Monday, October 31, 2016

Hoover's Ghost


J. Edgar Hoover passed in 1972 but his ghost may recently have paid us a visit and somehow taken control of current FBI Director James Comey.

This past Friday, Comey announced that he had reopened the FBI investigation of Sec. Clinton use of a private email server, even though the FBI had not reviewed nor obtained a warrant to investigate emails obtained from the personal laptop computer of the estranged husband of one of Sec. Clinton’s assistants. He is under investigation in an entirely unrelated case.

Oddly, neither the FBI nor the Clinton assistant know how the emails ended up on that computer let alone the information included within them.

Director Comey, previously a registered R, said the FBI might get around to reviewing the mysterious emails sometime in the future. He wouldn’t say when. Additionally, news sources revealed that Comey made his email announcement despite direction not to do so from his boss, the Attorney General of the United States, and in violation of Justice Department policy.

So, a few days prior to the election, voters are left with many “unknowns” and Mr. T, the R candidate, has been handed a miraculous “leg -up” for his bid to become Leader of the Free World. Unsurprisingly, Mr. T wasted no time putting his miraculous gift to work.

As I reflected on this mystical turn of events, a few spotlights began to brighten the dark for me. I remembered how the FBI and other “secret” organizations had “planted” information in the past in order to discredit or otherwise cast aspersions upon a patsy or fall person.

Lee Harvey Oswald is an example. Freedom of Information Act disclosures have shown that he was an informant and paid by both the FBI and the CIA prior to the murder of the President of the United States. You may recall that within hours of JFK’s assassination, Hoover himself declared Oswald the sole assassin. Later, Hoover also said that Oswald had absolutely no connection with the FBI.
.
During his 48-year reign as Director of the FBI, Hoover was known to maintain in his office "personal and confidential" files on every important person he deemed significant. When it served his purpose he would threaten to publicly disclose information from his files to embarrass, threaten, bully or otherwise “compromise” the person into doing whatever he wanted them to do.

Hoover was an expert at this form of blackmail and no one, no matter his/her position, was exempt from his abusive reach.

It was Hoover who created the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) through which he marshaled the resources of the USA via his FBI agents and conducted a series of covert, illegal investigations designed to discredit and disrupt a plethora of civic movements, political organizations and otherwise “legal” organizations. Hoover conducted his own personal vendettas against many people, including Dr. Martin Luther King, for instance, using COINTELPRO as his cover.

As FBI Director, he ordered around-the-clock surveillance of Dr. King, looking for evidence of Communist influence or sexual deviance. “Using illegal wiretaps and warrantless searches, Hoover gathered a large file of what he considered damning evidence against King.”

“J. Edgar Hoover shaped the F.B.I in his own image of discipline and patriotism. He also directed the bureau into secret and illegal domestic surveillance spurred on by his conservative patriotism and paranoia. His nefarious tactics had been suspected for decades by government officials, but presidents from Truman to Nixon seemed unable to fire him due to his popularity and the potentially high political cost. In 1975, the Church Committee (named after its chairman, Senator Frank Church [D-Idaho]) conducted a full investigation of COINTELPRO’s operations and concluded that many of the agency’s tactics were illegal and, in many, cases unconstitutional.” *

You know… it’s Halloween… Do you think it’s possible that Mr. Hoover’s ghost has taken over Mr. Comey? Just askin’.

Oh, by the way, lest we have forgotten, there was a time when at least some FBI agents did conduct honest investigations... at least on TV. Check how FBI Inspector, Lewis Erskine, (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) handled an investigation: The F B I, Season 1, Episode 14 Pound of Flesh, 1965. Sorry, the episode is no longer available for free on YouTube. You may be able to view it through Netflix or Amazon. Here is a link to download the episode.

*J. Edgar Hoover Biography, Biography.com
http://www.biography.com/people/j-edgar-hoover-9343398#fbi

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hey, Glasgow! Thank You!


Glasgow, Scotland City Centre Mural Trail
Thank you, we needed to see your outstanding gift.
Your gift has given us brightness, color, dignity, humanity, love of nature and our earth, during an otherwise dismal and gray time - the presidential election.


From the Glasgow City Council Brochure (PDF)
"The street murals are helping to rejuvenate streets and revitalise buildings and vacant sites that look a bit tired, reincarnating them as beautiful pieces of public street art. The first artwork was produced in 2008 and this portfolio of completed works has expanded since."

"The murals are also having a major impact on our city centre by creating splashes of colour which brighten up lanes and streets. This helps make them more inviting for locals and tourists alike to visit and supports local businesses."

"Now Glasgow has created a Mural Trail featuring the diverse range of art within easy walking distance of the city centre. The huge range of artwork on display has something to suit all tastes - conservative to radical, quirky to bizarre."

Go here for more of the story:
You Need To Check Out These Mind-Blowing Scottish Street Murals, Jesselyn Cook, Huffington Post, 29 Oct 2016.

And, here for more photos:

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Rooftop Perspective


A young friend recently complained that life had passed him by. That the days of making a good livin’ were gone and he was condemned to a life of minimum wages, no home of his own, no woman and definitely a whole lot of misery.

Then, he declared, “That’s why I’m voting for Mr. T. He’s an outsider and he’ll put it to those Washington politicians.”

“They” will get what they deserve and Mr. T will make sure my life will be easier – manufacturing jobs will be back, education won’t be a requirement for good wages and I’ll have a retirement and healthcare package, just like the blue-collar workers had 50 or 60 years ago.

Whew, I thought. Are you sure you want to be putin’ all your eggs in one basket? I mean, thinkin’ the Mr. T person can even deliver all that. Assumin’ that he tries, – and his history doesn’t show a whole lot of tryin’ for anyone but himself  – all you're wishin' for is a whole lot to swallow.

