Tag Archives: musings

If Cancer Were Contageous…

29 Oct

If cancer were contagious, like Ebola, Would you still wear pink?

It seems as though we are in the midst of an Ebola crisis in our country and politicians and news outlets are doing their best to fan the flames of panic and paranoia with so far 3…count them…3 Americans having contracted the disease…out of over 300 million potential customers. Many are calling for, nay, demanding quarantines and flight restrictions and the possibility of blockading entire countries…and let’s not forget our porous southern borders where hordes of illegals eagerly await their Ebola infected entries. America, or rather, the USA must be protected at all costs!

But what about the flu? It is estimated that in the United States, each year on average 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized. Estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people! That’s nothing to sneeze at.

What about AIDS? The CDC estimates that 1,144,500 persons aged 13 years and older in the USA are living with HIV infection, including 180,900 (15.8%) who are unaware of their infection with about 50,000 new HIV infections per year! The deaths of persons with an AIDS diagnosis can be due to any cause—that is, the death may or may not be related to AIDS. That sounds pretty ominous to me.

How about cars? Every year there are 30-35,000 automobile deaths in the United States, not to mention the millions of car crashes and the billions of dollars in damages they cause. Cars are everywhere and I bet you’ve been in at least one car accident already…or two?

What about guns? In 2010, guns took the lives of 31,076 Americans in homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings. In fact each and every year we can expect just about that same number of gun related deaths in the USA. That’s more than 85 deaths each day and more than three deaths every hour. They say that Ebola kills about 50% of its victims, which makes it very deadly indeed, but I think that the mortality rate for gunshot wounds is pretty close…don’t you? And we have 300 million guns in the USA and some of those owners are nuts!

We don’t consider quarantining any of those citizens…And yet here we are…a first world country with a third world fear…of a disease that hasn’t even come close to killing Americans like the Flu, AIDS, automobiles and guns can…and I haven’t even mentioned carcinogens, smoking, toxic waste, fracking and 1st world parents who won’t vaccinate their kids!

Silly Americans! What’s all this fuss about Ebola? Are we really so worried about this one new thing that might kill us? Besides, don’t forget that If you live in one of the following states:

And someone with Ebola comes along… you can stand your ground instead of retreating, “As long as you reasonably believe doing so will “prevent death or great bodily harm.”

AND SHOOT THEM!

If you live in one of the other 27 states? Well, Perhaps it’s time to join these 23 civilized American States and change your gun laws?

I mean Really…this is the United States of America! There’s no need to over react…just get your guns…and get your “pink” on.

Happiness IS a warm gun

21 Oct

Well, the gun advocates were right! If you allow people to have more guns and more freedom to use them in public places, the world will become a safer place.

Case in point: Prominent feminist video game critic Anita Sarkeesian, was planning on appearing at a speaking engagement at Utah State University last Wednesday to discuss the portrayal of women in video games, but the University received an anonymous Email that threatened “The deadliest school shooting in American History” if her appearance and speech were not canceled.

The Email even went on to describe the nature of the attack and stated:

“If you do not cancel her talk, a Montreal Massacre style attack will be carried out against the attendees, as well as students and staff at the nearby Women’s Center. I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs.”

Ms. Sarkeesian however had decided to go ahead with her presentation because she always receives similar threats whenever she plans a speaking engagement… that is until she was informed by Utah University’s campus security that Utah’s concealed carry laws meant it would be possible for guns to be present at the University’s speaking event.

Utah has an Open Carry law and permits the concealed carry of loaded weapons with a permit and in Utah a person may carry firearms into banks, bars, public universities, and state parks… and with a permit, a person may also carry those weapons into public schools…but Utah does not require concealed carry permit holders to notify police officers of their permit or possession of firearms…even when stopped by police officers.

So how would anyone know if there were a person or persons in the audience with concealed weapons who might be potential mass murders as opposed to law abiding avengers in waiting? In light of that simple dilemma, Ms. Sarkeesian decided not to try and find out and so she canceled her speaking engagement and everyone stayed home…where they were safe and at least knew who had the guns.

Sounds like a perfect solution wouldn’t you say?

Save Money and Live Better?

17 Oct

The Waltons of WalMart fame and not the ones of television fame, are among the richest Americans in the United States, if not the richest. They employ over 1.4 million Americans (that’s 1% of the American work force!) who work for them in their more than 4,100 stores nation wide. Their average employee earns $11.43 per hour and most employees earn less than $25,000 per year.

