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  • #91
    Shocking to see this kind of event unfold again. My sympathy goes out to the victims and their families. With the above, JMS hits the nail on the head on so many counts.

    I was also deeply impressed with the sentiment behind Patton Oswalt’s response, which has gone viral on Facebook.

    I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, "Well, I've had it with humanity."

    But I was wrong. I don't know what's going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

    But here's what I DO know. If it's one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness.

    But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

    So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, "The good outnumber you, and we always will."
    Last edited by Ubik; 05-05-2013, 10:19 AM.
    Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

    Kosh: Good!

    Comment


    • #92
      A poster on FB commented that he was enjoying the JMS anthology book "Straczynski Unplugged" and asked if there would be more anthologies or prose works.

      Originally posted by Fans of J. Michael Straczynski
      Definitely want to do more prose, haven't had the chance for much fiction work. Main thing taking up my time in prose just now is the autobiography.
      Jan
      "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

      Comment


      • #93
        An autobiography... that could make for really interesting reading. I love the tone and content of the B5 Script Book intros, and I could see JMS working really well in autobio mode.
        Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

        Kosh: Good!

        Comment


        • #94
          Once again, JMS has made a thought-provoking post. Please feel free to start a thread in 'Off Topic' if you want to discuss it.

          Originally posted by Fans of J. Michael Straczynski

          I would like to make a modest suggestion on the subject of congressional corruption – and make no mistake, that’s precisely what it is, and if we’re ever going to deal with it that’s what we need to start calling it – that is affecting both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate.

          When friends and pundits discuss the impact of heavily monied special interest groups on the vote patterns of our elected representatives, who too often reflect the desires of those groups rather than the will of the voters who elected them, the battle cry is always the same: “We have to legislate the money out of the political process.”

          It’s a fine goal. A commendable goal. A noble goal. I find absolutely nothing wrong with it other than it will never happen.

          The handy thing about being a lawmaker is that you get to define and decide what is, in fact, unlawful. If you’re doing something that might incur the wrath of the electorate or, worse still, result in a long visit behind prison walls, you simply rewrite the laws so that whatever you're doing is not illegal.

          We’ve seen this in action before. Prior to the George W. Bush administration, waterboardring had been unequivocally considered torture. In the aftermath of World War Two, Japanese soldiers convicted of having waterboarded American soldiers were executed for having committed torture. For decades every American military manual covering wartime conduct labeled waterboarding torture.

          So when our government decided they wanted to use it on others, they simply redefined waterboarding as “enhanced interrogation” rather than torture and that, as they say, was that. There was nothing different in the practice between now and the 1940s, it was just a matter of adjusting the language and the laws so that what was illegal yesterday is absolutely lawful today.

          Which brings us back around to the parallel subject of congressional corruption.

          If you or I had a real estate or zoning matter pending before a local court, and we slipped the County Clerk a hundred bucks to grease the wheels a bit, he and we would be arrested on charges of bribery...and rightly so. The technical, legal term for this is “exerting undue influence.” That hundred dollars caused the Clerk to spin the wheel of government in our desired direction, so it is only right and proper that we be incarcerated. That’s what the law says.

          But in the halls of the Senate and the House of Representatives, where millions of dollars are routinely funneled into the pockets of our elected officials, they have taken great pains to gut, amend, delete or otherwise revise the laws concerning bribery to the point where they either do not apply or require such a ridiculously high standard that you really have to work to violate it. The corollary would be that you could only be arrested for driving under the influence if you were ALSO going over one hundred miles per hour, AND singing a pre-1975 Rolling Stone cover, AND juggling six (not five, not seven, but six) oranges and one potato (unpeeled, of course), all at precisely the same time.

          So as a rule, the worst penalty one might receive is an ethics violation, which is little more than a procedural slap on the wrist applied by those doing the very same things, and who consequently go easy on the offender because they don’t want to bring too much attention to their own financial dealings. The offense is a breach of protocol and a matter of mild embarrassment rather than a violation of the law.

          Accepting those vast sums is not a crime because, as with waterboarding, they simply defined it otherwise under federal law. Nice work if you can get it.

          Which is why the goal of legislating away monied special interests will never happen. You can’t expect the people receiving the money to vote against their own pocketbook.

          But that is not to say that nothing can be done. Something can be done. It just requires a little civic courage.

          Note the phrase three paragraphs up: “they simply defined it otherwise under federal law.” But the local and state laws concerning bribery remain clear, unmuddied, and very much intact, which is why the aforementioned County Clerk is still locked away in the Iron Bar Hotel.