I didn’t say it to him this time, but I sure thought it again.

If you want something bad enough I know you can have it. You just have to make step # one towards your goal and then each day take another step in that direction. Then, before you know it, you will end up where you want to be.

In my friend’s case, if he wants a better job, I recommended considering an emerging industry… like solar. Go find a job in that industry and learn everything you can about it. Before you know it, you’ll be livin’ the life you want.

Step one? Look no further than today’s news and read about Mr. Elon Musk’s solar roof tiles*.

You know? Up on the Roof…that’s a good place to start.


*Elon Musk wants to sell people solar roofs that look great. Here's his much anticipated designIvan Penn, Russ Mitchell, 28 Oct 2016Los Angeles Times. 


Friday, October 28, 2016

About Your Dumpster


For many years I have worked as a counselor to nonprofit organizations and for-profit corporations, governments, and associations. I’ve also worked as an employee for all these organizations, save government.

I’ve noticed that they all share a common, and in many cases, fatal deficiency – a lack of institutional memory and a mechanism for carrying forward and implementing lessons learned.

While these organizations differ in size, structure, mission and business plans, they all share an inability to pass forward the lessons learned by past employees, managers and executives.

As a customer, stakeholder, patient or patient advocate, I experience pain when I witness abysmal customer or patient care; management gone AOL; nonexistent quality control; outrageous misfeasance; blatant malfeasance; or, callous disregard for another human being.

From my professional experience, and from my “customer / patient advocate experience”, I know that all of these painful incidents are totally preventable. Further, I know that somewhere in the history of the hospital, retail business, restaurant, etc., someone in the past learned a very expensive lesson — poor business or patent relations practices can become fatal for the organization.

Additionally, if the organization has been around for a while, someone at some time in the past has tried to remedy these common relationship challenges. It’s likely that a vast multitude of consultants have been hired, seminars have been provided and a huge amount of resources have been committed in an effort to teach and implement best practices to prevent the patient/ customer experiences mentioned above.

So, if it’s common to try to teach best practices, then why is it even more common to painfully experience abysmal customer or patient care?

Clearly, for me at least, an answer resides in poor institutional memory.

Talk with any employee or manager at any institution, retail facility, or global corporation. You will likely discover that the person has little to zero best practices training, let alone an understanding of the learned experiences of past employees and managers.

The simple truth is that the institution has literally made no effort to make sure learned experiences are pasted on to succeeding generations of employees. As a result, all that critical, expensive knowledge has vanished into know-nothingness.

I find it both annoying and perplexing that any institution which expects its employees to close a sale, inspire a customer to return, answer a patient’s question or salve-over a disgruntled patient who believes he/she was poorly served by that institution, so brainlessly tosses that critical, expensive knowledge and knowhow to the trash heap.

Finally, I offer this to the “C-level” executives of our world, entrepreneurs and motivated managers:


In your dumpster, next to your building, you will rediscover invaluable proprietary corporate assets - knowledge and hard-won experiences - buried, but crying out to be put to good use once again.

Mick Jagger - Throwaway


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Gone and Done… IT!

The latest move by the Congressional Republican leadership has gone and done it for me.

The other day Sen. McCain (R-AZ) said that the R-people would be “united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up”.* The next day, the R from Texas, Ted Cruz, said the same.

So, it looks like for the next four years, at least, it’s goin’ be more of the same old obstructionism the Rs dealt Pres. Obama for the last eight years.

Well, okie-dokie, then.

If that’s how the Rs see it, then I guess I’m goin’ have to do something I’ve never done before - vote straight-party Democrat. Why risk keepin' any Rs in office if they see bein' a massive pothole obstruction as Job #1 and actually tryin' to get something constructive done as Job #0.

Yes, sir.

On 9 Sept. the U.S. Supreme Court “OKed” straight-party voting in Michigan for this November election by rejecting Michigan Attorney General Schuette’s request for a stay of a preliminary injunction issued against a recent Michigan law banning straight-party voting. The decision was rendered by a one-justice-short Supreme Court, with a 6 to 2 vote.

I have never selected straight-party voting. I’ve instead chosen to consider each office contest individually because I’ve always considered myself to be an Independent — neither Republican nor Democrat.

However, as of yesterday, this election is now different. The game has changed, so to speak.

Uh oh… I just remembered… I did plan to vote for one or local R guys. Still, both are running uncontested, so they don’t need my vote. Whew! Maybe I can still try that straight-party-voting-thing after all.

Anyway, John Fogerty had it right, there's a Bad Moon Rising...





Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Voting Early?



Ballot selfies are now legal in Michigan. So, I decided to vote early (and often, of course) so that I could impress you with my choice for President! So, what do you think?

Opus is really Leroy Brown, from Chicago...


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dad was right


Dad was right about President Eisenhower.
He thought Ike was a “do nothing” president, I guess, because Ike seemed to take a lot of golfing vacation time.

Looking back on the late 1950s, from my child’s perspective, things seemed a lot simpler than today. Many shared Dad's perspective of Ike as the respected, safe "father" figure.

After all, it was safe to walk home from grade school by yourself; people said, “Hello, how are you today?” and actually waited to hear your reply; TV programs were fun to watch; and, I actually thought adults lived by the Gene Autry’s Cowboy Code.


Today, we do know that a lot was going on during the Eisenhower administration, thanks to several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

We have discovered that even though Ike wasn’t doin’ the "goin’ on" part, others were doin’ the doin’ while Ike did the approvin’ and then the "playin’ golf" part.

