2 Yr Old DJ

| | Comments (0)

A toddler disc jockey fascinates South African fans

JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- At first it seems like a fluke -- a 2-year-old playing with the knobs and buttons of a sophisticated music system. Yet, the tiny boy is in control of the big beat of the bass-heavy house music. He is South Africa's youngest disc jockey, DJ AJ.

At a shopping mall appearance, a crowd gathers around the young boy as he bops his head to the beat, his large headphones slipping off. Adults whip out their cellphones to capture the moment while children just stare.

Oratilwe Hlongwane is still learning to put together words but the toddler is already able to select and play music from a laptop and has become a viral phenomenon on South Africa's social media.

His mother, Refiloe Marumo, credits his father's decision to buy an iPad for his then unborn son. Glen Hlongwane planned to download educational apps to speed up his child's education. Hlongwane, a gymnastics coach and aspiring DJ, also downloaded a disc jockeying app for himself.

At about a year old, DJ AJ learned how to manipulate the gadget. Not satisfied with number recognition games, he began to fiddle with his father's DJ app.

The parents were blown away when their son, still in diapers, repeated what he had learned on the app on actual DJ equipment, playing with sound effects and bouncing between songs. A cellphone video of him playing went viral and now DJ AJ has nearly 25,000 facebook followers.

Policing the Police

| | Comments (0)

A comprehensive list of death by police.

Killed By Police 2015


Still Crazy...Bitch, I'm Madonna

| | Comments (0)

The New 57 yrs old

$ vs $

| | Comments (0)


Billionaire donor's climate group plans to punish GOP in 2016

By Benjy Sarlin

NextGen Climate, the environmental super PAC founded by billionaire Tom Steyer, announced plans on Monday to punish Republican presidential candidates who reject the scientific consensus on climate change.

The group spent over $70 million in the 2014 midterms attacking Republican candidates in a number of high-profile Senate races, but were unable to stem the tide in what was ultimately a strong GOP year. On a call with reporters on Monday, NGC chief strategist Chris Lehane declined to provide a specific dollar pledge for the 2016 race, but said that Steyer and his allies would "spend what it takes" to make climate a damaging campaign issue for Republicans.

Much of the effort will center on linking Republican attacks on climate science, where the overwhelming consensus points towards man-made emissions causing dangerous changes in the environment, to political spending by conservative billionaires David and Charles Koch. The Koch brothers have pledged to raise upwards of $889 million in the 2016 election cycle, rivaling spending by the two major parties in 2012.

"It is a party that is in essence acquired and purchased by the Koch brothers," Lehane said.

A spokeswoman for Koch Industries did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Environmental group Greenpeace has accused the Koch network of spending tens of millions of dollars on organizations that work to undermine mainstream climate science. Koch Industries has said it promotes "sound science." 

"It is a party that is in essence acquired and purchased by the Koch brothers," Lehane said.

A spokeswoman for Koch Industries did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Environmental group Greenpeace has accused the Koch network of spending tens of millions of dollars on organizations that work to undermine mainstream climate science. Koch Industries has said it promotes "sound science."

President Obama has made climate change a top priority in his second term, presiding over a series of major new regulations on emissions as well as a landmark climate agreement with China. Scientists warn that immediate and further action is needed to stave off global warming of 2 degrees or higher by 2100, a tipping point that experts fear would have especially dangerous consequences.

Much of the likely GOP 2016 field has questioned or outright dismissed the idea that human activity is responsible for climate change. Establishment frontrunner Jeb Bush has called himself a "skeptic," for example, while Senator Ted Cruz recently likened climate activists to "flat-earthers."

Enter the Millenials

| | Comments (0)

Fantastic Journey

| | Comments (0)

Love it...Brave Loves.

Let Me Speak

| | Comments (0)

One of the best correctives I ever received in my life was at the inception of a 40 minute private talk with Joni on a ferry ride to the Sechelt Penninsula where she and i lived temporarily. She has always been a life long hero of mine, her lyrics frequently a script for my own life. I introduced myself as a life long fan. She answered with a smile and extended hand to shake adding..." I prefer the term ardent admirer over fan...what do you think?"

Of course. Perfect.

Now she has fallen seriously ill and I am saddened at the thought of losing her.


