Celebrating 20 Years Online  1997 - 2017
 

The Trump Administration Just Punted on How to Handle the Most Toxic Pesticides

Including one that likely sickened 12 farmworkers earlier this month.
 
By Tom Philpott | MotherJones
 
Back in March, the Environmental Protection Agency abruptly reversed its own decision to ban a highly toxic insecticide called chlorpyrifos—an endocrine-disrupting chemical that is strongly suspected of hindering brain development in kids, even at tiny exposure levels. Turns out, the EPA wasn't done running interference for the chemical, a big seller for agrichemical giant Dow Agrosciences. Read More
 
It’s Not Only a Constitutional Crisis, It’s a Civic Implosion
Trump's naked contempt for civic culture is what's really threatening our republic. To save it, we need to rescue our civic wellsprings.
 
BY JIM SLEEPER | Moyers & Company
 
Lock Him Up! Donald Trump won the presidency of the American republic for the same reason that he’ll lose it before the end of his first term, assuming that the rest of us can keep the republic itself. That reason has been poorly understood by political consultants, “psychological operations” masterminds, data-point jockeys, seigneurial donors and us media savants, most of whom Trump’s rise left breathless and useless in deciphering what has befallen us.

He won by outdoing the innocent child in Hans Christian Andersen’s 1837 fable, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” who blurted out, “But the Emperor has nothing on!” Trump himself bragged that he was as naked as all other would-be emperors and their strategists and critics, grand or petty, liberal or conservative. Moreover, he bragged that because he was as naked as they and as masterful as they were at buying off elected officials to do whatever they told them, he alone could fix the disaster by telling the truth about it and weaving great garments of liberty and justice for all.   Read More

Duty to warn: Shrinks can’t say that Donald Trump suffers from a mental disorder — but we can

Mental health professionals are battling over the "Goldwater rule" — but the rest of us are not bound by it
 
By ANNA LIND-GUZIK | Salon
 
Belongs in nut housePresident Donald Trump has a personality disorder that we’re not supposed to talk about, and that makes me furious. The Goldwater rule, an ethical norm from the 1960s that forbids psychiatrists and psychologists from diagnosing public figures they haven’t been able to evaluate in person, has gagged the most knowledgeable among us from speaking freely. A man with no impulse control and no chance of improvement is shooting his missiles all over, not to mention targeting vulnerable populations at home. The world is in a panic while the doctors worry that he’ll sue. Read More
 

Ask Yourself: Will Donald Trump EVER Become President?

As our institutions bend and buckle and approach the breaking point, the president bombs Syria and is hailed by an obeisant media.
 
BY BILL MOYERS | Moyers & Company
 
The FoolHere’s how it happened.

After he unleashed missiles on a Syrian airfield, members of Washington’s national security establishment and elite pundits swooned. Top Democrats and Republicans led the way. Good soldiers all in the military-industrial-political complex, they stood smartly at attention and saluted the commander-in-chief for sending a message to the world, although exactly what the message meant remains far from clear.

The headline above Glenn Greenwald’s story at The Intercept summed up the response: “The Spoils of War — Trump Lavished with Media and Bipartisan Praise for Bombing Syria.” The hawkish Hillary Clinton, who long had been critical of Barack Obama for not bringing Bashar Assad to heel, “appeared at an event” — and this was before the bombing even happened! — “and offered her categorical support for what Trump was planning.”  Read More
 
Gibberish Is the White House’s New Normal
The bad art of the non sequitur.
 
By Todd Gitlin | Moyers & Co.
 
