Saturday, July 5, 2014

Immigration: A case of national amnesia divides America

Good Day World!

There are so many ironic things about our society I could write a book on them. But today I want to focus on a current issue that has this country divided: illegal immigrants. Tempers are flaring up. Some people think that we are being invaded.


More than 52,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border since October. Most in just the last few months. Since October, more than 52,000 children traveling without an adult were caught entering the United States through Mexico — double the number of the previous year and triple the number in 2011.

About three-fourths of the children are from Central America: Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador. The rest are from Mexico.

Families are sending their children to the U.S. to escape crime, gangs and poverty and to reunite with relatives who may already be on American soil.

The surge appears to be rooted in rumors that a change in U.S. immigration policies means any child who crosses the border can stay. (source)


Federal immigration authorities have set up a processing center at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport to cope with the surge in unaccompanied children coming to the U.S. from Central America

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightening, and her name
Mother of Exiles.

On Tuesday, three buses full of about 140 migrants were forced to turn around after protesters blocked the road to Murietta, a town of about 103,000 people between Los Angeles and San Diego, and shouted slogans like, “Go Back to Mexico!”

From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twice cities frame.

"They're illegal aliens and they should not come here illegally. We have our own children to worry about,” Patrice Lynes told NBC News before a town meeting on the issue Wednesday night. "We want the illegal aliens repatriated to their own country."

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp1” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breath free,

Angry locals in Murrieta, Calif., packed a 750-seat high school gym for a town hall meeting Wednesday night, a day after protesters blocked the streets to prevent the arrival of 140 immigrants from overcrowded Texas facilities.

"Send them back! Send them back!" the crowd shouted at Murrieta officials and federal Border Patrol agents trying to address the meeting, as hundreds of residents stood outside unable to enter the crowded assembly.

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

POEM-The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus

If you’re like me, there’s no escaping the irony. What happened to the “Great Melting Pot?” Was there ever one? We’re a nation of immigrants with amnesia. We’ve forgotten our roots and have grown into a country full of fear, prejudice, and hate. 

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, July 4, 2014

4th of July trivia: Prime day to die, lying hackers, & the biggest gift ever!

Good Day World!


Happy Birthday America!

Did you know July 4th was a prime day for American presidents to die?

Three presidents have already died on Independence Day ( John Adams,Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe) and last year hackers tried to trick Twitter users into thinking President Obama had become the fourth.

Hackers broke into Fox News' Twitter account and fired off six tweets declaring Obama had been shot and killed in Iowa. In reality, the president was barbequing at the White House.The Secret Service investigated the tweets and Fox, after regaining control of its Twitter password, promptly declared them "malicious" and "false."


The United States got what may be the country's largest physical birthday present on July 4, 1884, when the French presented it with the Statue of Liberty. It took four months to assemble the 151-foot-tall statue, which was shipped from Paris in hundreds of pieces. (source)


It took nearly 100 years for Congress to make the Fourth of July an official holiday, despite the widespread celebrations that had been ringing in America's birthday since the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.

Boston was ahead of the national curve, becoming the first city to designate the Fourth a city-wide holiday in 1783. That's the same year Gov. Alexander Martin issued a state order making North Carolina the first state to officially celebrate U.S. independence on July 4. (source)


Congress officially declared July 4th a federal holiday back in 1870, but it took them nearly 70 years to give federal employees a paid day off.

July 4, 1938, was the first Independence Day that federal employees picnicked, barbequed and enjoyed fireworks without denting their paychecks. (source)

I hope you, and your loved ones, have a GREAT 4th of July!


This link takes you to a really cool retro 4th of July slideshow. I remember these days (picture below from 1960s) when the holiday was a lot simpler. Be safe! 

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Monster samples bogus but cryptozoologists don’t despair, there’s a possible Yeti hair!

Good Day World!

There’s good news, and there’s bad news, for cryptozoologists.

