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Mostly I find it useless to argue with Teabaggers. As Charlie Chan once said: "Is like train with no wheels, get nowhere fast." But a few years ago I did convince one of them that Utah should not pass a law banning same sex marriage. My personal attitude about gay marriage went from hell no, to well maybe..., to why not, to hell yes. Sometimes it takes me a while to get on the right side of an issue, but I usually get there sooner or later. When the Mormon Church got involved with Prop 8, it irritated me enough to resign from the church.
What I did was to turn their own heavy weapons against him, the Constitution and the Bible. The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment clearly states that all laws have to apply equally to everyone. A law cannot say that one group of people can get married and another group can't. Do you believe in the Constitution or not? Well... the Bible still says it's wrong. Yes it does. It also says that disrespectful children should be put to death. Do you believe that? Well, no... Why not, it's the word of God isn't it. Well, you can't go by everything you read in the Bible. Ok, I guess gays should be allowed to get married. But I still don't like it. That's ok, you aren't required to like it.

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Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 08:48 AM PST

The Power of the Gift

by rmonroe

I have always liked to think of myself as a generous person. I enjoy doing things for people and giving them small items that I have made. It makes me feel good. My involvement with the Occupy movement started me down the path of looking at alternate economies, including gift economies. Our current world economy is based on self interest and we are led to believe that selfishness is mankind's natural state. Self interest is what drives our "free market economy". And there was a time when I bought into it myself.

But over time I have slowly come to believe that generosity, not selfishness is our natural state. It is our economic system itself that forces us into selfishness. This past holiday season has reinforced that belief in our natural generosity.

One of my hobbies is tumble polishing gemstones. When I first started doing this I had some vague notion of selling them. But as I started accumulating more and more polished stones and showing them to my friends and family, they admired them so much that I just started giving them away. And their gratitude gave me a good felling inside. When I would go to their homes I would see them on display on shelves with their other collectables and nicknacks. I got so that I would carry some with me in a small drawstring pouch and started giving them away to not only people I knew but strangers too. To people that I would normally tip, like taxi drivers and waitresses, in addition to their monetary tip I would give them a stone. Then I started giving them to people I wouldn't normally tip, like check out clerks at stores. Then to strangers I happened to run across on the bus or sitting on park benches, and to any child within range.

The reaction I get from people is always the same: gratitude. A true gift is given expecting nothing in return. Year round gift giving a little different than Christmas or birthday gifts where you know you will receive gifts in return either now or in the future. The natural reaction to receiving is gratitude and the desire to give back. The exchange of gifts during the holiday season is for me a family thing, focusing on the children. But this year as I made my rounds to wish my friends happy holidays I was deluged with small gifts, ranging form homemade cookies to waki tabaki.

But the incident that really brought home to me the power of the gift happened a few summers ago. My water heater went out and as my landlady and the maintenance man were installing a new one, my landlady's two young granddaughters (approximately 5 and 3 years old) were playing in the front yard. They were squatted down on the front lawn poking around with sticks looking for bugs when I walked up and and spread a handful of stones on the ground and told them each to pick one. I stood and waited for them to make their choice. And waited. And waited. They seemed to ooohh and aaahh over every one. "It's so hard to decide" said the older one. Now when it comes to money I am a poor man. But when it comes to polished stones, I am wealthy. I said " Tell you what, take them all". They both gave me an astonished look like I had just handed them all the gold in Fort Knox.
I went back inside and sat down. A few minutes later there was a soft knock on the door. I opened the door and there stood the two little girls with shy looks on their faces. The oldest one was holding a flower in her hand. She raised her hand to hand me the flower and said: "It was the prettiest one I could find". A gift worth more than any rock I have ever had. My tumblers are running 24/7.

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Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 06:02 AM PDT

Shut 'er down. Philadelphia 1835

by rmonroe

Shutdown? You call this a shutdown? Do you Teabaggers really think you have leverage? Let me show you who has the real leverage. This is the story of a real shutdown,the first general strike in the United States. Let' set the Wayback machine for Philadelphia 1835. This 100% American made story lies below the orange union label.

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Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 09:42 AM PDT

To bomb or not to bomb: A Kossack poll

by rmonroe

Although my father and I agree 95% of the time, we take opposite views on the Syrian issue. The same is true of this community, I have seen some pretty heated exchanges in the comment threads. The only thing I am sure about is that this is a tough call, at least for me. Good people can take both sides. I'm far from sure that I'm on the right side. I'm curious as to the breakdown among Kossacks.

