Welcome to Steele Park

Penny
Editor Emeritus: Penelope Puffbear Quivertail 2000-2014

This site contains cross-postings of most of my posts at Agonist.org.

It also has a number of music videos and recipes.

It temporarily backs up JoeBageant.com while that site is being rebuilt.

It is affiliated with Steele Park Press.

Estonia : E-Residency

Interesting news tidbit: Estonia Offers E-Residency.

   This could be the toe-in-the-water, a tentative exploration of what is possible today and might become increasingly useful in the future.

   Think of it as facilitating access to the day-to-day needs of living and doing business, as opposed to the purely government-related matters. After all, 99% of what we do – online and offline – has nothing to do with being citizens of a country and more with being residents of a country.
Continue reading Estonia : E-Residency

Christmas in Lebanon

doesn’t look very cheerful this year.

Blue and white Christmas lights twinkle over the shops near my apartment in Beirut’s Christian quarter; pricy boutiques display elaborate nativity scenes. But people are having trouble getting into the festive mood. ‘Do you think the war will come here?’ asks my landlady nervously, not for the first time. There is no rush to battle, no electric charge in the air, just a rather depressed feeling among Lebanese that their country can no longer escape the violence over the border in Syria. The black flag of the so-called Islamic State has appeared after Friday prayers in some mosques in the north. The assumption is that Lebanon will be the next place the jihadis target. Still, there are reasons to hope.

Continue reading Christmas in Lebanon

Cops and Protests and People, Oh My.

   When I was growing up, we didn’t necessarily expect law enforcement to be happy with all the hell we raised. Technically, TPing someone’s house or tipping over their outhouse was vandalism but no one would have expected or condoned an officer pulling his gun under such circumstances. Putting a condom on the tailpipe of the cop’s car or plugging it with a potato were frowned upon by the victims, laughed at by the kids and smiled tolerantly at by most grownups, including the cops (once their blood pressure got back to normal).

   It was common for us kids to stay out well after dark, often ‘camping out’ on someone’s lawn for all-night bull-sessions. We sometimes raided a garden – our own or others’ – for spuds and veggies to roast in a campfire. One gent in the neighborhood tried to grow corn: at 7700+ elevation & a 3-month growing season it got about 31/2 feet tall and the cob about 3 inches. Nevertheless, he was extremely proud and possessive of it. When a couple of us grabbed a few of the mini-cobs, he discovered us and let loose with a shotgun. Fortunately, we were too far away for buckshot to be very effective. But we were justifiably offended at his over-reaction.

   Word got out (it’s hard to explain away gunshots in a small town) and the sheriff rounded us up next day and scolded us. We both realized he was obligated to do so, but neither he nor we took it too seriously. However, he also paid the gardener a visit and told him that if he ever shot at kids again, he’d be locked up.

   Today the gardener would have an AR15 and someone might be dead – and he would be applauded for ‘standing his ground’. Today’s cop would deal with us heavy-handedly – maybe tasers for white kids and 9mm for the hispanics.
Continue reading Cops and Protests and People, Oh My.

What do you call….?

It’s always been:
“What do you call 100 lawyers at the bottom of the sea?”
“A good start.”

What do you call 39 dead bankers?

Continue reading What do you call….?

Ruminations On The Right

   I spent 50 years in bleeding-edge IT work. I was very good at what I did, probably in the top 10-20 people in the world at one time. I credit that not particularly to brilliance or training but to the fact that I am basically a creative person who happened to hit the computer world at a time when it was in flux. It needed creative thinking because a new world was being made possible by computers and we were creating new ways of doing many things, from business to science.

   I spent 25 years of those 50 years at SIAC, the IT subsidiary of NYSE and was lucky to work there with some exceptional people. SIAC was widely recognized as not only a leader in the use of technology, but also a great place to work. It was a well-deserved reputation, chiefly because during its ‘golden years’, it was run by an execptional individual, Charles McQuade. Any corporation takes it cue from the top, and Charlie was first and foremost a decent, honorable and caring human being – and he ran the company accordingly. We busted out butts for SIAC because SIAC treated us well. When my wife was hit by a car and spent weeks in ICU and months in hospitals for multiple surgeries, I took off whatever time I needed and SIAC was completely supportive. So when SIAC needed a piece of code working by next Monday, I worked non-stop from 6am Thursday to 4pm Sunday to make it happen. We both did the Right Thing and nobody kept score or nitpicked.
Continue reading Ruminations On The Right

Agonist: The Book

   For over a decade of ups and downs, chaos and dedication, arguments and agreements, The Agonist has earned a place in the blogging community. We have had some marvelous writing, outstanding posts and spirited (to say the least) conversations.

   We are contemplating compiling a Best Of Agonist ebook, to be made available free of charge.

   We are investigating several distribution methods and will pick whatever provides the widest availabilty.

   To that end, we hereby invite all members to submit their favorite posts/writers and let us know via the site Contact Page, since relying on comments here might result in overloading the comment system and emails are easier for me to keep track of.

   Once we have assembled a reasonable list of posts, I will copy/paste/edit them by hand, since all the software I’ve seen to automate this process creates a very ugly and nearly-unreadable product. It will therefore take some time to put together.

