Going to prison for life because of a stillborn birth – what women face

 Prison corridor with cells inside Alcatraz main building san francisco califfornia

A Young Mother In Mississippi Could Face Life In Prison For Giving Birth To A Stillborn Child
[Via Think Progress]

Under a controversial law in Mississippi that allows the state to prosecute women for causing harm to a fetus, Rennie Gibbs could be sentenced to life in prison because her daughter never took a breath.

As ProPublica reports, Gibbs was just 16 years old when she gave birth to a stillborn baby girl, who she named Samiya, back in 2006. Samiya was born premature, and medical records indicate that the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. But, since Samiya’s autopsy turned up traces of cocaine, Gibbs was indicted by a grand jury for “unlawfully, willfully, and feloniously” causing the death. If Gibbs receives the maximum sentence, she’ll spend the rest of her life behind bars.

Gibbs’ case is an example of a dangerous trend that’s certainly not specific to Mississippi. Across the country, there have been hundreds of documented cases of fetal harm laws being used to criminalize pregnant women. This is partly due to the proliferation of state-level abortion restrictions — since there are so many complicated regulations stipulating how women may legally end a pregnancy, that’s created a world in which miscarriages can fall under increased scrutiny, and desperate women can face charges for resorting to illegal abortions. But it’s largely due to persistent issues with this country’s War on Drugs.


Even though there are studies that show that cocaine has no effect on births, we see states routinely act like a crime has been committed.

The government as midwife should be an anathema to most Americans. Apparently not.

We destroy ourselves when we lose the ability to support scientific research

 Lab Bench

World’s Oldest Direct Measure Of Atmospheric CO2 May Lose Its Funding
[Via Think Progress]

The oldest and most well-known direct measurement of atmospheric carbon dioxide is in danger of losing its funding, according to USA Today.

The Keeling Curve is run by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, and was started by scientist Charles David Keeling in 1958. Since then it’s grown from a single measurement taken near the top of Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii to 13 different measuring sites spread across the globe. It’s the longest-running record of direct instrumental readings of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Other records trace back hundreds of thousands of years, but rely on indirect measurements using data from ice cores and the like.


How a once proud nation destroys itself – refusing to provide needed support for scientific research. The selfishness of a decaying society, its inward turning, has historically heralded it coming collapse.

The stupid and frankly worthless budget battles of the last few years have been devastating to our ability to support basic scientific research. Not only is the scientific infrastructure being tremendously damaged, as seen here, but we ae destroying the seed corn of American innovation – research scientists.

We are spending less on research than we did 13 years ago. We account for only 45% of the global biomedical research budget, down from over 50% just 7 years ago. Two-thirds of research scientists are receiving less money than they were in 2010. We have lost reagents that cannot be replaced and had to euthanize animals that took years and millions to produce.

A new brain drain may be in the offing, as about 20% of American researchers say they contemplate moving elsewhere to continue their work.

One great thing about America in the past has been its ability to reverse this trend.

Unfortunately, I do not see anything like that happening yet. One side would rather toss the baby out with the bath water. All to the detriment of us all.


Change is Coming – listen to Peter, Paul and Mary

The times certainly are changing.

From 1965.

And from 1995

The lyrics have never been more appropriate,particularly the one about Senators and Congressmen.


Come gather ’round people 
Wherever you roam 
And admit that the waters 
Around you have grown 
And accept it that soon 
You’ll be drenched to the bone 

If your time to you 
Is worth savin’ 
Then you better start swimmin’ 
Or you’ll sink like a stone 
For the times they are a-changin’. 

Come writers and critics 
Who prophesize with your pen 
And keep your eyes wide 
The chance won’t come again 
And don’t speak too soon 
For the wheel’s still in spin 

And there’s no tellin’ who 
That it’s namin’ 
For the loser now 
Will be later to win 
For the times they are a-changin’. 

Come senators, congressmen 
Please heed the call 
Don’t stand in the doorway 
Don’t block up the hall 
For he that gets hurt 
Will be he who has stalled 

There’s a battle outside 
And it is ragin’ 
It’ll soon shake your windows 
And rattle your walls 
For the times they are a-changin’. 

