Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Thirsty for Clean Water

Graphair sample water filter. Photo credit: CSIRO
After a while I get thirsty for a drink of good old H20, especially if there's none at hand. But, unless you have been without safe water to drink you may not understand how essential potable water is.

Floods, earthquakes, drought, severe weather events all of these “natural” happenings, plus, war, polluted ground water, failed municipal water treatment systems – leaching lead pipes – can turn previously safe water into poison in seconds. That's why this development is important to you.

This New Graphene Invention Makes Filthy Seawater Drinkable in One Simple Step, Michelle Starr, sciencealert.com, 16 Feb 2018.

“Using a type of graphene called Graphair, scientists from Australia have created a water filter that can make highly polluted seawater drinkable after just one pass.”

The technology could be used to cheaply provide safe drinking water to regions of the world without access to it.

"Almost a third of the world's population, some 2.1 billion people, don't have clean and safe drinking water," said lead author Dong Han Seo.

"As a result, millions - mostly children - die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene every year. In Graphair we've found a perfect filter for water purification.

"It can replace the complex, time consuming and multi-stage processes currently needed with a single step."

Developed by researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Graphair is a form of graphene made out of soybean oil.

Graphene - a one-atom-thick, ultrastrong carbon material - might be touted as a supermaterial, but it's been relatively expensive to produce, which has been limiting its use in broader applications.

Graphair is cheaper and simpler to produce than more traditional graphene manufacturing methods, while retaining the properties of graphene. Here is the rest of the story…

Water Facts - water.org

  • Today, 1 in 9 people lack access to safe water; 1 in 3 people lack access to a toilet. More people have a mobile phone than a toilet.
  • 844 million people live without access to safe water
  • 2.3 billion people live without access to improved sanitation
  • Every 90 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease
  • 1 million people killed by water, sanitation and hygiene-related disease each year
  • 3rd leading cause of child death is diarrhea

Please go here for more info: https://water.org/our-impact/water-crisis/

More about graphene? Please go here: Superman's Envy.

Graphene: water filter of the future



CSIRO finds a way to make Sydney Harbour drinkable - and it could save lives.

Published on Feb 25, 2018

Sydney’s iconic harbour has played a starring role in the development of new CSIRO technology that could save lives around the world. Using their own specially designed form of graphene, ‘Graphair’, CSIRO scientists have supercharged water purification, making it simpler, more effective and quicker.

Find out more here: https://research.csiro.au/graphene

Monday, February 26, 2018

Your life, Their Profits

David Hogg, student, Stoneman Douglas High School. Credit: screen capture.*


So, you’re a high school teen.


When you go to class tomorrow will you be worried about living through the day?

Are you worried that some deranged person will show up with his assault rifle – or worse -  and mow down your friends… and you?

I’ll bet you’re worried. And, rightly so.

How much is your life worth to you, anyway?

It’s yours. Not your parent’s. Not your teacher’s.

Certainly, your life is not owned by someone profiting by selling ammo, body armor and AR-15s.

Don't let them profit by selling the means to take your life from you.**

It’s your life, your future. 

Fight for it. 

Isn’t it obvious? No one else will.

A few weeks prior to graduating from high school I was heading somewhere and about out of the door when my father stopped me. Dad said, "Your mother and I have never asked you to do anything, but we are asking you now. Don’t go with your friends to enlist in the Army. Wait until you finish college. Then, if you decide to do it… then O.K. it will be your choice. Don’t let them waste your life, Ron. A few years from now you’ll see. We’ll be friends with the “enemy” North Vietnamese and selling things to them. Someone will be making money and a lot of young people will be dead. Please, do this for your mom and for me."

A decorated combat veteran of World War II, my father, Forrest R. Baker received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart while serving in the U.S. Army. He enlisted following Pearl Harbor and graduating from High School in 1942. He was a staff sergeant in the 3rd Army, 80th Infantry Division, 317th Regiment, K Company and participated in continuous combat, through several of the most fierce battles of the war, from the Normandy beaches through the Battle of the Bulge and into Germany, where he was wounded.

Later, after college, my brother and I enlisted. Gary signed up with the Air Force and I joined the Army.

Mom and Dad loved us. They helped us have a chance at life.

