Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Fighting For The Soul Of United States

I thought the title of this was apt for what's going on right now. It's how I feel we are at this point. This isn't about hating politicians nor anger towards lost elections. This post is about issues that may very well bring an end to just about everything I believe should be for this country.

We can't take in everyone who wants to be here. It would be like a boat taking on too many passengers. However setting reasonable limits on the number there's no excuse to restrict anyone from any place or religion that has been thoroughly vetted. Those who truly value our ideas. I think we have been doing a good job over these past few years. What I'm seeing over the past month is the complete opposite. Our welcome mat has been yanked out from under them replaced with bigotry There's always room for improvement, but that's not what this is.

There are those who will argue these deserve it because they broke "the law". Laws are what ever you make them. Those who worked hard improving both themselves, family, contributed to the economy and haven't committed crimes threatening harm to others should receive different consideration. The "dreamers program" and at one time Reagan's granting amnesty is nothing like what we're seeing today. There needs to be some differentiation. Nobody likes a bad apple, but why throw out the whole basket?

When cooler heads prevailed

There's ways to deal with this. Say for example someone not born here but arrived under 18. Someone who has been here for over 10 years and has a clean record and/or family offspring. I'm not saying we have to use those exact standards, but there should be some framework in place that would allow these people to apply for citizenship once they've been tagged having fulfilled something similar to those requirements.

Defense Spending (Robbing Peter To Pay Paul)
The president wants to spend $54 billion more. We've been told the money will come for other agencies and departments. Currently the entire budget for the EPA is $8b. The state department is vital to the military missions yet it too could be slashed. I repeat this isn't about slamming this administration--it's about common sense (if there should be such a thing). In cutting funding to these other departments and agencies we're told "we'll do more with less" at the same time accusing them of wasteful spending.

I'm further concerned about the EPA established under the Nixon administration.

Anyone old enough remembers the huge amount of smog we suffered in the air at the time. Not only did the EPA require emissions and greater mileage on cars so too the removal of leaded fuels we all breathed in. Sewage on our beaches, smoke stacks bellowing out toxins and companies piping whatever unabated into our rivers and streams., Anyone seriously want to go back to that? Same goes for the FDA, USDA and countless others we now take for granted will always be in place. Each are now threatened

Check out a few of these links and see if this makes sense

Pentagon buried study that found $125 billion in wasteful spending: Washington Post

U.S. Army fudged its accounts by trillions of dollars, auditor finds

Military can’t account for $6.5 trillion in spending, so Trump wants to give Pentagon even more money

Trump’s Proposed Increase in U.S. Defense Spending Would Be 80 Percent of Russia’s Entire Military Budget

Reuters (02/27/2017)-- "More than 120 retired U.S. generals and admirals urged Congress on Monday to fully fund U.S. diplomacy and foreign aid, the same government functions expected to be targeted for cuts in President Donald Trump's first budget proposal... "We know from our service in uniform that many of the crises our nation faces do not have military solutions alone," they wrote. "The State Department, USAID, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Peace Corps and other development agencies are critical to preventing conflict and reducing the need to put our men and women in uniform in harm's way."

I Could Go On And On
The point is I think we are at a crossroads, Hopefully if this goes far enough backwards people will come to realize we're going down the wrong path On the other hand--given what's happening being allowed to continue--the United States will no longer be a nation in which I can feel thrilled to be a part of.

None of this is because I "hate" this administration nor because of some damn election's outcome. Rather because I care--like so many others--of what is to follow if we disregard and throw out all we've accomplished in making this a great nation up to this point. I hate to see it all go to hell because of the resentment and bitterness that's seems to have taken over conservatives these recent days. No matter how far we've leaned either left or right this is nothing I've ever experienced in my lifetime.

Indeed there were far more tenuous situations in the past and this nation still survived. Question is--will we this one? How many times can we end up so fortunate?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Large Flowerheads Allentown Masonic Temple (Music Video)

(February 25, 2017)

Big Problem For Trump's War With The Press.

Keep-cruising for a bruising
The press is under no legal obligation to get the administration's side of the story. The only reason the press attends briefings and makes calls to the white house before running a story is because of their own journalistic practices. It's possible this could change. Then what would this administration do?

