I hate the great outdoors; at least the part of it where I have to make it ‘great’. Regina has a backyard garden which she has planted fruit trees, flowers and other shrubbery. Over the last few years it really has gone to the weeds with the trees being the only recognizable thing in it. Even the trees have revolted by sprouting the horried peach leaf curl. Many execuses why the garden looks the way it did but mostly due to the fact I’m no good a manual labor. Ask any of my friends, colleagues or even a stranger and they’ll say yep, “That Richard sure ain’t no good a hard work!” So when it comes time to pull weeds, plant and clean up I whine like my children. However Regina was keen to get this done so I bit the bullet and tackled the eye soar with a vengence. After three hours of pulling, tossing, scraping and cleaning I finally managed to have a bare surfaces with only flowers, trees and some poor looking shrubbery. Hey, I was only supposed to clear it out not make it look fancy. I dumped some nitrogen and some other chemicals I’m sure the state of California would find to be hazardous and mark the entire site a super fund clean up but I had to in order to help the fruit tree survive the ravages of fungisits. After all this work I now have a garden that is ready for planting. Great, more work but it makes the wife happy. A happy wife is a good thing.
William S. Chennault, 94 years, passed away on February 26, 2009 in his home. Bill was born January 2, 1915 in New Orleans, LA to Claire Lee Chennault and Anna Mae (Griffin) Chennault.
William was employed as an Engineer and worked for most of his career in Houston, TX. William also worked in many mid-western states. During his work in the mid-west, he fell in love with the Missouri Ozarks. Prior to World War II, William was in the United States Navy and a plank-owner of the heavy cruiser U.S.S. San Francisco.
Bill and Ernestine Gilbert were united in marriage in Houston, TX. Bill was a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local #450. Bill was involved in the construction of the United States Air Force Academy, NORAD, still secret installations in New Mexico, and NASA in Houston. He enjoyed living in the Ozarks and was happy to return, thirty years ago. Bill loved being with his family and especially his grandchildren. Additionally, retiring to his beloved Ozark Mountains was his dream come true. He was both an expert pistol shot and fly fisherman.
William was preceded by his parents, his wife, Ernestine, his wife Marie, his wife, Lucille, and his first wife, Christine, and a daughter, Julia (Chennault) Erikson.
William is survived by his children, (William) Bill C. (Barbara) Chennault, Kansas City, KS, Margaret (Kin) Norwood, Houston, TX, Donald (Jonnie Mae) Whitley, Ava, MO, Robert Chennault, Gladstone, MO and Jacquline (James) Litwin, Evergreen, CO, seventeen grandchildren, twenty-three great grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends.
Cremation services are being conducted by Clinkingbeard Funeral Home, Ava, MO.
Over the years I’ve been reading a series of books about culture and communication. I believe my interest stem from my fascination with history starting from early Roman to modern times. I’m fascinated with the way we as a species have developed over the past two millennium.
What is of particular interest is how societies have moved the pendulum of politics between the the extremes of dictatorship and anarchy. As an American citizen I’ve been brought up in a culture to believe freedom and democracy are inalienable rights that have been a part of our American culture since the revolution if not before if we consider our roots of freedom to be in English law. However this veil of individualised manifest destiny to which we cover ourselves as protection against oppressive and controlling forces is much thinner than we would like to collectively believe.
I have also traveled the political spectrum starting as a staunch conservative to my current beliefs which is somewhere between socialism and anarchy. We teach in our schools the virtues of democracy and capitalism while casting dispersion on all other forms of social compacts. Ironically our own founding fathers were students of what we would consider in our day social radicals. Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rosseau posited that a state should be a small size in order to ensure an equitable democracy. His reasoning was that the larger the state size the less likely it would be for the citizens to have a full understanding of the needs of the state. Thomas Jefferson was an attentive student of Rousseau and determined that a state should be no larger than the length a man could walk in a day.
Why? Why would Rosseau and Jefferson think that democracy depended on such a small territorial size? Each had their reasons but the underlining theme I believe was focused around the ability for information to be free and accessible to each citizen in order form them to make an informed decision regarding the public good. They (Rosseau and Jefferson) believed this parity of information amongst the citizenry could only be achieved through direct engagement and observation by the citizen.
