Tuesday, August 29, 2017

ANS -- "How can I donate to help the people in Houston?"

This is an important message from Brad Hicks.  Read it.  
No link because I got it on FaceBook, but you are welcome to pass it on to anyone who needs to think about this concept.  

Okay. How blunt can I get away with being here? Because I've tried subtle. I've tried direct. Now I'm going to try brutally blunt.

"How can I donate to help the people in Houston?"

You can't. And you're a fucking moron to ask that question.

Because what the fuck do you think is going to happen to your donation? Do you think the people in Houston can wait while all of your donations are gathered up, all the credit card and SMS and PayPal transactions cleared, then bids are put out for disaster supplies, then the disaster supplies purchased, then the same supplies shipped to the nearest distribution center, and finally distributed to them? The people in Houston need help NOW, moron. No three to six months from now.

Fortunately, you probably DID donate to help the people in Houston. Only at the time, you thought you were donating to help the people in the LAST disaster. Fortunately, you weren't. Fortunately, the Red Cross and Doctors without Borders and every other disaster relief charity in the country helped the people in that LAST disaster with goods that they had already stockpiled. They purchased those supplies with money raised off the disaster before that.

And it wouldn't work any other way.

So, yes. You're already seeing headlines calling the Red Cross a sham, a scam, for collecting your donations for Hurricane Harvey when "none of that money will make it to the victims of Hurricane Harvey." No, moron, obviously it won't. It'll go to replenish the supplies that are being used up for Hurricane Harvey.

Jesus, would you RATHER they waited to help people until they were done with the fund-raising and the purchasing and the shipping? Obviously not. So seriously, shut the fuck up and write a check or whatever. Because Hurricane Harvey is using up an awful lot of the Red Cross's existing stockpile of disaster supplies. Probably all of it. And there will be another disaster. Obviously.

P.S. And yes, they are selling the blood plasma you donate at a hefty mark-up. People in hospitals all over the world need blood plasma and the Red Cross spends cash like nobody's business during disasters. You're not donating blood so that it can be transfused into Hurricane Harvey patients; if that blood isn't already there, they're screwed. You're donating blood so that the Red Cross can afford to respond to the next disaster. If that bothers you, you're an asshole.

Brad is raising money for American Red Cross.

DonateBe the first to donate!

Fwd: URGENT - Rigging the system against EVs: EPA plans to slash #CleanerCars standards

Hi everyone -- I don't usually send these kinds of messages, but I want you to know that the government is trying to get in the way of changing over to electric cars.  As the owner of an electric car we know that it costs about two and a half dollars to "fill" it completely, about $7.50 to fill it the equivalent of filling the Subaru.  (assuming the Subaru has about three times the range of the Leaf.)  We love driving the Leaf, and we see this the wave of the future -- and when SunSmart comes out, we intend to use it to fill the car with solar electricity.  

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Joyce Segal
Date: Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 9:41 AM
Subject: Fwd: URGENT - Rigging the system against EVs: EPA plans to slash #CleanerCars standards
To: Kim Cooper <kimc0240@gmail.com>

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Plug In America <info@pluginamerica.org>
Date: Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 3:01 AM
Subject: URGENT - Rigging the system against EVs: EPA plans to slash #CleanerCars standards
To: joyceck10@gmail.com

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Plug In America
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Dear Plug In America Friends,  

Like you, we're committed to a future where electric cars are the norm and the transportation sector is 100% electric, and clean. One of the ways that we'll get to this future sooner is with strong federal fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission standards. As the standards become stricter over time, automakers are encouraged to include more plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) within their fleet of new passenger and light-duty trucks for sale in order to meet the standards. These automakers can also receive extra credits for each BEV or PHEV sold to make compliance easier. (See page 8 of the EPA factsheet here or more info here.) 

In 2012, the U.S. secured strong federal fuel economy and global warming emission standards. The standards are reducing America's oil consumption, saving consumers money at the gas pump, and protecting public health and the environment. And, we've seen more makes and models of BEVs and PHEVs come onto the scene than ever before, driving the U.S. to nearly 665,000 BEVs and PHEVs on the road today. 

