Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Friday, January 31, 2014

Cosmos returns!

This is the first show of the new 30-minute format for Bill Moyers on PBS.  The next best thing to Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, is Bill's first guest.





Thursday, January 30, 2014

Roseanne Barr

I caught a little bit of The Huffington Post Live after President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday.  

Shortly after I tuned in, they went live to Hawaii to Roseanne Barr for her response to the President's address.  It was classic Roseanne.  I have to admit I agree with practically everything she said.  It's too bad that none of our elected representatives are this plain-spoken.  I wonder if Roseanne will run for President again?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Aereo v. Goliath


The ABC v. Aereo case coming up to the Supreme Court is a very intriguing case.  It could really revolutionize the television industry.  

Lord knows the big networks need some shaking up.  Their programming these days is, what?  50% police shows, 40% "reality" shows, 9% sports and 1% "news". But even the news is nothing but crime and celebrity, or celebrities committing crimes.  I mean, have you watched any network TV lately?  P.U.

What I would like to see is a system whereby the consumer could pay for ONLY those channels they choose to watch, and that includes broadcast and "narrowcast" e.g. cable channels.

A Tiny Antenna Threatens the TV Networks’ Airspace


Chet Kanojia and Aereo Seek to Shake Up Television Industry

When the case of American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo comes before the Supreme Court in April, it will feature two American archetypes in a battle that could upend the television industry.

In one corner will be broadcast networks like ABC, NBC and CBS, powerful companies that have been fixtures in American living rooms for decades, and the conduit for collective national experiences like presidential elections, walks on the moon and the Super Bowl.

In the other corner is Chet Kanojia, a 43-year-old immigrant from India, who as an outsider saw a system that most took for granted and who knew he could build a better mousetrap, or at least a different one. Aereo, Mr. Kanojia’s two-year-old company, has figured out how to grab over-the-air television signals and stream them to subscribers on the Internet. It is an invention that could topple titans.

The titans know it. Intent on maintaining a system that provides billions in revenue annually, the networks have been fighting Aereo in court almost since its inception, claiming the service was stealing their content. This month, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

Its decision will have far-reaching implications for a television industry already in upheaval, facing challenges from online streaming, Internet-enabled TVs, ad-skipping devices and, now, the tiny antennas that Aereo uses to capture broadcast signals.

snip

Content companies have a decidedly different perspective, of course. For a monthly subscription that starts at $8, Aereo allows subscribers to watch or record broadcast television through the Internet on any device, small or large, no wires or cable boxes required. It does this by assigning each consumer a remote antenna and a DVR.

To entertainment companies, this is cheating. Copyright law lets individuals watch anything they pick up by antennas as long as it is for their private use, but the broadcasters say Aereo’s transmissions constitute a “public performance” that requires Aereo to pay for retransmitting them. Aereo, they claim, is violating copyright and stealing their content.

The networks’ concern goes beyond Aereo. If the streaming service wins in court, networks fear that the cable and satellite companies that currently pay them huge retransmission fees might follow Aereo’s lead, a situation broadcasters say would destroy their bottom line.

read the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

SOTU 2014

President Obama gives the State of the Union address tonight.  Usually these speeches are filled with nauseating pomp, platitudes and interrupted far too often with standing ovations that border on the absurd.  A few months after the speech, no one remembers what was said.

This year will probably be no different, but it could be.

One concern I have is the recent comment by Obama to the effect that he was going to use his Executive authority to bypass Congress.  Talk about mixed emotions.  

Part of me says, "About time!" because the GOP Congress has been nothing but obstructionist.  Another part of me thinks, "What if George W. Bush had said something like this?"  I would have not been happy with that at all.  

So I don't really like hearing something like this.  Maybe it's better to announce it than to surreptitiously do it behind everyone's back, but the proof will be in what he actually does.  If he uses it to push through the TPP, I will REALLY be pissed.

Still, there are several GOOD things that Obama could do via Executive Order which I would applaud.  Things that Bush would never have done.

CREDO came up with 10.