I'm all for integrity but this administration has changed the rules Maybe the press should just report and let the president and his staff figure out a way of responding without the press feeling it is under a obligation to do so. At this point I don't think this administration deserves this kind of respect unless/until they are willing to return the same.

Things weren't always this way...

Anyone Can Live Forever In Virtual World

It use to be said pictures were absolute poof. Not anymore. This is true with videos as well. What an amazing time we live in.

So if you think someone filmed space aliens... maybe you want to think again.

Using CGI to bring actors back to life (CBS Sunday Morning )

Here's one such example...


Linear vs. Non-Linear Thinking

I became interested in this because of the Oscar noninated movie "Arrival" (2016).

I've always been a fan of Sci-Fi stories. So too the way these writers get me to thinking.

Aside from the plot the biggie here is the difference with how these aliens think in "non-linear" terms opposed to how we think "linearly". In other words we humans think in sequential pieces along a straight line, but that may not be the only way when it comes to understanding. Taking a closer look I see artificial intelligence developers have been working on this in great detail for some time

This can be best explained by computers having unlimited capacity for multitasking--something we humans are incapable of. Suppose we as a human stood before an object. We would be limited to only one view at a time. A computer on the other hand could be looking all 360 degrees around, over/under and inside all at the same time. While our human minds could understand each individually we'd never be able to comprehend the entire composite make up in one sitting other then metaphorically.

Now apply this to the universe in all it's complexity. Suppose a artificial intelligence could be developed which could take in everything which makes up a galaxy. Light, gravity, it's entire structure including each black hole, sun, planet, radio waves, all there is within along with the scientific formulas controlling them all at the same time. Us humans limited to linear thinking would have to rely on thousands of other minds in an attempt to develop some sort of metaphorical understanding. A view far different from it's actual over all totality.

This is what fascinated me about this movie. What if there were an alien race not limited to such things. A race who could multitask in a non-linear fashion--unfettered by our own limited sequential (straight line) cognitive logic?

In the movie our hero linguist discovers where you start out (in a circle of logic) each will produce a different outcome. However these aliens try to express the entire number of possible outcomes in a single spiral. Fully understanding this creates results entirety different from those assumed prior.

This is the challenge today's AI developers face when trying to create algorithms capable of human understanding as to what has been culled. In other words someday we may be too limited by our abilities to relate to these so-called machines. This leads to the question whether we will play a part in the future of how ever evolving intelligence. expresses itself. Will one day these devices look upon us as lower species then themselves?

The Way I See 'The Creator' (GOD)
He/she/it will occupy/express itself in whatever form there is. Humans may think themselves 'all that and more' but so do monkeys, elephants and ants who led their tribes before we came along. This creator (whatever it may be) is on an ever evolving quest to expand itself. If we're unable to transition beyond our linear measurement of thought at least we can say we contributed towards the next advancement. Every thing and everyone has it's day for a little while in the larger scheme of things. Hopefully he/she/it will look upon us gracefully.

Final Thought
I really appreciate movies/TV and all those who inspire others to think outside the box. H/T to each and every one of them. Keep em' coming.

When Wealth And Power Not Equitably Shared

We should be ever reminded when wealth and power is concentrated in too few hands things get volatile. It's a never ending cycle. One which is pertinent today as it was back then. It appears to me all the turbulence we constantly experience throughout the world is a result of such imbalances.

Making use of the military is a really poor choice. A solution can never be achieved without recognizing where lies the root cause--poverty, injustice, greed. Bombs can't fix those. Only good minded smart leadership having the strong will of the people behind them can.

Not too many of these around. Hence why we constantly keep having these messes.

What caused the French Revolution? (TED-Ed)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Muhammad Ali's Son Was Detained

Muhammad Ali’s son detained under Trump immigration ban
Joe Tacopino | New York Post (February 24, 2017)
" Muhammad Ali’s son was detained at Fort Lauderdale International Airport earlier this month... Muhammad Ali Jr. was traveling from Jamaica on Feb 7 with his mother Khalilah Ali when immigration officers detained him in a small room and questioned him for 30 minutes... Ali Jr., who has no criminal record and carries a US passport, was repeatedly asked about his religion, his rep told the Miami New Times."