Unfortunately, new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is trying to roll back and weaken these clean car standards. This is an extreme waste of taxpayer dollars – the EPA has already worked with the automakers and other stakeholders to develop them, and conducted an extensive technical analysis and review process before implementing them. Pruitt's decision to reopen the review of these standards at the behest of the automakers is just undoing a process that was already done, and done well. 

Take action NOW to stop this reopening of the standards.

At the end of the day, Pruitt's irresponsible actions are a danger to our health, our wallets, will slow down the EV market and U.S. auto innovation. It's up to us EV drivers to tell Pruitt that there is a thriving and growing market for clean cars today, and the technology is there to help automakers meet these clean car standards. The evidence: the Chevy/GM Bolt and Volt, the Nissan LEAF, the Ford Focus Electric, the Kia SOUL EV, the Tesla Model S…just to name a few. And, most importantly, drivers want these cars!

Tell Pruitt to stop attacking vehicle efficiency standards that reduce pollution, save us money and drive forward technology and innovation like EVs. Take action NOW.

Please share on Twitter and share on Facebook with friends and fellow drivers if you can.

Thank you,

Katherine Stainken

Policy Director, Plug In America

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Monday, August 28, 2017

ANS -- The Trap of Liberal Tears

This is a little short one, but possibly important, if true.  What do you think? If it is correct, what should we do?

The Trap of Liberal Tears

For much of the Trumpist Right, it's all about Liberal Tears.

Tweeting over the weekend columnist/author Kurt Schlichter declared:

The main reason for President Trump to pardon Sheriff Joe was fuck you, leftists. The new rules, bitches.

Trumpist talker John Cardillo echoed the sentiment:

Once @realDonaldTrump eliminates #DACA, leftists will drown in their own tears. Win win

This has become a familiar pattern among some on the right, who rush to defend anyone (especially Trump) who is attacked by the Left, no matter how reckless, extreme, or bizarre their behavior has been.  If Liberals hated something, the argument goes, then it must be wonderful and worthy of aggressive defense, even if that meant defending the indefensible and losing elections. So in years past, conservatives embraced and defended figures like Christine ("I am not a witch") O'Donnell and lost winnable senate races with candidates who said bizarre things about rape (Todd Akin) or were just too weird for the electorate (Sharron Angle.)

But in the era of Trump, the appetite for Liberal angst has morphed into an addiction.

I addressed this phenomenon earlier this year here.

For the anti-anti-Trump pundit, whatever the allegation against Mr. Trump, whatever his blunders or foibles, the other side is always worse. But the real heart of anti-anti-Trumpism is the delight in the frustration and anger of his opponents.

Mr. Trump's base is unlikely to hold him either to promises or tangible achievements, because conservative politics is now less about ideas or accomplishments than it is about making the right enemies cry out in anguish. Mr. Trump's most vocal supporters don't have to defend his specific actions as long as they make liberal heads explode, or as Sarah Palin put it so memorably, "It's really funny to me to see the splodey heads keep sploding."....

But as deeply satisfying as the politics of spite and vengeance may be, it is ultimately a trap and a dead-end.

What may have begun as a policy or a tactic in opposition has long since become a reflex. But there is an obvious price to be paid for essentially becoming a party devoted to trolling. In the long run, it's hard to see how a party dedicated to liberal tears can remain a movement based on ideas or centered on principles.

Conservatives will care less about governing and more about scoring "wins" — and inflicting losses on the left — no matter how hollow the victories or flawed the policies. Ultimately, though, this will end badly because it is a moral and intellectual dead end, and very likely a political one as well.…

As the right doubles down on anti-anti-Trumpism, it will find itself goaded into defending and rationalizing ever more outrageous conduct just as long as it annoys CNN and the left.

In many ways anti-anti-Trumpism mirrors Donald Trump himself, because at its core there are no fixed values, no respect for constitutional government or ideas of personal character, only a free-floating nihilism cloaked in insult, mockery and bombast.



Sunday, August 27, 2017

ANS -- Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson and the Ways We Talk About Our Past

and now for something completely different.  this is about adding some complexity to what we know of the lives of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson.  

