Monday, July 31, 2017

218.3 Million Strong - The Legacy Party

I'll bet that most people would vote neither Democrat or Republican, if given the option.

Both have made a serious mess of things and clearly, repeatedly, demonstrated that they care little for average Americans, favoring instead their wealthy donors and special interest groups.

On the horizon I see a new, powerful, special interest group emerging. Composed of Americans who share a true desire to realize The American Dream, for themselves and for their loved ones, they are beginning to gather together.

The American Dream is their dream. And, like their ancestors, they will have it.

The Republican and Democratic parties are in the way. It’s well past their retirement time.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Healthcare... No One Left Behind

Sen. John McCain stood tall once again last night. The man who refused to leave his comrades behind came through for the people of the United States.*

He is my hero.

Despite Donald Trump’s diatribes and ridicule. Despite the president’s minion’s continuous threats to withdraw federal funding from the people of Arizona, Sen. John McCain remained true to his love for his country, his wisdom, his own healthcare challenges and, yes, his honor.

Duty. Honor. Country. These words really do mean everything.

When it comes down to the hard times and our lives depend upon the man casting the vote. Thank God Sen. John McCain found the strength to endure.

He came back to Washington, D.C. He made his vote count.

No one left behind.

I wish John McCain were the President of the United States.

One more thing.

There were two other heroes last night. Sen Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska who joined with all 46 of the chamber’s Democrats and independents to defeat the Sen. McConnell’s repeated attempts to deny millions of Americans healthcare. Both senators endured Trumpian tweet tirades of scorn and ridicule, plus his minion’s threats to deny federal funds to the people of their states. Please go here for the whole story.

Photo above: John McCain lies in a hospital bed in Hanoi, North Vietnam, after being taken prisoner of war. (FRANCOIS CHALAIS)

*John McCain spent 5½ years in captivity as a POW in North Vietnam. His first-person account of that harrowing ordeal was published in U.S. News & World Report on in May 14, 1973. Shot down in his Skyhawk dive bomber on Oct. 26, 1967, Navy flier McCain was taken prisoner with fractures in his right leg and both arms. He received minimal care and was kept in wretched conditions that he describes vividly in this U.S. News special report.

Of the many personal accounts coming to light about the almost unbelievably cruel treatment accorded American prisoners of war in Vietnam, none is more dramatic than that of Lieut. Commander John S. McCain III—Navy flier, son of the admiral who commanded the war in the Pacific, and a prisoner who came in "for special attention" during 5½ years of captivity in North Vietnam. Please go here for more.

John McCain EPIC Senate Floor Speech After Health Care Vote - 25 July 2017

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Confusion, Lies & Misdirection

The grand strategy might Sen. Mitch McConnell has devised a new Republican strategy for eliminating health care for millions of Americans and giving a major tax windfall to his best buds.

It's best labeled Confusion, Lies and Misdirection. Or, more crassly, "baffle 'em with bull---t".

So, what is different from the past Republican strategies?

This one relies on keeping everything secret, even from the Republican senators, until just before voting.  No committee meetings, no vetting by the medical or insurance people, let alone presenting the “bill” to the public for input.

The idea is no one knows what the heck is going on but they will be obligated to vote for it.

All this reminds me of the good old days when politicians knew which way they had to vote or they would be missing both kneecaps or looking upon the mutilated body of a loved one.

Way to go Mitch!

You’ve managed to find a deep, deep sewer to crawl through. That is an accomplishment you can brag about when you next visit with Mr. Trump. He might even smoke a big  ceegar with you, share a nip of brandy at one of his hotels, and give you an “atta-boy” tweet!

Please go here for more of the story:
Mitch McConnell Wants You to Be Confused, George Zornick, The Nation, 25 July 2017.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Rocket! People

 Akronauts rocket team, University of Akron, First Spaceport American Cup. 

After graduating high school, I remember thinking I’d had enough of education. I had earned good grades, gotten along with my fellow students and liked my teachers. Still, I wanted to move along in life.

