How Is This Democratic?

Our government is supposed to be a Democratic Republic. The founding fathers drafted all those documents to assure this. Either they failed miserably or they had a different idea of what democracy means.

There has been a lot of finger pointing as to who is dividing this country. There isn’t much dispute about the fact that the country is divided, the dispute is who is dividing us. Truth is the founding fathers did from the get go.

The Constitution is the foundation for how our government is structured. It is supposed to be a system of checks and balances, at least the founding fathers said it was yet they set it up to be anything but. The president who is an elected official, only needs to be a natural born citizen, over 35 years of age and must have resided in the country for a certain number of years. That’s it. Those are all the qualifications necessary to occupy the office of the most powerful person in the free world. A high school equivalency is not even required. There is no application to fill out, no resume’ submitted. There isn’t even a basic quiz to demonstrate literacy on any level. Now I get that the founders were all wrapped up in this new found freedom, that they wanted to start a new world where anyone could achieve anything they wished; anyone could obtain the American Dream. I don’t think they put anymore thought into it than that.

The president who doesn’t have to have a minute of experience in anything, who can literally have zero knowledge of or even a fundamental understanding of government operations, policies, procedures or laws. No military experience is required for the president who is also the Commander in Chief of all 4 branches of the Military. The president doesn’t have to have a clue about the  cabinets and departments under his command; what they do, how they do it or who is supposed to answer to who. The president is the one who appoints people to head the Secretary of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs. The president can nominate anyone for any position regardless of there expertise or experience in that particular office or in public service of any kind.

The president also appoints the Attorney General and Supreme Court Justices the former is the office that is suppose to represent the government and the latter is supposed to be part of the system of checks and balances. Given just that fact right there the system is doomed to fail. The president has hire and fire authority over the offices that are responsible for keeping the executive office in check. The president is the only one who has that authority.  The president also appoints  the heads of the FBI, the CIA, Joint Chiefs of Staff and circuit court judges. The presidents authority to fill all these position absolutely undermines the idea of democracy, how is this a fair system when only one party has the right to control everything unchecked?

And these positions are filled and vacated with each presidential term, which means that the fundamental administrative procedures can be completely different every four years. Procedures like environmental protection which includes laws on emissions and industrial pollution, control over educational standards and budgeting, health insurance laws, women’s rights, rules for financial institutions, tax rates, gun laws, marriage laws. This  is absolute instability and chaos, especially when the person in charge has no idea of how things he is in charge of operate.

Now lets look at Congress. This whole idea is anything but democratic. The Speaker of the House has the absolute authority over what comes up for or vote; and what doesn’t. How is it democratic to refuse to let something like gun control law proposals to be voted on? And when the speaker is from one party and members of the other party know that a bill they don’t want passed is up for a vote they have the option to take advantage of  this wonderfully brilliant idea called filibuster. A filibuster is when a member of Congress uses their right to debate a bill on the floor to simply run out the clock, like a quarterback taking a knee and running the clock out. Ted Cruz a republican actually spent over 12 hours reading Dr. Seuss books. Seriously. The clock ran out and the bill didn’t get voted on so it was just simply filed away and that was that. Better yet is the right that one party has to just change the rules when they know a bill they want passed is not going to get the votes needed to pass by lowering that number. For any individual bill they can just decide that only 51 votes is needed instead of the standard 61. Very democratic.

There are many other things that upset this system of checks and balances as well as the democratic process like the president meeting with members of his own party within Congress without the other party members of Congress there. The current administration is currently under investigation for collusion with Russians. Those in question seem to be very indiscreet and bold in their actions and attitude about the whole thing. Why shouldn’t they be? If they are indicted or found guilty the president can just pardon them. Sweet deal if you are someone who is willing to commit crimes to benefit the president. This not only allows room for criminal activity it practically guarantees it.

The simple fact that there can be, or always is a house majority negates any hope of democracy. When one party ‘controls’ the Congress and one party is represented by the highest office in the land how is that a democratic government?