If you’re one of those folks who has been hunting Bigfoot or other legendary monsters most of your life, your enthusiasm may be dampened by the latest study.

Among other things the study looked at every known sample of so-called monsters and found instead DNA belonging to animals we’re already familiar with like bears, cows, dogs, and even raccoons.

On the other hand, the researchers, led by Oxford geneticist Bryan Sykes, did find an intriguing Abominable Snowman sample that has inspired further research.

I don’t know how you feel about cryptozoologists, but in my experience most are really ignorant about animals in general, and have a lot of time on their hands, like a couple of cousins of mine that live in upstate Michigan who have been “professional” Bigfoot hunters for decades.

I probably shouldn’t be such a cynic, but I can’t help it. I use to live right next to “Bigfoot Country” aka Willow Creek, California, and saw and heard some really interesting stories.

Like how the media was fooled by years by one local old boy who made plaster casts that baffled the “experts” for years.

It seems Sykes thinks that cryptozoologists are on the right track however, and if they keep looking they’ll find something.

“In a report published in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Academy B, a follow up on a yearlong effort to bring in and analyze samples collected by monster-hunters and fringe-science researchers known as cryptozoologists was released.

One of his key findings was revealed last year, when Sykes reported that two hair samples attributed to the mysterious Himalayan monster known as the Yeti (or "Abominable Snowman") were a genetic match for a 40,000-year-old jawbone from a polar bear that lived in the Norwegian Arctic.

Sykes is writing a book about that case, titled "The Yeti Enigma," and he's organizing an expedition to the Himalayas next year to look for a live specimen of the anomalous bear. "That's the next logical step," he said. "We need a live 'Yeti.'"

Sykes received dozens of samples of hair and tissues purportedly linked to such creatures, including the Yeti as well as the Almasty "wild man" from Russia and the orang pendek from Sumatra.

More than half of the 30 samples that underwent DNA analysis were linked to sightings of Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch) in the United States, ranging from Texas and Minnesota to Arizona and Washington state.” (Full story)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Supreme Jesters Recognize Corporate Religion: What’s Next?

Good Day World!

Our slap happy Supreme Court once again ruled in the favor of corporations - Burwell v. Hobby Lobby – confirming the weird belief that corporations have as many (if not more) rights than human beings in America.

It’s the ultimate 21st Century reality, and it makes me sick to see it. We can thank this Supreme Court for promoting big business to the God-like level that it has achieved.

Corporations never had it so good. This victory comes with a caveat however:


Let’s be clear about one thing. In the Hobby Lobby decision, the Supreme Court overturned a single regulation issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It didn’t overturn a single provision of the Congressional statute enacted in 2010 called the Affordable Care Act.

You wouldn’t have that impression based on the media coverage of this case. You’d think instead that by overturning HHS’s contraception mandate, the Supreme Court had overturned a huge chunk of the new health law. Nope.

Pro-life activists—and Obamacare opponents—are cheering today. But when they sit down and reflect, they’ll realize that they haven’t won a thing.” (Via Forbes)

The corporations, on the other hand, have reason to celebrate.

The next step, on this road to ruin, is to have corporations run for political office. Can’t you just see the national policies under a Wal Mart president?

I leave you with the words of Adam Fell, a poet with dark visions of America’s future:

Microreview of ‘Dear Corporation’ by Adam Fell

“Say the senator meets you in the lobby of your building.”

About this senator there is “something midwestern vampiric...a glow of suspirian blood in his / sockets, an oil spill oimagef Nick Cave hair.”

This character, deceptive in a way that should surprise no one familiar with the religion of capitalism, is the classic corporate snake: cocky and cynical, “the shade of a new false father.”

And this snake dutifully plays a number of his scenes as the bully. In such poems there is a relentless, confrontational quality that feels good in the way a well-deserved “fuck you” can.

But when Fell speaks to the “Dear Corporation” as if in search of decency, the book leaps in startling ways.

