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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in systemsthinker's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, August 28th, 2007
10:23 am
New Blog at SystemsThinker.com
I now have a blog up and running at http://www.systemsthinker.com/blog/. Head on over there for more.
Friday, November 10th, 2006
8:38 pm
Happiness Injection
Our mental health professions try all sorts of things to bring people to a happier state. But it may be as simple as watching this a few times a day. Can you watch this and not be happy?


I really would prescribe this video like 3 or 4 times a day to hardened criminals, even if we have to use Clockwork Orange tactics to keep their eyes on it.
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006
10:12 pm
Personality Type Determines Politics?
I don't agree totally with this study but it certainly raises a fascinating question, one that ties in completely with why I moved from big picture political activism to working more with individual and group coaching and consulting on a more focused scale. The jist of it is summarized at the end:

"Whether anyone's feelings are hurt or not, the work suggests that personality and emotions play a bigger role in our political leanings than we think. All of us, liberal or conservative, feel as though we've reached our political opinions by carefully weighing the evidence and exercising our best judgment. But it could be that all of that careful reasoning is just after-the-fact self-justification. What if personality forms our political outlook, with reason coming along behind, rationalizing after the fact?

It could be that whom we vote for has less to do with our judgments about tax policy or free trade or health care, and more with the personalities we've been stuck with since we were kids."


Tie that conclusion in with my experience that a person's personality can, with proper techniques and development, become more fully balanced, and you have the picture of how we can escape our dogmatic unilateral tendencies to reach a more complete understanding that actually transcends BOTH conservative or liberal.

Tuesday, December 13th, 2005
12:15 pm
Lions Fans
As my friend Craig said, watch out for the WMD's ... Wack Millen Decisions. Hilarious!

Sunday, September 18th, 2005
2:36 am
Friday, September 16th, 2005
10:34 pm
Saturday, April 9th, 2005
3:25 pm
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2005
4:12 pm
Sunday, February 27th, 2005
11:55 pm
Oscars Get it Right
Wow. I think the Oscars got it almost totally correct tonight! Million Dollar Baby was the best movie this year and Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman deserved their Oscars. As much as I feel for Scorcese, I'm glad the voters didn't go for the sentimental vote but stuck with who was really best, Clint Eastwood. Of course, Jamie Foxx was favored, but that was a relief to see him get it since it would have been robbery otherwise. And then, I was thrilled to see Charlie Kaufmann's genius recognized for Eternal Sunshine, which was a little cherry on the sundae. I'm not sure exactly why I care so much about this stuff, but it sure made me glad to see all the right people win. Ah and then the hot fudge was getting to see Counting Crows play too, and Chris Rock rip on Bush till I fell off my couch laughing. All good!
Thursday, January 20th, 2005
9:25 pm
Tyranny-Free 2007?!
So I receive this article with the headline "Bush begins new term, vows to end tyranny" (thanks Tabby). I am SOOO excited! Who among us isn't tired of this tyranny. Finally it will end. It's about time. I can't wait because I'm sure by 2007 we'll be tyranny-free. I wonder what the Vegas odds are on this. Gandhi couldn't do it, nor could King...come to think of it nor could God himself apparently (at least not George's God...the one that runs all 3 branches of our government). But George is gonna do it. You know what's gonna rock? The first tyranny-free Spring Break! I'm there, who's with me?
Tuesday, January 18th, 2005
9:31 pm
Monday, January 17th, 2005
3:41 pm
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
There is something about Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy that I find unbelievably powerful. I have been brought to flooding tears time and again watching documentaries about him and sometimes even just by looking at a picture of him giving a speech. I know that, though I always admired him and what he did, in my younger days I didn't really fully comprehend the power of what he did. But in the last few years that has changed. Here was a man that stood in the most dangerous situations, risking his life on a daily basis, to tell the truth about the injustice perpetrated on his people. Here was a man who had the vision to go beyond divisions by race, creed, socioeconomics or gender, and come to embrace all of humanity. Here was a man with the courage to stand in the midst of violent hatred and preach love. And here is a man who died doing it so that we in America could have a true symbol of the power of the human spirit. Of all the Americans who have national monuments and holidays attributed to them, perhaps none was as much a champion of the rights of all humans, and as much a representative of all of us, not just Americans. So I hope that today people will read something about his life and if possible, truly think for a few minutes about what this man did. How many of us could stand in those situations he did and have the faith and bravery to speak the truth, come what may, just because somebody had to do it?
2:43 am
Einstein Speaks
"It is horrifying to realize that the poison of militarism and imperialism threatens to bring undesirable changes in the political attitude of the United States….What we see at work is not an expression of the sentiments of the American people; rather, it reflects the will of a powerful minority which uses its economic power to control the organs of political life." - Einstein on Peace, p. 343

"I came to America because of the great, great freedom which I heard existed in this country. I made a mistake in selecting America as a land of freedom, a mistake I cannot repair in the balance of my lifetime." (Albert Einstein Quotes)

"Members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population."