As a result of Walmarts low average employee wage many of their workers are forced to rely on taxpayer-funded programs through public assistance costs, including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing. These expenses cost the taxpayers an estimated 6 billion dollars each year even though Walmart earns a yearly profit upwards of 15 billion dollars. In fact a Walmart spokesperson even told analysts last year that Walmart has even captured 18 percent of the SNAP market (food stamps) and that the company accounted for $13.5 billion out of $76 billion in food stamp sales in 2013. That’s 18% of the subsidy that we the taxpayers pay because companies like Walmart under pay their workers. Walmart just can’t lose!

And to be fair to Walmart, many other large U.S. retailers have a similar percentage of their workers who receive Medicaid and Food stamps etc. at taxpayer expense…and at the same time these giant corporations and retailers are also taking billions and billions of dollars a year in tax breaks that also subsidize their low-wage businesses – and add to their profits…not to mention special trusts and tax loop holes that save them even more billions of dollars in taxes that they would otherwise have to pay to the U.S. government.

But can you blame these rich companies and their owners for the billions of dollars they pass on to the taxpayers? Everything they do is legal and in accordance with federal laws, rules and regulations as set forth by the United States Congress. Of course they could very simply raise their employee wages and help bring those employees out of poverty and pay more taxes on their billions of dollars of annual income… all in an effort to be more… Patriotic? American? Fair? Philanthropic? Christian?…but really, why should they?

Walmart’s motto is “Save money. Live Better.” And even though most Walmart workers probably shop there too, I’m willing to bet that in the long run they are not very successful at saving any money at all… or live better for that matter. Perhaps Walmart’s motto is a bit tongue in cheek as in: Walmart saves money and the Walton’s live better.

So now here is my question to you:

If a Walmart employee, (or any other employee of a similar retail or fast food chain) after a long hard day, or week, or month, or lifetime, of work, walks into a grocery store and purchases a T-Bone steak and large bottle of orange soda and uses their government issued food stamps to pay for it…Do you have a problem with that?

I don’t, because a steak and a nice sugary soda might just be all of the “better living” they’re going to get… but many people do have a problem with that. And when they cast their votes this November it will be for a politician who is promising to cut food stamps and limit the freedom of choice of those who need to spend them, while also promising to make it easier for companies like Walmart to increase their profits through new tax cuts and other new tax “freedoms”.

Is that really the way for America and Americans to Save money and live better?

Goodnight and Good Luck…

16 Oct

Well, I honestly don’t know where to begin…The television set is positively aglow with the Ebola virus: the wheres, the hows and the whyfors. It’s here. It’s on the move. Is it an epidemic? A pandemic? Can it be stopped? who’s to blame? How can we stop it? Can it be stopped?… And of course don’t forget to check out your favorite networks’ new fall lineups! Let’s not get too crazy, I guess.

Over at MSNBC there seems to be genuine concern over the growing crisis and their guests seem to be pointing fingers at the fact that it’s a very big world out there filled with lots of people on the go, which makes it quite difficult to keep them from going where they want to. And there’s the question of our country’s lack of investment and interest in our nation’s infrastructure over the last 2 decades or so. Even though corporations are still making billions of dollars and especially so in the healthcare industries, not a lot of that money is trickling down to the first response workers when it comes to equipment, training and proper regulations and protocols…perhaps you have even felt or experienced this trend as a worker in your place of business, wherever and whatever that may be. It seems that Money has a habit of rising to the top and then staying there these days.

But over at Fox News there was nothing but non-stop hysteria. We’re doomed! Hide under the bed and change your paper money into gold and silver and lock it in your safe! (seriously, it was one of their commercials) And Fox’s experts (All Fox employees) know exactly who is to blame. And it took only a few minutes to impart all of this info to me as I surfed by their channel… Fox News is like a lighthouse beacon that shines one bright light around and around and around all day so you can’t miss the message…

Anyway, it is all President Obama’s fault because he is an African and not an American and has personally seen to it to allow the first Ebola case to enter the USA. He chose Texas because they didn’t vote for him in the last election. He is not closing the borders and isolating Africa into quarantine because he and his henchmen (damn Democrats) mean to kill us all. This is why me must all vote for Republicans in the upcoming election so that they can stop him before he is allowed to complete his dastardly plan. (Even though they pretty much intimated that it was too late to save any of us…but just in case vote Republican)

Finally Bill O’ Reilly and resident Fox comedian, (er…expert comedian) Dennis Miller summed it all up with a few jokes and laughs about how sad things have gotten in America and even though it’s too late to do anything about it and we’re all gonna die, they wanted us to know that later this month they’ll be appearing together in South Carolina where I guess their comedy routine will be appearing on the road…no doubt they’ll be making lots of money and converting it to gold for their post apocalyptic shopping spree.

I just sincerely hope that somewhere in America tonight there are still serious people doing serious work, who are non-partisan, earnest and industrious and seriously interested in doing their jobs because it is the right thing to do and not because there’s a bucket of money or a re-election campaign to win.

