Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Oh what a tangled web.....

Clinton’s New E-mail Excuse...
The New York Times obtained the deposition of former State Department administrative official Lewis A. Lukens, who had helped Clinton set up her computers when she took office in 2009. According to him, he had suggested that she use a desktop computer at the State Department solely for her personal e-mails, unconnected to the official department network system. Clinton shot that idea down, saying that she was "not adept or not used to checking her e-mails on a desktop........"

Explanations so far include: she did not want to carry two phones; she did not want the public reading her yoga routines and wedding plans for Chelsea; she doesn’t even know how to wipe a computer, anyway....

I refuse to believe that Hillary Clinton is not "adept or not used to checking her e-mails on a desk-top." The woman has been in a government environment for decades, either as First Lady, a Senator, or Secretary of State. She isn't adept with a desk-top computer? Maybe she doesn't like to use one in 2016, when most young things (decades younger than her) are all in with the hand-held variety of computerisation, but how about back in the 1990s and early 2000s? One had a desk-top, or its portable cousin a lap-top then - no other option. Has her memory failed her? She must have used a desk-top at some point in her working life.

More detail from Eric Zuesse on Lewis Lukens’s sworn testimony is HERE.

Opinions vary on whether E-mailgate will further unravel Hillary Clinton's progress in the presidential campaign. It was interesting to note that just before the weekend certain TV commentators, previously pro-Clinton seemed seriously concerned.
At this link Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd, voice concern. Is this the first sign of a vibration that might, eventually, have Hillary Clinton being thrown, as they say, under the bus?

There's this also, regarding other serious charges which may or may not be pending. The article in the second link appeared at Huffington Post recently, but was later removed.

If any of this is even half true, then certain people must be rehearsing the under-bus Clinton throw right now.

Whether such an outcome would help or hinder Bernie Sanders is in doubt, dependent on timing. Timing on this must be a fine art for the DNC, the President and others with influence. They do not want Bernie as nominee - this we know.

The only way I'd speculate a reasonably good outcome, if any of this is true, would be for Hillary to be nominated, then forced to stand down due to legal matters pending, so that DNC would become able to replace her with a nominee of their choice. Joe Biden perhaps? Were that to happen, naming Bernie as Biden's VP might convince enough of Bernie's supporters to accept the outcome....or not. I cannot imagine any outcome more likely to help matters, or to avoid some very, very nasty scenes.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Music Monday

I'm more tuned-in to remembering those who died in wars on Britain's Remembrance Day, 11 November. The USA sees fit to have a full-blown Memorial Weekend in late May, complete with barbecues and other hi-jinks. This, she declares archly, seems hardly appropriate, to the occasion.

Here's my contribution, anyway. I'm not sure if the soldiers portrayed in this video are American, UK or Allied, but the message is the same. I have reason to be thankful, personally, for the US military's assistance to Britain in the 1940s. With regard to later wars, I have other opinions.

Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits - Mark Knopfler on guitar

Saturday, May 28, 2016

“Deep pockets and empty hearts rule the world. We unleash them at our peril.” ― Stefan Molyneux

There's this point of view -

Or there's this (edited from a post of mine dated June 2011)-

Is the USA run by psychopaths? It's tempting to say "Of course" in a flip, facetious tone, but it's a theory worth seriously considering. An article by David Schwartz at the weekend set me out on this tack: The Rise of the Second-String Psychopaths. David Schwartz refers to a comment by the late Kurt Vonnegut in his final book A Man Without a Country:

He was the man; the country was the United States of America. Vonnegut felt that his country had disappeared right under his – and the Constitution’s – feet, through what he called “the sleaziest, low-comedy Keystone Cops-style coup d’état imaginable.” He was talking about the Bush administration. Were Vonnegut still alive, he would not have felt that his country had returned.
Snip from the article:

The United States corporate and government spheres have become, Vonnegut suggested, a perfect habitat for psychopaths. What has allowed so many psychopaths to rise so high in corporations, and then government, he wrote,

“is that they are so decisive. They are going to do something every fuckin’ day and they are not afraid. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they don’t give a fuck what happens next. Simply can’t. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody’s telephone! Cut taxes on the rich!

In a country in which much of human culture has been rendered into machines for the manufacture of money, psychopaths are the ideal leaders. They are very focused. They are outcome oriented. They are frequently charming, and usually very bright and able. They can lay off thousands of people, or deny people health care, or have them waterboarded, and it does not disturb their sleep. They can be impressively confident. Psychopaths can be dynamic leaders of enterprises, but are handicapped by their lack of feelings for relationships. They may be accomplished captains of industry, or senators, or surgeons, but their families are frequently abused and miserable. Most psychotherapists have seen the wives or husband or children of such accomplished people.
I know little or nothing about how a psychopath is properly defined, wondered whether astrology can be used to identify traits of it.

A check list to determine if somebody is a psychopath: Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), appears HERE. It's said to be the most commonly used tool to assess a person’s psychopathy.

