Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

If He Walked with Us Today

In a few days we celebrate the birth of Jesus and the promise of forgiveness of our wrongs as well as a new life in His way.

If He walked with us on this earth today, would his answer to …”What is the most important commandment”, still be: "The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel (the Shema, a centerpiece of all morning and evening Jewish prayer services); The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:29-31 KJV)

I believe it would be so. It is our duty to help each other.

As a nation and as individuals why are we not following His path this very moment?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Private Sector Waking Up to Future

SolarCity gets private investment funds

Although the investors of this San Mateo, Calif. solar photovoltaic project have been slowed down by a "republican-beaten" U.S. Energy Department, they have found private sector funding to the tune of over $1 Billion.

That's not surprising to me because it's about time good ole U.S. capitalism woke up to the money making potential of solar energy as well as other "green" energy sources. After all, the technology is now in hand and the numbers favor new green energy.

It is interesting that SolarCity, the developer, plans to build "privatized U.S. military housing communities nationwide," up to 120,000 housing units.

Changing our nation's reliance on carbon-based fuels has proven to be a seriously difficult process with many roadblocks. Many, many paychecks are tied to the old systems, such as coal-fired power plants.

Back in the late 1940s President Harry Truman ordered the U.S. military to integrate. That was a major step toward the launching what later became the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. I hope following in Mr. Truman's footsteps, using the military to bring about change,  will help ignite a reborn "green power revolution."

Either way, this investment overcomes a big hurdle.

 Go here for the USA Today story>>>  or here for a PDF version of the story>>>

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Robin Hood Tax... One Excellent Idea!

Robin Hood did have a good idea, didn't he?

What has become known as the Robin Hood Tax, "a tiny levy on trades in the financial markets that would take money from the banks and give it to the world’s poor", is one step in the right direction toward moving the U.S. and the world economies back to the land of the living. Perhaps even the Republicans can grasp the value in adopting it and helping to move the nation back from the brink of all out rebellion of the 99ers vs. the 1 percenters and our "do nothing, let-the-people-eat-cake, Republican Congress". We can only hope that some elected officials become enlightened and make this idea come to life. Go here for the story >>> or here for the story in PDF format.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Heroes and Photos

Nothing Seems to Change... Except the Date.

Police pepper spray seated, nonviolent protesters at The University of California, Davis, Friday, 18 Nov 2011 (above). Police pull high school student and bystander Walter Gadsden into the street so dogs can tear at him, Birmingham, Alabama, 4 May 1963.

Heroes can change the world. And, photos of heroes can change the world, too. By now you may have seen the video of police pepper-spraying seated University of California, Davis protesters. This disgusting display of brutality reminded me of the shocking photo I saw in 1963. It showed police dogs tearing at Walter Gadsen's abdomin, a peaceful bystander, pulled by a police officer into the street during a civil rights march so the dogs could get to him. I wasn't the only person shocked by the photo. President Kennedy was too. And millions of Americans were shocked, as well. (See my post, 31 Aug 2011, What is the Price of Teapot Stupidity?)

The video of a police officer pepper-spaying seated, nonviolent protesters on a college campus is an equally shocking image. I pray these brave protesters were not permanently injured. And, I pray that millions of Americans will be as outraged as I am over this unnecessary brutality as we were 48 years ago.

The video has now gone viral, with 2+ million views, as of 24 Nov 2011.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Super Committee... Super Let Down America!

Major media are predicting that the Congressional Super Committee will not come to an agreement and therefore not recommend a plan of action to the People of the United States. This may be good or bad, depending upon whether you are a Republican or a Democrat. For the rest of us, it's the same old thing... our elected "representatives" showing a disgusting lack of concern for the people and just one more example of the failure of both parties to do their duty in service to the people of the United States.

Here are the real heroes... click on the image to see the video or go here:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Old World Ends... New World Begins... Just as Maya Predicted

Over the past few years my friend has repeatedly heard me say, “I won’t be buying new underwear until after 2012 because the Maya Calendar ends in 2012 and multitudes predict that’s when the world will end. (Or, sometime around then, give or take a few years, months, decades - depending upon interpretation and / or who is writing the story, etc.) Anyway, so, no use spending the few meager dollars I have on such frivolous items such as clothing because we will all be gone in a few months. I won’t be needing it.

Today, I believe a different interpretation of the calendar thing. Yes, the experts are right. Our “old” world will soon be ending and a new one is about to begin. But, it appears the “ending” will be a good thing, not a bad thing.

Here are two reasons for my optimism:

  1. Solar energy is now within the average Joe’s reach. We can have our own renewable, relatively low cost, energy source in our homes, thus savings will not only be made in the monthly electricity and gas bill but in the mega millions spent on the fossil fuel industry and allied infrastructure. Go here for more about Solar Power >>>

  2. A few years of rational, self-serving policy is paying off in a more livable, safe environment. That is to say, the cumulative effect of cleaning up the rivers and lands is clearly visible. Witness this story in today’s Detroit Free Press about the International Detroit River Wildlife Refuge. By the way, our hometown, Grosse Ile, is located in the center of the Refuge. Go here for more about the Refuge >>>

Whoever created that Mayan calendar was right in ending it in 2012, because despite what the politicians don’t do in Washington, you can bet on a new world soon. Our new world doesn’t require Republicans or Democrats working together for the nation’s good - something they can't seem to manage.  We will soon have the power to take care of ourselves without them. Just think, finally, an end to ever increasing fossil fuel costs and a new industry, potentially employing millions, converting every home and business to renewable energy. And, an end to an irrelevant political process which has come to benefit only the politicians, the fossil fuel people and the 1 percenters.

