Saturday, April 30, 2011

Apple Airport Extreme WAN, Verizon DSL Westell and Mac Book

We received the give of a 6 year old but quite useable Mac Book. I have spent a total of 30 hours trying to get it to connect

to the Internet either via Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable. It works fine at my step-mother's both with cable and on Wi-Fi.

Our Verizon Westel 327W is about 8 years old. There are certain things we might try, like making it into a bridge or doing a firmware update but we risk losing all Internet for days or even weeks and the expense of Verizon technicians.

Someone gave us an Apple Airport Extreme Router which is actuall a WAN with a WAN port. The idea is to plug an ethernet cable from your Westell (or other brand of) router into the WAN port and then configure the Airport using your Mac which senses it via Wi-Fi.  I watched two Wi-Fi Lan experts (who do it for a living) try everything under the sun bur it just would not work.

There was some suspicion that the Airport Extreme Router was defective so I took it to Best Buy and exchanged it. The going price is $175.  I learned something very interesting from the sales rep, namely, that no matter where you go in the city, a Mac Book Pro will cost the same.  There are no bargains in the world of Apple except for corportate discounts on volume purchases. 

The Airport Extreme device has a WAN port and 4 ethernet ports as well as a USB.  You may attach a USB hub to that USB and have a number of USB hubs which you may use to share printers and scanners among computers in the Wan/Lan. 

It MIGHT be possible to make the Verizon Westell compatible via a firmware upgrade but that might also render it useless. 

Our decision is to purchase Time-Warner RoadRunner since we already have cabling for the television in the building. We will purchase their cheapest package which does not include Wi-Fi. Then we will configure the Airport Extreme device to provide Wi-Fi. I went to some trouble to make calls to the Time Warner Cable support staff to learn that our router/modem will be an RCA 325.  Once we see that Road Runner works then we will cancel the DSL. I am told that DSL is a dying beast anyway.  Verizon Fios would require and entire day of cabling and Uninterruptibe Power Supply (UPS) installation. The Time Warner tech just has to connect a box and configure it. IF we were to ask them for Wi-Fi they would charge us a lot more and the quality would quite possibly be inferior to Airport Extreme. 

The Time Warner sales rep first quoted $49.95 installation and $49.95 per month, but then hesitated and said he had a deal for $29.95 for the first 12 months.

I shall post updates to all this. My wife wants a Mac in the bedroom so she may listen to all her Catholic prayer programs and services of which there are so many on the Internet.

I would simply like to learn MAC after all thes years of Windows and some Linux.  Whenever I wonder how to do a PC type thing on the Mac, I smiply google and it tells me the equivalent. AND there are so many Youtube tutorials.

My Soul Doth Magnify The Lord

When the Greeks baptize someone, they SING a verse which says "All ye who have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ [as a garment]" .. i.e clothed in Christ...  and then the old man dies as Paul says...  I knew a girl all through grade schoo junior high and high who carried a Bible constantly, and read it repeatedly (old and new test).. and wanted to be a missionary and did so in college and married a preacher. I spent some hours finding her number a few years ago to tell her how I admired and remembered her all these years.. and she commented that "I am happy to have allowed Christ to live THOUGH my life."   So I see some validity in this notion of magnification. Like Platos Republic where they say that the society/polity is "the soul written in large letters."

Friday, April 29, 2011

Incarnation footnote

I looked up that footnote: "These miraculous powers are known as mahima, garima, laghima, prapti, prakamya, ishitva and vashitva. These words denote the faculty of becoming infinitely small, great, heavy, light and obtaining and doing whatever one wishes, and of absolute supremacy AND absolute subjugation."  Hence, what the Greeks say of Christ's kenosis or emptying, the "extreme humility."

Notions of Incarnation

 Mr. Ossorgin's translation of the Russian liturgical hymn to Mary: "Thy womb is more spacious than heaven..." 

The spacious womb thing fits in perfectly with what King Solomon said once the temple had been constructed (paraphrasing from memory) "Will the Lord whom the heavens cannot contain dwell in this small temple" ... so, IF it is the case that Jesus in the womb is non different than God, then it is true that the uncontainable one has been contained... but that is the entire notion of incarnation that the infinite takes on finite form and nature...  The infant Krishna was always doing prankish things so his mother chased him with a rope so that she could bind him to a tree. He allowed himself to be caught, but when she wrapped the rope it was an inch too short... so she sent for more rope... no matter how much rope was brought it was always an inch too short... finally all the rope in the village had been brought. It was then that Krishna allowed himself to be bound, and suddenly, the rope was sufficient. This episode in the life of Krishna is as close to a crucifixion as one gets. In the Ramayan, it is when Ram (avataric incarnation of Vishnu) is stunned by the serpent weapons. Hinduism states that God has the contrary abilities to 1.) become infinitely heavy 2.) become very light 3.) become infinitely great great 4.) become infinitesimally small 5.) be absolutely almighty and unconquerable 6.) become vulnerable and conquerable - the exact formula is in a footnote of my copy of the Ramacharitamanasa (The Holy Lake of the Acts of Ram) by Tulsidas

The Logic Behind the Lust

There were possibly hominid species who were inherently monogamous and chaste and as a result died out. Those species whose nature drove them in their rapacious appetite to inseminate anything that moved produced a more robust species precisely because of the genetic shuffle. A Romanov Tsar was invited to America for 6 months and taken on buffalo hunts. He wrote back to a friend that "there are women here more beautiful that any I have seen in Russia." I saw the letter at the Brooklyn museum at a Romanov exhibit. I instantly realized that he was drooling after women with a mixture of African Asian and Native American blood with darker skin and eyes, deliciously different hair, breasts and nipples which intrigued... whereas all the women in Russia were kind of a boring mix of Slavic and European strains.

I have seen articles and studies to the effect that in the U.A.E there is evidence of illness due to consanguineous marriages. I realize that different religions and cultures have taboos aimed at preventing inbreeding. I wondered if one might deduce that Jewish laws were more successful than Islamic law. I do know that small groups such as the Samaritans have genetic disease because they simply cannot find enough women from distant places to provide a healthy genetic mix. On Youtube there is a video of two Samaritan men who were allowed to take Russian "mail-order" brides. They had to nag their high priest for years before he finally gave consent. Some of the Samaritans have speech impediments because of inbreeding. I believe that other groups such as the Amish or Parsi suffer from such problems. And of course we all know of the hemophilia which resulted from European royalty arranging weddings to conserve power and hegemony. Apparently among Muslims a weak family will arrange a union with a strong family by means of marriage in order to benefit from the alliance.

India's ancient law on avoiding in-breeding: 
1. He shall not give his daughter to a man belonging to the same Gotra (family). 
2. Nor to one related within six degrees (six preceding generations) on the mother's or the father's side. 

- Apastamba Sutras (Prasna II, Patala 5, Khanda 11, Verses 15/16)

Historian switching from Spreadsheet to MySQL

She has a new MAC and assumes that it may not run her spreadsheet app:

My reply:

But, surely there are spreadsheets for Mac which should function much like Lotus or Excel UNLESS you write complex VBA (Visual Basic Application) macros to execute in the background. The VBA language which is very powerful and yet counter intuitive and requires much training and practice (which I never achieved) that VBA is the only difference between MS spreadsheet and other spreadsheets. Plus, the old Mac Book I received has Microsoft Excel on it. Also it is said that Macs CAN run MS software as well. I must say I am impressed by the possibilities of MySQL as I begin to consider its abilties, especially that their are small, medium and LONG text fields (sometimes called BLOBS) as well as the indexing of fields for searches. I think that a PhP routine could be written to read all the documents in a given folder, analyze them, and insert them into MySQL records. It could be driven by commands which you put in the document such as $!Author $!Publication $!Date $!ArchivedAt (I am just making stuff up and making up a trigger sequence to tell the program that it has encountered another command to take action upon.) Some people would call $! "dollar bang" bang being the explanation point. I bet you could find some on line group of programmers around the world, and start your own small community of volunteers who would help you build an open source application designed for the kind of work you need to do. 