Each of the 20 items is scored a 0, 1, or 2. If a person receives a combined score of more than 30 points out of 40 possible points, then he is considered a “psychopath.” Here is the list:

Item 1: Glibness/superficial charm
Item 2: Grandiose sense of self-worth
Item 3: Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
Item 4: Pathological lying
Item 5: Cunning/manipulative
Item 6: Lack of remorse or guilt
Item 7: Shallow affect
Item 8: Callous/lack of empathy
Item 9: Parasitic lifestyle
Item 10: Poor behavioural controls
Item 11: Promiscuous sexual behaviour
Item 12: Early behaviour problems
Item 13: Lack of realistic long-term goals
Item 14: Impulsivity
Item 15: Irresponsibility
Item 16: Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
Item 17: Many short-term marital relationships
Item 18: Juvenile delinquency
Item 19: Revocation of conditional release
Item 20: Criminal versatility

Is astrology capable of identifying a combination of such traits though?
At astro.com there's a review by Karin Hoffmann of Astrologer Liz Greene's book
The Dark of the Soul
A snip:

Can we see the psychopath in the horoscope?
It is fascinating, for example, that Moon and/or Venus often play a dominant role in charts of people whom we consider as psychopaths. In fact, the charts of a lot of allegedly "unfeeling" and "cold-blooded" psychopaths have an emphasis of the water element. Surprising?

From a psychological point of view it becomes clear that these people have often had difficulties to cope with their strong sensitivity and emotions in their past. They found it easier to lock their feelings away and keep them 'water-tight' so that they didn't have to feel them. But they have found other outlets for their watery side: they use their strong capacity for empathy to 'slip into their victims' skin' and find out about their weaknesses and fears in order to exploit them ruthlessly. To the psychopath it may "only" feel like striking back, like a revenge for their own hurt feelings...
So, are all people with an emphasis on water psychopaths?
The answer to the last question is quite clearly "No!"

I doubt that it would be possible, or ethical, to identify a psychopath from a natal chart. Too many variables, too much "grey area", too many unknown factors from the person's background etc. Given a certain set of life experiences it's possible that any one of us could display some psychopathic tendencies. Perhaps astrology might indicate those in whom "tendencies" could most likely mushroom into full-fledged psychopathy?

I'm taking the liberty of copying snips from two comments from the thread following the article by David Schwartz. These provides plenty of food for thought. First comment was written by "Giovanna" and can be found in full timed around 1 PM on 5th June in the thread beneath the original article.

.....It is an absolute mistake to dismiss psychopaths as simply crazy, wild-eyed serial killers. Serial killers are rare; and though it's true that most serial killers are psychopathic, most psychopaths are NOT serial killers and, by definition of law, they are absolutely sane: they distinguish the difference between right and wrong and they completely understand the nature and quality of the acts they carry out. Psychopathic individuals are not delusional and should not be confused with people who are psychotic and whose acts can be legally justified by an affirmative NGRI defense.

In fact, contrary to the myths surrounding them, most psychopaths appear quite NORMAL and even charming and charismatic... at first. They quickly reveal themselves, however, as parasitic, lying con-artists who are adept, cunning and ruthless masters at exploiting any perceived weakness, which is why they gravitate to authoritarian politics and find their comfortable niche in the capitalist/corporate/political imperial milieu. I've always found it interesting (and disturbing) that the most important decisions affecting society are placed in the hands of these shallow, superficial, career charlatans because absolutely nothing -- NOTHING -- is more important to them than their own self-interest.

...............Corporate and political malfeasance fall under the quaint euphemism known as "white collar" crime, which sounds very milquetoast. As the world is currently experiencing, there is nothing tepid or inconsequential, however, about the massive societal and evironmental destruction psychopathic corporate and/or political criminals leaves in their wake.

Many years ago I figured out that psychopaths are drawn to positions of power and domination like moths to flame. For instance, there are probably more psychopaths milling about Wall Street and "K" Street than anywhere else on the planet. There is not a doubt in my mind that these "people of the lie" are the poster children of imperial-corporate capitalism and responsible for most of the world's ills......

Second comment by Mairead dated 6 June at 1:59 PM

This first-string second-string stuff becomes more clear if we remember that psychopathy is at one end of *one* spectrum, with something like selflessness at the other end. The other basic spectrum we're dealing with is the skein of abilities that we lump together as "intelligence".

So down at the psychopathic end, we have the "obligative" psychopaths, who totally lack the ability to experience empathy. To them, other living creatures *truly* might as well be made of cardboard.

If those ones aren't smart, they'll eff up pretty quickly and end in prison. But if they are smart, they'll learn to feign the feelings they don't have. They'll learn the right words, facial expressions, etc. for any given situation and use them as a tool.

Further toward the middle of the spectrum, we have those who *do* feel, but not very deeply. They don't have the ethical "tin ear" that the obligatives have. They hear the music, they just don't always pay attention to it. They behave badly toward others whenever they think they can get away with it. The politicians who sell us out, the judges who take bribes, the brutal cops, the professionals who charge for unnecessary - and often unperformed - work, the priests who molest children, et lengthy cetera are in this category. They do it because they can.

The DSM has a big table of diagnostic criteria for "antisocial personality disorder". But it lets the rich off the hook because it's considered normal for the rich to treat the poor badly and the DSM addresses disruptive deviation from cultural norms rather than illness. Someone could be delusional as hell and if they are able to avoid being socially disruptive, they won't get a diagnosis.

