Thursday, April 18, 2019

Believe and Stop Being Scared


You can't do what you can't believe.

But. if you have a plan to reach your goal, you can reach your goal.

Here's the plan. Believe. Stop being scared. Now, let's do this!

A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez


The Intercept
Published on Apr 17, 2019

What if we actually pulled off a Green New Deal? What would the future look like? The Intercept presents a film narrated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and illustrated by Molly Crabapple.

Set a couple of decades from now, the film is a flat-out rejection of the idea that a dystopian future is a forgone conclusion. Instead, it offers a thought experiment: What if we decided not to drive off the climate cliff? What if we chose to radically change course and save both our habitat and ourselves?

We realized that the biggest obstacle to the kind of transformative change the Green New Deal envisions is overcoming the skepticism that humanity could ever pull off something at this scale and speed. That’s the message we’ve been hearing from the “serious” center for four months straight: that it’s too big, too ambitious, that our Twitter-addled brains are incapable of it, and that we are destined to just watch walruses fall to their deaths on Netflix until it’s too late.

This film flips the script. It’s about how, in the nick of time, a critical mass of humanity in the largest economy on earth came to believe that we were actually worth saving. Because, as Ocasio-Cortez says in the film, our future has not been written yet and “we can be whatever we have the courage to see.”

More about the video here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Reboot?

I'm all for new technology, research, discovery, etc., especially when it works. When it doesn't, not so much.

This latest advance has me thinking, "I'm really happy not to be among the first users".

Here's the story...

CRISPR used to build dual-core computers inside human cells, Michael Irving, newatlas.com, 17 Apr 2019

Shania Twain - That Don't Impress Me Much (Official Music Video) - 1997 


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

By Degrees

Growing up in northeast Ohio I never thought much about how people made a living. Most people I knew worked for the tire companies. The factories were just down the road a few miles from our parent’s home in Akron.

But, as I grew up, most of those jobs faded away, little by little… by degrees, you might say.

Later came the draft. Having little choice, most every male I knew was drafted or volunteered for the military. Nobody I knew, “evaded the draft”. Back then, as I saw it, we had no choice. We all went, one way or the other… but, individually, you might say… by degrees.

Most of us just accepted the draft and the loss of jobs because, we thought, “There’s nothing we can do about it. That’s just the way it is”. We went along. Accepting.

Flash forward to today. We’re still accepting. But now it's continuous war, poor healthcare, wealth inequality, deteriorating infrastructure, loss of our rights, hatred of everyone save white Republicans, welfare for the corporations and the .01%, predatory capitalism for the rest of us… and gun violence for our kids… all this by degrees, of course.

We can move away from this, you know. It does not have to be this way.

We don’t have to accept the way things are today… by degrees, of course. By degrees.

Consider the Green New Deal... by degrees, of course.

By Degrees

Mark Erelli
Published on Oct 19, 2018

ROSANNE CASH, SHERYL CROW, LORI MCKENNA, ANAIS MITCHELL, JOSH RITTER, and MARK ERELLI join forces to benefit Giffords: Courage To Fight Gun Violence. Pay what you want for the song & learn more about the project at https://www.bydegreessong.com

Written by Mark Erelli, Hillbilly Pilgrim Music/ASCAP



Monday, April 15, 2019

Don't Be Raw Meat for the Trumpists


This past weekend and today, Mr. Trump once again played his famous misdirection trick.

This time it’s:

“Looky here at what Congresswoman Omar said about terrorists and 9/11”... which he took out of context and mixed in with some 9/11 video... and then offered up, like so much raw meat, to his famished supporters and the media, so they wouldn’t notice that he was trying to end overtime pay for low-earning Americans and cut billions from Social Security and Medicare.

If you are a Trump supporter, you best watch what your man is doing with his other hand when he tosses you that raw meat. If you're not a Trumpist, then don't let Trump make you his raw meat treat. You earned that overtime and your Social Security and Medicare, too.