10 Things President Obama SHOULD Say on Tuesday
On Tuesday, President Obama will deliver his fifth State of the Union Address.
With the midterm elections approaching -- elections in which we could lose the Senate and thus much of the president's power to block the Republican agenda in Congress -- this speech will lay the groundwork for what could be our last best chance to win progressive change during his presidency.
Despite the Republican obstructionism, there's a lot the president can accomplish by issuing executive orders and prioritizing his administration's agenda in the Senate. If you agree with this list,click here to share it with your friends.
  1. Reject the Keystone XL pipeline
    President Obama has said that action on climate change will be a centerpiece of his second term agenda. But he simply cannot make the necessary progress on climate changes as long as he allows tar sands production to expand. Sign the petition.

  2. Drop his offer to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits in exchange for a grand budget bargain with Republicans
    In a preemptive cave to Republicans, President Obama made the offer as part of budget negotiations last year, in a deeply wrongheaded quest to strike a grand bargain on taxes and the debt. He shouldn't make the same mistake – and should commit to not give away cuts to Social Security and Medicare to Republicans under any circumstances. Sign the petition.

  3. Bring ALL the troops home from Afghanistan
    In his State of the Union address last year, President Obama said that Al-Qaeda was a "shadow of its former self," and “to meet this threat, we don't need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations." Yet after over 12 years and thousands of American lives, more than 30,000 troops still remain and aren't scheduled to leave until the end of this year. It is long past time for President Obama to bring them home.

  4. Stop breaking up families, by ending the deportations of those eligible for a pathway to citizenship under pending immigration reform legislation
    The president doesn't need to wait for obstructionist Republicans to take action on immigration reform. He should show he's serious about it now by halting deportations of aspiring Americans who would qualify for a path to citizenship under the bill already passed by the Senate. Sign the petition.

  5. Fire National Intelligence Director James Clapper and stop warrantless NSA spying on Americans
    Clapper unambiguously lied to Congress about the NSA's unconstitutional spying on Americans. But amidst this growing scandal, President Obama has so far offered no substantive reforms. He should fire Clapper and shut down the NSA's shocking dragnet immediately.

  6. Fill all the federal judiciary openings with judges who will uphold the Constitution, enforce environmental laws, and fight corporate abuse
    Senator Majority Leader Reid's filibuster reform finally stopped Republican obstruction on Judicial nominees. With over 90 vacancies this is a major opportunity to bring progressive champions to the bench, but President Obama needs to make sure he takes advantage.

  7. Issue a strong carbon rule on existing power plants
    President Obama has called for the first-ever rules to limit carbon pollution – long required under the Clean Air Act – but so far, all we've gotten are delays and watering down on his rule to cut pollution from unbuilt power plants, which does nothing to reduce actual current pollution, and is still months from being finalized. If the President is serious, we need a strong rule to cut the pollution that is causing climate change now. Sign the petition.

  8. Raise the minimum wage for federal workers and contractors
    The president has already said that income inequality is the defining issue of our time – and committed to take executive action to helping the middle class. Raising the minimum wage for the more than 2 million low-wage federal contractors would be a good step in the right direction. Share the petition.

  9. Instruct his FCC chair to save Net Neutrality
    Verizon killed net neutrality last week when a federal appellate court ruled in Verizon's favor, and struck down the FCC's Open Internet Order. Internet providers are now free to discriminate – block or slow down – any web site or application they choose. But President Obama's FCC chair has the power to save Net Neutrality by reclassifying broadband internet access to require that it be regulated as a telecommunications service. Sign the petition.

  10. Close Guantanamo
    This January marks 12 years of indefinite detention without charge or trial at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo, and five years since President Barack Obama signed an executive order to shut it down. Congress recently fulfilled the president's request to make it easier to transfer prisoners out of Guantanamo; it's long past time for him to keep his promise, too. Sign the petition.
As progressives, we had high hopes for President Obama's presidency. And time is running out for him to deliver on his campaign promises. Starting with these ten things that are in the president's power to do. It's what we're hoping to hear, what you should be listening for, and how we'll be gauging the success of his speech on Tuesday night.

Oh, and there is one thing I would add.  Sign an Executive Order reclassifying marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

$1 Billion prize

So do you play the "brackets" for the NCAA basketball tournament each year?   President Obama seems to, but I never have.  I think I will this year, just for the halibut.

If you pick EVERY SINGLE WINNER correctly, Warren Buffett and Quicken Loans will award you $1 billion!  Provided, of course, you file your picks before the tournament begins.  