So the real differential diagnosis for psychopathy, obfuscated by the DSM, boils down to just one question: does this individual routinely disregard, without remorse, the legitimate rights of other living creatures?

The "second string" psychopaths are the ones who don't have to be, and who know that they're not smart enough (or not quite depraved enough) to get away with it usually. They come out from the woodwork when the political environment has become so corrupted that even they can get away with it, as now.
("psychopath" and "sociopath" are synonyms. Some professionals distinguish them, but few agree on how)

After pondering on that little lot, I'd say the case to prove psychopaths are running the USA would be easy to make.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Arty Farty Friday ~ Jessie Arms Botke

Born: May 27, 1883, Chicago, Illinois. Died: October 2, 1971, Ventura, California.
From wildlifeart.org
Born to English parents in Chicago in 1883, Jessie Arms Botke spent much of her free time as a child sketching and painting. At the age of fourteen, she took art classes at the School of Art Institute of Chicago. When she graduated from high school, she enrolled as a full-time student at the Institute. During her summer vacations she participated in intensive painting workshops in Michigan and Maine, which led to her first exhibition at the Art Institute's American Annual in 1904. After school, Botke worked in wall decoration and book illustration and refined her skills as a decorative artist. Inspired by an exhibition of friezes, decorations, and tapestries from Herter Looms of New York, Botke moved there in 1911 and immersed herself in the city's artistic climate. Several years later, she was employed at Herter Looms where she worked on tapestry design, painted panels and friezes, and began to specialize in painting birds.

In 1914, Jessie Hazel Arms met design artist Cornelius Botke in Chicago, and they married a year later. Together, the Botkes worked as artists in Chicago, San Francisco, and Carmel, CA, and they traveled often to New York City and Europe. They both worked on major art commissions and held their largest joint exhibition in 1942 at the Ebell Club, a conservative club for the advancement of women and culture. When Jessie's eyesight began to fail in 1961, she continued painting small watercolors until surgery and contact lenses restored her vision and she resumed painting full-time. A stroke in 1967 destroyed her ability to paint, and she died four years later at the age of 88.

"The indomitable Jessie Botke was one of the most celebrated decorative painters of the twentieth century. From her early plein-air landscapes to her decorative friezes and imaginary scenes, she arrived at a richly intricate mature style in the 1930s. Working in an era when many women artists were forced to abdicate their careers, Botke successfully integrated her painting with her personal and public life. That her work was accepted in the teens and twenties, and yet remained relevant in the sixties, is a testament to her staying power and the sheer beauty of her paintings." (Patricia Trenton and Deborah Epstein Solon; Birds, Boughs and Blossoms: Jessie Arms Botke (1883-1971); Williams A. Karges Fine Art, Spring 1995)

 Jessie and Cornelius Botke

Some of the artist's many bird paintings are shown in this video; dozens more can be seen via Google Image:

Her bird paintings are beautiful, but I also like her imaginative landscapes:

 The Pool
 An Idle Afternoon


Born on 27 May 1883 in Chicago, Illinois. Time of birth unknown - chart set for 12 noon.

The artist had planets concentrated in Earth and Air signs, with just Mars in Aries (Fire) and Jupiter in Cancer (Water) as balance. I suppose Earth and Air elements reflect her choice of subjects for her artwork: birds, many being of a species who don't spend all (or any of) their time in full flight.

Time of birth isn't known, but Moon would have been somewhere in Aquarius, and probably in trine to one or other of the Gemini planets.

There's a nice helpful sextile from Venus, planet of the arts, in its own sign of rulership Taurus, to Jupiter in Cancer...so, a little sentimentality, from Cancer, in the style of presentation of her subject matter; aalong with potential for Jupiterian wide distribution/appreciation.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


National Paper Airplane Day is an unofficial observance, celebrated on May 26 each year in the United States to commemorate the simple aeronautical toy.

Paper airplane day celebrations typically include social gatherings at which participants create and fly paper airplanes.

Really? How odd!

All the while, we await news, still, after 2 years, of lost real plane MH370 in the Indian Ocean, and more recently lost EgyptAir 804 in the Mediterranean, with all souls aboard both. RIP.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bernie's Cool Choices

Seizing Chance, Sanders Makes Bold Progressive Picks to Shape DNC Platform. Though compromised allotment falls short of Sanders' suggestion, Vermont Senator doesn't waste opportunity to make progressive choices.
Seizing on the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) reluctant concession allowing him to appoint five members to the committee that writes the party platform, Bernie Sanders on Monday announced a suite of picks that included activists across the progressive sphere.

Sanders' appointees to the 15-member Platform Drafting Committee include: racial justice activist and scholar Dr. Cornel West, 350.org co-founder and noted environmentalist Bill McKibben, Native American activist Deborah Parker, Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), and James Zogby, a pro-Palestinian scholar as well as founder and president of the Arab American Institute (AAI).

Senator Sanders has picked wisely and well! I'm especially pleased about Dr West's inclusion. I've been a fan of his since I first saw him as a guest on Bill Maher's TV show, back in 2008. Below is the post I wrote then - it's relevant also, with regard to yesterday's post, because Dr West has natal Sun+ in Gemini.

