GET OUT THE VOTE! HEAVY TURNOUT ALWAYS FAVORS DEMOCRATS!

That’s why Republicans try in so many sleazy and borderline legal (or illegal) ways to suppress the vote. Because large turnouts almost always favor Democrats. And you know why? Because there are more registered Democrats in this state than registered Republicans.

Yup. Little known secret. If everybody voted, Texas would turn virtually all blue.

Vote. Get your friends, relatives and neighbors to vote. Call the local Harris County Democratic Party and see how you might help them get out the vote. People need to be reminded and encouraged by phone. Elderly or disabled people may need a ride.

Call the Democratic clubs and the other organizations trying to mobilize the grass roots.

My show theme is “Back to the Future”. Think about this. Due to Marty McFly’s wussy mistakes, the whole future changed for the worse. He came back and straightened things out, so that the future took its intended, much more benign course.

We can see the future that awaits us if we do nothing. Do SOMETHING! Vote. Encourage others to vote. Drive others to vote. On November 3rd, you’ll be mighty glad you did!

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China Rising: If you’re concerned about National Security, vote Democrat

Headline: “China claims supercomputer crown”

Headline: China Bullet Train Becomes World’s Fastest (VIDEO)

Video: Chinese Train That Never Stops

If you’re concerned about National Security, vote Democrat. Democrats are for Fair Trade and bringing jobs and industry back to the United States.

Here’s how I see those as critical National Security Issues.

China was a once-great nation which aspires to again be a dominant player on the world stage. My wife and in-laws are Chinese, and I love them and am happy for them. Their lives are improving as China becomes more wealthy, and they can be a little more comfortable every year.

China today is a competitor of the United States, not an opponent or enemy. That puts it in the same class as France or Germany or Britain or Japan or Italy. This is important to remember in order to keep the above headlines and news of other Chinese advances in perspective.

As an American, though, I cannot help but be disappointed. It can reasonably be argued that China’s great strides forward are due in no small part to the outsourcing of American jobs. Because with those jobs went the technology and production capabilities which enabled the ‘offshoring’ to be done.

With our jobs went our factories. With our factories went our competitive capabilities. This longterm and still ongoing erosion of the American industrial base is a National Security Issue of the highest order, but you’d never know it if you listened to the “strong-on-defense” Republicans. To hear them tell it, outsourcing is good. Outsourcing provides cheaper goods for the U.S. consumer. We are a ‘post-industrial society’, and factories and the  manufacturing jobs that go with them are so ‘last century’.

And if we had infrastructure money, there might be a bridge I could sell you.

This state of affairs should be taken as seriously as the alleged ‘missile gap’ was  in the 1960s. This should be taken as seriously as the Soviet Sputnik. This should be taken as seriously as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

This is a National Security Issue, and the Republicans are happy to ignore it as long as their business supporters and campaign contributors keep donating money to them.

Do you realize what this makes them? Soft on National Security!

National Security is the industrial base which made us “the Arsenal of Democracy” in World War 2. National Security is rebuilding our industrial base and regaining as much industrial self-sufficiency as possible in the interests of defense. National Security is the intrinsic economic power of a materially productive economy, because the wealth generated by that base helps to pay for the National Defense which it builds and supports.

Come the next Great War, shall we order the steel for our tanks from China? The chips for a high-tech weapons from China? Even if China isn’t the enemy, have you ever tried to order anything from China? Two weeks by freighter across the Pacific Ocean.

In peacetime.

A weak economic and industrial power cannot survive as a great military power. If you doubt that assertion, ask Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union. The corollary is that a strong economic and industrial power has the ability to become a great military power. If you doubt that assertion, ask Hu Jintao, president of the People’s Republic of China.

Here’s a joke, of sorts. You may be aware that the United States has export restrictions on so-called sensitive technology which cannot be exported to China because of their offensive military potential. Super computers are high on that list. Those days appear to be gone, now. Perhaps China will put export restrictions on our ability to buy their super computer.

Tick-tock. Carpe diem.

Is the United States More Corrupt Than It Used To Be?

