Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Incredible vision for a future of light

Mantra for the day...
May everyone be happy
May everyone be free of disease
May auspiciousness be seen everywhere
May suffering belong to no one

That was David Lynch's closing to a wonderful presentation on "Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain." I would encourage you to listen to this presentation and ponder the dreams and aspirations David portrays.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

How do we honor our fallen heroes?

In one of my many publishing related feeds, I learned of a very personal and moving debate. The debate involved the Associated Press (AP) and their decision to make images of a mortally wounded United States Marine available through their publishing network.

To the father of this soldier, himself a soldier, and to the Secretary of the Department of Defense, Robert Gates, they believe that the AP dishonored the sacrifice the soldier and his family made when they decided to publish the pictures.

Three years ago one of my best friend's son was killed by a sniper in Iraq. I witnessed first hand, what the loss of a beloved son can do to a man, to a family. I spoke at his memorial, where we honored everyone's sacrifice. I then watched my friend re-enlist and ultimately be deployed to Iraq, to honor his son.

During five of the six long years we have been in Iraq, the administration of George W. Bush expertly controlled the media. They insisted on strict guidelines that forbid the capturing and publishing of pictures of coffins being unloaded at Dover Air Force Base. You see, the war pigs learned a very valuable lesson during the Vietnam War. They saw how quickly public opinion can turn when they see pictures depicting the cost of war in their hometown papers. It didn't even need to be about a local fallen hero, for the photos to have their impact.

While I hope to never know the pain my friend lives through, or the loss this Marine's father must feel, but as a veteran and a father, I respectfully support the AP's decision. While I acknowledge our blood lust to observe the morbid, the gory, the suffering, we can not really shelter ourselves from the ravages of war. It always hits home, it always carries too high a price, so I ask, "Do we shield our sensitive sensibilities fromthe carnage of war to honor the sacrifices being made or because we don't want to be reminded of the senselessness of it all?"

To me, we dishonor every sacrifice made in pursuit of the "War on Terror," by every politician that claims that we can win this war or that they can protect us. There is no winning against terrorism. Who will surrender? Where do they live? What are the ideals that we need to expose to prove our victory? Just how do you prevent anyone from conducting terrorism anywhere in the world? How can we so intimidate a fringe political faction to stop them from threatening the world, without becoming worst terrorists ourselves?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Are f@#*&ing kidding me?

I just got a correctly addressed letter, expertly delivered by the USPS to my mailbox. The letter explained that the reason why the Social Security wasn't able to pay my daughter her disability benefit in August was because they did not have her correct address. Huh?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Record Income Inequality in the US

And the fresh fuel keeps pouring onto the smoldering embers of our future; ignition is eminent.

According to a new paper published by a Professor Emmanuel Saez, from the University of California at Berkeley, income inequality in the United States is at an all-time high, surpassing even levels seen during the Great Depression.

In an echo of what I've been telling friends and family, Saez calculates that in 2007 the top 1 percent of American earners took home 6 percent of total U.S. wages, a figure that has nearly doubled since 2000. In addition, the top 10 % of American earners, Saez writes, pulled in 49.7 percent of total wages, a level that's "higher than any other year since 1917 and even surpasses 1928, the peak of stock market bubble in the 'roaring" 1920s.'"
Thanks to the Huffington Post for breaking this story.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: jurvetson

Sunday, August 9, 2009

National Security State

From Professor Jon Taplin's blog, "If ever we needed evidence of the Cost of Empire, Floyd Norris’s scary chart of Durable Goods Production from the U.S. Economy is it.

We have so hollowed out our industrial plant that the only thing we are now producing is weapons of war."

I'm speechless, I talk with family about foreign policy issues, like terrorism, and it's like we're from different worlds; even though we grew up in the same house. I'm reminded of the excellent documentary directed by Eugene Jarecki, "Why we fight." With the "war on terrorism" we now have an undefeatable enemy that will ensure the reign of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's nightmare, what he called the military-industrial complex.

I tell everyone I know, so now I'll share it here. IMHO, the number one goal for the USA should be energy independence. It is the only rational way that we can change our foreign policies without enabling terroists.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: Steve Punter

Youth Population Explosion

Global population numbers are on track to reach 7 billion in 2011, just 12 years after reaching 6 billion in 1999. Virtually all of the growth is in developing countries (Africa and Asia).

On Aug. 12 in Washington, DC, the Population Reference Bureau will release its 2009 World Population Data Sheet, with a special focus on the world's youth. The Data Sheet and its summary report provide up-to-date demographic, health, and environment data for all countries and major world regions. New on the Data Sheet this year are data on carbon dioxide emissions per capita; estimates of the percent of population living on less than US$2 a day; and HIV/AIDS prevalence rates among young men and women ages 15 to 24. For details visit the Population Reference Bureau.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: FAB O LENS

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Not a coincidence

Okay, ready class? Today's lesson is on deductive reasoning. Can anyone identify the connection between the "war on terrorism" and a new report by Deloitte LLP entitlted "2008 Global Aerospace & Defense Industry Performance Wrap-up?"

Go ahead and take a look at the conclusions of the report and see if the connection becomes clearer. Done? Good, now what's the first thing you notice? Yes, good, it is true that:
"2008 was a record-setting year for the companies included in a new global aerospace and defense (A&D) industry study released today by Deloitte. The 67 companies or divisions in the Deloitte study increased their sales revenue to $595 billion, and their operating earnings jumped to more than $54 billion."
No one? Okay, let's break this down, real fast. Here's what I see:
  1. Forget all of that mumbo jumbo about: "continued productivity improvements in cost structure, substitution of technology for labor in product development and manufacturing, and the transformation of the supply chain from vertical integration to the super-supplier model." That's all just spin, plain and simple.
  2. Not much mention about significant growth in aerospace. So we're really just left with the war on terrorism.
  3. The war on terrorism is an illusion which essetially grants an open check to the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.
  4. No I'm not saying that we don't have terrorist enemies that are intent on causing terror to the United States and it's allies. What I'm saying is that in the famous words of Jon Stewart, late night host of "The Daily Show," "9/11 means shut the fuck up."