There is no link in the story below to file your bracket, but I'm sure that when the time comes, you will find how to file it.


Buffett Will Give You $1 Billion for Perfect NCAA Bracket 

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) is backing a $1 billion prize offered by Quicken Loans Inc. if a contestant predicts the winner of each game in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s men’s basketball tournament.
The prize would be paid in 40 annual installments of $25 million and split among multiple winners if there is more than one perfect entrant, the Detroit-based lender said today in a statement. The winner has the option of a single payment of $500 million.
"We’ve seen a lot of contests offering a million dollars for putting together a good bracket, which got us thinking, what is the perfect bracket worth?” Quicken Loans Chief Marketing Officer Jay Farner said in the statement. “We decided a billion dollars seems right for such an impressive feat.”
Buffett suggested the $1 billion contest to Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert when the Berkshire chairman was in Detroit late last year for an economic-development event with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein, Farner said in an interview.
The odds of picking every winner correctly in a 64-team bracket are less than 1 in 9 quintillion, according to Jeff Bergen, a math professor at DePaul University in Chicago. Even with some basketball knowledge, that only improves to about 1 in 128 billion, he said.
The odds of Buffett having to pay out reach about 1 in 10,000 in the Quicken Loans contest if all 10 million entrants have basketball knowledge, Bergen said.
The NCAA men’s basketball tournament, known as “March Madness,” is among the most-watched sporting events in the U.S. The championship game last year attracted 23.4 million viewers, CBS Corp. said in April after the University of Louisville defeated the University of Michigan. CBS and Time Warner Inc.’s Turner Broadcasting agreed in 2010 to a $10.8 billion, 14-year contract for broadcast, Internet and wireless rights to the tournament.
“Millions of people play brackets every March, so why not take a shot at becoming $1 billion richer for doing so,” the billionaire Berkshire CEO said in the statement. “While there is no simple path to success, it sure doesn’t get much easier than filling out a bracket online.”
Of the 8.15 million brackets submitted to ESPN last year, none were perfect after the field was narrowed to 32 teams. The best record, shared by 5 brackets, was 30 and 2.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

crop circles

Remember all the mystery surrounding the crop circles that began appearing all over southern England back in the 1980's?  Even some scientists (with no evidence) claimed that the designs were so complex that no humans could have possibly created them.


After several years and hundreds of crop circles, two Brits, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, stepped forward in 1991 and claimed credit for all of the crop circles in England.  They revealed their sketches that became crop designs and even created a few under the watchful eyes of a skeptical press.


The press didn't seem to want to believe the two hoaxers.  They were skeptical of Bower and Chorley's story.  They wanted to believe that the circles were created by aliens, so the confession garnered far less press coverage than the appearance of new crop circles.  You may have never heard of Bower and Chorley, and that wouldn't be very surprising.  Humanity likes a good mystery better than solving a good mystery (hello, God!) 


Years later, crop circles now appear on practically every continent, some with amazing complexity and many made just for fun.  Sometimes they are made as a marketing stunt


Bower and Chorley showed how easy it was to pull the wool over everyone's eyes, even scientists.  It seems we would much rather believe a complicated mystery over a simple human story.  Think about it.  Case in point. 


Friday, January 24, 2014

One Direction

One Direction sings their hit "The Story of My Life" withOUT auto tune.  Laughter is good for you.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Louie Gohmert

It's a little sad to think that I was born in the area of East Texas that is now being "represented" by Louie Gohmert, easily the dumbest member of the U.S. Congress.  

Now before you write off all the citizens of northeast Texas as a bunch of Louie-Gohmert-like yahoos, realize that, thanks to the Republicans forcing an odd, mid-decade redistricting in 2004 (which should have been declared illegal but wasn't), Louie Gohmert became the first Republican since Reconstruction to represent northeast Texas.  

Still, after he got elected in 2004, he was re-elected, and re-elected, and re-elected, and re-elected.  Maybe this time the people of that area will rise up and say "Enough!"

It's fascinating to me to think that this guy graduated from the Baylor College of Law.  He went in as an idiot and came out as an educated idiot.  Walt, what's up with Baylor?