I think I’ll buy some new underwear today.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Economic Fix Proposed

Looking out the office window I see a beautiful sunrise this morning, 2 Nov 2011.

I’m so inspired. I guess I'll risk everything and present the Baker Economic and Social Political Plan for saving the United States and hence the world.

No, this time, it does not require immediate resignation of all Republicans and Democrats and the total replacement of all members of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate… not even the State of Michigan House and Senate.

Frankly, I’ve given up on our elected representatives and their controlling masters and our current crony-capitalist-dominated system. (For a outstanding descriptions of what is happening, see: "Crony Capitalism Comes Home," The New York Times, Nicholas D. Kristof, 26 Oct 2011, and “Did You Hear the One About the Bankers?,” The New York Times, Thomas Friedman, 29 Oct 2011, and, “Panic of the Plutocrats,” The New York Times, Paul Krugman, 9 Oct 2011,)

Our Future

Well, the plan this morning includes ten major “pillars” and identifies several “found” revenue streams, any one of which will restore financial health to the nation and put millions of us 99ers back to work. So, here it is:

  1. Tax and penalize harmful activities
    a. Sugar consumption – move toward an emphasis on creation of a preventative health care system by placing a tobacco-industry-like tax on all processed foods which include sugar. That would include foods sold through fast food restaurants as well as those sold at the grocery store and bring billions of dollars of found revenue into the federal treasury. Additionally, this tax alone will drastically cut healthcare costs and place the spotlight on ending our society’s sick dependency on sugar. We have known for decades that fructose and sugar in any form is poison. Still, the food industry continues to use it because sugar-laced foods sell. Go here for the medical rationale presented by Dr. Robert H. Lustig, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology >>>
    b. Prosecute and fine the soft drink industry, in the same manner as the tobacco industry, for “sugar poising” and facilitating major illnesses upon billions of soda drinkers. The diseases include: diabetes, obesity, heart disease, hypertension and possible many common cancers. (See reference above.)
    c. Penalize the financial industry (the major banks and Wall Street firms) for the worldwide financial disaster they created. (No reference required.)

  2. Adopt the progressive consumption tax concept proposed by Dr. Robert Frank, economics professor at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management. Go here for more>>>

  3. Tax CO2 emissions by U.S. industries and the petroleum industry and fund development of green energy industries, such as solar, wind and geothermal>>>

  4. Tax CO2 emissions by U.S. industries and the petroleum industry and fund modernization of the U.S. electric-power delivery system and emphasize development of “smart grid” and distributed electrical power generation “systems” for millions of homes and businesses. Go here for more >>>   and Go here for more>>>  (Stand by, I will be publishing more about multisource mini home power units.)

  5. Emphasize green autos / trucks and fund modernization of national mass transit (high-speed rail) using drug taxes and the CO2 / petroleum industry taxes revenues,and create jobs.

  6. Actually begin to control and manage the Defense Department budget and turn the spotlight on black ops funding, so that we know what is really being spent  (No reference required.)

  7. End the war on drugs. Legalize drugs and make them available for purchase, and taxed, through state liquor stores and supervised medical clinics and create jobs. Release the nonviolent drug offenders from prison and cut costs. (No reference required.)

  8. Using revenue generated through the sugar consumption tax, the soft drink industry tax, the drug taxes and the CO2 / petroleum industry taxes, fund major public works programs, e.g. FDR-era programs like the WPA, and concentrate on rebuilding the US infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, rail systems and create jobs. Run the programs through refunded, revised and reinvigorated VISTA - Volunteers in Service to America - Corporation for National and Community Service, renamed "AmeriCorps*VISTA”, and SCORE - to utilize their energy, talents and experience in service to the nation. Go here for more>>>

  9. Using revenue generated through the sugar consumption tax, the soft drink industry tax, the drug taxes, the CO2 / petroleum industry taxes and penalties levied on the Financial Industry, reduce and align the mortgages of millions of American homeowners with the current market valuation of their homes, create consumer spending power, invigorate the economy and create jobs.

  10. Do not allow the crony capitalists to dismantle President Obama’s healthcare program and/or Medicaid / Medicare. Instead, extend it and refine the programs to include all U.S. citizens in a true preventative-focused, health care system and create jobs.

Those are just a few thoughts to help make a difference today.
What are your thoughts?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Living Long Enough

Sitting in my high school study hall, in 1967, Akron, Ohio, I can remember thinking I will never live long enough to see my 26th birthday, let alone birthday 50. Given the war in Viet Nam, the draft, I really didn't expect to live to my parent's age – they were in their 40s then. Now 62, I hope to live long enough to see and participate in what some are calling the 99ers “U.S. Spring”.

What has just occurred in Tunisia gives me great hope that I just might make it.