IF you could get documents scanned in machine readable format, then you could have an analyzer program that would plow through 800 pages, build an INDEX of key words and select off those PAGES which are crucial to whatever study. THEN that subset of data could be fed into the primary application.

I do not have handy the character lengths of the types of fields but the LONGTEXT seems like it could hold the Britannica. The mediumtext seems like it could hold War and Peace. The short text would hold a Senior Essay (I am just guessing). But one interesting question is WHAT sort of tables, containing what sort of data types, would be the minimal to do the job you do and yet achieve compact database size and efficiency.

As to test data, I was thinking that IF I get MySql to the stage of some prototype, then I would simply grab the open source online text of something like a Dickens novel, or the Bible, or Gibbon, ... there are no shortage of open source on line texts in and other sites. What might be MORE interesting is if one did testing on something which had a mixture of legal contracts, deeds, commercial invoices inventories, tax assessments, census data, student records..... the idea being that an application which can gain a handle on such diverse and technical info would be more useful to an historian than something which has been tested on a novel or history. Such an application would have a list of throw-away words like "a" "and" "the" "those" and would build an index of significant words like "guilty" "debt" "born" "purchased" "credit" and a tally of the number of occurrences, together with page and volume and storage box/warehouse/library numbers to get back to the original source.

We see all the time how Google is just such an engine of search in the hands of people such as you, me, Ruth Johnston and any number of people with a scholarly bent either amateur or professional. 

I want to close by stressing that to my knowledge the MAC should be able to run all sorts of "PC" programs with no difficulty.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Professional Historian wants to develop app in MySQL for document analysis

Barbara, now I understand that you ENJOY tinkering with a SQL database at a low level. Initially I just thought "professor of history" who wanted results and did not want to waste time programming. D.b. ... I was casually reading this thread while I did morning chores. I was just in shock that someone would want to struggle with MySQL at its basic level to achieve results with historical documents. But D.b. IF you stand back and take an HONEST look at your daily posts going back the  year or two that I have known you the you must admit that EVEN WHEN YOU POST in soliloquy you start off mad as hell with a string of epithets and politicians should take that F'ing opinions and use them as suppositories.  D.b. is perpetually angry and outraged about any number of matters both domestic and foreign. I see it every day and I accept it and usually let things pass without comment....... Now that I understand that Barbara ENJOYS tinkering with a SQL engine at a low level then it occurs to me the actual advantages of such an approach.  SQL is basically OPEN SOURCE even though their are commercial providers such as Oracle and open source such as MySQL and PostgreSQL. So whatever Barabara develops in terms of data structures to categorize and search historical documents... that data structure will be usable by the world community as open source should she donate it.  I never for a moment entertained the question of whether Barbara is fluent in SQL. I assumed that even a fluent expert would prefer a shrink wrapped out of the box solution over re-inventing the wheel. No matter how skilled one is in programming or SQL one would be foolish to write an accounting program from scratch IF a business could run on Intuit Quickbooks.  Once Barbara creates her ideal SQL tables and relations then if she likes she may code HTML pages with PhP to update and search that database and generate reports. In the 1980s each and every database manager wrote their back end database structure as proprietary. There was NO easy way to migrate from one product to another.  NOW SQL has become the de facto standard for any product. Even our Facebook uses some flavor of SQL and perhaps PhP to do what it does so well. The bottom line is that SQL (any brand of SQL) gives one all the tools necessary to accomplish any task. And any custom products specialized for academic research must surely have SQL as the back end.  Once Barabara has her database loaded with all necessary info then some of the SQL query statements which are necessary to yield results can be complex and obscure which is why it is nice to capture them in PhP so they may be executed with the click of a button.  There are many support groups for SQL so IF you want to accomplish something but are not certain how then someone at such a group will usually give you the obscure SQL command necessary to yield the proper result. Being totally fluent and brilliant in SQL requires full time practice day in and day out, 8 or more hours a day, each and every day. It would be a rare person who could maintain such a level of SQL expertise AND also be a professional historian or chemist or pharmacist or dentist or other demanding field. It is said that IF one finds the ideal datastructurs, tables fields, relations THEN the problem is more than half solved for all that remains is the front end screens to manipulate the database and generate the reports, and then the data entry or import to load the database.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Have BILLIONS been lifted from poverty?

Perhaps you are correct. I shall look at the speech again. I saw an estimate that the world's population today is about 6% of all humans who ever lived, so if you work backwards means that a total of 155 billion humans have walked upon the Earth. Now if 20-40 billion were benefited I would see the justification for saying "billions" but I still think it is stretching the point. Today 60% in Pakistan live on less than $2 USD per day and 20% live on less than $1.25.  And from what I know of India, I see that many of the cotton farmers are losing their land and committing suicide. And entire documentary was done on this called "The Dying Fields." I know that people in India who leave the farms to work in the cities will decide that the poverty of the farm is preferable because at least they can get something to eat from the farm, but not in the city.  Perhaps the speech would have read better as "many" or "countless." Why say the "b" word when it is not necessary? I do remember that it took until 1860 for the world populations to reach 1 billion. By 1930 it had doubled to 2 billion. By 1970 it had tripled to 3 billion. I was just looking today at the total number of German soldiers through WWII as 18 million   now compare that with the figure of all the deaths in the Congo from warfare totaling 20 million and that is more than died in WWII both sides.  I will study the link. I am no mathematician or statistician or sociologist or anthropologist but then neither is Obama so I wonder where is figures come from and how well those figures were vetted. I have heard other people make the "billions of people this and that" error because they are so used to monetary figures in the billions and trillions. Numbers can be deceptive. I once calculated how long it would take me if, say 6 billion people were lined up and I were to stand before each one for 5 seconds look them in the eye, smile and say "hello" ... it would take me 951 years. IF I whizzed by on a bicycle and waved to them I could do it in 100.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mathematical Proof of the Resurrecton

Even if the Resurrection could be proven in the context of some particular axiomatic system it would still be tentative. Euclidean, Hyperbolic and Elliptical geometries all adequately account for our local experience of spatial extension but we cannot prove which geometry space actually conforms to and apparently Einstein needed Riemannian geometry which is finite but unbounded. Ptolemaic astronomy with its epicycles is obviously not how the planets actually work but one may use Ptolemy's Almagist to accurately navigate. Newton's physics works for cannon ball trajectories but not on a galactic level. But even modern physicists who work on string theory and a G.U.T. (Grand Unifying Theory) have yet to PROVE that space energy and matter actually has some certain nature. So even if the Resurrection WERE proven mathematically it would still be in the realm of model theory and not some indisputable fact.

 I would say that the essence of "faith" is the subjective free will choice to believe. A mathematical proof or Aristotelian syllogistic reasoning FORCES us to admit that something is true. We often see Socrates FORCING people to concede some point using questions and answer to lead them into a cul-de-sac of aporia (no way out.) Abraham believed the promise of God without any proof or evidence and his belief was counted unto him for righteousness. It is ironic that the Greeks never once resorted to an "ontological proof" of God's existence even though Aristotle was one of their own and yet Aquinas became so enamored of Aristotelian logic. Throughout the Bible free will consent and cooperation has always been essential. Mordecai, uncle to Queen Esther, writes her to say that it is her CHOICE whether or not to help her people but if she chooses NOT to then God will arrange the help to come through some other means. Gabriel does not come to announce to Mary that she is with child like some EPT. It is only when Mary gives her free will consent that the incarnation takes place. The Greek consider faith to be a gift which is give by God to some but not to others based upon God's foreknowledge of how that individual's free will will chose to accept and deploy that faith.