Come mothers and fathers 
Throughout the land 
And don’t criticize 
What you can’t understand 
Your sons and your daughters 
Are beyond your command 

Your old road is 
Rapidly agin’ 
Please get out of the new one 
If you can’t lend your hand 
For the times they are a-changin’. 


Come gather ’round peopleWherever you roamAnd admit that the watersAround you have grownAnd accept it that soonYou’ll be drenched to the boneIf your time to youIs worth savin’Then you better start swimmin’Or you’ll sink like a stoneFor the times they are a-changin’.
Come writers and criticsWho prophesize with your penAnd keep your eyes wideThe chance won’t come againAnd don’t speak too soonFor the wheel’s still in spinAnd there’s no tellin’ whoThat it’s namin’For the loser nowWill be later to winFor the times they are a-changin’.
Come senators, congressmenPlease heed the callDon’t stand in the doorwayDon’t block up the hallFor he that gets hurtWill be he who has stalledThere’s a battle outsideAnd it is ragin’It’ll soon shake your windowsAnd rattle your wallsFor the times they are a-changin’.
Come mothers and fathersThroughout the landAnd don’t criticizeWhat you can’t understandYour sons and your daughtersAre beyond your commandYour old road isRapidly agin’Please get out of the new oneIf you can’t lend your handFor the times they are a-changin’.
The line it is drawnThe curse it is castThe slow one nowWill later be fastAs the present nowWill later be pastThe order isRapidly fadin’And the first one nowWill later be lastFor the times they are a-changin’.


They hate Tim Cook because he cares about us


Tim Cook to Apple Investors: Drop Dead

Tim Cook to Apple Investors: Drop Dead

Apple CEO Tim Cook tells Investors Who Care More About Return on Investment than Climate Change: Your Money is No Longer Welcome

As Board Member Al Gore Cheers the Tech Giant’s Dedication to Environmental Activism, Investors Left to Wonder Just How Much Shareholder Value is Being Destroyed in Efforts to Combat “Climate Change”

Free-Market Activist Presents Shareholder Resolution to Computer Giant Apple Calling for Consumer Transparency on Environmental Issues; Company Balks


Sociopaths. They hurt us all. This group fails to understand that part of Apple’s success is caring about the world its customers live it. It wants to sell them devices that make that world better.

So trying to make the world better by decreasing pollution— in ways that actually also make money for Apple—is a direct ROI. Or it should be to these guys. But they seem to be suffering from some psychiatric disorder.

An anti-social one.

Yes, they do not want Apple spending money on environmental stuff, such as reducing toxic emissions or polluting water supplies, when that money should go to shareholders. Some quotes:

“The company’s CEO fervently wants investors who care more about return on investments than reducing CO2 emissions to no longer invest in Apple. Maybe they should take him up on that advice.” …

…After today’s meeting, investors can be certain that Apple is wasting untold amounts of shareholder money to combat so-called climate change. The only remaining question is: how much?”…

…”Apple’s actions, from hiring of President Obama’s former head of the Environmental Protection Agency Lisa Jackson, to its investments in supposedly 100 percent renewable data centers, to Cook’s antics at today’s meeting, appear to be geared more towards combating so-called climate change rather than developing new and innovative phones and computers.”

Sociopaths. They got GE to buckle here but not Apple. Here is how this was described by another attendee:

What ensued was the only time I can recall seeing Tim Cook angry, and he categorically rejected the worldview behind the NCPPR’s advocacy. He said that there are many things Apple does because they are right and just, and that a return on investment (ROI) was not the primary consideration on such issues.

“When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind,” he said, “I don’t consider the bloody ROI.” He said that the same thing about environmental issues, worker safety, and other areas where Apple is a leader.

As evidenced by the use of “bloody” in his response—the closest thing to public profanity I’ve ever seen from Mr. Cook–it was clear that he was quite angry. His body language changed, his face contracted, and he spoke in rapid fire sentences compared to the usual metered and controlled way he speaks.

He didn’t stop there, however, as he looked directly at the NCPPR representative and said, “If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.”

We would all be better off if they did sell their stock. They lack an understanding of why Apple is so successful.

As do many sociopaths from Wall Street. As I wrote earlier— Apple is successful because it has created a family that includes its own customers.