Poll

Bomb?

24%69 votes
69%195 votes
5%16 votes

| 280 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 02:40 AM PST

Kossack Chess Players Needed

by rmonroe

I publish a diary now and again to try to recruit players for our online Kossack chess team. Everyone is welcome to join. We don't care how good you are. We have some top players and then we have players like me that aren't so good.

chess pieces
The matches we play are online correspondence chess with 3 days allowed per move. These are rated games. The default rating for new players is 1200. First you must register with chess.com. It's free. Then go to our group's home page at Kossacks. Clink on join group. One of the administrators will approve your membership. Then click on matches in the main menu in the upper right corner of the page. On our match page there will be a list of our matches past, present and future. Find an open match at the top of the page. The open matches are the ones that haven't started yet. Click on view and it will show the match and the lineup. Click on join match and you're in.

Our highest ranking player signed up for a match will be matched against their highest. Our second to their second ect. If the sides are uneven when the match starts the extras are bumped. You will play two games. One as white, one as black. You score 1 point for a win and .5 for a draw. When all games are over the team with the highest score wins the match.

You will be notified by email when the match starts. Once the match starts you will also be notified by email when it is your turn. You must make a move within 3 days or you will timeout and lose the game. If for some reason you cannot make a move in 3 days then you can go to your profile page and put yourself on vacation but you have a limited number of vacation days.

You can also play live games online in real time and do many other things at Chess.com. Our group was started summer 2009. We play matches and sometimes have a Kossack tournament among ourselves. We play just for fun so even if you aren't that good of a chess player, so what, neither am I. So if you like to play chess and would like to play on a team with other Kossacks against other teams come on over and see us.

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Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 03:04 AM PST

Kossack Chess Players Needed

by rmonroe

I publish a diary now and again to try to recruit players for our online Kossack chess team. Everyone is welcome to join. We don't care how good you are. We have some top players and then we have players like me that aren't so good.

chess pieces
The matches we play are online correspondence chess with 3 days allowed per move. These are rated games. The default rating for new players is 1200. First you must register with chess.com. It's free. Then go to our group's home page at Kossacks. Clink on join group. One of the administrators will approve your membership. Then click on matches in the main menu in the upper right corner of the page. On our match page there will be a list of our matches past, present and future. Find an open match at the top of the page. The open matches are the ones that haven't started yet. Click on view and it will show the match and the lineup. Click on join match and you're in.

Our highest ranking player signed up for a match will be matched against their highest. Our second to their second ect. If the sides are uneven when the match starts the extras are bumped. You will play two games. One as white, one as black. You score 1 point for a win and .5 for a draw. When all games are over the team with the highest score wins the match.

You will be notified by email when the match starts. Once the match starts you will also be notified by email when it is your turn. You must make a move within 3 days or you will timeout and lose the game. If for some reason you cannot make a move in 3 days then you can go to your profile page and put yourself on vacation but you have a limited number of vacation days.

You can also play live games online in real time and do many other things at Chess.com. Our group was started summer 2009. We play matches and sometimes have a Kossack tournament among ourselves. We play just for fun so even if you aren't that good of a chess player, so what, neither am I. So if you like to play chess and would like to play on a team with other Kossacks against other teams come on over and see us.

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Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:27 AM PST

Kossack Chesswarriors

by rmonroe

19th century red jade rook from China
I love history. I wargame the American Civil War with 15mm metal soldiers that I hand painted myself.  I have also wargamed ancient Romans vs Gauls, 19th century British Army vs Zulus, and World War II German vs American. I make scenery or use railroad or war gaming scenery. I recreate historical battles or just make up my own. Although I have a few Confederates the vast bulk of my army is Union. My son has a huge Confederate army but we only play once in great while when we get together at Christmas. But I do play chess everyday online. And chess is the original war game.  Legend has it that chess was invented by early Buddhist monks in India and the game spread throughout Asia with the spread of Buddhism. The story goes that the monks were disturbed by the suffering caused by the almost constant warfare between the princes of India. More disturbing was the fact the main cause of this warfare was simply that the princes liked to sit on their elephants and command their army in battle. Since they weren't actually the ones getting body parts hacked off it was all just a game to them. Realizing this the monks meditated on a way to remove the suffering from this game. Chess is just a game. But it is war. When the crusaders brought chess to Europe the rook became a castle but a rook is a war elephant.
Poll

What is your rating?