Joni Mitchell's famous fans are voicing their support for the folk singer while she is in hospital in Los Angeles.

Harry Potter star Emma Watson said on Twitter: "heard about Joni and haven't been able to concentrate all morning. So hope she's doing ok."

Kiss lead singer Paul Stanley tweeted a recent picture of himself and the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, telling his followers to send her love and prayers.

Actor Kevin Bacon tweeted that he was "sending good wishes today to one of the finest singing, song-writing, guitar playing artists in history".

Boy George, Billy Idol and Tori Amos were also among the well-wishers.

Mitchell, 71, was found unconscious in her home on Tuesday night and taken to hospital by ambulance. Her website said she was in intensive care and undergoing tests.

Mitchell told Billboard magazine last year that she has a rare skin condition, Morgellons disease, which prevents her from performing.


Pet Rock Creator Gary Dahl Dies

| | Comments (0)

The best advertizing and product of the 20th century.

The man who put plain rocks in a box and sold them for $3.95 as "pets," igniting a 1970's fad, has passed.

Gary Ross Dahl, the creator of the wildly popular 1970s fad the Pet Rock, died at age 78 in southern Oregon.

Progressive Punishment

| | Comments (0)

Good idea that should be in place in the US


It's a tradition referred to in Finland as "progressive punishment," and driving fines are charged as percentages of income. For Kuisla, who earned €6.5 million on his 2013 tax return, driving over the speed limit cost tens of thousands of euros.

Kuisla took to his Facebook page to speak out against the decades-old practice in Finland. "Ten years ago I wouldn't have believed that I would seriously consider moving abroad. Finland is impossible to live in for certain kinds of people who have high incomes and wealth."

And it's not the biggest fine in Finnish history. In 2002, a Nokia executive was fined €112,000 for speeding on his motorcycle. And Finnish ice hockey player Teemu Selänne was fined about €39,000 for speeding in the 90s.

What's your craziest speeding ticket story?

Parallels With the Past

| | Comments (0)

Why Reconstruction Matters

Eric Foner

The surrender of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, 150 years ago next month, effectively ended the Civil War. Preoccupied with the challenges of our own time, Americans will probably devote little attention to the sesquicentennial of Reconstruction, the turbulent era that followed the conflict. This is unfortunate, for if any historical period deserves the label "relevant," it is Reconstruction.

Issues that agitate American politics today -- access to citizenship and voting rights, the relative powers of the national and state governments, the relationship between political and economic democracy, the proper response to terrorism -- all of these are Reconstruction questions. But that era has long been misunderstood.

Reconstruction refers to the period, generally dated from 1865 to 1877, during which the nation's laws and Constitution were rewritten to guarantee the basic rights of the former slaves, and biracial governments came to power throughout the defeated Confederacy. For decades, these years were widely seen as the nadir in the saga of American democracy. According to this view, Radical Republicans in Congress, bent on punishing defeated Confederates, established corrupt Southern governments presided over by carpetbaggers (unscrupulous Northerners who ventured south to reap the spoils of office), scalawags (Southern whites who supported the new regimes) and freed African-Americans, unfit to exercise democratic rights. The heroes of the story were the self-styled Redeemers, who restored white supremacy to the South.

This portrait, which received scholarly expression in the early-20th-century works of William A. Dunning and his students at Columbia University, was popularized by the 1915 film "Birth of A Nation" and by Claude Bowers's 1929 best-selling history, "The Tragic Era." It provided an intellectual foundation for the system of segregation and black disenfranchisement that followed Reconstruction. Any effort to restore the rights of Southern blacks, it implied, would lead to a repeat of the alleged horrors of Reconstruction.

Historians have long since rejected this lurid account, although it retains a stubborn hold on the popular imagination. Today, scholars believe that if the era was "tragic," it was not because Reconstruction was attempted but because it failed.

Reconstruction actually began in December 1863, when Abraham Lincoln announced a plan to establish governments in the South loyal to the Union. Lincoln granted amnesty to most Confederates so long as they accepted the abolition of slavery, but said nothing about rights for freed blacks. Rather than a blueprint for the postwar South, this was a war measure, an effort to detach whites from the Confederacy. On Reconstruction, as on other questions, Lincoln's ideas evolved. At the end of his life, he called for limited black suffrage in the postwar South, singling out the "very intelligent" (prewar free blacks) and "those who serve our cause as soldiers" as most worthy.

