"The US-led coalition praised the performance of the Iraqi forces in retaking Ramadi, an operation in which it played a significant role, training local forces, arming them and carrying out what it said were 600 air strikes since July."
"Mrs. Clinton is using a definition of middle class that has long been popular among Democratic policy makers, from her husband to Barack Obama when he was a candidate: any household that makes $250,000 or less a year. Yet this definition is completely out of touch with reality. It also boxes her in. The most recent Census Bureau data showed that median household income — what people in the exact middle of the American spectrum earn — is $53,657."
"The chaos came just a day after another brawl at a mall in Florida saw scores of teenagers - including dozens of girls - lash out at each other in the street. There were also minor disturbances on Saturday at shopping centers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Long Island, New York."
Merriam-Webster: navel–gazing useless or excessive self-contemplation
I'm not sure a agree with this definition's negative connotations.
Although I may be accused of over thinking I'm sure there are many others who may be considered in the same camp as I.
Recently I enjoyed watching the six hour miniseries entitled "Childhood's End" on the 'SyFy' channel. As a result I've developed an interest in the words of Arthur C. Clarke who also wrote the four "2001: A Space Odyssey" series of novels.
Below are quotations from the mind of A.C. Clarke from within his various novels that resonated with me and have given me further food for thought.
~ ~ ~
“Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all.”
“Imagine that you're an intelligent extraterrestrial, concerned only with verifiable truths. You discover a species that has divided itself into thousands - no, by now millions - of tribal groups holding an incredible variety of beliefs about the origin of the universe and the way to behave in it. Although many of them have ideas in common, even when there's 99% overlap, the remaining one percent's enough to set them killing and torturing each other, over trivial points of doctrine, utterly meaningless to outsiders. "How to account for such irrational behavior?
“There is no reason to assume that the universe has the slightest interest in intelligence—or even in life. Both may be random accidental by-products of its operations like the beautiful patterns on a butterfly's wings. The insect would fly just as well without them.”
“It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God--but to create him.”
“man’s beliefs were his own affair, so long as they did not interfere with the liberty of others.”
Sooner or later, as their scientific knowledge progressed, they would get rid of the fragile, disease-and-accident-prone homes that Nature had given them, and which doomed them to inevitable death. They would replace their natural bodies as they wore out—or perhaps even before that—by constructions of metal and plastic, and would thus achieve immortality.”
To expect the universe to be benevolent was like imagining one could always win at a game of pure chance.”
“The world’s now placid, featureless, and culturally dead: nothing really new has been created since the Overlords came. The reason’s obvious. There’s nothing left to struggle for, and there are too many distractions and entertainments. Do you realize that every day something like five hundred hours of radio and TV pour out over the various channels? If you went without sleep and did nothing else, you could follow less than a twentieth of the entertainment that’s available at the turn of a switch! No wonder that people are becoming passive sponges—absorbing but never creating.
“Naturally, the system would have to be rigidly closed, recycling all food, air, and other expendables. But, of course, that’s just how the Earth operates—on a slightly larger scale.”
“Long ago it had been discovered that without some crime or disorder, Utopia soon became unbearably dull.”
“The universe is full of energy, but much of it is at equilibrium. At equilibrium no energy can flow, and therefore it cannot be used for work, any more than the level waters of a pond can be used to drive a water-wheel. It is on the flow of energy out of equilibrium—the small fraction of “useful” energy, “exergy”—that life depends.”
“They had not yet attained the stupefying boredom of absolute omnipotence;”
“You can’t have action without reaction.”
Further Thoughts From Some Of Our Greatest Minds (1988)
Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and Arthur C. Clarke
I hardly believe these not to be 'Naval-Gazers" (such as I) either
Re-quoting, "They had not yet attained the stupefying boredom of absolute omnipotence”--- In short all this makes me wonder if all this was created because GOD (whatever/whoever that is) was bored as hell in whatever state it/he/she were in?
If that is so, there are two possibilities either (1) this is one big game of hide and seek to escape boredom OR (2) this creator is increasing itself through the use of planting the seeds of that which it created to further expand itself.
"It’s all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war,” Pope Francis said. “A war can be justified, so to speak, with many, many reasons, but when all the world as it is today, at war, piecemeal though that war may be—a little here, a little there—there is no justification.”
“What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now?” Pope Francis asked. “What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims, and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers.”