Why would St. Paul counsel us to refrain from vain disputation if some ineluctable proof were ultimately possible. Why does Jesus say that had he worked similar miracles in Tyre and Sidon that they would long ago have put on sack cloth and ashes of mourning and repentance. Jesus is saying that he did have that option but chose not to do it. Spectacular miracles are similar to a mathematical proof in that they may force us to accept something as true. And yet the people of Moses wandered for 40 years seeing a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night and seeing the manna each morning and yet the kvetched and rebelled and were hard of heart. The magicians of Pharaoh were able to imitate the first three miracles of Moses but when they failed at the forth they said to Pharaoh "surely this is the finger of God" but Pharaoh would not be convinced. So consider the cogency of the supernatural as analogous to the rigor of mathematical proof and yet it is necessary but not sufficient. We KNOW intellectually that tobacco and alcohol inevitably lead to various illnesses but do we "KNOW" that emotionally in a manner sufficient to convince us to abstain?

Racial Tensions in Hungary

Racial Tension and Fear Mongering in Hungary: Gyöngyöspata, 2011 by Tibor Glant

on Sunday, April 24, 2011 at 6:55pm

The evacuation of some 300 Roma women and children from the village of Gyöngyöspata over the Easter weekend has made the news around the world. This is not the first instance of racial conflict in Hungary in recent years. Never-heard-of place names of relevance include Olaszliszka, Galgagyörk, Tamásipuszta, Nagycsécs, Tatárszentgyörgy, Tiszalök, Kisléta, and now Gyöngyöspata. Ask any Hungarian, and they will not be able to locate these towns and villages on the map one by one, but they will know these are the battlegrounds of racial strife between Hungarians and Roma. Odds on, they will blame the Roma for it exclusively.


Clear and present danger of racial warfare presented itself last week in Gyöngyöspata, where criminals identified as Roma by the victims have been terrorizing the non-Roma villagers for years now. With practically no police presence in the area, the self-proclaimed “peace marshals” of the extreme right, this time calling themselves “Véderő” (Defensive Force), descended upon the village and set up a military training camp: all that WITHOUT guns. With Hungary’s extremely strict gun laws, there was no threat of a shoot-out, yet the situation did develop into a crisis serious enough to prompt the Red Cross to evacuate some 300 Roma women and children for the weekend to children’s camps in Csillebérc and Tiszaliget. They also gave the current Fidesz government a diplomatic way out by calling it a pre-organized tour and an Easter gift. The media nonetheless descended upon the village and all parties turned on their respective fear mongering engines. For the umpteenth time, a dangerous racial conflict developed into a media show, and will be treated as an isolated event.


Conflicts between Hungarians and Roma have been around for centuries: the two lifestyles do not seem to match. However, in the meantime, the world has moved forward and methods of handling racial and ethnic conflicts have been developed and made available. Most Hungarian politicians and intellectuals are well aware of this; thus, the fact that these conflicts remain unresolved indicates that the race card is part of the permanent political election campaign Hungary has been mired in since 2001. Hungarians do not consider themselves racist and they fail to understand that racist slur is actually racism. One of my biggest frustrations as a university lecturer comes from my inability to help most of my students understand that “race” is a social construct, just like “ethnicity” and “nation”. What makes race particularly dangerous is that it is supposed to be based on “clearly visible facts” (people do look different) and that it is ALWAYS used to discriminate. This is one of the pitfalls of all the education reforms we have had since 1989, combined with no attempt to teach kids how to debate and resolve conflicts. Instead, a fake narrative of political correctness took over the debate on race and one’s perceived political orientation defines where one stands (or is supposed to stand) on these issues. The three basic positions are those of the “left”, the “right”, and the radical/extreme right. Conspicuously missing is the Roma take on all this.


The “progressive left” in Hungary (the socialists, who are the former communist party, and the “liberals”, who are more like libertarians) has introduced the PC language of the American 1990s without explaining the differences: in their universe, the Roma issue is the same as the African-American one was in the Sixties, although the Roma were never kept as slaves and no institutionalized, legal segregation ever existed in (independent) Hungary. Their rhetoric was that Fidesz is fascist, or that Fidesz turns a blind eye to the extreme right; thus, all Hungarians who support Fidesz are racists (and anti-Semites). They continue to state this in media events and interviews abroad, instead of carrying on the debate at home.


The “right”, represented now by Fidesz and holding a 2/3 majority in the Parliament, has stood up to the indiscriminate importation of PC language and insisted on calling things by the name and grabbing the bull by the horns. They have come to emphasize the fact that poverty is not simply a Roma problem and many Hungarians live a life just as poor as their Roma counterparts and they still do not become criminals. The trope of “Roma crime” was born on the right, but was later monopolized by the extreme right. Fidesz promised a solution to unemployment, poverty, crime, and racial conflict, but they appear to treat the problem not as a social-economic crisis shaking the very foundations of Hungarian society but as a string of isolated incidents.


The radical right, currently represented by Jobbik, has simplified the rhetoric to “Roma crime” against Hungarians. Their suggestions include camps for the reeducation of the Roma as well as ghettos and (school) segregation. The radical right media demands a racial showdown, claims that Roma crimes are ignored by the mainstream media, and that the government (both MSZP-SzDSz previously and Fidesz now) fails to address the “real issues”: unwillingness to assimilate, incest and crime among the Roma, and the fact that they will take over the country by 2025/2050 because of their high birth rate.


What appears to be the case matches none of these narratives. There is extreme poverty and a terrible crime rate in Hungary, but subsidies paid to the Roma and Roma criminals are small change compared to government-level white-collar crime that brought down the economy by 2008 and the previous government. Roma people hardly make up of 5% of the total population: according to the census of 2001, some 190,000 people identified themselves as Roma. Even if we factor in unwillingness to identify with an unpopular minority group and birth rate, their number cannot be larger than about 500,000. By sheer numbers, the Roma cannot be THE problem. Most of them live in extreme poverty and Roma male life expectancy is estimated at 48 years. It is true that most of them show little if any respect for the majority society, but why should they? They are NEVER asked what their preferences are, they have no jobs or job opportunities, and the majority cannot offer them a lucrative vision worthy of assimilating into. There is, of course, no such thing as “Roma crime”, as there is no “good Roma” and “bad Roma”: the inclusion of the racial identifier indicates racist motives from the start. There are Roma involved in criminal activities, often organized crime, and some of them consider this as payback to the majority society of Hungarians (“gádzsók”). If, once in every blue moon, they are asked by the media, they say they consider themselves victims and scapegoats. Roma organizations and elected bodies of self-government DO exist in Hungary, but most of the rather significant funds poured into various affirmative action programs have been embezzled by their own “representatives” and “leaders”. This is indeed a ticking time bomb, but not because of “Roma crime” or sheer numbers, but because of the unresolved racial conflict.


The lynching in Olaszliszka of Lajos Szögi on October 15, 2006 by an angry mob of Roma people is quickly being turned into a Roma Tiszaeszlár (the founding anti-Semitic myth in Hungary) by the extreme right. It has directly led to the ugliest crime spree of four neo-Nazis shooting innocent Roma victims with stolen guns in 2008-2009. MSZP, then in power, blamed the opposition, Fidesz, although at least one of the four criminals had direct links to the Hungarian military intelligence of the very government they themselves were running. Conspiracy theories abound on all sides as the first actual violent crimes against the Roma since the Holocaust are under investigation (the four shooters were arrested in Debrecen on August 20, 2009). Proposing a “Roma strategy” for this solves nothing. Hungary has about two dozen minority groups and any one of them could become the next target.


