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Gender and Violence in Islamic Societies: Patriarchy, Islamism and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa

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A variety of materials collected without citation to sources, and not in any topical or sequential order, and not organized with a Table of Contents. However, three Indexes are provided with nice detail -- Topics, Authors, and listing of Poetry provided. Contains Chateaubriands' observations about the American Indians and Europeans (noting how many of the latter chose to live as savages, but few savages came to Europe). Many of the materials are of a Christian conviction, but he also includes a lot of Ingersol, and skeptical works. Hubbard was a renowned figure in his day, due to his writing, publishing, founder of an artisan community, and participation in the arts & crafts movement. A seller of soap, an exhortationist, and a very well-read man.
Life of Pi

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The book is filled with practical pointers for all of us who might be castaway to live at sea in a small open boat with a Bengal tiger aboard. Just hate when that happens. The young Pi examines, involuntarily, the elements which allow us to live. These elements turn out to be the many one-gods. The green, the blue, the turbid mind. Reminded me of you. The arts touch the immortal, through pain and trouble. 
The Abolition of Man

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In "Men without Chests", Lewis argues that the "pressing educational need" is to awaken students from the "slumber of cold vulgarity". He rails against the efforts of grammarians who are "guarding" the youth from "weak excess of sensibility" by fortifying the minds of young people against emotion. [24]."When the age for reflective thought comes, the pupil who has been trained in 'ordinate affections' or 'just sentiments' will easily find the first principles in Ethics: but to the corrupt man they will never be visible at all and he can make no progress in that science." [Citing Eth. Nic. 1095., at 26]"In the Republic, the well-nurtured youth is one 'who would see most clearly whatever was amiss in ill-made works of man or ill-grown works of nature, and with a just distaste would blame and hate the ugly even from his earliest years and would give delighted praised to beauty, receiving it into his soul and being nourished by it, so that he becomes a man of gentle heart." [at 27, citing Plato's Republic, 402 A.]Lewis compares this, as does Wordsworth, to the Hindu Rta, the cosmic order reflected in moral virtues, righteousness with satya or truth. As Plato said that Good was "beyond existence", and Wordsworth said by virtue the stars were strong, and the Indian masters say the gods themselves are born of the Rta and obey it. The Chinese speak of The Tao, the reality beyond all predicates, Nature, the Way in which things everlastingly emerge, and the Way which every man should treat in imitation. "In ritual, it is harmony with Nature that is prized", quoting the Analects of Confucius. In the Psalms, the Jews praise the Law as being 'true'. Psalm cxix:151. The word is emeth, truth, emphasizing its reliability and trustworthiness -- it does not change and "holds water". [28] Lewis refers to this Tao, as the "doctrine of objective value" -- the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false.Like a man who finds that he is colorblind or has a defect, Lewis admits "I myself do not enjoy the company of small children". [29]"No emotion is, in itself, a judgement: in that sense all emotions and sentiments are alogical. They can be reasonable or unreasonable as they conform to Reason or fail to conform. The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should obey it." [30]Lewis advocates educating within the Tao, "to train in the pupil those responses which are in themselves appropriate". Those outside the Tao, regard all sentiments as non-rational, "mere mists between us and the real objects". [31]As Plato told it long ago, Reason in man must rule the mere appetites by means of the 'spirited element'. The head rules the belly through the chest--the seat of Magnanimity -- of emotions organized by trained habit into stable sentiments. [Citing Republic, 442 B.C., and Alanus, De Planctu Naturae Prosa, iii]. [34] Lewis highlights the tragi-comedy of our situation -- "we clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible". The periodicals demanding more of cour civilization in the way of dynamism, sacrifice, or creativity. Yet, "In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the gelding be fruitful." [35]In "The Way", Lewis disposes of instincts, and "innovation", as sources of values, showing how they are wanting. Lewis holds to the Tao as the only possible source of value judgments. [56] And there can be no rebellion by the branches against the tree. He does admit there are contradictions and absurdities--for example, from lumping together the moralities of the world--and resolves them in applied literary and linguistic criticism. He returns to the absolute. To a corrupted man, outside the Tao, the starting point remains invisible. He cannot see what is being discussed."An open mind, in questions that are not ultimate, is useful. But an open mind about the ultimate foundations either of Theoretical or of Practical Reason is idiocy." [60] In the final Chapter, Lewis considers the rejection of the concept of "values" altogether: "The Abolition of Man". He asks "In what sense is Man the possessor of increasing power over Nature?" [67]Lewis looks at three technologies by way of specific examples: the aeroplane, the wireless, and contraception. He finds man is as much the subject as the possessor -- a target of bombs and propaganda, and eugenic preferences. "What we call Man's power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument". [69] Power won by man is a power over men, and we are then weaker as well as stronger. This is what our "conquest" over Nature really means. Finally, "Human nature will be the last part of Nature to surrender to Man". [72] Lewis imagines a "new Natural Philosophy". He admits hardly knowing what he is asking for--a regenerating science, that he believes is underlying all civilizations which are all really One, reflected in Natural Law. One of the significant, wonderfully illustrative and useful parts, of this little book, is the hand collected list of examples of this "law" with which Lewis concludes the book. The Appendix provides corroborative "testimonies" arising from different times and places on the planet. It is submitted that ancient Sumerian and Egyptian priests, Chinese sages, Hebrew prophets, Roman jurists, Hindu moralists, Christian saints, all say essentially the same thing. We are left with de facto universal morality.
The Illuminati Papers

