Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mail Call Brane: Readers Seeking Answers

Further questions from Brane Space readers:

Q. I'm just wondering if there's any new information on the Amendment 64 (marijuana law) for your area and whether the lawmakers will accept it or impose restrictions. - Emily, Portland, Oregon

A. So far most lawmakers are accepting the vote on 64 as the will of the voters, and given 66% of Colorado voters pushed the lever in favor, they (CO communities)  need to be wary of inveighing against that will with NIMBY type limits.

They also want to make certain they don't veer off into extreme positions like some Colorado districts (see my previous blogs) which have even claimed MJ can't be transported by individuals on its city streets!

For my own area you can read in detail the opinions of lawmakers, council members here:

Q. In your blog on 'lots of snow but still global warming' (Feb. 23) you make a good case to show that all this snow (like I'm seeing now and having to shovel) isn't unusual. Okay, question, how much longer can it go on ...say before the first year of no seasons? And will that first year be that bad? - Reggie, Schenectady, NY

A. David Suzuki has forecast ('It's A Matter of Survival', Harvard Univ. Press, 1991 with Anita Gordon) the first year of no seasons as 2040. However, if global warming is accelerating (much higher CO2 concentrations added each year, hence higher solar insolation by about 2 W/m^2 per year) then that date could arrive as early as 2025, if not sooner. What it will mean is that an essential thermal equilibrium will be reached in our planetary  atmosphere so effectively, no more winters, summers or even intermediate (Spring, fall) seasons anywhere. That will also mark the emergence of much higher mean global temperatures, probably as high as 60-65F. Locally, we can expect to see highs of 115F- 120F and covering much larger areas for much longer (heat 'waves' will be more like heat seasons, lasting months.)  Relatively cooler breaks, say with highs of 85-90, will likely appear in what used to be northern winters.

With the much more consistent high temperatures, pests of all types will proliferate, so we can expect to see more worm -parasite infestations for example, as well as dengue fever rivaling what we have now with West Nile Fever. Cholera, c. diff. and amoebic dysentery will also not be unheard of as our water resources continue to be used up and polluted, i.e. by fracking.  All in all, it will be a world that few will enjoy living in, other than the very rich - who, unlike the rest of us- will be able to afford their own off the grid power stations, so won't be rendered too uncomfortable when the main grids crash from over use.

Be happy as long as you are getting snow, even 2' at a time, because it means that first year of no seasons is still a ways off!

Q. Your brother Mike looks like a real psycho (February 24 blog).  Beating people's heads in?! What is his main damage? Also, is there any way he can be cured or at least made halfway human, acting like one? - Marie S., Dover, Delaware

A. Mike has his issues, and perhaps most are psychological. As I am no therp (therapist) I can only conjecture but suspect a lot of them trace to his being born the youngest sib of 5 in our clan. I mean, he got the short end of the stick the longest, so got beat up on by the older sibs, pushed around a lot, left out of things, as well as having to accept hand me downs instead of new clothes. Needless to say, he'd have built up a lot of resentment over years and he harbors a lot of that today.

Once he can work out these past resentment issues he might be able to change a bit, though I still believe he would have to deal with the extreme religious issues. To me, after all, a Christian Fundamentalist bears lots of similarity to Jewish and Islamic fundamentalists. They tend not to accept any gray areas, or beliefs, and this means a stance of permanent absolutism. (See, e.g. )

Basically, Mike will never be able to find peace, with himself or others, until he can bring himself to acceptance, of himself and others. I can't see that occurring anytime soon, alas. (As a further note, I tend to agree somewhat with a commentator on a site attacking his Christian National Atheist Registry idea, that his truculent stance perhaps stems more from innate insecurity about his own faith than his anger at atheists.)

Q. I like your math blogs and am wondering if you might soon do one on residue calculus? - Matt M., Plainfield, NJ

A. I had thought about the calculus of residues for a long time, but always felt it might be a tad too ambitious for a blog, even one as eclectic as Brane Space. But, who knows? It may not be long before I put it out there in some form. After all, we've covered fractals and p-adic numbers, as well as Diophantine equations! Complex analysis also provides a path into some basic residue calc.

Q. Do you think the Dreamliner (Jan. 27) might be up and running again soon? I heard it might be by April. - Jason K., Tallahassee, FL

A. Personally, my take is the lithium battery problems are so complex and difficult that it will take a major design overhaul to fix them, and that means more than a few months. As I said, there's no way I'd fly on any Dreamliner now. I'd sooner take any alternative flight available. I could be wrong, but I suspect I am more probably correct.

Q. The stock market keeps going higher and higher, now with DOW past 14,000. Don't you regret not putting your money in it? - Allison, Miami, Fl

A. Not at all. I still maintain the DOW is rising because of cheap money, infused by the Fed  (via quantitative easing and absurdly low interest rates) and that translates into a speculative bubble. The only question is when the bubble bursts, and when it does I sure as hell don't want to have any money in it.

Q. I liked your blog on Vegas. Can you tell me the best place to stay, which you've experienced, and also the best casino?- Lyle D.,  Omaha, Neb.

A. The best place we've ever stayed was easily the Encore. Problem is, when you stay there everywhere else you go looks tawdry and run down.  The best casino for atmosphere is the Bellagio, but in terms of winning more often than losing, it was the Wynn. As I said in the blog, people ought to also go out and see a lot of the sights and shows which are free, including the Bellagio singing fountains, the Sirens of TI and the Mirage volcano going off. Also, if you go, don't miss a trip to the Hoover Dam!

Remember that to ask any questions (no comments) blog readers can reach me at:

Milwaukee Chief of Police Beats A Johnny Reb’s Ass

Chief A. Flynn

It’s always an exhilarating feeling to see a Johnny Reb, Confederate-sympathizer slime – even in drag as a U.S. Senator, get brought to heel by a Yankee official on a moral topic. That occurred yesterday as Milwaukee Chief of Police Ed Flynn swatted down Lindsey Graham of South Carolina (recall the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Ft. Sumter, SC).

Graham is Johnny Reb as Reb comes, and even his nasal S. Carolina twang nauseates most Northerners with whom I’m acquainted. Meanwhile, Chief Flynn has been called a “pansy” by my brother Mike (see his image here :  and judge for yourself whether his opinion is worth two ounces of his dog 'Reb's' lickspittle). This epithet was  for Chief Flynn's sane stance on guns in Milwaukee. But, see,  in Mike’s book everyone is a “pansy” who hasn’t been in at least 500 “bat or bottle fights” and “busted in at least 50 heads” or carries a Glock 9mm like he does. What Mike is really getting at is that he reduces all Yankees to “pansies” because his sorry-ass Confederate traitors got their butts handed to them 150 years ago.  The pity of it is that the Union didn't finish the job, and allowed these miscreants to resurrect themselves in multiple forms 150 years later. So now we must deal with a half-assed Confederate clone party that still demands citizens work as slaves, elevate the Bible over science, and retain massive military spending to the detriment of social provisions!

But back to yesterday’s altercation .Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn urged Congress Wednesday to ban sales of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines to civilians. He said in an emotional Senate Judiciary hearing on the "Assault Weapons Ban of 2013,", including with many Newtown victims seated in support:

"I've wondered frequently in the past decade how many people have to get murdered in a mass murder for it to be enough. Is 20 babies enough to say these implements should not be so easily distributed?"

Chief Flynn appeared as a law enforcement figure who supports the legislation. He also made for a spirited, outspoken witness, and wasn’t afraid to interrupt the Reb blowhard Graham to challenge his arguments against the bill. Each time he did Flynn drew applause from members of the audience who support new gun restrictions.

Sadly, despite Sen. Dianne Feinstein showing a video of how rapidly assault weapons can fire, any ban faces strong opposition in the GOP-controlled House. True to their Southern-Confederate heritage, the GOOPrs are determined to keep their guns and bibles- even weapons that have no place other than in a legit war.

South Carolinian Graham joined other Republicans in arguing that the government should instead do more to enforce current laws, asking why it was that so few people who fail background checks are prosecuted for lying on their applications to buy guns.

"What kind of deterrent is that?'" asked Graham as he questioned another witness, U.S. Attorney John Walsh of Colorado.

At that point Flynn interrupted to object.

"How many cases have you made?" Graham asked Flynn, referring to people who failed background checks.

"You know what? It doesn't matter!" Flynn answered, saying background checks were accomplishing their purpose in those cases - stopping the wrong people from buying guns. He said prosecuting people for failing background checks was a poor use of limited resources.

Graham pressed ahead, asking Flynn again, "How many cases have you made for somebody violating a background check?"