My parents convinced me to go to college. So, I applied to the University of Akron because it offered an immediate path to an on-air broadcasting slot. I liked the idea of being a Walter Cronkite.

On my flip side, I also liked the idea of science and engineering, but I didn’t go down that road. If the University had offered a chance to participate in a rocket program like the one offered today, the story would have been different for me. Of course, nothing like it existed back in the olden days.

What great fun learning is when you have a challenging, hands-on, team-building program that both entices and stimulates your mind. I couldn’t have resisted.

Here’s the pre-launch story… the real story in my eyes

For the U of A, there’s always next year!

Monday, July 24, 2017

The 12 Steps - Recovering from TD (Trump Disease)

Instead of following Trump’s son-in-law or Trump, Junior’s latest escapade behind closed doors or straining to understand the latest Twitter babbelings of our unhinged president, let’s do something of value.

Here are a few ideas:

Give your loved one a hug.
Take your dog for a walk.
Call your mom and dad and tell them you love them.
Give a donation to your favorite charity.

And, or, join The Movement… or any other resistance movement and take 12 steps toward recovering from TD (Trump Disease):

1. Reforming our election system. Everyone knows the U.S. system is broken and something must be done to make it actually represent the will of the people. 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: “Every vote equal in the election of the United States president” and (c) Universal Voter Registration. Go to for why and how election reform must be implemented.
2.Reversing Citizen's United vs. Federal Election Commission.
3. Repealing three, Bill of Rights busting laws: (a) the USA PATRIOT Act (Yes, Congress “repealed” the Patriot Act. But it was in name only. Now we must work to revise the Freedom Act.) (b) the Military Commission Act and (c) section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.
4. Establish a “Constitution Protection Zone” in your city or town.
5. Re-establishing the Glass-Steagall Act.
6. Establishing a national public works program to maintain our infrastructure.
7. Adopting a Robin Hood tax. (I now call it the Life-Affirming Tax.)
8. Creating local, sustainable, distributed energy systems throughout the nation.
9. Retrieving the trillions of dollars now being expended through the "Deep Black Ops Budget" and put it to use serving the needs of the people by creating decent paying employment and returning the billions of dollars stolen from the 99.9% during Depression.2.
10. Creating a state bank in every state, e.g. North Dakota State Bank, and using “crowdfunding” resources rather than international banks.
11. Adopting local Anti-Corruption Act Laws.
12. Making mainstream media do its job as "Guardian of our Democratic Republic" by re-instituting the Fairness Doctrine and repealing Title 3 of the Telecommunications Act (1996).

Please go here for all the links and more details.

Stephan A Schwartz - 8 Laws of Change 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Professor “Why”

A collection of Clovis point replicas and casts in the archaeology lab at Kent State University.
Credit: Kent State University
This story is about our societal hubris.

For some unknown reason, we humans need to feel that we are currently at the highest state of intelligence, productivity, creativity, etc. And, that those who came before were, at least, less than we. That they were not as advanced. That they knew less about our world and our universe. After all, we have cars, TVs, the Internet, rockets, weapons of mass destruction, and the Kardashians. They didn’t.
We have “progressed”.

There is a professor at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, who asks, “why”, and then goes about uncovering, “how”, too. His is a specialist in “experimental archaeology”.

“Dr. Metin Eren's experiments focus on making sense of ancient weapons littered across the Americas, illustrating how humans first settled the Western Hemisphere: through careful preparation, long-term planning, and refined technology.”

Refined technology? Yes.

Those olden people weren’t as dumb as we tend to think. And, we, obviously, are not as smart, either.

“Already he has cracked one longtime mystery. In the early 1900s, archaeologists found unusually shaped arrowheads in North America, with grooves carved from the base halfway to the head's tip. They first appeared over 13,000 years ago and spread rapidly across the continent, but existed nowhere else. Researchers were puzzled why the grooves were carved, with speculation running from religious rituals to mere decoration.”

