Need, Want, Have, Should NOT Have?

18 September 2014

The militarization of American police forces alarms me. That spokesmen for some police departments now announce that their duty is to enforce the law and NOT to serve the people alarms me even more.

Given the lack of coverage of protests on national media of some recent large protests and the legal shift towards protecting corporations aka artificial people over flesh and blood people, I now fear the use of militarized police on US citizens exercising their constitutional rights is the coming thing for America.

Doesn’t trouble you at all? Then read this:

“Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Forced to Return Military-grade Weapons, Vehicles”

And if you haven’t already, be sure and watch (or rewatch) John Oliver on the militarization of the police.

Now going to look up Kevlar on Google.


New mapping traces origins of ocean debris

3 September 2014


The world holds so much garbage and so little good news.

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

Ocean boundaries redefined

Patches of plastic debris accumulate where they are concentrated by ocean currents.

Patches of plastic debris accumulate where they are concentrated by ocean currents.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Shredded bits of plastic now outweigh plankton in parts of the Pacific Ocean, posing a growing risk to to fish, turtles and birds that eat the trash. Efforts to limit the debris haven’t progressed much in the past few years, but new modeling of ocean currents may help researchers determine exactly where the waste is coming from.

“In some cases, you can have a country far away from a garbage patch that’s unexpectedly contributing directly to the patch,” said Gary Froyland, a mathematician at Australia’s University of New South Wales.

For example, the ocean debris from Madagascar and Mozambique would most likely flow into the south Atlantic, even though the two countries’ coastlines border the Indian Ocean.

View original 327 more words

Oliver: The Rainbow

15 August 2014

Despite being a huge fan of both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, I find myself on the verge of subscribing to HBO simply so I can watch John Oliver’s superior Last Week Tonight. The topical segments posted to YouTube often stun me with their clarity and–dare I say it?–educational value. While amusing, Oliver’s topical monologues explicate America’s problems with a simple, powerful eloquence rarely seen.

When I talk about Oliver, my remarks iterate this theme: He ought to be cloned and installed in every classroom in the USA. That said, I’d never thought about exactly how and what he was doing until I read this article in Salon:

“John Oliver Won’t Be Your Therapist: How He Torpedoed the Reassuring Tropes of Fake News”

I am in debt to Steve Almond for his first rate analysis of Oliver’s work. Thanks to Almond, I understand a bit more why I find John Oliver as fascinating as a rainbow–and a lot more informative.


A Rare Answer

11 August 2014

I have nothing but awed praise for blogger Andrew W. K.’s answer to this letter.

“Ask Andrew W.K.: My Dad Is a Right-Wing Asshole”

And I also got from this a new term for black/white. either/or thinking: binary thinking.


Death, Doom, and Destruction

20 July 2014

‘Declines in Insectivorous Birds Are Associated with High Neonicotinoid Concentrations

Why is this happening? How about this: Humans are greedy, lazy, and love to breed.

As of this moment, I have little affection for my species.

Since we haven’t used pesticides here for the last 35 years and since I have planted trees and fruit bearing plants and keep insect-attracting horses, I do have a yard filled with bird song.

For how long though? I’m surrounded by people who think I’m strange for disliking all those helpful Monsanto et al products.


So You Think?

14 July 2014

Having taught second semester college composition–the dreaded research-based essay–for decades, I already knew most people dislike studying logic, dislike intellectual challenges, and, in general, dislike thinking. Still, this appropriately titled article depressed me.

“The Most Depressing Discovery About the Brain, Ever”

In a world with 7 billion people, humans cannot afford to think like their Stone Age ancestors. While they had primitive technology, they had resources we are destroying–like soil and water. We are too many and we are using all that’s left. We are doomed.

Have a nice day.


Food Stamps and the American Dream

14 July 2014

After listening to so many neighbors, friends, and relatives complain about the welfare system in America, I thought I’d post this essay. Yes, I’m sure fraud happens, but then there are situations such as this:

“This Is Wwhat Happened When I Drove My Mercedes to Pick up Food Stamps”

Unusual? Perhaps.

But more and more Americans are discovering that being well off is not an American birthright, even for those who work hard and expect that to be enough.


The Loveland Fracturing Vote: Propaganda Bombing Fractures Community

8 July 2014

An abundance of funds and persistence paid off in a local election. Fracking advocates succeeded in Loveland, Colorado. Five other communities held together. By a narrow margin, Loveland voted to allow fracking within its city limits.

Then there’s this:

“Oil-and-gas Group Failed to File Finance Reports in Loveland Fracking Election”

If the well companies may or may not be the most law abiding of “people,” they fit right in with their employees. While we are not the most exposed to the development, several neighbors nearer the wells have warned us of attempted car break-ins.

I hope those in Loveland are as happy with their new neighbors as we are with ours. Aside from emitting a nearly continuous grinding noise, the “major operation” across the street from us also had a mysterious fire last Friday. So far no one we know has found out what it was. The site is still months away from pumping, so a flare off doesn’t seem likely

I am so fracking happy.


Old News about Journalism

12 June 2014

Within the last couple of years, I’ve heard a few out-of-touch folks talk about the liberal bias of the news. They need to read this essay from almost two decades ago: “The Rise of the Right-Wing Media Machine”

Thank goodness for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and John Oliver.


Iraq Update

11 June 2014

“Iraqi Insurgents ‘Seize New City'”

It seems like just yesterday we invaded the country and one of my comp students smugly told me that now Iraq “had its democracy.”



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