Wednesday, January 31, 2018

For You, What You Measure Counts The Most

The other day, Mr. Trump delivered his first State of the Union speech.

For me, there were only two sentences that mattered…
“So let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is strong because our people are strong. And together, we are building a safe, strong, and proud America.”

I agree with those statements. But I totally disagree that Mr. Trump and his administration has even in the most itty-bitty way had anything to do with making our people strong.

On the contrary, he is sucking the very soul out us all in the U.S. and throughout the world. It is without a doubt his policies, his decrees and his appointees through which he has done his very best to destroy our quality of life and lower it in comparison with other nations, a fraction of our size and wealth.

Under Mr. Trump’s direction we have made a sudden u-turn. We are heading backwards in nearly every measure, especially quality of life.

That matters to me. 

I’m sure it does to you, as well. Because it is what you measure that counts the most. And, our quality of life measure is sliding backwards.

Here’s the proof

“The World Economic Forum’s Inclusive Development Index (IDI) is an annual assessment of 103 countries’ economic performance that measures how countries perform on eleven dimensions of economic progress in addition to GDP. It has 3 pillars; growth and development; inclusion and; intergenerational equity – sustainable stewardship of natural and financial resources.”

“The IDI is a project of the World Economic Forum’s System Initiative on the Future of Economic Progress, which aims to inform and enable sustained and inclusive economic progress through deepened public-private cooperation through thought leadership and analysis, strategic dialogue and concrete cooperation, including by accelerating social impact through corporate action.”

This is the WEF’s 2018 report on the USA:
“The United States’ performance, ranking 23rd on the IDI, is rather uneven. Indicators relating to Growth and Development are driving the country’s performance in the Index. The country performs relatively better on measures of GDP per capita, labor productivity and employment, all of which have improved over the last five years. Though following a positive trend, the average healthy life expectancy is among the lowest in advanced economies, pointing to the need to tackle broader challenges with regard to access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunity. The United States is lagging behind most other advanced economies in economic inclusion (28th). Poverty rates in the country have been falling but remain among the highest in advanced economies at 16.3%, surpassed only by Israel (19.3%). In parallel, the median household income level has also declined, which may be the result of the economy generating a larger number of low-wage jobs, thereby increasing the number of working- poor households. The United States also displays the highest levels of economic inequality among advanced economies, a trend that has continued to rise over the last years. Though the country also ranks low on measures of Intergenerational Equity and Sustainability, its score has improved, notably due to higher net saving rates and a decline in carbon intensity. Unfortunately, the recent tax reforms put forth by the current administration are likely to increase the size of the country’s public debt and further widen economic and social inequalities in the long run.”

Please go here for the full report.

So, realistically, what is the state of our union? Sen. Bernie Sanders has a good understanding.
Please watch his statement.

Bernie Responds to the State of the Union - 30 Jan 2018

Monday, January 29, 2018

Inclusive Development Index vs. Trump Measure

Sen Robert F. Kennedy
A few days ago, President Trump spoke before the World Economic Forum (WEF). His speech was tailored toward stimulating corporate activity in the United States and convincing corporations, world-wide, to bring their investments to the U.S.

For me, it is significant that he decided to deliver that message before an organization with the mission that states:

“We believe that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change.”

I believe Mr. Trump, a world-class division maker, missed the point of the WEF. He actually presented the wrong message to the attendees and also missed a golden opportunity to, “Make America Great Again.”

Of course, Mr. Trump’s Great America is significantly different than the WEF’s view of a Great America.

WEF is founded upon the idea that what passes for the main measure of progress in our capitalistic society, the Gross National Product (GNP) or Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is hopelessly flawed.

WEF believes that their Inclusive Development Index (IDI) is a better measuring stick because it uses three pillars as measures: growth and development; inclusion and; intergenerational equity – sustainable stewardship of natural and financial resources.

It’s obvious that President Trump measures success by an entirely different, if not totally anachronistic, braggadocios tool, while the rest of the world has moved on with a new, real world standard of measure.