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Fortunate Son -1969








Friday, April 12, 2019

Something Smells Rotten in the White House


So, according to Mr. Trump’s Department of Justice, it’s O.K. that Mr. Trump’s hotel and golf resort businesses take payments for rooms, etc., from foreign governments, lobbyists and loyalists.

According to the DOJ guys it’s not wrong to take payoffs, maintain ownership while President of the USA and, by the way, not show his income tax either.

If that is not smelly, I guess the smell of rotten garbage is the new Republican perfume.

Something Rotten "Bottom's Gonna Be on Top" at 54 Below


Something Rotten! Performs “Hard To Be The Bard” at “Broadway In The White House”




Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Mine! All Mine!

Dr. Reich explains The Truth... as I see it, too... how the wealthy and corporations receive billions in corporate welfare; plus, Seven Economic Fundamentals in under 90 seconds.

Robert Reich: Socialism For The Rich, Capitalism For The Rest


Robert Reich: 7 Economic Fundamentals



Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Looking for More... Hope, Freedom from Violence

Chicago PD

Looking for something to watch the other day, I waded through Netflix and then Amazon Prime. We long ago gave up watching “network” TV and cable programming.

I absolutely hate commercials, especially those local newscast car dealer, roof repair, realtor, and law firm commercials. Next on my “instantly-mute-them” list are every one of those disgusting drug commercials that appear on the network newscasts.

Searching… looking for something that appeared to be "Not", as in, not about cops beating people or stealing from them; not about sex crimes; not about murders; not about drugs; not about psychos; not about betrayal; not about monsters, vampires, etc. You get the idea.

After about an hour of looking and finding a ton of the above, but zero interesting programming, I went back to research a little about our love of “violence entertainment”.

I found this comment from Dr. Emanuel Tanay, MD, retired Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Wayne State University:

“Violence in the media has been increasing and reaching proportions that are dangerous.”

“You turn on the television, and violence is there. You go to a movie, and violence is there,” Tanay told Psychiatric Times. “Reality is distorted. If you live in a fictional world, then the fictional world becomes your reality.”

"The average American watches nearly 5 hours of video each day, 98% of which is watched on a traditional television set, according to Nielsen Company. Nearly two-thirds of TV programs contain some physical violence. Most self-involving video games contain some violent content, even those for children."

Tanay noted, “Anything that promotes something can be called propaganda.” What we call entertainment is really propaganda for violence. If you manufacture guns, you don’t need to advertise, because it is done by our entertainment industry.”

"In reality, the number of violent crimes has been falling, but the public’s perception is that violence has increased. According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, the overall violent victimization rate (eg, rape and assaults) decreased by 40% from 2001 to 2010. Similarly, the murder rate in the US has dropped by almost half, from 9.8 per 100,000 people in 1991 to 5.0 in 2009."

Yet the propaganda, Tanay said, makes people feel that crime is everywhere and that guns are needed for protection.

That, I thought, explains everything: "... (our) entertainment is really propaganda for violence."

George Harrison - Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) - 1973




Monday, April 8, 2019

Catch a Falling Star & Put it in Your Pocket


Faster than light? Naw! Nothing can go faster than light.

Wait. Slower?

These people have figured it out. They have a way to control the speed of light... even make it go backwards, too!

They're from Central Florida. Here's the story...

Researchers develop way to control speed of light, send it backward, University of Central Florida, phys.org, 4 Apr 2019.

"University of Central Florida researchers have developed a way to control the speed of light. Not only can they speed up a pulse of light and slow it down, they can also make it travel backward."

"The results were published recently in the journal Nature Communications."

"This achievement is a major step in research that could one day lead to more efficient optical communication, as the technique could be used to alleviate data congestion and prevent information loss. And with more and more devices coming online and data transfer rates becoming higher, this sort of control will be necessary."

