frankilin roosevelt

It's not about being liberal or conservative anymore y'all. That is a hype offered by the fascist whores who want to confuse the people with lies while they turn this country into an aristocratic police state. Some people will say anything to attain power and money. There is no such thing as the Liberal Media, but the Corporate media is very real.

Check out my old  Voice of the People page.

Gino Napoli
San Francisco, California
High School Math Teacher

Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.

a middle-aged
George Washington

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Thursday, 29 May 2014 at 4h 36m 28s

The Inimitable Vin Scully

Jamie Womack had been in the minor leagues 13 years and just got his first call up to the MLB as a Los Angeles Dodger. He was asked by Vin Scully whether it bothered him. According to Vin Scully, Jamie's response was ...

I didn't put much emphasis on where I wasn't. I worried about where I was.

--Jamie Womack

UPDATE: The kid (well, he is younger than me) comes up to pinch hit. Vin Scully details the events.

Most people do not know his background. He's certainly well put together. He's 6 foot 2 and 220 pounds.... All those years. All those nights waiting and praying to get the phone call. Well let's see what happens.... And a one hoper, right to the glove hand of the first basemen. Well, you can't hit it much harder than that.

Thursday, 22 May 2014 at 23h 41m 34s

Thought of the day

Man will always feel alienated from the environment.

Man took the jungle, the wilderness, the marshlands, and the prairies from the other animals. Mankind altered the environment to suit the needs of the feeding and tbe aggregating of more people. Animals that could be eaten, controlled, or herded were gathered and put in between fences, into pens, and within barns. The other animals were exterminated, one by one, and the effectiveness depended upon the belligerence or protest of the animals in question. Those that were passive remained. Those that were aggressive in their rights, such as tigers, usually lived on the verge of extinction, until the civilization of mankind got to a point where there was no more question as to whom was at the top of the food chain, and then these aggressive species got some sanctimony from humans who wanted to put them in zoos and look at them on Saturday afternoon's while eating popcorn and ice cream with the kids.

Now that mankind has become the creator of the environment, this theft of the Earth by one species has left a void. Yet, the instincts of the homo sapiens have not abated; even if the environment in which we have evolved over millions of years has vastly changed in the last 4,000 years. The theft of the landscape has now inverted, and mankind is now stealing from one another.

Or as Nostradamus once said in a famous prophesy, "...and man will become a man eater."

I heard that line from a movie by Orsen Welles who narrated a film about Nostradamus I saw while in High School. To this day, I still hear the same audio track I hear 30 something years ago.

In fact, I probably repeat myself. I know I've said as much at some point in this blog over the last 12 years.

BTW, yes, I'm finally back after a long absence.

Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 23h 49m 56s

Napster's 2014 MLB Bold Predictions

Here's my bold predictions per team

    Pitching will fall apart. The bad Ubaldo shows up. Gausman moves to the bullpen and takes over the closer roll.
    Injuries ruin a repeat. Sizemore however plays all year.
    Beltran gets hurt. Teixiera hits less than 25 homers. Tanaka, Pineda, and Nova all pitch better than CC Sabathia, and the bullpen winds up being very good.
    The Rays will win the division. Chris Archer and Will Myers take their game to the next level. Loney does better than last year in the power and RBI department. Desmond Jennings has a good year and steals more than 30 bases.
    Jose Abreu is the real thing. Marcus Siemen sticks around and excels, eventually replacing Beckham who gets traded. DeAza plays more games than Viciedo. Avisail Garcia hits 20 home runs but strikesout a lot. John Danks has a resurgent year and Quintana earns the 5 year contract with an increased strikeout rate.
    The offense takes a step back. Verlander has a lot of bad games. Joe Nathan manages to have one more good season, but it won't be as elite as 2013. Castellanos becomes a solid Third basemen but his best years will begin in 2015.
    Yordano walks too many batters and makes too many mistakes. Shields is the only SP who is reliable. Moustakas reaches his potential and hits 30 home runs. Lorenzo Cain has a good year. Butler still hits less than 20 home runs and doesn't crack 90 RBI's.
    Division winner. Will have the best pitching in the American League. McCallister has a great year. Masterson is Cy Young worthy. Salazar strikesout more batters than innings pitched. John Axford is a top 10 closer.
    Jared Cosart shows his pitching promise. The bullpen is the worst in baseball. Singleton begins to play regularly and hits more than 15 home runs with a .300 batting average. Jonathan Villar steals 30 bases but will bat 7th, 8th, or 9th most of the year.
    Weaver is less than effective. Hector Santiago is too erratic. CJ Wilson is their best SP but I think he get's hurt. Hamilton and Pujols will be a lot better than last year, but they won't be in the top two tiers. Kyle Calhoun hits 15 or more homers, steals 20 bases, scores 100 runs with a .280 batting average, and is the lead-off hitter all season.
    Winds up in 4th place because their pitching falls apart. Yu Darvish has issues more often than not, but will be awesome for most of the year. Soria becomes a top 10 closer again. Michael Choice becomes the best Texas Outfielder and hits 20 or more home runs.
    Plays better than last year and winds up in 2nd or 3rd place. Farquhar saves more than 10 games. Taijuan wins more than 10 games and has a sub 3.80 era. Roenis Ellis stays in the rotation all year long and does well his first MLB season. Brad Miller hits 2nd all year long and puts up Dustin Pedroia-like numbers. Almonte becomes a pretty good lead-off hitter. Either one (or both) of Corey Hart and Morrison have a resurgent year. Ackley finally shows what everyone thought he could do. Seager is decent and has a repeat of last year.
    Cespedes does better but not quite what everyone hopes for. Lowrie stays healthy again. Coco Crisp however plays less than 120 games because of injuries. Sonny Gray and Kazmir have really good years. Jim Johnson saves more than 45 games again.
  • METS
    The mets are one of the worst teams all year. No pitcher will be fantasy relevant. Poor David Wright goes back to his worst year's.
    The Phillies will show their age. Utley and Howard are injured again. Rollins decline becomes obvious. All pitchers not names Cliff Lee have sub-par years. Papelbon's erratic pitching continues. Daren Ruf and Domonic Brown will hit the most home runs. Asche remains mediocre.
    The offense clicks with resurgent years from BJ and Uggla, but Gattis won't play more than 100 games and won't hit more than .240. Andrelton improves his batting average, but doesn't steal more than 10 bases or hit more than 12 home runs. Alex Wood stays in the rotation all year and is their second best SP on the team after Teheran, with Minor ranked 3rd.
    Will hit better than last year. Yellich has some bumps, but he shows promise. Stanton hits more than 35 home runs. Saltallamacchia has a better year than a lot pudits think. Eovaldi becomes a worthy pitcher.
    Taylor Jordan makes a run for rookie of the year. Werth has another sub-par year despite last year's promise. The Nats have trouble scoring runs, but their pitching staff is the best in the National League.
    Jose Baez becomes a fixture in the lineup. Ruggiano has a good year, but Schierholz will take a step back. The bullpen is a mess all year long.
    Will take the division again. Wacha competes for the CY YOUNG. Carlos Martinez joins the rotation by June or July and has a run of awesomeness that is breathtaking to behold. Matt Adams becomes the Cardinals first basemen and Allen Craig stays in the outfield. Kolten Wong has a rookie of the year worthy campaign. Carpenter is just as good as last year.
    The pitching staff takes a step back. Gerrit Cole has growing pains. Melancon winds up with the closer role at some point. Starling Marte improves and becomes a top 15 outfielder this year. Gregory Polanco impresses when he comes up in May.
    The pitching staff falls completely apart. Khris Davis will be okay, but he won't be the player everyone thinks. Ryan Braun hits less than 30 home runs.
    Jay Bruce will have a career year. Brandon Phillips will too. Todd Frazier finds his groove again. Hamilton steals 80 bases and scores 120 runs with 5 homers, 40 doubles and a .270 batting average.
    The outfield crumbles as Kemp, Crawford, and Ethier all suffer bouts with injuries and diminished ability.
    Nolan Arenado begins to show his hitting promise. Car-Go plays more than 140 games.
    Madison Bumgarner competes for the Cy Young, but no other Giants pitcher is reliable. Brandon Belt achieves his potential. Mike Morse hits more than 20 home runs. Panda has a resurgent year, but then gets injured again.
    Will have a very bad year. Everything goes wrong. No one hits more than 20 home runs or gets 100 rbis. Cashner is the only SP who does well and Tyson Ross struggles to find last year's 2nd half success.
    Pollock becomes a good hitting outfielder. Owings competes for rookie of the year. The Arizona pitching staff will be one of the worst, and Archie Bradley won't improve it when he gets called up.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ UPDATE: 22 May 2014
    OMG. I'm laughing so hard at most of these predictions. I'm no better than a Binomial distribution. But for those of you who know math, I guess that means, ... yea, like, duhhhh?