Thinking about that “new” standard rang a bell for me. You might remember back 50 years to 1968. Before he was murdered, Robert F. Kennedy gave a speech at the University of Kansas (18 March 1968). It was a life-affirming speech about a better America and a measure of what "makes life worthwhile".

RFK said, “…we can do better in this country.” 

He said: “…the fact is, that men have lost confidence in themselves, in each other, it is confidence which has sustained us so much in the past - rather than answer the cries of deprivation and despair - cries which the President's Commission on Civil Disorders tells us could split our nation finally asunder - rather than answer these desperate cries, hundreds of communities and millions of citizens are looking for their answers, to force and repression and private gun stocks - so that we confront our fellow citizen across impossible barriers of hostility and mistrust and again, I don't believe that we have to accept that. I don't believe that it's necessary in the United States of America.  I think that we can work together - I don't think that we have to shoot at each other, to beat each other, to curse each other and criticize each other, I think that we can do better in this country.  And that is why I run for President of the United States.“

RFK went on to explain what GNP measures (what Mr. Trump’s measuring stick measures):

“And this is one of the great tasks of leadership for us, as individuals and citizens this year.  But even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction - purpose and dignity - that afflicts us all.  Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.  Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product - if we judge the United States of America by that - that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.  It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them.  It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.  It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities.  It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.  Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play.  It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.  It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.  And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.”

Mr. Trump ended his WEF remarks with:

"... So together let us resolve to use our power, our resources, and our voices not just for ourselves but for our people, to lift their burdens, to raise their hopes and empower their dreams, to protect their families, their communities, their histories and their futures. That's what we're doing in America and the results are totally unmistakable."

One can only hope Mr. Trump actually understood the words he repeated and that they were not just more words strung together to be denied later as "fake news".

Robert F. Kennedy challenges Gross Domestic Product - Excerpt -
University of Kansas Address - 18 Mar 1968

Please go here to hear Robert F. Kennedy's entire University of Kansas Address

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Rachael Denhollander - Hero

Rachael Denhollander is the hero of our time... of all time.

She is the woman who slayed the invincible doctor-monster-sexual-predator.

Larry Nassar was shielded by his medical colleagues, his administrative superiors and one of the most powerful institutions in our state, Michigan State University.

Over 20 years, Nassar sexually molested over 200 women and girls. No one really knows for sure how many more victims have yet to come forward or who may never come forward.

All we know is that because of Rachael Denhollander one monster has been chained.

Still, these questions remain: How many more Larry Nassars are out there?
And, how will we protect our children from them?

Please go here for part of the story.
Rachael Denhollander: The voice that began end of Nassar, Kim Kozlowski, The Detroit News, 24, Jan 2018.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Question Then Listen

Ask questions and listen to the answers you receive or suffer the silence.

Graham Hancock Irrefutable EVIDENCE That a Cataclysm Shaped Mankind

Graham Hancock - Magicians Of The Gods - PART 1/2 | London Real

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Hey, Hey, LBJ, Where are You Today?

Obviously, the United States needs a profane, uncouth, politically incorrect leader. After all, that’s why Donald Trump is occupying the White House, right?

Last night I had this dream… rather than Mr. Trump, Lyndon Johnson was once again our President. 

And, the world rejoiced!

Yes, people were relieved that Trump was out and Lyndon was back in. Why?

Because Johnson -- despite his profanity, uncouthness, politically incorrectness and promiscuity -- actually worked for life-affirming legislation rather than for disassembling the USA as we know it.

Just think about it for a moment.

Johnson fought Republicans and Southern Democrats in Congress and won: Medicare, Medicaid, the Food Stamp Act, the first civil rights acts since the Civil War ended, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and the Higher Education Act of 1965. Plus, LBJ supported NASA's manned missions to the moon. The first moon landing, Apollo 11, took place in July 1969, the year he left office. Johnson could have abandoned the whole thing. But he din't.

Millions of Americans are to this day served by LBJ’s legislative prowess.

