Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pyramid Scheme

                                                        Packard Jennings

Marianne Moore: To a Steam Roller

The illustration
is nothing to you without the application.
  You lack half wit. You crush all the particles down
    into close conformity, and then walk back and forth
      on them.

Sparkling chips of rock
are crushed down to the level of the parent block.
  Were not "impersonal judgment in aesthetic
     matters, a metaphysical impossibility," you

might fairly achieve
It. As for butterflies, I can hardly conceive
  of one's attending upon you, but to question
  the congruence of the complement is vain, if it exists.

1922: Freedom to Stop and Go at Will Under Assault: Traffic Dictator To Rule All Movement by Pushbutton


Dr. Harriss Plans to Have a Push Button Stop Every Auto From 14th St. to Harlem.


Colored Bulbs at Street Intersections to Indicate When Cross Currents Shall Move.
Dr. John F. Harriss, Special Deputy Police Commissioner, began experimenting yesterday with powerful signal lights which will be installed from week to week until traffic in most of Manhattan will be simultaneously stopped and started by red, green and yellow lights all operated by a single switch in Times Square.
The lights tested yesterday will be mounted next week on the Grand Central Terminal and at Fourteenth Street and Fourth Avenue to control traffic on Fourth Avenue. Signal lamps of the same type will then be installed in Times Square and later strung along Broadway from Thirty-fourth Street to 110th Street. Similar lights controlling east and west traffic will next be placed on the Sixth Avenue elevated structure, controlling crosstown traffic from Ninth to Third Avenue and between Twenty-third and Fifty-ninth Street.
All these will be operated from a single traffic headquarters in Times Square, or by some mutual control exercised by the Times Square station and that at Fifth Avenue and Forty-second Street. The installation of this system will proceed rapidly during the next two or three months, according to Commissioner Harriss.
One Central Control.
When it is fully equipped it will mean that a traffic dictator seated in the centre of the city will press a button causing scores of red lights to flash and halting tens of thousands of vehicles at once on the most crowded streets of Manhattan, while allowing tens of thousands of other vehicles and hundreds of thousands of pedestrians to proceed.
"When the centralized system is in operation much time will be saved both for the pedestrian and the motorist," said Dr. Harriss. "It will mean that automobile drivers will no longer be started at one corner and stopped at the next one in any of the streets of the city. The signal remains on in Fifth Avenue now from one-half a minute to three-quarters of a minute. If all traffic signals are synchronized throughout the city, automobiles will be allowed to proceed uninterruptedly for a regular number of blocks after each signal.
"It may prove in practice that the pause of a half minute or longer, which is in use on Fifth Avenue and in Times Square, is too long for streets where the traffic is lighter. If so, the periods will be made shorter. It will be possible, however, to continue them under some centralized control, in all probability. All traffic questions have to be worked out on the streets, of course, and plans will be modified and improved from time to time, as experience suggests."
Test Signal In Haze.
The new signal lamp is a powerful electric light like a searchlight, which was placed on the Columbia Yacht Club at Eighty-sixth Street and the East River. Commissioner Harriss and other traffic experts took their positions at Seventy-third Street and Riverside Drive and at other points along the waterfront.
"We have been waiting for a day like this," said the Commissioner, "to see how this type of light stands the test of thick, hazy weather. We could see it very distinctly at a distance of more than 6,000 feet, and it proved that it will serve our purposes excellently. It is also an economical type of lamp. This one will be placed on top of the Grand Central Terminal, looking down Fourth Avenue.
"A similar one will be placed at Fourteenth Street and Fourth Avenue. Both of them have to be raised to a considerable height to be visible this distance of nearly a mile and a half because of the Murray Hill rise, when would cut off view of a lamp placed at an ordinary level. When these two lamps are in use they will save several minutes for motorists along this street. They will also prevent accidents, which have been numerous here because of the traffic congestion without sufficient control.
"After Times Square has been equipped, additional lights of this kind will be installed on Broadway from Thirty-fourth to Seventy-second Street and later to 110th Street. Traffic will also be controlled by these lamps within two or three months along the Concourse in the Bronx, where there is need of such control."