It's also rather disturbing the agents have been given the right to open personal electronic devices. Even download files from them. It doesn't matter if' it's a U.S. citizen returning home.

I'm sure agents can't force someone, but they don't have to release them from detention either I suppose.

NASA scientist detained at US border until he unlocks his phone
Andrew Buncombe | independent.co.uk (February 13, 2017)
"A US-born NASA scientist said he was detained by customs officials and not permitted to enter the country unless he unlocked his PIN-protected work phone... “CBP officers seized my phone and wouldn’t release me until I gave them my access PIN for them to copy the data. I initially refused since it’s a JPL-issued phone and I must protect access.”"
So here we have a guy with sensitive data belonging to NASA being downloaded to some overzealous agent. Who knows what he did with it. When this scientist returned to JPL he handed over the phone to have it scrubbed just in case spyware was installed on it. Hey you never know.

Is This Suppose To Make Us Safer?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Warmest February Day On Record

Lehigh Valley had its warmest February day on record
By Steve Novak | lehighvalleylive.com
"A high of 77 degrees made Friday the warmest February day on record in Allentown, according to the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, N.J."

Although I usually wait till March--warm as this day was--it gave me an opportunity to trim my small rosaceae trees for a couple of hours today. Kind of figured it would be a good idea especially if we have an early growing season.

These are great plants because they produce flowers throughout August when many other plants gave up their bloom providing nectar for bees beyond the normal blossoming season.

Besides it also gave me a opportunity to get some exercise I usually don't have this time of year. I can't wait for more warm days like these.

Despite what that rodent from Punxsutawney said on Grundsaudaag... hopefully Spring will come around early this year. I'm pumped.

White House Bars Certain Press

"Friday's White House press briefing, normally an on-camera affair open to all reporters with press credentials, was turned into an exclusive event for certain outlets hand-picked by the administration... Off the list were some of Trump's favorite targets, including the New York Times and CNN. The Los Angeles Times was also excluded. "

My Comments
The press doesn't need to run everything they do by the white house for approval before they run a story

What the hell is this country becoming !

LVCI's Retirement Savings Advice

Philadelphia pension fund lost $149 million in 2016
Claudia Vargas | Philly.com (February 23, 2017)
"The 2016 loss was due to market investments that went south, losing 3.17 percent of the fund’s value, and a reduction in the assumed rate of return from 7.8 percent ..."

Here's What I Did
When I was working I had the choice to stash a bunch of loot in my employer's 401k. Instead I paid far larger amounts into my mortgage payments. I doubled the payments. In the last half I even made triple payments, This enabled me to payoff a 30 year mortgage in just 13 years saving me over $68,500 in interest.

My Reasoning Behind It
I thought it made little sense to have an oodle of money which would end up going towards another 15 years worth of mortgage payments after I retired. My 401k suffered nearly the same fate as Philadelphia's pensions fund. It came no where close to earning the $68,500 I saved by paying ahead on my mortgage. So this strategy panned out very well for me.

This worked out extremely well on taxes as well. Owning a home--rather then renting--allowed me to take large deductions while I was working. After retirement--since 401k savings are taxable--it allowed me to take out much less then what I'd be taxed otherwise.

This allowed me to own my home free a clear years ahead of time. This 2,117 Square foot home I'm living in costs me 1/5th in taxes what a small apartment rents for these days.

Here's the bottom line. When it comes to financial wheeler dealers they always have your money. As long as your money is tied up some where whether it be in debt or in a financial cloud it's never really yours. These gauys have lots of skin in the game--usually it comes at your expense. There's no sense in having a bucket of money stashed away still owing a large amount of debt come retirement.