I never thought I’d see the day when I would sing LBJ’s praises... but, today... we have Trump.

The Lyndon Johnson Song

Monday, January 22, 2018

7,300 Challenges

Across the street from us, so to speak, sits the derelict, toxic, McLouth Steel site. It’s been an ugly eyesore since forever, tagged with a massive clean-up bill estimated to range over $100 million.*

And, Michigan has all but run out of bucks for Spick & Span, degreaser, etc.

Plus, it’s sad to say, that the McLouth Steel site is only an itty-bitty bit of the problem. Because there are over 7,300 toxic sites throughout the state.

Well, even I can cipher out a problem and I’m guessing we have 7,300 of ‘em.

Here’s the story... part of it, at least:

Michigan has 7,300 toxic sites. Money for cleanups is almost gone, Jim Malewitz,, 17 Jan 2018.

BELLAIRE — Meet Tom and Sarah Hudson. The couple, both in their 60s, call themselves “the arrow people.” It’s a lighthearted description of their toxic reality: A slow but steadily moving industrial solvent plume is threatening the drinking water beneath their slice of paradise in northwest Michigan.

The Hudsons, retirees who split their time between here and Rochester, can’t see the contamination beneath the forested hills. But its trajectory looks unmistakable, according to a map drawn by state environmental regulators and illustrated with an arrow aimed at the Hudsons’ patch along Windy Hill Road in Bellaire, a town of about 1,000 about 30 miles west of Gaylord.

Please go here for the whole story.

*As of today, as I understand it, negotiations are underway between the potential buyer of the 188-acre site, Crown Enterprises, a real estate and development firm controlled by the Moroun family (owners of the Detroit International Bridge Co Inc. [the Ambassador Bridge] and several shipping, trucking and railroad companies) -- the Department of Justice and the EPA. According to a recent Detroit Free Press article:

"The Morouns are trying to limit their potential liability for clean-up costs and it's basically like a covenant the EPA will not sue them," said Nick Schroeck, director of the Transnational Environmental Law Clinic and assistant clinical professor at the Wayne State University Law School."

The Coasters - Poison Ivy - 1959

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Time to Reboot Washington, D.C.?

Does anyone know how to reboot our federal government?

Now that our esteemed leaders have so wisely shut the government down, I’m thinkin’ it’s a great time to follow through with the process that any “computer” master knows how to do.

Let’s turn all the power off and start anew.

System memory of all those senators and representatives and our president will be cleared and all those locked-up processes will also be “disappeared”.

Once we’re rebooted the government we’ll have a chance to get a few things done. Hopefully, there will be one or two good things actually done for the benefit of the U.S. people.

I’m just saying… and kind a prayin’, too.

ReBoot Theme Song

It's Time - Elvis Costello And The Attractions

Friday, January 19, 2018

Drone Saves Life… Instead of Taking Life

The Little Ripper (Lifeguard) Drone
Leave it to the civilized Australians to put drone technology to a lifesaving good use rather than using it just to blow-up "bad guys" along with numerous, innocent “collaterals”.

Here’s the story:

"There's plenty to be excited about when it comes to the possibilities of drones, but two Australian beachgoers have learnt first-hand how they can have a big impact today. After being swept away by the surf off the coast of New South Wales, the two found themselves safely back on shore after a local lifeguard used a drone to deliver them a lifesaving flotation device."

"Lifeguards in the Australian state of New South Wales have been testing out a new lifesaving drone known as the Little Ripper for the last couple of years, and they have high hopes for it. The aircraft is fitted with cameras and pattern-recognition software that might one day allow it to spot sharks and warn nearby swimmers, though that capability remains a work in progress."

"In the meantime, local lifesavers have been training with the drones to test their ability to monitor the coastline and drop off emergency items like inflatable devices and whistles. They were doing just that when they received a call concerning two struggling swimmers who had been washed out to sea. Using the camera aboard the drone (which was already in the air at the time), lifeguard supervisor Jai Sheridan was able to pinpoint the swimmers, position the drone above them and quickly deploy a flotation device."