-more-

Catch A Falling Star - Perry Como - 1957


Friday, April 5, 2019

Our Balance is Broken

Art Credit: The Henry L. Stimson Center.

I'm hazarding a guess that most of the people in the U.S., that is the 99.9%, would agree that our system is broken. It's out of balance so to speak, with the .01% holding the winning hand, politically and economically, too.

How has this come about? Dr. Robert Reich has a good explanation.

Here's the whole story... it's about "countervailing power"... America's Economy Is Unsustainable

"...go back to the first three decades after World War II – a period that coupled the greatest economic expansion the world has ever seen with the creation of the largest middle class the world has ever witnessed. The great economic thinker John Kenneth Galbraith asked at the time: Why is capitalism working so well for so many?"

"His answer was as surprising as it was obvious: American capitalism contained hidden pools of what he called 'countervailing power' that offset the power of large corporations, Wall Street, and the wealthy: labor unions, state and local banks, farm cooperatives, and small retail chains, for example. All of these sources of countervailing power had been fostered by the New Deal. They balanced the American economic system."

"But since the late 1970's, these sources of countervailing power have been decimated, leading to an unbalanced system and producing widening economic inequality and stagnating wages. The result has become a vicious cycle in which big money–emanating from big corporations, Wall Street, and the wealthy – determine the rules of the economic game, and those rules generate more money at the top."

-more-

So, today's question is: Can we get our Mojo back... our balance?

Muddy Waters - Got My Mojo Workin'- 1957




Thursday, April 4, 2019

Monitor Corp Execs


I read recently that a high percentage of corporate CEOs are borderline if not full-blown psychopaths. These are the breed who run our global corporations.

Why? Because their psychopathic personalities traits enable them to stomp out competitors and succeed in the dog-eat-dog corporate environment.

Plus, psychopathy is indispensable when it come to ruthlessly tossing way anyone no longer considered useful or for working a scam, or for selling poison to the public.

For their psychopathy and for winning at any cost, the CEOs and their enablers are outrageously rewarded while the rest of us get zero, or more likely, lose what little we do have.

Anyway, for the world to stave off the next “rebellion of the paupers” due to our currently outrageously out of balance wealth distribution, it is obvious to me that we need some inventive method to ensure that our “powers that be”, the corporations (and politicians), are brought back under lawful restraint.

We need some sort of moment-by-moment way to ensure that the top dogs are not stealing us blind, feeding our babies arsenic, or creating the next false flag operation to kill our children so they can make a few more silver coins.

We need to Monitor the corporations in the tradition of Gort (The Day The Earth Stood Still). That is some form of artificial intelligence (AI) or an alien implant technology must be put to good use, posthaste.

That way we’ll know what the buggers are up to and we can do something before they blow up the world.

The Pointer Sisters - Jump (For My Love) - 1983



Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Ready... or Not? Diagnostic Lab in Pill or Smartphone

Photo credit: Lingyu Hong
Princeton University researchers have successfully adapted microchip technology to function as a biosensor and identify viral infections or diagnose blood disorders. The new microchip technology replaces costly diagnostic labs and skilled technicians using “complex and bulky optical instrumentation”.

“The new system is almost as small as a grain of salt, and far less costly to manufacture than current diagnostic systems.”

Explained Kaushik Sengupta, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and one of the project's leaders, "All smartphones carry a million-pixel camera. How do we turn this into a device that allows laboratory-quality diagnostics?"

"When you combine these massively scalable optics with a billion transistors in a same chip, a whole new set of possibilities opens up. To make things so small, we had to do them in a fundamentally different way," Sengupta said.

Because the tiny structures are built in the silicon chip, the researchers said the system can be mass produced and does not require detailed assembly in a lab. Sengupta said the ability to quickly and cheaply manufacture the device will be critical to the eventual production of new sensing equipment.”

