Saturday, October 27, 2007

On this day in 1964, Ronald Reagan launched his political career with "A Time for Choosing"

You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or right, but I would like to suggest that there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down -- up to man's age-old dream, the ultimate in Individual freedom consistent with law and order -- or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.

What Regan called "ant heap of totalitarianism" is what I call Borg (see below)

Do we need a grassroots lobby for the common man to fight Borg at it's constant push for higher taxes?
The Rocky Mountain News letter to the Editor section is still not allowing debate on letters concerning A thru I (see my letter to them earlier today at the bottom of this post.)

So I just made a 2nd call to their newsroom and left a 2nd voice mail message, followed by this second email, and copied several other newspapers:

Boettcher letter by Tom Jensen still allows no comments,
I can't even read the full text.

I'd sent you a letter several hours about this, and I left voice mail in
the newsroom then, too.

I'm posting about this obvious manipulation of the news and stifling of
debate on A thru I on my blog www.JohnWren.com
Business Week’s America's Best Young Entrepreneurs 2007 Most finalists are banking on the Web, but some have broken into more traditional sectors such as publishing, manufacturing, and investment banking.

And what happened to our 25 finalists from last year's Best Entrepreneurs Under 25 roundup? Growth is the consistent theme, and highlights range from landing partnerships and securing rounds of venture capital funding, to fending off job offers from Wall Street hedge funds and other businesses.

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Albert Ellis, who in the 1950s founded cognitive therapy in the US, died July 25 (2007) at home in New York. He was 93. He gave his last interview to Jules Evans, whose portrait of Ellis in Prospect Magazine described a man who remained dedicated to the Stoic values that underpinned his system and to the teaching to which he devoted his life. In his later years, Ellis fell out with the trustees of the institute he founded, who tried to eject him from the board—yet he remained stoical about even this, describing the board members as “fucked-up, fallible human beings, just like everyone else.”

Below is what Jules Evans said about Ellis’s impact on politics in that article (edited for brevity and clarity), which throws light on why so few in Denver are willing to stand up to Mayor J-Hic’s tax/spend proposals on the current Denver ballot:

(Note: This explanation of Ellis’s approach below should be read with this warning in mind, posted as a comment to the Evans article in Prospect Magazine: There are large social forces encouraging us to be victims, and lots of profits being made. BUT what I don’t like about short therapies is that the alteration in our habits of perception can take a long time, and Diogenes et al saw it as a lifetime’s work, a way of being, rather than a quick fix. Satori may be instantaneous… but there is a path of learning involved, rather than a mere act of consumption. I call these large forces encouraging us to be victims Borg, from the Star Trek cyborg characters. It appears our Denver Mayor J-Hic has become Borg —is it too late to save him?  John Wren)

The assumption of both the psychoanalytic and the neuropsychological approaches is that your mental suffering is beyond your conscious control; it is the fault of your screwed-up neurotransmitters, or your dirty id. Albert Ellis's cognitive-behavioral approach is more humanistic. He declared that emotional disorders are often of our own making, the consequence of our conscious and semi-conscious thoughts and mental habits. We construct our own prisons, and we can free ourselves from them. And we can do it quite quickly.

Ellis said the heart of his cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) was a comment of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus: "It's not events, but our opinions about them, which cause us suffering." We can train ourselves, as Stoics and Cynics did, to change our opinions, our mental habits, so that we become robust and self-accepting enough to withstand external events that used to cause us suffering, such as getting rejected by a woman, or getting fired.

What CBT does is update stoicism and apply it to specific mental disorders, like depression or social anxiety. This is, perhaps, its greatest achievement. In an era of postmodernism and neuropsychology, it has managed to put Greek philosophy back at the heart of western society—CBT has persuaded millions to follow the principles first discovered by Diogenes 2,400 years ago.

It is possible to say of CBT, as you can of stoicism, that it can lead to political quietism. You learn to accept and tolerate everything around you, and never get angry about the injustices you encounter. But actually, if you look at Stoics or Cynics through the ages, they have a distinguished history of standing up to tyrants, precisely because they are not afraid to let go, not afraid to die.
I just sent this email to the Rocky Mountain News (see my Sunday, Oct 21 post here on the same problem at the News):

Online Manipulation of the News?

Having online letters to the editor that allow readers to post comments gives the appearance of full, open community dialog.

Is that really the case?

It is my opinion that Denver voters should just vote NO on A thru I.

When I tried to comment on a relevant online letter to the editor last week, I was not allowed to do so. My email and phone calls to your paper questioning this were not returned.