Like today, Americans back then just didn’t know what was really happening because it was done in secret, out of view. Please see previous posts:
Lies Too Big to Fail, Part I, How We Lost Our Naïveté
Lies Too Big to Fail, Part II, A Doppelganger USA is Running Amok Throughout Our World
Lies Too Big to Fail, Part III, The Time of The Great Awakening: How We Can Resurrect Our Democracy

While Ike's Sec. of State, John Foster Dulles and his brother, Allan Dulles, Director of the CIA, and their compadres were creating our world-wide image as what later became collectively known as, The Ugly American, at home, the CIA, under Mr. Alan Dulles, inaugurated operation Mockingbird to subvert what little Fourth Estate remained.


All this was partially outed by Carl Bernstein in his 20 Oct 1977, Rolling Stone article, The CIA and the Media.

Unknown to all of us naïve Americans, many members of the press had sold out, becoming pawns of the CIA, and accomplices in the duping of America.

At the same time, NSC-68 was under way*. That was the program aimed at molding US citizens’ opinion in favor of government military actions and foreign policy.

Later, another CIA program, detailed in CIA memorandum 1035-960, was implemented. That program was uncovered by a 1976  The New York Times FOIA request:

“The memorandum lays out a detailed series of actions and techniques for “countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries.” For example, approaching “friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors)” to remind them of the Warren Commission’s integrity and soundness should be prioritized. “[T]he charges of the critics are without serious foundation,” the document reads, and “further speculative discussion only plays in to the hands of the [Communist] opposition.

Like I said, Dad was right. But, he didn’t know how right he was.

Ike played a lot of golf but he also took his eye off the most important ball, so to speak. His style of laissez faire management allowed the boys to run unrestrained, freeing them to make their dream come true — the American oligarchy we have today.

* From Conspiracy Theory in America, by Dr. Lance deHaven-Smith:
 “In actuality however, U.S. military and intelligence elites actively manipulate domestic affairs as a matter of policy. America’s national security elites have long declared that the U.S. public opinion must be molded and managed to maintain popular support for the nation’s military actions and foreign policies. A well-known example of such thinking is NSC-68, a report authored in 1950 by the National Security Council. While advocating covert operations to subvert communist regimes overseas, NSC-68 called for a public relations strategy at home to strengthen America’s resolve in the Cold War. ** For decades, presidents and other top officials have been routinely misleading the public about the nation’s foreign policies, tactics, and capabilities, and about the actions and capabilities of America’s enemies. American involvement in various coups and assassinations has been denied; American provocations of military conflict have been concealed; U.S. citizens have been secretly and illegally wiretapped and monitored — all in the name of national security. To the extent that national security elites are influencing national political priorities by manipulating the constellation of issues confronting the nation, all of the theories in the social sciences and their associated research programs are studying downstream phenomena while the real explanation of events resides earlier in time and higher in America’s authoritative hierarchy. In other words, it is quite possible that the social sciences are studying shadows and that the people making the shadows are designing them for effect. Of course, this was how Plato described the situation of the citizens, except that in his story, which we must assume was a noble lie, the philosophers were helping citizens understand the shadows, not using the shadows for social control.”

**Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, Dr. Sheldon Wolin, 2008

So... We Had Help Being Naive... 
Just Rememberin' Hits from the 1950s
Whatever Will Be, Will Be, 1956
Doris Day






Monday, October 24, 2016

Drivin’ in the South? Stay Alert


Like most people I have a tendency to believe that the roads where I live are worst in the nation. Well. They are – when it comes to the condition of the roads. Michigan has managed to neglect roads for the past few years.

We, the drivin' people, are ever hopeful since the state government has now gotten around to allocating the money needed to plug-up the holes.

But, when it comes to dangerous roads, one should be looking to the sunny climes. That is, to the east coast and especially the southern parts of the USA.

America's Most Dangerous Highways, Laura Bliss, City Lab, 21 Oct 2016.

"Why are Southern interstates so deadly? It could be a lethal mix of high speeds, distracted driving, and lax regulations."

"Driving in America is becoming more deadly, with nearly 18,000 people killed in traffic incidents in just the first six months of 2016. That represents an increase of more than 10 percent over the same time last year—a period that saw similar gains over 2014. Fatalities per 100,000 miles driven are at a 7-year high."

"Bad roads: The 10 interstates with the most per-mile fatality rates are I-4, I-45, I-17, I-30, I-95, I-19, I-10, I-37, I-26 and I-97."

"Many of the interstates with the most fatalities per mile are, unsurprisingly, some of the most heavily traveled in the nation. Florida’s infamous pileup-magnet I-4, which runs from Tampa to Daytona Beach, tops the list. The southernmost cross-country highway, I-10 from California to Florida, is up there, too, as is densely trafficked I-95 from Maine to (again!), Florida. Seeing the list in its entirety in the map above really emphasizes its southern bias. One of these highways is located entirely within the state of Texas (I-45) and three more pass through the Longhorn state (I-10, I-30, I-37). Arizona also has three of the top 10 dangerous interstates running through it."

"Why would such relatively dry, temperate and ice-free highways be so dangerous? Sheer volume is part of the answer: All of these are extremely well-trodden roads, with traffic volumes on most of them topping a quarter-million cars every day. But these states also clock in high on various rankings of distracted driving, with Arizona and Texas two of only a few states with no kind of behind-the-wheel ban on technology use (Montana is another). Texas also enjoys a new rural toll road with a posted 85 mile-per-hour speed limit, giving drivers there the highest average speed limits in the nation. Cell phone motion data from EverDrive supports the theory that drivers in at least two of these states are picking up their devices more than in others: Texan users turn to their phones an average 1.35 times per car trip and Floridians 1.4 times per trip, compared to a national average of 1.1 times."