American Microreviews

Vouched Books: “Best Thing I’ve Read All Week” Feature

Former People: “The Heaviness of a Corporate Being”

Time for me to walk on down the road…


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

GM Celebrates 100th Anniversary with Another Vehicle Recall

Good Day World!

It’s really kind of sad.

Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of General Motors. It should have been a time of celebration for the company.

General Motors long history dates back to carriage maker William "Billy" Durant, who bet big on the fledgling auto industry in the early 1900s, creating General Motors Corp.

Riding America's rise as a superpower, GM went on to dominate the automobile industry for decades, producing some iconic cars and trucks, as well as numerous safety, marketing and technological advances.

Those hallowed days are over. The current state of GM is shaky – at best – and it’s future promises more lawsuits draining profits for years to come. What happened to this great American vehicle manufacturer?


General Motors announced six new recalls on Monday affecting 7.6 million vehicles in North America and 800,000 more overseas.

Older model full-size sedans being recalled for inadvertent ignition key rotation.

The vehicles recalled are 1997 to 2005 Chevrolet Malibu sedans, 1998 to 2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue sedans, 1999 to 2004 Oldsmobile Aleros, 1999 to 2005 Pontiac Grand Ams, 2000 to 2005 Chevrolet Impalas and Monte Carlos, and 2004 to 2008 Pontiac Grand Prixs.


The number of vehicles involved in the latest recall is greater than the automaker’s annual sales in the United States in 2013.


GM is under intense scrutiny from a series of investigations stemming from the deadly ignition-switch flaw that led to the recall of 2.6 million Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars.

The company has launched 44 recalls this year covering 17.7 million vehicles in the United States and 20 million across North America.

About 28 million vehicles have been recalled in the United States this year, approaching the 30 million record set in 2004.GM is under investigation by federal prosecutors, Congress and law enforcement officials in several states in connection with the ignition-switch flaw in its small cars.

The company is also facing dozens of lawsuits and has hired compensation specialist Kenneth R. Feinberg to establish a fund to compensate victims injured in connection with the defect.The automaker also announced recalls for 165,000 other vehicles to deal with five separate issues, including potentially faulty power-steering hoses and transmission cables. (Full story)

Time for me to walk on down the road… (I certainly wouldn’t ride a GM product down it!)


Monday, June 30, 2014

Boehner’s next act, too much Hillary, Rove rants, & a stupid headline

Good Day World!

It’s another manic Monday.

Buckle up your seatbelt and jump into the fast lane with me for some news and views:

Between promoting her new book and exploring the possibility of running for the presidency in 2016, Hillary Clinton has been dominating the mainstream media for a long time.

Her followers, and detractors, make her the most famous female politician in America.

Some polls say a good percentage (55%) of average Americans can relate to her, but other news stories point out gaffes she’s made that can potentially be used against her if she runs for the Oval Office.

My take on all of this: I’m sick and tired of seeing Hillary everywhere I look! I feel like I’m being stalked when I turn on the TV or got to an online news source and see her crooked smile directed at me! 

Speaking of crooked smiles…

One of my favorite crazies from the last Bush presidency, Karl Rove, has crawled out from beneath the stone he’s been hiding under since Dubya left office.

With that twisted smile (more like a leer) Rove was back to his crazy old self comparing President Obama to King George during a recent Fox News broadcast.

Poor Rove. I’m convinced dementia has permanently set in at the tender age of 63. King George (oft referred to as Duyba) was the president before Obama. Rove, of course, was the court jester/fool.

Anyway….he managed to excite some Hillary Clinton haters by suggesting her health is bad and she’s viewed by many as being "old and stale." Forget about the polls that say otherwise. Rove seldom worries about reality.

Let’s face it, Rove’s driving mission in life is to lob rhetorical bombs at Hillary. Earlier this month, Rove questioned Clinton's health by suggesting that she had a "traumatic brain injury."