So, did the invention of the telegraph increase the space boundaries of a well run state? History teaches us that large states were admitted to the union well before the invention of the telegraph (namely in the South) and Jefferson’s ideal was quickly buried. Yet they don’t teach us in school why one of the principles this paragon of founding fathers was lost in the eventual creation of this great union of states.
I believe the answer lies with the failure of the states to regulate corporations and with the final nail in the coffin being attributed to Chief Justice Morrison Waite in his preamble to the opinion of the case Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific Railroad.
The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does. — Morrison Waite
Our love affair with capitalism places rose colored glasses on our historical lessons and we are not taught in our under graduate education systems that corporations were universally loathed during the era of our founding fathers. The early constitution unlike other modern day constitutions has no direct reference to the regulation of corporations. Instead this responsibility lies within the purview of the states. The founding fathers believed that only those citizens within the borders of the state could effectively control corporations. Here we see Jefferson’s influence again attempting to maintain democracy to a manageable size. He understood the principalities in Massachusetts would scarcely understand the importance of a mill house in Virginia and thus the federal government had no right to interfere with the local social compact of the states.
Thus articles of incorporation were the responsibility of the states. Corporations during the late eighteenth and through half of the nineteenth century were given time bound charters for incorporation are were narrowly focused on completing specific task for the common good of the public (ex: bridge building). It was not until mid nineteenth century did our legislators and indeed our citizens begin to forget the lessons taught so harshly to our forefathers by the East India Company and Hudson Bay Company. Instead we had created our own monstrous companies to run the slave economy of the South and the industrialization of the North. The slow transition from the agrarian land holder to the capital holder created a wealthy super class that measured its value to the public good by the amount of philanthropy donated to the state. And the state being so grateful for the new library forgave and forgot that the company extorted its wages through the enslavement and maiming of an entire society.
My tire air pressure gauge on my Prius has been on for two weeks now. There is a air pump at a gas station right on the way to work. I avoid it like the plague. Why? I mean really it will only take five minutes but yet I still don’t go. Why this procrastination to something so simple?
I also have some old computer parts I need to dump at the recycle center which is again right on the way to work. I’ve been meaning to do that for two months yet still no dice.
I need to fix the water spout/spigot on the bathtub in the spare hall way bathroom. That still is not done.
Instead I’m writing a blog entry about the things I’ve not done. Bummer, boring and depressing. Why not write about something I did do?
I moved the XBOX360 from downstairs to my upstairs bedroom. I’m hoping this may actually lead to more gaming. What it has led to is reliable Netflix streaming of movies. I’ve played two games in the week that I’ve had it in the room. I tried out Portal and I actually kind of liked it. Now I just have to convince myself to plop down the cash to buy the full version. I’ve also learned that I need a larger monitor in my bedroom if I wish to play some of the more detail oriented games on the XBOX360. Good luck in getting that past the wife. I already suggested I could use the LCD in the bedroom to replace our aged LCD monitor for the computer (it was made in 2001). No dice. She said it was to big. It is a 26 inch wide screen. That is not to big for a computer monitor is it?
I’m writing a daily blog entry for the time being to get back into the habit of writing.
Three fasted ways of communication; telephone, telegraph and telewoman. That joke needs updating for the information age.
Nice title. Anyway.
In the book The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere Jurgen Habermas writes of the mid 17th European culture with respect to the ability of the non-ruling classes to congregate and discourse on things other than a life of servitude. These groups of people were freed from economic servitude from their royal masters but still bound to the same masters decree. This contradiction of positions created a space in which individuals could coalesce and form opinions representative not of the royal public court but that of the economically independent common man.
Habermas summarises the point by writing,
“In the salon the mind was no longer in the service of a patron [prince, king, etc.]; “opinion” became emancipated from the bonds of economic dependence.”
To restate the common man was free to form and announce an opinion without fear of reprisal as the opinions were not explicitly created for or by the patron. The effects of this “opinion” on that of the official public opinion led and generated by the representation of public proclamation by the royal class was ultimately calamitous for the feudal system. Feudalism would give way to mercantilism which reduce royal control to no further than the physical walls of the castle.
However as many critics of Habermas have stated this rise of a new public sphere that was not appointed by royalty is romanticism. The position of authority and publicness was only exchanged and disseminated to a different class of people. Serfs will still serfs, slaves still slaves and the uneducated still doomed to a life of mind numbing repetitive servitude.