Fear mongering is picking up steam in all three camps. The “progressive left” points to the “silent partnership” between Fidesz and Jobbik while Jobbik accuses both Fidesz and MSZP of not being willing to deal with the “real issues”, and Fidesz claims this is an inherited problem and they are doing their best to resolve it, they even initiated an EU-level Roma strategy. The “progressive left” was indeed in power between 2002 and 2008 and if they really had the panacea they should have applied it. Instead, they pursued a policy of pitting various dispossessed groups in society against one another, and used the Roma for their own political gain. They and their supporters are as racist as anybody else in Hungary: in their thinly veiled hate campaign against Orbán they have described him not only as Hitler, Mussolini, Gömbös, Horthy, Stalin, and Kádár but also as a Jew and a Roma.


Jobbik is a different cup of tea. It emerged out of the defunct extreme right that surfaced in Hungary after 1989, from some disappointed Fidesz voters, and from the electoral base of MSZP, especially in northeast Hungary. Jobbik represents a unique coalition of extreme right and left. As has been explained above, they see the Roma as a direct threat to the peaceful majority and establish self-defense military organizations (Magyar Gárda in its various reincarnations) to patrol the streets of villages under the perceived threat of “Roma crime” and with no police visible in these settlements. In light of the 2008-2009 shootings, the fear is legitimate that these organizations might one day become violent.


But real responsibility lies with the current Fidesz government holding a 2/3 majority in Parliament. If they have a policy, now is the time to implement it. Jobbik represents an interesting dilemma to them. It is a handy scapegoat for extreme right wing movements and ideas in Hungary and it takes away much of the (unfounded) campaign of the “left” that tries to designate Fidesz as the new fascists. But they also know that the 2/3 majority they now hold will not be guaranteed even if they win the next election and they need votes form the right, too. This duplicity manifested itself in many of the Fidesz campaign promises and in the new constitution.


The previous “progressive left” government has deconstructed the state and, most importantly, its monopoly for guaranteeing domestic tranquility. One key fallout from the events of 2006 (as I explained in my post on the new constitution) was the total loss of faith on the part of much of the population in the police. The Hungarian police had to deal with the uncomfortable legacy of the communist era (when blonde jokes were policeman jokes) and the last thing they needed was the PR nightmare of being seen as cronies of the MSZP-SzDSz government. By 2009, a fully armed private security firm, In-Kal Security, assumed the task of securing public government events. Meanwhile, the unarmed “peacekeeping force” of Jobbik, the Magyar Gárda, was dissolved by the courts on the grounds that peacekeeping is the exclusive monopoly of the state. This contradiction was exposed by both Fidesz and Jobbik in the 2010 campaign, and Fidesz promised to “restore law and order” within two weeks of coming to power and send at least one policeman to every village. This partial nod towards the radical right was repeated in the process of drafting the new constitution: it guarantees equal rights and protection to all minorities, but gay marriage is excluded, although, as I explained in my answer to the questions on the post on the constitution, this is a restriction of certain rights. Similarly suspicious measures include life sentence without parole or early release in cases of violent crime (a measure to compensate for the “loss” of the death penalty) and guaranteeing no protection to minority languages. I am becoming more and more curious as to how the Cardinal Acts will really outline the new system of government and elections.


As regards the actual performance of the current Fidesz government, in this matter it leaves a lot to be desired. Radical right wing media still claim that “Roma crimes” are not even reported and the promise of sending at least one policeman to every village has not materialized. When this “Véderő” organization showed up in Gyöngyöspata, no action was taken for days, until the international media began to circulate a largely one-sided version of the events. Fidesz then went into troubleshooting mode, and even Minister of the Interior Sándor Pintér visited the village. As the 300 Roma were being evacuated, the “Véderő” people were arrested and a government decree was issued to declare any unauthorized peacekeeping activity, armed or unarmed, a crime. Meanwhile, the media began to report that the evacuation was actually a Red Cross charity initiative and/or a project started by an American who funded the LMP campaign in 2010, and that it had been under way ever since Tuesday (as if the crisis had struck this Tuesday). Pintér radiates control and authority, and a local crisis has probably been averted. The problem: we need to address the whole issue of racism.


When you come up with any form of criticism the first thing you are asked to provide is solutions. In Hungary, this must be good and must NOT cost any money, as it is money we do not have. I have suggestions, but they do take some financial effort. Firstly, fear mongering must stop and genuine conversation must start. I understand most Hungarian intellectuals refrain from making public statements (I have been one of them but I have had enough) because the very moment you criticize someone, you are dubbed as a “crony of the other side”. It is true that some liberal intellectuals have displayed a considerable amount of arrogance and alienated much of the population during the past 20 years, but now is the time to step up and take responsible action. Continued pressure on Fidesz will simply confirm their feeling (and strategy) of being a “fort under siege” and bring about more defiance and inaction. We must discuss problems honestly among ourselves (Roma included) and without PC language terrorism. Secondly, we must immediately reconsider our education strategy and include debating skills and crisis management on the lowest levels. Thirdly, we need our government to use its 2/3 majority and begin to handle poverty, unemployment, and crime with no regard to racial background. As regards crime: if we really have so many people wanting to wear a uniform, draft them into the police force, train them properly in crisis management as well, and send them to every village in task forces of three: one fully trained policeman and two understudies: one Hungarian and one Roma.


It is part of the Hungarian ego to try to come up with a NEW solution for everything, and Fidesz is pretty good at this in every sense of the word. This time, however, we do not need to invent the wheel, that wheel has already been invented

The dead who appeared during the crucifixion

I never thought that Samuel was resurrected in the body. I assumed that Saul was speaking to the spirit of Samuel. What bothered me about the New Testament passage is that IF some of the dead PHYSICALLY arose and walked about the city then what happens to them afterwards. If one says that they die again then this contradicts what Paul said about being born ONCE and then the resurrection (I suppose to refute reincarnation.) IF it is the case that some of the saints appear AFTER Christ dies and enters hell, then I can understand that in some sense, but is it clear that the dead appear only after Christ dies, or does it happen while Christ is still alive. Now I understand the notion of the "harrowing of hell" but surely hell cannot remain empty. I think Origen was condemned for some notion that ALL would be saved even Satan and the demons. I cannot see the purpose of a judgment if all are saved and forgiven. I am under the impression that only a minority are saved in the end. Somewhere in Ezekiel it says that if someone in their last days turns to iniquity then their lifetime of righteousness is counted as nothing but if they live a life of iniquity but in their last days turn to righteousness then all their iniquity will be counted for nothing. I realize that various denominations such as Universalist Unitarians believe that all will be saved by grace and that personal doctrinal beliefs are not essential. I suppose I should mention the belief that Enoch and Elijah never died but were taken up. I simply see a problem if those saints who appeared to people during the crucifixion were physically resurrected.  I think that they must have appeared to people after the fashion of prophet Samuel.

This thread was posted around Easter midnight

Someone took photos of teenage athletes after a competition who happened NOT to be smiling and someone else thought that young people should always be smiling in photos. I show below only my side of the conversation.

I commented:

They are exhausted athletes in a super hot place,... smiling would be a bit disingenuous. I always despised smiling for a photograph simply because it was expected. What is wrong with simply being oneself. Besides, there is no such thing as a smiling icon and this has been referred to as the "gladdening sorrow" of Eastern Orthodoxy. It is sometimes appropriate to look grim. I prefer grim sincerity over smiling deceit.