So, today as then, many are profiting on your life. It’s time to stop that. Don’t you agree?

*Parkland Shooting Survivor Rips Into NRA’s Dana Loesch, Eliot Nelson, Huffington Post, 25 Feb 2018.

Florida school shooting survivor David Hogg sharply criticized the NRA Sunday for its continued opposition to stricter gun control and lambasted the organization’s spokeswoman for misrepresenting its agenda.

“Honestly, it’s disgusting. [The NRA acts] like they don’t own these politicians, but they do,” Hogg said during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week. “They’ve gotten gun legislation passed before in their favor, in favor of gun manufacturers.”

“The NRA is an organization that’s completely broken,” he added.

Hogg was responding to comments made earlier in the program by NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch, who contended that the NRA was working to make people safer.

Please go here for the whole story.

**Lines Out the Door and Strong Sales at Tampa Gun Show, Tiffany Hsufeb, New York Times, 25 Feb 2018.

TAMPA, Fla. — "The lines stretched out the door this weekend at a gun show in Tampa, Fla., as thousands of potential buyers and the merely curious waited for their turn to browse booths stocked with the latest firearms, ammunition, customizable holsters and patriotic paraphernalia."

"Inside, parents pushed their babies in strollers past T-shirts emblazoned with phrases like “I study triggernometry.” A nonprofit group in one booth was raffling off a rifle to raise money to battle child and animal abuse. On large signs by the entrance, the National Rifle Association was offering refunds on the $11 admission if shoppers signed up for a membership. Outside, Girl Scouts were selling cookies."

"But the deadly mass shooting a couple of hundred miles away at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School cast its shadow. Both buyers and sellers were talking about the attack, as well as about the divisive debate that it had recently reignited."

"And there, on many tables, were racks of AR-15s — variations of the hugely popular semiautomatic rifle used by the 19-year-old Parkland gunman."

"Several sellers said they were on track to double their normal sales for a weekend. “It’s sad to say, but whenever there’s a shooting, business only goes up because people are afraid of losing their right to own a certain weapon,” said Quaidman Woody, who was running a booth with his father, a sales representative for CrossHeirs. “So even if they don’t need another AR, they’ll buy another AR or pieces of it.”

Please go here for the rest of the story.

Michael Jackson - Heal The World - 1991 (Official Video - 2009)


michaeljacksonVEVO
Published on Oct 2, 2009
The "Heal The World" short film furthered Michael Jackson's goal of making art and music that would inspire worldwide peace, love and tolerance, by showcasing a diverse group of children united in their abilities to love unconditionally and their wishes for a brighter future.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

It’s About Prevention

LRAD 950RXL
Remotely Operated Security & Response System*
Someday we might get around to some form of rational gun control.


But since that day is unlikely to arrive soon we need to do a better job at preventing “active shooters” from slaughtering our children.

Making teachers responsible for taking down a shooter makes little sense to me for several reasons. First, the more bullets ricocheting around a classroom or hallway the more likely it becomes that innocent students and teachers become “collateral damage” during the fusillade. Second, how will the first responders determine which gun-totin’ shooter is the bad guy? How likely is it that a “good guy with a gun” becomes another “dead good guy with a gun”?

It makes more sense to make the active shooter an “outside the building guy with a gun”. In other words, make him leave the building. Then first responders can deal with him.

One method to make that happen is to provide every school building with several, remotely controlled, Active Denial Acoustic Devices that project pain-inducing "deterrent" tones directly at the active shooter to force him to vacate the building.

These systems might disorient an active shooter long enough so that arriving first responders are able to neutralize him and hopefully minimize the threat to our children and teachers.


Photo above, shows a current version. A variant of the system could be designed for use in schools and other public buildings.

Do not forsake me, oh, my darling - Tex Ritter original soundtrack High Noon - 1952



Gene Pitney - (The Man Who Shot) Liiberty Valance - 1962


Friday, February 23, 2018

These Kids Will Not Give Up

Elizabeth Love, senior, West High School, Salt Lake City, Utah
Credit: screen capture KSL.com CH5
A powerful force for gun control has been unleashed.

I’m a teenager. And I’m fed up with adults’ excuses for weak gun laws, Elizabeth Love, West High School, Salt Lake City, Utah, Vox, 21 Feb 2018.