Transparency International, an organization which monitors, “measures” and ranks countries by how corrupt they are, has released its 2010 list, and for the United States the news isn’t good.

For the first time in the 15 years since the rankings began, the U.S. has dropped out of the Top 20 ‘cleanest’ countries. We now rank 22nd.

That’s not so bad, you might say. After all, there are 176 countries on the list and we’re still in the Top 15%.

You might say that, but you’d be whistling past the proverbial graveyard. Here are a few of the countries (or in some cases, ‘places’) which rank higher on the ‘clean government’ scale than we do:

The Top 5 are Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore, Finland and Sweden. Canada is 6th. Hong Kong (Hong Kong!) is 13th. Qatar is 19th and Chile is 20th.

We rank below Barbados, Hong Kong and Qatar.

According to Nancy Boswell (quoted by Reuters), President of Transparency International, the reasons given for these U.S. rankings include “… lending practices in the subprime crisis, the disclosure of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and rows over political funding had all rattled public faith about prevailing ethics in America.” She goes on to say, ” “We’re not talking about corruption in the sense of breaking the law, We’re talking about a sense that the system is corrupted by these practices. There’s an integrity deficit.”

We as Americans should be the first to recognize when our system is becoming corrupt and dysfunctional. After all, it’s always hard to see yourself as others do.

The key question then is, will we be the last to recognize it?

You can read more at the links below:

U.S. slips to historic low in global corruption index (Reuters)

Corruption index 2010 from Transparency International: find out how each country compares (The Guardian (UK))

Surveys and Indices (Transparency International)

“The Rose”, a leading non profit organization for Breast Cancer

My friend Bob Domec owns the Casa Ole’ at W.34th Street and 290.quite a while now, he and his store and his employees have been very active in and dedicated to raising money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer.

This is a flyer he sent to me, and I want to pass it on to you. Help if you can. — Mike

RIBBON DONATION LETTER, Oct 2010 ======================

Dear Friends & Family,

As most all of you know, I am personally involved with Breast Cancer Awareness year round.  Last year we began a program in which we offered Pink ribbons for $1.00 each to our customers. 100% of those donations go directly to “The Rose” (a leading non profit organization for Breast Cancer).  Last year, our establishment proudly turned over $2182 to “The Rose” exclusively in ribbon sales (October 2009). This year, although we are proud of our achievements, we are running significantly behind the bar we placed on ourselves last year. With only one week left in October, we are only at the half way point of last year’s achievement.

I am reaching out to all you for your support. If you feel compelled to contribute, you may contact me personally (713-582-2099) and I will gladly handle the transaction over the phone. You can also send funds through my personal pay pal account at www.paypal.com send to bob@bobdomec.com. I can assure you, 100% of ALL contributions will go directly toward “The Rose.” If needed, I will provide a receipt from the restaurant for you.

Although, this is an unconventional way of drumming up support, I am committed to the fight against Breast Cancer and I refuse to fail. Any and All support is truly appreciated.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me personally at 713-582-2099.

My name is Bob Domec and supporting Ta Ta’s is what I do!

Sincerely,

Bob Domec

Casa Ole 290

Mexican Food with an Attitude

House GOP Candidate Says Revolution “On The Table”

by Keith Olbermann, Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 09:16:49 PM PDT

Not long after the National Review fluffed him, the Republican Tea Party candidate for the House in the Texas 30th went where one of these playground bullies inevitably had to go. Per the Dallas Morning News, Stephen Broden told WFAA-TV in Dallas that if his side doesn’t get what it wants, it’s time for violence:

“We have a constitutional remedy. And the framers say if that don’t work, revolution.”

Read the rest of the article at the Daily Kos.

Why Isn’t Science More Respected and Rewarding?, by Dennis Wu (Read as commentary 10/8/2010)

Science is civilization’s greatest accomplishment. The purest expression of curiosity.

 

Curiosity and inquisitiveness are the heart of the human psyche and the driving forces of innovation.

 

Americans continually tout our success in science as the source of the great economic, technological and social advantages of living in the United States. It’s among Americans’ greatest points of pride.

