Sunday, December 21, 2014

On This Day Immigrants First Arrived Here

Two ships first set sail on August 5th, 1690 and ran into trouble. On August 17th 1620 two ships set sail a second time from England for America, the 'Mayflower' and the 'Speedwell'. There were 120 passengers and crew onboard the two ships.

Unfortunately both ships had to return to England because of bad weather along with the Speedwell being deemed unseaworthy. On the third attempt on September 6th, 1620 only the Mayflower set sail with it's 102 passengers and a crew of 30.

Those heading to America's shores, although the first to settle here, were not the first to explore North America. In 1497 John Cabot discovered Newfoundland which led to England claiming the entire East Coast of North America for it's own. Therefore the pilgrims first had to obtain legal rights to the land from a company in England which they intended to settle in the Jamestown, Virginia area. The area they ended up in was first explored by Captain John Smith. It was he who first coined the name "New England".

At any rate it was actually Provincetown Harbor in which the Mayflower first anchored on November 11th, 1690 after being blown off course. It was at this time passengers pointed out this was not the land they held legal entitlement to. After futzing around the area and pissing off the local Indians by shooting at them and ripping off their stored corn, they thought it best to pull up anchor.

On December 16th they dropped anchor once again in what is known today as Plymouth Harbor. Before disembarking they sent scouts from the ship to check things out. Finally on this day, December 21st, 1620 the first landing party came ashore in what might be considered the first uninvited immigrants to arrive in this country.

After a few years they made themselves as welcome to many of the 'Native Americans' as a boatload of Cubans landing on Miami Beach would today.

History- Like watching the same movie over and over again. Only rewriting of the scripts change.
Different eras.
Different characters.
Same old storyline.

Spotlight On Christmas Music

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Computers May One Day Render Us Obsolete

I sometimes wonder what the end goal is for that which created us (God). After creating countless creatures we are the end product (for now). What if we are just the next step (a tool) in the continuing evolution of all things?

We individuals are composed of biological chemicals along with all the flaws inherit in them. We humans are always trying to eliminate those flaws. Should we not assume our creator (God) may be trying to perfect the same by whatever means he/she/it has at his/her/it's disposal too (us)?

Wonderful and terrifying implications of computers that can learn

Gays Will Die Away One Day

Pat Robertson claims 'homosexuals will die out' because they can't reproduce

Oh wow. I wouldn't expect Pat to be familiar with the Qur'an.nor the Hebrew scriptures. but I would at least think he read Chapter 19 in Book of Genesis. Mostly all of these gays were wiped out by 'divine retribution' in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

One would think, since they can't reproduce, none of them would be left lo after these thousands of years.

Somehow in Pat's world he can't conceive of heterosexual couples producing gay offspring. That gay couples raise children who turn out being heterosexual. Nor for that matter intelligent parents can give birth to simple minded individuals such as himself.

Anyone who gives money and follows this guy needs to seriously question themselves as to why?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Congress Will Support Normalizing Relations With Cuba

The 114th Republican controlled Congress will support 'Normalizing Relations' with Cuba. Any politician saying they'll stand in the way is blowing smoke. Here's why.

Nearly every segment of American businesses are chomping at the bit to expand their future investments in Cuba. Airlines, cruise industry, food importers, oil, banking/investment, hotel chains, and anyone involved in the travel industry to name a few. The labor's cheap and it's about the only nation left on Earth they don't have their claws into. Likely billion$ could be made on this 42,426 square mile island.

Companies' top priorities aren't concerns over who runs a foreign government. Nor whether Democrats or Republicans win or lose. They exist for only one thing. To make money.

Every congress member knows who butters their toast when it comes to campaign financing. Any member who stands in the way of corporations achieving their hearts de$ire$ will not only come up short on campaign financial support, but likely see PAC money used against them. Hence any politician who opposes companies which can make future profits down there won't be a politician for very long.

I can almost hear Obama laughing after he dumped this on the next congress's lap. Opponents can criticize him or call him a 'lame duck President' all they want. At the end of the day the ball's now in their court. So much for election upsets in Congress :-)

The Colbert Report Finale (12/18/2014)

Stephen Colbert's final show went out with a huge sendoff. What a way to end it's run. I'm sure gonna miss this show.

Stephen Will Replace Letterman After Dave Retires On May 20, 2015

Guests Included
Kareem Abdul-Jabar, JJ Abrams, Alan Alda, Christiane Amanpour, Jon Batiste, Big Bird, Cory Booker, Tom Brokaw, Ken Burns, Bill Clinton, Andy Cohen, Francis Collins, Cookie Monster, Bob Costas, Katie Couric, Bryan Cranston, Mark Cuban, Jeff Daniels, Bill DeBlasio, James Franco, Thomas Friedman, Vince Gilligan, Doris Kearns Goodwin, David Gregory, Terry Gross, Mike Huckabee, Arianna Huffington, Dean Kamen, Toby Keith, Henry Kissinger, Nicholas Kristof, Paul Krugman, Alexi Lalas, Cyndi Lauper, George Lucas, Yo Yo Ma, Barry Manilow, Tim Meadows, Willie Nelson, Randy Newman, Grover Norquist, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ric Ocasek, Keith Olbermann, Mandy Patinkin, Stone Phillips Samantha Power, Pussy Riot, Charlie Rose, Dan Savage, Smaug, Shane Smith, Eliot Spitzer, Gloria Steinem, Jon Stewart, Patrick Stewart, Michael Stipe, Andrew Sullivan, Matt Taibbi, Jeff Tweedy, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Sam Waterston and Elijah Wood

Solution To College Binge Drinking?