  • Saturday, 21 December 2013 at 22h 22m 16s

    Oil spills, gas explosions, mine collapses ... every month, every year

    Because the industry cares about your safety, it intimidates news organizations to not investigate or even publish under threat of lawsuits. The industry prefers to spend millions on advertizing campaigns than actually invest in safer equipment and more efficient processes. Did I also mention slush funds to "fund" bribe politicians who stall or negate actually enforcement of laws?

    Here's my favorite.

    September 29 A North Dakota farmer winds up discovering the largest onshore oil spill in U.S. history, the size of seven football fields. At least 20,600 barrels of oil leaked from a Tesoro Corp-owned pipeline onto the Jensens’ land, and it went unreported to North Dakotans for more than a week. An AP investigation later discovered that nearly 300 oil spills and 750 “oil field incidents” had gone unreported to the public since January 2012.

    The largest onshore pipeline oil spill in US history happened in 2013. And it got no news coverage at all. put together a list of 45 such accidents in 2013. Click the source.

    [SOURCE: Thinkprogress | Emily Atkin | 17 December]

    Friday, 20 December 2013 at 3h 19m 19s

    Monopoly economics

    Recently, their has been a lot of hacks into corporate business servers stealing credit cards and financial information. It has happened to me three times in the last 10 years, and the same can be said for probably most people. The bank cancelled the card and I had to wait 7 days for a re-issue, but the reality is that the information is still in the hands of some criminal or criminal enterprise that might decide to take out a loan with my name and do all sorts of other nasty things -- that really happen.

    Target's CEO came out an issued a statement

    Target’s first priority is preserving the trust of our guests and we have moved swiftly to address this issue, so guests can shop with confidence. We regret any inconvenience this may cause.

    [SOURCE: Huffington Post |  | 19 December 2013]

    This thing called monopoly consolidation and agency theory of corporations gets in the way of the corporations ability to do anything else BUT a ritualized public relations campaign. Problems are supposed to go away and fix themselves once Target spends 10 million or so on a massive advert campaign with happy caring employees and soothing music and nice people that have nice voices saying how much Target does to protect your private information.

    For those of you who don't know, "Agency theory" means that managers who do not own the company are making decisions about the welfare and operations instead of the owners. Allowing the "agents" (CEO's) to have some of the profits is supposed to keep them interested in the welfare of the corporation. This theory might have some merit in a competitive business environment. However, once the competitiveness of a given sector of the economy becomes limited and oligarchical, a different system evolves, and the need for competent management becomes less important than loyalty

    So despite the stream of advertisements, nothing will change. The CEO is no longer human. He is a sociopathic robot. How else can you expect them to say such obvious hypocrisy with a straight face. They are paid huge dollars to soothe their conflicted souls, and they are surrounded by self-inflated egos and sycophants to the point where they are beyond clueless. The few that are different, who survive the pressures and remain sane are rare specimens to be cherished.

    Target is not afraid of losing customers, and they depend upon the average zombie who buys their cheap crap to have a memory shorter than a house fly. Just like all the commercials paid for by BP depicting a return to normal on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico by an astute looking attentive corporate manager from BP. All the spills every month all over the country from burst and leaking pipelines, or run-off from coal extraction and "fracking" that destroy's drinking water and poisons the topsoil for decades. All the cancer's created by exposure to toxic chemicals. All the deaths due to negligence and lack of concern for safety oversight. All of it is washed away by the magic of cinematography and a good video editor at a top-notch Hollywood studio.