"I was able to launch it, fly it to the location, and drop the pod all in about one to two minutes," he told The Sydney Morning Herald. "On a normal day that would have taken our lifeguards a few minutes longer to reach the members of the public."

"With the flotation device in hand, the two were able to make their way back to shore, where lifeguards checked over them and reported only signs of fatigue. This incredible rescue marks a world-first for drone technology, and is a great demonstration of their potential not just for beach safety but all kinds of emergency response scenarios, be they earthquakes, hurricanes or anywhere with people in urgent need of help."

"You can see it all play out from the drone's perspective in the video below."

Westpac Little Ripper - Drone Rescue

Thursday, January 18, 2018

If I were a Rich (white) Man

Jut three immigrants. Please see link below.
Ah, If I were a rich (white) man… Like Mr. Trump…

I wouldn’t try to keep immigrants out. No, I’d want them to come here by the millions, with all their sisters, brothers, mother, fathers, children… all of them. Because I know our history is chock-full of self-made successes of “… your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Keep them home? No, not me. Because even those with half of a feeble brain, know each and every one wants the American Dream and will work his / her tail off to realize it.

These are they people who actually dream the dreams that once made America Great.

Yes, let's have more of 'em, not less.

Fiddler on the roof - If I were a rich man (with subtitles)

 “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

New Colossus, The Statue of Liberty Poem

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

What the Grasshopper Knew

Sometimes new things are inspired from very small things. Such as in this "bug" story... What the Grasshopper Knew.

Imagined newly revised excerpt from the 1974 TV show, Kung Fu.

Master Po: Close your eyes. What do you hear?
Young Caine: I hear the water, I hear the birds.
Po: Do you hear your own heartbeat?
Caine: No.
Po: Do you hear the grasshopper (feet eletrode) which is at your feet? (Checking your heartbeaat?)
Caine: Old man, how is it that you hear these things?
Po: Young man, how is it that you do not?

Soft material inspired by grasshoppers for better electrode adhesive, Is­abelle Herold, ETH Zurich,, 15 Jan 2018.

Learning from grasshoppers

"Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a new type of health-monitoring electrode that exhibits optimum adhesion to skin and can record high quality signals. Two young spin-off founders want to turn it into a marketable product as early as this year."

"Now, ETH researchers led by Janos Vörös, Professor of Bioelectronics, and Christopher Hierold, Professor of Micro and Nanosystems, have found a solution. They have developed an electrode that is as elastic as skin, so that it is barely noticeable to the wearer. The special surface structure allows signals from the heart and brain to be recorded in high quality. The researchers recently published details of their work in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials."

Inspired by nature

"For the new electrode, the researchers used a soft material – a non-irritant mixture of silicone rubber and conductive silver particles – that stemmed from an earlier research project by Vörös' group. For the surface structure, the scientists looked to nature for inspiration: they used the mechanism that allows grasshoppers to walk even on vertical surfaces."

"The soles of these insects' feet are covered with countless tiny pads, which look like mushroom heads under a microscope and are arranged like a mosaic. When they come into contact with another surface, an adhesive effect occurs, known in technical terms as Van der Waals interaction."

Please go here for more of the story.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Faith Inspired

Image above: Bullwinkle inspired. Alas, still no rabbit.

Hard working researchers inspire my faith that we can overcome our self-limiting ignorance, institutional inertia, corporate avarice, and retro-dark-ages political shortsightedness. Here are just a few recent postings:

Image above: The colors in this cell culture show action taken by pancreas cancer when it recruits harmful cells to the tumor that suppress the body’s natural immune system. Credit: University of Rochester Medical Center.

Pancreatic tumors may require a one-two-three punch, University of Rochester Medical Center,,15 Jan 2018.

“One of the many difficult things about pancreatic cancer is that tumors are resistant to most treatments because of their unique density and cell composition. However, in a new Wilmot Cancer Institute study, scientists discovered that a three-drug combination can simultaneously target the cancer cells as well as the other harmful, inflammatory cells within the tumor, to improve survival.”

