Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Pain and the Pleasure

Pain is something that I am well acquainted with. Searing, agonizing pain so intense it would bring you to your knees and beg almighty God to take you from it, or it from you. Pleasure, or joy if you want to call it that, is another thing I have intimate knowledge of. Pleasure also as intense as the pain. So much so that you never want it to end, but it does. So too does the pain end one way or the other. Pleasure and pain are bed fellows. They are intricately linked. They are like two sides of the same coin, one unable to exists without the other.

There will be times for both pleasure and pain for all of us. The period of pleasure or pain varies, but pain will always win out in the very end. I am convienced that most people leave this realm of life in pain. Some of them in a lot of pain and others not so much. Drugs help some to bypass the agony of a failing organ or damaged body. That is only for the few. Most people are not afforded such a luxury. Pray that you go in your sleep, or suddenly.

The Trolls Among Us

Here is something I got to wondering about. Let me put together a few pieces. We all know about the Russian Trolls who tried to undermine the 2016 election, and are doing the same to other western democracies. We know about the protests and counter protests about one topic or the other that are taking place with regularity here and abroad. Some of the protests seem to be over things that aren't happening, like the Shari Law protests today. I don't know of any US city attempting to enact Islamic religious law. Then the thought came to mind, "Those two things, Russian Trolls and the protests, seem to be a lot alike." The major difference is one is in Cyberspace and the other is in real space.

Is it possible that Russia not only are employing troll farms to hurt us, but also real life trolls planted among us? Persons who look like any other American, but are really Russians hell bent on sowing discord. Maybe the Russians have been for decades setting us up and now the harvest is ready!

"How could this have happened?", I thought. My first thought was of the Russian Brides that have been advertised for so long. What if these Russian Brides were a major source of psychical Russian troll infiltration? I thought I might Google search the topic. I didn't find anything, yet, explicitly pointing in that direction. I did find this interesting and enlightening article from the Daily Mail.

By Edward LucasPUBLISHED: 18:59 EDT, 9 March 2012 | UPDATED: 08:14 EDT, 10 March 2012

A lot can happen in 5 years, and a lot has happened. I'm still going to see about the possibility of Russian Brides Spies. For now I offer you this. Sessions will be grilled this coming Tuesday in a special hearing. Think of all the things that have been going on. Think hard on it while you read this. Before you get into the meat of the article, read this one paragraph from it, and then a quote from trump.

Excerpt: "We are dealing with an adversary who is determined, resentful and paranoid, where we are complacent and trusting. We want to like him. We hope he will like us, and eventually be like us. He wants nothing of the kind."

Trump quote: "I'm saying that I'd possibly have a good relationship. He's been very nice to me," Trump said. "If we can make a great deal for our country and get along with Russia that would be a tremendous thing. I would love to try it."

My own quote: "This don't look to good at all."

Spies next door: As Putin - a former spy chief - tightens his grip on Russia,a new book reveals how he's riddled the West with suburban secret agents

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Media Bias Towards Coal in Southern Illinois

On the WSIL News 3 broadcast in Southern Illinois there was an interview with a 19 year old person who works at a coal mine. He said in order to make the money one can make in a coal mine one would have to go to college or work in a factory. I think he is trading his future for near term gains, and the possibility of black lung. He should get that degree or a job in a factory.

Coal Miners
Look, I know that Southern Illinois has a long history with coal. Coal was and still is a vital resource. There will always be a need for coal to use for one purpose or the other. Those purposes are less likely to have electricity generation on the list as time goes by. Coal use in power plants is on the decline. Even China has canceled the construction of 10 new coal fired power plants and is accelerating the construction of solar and wind power electrical generation plants.

Southern Illinois is banking on something called "clean coal" to save the coal mining industry. The coal mining industry is touting the benefits of carbon sequestration in an effort to stave off the decline in coal burning. Let's face the facts. By the time that technology has matured enough to solve the problem of carbon dioxide driven global warming it will be far to late. Clean coal is a myth.

Southern Illinois would be better served if the focus was shifted away from saving the coal mining industry, and pointed towards the booming green energy sector. The growth in green jobs is far outpacing the coal industry. Sure, there has been a little spike in coal jobs due to some of the current president's actions, but that will be short lived. The decline in coal mining jobs is inevitable. Backing the coal mining job horse is a bad bet in the long term.

I would like to see some unbiased reporting by WSIL News 3 on this. Their reporting seems to be leaning towards the coal jobs side. Like the interview with the young 19 year old man working at a coal mine. There you got one side of the story from a youth who did not have the life's experience to make a rational comment. He has a job paying well as evidenced by the car WSIL showed him driving away in. That carrot dangled in front of the audience wasn't lost on me. WSIL may as well had the news caster say "You too could be driving a car like this if you get a coal mining job."