Flynn shot back, talking over Graham at times, to the delight of the Newton victims' families:

"We don't make those cases, senator. We have priorities. We make gun cases. We make 2,000 gun cases a year. That's our priority. We're not in a paper chase. We're trying to prevent the wrong people buying guns. That's why we do background checks. If you think I'm going to do a paper chase, then you think I'm going to misuse my resources."

In his testimony, Flynn cited Milwaukee crime data and specific incidents in the city in recent years involving the use of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. He said that in less than three years, seven of his officers were shot with semi-automatic weapons.

Flynn testified: "Our nation's cities are enduring slow-motion mass murder every single year."

He has a point. I mean, it's mind boggling that a nation can be so hyper-reactive about terrorists (though it seems to excuse Luis Carrilles Posada) and enacts every manner of draconian law to "protect" us, but does nothing about semi-automatic weapons wiping out over 1,000 police officers, citizens every few years.
And he told senators: "It's time for Congress to pick a side. This time I hope it's law enforcement."

Flynn in his testimony demonstrated more cojones than all the Repukes in the Peanut Gallery did together, and showed them to be the true androgen-deprived clique – cuckolded by the NRA and whacko gun nuts.

Flynn did this Milwaukee-born Yankee proud, especially to see Graham pouting, pissing and almost crying after Flynn dominated his sorry, proto-Confederate ass.

Another Form for Complex Numbers (1)

To extend the generality of complex numbers and enhance their applicability, it's useful to write them in what's called "polar form".  This instalment and the next will deal with that treatment. A critical part is finding the angle shown, referred to as the argument. We can see from the diagram (Fig. 1) that the angle Θ may be found using:

arctan (y/x) = arctan(3/4) = 36.8 deg

Thus, Θ = 36.8 degrees is the argument

Now, any complex number (x + iy) may be written in polar form:

x + iy = r(cos (Θ) + isin(Θ))

And to get r:

r = [x2 + y2]1/2[42 + 32]1/2 = [25]1/2 = 5

Therefore we may write:   (x + iy) = 5(cos (36.8) + isin(36.8))

Note there is also the abbreviated function (based on the combo of sine and cosine):

cis (Θ) = cos (Θ) + isin(Θ)

so we can finally write:

C = r cis(Θ) = 5 cis (36.8)

Now we look at the vectors A and B, which we’ll henceforth call z1 and z2 to be consistent with complex notation. Our eventual goal will be to find the resultant, which will come in the next installment. In the meantime we will be working toward showing the multiplication and division of two complex forms, call them z1 and z2: 

e.g.  [z1 + z2]

From the diagram:

A= z1 = -2 + 2i

B = z2 = -2 -3i

So: z1 = x1 + iy1

And  arg(z1) = arctan(y1/x1) = arctan (-2/2) = arctan(-1)

So (Θ1) = -45 degrees = -π /4

Now find r1:

r1 =[x12 + y12]1/2 =  [1 + 1]1/2 = Ö2   Therefore:

z1 = Ö2 (cos(-45) + isin(-45)) = Ö2 cis(-45)

We now turn to the vector B which is:  z2 = x2 + iy2= -2 -3i

then: arg(z2) = arctan(y2/x2) = arctan (-3/-2) = arctan (3/2) = 56.3 deg


r2 = [x22 + y22]1/2[(-2)2 + (-3)2]1/2 = [13]1/2 =  3.6


z2 = 3.6(cos(56.3) + isin(56.3) = 3.6 cis(56.3)

Now, how do we obtain the complex product: [z1•z2]?

We have that:

[z1•z2] = (z1•z2) cis(arg(z1) – arg(z2))


(z1•z2) = Ö2 (3.6) = 5.1


arg(z1) – arg(z2) = (-45) – (56.3) = -101.3

so that:

[z1•z2] = 5.1 cis(-101.3) = 5.1 (cos (-101.3) + isin(-101.3))

[z1•z2] = 5.1((-0.195) + i(-0,98))

[z1•z2] = 0.99 + 0.98i

To get the resultant: z1 + z2 = z3:

A + B = z1 + z2 =[ (-2 + 2i) + (-2 – 3i)] = -4 –i

In any case:
x3 + iy3 = - 4 – i

Problems for the Math Maven:

1) Based on the resultant for (x3, y3) obtain arg(z3)  and thence the polar form for the resultant. (Hint: Remember  arg(z3)  =  Θ )

2) Now combine this resultant z3 with that from C (Fig. 1) which we call z4, to obtain z5

Thence, find arg(z5) and write in polar form.

3) Obtain the complex product for [z3• z4]

Why Is Breast Cancer Incidence Increasing for Younger Women?

A paper published in Wednesday's edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association., confirmed the suspicions of many oncologists who had noticed an uptick in patients younger than 40 with cancer that had spread to the bones, brain or lungs. In 1976, 1.53 out of every 100,000 American women 25 to 39 years old was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, the study found. By 2009, the rate had almost doubled to 2.9 per 100,000 women in that age group — a difference too large to be a chance result.

According to City of Hope Cancer Center surgeon Dr. Benjamin Paz, who was not involved in the study. “Looking at a longer period of time, this study shows there's clearly been an increase. It's the first to do so."

The trend, which has yet to be explained, has raised real concerns about future efforts to treat the disease. Survival rates for young women with metastatic breast cancer are much lower than they are for older women, because the cancer tends to behave more aggressively in the young.  Meanwhile, the data from the U.S. Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results, or SEER, database detected a significant increase among black and white women in both urban and non-urban areas, suggesting that the root cause or causes were widespread. This means whatever the cause or agent it can’t be a localized one.

It also (again) casts suspicion on the most likely culprits which are used across the nation: synthetic pesticides, weedicides (Most of which are banned in Canada), and bisphenol-A, a hormone imitator used in plastics. In her book  'The Body Toxic' , (pp. 148-49), author Nina Baker observes:

"Bio-monitoring studies of bisphenol A in human blood and tissue suggests that people are already exposed to levels that far surpass the current government reference. Humans quickly metabolize bisphenol A, so in order to account for the levels detected, people must be exposed to ten times more than the current acceptable intake level".

Risk benefit analyses, many done in Canada, show that even a billionth of a gram of bisphenol- A can engender toxic effects, such as causing human cells to mutate toward a cancerous form.

Unsatisfied with the usual health industry narrative that “people eat too many fats” – Baker and other women have actually undertaken “body burden analyses” to assess how many chemical toxins are in their blood. One RN cited, found 105 chemicals in her blood - all linked in animal studies to devastating health effects, including cancers of the liver, bone, pancreas, bladder and breast...not to mention disruption of the hormone system, and birth deformities (such as hypospadia in male infants, now occurring more and more in proportion to mothers' use of cosmetics).

Baker (p. 17) obtained her own body burden analysis performed by a lab in Manchester, England for $2,000. What she learned 8 weeks later floored her. An attached spread sheet disclosed her body contained at least three dozen highly toxic chemicals, including DDT and PCBs. These two chemicals and their metabolites (the products left after the original substance breaks down) are now routinely detected in the CDC's bio-monitoring program.

The U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 was supposed to limit all this infiltration of chemicals, but it hasn't worked. Why not? Probably before its implementation it conferred a "blanket approval" (op. cit. p. 47) on some sixty two thousand chemicals used in commerce. As Baker observes (ibid.):

"No questions were asked. No hazard data were required. It's not suprising therefore that 99% (by volume) of chemicals used today are older substances that were grandfathered in under the toxics act, according to Inform, a New York based research organization."

Another obstacle to management and control are the permits for chemical manufacturers to deem "confidential" the most carcinogenic or debilitating of their chemicals - as also allowed under the TSCA. Baker notes that (ibid.):

"In 1998, for example, 40 percent of the substantial risk notices filed by manufacturers asserted the identity of the chemical was confidential".

This is serious, because it means that we the citizens don't know really how many serious poisons are being sucked into our bodies every day, or exactly how toxic these substances are! Even a simple lotion being used by a woman could have a devastating chemical in it, say PFOA -based, that causes monstrous birth or sexual defects in offspring or children around her.

Meanwhile, dedicated researchers at Tufts University produced groundbreaking work (p. 159) linking bisphenol A to pre-cancerous mammary tissue and breast cancers in mature rats, as well as incepting infantile endocrine system disruptions (DES syndrome) by virtue of the fact that a fetus can absorb bisphenol - A via its mother's blood.

Of course, many organs of the government-corporate nexus have seen fit to block these results from seeing the light of day. No surprise, since most Americans, cocooned as they are from real news and information, would literally shit bricks if they knew the extent to which they were being poisoned by their corporate Overseers. (Maybe to hasten their deaths so they can’t collect “entitlements”?)