    Everything is fine people. Go back to sleep and pretend the invisible hand runs the magical free market independent of and without any human influence whatsoever.

    Saturday, 14 December 2013 at 5h 10m 15s

    The achievement gap

    If you look at those graphs, you notice a rise in black and spanish from 1973 to 1990, followed by flatline, whereas the blue line is fairly flat.

    It's because you can't teach critical thinking. All you can do is create an environment that enables every student to reach their potential. To a large extent the mind is only so good as the development. If a human never learns syntax or language by the age of 7 or 8, that human will never be able to learn a language because their mind has developed too far beyond the necessary time that language could be accommodated. It's neurological reality. A student who has not had the same opportunities of development at the age of 14 is at an inherent disadvantage, which is why such development must begin and be addressed as early as possible.

    Overtime the level of knowledge and average human ability increases, but the process isn't constant or consistent. In 1950, 25% of US High school students took Algebra in high school and maybe 40% graduated. In 1900, Calculus was a subject only a few college students ever took. Today, every single high school teaches a Calculus class, and most have more than one section per year. Today, almost every student take Algebra in high school, and the national high school graduation rate is above 80%.

    Beware of wolves who speak of crisis and offer reforms for a problem that doesn't exist.

    Our schools are fine for the most part, the schools that are in trouble are in trouble for reasons outside of the schools themselves. They've been saying there's been an education crisis since the 1950's and yet there has been no shortage of ingenuity and innovation in the economy. There are plenty of high quality engineers and professionals who are top notch graduating every year, and year after year despite so called crisis of education that doesn't teach "critical thinking" or whatever is the buggaboo currently available.

    The corporate elite keep saying they can't hire people who have skills. But then you find out about how they offer $10 per hour jobs for high level skills that used to be top dollar, so that people who have such skills are more likely to get their employment elsewhere rather than take a large cut in pay. Then you find out that the same companies keep turning away quality high skilled applicants ... because they are "too old" or don't "fit the profile" because they have "too much experience". In other words the real problems isn't a skills gap at all. The real problem is these corporations don't want to pay living wages and would rather inexperienced wage-slaves trained dirt-cheap on the public dime then they care about education.

    Funny that the danger of falling behind the rest of the world didn't stop the entrepeneurs who build the computer industry and the internet and the many new businesses that evolved since 1980. Because we really do have one of the best educational systems in the world. The problems have to do with economic disparity not a poor educational model.

    I would also add that it's not that we teach black and spanish kids poorly and white kids better so much as it is that black and spanish kids are more likely to come from a poor educational or family background. If the average spanish/black kid was equivalent to the average white kid, the gap would be much much less than it is now.

    And remember that the graphs are based on averages. Just because the lines for black and spanish kids is lower, does NOT mean ALL black and spanish kids are lower.

    The problem with the disparity also has more to do with the larger problems of economic inequality than it does with the system of education. Schools cannot address the larger social problems alone, and this factor shows up in the achievement gap. A Stanford professor found that 2/3rds of the variation in the PISA test scores (from 2006) can be explained by how many books they have in the home.

    This would be 0.81 correlation coefficient ... or 81% -- which is btw the same correlation as between IQ and scholastic achievement.

    There is also the reality that these NAEP tests (and the PISA tests) are very challenging. Most educated adults would have a hard time if they took them. The tests are more like tests you give to see if a student is gifted and talented. They are not proficiency assessments. They are not testing to see how much you know, but how you think and the depth of your thinking. So you can't see these poor results as reflecting a lack of education or knowledge.

    Thursday, 28 November 2013 at 20h 6m 11s

    Happy Thanksgiving

    So what am I thinking about today, oh many things really. There's no way I could succinctly summarize all of the random thoughts into a few morsels.

    But in the past 15 minutes, I've been thinking about the women I've known in my life, thinking about the relationship from their point of view, which is something I like to do in general. What is the perspective from someone else's point of view. That stranger on the bus or in the grocery store, what is their life about, what are their thoughts, their issues. The imagination wanders.