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A magazine format book with illustrations. A wild bear-naked plunge into the salmon-leap cataract of consciousness. The author is a magician adept, understands the Cantos of Pound, and he is not afraid to use them. Includes Wildeblood's exposition on the Pisan Cantos of Pound. "All things that are, are lights. {Omnia quia sunt, lumina sunt.} " An hermetic koan attributed to Scotus Erigena, who taught in the 9th c, but was ritually exhumed and condemned as a heretic during the Albigensian crusade of the 11th c. [105b] She cantossed herself at Pound, in the lines linked with the troubadour Sordello: "And if I see her not / No sight is worth the beauty of my thought." The thought, we all thought, of her "light limbs". [106a] So many gems:Take the time to check your trajectory. "If the world seems to be getting bigger and funnier all the time, your intelligence is steadily increasing. If the world seems to be getting smaller and nastier all the time, your stupidiety is steadily increasing." --Simon Moon [137b]Insrcibed and Signed by RA Wilson.
All the King's Men

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A fictionalized account of the idealistic country lawyer, Huey Long, who entered Louisiana politics at the invitation of invidious plutocrats who thought they could use him to split the "rube" vote. In Penn's novel, Willie Stark rises to power, as narrated by his close right arm Jack Burden. This is a lyrically written tragedy which takes on the big issues of life.
Managing in a Time of Great Change

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Another one of the excellent books intended to get business managers out of ideological dead-ends to look at data and information. Remarkably prescient -- "it is not so difficult to predict the future" [ix] -- Drucker has reliably predicted business dynamics shadowed by economic data. Ever since his 1946 book "The Concept of the Corporation" redefined employees as a resource rather than a cost, Drucker has been credited with policies that have resulted in prosperity and business success. Here, he takes on the "post-capitalist" executive. Capital is a key resource, but the scarcest resources are "performing people". [136] This is one of the arguments against slashing labor costs and rewarding CEOs who spend their time figuring out how to spend all the money they are getting. "It is only through respect of the workers that true productivity is achieved." [350]Drucker is an advocate for the "reinvention of Government" -- whether it is driven by Al Gore's efforts, or Newt Gingrich and The Heritage Foundation proposals. He suggests that the megastate is morally and financially bankrupt, but that its successor cannot be "small government". "We need 'effective' government" [300]. In this call, I see Obama's 2008 "Change We Can Believe In" as an answer. Drucker calls for a theory that asks what results the government should be held accountable for. [300] Obama has produced a theory with factual information underlying it.
Power, Inc.: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government--and the Reckoning That Lies Ahead

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Great source for understanding the "relationship" between the "private" and "public" sector of the economy. Rothkopf is a distinguished economic historian, a Carnegie Endowment scholar. He shows that Government can go too far, or not far enough, in providing oversight of markets.Since the 1970's, with the takeover of the GOP by plutocrats behind the "Reagan Revolution", the power of the private monopolist stock companies which Adam Smith warned us about, has grown, and the resources of Government have shrunk to a smaller percentage than ever before in America.Major corporations, operating "off-shore", now hold bigger reserves than most countries' GDPs. The world's currencies are only a small fraction of the cumulative value of the world's securities and derivatives, most of which are barely "regulated" or even understood. Few can rationally "rate" or valuate a Credit Default Swap marketed secretly by private investment banking houses. Rothkopf wxpects the disparities in income will grow because they have gained clout worldwide and no Government is big enough to protect the freedom of the markets in which they are traded, and the massive wealth results in a "privatization" of the government or its outright corruption by lobbyists. With income disparity--led by China, and with the fastest "growth" in America--will come a complete collapse of the public sector. The oligarchs despise "government", regarded as "interference" with what is in effect, neofeudalist fiefdoms. Rothkopf recognizes that a healthy society needs both a public and private sector. He fails to come to grips with the fact that the private sector does not recognize this "need" for the long-term values of a middle-class building infrastructure provided by a robust public sector.
L'Odyssée

