mountain dawn wallpaper, government shut down produces hardship and paranoid rants

mountain dawn wallpaper

mountain dawn wallpaper

James Woods claims Hollywood is against him after anti-Obama tweets. Actor and vocal Republican says he won’t ‘work again’ after repeatedly criticizing the president over government shutdown. Woods is not particularly important in the total scheme of things. Another multi-millionaire conservative complaining about how hard life is as he lounges by the pool at his literal mansion. He tweets his opinions, free of facts or logic and tells the maid to bring him another martini. Besides blaming president Obama for the shut-down, he also blames the president for the consequences of the shut-down like the WW II vets  having some of their benefits delayed. I have no inside information as to why Hollywood has some of the most misinformed conservatives in the conservative movement. Woods was just in the Showtime series Ray with comrade in ignorance Jon Voight. Both of them insipid aging actors that, despite their paranoid rants, keep getting work from those mean Hollywood liberals. Though Woods gives us a chance to unpack some basic truths. Who is responsible for the government shut-down. Woods blames Democrats. The lame stream media says there is blame on both sides. The truth is that conservative Republicans are not only to blame, they are seeing the results of their plans, A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning

….a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy. Their push to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care law was going nowhere, and they desperately needed a new plan.

Out of that session, held one morning in a location the members insist on keeping secret, came a little-noticed “blueprint to defunding Obamacare,” signed by Mr. Meese and leaders of more than three dozen conservative groups.

It articulated a take-no-prisoners legislative strategy that had long percolated in conservative circles: that Republicans could derail the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans — including their cautious leaders — into cutting off financing for the entire federal government.

And of course lots of money from radical conservative groups was involved, The Money Behind the Shutdown Crisis. Some conservatives, backed into a corner on these facts, of which Woods and other true believers are blissfully ignorant or lack the integrity to admit, will say they had no choice. They say the deficit is out of control and a shut-down will force the president to stop his alleged free spending. The problem with that is the deficit has declined steadily under the Obama presidency. Here’s a fact: The deficit is falling. Mr. Woods further claimed, “I don’t expect to work again. I l think Barack Obama is a threat to the integrity and future of the Republic. My country first.” Here is someone using highly inflammatory hyperbole to make brazenly ignorant claims about who is responsible for the shut-down and yet also claims to care about his country.  How can one be a good citizen, try to shift the direction of the nation, yet not know the course or the reasons behind it. Is that patriotism, the blind alliance to a set of weird lies and baseless paranoia. Ultra nationalist throughout history have relied on the ignorance, greed and lack of reflection of people like Woods and Voight. Together they have caused untold misery and death. That is the perverse kind of patriotism Mark Twain was taking about when he defined a patriot as ” the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.”

South Pasadena Recreation Center. Photographer, Doug White   (No date, probably late 1950s or early 1960s)

about that one world government conspiracy, human gut brewery

Canadian Pacific Railway 4-6-2, March 1960. Gelatin silver print. D. Plowden.

Canadian Pacific Railway 4-6-2, March 1960. Gelatin silver print. D. Plowden. Part of that smoke is condensation from the cold, the other part  is coal ash, so only partly romantic nostalgia for the past.

If you grew up in the southern U.S. you grew up with ramblings about One World Govmint and the United Nations. That conspiracy theory is bone-headed in many ways, but one of the worse aspects is that it distracts from the reality that the people who believe it really are owned and help to perpetuate being owned, Exposing the Financial Core of the Transnational Capitalist Class

… people on the boards of directors of the top ten asset management firms and the top ten most centralized corporations in the world … [they find that] … there is a total of thirteen firms, which collectively have 161 directors on their boards … [and] … this group of 161 individuals represents the financial core of the world’s transnational capitalist class. They collectively manage $23.91 trillion in funds and operate in nearly every country in the world. They are the center of the financial capital that powers the global economic system. Western governments and international policy bodies work in the interests of this financial core to protect the free flow of capital investment anywhere in the world.

The writing is a little more breathless than I’d like. It is simply a matter of fact that a few people push the western economies the way they want. They wanted austerity – and they largely got it. many countries are having what Paul Krugman called a dead-cat bounce (a policy of simply shutting down half the economy for a year or two, then letting it start up again, is a smashing success)– the economies were is such bad shape that they had to inch above bottom eventually. Sure local legislators still pass laws that are propelled by local interests, but they are generally not that big an influence on the world economy. Though even locally conservative organizations like ALEC have had a big impact on the lives of average workers and their families.

North Star House

North Star House stairway, 1960. Architecture in the 20th Century. Volume III.