So, Apple makes the world we live in better and we buy stuff from it because of that. By helping save the environment (even if that help does nothing) it shows that it wants to improve where we live. And sell us products that also make our life better.

They are both part of the same thing, as far as Apple is concerned.

Even if climate change was not happening, it would still be useful marketing, because it shows Apple cares about our world. Don’t those sociopaths get it? 

Nope because of the actual defects in sociopaths—they show a lack of remorse, a lack of shame, and, tellingly a lack of empathy.

Sociopaths, lacking the empathy and sympathy described by Adam Smith in his book on Moral Sentiments. These are not the moral men he expected to be running capital markets.

They are bandits, enriching themselves at the detriment of the rest of us. It is not normal for them to be the ones running our capital markets.

We need them all to sell all their stock.We need to move the sociopaths to other jobs.

Then perhaps we can begin the road back to normalcy.

Clarence Darrow called it


Something is the Matter With Kansas
[Via Booman Tribune]

Kansas State Representative Keith Esau has introduced a bill that would eliminate no-fault divorce in the Sunflower State. He has some interesting ideason matrimony:

“No-fault divorce gives people an easy out instead of working at it,” Esau told The Wichita Eagle on Friday. “It would be my hope that they could work out their incompatibilities and learn to work together on things.”

…Esau disputed the suggestion that bill was an example of government overreach. He said the state gives benefits to married couples, such as tax breaks, so couples shouldn’t enter into the institution of marriage lightly.

Moreover, he said, the state has a vested interest in supporting “strong families,” and divorce undermines that.

“I think we’ve made divorce way too easy in this country,” he said. “If we really want to respect marriage it needs to be a commitment that people work at and don’t find arbitrary reasons to give up.”

Of course, one of the immediate effects of this law would be that couples seeking a divorce would have to face-off in court and point fingers at each other. Either that, or one of them would have to accept the blame for their failed relationship.


Kansas seems to be leading a political movement backwards to the middle ages. We have fought this anti-Amerfican sentiment most of the last century as explicitly stated by Clarence Darrow in the Scopes trial:

Ignorance and fanaticism are ever busy and need feeding. Always feeding and gloating for more. Today it is the public school teachers; tomorrow the private. The next day the preachers and the lecturers, the magazines, the books, the newspapers. After a while, Your Honor, it is the setting of man against man and creed against creed until with flying banners and beating drums we are marching backward to the glorious ages of the sixteenth century when bigots lighted fagots to burn the men who dared to bring any intelligence and enlightenment and culture to the human mind.

Ignorance and fanaticism, couple with fear, make for very dangerous political movements. 

History has shown that they always lose. Always. They just do a tremendous amount of damage, killing millions as they lose.

Bill Nye continues scientific offensive against deniers

 Bill Nye visits Goddard Space Flight Center

Bill Nye schools Marsha Blackburn on climate: Stop denying and start leading 
[Via | The Raw Story]

Bill Nye “The Science Guy” implored Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on Sunday to stop wasting time by denying that the climate was changing and to start leading the charge to do something about it.

Nye began his debate with Blackburn on NBC’s Meet the Press by applauding President Barack Obama’s call to create a $1 billion fund to prepare for climate change.

“What I’ve always said, we need to do everything all at once,” Nye explained. “And this is an opportunity for the United States to innovate, to be the world leader in new technologies.”


First it was the outstanding debate on creationism, where Nye did a great job.

Now he continues the scientific offensive on the Sunday morning shows. And he is even better. He just demonstrated how lacking in rhetorical skills so many of our congress critters are. 

Most can only spout the latest talking points with not ability to actually understand or discuss them to any depth.

Nye is a trained engineer and head of the Planetary society. So trying to belittle him by simply saying he is an ‘actor’ while the denier is an important member of Congress simply does not stand.

The thing that became obvious is that Nye has learned a lot of great rhetorical tools from his time on TV, which he is using to great effect. 

Most scientists only use the facts and are either oblivious to other approaches or disdain them, often to their detriment.

Every one in marketing knows that facts alone does not sell a product.There are a variety of ways to convince people that have nothing to do with facts.

Facts alone do not win debates. And stylistic rhetorical tools (seen in just about every courtroom drama) often do.