    I've had 5 girlfriends in my life that I really liked. Two other hook ups were nice girls but we never got a chance to develop a relation beyond the moment. Only one of those seven girls do I really still love, even though I accept the reality that I will never see her again.

    She's happily married living somewhere in the world. Sometimes I wonder if she ever reads this blog, but I suspect that she is completely ignorant of it's existence. She probably never thinks about me except maybe once or twice a year (maybe) if she thinks about her college years. She was a cool girl. She was also completely different than me, and that's probably why it worked for a few years, but sooner or later those differences began to matter, and well, it just wasn't meant to be.

    And it's for the best too. But I still always wonder if I'll ever get an email or contact out of the blue like has happened with some other people I used to know. I suspect not, but still sometimes I wonder.

    Thursday, 28 November 2013 at 0h 40m 40s

    The Day the Machines Stopped

    I write stuff. Below is something I've been working on. I'm not sure what to do with it, but at any rate, here it is. I call it, "The Day the Machines Stopped."

    The real transformation began when humans made electronic devices that could be held in the palm of their hands. The machines of locomotion and production that came before, the automobiles, the bicycles, the conveyor belts, elevators and Bessemer furnaces, these were the neanderthals of the technological epoch that was to come. First calculators came to do the adding and multiplying that humans used to do with their own minds, or paper and pencil. Then computers were built and data got analyzed with electronic ones and zeroes. Visual displays and incredibly rich interaction with the user enabled access to an almost endless collection of information and video-graphy because of what was called the internet. But these were just the infants in the stream of wow that evolved from the process that Michael Faraday discovered in his laboratories hooking up copper wires and magnets while using chemical solutions for the source of electric currents. Radios, Transistors and light-emitting diodes, the television and video projection, were then combined to produce the video game console. Soon the i-pod and their next of kin, the cell phone, added yet more interconnections with the technological infrastructure. Once the internet, email, text messaging, and broadband streaming bounced on the scene of everyday living, the human race had entered a new phase of it's evolutionary existence.

    But the biology and bone structures of humans couldn't change so it was the mental aspects of human culture which evolved instead. People forgot various aspects of their humanity as they replaced their daily lives with technological devices not much larger than the palms of their hands. Interaction with life shrunk down to a 6 inch by 10 inch rectangular surface of images and sounds transmitted to the dark sunglass lens that people began to put on their eyes No one acknowledged the presence of anyone else unless they sent an electronic signal to their cellular device, or the person's removed the sunglasses and decided to unplug from such devices. Automobiles became driven by computers and high-tech radar/sonar sensory equipment. Humans often slept on their way to work, or play video games while the cars drove them home or to the supermarket big box chain stores that sold everything now. People visited one another and had their conversations mostly by video conferencing or by sending text messages in chat rooms. There was the rare occasion when two strangers would interact beyond a few polite words of "excuse me" or "are you waiting in line", but even in social or community situations most people remained plugged in to the tech devices that sent them constant images to the sunglasses and sounds to the small ear plugs. More usually, when people were talking out loud, they were talking to no one in the immediate vicinity, but rather to someone on the other end of the connection to the ether of telecommunications.

    The devices began to do all of the thinking after a few generations. Instantly need a fact or need to research some historical matter, it would never take longer than a minute to get the information you wanted, along with highly detailed visual maps and lots of short video clips. The devices could tell you how much money you had in your wallet or your bank account. They would also show you in the margins of the sunglasses the price of the items you are buying, along with how much you have left after the purchase. They were also designed to completely absorb the personality of their owners, and were coded specifically to be able to listen to verbalized problems, and respond with consoling language. They could surprisingly give decent advice about very intricate matters and complex situations, and although the advice was often not followed, the devices were never judgmental or sanctimonious. The devices would suggest what you should eat for dinner, what new restaurant to go to, which route was quicker to the park, who might be an interesting date for Friday evening, or whether it might be time to go shopping for some new slacks or different looking blouses. They would organize the entire day's events and then remind you throughout the day so you wouldn't forget. The devices would even tell you the name of the people you encounter with a secret whisper in the ear bud, saving you the age-old embarrassment of forgetting someone's name that had plagued centuries of old-fashion human folk before the new inventions came on the scene in the latter 21st century.