“The research builds on previous scientific data from the lab of David C. Linehan, M.D., and may define a more personalized approach to treating pancreatic cancer. Ultimately, physicians will use information from the pancreas tumor biopsy about volume and predominance of cancer cells and non-cancerous inflammatory cells that impact the immune system, and then plan the best treatment.”

"People with pancreatic cancer don't have 10 years to wait for the next new drug," said Linehan, a surgical oncologist, director of clinical operations at Wilmot, and the Seymour I. Schwartz Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

"Our approach is based on evidence that this disease has particular characteristics involving both the tumor and the immune response," he said, "and we believe that treatment must address all sides of the problem."

Please go here for the whole story.

Image above: Charlie Brown, junior king worrywart.

Anxiety: An Early Indicator of Alzheimer’s Disease?, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 18 Jan 2018.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that causes the decline of cognitive function and the inability to carry out daily life activities. Past studies have suggested depression and other neuropsychiatric symptoms may be predictors of AD’s progression during its “preclinical” phase, during which time brain deposits of fibrillar amyloid and pathological tau accumulate in a patient’s brain. This phase can occur more than a decade before a patient’s onset of mild cognitive impairment. Investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital examined the association of brain amyloid beta and longitudinal measures of depression and depressive symptoms in cognitively normal, older adults. Their findings, published today by The American Journal of Psychiatry, suggest that higher levels of amyloid beta may be associated with increasing symptoms of anxiety in these individuals. These results support the theory that neuropsychiatric symptoms could be an early indicator of AD.”

“Rather than just looking at depression as a total score, we looked at specific symptoms such as anxiety. When compared to other symptoms of depression such as sadness or loss of interest, anxiety symptoms increased over time in those with higher amyloid beta levels in the brain,” said first author Nancy Donovan, MD, a geriatric psychiatrist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “This suggests that anxiety symptoms could be a manifestation of Alzheimer’s disease prior to the onset of cognitive impairment. If further research substantiates anxiety as an early indicator, it would be important for not only identifying people early on with the disease, but also, treating it and potentially slowing or preventing the disease process early on.” As anxiety is common in older people, rising anxiety symptoms may prove to be most useful as a risk marker in older adults with other genetic, biological or clinical indicators of high AD risk.”

Please go here for the whole story.

Image above: UCF researchers have developed a way to make graphene absorb more light (Credit: Paul Fleet/Deposit photos)

UCF researchers have developed a way to make graphene absorb more light, Michael Irving, New Atlas, 14 Jan 2018.

“Graphene, the 2D wonder material made up of a sheet of carbon one atom thick, has a long list of superpowers, but one thing it hasn't been great at is absorbing light. Now, a study from the University of Central Florida (UCF) has found a way to boost graphene's light absorption, allowing it to make better use of that energy.”

“Normally, graphene can only absorb less than two percent of the visible light spectrum. In attempting to boost that statistic, previous studies have embedded metal particles onto sheets of graphene, but that just resulted in the metal itself absorbing the light with little benefit to the material underneath.”

“In the new study, the UCF team decided to alter the shape of the graphene but not the composition of the material. To do that, the researchers first placed it on a polymer substrate, then stamped a nanoscale pattern into the graphene. That created an optical cavity in the material, so that when light hits it, the waves bounce back and forth between the faces of the graphene. That lets the material absorb far more of the light than it normally would.”

“The researchers say that their design allowed a single layer of graphene to absorb more than 45 percent of the light that hits it, but with further optimization they believe that figure could reach almost 90 percent.”

Please go here for the whole story.

Monday, January 15, 2018

MLK- Hero for All Time

What did Dr.King realize and determine we all must overcome?

Dr. King was an inspirational leader, feared by "the powers that be". He was murdered when he crossed the black/white line and began reaching poor white Americans and became an Anti-Vietnam War protester, as well. Dr. King is a hero for all people, for all times - especially today.

