Sermonette # 10

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American Denial

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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

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ICE Scam

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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Stunning example of what transgender means.

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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.

Glory

Today's Thought

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We don't believe what we see,

we see what we believe.





50 years Since Heroic X

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"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

Drawing How To Make Toast

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tom.wujecc.jpgMaking toast doesn't sound very complicated -- until someone asks you to draw the process, step by step.

Tom Wujec loves asking people and teams to draw how they make toast, because the process reveals unexpected truths about how we can solve our biggest, most complicated problems at work.

Learn how to run this exercise yourself, and hear Wujec's surprising insights from watching thousands of people draw toast.

Slavery is Slavery

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4 D Shadows

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Artist Uses 3-D Printing to Create 'Shadows' of 4-D Objects

It's hard to visualize what four-dimensional objects look like -- but Henry Segerman, an artist and mathematician at Oklahoma State University at Stillwater, can show you their three-dimensional shadows.

Segerman uses extradimensional geometry and a 3-D printer to show how objects that exist in four spatial dimensions would look if they were to dip down into our three-dimensional universe. It's an artistic spin-off of "Flatland," the classic parable about extra dimensions.

In Edwin Abbott's book, the two-dimensional denizens of Flatland are flummoxed when a sphere comes to visit: Its 2-D projection looks just like a circle of changing size as it moves through Flatland's permeable plane. Similarly, a 4-D object would look like a morphing 3-D shape as it moved through our realm.


A New Seminal Series on Black History

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'The Book of Negroes' Illuminates a Journey to Freedom

By Amanda-Rae Prescott

Aminata Diallo was only 12-years-old, when she was kidnapped from Guinea in the 1750s. Her mother had trained her to be a midwife. After months of walking overland and a dangerous ocean crossing, she was sold to an indigo plantation in South Carolina. She defied bans against education for slaves, and learned how to read and write. Despite a life filled with personal tragedies, she finds the courage to survive.

The story of Diallo's journey and her mission to save herself and other enslaved people unfolds in the miniseries "The Book of Negroes," which will be televised over three nights on BET beginning Feb. 16.

Based on the novel by Canadian writer Laurence Hill, the title of "The Book of Negroes" refers to a real British document that listed the names of runaway slaves who had helped the British during the Revolutionary War.

"This is an untold African-American/Afro-Canadian story," Hill said at a screening of the miniseries in December. Hill spent five years researching slavery in the 18th century before writing "The Book of Negroes."

Many slaves used the wartime chaos as an opportunity to escape their owners and made their way to New York. When fighting ended in 1781, the British army declared that all freedmen and runaway slaves who had completed two years of service would qualify for free passage to Novia Scotia. Army officers heard the testimonies of former workers, and compiled a list of about 3,000 people who were approved for passage to Canada. A copy of the ledger is on view at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

In the novel and miniseries, Diallo is sold to a Jewish indigo agent several years after her arrival in America. He teaches her accounting and other bookkeeping skills. The agent takes her on a business trip to New York just before the colonies declared war on England. She runs away as the Patriots begin to attack British government officials and soldiers.

During the war, she works in a tavern and teaches black New Yorkers how to read and write, and she becomes a respected leader among freedmen and runaways. The British seek her assistance in compiling of the registry of those bound for Nova Scotia.

Love and Math

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When We Were Young

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and even if we could retrieve all those photographs
and even if we could recall all those tears and laughs
change would come
and rearrange the sands...
so let it go

Digital History Could 'Fade Away' Without Quick Action:

Google VP

cirf.jpgThe man recognized by some as the "father of the Internet" warns that decades of digital documents could go poof, leading to a "forgotten generation" unless new forms of preservation are developed.

Google vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf said that the same digital technology that has made information from family photos to government files accessible around the globe could give in to "bit rot" as the hardware and software they rely on changes.

"When you think about the quantity of documentation from our daily lives that is captured in digital form, like our interactions by email, peoples' tweets, and all of the world wide web, it's clear that we stand to lose an awful lot of our history," Cerf said at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in California, according to The Guardian. "We don't want our digital lives to fade away."

"If there are photos you really care about, print them out," Cerf told the newspaper.