It really doesn't matter whether it's the military forces of Russia, Britain, France, Iran, The United States, Assad, ISIS or anyone else (in this free for all) who are bombing the shit out of the Syrian people. Each have contributed to making this place a Hell on Earth. Because of this Syrians (or what's left of them) are fleeing the place where they were born in droves.
Those leaving are not "immigrants" as some would have you call them. Rather most are innocent refugees fleeing hatred, violence and almost complete destruction of anything that makes life bearable.
Sorry if I'm sounding grim this Christmas, but in light of all the negativity coming from our cold hearted political candidates, those who support them and the never ending wars I'm finding it very difficult to be of Christmas cheer.
I once believed somewhere deep down inside there was some goodness in each person. Also the overall majority of mankind has goodness in their hearts. Each year that goes past there seems to be fewer and fewer left of those who seek commonality, empathy and understanding of others. I now question if there are enough peaceable good hearted people left on this Earth to allow it to remain livable for so many who want nothing to do with any of this.
It appears Social Security is doing quite well and would continue to do so with a few adjustments in combination with either one or more of these simple fixes. (1) Raise the rate by one of two percentage points. (2) Raise the minimum wage (thus increasing the contributions going into it). (3) Raise the maximum annual earnings amount.
As far as critics of SS...
In the private sector if a company is coming up short over what they pay out, they would increase their billing and/or enroll wealthier clients (larger wage earners). I fail to see how Social Security should be run any different. Utmost to keep in mind "the government" is not contributing one damned nickel towards this program no matter what some would otherwise have us believe.
I appalls me some have no problem volunteering to risk gambling their hard earned incomes trusting the crooks on wall street with their 401K contributions up to $24,000 in 2016 (with no guaranteed results). Yet oppose SS benefits which could vastly out perform what they ever hoped to see monthly coming in at retirement age from their 401k's. Often SS contributions are a fraction of that many risk playing the stock market only to end up disappointed. If there's anyone to be less trusted then the government it just has to be these money changers. Some folks need to learn that this hard way I suppose.
If people want to spend another pile of money outside SS, do that on your own dime. As for me, I support long term viable solutions keeping SS strong for the rest of us who aren't thinking along those lines.
We constantly hear about building more apartments and houses so as to encourage more people to relocate here as if this were a good thing. That's not the way I see it.
Bigger Isn't Better
We already have way too many here in the Lehigh Valley unable to find work. This especially in light of Rodale, Air Products, Mack Trucks and Kraft announcing layoffs of over a 1,000 of well paying jobs that can never be replaced.
If bigger were better why are the New York City & Philly schools broke along with MTA & SEPTA as just two examples?
To my way of thinking we are heading in the wrong direction. Instead of crowded highways as a result of over development we should be focused on how we should deal with people who are already here.
How about this instead?
(1) Preserve what little farmland is left and utilize the older vacant properties we already have.
(2) Focus on quality over quantity when it comes to future taxpayer investments.
(3) Provide for the needs of those already living here for decades before assuming people coming here from outside will have a vested interest in what lies ahead in the future of the Lehigh Valley over the long term. Most of these will just be passing through.
I have nothing against change, but when changes are made I have a problem with crowding every possible person within every square inch as if it were an improvement in the quality of life. I absolutely cannot understand how putting people into chicken coops (apartments) and having to slave away at minimum wages to pay for them should be a goal. Neither should we try and pack people (and their kids) like sardines onto public transportation to cart grocery bags home nor go to/from work. Yet that seems what will be the outcome if we continue to head in this direction.
The continued goal of growing this area (as I see it) is NOT a good thing. People leaving New York City or other areas are wishing to escape that sort of thing. Yet they are creating the very same conditions down the road they sought to leave behind. Therefore I see no good reason to pursue the path we seem to be headed on here in the Lehigh Valley.
There will be those who say "if you don't like it... leave".
"Why should I?"
"You're the ones...."
Shannon hasn't been active since September 2013. I've tried to contact her. Unfortunately I've not heard back. It seems as though she disappeared on all her other social media sites as well. I hope she is ok.