In his latest blog posting, Surprises of the Tunisian Election, Dr. Juan Cole, Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan, said this:

"Tunisia kicked off the Arab Spring, with its urban crowds effectively protesting the decades-long dictatorship of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his nepotistic in-laws, the Trabelsi clan. The Tunisians were the first to demonstrate that flashmobs could, if sufficiently determined, outmaneuver the secret police and send a dictator into exile."

"Even more remarkable than the revolution of last January, to my mind, is the widespread conviction on the part of Tunisians that the way forward is liberal, parliamentary democracy. Thus, Sunday’s election of a constituent assembly that will fashion a new constitution and form an interim government is in some ways the real revolution. For decades, most Arab states implicitly accepted the Leninist critique of parliaments as mere instruments of plutocracy and wholly unrepresentative. But it turns out that the main alternative to parliamentary democracy is not direct democracy but rather oppressive dictatorship masquerading as the latter."

Go here for more >>>

Friday, October 21, 2011

Who Really Will Be Determining Your Future?

Haven’t you wondered how the "Super Committee" was going to arrive at a decision on what will be cut from the federal budget in order to reach the $1.5 trillion goal before the automatic, disastrous meat cleaver comes down? Now, at least I have some idea about who is pulling the strings. Go here to see which interests support the committee members:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hear the Slap Resonate, Please!

Feeling the winds of autumn? Over the past two days, we did here in Metro Detroit. With winds gusting 45-55 mph, DTE said about 85,000 of their customers lost power. Several of our friends reported wind damage, too.

Still, the Occupy Detroit heroes peacefully protested and stayed the course in downtown Detroit trying to get the message to the politicos in Washington and Lansing.

Speaking of lost power, do you know what that the average salaries in the New York city securities industry is compared to all other private sector industries in the city?

I don’t or didn’t until I stumbled upon this story in the New York Times. It seems securities industry people, on average, earned $361,330 in 2010. That is five and half times the average salary, $61,120, in the rest of the private sector in the city. “By contrast,” Catherine Rampell reported, “30 years ago such salaries were only twice as high as in the rest of the private sector.”

How’s that for a slap in the face? Do you feel the sting?

Please politicos hear the slap resonate and start doing your duty for the people of this nation before things get too far out of hand and power really does return to the 99ers.

“Average salaries in NY City, Securities Industry vs. all other private sector industries”, Catherine Rampell, New York Times, 11 Oct 2011.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Scientists blame your friendly “bugs” for weight problem …

Did you know that your body contains about 100 trillion cells, but only maybe one in 10 is human? Scary, isn’t it. Humans, we have come to find out, are mostly a bunch of “microbes - primarily bacteria but also viruses, fungi and a panoply of other microorganisms.”

In a recent article, published in the Washington Post, researchers reported that there is a growing body of evidence which seems to show that “microbial ecosystems” play an important role maintaining health.

And, “that modern trends - diet, antibiotics, obsession with cleanliness, Caesarean deliveries - are disrupting this delicate balance, contributing to some of the most perplexing ailments, including asthma, allergies, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancer and perhaps even autism.”

“Equipped with super-fast new DNA decoders, scientists are accelerating the exploration of this realm at a molecular level, yielding provocative insights into how these microbial stowaways may wield far greater powers than previously appreciated in, paradoxically, making us human.”

'The field has exploded,” said Jeffrey I. Gordon of Washington University, who pioneered the exploration of humanity’s microbial inhabitants, known as the 'microbiome” or 'microbiota.” 'People have this sense of wonderment about looking at themselves as a compilation of microbial and human parts.”

"In terms of potential for human health, I would place it with stem cells as one of the two most promising areas of research at the moment,” said Rob Knight of the University of Colorado. 'We’re seeing an unprecedented rate of discovery. Everywhere we look, microbes seem to be involved.”

'We have to be very careful in how we state what we know at the present time versus what we think might be true at this point,” said David A. Relman of Stanford University. 'But it’s probably fair to say that our indigenous communities are more diverse, more complex and more intimately and intricately involved in our biology than we thought.”

Now, what about bugs and obesity?

According to an article, “…studies indicate that gut dwellers (the aforementioned “bugs”) secrete messengers to cells lining the digestive tract to modulate key hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin, which are players in regulating metabolism, hunger and a sense of fullness.

Pregnant women often take antibiotics, and young children can get several rounds to fight ear and other infections, which can kill off these companions. Farmers commonly add antibiotics to animal feed to fatten their animals faster.

'We may have a generation of children growing up without the proper bacteria to regulate their leptin and ghrelin,” Blaser said.

Obese people appear to have a distinctive mix of digestive bacteria that make them prone to weight gain. Thin mice get fatter when their microbiota is replaced with the microbes of obese animals.

 Now I have proof… the bugs made me do it!

 See the article: “Microbes May Play Crucial Role in Human Health, Researchers Discovering”, Washington Post, Rob Stein

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Leadership, A Vision of Our Future

Steve Jobs is considered a visionary by most people. He saw things and then went about making it happen.

A while ago he saw a hobby “computer” kit and merged it with graphic arts, typesetting and word processing to eventually create the Apple Macintosh. Then, magically, out popped desktop publishing for the people and a new world of personal computing. The Mac was competitive because it delivered reasonable graphics performance and sold for around $2,500 vs. the competitors’ solution which were priced at well over $10,000.