"In two months I will turn 18, and in November I will vote in my first election. So will many of the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and those watching across the country. I will make sure that every candidate I support is fighting for commonsense gun regulations. I will do my best to make sure that my vote prevents my children needing to learn how to use their desks to stop bullets. And as the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas have courageously shown, I will not be alone in this fight."

"The NRA and its supporters in Washington pushed away every commonsense regulation that would protect our schools, but they pushed too far. Now an entire generation is pushing back."

Elizabeth Love is a senior at West High School in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her writing has been featured in the Huffington Post and the Salt Lake Tribune. Find her on Twitter @lizlove000.

Please go here for her whole article.
And, here for her KSL, CH 5 interview.



Thursday, February 22, 2018

Cue Card Empathy


Image above: CHIP SOMODEVILLA VIA GETTY IMAGES
President Donald Trump holds his notes while hosting a listening session with student survivors of mass shootings.


Mr. Trump needs note cards to help him try to appear to be empathetic.

Inability to empathize is one of the key signs of a psychopath.

Do we want a psychopath sitting in the White House?

Or, do we want and need that person to be a normal, loving human being. One capable of relating to others,without cue cards?


At a “listening session” with victims of gun violence on Wednesday, President Donald Trump needed a reminder to listen.

We know this because Trump ? or one of his advisers ? helpfully wrote it down on a cheat sheet he carried into the meeting.

Cameras captured the list of five pointers while Trump held it in his hands during the session. Point No. 5 on the list reads, simply, “I hear you.”

In the president’s defense, it’s not unusual to bring notes to a meeting. But to need a reminder to let gun violence survivors know you’re listening to them, while at a “listening session” organized for that explicit purpose is ... well, very on-brand for Trump.

The guest list for Wednesday’s session included students and families affected by last week’s shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people. It was an emotional affair, as survivors of gun violence recalled lost siblings, frequently struggling to hold back tears.

Hopefully President Trump’s reminder to show empathy proved fruitful, and he was able to bring them at least a small amount of comfort.



"Professor Robert Hare is a criminal psychologist, and the creator of the PCL-R, a psychological assessment used to determine whether someone is a psychopath. For decades, he has studied people with psychopathy, and worked with them, in prisons and elsewhere. “It stuns me, as much as it did when I started 40 years ago, that it is possible to have people who are so emotionally disconnected that they can function as if other people are objects to be manipulated and destroyed without any concern,” he says."

“There are two kinds of empathy,” says James Fallon, a neuroscientist at the University of California and author of The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain. “Cognitive empathy is the ability to know what other people are feeling, and emotional empathy is the kind where you feel what they’re feeling.”

"Autistic people can be very empathetic – they feel other people’s pain – but are less able to recognise the cues we read easily, the smiles and frowns that tell us what someone is thinking. Psychopaths are often the opposite: they know what you’re feeling, but don’t feel it themselves. “This all gives certain psychopaths a great advantage, because they can understand what you’re thinking, it’s just that they don’t care, so they can use you against yourself.” (Chillingly, psychopaths are particularly adept at detecting vulnerability. A 2008 study that asked participants to remember virtual characters found that those who scored highly for psychopathy had a near perfect recognition for sad, unsuccessful females, but impaired memory for other characters.)"


Florida shooting: students walk out of schools to call for gun control





Guardian News
Published on Feb 22, 2018
Students across the US are walking out of their schools to protest against gun violence and demand stricter gun laws after last week's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida. They're marching in solidarity with the survivors of the second deadliest public school shooting in US history to call for a ban on the sale of assault rifles of the sort used to kill 17 students and educators last week 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Silently Sacrificing our Children

Photo credit: Johanne Rahaman for HuffPost
We’ve done nothing since 4 May 1970.*

That’s when our leaders sanctioned the murder of four students and wounding of nine others. 

Many other students died before KSU, thousands died after, and more die nearly every day.

To this very day our leaders are willing to sacrifice our youth for their own benefit.

Sculptor George Segal’s, In Memory of May 4, 1970: Kent State - Abraham and Isaac
It’s a story as old as Abraham and Isaac - the one told in the Bible. Except, today, we the Abraham (s) are not killing our children to prove our love to God. We are killing them, letting them be slaughtered… for… what? Some false sense of security? For money? Or, is it because we really don’t love them? Better our children die than we die?