These Overseers (mainly in the Chemical Industrial Complex) induce 548,000 cancers a year then make the bozos think it's their foods that are responsible. Don't eat that hot dog! It's got nitrites and you''ll get cancer! (Just move along, never mind that toxic chemical salesman trying to sell atrazine over there).

Worse, they’re at the other end of the pipeline ALSO manufacturing the chemicals for chemotherapy to treat many of the cancers!

Given the sheer volume of synthetic pesticides and hormone disrupting chemicals has nearly tripled since 1976, it’s a wonder young women’s breast cancer rates have only doubled. Sadly, our women are the guinea pigs in a long running chemical experiment almost no one is aware of.

Fortunately, some places such as Boulder, CO, are declaring city—owned parks and other open space areas as “pesticide-free”. Rather than using these synthetic chemicals they’ve recruited hundreds of volunteers for manual management of weeds, pests etc. This has incited ‘turf wars’ in Colorado where other “green lawn” communities are terrified of being deprived of their chemical-laden green lawns by the manual management advocates (see e.g. ‘Chemicals Friend, Foe in Turf Wars’, Denver Post, February 10, p. 9B)
Alas, those communities may well preserve their green lawns, but at the cost of their young women burdened with increasingly aggressive breast cancers.

Meanwhile, since 2003 Quebec, Canada has enforced a full ban on lawn pesticides according to the David Suzuki Foundation (ibid.), and not surprisingly their breast cancer rates have not spiked like in the U.S.

Do we value the lives of our young women? If we do it’s time we let the truth be known about how our overuse of toxic chemicals is mauling their bodies!  How many breasts have been removed in mastectomy to rid younger women of cancers from these chemicals we will never know. How many younger women (ages 29-40) have died because of an aggressive breast cancer due to synthetic chemicals, is also something we may never know. But it's past time we found out!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Austerity Barbarians At the Gate: And What's with the Chained CPI Still in Play?

John Boehner blubbered and huffed all through his interview with Scott Pelley yesterday. "We need the Senate to stop sitting on its ass and pass that bill!"

Huh? WHO was taking a vacation the past ten days, Mr. Speaker? Are you still in a parallel universe? Anyway, Mr. Boehner still demands more spending cuts in order to appease his austerity Barbarians, now salivating at the gate.

But I don’t get it! We’ve already had by proportion two dollars of spending cuts for every increase in revenue, despite the fact it was a revenue implosion (via unpaid for ‘wars’, tax cuts) that dug us into this mess. So why are even more spending cuts being demanded as a way to preserve the existing small growth economy?

Even this morning (MSNBC), Pat Toomey (R-PA) was bleating nonsense about closing loopholes to then be able to LOWER marginal tax rates and “unleash the power of the economy”. NO! NO! NO! You aren’t going to unleash anything but larger deficits and debt as you grind the economy to a halt. The evidence has already been manifestly shown that NO tax cuts of ANY kind work for enhancing growth!

Matt Miller showed this in spades in his ‘The Tyranny of Dead Ideas’ (tax cuts being a ‘dead idea’ still retained out of a long held supply side mythology). Meanwhile, The Financial Times in its issue of 9/15/10 showed the Bush tax cuts to be the frauds they are by not even having achieved the most modest growth objectives. Their main conclusion? "The 2000s were the weakest decade in U.S. postwar history for real, non-residential capital investment. Not only were the 2000s by far the weakest period, the tax cuts did not even curtail the secular slowdown in the growth of business structures. Rather the slowdown accelerated to a full decline".

So why do Repuke tax cut fetishists hold on to them? Because they are a convenient means of “starving the Beast” along with unpaid for wars. In this way they believe they can ensure cooperative Dems will cut domestic spending, when they ought to be increasing it!

Flash forward to the current situation and the coming “sequester”. Barring an unlikely last minute deal, here's a short list of some of the massive, national bi-partisan-created austerity cuts arriving by Friday, according to the New York Times:

-600,000 food stamp recipients will be cut from the program

-Massive education cuts

The first will be murderously brutal given 1 in 3 kids in marginal income families ($24,000/yr for a family of 4) is already going to bed hungry and the mean benefit is only $3 /day with food stamps running out for most families within 3 weeks. A new documentary film, A Place At the Table’ will highlight this abomination in the alleged “richest nation” on Earth. The sad thing is now these people will be in worse straits, all because the Repukes don’t want to even close one tax loophole for the richest hedge fund managers, or stock brokers, traders. See my earlier blog ( on why the Rs are wrong, dead wrong on not increasing taxes!

Meanwhile, we learned this morning (‘Morning Joe’)that  most college students don’t even want to hear the word “sequester” and they flee from any subject tag for a blog, or tweet bearing it. Well, I hope not! The fact is they will be adversely affected in terms of being able to secure further (government-based)  college loans if this thing goes through. When your future interests are at stake you do pay attention, and you try to learn how your own welfare is threatened. In addition, thousands of teachers will be laid off as the federal support purse strings dry up, including for ‘Head Start’ and ‘Race to the Top’.

Other impending cuts:

-12 billion in Medicare cuts (more to come after 2013)

-Millions receiving unemployment will see their checks cut by 11% (an average of $132 a month)

So don’t tell me that the amount of the cuts ($85b) is ‘trivial’ or regurgitate the Repuke line that “Obama is using scare tactics”.

Note this is just for 2013. The current plan for the austerity "sequester" cuts is $100 billion of federal cuts every year for ten years, equaling massive cuts to jobs, Medicare, education, and completely destroying federally funded social programs.

We will be laid waste as never before, and left as a marginal Third World nation, perhaps even worse than Barbados.

Now, WHO is to blame? Despite the finger pointing in Washington, D.C. and the sequester being described as “stupid” (e.g. no targeted cuts) in many quarters, in reality both Democrats and Republicans created these "sequester" cuts (back in 2011 with the really stupid debt ceiling increase and Obama unwilling to invoke the 14th amendment instead) , and they can just as easily undo them with a snap of the finger. But both parties are choosing not to delete the cuts. They just don't want political responsibility for the fallout, which many economists have predicted will push the U.S. economy over the edge into official recession.

Obama could also just as easily appeal to the American public —over the heads of congressmen — to demand that the cuts be shelved forever. Instead, he's still proposing a "grand bargain” deal that he knows the Republicans won't go for.  What's in Obama's grand bargain deal? According to the White House website :

-$130 billion in "savings" [cuts] to Social Security, by implementing a superlative CPI'
-$35 billion in "savings" [cuts] to the retirement of federal employees.

- $400 billion in health care "savings" [cuts], much of it Medicare cuts.

Obama (cynically, in the minds of some) fails to mention the words Social Security or Medicare in the above plan, choosing instead to write in code "superlative Consumer Price Index". But there’s nothing ‘superlative’ about prolonged, corrosive cat food cuts that demeans seniors, especially those who do not have the wealth to sustain lowered adjustments to inflation over time. Already Bernanke and his Beltway Club of “serious people” (e.g. assholes) are pushing the BS there’s “no inflation”, despite fuel, food, and medical costs soaring. Seniors even with moderate incomes therefore will be shafted as the chained CPI kicks in and woe betide them if a medical catastrophe strikes – especially with Medicare cuts on a $400 b scale.

Most real progressives’ jaws dropped last week when, incredibly, White House spokesman Jay Carney  told a press conference that Obama is a  "macho man". He told the reporters that President Obama is still willing to cut Social Security benefits by using the Chained CPI as the basis for the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).  Believe me, Mr. Carney, there is nothing "macho" about sending 45 million seniors into cat food diets, and  forcing them to grovel in dumpsters for remains of kibbles when their meds end up breaking the bank!

This willingness to cut the benefits of retirees is presumed to establish President Obama as a “serious person” in elite (read: NEOLIBERAL)  Washington circles. But in progressive circles it defines him as a wuss and enabler of the Repukes. Moreover, it will defame the Dem brand in perpetuity if he goes through with this BS, marking him as the destroyer of the primary principles first put forward by FDR, JFK etc. Is THAT really worth a “legacy”?

Likely most of the D.C. Neoliberal insiders (e.g. Fareed Zakaria, Bob Woodward, Joe Klein etc.) probably don't understand the Chained CPI. However, everyone else should recognize that this technical fix amounts to a serious cut, never mind the odious PR to disguise it. It reduces benefits compared with the current schedule by 0.3 percent annually. This adds up over time. After someone has been getting benefits for 10 years, the cut in annual benefits is 3 percent, or equivalent to one whole month of Social Security. After 20 years, people would be seeing a benefit that is 6 percent lower, and after 30 years their benefit would be reduced by 9 percent. (For those interested, AARP has a nice calculator that shows how much retirees can expect to lose from the Chained CPI.)