YouTube has changed their algorithms which pretty much excluded her and others like her with the kind of tremendous talents they possess. What a shame. Be that as it may, I wish to present to you one of the most talented young ladies I've ever had the privilege of listening to
Shannon (from upstate NY) once uploaded 172 videos. What follows are 57 of my favorite videos representing almost 3 hours of my favorite tunes she has performed over the five years she was on YouTube joining it June 26th, 2008
The first video in the playlist was uploaded in April 2010
I wonder how many more talented people have gone unrecognized and have given up on their dreams. I consider that a loss for both listeners and the industry. Both could have benefited otherwise. In a few days I intend to post such another playlist of various other performers. It's my hope you'll take the time to view and enjoy these musical artists.
According to LehighVallleyLive.com the vote, 4 to 2 came in around 1:01 AM in what was apparently a packed meeting. Attending was nearly double the capacity of council's chambers. The two dissenting votes were those of Jeanette Eichenwald and Councilman Ray O'Connell. Concannon finally did attend a council meeting, but left early w/o voting.
Those who regularly read this blog will note that Mr. Van Rainey (CBES Global, LLC ) who was the competitor for this project said on this blog..
Ok, something stinks here.In Short: Once again the public's input was negated. Only one proposal was accepted without doing due diligence to alternative proven trash to energy successes elsewhere. The financial aspects are highly speculative. Most of the background going into this project was already done far from public and council's scrutiny.
All in all, politics in Allentown has once again triumphed over careful scientific and sound financial methodology and public review.
To those folks who say, "well you voted for them".
Neither the incinerator project, the sale of Queen City Airport or the arena project was ever brought up in the election campaigns. How in the world is anybody supposed to base a vote on anything and everything imaginable when voters weren't told of such things in the first place? This whole thing is like getting on a plane where you have no idea where's it's going.. and you can't get off!
Does anyone still wonder why people in Allentown get (a) frustrated. (b) Angry. (c) Feel it's pointless to give a crap?
Pareidolia: A psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds."
ISIS is winning physiologically by a landside because they've succeeded in creating fear and animosity dividing this country up against one another far beyond what they are capable of inflicting militarily.
Let's Be Realistic
What happened in Paris was tragic, but seriously anyone's death in Allentown is far more likely to come about as a result of bad driving or at the hands of a fellow citizen already here rather then a dozen or so foreigners who seek to escape violence by relocating here. The problem is we've allowed ISIS to take control of our fears and using them against us to drive ourselves apart to the point of paranoia. There's no doubt Allentown already has enough problems, but I'm not buying into this hysteria.
Let's not repeat the same mistakes in allowing these few assholes to gain victory over us by allowing them the allocation of power to cower fear amongst ourselves.
We might have screwed up when it came to the Jews in 1939. Let us not repeat this same mistake again. The time has come to show the world we are a better and stronger nation who can learn from it's mistakes by not repeating them. A nation brave enough and bold enough to face whatever challenges there may be to set things right.
They in turn insisted "Why not? What is the responsibility within the Muslim community to identify people within their own ranks when it comes to people who are obviously training and preparing to carry out mass murder.".
His response in return... "“Sir, they were not from our ranks!"
I as a white person refuse as well to apologize for the actions other assholes have committed against blacks in which I played no part. Same goes for blacks not having to apologize for every bad actor in the black community. This applies as well for all the good cops not having to apologize for other cops acting like assholes. So too those who blame poverty or happenstance as the reasons for why they act like they do.
Satan Disguises Itself In Many Forms
No individual, religion or segment of our society owes an explanation nor apology except the bad actors themselves. These are they who should be solely held accountable.
Evil feeds on this kind of hatred. Anyone who promotes such generalities I consider either ignorant or in a willing partnership to promote further hatred and division. They are to be less trusted even then those who commit such atrocities openly because of their deceptiveness no matter their stature.
Each of us need to educate ourselves enabling us to identify and sort out those who'd have us destroy each and other from those who understand each person is to be valued for whatever acts they have or may not have committed individually towards another.
I expect this kind of behavior on the internet. Not major media.
The brother of a Paris victim is worried France will repeat the same mistakes United States did with it's knee jerk reaction to an attack on the twin towers on 9/11. Rather then think smart the U.S. went into these countries guns blazing. As a result what we ended up with today are the terrorists known as ISIS and a Middle East muddle in where there is no end in sight which cost us over 4,500 soldiers' and 210,000 civilians lives in these nations as well as trillions of dollars.
