Monthly Archives: September 2011

Tomorrow Morning’s Show on WSHC, 89.7:

We’re on a “regular schedule” tomorrow, which means my show, “Talk To Me” is on from 11 AM to 1 PM. I don’t have any special guests tomorrow, but the call-in line is up and running again (304-876-5369) and I’ll take in discussions on just about anything.

Folks away from our broadcasting area can pick up the show at www.897WSHC.org. Give me a call.

Belief and politics

I read somewhere, very recently, that an acknowledged atheist in our society, no matter how qualified or politically necessary, can never be elected President. Damn… there go all my hopes for the future.

Perhaps the majority of voters think we need a god to keep the world at peace, or feed the hungry, or raise the poor from the economic miasma.

And what about giving us an edge on foreign religions? Hell, don’t they believe in the god as well?

And what about the conflict between religion and science? Don’t we need science for civilization to progress? And don’t we need to reinforce education, rather than lay off teachers,  to promote science?

And Math?

And the Arts?

It seems, though, that the fundamental beliefs of the atheist in human development and responsibility are meaningless when compared to the beliefs of the prayer-meeting politician.

I signed a petition this week to have “Under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. I’d sure like to see “in God We Trust” taken off our money. Neither is likely to happen.

I know the rich keep getting richer while the poor trust in a god to lift them up to a mythical “next life.” The don’t see that they are being used… kept in their place by that upper class.

Now, I CAN’T take advantage of the poor. I’m what’s called in NYC an “Ethical Humanist.” It doesn’t make me much of a political guy in West Virginia… but, at least, I can live with myself.

A word to the Rich from Elizabeth Warren…

Good luck in Massachusetts, Kiddo… and don’t think lots of us aren’t hoping you run for President in 2016!

EarthJustice.org says Mistakes find a way of happening…

… and they are talking about Fracking. Let’s look at their little animation… then you can go to their SITE:

Part of our continuing concern with Fracking and the dangerous pollution it brings.

Nothing works in a primary campaign like a good scare…

“And the question was asked, should we normalize trading with Cuba? Why would you normalize trading with a country that sponsors terror? Cuba — there’s reports that have come out that Cuba has been working with another terrorist organization called Hezbollah. And Hezbollah is potentially looking at wanting to be part of missile sites in Iran.

“And, of course, when you’re 90 miles offshore from Florida, you don’t want to entertain the prospect of hosting bases or sites where Hezbollah could have training camps or perhaps have missile sites or weapons sites in Cuba. This would be foolish.”

- Michelle Bachmann

Yeah, she really said it. Listen here:

Apparently, according to Think Progress, she got this notion from an article in an Italian Paper saying that Hezbollah was setting up an office in Havana.The next thing you know she’ll be telling us that Cuba is now operating under Sharia Law.

Can you imagine an America where this woman was in charge of Foreign Policy?

One last view of the Facebook flap…

Any questions?

Quote of the Day… from Silicon Valley

“Mr. President. I don’t have a job, but that is because I have been lucky enough to live in Silicon Valley for a while and work for a small startup company down the street who did quite well. So, I am unemployed by choice. My question is — would you please raise my taxes?”

- Man at the Town meeting Obama held today with Linked In (later identified as Doug Edwards, former director of communications and marketing at Google.)

HELP! Keep Under The LobsterScope going!

I need your help to keep Under The LobsterScope going… but I never take your contributions without making it worth your while:

1. I present a blog that keeps you up to date on politics and the arts… and lots of things you don.t find anywhere else…

and

2. For every donation of $5.00 or more I am now offering 2 special fonts – real designer’s treasures which sell for $29.00 each – for your computer design and publishing efforts:
Bill’s Asterisks and Bullets and Bill’s Ampersands (see samples below.)

Neat, hey? From graphic designers to desktop publishers, these two fonts will be in use all the time. So, for a donation of $5.00 or more they are yours.