Once upon a time, there were presidents for whom English seemed their native language. BarackIt's gibberish I tell you! Obama most recently. He deliberated. At a press conference or in an interview — just about whenever he wasn’t speaking from a text — his pauses were as common as other people’s “uh’s.” He was not pausing because his vocabulary was impoverished. He was pausing to put words into sequence. He was putting phrases together with care, word by word, trying out words before uttering them, checking to feel out what they would sound like once uttered. It was important to him because he did not want to be misunderstood. President Obama valued precision, in no small part because he knew he lived in a world where every last presidential word was a speech act, a declaration with consequence, so that the very statement that the sky was blue, say, would be scoured for evidence that the president was declaring a policy on the nature of nature. Read More
 
'Alt-right' groups will 'revolt' if Trump shuns white supremacy, leaders say
Prominent members of the American far right predict that waning influence on the president-elect could trigger discord and vengeance within the movement
 
From The Guardian
 
Donald Trump will disappoint and disillusion his far-right supporters by eschewing whiteSkinheads 2017 supremacy, according to some of the movement’s own intellectual leaders.

Activists who recently gave Nazi salutes and shouted “hail Trump” at a gathering in Washington will revolt when the new US president fails to meet their expectations, the leaders told the Guardian.

The prospect of such disillusion and internecine squabbling may console liberals who fear a White House tinged with racism and quasi-fascism. All the more reassuring because it comes from far-right influencers and analysts, not wishful progressives. Read More
 
Abortion Privilege Under Trump
Under the new president, states might become a patchwork of abortion rights, and many women won’t be able to afford to reach clinics in time.
 
By OLGA KHAZAN | The Atlantic
 
Choose!!
 
When asked by CBS’s Lesley Stahl earlier this week about his vision for the Supreme Court and abortion rights, President-elect Donald Trump responded with a common pro-life wish:

“It would go back to the states,” Trump said, if Roe v. Wade, the court decision that legalized abortion, were overturned.

“Yeah, but then some women won’t be able to get an abortion?” Stahl asked.

“Yeah, well, they’ll perhaps have to go, they’ll have to go to another state,” Trump responded. Read More
 
Trump Versus China: What’s Really at Stake
Truth be told, Trump voters should be pressing him, and hard, to reverse his promise to cancel the Trans-Pacific deal on day one of his presidency.
 
By John McLaughlin
 
ChineseThe author, deputy director and acting director of the CIA from 2000 to 2004 teaches at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

The economy of Asia is likely to drive the 21st century. Leaders of most nations would believe the United States should maintain and even expand its role there. And yet, the U.S. runs a very high risk of doing exactly the opposite — turning away from the region and ceding its leadership in Asia. Read More
 
Farewell, America
No matter how the rest of the world looked at us on Nov. 7, they will now look at us differently.
By Neal Gabler | Moyers & Company
 
America died on Nov. 8, 2016, not with a bang or a whimper, but at its own hand via electoral suicide. We the people chose a man who has shredded our values, our morals, our compassion, our tolerance, our decency, our sense of common purpose, our very identity — all the things that, however tenuously, made a nation out of a country. Read More
 
What is Humility?
A easily misunderstood human quality that seems to have gone missing in our modern times. How to make it part of your life once again.
 
By Larry Laird - lairdslair.com
 
HumbleI attend a small evangelical Lutheran church in Marion, Ohio called St. Paul's and have for over 60 years. I took my catechism there and was confirmed in this little church.  On occasion, our pastor takes a much needed vacation and since we have no assistant pastor he calls on members of the congregation to lead a service in his absence.  I have done so a couple of times in the past two years. What follows is the message I delivered on a Sunday in late August, 2016.

What exactly is humility?

The dictionary defines it this way -

Humility is the quality of being humble. In a religious context this can mean a recognition of self in relation to God or deities, acceptance of one's defects, and submission to divine grace as a member of a religion. Outside of a religious context, humility is defined as the self-restraint from excessive vanity, and can possess moral and/or ethical dimensions.

The Urban Dictionary puts it this way, in a more plain speaking Will Rogers manner

Humility is an admirable quality that not many people possess. It means that a person may have accomplished a lot, or be a lot but doesn't feel it is necessary to advertise or brag about it.

