Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance

Zero Tolerance is the opiate of the insipid and the idiotic, it is a phrase used by too many to hide behind, instead of an effective tool. They are rules not unlike mandatory sentencing in our courts that attempt to remove all thought from every human equation in an attempt to reduce inequity but actually increasing it.

Science tells us that anytime you attempt to reach the extreme, i.e. zero tolerance the closer you come to the extreme the more effort and resources you must expend, at the expense of the mean, to make even minimal gains at the extremes.

Zero tolerance rules and controls almost always take all of the thinking and decision-making processes out of the hands those who are paid and qualified to make those hard sometimes risky decisions. It is often hard to tell from the outside looking in if some of our decision makers are incapable of good decisions afraid of making any decision at all, or in actuality have their hands tied behind their backs by their bosses, federal regulations, lawyers, or insurance companies.

It is a fact that a failure to decide based on careful consideration of all aspects of a situation rather than dogmatic adherence to rules is itself a decision and almost always a bad one.

Most of zero tolerance rules were originally written for safety purposes or to protect some individual or group, but are now pretty much used to cover somebody’s ass from any political, public, or private approbation. Often expressed by the statment,  ” I just followed the rules.”

It truly makes me nervous and a bit nauseous when politicians and administrators feel that they can write an ironclad rule or law that will equitably cover all human situations. That in fact, they can rely on the letter of the law to do their thinking for them with no care for the law’s actual original intent or even what is right, wrong or reasonable.

If we attempt to control every single heavily publicized bad outcome, caused by stupid or evil people, we will necessarily in the process reduce the rights and place a further burden on those who have done nothing wrong.

We have to decide are we going to be a society of honest reflection or a society of black and white inviolable rules. Do we indeed wish to start throwing out the baby with the bathwater, which is what we will do if we continue down this path?

Some current examples of situations that will create zero tolerance rules that will unfairly limit and burden the lives of good people are; The attack on opiates as a valuable drug, foster homes as a benefit to society, and last but not least our public schools.

Zero tolerance rules mean little to those who have no tolerance for rules while placing a burden on those who will attempt to follow them.

At absolute zero everything stops moving. If we continue with our zero-tolerance obsession our society will stop moving as well, stagnating in a freezing pool of fear-induced rules.

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Life is like a jigsaw puzzle. When you first start trying to figure out life as a toddler all of the pieces of the puzzle fit neatly into a hole designed just for them and most pieces have a handle that allows you to get a good grip on the problem. When you are an older child many times your puzzles have difficult nooks and crannies that sometimes look the same but are just not quite right and sometimes it is difficult to solve those puzzles but still when you finally get it put together it makes a picture of a warm fuzzy puppy.
In your teenage years, the puzzles are more difficult to fit together but if you are lucky your parents have put some of the edge pieces together for you and are willing to let you find the others with a little guidance. Edges are important in any puzzle as you always need some boundaries as a starting point to solve any problem.
Eventually, as an adult, you will have to find the edge pieces yourself. Often in a world filled with either gray pieces or a welter of pieces with so many choices and colors that it is sometimes difficult to even find the edges you need, let alone fill in the center. Too often you find that there are some pieces that will just never fit together quite right. Some you will force to fit into places where they really don’t belong. And there will be others that you will never actually find because they fell off of the table and have been eaten by the hounds of life that always seem to linger just below the work surface.
As you become middle aged your puzzles become more and more complex and it sometimes seems that you have mixed the pieces of several different puzzles together and then struggle to sort out the pieces. In some cases never getting all of the pieces back where they belong.
As you continue to work life’s puzzles sometimes with age comes the awareness that patience, persistence, and acceptance of the fact that not all puzzles are completely solvable will comfort you. Along with these insights, you gain the understanding that when you look at the whole puzzle of your life a few missing pieces shouldn’t bother you too much unless you choose to concentrate on what’s missing instead of what you have completed.
Finally, in retirement, you often begin looking for and hopefully finding those long lost large important pieces with strong handles. The ones that are important in your life.

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The Great Melting Pot

America used to be known as the great melting pot of the world. A fiery cauldron where different types of peoples mixed together becoming stronger through the alloying of many different unique parts into a stronger whole. Now instead of a foundry we seem to have become instead a smelter house where our citizenry is being slowly and surely pulled back into its component, self-centered and self-interested parts thus weakening the whole.

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“When You Turn Your Back To Your Enemy You Prove Yourself Either a Coward or a Fool.”

It has been a difficult period for me as I have watched half of our country viscerally attack other half through the proxy of President Trump. Some would say justified attacks in response to those against President Obama but I find these attacks possibly more damaging to the country as a whole. Perhaps the most problematic is the refusal to even listen to the other side, turning your back on a perceived problem does not make it go away.  Now it seems that one  half of our country is  picking at every scab it can find  while the other non politician half largely sits and quietly watches. Not unlike the scenario we saw before the last election when surprises were not uncommon.  It seems dangerous to me how quiet 1/2 of America has become. Either they are as a boiling pot covered but raging and ready to boil over  or perhaps  like a wounded animal sulking in the dark licking its wounds and preparing for  revenge. Either way the silence is troubling and possibly a bit dangerous.