Cerf isn't the first to raise the alarm on how the bits and bytes that record lives in the 21st century -- including Facebook photos, emails and diary-style blogposts -- stand to vanish far faster than, say, the cuneiform tablets the ancient Sumerians used. Not to mention the box of Polaroids that funky uncle kept from his post-college surf safari.

"All the evidence says that the way things survive is that people care about them and use them and reuse them and keep them alive," James J. O'Donnell, university librarian at Arizona State University and former Georgetown University provost, told NBC News in an email.

"We have the published 'Deeds of Caesar Augustus' that Augustus carved in stone and bronze and set up all over the Roman empire -- so it can survive; but most of the copies he set up were long since destroyed," O'Donnell said. "In other words, no matter what you do at the outset, if following generations don't care, it's a mess."

In Some God's Name

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When It Comes to Killing in the Name of Religion and Nationhood, Christians Hold the Modern Record

Mark Karlin

There are few Americans -- if any but extremist Armageddon (of any religion) and anti-government militia supporters -- who feel anything but the deepest of sorrow for the victims of the Boston Marathon apparent religious act of terrorism - conducted by what appear to be a radicalized permanent resident and his younger brother, an American citizen. It was -- as was 9/11 -- a heinous, shocking act.

But the insightful Juan Cole puts into perspective that most followers of Islam are peaceful people. The Jihadists and their networks compose a small percentage of believers in the Islamic faith.

Perhaps it is a little too early to start comparing the death tolls caused by different religious faiths in the last 100 years, but Cole takes a stab at it -- and this is what he finds. In the 20th Century, of the estimated (and this is hardly a firm figure, understated if anything) 120 million people who were killed in wars and war-like acts (terrorism is war, generally upon civilians, by a non nation-state) only a small fraction of that figure was the result of Muslim killings. Cole offers a chart that visually displays the dramatic lopsided accountability of Christian nations: mostly those located in Europe plus the US and Canada.

Many Americans will react with dismay that Cole is setting the record straight. But it is vital to point out that he condemns terrorism and war for empire of any sort. He is simply pointing out that to think that Christianity and Christian nations are more virtuous and less blood thirsty than followers of Islam is statistically incorrect. As Cole concludes in his commentary on relative blood lust in the name of a divine force or nationhood,

Terrorism is a tactic of extremists within each religion, and within secular religions of Marxism or nationalism. No religion, including Islam, preaches indiscriminate violence against innocents.

It takes a peculiar sort of blindness to see Christians of European heritage as "nice" and Muslims and inherently violent, given the twentieth century death toll I mentioned above. Human beings are human beings and the species is too young and too interconnected to have differentiated much from group to group. People resort to violence out of ambition or grievance, and the more powerful they are, the more violence they seem to commit. The good news is that the number of wars is declining over time, and World War II, the biggest charnel house in history, hasn't been repeated.

Nothing can further exemplify the deep roots of a Christian need to force others to accept Jesus Christ as savior than the gory, bloody rampage of the Crusades, which over years left countless "infidels" slain. Or one can look at the inquisition where non-believers in Christ were tortured and executed.

Add to that, just for the sake of example, the missionary slaughter that took place when Spain and Portugal colonized Central and South America for Christ (and gold and other riches). Or the savagery of European Christian nations conquering Africa and engaging in slavery.

No, there are no excuses or sympathy to be expressed for the Tsarnaev brothers. Their act was horrifying, incomprehensible - causing the most profound grief at a finish line that is a symbol of triumph. So are the acts of suicide bombers, bombers of buses, etc. Public acts of terrorism are gruesome, terrifying and heart-wrenching; but so are many acts of war in the name of nationhood, ethnic identity, religion -- often all of these together.

But rather than proceed on another post 9/11 government and FOX/Limbaugh decade of Islamaphobia, we need to look into our own religious and national identities to find pathways toward peace with all religions. Faith in a divine force has been a historical spiritual need for most of the world, but the need to impose a given faith on others has been a ghastly virus that breaks out from time to time. The result is inevitably maiming and a gruesome loss of life.