Are you a humble person? How can you know?  Read More
 
The Great Renewal
 
By Anonymous | The Great Renewal
 
This is an example of how the militarized police become 'government out of control' as seen by both the Right and the Left!

What do we have to do to change this?  Read More
 
 
Making a Killing
The business and politics of selling guns. How Fear Helps the Gun Business.
By Evan Osnos | The New Yorker
 
For the love of gunsBars in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia let out at 2 A.M. On the morning of January 17, 2010, two groups emerged, looking for taxis. At the corner of Market and Third Street, they started yelling at each other. On one side was Edward DiDonato, who had recently begun work at an insurance company, having graduated from Villanova University, where he was a captain of the lacrosse team. On the other was Gerald Ung, a third-year law student at Temple, who wrote poetry in his spare time and had worked as a technology consultant for Freddie Mac. Both men had grown up in prosperous suburbs: DiDonato in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia; Ung in Reston, Virginia, near Washington, D.C.

Everyone had been drinking, and neither side could subsequently remember how the disagreement started; one of DiDonato’s friends may have kicked in the direction of one of Ung’s friends, and Ung may have mocked someone’s hair. “To this day, I have no idea why this happened,” Joy Keh, a photographer who was one of Ung’s friends at the scene, said later. Read More
 
How Do You Spot A Nonconformist?
You Can Start With Their Internet Browser!
By NPR | www.npr.org
 
DifferentIn 2009, one of the founders of the online eyeglass maker Warby Parker approached management consultant Adam Grant about becoming an early investor. Grant says he declined because the company's founders weren't working at their startup full time; he also says it was the worst financial decision he's ever made.  Read More
 
There May Soon Be More Plastic in the Oceans Than Fish
The environmental impact of plastic waste is already staggering and getting much worse
By Gregory Barber | MotherJones
 
Pollution

Discarded plastic will outweigh fish in the world's oceans by 2050, according to a report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. That is, unless overfishing moves the date up sooner.

The study, a collaboration with the World Economic Forum, found that 32 percent of plastic packaging escapes waste collection systems, gets into waterways, and is eventually deposited in the oceans. That percentage is expected to increase in coming years, given that the fastest growth in plastic production is expected to occur in "high leakage" markets—developing countries where sanitation systems are often unreliable. The data used in the report comes from a review of more than 200 studies and interviews with 180 experts. Read More

 
Getting to the Heart of David Letterman
The beloved king of comedy—and part time Montana resident—talks about growing up and getting older.
By Brian Schott | The Whitefish Review
 
David LAs of his final Late Show this past May, David Letterman had hosted 19,932 guest appearances on 6,028 broadcasts across more than 33 years—and redefined late-night and humor itself along the way. The man had earned some peace and quiet. Judging from the searching, thoughtful interview he granted to the Whitefish Review, he has found both—thanks, in large part, to life on his ranch in northwest Montana.

In an interview with Jane Pauley prior to his retirement, Letterman talked about the “white-hot adrenaline” he’d felt on his early appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson: “It’s like you’re sitting on the knee of the Lincoln Memorial and Lincoln is talking to you. You know, it’s like, ‘Holy God, it’s the guy on the $5 bill talking to me.’” That’s about what it feels like to interview David Letterman. Read More
 
Ten Facts You May Not Know About The Federal Budget
The fiscal year for 2014 ended on September 30th. With the release of the end-of-year totals for fiscal year 2014, below are 10 facts you may not know about the federal budget.
By Senate Budget Committee; Patty Murray, Chairman
 
1) Overall federal spending has been flat for five straight years, for the first time since the end of World War II.