A photograph of Monticello from the late 1800s. CreditUniversity of Virginia Library

It has been 20 years since the historian Annette Gordon-Reed published "Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy," a book that successfully challenged the prevailing perceptions of both figures. In a piece for The New York Times Book Review, submitted just before the tragic events in Charlottesville, Va., Gordon-Reed reflects on the complexities that endure in our understanding of Hemings and the language we use to characterize her.

Sally Hemings has been described as "an enigma," the enslaved woman who first came to public notice at the turn of the 19th century when James Callender, an enemy of the newly elected President Thomas Jefferson, wrote with racist virulence of "SALLY," who lived at Monticello and had borne children by Jefferson. Hemings came back into the news earlier this year, after the Thomas Jefferson Foundation announced plans to restore a space where Hemings likely resided, for a time, at Monticello. A number of news reports as well as comments on social media discussing the plans drew the ire of many readers because they referred to Hemings as Jefferson's "mistress" and used the word "relationship" to describe the connection between the pair, as if those words inevitably denote positive things. They do not, of course — especially when the word "mistress" is modified by the crucial word "enslaved."

When I published my first book, "Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy," in 1997, most people knew of Hemings from two works: Fawn Brodie's biography "Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History" (1974) and Barbara Chase-Riboud's novel "Sally Hemings" (1979), both of which sought to rescue Hemings's personhood. More typically, the scholarship written to disprove her connection to Jefferson routinely diminished Hemings's humanity. The arguments that the story couldn't be true because Jefferson would never be involved with "a slave girl" and that such a person was too low to have influenced Jefferson recurred in various formulations in historical writings over many years, as if the designation "slave girl" told readers all they needed to know. My first book was designed to expose the inanity of those, and other, arguments. I wrote a second book, "The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family," to flesh out Hemings's personal history.

As the battle over whether Hemings and Jefferson had been in a relationship has receded, the question of what type of relationship they could possibly have been in has come to the fore. A recent Washington Post piece, reflecting on the terminology used in the announcement of the restoration project, insisted that Hemings should be seen primarily as Jefferson's "property," noting that by law he could compel her to have sex — rape her — whenever he wanted. Another Post article about Hemings that appeared earlier in the year had used the words "mistress" and "relationship," drawing critical responses: One commenter said that Hemings should be thought of as "a sex trafficked slave"; even Teen Vogue weighed in: "As a slave, Hemings was not afforded the privilege of self-determination, meaning she didn't do what she wanted; she did what she was told." These were understandable interventions given the desire so many people still have to portray slavery as less monstrous than it was. At the same time, the talk in these rejoinders of Hemings as simply "property," as if she were akin to an inanimate object or nonsentient being, turns aside decades of historiography that makes clear that enslaved people, when they had chances, often acted to shape their circumstances to the extent that they could. The language echoes the arguments of Jefferson scholars who treated Hemings's legal status as the definitive answer to the question of what did and did not happen in her life.

Continue reading the main story

It's true: Hemings was, by law, Jefferson's property. But she was also a human being. Contingency, which historians know is always in operation, plays a crucial role in human affairs, and it did so in the way the law of property shaped Hemings's story. Enigmatic as she may be, Hemings had a vision of her life and self that she imparted to her family. Her son Madison Hemings relayed that vision in recollections notable for their bare-boned clarity and the extent to which his statements can be corroborated. Her vision should always matter when we write about her. Law was pivotal to Hemings's understanding of her life. She knew its power. For a brief but life-defining moment — just over two years — she, unlike the vast majority of enslaved people, was in a place where the law was on her side. It was a tool she could use. Very critically, both she and Jefferson believed that.

Thomas JeffersonCreditLibrary of Congress

Sally Hemings had the extraordinary experience of living in pre-revolutionary Paris. Throughout the 18th century, every petition for freedom in the city was granted. She, and undoubtedly her brother James, eight years her senior, who had been in France training to be a chef for three years before she arrived, understood that the laws of Virginia did not automatically apply in France. Jefferson was on the defensive about this his entire time in the country. That is almost certainly why he put James and Sally Hemings on the payroll with the other servants at his residence, the Hôtel de Langeac. The siblings were paid wages near the very highest rate in the city for a chef de cuisine and chambermaid. They had access to other people of color, as their neighborhood had the greatest concentration of such people in Paris, a small group who helped one another. There were lawyers who filed petitions on behalf of the enslaved. They did so pro bono and for money, which the Hemings siblings had.