Just go to this PayPal site::
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=LW5LW84KWFGRN”

sIf you think Facebook is going to start charging for membership…

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

… think again. It’s not the first time a viral rumor has spread that Facebook, with over 4 Billion bucks a year in ad revenue, is going to start charging membership fees.

Here’s a quick quote from the International Business Times:

“The ongoing rumor continues to resurface every so often, regardless of the fact that Facebook has a message on its homepage reading, “It’s free and always will be,” when prompting its 800 million users to log in.

“The chain message stating Facebook will charge a fee is proven to be just a hoax, as Facebook’s advertising revenue is expected to reach $4.27 billion in 2011, according to ZDNet.”

So: 1.) rest assured that you are not about to be charged to share meaningless stuff with your buddies, and 2.) don’t let the hoaxers use you to copy and distribute their phony Facebook notice.

Cartoon’s of the Week… short list today

Bob Englehart in the Hartford Courant:

What does the real America look like?

- and -

Ben Sargent in the Austin American-Statesman:

…and if you listen to the Republicans you might believe it…

- and -

Joel Pett in the Lexington Herald-Leader:

… see what I mean?

 

 

 

 

Wegman’s… WOW!

Elly and I have been meaning to drive down to Frederick, MD, to see what the nearest Wegman’s to us was like (there’s a persistent rumor that one is coming up here to the Eastern Panhandle, but I’ll believe it when I see it.) Wow… this was gigantic… Elly said, I think quite accurately, that it felt like the IKEA of supermarkets.

We started with lunch in their huge Cafe area where you wander through separate stands for sushi, seafood, Italian, deli, Thai… and more and more and more. Then you take your selections through a checkout and end up sitting at a nice table in the sit-down section. Great lunch… and the food was better than any fast food place: cooked well, served by courteous staff and more variety than you can imagine.

The store was about the size of a football field and I got more walking exercise than I’ve had in a long time. Great organic sections and very competitive prices.

I don’t see how a little area like Shepherdstown (I hesitate to say “Greater Shepherdstown”) can support anything of this size… but it would sure be nice. At current gas prices it costs $7.00 to and from Frederick.

A quote that raises a question…

“I think you earned every dollar, you should get to keep every dollar that you earn. That’s your money, that’s not the government’s money. That’s the whole point.”

– Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)

OK. Then where would the money come from to pay your Congressional salary?

Debate Audience Does It Again…

It was bad enough that the Republican debate audience did the “let them die” chant at the previous gathering of dolts, last night they booed a gay soldier who asked a reasonable question: would these clowns back up the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.:

Take a look if you missed it:

If , as is estimated by some analysts, the gay population is about ten percent of the voting block, these damned fools don’t seem to mind that they’ve cut off another vote source.<img title=”Send Us Mail” src=”http://underthelobsterscope.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/ppals1.jpg” alt=”” width=”72″ height=”72″ />

This article was passed on to me…

…from Clyde Kusatsu via Ted Czukor.  It is an interesting, non-partisan view of how our country is shriveling into desperation. I post it here intact:

Subject: INTERESTING INFO

Bad news, but very interesting.   I don’t know where the facts are from, but unfortunately they all look very true.

1. The Post Office. Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably noway to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

2.  The Check. Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.

3. The Newspaper. The younger generation simply doesn’t read the newspaper. They certainly don’t subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.

4. The Book. You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages.. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can’t wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you’re holding a gadget instead of a book.

5. The Land Line Telephone. Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don’t need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they’ve always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service.. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes.

6. Music. This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It’s the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is “catalog items,” meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, “Appetite for Self-Destruction” by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, “Before the Music Dies.”

7. Television. Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they’re playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It’s time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.

8. The “Things” That You Own. Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in “the cloud.” Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest “cloud services.” That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider.
In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That’s the good news. But, will you actually own any of this “stuff” or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big “Poof?” Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

9.  Privacy.  If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That’s gone. It’s been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, “They” know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. And “They” will try to get you to buy something else.. Again and again.
All we will have that can’t be changed are Memories.