Looking at Racism Through White Eyes

All though I am of Hispanic descent on my dad’s side the Irish and the Pennsylvania Dutch took hold of my appearance. I grew up in a town where there was only one black family that I know of in the one high school town of Los Alamos. I never personally saw or experienced bad neighborhoods, (Los Alamos is one of the wealthiest towns with the most Phd’s in the country) or segregated schools or even different classes really for that matter. The closest thing to this was Espanola which was several miles away, down from ‘The Hill’ as we used to call our little home town.

Racism just wasn’t an issue or even a forethought growing up. As a young adult I became very interested in history. I studied the Civil Rights movements, I read as many books as possible and watched endless documentaries on the subject. I saw how horrible people were and the activism was awoken in me. My kids were raised in this environment and were subjected to endless hours of discussion and documentaries on the issues of racism and sexism. I raised them to be open minded and to stand up for what was right and to speak out against prejudices and injustices in the world.

I feel deeply about this issue but as a white person I can never really empathize with racism, as a woman I can absolutely empathize with oppression but not on the level that black people do.

I can and do talk about racism with my friends and family and do what I can to help end it. But one thing I can never do is talk to black people about it. I don’t know any personally. The couple of times I have reached out to a black person on social media and tried to discuss racism on any level whether is was asking what offended them and why or to offer my support I have received a somewhat indifferent cold shoulder with minimal response, just enough to not ignore me or I have been chastised with comments like ‘don’t pretend to know how I feel’ or ‘you can’t possibly understand’. They’re right, I don’t know how they feel nor do I really understand.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t give a damn about racism, it’s doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to fight racism, it doesn’t mean I am trying to apologize for my whiteness or that I am being or doing anything other than genuinely wanting to end racism.

I read a lot of articles and posts about how difficult it is for black people to talk to white people about racism. But I never see or hear any white people speak out about how hard it is for those of us who are not racists to bring it up or even join in the conversation with black people.

And I don’t know how to fix that.

With all the controversy surrounding the NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem their is one complaint that I hear more than any other, that taking a knee during the National Anthem is disrespecting the flag and the veterans who fought and died defending that flag. I hear the same people telling me I must respect Donald Trump just because he is our president.

I have yet to hear one veteran saying this. I am the daughter and sister of veterans who actually say they didn’t fight to defend the flag or the anthem. They fought to defend our freedom. That freedom includes freedom of expression.

That being said this idea that we have to respect the flag, the anthem and the president for that matter, blindly respect them just because they are symbols of America is deeply disturbing to me. In life people have to earn respect. I raised my children to never disrespect an adult but I also taught them that they do not have to respect every adult just because they are adults.  (Let me say here that not showing respect and disrespect are two very different things.) Every adult have to earn  respect, even from children. I believe that, that blind respect is why many children are abused and molested because they are taught that they cannot say no to an adult and that they must respect what they say.

There are and have been many countries whose leaders demand respect blindly. Countries that have their leaders faces plastered on the sides of buildings several stories high. These are the same leaders who starve, enslave and murder their own people. They must pay homage to flags that represent regimes like Kim Jong-Un or Mao Tse-Tung.

Just like people flags have to earn respect as well. I have respect for the American flag, for what it could and should represent but I don’t have respect for what does represent and that is a country with a president who is a white supremacist and misogynist.

Then there is the complaint that these athletes should not be expressing their political views while ‘working’. First and foremost this is not a political view. Yes they make millions of dollars and yes without the fans they would be nothing and many those same fans are calling for them to be released or fined or suspended. Many even call them ungrateful. Ungrateful? The fact that they are willing to lose it all, to sacrifice all that money, fame and fan adoration for a cause they believe in is worthy of my admiration alone. That’s what great men do, they sacrifice for the sake of others, they risk it all for what is right. If Thomas Jefferson had been such a man he would have suffered the economic loss to his plantation and released his own slaves before he wrote those words ‘all men are created equal…’, had he had the courage of his convictions maybe these athletes wouldn’t have to take the knee in protest today.