At some point, Sally Hemings became "Mr. Jefferson's concubine," in the words of Madison Hemings. In 1789, pregnant by Jefferson, she refused to return to Virginia and be "re-enslaved." Were she to return, any child she bore there would be enslaved. This was a bold gambit for a 16-year-old, even at a time, unlike today, when females that age were not thought of as children. The age of consent in Virginia in the 1780s was 10, and was raised to 12 in the 1820s. It is easy to see how her experiences, and the energy and optimism of youth, led her to think she could do this. She had learned to speak French well, and she was not alone. She had James, whose decision near the end of his stay to hire a tutor to help him perfect his French grammar suggests he thought they could survive there. They had seen a different world, with different possibilities in it.

As always, context matters: None of the other young people at the Hôtel de Langeac — not Jefferson's daughters, not his secretary, William Short — wanted to return to America. His eldest daughter, Martha, was thinking of ways to remain. To get Sally Hemings to come back with him, Jefferson promised her a good life at Monticello, and that their children would be freed when they became adults. Madison Hemings said that his mother "implicitly relied" on Jefferson's promises, a statement that troubled me when I first wrote about Hemings — subjects often exasperate biographers. It was not until I began researching my second book that I could find any probable reason why she might do this.

Hemings and Jefferson did not exist in a vacuum. They were part of a web of family relationships at Monticello that mattered to both of them. Hemings shared a father, John Wayles, with Jefferson's wife, Martha. Such connections were rarely meaningful to the whites involved, and the enslaved likely had no expectations about them. But the connection clearly meant something to Jefferson, who saw the Hemings family through the prism of his deep feelings for his wife, whose death before he went to Paris shattered him.

Sally Hemings could not have missed Jefferson's response to her family. For stretches of her childhood, until he freed them, Jefferson didn't know where her brothers were, as they went off to "hire their own time" (which was against the law) and keep the money they earned. Hemings and her sisters, unlike all others on the mountain, were totally exempted from fieldwork, even during harvest time. An overseer remembered Jefferson instructing him not to exercise any power over the Hemings women. What did this mean for the institution of slavery in America? What did it mean for the hundreds of other people Jefferson enslaved during his lifetime? Virtually nothing, as it did not transform American slavery or change the lives of others enslaved on Jefferson's plantations. But it meant a great deal to the six Hemings-Wayles children, who had very different lives and destinies than others enslaved at Monticello. The need to write about enslaved people sociologically — what happened to the group as a whole — should not foreclose considerations of individual enslaved people's lives. We learn much about the institution from both perspectives.

Hemings, with the aid of what she and Jefferson considered to be the power of French law, extracted promises from Jefferson. When they returned to Virginia, however, his power was again plenary. He could have reneged on it all. But he did not. He kept his promises, as Madison Hemings notes, asserting in another part of the recollection that this was a rare thing for whites to do when dealing with blacks. Of the near 700 people Jefferson owned over the course of his life, Sally Hemings and her children were the only nuclear family to leave slavery at Monticello at Jefferson's evident direction.

Though enslaved, Sally Hemings helped shape her life and the lives of her children, who got an almost 50-year head start on emancipation, escaping the system that had engulfed their ancestors and millions of others. Whatever we may feel about it today, this was important to her.

ANS -- Will universal basic income end inequality? Maybe.

My intention in sending you this article is to spark your own ideas on the subject.  The author seems unaware that there have already been several experiments in Universal Basic Income -- many back in the 1970s.  I like that he includes worker-owned businesses.  I think it needs some fleshing out -- but, as long as our government is against helping anyone but the rich, none of this, no matter how good an idea, can happen in real life.  

Will universal basic income end inequality? Maybe.

Jan 13, 2017 

But these 3 alternative solutions could be faster ways to achieve increased opportunity, prosperity and equality.