Who’s the Dumbest Man in Congress? I Think We Have a Winner.

by Bob Cesca

Let’s be perfectly clear about this from the beginning. Congress is not “exempt” from Obamacare. The idea that members of Congress are somehow exempt from the law is possibly one of the grossest lies foisted upon the American public in the last several years. Indeed, members of Congress have no choice but to sign up for a health insurance policy through the Affordable Care Act. That’s the opposite of exempt.

And the reason why members of Congress and their staffers have to leave the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and sign up for health insurance through the ACA is because Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced an amendment to the Senate healthcare bill in the Finance Committee and the committee unanimously adopted it with the help of senators John Ensign (R-NV), Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). The amendment reads as follows:
H.R. 3590: D) MEMBERS OF CONGRESS IN THE EXCHANGE.— (i) REQUIREMENT.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, after the effective date of this subtitle, the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are— (I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or (II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act).
So when Republican members of Congress complain about being forced to sign up for Obamacare, they only have their own caucus to blame for forcing them off a perfectly good government-run health insurance program, the FEHBP, and onto, frankly, a much-less-government-run health insurance program via the exchanges. Specifically, I’m talking about Republican members of Congress like Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) whose stupidity about the law is without limits.
Gohmert is so flaming angry about being forced to sign up for a policy through the exchanges that he’s decided to go uninsured and pay the individual mandate tax penalty for violating the law.
Back in September he announced that he’s refusing to buy a new insurance plan via the ACA exchanges.
“On January 1st, when millions of Americans will likely lose their employers’ contribution to their health insurance, I will refuse to receive that same subsidy. It also means I will have to pay a substantial penalty or ‘tax,’ but I cannot in good conscience accept the subsidy when so many Americans have lost their insurance altogether because of ObamaCare.”

And yesterday, he elaborated:

“Other people are going to see what I did when I looked into health insurance for my wife and me: that the deductible rate, it doubled, about $3,000 to $6,000, and our policy was going to go from about $300 to about $1,500 a month,” he said in a recent radio interview, according to the Dallas Morning News. “I actually don’t have insurance right now, so thank you very much, Obamacare.”

Okay, a bunch of things on this.
1) “Thanks, Obamacare” is still a meme, evidently.
2) His insurance premium wouldn’t have gone up because the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) created a rule by which the government would continue to subsidize congressional insurance premiums, covering 75 percent of the cost (Thanks, Obama!). That’s the subsidy he’s talking about. But before Gohmert became uninsured he was covered by the FEHBP and the government was already paying 75 percent of his premium! The government. Your tax dollars. And now, suddenly, the exact same government subsidy covering 75 percent of his premium is an unsavory proposition for Gohmert, even though he used to be fine with it and even praised how affordable his plan used to be.
3) Gohmert makes a (taxpayer funded) $174,000 salary. He shouldn’t be strapped for cash to pay for insurance.
4) He’s so dumb! No, he doesn’t have to choose between a plan from the ACA exchanges, which are really menus of corporate insurance companies competing for our business (capitalism!), or no insurance at all. He can, in fact, shop around on his own and buy a plan directly through an insurance company. And those policies will have all of the new consumer protections from the law built into them. If Gohmert is against consumer protections, such as an end to lifetime limits and so forth, he should say so. Republicans happen to be support the ACA’s consumer protections by supermajority margins.
5) So now Gohmert will ostensibly go without insurance, making himself part of the problem; driving up healthcare costs and refusing to participate in the system. Of course, at 60 years old, Gohmert will qualify for that other government-run insurance program called “Medicare” in five years.
You just can’t make this stuff up. He’s opting to risk bankruptcy or worse just to make a ridiculous political point — still pitching a tantrum about evil, evil Obamacare — when he can simply go on demagoguing about the law while fully covered by a privately offered insurance plan that he can easily afford given his salary.
Yep. That’s Louie Gohmert all right. The dumbest man in Congress.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

climate deniers

I see that it's really, REALLY cold again across the north and northeast of the United States of America.  This will surely mean that we will soon be subjected to another round of talking idiots who question, "How come it's so cold outside if we are having global warming?"

Apparently these people have an inability to understand that other regions of the planet also experience this thing called "weather."  In fact, there is this other place on Earth, called the Southern Hemisphere, that actually has SEASONS that are OPPOSITE to our own!  (Psst! The USA is in the Northern Hemisphere).  