Just a year before his assassination, at a Southern Christian Leadership Conference staff retreat in May 1967, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said:

"I think it is necessary for us to realize that we have moved from the era of civil rights to the era of human rights…[W]hen we see that there must be a radical redistribution of economic and political power, then we see that for the last twelve years we have been in a reform movement…That after Selma and the Voting Rights Bill, we moved into a new era, which must be an era of revolution…In short, we have moved into an era where we are called upon to raise certain basic questions about the whole society."

Earlier on 4 Apr 1967, one year prior to his murder, Dr. King delivered his first public antiwar speech, “Beyond Vietnam,” at New York’s Riverside Church. (See link below.) Toward the conclusion he stated:

"This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: “Let us love one another (Yes), for love is God. (Yes) And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. . . . If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.” Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day."

Dr. King delivered his famous"I have a Dream" speech to more than 250,000 people outside the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in Washington, 28 Aug 1963.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Dear God, Please Help Us from Ourselves

Photo Credit: Screen Capture from Imamu Baraka's video.
Dear God, please help us from ourselves.

"This week, on a night with temperatures dropping below freezing, hospital personnel at the University of Maryland Medical Center dumped a 22-year-old woman out onto the curbside, clad in nothing but a hospital gown. No shoes. No underwear."

"Imamu Baraka, a psychologist who was leaving work nearby, noticed the hospital staffers throwing the woman, reportedly named Rebecca, out in the cold. Aghast, he took out his phone and filmed the incident. The footage shows Rebecca as she stumbles over to a nearby bench, coughing, shivering and visibly disoriented. The psychologist confronts the hospital staff, asking for a manager, and checks on the shivering woman."

"Baraka posted the video on Facebook and it has since gone viral, with almost 3 million views just days since it was uploaded. He said he started recording because he couldn’t believe what he was seeing."

"I had no choice but to give this young lady a voice in this moment," Baraka told the Associated Press. 

Gene Sperling, who was a national economy advisor for both Clinton and Obama, tweeted that those responsible for the incident should be charged with "attempted murder."


Free Us All

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel - Enya

No doubt we need Him more than ever now... to free us all.

O come, O come, Emmanuel
To free your captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice ! Rejoice ! O Israel.
To you shall come Emmanuel


I came, Emmanuel!
Captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Son of God;
Rejoice, Emmanuel
born of thee.


born of thee.

Joy, joy

born of thee.

Friday, January 12, 2018

News from the Executive Sh**Hole

And now, these words from the Executive Sh**Hole...

(Do you smell what I smell? Even I can't make this stuff up.)

"During immigration talks in the Oval Office, President Trump reportedly grew frustrated, using a crude description of Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, according to a report from the Washington Post."

"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump reportedly told lawmakers on Thursday.

The president then suggested that the U.S. try to increase immigration from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met with this week."

Report: Trump uses crude term while attacking protections for immigrants, Jessica Estepa, USA Today, Detroit Free Press. 11 Jan 2018.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sunlight...Fat... Winter... UGH!

Somehow I just ciphered it out on my own... there is more than one reason to despise cold, dreary winter days. Now I know for sure.

"If you flip our findings around, the insufficient sunlight exposure we get eight months of the year living in a northern climate may be promoting fat storage and contribute to the typical weight gain some of us have over winter."- Dr. Peter Light, Professor of Pharmacology and Director of University of Alberta, Alberta Diabetes Institute

Here's the whole story:

Reduced sunlight may contribute to winter weight gain,  Lesley Young, Medical Xpress, 10 Jan 2018.

"A breakthrough study by University of Alberta researchers has shown the fat cells that lie just beneath our skin shrink when exposed to the blue light emitted by the sun."

"When the sun's blue light wavelengths—the light we can see with our eye—penetrate our skin and reach the fat cells just beneath, lipid droplets reduce in size and are released out of the cell. In other words, our cells don't store as much fat," said Peter Light, senior author of the study, who is a professor of pharmacology and the director of UAlberta's Alberta Diabetes Institute.