Universal basic income (UBI) is a provocative idea that's enjoying a huge surge of attention right now. The concept is simple: a government would provide unconditional payments (proposed amounts range from $10,000 to $25,000 a year) to its citizens that would cover their basic necessities — no job required. Advocates have heralded UBI as a solution to the financial insecurity that plagues workers and to the widening wealth gap seen in developed nations. As the world swirls with concern about technology's impact on work, some big thinkers believe that guaranteed basic income is an essential ingredient in a future where robots take many more of the jobs humans do now.

UBI inched closer to reality in June 2016, when Switzerland was the first country in the world to hold a public referendum on it (it was voted down). The same year, two significant pilot experiments launched — one with 100 families in Oakland, California, who will receive $1,000–$2,000 per month for six months to a year; and another with 2,000 families in Finland, receiving 560 euro (roughly $589 USD) per month for two years.

The upside of a world with UBI could be enormous. It would eliminate poverty outright, beneficial for everyone but especially for children. And governments might be able to scrap the thicket of rules, bureaucracy and enforcement that surround current public-assistance programs.

But the barriers to its implementation are considerable.

For starters, its costs would be huge (for instance, providing a UBI of $10,000 a year to all 300 million Americans would add up to $3 trillion). Another major obstacle is ideological, even philosophical: UBI undercuts the principle of labor having value. It would represent a fundamental shift for financial security away from it being a reward earned through effort, and towards a lofty ideal of it as a human right.

What's more, UBI may not be enough to solve the complex, deeply entrenched problems it is intended to address. As an example, in the US, social inequities are often rooted in deeply entrenched prejudices, like institutional racism and sexism. In light of these challenges, we might consider a few other solutions that also take aim at the underlying issues of inequality, insecurity and the uncertain future of work. While they're not as simple or sexy as UBI, they might be more effective and sustainable.

1. Let's match the savings of lower-income workers when they invest in assets — like small businesses, homes, retirement accounts and post-secondary training — that encourage their future financial security.

As it turns out, we already do this for richer people: The US spends more than $500 billion every year, primarily through its tax code, to help upper and middle-income individuals build wealth. The home mortgage interest deduction costs $70 billion alone.

Rewarding aspiration and investment is good public policy. While current efforts in the US are heavily weighted toward households that are already wealthy, we can foster economic fairness and growth by setting up a government program to match what low- and moderate-income families deposit into their savings accounts. Skeptics who wonder if the poor would indeed save should look at the track records of nonprofits that work in this area. For example, the San Francisco-based EARN has helped 6,000 Bay Area families — each with an average annual household income of $25,000 — to save more than $7 million of their own money.

2. Let's increase the bargaining power of workers.

If one believes that human labor has great value, the establishment of platforms that protect and leverage this value is critical to ensuring that workers can continue to receive fair wages even as the world of work changes rapidly. The efforts of Saru Jayaraman, who leads the Restaurant Opportunities Center United, are one example. Aside from being a driver for higher minimum wages nationwide, she has redefined the role of restaurant employees by eliminating tips and increasing wages, and by making cooperative worker ownership a norm. Another pioneer is Sara Horowitz, who founded the Freelancers Union after seeing the need for economically vulnerable gig workers to organize.

Work like Jayaraman's and Horowitz's strengthens employee power in two important ways. The first is their unflinching affirmation of the value of human labor as an essential ingredient in a civil society. Second, they reject the traditional divide of owner and worker. Instead, they're building models for a future where organized workers can also be entrepreneurial one-person firms themselves or aspiring co-owners of the businesses where they are employed. A new era of workers organizing outside the bounds of traditional movements could begin to redress the imbalances that now exist between industry and labor.

3. Let's build a new post-secondary education and training system.

The traditional higher ed system — in which a small number of people attend relatively expensive universities — works only for the privileged and for the limited group who are able to use it to break cycles of poverty. We must explore options that expand opportunities for more people.

One way is through online education. Online providers, like CourseraEdX and NovoEd, offer courses from established universities that provide skills and credentials. Through IDEO U, design firm IDEO is providing online instruction in human-centered design. Philanthropy University provides free courses to NGO workers. Students attending the online, tuition-free University of the People, which is accredited by the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, can earn associate's or bachelor's degrees in computer science, business administration and health studies, as well as an MBA. The fees for these options range from free to pricey, but none come close to the cost of attending the existing private colleges and universities.