10. Facts About The Deindustrialization Of America That Will Blow Your Mind
The United States is rapidly becoming the very first “post-industrial” nation on the globe.  All great economic empires eventually become fat and lazy and squander the great wealth that their forefathers have left them, but the pace at which America is accomplishing this is absolutely amazing.  It was America that was at the forefront of the industrial revolution.  It was America that showed the world how to mass produce everything from automobiles to televisions to airplanes.  It was the great American manufacturing base that crushed Germany and Japan in World War II.  

But now we are witnessing the deindustrialization of America .. Tens of thousands of factories have left the United States in the past decade alone.  Millions upon millions of manufacturing jobs have been lost in the same time period.  The United States has become a nation that consumes everything in sight and yet produces increasingly little.  Do you know what our biggest export is today?  Waste paper.  Yes, trash is the number one thing that we ship out to the rest of the world as we voraciously blow our money on whatever the rest of the world wants to sell to us.  The United States has become bloated and spoiled and our economy is now just a shadow of what it once was.  Once upon a time America could literally out produce the rest of the world combined.  Today that is no longer true, but Americans sure do consume more than anyone else in the world.  If the de-industrialization of America continues at this current pace, what possible kind of a future are we going to be leaving to our children?

Any great nation throughout history has been great at making things.  So if the United States continues to allow its manufacturing base to erode at a staggering pace how in the world can the U.S. continue to consider itself to be a great nation?  We have created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world in an effort to maintain a very high standard of living, but the current state of affairs is not anywhere close to sustainable.  Every single month America    goes into more debt and every single month America gets poorer.

So what happens when the debt bubble pops?

The de-industrialization of the United States should be a top concern for every man, woman and child in the country.  But sadly,most Americans do not have any idea what is going on around them.

For people like that, take this article and print it out and hand it to them.  Perhaps what they will read below will shock them badly enough to awaken them from their slumber.    

The following are 19 facts about the de-industrialization of America that will blow your mind….

#1 The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001.  About 75 percent of those factories employed over 500 people when they were still in operation.

#2 Dell Inc., one of Americas largest manufacturers of computers, has announced plans to dramatically expand its operations in China with an investment of over $100 billion over the next decade.

#3 Dell has announced that it will be closing its last large U.S. manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem , North Carolina in November.  Approximately 900 jobs will be lost.

#4 In 2008, 1.2 billion cell phones were sold worldwide.  So how many of them were manufactured inside the United States ?  Zero.

#5 According to a new study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, if the U.S. trade deficit with China continues to increase at its current rate, the U.S. economy will lose over half a million jobs this year alone.

#6 As of the end of July, the U. S. Trade deficit with China has risen 18 percent compared to the same time period a year ago.

#7 The United States has lost a total of about 5.5 million manufacturing jobs since October 2000.

#8 According to Tax Notes, between 1999 and 2008 employment at the foreign affiliates of U.S. parent companies increased an astounding 30 percent to 10.1 million.  During that exact same time period, U..S. employment at American multinational corporations declined 8 percent to 21.1 million.

#9 In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of U.S. economic output.  In 2008, it represented 11.5 percent.

#10 Ford Motor Company recently announced the closure of a factory that produces the Ford Ranger in St. Paul , Minnesota . Approximately 750 good paying middle class jobs are going to be lost because making Ford Rangers in Minnesota does not fit in with Ford’s new “global” manufacturing strategy.

#11 As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing.  The last time less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.

#12 In the United States today, consumption accounts for 70 percent of GDP. Of this 70 percent, over half is spent on services.

#13 The United States has lost a whopping 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

#14 In 2001, the United States ranked fourth in the world in per capita broadband Internet use.  Today it ranks 15th.

#15 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

#16 Printed circuit boards are used in tens of thousands of different products.   Asia now produces 84 percent of them worldwide.

#17 The United States spends approximately $3.90 on Chinese goods for every $1 that the Chinese spend on goods from the United States .

#18 One prominent economist is projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.

#19 The U.S. Census Bureau says that 43.6 million Americans are now living in poverty and according to them that is the highest number of poor Americans in the 51 years that records have been kept.