Go here for the whole story... especially all those parts I left out:
America's Most Dangerous Highways, Laura Bliss, CityLab, 21 Oct 2016.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bully Experience Antidote


I’ll guess that everyone has had at least one or more “bully experience” throughout life. And it’s also likely that the first one happened in grade school.

That would be an encounter with another person, usually bigger, older – and I’ll hazard another guess here – more stupid than you. Later in life we all encounter bully experiences at work, in the neighborhood, the grocery store, while driving and any number of other places. In fact bully experiences can happen anywhere at any time.

So it goes for all of us this political season. We have witnessed the bully experience maker extraordinaire, Mr. Donald Trump, make bully experiences an everyday norm.

After the election, perhaps Mr. Trump will trademark, bottle and distribute his “bully maker” concoction and offer it for sale along with a video and website chalk full of instructions on, “How you, too can become a Trump Bully Extraordinaire”.


All this bully talk sparked another thought about an ancient remedy to the bullies of the world. I’m sure you remember the movie classic, A Christmas Story, especially the scene when Ralphie gave it all back to the bully, Scut Farcus, won the admiration of his fellow students and earned a mouth washing, as well.

Come to think about it, perhaps Mr. Trump could benefit from an old fashioned mouth washing, too.

I suspect the world would be better off.

A Christmas Story -- Ralphie Beats Up Bully


What’s Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) doin’ today?
Go here for the story.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

My Personal Mini Drone


Recently Amazon was awarded a patent for a "tiny personal assistant drone".

"Amazon's patent suggests that police may use the drone as a flying dashcam, following them and recording everything during routine traffic stops," explains the article* I discovered.



A “personal drone” could have a multitude of applications, I'm sure you would agree. While I’m not yet up to speed on the particulars, I sure like the concept for helping solve one of the most persistently irritating challenges we face around here —railroad crossings.

It seems whenever I have a deadline to be somewhere there is a train blocking my path. It’s really uncanny.

I don’t know how it happens but it does.

It’s not that I have to stop for a few minutes while the train goes speedily through the crossings. No, it’s most irritating when the train enters the crossing and stops.

Sometimes I can wait for a very long time until the train people have determined we have paid the train Gods enough of our time. Or, depending upon where I’ve got to be and when, I pull out of line and backtrack to find a clear crossing. Sometimes I can and other times the train is so long that it is blocking the alternative, as well.

There may be some relief on the horizon with Amazon’s decision to enter the “personal drone” business.

We will see how things workout. But, maybe someday I’ll be able to send up my little drone camera and actually see if that nasty old train is stopped, adding more railroad cars or simply way too long and just poking along.

Then I can make an intelligent decision to either hold my horses and wait or turn out and hope to find that opening to the outside world.

*Fly my pretties: Amazon patents personal mini drones to locate lost cars or kids, Michael Irving, New Atlas, 21 Oct 2016.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Hoodwinked Again


Since the 60s I’ve suspected that our leaders have often been misdirecting our attention and obscuring their activities from view. I guess they have been hoping we stay so confused that we remain ignorant of their shenanigans and don’t meddle in their world.

But, thanks mainly to Freedom of Information Act disclosures, many of my suspicions have been confirmed and a shocking plethora of activities I never imagined possible have been opened to public view.

After a period of time, following each of these disclosures, I recovered from my shock and disbelief and tried to make sense of things. Like an amateur detective, I looked for clues and patterns to try to cipher-out the who, what, where… you know… “the facts”.

Then the next disclosure came along. And, just like an abuse victim, I went directly into denial, trying to shelter my mind from the facts that compellingly lead to a conclusion that something is definitely going on and what a chump I am for allowing myself to be hoodwinked once again.

All this, “OH, NO!! I’ve been hoodwinked again” reflecting has led me to Dr. Lance deHaven-Smith* and his SCAD concept which he describes in his book, Conspiracy Theory in America.

SCAD is an acronym for State Crime Against Democracy.

Dr. Lance deHaven-Smith* coined the term to describe, “Concerted actions or inactions by government insiders intended to manipulate democratic processes and undermine popular sovereignty”.

Most of us recoil and hide under the nearest rock when confronted with the idea that people in our government might be involved in or paid to have an official assassinated or a government toppled. We immediately push the thought into a category labeled crazy “conspiracy theories” and go back to the latest episode of The Voice.

What I found most compelling about Dr. deHaven-Smith’s presentation is that while our founding fathers expected that people in power would abuse their authority and therefore built-in Constitutional protections against those anticipated abuses... since the 60s... we have lived through many episodes of “criminal activities” that avoided those protections. And, further, those perpetrators have not only succeeded, they have repeatedly succeeded and gone unpunished.

I know this is a heavy load to consider. Please check the videos below.

* Dr. Lance deHaven-Smith is a Professor Emeritus in the Reubin O’D. Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University. Go here for background.

The Toronto Hearings on 9/11 Uncut - Day 1 Lance DeHaven-Smith

State Crimes Against Democracy - Lance deHaven-Smith




Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Election Thing... Not Working... Right? Let’s change it.


Is there a person alive who believes the U.S. election process is not seriously broken? There is a lot riding on what happens on 8 Nov., not just for us, but much more importantly for our children and grandkids. After all, they are depending on us to ensure that they have a tomorrow.

There are alternatives to our broken system and people are working to reform it.

Here are three must reforms:
(a) Eliminate “winner-take-all” elections and replace them with “fair representation voting methods” such as “Ranked Choice Voting“ (RCV) 

(b) National Popular Vote for President - “Every vote equal in the election of the United States President” 

(c) Universal Voter Registration.