Of course there is. There has to be, right? We haven’t jumped that shark yet…have we?

Goodnight and good luck…

How to Defeat Aliens and Save the World

14 Oct

Something occurred to me last night while watching television…

If you watch a lot of television like I do (I admit it) then you may have noticed what I have noticed. In all police dramas, police officers always carry handguns and the bad guys that they face almost always carry machine guns of one variety or another. But no matter how many rounds the bad guys fire, they never hit any policemen. And when the police officer finally returns fire he/she always hits his target.

Now, in all science fiction shows the good guys (usually military) almost always carry machine guns (of one type or another) while defending the planet Earth or when traveling to distant worlds (also to defend planet Earth). And the Aliens always use strange and deadly laser weapons of one kind or another. But…no matter how many times those aliens use their powerfully advanced laser weapons they never hit any Earthlings (besides hitting everything else). And when the humans return fire with their machine guns…well, it’s always bad news for the aliens. And no matter what alien race we meet and no matter how advanced their alien species may be, those aliens have never ever seen a machine gun nor developed any defense against them.

Has anyone else ever noticed this?

So handgun defeats machine gun defeats alien, ergo: any policeman could defeat any alien!

According to the United Nations the world employs about 300 police officers for every 100 thousand citizens so that means we have about 21 million law enforcement officers in the world with guns.

This is what 50+ years of watching television has taught me: the planet Earth is safe from aliens!

So, People of Earth, rest easy…at least as far as an alien invasion goes…everything else? Go ahead and worry…

Where Have all the Fauna Gone?

8 Oct

Perhaps you have heard about or read about this: Half the Earth’s animals – birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, have disappeared between 1970 and 2010, according to a new report from the World Wildlife Fund…and they don’t mean disappeared as in hiding, but rather disappeared as in no longer living on the planet! Two years ago they estimated the decline at 30 percent so we humans have really stepped up our exterminating efforts lately.

Actually I cheated and rounded out the decline. It’s really 52% and if you’re a fisherman the decline in fresh-water fish is even worse at 75%…so fishermen, start throwing them back!

PLANET EARTH!: Now with 60% fewer elephants and lions! Oh my!

And wouldn’t you know it, The situation is worst in poorer countries because richer nations actually saw a 10 per cent increase in wildlife numbers. So the rich get richer…even in animals! The report blames the animal loss on human activity, including deforestation, overfishing and hunting, and climate change…if you believe in such things. It seems that rich countries outsource biodiversity loss to poor countries by buying products, such as palm oil, etc. that are unsustainable…and I’m sure they do lots of other things too, like drilling and digging and fracking and slashing and burning and pillaging and other fun stuff…far away from where the wealthy folks live.

But don’t despair… because what do we have more of since 1974? We have more Humans! We’ve gone from 4 billion to 7 billion with a bullet…that’s almost 100% more humans…in just 40 years. So on the bright side, while being human has become more superfluous, being an animal has become more special! Or is that the dark side? Anyway, Back in 1955 when I was born I was 1 in 2,755,823,000…now I’m just 1 in 7,265,872,000. I’m becoming more and more insignificant everyday!

The report also ranked countries by their “ecological footprint”, which is the area of land each person needs to support their lifestyle. Being a Qatari is the worst, or most wasteful or most special, depending upon how you look at such things, because the lifestyle of each Qatari requires 25 acres of resources. The average American only requires about 17 and a half acres while Brits need a measly 12.5. The lowest ecological footprint was in East Timor at a mere one and one quarter acre per person. Ahhh, if only we could all live like East Timorians! (How do they live, I wonder?)

The report went on to add that If all people on the planet had the footprint of the average resident of Qatar, we would need 4.8 planets just to sustain ourselves…Those wasteful Qataris! We Americans could do it with just 3 and 1/3 Earths! Besides, most of us Americans don’t even know where Qataris and Qatar are, let alone how to live like one.

So What are we poor humans to do? Our world’s human population has experienced continuous growth since the end of the Great Famine and the Black Death in 1350, that was over 600 and 60 years ago! Since then we’ve done our best to control our own growth. We’ve tried religious wars, colonial wars, world wars, slavery. genocide, ethnic cleansing, holocausts, eugenics…but all to no avail. Ever since we solved our difficulties with food production and disease Our human population just keeps on keepin’ on…I suppose nothing can control animal populations like famine and disease can.

And get this. I recently read in a New York Times article that Louisiana loses one acre of land every hour to erosion, sea level rise and wetlands destruction. Thanks in part (and a big part) to our never ending search for more fossil fuels through drilling, fracking and extraction. But can you blame us? We all just want to live more comfortable, happy and exciting lives with the best technologies available for a modern society… can you blame us? Can you stop us? Can we stop ourselves? And that’s just land we’re losing in Louisiana, USA. What about the rest of the world’s land liquidation in the name of progress?