"Under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights."

"The minority, the ruling class at present, has the schools and press, usually the Church as well, under its thumb. This enables it to organize and sway the emotions of the masses, and make its tool of them."
Thursday, January 6th, 2005
6:03 pm
Get Over It? Republican Hypocrisy
Well what do you know. At least a few Democrats had a backbone today and challenged the electoral results from Ohio to force at least a public debate about the irregularities there. The Republicans' response? A predictable "Get Over It!"

"There's a wise saying we've used in Florida the past four years that the other side would be wise to learn: Get over it," said Rep. Ric Keller (news, bio, voting record), R-Fla." - From this article

One problem Rep. Keller. What does your party do when it loses? It does the same thing!

Of course what do you expect from a party that insists slavery took place too long ago to consider its social influence in our country today, then turns around and calls itself the Party of Lincoln, invoking the man who helped end slavery oh so many years ago as still relevant!

Then again, when Jesse Jackson raved about how there may have been irregularities a while back during the California recall election for governor and demanded investigations, Sean Hannity asked him if he would have demanded such investigations had the Democrats won. Jackson quickly responded "No".

*rolls eyes* Once again, both of these parties desperately need a real challenge from some other parties. Thank you to David Cobb for tirelessly pushing this issue of fair elections in the last few weeks. Thank you to the Center for Voting and Democracy for pushing the issue of election reform all the time. And thanks to Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. for pointing out the shocking fact that American have no Constitutional right to vote!
Wednesday, January 5th, 2005
10:29 pm
Fox Problem Solving
The Fox 2 Problem Solvers are the folks who follow up on delinquent workers, companies that have screwed over people and others about whom they receive complaints. I'm thinking of calling them to complain about Fox itself. Imagine them up in Rupert Murdoch's grill!

Take that Fox
Saturday, December 25th, 2004
5:28 am
Prophecy and Warning
"As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." - H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." - Plato
Friday, December 24th, 2004
10:34 pm
Liberal Refugees

November 16, 2004 | Columbus Dispatch

by Joe Blundo

The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada

has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols

to stop the illegal immigration.

The re-election of President Bush is prompting the exodus among

left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray

and agree with Bill O'Reilly of Fox News.

Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of
sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing
their fields at night.

"I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood

producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield,

whose acreage borders North Dakota.

The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry.

"He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken.
When I said I didn't have any, he left. Didn't even get a chance to
show him my screenplay, eh?"

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher

fences, but the liberals scaled them. So he tried installing speakers

that blare Rush Limbaugh across the fields.

"Not real effective," he said. "The liberals still got through, and

Rush annoyed the cows so much they wouldn't give milk."

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals

near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons, drive

them across the border and leave them to fend for themselves.

"A lot of these people are not prepared for rugged conditions," an

Ontario border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a drop of

drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley cabernet, though."

When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often

wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors

have been circulating about the Bush administration establishing re-
education camps in which liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer
and watch NASCAR.

In the days since the election, liberals have turned to sometimes-
ingenious ways of crossing the border.

Some have taken to posing as senior citizens on bus trips to buy cheap

Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans

disguised in powdered wigs, Canadian immigration authorities began

stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior-citizen passengers.

"If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show,

we get suspicious about their age," an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are

creating an organic-broccoli shortage and renting all the good Susan

Sarandon movies.

"I feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just
can't support them," an Ottawa resident said. "How many art-history
majors does one country need?"

In an effort to ease tensions between the United States and Canada,

Vice President Dick Cheney met with the Canadian ambassador and
pledged that the administration would take steps to reassure liberals,
a source close to Cheney said.

"We're going to have some Peter, Paul & Mary concerts. And we might
put some endangered species on postage stamps. The president is
determined to reach out."

Copyright © 2004, The Columbus Dispatch
Thursday, December 23rd, 2004
6:18 pm
Pentagon Chief Increases Production Levels, Narrowly
Avoids Catastrophic
Temporal Anomaly

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld prepares to bend the
fabric of
U.S. - In bold defiance of the fundamental laws that
bind the universe
together, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld today
ordered the
increased production of vehicle armor for U.S. troops
in Iraq.

