Saturday, March 03, 2007

Martin Luther King An American Hero


An American Hero - Martin Luther King


"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word".... - Martin Luther King Jr. -
.
Why Martin Luther King?

Some questioned, and many still do the merits of a national holiday which celebrates the life and contribution of Martin Luther King. I never fully understood the controversy, nor have I ever fully appreciated the contributions which King, and other civil rights advocates made.

There seems to be a dividing line between the United States before the accomplishments of the civil rights movements in the 1950s, and 1960s and what has come after. It is true that poverty and all that poverty implies still haunts a large percentage of urban blacks, but laws forbidding segregation, and legal discrimination have changed society significantly for blacks, and every American.

If one considers the absolute evil which white people committed upon blacks for hundreds of years it is obvious that any transition away from slavery was bound to take more than a signature upon a proclamation, and an Amendment to the Constitution. Slavery did not end after the Civil War.

Many Americans seem oblivious to the effects which Jim Crow laws, and racial discrimination in general had upon blacks in the century following the end of the Civil War. They ask why it is that blacks didn't rise up like other minorities such as the Irish who were hated even by blacks. The reason was simple - race.

Irish, Italian, and other Caucasian minorities could lose their accents, adopt English as their primary language, intermarry, live, and work with other Caucasians, and thereby melt into mainstream society. Blacks on the other hand were segregated and discriminated against as if they were some form of lower beast.

Martin Luther King was by no means the only civil rights leader in this nation either before or after his assassination, however he played a pivotal role in the cause for justice and freedom which can not be overstated. Some have argued that the cause of liberty and equality was a historic wave, and that another individual would have filled the role that King played if he had not risen to the challenge. This is likely true, yet it was King who dedicated his life to the cause, and it was King who gave his life for the cause.
.
.
The Darkness Within
.
Why was this done to blacks? Because it could be done. There was never any moral imperative, or guiding wisdom behind slavery, or racial discrimination. It took place, and still takes place simply because it can. A primitive instinct of domination and control within the human heart seeks expression in a variety of ways.

We see the human instinct to dominate others expressed in hundreds of ways; from the relationships we have with our spouses and children, to the size of our cubicles and the location of our parking spaces at work. We see it in the type of cars we drive, the food we eat, the clothes we wear. We see it in the neighborhoods we live in, the schools we send our children to, and even in the way we throw our heads back to avoid eye contact with other's who we deem inferior because they may be fatter, older, uglier, or wearing less expensive clothing than we are.

Human beings are infected with the desire to establish, and enforce an apelike dominance hierarchy. The entire fabric of human society seems dependent upon this animal impulse, and a never ending string of wars throughout human history suggest it has always been so.

People of all races, and societies do this simply because it is the nature of the beast that they are. We are after all sentient beings living within apelike body forms. We carry within us instincts that may have allowed us to survive as individuals, but which have wrought continuous conflict upon humankind. Some call this proof of man's propensity toward sin, or the original sin, while others call it human nature. In any case there is a dark, irrational, and dangerous side to being human - no matter who you are.

Race was just an excuse for one group of people to exploit and control others, and to do so without feeling bad about themselves in the process. It was in effect a form of warfare. White people effectively waged war upon black people in this nation for hundreds of years. The effects of this war upon blacks have been similar to what was seen on Europe after World War Two - devastation. While half of all blacks have moved into the ranks of the Middle Class the remaining half are still living in poverty. This is a direct result of discrimination no matter how much white people want to deny it.
.
.
Yoking Oneself to a Greater Good
.
Martin Luther King fully understood that he would be killed for his opposition to the slavery under which his people were suffering. He yoked himself fully to his cause, a cause of universal freedom and justice, and a belief that human beings could rise above their sinful nature and end the cycle of violence and self destruction which has haunted all of human kind from the beginning of history.

King is one of America's greatest heroes. His contributions, and that of all civil rights activist have forced the United States to realize that the liberties announced within the Declaration of Independence, and the United States Constitution are meant for every man, woman, and child not just in this nation, but around the world.

We all owe a debt to Martin Luther King, and to others who opposed the evils of discrimination based upon race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, gender, age, and sexual orientation.

Martin Luther King sacrificed his life to lift up this nation, to set it free, and to give it a chance to become the best it can be.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

UFO Over Springfield, Illinois November 2006


UFO Over Springfield, Illinois - November 18th, 2006
.
.