That means that, when we are having winter in North America, it will be SUMMER in South America!  Imagine that!  So, if it's cold up north in winter, it's going to be HOT down south in our wintertime, which they call SUMMER!  At the same time!!

In fact, during these two recent "polar vortex" cold blasts up north, Australia (they're in the Southern Hemisphere too!) has been having RECORD HEAT!  Can you imagine that!?  At the same time it's COLD up here, it's HOT down there!  Wow! 

So, yes, it could be really, really cold here, really really hot there, and both could be (and most likely are) a result of global climate change.  You see, scientists no longer call these recent changes "global warming."  The preferred term is "climate change," because we are witnessing extremes in weather, like really COLD here, really HOT in Australia, and LOTS of super hurricanes.  These are generally weather EXTREMES, and the frequency of extreme weather is definitely increasing.  

Excuse me for writing this like I am addressing a moron.  It's in response to hearing several Republican CONGRESSPERSONS making a comment like the one in the first paragraph of this post.  Can you truly be so ignorant that you are not aware of the Southern Hemisphere?  Do you think your constituents are so stupid that THEY are not aware of the Southern Hemisphere?  Are you all buried so deeply in your Bibles that you truly ARE this ignorant?  God help us!  (I know she won't).

I expect this kind of moronic activity on FOX. It's another thing entirely to hear elected representatives saying it.  But I'm not really sure (anymore) why I expect our reps to be smarter than the people they represent.  

The Rude Pundit had some choice words about this during the first polar vortex we experienced a couple of weeks ago...

1/07/2014

Australia Would Like You To Shove Your Climate Change Denial Up Your Ignorant Arse:  
Hey, wow, look at that. It's cold outside in the United States. So cold that if you haven't dried properly after showering and getting dressed, your scrotum will freeze to your thigh. Yeah, it's really fucking cold, as it will be for another day. What that means in the grand scheme of things is that everyone you know will write something clever on Twitter, like "Polar vortex? I thought that was Sarah Palin's vagina;" they'll get on Instagram and post photos of ice doing icy things; and another bunch of fucknuts will take to Facebook to declare that the fact that they had to wear longjohns is proof that "global warming" is a hoax or some such shit
You can't do anything about the first two groups. But that last one? Tell 'em that it's called "global" because it means the entire motherfucking globe. And then tell 'em to suck on a kangaroo's sweaty dong: 

Most Americans need to be told that that's Australia and that the temperatures listed there are in Celsius. That means the 50 degrees C is 122 degrees here. Temperature, not heat index or whatever they wanna make up to make it seem hotter or colder. It's so fucking hot in Australia that they had to come up with new colors for the map. It's so fucking hot in Australia that you can't use your iPhone. Because it's too fucking hot. 

2013 was the hottest year on record, kicking the ass of the old record, which was 20-fucking-12. Not only that, but the temperatures in Australia are hotter than have ever been recorded there. And unlike our punk-ass two days of arctic cold here, the heat wave in Australia, especially in the states of Queensland and New South Wales, has lasted since December 27. That's two weeks of heat that'll singe off a koala's dick. (First person who makes a "shrimp on the barbie" joke gets a punch in the goolies.) 

This is not to mention the fires everywhere. And the dead bats. It's pretty much Armageddon down under.

So today, when your co-worker or your aunt tries to tell you about how stupid climate change is or forwards you some ludicrous denialist email from World Net Daily or whatever, send 'em some wallaby jerky and tell 'em they didn't even use an oven to make it. Then maybe explain that a single weather event demonstrates nothing. But years of heat are a pattern. And patterns...you know what? Fuck it. Just throw some hot water on them and ask them if they feel better now.

(Note: This could also have been about Argentina.)
My only correction here is that the Rude Pundit did not point out that Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere and experiences summer when we experience winter.  He actually takes that for granted.  That's a dangerous thing to do in the America of 2014.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

don't slow down!!

My internet is blazing fast with Comcast/Xfinity. What's AT&T clocking in at these days?  Or ... DISH?  DirectTV?   It's cheap too, but of course, about the only way to get the cheap internet is bundle practically everything else with it, like phone, television, home security or wireless phone.  Still, "faster than 91% of USA."  Zoom zoom zoom.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

is it fear?