When measured in simple, raw dollars, spending has historically risen year to year. This is not surprising given that the size of the population and the cost of living (inflation) both increase from year to year. However, from 2009 to 2014, spending was largely unchanged at $3.5 trillion per year. The last time spending did not rise over a five year period, even in nominal dollars, was during the post-World War II phase down from 1946 to 1951. Read More
 
How Supercharged Blue Heroin Ravaged This Small Town In Ohio
 
By Mitch Stacy | AP
 
Heroin in Marion, OhioMARION, Ohio (AP) — The usual handwringing over the heroin problem turned into panic in this small city in May when a supercharged blue-tinted batch from Chicago sent more than 30 overdose victims to the hospital and two to the morgue in a 12-day stretch.

Like many places in America, Marion — an hour's drive north of the capital, Columbus — has gotten used to heroin. Emergency crews in the city of 37,000 have become accustomed to treating an overdose patient about once a day for the past year or so. But they were stunned when the unprecedented onslaught began on May 20.

They say if it hadn't been for naloxone, an antidote carried by paramedics, most of the survivors probably would have died, too. They ranged in age from their late teens to early 60s. Read More
 
Jesus wept: How can you call yourself a Christian if you voted for Donald Trump?
Christian faith means many things to many people. But I'm confused about how "love thy neighbor" led us here
 
By Lily Burana | Salon
 
DrumpfOne of the hallmarks of Christian faith is charity, which is unfortunate for me, because, as a cradle Christian (and, lately, a recovering agnostic), I’ve been feeling less than charitable since Donald Trump won the presidential election.

I don’t mean that I’m not in the spirit of giving to charities — I’ll be writing out a whopper of a check to the American Civil Liberties Union presently. Read More
 
Is Depression a Kind of Allergic Reaction?
By Caroline Williams | The Guardian
 
In the dumpBarely a week goes by without a celebrity “opening up” about their “battle with depression”. This, apparently, is a brave thing to do because, despite all efforts to get rid of the stigma around depression, it is still seen as some kind of mental and emotional weakness.

But what if was nothing of the sort? What if it was a physical illness that just happens to make people feel pretty lousy? Would that make it less of a big deal to admit to? Could it even put a final nail in the coffin of the idea that depression is all in the mind? Read More
 
One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork.
- Mark Twain
 
Lead, follow or get out of the way.
- Thomas Paine
 
 
 
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Impeach Trump Now!
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What a world we now live in, where over 300 million people are 'held hostage' to the unhinged moods swings, amorality and extreme immaturity of a insatiable egotistical narcissist...who will never be able or have the desire to look past himself and how he effects others and the world...only how the world makes him feel.

- Maureen Burt via Facebook
 
There’s No News Right Now Because Trump Doesn’t Actually Do Anything
No - this truck wasn't actually moving!
 
By Ben Mathis-Lilley | Slate
 
Head BozoDonald Trump is, by various accounts including his own, currently obsessed with the idea of getting something big and splashy accomplished before April 29, the 100th day of his presidency. The good news for Trump is that he should have plenty of options. There are multiple pressing issues at the forefront of the national consciousness right now—health care, the budget/tax reform, North Korea—on which significant executive action is possible. There are also a host of issues that Trump discussed during the campaign that he could move to the front burner if he so chose—trade fairness, the Iran deal, business deregulation, the opioid crisis, veterans' health care, Middle East peace. And there are subjects he promised earlier in his term that he'd be addressing soon, like improvements to American cybersecurity in the wake of last year's Russia hacks, the alleged surveillance of his apartment by Barack Obama, and the millions of illegal votes he says were cast in the 2016 election. Read More
 
America has never seen a party less caring than 21st-century Republicans
We pay our elected officials to take care of our communities and our planet. Since Trump took office, the GOP has set out only to destroy
 
By Lindy West | The Guardian
 
Ryan the jerkLast week I was taking an Uber (I know, I’m sorry, it was a necessity) across an unfamiliar town when the driver, whom I’ll call Randy, started telling me about this cool dude named Jesus. Randy’s big opener, earlier in the ride, was to gesture at a homeless man panhandling by the side of the road and say: “Isn’t it terrible?”