Given the slap-stick vacuous humor which surrounds American media I find somber sobriety refreshing ESPECIALLY among young people. Life is about being serious and not being a giggling, grinning clown and buffoon who constantly seeks to have fun and diversion. Nowadays sitting presidents do the late night talk show circuit and make their little jokes. I find it hard to imagine Eisenhower going on such shows and cracking jokes. I think America has gone down hill in the past 50 years.

I did not say they were not happy. I say that one need not smile in a photo to be happy and it is ok to be yourself and not do things simply because others arbitrarily expect it. King Solomon said it in a nutshell (paraphrasing) "Better is the end of things than the beginning and the day of one's death than the day of one's birth. The heart of the wise man is in the house of mourning but the heart of the fool is in the house of mirth." No single verse could better sum up the essence of the Bible and yet that verse is totally incomprehensible to the American culture which considers itself "Bible-based.". Ruth thinks they should be smiling in the photo. I think they look just fine. I am sure they laugh and smile and play. What is that other verse from Solomon (ok I had to google for this) To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; ---- ____________So, at the moment that photo was taken it wasn't a time for smiling.

Serious question: was Christ unhappy on the cross? I say that he was not unhappy because he did what had to be done and what could not have been done in any other way (since he said that verse about "let this cup pass") ... I think that people confuse laughter and smiling and comedy with happiness. Happiness requires fulfillment in a meaningful way. I do not think Socrates was "unhappy" accepting the death sentence since he saw it somehow as part of his social contract for being an Athenian citizen and since "philosophy is a preparation for death." Regarding Solomon: Solomon prayed for wisdom and God told Solomon that he would be wiser that any "anthropos" who came before him and wiser than any "anthropos" who would come after him. Therein lies the significance of Jesus saying that "a WISER than a Solomon is in your midst." One may deduce that Jesus is not simply "anthropos" but "theos-anthropos" or "God-man" in which case Solomon remains the wisest anthropos ever.

At which point someone posts this:

Your posting of that link speaks volumes about your personal values and ironically, this thread unfolded at midnight when the Christian world is celebrating the resurrection. If there is a judgment then I am certain that your posting of this link will not pass without mention. I am not a Christian but I consider that post on this day to be in poor taste.

That's why a certain stand-up comic said "every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."

For your sake let's hope that I am wrong, which I usually am, and you are right, and you always seem to be right.

Ah, but you did not seem anxious to be understanding and forgiving about Obama's "do unto others" gaffe. You hinted that it foreshadowed and portended ominous things. We are told that "with what measure you measure out unto others so shall it be measured unto you." So, suppose YOU are judged for this by the same standards which you chose to judge Obama's gaffe?

But isn't part of the whole teaching that if you have a grievance with your neighbor, you should set down your offering, go and forgive and make peace with you neighbor and THEN come and make your offering. Have you forgiven your brother Barack? It does not sound to me like you have. And if you cannot forgive him then can you seek forgiveness for yourself?

 But since Jesus advised that we pray in the privacy of our room rather than on the street corner or the photo-op, then how can you be certain that Barack has not repented of his sins and sought forgiveness. God tells the prophet Samuel that God alone is the only "knower of the heart." That is why we are cautioned not to judge others in a pharisaic fashion. Remember the example of the publican and the pharisee.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Women as sexual objects

I had a friend in his 50's, never married but always on the look-out for a woman, who argued with me that there must always be "something on the table" (quid pro quo) for a woman to consent to intimacy. He was angry because he spent $100 on a dinner with a woman and she did not want to go home with him.He does not make a lot of money. I suggested that he simply be candid up front about his expectations and that surely there will be some women who will also desire intimacy without spending on expensive meals. But it seemed to me that he saw women as objects to be purchased or bribed in some fashion.

My middle-aged friend did not have his first sexual experience until he was 30. He stayed with that woman, who was a nice woman, a hairdresser, for two years, but she kept pushing for marriage. He felt that "his luck had changed" so he wanted to go back to the bars to see what the future held in store for him. He NEVER found another woman like that first one. Now he realizes that he should have married her and built a life.  But when the mind is fixed upon women being sexual objects and variety and adventure being key elements to the thrill then how could such a mind fall in love with a woman as a person, an individual, and build a committed life together?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Salvation and this secular world

I was just now thinking that the essential message of salvation in Christianity is a PERSONAL salvation which a minority may find, since narrow is the way and few are there who find it... BUT THERE IS NO message of WORLD salvation. It is stated that "the poor shall always be with you" (both Moses and Jesus state this) and Jesus states that "there shall always be wars and rumors of war" AND YET America tries to embrace Christianity and then tries to achieve lasting world peace and eliminate poverty which are goals that the Bible clearly sees as impossible.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Republic/Conservative/Right v. Democrat/Liberal/Left

Several years ago one insightful person on Facebook explained to me that Conservatives are people who are not very curious and want to maintain status-quo; they have wealth or power or both and they want to conserve and retain that wealth and power. By contrast the liberal/progressive type is curious by nature, likes change and perhaps has little wealth or power to lose and therefore has less reason to fear change (or less to lose.)  Wm. F. Buckley was certainly an intellectual but was conservative and leaned to the right. IS it possible for a Republican like Buckley (or Goldwater) to gain momentum in today's political climate. Some say no. Is it fair to say that the more people know the more they lean to the left and the less they know the more they lean to the right? I have heard that said but I don't know how true it is. Someone once said to Adelai Stevenson "You are every THINKING man's choice" and Stevenson replied, "I KNOW, but I need a MAJORITY."  Abraham Lincoln was the very first Republican candidate and during Lincoln's term in office Republicans resembled the Democrats of today and Lincoln's opposition resembled the Republicans of today. Many emancipated slaves became Republican's back then for obvious reasons. Yet both parties have changed and evolved dramatically over the many years. 

Obama 2

When Obama nominated as Democratic candidate I happened to ask a graduate student in Amsterdam what people in The Netherlands think of Obama and she said "We like Obama but it would be hard for any American to understand that we see him as so far to the right that we see HIM the way Americans see McCain."  Consider this quote from John Stuart Mill -  John Stuart Mill lamented, “it is a melancholy truth, that if any measure were proposed, on any subject, truly, largely, and far-sightedly conservative, even if Liberals were willing to vote for it, the great bulk of the Conservative party would rush blindly in and prevent it from being carried.” “I did not mean to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid,” explained Mill in a subsequent letter. “I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative.”  

Amazingly shallow?!

OPENING SENTENCE OF THE ABOVE LINK STATES: "Barack Obama is a creature of the modern university and therefore an amazingly shallow man."

Does this sentence strike anyone as a bit odd, confused: "Barack Obama is a creature of the modern university and therefore an amazingly shallow man." Obama is a person but I assume the author wants to demean him by saying he is a creature. The sentence would seem to imply that the modern university produces shallow CREATURES (why does the sentence suddenly, unexpectedly switch from creature to man.) But MODERN as compared to WHAT? Compared to Yale in 1900 or Oxford in the 1700s?  But now the author tosses in AMAZINGLY. Hmmm... does that mean that all denizens of MODERN Universities are shallow but Obama has exceeded them all? I assume the author of this sentence is not the product of a "modern university" or they would consider themselves shallow.  Seriously, I am not trying to be cruel or snarky but what sort of sentence is this and what sort of person opens an essay, speech, blog or editorial with such a sentence? I suppose I should read the entire post and puzzle this out.