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At the very dawn of authentic history, some 1000 BC, the Greeks were chanting out the poems of Homer throughout the Aegean. And ever since. And the sooner anyone join in, continuously, the better. Little of Homer is known, be he man or she woman. So often, Founders are shadowy, from dim beginnings great lights. By the time their import is comprehended, they themselves are gone. And perhaps all creative work is marked by many minds. Into the Odyssey much is infused. It is a mass of history, legend, myth, ideals, manners and modes and matured. Nothing, nothing about it, is primitive or undone.Compared to the Iliad, the Odyssey is more even in style, conformed to plot, and harmonious in presentation of characters and events. [ix] Its unity is conspicuous. The plot assumes the ten-year Trojan War ended with the victors returning to Greece laden with plunder. All but one.For another ten years, Odysseus (Ulysses to the Romans) wandered the seas and islands whose lord he had offended. Poseidon here plays like an instrument all the circumstances over which mind must struggle, elements and afflictions, forces living and natural. This theme of mind over matters is passed to us from the Greek genius.The poem has a natural division into two parts. The first 12 books relate the homeward journey--at sea, among the islands and peoples, gods and phantoms. The 12 books of the second part give the report of the recovery by Odysseus of his kingdom, at home. The struggle entirely shifts from the enchanted to the human, from the voyager sea to the castle in Ithaca. The tension is now dramatic rather than incidental. This part has a sustained psychological power bearing on the final catastrophe--the slaughter of Penelope's suitors. A unifying theme of the work across both halves is eating -- unlike the Iliad which has constant fighting, the Odyssey is a series of banquets and occasions to dine.Which leads me to this observation: The dominant forces in the poem are women. The men who appear are admirable in ways women admire: Odysseus, known for his wisdom and resourcefulness, and others -- Telemachus, Eumaeus, Antinotis, Laertes, and Eurymachus-- strong, loyal, bearing responsibility. But for the entire odyssey, Athena is the prime mover. The nymphs Calypso and Circe are most formidable, and Ino and Leucothea most resourceful. When Odysseus meets the dead in Hades, there are as many women as men. In the Ithacan household, women are conspicuous and equal figures, and even the handmaid Melantho has a strong part. In short, woman is the equal comrade, respected, appreciated, looked to. The women of Homer's time did not live in isolation, nor in the thrall of a king. Harems were never characteristic to the Greeks. Helen sits in the hall with Menelaus, Arete in the hall with Alcinotis, and of course, Penelope has her run of the castle unattended, as is Nausica with her maids in the country. [xxiii] All are treated with dignity and major roles. Women have lost in the intervening ages what they once had.As to style, similes are common, metaphors rare. [xxiv] The thing and that with which it is compared remain two, separate, as in life. There is a "child-like" quality in this story-telling. And, with this ancient tale, no "spoiler-alert" can be given: The Ending is Wonderful!This iteration contains Questions and a Pronouncing Vocabulary.
The People of the Abyss