Our two major internet news services have switched places one that used to be filled with light and hope now filled with dark innuendo  while the other by comparison seems to have  become less extreme and more reasonable. Is it possible that  good and evil in America are now defined in political terms or on late night “comedy” shows  rather than moral terms as they should be.   That seems a dangerous path.

For guidance I turn to Nietzsche and Marilyn Manson and others , Manson and Nietzsche it should be noted are  not often quoted together  anywhere..

“It should make you just a bit  nervous when your onslaught of attacks provoke nothing from the people you are attacking”. R. Safris ( note I am talking like the Chevy commercials  about “real People” not politicians.)

“He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” Nietzsche

“The tormentor becomes the tormented.” Nietzsche

“How do people become what they hate” Anon

“It is as a hall of mirrors folding in on itself.” Anon

Is it okay to bully a bully?  R. Safris

“And the more he struggled against the tar the more he was covered by it and stuck in it” Br’er rabbit and the tar baby,

“With him finally surrendering to the matrix to destroy it.” – The Matrix

“Remember, a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware. Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side are they. “ Yoda

“Take your weapon. Strike me down with all of your hatred and your journey towards the dark side will be complete!” The Emperor Star Wars

“You want this, don’t you? The hate is swelling in you now. Take your Jedi weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it. Give in to your anger. With each passing moment you make yourself more my servant.” The Emperor Star Wars

I became persuaded, that my love of mankind, and of excellence for its own sake, had worn itself out .”John Stuart Mill

“And what is inside us, we cultivated.” Anon

“Minds so undisciplined they created whatever they feared.” Michael Crichton

“Is it okay to hate the hater because they hate?” R.Safris

“Many people get co-opted into evil Such as Eve and the temptation. We are seeing that in many facets of society today but the political and religious ones are still the favorites for people losing their souls.” Anon

“Addicts always start out with a view they can tempt the abyss and not be caught. Every addict ends up saying: Oops!” Anon

“There are none so blind as those who will not see” Bible/Various

“I hate what I have become to escape what I hated. “ Marilyn Manson

“We have become as teenagers looking for any weakness to torment apparently not aware that it may become  a permanent scar” R. Safris

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The price of light is less than the cost of darkness…… Arthur C. Nielsen

Arthur Nielsen gained his fame by rating TV shows and his quote is quite true with the exception of current  TV and Internet news where I would need to add, ” Unless the darkness sells Advertising minutes.”

Any science news, particularly that supported with statistics must be looked at carefully when presented on the internet or TV news. Often incomplete information or cherry picking of facts or statements distort the true meaning of what was actually discovered. Too often now the science and stats we see on TV are the results of someone funding a project because they have a bone to pick ,a bone to bury or they wish to begin chewing on someone else’s bone. Citing of questionable studies and twisted surveys accompanied by meaningless stats and misleading charts is so common as to be endemic on the internet and TV news. A friend once told me that if you, ” massage the numbers long enough they will become your friend,” or conversely, ” if you torture the data long enough it will confess.”

Please do  not accept anything incredible that  you hear or see on TV or the Internet without further investigation. Apply Sagan’s advice that , ” Extraordinary  claims require Extraordinary evidence” and always consider that  although it may be true it also may not be correct as is illustrated by the story of the “Six blind men and the elephant,”  by Saxe included at the end of this post.

War is ninety percent information.
Napoleon Bonaparte
A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.
Marshall McLuhan
I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts – for support rather than for illumination.
Andrew Lang,

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
Albert Einstein
Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.
Aaron Levenstein


The Blind Men and the Elephant

IT was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.


The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me!—but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”


The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried:”Ho!—what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ‘t is mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”


The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:

“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant

Is very like a snake!”


The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he;
” ‘T is clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”


The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”


The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”


And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!


So, oft in theologic wars

The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

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Pat Robertson, Prison time, Drugs, and Me

Source: Pat Robertson, Prison time, Drugs, and Me

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Be Afraid Be Very Afraid

Sorry about his but it pains me tremendously to see so many Americans cowering in fear, intolerant of any exception to the norm. I have seen too many stories today on the internet about this is so dangerous that is so dangerous, don’t take any risks no matter how small,

” Be afraid be very afraid,” because when you are always afraid you can be controlled and when fear and control are established absolutely you will have no risk but no rewards either. And in actuality if your fears should ever actually be soothed the powerful will create new ones for you, it’s happening daily and hourly as this is written. Can you remember what we were supposed to be afraid on last year? Did it disappear? Did it happen?

Politicians seem to be the best salesmen of this credo right behind TV weather and internet news and eventually if the fearmongers get their way the picture on our TV screens and computer monitors will be a perfect shade of gray in complete stasis and Orwell’s 1984 nightmare will seem like a pleasant dream.

FDR said , ” we have nothing to fear but fear itself,” certainly a wide generalization but still generally true today. as It’s hard to accomplish anything when you’re fearfully cowering in the shadows in the corner of your own little part of the world shouting fearful puerile gibberish.

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