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Permalink 11:33:22 pm, by Paul ROBINSON, 505 words   English (US)
Categories: Announcements [A]

On the fundamental axioms of existience

There is some consideration among skeptics as to what we should "believe," even to the point of not using "belief," as a concept.

First, it is axiomatic that I exist. For the simple reason that if I did not exist, this conversation could not exist. In your case, substitute you for "I" and thus you exist and can join the conversation.

Any person who makes the ridiculous claim that they do not exist, must, by their own statement, shut up, propose no further theories, and die. You can't make a claim by using the other side's concepts. Once you open your mouth to say anything, you concede you exist and that language exists. It is entirely possible you are arguing with nothing at all, but you are arguing.

Now, second, it is axiomatic that the world around me exists. Because if it didn't, again, this conversation could not take place. Even if this world was simply a figment of my imagination, that thing supplying me with the sensations would exist in my brain as a separate "process" the way a web browser and a word processor run on a computer in separate processes.

The following two items are new, I didn't accept them until a couple of years ago when I made the connections.

Third, I reject the idea that my own consciousness could be simulating the world around me, because it would require that I, at the time I was instantiated, had the capacity to completely imagine the entire world around me lacking any sense data or other information necessary to imagine these things.

For this to be possible, I, as an entity, having no sense inputs and no knowledge of anything, be able to create an entire construct of a world around me, despite the fact I have no information about anything to do so. Thus I reject this hypothesis as not possible.

Fourth, for that reason I accept the world around me, and concede that, while my senses are not perfect and sometimes do give me false information, they are mostly accurate and the data given is sufficiently adequate as to be accepted as valid until other evidence proves otherwise.

I must also accept the world around me because I have no choice. Absent evidence that the world is not real, if I fail to act in compliance with its mandates, I will die. I cannot step in front of any moving conveyance and not expect to be struck and most likely injured, possibly killed. I cannot fail to eat, drink or breathe, or I would also die.

So, in summary, I exist, I exist in a world of other people, and this world is, for all intents and purposes, generally a valid representation of what it appears to be and that it is real and substantial.

These are the things I accept as proven axiomatically, and while potentially they may not be comlpetely provable, I accept that they must, of necessity, be taken as proven for the reasons I have given.


Permalink 07:02:02 pm, by Paul ROBINSON, 136 words   English (US)
Categories: Announcements [A]

Why I think Warren Beatty is not the subject of Carly Simon's "You're So Vain"

Ever since Carly Simon released the song "You're So Vain" there has been controversy over the relatively uncaring man she sings about. Essentially every man with whom, she had a relationship or her ex-husband James Taylor, has been considered as a possible subject for the song.

I believe I can eliminate Warren Beatty.

One of the lines in the song tells how her paramour "flew your Learjet to Nova Scotia, to see the total eclipse of the sun." However, the Federal Aviation Administration has its database of pilots on line and open to the public for inspection. I looked up John Travolta, who claims to be a pilot, and he's in there. However, Warren Beatty is not on that list. This leads me to the conclusion that he is not the person named in the song.


Permalink 03:52:26 pm, by Paul ROBINSON, 752 words   English (US)
Categories: Announcements [A]

American Express Busted over Merchant Practices

I got this in the mail today as my company has a merchant account with American Express:

American Express Services Company, Inc.
World Financial Center
200 Vesey Street
New York’ NY 10285-4908

October 7, 2015

Dear Business Owner or Manager,

We value your business as an American Express merchant and want to ensure that you are aware of important modifications to your Card acceptance contract resulting from recent developments in a federal court case. The modifications were effective as of July 20, 2015, and only apply to your locations in the United States and United States territories and possessions. The changes relate to the treatment of American Express Cards.

A federal court has ruled that American Express violated the law by prohibiting merchants from influencing the payment form that their customers use. As a result of that ruling, you may now favor any credit card brand that you wish, by, for example, communicating to customers which credit card brand you would prefer that they use, telling customers which credit card brands are the most or least expensive for you, or offering discounts or incentives to customers to use the credit card brand you prefer. Consistent with the federal court's ruling, you may not, however, disparage or mischaracterize the American Express brand or impose a surcharge (as opposed to a discount) on customers who use an American Express credit card.