Gambling on the market with these sharks like Philly did likely will end up the same way. Anyone who believes they can make a boatload of money without working for it or without paying down debt thinking they are smarter are fooling themselves. The game is rigged against them

My alternate advice is--if someone doesn't want to follow what I did--put money aside which is FDIC insured. It may not pay out the kind of money these so-called investment advisors made with their false promises but by doing it so in this way one can be assured it will actually still be there at retirement.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Yahoo Other Planets Where We Could Live

BUT... they are 40 light years away from Earth.

Seven Earth-size planets where life may be possible
Irene Klotz | Reuters (Feb 22, 2017)
"Astronomers have found a nearby solar system with seven Earth-sized planets, three of which circle their parent star at the right distance for liquid surface water, raising the prospect of life, research published on Wednesday showed."
Not exactly what I would call "nearby" to my way of thinking. Even if we could travel there I'm not sure several generations later my offsprings would appreciate being born on a space ship upon such an endeavor over the years it would take at our present rate of travel. No doubt we'd have to drag along another ship with several tons of supplies to get started. Who's to say the seeds we brought along could be cultivated. There may be no animals we could consume either.

But hey it's start I suppose. Something to think about once this planet becomes exhausted.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Republican Town Halls Getting A Earful

"Here's a roundup of Tuesday's notable town halls:"

Donald of course they were. Just like when the 'Tea Party' pulled these antics a few years back. I detested them as much as I do this bunch of jerks.

No politician should be treated like a human pinata. I'm disgusted with politicians being treated like punching bags when they're gracious enough to tackle such an event, Putting myself in their place two things come to mind. First off none of these elected officials are required to hold town halls. The second being I wouldn't take to people shouting at me like lunatics. This kind of crap certainly wouldn't win me over that's for sure.

If it were me in their place I'd make clear how these were to be held in printed handouts days before. Here's the format I would follow. First I be allowed to speak for five or ten minutes at the top of the meeting uninterrupted. Then take Q&A from folks only one at a time. Audience members who couldn't abide by those rules I'd respond in two ways. First eject disrupters warning if we can't act civilized I'd be taking a hike. If people in the crowd still found that unacceptable I would warn one more time saying--there's no point in treating me like some clown at the fair sitting over a dunking tank. People who want respect should show respect. Otherwise there's no point in having these. When people are shouting they're not listening.

Perhaps there's a better way. When Barack Obama was in the white house he created online petitions on it's website. These then required a response when a certain threshold was crossed. Maybe congressional members could initiate something like this for constituents from their district on their own websites. This would accomplish a few things.

(1) The greatest concerns raised by the largest number from their home district could be heard and addressed after being verified as such. (2) Outside agitators would be filtered out since each would be required to provide their name and address. (3) Wacky doodles seeking attention wouldn't have the opportunity to get in front of cameras for their own selfish interests in a cause for advancing themselves or an organization. (4) Those screaming the loudest doesn't mean they represent the greatest numbers simply because they have a big mouth.

In this way it addresses all the problems inherent with these town hall meetings.

Three Gods Riddle (TED-Ed Video)

This sounds like something a clever prosecutor, detective or U.S. intelligence official might find useful. Who knows the clever ways some of them might have been taught similar to this methodology.

Seems equally possible the formula <+ +> + <- -> might prove useful in scientific experimental outcomes as well. Can't rule out the possibly a fake mentalist couldn't use it to their advantage either. Sure a lot of clever people out there. Certainly not what I could have come up with. That's for sure!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Crime Increases In The U.S. Where Refuges Settle

In the United States this is true but not the way you've been told.

It's not the refuges committing them.

Rather it's American citizens carrying out crimes against them.

The latest FBI statistics show that hate crimes against Muslims grew by 67 percent in 2015, the year in which Mr. Trump launched his campaign.

Research shows immigrants actually commit fewer crimes

'New American Economy'-- "To examine this issue, we used refugee resettlement data from the U.S. Department of State’s Worldwide Refugee Processing System to calculate the 10 cities in the US that received the most refugees relative to the size of their population between 2006 and 2015.

We then looked at what happened to both their overall crime rates over the same time period using detailed data available from the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

This revealed a telling pattern: Rather than crime increasing, nine out of 10 of the communities actually became considerably more safe, both in terms of their levels of violent and property crime."