But when those tools are used in the service of facts, there can only be one winner.

So, when Blackburn states

“When you look at the fact that we have gone from 320 parts per million — 0.032 to 0.040 — 400 parts per million [carbon dioxide in the atmosphere], you realize it’s very slight” 

,implying that 80 parts per million is such a small number that it is insignificant, Nye nails her innumeracy.

“When you asserted, Congresswoman, 320 to 400 parts per million is insignificant, my goodness. That’s 30 percent! I mean, that’s an enormous change. And it’s changing the world. And that’s just over the last few decades.”

(Yes, it is actually 25% but it was live and the point is valid.)

Yet, he tells her that she needs to lead, not deny. He was attacking her denialism, not her personally.

“I encourage the congresswoman to really look at the facts. You are a leader. We need you to change things, not deny what’s happening.”

Although he did provide substantial evidence for why she might not look at the facts or want to lead.

Will Italy ever admit that DNA contamination is a likely event?

Block Gavel

Kercher trial: How does DNA contamination occur?
[Via BBC News | Science/Nature | World Edition]

The Kercher trial highlights concerns over DNA


We can detect such small levels of DNA now that contamination in the lab becomes very likely. It is already known that proper procedure was not followed at the scene.

The data are all consistent with contamination, at east beyond a reasonable dobt to me.


Will that ever happen in Italy, whose court system has never seemed to be interested in justice?

America could easily lead in space once again


America and the Emergent Space Powers

[Via BillMoyers.com]

The following is an excerpt from Neil deGrasse Tyson’s book Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier.

I was born the same week NASA was founded. A few other people were born that same year: Madonna (the second one, not the first), Michael Jackson, Prince, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sharon Stone. That was the year the Barbie doll was patented and the movie The Blob appeared. And it was the first year the Goddard Memorial Dinner was held: 1958.

I study the universe. It’s the second oldest profession. People have been looking up for a long time. But as an academic, it puts me a little bit outside the “club.” Yes, I’ve spent quality time in the aerospace community, with my service on two presidential commissions, but at heart I’m an academic. Being an academic means I don’t wield power over person, place or thing. I don’t command armies; I don’t lead labor unions. All I have is the power of thought.

Space Chronicles Book Cover

Spring 2001, there I was, minding my own business amid the manicured lawns of the Princeton University campus — and the phone rang. It was the White House, telling me they wanted me to join a commission to study the health of the aerospace industry. Me? I don’t know how to fly an airplane. At first I was indifferent. Then I read up on the aerospace industry and realized that it had lost half a million jobs in the previous fourteen years. Something bad was going on there.

The commission’s first meeting was to be at the end of September. And then came 9/11. I live — then and now — four blocks from Ground Zero. My front windows are right there. I was supposed to go to Princeton that morning, but I had some overdue writing to finish, so I stayed home. One plane goes in; another plane goes in. At that point, how indifferent could I be? I had just lost my backyard to two airplanes. Duty called. I was a changed person: not only had the nation been attacked, so had my backyard.

I distinctly remember walking into the first meeting. There were 11 other commissioners, in a room filled with testosterone. Everybody occupied space. There was General this, and Secretary of the Navy that and Member of Congress this. It’s not as though I have no testosterone, but it’s Bronx testosterone. It’s the kind where, if you get into a fight on the street, you kick the guy’s butt. This I-build-missile-systems testosterone is a whole other kind. Even the women on the commission had it. One had a Southern accent perfectly tuned to say, “Kiss my ass.” Another one was chief aerospace analyst for Morgan Stanley; having spent her life as a Navy brat, she had the industry by the gonads.

On that commission, we went around the world to see what was influencing the situation here in America. We visited China before they put a man in space. I had in my head the stereotype of everybody riding bicycles, but everybody was driving Audis and Mercedes Benzes and Volkswagens. Then I went home and looked at the labels on all my stuff; half of it was already being made in China. Lots of our money is going there.


Read the whole thing. What is infuriating is taking the innovative work we can do, the frontier busting approaches us the US, and making them an MBA-driven, commodity.

Space does not pay for itself directly. It pays for just about everything indirectly. Tyson knows it.