“That's where experimental archaeology came in. By testing the pressure at which the arrowheads would crack using a $30,000 crusher and computer models, Eren discovered the grooves act as a shock absorber. It allows the arrowhead's thinned base to crumple slightly and absorb energy upon the arrow's impact, making the head less likely to break.”

“Archaeologists call it the ‘first truly American invention.’”

“In their most recent article published online in the Journal of Archaeological Science, Eren and his co-authors from Southern Methodist University (Brett A. Story, David J. Meltzer and Kaitlyn A. Thomas), University of Tulsa (Briggs Buchanan), Rogers State University (Brian N. Andrews), Texas A&M University and the University of Missouri (Michael J. O'Brien) explain the flint knapping technique of "fluting" the Clovis points, which could be considered the first truly American invention. This singular technological attribute, the flake removal or "flute," is absent from the stone-tool repertoire of Pleistocene Northeast Asia, where the Clovis ancestors came from.”

Please go here and here for the whole story.

Metin Eren, Archaeologist

Friday, July 21, 2017

Fellas Get Out of The Way! (Please)

All Americans know that we pay more for a lot less healthcare than any other Western nation and the quality of our healthcare is rated the worst compared to other “developed” nations.*

However, as Mark Twain observed, “We have the best government that money can buy.”

Now that I’ve gotten all that off my chest, it’s still true that our universities, researchers and scientists are somehow managing to make astounding discoveries… even in the face of the outright sabotage perpetrated by a slew of maniacal, Luddite Trump appointees.

Hopefully, our universities, researchers and scientists will somehow find a way to continue their exception work when the Republican regressionists further attempt to erase all human knowledge by defunding science-related federal programs under the Trump budget.

In the meantime, despite the Republican Party's contempt for knowledge (the non-alternative "fact" kind) the rest of the world is leaping forward and not looking backward.

So, for us in the USA, I respectfully make this request of the Republican leadership... President Trump included... "Fellas Get Out of the Way!" (Please.)

Just to bring the point home... below are three recent breakthroughs from the brilliant minds of researchers located elsewhere in our world. And, a great little song, too.

Thank you, researchers of the world!

Scientists stumble across new method of making antibiotics 
From the University of Salford, Manchester, UK

Scientists stumble across new method of making antibiotics, Dr. Michael P. Lisanti and Dr. Federica Sotgia, Medical Xpress, 13 July 2017.

Cancer researchers in the UK may have stumbled across a solution to reverse antibiotic drug resistance and stop infections like MRSA.

Experts warn we are decades behind in the race against superbugs having already exploited naturally occurring antibiotics, with the creation of new ones requiring time, money and ingenuity.

But a team of scientists at the University of Salford say they may have found a very simple way forward – even though they weren't even looking for antibiotics.

And they have created and validated several new antibiotics already – many of which are as potent, or more so, than standard antibiotics, such as amoxicillin.

"A little like Alexander Fleming, we weren't even looking for antibiotics rather researching into new compounds that might be effective against cancer stem cells," explains Michael P. Lisanti, Chair of Translational Medicine at the University's Biomedical Research Centre.

"I think we've accidentally invented a systemic way of creating new antibiotics which is simple, cheap and could be very significant in the fight against superbugs," added Dr Federica Sotgia, a co-author on the study.

The Salford group specialise in stem cells and specifically methods of inhibiting energy production in mitochondria, the "powerhouse" of cells which fuels the growth of fatal tumours.

For the whole story, please go here.

Epigenetics between the generations: Researchers prove that we inherit more than just genes
From The Max Planck Society, Munich, Bavaria, Germany;
Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, Germany

Epigenetics between the generations: Researchers prove that we inherit more than just genes, Dr. Nicola Iovino, Medical Xpress, July 14, 2017.