Monday, February 20, 2017

Draining The Swamp Doesn't Come Cheap

Trump family’s elaborate lifestyle is a ‘logistical nightmare’ — at taxpayer expense

Donald Trump's weekend Mar-a-Lago getaways 'cost taxpayers $3 million' Per Visit

Donald Trump goes golfing five more times than Barack Obama so far

'New York Times'-- " Last month, taxpayers forked over nearly $100,000 to protect Eric Trump while he was on a business trip to Uruguay. And the Defense Department is looking to rent space in Trump Tower — which goes for as much as $1.5 million a year per floor — so they can bring the nuclear launch codes along when the president comes to visit his wife in New York."

At $4 million or $5 million a week we could be looking at a quarter a billion dollar$ a year to keep him in style not including the marble prison we spend for him to be at the White House. Nor the 'Camp David Compound' he'll never use.

Hell congress might have to appropriate a few more million in emergency spending in the budget before the year's out.

Gun Safety: Did You Know...

Defective or not, the government can't recall your gun

When it comes to guns, federal agencies have no recall power

CBS's '60 Minutes' posted online a video piece entitled Popular Remington 700 rifle linked to potentially deadly defect in which they said, "..10 attorneys general wrote the court saying, “There are potentially as many as 7.5 million defective rifles at issue.” And that, “Remington knows or should know…they are unreasonably dangerous.”

It pays to have good lobbyists. I'm of the opinion purchasers of weapons should have one of their own if the NRA isn't going to look out for them.

How Federal Elections Are Rigged

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Facebook Video

Posted February 14, 2017

Lady Gaga's Super Bowl Raw Mic Feed

1,215,025 views as of 02/19/2017 3:25 PM

No faking... THE LADY GOT IT !

Trump On Fake News

It all boils down to this...

Sunday, February 19, 2017

In Allentown Even Doggies Are Gentrified

"Downtown Allentown is about to get its first dog park, but before business district residents who struggle daily to find a patch of green for their pooch get too excited, they should know that only patrons of Strata apartments and the Renaissance Hotel will be allowed to use it...

The lighted park will include a picket fence and a locked gate that Strata residents and Renaissance Hotel visitors will be able to access using their apartment or room keys."

After taxpayers backed nearly $1B of NIZ development--and still counting--neither they nor their doggies are welcome. Should we think of this as Allentown's version of club "Mar-a-Lago" for doggies ?

Other's doggies will just have to crap on the other side of the fence I suppose. How inclusive !

How Canadian Government Treats Refugees

(February 11, 2017)

How The U.S. Treats Them...

(Feb. 14, 2017)

'City News' Canada (Jan. 28, 2017)

I don't know about you, but if I wanted to win friends on an international scale....

Get In On The Conversation

I've posted a bunch of things over the last month,

I'm looking for some feedback... got any for me?

Love cha hear from ya.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Magic Bank Account

Imagine that you had won the Following *PRIZE* in a contest: Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400 In your private account for your use. However, this prize has Rules.

The set of Rules:1. Everything that you didn't spend during each day would be taken away from you.
2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.
3. You may only spend It.
4. Each morning the bank opens with another $86,400 for that Day.
5. The bank can end the game without warning. At any time it can say, "Game Over!" It can close the account and you will not receive a new one.

What would you personally do?
You would buy anything and everything you wanted right? Not only for yourself, but for all the people you love and care for. Even for people you don't know, because you couldn't possibly spend it all on yourself, right? You would try to spend every penny, and use it all, because you knew it would be replenished in the morning, right?

Actually this GAME is real. Each of us is already a winner of this *PRIZE*. We just can't seem to see it. The PRIZE is *TIME*

Each morning we awaken to Receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of Life. And when we go to sleep at night any remaining time is not credited to us. What we haven't used up that day is forever lost. Yesterday is forever gone. Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time WITHOUT WARNING...

So, what will you do with your 86,400 seconds?

Trump Purge Continues

It's a bloodbath at the State Department
By Daniel Halper | New York Post
"Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is cleaning house at the State Department, according to a report."
State Dept. carries out layoffs under Rex Tillerson
Margaret Brennan, Kylie Atwood | CBS News
"Much of seventh-floor staff, who work for the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources and the Counselor offices, were told today that their services were no longer needed...