The young person working in a coal mine may be all happy now with a new car, but his future looks bleak to me. He mentioned college or a factory as an alternative to working in a coal mine. Those two alternatives are way better than the future offered by a coal mine. But if people want to go for short term gain and suffer for it later (black lung, unemployment) then go on ahead and get that coal mining job and drive a new car now. Oh by the way, if the choice was an engineering degree now, the person who did that will be driving a way better car in the future than the one who opted for a coal mining job now. They will be living in a far better house too.

So let he viewer have both sides of the story WSIL News 3. You serve the community poorly if you fail to do that one simple thing.

Here is an excerpt from an article explaining why clean coal is a myth. It isn't the only one out there by far. I've provided the link to the main piece too.

The Myth of Clean Coal: Analysis

"But that's the easy part. The harder challenge would be transporting and burying all of this high-pressure CO2. American Electric Power recently began a CCS project at its Mountaineer Plant in West Virginia. The operation captures a few hundred tons of CO2 a day. That's a start--but a typical 500-megawatt power plant produces about 10,000 tons daily."

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Stop Being a Poser, You Aren't in the Confederate Army

Hypocrisy runs rampant in America. I have a hard time understanding why people don't recognize it when it is right in their face.

I was surfing some Trump Facebook pages and groups to see how that mindset is doing. Sometimes I even join one of those groups for experimental purposes. I joined one a couple weeks ago, and after having lurked for a few days posed a question. I asked "What would you do if the Democrats successfully impeached president Trump?" I chose my words carefully so as to not give an indication of my opinion. There were a lot of comments coming in, but after about 40 comments it was deleted. I also was kicked from the group, and received a message. "You're nothing but a god damn troll, etc. etc. etc...."  Even though I didn't last long there, I did learn something. I believe it is a good thing to know what is going on in the opposition's camp.

Today I was doing the same thing and checking out the Trump Camp.I got to the second Trump group and BAM, hypocrisy right in the face. The group had a recurring character who liked to post video. This was a young man who fit the stereotypical "southern worken man" persona. Behind him was the Stars and Bars. Also on the wall were stick on decals of various types of weapons.

This guy started going on with "Don't come around here trying to tell me what the Confederate flag means to me!" It was pretty much the same old stale canned hash they have been serving up for years. The kind of hash that makes you say "Not again." because you've heard it 1000 times and you can go point by point on why he was wrong on every count.

I scroll down the page a bit only to find one that proves a disconnect. Hypocrisy, if you will. The same young fellow on this next video started ranting and raving about all the Mexican flags he sees every day coming home from work. Of how when these "illegals" get to "our" country they need to respect the flag.

Just exactly which flag is he talking about, the flag of the United States, or the Confederate flag? I know which flag I call my banner.I know which flag I pledge allegiance to, and it sure as hell isn't the Confederate flag. That was 100 years in the past. I have nothing to do with it. I really couldn't care less about if some fellow wants to fly a Mexican flag. At least Mexico still exists as a nation, unlike the Confederacy.

All the people out there who think they have something to prove with a confederate flag have bought into someone else's fight. There were actual folk who really were in the Confederacy. Some of them believed in the Confederacy as much as I do the United States. They weren't being posers 100 odd years after the fact. So give it a rest.

Stop being on the defensive about it. Look here. The Civil War is over. The Confederacy lost the war and surrendered. Stop being a poser, you aren't in the Confederate Army. It looks silly.

You Want People to Make More Money

Illinois passed a $15 dollar an hour minimum wage. I believe that is a good thing.

This morning I was reviewing all the benefits of an increased wage because it seems that the local news focuses on myths about the minimum wage. One of those myths is that the people working for the minimum are nothing but a bunch of high schoolers looking for extra pocket money. That isn't even close to being true. Even if it were it would be a poor excuse for a low minimum wage.

Look at it this way. Just because someone is a person of youth is no reason to rip them off on wages. Just because someone is being supported by their parents is no excuse for giving them a raw deal. What kind of message does that send to our youth, the message that it is okay to devalue people so they can be stolen from. That's what it is too. A form of wage theft.

Furthermore, and along the same lines, it is a poor economic choice to pay someone less just because they are a youth. What do youth do with their money? The majority of them spend it. If anyone lives paycheck to paycheck it is a high schooler, living with their parents, with a part time job. So if at one wage level they afford X amount of money for pizza, movies and whatever, they will afford XX amount of money if they are paid more. There would be double the kids in shopping malls spending twice as much. All of which requires people on the job to serve them. Jobs!

Realistically though, high schoolers are not the majority of minimum wage earners. A lot of them are people with bills to pay, and are of all ages. If they had more money to spend they would create jobs. The vast middle class and poor are the job creators. Let them do their job by giving them a living wage.