The very first public protest against racism by an athlete was during the 1968 Olympics, Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on the medal platform after receiving their Gold and Bronze medals and raised their fists during the National Anthem, with Australian Silver medalist Peter Norman showing support by wearing the Olympic Project for Human Rights campaign button on his uniform.

They paid a heavy price for their action by being barred from the Olympics for life and the backlash here at home was loss of employment and they even faced death threats.

If the Olympic committee would have acknowledged the struggle for racial equality instead of banning two great black athletes maybe these athletes wouldn’t have to take a knee today.

I admire these athletes for the stand they are taking. I don’t admire Donald Trump for chastising them, he is the embarrassment to this country not those football players, those football players do us proud.

The Salute



Steve Bannon; Fired or Reassigned.

What the news reported is that Steve Bannon was fired or let go, or that he was forced to resign The manner in which he left the Trump administration isn’t the only a factor here. The reasons why he left the point that matters here.

Bannon and Trump have been ‘friends’ for a long time. Trump had nothing but kind words about Bannon after he left. Trump doesn’t do niceties. They had no falling out nor was Trump pressured into letting Bannon go. Trump doesn’t do anything unless there is something in it for Trump.

Bannon had no business being any where near the White House in the first place. This is a man who is undeniably a Nationalist, racist and misogynist. His magazine speaks for his views. He was given a key position in Trumps administration and a very high security clearance. What his position really was I am unclear of. I doubt the role of Senior Adviser requires a top security clearance that allows you to sit in on highly classified meetings.

So now Steve Bannon has 6 months of learning the ins and out of the workings or the White House, he has 6 months of clearance to classified information, 6 months of networking among the Washington politically elite.

Now he is back out in the real world and returned as the editor for the American editions of Brietbart Magazine which here in America at least is a White Nationalist rag. If we think he was dangerous in the White House, think about how dangerous he will be out of it with an unobstructed view of Capitol Hill.

He was let go supposedly because he was hurting the Trump White House. But one should read between the lines on this one. I think he was let go to better help the Trump administration. He is no longer expected to be politically correct, he is no longer under the restrictions of Constitutional governing, he is no longer required to follow Presidential protocol, he is no longer the rest of the administrations responsibility or concern in a legal sense. He can no longer be held accountable as a government official for any of his actions, his beliefs or his advice to his good old buddy President Trump.

We cannot afford to let Steve Bannon slither under the radar without anyone seeing him coming. Mark my words. There are more things going on in Washington and on Capitol Hill than are dreamt  of in our nightmares.

Subliminal Influences

There are some influences that are known to be subliminal.  We all know racism, bigotry and misogyny for example are learned. We usually think of these attitudes as being learned from parents, teachers or other adult influences in our lives. I don’t think that many of these influences are intentional, that we may not even realize we are teaching these ideas at all.

Fairy tales, bedtime stories. tales around the campfire, legends and literature have other things in common other than being sources for entertainment, they all subliminally influence or ideas of racism.  The Knight in shining armor on a white horse, the young beautiful blond haired blue eyed princess or handsome prince who lives in a beautiful crystal palace always represent whats pure and good, what’s desirable to be or to have. The fallen warrior or bastard son of a king on a black horse, wearing dark clothing or armor, the old ugly witch or dark haired spinster that lives in a dark cave always represent whats tainted and evil, what’s undesirable to be or have.

Brides wear white, they are innocent and naive, widows and mourners wear black, they are old and mean. The good witch of the north wore white and had blonde hair with blue eyes, the wicked witch of the east wore black, had dark and eyes. Doctors where white coats, they cure and save lives, morticians are usually dressed in dark suits, they embalm and bury dead people. Snow is considered crisp and clean while mud is considered slimy and dirty. The white flag is used for a truce while a black flag is an emblem for piracy or anarchism. Angels wear white, god wears white while demons are black skinned and have dark eyes. Daytime and sunlight are considered safe while night time and the darkness are something to be afraid of. The unicorn is white while the devil dogs are black. White is good and beautiful. Black is evil and ugly.