 

And dash of science, Auto-Brewery Syndrome: Apparently, You Can Make Beer In Your Gut

So the team searched the man’s belongings for liquor and then isolated him in a hospital room for 24 hours. Throughout the day, he ate carbohydrate-rich foods, and the doctors periodically checked his blood for alcohol. At one point, it rose 0.12 percent.

Eventually, McCarthy and Cordell pinpointed the culprit: an overabundance of brewer’s yeast in his gut.

That’s right, folks. According to Cordell and McCarthy, the man’s intestinal tract was acting like his own internal brewery.

Ordinarily the bacteria in your gut would kill most of the yeast, so this man may have some kind of medical condition that suppresses his gut bacteria.

the day after labor day

Alma Sewing

Alma Sewing, 1935. Oil on canvas. By Francis Criss. Criss, along with Charles Sheeler and Charles Demuth were part of the Precisionists movement. Viewers will have already noticed the clean graceful lines gives the painting an almost 3D appearance.

Protecting the Promise of Labor Day: Five Ways Workers are Under Attack

In 1897, President Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a federal holiday, reacting to pressure from unions following the contentious Pullman Strike.

Over the next century, unions fought to win all sorts of benefits for Americans, ranging from widespread employer-sponsored health care to reduced workdays. But this Labor Day, many of these hard-fought benefits are under attack:

Pensions: Thanks to federal reforms and labor activism, private sector pension plans proliferated in the twentieth century. In March of 1949, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that companies had to bargain with their unions over pensions. Walter Reuther – the famous United Auto Workers (UAW) leader who also addressed the 1963 March On Washington – demanded that Ford Motor Company offer retirement security in the form of pensions, and led his workers in a strike in order to win it. By September 1949, Ford agreed to a $100-a-month pension – a decision that had huge ramifications for pro-pension activism nationwide.

Today, pensions across the country are under attack. In 1979, 38 percent of workers in the private sector had access to a defined benefit plan. By 2010, only 15 percent had access to such a plan. Meanwhile in the public sector, both state and local governments continue to cut pensions even while handing out massive tax giveaways to corporations.

The Right To Organize: One right unions gave America is the ability to collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, hours and working conditions. In the 1950s more than a third of Americans belonged to unions; in 1952, there were 470 strikes involving 2.7 million workers. The recent wave of anti-union laws and aggressive anti-labor tactics by businesses has meant that far fewer Americans have been able to join a union. By the end of 2012 only 11.3 percent of Americans were unionized. Today, right-wing politicians have signed laws aimed at undermining collective bargaining in both the public and private sectors.

Income Equality: As unionization peaked in the middle of the last century, so did income equality. Incomes became “dramatically more equal in the 1940s” and “remained roughly stable through the postwar economic booms of the 1950s and 1960s.” But as researchers at the Center for American Progress found, as union membership decreased, the middle class’s share of national income shrunk at a similar rate.

Access To Health Care: “The rise of unions in the 1930s and 1940s led to the first great expansion of health care” for all Americans, as labor unions banded workers together to negotiate for health coverage plans from employers. In 1942, “the U.S. set up a National War Labor Board. It had the power to set a cap on all wage increases. But it let employers circumvent the cap by offering ‘fringe benefits’ – notably, health insurance.” By 1950, “half of all companies with fewer than 250 workers and two-thirds of all companies with more than 250 workers offered health insurance of one kind or another.” Today, corporations are cutting health benefits and fighting the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which unions helped pass.

Fair Hours: In the late nineteenth century, unions started to call for an eight-hour workday, and on May Day in 1886, over 300,000 Americans went on strike for a shorter work day. Within decades, railroad workers won an eight-hour workday, and by the 1950s, most other workers had 40-hour weeks as well. Before this burst of labor activism, the average workweek for Americans was much longer — in 1870 it was 61 hours.

In the post-WWII era, the average American worker worked less hours than even a French worker, but the trend reversed itself in the 1980s and the last few decades have seen Americans working more for less. During the same time, productivity decoupled itself from wages, meaning Americans were working more hours while not necessarily reaping the benefits – likely another outcome of declining unionization.

While these attacks on workers and their rights have been incredibly damaging, there is reason for optimism. Last year’s massive Chicago teachers’ strike won a number of benefits for both teachers and students. As Allison Kilkenny documented, for the first time in modern American history, labor strikes are becoming a widespread tool for workers in the fast food industry – with strikes in dozens of cities this past week. As workers continue to organize to beat back attacks on American labor rights, they can turn to those workers in the fast-food industry for inspiration. “I know I’m risking my job, but it’s my right to fight for my deserve,” said Julio Wilson, a Little Caesars worker in Raleigh, North Carolina, who dreams of the day his $9-an-hour wage will be large enough to care for both himself and his daughter.

catching light in a bottle, hired thugs in wisconsin and the first amendment

wind blown grass wallpaper

wind blown grass wallpaper

 

German Physicists Trap Light In Crystal For Record-Breaking 60 Seconds, Could Improve Quantum Communication [VIDEO]

Light stopped for 60 seconds inside a crystal at a research center in Germany after scientists fired lasers at it. No, this isn’t the opening scene of a James Bond film — this is physics, and it’s happening right now. Scientists at the University of Darmstadt in Germany stopped light, the fastest thing in the universe, dead in its tracks, and held it there for a whole minute.

