Tag Archives: life

Signing Bonus?

30 Jul

I was driving down the New Jersey turnpike today as I have done quite often over the past 40 years and I am constantly amazed by the incredible array of power plants, smoke stacks, oil tanks, refineries, generating stations, fire belching exhaust stacks and the miles of conduit pipes that seem to connect them all.

It’s the stretch of the Turnpike that most New Jersey-ans like to call “cancer alley” most probably because it smells like and looks like what could be the Devil’s workshop if the Devil indeed had one! And on this day it looked just like it had on any other day of driving through this hellish landscape… except for one small difference.

And that was a giant new sign on one of the largest power plants that read: ” Energy Efficient and Environmentally Advanced”

And I thought to myself, Really? What’s new and different? Have changes been made? Is our country moving in the right direction and are our energy systems finally becoming more efficient and advanced? And if so why does everything still look, smell and belch exactly as it always had before?

So I did a little research and discovered that a new study of the world’s largest economies has ranked the energy efficiency, policy and programs of each, and Germany is ranked #1 with the United States ranked at lucky #13…but worse than that, China is ranked #4 and India #11! We’re behind India and China!

And those are the 2 countries that are always mentioned by U.S. politicians whenever they attempt to explain why America can’t and shouldn’t join in the fight against global warming and climate change…because India and China, the 2 most populous countries are ruining the planet with their energy inefficiency so why should we bother…but we’re doing worse than they are!

Anyway, it turns out that that power plant on the turnpike with the big sign is one of the top polluters in the state of New Jersey. And our Governor recently pulled our state out of a multistate initiative known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change.

Those in favor of the program see it as a model on how the nation can curb pollution from power plants that increase global warming. But Critics, like our Governor say that such efforts are ineffective and just another tax on utilities.

So, I guess it’s much more environmentally advanced and efficient to just get a big sign and put that on top of the power plants instead

…yep, that oughta do it…a nice, big, fat sign!

The GM Defense

8 Jul

It’s funny how people process their morality. It seems that the higher the monetary stakes the more likely it is that a person will find a reason to behave immorally. Especially if the person is far away from the other people that his decisions will be affecting and most definitely if those people are of another class/culture or race.

So money gained minus people hurt divided by class/culture and race, times distance from those affected equals the probability of altering one’s moral turpitude…or

$ – P/CCR x D = M                  

  …or something like that.

Anyway, it doesn’t take an Einstein to know that causing the deaths of 12 people because you don’t want to spend a whole lot of money redesigning and recalling your automobile is wrong…does it?…but then again I don’t work for or own or represent General Motors. I’m just one of the poor, affected, middle class saps who bought one of their cars.

So try this technique should you ever find yourself on the wrong side of a murder/homicide.

If you’re the one holding the smoking gun just fire as many bullets as you can at the floor or ceiling or wherever there aren’t any other humans for as long as you can until the police arrive to arrest you.

Then at your trial have your lawyer point out that you fired over 10,000 bullets and only hit and killed one person! Who would spend that kind of time and money on murder? It was obviously just a mistaken and costly accident.

Call it the General Motors defense!

And, oh yeah…you’re welcome.

 

 

 

 

The KingMakers

1 Jul

Hurray for the corporations! Huzzah! Corporations now have freedom of religion. Isn’t this exactly what our founding fathers hoped for when they penned and approved the Declaration of Independence and then our Constitution of the United States so long ago?

And now here we are on the anniversary of that august dawn of our country’s birth and the Supreme Court has not only since awarded corporate entities the right to person-hood but also the rights to free speech through the spending of unlimited amounts of money (something that a king might do, say what?) and now the corporate state has the right to exercise their freedom of religion by infringing upon the freedom of others to express their own religious beliefs. (something akin to a king’s power, may I have an amen please?)

But the great irony of all is not so much that these things we call corporate entities now have the freedom to exercise their religion…or that they are even considered to have the ability to have a religion or a belief system for that matter.

No, the great irony is not that corporations can possess religious morality but that they also have the power to kill with impunity!       For I am an owner of a GM vehicle! And what price have they paid (that hasn’t cost them our own bailout money) for their lies, poor craftsmanship and negligent homicide?

So let there be light, for the mystery of creation is no more. This is how it is done…

Corporations have not become people and the Supreme Court of the United States has not fashioned them in our own image.