Drive-by Astrology # 1 - Dr. Cornel West

More often than not "drive-by" is used in connection with shootings. I'm going to put the term to use in a more peaceful context: "drive-by astrology". Whenever I come across an individual whose natal chart proves, on first sight, to be an exact fit for the person I perceive, I'll post the chart with very brief reasons why it fits its owner so clearly. I hope this will provide a chance to see astrology working "before your very eyes" !

First up in the drive-by series: Dr. Cornel West, author, lecturer, public speaker, social activist, democratic socialist and major figure in African American academia, including the illustrious Princeton and Harvard. I've seen Dr. West on several occasions as a guest on Bill Maher's "Real Time". Each time I've been impressed by his eloquence, charm and ability to hold my interest, whatever the subject under discussion. He obviously has a brilliant mind, yet his approach is straightforward and lacking in all the scholarly affectation so often encountered among the egg-head community.
A descriptive paragraph from here:

"...... an eloquent lecturer, whose lithe and energetic body was
totally involved in the torrent of words and ideas that tumbled from his mouth. He asked his listeners not only to hear what he said, but to enter into his thought processes and share his enthusiasms or generate their own thoughts and enthusiasms. His speaking style was symbolic of his convictions, which rejected the divorce of body from mind, of emotion from intellect, characteristic of much philosophy since Descartes. In a time when many philosophers would be horrified to be called preachers, West (although not an ordained minister) was not embarrassed to preach an occasional sermon. For him a passion for social justice was as intellectually respectable and demanding as the most rigorous intellectual analysis of propositions, and the two were never far apart in his philosophy."


Born on 2 June 1953 in Tulsa, Oklahoma (I didn't have him down as an Okie!)Birthtime unknown.

Sun and 3 planets in Gemini (the sign of mental process, communication, a quick mind). Good start! Two of the Gemini planets are conjoined, Mercury and Mars at 22 degrees. Mercury is at home in its own sign, Gemini, therefore unadulterated by other influence, though strengthened and energised by Mars.

Saturn and Neptune are conjoined in Libra (diplomacy and justice), Moon is in Aquarius between 9 and 22 degrees (social awareness). So, Air, the mental element, rules - Gemini, Libra and Aquarius predominate. Gemini and Libra planets in close trine, and the Moon is very likely in trine to both, though how close we can't be sure. What a circuit, enabling all kinds of mental acrobatics!

One more point - in January 2002 Dr. West underwent surgery for prostate cancer. Saturn (restriction, limitation) visited Gemini from May 2001 to Dec 2002, hitting his 4 Gemini planets one by one along its journey, reflecting what must have been a very worrying and restricting time for Dr. West.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Gemini Considered

 Gemini by David Palladini

In his book, Astrology (pub.1964) Louis MacNeice, not an astrologer, but a poet and scholar, gathered together much of interest from a variety of sources, ancient and modern. On zodiac sign Gemini, through which the Sun now travels, he wrote the paragraphs below, quoting from a variety of professional astrologers. This extract was copy-typed by my own fair fingers, by the way, not copied and pasted from elsewhere. As some of the astrologers mentioned may be unfamiliar, at the end of the extract I've added some links to relevant websites for each named astrologer.

A mutable, airy sign, Gemini is ruled (easy to guess) by Mercury. The word "dialectical" might be applied here too, but more in the original Greek sense where "dialectic" meant conversation - a quick and most argumentative conversation, full of twists and traps and contradictions. all astrologers agree that the Gemini type enjoys argument; after all, this comes naturally to a double man, born under a double sign. Barbault stresses this "bipolarity" and points out that Gemini rules the lungs with their double process of breathing in and breathing out. He adds that if Aries symbolizes the original fire at the source of life, and Taurus the condensation of this life in a material form (as it were, an egg), it is when the process arrives at the stage of Gemini that this egg is polarized and we meet the differentiation into the masculine and feminine principles.

Morrish, in a not altogether dissimilar way, having equated Aries with the male creative impulse and Taurus with the matrix, takes Gemini to stand for that "self-conscious entity which is the result" (being the third and last sign in his phase of unit germination). And in a discussion of "astro-symbolism" in which Aries represents motion and Taurus inertia, he makes Gemini represent "rhythmic balance or oscillation." Also, Morrish finds in the hieroglyph of his sign two pillars, one light and one dark, a "portal through which every human being must pass."
Alternatively, he suggests that the two uprights of  the hieroglyph, traditionally equated with the "heavenly twins" Castor and Pollux, could as well be equated with two apes - the divine ape of intelligence and the chattering ape of imitation. This last piece of symbolism brings us back to dialectic or, we might as well say, to the good and the bad sides of Mercury.

Being both mutable and airy, Gemini is intellectual but fickle. (Pearce describes the Gemini type as having "disposition fickle, understanding good.") Ingrid Lind writes that he goes to "extremes of rationality" and possesses the "ability to live a double life." It has often been claimed by astrologers that many intellectuals are born under this sign. But, as indeed is often the case with intellectuals, the Gemini person is often emotionally cold. His congenial signs are Aquarius and Libra; he would not get on with cosy old Taurus. When we are told by Gleadow that Gemini is "pure intellect" and that no one is more mobile (a word frequently used of this sign), it is surprising to find him quoting Queen Victoria as someone who was born with Gemini rising...........