Lincoln did not live to preside over Reconstruction. That task fell to his successor, Andrew Johnson. Once lionized as a heroic defender of the Constitution against Radical Republicans, Johnson today is viewed by historians as one of the worst presidents to occupy the White House. He was incorrigibly racist, unwilling to listen to criticism and unable to work with Congress. Johnson set up new Southern governments controlled by ex-Confederates. They quickly enacted the Black Codes, laws that severely limited the freed people's rights and sought, through vagrancy regulations, to force them back to work on the plantations. But these measures aroused bitter protests among blacks, and convinced Northerners that the white South was trying to restore slavery in all but name.

LHC Is Monster

| | Comments (0)


| | Comments (0)

andreas-lubitz.jpg"Attention, passengers, tis is your co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, you are about to cement my place in history, I thank you for your sacrifice.

That is all."


Another example of where human vanity can have lethal results.


| | Comments (0)

Today's sermon from Rev Jim at the local Baptist congregation of friendlies was from the Mount where Jesus lays out the concept and powerful magic of Mercy. He said:

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

The change in perspective and reference frame that comes if one allows that:

In Mercy He does not give us what we deserve

summated in "There but for the grace of God go I"

or "Why to stop judging others as the fundament of being merciful."

Imagine letting go of road rage as a conscious elevating exercise.

Integrity Can Be Everything

| | Comments (0)

I disagree with Capehart's interpretation, but not with his desire to take such a potentially unpopular stand. He is showing a tremendous amount of personal integrity

Black Snitches (see White Snitches)

Expanding the Human Umwelt

| | Comments (0)

As humans, we can perceive less than a ten-trillionth of all light waves. "Our experience of reality," says neuroscientist David Eagleman, "is constrained by our biology." He wants to change that.

His research into our brain processes has led him to create new interfaces -- such as a sensory vest -- to take in previously unseen information about the world around us.

The practical implications of this are astounding.

Let Your Little Light Shine

| | Comments (0)


City of Madera Police Department

Last night Jose Espinoza fled from a stolen car. Officers arrested Jose later in the evening after he fled a second time. This time Jose spray painted his face black in an effort to camouflage himself. The camouflage was ineffective. Jose was booked at MDOC. JA 3597

White Snitches

| | Comments (0)

Dr. Jason Johnson is a politics and culture analyst and a professor of Political Science at Hiram College

He writes about being brave in the face of your own ilk.

OpEd: SAE Fraternity and The 'White Snitch' Phenomenon

Way back in 2004 the press and pop culture became obsessed with the "Stop Snitching" campaign.

Snitching -- which is really just a layman's term for whistleblowing -- was seen as the lowest form of betrayal. Rappers, law enforcement, criminals and pundits argued over this idea that you don't rat out your friends, co-workers, or even criminal conspirators because betrayal is a worse crime than whatever it was you're going to the authorities about.

But the truth is, almost nothing in America has ever progressed without a few snitches here and there. And nowhere is that more evident than in the recent scandal of the racist chant caught on video, as performed by the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma.

The SAE scandal is the manifestation of the racist's biggest nightmare in the Obama era: they are losing their safe spaces.

There are plenty of legal, social and financial implications of this scandal to unpack, but the most overlooked aspect of the story is that somebody, on that bus, snitched. And despite all of the ugliness revealed by that video and the young men involved, the fact that we even heard about this story is a sign of amazing racial progress in the Obama era.

The University of Oklahoma and the SAE national fraternity were swift to punish the students involved in the racist chant. The fraternity brothers laugh and cheer as they sing about how black people should be lynched and how they'd never allow African Americans in their frat. It's pretty evident that this chant has been around for a long time, despite preposterous attempts to pin it on rappers. The conversation about the origins of the chant is just a red herring.

While I do not believe that students should be expelled just for saying racist words -- they are entitled to free speech and they were not using University equipment, or making explicit threats -- the wrangling over the legality of his action should not overshadow the significance of how this entire situation came to be known.