There is no virtue in the history of the Christian Western World when it comes to wars and killing. We need to prevent as many acts as we can similar to the Boston Marathon massacre, but to do so, we must also look inside ourselves and recognize that killing under the flag of any religion, nation or tribal identity is abhorrent - whether it be the Tsarnaev brothers or wars for religion, tribal identity (including nationhood) or empire.

Do Right

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Canada Court Rules Doctors Can Help Ill Patients Die

TORONTO -- Canada's highest court struck down a ban on doctor-assisted suicide for mentally competent patients with terminal illnesses, declaring Friday that how people choose to confront such conditions is "critical to their dignity and autonomy."

The Supreme Court's unanimous decision reverses its own decision two decades ago and gives Parliament a year to draft new legislation that recognizes the right of consenting adults who are enduring intolerable suffering to seek medical help ending their lives. The current ban on doctor-assisted suicide stands until then.

The judgment said the ban infringes on the life, liberty and security of individuals under Canada's constitution. It had been illegal in Canada to counsel, aid or abet a suicide, an offense carrying a maximum prison sentence of 14 years. "The law allows people in this situation to request palliative sedation, refuse artificial nutrition and hydration, or request the removal of life-sustaining medical equipment, but denies the right to request a physician's assistance in dying," the ruling noted.

Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, Germany, Albania, Colombia, Japan and in the U.S. states of Washington, Oregon, Vermont, New Mexico and Montana.the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg allow doctors, under strict conditions, to euthanize patients whose medical conditions have been judged hopeless and who are in great pain.

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Lee Carter (L) embraces her husband Hollis Johnson while speaking to journalists at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa February 6, 2015. The Supreme Court of Canada overturned a ban on physician-assisted suicide on Friday, unanimously reversing a decision it made in 1993 and putting Canada in the company of a handful of Western countries where the practice will be legal. Carter's mother, Kay Carter, traveled to Switzerland to end her life in 2010.

New Steel Alloy

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Strong as Titanium, Cheap as Dirt: New Steel Alloy Shines

An electron microscope image of the new alloy's structure.newsteelalloy.jpg

The strength of steel is proverbial, but that doesn't mean it can't be improved. It's heavy, after all, and there are stronger metals out there. But researchers in South Korea have created an alloy that's as strong as titanium, lighter than ordinary steel, and cheap to boot. The new alloy, described in the journal Nature, is created by allying the steel with aluminum -- this lightens the steel, but also makes it weak. To counter that weakness, the team added a dash of manganese and a sprinkle of nickel, while modifying the way the metal crystals form at the nanometer scale. This new alloy has no flashy name just yet but is referred to as High Specific Strength Steel. It has an even better strength-to-weight ratio than the far more expensive titanium.

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This may bring steel back to industries where light, strong materials have become key, in particular the manufacturing of cars and planes. There's already interest in getting HSSS to the production line, so you may expect to see it (or ride in it) within the next few years.


Net Neutrality Carries the Day

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Net Neutrality: FCC Chief Proposes Regulating Internet Like a Utility

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler on Wednesday proposed sweeping new federal rules to regulate the Internet like a public utility, a notion endorsed three months ago by President Obama.

The plan "assures the rights of Internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone's permission," Wheeler wrote in an essay posted online Wednesday by Wired magazine.

An FCC official said the rules would prohibit broadband service providers from blocking access to legal content, slowing delivery speed based on content or source, or favoring some content providers by giving them preferential delivery speeds.

"In other words," the official said, "no fast lanes."

The rules would apply equally to wired and wireless services, including mobile broadband used by smartphone and tablets.

The FCC chairman's approach is an endorsement of what has come to be known as "net neutrality." With two content providers, Neflix and YouTube, accounting for roughly half of all Internet traffic at peak times, some in the industry have advocated charging them or other heavy users for special fast lanes.

But advocates of net neutrality have claimed such an approach would make it too hard and expensive for the YouTubes of the future to win over an audience.

"Internet companies are pleased to hear that Chairman Wheeler intends to enact strong, enforceable, and legally sustainable net neutrality rules that include bright-line rules," said Michael Beckerman of the Internet Association, representing Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Amazon and other industry giants.