We are more than the sum of our genes. Epigenetic mechanisms modulated by environmental cues such as diet, disease or lifestyle take a major role in regulating the DNA by switching genes on and off. It has been long debated if epigenetic modifications accumulated throughout the entire life can cross the border of generations and be inherited to children or even grand children. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg show robust evidence that not only the inherited DNA itself but also the inherited epigenetic instructions contribute in regulating gene expression in the offspring. Moreover, the new insights by the Lab of Nicola Iovino describe for the first time biological consequences of this inherited information. The study proves that mother's epigenetic memory is essential for the development and survival of the new generation.

For the whole story, please go here.

New Discovery Brings Us One Step Closer to Growing Replacement Organs
From Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

New Discovery Brings Us One Step Closer to Growing Replacement Organs, Tom Ward and Abby Norman, Futurism, July 13, 2017.

Scientists at Monash University in Australia have found another piece of the lab-grown organ puzzle: the team has discovered that a protein called Meox1 is pivotal in promoting the growth of muscles. They came across the protein while studying zebrafish, which are ideal candidates for the research due to their rapid rate of growth and biological similarities with humans. We share 70 percent of our DNA with the species, and they have many of the same internal organs that we do.

This research is pivotal because it doesn’t just show is what the stem cells do — it shows us how. Researchers have known for quite some time that stem cells produce living tissue in the body, but up until this point we haven’t understood the mechanism behind how they do it.

As well as providing organs that will save lives, stem cells are also increasingly being recognized as an integral tool for treating — and even curing — a number debilitating diseases. Everything from blindness to paralysis to neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease have already seen breakthroughs with the help of stem cells.

For the whole story, please go here.

* How bad is U.S. health care? Among high-income nations, it's the worst, study says, Ryan Bort, Newsweek, 14 July 2017.

A sincere note to the Republican Leadership:
Fellas Get Out the Way - Scott Cook

Monday, July 17, 2017

Republican Leadership's Contempt is Boundless

It appears that the Senate Republicans, under the leadership of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), have come up with a new meaning for the word, "contempt"... as in "we deserve better-than-those-everyday-Americans."

In Sen. McConnell's newest Trumpcare version, members of Congress and their staff will be exempt from "waivers for certain ObamaCare provisions, such as a ban on insurers charging premiums based on a customer's health and the requirement that insurers' basic health plans cover certain services, like prescription drugs and mental health."

"The GOP amendment exempts members of Congress and their staffs to ensure that they will still be protected by those ObamaCare provisions." *

My, my, my. In case you needed proof... well then, here it is... the Republican leadership's contempt for everyday Americans knows no limit.

Did they think we wouldn't notice? Senate Republicans exempt themselves from parts of Trumpcare, Joan McCarter, Daily Kos, 13 July 2017.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Destination Moon

The other day a friend commented, “For a liberal arts guy, you sure have an interest in science. How did that happen?”

For the life of me, I couldn’t think of an answer. While deeply influenced by my father’s interest in history, I really didn’t have a “science” influencer.

Then, I remembered. It was Tom Swift.

Tom Swift, the youthful inventor of the world of science fiction. He was responsible!

Here’s Amazon reader Paul Campon’s review of one of the books that tripped my science switch…

Tom Swift in the Race to the Moon (1958)
… “And it was everything that such an event ought to be. There was plenty of trouble from those dasterdly Brungarians to keep things lively. And there was a great spaceship-- a giant boxlike affair mounted in a gyroscopic framework with repelatron drives. And there was a reason for the race to the Moon-- to rescue a space ark of alien plants and animals placed in orbit there by Tom's space friends. No question about it. The Race to the Moon was one of the best of the Tom Swift, Jr. books. It is still fun to read today.”

That's it... ruined me for life!

Seriously, do you have a youthful reader at home?
Science fiction! That’s the ticket!

The Ames Brothers - Destination Moon (1958)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mitch's Evil Bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called a meeting of all GOP senators Thursday morning ahead of the release of the new version(s) of the Obamacare repeal legislation. J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Of course, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is back with his most recent revision of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, aka Trumpcare.

He’s glued together a concoction that he believes will pass the acid test, making all those senate Republicans happy.

As best as I can tell, it’s just the same old bill, with a couple of changes to make the bitter pill go down.