“Yeah,” I agreed, though I was unsure whether he was referring to homelessness as a blight or a form of state violence. “I can’t believe my tax money pays for the president’s golf vacations while people are freezing to death on the street. It’s robbery.”  

“True that,” he said, to my relief. “I hope this crazy country gets itself figured out before things get worse.”

“Me too,” I said. “I would really like to keep living.”

“Yeah?” Randy pounced. “How would you like to live … forever?” Read More
 
Truth, Lies and Democracy: Journalism in the Age of Trump
Safeguarding the truth has never in living memory been more difficult in the democratic world.
 
BY OLIVIA WARD | Moyers & Co.
 
Donnies BullshitIn June 1972, a story about a gang of American burglars caught red-handed with their pockets stuffed with hundred-dollar bills made journalistic history.

These were no ordinary smash-and-grabbers. They were the Watergate burglars — five men in rubber gloves who bungled an attempt to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate hotel and office complex. One claimed to have worked for the CIA.

When news of the Nixon administration’s campaign to destroy their opponents through not-too-well-organized crime broke in the Washington Post, a 26-month drama played out on the front page of a paper that riveted the capital’s and the English speaking world’s attention.Read More
 
How long will Sean Spicer allow himself to be humiliated by President Trump?
This is your dream, Sean Spicer — to be White House press secretary. Anything you can do in your dreams you can do now.
 
By Callum Borchers | The Washington Post
 
Humiliated!This is your dream, Sean Spicer — to be White House press secretary. Anything you can do in your dreams you can do now.

I borrowed those words of encouragement from Twilight Sparkle. You know, the “My Little Pony” character. Spicer should be familiar with the quote because he used it last summer to argue falsely that Melania Trump didn't really plagiarize Michelle Obama in a speech at the Republican National Convention. (He contended Obama's words were so generic that they were virtually indistinguishable from Twilight Sparkle's and therefore could not be the subject of a legitimate plagiarism claim.) Read More
 
Maybe This Is How Democracy Ends
The frightening rise of authoritarian populism in the West is a very real, clear and present danger.
 
By Mike Lofgren | Moyers & Co.
 
Democracy Ends?The election of Donald Trump has triggered as much wonderment abroad as it has in the United States. David Runciman, a professor of politics at the University of Cambridge, has written in the London Review of Books a provocative reflection on the nature of democracy in the age of Trump: “Is this how democracy ends?” There is much to praise in his essay, including his heavy qualification that we really don’t know for sure if what we are seeing is the end phase of mature Western democracies since we do not have the appropriate historical precedents to be certain. Read More
 
Democrats Must Become the Party of Freedom
Re-embracing anti-monopoly will reinvigorate American liberty and beat back Trumpism.
By Barry C. Lynn | Moyers and Company
 
Freedom PartyThis post originally appeared at Washington Monthly.

There are many competing interpretations for why Hillary Clinton lost last fall’s election, but most observers do agree that one — economics — played a big role. Clinton simply didn’t articulate a vision compelling enough to compete with Donald Trump’s rousing, if dubious, message that bad trade deals and illegal immigration explain the downward mobility of so many Americans.

As it happens, Clinton did have the germ of exactly such an idea — if you knew where to look. In an October 2015 op-ed, she wrote that “large corporations are concentrating control over markets” and “using their power to raise prices, limit choices for consumers, lower wages for workers and hold back competition from startups and small businesses. It’s no wonder Americans feel the deck is stacked for those at the top.” In a speech in Toledo this past October, Clinton assailed “old-fashioned monopolies” and vowed to appoint “tough” enforcers “so the big don’t keep getting bigger and bigger.” Read More
 
None Dare Call it Treason
Trump's similarities to Putin are evident, but will we call him out for what he really is?
By Marty Kaplan | Moyers & Company
 
Trouble on the right on meThis post originally appeared at Jewish Journal.