Certainly well before the established data processing professional people knew, Jobs knew personal computing was a practical idea which would catch fire serving the needs of the public though many applications yet to be devised. He was only one guy, but he played a major role in generating an “industrial” revolution which has played out into unforeseen wealth, employment for millions, incredible productivity leaps and countless products which we take for granted today, within less than 30 years.

I know enough not to try to predict the future. I’m just not skilled in that area. But, I do see a game changing opportunity right now for us to walk a similar path which Jobs saw for the personal computer business. If only a few of us are willing to go around our political “leaders”, we can help our nation recover from this economic depression, move away from economic doom and gloom, and began to build a new economy of unforeseeable opportunity .

Yesterday I heard Diane Rehm’s interview of American economist Jeremy Rifkin in which I believe he spelled out a positive, renewable energy future for Europe. If we are lucky, our Occupy Wall Street / 99ers will adopt this concept as one of their demands and push the Congress and the President to adopt it, too.

It seems the much maligned European Union has about four years on the USA when comes to renewable energy. The Germans are leading their charge. They’ve transformed about 20% of their energy use into renewable energy, away from carbon-baed fuels. The other European nations are expecting to reach the 20% renewable energy goal by 2020.

Even more impressive is what Rifkin describes as, “the Third Industrial Revolution”, which was formally endorsed by the European Parliament in 2007 and is now being implemented by various agencies within the European Commission.

Rifkin and many others are working with cities, regions, and national governments to develop master plans to transition their economies into “post-carbon Third Industrial Revolution infrastructures”. In 2009, Rifkin and his team developed Third Industrial Revolution master plans for the cities of San Antonio, Texas and Rome, Italy, to transition their economies into the first post carbon urban areas in the world.

What does all this mean for us?

“In the nineteenth century, the first industrial revolution brought together print and literacy with coal and rail. In the twentieth century, a second industrial revolution combined the telegraph and telephone with oil and nuclear power,” explained Rifkin. “We’re now on the cusp of a third industrial revolution merging internet technology and renewable energy. Converging the internet with renewable energies will allow millions of people to generate their own green electricity in their homes offices and factories and then share it across a vast energy internet, just like they now create their own information and share it online with millions of others.

“Because the third industrial revolution is about lateral power, it favors small and medium-sized businesses coming together in networks to create new economic opportunities. The third industrial revolution will create thousands of new businesses and millions of new jobs. Manufacturing renewable energies, converting buildings to micro power plants, storing renewable energies in the form of hydrogen across the infrastructure, transforming the electricity grid and power and transmission lines into an energy internet, and revolutionizing the transport and logistics sector.”

Rifkin has laid out a vision of a bright economic future, one which is global in nature, capable of employing millions, and free of oil dependency. Even better, in my mind at least, is the promise of unforeseeable technological and sociological advances, new products and services yet to be identified and created.

We do not know exactly how it will all come together or how it will workout. But, we do know this new economy is happening right now in Europe. The United States will be a part of it regardless of our visionless “leaders”.

As in the past, even our political leaders will eventually see the merit in supporting a new wave, because eventually, they will see there’s money to be had and they will want it all.

The cycle will begin anew. But at least the rest of us will have a chance to live before the 1%ers accumulate all the "new" wealth.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

In-Your-Face Hypocrisy

For a disheartening dose of in-your-face-hypocrisy just look to the Republican controlled Michigan government where the state senate voted to continue their own health care after denying assistance to out-of-work Michigan people.

Michigan's Scrooge Legislators Have Turned Michigan into a Ghost!

In a show of “I’ll take care of me, but screw you”, the Michigan Senate passed a bill that eliminates health care coverage for legislators who have enough years to qualify and retire after New Year’s Day, 2013. That maneuver means that all but two senators get to keep lifetime benefits but those elected after Jan 1, 2013 get no coverage.

As Jack Lessenberry reported, “…an earlier (house) bill eliminated retiree health care benefits for nearly all sitting lawmakers.” But that was replaced with the one which the senate passed and the house “…happily agreed to substitute it for their own.” Go to:

The governor’s office said he intends to sign the bill into law.

Some elected people are living in a different universe. These are the same people who denied state assistance to children, have thrown local governments into disarray by shorting funds and gave authority to state-designated “Emergency Financial Managers” to unilaterally cancel union contracts in cities that they deem are “financially troubled.”

Given that the 99er movement, Occupy Wall Street, has arrived in Michigan, wouldn’t it be a better idea for our state elected officials not to flaunt their law-making privilege in the face of people who no longer will be able to buy food for their families let alone go to a doctor when their kids are sick?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

We Will Miss Him

Steve Jobs

“It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.” Steve Jobs.

If only someone in Washington, Lansing or Grosse Ile could hear him now…

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Downriver Good News

Ford announced that the Flat Rock, MI plant will add 1,616 new jobs. This is good news since the word has been that the plant might even close. Instead, we have another hoipful sign that the automotive industry is really rebounding. Some rebound though. When did this depression begin for us in Michigan? My memory is foggy, still I believe it was back in 2003. But, we'll take this rebound even if it's a bit tardy. Thank you Mr. Ford & family, Mr. Mulally, the U.A.W. and President Robert King and Ford workers worldwide!