          You really want to fix congressional corruption on both sides of the aisle? You really want to get the money out of the process? You really want to make your elected officials answerable to those who put them in office? Here’s how you do it.

          It takes just one civic-minded law enforcement officer, one civic minded prosecutor and one civic-minded judge to walk into the local office of a senator or congressman who has received millions of dollars in money from a corporation with business before Congress, business which the elected official voted on in the way the corporation wanted him or her to vote on it...and make an arrest under state or local laws covering bribery and undue influence.

          There’s nothing the federal government can do to prevent such a case being brought, no revision or reconsideration by the House or Senate that can absolve the accused of culpability, no solution to the problem other than a trial by jury.

          And that’s where this whole thing comes to a head.

          More than just about anything else, I want to hear a defense attorney say this to a jury:

          “Yes, my client, the defendant, accepted ten million dollars from Corporation X; yes, my client then voted on bills concerning Corporation X in ways that allowed said corporation to make substantial profits; and yes, Corporation X not only wanted that bill passed, they actually wrote the bill and handed it to my client to bring before Congress and move it forward, which is exactly what happened...but the notion that those ten million dollars had any influence on his actions is simply absurd.”

          I want to see him put that argument before twelve hard-working Americans. I would happily cancel all other entertainment just to be there.

          Given the public’s indignation over the use of money to buy influence, so that the voters have no voice and those with cash cut to the front of the line...given the moral outrage of a nation confronted with the realization that our representatives have failed at the task of being representative...given the County Clerk scenario presented earlier, which would surely be part of any such trial...how do you think the jury would vote?

          Perhaps more to the point: how would you?

          Bills and legislation and discussions with those who make and remake the federal laws in their own vested interest will never, ever get the money out of the process.

          What will start the process of getting the money out is news footage of a Senator or Congressman being perp-walked out of his house in the middle of the night on charges of bribery. One single conviction, on even the smallest of charges, will finish the job.

          It requires just one civic-minded law enforcement officer out of nearly 800,000 across the United States.

          One civic-minded prosecutor.

          And one civic-minded judge.

          And the world will turn irrevocably on its axis.

          J. Michael Straczynski
          https://www.facebook.com/#!/permalin...if_t=notify_me

          Jan
          "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

          Comment


          • #95
            And on a lighter note, from Twitter:

            Originally posted by JMichael Straczynski‏@straczynski
            20h
            Best overheard line at today's Ten Grand signing: "I woke up the next morning covered in Cheese Doodles and shame."
            "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

            Comment


            • #96
              Originally posted by Jan View Post
              Once again, JMS has made a thought-provoking post. Please feel free to start a thread in 'Off Topic' if you want to discuss it.



              https://www.facebook.com/#!/permalin...if_t=notify_me

              Jan
              Corporation X would try to buy off, threaten/ruin or kill the civic-minded law enforcement officer, the civic-minded prosecutor, the civic-minded judge and/or all twelve jurors, indirectly, of course.
              Mac Breck (KoshN)
              ------------------
              Warner Brothers is Lucy.
              JMS and we fans are collectively Charlie Brown.
              Babylon 5 is the football.

              Comment


              • #97
                Ooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhh! ! !

                "Don't get me started . . . Don't even get me started."

                Seriously, I could go on for days. And who can tell what program that quote came from?
                Susan Ivanova, "I'll be in the car."

                Comment


                • #98
                  JMS posted last night that Saturday was Buddy's (his cat) tenth birthday:

                  Originally posted by Fans of J. Michael Straczynski
                  For those tracking such things, Buddy the Miracle Cat (BudTMC to his hip-hip friends) turned 10 yesterday. A furry happiness engine.
                  And a photo:

                  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...9402959&type=1

                  and a little bit about his lineage:

                  Originally posted by Fans of J. Michael Straczynski
                  I'm pretty sure he's a blend of Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest Cat and drunk-midget-in-a-cat-suit.
                  ETA: And in case anybody hasn't read it - the original rescue story: http://jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-16938

                  Jan
                  "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                  Comment


                  • #99
                    looking at him there's definitely some maine coon in there, just from the fur's perspective.

                    My own cats may be leaving me soon enough, for reasons I cannot discuss here.

