A Big, Fat Shadow

4 Mar

Former Republican nominee for President of the United States, Mitt Romney, spoke about this year’s leading Republican candidate for the presidential nomination. “Here’s what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud, and his promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing members of the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House”…

Then he added…”dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark, the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics.”

And New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, 261 days absent from his job, thought to himself…

Hey, Me too!…

Fear and Loathing in the 21st Century

29 Feb

I was recently reading an article about women and the Islamic culture and came across the word Burqini, which I had never heard or seen before, but I was intrigued and like any curious male just had to see what one looked like. Was it a sexy version of the more popular burqa? Oh yes, it was! Just take a look…

It’s described as: “A high quality ladies swimwear for Muslim, Hindu, and Jewish women. A four-piece swim wear with separate cap and hijab to the top. This fine piece of clothing also consists of long sleeves and a long trouser, that has a band attached to the end to prevent it from flowing backwards, preserving modesty.” Which led me to thinking:

Wow! Is this a style of swimwear that women developed themselves for a fun and relaxing day at the beach? It looks to me like a wet-suit sans scuba gear, more suitable for underwater than on top of the water…let alone on top of the sand, in the hot sun, on a warm summer’s day, (and it even comes with straps and tie downs just in case a wave comes by and exposes your…I’m sorry but I have absolutely no idea what could possibly cause this garment to expose anything)…but what do I know about women? I’m just a man. Which led me to thinking:

What’s the matter with men?! And why do we do such horrible things to women in the name of God? For the design of the burqini is intended to comply with the Quranic admonition for Muslim women (and other women of various religious orthodoxies) to dress modestly…but whose definition of modest is this? I’m all for freedom to do as one pleases and if it pleases you to dress up in a hooded sweatshirt and pajamas when going to the beach, then so be it…but if it’s someone elses idea of modesty forced upon you because they think God’s going to have a heart attack if you show some skin then…

I mean seriously, Does anyone really believe that God actually said, “Let there be light!” And then when he could finally see what was what, decided to create man in his own likeness and image and then created woman to be man’s companion and looked at her and said, “Oh my! What have I done to my penis?!” And so then ordained (by way of male prophets) to cover up this monstrosity of his creation for all time?

What kind of fear and loathing of the human body (or of women) and the natural processes by which it survives, resides inside the brains of the men who make up these rules and regulations? And what kind of hell must the poor women who live inside these garment prisons endure?

Which then got me to thinking: Vote for Hillary Clinton to be the next President of the United States. Finally placing a woman atop the leading Democracy in the modern world just might be the best thing to happen to the people of this planet since it first began dizzily spinning on its axis…6,000 or so years ago! ( another ridiculous religious factoid undoubtedly calculated by a man, counting on his fingers, while holding onto his manhood)

 

 

 

The American Dream is Dead! (mostly)

26 Feb

 

 

According to a recent Harvard poll, just about half of all American millennials say that the American dream is dead! Actually 48% said it was dead and 49% said it was still alive… with 3% left among the undead I suppose?

For those who don’t do a lot of dreaming anymore the American Dream is the age old belief that in a society of freedom and opportunity (like here in the USA)  every US citizen should be equal in their ability to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative…regardless of ones social class or circumstances of birth.

But today in the 21st century Millennials owe over 1 trillion dollars in unpaid student loans, a far cry from their grandparents who went to college for free under the GI Bill and their parents who could pay their tuition with a summer job.

And they owe it mostly to a  U.S. government that owes 18 trillion dollars itself! Neither of which are very good signs that the “Dream” will be awakening from its coma and coming off life support any time soon.

Plus, home ownership in America, (another staple of the American Dream) is down, especially for Millennials,…And the median American household income, when a Baby Boomer is the head of household, is 20 times greater than when the household is headed by a Millennial…and the promise of doing better than the generation before you (also part of the dream) is now more hope than promise.

So achieving the American dream still involves one’s self achievement, determination and initiative and while Millennials are still graduating from college and still determined to be successful and still believe in family and home ownership, just like the generations of Americans before them,  it’s now costing a lot more and being financed with debt and not income.

But money is the stuff dreams are made of and debt is definitely not dreamy!… Unless one dreams of not having to pay it back…So where did all of the money go? And who’s responsible for killing the American Dream and why are they doing it? Or is life just the stuff dreams are made of…all hope and little promise?

As the new millennium continues, I guess we shall see…but so far many Millennials are not looking forward to what may be a rude awakening.

 

Angry Redd-er Planet?

23 Feb

Image

 

A lot of folks still believe that global warming is just a hoax…unless of course you live just about anywhere on the planet! If you are alive then you should be experiencing a certain and persistent warm feeling about your neighborhood, state, country, hemisphere or whatever…But if you still are a climate change denier…Sometimes all we need to look at is the “Big Picture”.

Above is the data from my 2014 blog post and below is the latest data from the National Climate Data Center. Personally, I can’t wait for Spring and the warmer temperatures but maybe I should be careful about what I wish for…We’re starting to look more like the Angry Red Planet and less like that Pretty Blue Dot in the heavens.

But then again, it’s only science? Maybe we should talk about feelings…

So…What’s the weather felt like where you are?

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/service/global/map-percentile-mntp/201601.gif

Human is, as Human ___?