Here's how Chrissie Thompson, wrote it in today's FREEP:

"Under the UAW agreement, the next generation midsize Fusion sedan, currently built in Hermosillo, Mexico, will be built both there and in Flat Rock, alongside a redesigned Ford Mustang. The new product, which comes with a $555-million investment for tooling and equipment, provides job security for Flat Rock's workers. The plant's future has been uncertain since Mazda said it would end production of the Mazda6 sedan in a few months." more

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Good News!

The U.A.W. and Ford appear to have agreed to a new four-year contract. Ford said it plans to add 12,000 jobs and invest $6.2 billion in its United States plants. See: New York Times "Ford Reaches Contract Deal with the U.A.W."

Couple this with the recent GM deal, which calls for creating or retaining 6,400 jobs in the United States,and raising pay for entry-level workers, we have some really good news today!

Monday, October 3, 2011

"We are the 99%" Solidarity March with #OccupyWallStreet at 3 PM

The Great Middle Class Awakening... Once again... Our Youth, Take the Risks and Blaze the Path!

From Posted Oct. 1, 2011, 9:09 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

"We the 99% will not be silent and we will not be intimidated. This Saturday thousands more of us will march together as one to show that it is time that the 99% are heard. Join us on the 2nd week anniversary of your new movement."

"This is a call for individuals, families and community and advocacy groups to march in solidarity with the #occupywallstreet movement on Saturday, October 1st at 3 p.m.

"We are unions, students, teachers, veterans, first responders, families, the unemployed and underemployed. We are all races, sexes and creeds. We are the majority. We are the 99 percent. And we will no longer be silent.

"As members of the 99 percent, we occupy Wall Street as a symbolic gesture of our discontent with the current economic and political climate and as an example of a better world to come. Therefore we invite the public, our fellow 99 percent, to join us in a march on SATURDAY AT THREE, starting from LIBERTY PLAZA (ZUCCOTTI PARK) at LIBERTY & BROADWAY.

"March will end with a gathering and some eating at Brooklyn Bridge Park 5:30 pm.

"Special Guests include Amiri Baraka and others! Food provided."

Tweet #occupywallstreet

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Neo-regressives

Let’s take a look.
Here’s what I see from the Republican debates and Republican Congressional leadership’s recent declarations: In the name of reducing debt, they are calling for the elimination of every US social advancement and establishment of “every man for himself” simplicity. (A view of human social structure which I would argue has never existed.)

I sincerely believe they favor plunging us into a New Dark Age.

The New York Times summed it up in today’s (30 Sept 2011) editorial:
“(The Tea Party / Republican) program (is) to wind down the government’s longstanding guarantee of health care to the elderly and the poor and incinerate the Democrats’ new promise to cover the uninsured; to abolish the Department of Education and its effort to raise national standards; to stop virtually all regulation of the environment and the financial industry; to reimpose military discrimination against gays and lesbians, deport immigrants, cut unemployment insurance and nutrition programs, raise taxes on the poor and lower them for the rich.”

In my book, the Tea Party people and the Republican Party leadership have earned a new name: Neo-regressive. It’s more than obvious these people are looking backwards to undoing when we need leaders to look forward and doing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blowin' In The Wind

Joan Baez will perform at the Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, 7:30pm, 1 Nov 2011. I read this on the Ann Arbor Ark's website and memories flooded my mind.

A long time ago I was working nights at the University of Akron radio station. We played several versions of this song as well as other "protest" songs. I remember Joan Baez's beautiful voice and that I prayed we'd stop killing in Vietnam. My cousin was a POW, shot down over Hanoi. Some of my friends who had enlisted because they were going to be drafted anyway or out of misplaced patriotism or out of a desire to prove themselves, to ... who... themselves, I guess... never came home.

It was a time of active discontent. Students and many others protested the war in Vietnam, the draft and racial injustice. I remember during one final exam the building next door, the university’s main administration building, erupted into flames and the Ohio National Guard was called in to take back the campus from the BUS protesters. I failed t he exam. I couldn’t concentrate. However, it wasn’t all the fault of the fire or the fact that the professor wouldn’t let us leave the building when the fire alarms went off. The previous weeks I didn’t study as much as I should have for the exam. I was too busy becoming a broadcaster.

We student broadcasters did manage to get into trouble though. Someone protested our playing Jose Feliciano’s version of the National Anthem before a U of A football game. We were threatened with suspension if we didn’t stop playing it. Looking back, we just liked the way he sang. We weren't participating in the times nor were we trying to make the world a better place. Little did we know that the song would become the center of controversy. (See below.)

Today, Joan is still singing the same song and I am still praying we will find a way to stop killing. Go here for a portion of Joan's bio:

From Feliciano's website:

"Puerto Rican blind singer/guitarist Jose Feliciano stunned the crowd at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, and the rest of America, when he strummed a slow, bluesy rendition of the national anthem before Game 5 of the World Series between Detroit and St. Louis. The 23-year-old's performance was the first nontraditional version seen by mainstream America, and it is generally considered the Lexington and Concord of Star-Spangled Banner controversies. The fiery response from Vietnam-weary America was not surprising, considering the tumultuous year for American patriotism. Good or bad, however, Feliciano's performance opened the door for the countless interpretations of the Star-Spangled Banner we hear today."

U.S. Health Insurance Cost Rises Sharply

So, who do you believe? Still thinking the Tea Party (aka "Pot" please see previous post below) people know what they are screaming? Or, are you thinking the President is right about healthcare? We are in this together and we'd best be paying for it at "one big USA group rate".