Now, one can certainly debate whether the Chained CPI should be viewed as a "large cut," but there is no debate that Chained CPI cut imposes a bigger hit to the typical retiree than the ending of the Bush tax cuts were to the typical high-end one percent earner. Social Security provides more than half of the income for almost 70 percent of retirees. This means that the 3 percent cut in Social Security benefits amounts to a reduction in their income of more than 1.5 percent.

Let us sincerely hope that Obama isn’t gaming us, and trying to disguise an underlying Neoliberal instinct with progressive rhetoric. We didn’t go “all in” with him last November just to put a Neoliberal plant into office, when voters chose him because the alternative, “Mittens”, planned to do just what Carney proclaims Obama is “macho” enough to do now.

We deserve better. It’s time for Obama to show he is a fighter and for the Middle Class, including not enabling cuts to cripple seniors in their most vulnerable years.

Mr. President, take DOWN that CPI proposal from the White House site! Do NOT, I repeat do not, seek any "grand bargain" with the Republican ratfuckers!

Complex Numbers Solutions

The Problems again:

1) Find the sum of (1 –i) and (6 – 6i)


(1 - i) + (6 - 6i) = (1 + 6) + (-i - 6i) = 7 - 7i

2) Find the sum of (0- i) and (15 – 0i)


(0 - i) + (15 - 0i) = (0 + 15) + (-i - 0) = 15 -i

3) Subtract: (3 + 3i) from 10 – 4i


(10 - 4i)  - (3 + 3i) =  (10 - 3) + (-4i - (3i)) = 7 - 7i

4) Find: (1 –i) + (11 – 2i) – (4 – 4i)

Solution:  Write:

[(1 - i) + (11 - 2i)] - (4 - 4i)

Then: [(1 - i) + (11 - 2i)] = 12 - 3i


(12 - 3i) - (4 - 4i) = (12 - 4) + (-3i) - (-4i) = 8 + i

5) Represent the two parts of (1) as vectors on an Argand diagram, and show their resultant.

Solution: The vector construction procedure will be analogous to that depicted in Fig. 1 of the Complex numbers blog, except in this case the vectors are added end to end, starting with the first (ending at 1,-1) then the next, culminating with the resultant vector terminating at (7, -7) in the lower right quadrant of the Argand diagram. The overall resultant is at 45 degrees with respect to each axis (x, y), which is the same orientation as each of the component vectors. (How do you confirm this?)

6) Using the Argand diagram of Fig. 1 and complex addition, find the resultant of the vector sum B + C.

B = (2 - 3i) and C = (4 + 3i)

So vector addition will yield a resultant for a parallelogram (you need to complete the other two sides, e.g. B' and C') extending from the point (2,-3) and ending at the point (4,3) which is 6 units in length. That is, conforming to:

(2 + 4) + (-3i + 3i) =  6

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why is Downton Abbey So Addictive? (Spoiler Alert!)

Alt=series titles and a view of Downton AbbeyIn the latest issue of ‘New Republic’ (Feb. 25), in an interview(p. 34) with Aussie film critic Clive James, the topic of ‘Downton Abbey’ came up and he’s asked why Americans are so into it. First, he dismisses the series as “a dime a dozen” comparing it with previous Master-servant drama series, and ‘Upstairs-Downstairs’. He then adds, referencing Yankees’ addiction:

“It’s a reflection on America. They’d like to have that kind of aristocratic structure. Very soon Julian Fellowes will be in America writing the American equivalent.”

Having watched the first two seasons of the series with wifey, and started the third, I can’t agree. This makes me wonder if Clive James himself has watched it through, as opposed to cherry-picking a couple episodes and forming a presumptive opinion. The thing is, you have to watch it continuously and consecutively, you can’t do a ‘cafeteria-style’ pick and choose then arrive at any valid conclusion.

What we’ve found is the series is absolutely riveting, as much or more so than ‘Babylon 5’ the gripping scifi series produced and written by J. Michael Straczynski, which we’d just finished viewing for the 2nd time before commencing Downton. No, there are no Vorlons, TEEPs or ‘Shadow Wars’ in Downton Abbey, but none are needed. The intrigues with the servants downstairs, and the subtle collisions with their flawed ‘masters’ are every bit as engrossing as when Sheridan and his alliance takes up arms against Earth, and the Vorlons are found to have been the real masters of the Earthers and lesser races in the galaxy. (After the Shadow war).

The ‘Shadow war’ in Downton, meanwhile, is fought at multiple levels, between the footmen, butlers, maids, and cooks and between them and the aristocratic Crawleys. Just as Babylon had it’s n’er do wells, so does Downton, what with the scheming footman (now valet) ‘Thomas’ and Lady Crawley’s servant, O’Brien.

But Downton is not scifi, so why are hard-core science fiction aficionados like wifey and myself so attached to a post-Edwardian period drama set in old England? Maybe even addicted to it? This is hard to say, but perhaps boils down to the spectacle and drama of an isolated and privileged human enclave or mini-society (based at Downton) passing through one of the most turbulent eras of human history, taking in the sinking of the Titanic, the First World War, then the aftermath and the Spanish Flu epidemic (which killed 100 million) and the turbulent 1920s with the rise of fascism and formation of the Irish free state.

But do I think of aping the entitled British aristocrats while watching it? Hell no! How could I? Not with what they have to themselves endure. (And the one scene from season 2 when the chicken falls on the floor while being cooked, then brushed off and served to the Crawleys and friends, is choice.) Then there was O’Brien, believing Lady Crawley (Cora) had it in for her, i.e. to replace her, leaving a bar of soap near her tub and thereby inducing a miscarriage when Cora slips on stepping out of the tub. Terrorist servants anyone?

The image that occurred to me wasn’t lording it over the ‘help’ or grinding them under, but realizing that when a whole class of humans is demeaned and yes, exploited (though the servants believe they’re being cared for) it is likely they will strike back at their oppressors, and yes, become de facto terrorists. After all, the modern phenomenon of terrorism itself is a product of the weak being preyed upon by dominators of more powerful nations, then finally using the only means they know….terror, to strike back.

In Downton, one can even see a budding (IRA)  terrorist lurking in the Crawley household in the person of the chauffeur Branson, an Irish rabble rouser and sympathizer of Irish nationalism and ‘hurling off the yoke of English oppression”. The weird thing is that he actually marries one of the Crawley’s daughters (Sybil). She is determined to break away from the entitled clan anyway, and her announcement of her impending choice of fiancée nearly brings the Crawley household to eruption of its own.

So no, the attraction of Downton isn’t viewers envisaging the adoption of an American aristocracy, but rather seeing human struggles played out in a miniature cosmos, in a controlled setting that gradually sees their lives unraveled owing to outside pressures, and class wars.

In this way it bears close similarity to Babylon 5. The latter saw its own servant class fighting to stay alive in "down below" (Brown sector) while the principals in the higher levels engaged in their own conspiracies, bickering, and infighting,  in a space station housing 250,000.   Downton, meanwhile, is set in the confines of a mammoth home housing 25, masters and servants - all involved in their own conspiracies and struggles to get ahead. Terrorists, conspirators and loyalists stand out in Babylon and also in Downton. Both show that beneath the veneer of superficial physical setting we all face the same fears, basic goals, e.g. of security and a better life for our offspring. The human saga is thus both timeless and unlimited by geography, location.
This is perhaps a lesson that Clive James and other Downton critics need to learn.

Downton has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the most critically acclaimed English-language television series of 2011, and became the first international television series to receive the largest number of nominations in the history of the Primetime Emmy Awards, with twenty-seven in total. It was the most watched television series on both ITV and PBS, and subsequently became the most successful British costume drama series since the 1981 television serial of Brideshead Revisited.By the third year, it had become one of the most widely watched television shows in the world.

People in the U.S. could do lots worse than to invest time in Downton Abbey!

What are Complex Numbers?

Fortunately, mathematicians devised complex numbers long before the practical need for them arose. In the case of the latter, complex numbers are relevant to everything from the quantum wave function to oscillating-alternating circuits and wave forms. For example, the representation of monochromatic plane waves in free space:
E = E(o) exp[i(wt – kz)]

Or the voltage at the end of a transmission line:

V(x=0) = A exp iwt[l + K]

where w = 2πf  and k = 2π/ l

where f is the frequency, and  K is the voltage reflection coefficient.