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Katie Lee

                                                              Katie Lee

The Sufi Path of Blame

The Malamatis deliberately tried to draw the contempt of the world upon themselves by committing unseemly, even unlawful actions, but they preserved purity of thought and loved God without second thought. One of them was hailed by a large crowd when he entered a town; they tried to accompany the great saint; but on the road he publicly started urinating in an unlawful way so that all of them left him and no longer believed in his high spiritual rank.
-from "Mystical Dimensions of Islam"

"Reputation is a desire that by means of bootlicking towards the people you'll receive honor and attain to a high rank."  -Shaykh Laahji

Monday, July 23, 2012

V.S. Naipaul at the 1984 Republican National Convention

     At the climax of the great occasion, as at the center of so many of the speeches, there was nothing. It was as if, in summation, the sentimentality, about religion and Americanism, had betrayed only an intellectual vacancy; as if the computer language of the convention had revealed the imaginative poverty of these political lives. It was "as if"- in spite of the invocations and benedictions- "as if inspiration had ceased, as if no vast hope, no religion, no song of joy, no wisdom, no analogy, existed any more."
     The words are by Emerson; they were written about England. English Traits, published in 1856, was about Emerson's two trips to England, in 1833 and 1847, when he felt that English power, awesome and supreme as it still was, was on the turn, and that English intellectual life was being choked by the great consciousness of power and money and rightness. "They exert every variety of talent on a lower ground." Emerson wrote, "and may be said to live and act in a submind." Something like this I felt in the glitter of Dallas. Power was the theme of the convention, and this power seemed too easy- national power, personal power, the power of the New Right. Like Emerson in England, I seemed in the convention hall of Dallas "to walk on a marble floor, where nothing will grow."  -Among the Republicans

"Why the American Right Never Liked V.S. Naipaul"

"I've often wondered why the American Right has been so quiet about V.S. Naipaul. He's easily the most talented reactionary writer in the English language- maybe the only living talent in the right-wing zombiesphere. The American Right devotes an insane amount of resources into manufacturing hagiographies on anyone whom they believe makes them look good- even the Soviets couldn't compete with today's American Right when it comes to glorifying their pantheon of degenerate cretins like Ayn Rand, Phyllis Schafly, Friedrich von Hayek...

Basically it comes down to this: The American Right only needs "team players"- shameless, cynical hacks who can be counted on to churn out whatever rank propaganda is ordered up by the Heritage Foundation. For that, you need a Rotary Club nihilist like Dinesh D'Souza, someone totally devoid of a literary ego, intellectual curiousity or a gag reflex...

All of the young reactionary intellectuals I knew when I was younger eventually came around to a similar epiphany. At some point, it just couldn't be ignored: These people were scum; mean, sleazy, boring scum. It became impossible to be near them. They- we- dropped out of the Right, and wanted nothing more to do with it all. But by ruining everything in this country- economically, culturally, intellectually, militarily- the Right essentially chased us wherever we went, poisoning everything they could get their hands on...

Naipaul's career developed at a time when Western reactionary intellectuals could still be formidable, dynamic and unpredictable; there was space carved out on the Right for reactionary talent like Naipaul...

They've replaced the Naipauls with libertarians, the fake, predictable, genetically-modified version of reactionary intellectualism- so insanely corrupt and so profoundly retarded that, like a skunk spraying foul stupidity whenever threatened, libertarianism has successfully scared away anyone with brains and dignity from bothering them while they feed...

What's left today, three decades after Reagan's victory, is a ruling class of Rotary Club nihilists. Right-wing degenerates. And they're not even interesting degenerates anymore, the way some Right-wingers used to be. They just scream a lot. Scream and bang a stick on the ground- and at the end of the stick-banging, they go to pick up their checks from their billionaire sponsors."
-Mark Ames @ The eXiled

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity

There is no upper bound on the amount of stupidity that can exist within any particular individual.

We always underestimate the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

The probability of a person being stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.

A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons, without any advantage accruing to himself- even possibly incurring losses of his own.

Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. They constantly forget that at any moment and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people invariably constitutes a costly mistake.

A stupid person is the most dangerous person in existence.

from The Power of Stupidity by Giancarlo Livraghi