SAE wasn't exposed because of some dimwitted Facebook post of a racist dress up party, or some equally obnoxious Instagram. Someone on that BUS, most definitely a white person, and quite possibly a member of SAE filmed their chant and felt compelled to report it to authorities.

A bus full of white frat boys in Oklahoma used to be about the safest space for open air bigotry in America - but after this scandal, even that can be called into question.

The SAE scandal is the manifestation of the racist's biggest nightmare in the Obama era: they are losing their safe spaces.

There used to be a "Mad Men" type time in America when you could spout your angry racist invective and know that other white people -- whether they agreed with you or not -- would maintain that wall of white silence. Not anymore.

Some of the biggest racial controversy stories over the last few years have not been African Americans exposing white bigotry but white people exposing other white people for being bigots.

In 2013, when Paula Deen's accuser Lisa Jackson said "I may be a white woman, but racism still hurts," that wall started to crumble. In 2014 when North Carolina school teacher Cynthia Ramsey was suspended for reportedly saying she would "kill all black people," I'm sure she was shocked when it was a white parent that reported her.

When Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R- WI) can't make racial jokes about Michelle Obama in a white senior citizen's church bazaar because FLOTUS has fans, the world is changing. A bus full of white frat boys in Oklahoma used to be about the safest space for open air bigotry in America - but after this scandal, even that can be called into question.

It cannot be understated that there is a hero in the midst of this scandal who clearly put his moral conscience above his own safety, his own social standing, his fraternity and most importantly his racial privilege.

It is never easy to be a snitch, especially when the organization that you're about to expose is one that you have pledged loyalty to for the rest of your life. Nevertheless it cannot be understated that there is a hero in the midst of this scandal who clearly put his moral conscience above his own safety, his own social standing, his fraternity and most importantly his racial privilege.

There will likely never be a point where there aren't racists in America, and certainly the millennial generation is no panacea of racial progress. However, like President Obama so eloquently said in his speech last Sunday in Selma, we can't give in to cynicism either.

Fifty years ago when this chant was probably recited before every meal at SAE, nobody in the fraternity even had a problem with it, let alone felt morally compelled to bring scorn and condemnation to the organization over the chant.

When the whitest of white spaces, the hallowed chant of a white fraternity in Oklahoma is no longer a safe space for bigotry, we're seeing progress, and that's something worth celebrating.


Bongeziwe Mabandla

| | Comments (0)

I really love this music.


| | Comments (0)

Darkness Has No Power To Extinguish Even One Candle

Harry Baker

Sermonette # 10

| | Comments (0)

American Denial


You can't feel the heat until you hold your hand over the flame
You have to cross the line just to remember where it lays
You won't know your worth now, son, until you take a hit
And you won't find the beat until you lose yourself in it

That's why we won't back down
We won't run and hide
Yeah, 'cause these are the things that we can't deny
I'm passing over you like a satellite
So catch me if I fall
That's why we stick to your game plans and party lives
But at night we're conspiring by candlelight
We are the orphans of the American dream
So shine your light on me

You can't fill your cup until you empty all it has
You can't understand what lays ahead
If you don't understand the past
You'll never learn to fly now
'Til you're standing at the cliff
And you can't truly love until you've given up on it

That's why we won't back down
We won't run and hide
Yeah, 'cause these are the things that we can't deny
I'm passing over you like a satellite
So catch me if I fall
That's why we stick to your game plans and party lives
But at night we're conspiring by candlelight
We are the orphans of the American dream
So shine your light on me

She told me that she never could face the world again
So I offered up a plan

We'll sneak out while they sleep
And sail off in the night.

@kerk8472jim #25

He Lived Long and Prospered

| | Comments (0)

ICE Scam

| | Comments (0)

The Global Oil Scam: 50 Times Bigger than Madoff

Philip Davis

$2.5 Trillion - That's the size of the global oil scam.

It's a number so large that, to put it in perspective, we will now begin measuring the damage done to the global economy in "Madoff Units" ($50Bn rip-offs). $2.5Tn is 50 times the amount of money that Bernie Madoff scammed from investors in his lifetime, but it is less than the monthly excess price the global population is being manipulated into paying for a barrel of oil.

Where is the outrage? Where are the investigations?

