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