So how many tens of thousands more factories do we need to lose before we do something about it?

How many millions more Americans are going to become unemployed before we all admit that we have a very, very serious problem on our hands?

How many more trillions of dollars are going to leave the country before we realize that we are losing wealth at a pace that is killing our economy?

How many once great manufacturing cities are going to become rotting war zones like Detroit before we understand that we are committing national economic suicide?

The de-industrialization of America is a national crisis.  It needs to be treated like one.

If you disagree with this article, I have a direct challenge for you.  If anyone can explain how a de-industrialized America has any kind of viable economic future, please do so.

America is in deep, deep trouble folks.  It is time to wake up!!

=

STUART WOLKOFF
45306 PUTTERS LANE
GRAND BEACH, MI. 49117 (MAY-OCT)
18532 N. 94TH. ST.
SCOTTSDALE AZ. 85255 (OCT.-MAY)

312-543-6174 – MOBILE

SMWOLKOFF@GMAIL.COM
STUART41@COMCAST.NET

I hope Mr. Wolkoff spurs folks on to doing something… but I really don’t see what is possible. When politics is about saving the rights of the wealthy while not giving jobs to the poor, we have little or no chance to get out of the downward spiral.

_______

Note: I was just informed by Stuart that this piece was by an Anonymous friend who didn’t want his name given out.

Quote of the Day

“God has a Divine Plan for you. And part of that Plan is making you too stupid to understand what it is.”
Mrs. Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian

 

I love this woman.

Another program on Civics and Social Education

While driving to Martinsburg today I was listening to the Midday Show on Maryland Public Radio and the discussion was on Civics and how it is taught in schools. Essentially the same topic Elly and I went to hear Richard Dreyfus speak about the other night.

This program focused more on the teaching of Social Studies in grade and high schools and how it is rapidly disappearing as we turn our education programs into nothing but verbal and math tests do to the badly named “No Child Left Behind Act” that Bush left us with.

Among the statistics covered today, from a very large National survey of students:

• 30% do not know the three branches of our government

• no children questioned knew the number of Supreme Court Judges

• a large percentage said Iraq caused the fall of the twin towers.

There are indications that kids don’t read newspapers… don’t watch the news… and even if they did, they have no backup knowledge to interpret it. The odds of them become active voters is very low (they also come from families with a 30% or so national rating of being voters).

Some school boards are trying to solve this problem with tying social information with English reading. Other programs to reinstate Social Studies in schools have some state support in places. Since this was Maryland Public Radio, they focused on Maryland’s state competition in civics and social studies which some school districts participate in (one school in Howard County achieving the highest score in the country based on all state tests.)

A caller to the show, a Turkish born man who had become an American Citizen, spoke of the hundred questions his group had to know the answers to (only a random half dozen were given on the test, but not knowing which half dozen made him learn the whole list). Needless to say, many of these would not be in the knowledge banks of many contemporary school children… or their parents.

When we start getting upset with the Corporate take-over of much of our governing bodies, or worry about Candidates who confuse religious belief with politics or don’t know much about American History, we probably can blame ourselves for becoming less and less civil. Our political parties do not create politicians that discuss their points of view and compromise to benefit the whole population (as they did from George Washington’s government right up to Ronald Reagan’s when everything started fracturing from right to left)… they are not grounded in civility, but in total winning no matter what the cost.

If this doesn’t change, we can look forward to a very dim future and very little to hold our Nation together.

Is there a split going on with the far right?

…from The Hill.

A Quote for the Day – So who thinks the rich should pay more taxes?

“Every single poll shows that the American public overwhelmingly supports higher taxes on the wealthy as part of a package to cut the deficit. The margins are staggering: the NYT poll shows a majority of 74 – 21; even Rasmussen shows a majority of 56 – 34. What the president proposed this morning is simply where the American people are at. If he keeps at it, if he turns his administration into a permanent campaign for structural fiscal reform, I don’t see how he loses the argument.”