Not a single State Department official was included in the White House meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week."

Is this good government policy?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Mayor To Spread The Good Word

"The mayor will travel to Racine, Wisconsin, where he is scheduled to speak before a city council there on Monday (02/20/2017). Pawlowski's presentation will focus heavily on downtown development. Racine is weighing whether to construct a $40 million, 3,800 seat downtown arena with an attached hotel."


"Allentown, Pa., Mayor Ed Pawlowski will no longer visit Racine to talk about Allentown’s downtown arena. However, Racine city staff will make Pawlowski’s presentation for him at the scheduled 6 p.m. Monday meeting of the City Council’s Committee of the Whole."

9 Candidates For Allentown Mayor And Still Counting

Second Republican enters race for Allentown mayor
By Emily Opilo | The Morning Call
"The already crowded race for Allentown mayor just got a little more crowded. Republican Christopher Pez announced this week that he will be running for Allentown's highest office. He is the ninth candidate to enter the race."
My goodness soon we'll have more candidates then a dog has fleas. What each seem to have in common is either they are retired or have little else in the way of another source of income. I wonder how many would be interested if the job paid less?

My bet would be on the incumbent mayor Pawlowski winning. With so many choices I suspect most will vote for the name they recognize. Allentown voters have proven time and again they're not involved in details.

Some will always vote for a Democrat. Others--if they bother to vote at all--won't take two minutes out to study a candidate's background. That's just the way it's always been. I expect it to be no differently in this round.

OMG When You Think Trump Couldn't Get Any Worse!

"(AP) -- The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press. The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana...

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the AP report was "100 percent not true" and "irresponsible." ''There is no effort at all to utilize the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants," he said.

Governors in the 11 states would have a choice whether to have their guard troops participate, according to the memo, written by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general."

My Comments
Oh well then if Spicer said it this must just be another one of those leaks to the fake press. Not to worry.

Does this remind you of anything from past history?


The Daily Beast: Homeland Security on AP’s National Guard: ‘Absolutely Incorrect’-- "A DHS official told The Daily Beast that the memo the AP cited was an early, pre-decisional draft, that Kelly never approved it, and that the department as a whole never seriously considered it."

In My Opinion: Was this "click-bait"?
The AP tried for two days to get a white house response before publishing their article. It was only after the AP published this Spicer then bypassed the AP to publicly call them out on Twitter. It wouldn't surprise me--since Trump constantly complains about leaks--if this wasn't a strategy to enable them once again to make major press look like fake news. I'm not saying it was a setup but it can't be entirely ruled out. Both sides do agree there was a draft memo. So there's still that.

Without Immigrants, These Companies Wouldn't Exist

SOURCE: Bloomberg on YouTube

Trump's 02/16/2017 Presser- Reviews Are In

and it ain't good

Yesterday I spoke about how I viewed the presser. Apparently others weren't as kind. Upon further review maybe I shouldn't have been either. Perhaps I've grown too accustomed to Trump's bluster to actually notice how combative he really was. Although I did say I didn't agree with his policies I need to be more critical vocally when something like this calls for it. Something I intend to do more robustly in the future over that which I posted yesterday.

Mediate.com-- "Turx appeared on Fox News tonight to give his side of things."

Shepard Smith (02/16/2017)

Morning Joe (02/17/2017)

Shortly after this spectacle later in the day he signed off on a resolution abolishing The Clean Streams Rule. This rule was designed to forbid coal companies from dumping coal waste where it could contaminate rivers and streams.

According to VOX-- "Appalachian Voices, an environmental group, estimates that coal companies have buried over 2,000 miles of streams in the region through mountaintop removal mining since the 1990s. And there’s growing evidence that when mining debris and waste gets into water supplies, the toxic metals can have dire health impacts for the people and mostly rural communities living nearby."

I wonder how many of his coal worker supporters will appreciate in a few years not only little work coming back but adding contaminated water to the number of dangers miners and their families will then have to deal with.