…Light travels at a speed of 186,282 miles per second. It takes just over a second (1.2862 seconds, to be exact) for a beam of light to reach the moon. The team of university researchers in Germany was able to stop light for 60 seconds using crystals and lasers.

Another physicist had previously trapped light, but not for a couple of seconds. What does it mean, besides being able to trap light and not cause some kind of tragic death wave to roll through the universe. For reasons I am not completely clear on, this opens up the possibility of quantum communication. At least a couple times a year someone makes some discovery in physicist and claims this may lead to quantum communication. Apparently the Chinese are pretty sure already they can do that (using a special German satellite). Since the Chinese quantum communication involves sending photons with a laser pulse, quantum communication can mean more than one thing. So I’ll keep a look-out for some physicists to set the ground rules on what exactly quantum communication is and specific names for the various kinds being developed.

Frances

Frances, 1930s. Toned gelatin silver photograph, by Consuelo Kanaga (1894-1978).

Wisconsin GOP Gov. Gives Thumbs-Up to Private Security Commandos Hired By Greedy Mining Co. The company has come up with a strategy to thwart future protests: label the protesters “eco-terrorists.” If you’ve scrolled through the comments on a newspaper site or some blogs you know how quickly the discussion becomes flame throwing generalizations. Those left-of-center are not angels, but they’re generally better at keeping to the facts. One easy tactic, long practiced by political zealots is to paint the other side with the wrong doings of a few. If you get a couple dozen people together one is going to be a little faster to anger and bad behavior – apply that function to hundreds, to thousands to millions of people – guaranteed a few are going to be short fuses. So it goes with the environment. Some of the protesting is like so bad dude, like shouting and calling people names – goodness forbid. Though seriously, some have gotten physically combative and damaged property beyond anything that can be justified as civil disobedience. That tiny group is all the excuse Wisconsin Gov. Walker needs to call in a private army of head busters. None of you ordinary folk concerned about water quality, clean air and slag heaps will be considered reasonable citizens, you are a defacto terror suspect against the holy goodness of everything big mining companies do. So the 1st Amendment takes another beating in the name of safety and security.

nasa hangar one, the magic of the corporate nanny state

This and the following picture, Construction of Hangar One at NASA Sunnyvale circa 1931 – 1934. According to Wikipedia, the hangar is so large and the ceilings so high, there is occasionally some fog in the hangar.

We did not have a space program in the 1930s, but we did have a balloon program. The hangar has  been designated a Naval Historical Monument. Though no one wants to pay for upkeep and renovation, it may be sold off.

We have an one continuous magic show in the U.S. A bit of slight hand. Look over there are the people getting food assistance and other stuff “we” cannot “afford.” Do not look at the subsistence wages being paid or the corporate nanny state, “Believe It or Not!” 13 Mindblowing Facts About America’s Tax-Dodging Corporations

1. We’re told we can’t “afford” full Social Security benefits, even though closing corporate tax-haven loopholes would pay for Obama’s “chained CPI” benefit cut more than ten times over!

Abusive offshore tax havens cost the US $150 billion in lost tax revenue every year (via FACT Coalition). That’s $1.5 trillion over the next ten years.

The “chained CPI” cut, proposed by President Obama and supported by Republicans, is projected to “save” a total of $122 billion to $130 billion over the same time period by denying benefits to seniors and disabled people.

It’s true. “Serious” politicians and pundits are demanding that ordinary people sacrifice earned benefits, while at the same time allowing corporations to avoid more than ten times as much in taxes.

5. The amount of money US corporations are holding offshore is an estimated one trillion dollars!

Rather than tax these profits the way other countries do, corporate politicians are promoting a tax “repatriation” break that would let corporations “bring this money home” while paying even less than their currently low rates.

They tried that in 2004 and it didn’t create any jobs. In fact, corporations took the tax break and then fired thousands of people. What “repatriation” did do is line a lot of wealthy investors’ pockets.

So, naturally, they want to do it again.

Believe in the magic, it is better to be to outraged that someone bought a can of carbonated cola with their food stamps, than to be outraged corporations are leeching off the public for some serious amounts of cash.