To influence the credit card that a customer uses, you may employ any of the practices listed in Section IILA of the court's order,including:
* Offering a discount or rebate, including an immediate discount or rebate at the point of sale;
* Offering a free or discounted product;
* Offering a free or discounted or enhanced sen/ice;
* Offering an incentive, encouragement, or benefit;
* Expressing a preference for a particular brand or type of card;
* Promoting a particular brand or type of card through posted information, through the size, prominence, or sequencing of payment choices, or through other communications to a customer;
* Communicating to a customer the reasonably estimated or actual costs incurred by you when a customer uses a particular card, or the relative costs of using different brands or types of cards; or
* Engaging in any other practices substantially equivalent to these.

To review all applicable terms and conditions, please refer to the court's order, a copy of which may be found at: .

The court's order also allows American Express to maintain merchant rules providing that you cannot make untrue statements about your cost of accepting American Express Cards or the relative cost of accepting American Express Cards as compared to other credit and charge cards. Similarly, if you choose to compare your cost of accepting American Express Cards to your cost of accepting other credit or charge cards, you must exclude the costs of accepting debit cards from your calculation.

If you choose to attempt to influence a customer's choice of credit or charge card, you must reasonably indicate that you accept American Express Cards by posting signage, either at the point of sale (including online or on mobile sen/ices) or at the store entry, or by communicating orally that you accept the American Express Card prior to the request for authorization of the transaction. For example, you may satisfy this requirement by displaying a sticker at the point of sale or at the store entrance indicating all brands you accept that includes the American Express logo.

Accordingly, American Express has made modifications to its U.S. Merchant Regulations, the U.S. Merchant Reference Guide, and the U.S. Merchant Operating Guide to reflect the federal court's ruling. Please read the revised documents relevant to your Card acceptance contract carefully, as they explain in detail the new policies and procedures governing your treatment of American Express Cards.You can find these -revised documents and a full copy of the federal court's ruling at

To the extent your Card acceptance contract, or other agreement that governs your acceptance of American Express Cards, contains provisions that are inconsistent with the federal court's ruling, American Express will not enforce those provisions.

American Express is presently appealing the federal court's ruling. If the federal court's ruling is reversed or modified as a result of the appeal, American Express resen/es all rights to cancel or revise these modifications. We will apprise you of any such updates in the future.

If you have questions or would like more information about these modifications, please visit for more details.

Thank you for accepting American Express Cards. We appreciate and value your business.
Anré Williams
President, Global Merchant Services


Permalink 01:18:27 pm, by Paul ROBINSON, 160 words   English (US)
Categories: Announcements [A]

Probably not a good idea

I happened to catch a streaming video of a 1975 TV movie "The Last Survivors," where a cruise ship sinks due to a sudden typhoon, there are 18 people ending up in a lifeboat which can technically only support 8 people. The second purser is appointed in charge of the lifeboat by the captain who is dying, and the acting captain has to force emergency conditions, such as making passengers in the boat switch places with those in the water on two hour shifts, ration food and water, and in some cases jettison passengers who are either overloading the boat during a storm, or denying food to a passenger that he believes is not going to make it. He even has to shoot one of the crew who is pushing people off the boat to save himself.

Attached to the end of the movie was a retro commercial probably from when the movie was broadcast. It was a commercial for a cruise line.