A Road Previously Traveled
You'd think after losing 58,000 lives in Vietnam only for it to end up a communist nation (and now a trade partner) we'd give a little more thought before we sent troops back into combat. Apparently not. No one can deny people both in the Middle East and the rest of the world are no better off for it. Bombing the crap out of other peoples' countries doesn't exactly win hearts and minds no matter how well intended.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
That's a phrase I grew up with. This certainly should apply here as well. First off let's apply a little perspective here...
I admit I don't have exact figures. However I think similar comparisons could be made between the number of radical nut jobs living in these Middle Eastern countries with those who are not. Going whole hog blasting everything in sight may destroy some of them, but is far from a cure. What has taken place for almost the last 15 years is similar to removing an entire foot in order to remove an ingrown toenail. I agree with this victims brother that striking out in vengeance without a well thought out plan is a horrible idea. One that hasn't worked so far. Indeed made matters only worse for everyone.
What isn't needed is a bunch of loud mouths arguing these animals are in anyway affiliated with religion. Evil sick delusional individuals like these will fly any banner to proclaim justifications for doing the things they do. Throughout history whole populations were wiped out by the bloodthirsty under the guise of religion, the king, emperor, their pirate captain or what have you. We always had and always will be those who evil walks within. As soon as one is struck down, another takes it place as sure as the day is long. These are no different. How we go about defeating these and those come after for once and for all is not possible. Evil will always be with us. How we deal with it has to change for the sake of the innocents caught up in this time after time again.
Eight of the known attackers are dead (including one that was born in France). What's needed now is some really good police work to find everyone else involved. After that going into the future everyone in every country, not just France, need not risk their lives intervening in those foreign nations' problems. People living in those need to resolve these matters for themselves.
Every measure necessary should be taken to contain these atrocities within those nations. This includes prohibiting refuges from leaving. Arm them when they arrive and send them back if that becomes necessary. The United States fought long and hard as well as other Asian and European nations to have what they have. It cost untold amounts of spilled blood and suffering, but they defended their countries. I am asking no less of these people. If they will not do it for themselves I find it extremely disingenuous of them to expect the Western world to spill blood in their place.
The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions
No nation or group of nations on this Earth can solve other nations' problems no matter how well intended. Each has cultural, religious and historic background differences none are able to come to full agreement with irregardless of the efforts made. It's important that each respects the others'. If that includes isolating one from the other under certain conditions when necessary so-be-it. These kind of problems always arise when one nation or the other tries to exert it's influence over another.
Simply stated.. sometimes there are boundaries where people need to stay in their own backyards. If they won't, then it may become necessary to keep them there. That goes for them as well as us. Too many noses into somebody else's business is creating far too many problems as far as I'm concerned.
'In 2011, Barbara Bagley was involved in a tragic accident that killed her husband.
Driving their Range Rover in Nevada, she struck some sagebrush, flipped the car, and her husband was thrown from the vehicle, later dying of his injuries.
This year, Bagley found a novel way to avoid paying off her husband’s creditors with money that would come from her husband’s estate (which she inherited). She’s suing herself for wrongful death, claiming negligence while driving.
If she wins her suit against herself, and finds herself legally negligent, then her insurance company will pay the creditors, instead of payment coming from the estate. If she wins, in essence, Bagley will collect money from herself for her own negligence."
People sure are becoming aggressive to say the very least.
On A Local Level
In just the first few months of school there have been several high profile fights among ASD students. Many are familiar with the threats towards Emmaus High School several weeks ago. There are other supposed incidents that haven't received the media's attention.
I've noticed on Facebook postings of someone claiming a bottle was thrown narrowly missing a crossing guard in Allentown. Another which claimed there was a incident at Whitehall H.S. which involved a police presence on Friday (11/13/2015).
On A National & International level
College students throughout the country are staging protests against what they claim are ethnic attacks. This while some of these same groups shut down invited guests including shouting down an Asian woman who tried to explain discrimination can come from any ethnic group outside their own. Black students drove her off the podium arguing it doesn't have to do with their cause.
Then there were those horrible attacks in Paris.
What each and everyone of them have in common is they all are itching for a fight. I don't know if it's the water, radio waves or Earth traveling through some cosmic force. One thing is for sure, things are picking up. Kind of makes me wonder if human nature is predisposed every so many years to fight world wars.