The Kent State Massacre was a tipping point that sparked outrage on hundreds of college and high school campuses throughout the nation. May 4, 1970 pushed “clean-shaven-short-haircut, youth” into protesting for fear of losing their lives while at school.

Because their kids were fearful of “death on campus”, a multitude of “silent majority” parents and grandparents became fearful, too. Together they melded into a tsunami of change that forced the heartless, bought-out elected officials and unelected war hawks into withdrawing from Vietnam.

Still, the kids made it happen.

We were the kids then.


Today, our grandkids are forced to fill the leadership and moral vacuum we have neglected.

Please, dear God. Please help these young people. Please give them the strength and determination to do what we have failed to do. Please help them stop the carnage.

“I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours,” Novell said. “It was about guns. You weren’t there, you don’t know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings. This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns.” - Carly Novell, 17-year-old Stoneman Douglas high student.


“Now is the exact time to talk about gun control, say students from a high school near Parkland.”

“They’re furious about political stonewalling, and most of them aren’t yet old enough to vote.”

“Two days after a gunman used an assault-style rifle to kill 17 people at a nearby school, the students of South Broward High School protested in solidarity. Just a couple of dozen miles down the road in Parkland, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was still sealed off as investigators pored over the horrors inside.”

“About 50 teenagers gathered on the street Friday, rallying around the common causes of gun control and school safety ? two issues politicians continue to ignore even though polls show most Americans support them.” Please go here for more of the story.


In the Trumpian era of “alternative facts” and demagoguery we are ever slipping and sliding deeper and deeper into our own Fascist-American quicksand where our leaders mislead, confuse issues and make up “facts” to feed their narcissistic addiction and never-sated power and wealth appetite.

Kent State offers one more jarring lesson for us here, as well, built on a foundation of innocent blood. It is one which the KSU administration displayed for all to see and hear, if only we had eyes to see and ears to hear (a wish I fervently make for Dan Adamini, disgraced former Marquette County Republican Party secretary and "conservative" radio commentator). That is their decision not to accept sculptor George Segal’s In Memory of May 4, 1970: Kent State - Abraham and Isaac. 

Segal’s sculpture is a contemporary version of Abraham and Isaac “in an allegory for the May 4, 1970, tragedy at Kent State University. A poignant visualization of humankind's struggle between ideology and paternal love, it mirrors the conflict that led to the death of four students at the hands of the Ohio National Guard.”

In other words Segal is mirroring our willingness to sacrifice our own children to our gods, whoever or whatever they are. I fear many will continue the practice, cheerfully following the whims of our current president.

After commissioning it in 1977, Kent State refused the sculpture in 1977, saying that it “depicted violence”.

It is now on display outside of the Princeton University Chapel as part of the John B. Putnam Jr. Memorial Collection, funded by a partial gift of the Mildred Andrews Fund.





Friday, February 16, 2018

Happy Days Are Here Again!!



Yea!

Happy Days are here again!

That SpaceX, Tesla, Elon Musk guy is launching the first of his Internet satellites in a couple of days. Move over you nasty, nasty Comcast. I can breathe again!


SpaceX made headlines when it put a Tesla on its way to Mars, with the successful launch of the Falcon Heavy. Now, much closer to Earth, a Falcon 9 is getting ready to take its first two Starlink internet satellites into orbit on Feb. 17.

If all goes well, they'll be followed by 11,923 other Starlink satellites in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). The first two, Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, are test systems. These satellites will form a constellation of satellites, which will deliver broadband internet across the world.

According to SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's Elon Musk is working on this because, "Elon tends to find an industry where customers are very angry and frustrated. Let's build little communications satellites and provide global broadband capability for reasonable prices." If this works, Musk plans to use the same design for a Martian internet.

These mass-produced satellites will use the relatively little-used V band, which covers 40GHz to 75GHz, to communicate with each other in a mesh network. They'll then work with Earth-bound receivers to deliver broadband internet. How fast will that be? Good question.

