Monday, April 11, 2016

Thank Goodness This Wasn't Bakken Crude Oil -- April 11, 2016

Breaking news: BNSF says human error is cause of November's Alma, WI, train derailment that sent more than 20,000 gallons of ethanol into the Mississippi River.

Geico Rock Award Nomination

I'm not sure who this award should go to: Newsweek or Trevor Phillips. Trevor Phillips is the obvious choice, but the fact that Newsweek, a mainstream, albeit liberal, news magazine chose to publish the story, suggests they, too, were under the rock. The rules of nomination for the Geico Rock Award mandates that the nomination go to Newsweek. This is a news article, not an op-ed:
The former head of Britain’s Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), Trevor Phillips, has admitted he “got almost everything wrong” regarding immigration in a new report, claiming Muslims are creating “nations within nations” in the West.
Phillips says followers of Islam hold very different values from the rest of society and many want to lead separate lives.
The former head of the U.K.’s equalities watchdog also advocates the monitoring of ethnic minority populations on housing estates to stop them becoming “ghetto villages.”
Notes to the Granddaughters
Tolkien: Beowulf and The Lord Of The Rings

I'm back in my Beowulf and Lord of the Rings phase. I am reading Tolkien's translation of Beowulf along with commentary and analysis of the translation by his son Christoper. I am also reading the translation by Seamus Heaney. I've read Beowulf before but this time I've become more serious about it and much more receptive. That, of course, led me to The Lord of the Rings. Before reading that novel again, or at least parts of it, I'm re-reading JRR Tolkien: Author of the Century by Tom Shippey.

In the latter, Shippey has a chapter on the concepts of evil, which is quite fascinating read in light of 20th century and 21st century global politics. Shippey spends several pages on explaining Ringwraiths which Shippey considers one of Tolkien's "more individual and more original concepts." He discusses how ordinary men and women, on their way to power ("All power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely"), turn into "Ringwraiths. Shippey writes,
However, the best example of 'wraithing" in The Lord of the Rings must be Saruman.
Saruman's goals are knowledge (no one can object to that); organization in the service of knowledge (there are certainly many researchers, and far more administrators, who see this as desirable); but finally control
In the pursuit of control Saruman is prepared to co-operate with forces he knows perfectly well are evil, but which he thinks he can use for his own much more admirable purposes, and later suppress or discard.
The failure of beliefs like this is all too familiar from war after war, and alliance after alliance, during the past century.
One can easily substitute Barack Obama for Saruman, even more so Hillary.

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