From traumatic to dramatic, we have one of my favorite political actors (his eyes can well up and burst into crocodile tears at the drop of a vote) House Speaker, John Boehner, who plans to sue the Obama administration over its use of executive actions on issues like the federal minimum wage, federal pay discrimination and new EPA regulations.

As far as I can tell, he wants to sue Obama for doing his job. Let it never be said that Boehner the Blubberer doesn’t have a good imagination, or lots of partisan gall. A career in acting looms whenever he decides to step down from politics.

It’s time to call ChicagoMurder City” once again. A weekend doesn’t go by without shootings that result in death or serious wounds. Most recent: 27 shots in Chicago Over Weekend The days when Al Capone and his henchmen terrorized Chicago never looked worse.

Stupid Headline for the day:

Jailed Benghazi Suspect 'Not Cooperative', Says Congressman

Time for me to walk on down the road…


Sunday, June 29, 2014

To Frack or not to Frack? More money & energy, vs environmental disasters

I’m BACK and as feisty as ever!

Thanks for stopping by. Here’s today’s food for thought:

Good Day World!

Call me old fashioned, but I think nature comes up with enough earthquakes without man’s help.

Hydraulic fracturing, better known as “fracking” is profitable, and it’s the reason the earth is shaking in places it never has before.

That’s just for starters. There’s a whole bunch of concerns, like air emissions, methane leaks and protecting aquifers from wastewater.


The United States has become the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

How did we reach this goal? Two simple words, which were excluded from the Department of Energy press release and the single U.S. News report on it. What were they?

Hydraulic fracturing. 

The mainstream media has really downplayed this energy revelation.

Why? We’re making money. Jobs are popping up with the wells and parts of the economy are thriving thanks to fracking.

So why no glowing reports?

Could it be that fracking is not popular with most Americans?

It sure appears so:

Fracking Opposition On The Rise In New York

California Fracking Poll Finds Most Voters Either Want To Ban It Or Regulate It

 Oklahoma is a much shakier place than it used to be and fracking is probably to blame, according to the United States Geological Survey, which warns that the central part of the state is now at increased risk of a damaging quake.

The agency says that there were 183 quakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater in the six months since October alone, compared to an average of just two that size per year between 1978 and 2008, NPR reports. A major factor, it says, is probably the injection of waste water from fracking into deep geological formations, causing quakes in a process known as injection-induced seismicity.


A Texas family suing a gas-drilling firm over alleged contamination of their ranch has won $3 million in what their lawyer calls Texas' first fracking verdict the Dallas Morning News reported.

Locals in Texas, and their elected leaders, are convinced the quakes are due to the nationwide drilling boom sparked by fracking.

At a public forum last Wednesday, residents made their feelings clear about fracking.

"Fracking came so quickly, much more quickly than we could figure out how to do it right," says Russell Gold, author of "The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World."

In January of 2014, Environment America Research & Policy Center joined residents living on the frontlines of fracking who recounted their stories of illness, water contamination and damage to their livelihoods due to dirty drilling operations in a new booklet, Shalefield Stories.

The new booklet was released even as President Obama touted natural gas development in his State of the Union speech and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz asserted last week that the impacts of fracking are “challenging but manageable.”

It’s clear to me that Americans need to make a choice soon: put massive safety regulations in place (drilling in seismic areas is plain stupid but it happens), or stop fracking entirely. Money or environment? What do you think? 

Related stories:

Is Fracking Safe? The Top 10 Controversial Claims About Natural Gas Drilling

Report: Fracking raising water supply worries

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I’m taking a blog break but will be back soon

Good Day World!

As always, I appreciate it when you stop by.

Readers like yourself make my day.

I’ve always been more comfortable sharing my thoughts via the written word. I never was much for public speaking, although I certainly did my share back in the day.

But, every now and then, I need to step away from my computer to recharge my creative batteries. I usually travel somewhere when I do. This time is no exception.