By 2022, SpaceX predicted -- to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) -- that: "Once fully optimized through the Final Deployment, the system will be able to provide high bandwidth (up to 1Gbps per user), low latency broadband services for consumers and businesses in the US and globally." And 1Gbps is much better than most of us get on the ground.


Happy Days Are Here Again - Leo Reisman & His Orchestra - 1929




America… What do You See?



Look into your soul fellow Americans.

What do we see?

Do you see callous indifference?

Hate over love?

Hedonism over life-affirming decisions.

Death for the innocent and defenseless over false security of cold steel and ammo under your mattress every night?

Do we see Christ in us?

I want to see American love and compassion for all living things, including our defenseless children and adults.

It’s way past time to end our American Lunacy and implement intelligent gun control.

Let’s try to end our American horror.

Let’s take two first steps. Make the manufacturers pay for the carnage and stop the weapons from working in public buildings.

Let's adopt intelligent gun control now!

In the long term, artificial intelligence (AI ) is the answer for the U.S. explained Joe Hockey, Australian Ambassador to the United States:


Artificial Intelligence?
Yes, I believe that today we have the technology to stop any weapon from being used in a public building: For Humanity... it's Time. We also have another way, too, that can be implemented tomorrow: How to Reduce/Eliminate Gun-Related Shootings.

Please, for the love of our children and grandchildren, let's do these things now.






Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thank You Jack

Jack Lessenberry is my hero.
Thank you, Jack. Your work is always outstanding, but this one really hit home for me.

A father, his adopted daughter, and America's mixed feelings on immigration, Jack Lessenberry, WUOM, 14 Feb 2018.

Please click through to hear Jack's report.

"When I was growing up, we were taught we should be proud to be a nation of immigrants."

"Later, as a young reporter, I learned that Americans held complex and contradictory views on immigration, views that all too often could be summed up as: "Immigration was great right up until the boat that brought my ancestors over. After that, it should have been stopped."

"Generally, our leaders were better than we were. When he was running for president, one candidate I covered years ago condemned the idea of a border wall with Mexico. “Rather than talking about putting up a fence, why don’t we work out some recognition of our mutual problems?”

"No, that wasn’t Bernie Sanders. It was Ronald Reagan."

"But today I want to tell you a story which illustrates something about America and how conflicted we are. I work with a nonprofit agency that has a brilliant chief development officer."

Please go here for the rest of the story.

"Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio’s Senior Political Analyst."

"A Detroit native, Jack originally intended to become a historian, but recognized that he wanted to become a journalist during his graduate studies at the University of Michigan.  Since then, he has accumulated nearly forty years of journalism experience in every medium from newspapers to the internet. Jack has worked as a foreign correspondent and executive national editor of The Detroit News, and he has written for many national and regional publications, including Vanity Fair, Esquire, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe."

"Currently, in addition to his work at Michigan Radio, he is head of journalism at Wayne State University and a contributing editor and columnist for The Metro Times, Dome Magazine, The Traverse-City Record Eagle, and The Toledo Blade, where he also serves as ombudsman, and hosts the weekly public affairs program "Deadline Now"  on WGTE-TV in Toledo."

"Among his favorite memories are of interviewing Gerald Ford about Watergate in 1995 and winning a national Emmy for a documentary about Jack Kevorkian in 1994."

"On a personal note, Jack mostly stopped watching TV -- except for documentaries -- when Mr. Ed was canceled, though he admits to a fondness for the crusty old butler on Downton Abbey."

Jack Lessenberry is my hero.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Yummy Debt

Now that Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director and interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has ended the suit taking Golden Valley Lending to task for swindling millions of Americans, I believe it’s only just to support an Eat Debt Campaign, to try to help those swindled.

One such effort was launched to TV journalist Jesse Jones, who recently announced that for “for just $12,000 – he and the station had bought up the medical debt of 1,000 viewers”.

Jones is a cancer survivor and a reporter for KIRO, channel 7, a CBS-affiliated, Seattle television station.

Please go here for the story.

One organization that has been actively erasing debt for several years now is The Rolling Jubilee Fund, a Non-Profit 501(c)(4) Organization formed as a project of Strike Debt, with the exclusive mission of buying and abolishing debt. Strike Debt is an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street. At this date, The Rolling Jubilee Fund has erased nearly $32 million in debt by raising about $700,000 to buy debt for pennies on the dollar and then forgiving it.