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), BP (NYSE:BP), Total (NYSE:TOT), Shell (NYSE:RDS.A), Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) and Societe Generale (OTCPK:SCGLY) founded the Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE) in 2000. ICE is an online commodities and futures marketplace. It is outside the US and operates free from the constraints of US laws. The exchange was set up to facilitate "dark pool" trading in the commodities markets. Billions of dollars are being placed on oil futures contracts at the ICE and the beauty of this scam is that they NEVER take delivery, per se. They just ratchet up the price with leveraged speculation using your TARP money. This year alone they ratcheted up the global cost of oil from $40 to $80 per barrel.

A Congressional investigation into energy trading in 2003 discovered that ICE was being used to facilitate "round-trip" trades. Round-trip trades occur when one firm sells energy to another, and then the second firm simultaneously sells the same amount of energy back to the first company at exactly the same price. No commodity ever changes hands. But when done on an exchange, these transactions send a price signal to the market and they artificially boost revenue for the company. This is nothing more than a massive fraud, pure and simple.

"Traders of the the ICE core membership (GS, MS, BP, DB, RDS.A, GLE & TOT) wouldn't really have to put much money at risk by their standards in order to move or support the global market price via the BFOE market. Indeed the evolution of the Brent market has been a response to declining production and the fact that traders could not resist manipulating the market by buying up contracts and "squeezing" those who had sold oil they did not have. The fewer cargoes produced, the easier the underlying market is to manipulate." - Chris Cook, Former Director of the International Petroleum Exchange, which was bought by ICE.

How widespread are round-trip trades? The Congressional Research Service looked at trading patterns in the energy sector and this is what they reported:

This pattern of trading suggests a market environment in which a significant volume of fictitious trading could have taken place. Yet since most of the trading is unregulated by the government, we have only a slim idea of the illusion being perpetrated in the energy sector.

DMS Energy, when investigated by Congress, admitted that 80 percent of its trades in 2001 were round-trip trades. That means 80 percent of all of their trades that year were bogus trades where no commodity changed hands, and yet the balance sheets reflect added revenue. Remember, these trades are sham deals where nothing was exchanged. Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) disclosed that $1.1 billion worth of trades were round-trip since 1999. Roughly two-thirds of these were done on the InterContinental Exchange; that is, the online, nonregulated, nonaudited, nonoversight for manipulation and fraud entity run by banks in this country. That means thousands of subscribers would see false pricing. Under investigation, a lawyer for JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) admitted the bank engineered a series of "round-trip" trades with Enron.

You can chart the damage done by Goldman Sachs and their gang of thieves by looking at commodity pricing pre- and post-ICE. Before ICE, commodities followed a more or less normal growth path that matched global GDP and was always limited in price appreciation by the fact that, ultimately, someone had to take delivery of a physical commodity at a set price.

ICE threw that concept out the window and turned commodity trading into a speculative casino game where pricing was notional and contracts could be sold by people who never produced a thing, to people who didn't need the things that were not produced. And in just 5 years after commencing operations, Goldman Sachs and their partners managed to TRIPLE the price of commodities.

Keystone XL Pipeline Dead?

| | Comments (0)

Fantastic news for the environment and Nebraska landowners.

Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

President Barack Obama has officially vetoed a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, marking his third rejection of congressionally approved legislation during his six years in office.

In the veto message, Obama said that the bill "attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest."

"[B]ecause this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest -- including our security, safety, and environment -- it has earned my veto," Obama said.

The veto, which was long expected, came the same day that the GOP-dominated Congress formally submitted the bill to Obama, although it was passed by both chambers of Congress before the week-long Presidents Day recess.

The White House has said that the president opposes the bill because it would cut short an ongoing review process of the project by the State Department. Obama has also expressed some skepticism about how many jobs the pipeline would create.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the Senate will attempt to override the veto no later than March 3. Congress could override the veto if two-thirds of both the House and the Senate vote to do so, but lawmakers aren't expected to reach that threshold.

Corporate Theft of Public Resources

| | Comments (0)

The Corporate Debt to Society: $10,000 Per Household, Per Year

Big business owes Americans big time for providing them most of their labor and resources.

Paul Buchheit

The corporate debt to society: $10,000 per household, per year. That estimate is based on facts, not the conservative-style emotion that might deny the responsibility for any debt to the American people. Wealth redistribution to big business has occurred in a variety of ways to be explained below. And there's some precedent for paying Americans for the use of their commonly-held resources. The Alaska Permanent Fund has been in effect, and widely popular, for over thirty years. 