    After two generations, people became incredibly forgetful. Some of them never took off their sun-glass tech devices, and a new surgery had appeared that was implanting surface screens over the eye sockets of adults for as little as what was the equivalent of a month's salary for the average legal secretary. Women had long ago already started putting silicon in their breasts or puffing up their lips and "lifting" their cheek skin. Men began to have silicon putty additions to their penal organs not long afterwards. So the eye socket surfaces was only a logical conclusion. The normative bonding with technology begins to create new associative experiences that could never have been conceived possible, because the illusion is that there can be a controlled and separated experience. Once the relationship between man and machine is formed, the process of merging continues unabated, inexorably moving towards the final conclusion, when our devotion to the machines destroys the basis of the humanity that created them.

    The machines will stop. Eventually we will not be able to produce enough energy to power the grids that give us the electricity. The metals we use to power the devices will become exhausted. The fuels that are now used will no longer exist, and solar energy will be how everything is powered, but the limitations in metal and resource extraction will render impotent the dispersion of solar technology. There will be too many people, and too few resources. Humans will be lucky if they can still feed themselves.

    However belief systems die hard, and a lot of people looked at the universe or considered the historical timeline like it was an elaborate fairy tale or something written down and located in the archaic pages of ancient books. Truth and reality have always been contested arguments, but the "Here and Now, You Only Live Once" HAN YOLO crowd was not going to become a rallying cry for change and evolution while being tantalized with the "Future is Now" slogan. Which is a stupid saying really. Of course the future is now. The future has always been synonymous with the now, because it's the only thing humans can ever truly know. Except that now, the now is becoming replaced by machines, which means that we now no longer know what we used to know, and the now has become just another amorphous entity displaced into the background by some eulogized electronic consciousness.

    And alas, humans forget everything by the 5th generation of the mental implants that became standard issue, in the 2nd century of the second millennium. Adverts for special assistance for the disabled gradually evolved over 50 years into benefits for students taking difficult courses. One such commercial involved a student who didn't understand what the college professor was saying, such that the operating system of the mental implant interpreted and decode the words emanating from the mouth of the instructor and then spoke this content into the mind of the student. The student then went on to get an A in the course and all was good. Only two hundred thousand dollars, but the deal also involved free lifetime upgrades, so apparently the large upfront cost was worth it, considering that the presumed jobs that resulted would be involve salaries in the millions of dollars.

    Meanwhile the planet became more degraded and toxic by the decade. The smog appeared everywhere and required humans to have to wear masks over their mouths and nose, or their lungs would sear and they would die within 10 years. Body suits and eye goggles came 50 years later, because apparently the atmosphere had become so noxious and irritating to the skin that cancers would occur rapidly and the surfaces of the eye would constantly sting. Humans no longer even experienced the idea of another human being. They walked around the earth encased in protective suits, spoken to by computers that interpreted reality.

    The "Unplug movement" was inevitable. It should have been expected. Nevertheless, the media organizations continued the tradition of completely misunderstanding and misrepresenting reality, and such persons who existed outside of the official voices were considered "radicals" , "nihilists", "whiners" or "idealists". The progress of civilization depended completely upon the utter destruction of the ecosystem that feeds the humans who live on the planet, but the denial that refused to understand this reality was thicker and deeper that the width of the entire cosmos, because human psychology also depends upon a mythology of the universe that abstracts the larger reality into practical circumstantial units of simplicity. We do not think of Cows with every double cheese hamburger we devour. We don't consider the polluted areas of the world when we drive 400 miles in a car in 8 hours of time. After the moment has passed, we move on towards new illusions. Maybe we remember the past, maybe we update different versions of the past, but regardless of what we do, the past is gone. All we know is right now, right here and now, and if the past looks different through these modern day eyes, so what? We can always change the story and make excuses as we go down the road. No big deal. Right?

    Except one day. One day after the gradual degradation of all that we thought was normal. The inability to drink or even touch surface water because of the poisons that would leech up through the soil after centuries of fertilizer and toxic residue from all the contents that lifted into the air out of exhaust engines. The gradual acceptance of masks that filtered out the particulates which became more prevalent in the atmosphere, and were known to be highly carcinogenic. The need to filter the blood with machines once a year because of all the toxics that were in the food. The need for couples to have the male sperm cells "cleaned" because of the increased frequency of defunct spermatozoa.