The only benefactors were the bourgeois which represented a fraction of the populace. Granted the bourgeois numbered greater than the royals but combined the wealth concentration and culture manufactured for consumption was still created by a relatively small percentage of the populace.
Fast forward to modern times and we the royals have resurged. They are no longer titled king, emperor or queen but instead have mantled themselves with other titles like CEO, President and Chairman of the Board. Note that Chairman of the Board is a direct and not so subtle reminder to the past royal life.
Today’s activities are:
1. Enjoy a good Dim Sum lunch at Golden Island in Milpitas.
2. Stop by Costco to pick up some vitamins.
3. Stop by ToysRus for some buy one get on free action on Leapster cartridges.
4. Stop by the Nishihiras for some free cookies.
5. Sort out the donation pile for the Good Will.
6. Complete the journal entry with something meaningful about the day.
Regina is really into making garlic toast lately. She puts asiago cheese on the bread and bakes it up. It is really tasty and yet it does not really go with coffee but I’m willing to sacrifice. 😉
The boys played basketball outside today as we purchased them two new balls at Target. Their old balls had gone flat. They took some time to get out the sidewalk chalk and make a huge mess.
In the news today the SF Chronicle is reporting the interest rate for 30 year mortgages are at record lows. My 4.5% ARM is set to expire in April. Looks like it is time to convert to a 15 or 30 fixed. These rates are awesome and should be no problem to obtain with my good credit score and existing equity in the house.
—- AFTERMATH —
Aftermath sounds like something you do after you take a math test. Anyway we didn’t make it to Coscto. The dim sum was ok. I think Golden Island in Milpitas is not as good as it used to be. We spent way to much time and money in ToysRus but I think it was worth it. Good Will pile is still a pile.
Ate left overs for dinner. I’m not very hungary lately for dinner. Wonder why that is? I guess maybe I’m getting old and need to start eating my dinner at 4:00 PM 😉
I have nothing meaninful to comment for the day. All in all it was an ok day. Having three children is a chore for me and they routinely test my patience. Fortunately my eldest has a way of making the sun shine straight into my heart. He is so caring. I just wish he would pay attention to what he was doing…
The last year has seen a marked decrease in the amount of entries to my blog. Several reasons come to mind. First this blog is really for me and not so much for other to learn about me. Admittedly some entries like the Lost Chennault’s have received a fair number of views most of the entries remain viewed mostly by me.
One entry in particular was a conversation I had with a colleague about the software developer. I was comparing the exorbitant cost of software development to that of health care industry. The two share a certification process that equates its members to modern day clerics of an arcane religion. I liked that entry but I doubt anyone else found it illuminating unless they are fans of Ivan Illich and his book Tools for Conviviality.
But I digress. The point of this entry is to inform my ardent readers (that would be me) that my posting is down because I’ve been distracted. Distracted by family, work and procrastination. Several post in 2007 and 2008 concentrated on communication theory. These post had a deleterious side effect of creating a negative personal world view. You would have had to read the post to understand but in a nutshell I’ve come to believe that we as a people are not the self-enlighten rational critical thinkers living in a free and egalitarian democratic society.
Thus for most of 2008 I inoculated myself from thinking by living a external thought life. I turned away from introspection to observation and engagement of the superficial. I watched movies and television. Spent hours upon hours performing needless technical task (setting up Mythbuntu and a NAS server).
Of course not all of it was an Adorno and Horkhiemr escapist life. Audrey entered our lives and the boys continue to mold me into a better father with each day. However with each passing day it becomes easier not think of those things that I believe are eroding our democracy, our freedoms and our intellectual capabilities. It is easy to become caught up in the national positivism surrounding the 2008 presidential elections. Why not?
Perhaps because after all is said and done we in America are still ruled by a two party system. Our national agenda is set not by our citizen ideals but our investment goals. We are more concerned about lowering prices than raising wages.
WordPress 2.7 has a quick post feature;good. Trying to post using quick posy with a blackberry 8830; not good. It works but not an optimal way to post a blog entry from a mobile phone. Dear lazyweb what is a good blackberry app that can post blog entries to wordpress?