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Jack London remains one of the most prescient observers of human society. This work of journalism is the product of his own immersion into the slums of London after witnessing the coronation of Edward VII in the capital of the British Empire in 1902. Hindsight reveals that the British Empire was at its height. The eponymous London was also at the height of his powers, and published his most famous work, "The Call of the Wild" in the following year back in California, which remained his home.This work is the first manacle of reportage by London which indicts the hands of the wealthy criminal class where "The Iron Heel" published in 1907 caught their feet. London had the insight and courage to expose as ineluctable fact that criminals in the name of capitalism would use every device of fraud and violence to seize the wealth and labor of the poor. These twin volumes prophecied the utterly pointless destruction of WWI and the rise of fascism which culminated in WWII.This edition is brilliantly prefaced by Jack Lindsay who provides historical background on London without indulging in any clap-trap ideological bias. The background touches upon London's reactionary streaks--his own racism, and views on women, affected by readings on Hegel and Nietzsche [4]--and whatever internal inconsistencies lie in the heart of a man who built up a fortune while advocating socialism. The Preface notes that it "was nothing new for a writer to make a journey into slumland and return to recount its horrors." Lindsay compares London to the Victorians who preceded him: William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, whose kitchens and beds for the poor were visited by London, wrote "In Darkest England" in 1890. He documented the horrific conditions "within a stone's throw of our cathedrals and palaces".George R. Sims, another colorful and highly productive journalist, repeatedly documented the perils of lives in the London slums. For example in his "How the Poor Live" and "Horrible London" in 1889.Charles Booth, the Unitarian philanthropist famous for providing a map of povertry in London, in "Life and Labour of the People in London" (1889). William T. Stead, the English journalist and editor who pioneered "new journalism" and investigative reporting, published numerous articles on urban poverty, especially in England, but including one series after living six months sub rosa in Chicago. In placing London in this historical setting, Lindsay notes that both Booths, and Sims, Mayhew and James Greenwood, among others, gave striking accounts of the terrible conditions for the poor in England. He notes that the life of the poor had been academically studied by W. Wyckoff, luridly depicted by William Stead, and scientifically analyzed by Charles Booth. But Lindsay offers the argument made by a reviewer at the time (in The Independent) that London offered a unique addition: London brought these conditions to life--making it "real and present to us". [7] London depicts the inhabitants as our brothers and sisters, unblurred by sentimentality.The authenticity of London's documentation is vouch-safed by the American's use of street cant. He also recites numerous "stories" told by the denizens of the crowded streets, "gardens" (patches of grass), doss-houses, and workhouses -- the Mile End Waste, the Spike, Whitechapel, Hoxton, Spitalfields, and Wapping. He found the women in Leman Street, Waterloo Road, Piccadilly, the Strand [100]. He could compare the places serving "skilly", a fluid concoction of oatmeal and hot water provided as breakfast and supper. [38] Includes his observations of the Coronation. He documents the rise of a "new race of street people". [94] London spells out how these brutalized degraded and dull "Ghetto folk" have been incapacitated and cannot, cannot, perform service to England, either as workers or as soldiers, because of their weakness and desperation. [94] He compares jails in America with the fare of an English workingman, and finds the latter severely lacking. The work also recites the latest statistical and economic data on pauperism in London. [101] Of particular import was his grasp of how many English were killed and maimed by their participation in the forms of "work" available to them--West End factories, carding and chemical concerns, slayed even the most splendid men and women. [104] London lines up the suicide cases. He presents the gestures--ghastly simulacrae--toward a "family life" made impossible for the desparate wailing for lasting employment to enable workers to earn food and shelter. Where the labor is so productive that a single workman can produce cloth for 250 people, and five men can produce bread for a thousand, yet millions starve. It comes down to "criminal management". [120]In a chapter on "drink, temperance and thrift", London addresses the fecklessness of most of the do-gooders and charities. He holds up the remedial exception in the work of Dr Barnardo Homes, the "child snatcher". The doctor took waifs not yet hardened to a vicious society, and sent them to Canada, where they had a chance to thrive. [124]In the final Chapter, London examines the "management". He compares the English "Civilization" with the Inuit living along the banks of the Yukan, in Alaska. [124]The Inuit have good and bad times, in which they all share, but chronic debt and starvation is unknown. London is one of the first to fix the label of "criminal mismanagement" to the political powers of the Kingdom, by documenting the numbers, the conditions, the markets, and the deliberate misappropriations of the wealthy who live off the poor.
Diet for a New America 25th Anniversary Edition: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Your Happiness, and the Future of Life on Earth

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I rarely put FIVE stars on a book. This one is brave, brilliant, and will change the nastier parts of our world immediately. I dare anyone to read, for but one example, the chapter on "the most unjustly maligned of all Animals", without feeling that life change-up.The author, John Robbins, presents the facts about our diet and the relationship between what we are "consuming" and the rising incidence of cancer, diabetes, and heart attacks. The author simply takes us on a fact-found tour of our food. The book does not sermonize or condemn the modern concentrated business combines that have destroyed our hopes for robust health and humane lives. However, he empowers a new life of sanity and care. We all share the author's values -- "Eating should be a pleasure". [xv] Stop eating food that has been injected by the worst drug-pushers, is manufactured by torture, kills even the soil of our planet, and poisons all who eat it. The billion-dollar lobbyists who represent the trillion-dollar Food Industry, and who continue to corrupt those who we elect to protect our welfare, are frauds.* The author is the "Robbins" of Baskin-Robbins and speaks as an insider from personal experience as well as access to the original research and science. He is now a vegetarian and a lover of Nature.
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