Another Occupy offshoot, interoccupy.net, has become a communications conduit of sorts between Occupy organizations.

And, you thought Occupy was dead?

So, If the Trump Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is no longer the consumer protection agency of the 99.9%, then we fall back to the Occupy Movement and help people erase debt by using predatory-capitalist-methods against the gangster, predatory capitalists. Eat Debt!!

Yummy, yummy debt tastes good!

Ohio Express - Yummy Yummy Yummy - 1968


Monday, February 12, 2018

The Face of Evil

The Face  of EVIL: Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney
is also the interim director of the CFPB. Carolyn Kaster/AP

Why do we allow ourselves to be ruled by our government?

Thomas Jefferson declared an answered to that question prior to the founding of the United States:

"To secure these [inalienable] rights [to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness], governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed... Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." --Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence, 1776. ME 1:29, Papers 1:429

For me, and members of my family going back to the Revolutionary War, Jefferson had it right.
It’s up to the government to do right by its people. To protect and defend them and to, “effect their safety and happiness”.

That statement is significant to me because it does not differentiate “the people” by wealth, race, sex, or national origin. It means all the people. It’s up to the government to protect the poor and the wealthy.

So, when I discovered that the current administration is doing its absolute best to circumvent and undermine the very laws that have been instituted to serve and protect the public, it became obvious that we must declare their actions evil and an abomination to the people of the United States.

Does that evil have a face? Well, yes it does. It’s the face of Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Here’s the story:

Trump Administration To Defang Consumer Protection Watchdog, Chris Arnold, NPR, 12 Feb 2018.

“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created after the financial crisis to protect Americans from being ripped off by financial firms.”

“Now, President Trump's interim appointee to run the bureau Mick Mulvaney is making radical changes to deter the agency from aggressively pursuing its mission.”

“An internal memo obtained by NPR says the CFPB will on Monday unveil a new strategic plan to that end. A "revised mission and vision of the bureau" for the years 2018 through 2022 will call upon the agency to "fulfill its statutory responsibilities but go no further." It also says the bureau should be "acting with humility and moderation."

“This new direction is consistent with Mulvaney's other memos and statements and formalizes his plans for defanging the watchdog bureau and reshaping its mission, according to insiders and experts that NPR has talked to.”

“The CFPB is considered a powerful and independent watchdog. But many Republicans have wanted to shut it down since day one because they think it's too powerful. Mulvaney is one of them. As a Congressman, Mulvaney called the agency a "sick sad joke." He drafted legislation to abolish it. So people at the bureau were shocked when the president appointed him to run this consumer protection agency.”

“Within weeks of coming on board, Mulvaney has worked to make the watchdog agency less aggressive. Under his leadership, the CFPB delayed a new payday lending regulation from going into effect and dropped an investigation into one payday lender who contributed to Mulvaney's campaign. In another move that particularly upset some staffers, the new boss also dropped a lawsuit against an alleged online loan shark called Golden Valley Lending. The suit says the lender illegally charges people up to 950 percent interest rates. It took CFPB staffers years to build the case.”

Please go here for the rest of the story.

Springtime For Hitler The Producers - 2005


Saturday, February 10, 2018

That Worm Has Turned Again


Back in the '50s The U.S. government turned its back on Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro, refusing to accept them as revolutionary patriots. Sec. of State John Foster Dulles refused to shake hands with or talk with either man when they came to the U.S. seeking our help to change their oppressive, corrupt governments and end colonial rule.

We went to war with them - and against the tide of history - instead of helping them.

Today, it’s VP Pence who is turning his back, refusing to shake hands with North Korea’s Kim Yo-jong. Millions of Olympic viewers witnessed the unnecessary, rude snub.

It is obvious to all, save the neocons and Trump’s legion, that we are once again on the wrong side of history. North and South Korea have recognized that their very survival depends upon coming together posthaste to avoid a U.S. initiated Armageddon that will kill millions, both North and South, not to mention devastate the Korean Peninsula.

I can’t but help to marvel at the skills shown by the two Korean leaders. They know that when the Olympics end and the world’s attention is directed elsewhere, the Trump Administration would like nothing better than to declare some reason to attack North Korea.