18 Feb

Here’s a heartwarming story…

Earlier this month, After 41 days of an armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, all of the armed militants surrendered peacefully. And even though the armed occupiers were “heavily armed” and had multiple weapons that they at times threatened federal authorities and police officers with and had even pointed at them while shouting phrases like, “You’ll never take us alive” and “We’ll never surrender”, they were all captured peacefully.

No one was injured, and no shots were fired during the arrests in which officers of the law were heard to say, “nice and easy, hands behind your back.” I’m not sure if the words please were ever uttered by law enforcement officials but shouts of “hallelujah” echoed through the phone lines of those involved in the final roundup of the protesters.

Did I mention that the protesters were armed…with guns? And after their surrender they informed federal agents that the occupied area had been left booby-trapped…with explosives! And finally, after carefully (very) searching through the area, Investigators indeed found explosives, firearms and even human feces to add to the occupiers careless 41 day desecration of what was a 6,000 year old Native American archaeological site.

But the good news?

Not one of the heavily armed occupiers was:

shot in the back while running away, or shot in the front 15-20 times while holding what appeared to be weapons, or shot while surrendering, or shot while sitting in a wheelchair, or shot while being only 12 years old, or shot while holding a toy gun, or shot by a ricocheting bullet fired in fear of one’s safety, or shot to death while sitting in a car, or choked to death after surrendering, or found hanging in a jail cell after capture, or found dead in a van after the drive to jail.

So let’s all cheer “Hallelujah!” It can be done. Those who either are or are perceived to be, Threatening, belligerent, frightening, angry, heavily armed, militant criminals can be apprehended peacefully, even when law enforcement officers are in fear for their lives…even though I read no mention in any of the Oregon reports, of any law enforcement officers expressing fearfulness for their lives during the 41 day ordeal…although I’m sure, at some point, they must have.

01_06_oregon_standoff_fbi_01

Oregon Standoff 2016                                         Ferguson, MO. 2014

In conclusion: Humanity can and does work! Everyone should give it a try.

 

 

It’s Good To Be Rich…and Getting Better All the Time!

18 Feb

New medical studies show that being in the top 10% of income earners means that you will live on average 15 years longer than folks who are in the bottom 10%… and that gap is growing in leaps and bounds! 30 years ago the difference in life expectancy between the very rich and very poor was only 6 years.

But there have been big advances in medicine, technology and education, in the United States in the past 30 years…available for all people…no? So how come the longevity gap between high-income and low-income Americans has been widening? Public health researchers say that they are still investigating the causes for such a large gap in life expectancy between the rich and poor?

Gee, could it be that the rich are rich?… and in our society money buys whatever is for sale?… and although we all hate to admit it, health care, like all things American, is for sale. If you can’t pay for it, then all of the advances of the modern age might just as well be imaginary…N’es pas? Or French for that matter, I guess.

500 years ago there were 500 million humans on Earth. Today there are over 7 billion thanks in no small part and perhaps ironically, to advances in medicine, technology and education. Yet here we sit, in a free and modern country still openly debating whether or not all citizens should have access to affordable health care. And those who are opposed to that proposition can honestly only site one objection. It might cost too much.

And so at the dawn of this new age of longer life…and most probably, with continued medical and technological advances, even immortality… we are faced with the question: What will it avail a man to live long if he is to live long and be poor rather than prosper?

And what might those who prosper now want to save their money for in the future rather than share it in the present by making medicines and medical advances affordable and available to all their brethren? Well, if you only have billions today and are planning on living forever then you very well might need every penny of it for spending in your never ending future. Life I’m sure will be pretty expensive then too.

So let them eat cake and drink poisoned water and let their pensions run dry. For the rich  have got a lot of living to do!

 

Star Stuff

10 Feb

 

 

It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. We earthlings have been visiting space for almost 60 years now and this is what we’ve made of it…space that is.

Above is an actual image from the NASA Goddard Flight Space Center. I can remember sitting on the front stoop of our home in New Jersey with my mom and looking up into the evening sky to see if we could spot Sputnik, the Russian satellite that was the first of its kind in orbit around Earth, and as far as we knew, the only thing.

I was 4 years old then. Now look at what we’ve left up there…so far

Right now, more than half a million pieces of man-made space junk are orbiting our planet Earth. And about 23,000 of those pieces are the size of a softball or larger. More than 21,000 pieces of orbital debris larger than 10 cm are known to exist and the number of particles smaller than 1 cm exceeds 100 million!

I know that doesn’t mean much to those of us Earthlings who have no plans to ever leave our atmosphere but some scientists are now predicting that if some of us don’t leave soon, no one ever will because it will be impossible for one of our spacecraft to make it safely past all of the junk.

On the bright side it should make it a bit harder for aliens to attack us, although why they would want to visit or take over this mess of a planet is beyond me… Unless of course they offer a cleaning service…and cheap!

But what is sobering about the above photo is that the outside of our planet, dirty as it is, is a lot cleaner than the inside because Scientists also predict that by 2050 our oceans will be mostly plastic!

One thing you can say for us humans…and sadly perhaps the only consistent trait we’ve ever displayed…We sure know how to pollute, defile and otherwise desecrate a very pretty place… don’t we?

 

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