Some of the most exciting initiatives highlight the flexibility of online education to respond and pivot to evolving demands. EdX has an open source development platform, which is being actively used by nearly 100 institutions, including Stanford University and McKinsey, to create custom learning environments. Udacity, through what it calls "nanodegree programs," has a growing number of specialized offerings that prepare workers for specific tech jobs. Now is the time to reset the relationship between industries and educators, and ask them to work cooperatively to keep education relevant as we enter a period of rapid economic change. A new system could result in greater efficiency in labor markets, and it would help to position the education sector — and society — to adapt to new kinds of work and employment.

Of course, these are just three alternatives among a universe of options — including the possibility that UBI lives up to its hype and promise. The experiments in Oakland and Finland will be important in helping policymakers and the public see whether UBI can deliver the economic and behavioral changes its supporters believe it will. But in the meantime, let's not delay in brainstorming and testing other ways to rebuild opportunity for everyone.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

ANS -- Blame the Media for Creating a World Dumb Enough for Trump

This is Matt Taibbi saying the media is responsible for the sorry state of our country.  "We spent years selling the lowest common denominator. Now the lowest common denominator is president. How can it be anything but self-deception to pretend this is an innocent coincidence?"    It's short.  

Blame the Media for Creating a World Dumb Enough for Trump

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

26 August 17

Yet another TV executive says Trump is "good for business." Is sudden good fortune of news media by accident or design?

he craziest part of Donald Trump's 77-minute loon-a-thon in Phoenix earlier this week came when he rehashed his shtick about the networks turning off live coverage of his speech. Trump seemed to really believe they were shutting the cameras off because "the very dishonest media" was so terrified of his powerful words.

"They're turning those lights off so fast!" he said. "CNN doesn't want its failing viewership to see this!"

Trump is wrong about a lot of things, but it's hard to be more wrong about any one thing than he was about this particular point.

No news director would turn off the feed in the middle of a Trump-meltdown. This presidency has become the ultimate ratings bonanza. Trump couldn't do better numbers if he jumped off Mount Kilimanjaro carrying a Kardashian.

This was confirmed this week by yet another shruggingly honest TV executive – in this case Tony Maddox, head of CNN International. Maddox said CNN is doing business at "record levels." He hinted also that the monster ratings they're getting have taken the sting out of being accused of promoting fake news.

"[Trump] is good for business," Maddox said. "It's a glib thing to say. But our performance has been enhanced during this news period." Maddox, speaking at the Edinburgh TV festival, added that most of the outlets that have been singled out by Trump are doing a swimming business. "If you look at the groups that Trump has primarily targeted: CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Saturday Night Live, Stephen Colbert," he said, "every single one of those has seen a quite remarkable growth in their viewing figures, in their sales figures."

Everyone hisses whenever they hear quotes like these. They recall the infamous line from last year by CBS chief Les Moonves, about how Trump "may not be good for America, but he's damn good for CBS." Moonves was even cheekier than Maddox. He laughed and added, "The money's rolling in, and this is fun. They're not even talking about issues, they're throwing bombs at each other, and I think the advertising reflects that."

For more than two years now, it's been obvious that Donald Trump is a disaster on almost every level except one – he's great for the media business. Most of us who do this work have already gone through the process of working out just how guilty we should or should not feel about this.

Many execs and editors – and Maddox seems to fall into this category – have convinced themselves that the ratings and the money are a kind of cosmic reward for covering Trump responsibly. But deep down, most of us know that's a lie. Donald Trump gets awesome ratings for the same reason Fear Factor made money feeding people rat-hair tortilla chips: nothing sells like a freak show. If a meteor crashes into jello night at the Playboy mansion, it doesn't matter if you send Edward R. Murrow to do the standup. Some things sell themselves.

The Trump presidency is like a diabolical combination of every schlock eyeball-grabbing formula the networks have ever deployed. It's Battle of the Network Stars meets Wrestlemania meets Survivor meets the Kursk disaster. It's got the immediacy of a breaking news crash, with themes of impending doom, conflict, celebrity meltdown, anger, racism, gender war, everything.

