Vandalism and Duende: The Poetry of All Things

Lorca by Candlelight

This is a small performance piece I gave at Maori in Valletta on Wednesday 24th August 2016, organised by Inizjamed as part of the Mediterranean Literature Festival:

Say No to Vandalism (Damian)

My name’s Lizzie Eldridge and I originally come from Glasgow in Scotland. Some of you may have heard of Scotland. Some of you may even have been there. But just to jog your memory. We’re the ones who voted to say ‘Yes! We want to stay in the European Union’ during that recently surreal, absurd and bleakly comic but not-so-very-funny-at-all-when-you-stop-to-think-about it – that political shenanigans known as Brexit!

Anyway. Leaving politics aside for one evening…(as if you ever can…) My city Glasgow, well, we’re very very friendly, very welcoming (…particularly if you come from Europe) We really are very friendly, as you can probably tell from my general demeanour, appearance and overall genial interaction with you tonight.

But we do have our own…

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Guns & America

Garry's Writing Page

This post covers a few common counter arguments against gun reform, expands on gun reform reasoning as provided by Jim Jefferies and John Oliver, partially examines international gun statistics with a focus on Switzerland, and gives a TL;DR summary of all points made. I’m attempting objectivity here, but it’s obviously coming from an anti-gunner perspective. Note: Suicide is discussed in detail.

Comedian Jim Jefferies on Gun Control

The Daily Show on Gun Control

These clips form an integral part of this blog post, so if you’re reading, things may make more sense if you give them a look. They’re obviously comedic and not encompassing of the entire issue, but the logic is sound.

Additional points:


Forgetting Australia’s success through executive action and the available empirical data; in practical terms, how does possessing a gun really make a person more protected? And how easy do gun-owners think it is to shoot someone? Police…

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A Note on Analytic Philosophy and Phenomenology

The Bubbling of my Thoughts

Around the beginning of the 20th century, philosophy split into two directions, “analytic” and “continental” philosophy. Or so the story goes, as told by some philosophers of the “analytic camp”. Elsewhere I have argued that I don’t think these are valid terms. There was a larger number of different directions of philosophy and what we now call “analytic philosophy” is just one of them and does not have a special status.

Some of the directions of thought lumped together as “continental philosophy” might also have more in common with the “analytic” ones than the proponents of analytic philosophy are realizing. Take, for example, phenomenology, as proposed by Husserl, on one hand, and some strands of analytic philosophy that are connected to classical “artificial intelligence” and “cognitive science”, on the other. The people working within those paradigms might not see the similarity, but there is one:

In those parts of…

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Indian Army To Give Away 25,200 Head Of Cattle



Bovine blues: Army to give away 25,200 heads of cattle to ICAR, state govts

The Indian army will soon be closing down 39 military farms across the country as part of an exercise to trim the workforce in several non-combat areas .

INDIA Updated: Aug 21, 2017 18:46 IST

Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Cows being shifted from one shelter to another in New Delhi. The defence ministry ordered the closure of military farms in early August. Hence, the Indian Army is preparing to give away the cattle.
Cows being shifted from one shelter to another in New Delhi. The defence ministry ordered the closure of military farms in early August. Hence, the Indian Army is preparing to give away the cattle.(Raj K Raj/HT FILE PHOTO)

The army is preparing to give away more than 25,200 heads of cattle to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and different state governments for rearing, as the force begins shutting down 39 military farms across the country by October-end, army officials said on Monday.

Raised in 1889, the defence ministry ordered the closure of the military farms in early August to cut costs and better utilise thousands of acres of defence land. The 39 military farms are spread over more than 20,000 acres of prime defence land across the country in cities such as Ambala, Kolkata, Srinagar, Agra, Pathankot, Lucknow, Meerut, Allahabad and Guwahati.

The officials said that the military farms supplied more than 21 crore litres of milk to the army, accounting for 14% of the total requirement. The army buys the rest of its requirements locally. The cattle stock includes thousands of high-yielding Frieswal cows, a cross between Dutch Holstein Friesian and Indian Sahiwal breeds.

In a report submitted last year, a defence ministry committee panel had recommended that military workforce could be trimmed in several non-combat areas including military farms.