Go to FairVote.org for more election reform why and how.

For additional steps to ensure your grandkids legacy, please go here:
http://www.legacygrandkids.info/legacygrandkids_action_steps.html

Join The Movement
Please go to www.legacygrandkids.info

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Love Not Death


This is not a story about 1960s hippydom, when the kids flashed peace signs talked free-love making and dope-taking. Nor, is it a story about “presidential” candidates.

For me this is personal because this is a story about one of my heroes and his unshakable belief in love, faith, and life.

Desmond Doss, an “everyday Joe”, who under the most horrendous conditions imaginable stayed to treat his wounded and exposed himself to enemy fire countless time to evacuate them to safety. For love of his comrades, he could not leave them.

Desmond Doss
Conscientious Objector
Company Aid Man (Medic)
Congressional Medal of Honor

His citation:
Place and date: Near Urasoe Mura, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, April 29, 1945 – May 21, 1945.
He was a company aid man when the 1st Battalion assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet high. As our troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machine gun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Pfc. Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying all 75 casualties one-by-one to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands. On May 2, he exposed himself to heavy rifle and mortar fire in rescuing a wounded man 200 yards forward of the lines on the same escarpment; and 2 days later he treated 4 men who had been cut down while assaulting a strongly defended cave, advancing through a shower of grenades to within eight yards of enemy forces in a cave's mouth, where he dressed his comrades' wounds before making 4 separate trips under fire to evacuate them to safety. On May 5, he unhesitatingly braved enemy shelling and small arms fire to assist an artillery officer. He applied bandages, moved his patient to a spot that offered protection from small arms fire and, while artillery and mortar shells fell close by, painstakingly administered plasma. Later that day, when an American was severely wounded by fire from a cave, Pfc. Doss crawled to him where he had fallen 25 feet from the enemy position, rendered aid, and carried him 100 yards to safety while continually exposed to enemy fire. On May 21, in a night attack on high ground near Shuri, he remained in exposed territory while the rest of his company took cover, fearlessly risking the chance that he would be mistaken for an infiltrating Japanese and giving aid to the injured until he was himself seriously wounded in the legs by the explosion of a grenade. Rather than call another aid man from cover, he cared for his own injuries and waited 5 hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover. The trio was caught in an enemy tank attack and Pfc. Doss, seeing a more critically wounded man nearby, crawled off the litter; and directed the bearers to give their first attention to the other man. Awaiting the litter bearers' return, he was again struck, by a sniper bullet while being carried off the field by a comrade, this time suffering a compound fracture of one arm. With magnificent fortitude he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station. Through his outstanding bravery and unflinching determination in the face of desperately dangerous conditions Pfc. Doss saved the lives of many soldiers. His name became a symbol throughout the 77th Infantry Division for outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty.

Yes, Hollywood has a movie coming out about Desmond Doss. But here is the story, from This is Your Life.




Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Understanding Differently


Here are words of truth that many will not allow themselves to read let alone acknowledge. These are facts that challenge us to understand differently and maybe even consider taking a step toward repairing our society. Thank you, Bill McGraw and Bridge MI. – RB

The War on Crime, not crime itself, fueled Detroit’s post-1967 decline,
By Bill McGraw, Bridgemi.com, 18 Oct 2016


“In the mid-1960s, crime appeared to be rising in Detroit, homicides were ticking up, then 1967 happened. Crime became a big issue, and in 1974, Detroit Mayor Coleman Young took office and homicides hit an all-time high, 714. A lot of people see crime as one of the major reason people left Detroit. You have a different explanation.”

“I think across the nation, the idea is that cities are emptied out, particularly of their white residents and their more affluent residents because crime goes out of control. And certainly Detroit is seen as Ground Zero where that happened. But as a historian, I had the chance to really go back and unpack this, not just decade by decade, but actually year by year and really ask the question, for example ‘Was crime really on the rise prior to the rebellion of ’67? And was that the reason for why we see an outflux of residents?”

“And in fact, it was not. We see very clearly that, certainly under Mayor Cavanagh, it looks for a moment, especially after 1965, that crime is ticking up, but there is whole back story here, which is, number one, the Johnson Administration had incentivized counting crime in such a way with its new war on crime measures, to incentivize showing that you had an uptick in crime.”

“The mayor himself, the head of the police department himself, both went public and said, ‘No, it’s actually not that we have a rise in crime … we’re now reporting it differently.’ And so the irony of ironies is that we begin this intensive policing that will really lead to the rebellion and we begin these really corrosive practices in cities like in Detroit – in advance of a crime problem. But then, of course, we really do get a crime problem because we get a war of drugs, which, like Prohibition much earlier in the century, illegal economies are dangerous economies, they are economies of desperation, they are accompanied by violence, they are accompanied by crime.”

“But, notably, when urban Detroiters are most suffering the crime problem, white residents are already long gone. They had already long left the city. So it is a bit of a chicken and egg question, and it’s an important one as to what happens when.”

Mass Incarceration of Detroit | DJC Clip


Please go here for the full story:
The War on Crime, not crime itself, fueled Detroit’s post-1967 decline, Bill McGraw, Bridgemi.com, 18 Oct 2016



Monday, October 17, 2016

Sanity... Epiphany?


I'll admit it. Early on I thought that Jill Stein of the Green Party was a potential alternative candidate to Sec. Clinton and Mr. Trump for the U.S. Presidency.

This morning I've had an epiphany. Maybe it's the humidity or the polluted air... whatever.

More than likely the source of my come-to-sanity-moment was watching John Oliver's clip.


What do you think?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Irritated Eyes


Live close to or downwind of a coal-fired power plant?