From today's New York Times: "The cost of health insurance for many Americans this year climbed more sharply than in previous years, outstripping any growth in workers’ wages and adding more uncertainty about the pace of rising medical costs. Go here for the rest of the story >>>

"And, God bless everyone!" said Tiny Tim. "Even the Tea Party (Pot) Republicans who aim to deny me healthcare because I am too poor. (The last portion Tim's quote can be attributed to RB. )

Scientists discover virus that kills all grades of breast cancer‘within seven days’

I have lost friends due to breast cancer. Have you?

There may be some good news. This report comes from Pennsylvania State University, School of Medicine. I pray the findings make into the public domain ASAP!

"Scientists at the Penn State College of Medicine said this week they have discovered a virus that is capable of killing all grades of breast cancer "within seven days" of first introduction in a laboratory setting. The virus, known as adeno-associated virus type 2 (AAV2), is naturally occurring and carried by up to 80 percent of humans, but it does not cause any disease.

more... Go here for online story >>>

Monday, September 26, 2011

Take Back America - Join Today!

Join the Take Back America NOW! movement.

Many of my friends have fallen out of the middle class. They have lost good paying jobs, healthcare and even their homes. Many are college graduates, some with masters degrees. Now they face living through the winter without shelter and food, especially since the Republican Congress may not extend unemployment just to unelect President Obama. With no way to take care of themselves and their families what do you think they will do? What will you do when you can't buy food? Have you noticed how expensive food is today?

There is only one answer. We must pull together and help each other. Let me know if you'd like the bumper sticker posted above. (Click here for larger image, PDF.) If you still have a car, put it on it and let others know you are going to work to make a difference right now...

Jobs - How long have you been unemployed?
Homes - How much value has your home lost - if you still have a home?
Healthcare - How long have you been without healthcare?
Savings - Lost everything in the great banking/housing bust swindle?
Education - Can you pay to go back to school?
Security - Remember when you knew your paycheck would be there this Friday?
Retirement -Did your company or fund manager lose your retirement in the great banking/housing swindle?
Peace - Trillions for war, killing and maiming hundreds of  thousands  of people, but nothing but hardship for the American people

Please act to Take Back America NOW!  Call your political representatives and demand he/she work for you... the American people! RB

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Steve Jobs to Stanford Grads: Do What You Love - Stay Hungry

In 2005 Apple Founder Steve Jobs delivered a commencement address to Stanford graduates. "Your time is limited," he said. "So don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Robert Reich Debunks 6 Big GOP Lies About The Economy

Look, aren't you concerned enough by now to do something?  Lost your job, your retirement is gone, no healthcare... it's not only time to call the Republicans what they are but to do something about it. DEMAND JOBS NOW!!! WRITE, CALL, GO SEE your elected representatives TODAY!

After all, we are now fighting for our very lives.

It is no longer a political game to keep a blackman out of office. Today, you need to ask yourself these questions: Can you feed your family? Will you be able to keep your family in your home and warm this winter? If you aren't concerned about these basics by now, then you will be soon enough.

Because, I'll bet you're not one of the republican-protected super rich... that translates to less than 1% of the U.S. population who now have 23% of our natioanl wealth. And, that means 99% of us are real losers to one degree or another. The global, U.S. corporations are sitting on $2 trillion in cash. Where are they investing their U.S. shareholders money? What is the value of your home today? Can you get your home refinanced at a reasonable rate? Is anyone listening? Please, watch this short video by former Secretary of Labor, Dr. Robert Reich.

Go here to watch video:

Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, Supercapitalism, and his most recent book, Aftershock. His "Marketplace" commentaries can be found on and iTunes.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What is the Price of Teacup Stupid?

Early this morning the thought occurred to me that a high price is being paid by a few brave souls for the idea of freedom. Libyan rebels are among the latest to risk everything for a taste of the dream. They join the courageous brotherhood and sisterhood anchored in the world-wide annals of freedom-seeking heroes.

Freedom’s price is high. It respects no national boundary and its fee continues to be paid everyday.

You may remember that long before the Libyan Freedom Fighters and the Arab Spring there was the June, 1989, massacre at Tiananmen Square. The Chinese army killed hundreds of unarmed, freedom-seeking students.

Long before Tiananmen Square, I vividly remember the 1963 Birmingham police dogs ferociously tearing at a black boy as well as the 15 Sept 1963 church bombings in the good ole southern USA. Four children died that day: Addie MaeCollins (14), Cynthia Wesley (14), Carole Robertson (14) and Denise McNair (11). Doubtlessly unaware, still, they were Freedom Fighters, too, and they did pay the supreme price.

Bill Hudson's image of Parker High School student Walter Gadsden being attacked by dogs was published in The New York Times on May 4, 1963. Then with the Associated Press (AP), Hudson captured the photo on 3 May. Gadsden was a bystander who had been grabbed by the sunglasses-wearing police officer, while a German Shepherd lunged and ripped at his chest. The photo appeared above the fold, covering three columns in the next day's issue of The New York Times, as well as in other newspapers nationwide. Author Diane McWhorter wrote in her Pulitzer Prize-winning 2001 book Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution that Hudson's photo that day drove "international opinion to the side of the civil rights revolution." Hudson’s photo became seared into my memory. I’ve never forgotten it. Another person saw the photo, too. President Kennedy told a group of people at the White House that The New York Times photo made him "sick." Kennedy called the scenes "shameful".