Large groups of Americans do not acknowledge evolution

 Chromosome Fusion

US acceptance of evolution holds steady overall, drops among Republicans
[Via Ars Technica]

Yesterday, Pew Research Center released the results of a poll of US residents that asked about their acceptance of the theory of evolution. In keeping with past surveys, this one found that a completely uncontroversial idea within the scientific community—modern organisms are the result of evolution—is rejected by a third of the US public. While that fraction has held steady over time, the survey found that the political divide over evolution has grown over the past four years, with Republicans now even more likely to reject the idea than they were before.

In the poll, people were asked whether they thought that humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time, or if we and other creatures had evolved over time. To make sure that mentioning humans didn’t make things overly personal, Pew also asked a subset of questions just about other animals; this didn’t make any difference in responses.

Acceptance of evolution was higher in younger people and those who had graduated college, as had been found in previous polling. Among the 60 percent of Americans who do accept the theory, a bit over half ascribed it solely to natural causes—32 percent of the total. 25 percent of all adults believed in some form of theistic evolution, where a deity or deities guided the process, possibly in a way that’s indistinguishable from the random mutations that have been observed. That figure’s a bit higher in most religious groups, and a bit lower among the unaffiliated.


This post is not meant to pick on a particular group. This poll raises real questions regarding a substantial increase in denialism. There is nothing obvious in the poll itself to explain the results. The poll itself cannot be easily dismissed. It presents a large change in views which opens up the question “Why?”

Most Americans do acknowledge evolution. In answer to the question ” Have humans evolved over time?”  60% said yes.

What is disconcerting is a group that refused to acknowledge evolution; who answered in the affirmative to the question “Have humans existed in their present form since the beginning?”

Not unexpectedly, White, evangelical Protestants said yes to that question. 64% of them refuse to acknowledge evolution. But denying evolution is not purely a religious thing, as both Catholics and mainline, white Protestants actually acknowledge evolution at higher rates than Americans as a whole (68% and 78% respectively).

What is unexpected is that denying evolution appears to be a political thing. Only 43% of Republicans acknowledge evolution. A majority refuses to acknowledge evolution. Democrats and Independents acknowledge evolution at high rates.


In 2009,  a majority of Republicans acknowledged evolution (54%). It was lower than Democrats and Independents (64% and 67%, respectively) but still a majority. A ten point gap but still a majority.

In 2013, while the values for Democrats and Independents stayed about the same, we now have much less than 50% of Republicans acknowledging evolution. In fact, more Republicans now believe in Special Creation than acknowledge evolution. There is now a 24 point gap between Republicans and other Americans.

This is well outside any sort of error rate in the poll. The results are really a political thing.

Why the big change? According to the poll:

Differences in the racial and ethnic composition of Democrats and Republicans or differences in their levels of religious commitment do not wholly explain partisan differences in beliefs about evolution. Indeed, the partisan differences remain even when taking these other characteristics into account.

So we do not know. I’m trying to track down the actual demographics of the survey. When you start splitting out subgroups like this, the errors go up because it uses a smaller number of people. So perhaps this is just an outlier. 

However, since the Democrat and Independent numbers are within the error from 2009, this sort of systematic error is not likely to be present. Pew usually runs very good polls, watching out for systematic errors.

This is not to bash Republicans. A significant number do acknowledge evolution. I wonder why the change?

So what has happened in the last 4 years to cause such a plummet in the basic acknowledgement of scientific fact by so many Republicans? Remember 43% do acknowledge evolution. Why did almost 10% of Republicans change their views in the last 4 years?

It is disconcerting. I’d like it to be a fluke but I see no evidence for that, yet.

Woman puts up Italian peace flag. People complain. Call her “Fag.”

NewImagethe gay pride flag

Rainbow lights, flag anger some neighbors | pham, flag, gay - 
[Via News - The Orange County Register]

A rainbow pride flag with the Italian word for “peace” stirred gently above Mary Pham’s house in Orangetree. Most days, it stands out brightly from its mount on her roof.

But when night falls, the rainbow Christmas lights blanketing the front of Pham’s two-story house steal the show, gleaming against the darkening sky.

As a Register photographer set up a shoot with Pham in front of her house recently, a car drove by. “Fag,” someone yelled out the car window.