In the middle ages when owning possessions began to determine your social status, women were such a possession and her appearance set her worth. Lady’s of class were expected to have the whitest of skin. This skin color distinction came from the fact that the working class would labor outside where they were in the sun. Servant women were the ones who hung out the wash, got food from the garden, went to the market etc. Their skin would tan, darken. A lady never did these menial tasks and therefore not exposed to the sun, leaving her skin a nice white complexion. Pale skin was desirable because the life of a lady, a life of wealth and luxury with servants was what every woman wanted, it was good. No woman wanted to be a servant. Dark skin was undesirable because the life of a servant, a life of labor and poverty serving others was not what any one wanted. White is desirable. Dark is loathsome.

These influences come from books, movies and advertisements. These subliminal messages have to influence our ideas about race. On some level. We are all in these subtle ways part of the problem when we tell those stories to our children.

Hitler carefully and purposefully used the word ‘exterminate’ the Jews. Not kill, not murder not put to death…exterminate. One murders or kills people, one exterminates insects or rats. Using that word subliminally is part of the reason Hitler was able to get an entire nation to help with this cause, or at least to be indifferent about it.

Then there’s calling a storm violent, or raging or even harsh not only personify how we look at weather but it subliminally convinces people that these events are the result of gods wrath.

The use of a word however inconsequential it may seem can brainwash an entire population. The use of an image can blind a generation. Subliminal messaging can oppress and enslave entire races of people.

Just something to think about.


Salt and Fire

This film was directed by Werner Herzog. I know him from his film Dinotasia but he does a variety of off the cuff films that bring awareness to various historical events.  Lawrence Krauss has a supporting role in the film, his film debut was quite entertaining.

The films intention was to bring awareness to climate change. This was meant to be a different point of view than the film Before The Flood but about the same subject of climate change.

I found the film hard to follow. I was left with a feeling of ‘what was that all about’. With the dialogue that followed I understood what Herzog was aiming for but I personally felt he fell short. Jeffrey Sachs was also on stage for the dialogue, he is an economist who currently works in Washington with Congress providing advice that isn’t very often listened to regarding the need for funding to fight climate change. He was very outspoken about the refusal to acknowledge this disaster on Capitol Hill. Krauss was as I said entertaining in the film and I loved it.

It was worth going to see because Krauss was in it but I didn’t think much of the film otherwise to be honest. Still a great cause to bring awareness to climate change and props to Krauss for doing so.


Before The Flood

This film was directed by Fisher Stevens, I remembered him from the movie Short Circuit. Leonardo DiCaprio narrates and travels the world speaking to experts and speaking before large audiences about climate  change. It is a very powerful deliverance of the dangers of ignoring this disaster. There is continuously stunning footage how the world is slowing warming and offers strong evidence and scientific data to back up these claims. DiCaprio is admirably using his celebrity status to promote awareness for this cause. I found the film informative and captivating, even for someone who is painfully aware of what is happening there is more too see here.

Krauss had a great conversation with Fisher Stevens following the film. It is very obvious that bringing awareness to climate change is something both Stevens and DiCaprio believe in wholeheartedly and that they are not in this for the fame or the glory but for the good of mankind.

And as always Professor Krauss was warm, friendly and enthusiastic after the event at the book signing. I am out of books for him to sign but he did sign my program and graciously took a photo with me.19401891_10214004907145158_2225545743545626441_o

Great Debate: the Future of Artificial Intelligence, Who’s In Control

Eric Horvitz is managing director of Microsoft Research’s main Redmond Lab, an American computer scientist, and technical fellow at Microsoft. Horvitz received his PhD and MD degrees at Stanford University, and has continued his research and work in areas that span theoretical and practical challenges of machine learning and inference, human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, and more. He is a fellow of numerous associations and academies, has received numerous awards, given both technical lectures and presentations for diverse audiences, and been featured in the New York Times and Technology Review.