This Object Appears In Several Photos Taken November 18th, 2006

I've held off posting these photos for several months now. I don't really know what this object is. I can say I took several photos of it. I turned my camera physically from landscape to portrait, and the photos show the object still over the same area in the sky.

One of the gifts, and curses of taking thousands of photographs a year is that eventually you get some rather strange ones that you can't explain.
.
.

Here's The Same Object From Farther Back

What is it? I have no idea.

The view is west around sunset. It might be contrails, but it looks very odd for contrails.
There's been a major UFO sightings wave for the last several months, and we all have heard that Chicago's Ohare was visited by some type of flying disk only eleven days before I took this photo.
Still I make no claims as to what this is, but I will say this. I did not alter the photo in any way - except to edit it for presentation on this blog.

Why I waited. I showed the image to members of my family, and told Dave about it, but frankly I wanted to retain some level of credibility with my readers. UFOs are very controversial, and I've been posting a great deal about such phenomena. For me to take photos of said objects sounds a little too coincidental. I don't want people thinking I'm faking this.

Dave suggested I go ahead and post them anyway so I will.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Star Trek Movie Release Date - XMas 2008!

It's official the movie is not only being made, but will be released Christmas 2008! Earlier rumors about the movie focusing on Capitan Kirk's and Spock's early days at Starfleet Academy have been confirmed.

This from the BBC,

The latest feature, which has yet to be named, will tell of Kirk and Spock's first meeting at Starfleet Academy and their first outer space mission.

Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who worked with Abrams on Mission: Impossible III, have written the screenplay.

"If there's something I'm dying to see, it's the brilliance and optimism of Roddenberry's world brought back to the big screen," said Abrams.

"Alex and Bob wrote an amazing script that embraces and respects Trek canon but charts its own course."



I've been a fan of Star Trek all my life, and I can hardly wait for this movie to be released.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Surveillance At Barack Obama's Presidential Bid Announcement


Springfield Illinois' Finest Puts On A Big Smile For The Camera
.
The Official Watchers Greet You
.
Perhaps it was the extreme cold, getting up very early on a Saturday, or just trying to remain diligent while looking at thousands of faces, but this Springfield Police Department Officer didn't look like a happy camper.
.
.

Everyone Has Cameras & Cellphones - They Bring Them To This Type Of Event
..
The Crowd Watches and Records Itself
.
Nearly everyone who attended Barack Obama's Presidential candidacy announcement ceremony brought cellphones, and digital cameras. It would be fascinating to have everyone upload their photographs, and then create some sort of virtual reality deck. That would be neat. If Barak Obama wins will people in the future look at all the photos taken in this era just like people study photos from the days of Abraham Lincoln? Probably, but so many more photos are being taken today than in the time of Abraham Lincoln that I don't see how it would be possible. Yet if there was some kind of software where a person could upload a photo, and it would be interlaced within a virtual reality matrix that would be neat. Each photo would add additional information which the computer would sort out, and the user would simply glide around within the three-four dimensional world created. History could be a more interesting subject if it were treated like a video game.

.. \
.

Picked This Guy Up Early - Mister Spooky on Zone Patrol
..
Now I Introduce To You - Mr. Spooky Guy!
.
I was minding my own business like thousands of others who braved the intense cold to see Barack Obama announce his presidential bid, and along trots in a bulldog of a guy who looked to me to be an undercover security person.

Am I paranoid? You betcha, but paranoid thinking is just good thinking when people are out to get ya.

Before making any rash judgments about my state of mental health read the following explanation of why I came to believe that this character was acting spooky. In fact for this post I'll refer to him as Mr. Spooky Guy.

Dave of the11thhour, and I entered the grounds of the Illinois Old State Capitol through the north entrance off of Washington Street. After entering we walked across the frozen lawn to the back of the crowd.

Mr. Spooky Guy was there before we arrived. Once we picked out a spot to stand Mr. Spooky Guy does a beeline right behind us. Now that may not be peculiar in and of itself, he has to stand somewhere right? Sure Mr. Spooky Guy was much shorter that either Dave or I, but why should he look for a better spot?
.
.
Things Get Stranger With Mr. Spooky Guy

Dave, and I decide that we don't like the view so we decided to leave, and try and find another POV on the whole event.

We had to walk against the incoming foot traffic back to the north exit, and eventually found that we couldn't leave. The cops weren't any help, and the incoming tide of people was just too great to fight against - we were trapped. So we decided to walk back to where we were before.