It was inevitable that after the invention of counting numbers, i.e. integers, a new breed would be invented which made use of the imaginary number i. This is found when one solves the quadratic:

x2 + 1 = 0

To get in the first step:

x 2 = -1

Then solving for x:   x = (-1)^½

  Or the square root of minus 1. This is defined and referred to as i.   Thus: i×i= -1

Placement of numbers follows a similar analogy to the placement of real numbers on the Cartesian x-y axes. In this case, one uses an Argand diagram with axes:





!---------------------------------------------------> x

Thus, the basis is laid to place complex numbers, say of the form: a +bi, on the above graph, where a is located by using the ordinate (x-axis) and b by using the iy (or imaginary ) axes. (Note: in most cases the i is dispensed with in the diagram)

For example, to find: 2 + 3i, you would mark off 2 on the x axis, and 3 on the iy axis.

Addition and subtraction of complex numbers follows simple rules and is straightforward. The main rule is to keep imaginary and real parts separate when performing the operations. For example:

1 + 2i + 3 – 3i = (1 + 3) + (2i – 3i) = 4 - i


7 + 8i - (3 – 3i) = (7 – 3) + (8i – (-3i)) = 4 + 11i

An Argand diagram in “action” is shown in Fig.1. Here, several vectors are represented. We see that the vector A = -2 + 2i, B = -2 – 3i, and C = 4 + 3i.

How would we combine the vectors A + B? We can use the simple addition process:

A + B = (-2 + 2i) + (-2 – 3i) = -4 –i

Using Fig. 1 to complete the parallelogram formed by the vector should lead the reader to see the resultant terminates at the coordinate (-4, -1) (Actually, -4, -i)

What about adding the vectors A + C?

A + C = (-2 + 2i) + (4 + 3i) = 2 + 5i

Completing the parallelogram, the reader should be able to satisfy himself that the resultant terminates at
 (2, 5) or just beyond the upper limit of the graph.


1) Find the sum of (1 –i) and (6 – 6i)

2) Find the sum of (0- i) and (15 – 0i)

3) Subtract: (3 + 3i) from 10 – 4i

4) Find: (1 –i) + (11 – 2i) – (4 – 4i)

5) Represent the two parts of (1) as vectors on an Argand diagram, and show their resultant.

6) Using the Argand diagram of Fig. 1 and complex addition, find the resultant of the vector sum B + C.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Worried About My Next Trip to Vegas? Hell NO!

Caesar's Palace casino in Las Vegas- is terrific to visit, but be sure not to miss the many shows as well - including some that are free.

The shootout and fiery early morning crash last Thursday on Las Vegas’ famed Strip (intersection of Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Blvd.) has many previous visitors turning into ‘nervous Nellies’ regarding future trips. One theory bruited in yesterday’s paper (Denver Post, p. 14A) is past location recall and identification. Basically, as the news story flashed on, some fraction of the 40 million yearly visitors will look and say: “I was THERE! I walked that part of the Strip! It could have been ME in the middle of it!”

Errrr…..not quite! The shootout and crash actually occurred at 4.20 a.m. and most good little do-be’s that visit Sin City are bedded down in their respective hotels and firmly in the Land of Nod, not out skylarking on the Strip. (As one long time Vegas’ hobo put it when interviewed, “Nothing good happens at that hour of the day!”)

But that’s true in ANY city, from San Francisco to Colorado Springs, to Milwaukee. Check their police logs and the greatest number of bar fights, stabbings, assaults and shootings occur after midnight. It’s when basically all the losers and n’er do wells come out and well,…..start trouble.

The interesting aspect here is that Vegas’ crime stats are actually falling, this despite several violent incidents so far this year. As the Post article notes:

“Violent crime, which includes murder, rape, robbery and assault in the city’s main tourist hub fell 13 percent in 2012, from 256 to 223 incidents, and is down 11 percent for the first part of 2013.”

In other words, the perception is worse than the reality.

Hence, it is clear that the inflation of one or several incidents (like the Thursday morning shootout and crash) have the potential to inflate the psychological identification and derivative perception, but this is wrong. The chances of anyone being shot or blown up in Vegas are likely many times lower than any other major U.S. city, precisely because Vegas has an investment in protecting its image as an adult “Disneyworld”.

The recent incident, we now know, was a case of two rappers head-butting. The altercation actually started at the nearby Valet service of the Aria Hotel and spilled over into city streets. (Jeebus, some rappers, like certain "pastors", have a real pathological ego problem!). Like the Tupac Shakur incident back in 1996 it was basically a one-off, certainly for another long while.  Would -be visitors need to put these sporadic, oddball bursts of violence behind them.

Having visited Vegas three times in the past eight years, the most disturbing incident wifey and I beheld was the collapse of a sixty -something guy near the exit of the Excalibur casino back in 2005. He’d evidently dropped dead from a heart attack. The most upsetting event was a very pathetic buffet breakfast taken at the Wynn Resort in 2009, with all the eggs and ham, bacon etc. at lukewarm temperatures. When my wife complained, the chef gave her a fast pass ‘voucher’ to the next day’s breakfast. She tore it up. Thereafter, though we were guests at the neighboring Encore, we took our breakfast buffet at the superb Bellagio. (All primary breakfast foods, such as meats, eggs, regularly have their temperatures taken.)

But by and large, all our experiences in Vegas have been fantastic, from enjoying the Bellagio’s musical fountains, to the sexy Sirens of Treasure Island, to seeing Cirque de Soleil shows, to enjoying the Fremont Street attractions (including the light shows) and seeing the whole city at night from the overlook at the top of the Paris Hotel. Oh, we also thoroughly enjoyed playing the slots – penny slots! – where we won most of our money (an average of $100 net gain on each of our visits). The last time we even faced off at the Encore against twenty other guests in a slot competition, to see who could ring up the most points in ten minutes.

What’s your biggest physical danger when visiting Las Vegas? Easy! It’s gorging on rich foods at too many buffets and clogging your arteries! The food at any of the hotel casinos is generally fantastic, and there’s plenty of it: whether you go to the Luxor’s breakfast buffet (or the Bellagio’s), or the Bally’s lunch buffet. The temptation always is to “get your money’s worth” although truth be told, the prices are already rock bottom.

Bottom line, if you’re planning a trip to Vegas, don’t let the recent bad press deter you. All you need to do is use a grain of sense, as you would visiting any other place.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Why ‘ARGO’ Will Win Best Picture Hands Down

What film will walk away with top honors tonight?  My own pick is 'ARGO’ (produced by George Clooney & Ben Affleck) to win the ‘Best Picture'. You can make book on it. Having seen the movie back in October, I told my wife that the early setup-background sequence alone was worth the price of admission. It showed what few Americans know, that the subsequent hostage crisis, as well as the more recent upheavals (including Iran going for its own A-weapon) are all a result of early U.S. interference – namely deposing Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953. (Mossadegh was removed from power in a coup on 19 August 1953, organized and carried out by the CIA  at the request of the British MI6 which chose Iranian General Fazlollah Zahedi to succeed Mossadegh.)

Until one grasps that background it’s impossible to understand either the Iran Hostage crisis or subsequent events, including the Iran-Contra conspiracy, and the current nuclear impasse.

The movie itself brought back the tense period (over 1979-80) of the 52 American hostages, held 444 days by Shi’ite zealots at the U.S. Embassy in Iran. It also brought back memories of what led to that dire standoff, and what nasty deals followed in its wake, including the Iran-Contra conspiracy. In the latter, money from the sales of the arms to Iran was  funneled into Nicaragua to support the Rightist “Contras’, a violation of the then Boland Amendment, and basically exposing the Reagan administration’s covert support for paramilitary activities conducted against the Sandinista government. Reagan used Oillie North (another former Marine knothead) and others to act as "cut outs" to expedite it, then sought to cover it up. As noted on p. 56 of The Iran –Contra Report:

“The federal conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 371, states that ‘it is a crime to conspire to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose’”

For all these reasons of historical attention, as well as the comedic undertones (with Alan Arkin, John Goodman as movie director, producer) 'ARGO'  deserves the award.

Originally, I believed ‘ARGO’ might lose out to ‘Lincoln’ based on a recent article that claimed the movie’s final scenes, e.g. with the Revolutionary Guards- armed with Kalashnikovs- chasing the departing plane, were fictitious. But then ‘Lincoln’ was exposed as having its own historical issues, when critics pointed out the inaccurate portrayal of two Connecticut reps voting against the 13th amendment. They had actually voted for it!  (Tony Kushner admitted to changing history in order to make the final House vote closer, hence more dramatic. Bad move, Tony!)

This controversy offset immediately made ‘ARGO’ the favorite, especially after having won a slew of other awards (e.g. Golden Globe) .

So, I am going with ‘ARGO’ as Best Picture.