Nay, I say to you…They are become Gods!

 

 

Hell on the Loose?

14 Jun

I do believe that the wild west was a lot dirtier than it was wild but thanks to movies and television most folks believe that the old west was wild because it was a time of lawlessness when outlaws roamed free with guns always at the ready to create mayhem or evil doing. And whenever a bad guy turned up with his gun, wishing to do his evil deeds, there would be a law abiding citizen or posses on hand to help fight him to the death with their own legally owned guns. Eventually the good guys won by using their good guns to kill all of the bad guys with their bad guns and thus the west was won!

Then of course the good guys put away their guns and relaxed in peace until now, and years later… the bad guys and evil doing, are back! And it’s time to get our guns on again… so I guess that’s why over 18 states now have what is known as a permissive open carry law for gun owners where openly  carrying a firearm is lawful on foot and in a motor vehicle (as long as you’re not using your cell phone I guess). Those in favor of open carry laws say that criminals usually conceal their weapons but law abiding citizens proudly display their sidearms…So there’s that…

However, 22 states have now also adopted a form of what is known as the Castle Doctrine (which states that a person has no duty to retreat when their home (IE: Castle) is attacked) that removes the duty of retreat from other locations. These “Stand Your Ground”, laws state that a person has no duty or other requirement to abandon a place in which he has a right to be. So in these states people can defend themselves, with deadly force, if they think someone is trying to kill them or seriously harm them.

So, if your state (and you are going to have to check yourself)  has both the open carry and the stand your ground laws in effect then what happens when two citizens who are openly carrying their weapons meet in a place where they both have a legal right to be? Do they look at one another and say “Howdy law abiding 2nd Amendment lover and good citizen. I see that you are carrying your weapon out in the open, so you, like me, are one of the good guys. Let’s have a drink together!”

But what if they each, in their own way, feel threatened by the other? What if one of them is wearing a hoodie? Or it’s dark out? Or they are each wearing a different color of skin. Or one is sporting a turban? Or wearing a sour expression. Or playing loud music? Or has a long beard that looks UN-American? Or God knows what all? Does all hell then break loose?…Legally?

Few people realize that this is exactly what made the “Wild West” wild! And the west didn’t become mild until famous lawmen like Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and many others came to western towns and, as their first order of business…eliminated guns! No guns, except those that lawmen had, meant that no one had to worry about getting shot by ordinary, everyday looking citizens (even the ones dressed in black)…because the last thing that any civilized territory, town or country wants is…

Regular citizens walking around with guns!? Who think that they are upholding the law in lieu of lawmen!? Being vigilant in the absence of the law?! If you love guns and upholding the law and defending your rights as a citizen then join the police force. Support your police force and ask for more taxes to fund more police. Ask to get deputized. Or Sign up for the local militia…like the 2nd A. suggests.

In any case, whether you agree with me or not, I have the sneaking suspicion that we all soon shall see… if the gun proponents are correct and your state becomes a safer place in which to live…or…all hell breaks loose.

 

No News is Bad News

10 Jun

Two things that we should know that we probably don’t want to hear…and this is not good news.

1. The Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan that exploded and melted down 3 of its 6 nuclear reactors released 168 times the radiation that the atomic bomb in Hiroshima unleashed in 1945.

2. In December of 2013 the Japanese Parliament passed a State Secrets Law.  The penalties for violators include: 10 years in prison for civil servants who leak classified information. The law covers defense, diplomacy, counter-terrorism and counterintelligence. But it also empowers bureaucrats to lock away documents for up to 60 years.

And here are 2 more things that you probably don’t want to know:

1. The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission found the nuclear disaster was “man-made” and that its direct causes were all foreseeable.

2. Japan has 53 other nuclear reactors, all of which have since been suspended or shut down… however, Japan’s new energy plan for 2014 calls nuclear power “the country’s most important power source”. It also recommends that the government begin the re-opening of nuclear plants, aiming for “a realistic and balanced energy structure”…but

Shhhhhhhhhhhh…Don’t tell anyone.

Raise Your Hand If You’d Like a Raise

3 Jun

It was recently reported that the median CEO salary in America is 10.5 million dollars per year.

That’s an increase of 8.8% over last years median CEO salary.

That’s almost a 1 million dollar raise…per year.