The Main Argument: Corporations Have Used Our Money To Build Their Businesses 

Over half (57 percent) of basic research is paid for by our tax dollars. Corporations don't want to pay for this. It's easier for them to allow public money to do the startup work, and then, when profit potential is evident, to take over with applied R&D, often with patents that take the rights away from the rest of us. 

All the technology in our phones and computers started this way, and continues to the present day. Pharmaceutical companies have depended on the National Institute of Health. The quadrillion-dollar trading capacity of the financial industry was made possible by government-funded Internet technology, and the big banks survived because of a $7 trillion public bailout

A particularly outrageous example of a company turning public research into a patent-protected private monopoly is the sordid tale (here) of the drug company Gilead Sciences. 

Adding to the Argument: Publicly Funded Technology Is Taking Our Jobs Away 

Despite a continuing growth in productivity in the last 35 years, wages have fallen dramatically, and now it's getting even worse, as technology and new business models have begun to diminish the need for warehouse workers, bank tellers, cashiers, travel agents, and a host of other middle-income positions. Underemployment and long-term unemployment are on the rise. Jobs involving product delivery, driving, and serving food may be the next to go. 

We paid for the technology that is reducing us to low-wage workers. 

Corporations Owe $5,000 Per Household for the Public Research Bill 

According to the National Science Foundation (Table 4-3), public money pays for about 30 percent of all U.S. research, including basic, applied, and development. 30 percent of over $2 trillion in corporate profits comes to about $5,000 per U.S. household. 

Add $2,000 for Pollution and Disaster Relief Costs 

quarter of the fossil fuels produced in the U.S. in 2014 came from public land, much of it by the two biggest oil producers, Exxon and Chevron, neither of which pay much in U.S. taxes, and both of which claim mostly foreign profits despite using mostly U.S. resources. 

It is estimated that pollution costs run anywhere from $71 billion to $277 billion per year. The midpoint of $174 billion comes to about $1,500 per U.S. household. It is further estimated that federal and state disaster relief payouts cost every person in the US more than $300, which translates to well over $500 per household. 

Add Another $3,000 Per Household for Unpaid Taxes and Corporate Welfare 

Tax avoidance and federal tax subsidies add up to about $3,000 per household, per year. A lot more could be added if the industry-specific costs of excessive bank fees and overpriced medications were factored in. 

That's a total of at least $10,000 per household, per year. If the corporations plead poverty, they might be reminded about the 95 percent of S&P 500 profits spent on stock buybacks (which enrich stockowners) and dividend payouts, and the $2 trillion hoarded overseas in tax havens. 

The America Permanent Fund 

With an America Permanent Fund (APF), based on Alaska's successful program and further developed by Peter Barnes, all of us -- rich and poor alike -- would receive a share of our national productivity, as indeed we deserve. 

Not only is the APF fair, but it is also good business. Money earned by average Americans stimulates economic activity. A stronger consumer class will generate even more profits for the nation's corporations, if those big profit-makers will support the people who provided most of the labor and resources. 

The Education Lie

| | Comments (0)

Paul Krugman Destroys the Latest Lie About Why We Have Rampant Inequality

Supposedly "very serious people" keep diverting attention away from the real problem.

by Janet Allon

Supposedly very serious people keep talking about education being both the cause of and the panacea to our country's rampant and rising inequality. Education is great! Education is lovely! Who the heck does not love education, especially when it is both affordable and available to all? But all this supposedly serious talk about education, Paul Krugman writes in Monday's column,is a distraction from the real cause of inequality--which is power.

Here's Krugman's summary--and debunking--of the "education-centric story of our problems":

We live in a period of unprecedented technological change, and too many American workers lack the skills to cope with that change. This "skills gap" is holding back growth, because businesses can't find the workers they need. It also feeds inequality, as wages soar for workers with the right skills but stagnate or decline for the less educated. So what we need is more and better education.

My guess is that this sounds familiar -- it's what you hear from the talking heads on Sunday morning TV, in opinion articles from business leaders like Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, in "framing papers" from the Brookings Institution's centrist Hamilton Project. It's repeated so widely that many people probably assume it's unquestionably true. But it isn't.