Previously, Rumsfeld had said that the construction of
armor and other
protective gear was already proceeding as quickly as
possible, based on
the properties of matter and energy as they are
currently known. In an
appearance last week before U.S. troops preparing to
deploy to Iraq, a
soldier asked the Defense chief why troops were forced
to scrounge for
armor in Kuwaiti junkyards. Rumsfeld replied that the
military was
already providing armor as fast as possible, saying
that "It's
essentially a matter of physics, not a matter of
money. It's a matter of
production and the capability of doing it."

Just days later, on Rumsfeld's orders, factories
producing Humvee armor
kits increased their production rate from 450 units
per month to 550
units per month, a 22% improvement over the maximum
production rate
physically possible.

Scientists are baffled over how the Defense Secretary
accomplished this
feat without causing the universe to explode. "At a
minimum, Rumsfeld
must have suspended the law of conservation of matter,
which states that
matter cannot be created or destroyed," says Stephen
Hawking, the
Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge
University and one of the
world's most renowned physicists.

Scientists are baffled over how Rumsfeld accomplished
this without
causing the universe to explode.

Others speculated that Rumsfeld may have increased
production using a
perpetual motion device invented by the highly
secretive Impossible Task
Force. The Bush administration, however, has denied
that the ITF even
exists. "In this administration, we obey the First Law
Thermodynamics," President Bush has said.

Another theory is that Rumsfeld increased production
rates by traveling
back in time and recalibrating the assembly lines to
increase production
rates for the past year or more. This theory could be
tested by
performing a carbon-dating procedure on Rumsfeld, but
this is widely
considered impractical.

Although production levels have been improved,
Rumsfeld said he did not
know how long it would take to install armor on the
Humvees currently in
Iraq. Explaining his uncertainty, Rumsfeld cited the
principle, a key concept in quantum physics which
states that it is
impossible to simultaneously know both the location
and direction of
movement of a Humvee.
Saturday, December 18th, 2004
7:12 pm
American Overdose!
What Are You, On Drugs?
With so many Americans popping prescription meds, who
needs nature and sex and exercise?

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

The odds are very good that you are on drugs.

Right now. This minute. As I type this and as you read
this and as false Texas dictators rise and sad empires
crumble and as this mad bewildered world spins in its
frantically careening orbit, there's a nearly 50/50
chance that some sort of devious synthetic chemical
manufactured by some massive and largely heartless
corporation is coursing through your bloodstream and
humping your brain stem and molesting your karma and
kicking the crap out of your libido and chattering the
teeth of your very bones.

Maybe it's regulating your blood pressure. Maybe it's
keeping your cholesterol in check. Maybe it's helping
you sleep. Maybe it's helping you wake the hell up.
Maybe it's opening your bronchial tubes. Maybe it's
brightening your terminally bleak outlook.

Maybe it's adjusting your hormone levels or
controlling your urge to weep every minute or relaxing
the blood vessels in your penis or cranking the
serotonin to your brain or pumping carefully measured
slugs of alprazolam or fluoxetine or sertraline or
atorvastatin or esomeprazole or buspirone or
venlafaxine or any number of substances with
Latin-rooted jawbreaker names through your flesh in a
bizarre dance of miraculous vaguely disturbing
death-defying scientific wonder.

Forty-four percent of all Americans. That's the latest
number. Almost half us are popping at least one
prescription drug and fully one in six are popping
three or more, and the numbers are only increasing and
this of course doesn't count alcohol or cigarettes or
bad porn and it doesn't count the mad megadoses of
jingoistic flag-waving God-slappin' fear -- which is,
as evidenced by the last election, a stupendously
popular FDA-approved drug in its own right. But that's
another column.

Have a teenager? She's probably on drugs, too. One in
four of all teens are, according to new research. And
we ain't talking pot or ecstasy or meth or fine
cocaine or Bud Light or any of those
oh-my-God-not-my-baby devil drugs that are so
demonized by the government, but that by and large are
no more (and are often far less) toxic and addictive
and caustic than any of your average 8-buck-a-pop
silver-bullet chemical bombs shot forth from the likes
of Eli Lilly and Glaxo and Pfizer, et al. Ahh, irony.
It's the American way.

All of which means one of two things: either it's the
goddamn finest time in history to be an American,
living as we are in the age of incredible technology
and miracle medicines and longer life expectancies and
$5 coffee drinks and a happy synthetic chemical to
match any sort of ache or pain or lump or rash or
spiritual crisis you might be facing.

Or it's the absolute worst, what with so many of us
heavily drugged and over half of us massively obese
and IQs dropping like stones and our overall quality
of life deteriorating right under our noses and
shockingly huge numbers of us actually finding Shania
Twain somehow interesting. Which perspective is right
for you? Ask your doctor.