The 11-member panel, headed by Lieutenant General DB Shekatkar (retd), was tasked with mapping out a strategy to sharpen India’s combat edge and suggest measures to initiate targeted reductions in personnel.

The military farms account for a total work force of 2,000 civilians who work in the defense ministry and 14 combatants, the officials said.

Trump Brings His Message Of Hate Of The Media And Others TO Phoenix Rally



As protesters massed on the streets of Phoenix, President Trump on Tuesday unleashed a vitriolic, 76-minute speech mocking those who considered his response after the Charlottesville white supremacist march as racist, adopted racially charged language and hinted that he would pardon former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, long accused of brutality against Latinos.

He re-read for more than 16 minutes the remarks he had uttered after violence in Virginia claimed the life of a woman protesting the white supremacists, omitting his remarks in which he said that both sides were to blame and occupied the same plane in his view.

“The words were perfect,” he said.

But even as he sought to dismiss one racially fraught controversy, he ignited another with words that seemed to promise a pardon to Arpaio, who last month was convicted of contempt of court for refusing to halt his habit of stopping Latinos based solely on a suspicion that they might be living in the United States without proper papers.

“Do the people in this room like Sheriff Joe?” Trump asked a crowd of thousands in the Phoenix Convention Center of Arpaio, who served 24 years as Maricopa County sheriff before being defeated in November. “So was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?”

“But you know what? I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine,” Trump said, eliciting a roar. “But I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy.” He added that Arpaio should “feel good.”

Trump’s words on Arpaio, as well as his repeated suggestion that it was time to return to law and order, carried the whiff of past campaigns, such as those carried out by George Wallace, the segregationist presidential candidate and governor of Alabama.

And they suggested that it was folly for Republicans to wish for the one thing many keenly wanted — for Trump to revert to the moderate, sober president who only 24 hours earlier had acknowledged the need to change his mind on Afghanistan with a patient speech. It was clear on Tuesday, in both Trump’s rhetoric and his freewheeling, far more enthusiastic visage, that the president who came to office tossing jaw-dropping assertions at voters would continue to favor that approach as president.

He saved his greatest criticism for the media, whom he blamed for misconstruing his remarks after Charlottesville. His supporters backed him up by screaming at reporters at the rally.

“It’s time to expose the media … for their role in fomenting divisions in the country,” Trump declared.

“They are trying to take away our history and heritage … we’re smart people and these are truly dishonest people.”

He added: “I really think they don’t like our country. The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself.”

For all the mockery and bluster the president put forth, however, there was a subtext of political fear.

Recent polls have indicated that even among Republicans, Trump is losing strength. The president was introduced Tuesday with a bevy of friends — Vice President Mike Pence, preacher Franklin Graham, Martin Luther King Jr’s niece Alveda King and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.

Their multiracial tableau seemed intended to bolster the president’s image. When he took the stage, Trump took pains to try to recreate the “silent majority” who he has long said delivered him the presidency.

“The media can attack me, but where I draw the line is where they attack you,” he said, after almost half an hour of defending himself.

He described his supporters as “honest, hard-working, taxpaying” Americans whose dreams he shared.

“You always understood what Washington, D.C., did not — our movement is a movement built on love,” he said.

The protests that greeted Trump in Phoenix were largely peaceful, although later in the night the actions grew more violent and tear gas was fired.

Still, the signs of division were many. When Trump traveled from his first stop at an immigration facility in Yuma to Phoenix, Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey greeted him at the airport. But he did not attend the rally.

“Gov. Ducey’s focus has been working with law enforcement toward a safe event in downtown Phoenix,” his spokesman said in a statement to the Arizona Republic.

Trump did his best to sow division elsewhere in the state’s politics.

Beside the explosive possibility of pardoning Arpaio, Republicans here feared that Trump would use the occasion to endorse a challenger to GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, a longtime nemesis.

Trump last week praised the sole Republican challenger at the moment, former state Sen. Kelli Ward, and many here feared he would ignite an internal party conflagration that would deliver the Senate seat to Democrats.

He did not endorse Ward — or any of the other candidates considering the race — but mocked Flake and the state’s senior senator, John McCain, even after the Republican’s recent diagnosis of brain cancer.