I hope their strategy pays off. By coming together as Koreans, they just may keep the U.S. bombers on the ground and the fleets in home port.

This time, maybe that Worm has turned in favor of humanity and away from Armageddon.

Here’story.

Kim Jong-un's sister invites South Korean president to Pyongyang, Benjamin Haas, The Guardian, 9 Feb 2018.

"Kim Yo-jong, the sister of the North Korean leader, made the overture during a lunch at Seoul’s presidential palace."

"She is the first member of Pyongyang’s ruling dynasty to set foot in the South since the end of the 1950-53 Korean war. Kim Yong-nam, North Korea’s ceremonial head of state, also attended the meeting."

"The two sides discussed inter-Korean relations, according to the Yonhap news agency, and Moon responded to the invitation by saying: “Let us make it happen by creating the necessary conditions in the future.”

Go here for more.

Suicide is Painless (M.A.S.H Theme)



Friday, February 9, 2018

You Talkin’To Me?


Listen to killer whales mimicking human voices – audio

O.K. Your parrot can talk… so can my killer whale. She's bigger and likes to swim, too.

 ‘Imagine a non-human animal that could speak up – in human words –
against the degradation of a vast ecosystem like that of the oceans?’
Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo
Here’s the story:


 “High-pitched, eerie and yet distinct, the sound of a voice calling the name “Amy” is unmistakable. But this isn’t a human cry – it’s the voice of a killer whale called Wikie.”

“New research reveals that orcas are able to imitate human speech, in some cases at the first attempt, saying words such as “hello”, “one, two” and “bye bye”.

“The study also shows that the creatures are able to copy unfamiliar sounds produced by other orcas – including a sound similar to blowing a raspberry.”

“Scientists say the discovery helps to shed light on how different pods of wild killer whales have ended up with distinct dialects, adding weight to the idea that they are the result of imitation between orcas. The creatures are already known for their ability to copy the movements of other orcas, with some reports suggesting they can also mimic the sounds of bottlenose dolphins and sea lions.”


And, here for what it all means:


“Wikie the orca is more mimic than raconteur, but the potential is awesome. Imagine dolphins tackling politicians on pollution.”

Now, that would be worth seeing. - RB

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Where’s Our Money?


Today’s story reminds me that child’s game, Where’s Waldo?

Except this new version isn’t as much fun.

Especially when you think about all those additional billions of dollars the Republicans say we need to fund the Defense Department.

Or, the Republican’s endless mantra, “we don’t have the funding and can’t afford” most anything of life-affirming value provided by the federal government and therefore we must sell-off every asset owned by the public.

Or. the trillion in wealthy-tax-break-national-debt that the Republicans have loaded on our children and grandchildren. Or, the previously reported missing $21 trillion that no government person seems even the slightest concerned about.

Here’s the rest of the story:

Massive Pentagon Agency Lost Track of Hundreds of Millions of Dollars, Brian Bender, Politico, 5 Feb 2018.

"One of the Pentagon’s largest agencies can't account for hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of spending, a leading accounting firm says in an internal audit obtained by POLITICO that arrives just as President Donald Trump is proposing a boost in the military budget."

"Ernst & Young found that the Defense Logistics Agency failed to properly document more than $800 million in construction projects, just one of a series of examples where it lacks a paper trail for millions of dollars in property and equipment. Across the board, its financial management is so weak that its leaders and oversight bodies have no reliable way to track the huge sums it's responsible for, the firm warned in its initial audit of the massive Pentagon purchasing agent."

"The audit raises new questions about whether the Defense Department can responsibly manage its $700 billion annual budget — let alone the additional billions that Trump plans to propose this month. The department has never undergone a full audit despite a congressional mandate — and to some lawmakers, the messy state of the Defense Logistics Agency's books indicates one may never even be possible."

“If you can’t follow the money, you aren’t going to be able to do an audit,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican and senior member of the Budget and Finance committees, who has pushed successive administrations to clean up the Pentagon’s notoriously wasteful and disorganized accounting system."

Oh, by the way, where is our missing $21 trillion?

It's not likely we will ever see our missing trillions. So, then, let's ask an easier question: Where's the beef?