As regards the minor characteristics of Gemini people, Tucker notes that, if this is your Sun-sign, you may be inclined to vegetarianism. Barbault observes that Gemini women prefer two-piece suits and checkered materials. The physiognomist John Varley writes: "Gemini, though a beautiful and human sign, yet occasionally gives to persons born when it is rising [note that he is concerned with the ascendant, not the Sun-sign] a strong resemblance in the head and neck to the characteristic forms of goats, kid and deer."

This sign stands for nervous energy; the United States is said to be very much under its influence. among people born with Gemini rising many astrologers include Dante, Kepler, Wagner, Bernard Shaw, and Clemenceau. Barbault includes Conan Doyle in his list of Gemini types; he adds that Sherlock Holmes is a "popular Gemini hero." On the debit side, apart from producing madmen, it can (like its ruler Mercury) produce crooks and very selfish people.
Once again, in moving from this sign to the next, we find a complete change of atmosphere.
Astrologers mentioned:
André Barbault
A.J. Pearce
Dr. W.J. Tucker
Rupert Gleadow
Ingrid Lind
I, with airy Aquarius Sun, usually find instant easy rapport with Gemini-types ( not necessarily those with Sun in Gemini) and, something I find strange, much easier with Gemini-types than with Libra-types (Libra is the other airy zodiac sign) with whom I often have had problems. I've come up with several possible reasons, none of which are a really good fit. The obvious one has to be that it's not a good idea to rely on Sun sign only - nor even on Sun, ascendant and Moon signs combined. Digging deeper is essential - that, or forgetting astrology altogether and going along with one's intuition - which has been known to work out better at times!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Cosmic Tunes

Tracking back to a May 2007 post:

"Do Cosmic Forces Control life on Earth?"

I found that the linked article, by Ker Than, provided food for thought. If scientists are right, isn't this a pinprick of light at the end of an astrological tunnel? Of course, even if the theory were found to be correct, it would not automatically validate astrological doctrine, but it could provide a starting point.

The fine detail of astrology will, in my humble opinion, never be capable of proof. I often feel that much of astrology is superfluous anyway - the product of centuries of attempts to unravel a mystery. It's all we have, and we pick and choose from it the bits that make sense to us personally. I just know that astrology is a broad natural phenomenon, which man will be able to better understand, someday in the far distant future (should the human race survive long enough). Until then, astrologers and interested parties will muddle along using whatever ancient, and modern, tools are available.

The last paragraph of the article states

If future studies confirm the galaxy-biodiversity link, it would force scientists to broaden their ideas about what can influence life on Earth. “Maybe it’s not just the climate and the tectonic events on Earth,” Lieberman said. “Maybe we have to start thinking more about the extraterrestrial environment as well.”

Amen to that!

“Our biological rhythms are the symphony of the cosmos, music embedded deep within us to which we dance, even when we can't name the tune.”
― Deepak Chopra

Saturday, May 21, 2016

"As the images unwind, like the circles that you find......"

Looking back to my posts during the 2008 election campaign, I'm reminded that I was once a Hillary supporter - after Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards had disappeared from view that is. My post headed Hopes fade...but... is a good example. Hey...maybe that Bible code thingie is going to come true after all - apart from the date. Oh joy (not)!

Below are a few cartoons of 2008 vintage, some bear an uncanny resemblance to 2016's dramas, one member of the cast being different, of course. Clicking on images might bring up clearer versions.

As 2016 rolled around - this one turned out to be spot on:

I noticed this comment yesterday, under a thread at Common Dreams, and thought it a good fit to add here:
The day that Obama received his first nomination as the official candidate of the Democratic Party for the national election I told a co-worker, "Well, the fix is in. Obama will become the next President. Let's hope he fulfills some of those campaign promises he made. When Obama leaves the White House at the end of his eight year residence there, Hillary Clinton will be moving in. She's stepped aside for now, but only after she was promised she would be the candidate and nominee in 2016."

She's followed a career path designed to persuade the Public she has "experience" that counts when it comes to serving as President of the United States. Experience is important in many fields of endeavor. When it comes to the office of President however, character is a much more important qualification to bring to the table. Of the two Democratic candidates running today, which has character? When it comes to experience, Sanders has as much as Clinton, though his experience tends to have been gained by listening to Citizens and Residents, and by advocating for the needs of the People. Clinton ... let's just say that her expertise lays in the field of basking in the lime light, and leave it at that.

Clinton resigned as Secretary of State to enter into an intensive period of preparation to handle questions about policy issues, and to make the rounds of executives and boards of directors and so-called super delegates to assure them she would not upset the apple cart once "elected."

Get ready for the velvet glove, America. It's nearly made its way around your neck.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Arty Farty Friday ~ Albert Newsam, 19th century deaf mute artist.

 Self portrait attributed to Albert Newsam c. 1850
Albert Newsam (1809-1864)
Albert Newsam was born deaf and mute May 20, 1809 in Steubenville, Ohio. At the age of eleven years Newsam was taken to Philadelphia by William P. Davis, who posed as a deaf-mute brother. Davis intended to exploit the boy's artistic skills for his own gai n but Newsam was rescued by the president of the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, Bishop White. This enabled Newsam to secure a safe haven at the institute where he received an education.