Raising the subject of the failed GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, Trump repeatedly noted that the Senate fell “just one vote away from victory after seven years of everyone proclaiming “repeal and replace.” “One vote,” he said, referring to McCain.

At that, a member of the audience screamed “traitor,” seemingly referring to the Navy veteran who spent years as a Vietnam War prisoner before going into politics.

Trump, adopting a sarcastic tone, characterizing Flake as an inconsequential senator.

“Nobody wants me to talk about him,” Trump said. “Nobody knows who the hell he is….See I haven’t mentioned any names and now everyone is happy.”

The president arrived in a state he won handily nine months ago with his administration reeling, most recently at his own hand.

The president, top aides and family members remain embroiled in a special prosecutor’s investigation into Russian influence in the November election. Unified Republican control of Washington has led to few if any major legislative victories, although he claimed again Tuesday to be the most successful president considering his first six months. A poll released here this week said only 74% of Republicans support Trump, meaning he has lost a significant quarter of his own party base.

For any previous president, that would have meant buckling down and working with Republican leaders in the Senate and the House.

Instead, true to form, Trump on Tuesday criticized the GOP leaders on Capitol Hill, obliquely. He also did something worse: not until more than an hour into his speech did he mention with any detail his own party’s prime desire this fall — tax reform.

It was a passage replete with the Trump approach. First he blasted a threatened Republican senator, Flake — whose loss would give Republicans only 51 seats, the thinnest majority — and then he suggested that Capitol Hill do his bidding.

“We need the help of Congress,” he said. Delivering no detail, he added: “We’re giving you the biggest tax cut in the history of the country.”

U.S. State Department Warns Citizens Against Going To Mexico Tourist Locations Because Of Violence



The U.S. State Department has warned its citizens about traveling to Cancun and Los Cabos, two of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations, after a surge in violence in those regions.

A travel advisory issued Tuesday upgraded the warnings for two states, Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur, saying turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime and shootings in which innocent bystanders have been killed.

For years, both regions were largely insulated from the drug war violence that has engulfed other parts of Mexico, but this year they have each seen a major uptick in killings.

There have been deadly gun battles in downtown Cancun, and in January, five people were killed at a nightclub in nearby Playa del Carmen. In Los Cabos, a municipality on the Pacific Coast that includes the cities of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, three people were shot to death this month at the entrance to a popular beach.

The travel warning could deliver a major blow to Mexico’s $20-billion-a-year tourism industry, which represents about 7% of the country’s gross domestic product..

“This is a very bad news for Mexico,” said Rafael Fernandez de Castro, director for the Center for U.S.-Mexican studies at UC San Diego, who said recent growth in Mexico’s tourism industry has been a rare bright spot in an economy that quaked after President Trump’s threats to tear up free trade agreements and build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

But the rapid increase in development, especially in Los Cabos, may have helped contribute to the violence, Fernandez de Castro said, as migrants from around the country came to build new hotel rooms and resorts.

“The growth of Los Cabos has been way too accelerated in the last two years,” he said. “It’s creating a little bit of social chaos.”

The State Department’s decision to warn residents about travel to the resort cities “is a reality check for the booming towns and economy of Mexico,” he said.

Mexican officials have gone to lengths to portray the country’s beach resorts as family friendly and safe. Violent incidents “are extremely rare among the millions of international tourists who visit Riviera Maya each year, and the entire tourism industry works to ensure the safety and satisfaction of all visitors,” reads a statement on the website of the Assn. of Riviera Maya Hotels.


But 10 years into the country’s military-led drug war, violence is surging across the nation. This year, Mexico is on track to record more homicides than in any year in the last two decades.

Rising demand for heroin in the U.S. and power struggles among the country’s top drug cartels, authorities say, have led to an increase in killings in 27 of Mexico’s 32 states.

In Quintana Roo, the state where Cancun is located, 169 killings were reported from January to July, more than twice as many as during the same period last year.

In Baja California Sur, home to Los Cabos and Cabo San Lucas, 232 slayings have been reported this year, nearly four times as many as during the same period last year.