   If there are those who specifically do not want their own posts to be included, we will certainly respect their wishes.
Furthermore, we will only publish comments on an Opt-In basis.
Your comments will NOT be included unless you specifically give us permission.

Nota Bene: There may be posts whose names you recall and which show up in a search but turn up missing when clicked on. (We have an issue in the site database). I may be able to retrieve some of these posts from the clone site, as the export/import seemed to have resolved the issue on the clone site. If your favorite post doesn’t display, note it anyway and I’ll try to track it down.

   In addition to providing the posts/comments, we may also ‘blurb’ the writers if requested, so that those who blog or write elsewhere may get a little ‘boost’ in visibility for their non-Agonist world. If that category includes you, feel free to provide us any bio or links you would like us to include.

Catblogging: Cry “Havoc!”


Continue reading Catblogging: Cry “Havoc!”

Friday Cat Blogging – Scottish Independence!

What could have been:

Continue reading Friday Cat Blogging – Scottish Independence!

World population to hit 11bn in 2100 – with 70% chance of continuous rise

New study overturns 20 years of consensus on peak projection of 9bn and gradual decline

The Guardian, By Damian Carrington, September 18

The world’s population is now odds-on to swell ever-higher for the rest of the century, posing grave challenges for food supplies, healthcare and social cohesion. A ground-breaking analysis released on Thursday shows there is a 70% chance that the number of people on the planet will rise continuously from 7bn today to 11bn in 2100.

The work overturns 20 years of consensus that global population, and the stresses it brings, will peak by 2050 at about 9bn people. “The previous projections said this problem was going to go away so it took the focus off the population issue,” said Prof Adrian Raftery, at the University of Washington, who led the international research team. “There is now a strong argument that population should return to the top of the international agenda. Population is the driver of just about everything else and rapid population growth can exacerbate all kinds of challenges.” Lack of healthcare, poverty, pollution and rising unrest and crime are all problems linked to booming populations, he said.

If present trends continue, that is…

Body odor linked to love and politics

Al Jazeera, By Wilson Dizard, September 17

Politics stink — literally — according to scientists who released a study this week showing that people find the smells of others who share their political viewpoints more viscerally attractive than the odors of their ideological opponents.

The researchers suspect that preferences of this kind stem from evolutionary adaptations that support bonds between friends and allies.

“People could not predict the political ideology of others by smell if you asked them, but they differentially found the smell of those who aligned with them more attractive,” said Brown University’s Dr. Rose McDermott, the head author of the report.

“So I believe smell conveys important information about long-term affinity in political ideology that becomes incorporated into a key component of subconscious attraction,” McDermott said.

Jukebox Catblogging

The theme today is musical kittehs, all genre welcome.

Continue reading Jukebox Catblogging

Did Someone Say Cockleburs?

   Some time ago, I wrote a post entitled Cockleburs of Culture and later added Cocklebur Time Again. I was, of course, using cockleburs as a metaphor for those annoying little habits, practices, beliefs and expectations which our cultures (or ourselves) seem determined to embed in our lives.

   The Great God of Cockleburs was evidently not amused by my figure of speech. Continue reading Did Someone Say Cockleburs?

Gagging in Australia

The Twitterverse and FB are alive with the sounds of Wikileaks latest release, the text of a gag order imposed on any revelation of an ongoing investigation into multinational bribery.

The case concerns allegations of multi-million dollar payments to persons with high-level political connections in AMalaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia in order to secure contracts for the production of Australian plastic currency banknotes for these countries.

Wikileaks
Including sealing an affidavit from senior Aussie diplomat.

Friday Catblogging: Stoned

Washington & Colorado…for starters.


Continue reading Friday Catblogging: Stoned

Is SPK really in Belize?

or is he greeting Obama in Denver?

Cats of the Fourth

Friday: CatAstrophes


Continue reading Friday: CatAstrophes

A first step

flix50
Stirling Newberry has an interesting post over at The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

It is time to awaken and wage war. It is time that Americans accept the sacrifices which war demands, that we might have the peace that victory affords.

What we fight for is simple, and it is the historical mission of the Democratic Party. We seek a just world, based on a just peace – and, when required by circumstances, we are willing to wage a just war to accomplish it. Continue reading A first step

So if anyone still thinks that Internet-mediated discourse doesn’t matter…

…the link below the fold should definitely put the issue (if not one’s mind) to rest. Russian strategic culture now either a) believes the “Colour Revolution as directed weapon” interpretation sold by so many Internet hucksters, or b) has placed a massive agitprop investment in selling the frame at the highest levels. I don’t know which of these options scares me more. I can only hope that the intelligence professionals over there don’t buy this simplistic tripe and actually realize how much more beyond intentional control things really are.
Continue reading So if anyone still thinks that Internet-mediated discourse doesn’t matter…

Thoughts on D-Day

   Watching the observance – one almost says celebration – of D-Day, I can’t help but remark that aside from the few veterans, most ‘celebrants’ are too young to remember it and/or have never put themselves in harm’s way. Indeed, many have worked hard to avoid military service while loudly urging others to fight.

   A few postings have appeared of Ike’s comment:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

   or General Butler’s “War Is a Racket” but for blunt truth, it’s hard to beat a soldier telling it like it is.

   And for a good example of how the warmongers operate, consider St. Ronnie.