Meanwhile, I predict Spielberg will win Best Director for ‘Lincoln’, adding to his two earlier history-based Oscars (for ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and ‘Schindler’s List’). Meanwhile, it’s a given that Daniel Day Lewis will win Best Actor for his role as Lincoln, squeaky voice and all.

Best Actress had me wondering, until I saw ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and Jessica Chastain’s performance as ‘Maya’ – the CIA prodigy who exposed the final hideout of Osama bin Laden. So now, I am going with her. (Though the Hollywood cognoscenti have Emmanuelle Riva  ('Amour') winning it because of her advanced years, and she may not get another shot. Fair enough!)

The other awards are more difficult to parse and predict, but we will see. It ought to be an enjoyable evening for movie lovers, and I’ve already got the pizza and beer on order, with extra food in case the show goes late!

Mikey: ‘My Past Violence Shows I Ain’t No Hater!'

“I’ve bashed in more heads in two years than Copernicus has in a lifetime!’  - “Pastor” Mike

It’s sad to behold the mental deterioration in a sibling, even one with whom you’re at perpetual loggerheads. In one of the most bizarre blog posts ever to appear on blogspot, brother Mikey rails against any accusations he’s a hater, while documenting almost every brawl, gang fight, motorcycle gang altercation and bar fight he’s ever been in. Says the belligerent Mikey:

“I been in more bat and bottle fights in two years than that wuss Copernicus has been in his whole life!”

Hey, bro! I BELIEVE it! It could account for your brain damage and failure to process even basic information! We already know repeated blows on the head lead to neural processing issues in the prefrontal cortex. Look at all the football players who’ve gone off the rails, some even killing themselves, after taking years of head hits! (E.g. Dave Duerson, Junior Seau).

Anyway, Mikey regales us with almost every fight he’s been in since high school and before, even recounting sibling battles in the distant past and arriving at the presumption (perhaps because of his dementia) that I was “spoiled” and “given everything I wanted”.

Hmmmm….methinks his sibling rivalry issues merit a visit to a therp, or at least some meds….maybe Paxil? How about Zoloft? If I was "given everything I wanted" how about the folks having YOU as opposed to halting when they were ahead? “Spoiled” is a hoot and a half, given I had to feed this rugrat and change his soaked diapers if Mom and Dad had to work double shifts (Mom at night school, dad on night shift). Seems his memory is really in need of jogging. But hey, if he sustained as much accumulated brain damage as his claimed history of bottle and bat fights indicates, it’s understandable!

Now, what’s the link between his claims of past violence and his not being a hater? Simply this: He "argues" that I never showed he was a hater, but had to “enlist others” i.e. by referencing his past history with his proposed National Atheist Registry. (I asked him 2 blogs ago to look-see what others had said about him.) But according to Mr. Macho Mikey (formerly ‘Pastor Mike’) this approach was being “cowardly” and “having others fight my battles for me”.  (Unlike Mike who" fought his own battles", e.g. in bar brawls, on street corners, at Hialeah High School, in the Marines etc.)

Thus the current citing of others' views of him didn't count since it amounted to me letting others' "take the heat."  Thus did he compare such citation with incidents (e.g. fights, altercations) he dredges up in the distant past, selectively choosing them as is his wont, to try to expose me as a "coward".  Never mind the last time we fought, during Easter vacation - when I was home in Hialeah, with a gf in 1970-  I put him in a half -Nelson and forced him to squeak out 'Uncle Remus!' (or I'd break his neck). But with this line of his recent "reasoning" it occurred to me he's truly fucking nuts as well as stupid. Maybe he's really chomping at the bit for another fight, who knows? (Never mind he's seven years younger and looks 20 years older!)

It makes no sense in any case, because whether I "enlisted others", say to help in past fights, e.g. in Carol City FLA, ca. 1963, when a motorcycle gang once threatened me and I got help from some high school pals, has nada to do with citing Mikey's current and past hate fests, including his epic "Christian National Registry of Atheists" stunt. In the latter case, it’s called providing independent confirmation, asshole!

Besides that, I needed no one else to disclose my own thinking, views, since I blatantly called him out as a ‘hateful little prick’ at least three times on the blog post. And that is what I think and believe, me alone! I didn’t need to “enlist others” other than to show my view is not unique and many others share my opinion of him as a hateful asshole. Nor did I need to answer his 20 questions, which would have been redundant! As for the Google references, that invoking is done to support one’s position. But since he's so brain damaged, it's obvious he can't tell the difference, so conflates the independent confirmation of a claim (that he's a congenital hater) with "getting others to fight one's battles".

Yes, yes I give 'Mr. Testosterone' Mikey credit for bashing in more brains, and busting more heads (including as a cop in South Bay, FL …mainly of poor, black sugar cane workers) than I have. Kudos to you, Mikey! Be proud! You’re rough, tough and hard to diaper. (I can vouch for that).

I also give the little prick credit for fomenting the singularly most embarrassing and outrageous incident my wife ever experienced in her life. This was in July of 1976 on our first visit to the U.S. after our marriage, and he invited us to spend a few days at his trailer in Lake Panasoffkee, FL. At one point in the middle of the night (after we chased his grubby dog out from under one of our beds), and after he'd downed at least twenty beers, he burst into our room unleashing a barrage of foul-mouthed epithets and told us if we didn’t like the "accommodations" we could “move our asses elsewhere”. At this point Janice was so shaken that we had no choice but to pack our things and walk to my other brother’s place. This was at 3.30 a.m. amidst swampland and gators.

Mike "showed his true colors", according to many family members, who were appalled at the incident (and all agreed it might have been his Marine Corps experiences that provoked it. ) He never fought in any wars, including in 'Nam,  though to hear him yap you'd think he'd single -handedly won the battle at Khe Sanh (actually, it was a draw). As info I have portrays it, he was "mainly a cook and bottle washer". His major damage evidently occurred during Parris Island boot camp where they made him scrub the latrines with his tongue or some such shit. He was supposed to write a book detailing his odious experiences ('It will tell all!", he informed me in Aug. 1973),  but later punked out - like he ran from his hate blog when the going got too tough.

The point here is simple: Mike’s affinity for violence precedes him and his degree of hate. Until he deals with both, as opposed to remaining in denial, he will remain a diseased soul who will never find relief, no matter how much ‘salvation’ he thinks he has from his bible. Instead of putting hell images on his blog and inserting others into them, he needs to think of himself boiling in his own self-made hell, evidently undiminished over decades.

As my dad wrote in an email in 2008, “It is sad to see what Mike’s become and how his blog hates everything and everyone.”

This was after my sister and I had each sent him blog links showing "Pastor Mike's"  attacks on Catholics and depicting the pope as an Antichrist and Satan, along with depicting Catholics as damned. Readers can see some of the images used in a 2010 blog post, e.g.

Note the images of the pope were used in much earlier "Pastor Mike" attack blogs, which were the ones we cited and sent to Dad, causing him to rethink Mike as any kind of kid he even recognized anymore.

But hey, maybe – like his atheist registry proposal- that doesn’t count because it’s in the past. Selective memory can also be a sign of early dementia, however.

As we see, ‘De Nile’ can be a powerful force (not just a river in Africa), and a true blinder and impediment to change. Mike ought to know, but he never will until he understands HE is the one in the real need of salvation. That salvation will emerge when he recognizes his own hatred for others, including other faiths, and the paths that other people (like my niece with cancer) elect to pursue. Until he respects those other paths instead of hating on them, he cannot be said to possess any tolerance, which is the prescription for removing his hatred. He may argue until the next Blue Moon he isn't like Fred Phelps, but his own blog and words show otherwise. He doesn't have to picket military funerals with 'Hell' and 'damnation' signs to be like Phelps or his Westboro Baptist bozos!

Funny then, that the sick and burning 'souls' he regularly depicts in his Hell scenes are more plausibly images of how he sees himself, suffering from a prolonged delusional pathology. What you need then is treatment, pallie, not more responses to moi in your whacked out  "Mike's Straight Talk" blog!

Maybe the best advice Mike needs to take was found on a website (Media-ite) a year after his Registry for atheists made the news:

"Mr. Stahl, just because you live in America and enjoy freedom of speech, does not mean you have to use it. Shut up, push the keyboard away and go do something that would make Christians proud of you. Like feeding the hungry, cleaning the streets, sitting with the dying so they don't die alone. Or, take your meds. – Comment from ‘’"

Couldn't agree more!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Yep, Lots of Snow....But There's Still Global Warming!

Graph of radiocarbon (C14) excess over C12 over ~ 2,000 yr. period. The zero level is an arbitrary norm referenced to 1890. This is some of the best evidence for man-made global warming but few who have never taken physics can grasp its significance.

