glamour, but that because of both aspects it really is sincerely admirable (whereas Celebrity, for example, lacks equal basis for admiration).
My own personal esteem goes deeper than that because I have been flat on my back and in immediate need of life-saving resuscitation. My life was saved by the fast response, training and professionalism in knowing exactly what to do and in what order – and in getting me to the correct Hospital in time while accurately communicating crucial information. I cannot imagine the pressure and feeling of responsibility of just not being able to make a single mistake in such an intense experience – and this from a Volunteer?
After I got out of the Hospital I spent a lot of time on the internet looking up technical information on what happened to me and discovered the Term of Art for some of those initial procedures: “Heroic Procedures in Emergency Medicine” defined as “Relating to a risky medical procedure that may endanger the patient but also has a possibility of being successful, whereas lessor action would result in failure.” (where we know what “failure” means). I understand that the word ‘Heroic’ is simply accurate medical nomenclature, but it describes those performing these Procedures as well.
You raise interesting points and questions (speaking to LibDem). Try taking a few steps back from your strongly-held opinion and the further question is ‘Why would volunteers perpetuate a system that not only doesn’t benefit them, but actively manipulates and exploits them?’
Giving Volunteers the full benefit of the doubt by assuming they are as intelligent, aware and see things as clearly as you do then we can only assume they have compelling reasons for their behavior. I think you may have a blind spot or erroneous assumption leading up to your opinion – which I wouldn’t have thought of without your critical questioning and accusations. As an aside, that’s a good example of how all manner of threads of thought can help us think about issues and maybe lead us down paths we would have otherwise avoided – if and only if we are willing to examine and challenge our own assumptions and conclusions with scrupulous honesty.
That is something, I think, I’ve heard you say in other words. In any event, there is some ineffable quality at the heart of Volunteering that goes beyond mundane questions of whether they are fairly compensated or if they are exploited. It surely doesn’t seem right or fair that these companies are paid while those doing the actual work are not. Is that part of those elements that make possible the system itself which benefits us all? I’d guess that is their argument (the companies). I’d also guess that most Volunteers are rewarded knowing the work they do not only safeguards and benefits their own valuable community on an immediate basis by, for example, their presence in ‘critical mass’ at events like the Fair or this proposed Race – but also in a much larger sense they understand that they are integral to making possible the entire system itself.
That is, without that single Volunteer there would be no such system and without that system the entire model falls apart. The alternative by any reckoning would be so costly as to be unrealistic. This occurs to me by looking at the “Interesting factoids” posted by brownie – the fact that this entire country is so very dependent upon and has affirmatively chosen the Volunteer system from both ends – as ‘users’ and members of the community directly benefiting and not having to pay in full, as well as the Volunteers (who cannot be separated from, and are part-and-parcel of, the larger Community). Things in this country have a tendency to work themselves out and those factoids give us a larger perspective that is compelling; there is something grand and valuable about the existing system that is superior (‘all things considered’) to the alternatives.
I think that’s the best counter to your argument that I can come up with off the cuff, especially because as I read your comments I initially agreed with the general outrage and recognition of patent unfairness, but then realized that surely I (we) were missing something crucial that explained why this status quo is not only tolerated, but embraced by the Volunteers themselves (who we must not think of as ignorant of things, unable to see or understand as clearly, etc.). Thanks.
From John (a repost of three earlier articles)
Sensus divinitatis, John Calvin’s (July 10, 1509 – May 27, 1564) term for an inborn inclination to form beliefs about God in a wide variety of circumstances.
Doreen Carvajal Explores Her Inherited Memory (August 19, 2012)
There was a very interesting essay by Doreen Carvajal in the Science section of the NYTimes yesterday entitled “On the Trail of Inherited Memories.” Her account of her visit to Andalusian Spain struck a familiar chord with me as I had made a similar trip from Seville down to Cadiz (Ca-deth) on a third class train and then from Cadiz to Algeciras on a bus carrying Spaniards with their chickens and goats. I wanted to go to Algeciras, a small city across the bay from Gibraltar, because I had been told that my paternal grandfather was in the Consulate there sometime before 1913 when my father was born in Constantinople. Why was I doing this? (It turns out upon further investigation that Grampa was appointed Consul at Almeria, Spain northeast of Gibralter near the southeast coast, but he decided not to go there. Grampa and my father at the age of six took a boat across the bay from Gibralter to visit Algeciras in 1919).
More recently in late June 2010 Becki and I drove down to Rye NY to find Milton Gardens, a block of homes that my maternal grandfather designed and built in the early 1920s. I hadn’t fully understood my grandfather’s architectural accomplishment and the nature of the community he created with his two hands until I found his marvelous houses. But then came his protracted financial torture in the 1930s as a result of the stock market crash which forced my grandfather to start a new life partly broken from the experience.
I think all of us have at some time wondered why we are the way we are. We usually attribute our beliefs and behaviors to our parents and/or upbringing; but it may not be that simple. With the advent of the Internet many of us have explored our ancestry. I have suggested here at the Cafe that our strong biases may be inherited, in other words genetically programmed. Doreen Carvajal raises the theory of inherited memory in her essay and cites examination of “an unconcious sense of identity” by behavioral psychologists.
This is a form of memory that we are not conscious of – not memories of what we are taught directly by our parents – although our parents have passed this on to us from their ancestors. Doreen uses the example of migrating birds and butterflies – “…migration patterns that birds are born with, which they never learned.” And then, “The Monarch Butterfly makes a trip from Canada to Mexico to a 23-acre spot, and they take three generations to get there.”
I talked a little about the pattern of my father’s adult life in “The Pejorative Use of Liberal” to try and explain the fact that I have never voted Republican in a state or national election and my dislike of organized religious practices. I said ‘Predisposition for either view (conservativism v. liberalism) must be embedded in the brain and these thoughts seem to be passed down from generation to generation.’
Doreen Carvajal was exploring the origin of her family’s practice of Catholicism. She had returned to the place of her family’s origin in southern Spain, the homeland that they fled on a boat from the Bay of Cadiz to the new world of Costa Rica. They were Sephardic Jews (“Christian converts” or Anutists, Hebrew for “the forced ones”) who were fleeing the Inquisition to preserve their inherant clandestine religious practices.
As one who does not practice a religion I have always wondered about the lasting nature of the many religions of the world. Judaism has around 14 million followers and has existed for 2500 years; Christianity has around 2.2 billion followers and has existed for 2012 years; Islam has around 1.5 billion followers and has existed for 1400 years; and Mormonism has about 13.5 million followers and has existed for 190 years.
I don’t think the perpetuation of these religions can be explained solely by childhood upbringing. I think religion and other sustained human practices are genetically transferred in the form of inherited memory handed down from generation to generation with the help of inbreeding within the faiths. These are subconscious practices of what may be survival skills, if you will, passed on when devout Christians, Muslims, Jews and Mormons marry within their faiths. Indeed, Doreen’s aunt Luz often dreamed of a river that “plunged into the Bay of Cadiz” and “left instructions barring a priest from presiding over her funeral.”
I have the feeling that unconsciously I have often attempted to reclaim my ancestral memories in my search for clues of my clandestine identity.
Epigenetics and Inherited Memory (September 5, 2012)
Inherited memory is not likely to be caused by a gene or set of genes, but more likely by “Epigenetics” — a rapidly growing research field that investigates heritable alterations in gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in DNA sequence. Read the rest of this entry »