In 1827 Cephas G. Childs took on Newsam as an apprentice at his engraving, and later, lithography firm. By 1829 Newsam was supplying Childs with many of the prints he offered to the public. When Childs left the business in 1834 Newsam continued to work for the new owners, George Lehman and Peter S. Duval.

Newsam was most noted for his portraits. In the early part of his career he often drew them from life; in later years he worked from photographs and daguerrotypes. Eventually Newsam became the principal artist at Peter S. Duval's firm. In 1838 Duval issued ten numbers in a series called the Parlour Review. This weekly magazine was issued in French and English and included four pages of music per issue. It also featured portraits drawn by Albert Newsam of famous composers and performers, including Beethoven, Bellini, Cherubini, Rossini, Paganini, Talma, and Catalani.

Newsam's eyesight began to fail in 1857 and in 1858 or 1859 he suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed. He died November 20, 1864, near Wilmington, Delaware.

Some of Newsam's lithograph portraits and artwork can be seen in the right-hand column HERE, clicking on a thumbnail image will enlarge it.


Born on 20 May 1809 in Steubenville, Ohio. Chart set for 12 noon - no time of birth known.

Albert Newsam was cruelly denied communication by speech and hearing, relying only on sign language, and his art. Is this indicated, or reflected, in his natal chart by the conjunction of Saturn and Neptune in early Sagittarius opposing his Sun, Mercury and Venus conjunction which straddles the cusp of Taurus/Gemini ? Pluto squares natal Mercury too, but Chiron, "wounded healer" trines Mercury from Aquarius, allowing some relief.

Interestingly (perhaps) Louis Braille, the blind organist who invented the Braille system of communication for the blind was born in 1809, on 4 January. He was of the Neptune conjunct Saturn group also, in his case the Neptune/Saturn conjunction semi-sextiled (a tad widely) his Sun and Mercury.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Something up their sleeves?

There was an interesting speculative piece at Counterpunch yesterday:
Plan B Is Not Bernie by Jim Kavanagh.
It begins:
I admit: It’s all speculation.

On April 4th, I wrote on Facebook: “My prediction: the next President of the United States will be someone who is not yet in the race. (e.g., Possible alternative Dem ticket: Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren.) How crazy am I?”

This wasn’t just a wild guess. It was based on a few considered convictions.

And ends:
It’s almost certain that Hillary Clinton will be the nominee of the Democratic Party and the next President of the United States. But if, perchance, she gets derailed by a deus ex machina like the FBI, you can bet that the Democratic Party will have a Plan B, and it won’t be Bernie Sanders. It will be an attempt to stop Bernie Sanders. Perhaps it is just a coincidence that a Joe Biden-Elizabeth Warren ticket gets mentioned in the national press the day after Hillary’s Chief of Staff walks out of an FBI interrogation. Or is someone floating a balloon?

Would Bernie ever bite? Maybe not, but if the day comes, it’s some dish like this that the Democratic Party will try to serve.

A bit of speculation does provide flavour to an election season that is becoming all too predictable in the available too-and-fro argument and insults online and in media generally. Mr Kavanagh's whole piece is well worth a read.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Once upon a time they dreamed.....

Hardly ever, when we've been out "on the road" has there been a time when we've not passed the skeleton or rotting corpse of someone's old American dream. Husband has taken numerous photographs of these - they have a perverse kind of beauty. I picked out three or four which show a kind of progression. The first has husband measuring the dimensions of someone's first American dream-home:

The Hogland Dugout
The Höglund Dugout, Lindsborg, Kansas:
One of the more unusual and unexpected sights in Kansas is the Höglund Dugout. Even though it is not readily apparent on the beaten path, the grave-like home dwelling is remarkable and worth searching out as one tries to imagine residing years in a rock reinforced 6ft x
12ft hole in the ground.

Dugouts were not uncommon in the Midwest during the 19th century. A lack of building supplies, the price of lumber from the East and sparse growth of trees contributed to the phenomenon. In addition, most homes built above ground were produced cheaply with no insulation. The lumber homes were hot and dusty in the summer and cold and drafty in the winter. In contrast, a dugout constructed with and in sod was relatively snug and kept the harsh elements to a minimum. Normally "Scandinavian" dugouts, as they were known, were built into the side of a hill. There are examples of dugouts in Sweden, so perhaps this is where Midwest Scandinavian immigrants conceived and developed the idea. However, the Höglund family lacked an incline on their chosen plot of land and therefore dug down.

Other American dreamers had homes like these:

Losing ground

The old homestead.

A home such as this one was, perhaps, the height of the American dreamer's aspirations:


The photograph below appeared in my post a couple of weeks ago, after our trip to the edge of Colorado. Husband has since found a little more of its story - it fits well here.

Andrix, the town that ran away from home

Andrix, the town that ran away from home:

From website :Life Death Iron

Andrix was a tiny rural town in Las Animas County between Trinidad and Kim along Highway 160. Andrix served the needs of local farmers and ranchers, and once had a school, post office, church and a tiny store. A few scattered homes made up the rest of Andrix, and the population never amounted to much more than 50 or so. Andrix was typical of the many small rural communities found in Las Animas and Baca counties prior to the Dust Bowl years of the 1930âs.