- Andrew Sullivan

I’m off to the Dentist…

…so I won’t be back to the blog until this afternoon. However, there is much to talk about today and you can expect a good amount of commentary. I look forward to your responses as well.

Note to the large quantity of spammers who have been signing on to advertise their products in a manner disguised as comments. You do yourself no favors… read my notice on scamming in the right hand column. Once you are banned from comments for life you will never again be able to make a legitimate comment, even if you want to.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Can’t we just agree on SOMETHING?

Jeff Danziger, New York Times Syndicate:

To quote the Tea Party Folks: “Let Them Die!”

- and -

Ben Sargent, Austin American-Statesman:

If you can’t love it, kill it.

- and -

Tom Toles, The Washington Post:

Will a new nation be born? Doubtful.

- and -

Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution;

of course, not everyone NEEDS to vote…

- and -

Ted Rall, L. A. Times:

It’s a good thing candidates believe in something.

Hearing Richard Dreyfus

Elly and I went to hear Richard Dreyfus speak at Shepherd last night on the subject of teaching civics in our schools… something for which he has founded a new organization, The Dreyfus Initiative, which is setting up a Center over in Charles Town.

We got there a half-hour before the speech and the Byrd Center auditorium was already full. We got shuffled into the second overflow room which filled in about ten minutes. We got to watch Dreyfus on a big screen television via C-Span, which was recording the speech for later broadcast. For those, even in the overflow rooms, who wanted to meet him, there was to be a very crowded reception afterward.

You can go here to listen to the speech: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Drey. I think you’ll be impressed… I was. I’d rather you heard the substance of his message, which closely relates to the major problems our country faces as we become a frozen left-right situation without the civility which was a part of America from its beginning.

Yesterday was Constitution Day, something I hadn’t realized. I guess this is just not promoted by our government or the press.

A quote from the President:

“The odds of me being reelected are much higher than the odds of me being elected in the first place.”

– President Obama, quoted by Politico

This, I think is true. Let’s hope he gets to run against Perry or Bachman.

Mr. President: Take the New Deal off the Table…

OK…Now go HERE and sign the petition. I did.

A serious quote for today… listen up:

Economist Paul Krugman

…compassion is out of fashion — indeed, lack of compassion has become a matter of principle, at least among the G.O.P.’s base.

“And what this means is that modern conservatism is actually a deeply radical movement, one that is hostile to the kind of society we’ve had for the past three generations — that is, a society that, acting through the government, tries to mitigate some of the “common hazards of life” through such programs as Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.”

- Paul Krugman

Be aware…be very aware. Remember it was the tea party audience at the recent Republican debate who yelled “Let them die!” when Ron Paul (a “doctor”? Really?) said the poor could get their own health policies if they wanted coverage.

What is becoming of our country? To think there is a percentage of our citizens who would believe in such a thing. I don’t care what anyone thinks of the limitations of Barack Obama. I don’t remember him EVER hoping that children and seniors would die for lack of medical coverage.

This is more than a little depressing.

 

Just got back from the Winners And Losers show at WSHC

John Case and I did our usual Friday morning routine, although, if not for my wife’s car, I wouldn’t have made it on time… I discovered a dead battery in my car due to the back door being ajar and the rear interior light being on all night. Now I’m back and I can take care of jumping it.

Still planning my first Saturday radio show for 9:00 AM tomorrow… 2 hours to cover and still have no one to talk to (although John said he’d call in.) I’ll be going over to Mellow Moods in a little bit… maybe I can find someone there.

Ostensibly, I would like my show to be mostly conversation, but I fear tomorrow will be lots of music unless I get call-ins (304-876-5369) who want to discuss almost anything… even the SU Rams football game later in the day (that shows you how desperate I am.)

Maybe I’ll play some selections from my friend Jeff Haddow’s recent musical version of Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”… he just sent me the CD and it sounds pretty good. I also have the usual mix of rock, blues and folk.

Anyway… it’s a much cooler day outside than it has been and I hope you have a good one.

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