Robert Reich proposes that, perhaps a big reason why workers in "Red States" - even economically disadvantaged people - often tend to vote Republican, and therefore against their own self-interest, besides "social issues," is because of fear. Fear of upsetting corporations. Fear of losing a job.  Fear of rocking the boat.

Could we add fear of change to the mix?  Fear of the future?  Fear of progress?  Or are those just "social issues"?

It's something I had not considered before, and needless to say, the jury is still out.  


Fear is Why Workers in Red States Vote Against Their Economic Self-Interest
by Robert Reich

Last week’s massive spill of the toxic chemical MCHM into West Virginia’s Elk River illustrates another benefit to the business class of high unemployment, economic insecurity, and a safety-net shot through with holes. Not only are employees eager to accept whatever job they can get. They are also also unwilling to demand healthy and safe environments.  

The spill was the region’s third major chemical accident in five years, coming after two investigations by the federal Chemical Safety Board in the Kanawha Valley, also known as “Chemical Valley,” and repeated recommendations from federal regulators and environmental advocates that the state embrace tougher rules to better safeguard chemicals. 

No action was ever taken.  State and local officials turned a deaf ear. The storage tank that leaked, owned by Freedom Industries, hadn’t been inspected for decades. 

But nobody complained. 

Not even now, with the toxins moving down river toward Cincinnati, can the residents of Charleston and the surrounding area be sure their drinking water is safe — partly because the government’s calculation for safe levels is based on a single study by the manufacturer of the toxic chemical, which was never published, and partly because the West Virginia American Water Company, which supplies the drinking water, is a for-profit corporation that may not want to highlight any lingering danger.  


So why wasn’t more done to prevent this, and why isn’t there more of any outcry even now? 
The answer isn’t hard to find. As Maya Nye, president of People Concerned About Chemical Safety, a citizen’s group formed after a 2008 explosion and fire killed workers at West Virginia’s Bayer CropScience plant in the state, explained to the New York Times: “We are so desperate for jobs in West Virginia we don’t want to do anything that pushes industry out.” 

Exactly.

I often heard the same refrain when I headed the U.S. Department of Labor. When we sought to impose a large fine on the Bridgestone-Firestone Tire Company for flagrantly disregarding workplace safety rules and causing workers at one of its plants in Oklahoma to be maimed and killed, for example, the community was solidly behind us — that is, until Bridgestone-Firestone threatened to close the plant if we didn’t back down.

The threat was enough to ignite a storm of opposition to the proposed penalty from the very workers and families we were trying to protect. (We didn’t back down and Bridgestone-Firestone didn’t carry out its threat, but the political fallout was intense.)

For years political scientists have wondered why so many working class and poor citizens of so-called “red” states vote against their economic self-interest. The usual explanation is that, for these voters, economic issues are trumped by social and cultural issues like guns, abortion, and race. 

I’m not so sure. The wages of production workers have been dropping for thirty years, adjusted for inflation, and their economic security has disappeared. Companies can and do shut down, sometimes literally overnight. A smaller share of working-age Americans hold jobs today than at any time in more than three decades. 

People are so desperate for jobs they don’t want to rock the boat. They don’t want rules and regulations enforced that might cost them their livelihoods. For them, a job is precious — sometimes even more precious than a safe workplace or safe drinking water. 

This is especially true in poorer regions of the country like West Virginia and through much of the South and rural America — so-called “red” states where the old working class has been voting Republican. Guns, abortion, and race are part of the explanation. But don’t overlook economic anxieties that translate into a willingness to vote for whatever it is that industry wants. 

This may explain why Republican officials who have been casting their votes against unions, against expanding Medicaid, against raising the minimum wage, against extended unemployment insurance, and against jobs bills that would put people to work, continue to be elected and re-elected. They obviously have the support of corporate patrons who want to keep unemployment high and workers insecure because a pliant working class helps their bottom lines. But they also, paradoxically, get the votes of many workers who are clinging so desperately to their jobs that they’re afraid of change and too cowed to make a ruckus.  

The best bulwark against corporate irresponsibility is a strong and growing middle class. But in order to summon the political will to achieve it, we have to overcome the timidity that flows from economic desperation. It’s a diabolical chicken-and-egg conundrum at a the core of American politics today.