We do.

Last night, for the second night this week, our place was filled with reeking smell of burning coal. Normally we don’t smell the power plant gaseous discharges because they fly high above our home.

But this past week was different for some reason, perhaps, due to some weird weather inversion.

Still, we woke up at about 2:20 am, sneezing, eyes irritated, and realizing the odd odor permeating our air.

This morning I stumbled upon Paul Krugman’s recent New York Times column. He took a look at “The Clinton Agenda” , 14 Oct 2016, opening with:

“It ain’t over until the portly gentleman screams, but it is, as intelligence analysts say, highly likely that Hillary Clinton will win this election. Poll-based models put her chances at around 90 percent earlier this week — and that was before the campaign turned totally X-rated.”

“But what will our first female president actually be able to accomplish? That depends on how big a victory she achieves.”

Interestingly, what sprang out for me was Krugman’s following observation:
“But the most important piece of his push — the Clean Power Plan, which would greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants — is currently on hold, thanks to a stay imposed by the Supreme Court. Democratic capture of the Senate would remove this roadblock.”

For that reason alone — plus my irritated eyes, concern for our healthy lungs and hopeful that the power plant might finally be closed as scheduled — I feel I now have one more reason to support Sec. Clinton.

How many reasons do you need for not voting for Mr. Trump?


Saturday, October 15, 2016

SciTech Breakthroughs

There's progress in SciTech despite grade school-playground bully politics
Politically we may have descended to grade school-playground bully politics lows but in the world of science and technology the beat goes on — progressively forward. Here are four:

New solar panel integrates battery storage, inverter, and smart software into a single unit
“Home solar has the potential to reduce, and even eliminate, electricity costs for many people, but even with the rapid advancements we're seeing in solar technology, there are still weak points that can be addressed and overcome, such as energy storage and 'smart' home integration. But a newcomer to the residential solar scene believes it has the answer, in the form of a standalone solar and battery unit which can be used singly or connected in an array, and which may be able to lower the overall costs considerably.”

“SunCulture's SolPad solar device integrates solid state batteries directly into the solar panels themselves, offering its users the ability to not only generate their own clean electricity, but to also store if for use after dark or during peak demand times, when electricity costs are higher.”

Smart solar panel innovation I’ve been waiting for to reduce cost by 50%. SolPad Home Connect system connection is a wire-free system that links two or more SolPad Home panels together on roof, completely eliminating the need for any complicated cabling or wiring, simplifying the installation and greatly reducing cost and installation time. - RB

Go here for the story.

New ‘Artificial Pancreas’ Could Seriously Improve Life For Diabetics
 “This will mean a whole lot fewer finger pricks for people with type 1 diabetes.”

“Medtronic Plc won U.S. approval on Wednesday for an “artificial pancreas” that is the first device to automatically deliver the right dose of insulin to patients with type 1 diabetes, freeing them from continually monitoring insulin levels throughout each day.”

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in its approval of the device, the MiniMed 670G, hailed it as a breakthrough.”

“The device offers type 1 diabetics “greater freedom to live their lives without having to consistently and manually monitor baseline glucose levels and administer insulin,” Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA’s medical device division, said in a statement.”

“Analysts said the FDA approved the device six months sooner than expected. However, it will not be available until the spring of 2017.”

“The MiniMed 670G is the first device that allows a glucose sensor to communicate with an insulin pump and automatically regulate the insulin flow. The device is approved for those aged 14 and older.”

More here.

Camera-loaded catheter streams live from inside arteries, removes plaque at same time
“The impact of ever-miniaturizing electronics can be felt right across the spectrum of technological advancement, but as we are beginning to see, one place where it can have a truly profound impact is in the human body. The latest example of this is a tiny camera no bigger than a grain of salt, which can be fixed to the end of a catheter and fed into arteries to provide surgeons tasked with removing plaque a live view from within.”

“The buildup of plaque inside blood vessels can lead to all sorts of health problems, the most extreme of which are life-threatening events like heart attacks and strokes. Doctors try to intervene before things get this bad by cutting plaque from the artery to improve blood flow, after first imaging the clogged vessel using techniques like x-ray to size up the job at hand.”

“But the trouble with this approach is that it only provides doctors with a cross-section view of the vessel. You could think of it like trying to clear a blockage in a pipe while only being able to see that pipe from the side. But lately, scientists are coming up with tiny technologies that allow us to venture inside for a look around.”

“Earlier this year we reported on a new 3D-printing technique that allowed scientists to produce a complex optical lens system for medical imaging that was around the size of a grain of salt and could be loaded into a syringe. And back in 2014, scientists developed a tiny catheter-based sensor that could provide a real-time view from within blood vessels to offer doctors a better vantage point.”

“And now, this approach is finding its way into the clinic as part of real-world procedures. The Pantheris Lumivascular atherectomy system device one ups the aforementioned solutions because it not only provides live images from inside, but doctors can use it to clear out the vessels at the same time.”

Go here for more of the story.

Iron nanoparticles make immune cells attack cancer
“Stanford researchers accidentally discovered that iron nanoparticles invented for anemia treatment have another use: triggering the immune system's ability to destroy tumor cells.”

“Iron nanoparticles can activate the immune system to attack cancer cells, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.”

“The nanoparticles, which are commercially available as the injectable iron supplement ferumoxytol, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat iron deficiency anemia.”

“The mouse study found that ferumoxytol prompts immune cells called tumor-associated macrophages to destroy cancer cells, suggesting that the nanoparticles could complement existing cancer treatments. The discovery, described in a paper published online Sept. 26 in Nature Nanotechnology, was made by accident while testing whether the nanoparticles could serve as Trojan horses by sneaking chemotherapy into tumors in mice.”