However while we were trying to get out, all the people who we passed trying to leave had already filled in the area where we had been. We were even farther back than we had been before.

So one would have thought that the spooky guy that had earlier positioned himself right behind us would be deeper into crowd - right?

No, he had pulled out of the crowd!

By the time we returned the spooky guy comes back and repositions himself right behind us again!

But that's not the only thing I found odd.

I thought that Mr. Spooky Guy was acting suspiciously so I quickly turned and snapped a photo of him, but what does he do? The second he sees the camera pointed at himself he immediately looks off. When I pull the camera back he resumes his previous orientation.

Suddenly Mr. Spooky Guy finds something important to look at, but only for the second or so that I pointed the camera at him. He struck this pose for one second - quick reaction Mr. Spooky Guy! In the photo below he almost looks like he's looking off at something interesting, but it's all for the camera.
.
.

Mister Spooky Goes Man to Man - Not Once, But Twice!
..
The Price Of Freedom And Security - Being Watched
.
There was plenty of justification for crowd infiltration. If you're trying to protect a candidate you'll want to set up some security within the crowd before such a candidate. You'll want to get close to anyone you may suspect falls within a certain profile. For example you might not waste much time on Grandma, and her grandchildren, but you would want some wandering security within a crowd checking people out who might be suspicious looking.

When Barak Obama announced his bid for the Presidency the crowd, buildings, and skies around the event were under close inspection. In fact I'm sure there was more watching going on than I would even suspect. This is the price of living in a modern society in which one terrorist with a bomb, or machine gun can turn a peaceful democratic experience into a nightmare of blown up body parts. It's too bad we live in a world where this is necessary, but that's the reality of the times we live in.
.
.
Photos Reviewed
.
This is one of my favorite photographs of the event. I like the contrast of the spotters with their binoculars against a beautiful sky. The flag looks nice too.
.
.

Spotters Atop Chase - Marine Bank - Springfield, Illinois
.
It was dreadfully cold out that morning. For those closer to the risers, and the podium where Barak Obama spoke the sun was out, and it must have been ten degrees warmer there, than for thousands in the shade created by the Ameren CIPS building. The sun only peaked around the corner of the Ameren building moments after Barack Obama left.

The next photo is my favorite which I took of the event. I just love the American flag. To me it is beautiful. Even if I had been raised in some other nation I'd still be totally appreciative of the beauty of the American flag. In the photo we see a giant flag draped over a building on the corner of Sixth and Washington. Spotters with binoculars are stationed atop the building.
.
.

Sixth & Washington's Giant Flag - Spotters Atop Building
.
I liked the giant American flag so much I used it in a portrait of two attendees. These three (below) were kind enough to pose. They're friends of Dave of the11thhour. Guess which one wanted to appear in the photo, and which one didn't? And yes, I meant three, and not two earlier.
.
.

Dave Of The11thhour's Friends - Spotters Gone After Speech
.
O.K., so the photo above doesn't have anything to do with surveillance, except it does show that the spotters atop the giant flag building left immediately after the speech.
.
.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Christmas 2006 Was Two Months Ago?


Luminaries on Christmas Eve 2006 - Springfield, Illinois

.
It's hard to believe how fast time passes. It has already been two months since Christmas Day of 2006. I'm never sure how to feel about time passing so quickly. I'm not the biggest fan of Winter, yet Summer passes by all to quickly too. Each year seems to pass more quickly than the one before. I don't mind racing to Spring. Anything that brings on warm gentle days is welcome. Yet Christmas week is magical. I love the deep reds, and trees, and the smells, and taste of Christmas. I love the family, and the music, and the mythology, and the religiosity of the Christmas season. But then it's over!
.
.

Christmas Eve Dinner 2006 - Springfield, Illinois

One thing is for certain, none of us live forever, and we'd all better make the best of what time we do have. We also need to value those who are a little farther along in life than we are. Those stories which older folk want to share during family get togethers are priceless.

I find myself ever more eager to hear the stories as I myself get older. While the children seem more interested in playing with toys, or video games I find it's the stories that interest me most. The stories, the stories, the stories. Tell me about the forties, the fifties, and the sixties. Tell me your views on events of today. Have you seen it all before? Each story is like a gem shared among those wise enough to wait, and listen.

How time passes.

email jp

  • jeromeprophet@gmail.com

archive

visitors

evworld

Slashdot

Wired News: Top Stories