Andrix struggled through the Dust Bowl and the depression, and the tiny general store was the center of activity in the town. A husband and wife ran the store starting in the late 1930âs. Barely eking out an existence, the couple remained faithful to the shrinking Andrix community, and kept a small inventory on hand to meet their needs.

The husband eventually passed away, his wife remaining in Andrix to run the store alone. In 1955 two locals robbed store and roughed up the poor widow (one of the robbers the widow had known since his birth) taking all the money she had to her name and stealing the few items left on her shelves. The thieves were apprehended down the road in Kim. The poor old widow never recovered from the shock of the robbery saying "The only place you are safe is heaven" although she remained faithful to her duty at the Andrix store, and was the last resident of the town in 1969.

The old Andrix store sits empty along Highway 160 today, a couple other structures, an abandoned car, and other refuse from the modern era mark the site. Someone, recently, has painted a memorial tribute to the Andrix community on the old storefront.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Primarily...Kentucky and Oregon

 Primaries today - aqua; already held - cream.
Voters in Kentucky and Oregon cast primary votes today.

I know nothing about Oregon, other than that one of my husband's grandsons now lives there.

Kentucky - we've driven through the state, with overnight stays there on two occasions, when travelling home from visiting husband's younger son in Ohio. My impression of Kentucky, both times was good. On the first occasion (2007) I recall stopping off in La Grange at an Irish pub/restaurant for a snack, late afternoon. The menu was unusual and very tempting. We ate some delicious rissoles - vegetarian and full of all manner of unexpected textures and flavours - went down well with a glass of Guinness ! On the second occasion (2013) we spent a day and night in Paducah, an arty sort of town we both liked a lot, and intend to re-visit one day. A TV series Justified we've much enjoyed, part via DVD part Netflix, is set in Harlan County, Kentucky.
There's even a song (at the link) about Harlan.

Do good for Bernie, please Kentucky!

And, please Oregon - ditto!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Stray thoughts about Donald Trump..."What rough beast..."

Would Donald Trump have become the Republican Party's presumptive nominee for General Election 2016 if media - TV, radio, online news and opinion websites (e.g. Huffington Post)- had ignored more of his bletherings, rudeness and racism? When a child "acts up", attention-seeking, isn't the best way to deal with that to ignore it? Day after day, month after month, at Huffington Post one could hardly help but notice at least 5,6,7,8 photographs and lead headings about him on the front page; same applied to every similar media outlet, and no doubt to every TV and radio show with a political slant.

Trump, with Leo rising (one keyword for Leo happens to be 'child-like') acts like an overgrown attention-seeking child most of the time, but he does have, or seek, the potentiality of bringing down more problems on our heads than any screaming naughty child ever could. He also, of course, offered TV, radio, news sites lots of endless click-bait - thereby hangs the crux of the tale. Media are not interested in what's good for "We the People" - they're interested only in numbers - of $$$$$$$$$$$, of viewers, readers, and of clicks on articles and photographs.

I've avoided blogging about Trump and his astrology, but he has unavoidably been mentioned. I especially keep in mind what I discovered, when researching Fixed Stars in Leo, i.e. that Trump has Regulus on his ascendant.

The Latin name, Regulus, was first used by Copernicus as a diminutive of its earlier form, Rex meaning King, a title likely originating from Regulus's brilliance in past centuries, and its ancient proximity to the summer solstice. The star became a natural symbol for glory. It was said by Lilly to show 'a generous and civil disposition, ambition and the desire to rule. The direction of the MC, Ascendant, Sun or Moon to the star indicates a time of increased fortune, happiness and reputation, and suggests support from eminent figures....' (see here).

Regulus is no longer in zodiac sign Leo, but moved into the first degree of Virgo a few years ago.

There are countless takes on Trump's natal chart around the internet, I've read many, but usually have come away with the same gut-feeling - everything we're interested in, in 2016, points to Regulus. The rest of it has relevance, of course, to his personal life and lifestyle, his business dealings, his Gemini/trickster persona from natal Sun, his softer Cancerian "needy" side we have yet to see much of - other than in his need for never-ending attention. But when it comes to his aim to achieve what has to be seen as one of the world's most powerful positions, President of the USA, I'd say that only Regulus relates specifically to that. Before I knew anything at all about Trump's natal chart, or even his birth date, after watching the very first Republican debate on TV, with a string of, I think 8 participants, I turned to husband and said "There was only one born leader on that stage - sadly it was Donald Trump."

There's no guarantee that being a born leader inevitably indicates development into a good leader, nor a successful leader. I open my Dictionary of Wit, Wisdom & Satire at "L", look under "Leader" to find the first definition, of a half dozen or so, reads:
"One who never permits his followers to discover that he is as dumb as they are." (Rochester Times-Union).
That fits Trump better than most of the other definitions...or does it?

Here's an article to encourage upstanding neck-hair:
Donald Trump will win in a landslide. *The mind behind ‘Dilbert’ explains why.
By Michael Cavna, March 21.