Trump even sells on the level of those Outbrain click-addicting photos of plastic surgery failures. With his mystery comb-over and his great rolls of restrained blubber and the infamous tales of violent fights with his ex over a failed scalp-reduction procedure, Trump on top of being Hitler and Hulk Hogan from a ratings perspective is also a physical monster, the world's very own bearded-lady tent.

Trump's monstrousness is ironic, since the image of Trump as the media's very own Frankenstein's monster has been used and re-used in the last years. Many in the business are of the opinion that, having created Trump and let him loose in the village, we in the press now have a responsibility to hunt him down with aggressive investigative reporting, to make the world safe again.

That might indeed be a good idea. But that take also implies that slaying the monster will fix the problem. Are we sure that's true?

Reporters seem to think so, and keep trying to find the magic formula. Just this week, staffers at the Wall Street Journal rebelled against editor-in-chief Gerard Baker. Baker, who has long been accused of being too soft on Trump, blasted his people for going too negative on the president in their coverage of the Arizona speech. He sent around a letter asking staff to "stick to reporting what [Trump] said," rather than "packaging it in exegesis and selective criticism."

Reporters fought back by (apparently) leaking the memo to the rival New York Times. This followed an incident in which a transcript of Baker's recent interview with Trump was leaked to Politico earlier this month. In it, Baker mentions being glad to have seen Ivanka Trump in Southampton, and small-talks with Trump about travel and golf. The implication here is that it's improper or unseemly for a newspaper editor to have a chummy relationship with this kind of a president.

And it is, sometimes. Reporters who should be challenging presidents and candidates are pretty much always cheating the public when they turn interviews into mutual back rub sessions.

But these intramural ethical wars within our business may just be deflections that keep us from facing bigger problems – like, for instance, the fact that we have been systematically making the entire country more stupid for decades.

We learned long ago in this business that dumber and more alarmist always beats complex and nuanced. Big headlines, cartoonish morality, scary criminals at home and foreign menaces abroad, they all sell. We decimated attention spans, rewarded hot-takers over thinkers, and created in audiences powerful addictions to conflict, vitriol, fear, self-righteousness, and race and gender resentment.

There isn't a news executive alive low enough to deny that we use xenophobia and racism to sell ads. Black people on TV for decades were almost always shirtless and chased by cops, and the "rock-throwing Arab" photo was a staple of international news sections even before 9/11. And when all else fails in the media world, just show more cleavage somewhere, and ratings go up, every time.

Donald Trump didn't just take advantage of these conditions. He was created in part by them. What's left of Trump's mind is like a parody of the average American media consumer: credulous, self-centered, manic, sex-obsessed, unfocused, and glued to stories that appeal to his sense of outrage and victimhood.

We've created a generation of people like this: anger addicts who can't read past the first page of a book. This is why the howls of outrage from within the ranks of the news media about Trump's election ring a little bit false. What the hell did we expect would happen? Who did we think would rise to prominence in our rage-filled, hyper-stimulated media environment? Sensitive geniuses?

We spent years selling the lowest common denominator. Now the lowest common denominator is president. How can it be anything but self-deception to pretend this is an innocent coincidence?

ANS -- Who is Sheriff Arpaio?

Found this on FaceBook.  Read it if you are not sure who Sheriff Arpaio is.  And Trump pardoned him....
No link....

Joel Genung
Who was this sheriff Trump pardoned who everyone is talking about? For those who haven't been following his career, here is a summary from the Phoenix New Times (the local paper which has been covering him for years) Their Twitter feed has links to document each statement:
-He ran a jail that he described as a "concentration camp."
-Prisoners there died at an alarming rate, often without explanation.
-One of his jailers nearly broke the neck of a paraplegic guy who had the temerity to ask for a catheter.
-One time, as a publicity stunt, he marched Latino prisoners into a segregated area with electric fencing.
-He arrested New Times reporters for covering him. We won a $3.75 million settlement for that one.
-Under him, the MCSO failed to investigate hundreds of sex abuse cases, many of which involved children.
-But he somehow found time and money to send a deputy to Hawaii to look for Barack Obama's birth certificate.
-Oh, and one time he staged an assassination attempt against himself? That was weird. (And cost taxpayers $1.1 million.)
-In 2013, a federal judge confirmed what literally everyone in Phoenix knew: he'd been racially profiling Latinos.
-So naturally, he hired a PI to investigate the judge and his wife.
-He also kept on profiling people, which is why he got charged with contempt of court (and was found to be guilty AF)
-He also tried to destroy some of the hard drives containing material that was supposed to be turned over the court.
-By 2015, his fondness for racial profiling had cost the county more $44 million. On top of, you know, ruining lives.
-He also paid millions to settle lawsuits like this one, where deputies stood by as an inmate was brutally beaten.
-Because this is the Old West or something, he had a "Sheriff's Posse." One member got arrested on child porn charges.
-His office was responsible for countless fiascos like this botched SWAT raid, where deputies set a puppy on fire.
The world needs to understand that THIS is who Trump pardoned....as his ONE AND ONLY pardon. Please copy and post.