I’m heading to Southern California to visit my father (it’ll be his 86th birthday on June 28th), and my sister who just retired from working as the pediatric oncology liaison for Loma Linda University and Hospital for 25 years.

My wife and I are flying because my chronic back pain gets worse on such a long drive. I hate flying, but in my old age I’m setting that aside in favor of comfort. Aawwwww the sacrifices we have to make when our hair grows gray/white, and our skin shrivels up like ancient papyrus scrolls!

While I’m gone, don’t hesitate to check out the links on the right side of the page.

You’ll find blog posts going back five years, and opinion columns I wrote for the Times-Standard newspaper up until last July. There’s also a link to one of my learning boards at LEARNIST (top right corner).

Thanks for stopping by, and I sure hope you do again when I return on Sunday, June 29th, refreshed and inspired to share more news and views with you!  

Time for me to walk on down the road… 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Horney dinosaurs, 6-fingered family for Brazil, & Cheney clobbered by Fox’s Megyn Kelley

Mercuriceratops (Danielle Dufault/Naturwissenschaften)Good Day World!

I’ve got a few interesting topics to share today.

First. How the heck do scientists know the recently discovered dinosaur Mercuriceratops used it’s horns to attract mates?

Do they have a time machine or what? It seems weird that they’ve just discovered this “new” dinosaur and already know about his sex life.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m a tad skeptical about their assumption. (Story)

In other news:


Silvia Santos, facing camera, embraces her daughter Ana Carolina at their home in Brasilia, Brazil.

All the members of the Silva family were born with an extra digit on each hand as a result of a genetic condition known as polydactyly.

Rather than recoil in the face of constant stares by curious onlookers the 14 members of the family spanning four generations seem to embrace their physical differences with pride. (AP Text and Photo/Eraldo Peres)


Have you seen the video where Fox’s Megyn Kelly destroys Dick aka Darth Cheney?

After quoting Cheney's recent op-ed on the war, in which he said of President Obama, “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,” she put this scorcher of a question to him:

"Time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir. You said there was no doubt Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. You said we would be greeted as liberators. You said the insurgency was in its last throes back in 2005, and you said that after our intervention, extremists would have to 'rethink their strategy of jihad.' Now, with almost a trillion dollars spent there, with almost 4,500 American lives lost there, what do you say to those who say you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?"

Time for me to walk on down the road…


Friday, June 20, 2014

Romancing Costco: America’s love affair with a trendy retailer

Good Day World!

Have you ever been to a Costco?

I have a friend who shops there for nearly everything.

Whenever he travels he always locates the nearest Costco. When we went to Kauai with our wives a few years back, guess what? There was a Costco there.

We both agree that whoever does the taste-testing for the food and drink products must get stoned on high-grade weed first. Everything tastes great there! The non-food products are always top rate stuff that’s reasonably priced.

Costco’s are also trendy. Check it out:

Retail Politics: Hillary Clinton Heads to Costco, Skips Walmart on Latest Book Tour.

How Costco explains the Obama presidency

“The Obama administration's romance with the second-largest retailer in America is stronger than ever - and might just be the most successful union of a politician and a supermarket in American history.”

Here’s Some Facts About Costco Wholesale Corporation:

“Costco Wholesale Corporation is a membership-only warehouse club that provides a wide selection of merchandise. As of July 2012, it is the second largest retailer in the United States, the seventh largest retailer in the world and the largest membership warehouse club chain in the United States.

Costco is headquartered in Issaquah, Washington, United States and was founded in 1976 in San Diego, CA with its first warehouse in Seattle. Today, Costco has a total of 652 locations (as of May 16, 2014) throughout the world. There’s 451 locations in the United States.

Founded by James (Jim) Sinegal and Jeffrey H. Brotman, Costco opened its first warehouse in Seattle, Washington, on September 15, 1983. Costco employs about 174,000 full and part-time employees. As of February 2013, Costco had 71.2 million members.The majority of Costco locations are not unionized.