Naomi Shavin @ 'The New Republic' thinks the way to curb binge drinking a colleges is to sell alcohol on campus.OMG could Naomi be more off base. Colleges offering drinks below market prices is practically an endorsement for young minds to pickle their brains. I would imagine 'pot' sales wouldn't be far behind either. Why not gambling tables. How about a hookah lounge while we're at it?

Here's a few more reasons why this is a really bad idea. Putting the college in line for liability lawsuits. Students showing up to classes half in the bag. Getting young women intoxicated by their male counter parts. Beer makers competing for sales by lowering wholesale prices. Then there's the issue of underage drinking by both those on and off campus with false ID's. To name a few.

A college/university's job is not only to educate young impressionable minds but also to be better citizens. Booze doesn't go towards achieving such a goal.

If there is a problem with binge drinking how is offering easier access at lower prices in any conceivable way a solution?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A History Primer On Cuba

All the chatter about how Fidel & his brother are evil dictators doesn't take in account the overall history of Cuba. They had it far worse then they do now under these two. Let's put a little perspective on this by taking a brief look over the history of Cuba and how the Cuban people always seem to get the short end of the stick no matter who rules the joint.

Going back to 1492 when Christopher Columbus's three ships landed things really started to go downhill for the Cuban people. Columbus claimed the island for Spain. Cubans finally had enough and began fighting against Spain in 1895. Spain sent around 200,000 troops who overwhelmed the population rounded them up and put them into "reconcentrados" which were similar to concentration camps. The Red Cross estimated between 200,000-400,000 Cubans died while in these camps from disease and starvation.

By 1898 the United States Spainish-American war ended. Spain then sold the Philippines, Guam and Cuba to the United States for a sum of $20 million. Then in 1902 Cuba became a independent country. There were too many clashes and uprisings to mention here in this brief highlight. Suffice it to say Fulgencio Batista ended up being elected President in 1940. After being defeated for second term (1944) he came to the United States only to return to Cuba to become it's dictator for seven years (1952-1959) until Fidel's Cuban Revolution..

Yeah Sure He's A Dictator, But He's Our Dictator
Life Under Batista's Cuba became a police state when he returned in 1952. Nearly all the Cuban liberties were taken away under his corrupt regime. He aligned himself with the American Mafia bosses (Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano). Prostitution, gambling and drugs like marijuana or cocaine were as easy to come by as candy.

The Mafia in Cuba

He took bribes which allowed American companies to own & control nearly 80% of all the oil & cattle ranches. 90% of the minerals and 40% of the sugar farmlands. When the Cuban people began to rebel he started doing executions in public. It was estimated up to 20,000 people were killed or tortured during his seven years in power. Witnesses said hundreds of those executed were hung on street lights or thrown into the streets. All this while still receiving military, logistical and financial support from the United States. No wonder the time was ripe for Fidel Castro's revolution in 1959.

Next Up, Fidel Castro
Over the next six years when the dust finally settled, up to 33,000 Cuban lives ended up dead. Still this was not the end of it. The Cuban people rose up again in 2003 in what is called "Black Spring". Fortunately instead of being killed 75 dissents were sent to prison. In 2010 all of them started being released by the Castro regime after the 'European Union' lifted it's sanctions. Cuba claimed they weren't arrested for disagreeing with the government but rather because of their links to the U.S. in trying to undermine Fidel's government.

The Way I See It
There's a hellva' lot of older investors in the United States who are still pissed they got their asses kicked out of Cuba. They along with individuals who had a vested interest with them. Also those who lost family in the fight against Fidel. It should be no wonder why then so many are opposed to normalizing anything with present day Cuba. You can say what you will but when you look over the entire history of Cuba, today's Cuban people deserve a chance at hope for all they've endured.

The Castros for all their blemishes are far less evil then what transpired over the Cuban people these past centuries. 'Normalizing relations' is more about helping the Cuban people then an endorsement for it's present government. Continued isolation of them only serves to punish those who had least to do with any of this and their extended families living here in the United States.

One more thing I want to add. Nearly 60% of Cubans are Catholics hence why the pope became involved. I find it hypocritical that many who claim they want more Christianity in schools and government involvement are now critical of the pope for doing just that. Does anyone seriously believe the pope is fond of Castro or is he just trying to look out for the people who follow him?

Obama's Handshake With Raúl Castro

Layaway Gone Away

Some customers of Kmart were notified after they fully paid for the items they had on layaway that these were no longer in stock and unavailable!

Since that time '' reports, Some Cancellations Were “Inadvertent”.

I'm sure I'm not the only one that assumes once someone puts an item on layaway the store would take the item off the shelf and store it somewhere in the back. Why in the world would any store take the chance of spoiling someone's Christmas and ruin their reputation by leaving it out in the store allowing it to be sold to someone else?