People need to get their flags sorted out.

Here is a picture of the flag she put up:


Not to be confused with the Gay Pride Flag which only has 6 colors, with red at the top.. This has red at the bottom with the word Pace on it. It is the Italian Rainbow peace flag first used in 1961. But it has apparently become a symbol of the LGBT movement in Orange County,  California.

A shame that a flag for peace is causing war of words. But since any restriction that would bring this flag down would also bring down American flags, it has stayed up.

After all the threats and nasty comments, she responded with this for Christmas, all within the HOA guidelines:


Another instance of the Streisand effect.

Great visualization of how uniquely partisan recent Congresses have been

Polar housesenate difference

Ideology and party unity in the House, 1857 — 2011
[Via Christopher Ingraham]

Ideology and party unity in the House, 1857 — 2011


If you have been wondering if we live in unique times, this chart will demonstrate that we do. Congress today is like no other.

Have some fun playing with the slider in the graph. It plots the data from VoteView, some of which I have discussed before. It compares every Congress since 1857.

The x-axis essentially charts how liberal or conservative  each member of the Legislature is. I can see that one of the most liberal Democrats ever – from the 56th Congress –  has the same last name as me. 

The y-axis shows how often a particular member voted with his party.  So you would kind of expect that generally, the more partisan a member is, the more likely they will vote with their party and the fewer times they will vote with the other.

And what you can really see is the increasing partisanship over the last few Congresses. Compare the Congresses of the 30s and 40s to the most recent The difference is striking.

You can chart the rise and fall of moderates in American politics. They are all gone now.

You can see that some Congresses have been very partisan.But the most recent Congress is more partisan than any other one.

Never have we seen so many Congresses in a row so widely split. Ten years where party unity is over 90% for both parties. This degree of lockstep voting is unprecedented.

The data also show something else unprecedented – as a group, Republicans are the most conservative now than ever before. This continues a trend, starting from the 96th Congress in 1979-1981, which shows no sign of stopping. There is simply no historical precedent for how conservative Republicans are now in Congress. as a group, they are more conservative than they ever have been.

You see some leftward drift of the Democrats yet they are still less liberal than Democrats from the Progressive Era in the lat 1800s. Heck the Democrats in the 67th Congress in the early 20s were more liberal than now. The Democrats in the most partisan Congress seen before the current era – the 59th from 1905-1907 – were substantially more liberal.

The chart does a nice job showing that while there have been other periods in American history where there were partisan Congresses and no moderates,  Congress now is unique.

I do not think we can sustain this for very long. As Lincoln stated, ” A house divided against itself cannot stand.” 

Could NSA revelations bring down encryption company?

ENIGMA machine 

RSA issues non-denying denial of NSA deal to favor flawed crypto code
[Via Ars Technica]

RSA has issued a statement denying allegations made in Friday’s bombshell report that the encryption software provider received $10 million from the National Security Agency (NSA) in exchange for making a weak algorithm the preferred one in its BSAFE toolkit.

The press release hit the wire on Sunday, two days after Reuters said the secret contract was part of an NSA campaign to embed encryption software that the agency could break into widely used computer products. RSA’s statement was worded in a way that didn’t clearly contradict many of the article’s most damaging accusations.


RSA, which sells encryption software, supposedly took $10 million in order to make an NSA-weakened encoding system the default for their software. This system was so weak that almost anything using it could be cracked. But RSA did not appear to tell anyone that, and continued to promote the encoder even after it was shown to be weak.

So, why would anyone trust this company at all? Especially when their non-denial denial is so full of lawyer speak and loopholes? 

The NSA destroys another company. More and more, I think Snowden should be given a pardon for revealing just how stupid the mostly unsupervised NSA was with regard to the economic health of American companies. It is very much of the “We had to destroy the village in order to save it” approach.

This is what happens to any human endeavor when no one is there to say “No!” epistemic closure in a government organization is usually especially deadly. Only Snowden’s revelations have opened this up, permitting us to finally say “No!” 

Will we?

How we all win against inequitable distribution of wealth

wealthyby photosteve101

I wrote this about 2 years ago but I was reminded about it today. Read the aper if you can. “Collaboration encourages equal sharing in children but not in chimpanzees.”