Please go here for more.

Thinking of snow reminds me of a childhood hero... Dudley Do-Right. (Must be some deep psychological thing goin' on here.)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Too Easy to Lose

76 wars are just too many... too many to manage, too costly to wage, impossible to win and too easy to lose.

How did we get into this mess anyway?

These guys knew when they were in trouble...

Another Fine Mess (1930) Laurel & Hardy

Are we all insane?
Well... yes... and maybe no...

Dr. Strangelove - 1964

And, now, we reprise a more sane era... for a feeble attempt to regain our souls.

Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth - 1967

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

"Too Many Wars Fir Us?" - Willie

Bill Mauldin’s cartoons had a way of depicting the heart and soul of World War II combat vets that matched up with my Dad’s experiences. Mauldin’s Willie and Joe characters always seemed to be the voice of “universal truth”, a sort of timeless “vision” that rang true no matter where or when they were read. I offer the above rendition of Willie and Joe as a voice of reason from our past. Please forgive my poor attempt at it, Bill.

76 Countries Are Now Involved in Washington’s War on Terror 
Tomgram: Engelhardt, Seeing Our Wars for the First Time, TomDispatch, 4 Jan 2018.

"The Costs of War Project has produced not just a map of the war on terror, 2015-2017 (released at TomDispatch with this article), but the first map of its kind ever.  It offers an astounding vision of Washington’s counterterror wars across the globe: their spread, the deployment of U.S. forces, the expanding missions to train foreign counterterror forces, the American bases that make them possible, the drone and other air strikes that are essential to them, and the U.S. combat troops helping to fight them.  (Terror groups have, of course, morphed and expanded riotously as part and parcel of the same process.)

"A glance at the map tells you that the war on terror, an increasingly complex set of intertwined conflicts, is now a remarkably global phenomenon.  It stretches from the Philippines (with its own ISIS-branded group that just fought an almost five-month-long campaign that devastated Marawi, a city of 300,000) through South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and deep into West Africa where, only recently, four Green Berets died in an ambush in Niger.

"No less stunning are the number of countries Washington’s war on terror has touched in some fashion.  Once, of course, there was only one (or, if you want to include the United States, two).  Now, the Costs of War Project identifies no less than 76 countries, 39% of those on the planet, as involved in that global conflict.  That means places like Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya where U.S. drone or other air strikes are the norm and U.S. ground troops (often Special Operations forces) have been either directly or indirectly engaged in combat.  It also means countries where U.S. advisers are training local militaries or even militias in counterterror tactics and those with bases crucial to this expanding set of conflicts.  As the map makes clear, these categories often overlap.

"Who could be surprised that such a “war” has been eating American taxpayer dollars at a rate that should stagger the imagination in a country whose infrastructure is now visibly crumbling?  In a separate study, released in November, the Costs of War Project estimated that the price tag on the war on terror (with some future expenses included) had already reached an astronomical $5.6 trillion.  Only recently, however, President Trump, now escalating those conflicts, tweeted an even more staggering figure: “After having foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East, it is time to start rebuilding our country!” (This figure, too, seems to have come in some fashion from the Costs of War estimate that "future interest payments on borrowing for the wars will likely add more than $7.9 trillion to the national debt" by mid-century.)

Much more here...

Draft Dodger Rag - Smothers Brothers and George Segal

From 1967, the Smothers Brothers stood virtually alone, among contemporary performers of that time, opposing the Vietnam War (Conflict, or whatever you want to call it).  This was their version of a Phil Ochs' song, "Draft Dodger Rag", with guest star George Segal.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Trump’s Genius

Do you suppose that Mr. Trump’s self-proclaimed genius is hereditary? He may be a living example of his evolutionary past ancestors… the ones that exhibit a genius shark-like business acumen.

Come to think about it, I do notice a certain similarity... the smirky smile... the squinty eyes...

Oh… O.K., here’s the real story:

“A team of researchers with the University of Chicago, University College Dublin and Cambridge University studying a 385-million-year-old shark fossil has found evidence that suggests humans and sharks shared a common ancestor approximately 440 million years ago.”