Now another letter appears supporting one of the elements of A thru I and I'm not allowed to even read the full text! (Boettcher does need the remodeling)

Are the people in charge of the online version of the Rocky Mountain News selectively censoring debate on the A thru I issue? Debate is allowed on prostitution, but not A thru I. Has the massive ad budget of the Pro A thru I forces influenced those overseeing the online version of the paper to look the other way on this outrageous manipulation of the discussion about A thru I?

John Wren
960 Grant Street
Denver, CO 80203


Maybe the News will answer this letter and my phone call to their newsroom about the same problem. They have been ignoring me about this problem since last week. See my post here last Sunday, Oct 21.

Yesterday I requested that a GOP leader I've known for years allow me to put up a "Vote No on A thur I" yardsign in her front yard. "Of course we've voted no. But we really don't want to upset our neighbors. This is a sensitive issue."

The Independence Insitute sent out it's online newsletter yesterday with no mention of A thru I. My suggestion they send a 2nd email addendum has not been answered.

Republicans I talk with are against A thru I, but they are not willing to speak out against it.

So far as we are human, what we do must be either evil or good: so far as we do evil or good, we are human: and it is better, in a paradoxical way, to do evil than to do nothing: at least we exist. T.S. Eliot

Friday, October 26, 2007




Just vote NO on A thru I! Why? Read my entries here for the last few weeks!

My brother Randy called this morning with the very bad news that my friend Phil Hanson had died in California, his obituary is in the morning paper. Phil and I spent hours playing together from elementary school years and Cub Scouts and then Boy Scouts until we were on Denver’s Thomas Jefferson high school sophomore football team (I remember talking with Phil sitting at the counter at the Dolly Madison in University Hills shopping center about quitting the cross country team and joining him on the football team) and then we went in different directions. I’m grateful for the final time I saw Phil some 20 years ago, we had lunch and talked about how things had been for us, and how happy he was in his marriage and his business partnership with his dad. He was on my mind yesterday, as he often is. Good bye for now Phil, God bless and keep you.

And then I got this just now from my friend Dr. Robert Langs:

Dear John:

I am sending you the last blurb prepared by my publisher on the book--feel free to edit it if need be. I've asked that you be sent a copy and look forward to your reaction to it. In the meantime, I will appreciate your sending out the word on this book--it is I think a good book on the good book.

With best regards,

Bob

Beyond Yahweh and Jesus:
Bringing Death's Wisdom to Faith, Spirituality, and Psychoanalysis
Robert Langs, M.D.
Latham, MD: Jason Aronson, October 2007.

Jason Aronson, Inc. is proud to announce the publication of one of the most exceptional books ever written about religion, its wide range of influence on human life, and its illuminating interactions with the fields of human psychology and psychoanalysis. Grounded in his new, adaptive approach to the human mind, in Beyond Yahweh and Jesus Langs has penned the first truly comprehensive psychoanalytic study of the Old (Hebrew) and New Testaments. Filled with surprising conjectures and unforeseen revelations, the book is remarkable in its insights and miraculous in the way it unifies religious and secular thinking, bringing wisdom to both believers and non-believers, the laity and mental health professionals alike.
The book is centered on God's role in enabling humans to cope with the fundamental problem of life—death and the three forms of death anxiety it evokes, predatory, predator, and existential. The stage for this exploration is set with a comprehensive study of the story of Adam, Eve, the serpent, and the Lord God in Eden, a tale that Langs deftly reexamines in order to arrive at fresh insights into the emotion-related archetypes that are as much at the heart of Genesis as they are of life today. Yahweh is seen as tending to increase rather than diminish human death anxieties, while Christ is shown to have offered near-perfect solutions to each of its three types. The question arises as to why Christ has failed to bring peace to the world. Langs’ answer is focused on the absence of the psychological wisdom that religion needs to supplement its numinescent, spiritual wisdom—a void bemoaned by the Archbishop Temple of London as early as the mid-1800s and by Carl Jung in the 20th century.
The journey on which Langs' embarks takes the reader through an examination of the related topics of knowledge acquisition and divine wisdom, with its archetypal link to the explicit human awareness of death; fresh portraits of Yahweh and Jesus; the failure of psychoanalysis to provide religion with the depth psychology it needs to fulfill its mission; a set of propositions that are intended to bring this missing psychological wisdom to religion; and the conjecture that this effort will help to initiate the third chapter in the history of the Western God in which refashioned morality and divine wisdom will play notable roles.
The book also offers a foundation for secular forms of spirituality and morality, as well as for the broad human effort to cope with death and its incumbent anxieties, with or without religion. In addition to enhancing secular approaches to the archetypal challenges of life and death, Langs' primary mission in this book is a lofty but necessary one: to bring fresh dimensions and insights to religion so as to enable it to at long last contribute effectively to the human effort to bring peace to the world on both the personal and global levels.