For one thing, is the pace of technological change really that fast? "We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters," the venture capitalist Peter Thiel has snarked. Productivity growth, which surged briefly after 1995, seems to have slowed sharply.

Furthermore, there's no evidence that a skills gap is holding back employment. After all, if businesses were desperate for workers with certain skills, they would presumably be offering premium wages to attract such workers. So where are these fortunate professions? You can find some examples here and there. Interestingly, some of the biggest recent wage gains are for skilled manual labor -- sewing machine operatorsboilermakers -- as some manufacturing production moves back to America. But the notion that highly skilled workers are generally in demand is just false.

Finally, while the education/inequality story may once have seemed plausible, it hasn't tracked reality for a long time. "The wages of the highest-skilled and highest-paid individuals have continued to increase steadily," the Hamilton Project says. Actually, the inflation-adjusted earnings of highly educated Americans have gone nowhere since the late 1990s. 
So what is all this supposedly oh-so-serious talk obscuring? The fact that corporate profits are soaring, but rather than being spread or invested widely, those profits are going to those who have a monopoly on power, which is a rather tiny group of well-placed people. Knowledge is not power. Power is power, and it is highly concentrated. And those who have it have a big incentive to divert the discussion away from the fact that they are indeed the problem.  As Krugman points out, it would not even be that hard to begin to address rising inequality. Higher taxes on corporations and the uber-wealthy would be a great start. Raising minimum wage. You don't need a Ph.D in economics to realize these moves would help.  Corporate overlords and their lackeys in Congress are intent on making sure that never happens and are working overtime to divert the national conversation, this time to the fantasy that education will fix all.


Transgender Comparative

| | Comments (0)

Stunning example of what transgender means.


Transgender model recreates nude Adam Levine photo

Two important issues have now been laid bare through one racy pose.

For the upcoming issue of FTM Magazine, founder and CEO Jason Robert Ballard decided to have his cover model recreate Cosmopolitan UK's iconic nude portrait of Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, who posed with just a pair of hands covering his genitals. The musician's photo shoot was part of a campaign to raise awareness for prostate and testicular cancer.

As the head of the publication, Ballard had a different cause in mind. This time, he was seeking to create awareness for the community that his magazine covers: transgender people.

In anticipation of cover man Aydian Dowling's photo shoot, Ballard and the transgender model began gathering "sexy shots" that inspired them, according to FTM.

"As we collected them, I came across the shoot of Adam Levine for his prostate and testicular cancer campaign and immediately asked Aydian if he'd be comfortable doing that kind of thing," Ballard is quoted as saying.

Dowling was on board. "It'll be like one of those 'imagine the audience naked' deals ... Only I'm the naked one. I better hit the gym," he said in response.

The result is a stunning recreation of the original Ben Riggot photo, in which a buff and tattooed Dowling stands nude with his wife Jenilee's manicured nails covering his genital region.

Since the debut of FTM's version, the image been shared worldwide, with many arguing that Dowling outshined the pop singer and Voice judge.

"[W]e've received almost unanimous support for it and our attempts at creating visibility for the trans masculine spectrum," Ballard said in an email to The Huffington Post.

While the photo possesses sheer entertainment value, the image also shares an important message by challenging those who have a false sense of who transgender people are and what they look like, he said.

"We by no means mean to say that this is what all transgender males look like, but this is what one of us looks like, and it's no different from our cisgender counterparts," the email said.

Perhaps Dowling best puts this into words. "Some areas of my body used to remind me of everything I'm not. Now they represent everything I am," the model is quoted as saying in FTM's recent issue.

Dowling, who documented his transition on his YouTube channel "A Lions Fears," also had his wedding was documented as part of MTV's Emmy-nominated "It Gets Better Project." He paid for his top surgery, or removal of breast tissue, through sales from his clothing company Point 5cc, which now helps pay for surgeries for other members of the transgender community.

Brilliant performances both.


Today's Thought

| | Comments (0)

We don't believe what we see,

we see what we believe.

50 years Since Heroic X

| | Comments (0)


"I believe that there will be ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those who do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the system of exploitation. I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don't think it will be based on the color of the skin..."

― Malcolm X