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Economic Inequities
Capitalism & Socialism

January 20, 2020



The profit motive encourages cuthroat competition and selfish ambition that is [more] about making a living than making a life.
“The profit motive, when it is the sole basis of an economic system, encourages a cutthroat competition and selfish ambition that inspires men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life.  - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We have socialism for the rich and rugged free market capitalism for the poor.
“We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free market capitalism for the poor. - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Music Association: George Harrison - What Is Life?









Hopes and Dreams

Crowd Control
Climate Emergency 

January 15, 2020


Have you ever tried to get a whole group of people to agree on pizza or something for lunch? People worry over their decisions as if either they have never eaten before or they will never eat again. It can be really tough to get consensus on any dire questions like lunch.

And yet just last November, 11,258 scientists from 153 countries signed a statement announcing a Climate Emergency, published in the journal BioScience:

“Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to 'tell it like it is.' On the basis of this obligation... we declare... clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency... The climate crisis is closely linked to excessive consumption of the wealthy lifestyle. The most affluent countries are mainly responsible for the historic [greenhouse gas] emissions and generally have the greatest per capita emissions.

Profoundly troubling signs from human activities include sustained increases in both human and ruminant livestock populations, per capita meat production, world gross domestic product, global tree cover loss, fossil fuel consumption, the number of air passengers carried, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and per capita CO2 emissions since 2000... Especially disturbing are concurrent trends in the vital signs of climatic impacts. Three abundant atmospheric greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide) continue to increase, as does global surface temperature.

Despite 40 years of global climate negotiations, with few exceptions, we have generally conducted business as usual and have largely failed to address this predicament. The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity. Especially worrisome are potential irreversible climate tipping points and nature's reinforcing feedbacks (atmospheric, marine, and terrestrial) that could lead to a catastrophic 'hothouse Earth,' well beyond the control of humans.

To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live... We suggest six critical and interrelated steps (in no particular order):

1.  Energy
The world must quickly implement massive energy efficiency and conservation practices and must replace fossil fuels with low-carbon renewables and other cleaner sources of energy if safe for people and the environment...

2.  Short-lived pollutants
We need to promptly reduce the emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, including methane, black carbon (soot), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)...

3.  Nature
We must protect and restore Earth's ecosystems...

4.  Food
Eating mostly plant-based foods while reducing the global consumption of animal products, especially ruminant livestock, can improve human health and significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions...

5.  Economy
Excessive extraction of materials and overexploitation of ecosystems, driven by economic growth, must be quickly curtailed to maintain long-term sustainability of the biosphere...

6.  Population
Still increasing by roughly 80 million people per year, or more than 200,000 per day, the world population must be stabilized—and, ideally, gradually reduced—within a framework that ensures social integrity. There are proven and effective policies that strengthen human rights while lowering fertility rates and lessening the impacts of population growth on greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss. These policies make family-planning services available to all people, remove barriers to their access and achieve full gender equity, including primary and secondary education as a global norm for all, especially girls and young women.”


Music Association: Yes - I've Seen All Good People








Hopes and Dreams



Happy New Year
December 31, 2019

baby yoda wishes you a happy new year
Baby Yoda wishes you a Happy New Year (illustration by MDI Digital for the Hollywood Reporter)


Music Association: U2 - New Years Day







Hopes and Dreams

Movie Series Review (with mild Spoilers)
Star Wars: The Last Trilogy

December 27, 2019


When Disney set out to continue George Lucas's Star Wars, they wanted to continue the good movies, you know, just the good stuff -- ala carte movie making. To follow up from the middle (first!) trilogy of A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and the Return of the Jedi, they probably explored having an Ewok movie, a Wookie movie, and then an Ewookie movie -- teaming up pairs of Ewoks and Wookies in a delightful romp! The next day, the Disney people sobered up and focused on the three stars of the best two Star Wars movies (New Hope and Empire), so Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, and Lando. When they really sobered up and were looking at three movies to fill, they decided to make the first one focus on Han Solo, the second one on Luke Skywalker, and the third about Princess Leia.

Star Wars 7 - The Force Awakens (the Han Solo follow up)
Star Wars 8 - The Last Jedi (the Luke Skywalker follow up)
Star Wars 9 - The Rise of Skywalker (the Princess Leia follow up)

All three film titles could have been titles of A New Hope and references to Luke Skywalker.

In retrospect, it seems the Disney people may have been more excited to do an Ewookie movie than following up on what Han, Luke, and Leia have been doing. They killed them all off in fairly non-heroic ways. Luke choked on blue milk right after milking a sea-cow. Han mishandled a lightsaber while juggling it. And Leia died in her sleep. Did I mark this with the -spoilers- mark? Sorry. None of them died (exactly) as I said.

I'm trying to write about the last Star Wars movie trilogy while being preoccupied with Baby Yoda. The robe-blanket that Baby Yoda wears is so big, it would probably be too big for Master Yoda. Hey! What if that robe had some history. What if... Remember when Obi-Wan Kenobi died and his robe survived? What if Baby Yoda wears the Master Kenobi robe?!?

I rewatched Last Jedi before going to see Rise. I had remembered the whole jumping-into-hyperspace-crash nonsense and nothing else. I forgot how much the core story, the core message of the movie, sucked, and how much Mark Hamill didn't like what they had him say and do as Luke. (When commenting on his role in The Force Awakens, Hamill said, “I'm speechless.”)