Although this may not fall under the legal heading of bait and switch it certainly must seem like it to someone this happened to.

One In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush
For the life of me I never could understand this layaway thing. It makes a lot more sense to charge something and take it home then pay the charge card payments over a longer period of time then layaways require. The only thing I can think of is either they are maxed out or have such lousy credit they can't get one. If that's the case no one should be buying things they can't pay for.

In my opinion it takes two to tango and one seems as guilty as the other.

(1) The store for making promises it doesn't intend to keep.
(2) The customer who is much like this guy...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Normalizing Relations With Cuba

It's About Time!

NYT: Obama Announces U.S. and Cuba Will Resume Relations -- "The United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half-century... In a deal negotiated during 18 months of secret talks hosted largely by Canada and encouraged by Pope Francis, who hosted a final meeting at the Vatican, Mr. Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba agreed in a telephone call to put aside decades of hostility to find a new relationship between the United States and the island nation."

I find it really stupid that an average American citizens can travel to North Korea, Iran and other enemy nations, but will be prosecuted if they visit a beach in Cuba. How much sense does that make!

Every country in the world allows it's average citizen to go to Cuba except the United States. We've had an embargo on them since October 19th, 1960 yet they are still there. Get over it!

Cuba educates and exports more doctors then almost any other nation. They've not launched any terrorists nor threatened our shores in any way. Cuba has endured countless hurricanes in which the United States has turned a blind eye while spending billions upon billions of dollars and shed American blood in other nations in the middle east who now turn against us. Cuba isn't smuggling drugs nor cartel leaders into the United States. Exactly what has been Cuba's sin against us?

We've had almost 55 years to put an end to Cuba yet they still endure. Whatever the plan was, it isn't working. While the rest of the world has gotten over it why is it we're the only country (up to now) who can't seem to move on.

Yeah sure Fidel seized properties of Cubans who later sought refuge in the United States and still harbor strong hatred,. But he also drove out the American mobsters who once made prostitutes and show girls of the Cuban women which was once America's playground. The ugly side which we refuse to acknowledge.

Out of all the nations in the world Cuba just has to be the least threat to us. We may not like their form of government but that hasn't stopped us from trading with China and other corrupt and communist nations has it?

Time is long overdue that Cuba is treated less like an enemy and more like a nation who is not a threat to us. A nation that deserves more respect then either Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and other foreign governments have shown towards us after all that we've done for them. A nation and it's peoples which has demonstrated no hostility towards either our government nor the American people after all these decades deserves better treatment.

No You Cannot Go Back In Time

And that's a good thing. From a logical point of view, if one could, so could another. The whole system would be messed up with everybody screwing around in such a world. A more scientific explanation is.. matter can only exist in a world traveling less then the speed of light (forward). If one were able to surpass the speed of light so as to go back in time no mass (the matter world in which we exist) could not be found.

The simple explanation is there's no way energy could have coalescence (be bonded together to form mass) beyond the limits of speed of light in our physical world in which we assume ourselves to exist. This doesn't mean there's not some sort of past, just that it cannot exist in physical form. Once energy condenses into matter it drops below that that speed into the physical universe as we know it.

Some may call it as a seperateion from God. In the scientific community they view it as a separation between energy (for lack of a better term) & physical mass. Some in the quantum scientific community through math equations question whether anything exist at all in time and only in the here and now. That all "things" are nothing more then composites of a various relationships between energy itself (whatever that is). Hence no past. No future.

HERE is a short 1:32 minute video in which Stephen Hawking further expands his thoughts on this. In the video he challenges if anyone in the future were able to one day overcome these things I mentioned they should make themselves known. They have not!

Hence I repeat once again.. "No You Cannot Go Back In Time" And yes you can forget about traveling to the future too. This should be a no brainer. How can anyone possibly imagine somehow they can visit what yet has to come into existence?

I could go on further to explain, but sometimes it's best to use fewer words rather then more. Such as it shall be concerning this topic

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

On This Day- The Boston Tea Party

On this day December 16th, 1773, things got real messy in Boston harbor when protestors destroyed the cargo of three American owned ships carrying imported tea. Although the ships weren't damaged about 46 tons of tea (grown in China) was tossed overboard by these activists. Protestors were pissed off about being taxed without having representation in the British Parliament. Course things got heated after that and eventually this led to the 'American Revolution'.

Samuel Adams was pivotal in drumming up support for the 'Boston Tea Party'.
But would he do things differently if he were alive today?
Boycott Tea... Drink Beer !

Imagine how these lawbreaking radicals would be criticized in today's press for some dressing up as Indians when they committed their acts of vandalism. To say nothing of violating the environmental pollution regulations. In those days the King didn't have a swat team at his disposal. I'm sure he would have sent them in if he had.

I'm not sure how those extremists would feel today about paying taxes on earnings to a city they don't live in or today's commuter taxes. I'm not sure either they'd be in full agreement having to pay certain cities' sales taxes they don't reside in either.

Like Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr once said, "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose".
(The more things change, the more they stay the same)