Still, McConnell’s brew is a remarkable accomplishment for its concentrated evilness… jigumbus Medicaid cuts by more than 30%, insuring 49 million of us by 2026 and outright discrimination against those unfortunate among us to have pre-existing medical conditions - just to point out a couple of the most horrendously hurtful provisions these people have devised.

Despite knowing that most Americans as well as most of the medical community have previously declared his bill repugnant, McConnell is pushing for a vote by next week.


Why, is McConnell so dead set on hurting so many people?

Because he can?

Or, worse, as Dr. Henry Giroux explained, because he sees these millions of us as, “disposable, refuse, excess” to be consigned to fend for ourselves? (1.)

Giroux continues, “Disposability is not new in American history, but its more extreme predatory formations are back in new forms. Moreover, what is unique about the contemporary politics of disposability is how it has become official policy, normalized in the discourse of the market, democracy, freedom and a right-wing contempt for human life, if not the planet itself. The moral and social sanctions for greed and avarice that emerged during the Reagan presidency now proliferate unapologetically, if not with glee.”

Glee, indeed. I, for one, am not looking forward to seeing a happy McConnell if his evil bill wins.

1. A New American Revolution: Can We Break Out of Our Nation’s Culture of Cruelty?, Henry Giroux,, 11 July 2017.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Heroes - All 80 of 'em

This story emboldens my optimistic self with the belief that real heroes live next door to us all. And, when the circumstances present themselves, we can draw upon powers to do unbelievable, heroic deeds.

“I come from a place where you help out your neighbour. My only thing is I would hope if I was in that position someone would do the same for me.” - Derek Simmons

Please go here for the whole story:
At least 80 people form human chain to rescue stranded group in Gulf of Mexico, Richard Luscombe, The Guardian, 11 July 2017.

At least 80 people form human chain to rescue stranded group in Gulf of Mexico

Dozens of beachgoers formed a human chain stretching almost 100 yards into the Gulf of Mexico to rescue a group of swimmers in danger of drowning after they were caught in a powerful riptide.

Six members of the same family, including a grandmother who suffered a heart attack, were among nine people passed along the chain to safety at Florida’s Panama City beach on Saturday evening.

“It was a wave of humanity that brings some things back into focus, that maybe we haven’t lost all hope in this world,” Derek Simmons, an Alabama native who quickly organised the chain and swam with his wife Jessica to rescue the stranded group, told the Guardian on Tuesday.

Simmons said he was enjoying a family picnic on the beach with his mother, wife, two nieces and one of their boyfriends when they noticed people in a group on the sands close to the pier, some pointing into the water.

“We thought it was a shark; we have a ton of those,” said Simmons, who moved with his wife to Panama City from Alabama last year.

“We walked down to see what was going on and I asked the guy furthest out if everything was OK. He said: ‘No, those people out there are drowning, I can’t get to them because the current’s too strong.’

“I said to the guy: ‘Let’s try to get as many people as we can to form a human chain.’ If you know about ants, you know when one’s in trouble they form a chain to help it. My theory was, let’s get enough people, we’ll get out there and pull them in and everybody can finish having a good rest of the evening.”

At first, he said, people appeared reluctant, fearing they would be caught in the same riptide. “We were yelling at the beach, we need more people,” he said.

Then more beachgoers raced to join the chain, allowing Simmons, 26, and his 29-year-old wife to swim further out on their body boards and reach the group, which included a young family with two small boys and the grandmother, who were attempting to keep afloat but gulping in seawater.

The couple first handed the children, Stephen Ursrey, 8, and his 11-year-old brother Noah, to the end of the chain, which by then had grown to about 80 people, and returned to help their mother Roberta, 34.

“She looked the most in trouble when we first got there,” Simmons said. “So that was the third one in, then the fourth and fifth.”

After about an hour in the water, he said, they were exhausted but able to rescue the last of the group, a nephew of the Ursrey family and an unidentified couple. The most difficult to help was Roberta Ursrey’s 67-year-old mother, who suffered a heart attack in the water and was “lifeless” according to Simmons.