Did you happen to see that photo recently of the 35,000 walruses that came together in record numbers off Alaska’s northwest coast because they couldn’t find enough sea ice to rest on. That can’t be a good sign for anyone, let alone walruses.

PLANET EARTH: Now with 10% less earth!

How will it all end and where will we go from here? Today in the mail I received a brochure to attend a free Bible study class where we can discuss the exciting “End Times” that we are all living in. Whoopee! There’s a positive answer to our problems, which perhaps, according to my brochure, aren’t problems at all?

If you ask politicians they’ll say, “Endless growth is what we need!” Ask theologians and they’ll say, “Endless bounty and dominion over the Earth and its animals is what we’ve been promised!” Ask Red Lobster and they’ll say, “Endless Shrimp!” They can’t all be right…something’s gotta give sometime…doesn’t it?

Isn’t this all at least very interesting…and frightening? Will we humans finally learn to live more humbly and in harmony with each other and our mother, Earth? Will we all finally learn how to share and share alike with each other and with all of God’s creatures… or are we humans simply just modern age dinosaurs waiting to go not so quietly into that meteoric light of someone or something elses brand new day?

So Stay tuned!…because… whether you are interested or simply find this all quite droll and utterly unimportant in the grand scheme of things, considering all of the troubles you have already… How can you not? We Earthlings are a captive audience! We’ve no place else to go!

Now Playing: PLANET EARTH: In its 4.54th billionth season! And still…The only Planet in town!

Who Has the Mob Mentality?

21 Sep

Here is something I didn’t know…

From 1882 to 1968, close to 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in the U.S. Congress. Only Three passed the House and those were later filibustered in the Senate and never received a vote. Seven presidents between 1890 and 1952 petitioned Congress to pass a federal law but none was ever passed.

A lynching is when a mob (usually a group of white people) kills someone, (usually a black person ) especially by hanging, for an alleged offense and done without legal authority.

I’m supposing that the mob felt that there was safety in numbers because since there was no federal law prohibiting mass murder of this type (with the mass being on the opposite side of the murder equation) so it was left up to the states to enforce or prosecute said lynchings…which they usually did not…even when photos of the perpetrators were taken and made available. (usually by the perpetrators themselves!)

I became curious about this subject while watching the new Ken Burns documentary on the Roosevelts (oddly enough this was never a topic of discussion in public school even though lynchings were still occurring and were “legal” in my lifetime)

Anyway, anti-lynching bills came to the fore during the years of Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency and although he is well know as a social reformer President Roosevelt did not support the federal anti-lynching bills because he feared that support would cost him Southern votes during his many elections. (perhaps “feared” is the wrong word here) In any event he apparently believed that he could accomplish more for more people simply by getting re-elected and in 1939 he created the Civil Rights Section of the Justice Department and directed them to start prosecutions to combat lynching. How did they do?  They failed to win any convictions until 1946.

Things apparently got so bad that after WWII and during the cold war even the Soviet Union (of all unions) criticized the United States for the frequency of lynchings of black people and later in 1951 the famous actor Paul Robeson and the Civil Rights Congress argued at the United Nations that the U.S. government was guilty of genocide under Article II of the United Nations Genocide Convention because it failed to act against lynchings… The United Nations of course…took no action.

But then the FBI helped…by declaring people like Albert Einstein to be communist sympathizers for joining Mr. Robeson’s crusade.  J. Edgar Hoover (everyone’s heard of him) even went so far as to direct more attention to investigations of civil rights groups for communist connections than to Ku Klux Klan activities…like lynching.

So when exactly did the United States Congress pass legislation making lynchings a federal crime in America?

Amazingly, the answer is: Never

But On June 13, 2005, not Congress, but the U.S. Senate, formally apologized for its failure in the early 20th century, “when it was most needed”, to enact a Federal anti-lynching law… and by a voice vote no less (not a roll call)…I wonder why?

Thankfully people as a whole, or groups, have pretty much decided that lynchings are no longer in vogue and so we don’t have… any? or… as many? anymore… but can you imagine what must have been going through the minds of the protesters in Furguson Missouri while they were staring into the massed weapons of the police’s armored vehicles and automatic weapons following the shooting of Michael Brown?

Weren’t the police just daring them to go ahead and try something that night? To see what they might get? I’m sure the police had absolutely no doubt what they, the police, might get should they be “forced” to fire upon a goaded and angry mob of militant protesters…Off…does anyone doubt that?

Racism is not dead in this country. Dormant in most places, maybe, but dead? How could it be? Who has really tried to kill it or seriously eradicate it? I mean really… until it was just snuffed out…you know, like Native Americans at Wounded Knee… seriously, who?

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