Wifey and I while shoveling out our driveway the other morning joked about all the snow, and how some lamebrains might pick up on it and deny - on the basis of the latest huge snowstorm- that global warming /climate change is real.  And, truth be told, when you see some of the idiotic comments in the blogosphere, you realize just how many in our population aren't able to make the subtle but necessary connections.

This false cognitive dissonance phenomenon, as well as others (i.e. fundies trying to recruit astrophysics to support their creationist codswallop) reminds me of a recent article ( Darwin’s March’) in the Intertel journal, INTEGRA (Feb., p.27), by Dr. Steven B. Mason.  He notes that in some public schools, the teaching of evolution (or "Darwin's march") must share equal time with "creation Science", adding:

‘Mostly this is a system of explaining by inventing and couldn’t be further from the understanding, predicting and controlling of a true science. But it sounds good to those that don’t know better and most people don’t. Learning a hard science like mathematics or chemistry or  physics is, well, hard  The vast majority of humans are simply incapable of doing so. And yet this obvious fact is sure to be hooted and hollered down.”

Indeed! And on that basis, Mason correctly refutes the silly notion that "we're all capable of learning whatever we put our minds to".

But in order to puncture that myth that anyone can learn anything, and hence idiot fundies are as entitled to expostulate on general astrophysics - stellar structure - the Big Bang - as I am, is what requires those of us who have studied the hard sciences to post tests of aptitude from time to time, to see if these windbags can walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

For similar reasons, climate deniers (like fundie creationists) are equally childish and uneducated. Mainly they don't learn the physics of climate or atmsopheric research themselves, but google it from assorted whacko freaks who pride themselves on an abiding ignorance.  Also, they have extreme difficulty processing blogs that present actual scientific data and report them accurately, see e.g.

Thus, it's not surprising they'd have extreme difficulty reconciling the huge recent snowfalls, and even blizzards, with the reality of global warming.  But the answer lies in atmospheric physics, if one is prepared to dig it out.  The basics? Well, a warmer atmosphere can hold, and hence 'dump', more moisture including as snow. In fact, two soon-to-be-published studies demonstrate how there can be more giant blizzards yet less snow overall each year. Projections from such studies are therefore that such anomalous events are likely to continue with manmade global warming. This will remain until a critical threshold is reached, probably when the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere hits 550 ppm. Then, we will have the first year of no seasons, and no more snow-blizzard events, only warming. And how it will warm!

Consider the anomalous aspect: The United States has been walloped by twice as many of the most extreme snowstorms in the past 50 years than in the previous 60 years, according to an upcoming study on extreme weather by leading federal and university climate scientists.  Yet the Global Snow Lab at Rutgers University says spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has shrunk on average by 1 million square miles in the past 45 years.

Another anomaly: computer models predict annual global snowfall to shrink by more than a foot in the next 50 years. According to Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer:

""Shorter snow season, less snow overall, but the occasional knockout punch.That's the world we live in."

Other climate scientists assert that the idea of less snow and more blizzards makes sense: A warmer world is likely to decrease the overall amount of snow falling each year and shrink the snow season. But when it is cold enough for a snowstorm to hit, the slightly warmer air is often carrying more moisture, producing potentially historic blizzards. According to Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center

"Strong snowstorms thrive on the ragged edge of temperature—warm enough for the air to hold lots of moisture, meaning lots of precipitation, but just cold enough for it to fall as snow. Increasingly, it seems that we're on that ragged edge."

As Exhibit 'A',  look at the last few years in the Northeast. Or take Chicago, which until late January had 335 days without more than an inch of snow. Both have been hit with historic storms in recent years.

Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann points to the recent Northeast storm that dumped more than 30 inches in some places. He said it was the result of a perfect set of conditions for such an event: arctic air colliding with unusually warm oceans that produced extra large amounts of moisture and big temperature contrasts, which drive storms. Those all meant more energy, more moisture and thus more snow, he said.

And Princeton researcher Sarah Kapnick adds:

"The world is warming so precipitation that would normally fall as snow in the future will probably fall as rain once it gets above the freezing point."

This will plausibly happen when the 550 ppm threshold is reached. So we can look for an ugly world divided by extreme drought and torrential rains, that pour and pour. For others, living in the 'heat zones', unremitting and unbearable heat will be the order of the day as temperatures regularly hit 115F in the shade and night time temperatures seldom dip below 100F. This will be amongst the first omens to signal the approach of the runaway greenhouse.

Will the poppets who deny global warming take note? Of course not! They all think - like too many of the fundies- they can blather on about anything to do with physics, or biology or chemistry, despite never having taken and passed a single university course! 

Pastor Mike Challenges Me to be Honest and He Will “Leave me alone”

TICK...TICK...TICK...time's runnin' out for you ATHEISTS!(Latest image from Pastor Mike's blog -purportedly of me)

It’s really interesting that in his latest blog post, my fucked -up brother, "Pastor" Mike (well, formerly, he doesn’t call himself that any longer – maybe because he knows that it was bogus) rants off on me nearly eighteen times by referring to me as a ”hateful coward sissy punk Satan- following maggot”. Evidently, he had some strong objections to my posts on Tim Tebow and Tim's canceling out of giving a speech at a Dallas hate church.   But, some of those adjectives used by Mikey boy bear alarming similarity to psychological projection. This is given the fact it was HE who high tailed it off his hate blog (“Pastor Mike’s blog") some two years ago after he viciously advocated an “atheist registry - similar to a sex offender registry".

I mean, holy fuck and a half, the 'google-sphere' is still laden with hundreds of pages on this hateful little prick, e.g. and

And what he tried to pull two years ago (though he still refers to it as a "little joke" and calls atheists, others out for having 'thin hides') and who now has the fucking nerve to challenge me with a bunch of asinine questions to try and prove HE was never a hater! Some of his questions are:

1.Can you reference in any of my blog posts where I have stated that I "hate" a specific person or group (as opposed to their doctrines)? If so, please provide where.

2. You oftentimes put me in the same proverbial boat with the likes of Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church (as well as the Landover Baptist Church and their ilk), but...have I not publically written on this blog that they are NOT true Christians, and denounced them here publically for the true racists, anti-Semites, and bigots they really are?

3. If you are honest, and answer "yes" to question 2, then why do you still defame me by implying that I condone their doctrines?

"Defame" him? The little prick has defamed himself!  Looks to me like his fading memory needs jogging! But, without putting up any more of his bullshit -  anyone with the sense to google “Pastor Mike Stahl” will see his record of hate comes before him, and stands as self-incriminating testimony on his previous blog. (Maybe now he’s reformed somewhat, but don’t bet on it with images such as I have shown in prior blogs, e.g. and

Can anyone seriously tell me this shit isn't hate?

Now HE wants ME to 'fess up to him and come clean? What is he, fuckin’ nuts? I believe so, like all extremist fundie assholes. (But since he calls me a 'relativist', yeah I will admit that some fundies are bigger assholes and extremists than others.) The funniest part is his ending where he insists he will still go to visit the hate -monger in Dallas, Robert Jeffress, viz.

"Oh, btw, I still may head to the 'Big D' and pay a visit to Pastor Jeffress' Church. Get a few pics of him and me, and then come to see you - so get one of them spare bedrooms ready for me and old 'Reb, okay. I'm sure they have a few good (KJV) bible-based evangelical Churches in your neck of the woods, huh?"

Well, I wouldn't advise it, sonny. We also have more hard core atheists per square mile than your whole pahokey town has Xtians. Oh....and some of them are still pissed off about that atheist registry proposal of yours!

And look here, ‘bro’ – assuming that’s even still applicable, because by your previous antics I somehow doubt it, I have nothing to prove in terms of honesty vis-à-vis you. I have called you out and attacked you as I’ve seen fit for your nasty, extreme beliefs – which YES – you have held and evidently still do! But maybe your memory is failing and you can’t recall them. In that case, I suggest you google yourself in your prior incarnation as “Pastor Mike” and see WTF OTHER people have said about you and previous blog, not just ME!

Do you have the balls to do that? Fuck no! So who is the ‘”hateful coward sissy punk Satan- following maggot” now, you fucking little ingrate. (Yeppers, I still remember the loan I gave you when you were down and out last year, your car was broken down and you had no groceries in the house)

Do I give a shit if you keep at me with insults and hell-insert images on your new “Straight talk” blog or not? Fuck NO! I welcome the material as more fodder to lay into your sorry Rebel “naturalized Mississippi” ass! As I said before – if this was 150 years ago, one or both of us would be dead by now, me likely fighting for a Wisconsin regiment and you for your beloved Mississippi. Be thankful that at least now our civil war is based on words, not bayonets, fucker.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tebow Comes to Senses- Cancels Out of Hate Church Appearance

Evidently, the eruption of the blogosphere yesterday concerning Tim Tebow's planned speech at a hate monger Fundie church has caused him to cancel out.