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Karma Really Is a Bitch

I’m old enough to remember a multitude of “incidents” that occurred over the past 60 years that claimed the lives of many people and changed the lives of millions of Americans. In all cases they began as nonviolent protests but ended in bloodshed. They were protests against war, against the draft and centering around civil rights, voting rights, education, jobs, fair housing, equal opportunity and equal pay.

Today, in large part due to the Freedom of Information Act, we know that the FBI and / or other "security services" played a “provocative role” in nearly every incident, with undercover agents and / or paid informants inciting violence and, in some cases, even supplying weapons, ammunition and explosives.

Here are just a few of the targets and the locations:

Who
Anti-Vietnam war protesters; civil rights movement nonviolent workers; Kent State University students; Youth International Party; Jackson State students; Black Panthers; Students Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; Students for a Democratic Society; draft protesters; Veterans Against the War; Branch Davidians; MOVE.

Where
Ruby Ridge; Waco; Watts; Hough; Detroit; Chicago; West Philadelphia; Kent; Jackson; and every town in the U.S.A. that drafted her children and sent them to "war".

In a way, I find it interesting that I’ve lived long enough to see a payback of sorts. As we used to say, “the worm has turned” and the conservatives, the supposed “law and order people” are eating their own.

Here’s the whole story:

The FBI Targeted the Left with Devious Tactics for Years—Now Trump Is Giving the Agency the Same Treatment, Jefferson Morley, AlterNet, 6 Feb 2018.

“The conservative Bureau is stunned to face its own anti-democratic tactics.”

"The release of a Republican memo trashing the senior Justice Department has given the FBI a taste of its own medicine: a mendacious and misleading attack designed to impugn dissent and confuse democratic discourse, all dressed up in the righteous rhetoric about the American way."

"From 1958 to 1974, the FBI routinely engaged in this sort of activity against its perceived enemies. The notorious Cointelpro—Counterintelligence Program—targeted civil rights, antiwar and other leftist groups for infiltration, disruption and destruction. Now that the president and his allies are giving the FBI the Cointelpro treatment, the Bureau and its leaders are indignant, understandably so."

"The Association of FBI Agents protested the release of the memo, written by House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as unfair to its members."...

more... here.


Creedence Clearwater Revival: Fortunate Son - 1969


Monday, February 5, 2018

Proven Unworthy


I agree with Whoopi. 
But for me, saying his name in conjunction with “President” upsets my stomach because his actions have proven to me that he is unworthy of the title and the honor of the position.




Friday, February 2, 2018

Dismantler-in-Chief


Is he THE master psychopath?

Is he a fool? Is he totally incompetent?

Is he disassembling our America, trashing what little consumer protection we have?

Is he implementing the most damaging, the most evil agenda ever conceived?

Yes. Mr. Trump is all of this and much more.

Donald Trump Is Distractor-in-Chief. Mark Karlin, Truthout, 2 Feb 2018.

“It is quite tempting to dismiss Donald Trump as a gaudy con man who is feverishly stumbling his way through the presidency. However, that would be a mistake. Trump is the sneering lion tamer of the mainstream corporate press, snapping his whip with Twitter bursts that distract from the egregious destructiveness of his administration on so many fronts.”

“One could argue that the mass media has continued to bring up Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, but the rollout of the so-called "Nunes memo" is an example of how Trump uses the press as his foil. The release of the GOP report that chastises the FBI for investigating former Trump adviser Carter Page has been the subject of speculation for a week. Trump has teased the press about whether he will approve of release of the document with classified information, when all the while the White House may very well have coordinated the action with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-California), chair of the House Intelligence Committee. The general assumption is that the memo will discredit the FBI and the Mueller investigation of Trump.”

“Many of those who oppose Trump believe that he is on the ropes and desperate. However, there is another way of looking at his actions: He is masterful at redirecting the media to what he wants to focus on at any given moment -- and that often changes by the hour. Whether or not the public dissemination of the GOP House Intelligence Committee memo will tarnish the FBI enough to gain Trump support in his battle with the special prosecutor remains to be seen. However, it is another example of how Trump manipulates the media into focusing on his ongoing charges, outrageous remarks and general agenda of distraction.”

Please go here for the whole story.

The Clovers - Devil Or Angel - 1956