But the National Cable and Telecommunications Association said the rules would impose the "heavy burden" of utility regulation on the Internet.

"It will result in a backward-looking regulatory regime, ill-suited for the dynamic Internet," said the association's Michael Powell, a former FCC chairman.

Wheeler's proposal now goes to the other four FCC commissioners, who are scheduled to vote on it at a public meeting Feb. 26.

An FCC official said the plan would not allow the FCC to regulate Internet rates or authorize new local or federal taxes.

Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal, said in November said it supported Obama's call for "a free and open Internet."

Alabama Profiling

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This is hysterical.

Alabama Store Employee Follows Black Customer
From Aisle To Aisle

It Will Take a Revolution

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But does anyone have the balls to commit to it? More likely the rot will just boringly continue until a fascist solution appears. Maybe fthe youth will act...it certainly won't come from my generation of jaded consumers.

This week on Moyers & Company, David Simon, journalist and creator of the TV series The Wire and Treme, talks with Bill about the crisis of capitalism in America. After President Barack Obama's annual State of the Union address, it's a reality check from someone who artfully uses television drama to report on the state of America from an entirely different perspective -- the bottom up.

"The horror show is we are going to be slaves to profit. Some of us are going to be higher on the pyramid and we'll count ourselves lucky and many many more will be marginalized and destroyed," Simon tells Moyers. He blames a "purchased" Congress for failing America's citizens, leading many of them to give up on politics altogether.

Adrian Colt Espinosa

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Baby boy joy makes me a Grand Uncle

Congrats to ma and pa Sarah and Luis Espinosa.

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Here's your first lullaby from me:

Welcome to the world, ACE.


Upfront Nutzos on the Move

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Religious bigotry haunts group hosting RNC

Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center, talks with Rachel Maddow about the American Family Association's record of religious bigotry and intolerance that calls to question the RNC's judgment in accepting a trip to Israel with them.

Tax History

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From Sis Mo:

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Let's do a Roosevelt

Brain to Brain Communications Arrives

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Just wow...

Miguel Nicolelis built the brain-controlled exoskeleton that allowed a paralyzed man to kick the first ball of the 2014 World Cup.
What's he working on now?
Building ways for two minds (rats and monkeys, for now) to send messages brain to brain. Watch to the end for an experiment that, as he says, will go to "the limit of your imagination."




Cindy Jacobs

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Celebrated false prophet.

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Crosby Body of Work

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On Capital Punishment as Revenge

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culheath replied #14.4

In reply to:Patter13 #14.3

....what's wrong with revenge?

Excellent question.

Revenge is the desire to get even when someone does you wrong. It's natural to feel angry, to say "I'm not going to let that a-hole get away with this," whatever "this" is.

However, revenge reduces you to your worst self, puts you on the same level with those spiteful people we claim to abhor.

Most - not all - murders after all are emotional outbursts and acts of revenge against the victim in the first place.

Additionally, studies have shown that revenge increases stress and impairs health and immunity and rarely brings closure.

Revenge is primal survival, compassion is social survival and the means by which we evolved the ability to create civilization and an escape from base instinct.

Sure, if someone hits you with a stick, you have the impulse to hit them back...which is, however, the basis for feuds and wars. It's the cyclic senselessness of the Hatfields and McCoys or the Catholics and Protestants or the Sunnis and the Shiites.

So if we can recognize the irrationality of those types of revenge, why not with the revenge embedded in capital punishment? Compassion is the human ability to break those cycles and it is caused by secretion of a brain produced hormone called oxytocin.

Compassion is not some bleeding-heart-liberal mindset, it is an evolved chemical system that allows for higher problem solving and soical interaction for a species. It is an evolved survival mechanism.

Psychopaths, people incapable of empathy or compassion, have been shown to genetically lack it.

To thrive personally and as a species, we must resist this predictable lust for revenge, and seek to right wrongs more positively. This doesn't make you a pushover; you're just refusing to act in a tediously destructive way antithetical to ever finding peace.

As Confucious says, "Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves."



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Parkland Baptist Church

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I found this Jan 18th sermon by Pastor Jim McKinney revelatory.

Five Reminders for the Weak and Strong