Only humans share equitably with those they see as collaborators. Chimps do not. We share with those we live with, those within our group.

After WW2, most of us felt like we had worked together against a strong problem and were quite willing to share things, even with former enemies. The Marshall Plan, the GI Bill, etc. all exemplify this feeling that came from winning together.

Humans are most likely to share when they feel a connection, when they feel they are working and suffering together. They are least likely to share, and to actually act like other primates when that connection is gone.

So who wins when we are split into multiple groups with no collaboration between us? Who wins by sowing discord and preventing people from working together?

Who wins when the wealth we create is not equitably shared, something that has been going on for 30 years?

Maybe if you watch this, you will begin to see:

A more equitable world arises when we see how connected we all are to one another, how a Tea Partier is just as important as a Progressive, that most all of us want pretty much the same things.

We win when we make such strong connections with each other, including the poor and the wealthy, that  more sharing is what we all just need to do. It will just emerge. Why?

Because we are humans and not chimps.

And, because of the way Information Age technologies work,  this will also make us wealthier. All of us.

Perhaps a nice first step in controlling patent trolls

jusitceby stevoarnold

House votes 325-91 to pass Innovation Act, first anti-patent-troll bill
[Via Ars Technica]

The Innovation Act, a bill with measures aimed to stop “patent troll” lawsuits, passed the US House of Representatives this morning on a 325-91 vote. Several amendments that would have stripped out key parts of the bill were defeated.

Passage of the bill is a big step for patent reformers, which would have been hard to imagine even one year ago. However, patent trolls going after “Main Street” businesses like grocery stores and coffee shops have made headlines and enraged politicians from Vermont to California.

Majorities of representatives in both parties supported the bill. On the Republican side, 195 representatives voted in favor of the bill and 27 voted against, while 130 Democrats supported the bill and 64 opposed it. The White House has said it supports the bill.


And it was a very bipartisan vote.

There are some worrying things in the bill – I’m not a fan of loser pays and think it could be used in abusive manners – but something needs to be done to fix the abuse of the patent trolls.  It is worse for society.

We know how they are distorting the patent system in ways that harm all of us. They hamper the movement forward because they seek rental fees that slow down development. It helps an undeserving few while it hurts all of us.

The possible abuse by a corporation, – stealing someone’s patented idea and say “Sue me” knowing it has more money – is possible but has always been there. In addition, it seems a lesser abuse for society, as it makes it easier for new ideas to progress society.It hurts a deserving few while helping all of us.

Why I don’t follow MSM columnists – old and out of touch

political columnby dbking

What’s Wrong With America’s Newspaper Opinion Columnists in One Chart
[Via Gawker]

Why are newspaper opinion columnists so consistently baffled by the politics, technologies, and social mores of the 21st century? We’ve crunched some data, and we think we’ve figured out the answer: They’re old as hell.

The New York Times’ David Brooks is under the impression that the babblings of his Yale students reflect major generational trends. The Washington Post’s Richard Cohen thinks for some reason that it’s okay to assume interracial relationships probably make people “repress a gag reflex.” At the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan was apparently the last person on earth to find out about the internet. It’s been a fun few weeks (months, years)—for us, at least.


The graphic says it all. The Wall Street Journal has the youngest columnists with a median age of 55. The rest are even worse.

age columnists

Out of over 140 columnists, half are over 60 years old. 

Now being old is not really the problem per se but the lack of diversity is telling. Only 38 of over 140 columnists are women. About 8 are less than 40 years old.

No wonder so many of them seem to fit into well defined buckets with little diversity in thought.

I read some of the newer columnists/ bloggers, like Daniel Larison (34) at the American Conservative or Ta-Nehisi Coates (36) at the Atlantic if I want to get a clearer view of the world without having it colored by someone reliving the 60s and thinking that explains today.

Sure, that perspective is important and if we do not know where we were, it is hard to tell where we are going. But that should be just one of a multitude of viewpoints, not 90%.

Lack of diverse views is why I don’t follow MSM columnists. I may read them when, like a broken clock, they have something worthwhile, but  I’m not even sure they are right 1 time out of 12.


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