In a posting accompanying a GoFundMe appeal for help with medical bills, Roberta Ursrey said her mother was in stable condition in the intensive care unit of the Gulf Coast regional medical centre.

“She died on us for a few minutes [in the water],” Ursrey wrote. “My dad passed in December and when my mom came around she told us she had seen my daddy and it wasn’t her time yet. So she came back to us.”

She added that the rescued group contained two or three others who tried to help when they saw her sons in difficulties but then became stranded themselves. -more-

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Personal Vaccine vs. Personal Tumor

Catherine Wu, MD
Photo credit: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

For several of my friends and relatives the battle against cancer was personal.

Many did not emerge victorious.

Now, here’s a report that turns the spotlight on a personalized method of combating at least one form of cancer.

“A personal cancer treatment vaccine that targets distinctive 'neoantigens' on tumor cells has been shown to stimulate a potent, safe, and highly specific immune anti-tumor response in melanoma patients, report scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.”

“The study, published online by Nature 'provides proof-of-principle that a personal vaccine tailored to a patient’s tumor can be produced and generates highly specific responses to that patient’s tumor after vaccination,' said the researchers, led by Catherine J. Wu, MD, senior author of the report. She is a researcher at Dana-Farber, the Broad Institute, and Harvard Medical School.”

“The scientists said that while most therapies are based on the on-size-fits-all model of medicine, ‘we’ve long recognized in cancer that every patient’s tumor is different. With recent advances in technology, it’s now becoming possible to create a therapy that’s suited to target an individual’s tumor.’”

“The researchers say the results warrant further development of neoantigen vaccines, both alone and in combination with other immunotherapy weapons such as checkpoint inhibitors. The vaccine, known as NeoVax, prompted strong activity by the patients’ immune systems while causing negligible side effects.”

“First authors of the report are Patrick A. Ott, MD, PhD, and Zhuting Hu, PhD, of Dana-Farber. Other senior authors include Nir Hacohen, PhD, of the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital, Edward Fritsch, PhD, formerly of Dana-Farber and now at Neon Therapeutics in Cambridge, Mass, and Eric Lander, PhD, of the Broad Institute.”

Please go here for the whole story:
Personal neoantigen vaccine prompts strong anti-tumor response in patients, new study shows, Catherine Wu, MD, et al, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 5 July 2017.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Real Story: 100,000 G20 Protesters

The vast majority of the protesters are peaceful.
Photo credit: AFP via BBC News (See 1. below.)
The real story was not Ivanka Trump sitting in for her father, infuriating anti-trumpers and providing unlimited fodder for the mainline press. Nor was it the Putin /Trump get together or the supposed Russian/US agreement to stop hacking.

It is likely that you did not see the real story in the U.S.: the fact that some 100,000 people came to Hamburg, Germany to protest the G20 meeting.

That’s a lot of people.

Who Are the Protesters
“If the pictures adorning news websites around the world are to be believed, those who descended on the city were masked and largely armed.”

“But it is far from the truth: there are about 100,000 protesters in Hamburg for the G20, and all but a very a few are peaceful.”

“Only 8,000 of those who descended on the city ahead of the summit were deemed a violence risk - and far fewer still were caught up in the clashes which erupted on Thursday night following the Welcome to Hell march.” (1.)

Why were they protesting?
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said that she, ‘“wholeheartedly condemned” the violent riots that erupted in parts of Hamburg during the G20 summit, but praised the many peaceful protesters for “putting pressure” on world leaders.’

Then she stated: “I think that the many, generally civil activities including the peaceful protests on the periphery of the G20 summit venue, they of course helped to again clearly put pressure on us and set expectations, and certainly therefore contributed to us knowing that while we are here meeting, many, many people expect results.” (2.)

From the BBC: “In fact, there is a range of events going on - including an alternative summit which was arranged by a group of non government organizations (NGOs), political parties and others ahead of the two-day G20.”