It's become so you can't crack a joke about Prozac or
Xanax at a party without at least three or four faces
suddenly going still and unsmiling and you're like,
whoops, as you suddenly realize that you can, as you
walk the streets of this fine and heavily narcotized
nation, imagine at least one very expensive drug
pumping through the time-ravaged body of nearly every
other person you pass. It's a bit like knowing their
secret fetish or favoritest dream or on which nether
part they want to get a tattoo. Except totally

And you might say, well, so what? So what if
pharmaceuticals help us cope, relieve the pressure,
help us survive this ugly and irritating world? Better
living through chemistry, baby, so long as you don't
mind the numbness and the glazed eyeballs and the
heart palpitations and the lack of true feeling in
your fingertips and the nightmares about snakes.

So long as you don't mind the slightly nauseating
sense that you have lost some sort of vital and
perhaps irreplaceable link to the animal world and the
luminous organic planet. But, as Dubya says, who the
hell cares about that crap when you got baseball and
war and apple pie?

Because here's the nasty truth: it's a highly toxic
BushCo world right now and we've set it up so it's
only getting worse, darker, more poisonous and
unsettled and unsanitary. Maybe all our meds just help
us maintain some sort of jittery and numbed balance,
some sort of sad equilibrium. The BushCo doctrine
dictates detachment, exploitation, abuse of every
known ecological resource and profiteering from every
known loophole and caring not a whit for nature and
organic systems and balance? Hey, like nation, like

But let's be fair. It must be said right here that
many of these drugs indeed help an enormous number of
people and restore lives and bring light where only
darkness once reigned and far be it from me to
begrudge anyone his or her chemical-assisted reprieve
from genuine suffering.

But here's the thing: it's still only a fraction. Only
a small number of people whose doctors prescribe these
meds like candy actually need them, and as for the
rest there are these things called lifestyle change
and dietary change and perspective change and even
spiritual shift that can affect the overall health of
your life like a goddamn miracle, like a thousand
drugs combined, changes that millions simply refuse to
undertake because, well, it's just too damn hard.

We don't want to know. We don't want to understand
deeper, complex natural systems. We want pills, not
awareness. We want magic bullets, not true magic. We
want to eat what we want and exercise not at all and
pay no attention to our bodies and our quality of life
and expect it all to work sufficiently well until we
die at 90 and they forklift us into our
refrigerator-size coffins. After all, we're Americans.
We're not supposed to care.

Nevertheless, it bears repeating: maybe what's lacking
most in this society is a true and thoughtful and
nuanced connection to and understanding of the natural
systems, soil and sunlight and sustainability, lunar
rhythms and whole food and maybe knowing where the
hell your water really comes from. You think?

Because the truth is, it's not all that hard to get
informed. It's not all that hard to affect serious
change in your life and eat better and kiss better and
require less chemical crap in your bloodstream and
slowly but surely reduce the need for medication in
your life. It is far from impossible to clear out the
toxins and flush the BushCo-endorsed crap and defy the
demonic corporate pharmaceutical PR and reevaluate
just how you tread this life. They just want you to
think it is.
Wednesday, December 15th, 2004
10:24 pm
Is THIS a violation of separation of church and state?
Judge Wears Ten Commandments on Robe

10 minutes ago

By BOB JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A judge refused to delay a trial Tuesday when an attorney
objected to his wearing a judicial robe with the Ten Commandments embroidered
on the front in gold.

Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan showed up Monday at his Covington County
courtroom in southern Alabama wearing the robe. Attorneys who try cases at the
courthouse said they had not seen him wearing it before. The commandments were
described as being big enough to read by anyone near the judge.

Attorney Riley Powell, defending a client charged with DUI, filed a motion
objecting to the robe and asking that the case be continued. He said McKathan
denied both motions.

"I feel this creates a distraction that affects my client," Powell said.

McKathan told The Associated Press that he believes the Ten Commandments
represent the truth "and you can't divorce the law from the truth. ... The Ten
Commandments can help a judge know the difference between right and wrong."

He said he doesn't believe the commandments on his robe would have an adverse
effect on jurors.

"I had a choice of several sizes of letters. I purposely chose a size that
would not be in anybody's face," he said.

The case raised comparisons to former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who
was removed from office in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments
monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery.

Moore said Tuesday he supports McKathan's decision to wear the Ten
Commandments robe.

"I applaud Judge McKathan. It is time for our judiciary to recognize the
moral basis of our law," Moore said.

Powell said if he loses his case, he expects the judge's wearing of the Ten
Commandments robe to be part of an appeal.

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