Jaan Tallinn is co-founder of Skype, Estonian programmer, investor and physicist. He is partner and co-founder of the development company Bluemoon, Board of Sponsors member of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and one of the founders of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk and the Future of Life Institute. He strongly promotes the study of existential risk and artificial intelligence, and the long-term planning and mitigation of potential challenges.

Kathleen Fisher is a professor in and the chair of the Computer Science Department at Tufts University. Previously, she was a program manager at DARPA where she started and managed the HACMS and PPAML programs, a consulting faculty member in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University, and a principal member of the Technical Staff at AT&T Labs Research. Kathleen’s research focuses on advancing the theory and practice of programming languages and on applying ideas from the programming language community to the problem of ad hoc data management.

Subbarao Kambhampati is a professor of Computer Science at ASU, and is the current president of the Association for the Advancement of AI (AAAI). His research focuses on automated planning and decision making, especially in the context of human-aware AI systems. He is an award-winning teacher and spends significant time pondering the public perceptions and societal impacts of AI. He was an NSF young investigator, and is a fellow of AAAI. He received his bachelor’s degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and his PhD from University of Maryland, College Park.

Lawrence Krauss is an author, professor, physicist, public intellectual and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, where he is also Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Department of Physics.

The Origins Panel will bring rich, enthusiastic, and perhaps surprising perspectives to these questions of vital importance for our future having to do with the challenges and benefits of upcoming developments as AI changes our world.

This public event is associated with a closed scientific workshop that will be held to spark discussions, asking participants to envision and address potential adverse outcomes of artificial intelligence.

Materiality of a Vacuum

Theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek is Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Origins Project Distinguished Professor at Arizona State University. He received the Nobel Prize in 2004 for his work on asymptotic freedom in the theory of strong interaction. From the Origins Web Site.

The lecture was actually rather enjoyable. I was afraid it would be over my head but Professor Wilczek has a way of putting things that are not only comprehensible but funny in a geeky sort of way.

He posed the plausibility of parallel 2 dimensional worlds that left one thinking.

The dialogue following the lecture was the typical physicist banter and subtle competition fueled a little disagreement here and there. It was a good evening.

And I got my 10th and final book signed. Professor Krauss was gracious as always.

My Brief Interview With Professor Krauss

Professor Lawrence M Krauss graciously agreed to answer a few questions for me on his thoughts about some things Robert Oppenheimer wrote. Here are the first few. I hope to get a couple more out of him but we shall see. I am very grateful he took time out of his busy schedule to indulge me.

Conversation: Inconvenient Truths – From Love to Extinctions

This panel consisted of writer Elizabeth Kolbert, publisher of Skeptic Magazine Michael Shermer and professor and archaeologist Curtis Marean.

Kolbert talked about species that have gone or are near extinction; very informative, archaeoligist Marean discussed the evolution of man and how they migrated and populated the earth. He talked about the traces of Neanderthal DNA in today’s humans.

Michael Shermer who is one of my favorite intellectuals discussed ways to engage in civil debate and conversation with those of opposing views on subjects that can get pretty heated like religion.


And as always Professor Krauss was personable and gracious. He signed my copy of Beyond Star Trek. Shermer signed my copy of The Moral Arc and took a photo with me. I will post links to the video when it airs.

Political Bodies; Sex, Gender and Reproductive Rights

This was an excellent dialogue. Two of the panelists were Transgender and they had some very powerful stories to tell. The fact that Lawrence Krauss is socially aware in areas that don’t intersect with science speaks volumes to his character.

And again he had time to sign two books this event, my copy of Quintessence and The Fifth Essence.

Here are the links:

Sex, Gender and Reproductive Rights Part 1

Sex, Gender and Reproductive Rights Part 2

Mariette DiChristina and Lawrence Krauss

Mariette DiChristina is the editor of Scientific Magazine and it seems a good friend of Krauss’. She was interesting and funny, though she doesn’t have a scientific background, which actually makes her more appealing to us average Joe’s, she has a good grasp of scientific knowledge and she is a logical thinker as well as an experienced journalist. I enjoyed the evening very much.