Thirty years or so before the 4 May 1970 Kent State University murders at the hands of the Ohio National Guard (left), the Japanese signed the book of international atrocities — multiple times. It is estimate that 300,000 people were brutally murdered by the Japanese during the Rape of Nanking, (I apologize. The photos I've found were way to brutal for me to post).

Human Rights it seems are always on the short end of the stick, especially when wealth and land are in the mix. Historians estimate that Georgians, Carolinians, Virginians, and Alabamians forced more than 100,000 Native Americans from their homelands and onto the Trail of Tears following the discovery of gold in the 1830s. The state of Georgia had already declared all laws of the Cherokee Nation null and void after June 1, 1830, and also prohibited Cherokees from conducting tribal business, contracting, testifying against whites in court, or mining for gold. Cherokee leaders successfully challenged Georgia in the U.S. Supreme Count, but President Jackson refused to enforce the Court's decision. Thousands died along the Trail of Tears.

Later, on 29 Dec 1890, at Wounded Knee Creek, the US Army needlessly slaughtered more than 100 women and children out of fear of Native American religious empowerment.

You may be thinking: “Well, all that was in the past. Today we’re more enlightened. We respect the human rights of people.”

Not so.

In a throwback to the Fugitive Slave Act and the Jim Crow era, the state of Alabama has enacted (Sept, 2011) a law that is so inhumane that four Alabama church leaders, an Episcopal bishop, a Methodist bishop and a Roman Catholic archbishop and bishop, have sued to block it on the grounds that it criminalizes acts of Christian compassion, making potential criminals of anyone who may work or live with undocumented immigrants or show them kindness. Why are we tolerating these modern-day atrocities?

It actually gets worse.

Today, led by recently concocted teacup stupidity and old-fashioned religious self-righteousness, the Republican Party is about to plummet the USA into a New Dark Age. Willfully ignorant, the Republican Party teacup people have rewritten our national history to serve their flavor of denial and impose the same-old-same-old ethnic / religious intolerance on the rest of us.

This time, unfortunately, a few teacupers are congressionally empowered. Brash, loud and with nothing personally invested, they are readily squandering our national, hard-won freedoms to remove one black man from office and force the rest of us to bend to their religious dogma.

Only a few years ago, my father’s Army unit fought from Normandy to Germany in continuous combat. By December, 1944, they were freezing in summer uniforms as they helped relieve our surrounded troops at Bastogne. Still, those hardened combat vets were sickened when they helped “liberate” Nazi death camps.

As a child, I remember him screaming in night terrors. Only now, years later, have I begun to understand that perhaps it was more than horrendous combat that he relived each night.

Today, a significant sector of Japanese society denies the WWII atrocities took place at all. And, the same is true about the Holocaust. Likewise, the tea-cup people already have proven that they are willing to risk everything our fathers and mothers worked and fought for just to keep a black man down.

The real question is whether the rest of us are willing to surrender our souls and squander our national heritage by allowing a minority of tea-cup-stupid people to continue on the road toward total economic collapse, unemployment levels which will exceed the Great Depression, and a home foreclosure rate never seen before in the United States. I hope not. The price paid in blood by our fathers and mothers is just too high to stand by and allow that to happen.

There are at least two bright spots.

First, a while ago, before the tea-cup-stupid people started dumbing-down America, Congress was close to adopting a bipartisan reform that would have enabled millions of immigrants stranded by the failed immigration system to become legal. And, despite the dictates of the Republican Party leadership, a few Republican representatives and senators found the courage to work for the good of the nation. Second, earlier this year, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Simpson-Bowles) came up with a bipartisan start on a real solution to our current economic mess.

My point is that there is reason to hope when our elected people actually work for the good of the people instead of their own personal benefit. We must make Congress pull their combined heads out of their rear ends and resolve our nation’s problems. Now.

As it was in 1963 for the Civil Rights Freedom Fighters, our last hope may be one final, massive march on Washington to demand that Congress pay attention to job creation; adopt a housing plan that brings relief for what’s left of the middle class by bringing mortgages into line with depressed housing values; end outrageous, criminal foreclosures; and put the white collar criminal “brokers” in jail for stealing the nation’s wealth.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Message... Thank God!

Are you as tired as I am of listening to the endlessly stupid garbage being tossed around by the Party-of-Just-Say-No-About-Everything-to-Wreck-the-U.S.-Ecconmy-So-Obama-Won’t-be-Re-Elected – the Republicans and the Hide-Our-Heads-and-Hope-the-Republicans-Go-Away – the Democrats?

Frankly, I’m frightened that the Tea Party dominated Republicans will come out on top while President Obama stands by, trying to be a conciliator and our national train runs off the cliff, plunging us into the deepest depression yet to be witnessed on earth.

Now is the time for leadership and I pray that it appears.

Fortunately, a few of our governors recently heard that message at the National Governors Association Annual Meeting, 17 July 2011. Thomas Friedman, Foreign Affairs Columnist, New York Times, a Pulitzer Prize, three-time winner, delivered it.