                    Alan
                    "There are no good wars. War is always the worst possible way to resolve differences. It degenerates and corrupts both sides to ever more sordid levels of existence, in their need to gain an advantage over the enemy. Those actively involved in combat are almost always damaged goods for the rest of their lives. If their bodies don't bear scars, their minds do, ofttimes both. Many have said it before, but it can't be said to enough, war is hell. "

                    Comment


                    • One doesn't often find actual discussions on Twitter but I found this series of exchanges interesting:

                      https://twitter.com/straczynski/stat...57444722135040

                      Also, in an interesting crossover, a few days ago on FB, a former classmate of JMS' reminded him about a paper JMS had written in both English and Elvish. Last night on Twitter, JMS posted that he'd found the paper and posted a photo:

                      JMichael Straczynski ‏@Straczynski]
                      Was recently reminded that in college Fantasy Lit class I turned in a paper on LoTR written in English and Elvish. I was and am such a geek
                      JMichael Straczynski ‏@Straczynski]
                      Oh crap I found it in the archives. pic.twitter.com/lWZRq52U2f
                      JMichael Straczynski ‏@Straczynski]
                      That paper was from 1973 and looking back I have absolutely no idea if I was even vaguely accurate with any of it.
                      Jan
                      "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                      Comment


                      • Investing in the future:

                        Originally posted by Fans of J. Michael Straczynski
                        Two of my former high school teachers -- Jo Ann Seiple and Rochelle Terry -- and I got together recently to create a scholarship program that would recognize the graduating student of Chula Vista High School who demonstrates the most potential for becoming a writer. Each year's winner will receive a check for two thousand dollars to be used for college tuition and other education-related expenses.

                        We are pleased to announce that CVHS Class of 2013 graduate Stephen Shinder is the first recipient of the Seiple-Terry-Straczynski Scholarship Fund. Our congratulations go out to Stephen, who his already trying his hand at writing poetry and short fiction in the mystery and fantasy genres, and we wish him the very best of luck in his creative endeavors. We expect to hear great things about him in the future.
                        Congratulations to Stephen!

                        Jan
                        "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                        Comment


                        • Over the weekend, JMS was asked for his thoughts about the NSA leak pertaining to tapping phone and internet records and whether such actions are needed:

                          Originally posted by Fans of J. Michael Straczynski
                          Need is not the issue, nor is safety. If you really want to ensure everyone's safety, then simply cancel the bill of rights in its entirety, question and surveil everyone, do random searches of homes and offices and personal belongings, and the problem will diminish. And so will the country.

                          We cannot pass on our safety to our inheritors. We can only pass on the freedoms that have been hard won over a very long time, and this is simply one more inch in the inch-by-inch clawing away of those rights to privacy. Nixon was impeached and left office over having been involved in wiretapping just a few folks. How far our perceptions of what's allowable have changed.
                          As always, if you want to discuss this in depth, please take it to the Off Topic forum.

                          Another couple of posts:

                          Originally posted by Fans of J. Michael Straczynski
                          With obvious western bias: if Paris was the center of art and writing and intellectualism and culture in the twenties and thirties, New York in the forties and fifties, London and San Francisco in the sixties...where is that cultural center today?
                          Many responses nominated Silicon Valley and/or the Internet:

                          Originally posted by Fans of J. Michael Straczynski
                          Silicon Valley has tech and innovation but unless I missed something not a lot of art or poetry or music or culture. Hotbeds of writers and artists and musicians creating amazing things in an artistic gestalt that affects the world.
                          Originally posted by Fans of J. Michael Straczynski
                          I disagree that it's the Internet because a) I specifically was addressing physical locations, where artists and writers and others can look across a table at each other and learn from and give to each other, and form communities that move the culture forward, and b) there's as much crap and foolishness on the internet as there is smart stuff. So it flattens the whole thing down.

                          What I'm after -- and maybe it *doesn't* exist anymore -- is that singular cultural starburst that is remarkable in and after its time for the sheer volume of culture-changing artists it produces.

                          Again, going back to the specific examples: in Paris in the 20s and 30s, in that one tiny little center of the world, counting the ex-pats, you had Sherwood Anderson, Djuna Barnes, Samuel Beckett, Kay Boyle, John Dos Passos, Lawrence Durrell, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Madox Ford, Hilda Doolittle, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Henry Miller, Ana┬┤s Nin, Ezra Pound, and Gertrude Stein. It was art deco and surrealism and Josephine Baker.

                          In New York in the 40s and 50s you had Salinger, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Didion, Dylan (Bob and Thomas), Buckley, Mailer, Jason Pollock and the Village Voice and abstract expressionism, the birth of anthology television, Talese, Trillin and the explosion of theater and art and music.

                          We're talking bubbles that elevate and ennoble and force the culture to turn upward whether it likes it or not.