And as always Krauss had time to sign another book, my copy of Lee Burvine’s The Kafir Project for which Krauss wrote the forward.

The questions; Did you re-publish the uncensored article by Hans Bethe and Have you ever published anything by Oppenheimer were mine.

Here are the links:

DiChristina Part 1

DiChristina Part 2

Dialogue: Downs and Krauss

This one was extra interesting as I grew getting my news from Hugh Downs and watching 60 Minutes. Downs is in his 90’s and incredibly sharp witted, age doesn’t seemed to have muddled his mind. He forgot a few details when answering questions but just little details and only a couple. He was funny and warm.

As usual Krauss was his awesome gracious self. He signed my copy of Hiding in the Mirror.

The question; Have you ever protected a source that you felt shouldn’t be protected was mine.

Here are the links:

Hugh Downs Part 1

Hugh Downs Part 2

Einstein’s Legacy; Celebrating 100 Years of the Theory of Relativity.

I most definitely have to admit I was in a little over my head on this one. However, Krauss as usual explains things so that any layman can understand physics, at least the basic principles of it. He had a panel of scientists for this one, Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus, at California Institute of Technology, Kip Thorne, Theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek, Thomas J. Barber Professor in Space Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Adam RiessDiana Kormos-Buchwald, Professor of History at California Institute of Technology and director of the Einstein’s Papers Project.

The discussion was very interesting, I learned several things about Einstein’s career that I didn’t know before. They also discussed the discovery of gravitational waves! The last guest to speak on the panel was Kip Thorne, he was the science adviser on the movie Interstellar. I hadn’t watched the movie but did so a couple of days later. It was fun to have heard the inside scoop on some of the scenes.

As usual Krauss was very personable with his fans and at the book signing. He signed my copy of Atom.

Here are the links:

Einstein’s Legacy Part One

Einstein’s Legacy Part Two

Race Baiting

Race baiting; when someone proclaims Black Lives Matter for example, and your initial response is All Lives Matter and you believe there is only one race, the human race then then you think that saying Black Lives Matter is race baiting. But we human beings cannot interact with each other as one dimensional beings. We are more than just one race; we are individual people with ethnic, cultural, religious, geographical, societal, governmental, educational and many other differences between us as people, as a culture, as a religion, as a community; a town; a city; a state; a nation, as a society, as a governmental system, in educational opportunity’s and many other aspects of life. It is the richness of mental stimulation, the awe and inspiration of the world around us, the sheer joy of human sexual and emotional intimacy, personal satisfaction and fulfillment. But it is also the horror of human cruelty, the despair of oppression, the hatred and in humanity with which we treat one another.
Race baiting; if you hear me saying Black Lives Matter and your response is All Lives Matter and you think I am race baiting think about which way you are looking at it; not which way I am meaning it.

Declassified Photos of Fat Man and Little Boy

These photos and captions were copied and pasted from the web site AcidCow. I have not idea who to credit for posting them. The source link at the bottom of the page goes here;


Recently declassified photos show the US’s final preparations of “Fat Man” and “Little Boy” which were the two bombs that were dropped cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945.

Soldiers check the casings on the “Fat Man” atomic bomb. Multiple test bombs were created on Tinian Island. All were roughly identical to an operational bomb, even though they lacked the necessary equipment to detonate.
1Declassified Photos Of US Soldiers Preparing For Atomic Bombings Of Japan (16 pics + video)

On the left, geophysicist and Manhattan Project participant Francis Birch marks the bomb unit that would become “Little Boy” while Norman Ramsey, who would later win the Nobel Prize in Physics, looks on.

2Declassified Photos Of US Soldiers Preparing For Atomic Bombings Of Japan (16 pics + video)

A technician applies sealant and putty to the crevices of “Fat Man,” a final preparation to make sure the environment inside the bomb would be stable enough to create a full impact once it detonated.

3Declassified Photos Of US Soldiers Preparing For Atomic Bombings Of Japan (16 pics + video)

Soldiers and workers sign their names and other messages on the nose of “Fat Man.”