Although tourism from the U.S. dropped off about five years ago during another period of high violence in Mexico, it has substantially recovered, with the number of American visitors increasing 12% from 2015 to 2016, according to the World Tourism Organization. Mexico recently surpassed Turkey to become the eighth most popular travel destination in the world, drawing 35 million international visitors last year.

Tourism officials in the Riviera Maya, the 140-mile-long stretch of Caribbean coastline that includes Cancun as well as Playa del Carmen and Tulum, have already been on the defensive this year after reports that a young woman died after drinking tainted alcohol at a resort.

The State Department also issued a warning in response to those reports, cautioning vacationers to drink alcohol in moderation and seek medical help if they begin to feel ill.

(Religious Philosophy/Poem): My Name Is Nod (About The Garden Of Eden)


This is a poem that is designed to make you think, to get you to maybe get the book of Genesis out for another look see. Maybe, if you are not good at world geography you might want to dig into some maps of the known world of about 5,000 years or so ago. I hope that you enjoy it, quite a bit of research went into making this poem be accurate.


Do you know me

Listen, does not the wind whisper

Do not the mountains echo my name

How is it that you do not know me

Did not Moses lay out the path to my door



For two of your human generations

The Valley of The Garden of God

Was my western door

My Sister, Lake Urmia was fast a sleep

Within her no bounty ever found

The West Gate of God’s Garden she guarded

Now she is but salty ground



Did not my mountains rumble

And spew forth fire and rocks

How is it you can not find me

Can you not hear the ticking of the clock



Many of your years ago now

One man came forth unto me

Spewed forth from the Garden of God

With a mark upon his head, he came unto me

So all my inhabitants would know

That whosoever dared to harm him

Would quickly also soon be dead



The Garden has now so long been gone

It’s land like mine is scorched

The Face of God once again I yearn to see

When the light shines and the Trumpet blasts

Will He with tearful voice echo my words to you

My Child, My Child, how is it you do not know me

History Curriculum and The Lost Opportunity


When most of us think of history, we primarily recall wars, colonialism, invasion , freedom movement etc. The reason behind is the school curriculum. The emphasis is disproportionate on British rule, mughal rule and independence movement. Students are burdened with dates and places of wars and the lesions are simply concerned  with respect to duration of particular dynasty or invasion. Unfortunately, this leads history to primarily become just another facts and date based subject. The other subjects are already being taught on the same line(geography, Physics, Math etc) and unfortunately this kind of study curriculum loses a great opportunity. We lose the chance to make students think on their own based on objective analysis.

The only thing fixed are the facts in history and historians reach a conclusion based on their interpretations of these facts. No wonder we often hear charges of bias and to be honest any alternate interpretation…

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Abortion, terror and trolley cars

American / Unionist

By Aristophanes

On Jan. 20, 2015, the Islamic State released a video demanding $200 million from the Japanese government in exchange for the release of two of the nation’s citizens, Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa.

Japan did not comply. Three days before, the country’s leadership had pledged $200 million to countries battling ISIS. In regard to the hostages, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to uphold traditional policy measures.

“We will continue to take all possible measures from a standpoint of respecting human life,” he said. “Whatever the case is, the international community adamantly must not give in to terror. We need to cooperate and tackle it.”

ISIS’s apparent response? Beheading.

The needs of the many

So why would a government, an entity constructed with the ostensible purpose of serving its citizenry, deny paying a ransom for the lives of two of its citizens?

Abe may have been acting pragmatically.

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The Reasons Why Senior Citizens Are Turning to Marijuana for Health Problems

The use of Marijuana for medicinal purposes has been legalized in many states so people of all age groups and from different walks of life are turning to online medical marijuana for its therapeutic effects. Along with old age comes different types of health woes, some of these ailments are bearable and some are not. So, more and more senior citizens are turning to marijuana for their health needs.

Marijuana can be smoked, vaporized, ingested in a pill form or an edible version can be added to foods such as brownies, cookies and chocolate bars.

Here are some of the positive effects of medical marijuana

Elevate Mood– The older generation falls prey to clinical depression which is believed to be one of the consequences of old age. Marijuana has been successfully used to help treat depression, and there are multiple ongoing studies looking into the short and long term…

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