                          It's not the Internet because it's so pervasive and broad as to be meaningless in terms of art. For every person putting up a really cool painting there are ten people putting up cat videos. It's not about what's moving technology forward, it's what's moving the culture forward in art and music and literature? Show me the Ginsberg or the Kerouac or the Pollock or the Gertrude Stein or the Salinger of the internet. Show me the voices of a new generation howling at the failures of the previous one, and in so doing carving out a whole new cultural world for themselves.

                          In thinking about this some more last night, it occurred to me that maybe the question has its own answer. In Paris in the 20s and 30s you had expatriates and misfits and oddballs gathering up in one location and feeding into each other, creating a community that escaped the vapidness of the rest of the world. New York in the 40s and 50s were where the next bunch of misfits went to escape the America of Eisenhower and post-WW2 conformity. London and San Francisco in the 60s were where the next generation escaped to in search of identity and community.

                          Maybe the problem is that conformity and anti-intellectualism means that there's simply nowhere left for the misfits to escape to. Maybe the last escape route has been torn out and paved over.

                          It would be terrible if that were true.
                          Jan
                          "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                          Comment


                          • And shifting over to Twitter...

                            Originally posted by JMichael Straczynski ‏@Straczynski
                            9 Jun
                            Finished the first installment of an outside project we'll announce at SDCC. A universe I've always wanted to play in (no, not Star Wars).
                            Originally posted by JMichael Straczynski ‏@Straczynski
                            9 Jun
                            Blake's 7 would be lovely, but they've got things well in hand over there, they sure as heck don't need my help.
                            Originally posted by JMichael Straczynski ‏@Straczynski
                            9 Jun
                            And by the way, exactly who do I have to fuck to get a blue checkmark verified thingy next to my name? Huh? Huh?
                            (this refers to getting verified by Twitter that you're actually the celeb you appear to be. Pat Tallman's been trying for that also)

                            And there was a totally warped conversation about popes and pokes and boobs and monitors and respect and...well...you really just need to go over there and click all the discussion links. https://twitter.com/straczynski If you don't LOL at least once, your money back!

                            Jan
                            "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                            Comment


                            • This one's a JMS quote, but not something he said recently. I don't know anything about this publication and less about the situation they're talking about, but somebody just quoted Babylon 5 as the header to a newspaper column:

                              http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2013/0...matic-silence/

                              No dictator, no invader, can hold an imprisoned population by force of arms forever. There is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. Against that power, governments and tyrants and armies cannot stand. - J Michael Straczynski
                              Jan
                              Last edited by Jan; 06-22-2013, 01:06 PM.
                              "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                              Comment


                              • Can't be certain but I *think* there might be a note of sarcasm in this.

                                Originally posted by Fans of J. Michael Straczynski
                                "Memo To: Mary Magdalene:

                                Hey, Mary. Listen, I really didn't want to bring this up or even do anything about it, but well, here's the problem. You're a beautiful woman. Seriously. I mean, really attractive. And the guys, they're...well, they're fishermen. They spend their days and nights thinking about...well, they're not thinking about fish, I can guarantee you that for sure. We're talking some pretty impure thoughts. I mean, on a scale from one to ten, some of the impure thoughts flying around here are spiking at eleven.

                                The thing is, I'm trying to get something going here, and we can't have any distractions or these 'impure thoughts.' It's the good of these twelve guys against the good of one, so I'm afraid we're going to have to throw you off the team, as it were. I'm sure you'll understand.

                                While we're at it, and I'm really about this, but there's not much I can do about it, I mean, you can't expect me to do everything...could you do me a favor and tell the lepers not to come around anymore? They're kind of grossing out the guys, and that's even worse than impure thoughts, y'know? Also the tax collectors because, well, do I really have to explain why anyone shouldn't be hanging out with tax collectors?

                                I know this is a real inconvenience, because it's not technically your fault, but those are the breaks, you know?

                                We need to play to the worst of who we might be instead of the best we might yet become.

                                Your pal,

                                JC"
                                http://thinkprogress.org/sports/2013...hts-about-her/

                                Somebody posted that he'd been brought up not to hit girls and he thought that should still be taught rather than teaching them to knock them down in football. JMS responded:

                                Originally posted by Fans of J. Michael Straczynski
                                Doug: sorry but you're living in a world that uses that idea to suppress women instead of letting them do what *they* want to do rather than what *you* think they should do. By your logic, there should not be women in sports at all, or in the military, or in any other endeavor that they might choose to be in even though they might get bruised in the process.

                                Given the choice between getting their skin bruised doing what they love, or getting their dreams crushed by not doing what they love, I suspect I know which would do the greatest damage.
                                As usual, discussion to off-topic.

                                Jan
                                Last edited by Jan; 06-24-2013, 09:22 PM.
                                "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                                Comment

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