4Declassified Photos Of US Soldiers Preparing For Atomic Bombings Of Japan (16 pics + video)

Here’s a closer look.

5Declassified Photos Of US Soldiers Preparing For Atomic Bombings Of Japan (16 pics + video)

“Fat Man” is loaded onto a transport trailer and given a final once-over.

6Declassified Photos Of US Soldiers Preparing For Atomic Bombings Of Japan (16 pics + video)

The bomb is then escorted to the nearby North Field airbase on Tinian, shrouded in tarp.

7Declassified Photos Of US Soldiers Preparing For Atomic Bombings Of Japan (16 pics + video)

At the airfield, “Fat Man” is lined up over a pit specifically constructed for it, from which it is then loaded into the plane that eventually dropped it over Nagasaki.

8Declassified Photos Of US Soldiers Preparing For Atomic Bombings Of Japan (16 pics + video)

Both pits for “Little Boy” and “Fat Man,” each roughly 8 feet by 12 feet, still exist today on the island and now serve as a memorial of sorts.

9Declassified Photos Of US Soldiers Preparing For Atomic Bombings Of Japan (16 pics + video)

The bomb and its trailer are lowered down into the pit using a hydraulic lift.

10Declassified Photos Of US Soldiers Preparing For Atomic Bombings Of Japan (16 pics + video)

Workers check “Little Boy” one last time, keeping the tarp on for security reasons, following a similar lowering procedure like the one done for “Fat Man” three days later.

11Declassified Photos Of US Soldiers Preparing For Atomic Bombings Of Japan (16 pics + video)

Once “Little Boy” is ready, the Enola Gay, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, is reversed and positioned over the trench.

12Declassified Photos Of US Soldiers Preparing For Atomic Bombings Of Japan (16 pics + video)

The tarp is removed and the bomb is readied for loading.

13Declassified Photos Of US Soldiers Preparing For Atomic Bombings Of Japan (16 pics + video)

Using the hydraulic lift, “Little Boy” is carefully raised and loaded into the belly of the Enola Gay.

14Declassified Photos Of US Soldiers Preparing For Atomic Bombings Of Japan (16 pics + video)

Once inside the plane, the bomb is secured and all connections and equipment are checked again.

15Declassified Photos Of US Soldiers Preparing For Atomic Bombings Of Japan (16 pics + video)

From there, both “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” were flown over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively, and detonated. World War II ended shortly afterwards.

16Declassified Photos Of US Soldiers Preparing For Atomic Bombings Of Japan (16 pics + video)
Left: Atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Right: Atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945
Here is a link to some video footage….

Still Not Happy With Elton John

I have posted about this before, but I was watching CBS Sunday Morning earlier and they interviewed Sir Elton; there was discussion about the large number of songs, how songs were written etc and it brought back some negative feelings, disappointment and even anger I felt towards him over his making ‘Candle in the Wind’ Princess Diana’s song when he played it at her funeral. For those who may not be familiar, Candle In The Wind was written by he and Bernie and released on Yellow Brick Road. It was written for Marilyn Monroe, even has her real name Norma Jean in the first line.

Now, here is my issue with this though the first should be obvious. How rude is it to just discard Marilyn like that? Oh she isn’t worthy of her song anymore because someone better died? It was obviously, or at least it used to be, written with a lot of heart and love for her if you listen to the emotion in the music and the words of endearment.

Here is my second and most angering issue; didn’t Diana deserve for him to write a new song for her? Given the large number of songs this duo wrote I find it hard to believe they couldn’t come up with a new one, actually SIR Elton, one would think, should have been inspired by the loss his very good friend who was also his countries Princess; it was because of her he received the title of Knighthood.

What a shallow and insensitive thing for him to do. Though giving a woman a previous girlfriends engagement ring pales in comparison…you get my drift.

An Eyeopener…..I, Racist

This was posted on Facebook by a very dear friend of mine. Left me in tears, speechless and as a white woman feeling a responsibility to try to share this with as many people as I possibly can.