If so, the next world war will be nothing like we've ever experienced before. In the past each and every one consisted of a nation peoples or government who fought against one another. What we're seeing today has no such defined borders. Alarmingly the next world war will be fought within each nation's borders. It's groups of people unmercifully identifying themselves with race, social or religious ideologies against another's both within and without of the lands where they live.
As far as the United States goes, it can be argued other then for 9/11 we've never ever suffered an attack on American soil. This because of our location left other nations unable to send bombers far enough or able to get ships close enough. With today's weapon technology that's no longer an obstacle.
Today now more then ever people need to unite under the flags of the nation's wherein they reside. What we're seeing these days is a fracturing creating increased threats within each and every nation. It may very well be the future may hold a anarchy filled 'free for all' unlike any other seen before.
I really truly hope I'm wrong, but what I'm seeing with kids in our schools, these racists underpinnings, strong political divisions, cops against civilians/civilians against police, money greed and religious differences none of this bodes well. If these continue to the extreme in the direction we appear to be headed the enemy we should be looking out for may very well reside within ourselves.
There's no amount of physical force police nor the military can use to solve these problems. These serve only to escalate the bad situation we find ourselves in. The way I see it, the universe doesn't give a rats ass whether humans continue to exist or not. One need no other then to look towards the stars as evidence. That alone should be reason enough for humankind to change it's ways. You'd think with so much at stake and having such scientific evidence we'd all wise the hell up. The universe will go on with or without us. I for one prefer it not being the latter. Some may call me a wingnut, alarmist or philosophical wacko for saying this stuff. Believe when I say I'd find it much more preferable then to be eventually proven right.
The Simple Solution
Each and every one needs to kick it down a notch. We're all living in this fishbowl together. Each and everyone of us is along for the ride whether we like it or not. The old adage of either someone contributes to the problems or refuses lies within each person's prerogative is now more applicable then ever. Be it said of true honor, if someone so perishes they had no hand in these evil deeds what-so-ever.
The debate whether there is a life beyond this one matters little. What should concern us is the things we know of that are of immediate concern. The safety and well being of each other enabling each to live out whatever allotment of time they've been given in this life. Those who'd do otherwise are the enemies of all mankind.
Simply stated, no one should further contribute to the evil created via some sort of imaginary justification for what other atrocities someone else committed by becoming as they.
I'm not certain I would rather spend it on "free" education.
What I am certain of is we already have more weapons then we need to kill each and other several times over again.
As far as the free education angle... Nobody appreciates what they supposedly get "free" w/o having to work for it. One need look no further then all the stuff going on in this nation's high schools. Students acting up in the k-12 public schools who then go on to college carrying with them the same baggage. Garbage in, garbage out.
There's no divine decree that requires $1.5 trillion be spent on either one. I'd rather the money go towards paying down our nation's debts for money already spent before figuring out new ways to piss money away.
Although I believe this hateful jerk's Penn State pension is wildly excessive this shouldn't be the focus. When it comes to pensions they are supposedly based on what someone earned and on the agreed amounts they are entitled to collect one day.
This money should be eligible irregardless of what someone has or has not done as far as I'm concerned.
The company I worked for also gave itself the right to terminate my pension if I should be fired for whatever reason before becoming eligible for retirement. Although this is a common legal practice I don't believe one should have anything to do with the other,
Sandusky, other then paying for lawyers, isn't going to enjoy spending the money anyway. Although some question what his family knew or didn't know shouldn't be financially punished since they weren't charged nor convicted of having knowledge of his atrocities.
Imagine if one day a worker's Social Security benefits were denied because they committed a crime. Either someone earned the benefits they were promised or they did not no matter how hateful the SOB they may be.
The first comes from 'Ellen's Stardust Diner' at 51st & Broadway, New York City. This is the place many high schools take their students for lunch before attending a theatre performance. Although I don't consider the food any great shakes, the wait staff are first class performers.
This second video features Nick Petera singing a medley from 'Into To Woods'.
Wikipedia: "Nicholas Joseph Pitera (born March 7, 1986) is an American vocal artist who gained his popularity by the release of his YouTube videos, several of which have gone viral. As of May 2011, Pitera also works as an animator at Pixar Studios."
What makes Nick special is his vocal abilities. He doesn't just sing within a male's vocal range but also the female's as well. In this video he sings all the harmony background vocals as well as the solos.
Nick Pitera's One-Man Tribute to Aladdin on Broadway
Published June 11, 2014