Table of Contents

Author’s Note
Prologue: My Appointment in Samara
Chapter One. The First Question: God’s Answer
Chapter Two. The First Question: Eve’s Answer
Chapter Three. Death Anxiety and Divine Wisdom
Chapter Four. Augustine’s Version of Adam’s Sin
Chapter Five. Eve’s Motives
Chapter Six. Cain and Abel
Chapter Seven: Augustine’s Reliving of the Sin of Cain
Chapter Eight. The Failure to Master Death Anxiety: Yahweh
Chapter Nine. Resolving Death Anxiety: Jesus Christ
Chapter Ten. The Failure of Religious Beliefs
Chapter Eleven. Why Psychoanalysis Failed Religion
Chapter Twelve. The Future of Religious and Secular Spirituality

Robert Langs, M.D. is the author of 45 books and some 170 journal papers on issues pertaining to the vicissitudes of human emotional life.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

As Denver tries to decide whether to hand the Mayor a blank check for up to $550 million (plus all the private money from fundraising and increases in staff salaries to operate the new facilities that will be built that will be trigger by it’s passage--for the concert hall ($55 million), the libraries ($8 million), etc. etc. I have just one question:

Where is the Mayor?

He seems to be around to sign his clean air plan, to announce the belt-tightening in yet another poor neighborhood, etc.

But he is no where to be seen when it comes to answering questions on A thru I.

For example, here is a perfectly valid set of questions on A thru I. Mayor J-Hic has had over a week to give an answer. WHY HASN’T HE RESPONDED!

Whoa, Whoa! Just a Minute There, Big Fella!By: Joshua Sharf
10/16/2007

I've written here before about the proposed Denver property tax hikes. Here's a list of 9 questions - plus follow-ups - that those proposing this increase should have to answer before we vote for any of these bonds, and certainly before we vote for the mill levy increase...


When J-Hic is invited to events, his handler says he will be out of town (see my exchange of emails with her regarding the Denver Grassroots Rally tomorrow (Oct 25) on www.JohnWren.com)

Why is he hiding? Because A thru I is a do-over!

If you care about Denver, take action NOW!

Email your friends, encouraging them to email their friends, encouraging them to email their friends, etc. etc. It’s like doing a wave at the Broco or Rockies game. Here’s the message: JUST VOTE NO ON A THRU I.

Put it in your own words, be creative! Cc: me at JohnSWren@aol.com and I’ll post your email on my blog www.JohnWren.com and give the most creative a prize—coffee at Panera Bread.

Send the Mayor a message: WE ARE MAD AS HELL AND WE JUST AREN'T GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE! A TAX INCREASE EVERY 6 MONTHS IS JUST TOO MUCH!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mayor J-Hic's Million Dollar Campaign for A thru I.
Has Mayor J-Hic’s Pro-Comp incentive plan for Denver teachers worked? Are Denver students better off today? If you thinks schools are getting worse in Denver, send a message to the Mayor and just vote NO on A thru I.

This is in the New York Times today about a similar “incentive” plan being proposed for New York teachers:
The insult New York Yankee’s coach (Joe Torre) feels for being offered a bonus ($1 million if he won the World Series) for doing something few baseball managers can do is nothing compared with the insult that New York City teachers should be feeling right now. At the same time Torre was being given the offer he couldn’t accept, the city announced that it will start offering bonuses to teachers whose students perform well on standardized tests. In other words, teachers can’t be trusted to do their jobs without bonuses. How insulting can you get?

And beyond the insult, such an incentive scheme is an effort to fix a structural problem on the cheap. If teachers are thwarted by their working conditions, then we need to fix the conditions, and not try to paper over them with bonuses. There are settings in which bonuses may make sense — if the work offers no opportunity to find satisfaction, for instance, or if it really is all about the money. And yes, there should be public acknowledgment of extraordinary performance. But that acknowledgment needn’t be financial, and it certainly shouldn’t be contractual.

The more society embraces the idea that nobody will do anything right unless it pays, the more true it will become that nobody does anything right unless it pays. And this is no way to run a ballclub, a school system, or a country.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Just vote NO on A thru I!
Why? Look back over what has been
posted here for the last few weeks.

If you agree, send an email today to
your friends, call them, and call into
radio talk shows.

People will be voting now, every one's
received their ballots in the mail.

And the Mayor is out of town! I just got this
from his scheduler! (below is my email to her):

He is out of town both this Friday and next Friday. I am sorry John.
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From: JohnSWren@aol.com [mailto:JohnSWren@aol.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2007 10:23 AM
To: Moore, Suzan - Mayor's Office
Subject: Grassroots Rally Fridays at 4 p.m.