This article was originally posted on Robert Reich's blog.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

5 Ways to Use Kale

Kristina Carillo-Bucaram is an extraordinary person, and in this video shows her five favorite ways to use kale.   She has built up quite the little industry.

Have you gotten onto the kale bandwagon yet?  Be not afraid.  It's not only easy to eat in so many different ways, it's also easy to grow, especially if you live up north.  But that's a topic for a different post.  


Kristina's exuberance is very engaging.  Some background on Kristina

Kristina Gabrielle Carrillo-Bucaram was born to inspire. An exemplification of all that she wishes to create, she is a leading visionary in the raw movement, especially in Houston, TX. Half Lebanese and half Ecuadorian, she is bilingual and carries her cultures with her wherever she goes!

She attended both Vanderbilt University and Rice University, and she graduated from Rice University on the top 5% of her class in 2009 with a triple major in Kinesiology specializing in Health Science, Ceramics, and Vocal Performance.

Kristina has been 100% low fat raw vegan for 6.5 years, and she was able to overcome her hyperglycemia through these diet changes. After studying under John Rose, she interned under Dr. Graham at many of his health events. She has lived in the Dominican Republic and in Costa Rica, and she has become an avid runner who runs at least 6-8 miles a day!

At the age of 20 before she graduated college, she started the non-profit organization called Rawfully Organic. This organic produce co-operative in Houston, Texas grew from 12 people in her living room to over 6000 families in the greater Houston city limits. The nonprofit has supported more than 2 million dollars to the organic produce movement, and the nonprofit grosses more than half a million each year, and it stays true to its mission to support families in the Texas community to supply an abundance of organic produce to help them achieve their raw, vegetarian, or vegan lifestyle. To this day, the coop is 100% volunteer run, and not even Kristina chooses to write herself a paycheck.

Besides being the founder and chief co-operator of Rawfully Organic and an enthusiastic runner, Kristina has made a living tutoring students in all finite math up to advanced calculus, physics, chemistry, biology, SAT, ACT, Spanish, and English. Recently, she is a practicing ceramicist and raw food coach while still maintaining her position as the chief goddess cooperator at ROC. She also enjoys frequently speaking and lecturing to all of the Houston community. She even offers raw classes in mainstream kitchens such as Sur la Table where she comes and prepares food for her audiences!

Kristina’s mission is to simply REACH PEOPLE with the message of RAW, and she hopes to shift the mindset of our nation in regards to eating from local co-operative communities. She will change our world one ROC'N box of organic produce at a time!

"Many ask me WHY on earth I would run this co-op for no money. I simply reply that it goes beyond that. I not only get to feed myself with the most nourishing, unbelievable foods, but also I believe that anyone who is involved in the raw/green movement must GIVE FROM THE HEART. It has to be from the heart or it will not be blessed. I believe in abundance, and this abundance comes when it is with pure intentions. I am dedicated to spreading the message about living rawfully. I have gained a personal relationship with all of the farmers with which we co-op, and they are now family to me. As of now, I inspire to help others go FullyRaw and discover health freedom through www.fullyraw.com.  Life is about living with an enthusiasm for health. I currently run this co-op, and I do it with love. What I receive from the co-op is more than I could ever possibly give. I thank you all for sharing amazing food, amazing relationships, and amazing community."

Now Kristina has a Fully Raw website.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Religious Freedom Day


This country's religious "leaders" are so insecure in their own belief and the belief of their "followers" that they continually lie about and distort our Founding Father's attitudes about religion in general, and Christianity in particular.  

Especially when it comes to Thomas Jefferson.

That speaks volumes, in my mind.   Are the religious "leaders" of today actually ignorant of our true history?  Do they want their "followers" to be ignorant of our true history?

They are fearful of and ashamed by Jefferson's free thinking and his disdain of Christianity. They are afraid of their flock shrinking and their power unraveling.  They are afraid of the truth.  


Let's truly honor Thomas Jefferson's secular principles
 by Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, Co-Presidents of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF)

President Barack Obama's proclamation yesterday calling January 16th "Religious Freedom Day" garnered favorable attention for explicitly recognizing "atheists and agnostics" as equal to believers:

Today, America embraces people of all faiths and of no faith.  We are Christians and Jews, Muslims and Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs, atheists and agnostics.  Our religious diversity enriches our cultural fabric and reminds us that what binds us as one is not the tenets of our faiths, the colors of our skin, or the origins of our names.  What makes us American is our adherence to shared ideals - freedom, equality, justice, and our right as a people to set our own course.
 