Comic Book Nostalgia

I went to Borders at 4pm to read the political science / foreign policy quarterlies and was seated across from a display of Archie Comics and my eye kept returning to Veronica talking on the phone with a drop-dead good looking fellow while Betty was on another phone looking distressed. My curiosity got the better of me so I read the whole thing which took about 20 minutes (and they cost something like SIX DOLLARS NOW.)  I bought them 55 years ago for 10 cents.  The good looking fellow was GAY but that is all that was said in the entire comic with that regard, except that Archie was glad that Veronica hangs out with a gay man so he has no worries (but that was not spelled out either.)  Veronica's wealthy dad is scolding her for going OVER her 5000 message limit.  Betty is distressed because Veronica no longer pays attention to her BFF (best friend forever) but is totally preoccupied with her new gay boyfriend.  Jug Head takes Veronica aside and explains Betty's distress so they all throw a surprise birthday party for Betty.

I am amazed that something like Archie can last for 50 years and sell for $6.   I think I stopped with comics when I was 10 or 11. I only purchased some in an airport during my Senior year of college to see how my intellect would now perceive them.

NOW they offer on line ipod subscriptions to the comics. 

A HUGE comic store opened right across the street from our apt. I must go there and see what else is still in print, e.g. Little LuLu... and I must strain my memory to think of what else I read besides Superman, Batman, Wonderwoman, Spiderman... and there was one in the early 50s called Elastic Man but he did not seem to last long.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wrote Memorization and Top Ten Lists

I think the fallacy lies in our notion that things may be measured. We see nighttime talk show hosts rank the top ten of something with drum rolls. Someone asks what our favorite book is assuming that such is a meaningful question. The Jains are more realistic in there notion of "anekantavada" that any attempt to express reality is but one single aspect of reality. The Sufi wise-fool Nasrudin is more accurate in his reply to the man who believes in causality when he says "Consider that convicted murderer being led to the gallows: what is the CAUSALITY. Is it the man who gave him money to purchase the dagger. Is it the witness who saw and testified."  So much of my education (prior to St. Johns Annapolis) was focused upon rote memorization. I once memorized the periodic table of elements. I have forgotten more than most of the human race has ever known. And now, with the Internet technology, I need no remember anything. I need only know how and where to look to find it.

What does it mean to "create jobs"

I am not directing any comment at anyone, just thinking aloud... I turn on the television and hear people speak of "creating jobs" and I think about how meaningless that phrase really is...  If we were Neanderthal hunters and someone spoke of "creating prey" I would also think that is meaningless.  Many jobs are outsourced to India, but I doubt that India did something to CREATE those outsourced jobs other than to be poor enough to be willing to do lots of work for little pay and benefit. As India grows more prosperous then workers will demand more and perhaps the outsourcing will move to some poorer nation. China has a population of rural people used to fetching water from wells and bathing once a week and riding bicycles. That population is moving to cities and now expects indoor plumbing, daily showers and motor vehicles. This adds to Chinas energy and pollution problems.

Monday, April 18, 2011

One Key Requirement for Leadership is Lacking

Everywhere I look I see students reading books about leadership and Companies writing manuals about leadership. Everyone wants to be a leader. What would happen if EVERYONE succeeded in becoming a great leader? Allow  me to explain. We would be a nation of leaders with no followers.  We should be stressing what it means to become a great follower.  A leader is a director but a follower is a doer; an achiever.  If you lead then surely you are not the one doing but the one directing someone else who does the actual doing. A follower is capable of independent thinking "outside the box." If we were a nation of great followers we would not be so messed up. We are always looking for some clown of a leader to bail us out of our messes and when that fails we blame our mess on our leadership.  If the leader is not the one doing but the follower then how can the leader bear all the responsibility? 

If you were marooned on a desert island alone for 40 years then tell me what good would your leadership skills do you?  You would have to rely upon YOURSELF. You would have to be SELF-RELIANT.  Self-reliant people do not require as much supervision.  They do what is necessary and they do it correctly.

A Flag as Toilet Paper

Every nation has a flag and an anthem and some form of constitution. Every Corporation has a Logo, and a Mission Statement. Did you ever ponder these curious things. So, in a sense the American flag is simply one of many flags. St. Paul in one verse states that food offered to idols is nothing since the gods of those idols are non-existent.  In some sense a flag is nothing except a symbol which we endow with meaning. For me a saber-rattling jingoist patriotism can be a form of mental illness. Is America THE BEST?! Well, what is wrong with Canada and New Zealand and Australia and a host of other perfectly good nations and societies? Isolationism had its merits in George Washington's day but is absurd in todays international community.  But whatever a flag may or may not be it is in poor taste to wipe oneself with it or use it to blow ones nose. And whatever anyone thinks of some religion's scripture, we demean ourselves by burning it or desecrating it. Rather than use profanity and obscene gestures we should all join in constructive dialog about what positive measures may be take to improve life on the planet and what harmful practices should be modified or forsaken.

Does each generation view Ayn Rand in the same way

When the dance called "The Minuet" was first performed, respectable people were SHOCKED because until that time, males had danced in one line facing the women who danced in their own line and there was NO physical contact. Now, suddenly they were briefly touching fingers. How audacious!  And in the 1950s, on The Jack Paar night time talk show, the word PREGNANT was forbidden. One must use some tasteful euphemism like "expecting" or "with child."  So, I dare say that reactions change with the changing times.  During the Cold War era of the 1950s-60s Communism was demonic and for the Communists Capitalism was demonic. Now I dare say things are not viewed in the same way. Even the Communism of China has been greatly modified from the days of Chairman Mao.  Each generation perhaps sees Rand in a different way.  I am certain that the simple fact she is DECEASED makes a big difference from the years when she was a living author/speaker.  Heraclitus observed that "one cannot step into the same river twice." That moment we call "NOW" is that ever-changing river and yet human nature remains the same even from the time of Homer in the sense of sleep, hunger, greed, lust, nostalgia, etc.

Friday, April 15, 2011

In emergency ward

With relative Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Thursday, April 14, 2011

EU Media Standards & Free Speech

Columbia Journalism Review Strong Press, Strong Democracy Mar/Apr 2011 pg. 12 - The European Commission can examine whether the law is in line with the EU's Audiovisual Media Services Directive, which regulates television and on-demand services, and the Electronic Commerce Directive, which regulates ISPS and liability issues. Basic rights are also protected by Article 11 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which guarantees freedom of expression and the press.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Monasticism 3

The average layperson in an OLD CALENDARIST parish would lead a far more ascetic life than Roman Catholic priests (I am simply stating a fact and not praising or condemning anyone.) My wife attends mass every day and is a lector, Eucharistic minister and has studied so much that she knows as much or more than some priests. She is Filipina and several of the priests are Filipinos. She just now mentioned that one of them has probably gone to a folk dance. I know the priests in her parish and they are good people, good clergy. But a pious Old Calendarist layperson would not dance even though it is permitted to them. A married parish priest is forbidden to dance under any circumstances. One parish priest joked and said the only dance he does is the circumambulation done thrice at baptisms and also at wedding which may be seen as a stately procession. A monastic would not even listen to worldly music. The monasteries I was at had need of automobiles but would remove the radio to remove temptation. The monks would not read newspapers or worldly magazines. Several senior monks were given the duty to look at the news for things that might affect the Orthodox Church.  Usually they assigned such tasks to people who by nature destested such an activity. As a novice I very much wanted to read the Pedalion (Rudder) which is a collection of legalistic rules which govern the Greek Orthodox. I was forbidden to ever read it because they said my mind is too legalistic. Another monk was given the task of reading the Pedalion and he was not attached to it. He was ordained as a deacon so he had some need of such knowledge. The first thing I did when I left the monastery was purchase a copy of The Pedalion which is on my bookshelf to this day. Once I was no longer forbidden to read it the passion/desire to read it left me. As an aside, a curious note, an ordained priest must never shed the blood of any mammal. They are forbidden to hunt red-blooded mammals. IF a priest is driving a car and has an accident in which someone dies then he has shed human blood and may never again celebrate the Liturgy. This all goes back to the fact that King David COULD NOT build the temple because "Saul slew his thousands and David his tens of thousands."  Solomon was able to build the temple because he had never shed blood. Of course Solomon had other problems with his 800 wives and the foreign wives who built altars on high places.