How big of a raise did you get last year?…if you got one at all…

(You might have even taken a pay cut…or had your entire job cut.)

How long can our Republic continue on this path of immense raises to our wealthiest, while middle and lower income earners stagnate under lower wages, lessened benefits and the burden of increasing debt?

I understand that it works great for the wealthy but…How is this a responsible and sustainable economic model for the free and modern world?

 

 

 

Do the Clothes Make the Man?

27 May

The owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Marc Cuban, made this comment during an interview that he gave a few days ago for which he took a lot of criticism and for which he later apologized…

“We’re all prejudiced in one way or the other,” Cuban said in the Inc. interview. “If I see a black kid in a hoodie and it’s late at night, I’m walking to the other side of the street. And if on that side of the street, there’s a guy that has tattoos all over his face – white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere – I’m walking back to the other side of the street. And the list goes on of stereotypes that we all live up to and are fearful of.”

Following his apology a lot of folks then became upset about his apology because they felt that he had been pressured into it, and all because of what has become known as “political correctness”. After all what was wrong with his statement? He was just telling us about his fears wasn’t he? Can’t he be afraid of a black kid in a hoodie if he wants to be…without having to apologize for it?

And therein lies the rub, for what lies inherit in Mr. Cuban’s statement is the racist message that many white folks just don’t see…

Because, why isn’t a white guy in a hoodie, late at night, scary? If you put the bald white guy with all the tattoos in a hoodie then you wouldn’t be able to see his bald head and tattoos would you, so he wouldn’t look scary anymore would he? But the black kid in the hoodie is scary because???

A hoodie is just short for hooded sweatshirt which is one of the most ubiquitous pieces of apparel that can be purchased on this planet. They’re everywhere and I would venture to guess that almost everyone has one. Every sports team in America sells them with their logos attached. Every College and university in America sells them too, with their logos attached. Every High School in America sells them also and with their high school’s name and mascot prominently displayed. You can buy hoodies with names and logos attached from Amusement parks, to sporting goods companies, to church groups to the nation’s Armed Forces… to whatever you’d like.

So what makes them look scary when a black kid is wearing one? Is it the hood? When I wear my hooded sweatshirt and I put the hood on it means that I’m cold or it’s raining or perhaps if it’s neither raining nor cold I’m just trying to look cool. If a woman puts the hood up…she’s either cold, wet or just being cute like Little Red Riding Hood. But a black kid with a hoodie is scary because…the hoodie makes him a hoodlum? Or Could it be the black face inside? Is he less scary when he doesn’t wear clothes? Because that’s all a hoodie is isn’t it?

If you are not afraid of hooded sweatshirts then what are you afraid of?

Mr. Cuban painted a picture of a specific white male that scares him: Tattooed all over with a shaved head. We all recognize that stereotype as the description of a probable “skinhead” or “Neo-Nazi” type of white male and our knowledge of the violence inherent in those groups is what triggers our fear…but to simply describe a “black kid in a hoodie” provides no description at all. So what would be stereotypically specific to that description that would trigger his fear? Or trigger your perhaps instant recognition of what Mr. Cuban was getting at?

And that’s why he needed to apologize. and that’s why we all need to examine our fears more closely and ask how we got to be so afraid of what we are afraid of…in the first place.

Here in the USA we have always prided ourselves on our diversity and our cultural “melting pot” that makes us so varied in opinion and population, yet it seems that difference is what most Americans are afraid of…when oddly enough and Statistically speaking… and the numbers here are overwhelming…if anyone were to ever cause you harm, they would almost certainly be wearing the same color and kind of face as you.

Perhaps what we have most to fear is simply fear itself?

 

 

 

 

The Water’s Great but Watch Out for the Soap!

23 May

File:Ivoryso2.jpg

Here is a new word of the day: Triclosan

It’s a chemical and antibacterial agent that is found in soaps, toothpastes, cosmetics, deodorants, and many other products. Apparently it is so common that it’s difficult to avoid. One study found triclosan in the bodies of 75 percent of people tested.  

That’s a lot of people…and triclosan!
 
And now, of course, and as you might have guessed, many experts are saying that it doesn’t just kill bacteria but it is also known for altering hormones, interfering with muscle function, causing allergies, and spawning resistant germs…But product manufacturers, of course and as you also might have guessed, say that triclosan is safe in humans…so?…Who to believe?
 