Yes, more than just Trump publicity stunts happened at the G20 event. 

If we open our eyes and permit ourselves to see, we may be witnessing a historic awakening of people, world-wide, demanding governments change toward life-sustaining policies.

1. G20 in Hamburg: Who are the protesters?, BBC News, 7 July 2017.
2. Merkel praises peaceful G20 protests for 'putting pressure' on world leaders, Emma Anderson,, 8 July 2017.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Your Legacy is Their Future

The Problem is Still Civil Obedience

In 2012, Matt Damon helped pay tribute to the late historian and author Howard Zinn. This rendition of a speech Zinn gave in 1970 on civil disobedience is one of his most powerful performances to date. It is still true... The Problem is Still Civil Obedience.

“Back in the 60s and 70s Dr. Zinn was one of the few who understood... and he did his best to tell us... that what was happening to our black brothers and sisters would soon be happening to us, all of us, save the mega-super rich. Today we understand his message was a premonition about our times, too.” Howard Zinn, Boston Common, 5 May 1971

No one wants to think about this stuff. We all want to go about life and enjoy.

But, tomorrow life will be different.

The winds of war are gathering. Soon the old people will be sending the young people… your grandkids… to war “to save Democracy” once again.

What will be your legacy to them?

Will you ask why is this war necessary?
Who will benefit from it?
Who wants to see his approval poll numbers go up?
Who will make money on the sacrifices of our young people… your grandkids?

Let’s do things differently this time. Let’s follow another path.

I mean, it is 2017 not 1967.

We have choices. We have eyes to see and ears to hear and voices to be heard,,, but only if we pull our collective heads out of the sand.

Please go here for more information: Legacy Grandkids

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Thugs Gone Wild

A brain tumor had left Hannah blind in one eye, deaf in one ear and partially paralyzed, so when the guards grabbed each of her arms it startled her, she said. Photograph: Courtesy of Shirley Cohen
No. Not a late-night TV show. Thugs Gone Wild is all about our Homeland Security people.

It’s about our uniformed, gun-toting thugs beating a young, defenseless person because she was afraid of them while they were on a “terrorism-security-high”. And, this incident happened two years ago… prior to the Trump era, when we were an itty bitty more civilized.

Don't you agree we have allowed this absurd "Homeland Security" stupidity to go on too long?

After all these guys wear the same flag on their uniforms as our real troops wear on theirs. We are paying them to terrorize defenseless children and adults in our homeland… the very same “home of free and the brave.”

Are we now nothing more than a land of monsters and thugs?

Today, our police hide behind masks, break into homes in the dead of night, and throw "flash bangs" into the beds of babes.

Now this.

Who beats a defenseless girl and calls himself a guardian of liberty? Who is the commander of these nameless thugs?

Was he/she reprimanded or promoted?

Please go here for the whole story.

Disabled cancer patient slammed to the ground by TSA guards, lawsuit claims, Matthew Teague, The Guardian, 2 July 2016 09.17 EDT Last modified on Friday 23 June 2017.

Or, read it here:

A disabled teenage cancer patient was injured during a violent arrest by security agents at Memphis international airport, her family has alleged in a lawsuit filed against the Transport Security Administration.

Hannah Cohen, 18, at the time of her arrest on 30 June 2015, and her mother had been on their way home to Chattanooga from St Jude’s hospital in Memphis, where Hannah underwent her final treatment for a brain tumor.

Hannah and her mother, Shirley, told the Guardian that the pair had made the trip hundreds of times, and knew the airport security routine well. Shirley would usually go through the scanner first and wait for Hannah on the other side, since Hannah’s tumor, and numerous surgeries and treatments since she was two years old, had left her easily confused and frightened in unfamiliar situations.

According to the complaint, the warning alarm was triggered when Hannah passed through the body scanners. Hannah attributed the alarm to her shirt’s design.