Monasticism 2

 I intended neither to praise nor condemn monastic life but to simply state a fact of life that monasticism and asceticism is the foundation of the Eastern Orthodox church for centuries in a way that is alien to Western denominations and one can only comprehend it as a living experience. It may be glimpsed through much reading of things like the Philokalia but most people do not bother to immerse themselves in such readings and those who DO are attracted to it because they have a calling for that life whether they ever enter into it, or if they enter and find themselves "weighed and wanting" to quote the "handwriting on the wall" in the Book of Daniel.

Monastic Vocation

Centuries ago in Greece and Russia any married priest who became a widower was expected to enter a monastery and take monastic vows. This is what I was told in the 1970s by Greek and Russian Orthodox monastics. I should google and see if there is any information on this.

There is some mention of widower priests here
ki/Clerical_celibacy In my 20s and 30s I spent a number of years living in monasteries around Greek and Russian bishops and monastics and it became clear to me that the Orthodox church drew its essence from the life and spirit of the ascetic renunciate. It is true that certain jurisdictions would take widower priests and consecrate them as Bishops but the problem is that said individual has never tasted of the monastic ascetic renunciate experience. It is necessary to live it and experience it to understand what this means.

People who have never lived in a monastery cannot grasp the essence of it.... so for them everything is in terms of cookie-cutter external practicalities... Some people suggest that there would be more clerical vocations if marriage were allowed and yet denominations who ALLOW married clergy also suffer a decline in vocations. Unless one lives for a year or two in a monastery or convent and tastes the life and reads things like the Philokalia or Brachianinov's "The Arena" one has no conception of what the motivation for that life is and everything is understood as mere externals quid pro quo and economic practicalities. The best line I ever heard was in The Sound of Music where the old abbess says to the young novice something to the effect of "monastic vows are something you should be running TOWARDS and not something you do to run away from or avoid something in life." Another way to glimpse is to read the first 100 pages of The Brothers Karamazov which is an account of how a young man on the path to a military career slowly becomes drawn to spiritual life and becomes Staretz (Elder) Zosima who was based on the real life monastic Ambrosy that Dostoevsky met and used as a model for the fictional character.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Swearing Oaths in Court

Separation of Church and State – by William Buell

November 1, 2010

Unfortunately, some people see religious freedom as the freedom to force religion upon those who are not interested. Why should one be required to raise their RIGHT hand (or any hand at all) and swear and invoke God to “tell the truth?” I would think that this practice discriminates against those who are amputees or who were born “thalidomide babies.” So if they can testify without raising their hand then what is the purpose except that it is some religious superstition. Now why do we SWEAR if Jesus said not to swear by anything but “let your yea be yea and your nay be nay.” Now you may reply that those who find swearing objectionable may opt to solemnly affirm. The main thing is that we answer questions under penalty of perjury. But what is “the truth?” If I ask you “how much is 2 + 2″ you will answer 4, but is that “the truth.” It is my understanding that an actual proof in symbolic logic that 2 + 2 = 4 would have about 250 steps. A Godel or an Alfred North Whitehead might be able to prove that 2 + 2 = 4, but for most of us it is simply hearsay. Personally, I believe that I do not have access to “the truth.” I do believe that I know when I am lying and I know when I am committing a lie of omission. Should the court suspect that I have perjured myself then they will rule and impose a penalty. Such a ruling does not PROVE that I perjured myself but is simply the courts decision. To say that someone is guilty “beyond a shadow of a doubt” is not to say that we have some knowledge of their truth or innocence. What does it mean to say that doubt has a shadow? It is an imprecise figure of speech. I would think it is sufficient for a witness to simply state that the testimony they give is under penalty of perjury and if the court deems that they are lying or concealing then they shall pay the penalty of perjury. What is “a jury of my peers?” Is Joe the Plumber my peer? In what sense is he a peer. Would he ask the questions that I would ask. Does he value what I value for the reasons that I value? Does he admire what I admire and loathe what I loathe?

Alternatives to testifying under oath

February 13, 2010

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. Argued and submitted Aug. 5, 1989 and decided Dec. 19, 1985.

You do affirm upon pain and penalty of perjury that the testimony you will give in this deposition will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

“I understand that I must accurately state the facts” in place of “I understand that I must tell the truth.” That would also suffice, so long as Gordon acknowledges that he understands he is testifying under penalty of perjury

Now the scripture says ‘Let God be true though every man be a liar.’ I’m simply saying that since we’ve all lied in the past and we’ve lied once or twice today and we’re going to lie in the future, why kid ourselves by saying we tell the truth when in fact we do not. It’s my position I would be guilty of perjury the moment I said ‘Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God’ and I say ‘I do’ I’m committing a lie.”

Fed.R.Evid. 603 states that every witness “shall be required to declare that he will testify truthfully, by oath or affirmation administered in a form calculated to awaken his conscience and impress his mind with his duty to do so.” The advisory committee notes to Rule 603 illustrate that an affirmation need take no particular form: “The rule is designed to afford the flexibility required in dealing with religious adults, atheists, conscientious objectors, mental defectives, and children. Affirmation is simply a solemn undertaking to tell the truth; no special verbal formula is required.” Fed.R.Evid. 603 advisory committee note.

This reasoning should also apply to affirmations at depositions under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. We therefore conclude that any statement indicating that the deponent is impressed with the duty to tell the truth and understands that he or she can be prosecuted for perjury for failure to do so satisfies the requirement for an oath or affirmation under Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(c) and 43(d). Deponents, furthermore, need not raise their hand when they state the words necessary to satisfy Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(c) and 43(d) if to do so impinges on sincerely-held religious beliefs. This flexible approach is consistent with the constitutional obligation to protect the free exercise of religious beliefs by using the least restrictive means to further compelling state interests that impinge on such free exercise. See Callahan, 736 F.2d at 1273.


Assorted References

  • form of Roman imperial legislation  (in  constitutiones principum (Roman legislation))

    ...or legislation issued by the ancient Roman emperors. The chief forms of imperial legislation were (1) edicta, or proclamations, which the emperor, like other magistrates, might issue, (2) mandata, or instructions to subordinates, especially provincial governors, (3) rescripta, written answers to officials or others who consulted the emperor, in particular on a point of law,...


The following is a selection of items (artistic styles or groups, constructions, events, fictional characters, organizations, publications) associated with "mandata"

  • constitutiones principum (Roman legislation)


MLA Style:

"mandata." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 09 Apr. 2011. <>.

APA Style:

mandata. (2011). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from






ROMAN LAW is not merely the law of an Italian Community which existed two thousand years ago, nor even the law of the Roman Empire. It was, with more or less modification from local customs and ecclesiastical authority, the only system of law throughout the Middle Ages, and was the foundation of the modern law of nearly all Europe. In our own island it became the foundation of the law of Scotland, and, besides general influence, supplied the framework of parts of the law of England, especially of marriage, wills, legacies, and intestate succession to personalty. Through their original connection with the Dutch, it forms a main portion of the law of South Africa, Ceylon and Guiana, and it has had considerable influence in the old French province of Louisiana. Its intrinsic merit is difficult to estimate, when there is no comparable system independent of its influence. But this may fairly be said: Roman Law was the product of many generations of a people trained to government and endowed with cultivated and practical intelligence. The area of its application became so wide and varied that local customs and peculiarities gradually dropped away, and it became law adapted not to one tribe or nation but to man generally. Moreover, singular good fortune befell it at a critical time. When civilization was in peril through the influx of savage nations, and an elaborate and complicated system of law might easily have sunk into oblivion, a reformer was found who by skilful and conservative measures stripped the law of much antiquated complexity, and made it capable of continued life and general use without any breach of its connection with the past.

