Sunday, November 19, 2017

Me and my Computer: Inseparable Forever

Yesterday, like every other morning, I turn on my desktop PC to start my daily routines - some requiring logging in, some not. For example, I have some bills to pay, and for that, I need to log in to “Pay Online.” Also, I have to write a short piece for a local magazine, so for that I need to open “Word.” So first, I click on “Pay Online.”

However, surprise: This morning, my computer reacts differently: Instead of opening “Pay Online,” I get a pop-up message saying: “You don’t have permission to access this folder.”

What’s going on? I’m not sure how to proceed, but since I also have an article to write, I decide to switch tasks. I’ll try online payments again later. Must be some glitch. So next, I click on “Word.” Same result, only worse: I get another pop-up message. It now says: “I just told you! You don’t have permission to access this folder!” Read more...

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Insanity of the Republican Party and the Individual Mandate

by Madeleine Kando

Republican lawmakers are now adding a ‘repeal of the individual mandate’ clause to their proposed tax bill. For those of you who don’t know what that is, the individual mandate says that every American taxpayer is required to have health insurance. Just like everyone has to have car insurance. If you don’t have health insurance you get a fine.

It is one of the legs of the so-called ‘three legged stool’ of Obamacare. It is ‘unpopular’ because healthy people are forced to spend money on insurance they think they don’t need.

By including the repeal clause in their tax bill, the republicans tell us that it can reduce the deficit by $318 billion. How can NOT paying a tax penalty reduce the deficit? Because if people are not mandated to buy insurance, less of them will apply for subsidies and special government funded programs. 13 million people will be without insurance, a big saving for the government. Read more...

Friday, November 10, 2017

Hurrah for Barbarians!

A fictional interview with James C. Scott, author of 'Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States' *

Madeleine Kando: Your book Against the Grain: a Deep History of the Earliest States’ contradicts everything that we take for granted about the ‘progress’ humankind has made, by moving from our ‘barbaric’ past as bands of  ‘hunters and gatherers’ to an agrarian society, which in turn resulted in the birth of ‘the State’.

James C. Scott: Yes, for most of our species’ history, we lived as hunter-gatherers. There were no farms, no fields to plow, no cows to milk or sheep to sheer, only small groups of humans that went out to hunt for the occasional boar or antelope and mostly gather berries and edible plants. Around 200,000 years ago, Homo sapiens appeared on the planet and only 5,000 years ago did farming communities develop. Think about it: if you lived to be a hundred years old, only the last 3 months of your life would be spent as an ‘agriculturalist’. The rest of your long long life, you would have spent in a loincloth, holding a bow and arrow, living with your extended relatives in a small village.** Read more...

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Should we Worry about Terrorism?

It’s happening weekly: On October 31, a terrorist killed eight people in New York. He used a truck to mow down his victims. Five days later, another one killed twenty-six innocents in a Texas church.

Having taught the Violence and Terrorism course at the university for many years, I feel compelled to write about this subject. Hopefully this article will be useful.

20th and 21st century man has become inured to news of violence because such news has become so frequent. Only a month earlier, Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured 546 in Las Vegas. Throughout this year, as in previous years, there have been attacks in various cities of the world - half a dozen in London and other British cities, several in Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, and so forth. Attacks on the Western World are covered most prominently, because we live in the West. We are most concerned about attacks against our world. This is selfish and totally natural. Read more...

Friday, October 27, 2017

What is Time, Anyway?

by Madeleine Kando

My mother died a few weeks ago, 2 days shy of her 104th birthday. She fell and broke her leg, which in itself would not have caused her death, but it sure made her decision not to stick around, very clear, both medically and personally.

Since then, I have thought a lot about the passing of time. Where is my mother now, I wonder? My mother Ata will live forever in the past, in my past, my memories. But since she no longer lives in the present and the present constantly morphs into the past, those ‘Ata pages’ are now blank and since the future is constantly collapsing into the present, her pages no longer materialize in the present. Ata’s time has stopped.

But why do I think of time as ‘passing’? Is it like a train that passes me by? A river whose water flows as I stand on its shore? And why does time flow only in one direction? According to experts, the reason for the arrow of time is the second law of thermodynamics (the law of entropy). There was only one way Ata existed and putting Ata back together again would violate the second law of thermodynamics. That’s why Ata no longer exists as Ata. Read more...

America, here is a Mirror. Is this You?

By now, most informed people have heard about this: The flap over a botched condolence phone call made by Trump to the widow of La David Johnson, one of four US soldiers recently killed in Niger.

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who happened to be present when Trump called, proceeded to accuse the president of insensitivity. Thereupon, White House chief of staff John Kelly attacked the black congresswoman viciously, fabricating accusations which were promptly shown to be lies. Wilson then demanded an apology from Kelly for character assassination. The following day, lynching threats against her began to appear on the internet.

The facts are clearly on congresswoman Wilson’s side: Fact #1: She was NOT eavesdropping on Trump’s phone call. The call was picked up on Bluetooth in the car in which she and the Johnson family - close friends for many years - were driving together. Fact #2: General Kelly spewed all sorts of lies about Wilson. One of his fabrications was that she had been angling - inappropriately - for some government handout back in a 2015 speech, when in fact she did no such thing, but instead expressed deep patriotism and support for the military and the FBI. Fact #3: Kelly also took a swipe at President Obama, accusing him of NOT calling him after his son had died in combat, conveniently omitting that the former president (later) had him over for dinner at the White House. Kelly’s entire performance was a sharply biased defense of his boss. It was Trump and Kelley who politicized the death of La David Johnson, not Wilson. Fact #4: Wilson is a 74-year old black woman, and she wears a colorful cowboy hat. Her appearance is “unconventional.” Read more...

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Are you a Liberal, Conservative or Modereate?

Here are 18 statements. Check whether you agree or disagree with each of them.
Try not to look at the bottom of this post until you are done.
After you are done, compare your True and False  choices with those which are right according to me, listed at the bottom.

1. The more guns people purchase, the safer they are

2. Hillary Clinton committed crimes in re Benghazi          

3. There would be less war and violence  if women had more power

4. The US Government is more corrupt and inefficient than the private sector    

5. There is no such thing as Reverse Discrimination

6.Terrorism is the most serious problem we face

7. Donald Trump has no business being President

8. The high-speed bullet trains are  a boondoggle, a waste of money

9. Hillary Clinton would have been the most competent, honest and  graceful president

10. The more people you lock up, the safer society is

11. The Republican Party should be abolished

12. Capitalism and free-market economics  make society prosperous and equal

13. It’s not the people who vote that count, it’s who count the votes

14. It should be illegal to sit or kneel during the national anthem                                                      

15. Gays can be cured of their illness

16. Americans’ taxes are too high

17 American leadership has benefitted the world

18. Climate change is real and it is man-made

Right choices, according to me:
False: 1,2,4,6,8,10, 12, 14, 15, 16      
True: 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 17, 18

A perfect left-wing score  is 18.
The higher your score is, the more left-leaning you are.
The lower your score is, the more conservative you are. An avid Trumpite would score 2. He would miss every right answer except statements #13 and #17.
A score of 10  or thereabouts  indicates that you are a moderate. leave comment here

© Tom Kando 2017;All Rights Reserved