"Once we make the diagnostics cheaper," says Sengupta, "we can enable diagnostics in the developing world. And it's not just diagnostics. What we have come up with here is just a low- cost, tiny fluorescent sensor, and you can use fluorescent sensing in many different things: for food- and water-quality monitoring, environmental monitoring, and industrial applications."

Ah, yes... these are the days, my friend, these are the days... of a smartphone diagnostic lab.

Please go here for the rest of the story….

Shrinking a medical lab to fit on a fingertip, Bennett Mcintosh, Princeton University, phys.org, 2 Apr 2019.

Mary Hopkin - Those Were The Days - 1968



Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Dancing in Your Garage

Dance a little in your garage... you might develop something new.

Consider the garage inventor or the guy with the outlandish idea that flies in the face of accepted thinking – dances to his/her own drum.

Why? Because these people are of the special breed who make new things happen, invent new solutions or solve those impossible-to-solve challenges – the ones accepted science says are impossible to solve.

What drives them? A never give-up attitude for sure. But it’s always much more than that.

Here’s the story:

In Praise of Crazy Ideas

“In 1971, Judah Folkman, then a 38-year-old surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital, proposed a radical idea: tumors in the body send out signals that trick surrounding tissues into helping them grow. The signals instruct these tissues to sprout new blood vessels, which can deliver oxygen and other nutrients to cancer cells. He suggested designing a new kind of drug, one that would block those signals, preventing or destroying the new blood vessel growth and starving tumors.”

“Cancer at the time was treated mainly by flooding the body with poison (chemotherapy) or searing it with radiation. Folkman’s idea of subtly targeting some mysterious communication channel between tumor and host was met with scorn. When he spoke about his idea at scientific meetings, Folkman said, the room would empty out: “Everybody had to go to the bathroom at once.” One year, the criticism was so intense that Boston Children’s Hospital convened an external committee to review his research. The committee judged his work to be of little to no value. He was asked to resign as chief of surgery should he choose to continue the studies. He resigned and, fortunately for all of us, continued his research.”

“Today, Folkman’s thesis underlies nearly all modern approaches to treating cancer, from anti-angiogenesis therapy to cancer immunotherapy. The work has resulted in dozens of FDA-approved drugs that have helped hundreds of thousands of cancer patients, and has inspired the development of a broad new category of drugs, VEGF inhibitors, that can reverse a certain form of blindness (that caused by macular degeneration).”

Please go here for the whole article.

And, here, too, for six multi-billion dollar companies that were started in the founder’s garage… all this proves to me that when you hear, "That's a dumb idea or That can't be done"... go ahead and make it so. Dance in your garage.

6 $25 Billion Companies That Started in a Garage

“Every new company has to begin somewhere. These 6 world-famous ones--worth more than $25 billion each--started in garages.”

“All of these renowned companies have proven that success truly depends on determination, faith, and hard work. No matter where you start your business or how much money you originally put into it, passion, commitment, and courage are often all you need to make your company a success.”

“In case you need objective proof, here are some of the biggest companies in the world, all of which were started in their founders' garages.”

-more-

Lee Ann Womack - I Hope You Dance- 2000




Monday, April 1, 2019

So, What's hitting Your Head?


President Harry Truman, Dexter, Iowa, 18 Sept. 1948 
Photo Credit: Harry S. Truman National Historic Site

It’s interesting that the America that Mr. Trump and his supporters want to “Make Great Again” is the America of the late 1930's, 1940's and 1950's.

So, what was going on back when Harry Truman was President and working the campaign trail?

In 1948, the USA was in good shape after Roosevelt and Truman. WWII was over and prosperity was on the rise for everybody.

But, the Republican controlled Congress, the famous, “Do Nothing Congress” was doing its best to undo all of Roosevelt’s New Deal social progress programs. (Later, President Eisenhower, a Republican, knew better than to undo the New Deal just to make the multi-billionaire Texas oilmen happy.)