    One day. When the rivers have dried up because the climate is hurricane and flood oriented and the low temperatures are in the the 90 degree Fahrenheit range for 70% of the year.

    One day. When not only will the horses be gone, but so too the machines. No more automobiles or planes or huge super ships crossing the ocean, or large factories. Gone. Mankind will be reduced to the naked animal. Moss will grow over the rubble of the buildings that had existed.

    One day. One day the Earth will begin to heal from the thoughtlessly reckless and stupid manner in which mankind has evolved to live in coexistence with the ecosystem of the planet Earth. We fantasize about replicas of ourselves who colonize other planets and encounter other beings whom we ourselves have never encountered. But all of the illusion is just well scripted and entertaining fiction, because, whoopsie, humanity actually turns out to be a freak accident of interstellar random energy displacement in the universe, and nothing guarantees we will be able to live on this garden of eden forever. This is the root of all religion, the root of God and Gods, this chance that humans have to live, breed, and continue the species into perpetuity. The apple that Adam ate was metaphor.

    Sunday, 24 November 2013 at 17h 36m 54s

    What is happening in Ohio

    Click here and here for information about how the charter schools are sucking up so many students in 53 school districts of Michigan that the school districts just had their bonds rated downward by Moody's and are in danger of having to expire within 5 years.

    This is the plan. It is being conducted within every state. They want to destroy the public school system and have it replaced by private for-profit charter schools. The first phase of this plan was the Leave No Child Behind Act of 2001 where the testing of schools was incorporated into a federal rating system that automatically triggered a response by the schools who didn't meet certain criteria. Schools and school districts who were considered "failed" or got "program improvement status" enabled a trigger provision in the law that allowed charter schools to become permitted -- regardless of local and state laws.

    It was a poison pill, or magic bullet, depending on your perspective. It never was about educational reform.

    This is happening now. In every single state. Google it.

    Sunday, 24 November 2013 at 17h 13m 11s

    JFK 1962 quote

    [T]he great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.

    Mythology distracts us everywhere—in government as in business, in politics as in economics, in foreign affairs as in domestic affairs. But today I want to particularly consider the myth and reality in our national economy. In recent months many have come to feel, as I do, that the dialog between the parties—between business and government, between the government and the public—is clogged by illusion and platitude and fails to reflect the true realities of contemporary American society.

    -- John F. Kennedy [1962]

    hat tip to Digby.

    The above is just a small piece of a larger and longer speech, read the entire speech here.

    Here's the first take down of the economic mythology pushed by the oligarchs of Kennedy's day. Please note the sophistication of the slap down.

    Let us take first the question of the size and shape of government. The myth here is that government is big, and bad—and steadily getting bigger and worse. Obviously this myth has some excuse for existence. It is true that in recent history each new administration has spent much more money than its predecessor. Thus President Roosevelt outspent President Hoover, and with allowances for the special case of the Second World War, President Truman outspent President Roosevelt. Just to prove that this was not a partisan matter, President Eisenhower then outspent President Truman by the handsome figure of $182 billion. It is even possible, some think, that this trend may continue.

    But does it follow from this that big government is growing relatively bigger? It does not—for the fact is for the last 15 years, the Federal Government—and also the Federal debt—and also the Federal bureaucracy—have grown less rapidly than the economy as a whole. If we leave defense and space expenditures aside, the Federal Government since the Second World War has expanded less than any other major sector of our national life—less than industry, less than commerce, less than agriculture, less than higher education, and very much less than the noise about big government.

    The truth about big government is the truth about any other great activity—it is complex. Certainly it is true that size brings dangers—but it is also true that size can bring benefits. Here at Yale which has contributed so much to our national progress in science and medicine, it may be proper for me to mention one great and little noticed expansion of government which has brought strength to our whole society—the new role of our Federal Government as the major patron of research in science and in medicine. Few people realize that in 1961, in support of all university research in science and medicine, three dollars out of every four came from the Federal Government. I need hardly point out that this has taken place without undue enlargement of Government control—that American scientists remain second to none in their independence and in their individualism.