Zephyr Dancing with Flora 1870

Zephyr Dancing with Flora (1870). By Giovanni Maria Benzoni(Italian, 1809-1873). While a surprising work, Benzoni seems to have taken liberties with ancient legends. Combining the Greek myths of the wind god Zephyr with the Roman legend of the goddess of flowers, Flora.

landscape wallpapers, all your uterus belong to us, linnaeus and the teen troglodyte

tuscany spring wallpaper

tuscany spring wallpaper 1920×1080

storm break wallpaper

storm break wallpaper 1680×1050

marriage contract

Jewish marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on paper, dated 13 September 1871 at Itsfahan, Iran. I don’t know what the translation is. We’re not pass such things, prenuptial agreements are the modern era marriage contracts. While the history is interesting in light of modern day tensions with Iran and a Jewish couple wedding in the same territory over a hundred years ago, what drew my attention was the hand etched art.

Some organically grown links:

This SCOTUS decision didn’t make the headlines, A Legal Blow to Sustainable Development

While that may sound obscure, the decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District will result in long-lasting harm to America’s communities. That’s because the ruling creates a perverse incentive for municipal governments to reject applications from developers rather than attempt to negotiate project designs that might advance both public and private goals — and it makes it hard for communities to get property owners to pay to mitigate any environmental damage they may cause.

The IRS “Scandal” Was A Scam

Monday’s revelation that progressive as well as conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status had been singled out for review by the Internal Revenue Service left one pressing question: Why [[then]] did the inspector general’s report detailing improper scrutiny only mention conservative groups?

Last night we got the answer: The IG only reported on conservative groups because that’s what Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the notoriously partisan chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told him to do.

That is some mighty fine corruption there Congress Critter Issa (R-CA), when you can get the U.S. Inspector General to spin reports for you.

Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778) was one of the great pioneers of what would become  modern science. That is not to say he was always right. In 1758 he tried to purchase a teenager in London as a scientific specimen. He thought she was a troglodyte

Wendy Davis Showed Texas’ GOP Boys How to Respect Women. Just as I read that story, a wire service reported that Gov. Perry (R-TX)  has called for another special session so his gerrymandered legislature can give him clear title of Grand Wizard of All Texas Uterus. Perry and Governor Kasich (R-OH) plan to have an annual convention of Conservative Men With a Uterus.

bicycle wallpaper, just think about it, the great american con continues

city lights bicycle wallpaper

city lights bicycle wallpaper

 

For better or worse most of us have to learn new things all the time. Some of us think of that continual process as a challenge that makes life more interesting. Some people would rather not learn new things because it takes them out of their comfort zone. When we are in the learning curve it can be frustrating. Though once most people get through the initial anxiety and the new knowledge or skills begin to fall into place we tend to get in a nice comfort zone with the mastery of our new skills. Once learned the concentration that was required at the beginning may no longer be required, but we still need to think a little bit. If you learn a new data base you still have to concentrate on the fields and what you enter – qualitative concentration that never really becomes part of that comfort zone. Even in sports one might become very good relatively quickly, but as baseball players and golfers will tell you, it is also easy to forget the basics and pick up some bad habits. The Myth of ‘Just Do It’

That experts increase their focus on the task at hand in order to cope with pressure is suggested by studies, like those carried out by the University of Hull sports and exercise psychologist Adam Nicholls, which ask professional or elite athletes to keep a diary of stressors that occur and coping strategies that they employ during games. Though small scale, these studies do indicate that a common method of dealing with stress involves redoubling both effort and attention. As Nicholls told me, when I asked him about it, “increasing effort was an effective strategy and really helped the players.”

Winter Landscape with Skaters, Hendrick Avercamp, ca 1608

Winter Landscape with Skaters, c1608 by Hendrick Avercamp. Oil on canvas.

 

Three of my favorite movies about conmen, Peter Bogdanovich’s Paper Moon (1973), The Grifters (1990)  and before he became a conservative asshat, David Mamet’s House of Games (1987). As clever as these conmen and women are, they have nothing on conservative Republicans, The Sword Drops on Food Stamps (It’s official: Congress will slash food stamp funding in the midst of a deep economic recession, when more people rely on food stamps than ever before). And Congress Turns Its Back on Rural America (Due to sequester cuts, SEK-CAP decided in May that it could no longer afford to operate the Head Start Center in Neodesha). The conservative gifters have managed to convince millions of Americans and much of the media that the gravest problems facing America is basic safety net programs, not the trillions of dollars corporations redistribute from the economy to the wealthiest people in history. Who also do the least work in proportion to that wealth. The con itself is not just clever. The passionate degree with which conservatives are convinced that if we pull away the safety net these people will pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Those would be the bootstraps that an executive who makes millions a year has outsourced to a factory in Asia where the workers are making 75 cents an hour.