“It was really surprising to us that the nanoparticles activated macrophages so that they started to attack cancer cells in mice," said Heike Daldrup-Link, MD, who is the study's senior author and an associate professor of radiology at the School of Medicine. "We think this concept should hold in human patients, too.”

“Daldrup-Link's team conducted an experiment that used three groups of mice: an experimental group that got nanoparticles loaded with chemo, a control group that got nanoparticles without chemo and a control group that got neither. The researchers made the unexpected observation that the growth of the tumors in control animals that got nanoparticles only was suppressed compared with the other controls.”

Go here for more.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Insightful illustration, eh?


Leave it to The Economist to "Britsplain" our current political predicament.

There is a famous quote floating around. I'll beat you've read it. Often attributed to Sir. Winston Churchill, it goes like this  —  "Americans will always do the right thing — after exhausting all the alternatives."

Perhaps you'll join with me looking forward to the day when we exhaust all the alternatives and get back to the business of trying to live up to that vanishing dream  —  the U.S.A. many of us thought we were.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hero Youth


If labeling were important, how would you label the today’s youth?
Some might label them: “nowhere”, “unengaged”, “selfish”, lazy”, drugged-out”, or “in debt”.

Certainly, having once been a young person myself, I know that labels can not be pasted on people – no matter the generation. But, today, I’m going to toss caution to the wind and label a few young people, members of a few college Republican groups, as heroes.

Like some of the youth of my ancient past and generations before mine, these men and women have taken a stand against the hypocrisy of the establishment (their elders).

Front and center are the students at Liberty University, the republican bastion of Christian fundamentalism, who declared their repudiation of Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr.’s endorsement of Mr. Donald Trump. (Go here for the story.. the text below the video.)

Liberty University was founded in 1971 by Jerry Falwell Sr. The school is now considered the heart of evangelical Christian education and also one of the largest by enrollment in the US.

Among other comments, posted online, the Liberty students wrote:

“Because our president has led the world to believe that Liberty University supports Donald Trump, we students must take it upon ourselves to make clear that Donald Trump is absolutely opposed to what we believe, and does not have our support. We are not proclaiming our opposition to Donald Trump out of bitterness, but out of a desire to regain the integrity of our school.”

The Liberty University students’ courageous act (and those of students at other colleges and universities) brought to mind the establishment changing actions of other generations.

For the 60s/70s generation of students, the music of recent Nobel laureate, Bob Dylan, came to symbolize their discord.

The Times They Are a-Changin' is one of Dylan’s songs which resonated with me then and still does to this day:


Here's my salute to the new generation of hero students.

The Times They Are a-Changin'
Bob Dylan

Come gather 'round people where ever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone,
For the times they are a' changin'!

Come writers and critics who prophesy with your pen
And keep your eyes wide the chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon for the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who that it's namin'
For the loser now will be later to win
For the times they are a' changin'!

Come senators, congressmen please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside and it's ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a' changin'!

Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
And don't criticize what you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a' changin'!

The line it is drawn the curse it is cast
The slow one now will later be fast
As the present now will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin'
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a' changin'!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

And The Winner is… the Red Sweater…


The real winner in the most recent Presidential Debate was Mr. Ken Bone. He’s the undecided voter who asked the candidates a “softball” question about energy.

After all that stress and hostility displayed by the candidates, some said they liked his “soft-spoken, earnest demeanor”. 

O.K. The Truth? 

Well, they really liked his red sweater… the “normcore”, IZOD Men’s Cable Solid ¼ Zip Red Dahlia. The rumor is it sold out on Amazon. But, I've been told that Kohl’s and JCPenney still have some in stock.

Go for it!

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Deadly Game

Chancellor Gen. Kurt von Schleicher
Last night Mr. Trump said his political opponent will be in jail if he is elected President of the United States. He will direct his Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor to review Sec. Clinton’s role in the alleged missing / destruction of email messages and then jail her.

A history buff, I could not remember a previous presidential candidate declaring his competitor will be jailed upon his assumption of U.S. Presidential powers.

However, Mr. Trump’s declaration did dredge-up a dark historical similarity in my mind.

Seventeen months after German president, Field Marshal von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler Chancellor of the German Weimar Republic (30 Jan 1933), Hitler ordered the assassination of his predecessor Chancellor, Gen Kurt von Schleicher. That was 30 June 1934, during what became known as the Night of the Long Knives.

Politics can become a deadly game - especially for the losing candidate.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Time for a Downgrade

Hurricane Trump downgraded to just Blowhard Trump
Lookin’ forward to when Hurricane Trump is downgraded to just blowhard Trump.

Friday, October 7, 2016

It's Friday! Don't Worry Be Happy!


Hurricane Matthew... people hurting... another debate a' comin'... crazy people... trains blocking the road... Oh, My!! All that and somehow, at home in Michigan, we have beautiful weather. So, looking to the future and hopin' we can be happy and not worry... a little less.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Nation of Chumps or Nihilists?


The first part of Tom Engelhardt’s recent posting, This is not about Donald Trump. And I mean it (1. and see text below) made me ponder what a nation of chumps (2.) we all have become. We seem to have gone to sleep after WWII and finally opened our eyes 64 years later living in an old Laurel and Hardy movie (3.). Except, instead of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy playing the chumps, we are the chumps.

But the ending of Engelhardt’s article had me waking in a living, terrible nightmare, summed up with his ending quote:

"The Donald represents, as a friend of mine likes to say, the suicide bomber in us all. And voting for him, among other things, will be an act of nihilism, (4.) a mood that fits well with imperial decline."

