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The Root of Gratitude

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Thanksgiving is just a few days away.  So I look at the American landscape this week with gratitude.  I have had a week of extraordinary gratitude.  On Friday several situations in my life reached their peak, peaks which I fully expected to go completely and utterly south.  The build up to these peaks gave every indication that they were going to be ugly.  And yet, in succession in the course of about 3 hours they all came to happy, acceptable solutions – quite apart from any actions of mine.  I am indeed grateful – for that and so, so much more.

The question is, grateful to whom?

But I also note the ungrateful among us.  The permanently embittered, the ever dissatisfied.  And with this eye it seems that there is a gratitude gap that helps define the great cultural and political divide in our nation.  I observe that the opposite of gratitude seems, on a practical level, to be avarice.  If we are not grateful for what we have, we are always seeking more – of whatever it is that you think will satisfy you.

Again the question of “grateful to whom?” arises.  You see, avarice, always seeking more, can result because no matter what you have, no matter how much you accumulate, if you have no one to thank for it you cannot be grateful for it and without gratitude there can be no contentment.

It seems that gratitude is not simply something we express, it is also something we need.  We need it to find contentment and happiness.  Further it seems to be grateful, we need someone to be grateful to.

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Silly Things I Have Read

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I have been compiling stories that I find extremely silly.  For example:

Bitcoin may cause catastrophic climate change by 2033, study warns

The claim is that “mining” Bitcoin uses so many computing cycles; therefore requiring so much electricity and hence so much electrical generation, that the carbon emissions will push us over the edge.  Well, on the bright side, I guess that means I can keep my high horsepower V-8!  Then there is this one, “Can artificial intelligence help stop religious violence?” which has such a simplistic view of human behavior and religion, not to mention way too much faith in computer modeling, to be taken seriously.

Apropos Stan Lee’s passing on Monday, there is the study saying that superheroes are more violent than the villains.   It’s incredibly silly that someone bothered to do the analysis, but it is even sillier that violence somehow equates to “evil.”  (Isn’t it true that a good army has to be more violent than the bad army to win?)  Then there is the hunter that wants to start making bullets out of something other than lead because the use of lead bullets in hunting is creating lead pollution in wildlife.  Somehow I cannot help but think that the bullets are killing them a whole lot faster than the lead pollution.

Things get a little, but not much more, serious when Jerry Brown punts to climate change when discussing the California fires.  Actually Brown would be laughable were it not for the fact that he is essentially holding the state hostage to wildfire to achieve his climate change goals.  Simple fact, if you assume the worst about climate change (I don’t), the political will does not currently exist to make change based on it – therefore it is a reality and the state has an obligation and a duty to deal with it, not punt and let the state burn.

But silliest of all is Hillary Clinton running again.

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Senator Tom Cotton On Immigration And Judges And The Lame Duck Session

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Senator Tom Cotton joined me and Guest co-host “Luke the Luminous” —winner of the Midterm Madness contest, by a lot, and a Steelers fan!— to talk about the upcoming lame duck session of the Senate:

Audio:

11-14hhs-cotton

Transcript:

HH: I’m joined also by Senator Tom Cotton of the great state of Arkansas. I don’t know if you played Midterm Madness, Senator. Did you match yourself against Luke the Luminous?

TC: I did not, but I’m amused by the twist of fate that has a Pittsburgh Steelers fan in the chair with you there, Hugh.

HH: It is a…

Luke: It’s perfect.

HH: …twist of fate, and Luke is, but he’s originally from Ohio, right, Luke?

Luke: Yes, Northeast Ohio.

HH: So you see, it’s the genes, even though they’ve been driven to a bad use. Senator Cotton, Luke was telling me during the break his grandmother whose birthday it is today, which one?

Luke: Yes, my grandmother, my baba, is 89 today.

HH: All right, she came from the Soviet Union having met his grandfather after the war in Europe and came to this country as a legal immigrant. You and my next hour guest, Stephanie Ruhle, have been mixing it up about immigration. First of all, what role did immigration play in the elections, if any, do you think? And what are we going to do, if anything, in the lame duck session about it?

TC: Hugh, immigration was a central role in our elections. You know, in Arkansas, for instance, exit polls showed that it was the number one concern of Arkansas voters. That was the case in a lot of other states, especially in the states where we won Senate races. So in the lame duck session, we still have several government funding bills to pass, to include the Homeland Security bill. It’s high time that we provide the money necessary to secure our border, and that includes a fence or a wall in certain places on the border. We also need to reform our asylum and our refugee laws so foreigners are not taking advantage of our generosity. The rules of asylees and refugees are designed for people perhaps like Luke’s grandmother who are facing persecution because of their religion or their political beliefs or their sex or what have you. They are not designed to give everyone around the world a chance to come to the United States because it would simply give them a better standard of living. If that were the case, it would apply to almost every living soul on this Earth. We should focus those laws on ways to alleviate the suffering from people who face persecution for their beliefs or for who they are. And we should not let people game those rules.

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Honor Is Due

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Stan Lee is gone.  You should recognize him from his cameo appearance in virtually ever comic book film based on a Marvel Comics title or character, but I know there are people that have not seen the films.  Stan Lee is simply “The Man” when it comes to superhero comics.  He billed himself as Stan “The Man” Lee back in the 60’s when the Silver Age of Comics kicked into high gear and his legend has done nothing but grow since.  It is somehow fitting that his life terminates as this bit of pop culture reaches a zenith in motion pictures.

Kevin Smith, a comic book geek come movie director and comic book writer in his own right, said this of Stan in a Facebook post today:

You dreamed up some of my favorite modern myths and created characters that instilled in me a moral barometer, teaching me right from wrong and showing me it’s always better to be a hero instead of a villain. Your characters represented us: yes, they had extraordinary, unbelievable abilities, but they were also reflections of a world we knew, where a Spider-Man is really just a boy who wants to help.

Wish I had said that.  But if you are so inclined, and do some digging over the next few days, you will find, I am quite certain, Stan Lee detractors.

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