Well a little investigative, computer research found that… Triclosan does penetrate the skin on contact and enters the bloodstream… A 2010 study found that children who had higher exposure to triclosan had a higher incidence of hay fever. Triclosan is toxic to aquatic bacteria at levels found in the environment. Triclosan inhibits phoysynthesis in diatom algae, which are responsible for a large part of the photosynthesis on Earth!…and several studies have found that Triclosan has estrogen effects on the body and has been linked to breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, and a whole host of other health problems.
 
And finally Triclosan also has been employed as an effective selective agent in molecular cloning!
I don’t know about you but when an ingredient used in a common household product can also be the subject of a science fiction novel, I say let’s stop using it.
 
But here’s the real kicker…although Triclosan is used in three-quarters of antibacterial liquid soaps and body washes…according to the Food and Drug Administration….plain soap is just as effective as triclosan-containing antibacterial washes in removing bacteria from hands and preventing illness! So in other words…IT DOESN’T EVEN WORK!
I’ve never understood why companies have to add all sorts of chemicals to products that otherwise would work just fine especially when the added chemicals are dangerous and ineffective. If you want to fool me into thinking that your product is new and improved just tell me that, or make up a name for the special additive that you really aren’t adding and don’t add it! How would I know? I just want to wash my hands!
 
When I was younger, whenever I would see an Ivory soap commercial that would claim that Ivory soap was 99 and 44/100% pure, I would always wonder…pure what? Pure Ivory? So I looked it up and Ivory soap contained: sodium tallowate, sodium cocoate, sodium palm kernelate, water, sodium chloride, sodium sillicate, magnesium sulfate and fragrance….So I guess it’s pure sodium? With fragrance of course so it doesn’t smell like crap…but at least it doesn’t have Triclosan!
 
Because apparently that stuff will make you…sickeningly… clean.
 
So far it has been banned in Minnesota but if you don’t live there you can
  • Stay away from products labeled “antibacterial,” “antimicrobial,” or “germ killing.
  • Use nontoxic soap for hand-washing and bathing (what a concept!)
  • Avoid “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial” household items such as cutting boards, towels, shoes, clothing, and bedding because those products are often impregnated with triclosan.

Good luck! And may the faucet be with us!

 

Is There Life Out There?

20 May

ImageThis is a photo of the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan.

Once proud host of the NFL Superbowl, Wrestle-mania, Elvis, Led Zeppelin the Rolling Stones And Pope John Paul II, it has since been abandoned and fallen into disrepair.

And yet, despite having been a domed stadium and sporting artificial turf, seedlings now grow from the lifeless plastic landscape.

We have yet to find evidence of the existence of civilizations on other worlds outside of our own.

But if we ever do discover life on some far away and distance world…I’m betting it will be weeds!

 

Supreme Beings

16 May

When you think about it, the Supreme Court of the United States has been quite busy reforming the way we do business in this country by helping to re-interpret our Constitution and prepare it for the 21st century.

In the last few years they have declared corporations to have the same rights as human beings, free to speak by spending unlimited amounts of money to support their corporate interests. The humans who work for them are now also allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money in support of their favorite candidates who can then legislate with those corporations best interests in mind. You and I of course as lesser beings of the new century are also free to spend as much money as we want on our favorite candidates who will have our human interests in mind.

After all that’s what freedom is all about isn’t it?

The Supreme court has also determined that voter’s rights and affirmative action regulations no longer serve any purpose within our society because human beings have grown in character and thought and risen above the petty emotions and primitive thinking that once ruled our every day affairs. Because here in the new century humans have evolved beyond the need of regulatory government.

And in their most recent decision these Supreme justices have ruled that prayer can now be allowed at government meetings and no longer do we the people of the United States need to worry about separating our government from our religion but not because we all share the same common religious beliefs but because, as Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority opinion, “Prayers offered at a town council meeting are ceremonial and in keeping with the nation’s traditions.”

So here we have it. At the dawn of the new millennium, Corporations are people, Money is speech, Humanity has conquered emotion and Religion is but ritual ceremony… because…as near as I can figure…and as our Supreme magistrates have, in their infinite wisdom, apparently ascertained…

We mortals are now on our own… and God…officially at least…

is dead.

 

 

 

Joanna Funk

piano accompanist and teacher

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