 “My shirt – it had sequins,” Hannah told the Guardian, laboring to speak. According to the complaint:ude's

“You could see on the screen what it was pointing out,” Shirley said. She stood to the side, watching, wearing an immobilization boot on a broken foot.

Agents told Hannah they needed to take her to a “sterile area” where they could search her further. She was afraid, Shirley said, and offered to take off the sequined shirt as she was wearing another underneath, but a female agent laughed at her.

Seeing the scene begin to unfold, Shirley hobbled to a supervisor standing nearby. “She is a St Jude’s patient, and she can get confused,” she said. “Please be gentle. If I could just help her, it will make things easier.”

But soon, a voice on the public address system requested more agents to report to the checkpoint, Shirley said. “That’s when the armed guards came.”

The brain tumor had left Hannah blind in one eye, deaf in one ear and partially paralyzed, so when the guards grabbed each of her arms, it startled her, she said. “I tried to push away,” she said. “I tried to get away.”

The guards slammed Hannah to the ground, her mother said, smashing her face into the floor, which the complaint alleges left her “physically and emotionally” injured.

Shirley had just picked up her phone from the conveyor belt, and she snapped a photo of Hannah on the floor: handcuffed, weeping and bleeding.

“Another guard pushed me back 20ft, in my boot, and told me I couldn’t be nearby,” said Shirley, a professor of nursing at a university in Chattanooga.

“I felt so helpless. I sat down on a bench facing away so I couldn’t see what they were doing to my daughter.”

The lawsuit alleges that the TSA did not give Hannah adequate accommodation to screen her, and discriminated against her because of her disability. It names the TSA and the Memphis-Shelby County airport authority and seeks damages that include medical expenses and for personal injury, both physical and emotional. It calls for a “reasonable sum not exceeding $100,000 and costs”, and an undisclosed punitive amount.

The TSA has not yet responded to the complaint.

Hannah disappeared behind a door, then went to a hospital, and finally to the Shelby County jail. After 24 hours apart, the mother and daughter were reunited in the parking lot of the jail.
Shirley said she held her daughter, who sobbed, “I’m sorry, Mama.”

The next morning – now two days without their belongings, which had made the flight home – the pair appeared before a local judge, who asked the accused to explain herself.

When Hannah responded, the judge said: “You’re going to have to speak up.”

That’s when Hannah looked up and her hair fell back from her face, revealing her unseeing eye, surrounded by cuts and contusions.

“The judge’s eyes got big and round,” Shirley said.

After inquiring if the pair were from Memphis, the judge recommended they get legal representation.
The charges were all dropped two days later, and the court refunded the $250 in costs the family had paid.

The TSA did not immediately return a request for comment. But a TSA spokeswoman, Sari Koshetz, said in a statement that “passengers can call ahead of time to learn more about the screening process for their particular needs or medical situation”.

“Why should I do that when we’ve been going through that airport for 17 years?” Shirley said.

“These people think they are God. They think they can do anything they want,” she said. “Well, in this country we have the Americans with Disabilities Act. And if they will do this to a disabled girl, does that mean they’ll do it to an 80-year-old grandmother? It’s time for justice.”

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Looking for 4 July Inspiration, Finding it in Scotland

Overcome with both fear and despair this past 4 July, I stumbled about looking for some inspiration to help find a path out and away from the retrogressive, hurtful, Trumpian Neo-Dark Ages. I found them in Dr. Henry Giroux's recent commencement address at the University of the West of Scotland.

Illuminating the Darkness in the Age of Despair

"For change to happen, you must be visionary, risk taking, willing to make trouble and think dangerously. Ideas have consequences, and when they are employed to nurture and sustain a flourishing democracy, in which people struggle for justice together, you will learn how to make history rather than be swept away by it."

"Let me end by quoting my first teacher, the great novelist and critic James Baldwin. 'The precise role of [your generation]…, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.'"

Illuminating the Darkness in the Age of Despair, Henry Giroux
Please go here for the full text:
Quotes from the commencement speech given by Prof. Henry Giroux at the University of the West of Scotland, 4 July 2917.