The non-union locations have revisions to their Costco Employee Agreement every three years concurrent with union contract ratifications in locations with collective bargaining agreements. Only remotely similar to a union contract, the Employee Agreement sets forth such things as benefits, compensations, wages, disciplinary procedures, paid holidays, bonuses, and seniority.

The employee 'agreement' is subject to change by Costco at any time and offers no absolute protection to the workers. As of March 2011, non-supervisory hourly wages ranged from $11.00 to $21.00 in the United States.” – WIKIPEDIA SUMMARY



On May 1, 2011, the top members of the Obama administration were hunkered down in the Situation Room, planning the mission that would lead to the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. And what kept the White House going late at night?

"A staffer went to Costco and came back with a mix of provisions — turkey pita wraps, cold shrimp, potato chips, soda." That's right, Costco played a small but important role - who knows what kinds of decisions Obama would have made if he were hungry - in one of the most important moments of his presidency. White House food critic Tom Sietsema analyzed the food choice at the time:

“The choice of a wrap rather than a slice of bread to bundle the turkey strikes me as very Bush-era, wraps being so yesterday. Maybe there wasn't an option at Costco -- which, by the way, is more than one food professional's not-so-secret source for choice cuts of meat, chicken and cherries in season.

The food is all very easy to eat. Nothing requires a utensil, or much concentration, unless the shrimp included tails. Had the first lady walked into the room, no one would have felt obliged to hide what they were eating; the turkey and shrimp would have met her approval. As for the potato chips and soda ... hey, everything in moderation.” (Via The Washington Post)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tiny Albania’s Weed War Makes Ours Seem Like a Walk in the Park

Is Albania Europe's new marijuana capital?

Good Day World!

Over the years, you may have heard about large marijuana busts in Humboldt County, California, and along the Pacific North Coast.

You may have also seen documentaries on marijuana growers in America and their battle with authorities.

(Lush strip of green: Nine-tenths of the villagers in Lazarat are believed to take part in marijuana cultivation. (Photo credit: Besar Likmeta/GlobalPost)

If you have, it’s likely that you’re aware of how powerful Mexican cartels are and their roll in cashing in on cannabis crops in the United States.

Marijuana has become increasingly popular with the American public in recent years. A majority support legalization. But the feds say pot is still illegal. So, the Marijuana War continues to rage in the USA.

But our illegal growers haven’t resorted to rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and machine guns like growers in Lazarat, a major marijuana-producing center about140 miles south of the capital, Tirana, Albania have.

Over the past few weeks, Albanian authorities have launched a nationwide operation to uproot cannabis plantations. Hundreds of Albanian police, backed by armored vehicles, stormed Lazarat Monday.

The annual crop in Lazarat earns almost $6 billion a year (roughly half of the small Balkan country's GDP), according to Italian and Albanian authorities. Cannabis is usually planted in May and harvested in September. Up to 90 percent of village residents — 7,000 in all — are believed to take part in the business, according to the Global Post.

The gangs in Albania produce about 900 metric tons of cannabis a year, dwarfing the Mexican Cartels’ crops in the US and Mexico.

For example, Mexican federal authorities seized a 120-hectare marijuana field in Baja California, the largest such bust by Mexican authorities in history, which would have yielded an estimated 120 metric tons of marijuana.

It’s difficult to measure how many tons of Cartel weed is grown in the US, but authorities on both sides of the border agree it’s not as many tons as produced in Mexico.

Albania easily out-produces all illegal pot grows in Mexico and America by a wide margin.

If you want to talk about weed wars, then Albania sets the bar. I bet you didn’t know that.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Lady Gaga's Dogs Stolen in Broad Daylight: Nationwide Dog Walkers Are At Risk

The pantheon of dangerous jobs in America has just expanded to include dog walkers. Lady Gaga's dog walker was shot four times in the ...