20%2 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
20%2 votes
10%1 votes
0%0 votes
10%1 votes
10%1 votes
0%0 votes
10%1 votes
20%2 votes

| 10 votes | Vote | Results

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Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:16 AM PST

Kossack Chess Players Needed

by rmonroe

I publish a diary now and again to try to recruit players for our online Kossack chess team. Everyone is welcome to join. http://www.chess.com/... Our team has played 21 matches and has won 67% of them. We don't care how good you are. We have some top players and then we have people like me.

chess pieces
The matches we play are online correspondence chess with 3 days allowed per move. These are rated games. The default rating for new players is 1200. First you must register with chess.com. It's free. When you get to our home page you will need to join our group. Clink on join group. One of the administrators will approve your membership. Then click on matches on the main menu. On our match page there will be a list of our matches past, present and future. Clink on an open match that hasn't started yet and then click on join match.

Game Format  Our highest ranking player signed up for the match will be matched against their highest. Our second to their second ect. If the sides are uneven when the match starts the extras are bumped. You will play two games. One as white, one as black. You score 1 point for a win and .5 for a draw. When all games are over the team with the highest score wins the match.

You can also play live games online in real time. Our group is three years old and we play matches and sometimes have a kossack tournament among ourselves. So if you like to play chess, come on over and see us. At present we getting ready to play the Arabian Chess Masters. Come on and join us.

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Aristotle was no teabagger. He didn't think that prices in the marketplace should be the same for everyone. He thought it was only natural for a rich person to pay more for an item than a poor one. Neither was Plato. He said that no honest man could ever be rich. From ancient times until now money has played a dominant role in society. Let's follow money though history.

Parthenon
Parthenon
Stone Age to Roman Republic
Imperial Rome
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Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 11:58 AM PDT

Photo History of Money : Imperial Rome

by rmonroe

This is the second chapter in my series on the history of money. The first one covers the Stone Age to Roman Republic.

The inventionn of coins in Lydia around 460 BCE revolutionized commerce. No longer must gold and silver be weighed out in financial transactions. Coins were minted in standard weights and the purity guanteed by the state. The use of coins spread rapidly into Greece and throughout the ancient world. Marketplaces began to spring up. No longer did people need to seek out the seller of goods when they needed something. Both buyers and sellers concentrated at the marketplace. Trading and commerce began to explode. All trade goods could be valued in coin. People then began to put prices on labor and services. The first known public brothels were in Lydia.

Roman Bank
Roman relief showing a moneychanger (argentarius) with his "bank" (bench) for counting. approx. 4th century C.E.
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I collect money. It has always intrigued me. What is it exactly? What makes it valuable? When did people start using it? It's influence is everywhere. It permeates our lives. Manipulations of money were the cause of the 2008 financial meltdown. Lack of it causes much of the suffering and misery in the world. The Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil (Timothy 6:10). The term "pay through the nose" is thought to have originated in Ireland. Anyone not paying their taxes to their Danish overlords had their nose cut off. Money makes the world go round. Money talks and bullshit walks. Show me the money. It's all about the money. But what is it exactly and where did it come from?

Yap Stone Money is the largest known money.

Yap stone money
Yapstone
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I was one of the 19 people arrested when the police raided the Occupy Salt Lake City camp last November 12. Our trial was Monday. It was a bench trial and it lasted 6 hours. They only charged us with infractions so we were only entitled to a bench trial. They didn't want this going before a jury. We had 5 attorneys who took our cases pro bono. We all had agreed to be tried at the same time to simplify things. The arguments our attorneys made that our 1st amendment rights were violated didn't get much traction, but during cross examination of one of the police officers one of our attorneys hit pay dirt. The city issued us special camping permits. They issued a new one each day. The officer in question was the one who delivered the new permit each day and got one of the occupiers to sign it. He said that he always delivered them in the evening and they  were good until 7:00 pm the next day. That same day,November 11,the police announced that they were going to close down the camp the next day for "public safety and health issues."  The next day the police began their huge operation. But they forgot one minor detail. No one revoked the permit issued the night before and they began their sweep at 6pm. Oops. The judge ruled that since the permit was still valid the police order to vacate the park was illegal. The charges of park curfew violation were dismissed. On the second count,disturbing the peace,since the first charges were dismissed and there was no evidence that the occupiers did anything else to merit being charged with disturbing the peace,those charges are also dismissed. Actually one of us was found guilty on that charge. He yelled at the police while he was being arrested. Lady Justice prevails.

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