Obama’s inclusion of nonbelievers is laudable, as well as his issuance of a proclamation recognizing the anniversary of adoption of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, written by Thomas Jefferson, and enacted Jan. 16, 1786.

Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, we would have wished that Obama’s proclamation had also emphasized the secular component embodied in the Statute for Religious Freedom as much as the “freedom to believe” aspect. There is no religious liberty without the freedom to dissent, as we continually point out at FFRF.
Jefferson was so proud of his historic statute that he had his authorship of it engraved on his tombstone. (Serving as the third president of the United States, by the way, didn’t rate Jefferson’s mention.)
The statute was first introduced in the Virginia General Assembly in 1779 and followed a decade of work to disestablish the Church of England as the official church of the colony of Virginia. Quakers there were persecuted, heresy was a capital offense punishable by burning, and anyone who denied the “being of God” or the Trinity, etc., could be punished on first offense by removal from many kinds of employment. Second offense meant loss of most civil rights and incarceration.
Jefferson noted in his book “Notes On Virginia”: “Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error. . . . Millions of innocent men, women and children since the introduction of Christianity have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet have we not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.”
The preamble of the Statute for Religious Freedom is a sweeping indictment of state-dictated religion, noting that “false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time” have been maintained through the church-state.
“[T]o compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical . . . . Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.”
Many of the individual state constitutions replicate or echo the heart of the statute, which reads:
“[T]hat no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested.”
However, we’re sorry to report that some people are “blasphemously” misusing Jefferson’s “Religious Freedom Day” to advance theocracy. For instance, an evangelical outfit called World Changers of Florida has chosen Jan. 16, the statute’s anniversary, to distribute bibles in some public schools in Florida. Over FFRF’s objections, the school district in Orange County renewed permission for these evangelists to “passively” distribute bibles in 11 public schools yesterday.
FFRF sued over the censorship of many FFRF materials when we attempted a similar “passive” distribution last spring.  Our litigation continues in federal court.
Jefferson famously cut up the New Testament in order to distinguish "diamonds in a dunghill."  He disbelieved in the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus.  It adds insult to injury to subvert Jefferson's anti-theocratic statue and the anniversary of its adoption as an excuse to inject New Testaments into our schools.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

third-level orgasm

Just what we've been needing!  An ultimate orgasm-inducer for women!  Perhaps they'll forget about income inequality or the massive numbers of women being raped around the world if they just have more intense orgasms.

Hey, it's worth a try.  But at $106?  I duuno....

This Ultimate G Vibrator Promises 'Third-Level' Orgasms

This is not a toothbrush handle pondering its right hand. Or an eraser giving birth.

It's a vibrator. A really scary vibrator that promises extra ecstasy.

Behold the Ultimate G, the $106 G-spot-mining gizmo now creating buzz on the Internet. It's "designed by medical experts to take you to the third level of orgasm," according to U.K. sex toy retailer Ann Summers. 



Need a bit more clinical explanation? "The main shaft with multiple pleasure bumps target your G-Spot directly, while the outer arms target the sensitive inner clitoris," the copy reads further.

New York Magazine asked whether the "third level" fell under The Huffington Post's Third Metric well-being initiative of Arianna Huffington.

Original.

UK sex toy retailer Ann Summers put some gynecologists to work figuring out exactly how to pleasure a woman in all the right ways. The result is the Ultimate G, a knobby, elongated device that somehow calls to mind Alien or a tool your dental hygienist might employ. Not what we're usually looking for in a sex toy, but okay. Though it's admittedly odd looking, it's easy to see how it might succeed where other toys have failed. A lot of G-spot toys don't contain any external stimulation, and this one looks like it offers plentiful vibes on the outside.

But, what is this third-level orgasm, you may ask? It's not entirely clear to me, though a more in-depth explanation can be found in this article, "Four Levels of Cosmic Orgasm." It does seem to involve "fulfillment and connection in all aspects of our beings," which, frankly, sounds awesome.

Original from the original.