ANS -- Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

This is from April, and they are still in the research phase, but maybe something will come of it someday?  Short article.  They think they can clean the air and produce energy at the same time.  


Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

Process produces energy at the same time


A chemistry professor in Florida has just found a way to trigger the process of photosynthesis in a synthetic material, turning greenhouse gases into clean air and producing energy all at the same time.

The process has great potential for creating a technology that could significantly reduce greenhouse gases linked to climate change, while also creating a clean way to produce energy.

"This work is a breakthrough," said UCF Assistant Professor Fernando Uribe-Romo. "Tailoring materials that will absorb a specific color of light is very difficult from the scientific point of view, but from the societal point of view we are contributing to the development of a technology that can help reduce greenhouse gases."

The findings of his research are published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A.

Uribe-Romo and his team of students created a way to trigger a chemical reaction in a synthetic material called metal-organic frameworks (MOF) that breaks down carbon dioxide into harmless organic materials. Think of it as an artificial photosynthesis process similar to the way plants convert carbon dioxide (CO2) and sunlight into food. But instead of producing food, Uribe-Romo's method produces solar fuel.

To see an explanation see this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdTuwe2SruA&feature=youtu.be

It's something scientists around the world have been pursuing for years, but the challenge is finding a way for visible light to trigger the chemical transformation. Ultraviolet rays have enough energy to allow the reaction in common materials such as titanium dioxide, but UVs make up only about 4 percent of the light Earth receives from the sun. The visible range -- the violet to red wavelengths -- represent the majority of the sun's rays, but there are few materials that pick up these light colors to create the chemical reaction that transforms CO2 into fuel.

Researchers have tried it with a variety of materials, but the ones that can absorb visible light tend to be rare and expensive materials such as platinum, rhenium and iridium that make the process cost-prohibitive.

Uribe-Romo used titanium, a common nontoxic metal, and added organic molecules that act as light-harvesting antennae to see if that configuration would work. The light harvesting antenna molecules, called N-alkyl-2-aminoterephthalates, can be designed to absorb specific colors of light when incorporated in the MOF. In this case he synchronized it for the color blue.

His team assembled a blue LED photoreactor to test out the hypothesis. Measured amounts of carbon dioxide were slowly fed into the photoreactor -- a glowing blue cylinder that looks like a tanning bed -- to see if the reaction would occur. The glowing blue light came from strips of LED lights inside the chamber of the cylinder and mimic the sun's blue wavelength.

It worked and the chemical reaction transformed the CO2 into two reduced forms of carbon, formate and formamides (two kinds of solar fuel) and in the process cleaning the air.

"The goal is to continue to fine-tune the approach so we can create greater amounts of reduced carbon so it is more efficient," Uribe-Romo said.

He wants to see if the other wavelengths of visible light may also trigger the reaction with adjustments to the synthetic material. If it works, the process could be a significant way to help reduce greenhouse gases.

"The idea would be to set up stations that capture large amounts of CO2, like next to a power plant. The gas would be sucked into the station, go through the process and recycle the greenhouse gases while producing energy that would be put back into the power plant."

Perhaps someday homeowners could purchase rooftop shingles made of the material, which would clean the air in their neighborhood while producing energy that could be used to power their homes.

"That would take new technology and infrastructure to happen," Uribe-Romo said. "But it may be possible."