 

However, Americans also seem perversely proud of their anti-intellectualism. The pursuit of science and knowledge for its own sake is often demeaned and derided.

 

Intelligence, inquisitiveness and fascination with things intellectual (math, computers, engineering, etc.) is seen more and more as ‘freakishness’, or peculiarity. Almost a curse rather than a gift.

 

Consider how much our culture vilifies, makes fun of, or outright ignores science and scientists.

 

A U.S. Senator, William Proxmire, created his “Golden Fleece Award” for scientists engaged in pure research that he believed had no practical value.

 

Children who are considered “gifted students” by educators and informed adults are teased and ostracized as “nerds”, “geeks”, weirdoes, and worse by their fellow students.

 

Some adults call scientists and scholars “heathens” or heretics.  Religionists deny the reality of evolution or geologic time. Calling someone an “Einstein” or a “Rocket Scientist” is an almost universal insult.

 

In a country where the comment, “Whatsa matter? Can’tcha read?” used to be among the highest insults, it’s now an actual question. Perhaps worse, even ’intellectuals‘ are now shunning science.

 

Movies and TV shows rarely (if ever) show scientists in an unambiguously positive light. “Mad Scientist” has become a cultural touchstone for any scientific exploration into the more esoteric or complex areas of cosmology or biology, or even technology.

 

In popular media, it seems that the best that scientists can do is be well-intentioned and naïve bunglers who cause some sort of unintended disaster or catastrophe.

 

There’s no doubt about it: Science, scientists and general intellectualism definitely need better PR.

 

The general public’s distorted perception of science and research notwithstanding, science is really a grueling, frustrating, failure-filled enterprise with rare “Eureka” moments. The reality, as Thomas Edison so rightfully put it, is, “Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won’t work.”

         

In return for that, scientists are typically rewarded with long hours, comparatively low pay, and a constant desperate search for financing of their work.

         

A postdoctoral researcher is usually paid less than a “Big Box” retail Manager-In-Training with a BBA. In contrast to business, finance or law (in which a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree will usually more than suffice), pursuing a scientific career requires a Ph.D. degree, followed by years of postdoctoral training. Only 20% of the most successful (and lucky) ones advance to the ultimate elite group: The Faculty. But a faculty has to constantly write grants in order to seek tenure and support for his or her research.

         

As a result, science in America has been suffering since 1998, when science and engineering degrees peaked at 27,300. By 2002, it had fallen to 24,500. In America and across the world, fewer and fewer college students – our best, most promising young minds – are unwilling to indulge their inquisitiveness and pursue their curiosity, because the effort is disproportionately great when compared to the potential rewards. Add the social stigmas that become attached to “Ivory Tower academics”, “impractical intellectuals” and “heretical, atheist scientists”, and pursuing a different line of work becomes almost a no-brainer for many.

 

There’s no doubt about it: Science demands high intellectual ability and extreme hard work and dedication. Deficiency in either will guarantee failure.

 

Thomas Edison invented electricity[Revised 2/17/11. Thanks, Pete!] the electric light bulb and established the first electrical power grid, now considered a basic building block of civilization. James Watson discovered double strand DNA, the building block of all living organisms, and a tool used increasingly to understand and fight disease.

 

Our civilization would be impossible without electricity. Our understanding of human beings and diseases would remain almost medieval without our knowledge of the DNA at their roots.

 

Just as science has transformed our society in every way imaginable, our future depends on science in unimaginable ways. Just as the discovery of DNA made it possible to identify the changes underlying many diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, the cure depends on further cutting-edge research by current and future scientists.

 

The two summers that the author of this essay worked on Alzheimer’s disease at Baylor College of Medicine taught him how little we know about it. His three years of volunteer work at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center taught him firsthand about the emotional and physical tolls cancer exacts on patients and their loved ones.

 

Science is a necessity, not a luxury; but when science’s efforts to know the unknowns become too difficult, too unprofitable, too unpopular, then even all but the most devout seekers of knowledge become discouraged, and humanity suffers.

 

Science is what civilization is about. We need science today more than ever. We must not let ignorance, indifference and apathy win the day.