From President Harry Truman's speech, Dexter, Iowa, 18 Sept. 1948:

“So long as the farmer, the worker and the businessman pull together in the national interest, this country has everything to hope for.

“But it is terribly dangerous to let any one group get too much power in the Government. We cannot afford to let one group shape the Nation’s policies in its own interest, at the expense of the others.”

“That is what happened in the Nineteen Twenties, under big business rule of the Republicans. Those were the days when big corporations had things their own way. The policies that Wall Street big business wanted were the policies that the Republicans adopted. Agriculture, labor, and small business played second fiddle, while big business called the tune.”

“Those were the days of Republican high tariffs – tariffs that penalized the American farmer by making him pay high prices for manufactured goods, while he was receiving low prices for his crops.”

“You remember the results of the Wall Street Republican policy.”

“You remember the big boom and the great crash of Nineteen Twenty-nine.”

“You remember that in Nineteen Thirty-two the position of the farmer had become so desperate, that there was actual violence in many farming communities.”

“You remember that insurance companies and banks took over much of the land of small independent farmers. 223,000 farmers lost their farms.”

“That was a painful lesson. It should not be forgotten for a moment.”

“All through this century the American farmer and worker have been the victims of boom and bust cycles – with the accent on bust. And they have suffered alike in these misfortunes.”

The USA Trump and his cohort are foisting upon us today is a far cry from the USA of the 1930's and 1940's, the Roosevelt/Truman New Deal era (which was continued by every president up to Reagan, who began to dismantle it). Our prosperity was a direct result of the New Deal programs put in place to overcome the Republican Party policy disasters of the 1920’s, policies which are strikingly similar to those the Republican Trumpists are again putting in place.

Mr. Truman made no bones about the difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. He continued:

"How many times do you have to be hit on the head before you find out what's hitting you? It's about time the people of America realized what the Republicans have been doing to them."

“Why is it that the farmer and the worker and the small businessman suffer under Republican administrations, and gain under Democratic administrations?”

“I’ll tell you why. It is a result of a basic difference in attitude between the Democratic and the Republican parties.”

The Democratic party represents the people. It is pledged to work for agriculture. It is pledged to work for labor. It is pledged to work for the small businessman and the white-collar worker.”

“The Democratic attitude puts human rights and human welfare first.”

“But the attitude of the Republican gluttons of privilege is very different. The big money Republican looks on agriculture and labor merely as expense items in a business venture. He tries to push their share of the national income down as low as possible and increase his own profits. And he looks upon the Government as a tool to accomplish that purpose.”

“These Republican gluttons of privilege are cold men. They are cunning men. And it is their constant aim to put the Government of the United States under control of men like themselves. They want a return of the Wall Street economic dictatorship.”

“Our intentions are made clear by our deeds. In the Twentieth Century, every great step forward has come during Democratic administrations of the National Government. Every movement backward has come under Republican auspices, and it is the people who have paid dearly for these reactionary moves.”

“I’m not asking you just to vote for me. Vote for yourselves! Vote for your farms! Vote for the standard of living that you have won under a Democratic Administration!”

“Get out there on Election Day, and vote for your future.”

The problem we have today is that both parties are in the pocket of big business. Both do the bidding of the global corporations to the detriment of small-farmer agriculture, labor, and small business. (The 99.9% of Americans.)

One great hope for our future is that the Green New Deal Democrats will remember that “standing for” small-farmer agriculture, labor, and small business, made the prosperity we enjoyed from the 1950's through to the Great Recession (2007-2009), that very prosperity the Trumpists say they want again but have no idea how it came to be.

I’m guessing that you’re tired of getting hit on the head, too.

Still,  the question remains, how many more bashes to the head will it take before we figure out who is hitting us and we make our system work for us?

News clip from President Harry Truman's, Dexter, Iowa, speech, 18 Sept. 1948


Please go here for the transcript of President Truman's speech.