“The researchers were studying a shark specimen found in Germany back in 2001. At the time, it was believed the shark was toothless, and for that reason, scientists gave it the name Gladbachus adentatus. In this new effort, the researchers conducted a much more thorough study of the remains, and in so doing, discovered that it represented a transitional species between acanthodians and chondrichthyes. This bit of evidence offered a better picture of a time period for which there are few fossil records. It suggests a new estimate for the time during which humans and sharks shared a common ancestor—approximately 440 million years ago.”

Study of 385-million-year-old shark suggests humans and sharks shared common ancestor 440 million years ago, Bob Yirka,, 4 Jan 2018.

Cue the Jaws theme!!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Lookin' for Spring!!!

Berkely Breathed Opus Dandelion*

Winter has won. I concede. I'm lookin' for spring. Now! Please! (I really want summer.)

Nat King Cole - Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer - 1963

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Just Leave Us Alone

Let's be honest with ourselves for a moment or two.

Let’s put aside our fears. Lock away our nightmares. Especially the one staring our political leaders in the leading roles as so many deranged "Leatherfaces" from the 1970's movie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

It’s the one in which, chainsaws in hand, they are busily hacking away at our meager Social Security and Medicare programs; lopping off our environmental and consumer protections; and disenfranchising all but “proven” true Republicans of certain ethnic heritages.

Let’s move those thoughts back into Pandora’s Box.

Now, let’s make a public declaration:
We the 99.9% declare that the .01% can, forever and a day, keep all the gold they have, all the wealth they have accumulated, if they agree to leave the rest of us alone and swear that we are all guaranteed a life-affirming quality of life. You know, like the U.S. Constitution says we have.

Now, that wasn’t hard was it.

Here's my Official, Just Leave Us Alone Song: Otis Redding - (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay (Official Video) - 1967

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

We Have Met the New Poor... They are US

When he was assassinated, nearly 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was working on the Poor People's Campaign. He knew then that the only chance we had to make the American Dream come true was to help people - black, white, Hispanic, Native American, all of us - understand that we are all poor people, except the .001%.

“This sounds counter-intuitive, right? In this year of Trump, where supposedly the lines of division are stronger, Dr. King’s diagnosis and his way forward with the Poor People’s Campaign makes more sense now even than when he proposed it 50 years ago. We need to be able to show these things, about what’s happening in Flint, what’s happening in Decatur, about how poverty is visiting more and more people and impacting them, and the role that racism plays in not only oppressing and exploiting Black people and other poor people of color, but also controlling the poor whites on the bottom.”

You thought you were middle class, right? We all did.

The truth is you and I are now the newest members of the Poor. We’re just the New Poor.

There is no longer a "middle" for any of us… only bottom… and the very, tip top for the .001%.

Seeing by Genius Street Lights

I live on an island where people take great pride in having no lighted streets.

After nearly 15 years living here, I've yet to truly cipher out the logic behind the no lights decision and often thought we could find a safe compromise.

Well, now we have one. Leave it to the genius Norwegians to devise a solution that provides light when needed and saves money, too.

If only my neighbors could see the (dimming) light...

This Auto Dimming Street Lights System is Too Cool!

Bjørn Nyland - 29 Dec 2017
At highway 155 in Nes i Hole, 220 radars have been installed on each light pole. They detect oncoming traffic and adjust the strength of the light. By doing this, the 9 km/5.5 mi stretch saves a whopping 2100 kWh per week. The extra investment will break even after just 4.5 years.

Thinking about Norwegian genius, for some reason, brought to mind my childhood memories of the "Great Dane" comedic genius, Victor Borge. I thought you might enjoy a few minutes of fun prior to launching into your brand new 2018 activities.

Genius in a Different Light - Victor Borge - "Page-turner"

Victor Borg (Børge Rosenbaum, 3 January 1909 – 23 December 2000) was a popular radio and television star in Europe and the U.S.