Another Dark Little Corner

moon phases

Started this before change to "New Blogger", as backup in case of trouble with digiphoto blog "In a Small Dark Room", or rants & links blog "Hello Cruel World" . Useful - at one stage Dark Room was there, but like the astrophysical Dark Matter, we could't see it ... better now, but kept Just In Case.

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There is nothing. There is no God and no universe, there is only empty space, and in it a lost and homeless and wandering and companionless and indestructible Thought. And I am that thought. And God, and the Universe, and Time, and Life, and Death, and Joy and Sorrow and Pain only a grotesque and brutal dream, evolved from the frantic imagination of that same Thought.
Mark Twain (letter to Joseph Twichell after his wife's death)
[me, on a bad day]

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Could be good news in the Malaysian elections, just completed. 2004 does seem to be a year of elections. Features/20040321083701/Article/indexb_html ViewForeignBureaus.asp?Page=%5CForeign Bureaus%5Carchive%5C200403%5CFOR20040322b.html
Malaysia's 'Gentler' Leader Gets Strong Mandate, Trounces Islamists
By Patrick Goodenough Pacific Rim Bureau Chief
March 22, 2004

Pacific Rim Bureau ( - A resounding victory for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Malaysian elections has dealt a significant blow to the country's radical Islamic party. By drawing a line under the Mahathir Mohamad era, it also clears the way for a less prickly relationship between Kuala Lumpur and Washington [and Australia].

The results constituted a clear response by Malaysia's Muslim Malay majority to Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) vision of an Islamic state under shari'a law. PAS had also sparked controversy during the short campaign by claiming that its supporters would go to heaven while other voters would go to hell.

PAS has controlled Kelantan state since 1990, and in elections in 1999 seized control of another state, Terengganu, where its attempts to introduce shari'a punishments such as stoning and amputation ran into federal roadblocks.

It went into the election saying it planned to add another one or two of Malaysia's 13 states to the list of PAS-ruled regions.

Instead, PAS has lost Terengganu, and looks set also to be defeated in Kelantan, too.

Adding to the routing, PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang, who was also chief minister of Terengganu, also lost his seat in the federal parliament ...

Looking for the letter, headlined
'No Teetering Here' by a Mr Herman in reply to Orson Scott Card's article in Rhinotimes, it is apparently not archived. Some of the current letters do have good points. This is an extract of one (which will also probably be gone quite soon):
Rushing to poor choices ( 18/3/2004)
... If I should sacrifice what I love, meaning my school, and that sacrifice is for the common good, then I might consider a more cooperative demeanor. But this plan is not devised to serve students. It is our job to look out for our own children first, but it is our civic duty to use our hearts and our brains to advance the common good. This plan helps me with neither standard ...
Terri Rooks

"All Left Boots" story - can't find an online reference

I believe this was told about Napoleon's invasion of Russia.
One reason to disbelieve this particular version is that at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, boots were made 'straight', i.e., there weren't left & right versions (a painful thought). The story was obviously told in a time when these were much more common.

James Madison, open letters "To the People of the State of New York", published in the 'Federalist' during 1787/88.
Wednesday, February 6, 1788: "It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure." ( )

John Stuart Mill's essay 'On Liberty' "That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil, in case he do otherwise." ( )

In short, the idea that the will of the majority should not be permitted to override the rights of the minority is not in itself anti-democratic

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