According to press reports this a.m..:

"Tim Tebow has backed out of an appearance at a Baptist mega church in Dallas run by a pastor who has created controversy with his remarks about gays and other faiths. "

According to an AP press report, Tebow tweeted Thursday that "new information has come to my attention" - meaning he probably got wind of what was on my blog and others, concerning the hate mongering Robert Jeffress and his Dallas First Baptist Church of the Hell Mongers.

According to the AP release, Tebow wrote:

"I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those needing a brighter day,"

The report added:

"The Rev. Robert Jeffress, First Baptist's pastor, confirmed in a phone interview that Tebow called him Wednesday night to cancel.  Jeffress said Tebow told him he would like to speak at First Baptist at some point, but "he needed to avoid controversy right now for personal and professional reasons."

Trouble is, Tim, whenever you DO decide to appear at that Hellfire, hate fest church, everyone will find out once more - news travels fast these days - and you will be right back where you are now, offering excuses. The best plan therefore is to just steer clear of Big D, or at least that particular preacher who is undoubtedly a Pastor Mike clone!  (Pastor Mike must be crying right now about having to abort his trip to Dallas to get new ideas for hate screeds.)

On the positive side, though I'm an atheist, I have to give kudos to Tim for his charitable work with disabled kids. My theory is that he recognized all his accumulated charitable capital is likely to be squandered if he appeared at a hate monger church, irrespective of the topic. It's the atmosphere and the people, Tim, and remember that next time you hanker to make an appearance there!

At least this time, the better angels of Tebow's nature prevailed, which is a lot more than can be said for Pastor Jeffress, Pastor Mike, Terry Jones, Fred Phelps and their assorted half-assed clones!

Scarborough: "BWWAAAAHAHA! We Can't Have Higher Taxes!"

Joe Scarborough this morning broke into a hissy fit and almost cried at the mere mention (by 'Morning Joe' guest Al Sharpton) that Obama wants a balanced approach to the deficit problem and that means more taxes. Sharpton made the accurate point that Obama had already ceded $650b as part of the fiscal cliff deal, and that had come down from $1.2 trillion.  Meanwhile, over $1.2 trillion in spending cuts had already been made last year. The time was now for MORE taxes, not less.

But why the crying, pissing and moaning from Repukes? THEY are the ones, after all (see graphs) that let deficit spending explode under Bush Jr's reign, for both tax cuts that mainly benefited the wealthy, and unpaid for wars.  While these cretins incessantly demanded TWO "wars" (actually occupations), they never insisted that anyone actually sacrifice to pay for them!

Meanwhile, I not long ago received in the mail (from my first cousin) two war ration books issued to my mom back in 1941 when she was just 19. The ration book allowed access to certain provisions, but with limits. Each book had born a number of war ration stamps which could be used to buy special goods, such as meat, bread, butter etc. The person had to sign and date each time such stamps were accessed for purchase, such that it had been legitimate, with this representation made formally (under penalty of perjury) to the Office of Price Administration. Evidently, mom had three ration stamps left at this point. (Old recovered letters from my grandmother to her son (fighting in Europe), dated 1943-44 noted some meat supplies, such as ham, beef and bacon, were running low by then.)

To me, the war ration book embodied sacrifice of the citizen in the war effort. That, along with increased taxes, disclosed it was a real war as opposed to a fraud and mockery perpetrated for the sake of lining the pockets of defense contractors and padding the payrolls of certain congressonal districts - as occurs now.

But all Americans are aware of anymore are the frauds and make-up "wars" for which no sacrifice is expected, not even higher taxes,  far less ration books with war ration stamps. And so we have a populace for which basically the events in Afghanistan (and earlier Iraq) only existed on a fantasy or unreal level if they existed at all. No surprise there!

But what Americans ought  to be processing is that those recent wars of choice exacted a cost, along with the atrocious tax cuts,  at a time taxes ought to have been raised!  The twin tables, again, show the whole sordid picture and what has really dug us into the existing deficit hole, which the "Simpson Bowlers" and Repukes now propose to extricate us from, via Catfood 2.0 perpetrated on our seniors. (See e.g. )

Now, logically, since the Repukes dug us into this debt hole by refusal to approve adequate revenue, for both the "wars" and tax cuts (as well as their insane 2003 prescription drug bill - more a giveaway to  Big PhRma), then it is logical that increased revenue must be the way to dig us out of the debt mess.  As a New York Times op-ed put it today, the first major tax hits....errr....hikes.... must come from the hides of those who benefited most from the Bush tax cuts during the "war" years:

"Those taxpayers are the same ones who benefited most from Bush-era tax breaks and who continue to pay low taxes. Even with recent increases, the new top rate of 39.6 percent is historically low; investment income is still taxed at special low rates; and the heirs of multimillion-dollar estates face lower taxes than at almost any time in modern memory."

Incredibly,  despite these facts, the Repukes are resisting any cuts to defense, this despite the fact that they haven't - up to now - paid for any of their earlier defense spending shenanigans. They let TWO "wars" go unfunded, during supposed "war time" - a big hoot if there ever was one- plus they've not paid for the two sets of Bush tax cuts that already produced $3.2 trillion in deficits even before Obama got into office.

These miscreants demand this perfidy despite the fact it would impose "brutalizing cuts in non-defense discretionary areas like education, environment..already set to see their lowest share of the budget since 1950" according to the NY Times op-ed.   The education hits may well mean thousands of college students can't obtain affordable loans. The cuts to the EPA will mean our water here in Colorado, for example, will not be checked for contamination from the recent discovery of nuclear-polluted tailings, or from fracked effluent with xylene, benzene etc. backed up into our aquifers. Hello, more cancers!

The TIMES makes the additional sound point that:

"Raising taxes at the top is neither punitive nor gratuitous. It is a needed step, both to achieve near-term budget goals and to lay the foundation for a healthy budget in the future. As the economy strengthens and the population ages, more taxes will be needed from further down the income scale, both to meet foreseeable commitments, especially health care, as well as unforeseeable developments, from wars to technological challenges"

Will the Repukes pay attention? I doubt it, despite the fact that recent polls all disclose the public is on the side of Obama's solutions not the Tea-Party tainted Repuke House. For example, A USA Today/Pew Research poll released Thursday shows Obama with a strong lead over Republicans in Congress on gun policies (45-39 percent), the budget deficit (45-38 percent), immigration (50-33 percent) and even climate change (47-26 percent). When this news came out it prompted Scarborough to cry out two days ago: "We're gettin' our butts beat by Obama!"  Yeah, Joe! Deal with it!

Meanwhile, a Bloomberg poll from Wednesday had similar findings, with Obama’s approval ratings reaching a 3-year high at 55 percent, while just 35 percent have a favorable view of Republicans. From Bloomberg:

"Americans by 49 percent to 44 percent believe Obama’s proposals for government spending  on infrastructure, education and alternative energy are more likely to create jobs than Republican calls to cut spending and taxes to build business confidence and spur employment."

Now, this ought not come as a shock for anyone with more than air between the ears! I mean, as one wit aptly put it a year ago, referring to the European austerity measures: "Look, it's silly to think you can run a race faster if you cut off one of your feet!"

Adding to Republican troubles: 43 percent of Americans blame Republicans for what’s wrong in Washington, compared with 34 percent who blame Obama.

If any Americans read the recent TIME story concerning the F-35 waste ( Feb. 25, 'The Most Expensive Weapon Ever Built’ ,p. 26), they'd also be asking why have that white elephant when cutting it would mean so much more benefit for the nation, in all domestic spheres. The Repuke answer is "We need to be strong on defense!" but that's a red herring. What they really want is military jobs for their own districts- they care nothing about real national sacrifice, not like during a REAL war (WWII) which saw my mom using ration books and her family paying higher taxes! You can't have a real war and not have a broad spectrum of citizen-public sacrifice, particularly to PAY for said war. Otherwise, you have a shameless farce and one costing lives and wasting treasure unnecessarily!

Bottom line: the shtick of Repukes and their pro-Southern extremist party has been well known since the 1960s: Bleed the government coffers dry using bloated military spending and tax cuts, then demand the next Dem president cut all domestic spending on account of the deficits the war mongers-tax cutters generated.

But I believe too many people are much wiser now, especially as most of us have the first hand evidence - whether from ration books of WWII, or from deficit charts today - to isolate the frauds from the real McCoys. And the Repukes are frauds!