SCOTT ADAMS remembers just how the game turned. He was young and improving at chess, but the masterful kid across the board would outmaneuver Adams till the game seemed a runaway. Now, this kid didn’t want to just beat Adams; he wanted to embarrass him. “So after he’d picked away three-fourths of my pieces and I was discouraged,” Adams recounts, “he would offer to turn the board around and play with my pieces.” And then effectively “win” again.

On those occasions, Scott Adams, the creator of “Dilbert,” got insight into the type of personality that loves not only the challenge of game strategy, but also the thrill of overwhelming the competition. It is the sport of meticulously plotted domination.

And that is part of why Adams believes Donald Trump will win the presidency. In a landslide.
Donald Trump will win in a landslide. *The mind behind ‘Dilbert’ explains why..........

I've had this poem among my bookmarks for years - it rings bells now:

by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Arty Farty Friday ~ Jaxon

Jack Edward Jackson
(May 15, 1941 – June 8, 2006), better known by his pen name Jaxon, was an American cartoonist, illustrator, historian, and writer. He co-founded Rip Off Press; many consider him to be the first underground comix artist, due to his best-known comic book God Nose (sample HERE).

Snips from a tribute piece dated June 2006,
by Joe Gross, American Statesman staff writer:

Jackson was born May 15, 1941, in the south-central Texas ranching community of Pandora, the descendant of Texans who settled here during the Republic years after 1836.

To his friends and admirers, Jack "Jaxon" Jackson was an artist's artist, an historian's historian, a Texan's Texan. And to his artistic credit and financial detriment, Jackson was always a little too ahead of his time.

Jackson published the underground comic book "God Nose" in Austin in 1964, three years before alternative funny books sprang forth half a continent away in San Francisco. " 'God Nose' was printed in secret in the basement of the Texas State Capitol building on a state-owned printing press," said Moriaty. "He hawked it on the Drag. Little old ladies claimed he was a godless Communist and others claimed he was a fascist. It was a nice, middle-of-the-road comic book."
Five years later, he founded San Francisco's seminal Rip Off Press, which would become a staple of the burgeoning countercultural economy. His comics moved away from hippie-flavored shock value and into Texas history well before nonfiction cartoonists such as Joe Sacco galvanized the form.

"Jackson was first, but he was stuck in Austin," Fantagraphics co-founder Gary Groth said. "Robert Crumb was better able to tap directly into the zeitgeist in San Francisco." Jackson moved to San Francisco in '66 to join the "Texas Mafia," the transplanted Texans who were juicing up the San Francisco scene. He became the art director and informal accountant for the Family Dog, a music booking concern founded by fellow Texan Chet Helms, for whom Jackson created wild posters.

By the late '70s, Jackson had returned to Austin, where he produced comics about Texas history, including "Los Tejanos," "Lost Cause," "Comanche Moon" and "The Alamo."
"Jackson's histories were studies in misapprehension and out-of-control appetites," comics critic Tom Spurgeon wrote on his "Comics Reporter" Web site. "(They were) authoritative portraits of a region whose future was shaped from the buffeting winds of greed and desire.
Fantagraphics published "Los Tejanos" in 1981. "(Jackson) was doing this stuff long before it was commercially viable," said Groth. "Jack was a genuine historian, and there was an authenticity to the art, that gritty visual aspect. He could really capture that period, re-create it, dramatize it and make it relevant to readers. But it's historical, and how many Americans really want to know about history?"

"These are confrontational histories," lifelong friend and writer Mike Price said Wednesday. "He defied his readers not to wallow in glamorous mythology."

But Jackson's study of history wasn't confined to comics. An independent scholar who published a number of works on Texas history, Jackson's books included "Los Mesteños: Spanish Ranching in Texas, 1721-1821," "Almonte's Texas: Juan N. Almonte's 1834 Inspection, Secret Report & Role in the 1836 Campaign" and "Indian Agent: Peter Ellis Bean in Mexican Texas."

.....the years of laboring on the cutting edge — if not the more lucrative center — of art, comics and history took a toll on Jackson. Tina Jackson, his wife of 22 years, said Jackson was struggling with prostate cancer and diabetes at the time of his death, which is being investigated as a suicide. Jackson also is survived by his son Sam, 19.


Born 15 May 1941 in Pandora, Texas. Chart set for 12 noon as birth time unknown.

What should "show up" in Jaxon's natal chart? An indication of his avant garde attitudes (first underground comix artist); drawing skills; interest in history/tradition....

There's a potent line-up of planets in Taurus, the sign ruled by Venus, planet of the arts, it includes Sun (self) flanked by and conjunct Saturn (tradition), Uranus (avant garde) and Jupiter (publication). Additionally, Jupiter conjoins Mercury (communication) and Venus (art) in communicative Gemini - what better astro-portrait of Jaxon could we wish for? Cherry on top: Neptune (creativity, imagination) harmoniously trines Sun and other Taurus planets from Virgo.

Mars (energy, aggression) in Uranus-ruled Aquarius squares Taurus Sun, and some other Taurus planets - what's going on there? Possibly a reflection of the artist's inner irritability/anger with worldly events: "God Nose...there's vice in high places" and his way of publishing his feelings?

Natal Moon's position can't be established without a time of birth, it could have been in either Capricorn or Aquarius, an argument could be made for either; and they happen to be signs ruled by the two planets flanking natal Sun (Uranus and Saturn).