Sir Henry Maine has drawn attention to its influence as a system of reasoned thought on other subjects: “To Politics, to Moral Philosophy, to Theology it contributed modes of thought, courses of reasoning, and a technical language. In the Western provinces of the Empire it supplied the only means of exactness of speech, and still more emphatically, the only means of exactness, subtlety, and depth in thought”.

Gibbon in his 44th Chapter has employed all his wit and wealth of allusion to give some interest to his brief history of Roman jurisprudence and to season for the lay palate the dry morsels of Roman Law. The present chapter makes no such pretension. It is confined to a notice of the antecedents and plan of Justinian’s legislation, and a summary of those parts of it which are most connected with the general society of the period or afford some interest to an English reader from their resemblance or contrast to our own law. Unfortunately a concise and eclectic treatment cannot preserve much, if anything, of the logic and subtlety of a system of practical thought.

The sources of law under the early Emperors were Statutes (leges), rare after Tiberius; Senate's decrees (senatus consulta), which proposed by the Emperor took the place of Statutes; Edicts under the Emperor’s own name; Decrees, i.e. his final decisions as judge on appeal; Mandata, instructions to provincial governors;Rescripta, answers on points of law submitted to him by judges or private persons; the praetor’s edict as revised and consolidated by the lawyer Salvius Julianus at Hadrian's command and confirmed by a Senate's decree (this is generally called The Edict); and finally treatises on the various branches of law, which were composed, at any rate chiefly, by jurists authoritatively recognized, and which embodied the Common Law and practice of the Courts. By the middle of the third century AD the succession of great jurists came to an end, and, though their books, or rather the books written by the later of them, still continued in high practical authority, the only living source of law was the Emperor, whose utterances on law, in whatever shape whether oral or written, were calledconstitutiones. If written, they were by Leo's enactment (470) to bear the imperial autograph in purple ink.

Diocletian, who reformed the administration of the law as well as the general government of the Empire, issued many rescripts, some at least of which are preserved to us in Justinian’s Codex, but few rescripts of later date are found. Thereafter new general law was made only by imperial edict, and the Emperor was the sole authoritative interpreter. Anyone attempting to obtain a rescript dispensing with Statute Law was (384) to be heavily fined and disgraced.

The imperial edicts were in epistolary form, and were published by being hung up in Rome and Constantinople and the larger provincial towns, and otherwise made known in their districts by the officers to whom they were addressed. There does not appear to have been any collection of Constitutions, issued to the public, until the Codex Gregorianus was made in the eastern part of the Empire. (Codex refers to the book-form as opposed to a roll). This collection was the work probably of a man named Gregorius, about the end of the third century. In the course of the next century a supplement was made also in the Eastern Empire and called Codex Hermogenianus, probably the work of a man of that name. Both contained chiefly rescripts. A comparatively small part of both has survived in the later codes and in some imperfectly preserved legal compilations. During the fourth century, perhaps as Mommsen thinks in Constantine’s time, but with later additions, a compilation was made in the West, of which we have fragments preserved in the Vatican Library. They contained both branches of law, extracts from the jurists Ulpian, Paul, and Papinian, as well as Constitutions of the Emperors.

Reform of Law by Theodosius II

At length the need of an authoritative statement of laws in force was so strongly felt that the matter was taken up by government. Theodosius II, son of the Emperor Arcadius, having previously taken steps to organize public teaching in Constantinople, determined to meet the uncertainties of the law courts by giving imperial authority to certain text writers and by a new collection of the Statute Law. The books of the great lawyers, Papinian, Paul, and Ulpian and of a pupil of Ulpian, Modestinus, were well known and in general use. Another lawyer rather earlier than these, of whom we really know nothing, except his name (and that is only a praenomem), Gaius, had written in the time of Marcus Antoninus in very clear style a manual, besides other works of a more advanced character. The excellence of this manual brought it into general use and secured for its author imperial recognition on a level with the lawyers first named. Another work in great general use was a brief summary of the law by Paul known under the name of Pauli Sententiae. All these lawyers were in the habit of citing the opinions of earlier lawyers and often inserting extracts from them in their own works. Theodosius (with Valentinian, then seven years old) in AD 426 addressed to the Senate of Rome an important and comprehensive Constitution, intended to put what may be called the Common Law of Rome on a surer footing. He confirmed all the writings of Papinian, Paul, Gaius, Ulpian, and Modestinus, and added to them all the writers whose discussions and opinions were quoted by these lawyers, mentioning particularly Scaevola, Sabinus, Julian, and Marcellus. The books of the five lawyers first named were no doubt in the hands of judges and advocates generally, but the books of the others would be comparatively rare, and a quotation from them would be open to considerable doubt. It might contain a wrong reading or an interpolation or even a forgery. Theodosius therefore directed that these older books should be admitted as authorities, only so far as they were confirmed by a comparison with manuscripts other than that produced by the advocate or other person alleging their authority.

But Theodosius went further. If the writers thus authoritatively recognized were found to differ in opinion, the judge was directed to follow the opinion of the majority, and if the numbers on each side were equal, to follow the side on which Papinian stood and disregard any notes of Paul or Ulpian contesting Papinian’s opinion, but Paul’s Sententiae were always to count. If Papinian’s opinion was not there to decide between equal numbers of authorities, the judge must use his own discretion.

The great portion of law which had been set forth in text-books as reasonable and conformable to precedent and statute having thus been sanctioned, and rules given for its application, Theodosius turned his attention to the Statute Law itself. The jurists had in their various treatises taken account of the pertinent rescripts, edicts, etc., already issued and it was therefore only from the time when the series of authoritative jurists ended that the imperial constitutions required collecting. The books of Gregorius and Hermogenianus (Codices Greg, et Herm.) contained those issued down to Constantine’s time, which was therefore taken as the starting-point for the additional collection. Theodosius in 429 appointed a Commission of eight, and in 435 another larger Commission of which Antiochus the praefect was named first with other officials and ex-officials of the Record and Chancellery departments and Apelles, a law professor, power being given to call other learned men to their aid. He instructed them, following the precedent of Gregory and Hermogenianus’ books, to collect all the imperial Constitutions issued by Constantine and his successors which were either in the form of edicts or at least of general application, to arrange them in the order of time under the known heads of law, breaking up for this purpose laws dealing with several subjects, and while preserving the enacting words to omit all unnecessary preambles and declarations. When this is done and approved they are to proceed to review Gregory, Hermogenianus, and this third book, and with the aid of the pertinent parts of the jurists’ writings on each head of law to omit what was obsolete, remove all errors and ambiguities, and thus make a book which should “bear the name of the Emperor Theodosius and teach what should be followed and what avoided in life”.

The Theodosian code, technically called, as Mommsen thinks, simply Theodosianus, was published in Constantinople 15 February 438 and transmitted to Rome at the end of the year. The consul at Rome holding the authentic copy in his hands, in the presence of the imperial commissioners, read to the Senate the order for its compilation, which was received with acclamation. We have an account of this proceeding with a record of the enthusiastic shouts of the senators and the number of times each was repeated, some 24 or 28 times. Exclusive authority was given to the code in all court-pleadings and court-documents from 1 January 439, the Emperor boasting that the code would banish a cloud of dusty volumes and disperse the legal darkness which drove people to consult lawyers; for the code would make clear the conditions of a valid gift, the way to sue out an inheritance, the frame of a stipulation, and the mode of recovering a debt whether certain or uncertain in amount.

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