I sure hope someone was listening.  You can. Go here:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What Does It Take? Here's One Idea

Often we are so occupied with thinking nothing can be done; that all the innovation and new ideas are created somewhere else... anywhere else... but not here in the USA. The following is a report about a game-changing innovation which may very well be the spark that ignites a new industry which could employ millions and help give us the energy independence we so desperately need.

Solar power goes viral

MIT researchers use genetically modified virus to produce structures that improve solar-cell efficiency by nearly one-third. by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office April 25, 2011

Researchers at MIT have found a way to make significant improvements to the power-conversion efficiency of solar cells by enlisting the services of tiny viruses to perform detailed assembly work at the microscopic level.

In a solar cell, sunlight hits a light-harvesting material, causing it to release electrons that can be harnessed to produce an electric current. The new MIT research, published online this week in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, is based on findings that carbon nanotubes — microscopic, hollow cylinders of pure carbon — can enhance the efficiency of electron collection from a solar cell's surface.

Previous attempts to use the nanotubes, however, had been thwarted by two problems. First, the making of carbon nanotubes generally produces a mix of two types, some of which act as semiconductors (sometimes allowing an electric current to flow, sometimes not) or metals (which act like wires, allowing current to flow easily). The new research, for the first time, showed that the effects of these two types tend to be different, because the semiconducting nanotubes can enhance the performance of solar cells, but the metallic ones have the opposite effect. Second, nanotubes tend to clump together, which reduces their effectiveness.

And that’s where viruses come to the rescue. -more-

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Welcome to Grosse Ile!

Tie up, have lunch, pick up a missing tool or part, at the Grosse Ile Public Dock, East River at Grosse Ile Parkway.

We welcome visitors to Grosse Ile.

Some come by SUV or car, some bike and some drop in by plane. But, none arrive by boat. That is to say, none of our friends can stop by, tie up and enjoy lunch or a cool drink at our Macomb Street businesses off East River. Why? Because there is no public dock facility available.

Today, we have an opportunity to create one. Prime property off East River Road at Grosse Ile Parkway has become available to the Township.  You’ve driven by a million times. If you are a longtime Islander, it’s likely you dropped a line into the river at this spot and enjoyed the spectacular view.

It’s time to turn this neglected beach into a spectacular public area, put in a dock for our boating and sailing friends, and welcome them to their new home on Grosse Ile!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tom's Letter

When I opened my eyes today I discovered a compassionless nation.

Millions of my fellow citizens are struggling to put food on their tables, if they have tables. Millions have lost and millions more will soon lose their homes. Millions will live this day through without even a glimmer of hope for basic medical care.

Each direction I look I see people begging for a chance to work again; to provide for their families and themselves. And after years of turndowns, millions more have stopped seeking work, fallen off the charts, and fading into shadow people.

The minority, those who still have jobs, bank accounts, homes, cars – a “middle class” American life – avert their eyes and look away. Fearing contamination, they refuse to see what is happening and declare the victims to be the criminals. They don’t want to acknowledge what is happening.

But soon, they too, will join our ranks. It is inevitable because through their avarice, the tiny few who are “coin operated” have once again “stolen” the wealth of the many.

Those who remember reading now understand that history does repeat. None of us, even for a split second, thought the countless revolutions of the past would be revisited on us… by us.

Still, here we are, simply trying to regain what our parents had and our children will never see unless we unite, rediscover the path our ancestors walked and walk it ourselves. Our numbers have become vast. We have nothing to lose and only a smidgen of a chance to retrieve what has been stolen from us.

The tiny few who “have” all the mega wealth now do have much to fear. Because the country has long since stopped working for the many.

Sooner or later the shadow people will be visiting the mega wealthy people, unless in self-interest, the tiny few become enlightened and allow the many to hold at least a piece of the American Dream once again.

History teaches that a tomorrow will come. At similar tipping points in the past other shadow people summoned up their courage to retrieve their collective rights; found the strength to correct injustice; and then took back their stolen wealth, homes and savings. Eventually, the shadow people will become empowered to repeat the cycle and try to create a new society, a new government.

It is time, for: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Something To Say... About Detroit, Chrysler and Detroiters

I'm not much of a Super Bowl person. Nor am I much of  a "car guy" any more.

But, I am a believer in the inherent goodness, strength, persistence, and ingenuity of salt-of-the-earth people. They are my heroes. Sooner or later they will come through. Bet on it.

The Detroit area is overflowing with heroes… The Greatest Generation, our police and firefighters, our hospital personnel, our emergency responders, our teachers, our Peace Corp. vets, our clergy, our military vets… Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan… and all those who served our nation in unnamed, unacknowledged service. Most importantly our workers... hundreds of thousands of our workers... who have repeatedly taken it on the chin during this depression and haven't given up.

These are the people who come to my mind when I think of Detroit. Heroes all.

I see all this and more in this commercial… yes a car commercial. And it’s Eminem taking a lead role, too! Irony. That is what it is.

I’m about as far away from “rap” as one can be. So, here’s one star I would never have considered if I had been in Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s shoes. Fortunately, he is the MAN and he made an incredibly good call.

The results are obvious.

I’m proud he chose Eminem and Proud for Detroit, Chrysler / Fiat. And, now I’m proud to call myself a Detroiter, too.

Watch this commercial. You'll understand. Imported from Detroit.