Permalink 12:51:52 am, by Paul ROBINSON, 898 words   English (US)
Categories: Announcements [A], News

About the recent (30+ year old) accusations against Bill Cosby

I'm not trying to enter "blame the victim" mode here, but why didn't anyone say something about these allegations against Bill Cosby before? Why does it take 30 years or more to finally bring up events that (may have) happened that far back, and might even have had major details lost or forgotten? I'm thinking of the William Kennedy Smith trial, and the evidence and summations made it sound like basically, he was probably lousy in bed, treated her like shit or just a piece of ass, and she decides to 'retroactively" claim rape. Now, again, I'm not saying this is the case here. It is entirely possible Cosby did do all of the really bad things that it is claimed he did. It is possible some are true and some are exaggerated or fabricated, and it is possible all of them are created out of whole cloth. But the problem that remains what that anyone who could have said something - and if true, potentially prevented other incidents - did nothing and remained silent. For decades.

Now, I can understand some wannabe actress afraid to say something immediately, possibly fearing she might be blacklisted (as happened to Cliff Robertson in 1978 after he publicly accused Columbia studio head David Begelman of stealing from him, an accusation later shown to be true, and Robertson wasn't the only person used by Begelman to embezzle from Columbia Pictures). But, after a few years, you would think someone would have said something. Perhaps, back in the 1970s and earlier women weren't taken that seriously over domestic (boyfriend-girlfriend and husband-wife) assault and acquaintance rape, but the same is not true during the 1980s, and especially coming into the 1990s and 2000s.

Let's look back to 1984 and 1985, Were societal mores so inadequately protective of women that accusations of abuse and sexual assault, even against a famous and well-loved actor and comedian like Cosby would be ignored or treated cavalierly by the police? While I might be wrong, I do not think so.

There is a concept in law called "laches" which in layman's terms means, "you snooze, you lose," in which if you wait too long to sue over an incident the courts dismiss your claim as untimely. This helps prevent the courts with being clogged with old, stale cases where evidence which might allow the defendant to raise a defense could be lost, destroyed, or memories faded. This is expressed in statutes of limitations requirements where, in most states a criminal case for anything less than murder must be filed within 3 to 7 years, and civil cases asking for money or other damages generally must be filed within about the same period of time.

Which brings us to noted (self admitted) feminist attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing at least one of Cosby's female accusers, realizes that as it stands Cosby could never be prosecuted nor sued for anything even if he did do what he is accused of (the statute of limitations on prosecuting such crimes in California is 3 years, and for a civil suit for damages it's 3 years after the incident or 3 years after the person turns 18 if they were under 18 at the time of the incident, whichever is later), came out to say that Cosby should waive the statute of limitations and allow a trial on the merits to take place.

The simple question I have is "why?" Who on earth would choose to go on trial over something - whether or not they are liable for it - when they are essentially immune from process? What exactly does allowing a suit against him to go forward buy Cosby except grief and potential financial loss? I mean, the guy isn't doing any TV or movie projects, does not have, as far as I know, any endorsement deals or advertising campaign, isn't doing stand-up, and is, for all intents and purposes retired or semi-retired. He's probably a multimillionaire, so it doesn't matter what some women say about him - even if it's true - because no amount of public opinion is going to affect his probably extremely comfortable lifestyle.

Allred shows no possible reason Cosby should want to waive the statute of limitations and essentially the only argument she can come up with is it allows her client potentially to get money out of him through a judgment if the accusation were proven true, and thus Allred would get the typical 30% cut of the money, so to some extent her comments are essentially self-serving.

Allred here is clearly acting the part of a zealous attorney who has failed to realize you have nothing to offer and nothing to threaten. In legal circles, this is exemplified by the saying, "During a trial, if the law is on your side, pound on (emphasize the importance of) the law; if the facts are on your side, pound on the facts; if neither is on your side, pound on the table."

It is one thing for a young person with their career ahead of them who has a cloud overhanging them to want to see such matters resolved and gotten out of the way so they can be able to make a living, but it would represent rank insanity for someone like Cosby to consider this, especially if he was committing the things he has been accused of. And if he wasn't, there's probably not much upside to raise a response over this.

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Welcome to My blog! This is where I store my thoughts so that I can come back to them at some point in the future. This allows me a place like a journal to keep what I'm thinking about. But anyone else is welcome to visit; I make this place public so that other people can hear what I'm thinking.

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