In 1964, when Barry Goldwater ran against Lyndon Johnson, a man named John A. Stormer self-published a book called None Dare Call It Treason. It accused America’s left-leaning elites of paving the way for a Soviet victory in the Cold War. The book sold 7 million copies, but Johnson crushed Goldwater in the election.

Now that the CIA has determined that the Russians intervened in the presidential election to help Trump win, the Cold War politics of left and right have been flipped. If Stormer rewrote his book for 2016, its thesis might go like this:  Read More
 
Meet the Mom Who Helped Expose Flint's Toxic Water Nightmare
LeeAnne Walters' tap water tested at 27 times the EPA limit for lead. The city offered her a garden hose.
By Julie Lurie | MotherJones
 
Whistle blowerOn a chilly evening last March in Flint, Michigan, LeeAnne Walters was getting ready for bed when she heard her daughter shriek from the bathroom of the family's two-story clapboard house. She ran upstairs to find 18-year-old Kaylie standing in the shower, staring at a clump of long brown hair that had fallen from her head.

Walters, a 37-year-old mother of four, was alarmed but not surprised—the entire family was losing hair. There had been other strange maladies over the previous few months: The twins, three-year-old Gavin and Garrett, kept breaking out in rashes. Gavin had stopped growing. On several occasions, 14-year-old JD had suffered abdominal pains so severe that Walters took him to the hospital. At one point, all of LeeAnne's own eyelashes fell out. Read More
 
Staying on the Firearms Story
You can have your own opinions, but not your own facts.
By Eric Garland | Via Facebook
 
For the love of a gunI think I'm staying on the firearms story because there are two parts of my identity that are stronger than any others: being a Vermonter and being a professional analyst. The first means I neither fear nor loathe guns, which are all over the Green Mountains, but the second means that I can't stand bogus arguments and lying about data. Well, that and mass murders. Those are really getting annoying, too. Read More
 
Your Wi-Fi Network’s Soft Underbelly
You probably don’t even think about this easy way for hackers to sneak in.
By Josephine Wolff | Slate
 
You probably don’t spend much time thinking about your wireless router—until it stops working, that is. Our inattention to routers has been a security problem for years, most recently last week when Brian Krebs reported that researchers at the Fujitsu Security Operations Center had discovered hundreds of routers were being used to spread a financial fraud malware called Dyre.  Read More
 
Requiem for a Golf Course
by Fred Altvater | B9R Lessons
 
HGGCThe Golf economy today is a mixed bag, while some areas of the golf business are very strong, other parts are suffering.

Part of the reason is that young people do not seem to be taking to the game as the older generation did. With the variety of activities available to the X and Y Generations, other sports seem to be more attractive.

A slow walk around a golf course can’t compete with mountain biking or zip-lines. Read More
 
Fraud
Activists began campaigning to change the understanding of the 2nd Amendment in the late 20th century
By Larry Laird | lairdslair
 
One of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat theMy Right word ‘fraud,’ on the American public by special interest groups that I’ve ever seen in my life time. The real purpose of the Second was to ensure that state armies—the militias—would be maintained for the defense of the state. The very language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires.”
---- Chief Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger

Justice Burger said in no uncertain terms, before gun lobbyists and activists began campaigning to change the understanding of the 2nd Amendment in the late 20th century, nobody considered it to be an individual right.

In 2008, the right wing contingent on the most recent Supreme Court (the same people who said that corporations are people) decided to throw away centuries of juris prudence and extend the 2ndAmendment as an individual protection for gun owners’ right to bear arms. During the case, United States v. Emerson, the Supreme Court decided that the 2nd Amendment is not a collective protection for gun ownership in militias, but rather a protection for individuals to own and operate weapons. This decision flies in the face of centuries of settled law and, like Citizens United v. FEC is just another case where right wing extremist wearing robes have perverted our country’s longstanding understanding of our laws.”
 
 
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