Hi Suzan,

Following up my voice mail just now,
would the Mayor be able to attend to
help us get this started this week or
next? (see attached flier.)

I'd spoken with Roxane White about it
last week.

John
The Statesman Newspaper made my letter to editor into a half-page advertisement against A thru I, be sure to pick up a copy this week. Thanks, Jody!

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I just sent these items to the Associated Press, Dan tells me the first will run in their day book, the 2nd is too general and won't be listed yet.

Oct 26, 2 p.m. IDEA CafĂ©_ Entrepreneur and community activist John Wren will discuss his no-cost campaign to defeat Denver’s tax/bond A thru I proposals, and Matthew Wartell will tell how he started his business ML Wartell & Associates. Free to people who are starting a new career, a new project, a new business, or a new campaign. Startup experience is shared and there is brainstorming.

Location: Panera Bread, 1350 Grant St., Denver, in the community room.

Contacts: John Wren (720)495-4949
Matthew Wartell (303)759-1596

Oct 26, 4 p.m. DENVER GRASSROOTS RALLY_ Community activist John Wren will discuss why he is starting this new, free weekly networking meeting for people with passion who want to make a difference. Everyone is invited to share what is on their mind at an open microphone; it’s like a poetry reading for politics. Sign-ups to speak open at 3:30 p.m.

Location: Panera Bread, 1350 Grant St., Denver, in the community room.

Contacts: John Wren (720)495-4949





If you'd be willing to speak at either of these meetings on future Friday's (IDEA Cafe, share your startup experience; at the Denver Grassroots Rally share on a political issue or candidate) let me know and I'll list you as the featured speaker.

Monday, October 22, 2007

On this day in 1928 Republican presidential nominee Herbert Hoover spoke of the "American system of rugged individualism" in a speech at New York's Madison Square Garden; and in 1968 Apollo 7, with astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn Fulton Eisele and R. Walter Cunningham aboard, returned to Earth.

Today is Annette Funicello’s 65th birthday. Years ago I was in love with her. We’d meet nearly every afternoon after school. Maybe those Mickey Mouse Club rendezvous are what helped me see the value of small groups. My brother Jay says my tomb-stone will say, "He never saw a group he didn't like."


Several major research libraries have rebuffed offers from Google and Microsoft to scan their books into computer databases, saying they are put off by restrictions these companies want to place on the new digital collections.

The research libraries, including a large consortium in the Boston area, are instead signing on with the Open Content Alliance, a nonprofit effort aimed at making their materials broadly available.

I just discovered I-neighbors.org a free, public resource where people find their geographic neighborhoods online and form corresponding digital communities. The results of recent research suggest that for some communities a service like I-neighbors.org encourages neighborhood participation, helps people form local social ties, connects people to their local communities and creates neighborhoods that are safer, better informed, more trusting, and better equipped to deal with local issues. I-neighbors supports nearly 5,000 neighborhoods in the United States and Canada. Users of I-neighbors.org have established I-neighborhoods in all 50 states of the United State, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. In Canada there are neighborhoods based in all ten provinces and two territories. The size of I-neighbors communities range from a couple hundred users spread over a few hundred homes in a single geographic community, to one or two users in newly established I-neighborhoods.

I just started an i-Neighborhood for here where I live, the Colburn Apartments.
www.i-neighbors.org/80203/ColburnApartments Hi neighbors! What do you think of this?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The busy man is never wise, the wise man is never busy.
Lin Yutang

Mary and I went to the Colorado Symphony last night, wonderful concert for the few of us who were there to hear it. I went a couple of weeks ago, same thing, a more than half-empty hall. Even the concert reviews are starting to mention how few people are attending.

Doug Adams, the CSO president introduced the night, he did not say one word about his vision to raise $100 million to take a wrecking ball to the hall, he would have felt foolish bringing it up to such a small crowd, I’m sure.

Did you see Adams’s letter in the Rocky Mountain News. He makes it sound like the Symphony could write a check for $30 million to match the city “contribution” to recycling the almost new Boettcher Concert Hall, while at the same time raising another $25 million for the CSO rainy day fund. If it’s so easy to raise money, why isn’t he selling more tickets?

I’m sure Adams is a very busy man.

I tried to post this comment on the Online Rocky Mountain News a couple of days ago, I got a message I'm not allowed to post. Yesterday, same thing happened when I tried to post a correction to my letter (see yesterday's entry here.) I've contacted the News repeatedly, they refuse to return my calls or email. I'll post what they tell me when I do talk with someone.