    I am not suggesting that Federal expenditures cannot bring some measure of control. The whole thrust of Federal expenditures in agriculture have been related by purpose and design to control, as a means of dealing with the problems created by our farmers and our growing productivity. Each sector, my point is, of activity must be approached on its own merits and in terms of specific national needs. Generalities in regard to federal expenditures, therefore, can be misleading—each case, science, urban renewal, education, agriculture, natural resources, each case must be determined on its merits if we are to profit from our unrivaled ability to combine the strength of public and private purpose.

    And the smack about debt and deficits was present back in 1962 just as it is still to this very day

    Still in the area of fiscal policy, let me say a word about deficits. The myth persists that Federal deficits create inflation and budget surpluses prevent it. Yet sizeable budget surpluses after the war did not prevent inflation, and persistent deficits for the last several years have not upset our basic price stability. Obviously deficits are sometimes dangerous—and so are surpluses. But honest assessment plainly requires a more sophisticated view than the old and automatic cliche that deficits automatically bring inflation.

    There are myths also about our public debt. It is widely supposed that this debt is growing at a dangerously rapid rate. In fact, both the debt per person and the debt as a proportion of our gross national product have declined sharply since the Second World War. In absolute terms the national debt since the end of World War II has increased only 8 percent, while private debt was increasing 305 percent, and the debts of State and local governments—on whom people frequently suggest we should place additional burdens—the debts of State and local governments have increased 378 percent. Moreover, debts, public and private, are neither good nor bad, in and of themselves. Borrowing can lead to over-extension and collapse—but it can also lead to expansion and strength. There is no single, simple slogan in this field that we can trust.

    And next, we have Kennedy addressing the Confidence fairy, which has been in the playbook of the oligarchs since the Civil War.

    Finally, I come to the problem of confidence. Confidence is a matter of myth and also a matter of truth—and this time let me take the truth of the matter first.

    It is true—and of high importance—that the prosperity of this country depends on the assurance that all major elements within it will live up to their responsibilities. If business were to neglect its obligations to the public, if labor were blind to all public responsibility, above all, if government were to abandon its obvious—and statutory—duty of watchful concern for our economic health-if any of these things should happen, then confidence might well be weakened and the danger of stagnation would increase. This is the true issue of confidence.

    But there is also the false issue—and its simplest form is the assertion that any and all unfavorable turns of the speculative wheel—however temporary and however plainly speculative in character—are the result of, and I quote, "a lack of confidence in the national administration." This I must tell you, while comforting, is not wholly true. Worse, it obscures the reality—which is also simple. The solid ground of mutual confidence is the necessary partnership of government with all of the sectors of our society in the steady quest for economic progress.

    Corporate plans are not based on a political confidence in party leaders but on an economic confidence in the Nation's ability to invest and produce and consume. Business had full confidence in the administrations in power in 1929, 1954, 1958, and 1960—but this was not enough to prevent recession when business lacked full confidence in the economy. What matters is the capacity of the Nation as a whole to deal with its economic problems and its opportunities.

    The stereotypes I have been discussing distract our attention and divide our effort. These stereotypes do our Nation a disservice, not just because they are exhausted and irrelevant, but above all because they are misleading—because they stand in the way of the solution of hard and complicated facts. It is not new that past debates should obscure present realities. But the damage of such a false dialogue is greater today than ever before simply because today the safety of all the world—the very future of freedom—depends as never before upon the sensible and clearheaded management of the domestic affairs of the United States.

    The truth is that oligarchy will always say it needs "confidence" in order to "invest" or spend its massive pile of idle wealth for anything other than itself. Without "confidence" the oligarchs will spend a lot of money and fund a lot of activities that appear independent, to say a lot of nasty irrelevant and deceptive things about the government and government officials the oligarchs don't like unless they bend over backwards doing every single thing the oligarchy pays them to do.

    Such officials are then called reasonable, non-partisan, practical or fair-minded, and then suddenly find themselves with a lot of mainstream press interested in their opinions and day to day affairs.