So, which are we? Chumps or Nihilists?



1. This Is Not About Donald Trump, Tom Engelhardt, Tomgram, 6 Oct 2016
2. Chump - A gullible person; a sucker; a loser; someone easily taken advantage of; someone lacking common sense. “It shouldn't be hard to put one over on that chump.”
3. A review - Celebrating A Chump at Oxford at 75, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Magick Theatre, 18 Sept 2015.
4. Nihilism - The belief that traditional morals, ideas, beliefs, etc., have no worth or value.
The belief that a society's political and social institutions are so bad that they should be destroyed.

Tom Engelhardt’s recent posting:
This is not about Donald Trump. And I mean it.

From the moment the first scribe etched a paean of praise to Nebuchadnezzar into a stone tablet, it’s reasonable to conclude that never in history has the media covered a single human being as it has Donald Trump. For more than a year now, unless a terror attack roiled American life, he’s been the news cycle, essentially the only one, morning, noon, and night, day after day, week after week, month after month. His every word, phrase, move, insult, passing comment, off-the-cuff remark, claim, boast, brazen lie, shout, or shout-out has been ours as well.  In this period, he’s praised his secret plan to destroy ISIS and take Iraqi oil. He’s thumped that “big, fat, beautiful wall” again and again. He’s birthered a campaign that could indeed transport him, improbably enough, into the Oval Office.  He’s fought it out with 17 political rivals, among others, including “lyin’ Ted,” “low-energy Jeb,” Carly (“Look at that face!  Would anyone vote for that?”) Fiorini, “crooked Hillary,” a Miss Universe (“Miss Piggy”), the “highly overrated” Megyn Kelly’s menstrual cycle ("You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever"), always Rosie O’Donnell (“a slob [with] a fat, ugly face”), and so many others.  He’s made veiled assassination threats; lauded the desire to punch someone in the face; talked about shooting “somebody” in “the middle of Fifth Avenue”; defended the size of his hands and his you-know-what; retweeted neo-Nazis and a quote from Mussolini; denounced the outsourcing of American manufacturing jobs and products while outsourcing his own jobs and products; excoriated immigrants and foreign labor while hiring the same; advertised the Trump brand in every way imaginable; had a bromance with Vladimir Putin; threatened to let nuclear weapons proliferate; complained bitterly about a rigged election, rigged debates, a rigged moderator, and a rigged microphone; swore that he and he alone was capable of again making America, and so the world, a place of the sort of greatness only he himself could match, and that’s just to begin a list on the subject of The Donald.

In other words, thanks to the media attention he garners incessantly, he is the living embodiment of our American moment. No matter what you think of him, his has been a journey of a sort we’ve never seen before, a triumph of the first order, whatever happens on November 8th. He’s burnished his own brand; opened a new hotel on -- yes -- Pennsylvania Avenue (which he’s used his election run to promote and publicize); sold his products mercilessly; promoted his children; funneled dollars to his family and businesses; and in an unspoken alliance (pact, entente, détente) of the first order, kept the nightly news and the cable networks rolling in dough and in the spotlight (as long as they kept yakking about him), despite the fact that younger viewers were in flight to the universe of social media, streaming services, and their smartphones. Thanks to the millions, billions, perhaps trillions of words expended on him by nonstop commentators, pundits, talking heads, retired generals and admirals, former intelligence chiefs, ex-Bush administration officials, and god knows who else that have kept the cable channels churning with Trump on a nearly 24/7 basis, he and his remarkable ego, and his now familiar gestures -- that jut-jawed look, that orange hair, that overly tanned face, that eternally raised voice -- have become the wallpaper of our lives, something close to our reality. If he were an action film, some Hollywood studio would be swooning, because never has a single act gotten such nonstop publicity. We’ve never seen anything like him or it, and yet, strange as the Trump phenomenon may be, if you think about it for a moment, you’ll realize that there’s also something eerily familiar about him, and not just because of The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice.

In a world where so many things deserve our attention and don’t get it, rest assured that this is not about Donald Trump. It really isn’t. (more)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Mother Kindness

Mom Kindness
Overloaded with never ending hatred and falseness of the Presidential campaign? I am.

I recovered my faith when I stumbled upon a magical photo of Indiana State Police Officer Precious Cornner-Jones and one little guy in need of some kindness.

“It wasn’t a cop moment. It was a mother moment,” she explained.*

I agree. And thank God for this kind mom and all the kind moms of the world.

* Cop Gets On Level With Boy Having A Bad Day, Wipes His Tears, Elyse Wanshel, Huffington Post, 4 Sept 2016.

Try a Little Kindness, Glen Campbell, 2008:


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

I Remember You


I remember things seemed a lot more clear back then… working the nightshift as an orderly at the hospital. Then the radio station and going to school during the daytime. Still managed to drive my 64 Chevy for some relaxation… it was stolen twice from the University parking lot, but each time the Akron PD got it back… minus my new Goodyear tires.

Today, things seem a lot more confusing and scary. Maybe I'm having selective memories. Still, I like thinking things were better and can be once again.

I Remember You
Frank Ifield 1962


Monday, October 3, 2016

Discovering Nuggets


I often listened to the radio back in the 60s. One program I never missed was Earl Nightingale’s syndicated radio program, Our Changing World, locally sponsored by Goodyear Bank.

For me, one of Earl's most motivating talks was about Acres of Diamonds. It's worth revisiting:


 Today, I’m still discovering diamonds, just as Earl encouraged me to do. When I find them, I’ve taken to relabeling them, “Nuggets” and I’ll share them with you in the days ahead. Here’s one:

The Opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice… it is conformity. Earl Nightingale