Star Wars 8 - The Last Jedi
LUKE: And this is the lesson. The Force does not belong to the Jedi. To say that if the Jedi die, the light dies, is vanity. Can you feel that?  Balance. Powerful light, powerful darkness.
REY:  You've closed yourself off from the Force. Of course you have.
LUKE: Lesson Two. Now that they're extinct, the Jedi are romanticized, deified. But if you strip away the myth and look at their deeds, the legacy of the Jedi is failure. Hypocrisy, hubris... At the height of their powers, they allowed Darth Sidious to rise, create the Empire, and wipe them out. It was a Jedi Master who was responsible for the training and creation of Darth Vader. [After turning Vader] I became a legend. For many years, there was balance.... and then I saw Ben. My nephew with that mighty Skywalker blood. And in my hubris, I thought I could train him, I could pass on my strengths. Han was Han about it, but Leia trusted me with her son. I took him, and a dozen students, and began a training temple. By the time I realized I was no match for the darkness rising in him, it was too late... I went to confront him. And he turned on me. He must have thought I was dead. When I came to, the temple was burning. He had vanished with a handful of my students. And slaughtered the rest. Leia blamed Snoke, but it was me. I failed. Because I was Luke Skywalker. Jedi Master. A legend.

What a load of crap. That's the big backstory. If the hiding hermit story wasn't bad enough, Rise of Skywalker reveals that in the dark of night, Luke went to kill Ben Solo because he was afraid of him. What a weak story and backstory.

Imagine how much better the story would have been if Luke trained Ben, feared Ben's choices, overcame the fear, and then went on teaching.

The Luke Skywalker story would have been forgivable if the stories of Rey, Finn, Rose, Poe, and Kylo Ren had depth and character and charm beyond just disobeying orders (all the time).

I was glad I rewatched Star Wars 8 before seeing Star Wars 9 (on opening day in a nearly empty theater) to help me to like 9 in comparison to 8, but that's not saying much.

My summary of Star Wars 9 is that Disney couldn't make the Leia story due to Carrie Fisher's death. So they made Luke more of a villain, while Rey and Kylo Ren talked over the Force=Internet. Meanwhile Disney freaked over Poe's preferences and mildly improved Finn's role. Then they added Babu Frik, the little mechanic, and maybe (just maybe) all will be right in the Star Wars universe.
Star Wars 9 - three stars (generously)

Music Association: Coven - One Tin Soldier










Hopes and Dreams



Caged Innocents
Detained Nativity 

December 15, 2019



The nativity scene at the Claremont United Methodist Church in Claremont, Calif (David Swanson)

A nativity scene with immigrant detention fencing, barbed wire, and a mylar blanket was unveiled about a week ago at the Claremont United Methodist Church in California.

On any given day, about 47,000 immigrants are detained in the United States under the Trump administration. More than 11,000 of those immigrants are children. Seven children have died in the facilities in the past year. Children were sleeping on concrete floors and being denied soap and toothpaste at a facility in Clint, Texas, according to observers. A visiting doctor called the detention centers torture facilities.”

At a processing center in El Paso, Texas, 900 migrants were “being held at a facility designed for 125. In some cases, cells designed for 35 people were holding 155 people,” the New York Times reported.

According to NBC News, one internal DHS report described cells so overcrowded that detainees could not even “lie down to sleep,” with temperatures “reaching over 80 degrees.” With inadequate showers, the migrants were “wearing soiled clothing for days or weeks,” and agents struggled to “quarantine outbreaks of flu, chickenpox, and scabies.”


Overcrowded fenced area holding families in McAllen, Texas on June 11, 2019
Overcrowded fenced area holding families in McAllen, Texas on June 11, 2019

And U.S. border officials are issuing fake court notices (pdf) to keep out immigrants who have won asylum, according to BuzzFeed.

While most of the larger detention locations are at the southern border, hundreds of jails and other public or private facilities are scattered all over the United States (ICE Detention list and Wikipedia list). Four are in Minnesota (there used to be more until local authorities said no):

   •   Carver County Jail,  600 East 4th Street, Chaska, MN 55318
   •   Freeborn County Jail,  411 S. Broadway Avenue, Albert Lea, MN 56007
   •   Polk County Jail,  816 Marin Ave #110, Crookston, MN 56716
   •   Sherburne County Jail, 13880 Business Center Drive NW, Elk River, MN 55330



Music Association: John Lennon - So This Is Christmas










Cute, Real Cute
Force Out 

December 2, 2019


Once upon a time, a little frog hopped.

The little green frog hopped down a trail, you know, hippity-hoppity and all that jazz. The little frog looked over its shoulder without a pause in its hopping, as the trail curved round a tree.

Hop. Hop. Hop. And from around the tree a small toddling figure appeared, chasing the little green frog.

The wobbling figure with big black eyes, long green ears, and a long rustically-brown robe was gaining on Hoppy, the little green frog.

That's right, I went ahead and named the frog. Somebody in this story needs a name and... I don't know... a species.

The nameless, unknown species little figure dove on top of the little green frog and caught it and ate Hoppy the frog.

Is there a point to this story? Not so far. We've come a long way without having any point or purpose. That's what streaming shows are all about. That's what this President is all about. Stumbling along.


Music Association: John Williams - Binary Sunset


Hoppy the frog and Mr Popularity







Three Tickets Please
The Impeachment  

November 15, 2019


impeachment tickets

Music Association: Dr. John - Right Place, Wrong Time











voter suppression
Voter Suppression

music videos
Music Videos
October 2018 Twin Cities Calendar
Landmine Hopscotch

Superman
Superman

Impact Investing
Impact Investing


Gifs of Kittens (part 1)
Holiday Gifs of Cats and Kittens Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5  

Climate Solutions
Climate Change Solutions

Hennepin County Library at Southdale (Edina, MN)
Southdale Hennepin Library,  Edina Library  

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman

food fraud
Food Fraud


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Hopes and Dreams: Stuck on AutoDrive is a novel that's about inventing the self-driving car. It has:

adventure

comedy
romance
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