What follows is the text of a “sermon” that I gave as a “congregational reflection” to an all White audience at the Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ on Sunday, June 28th. The sermon was begun with a reading of The Good Samaritan story, and this wonderful quote from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah.

Credit for this speech goes to Chaédria LaBouvier, whose “Why We Left” inspired me to speak out about racism; to Robin DiAngelo, whose “White Fragility” gave me an understanding of the topic; and to Reni Eddo-Lodge who said “Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race” long before I had the courage to start doing it again.

couple weeks ago, I was debating what I was going to talk about in this sermon. I told Pastor Kelly Ryan I had great reservations talking about the one topic that I think about every single day.

Then, a terrorist massacred nine innocent people in a church that I went to, in a city that I still think of as home. At that point, I knew that despite any misgivings, I needed to talk about race.

You see, I don’t talk about race with White people.

To illustrate why, I’ll tell a story:

It was probably about 15 years ago when a conversation took place between my aunt, who is White and lives in New York State, and my sister, who is Black and lives in North Carolina. This conversation can be distilled to a single sentence, said by my Black sister:

“The only difference between people in the North and people in the South
is that down here, at least people are honest about being racist.”

There was a lot more to that conversation, obviously, but I suggest that it can be distilled into that one sentence because it has been, by my White aunt. Over a decade later, this sentence is still what she talks about. It has become the single most important aspect of my aunt’s relationship with my Black family. She is still hurt by the suggestion that people in New York, that she, a northerner, a liberal, a good person who has Black family members, is a racist.

This perfectly illustrates why I don’t talk about race with White people. Even — or rather, especially — my own family.

love my aunt. She’s actually my favorite aunt, and believe me,
I have a lot of awesome aunts
to choose from. But the facts
are actually quite in my sister’s favor on this one.

New York State is one of the most segregated states in the country. Buffalo, New York, where my aunt lives, is one of the 10 most segregated school systems in the country. The racial inequality of the area she inhabits is so bad that it has been the subject of reports by the Civil Rights Action Network and the NAACP.

Those, however, are facts that my aunt does not need to know. She does
not need to live with the racial segregation and oppression of her home.
As a white person with upward mobility, she has continued to improve
her situation. She moved out of the area I grew up in– she moved to an
area with better schools. She doesn’t have to experience racism, and so
it is not real to her.

Nor does it dawn on her that the very fact that she moved away from an increasingly Black neighborhood to live in a White suburb might itself be a aspect of racism. She doesn’t need to realize that “better schools” exclusively means “whiter schools.”

I don’t talk about race with White people because I have so often seen it go nowhere. When I was younger, I thought it was because all white people are racist. Recently, I’ve begun to understand that it’s more nuanced than that.

understand, you have to know
that Black people think in terms
of Black people.

We don’t see a shooting of an innocent Black child in another state as something separate from us because we know viscerally that it could be our child, our parent, or us, that is shot.

The shooting of Walter Scott in North Charleston resonated with me because Walter Scott was portrayed in the media as a deadbeat and a criminal — but when you look at the facts about the actual man, he was nearly indistinguishable from my own father.

Racism affects us directly because the fact that it happened at a geographically remote location or to another Black person is only a coincidence, an accident. It could just as easily happen to us — right here, right now.

Black people think in terms of we because we live in a society where the social and political structures interact with us as Black people.

White people do not think in terms of we. White people have the privilege to interact with the social and political structures of our society as individuals. You are “you,” I am “one of them.” Whites are often not directly affected by racial oppression even in their own community, so what does not affect them locally has little chance of affecting them regionally or nationally. They have no need, nor often any real desire, to think in terms of a group. They are supported by the system, and so are mostly unaffected by it.

What they are affected by are attacks on their own character. To my aunt, the suggestion that “people in The North are racist” is an attack on her as a racist. She is unable to differentiate her participation within a racist system (upwardly mobile, not racially profiled, able to move to White suburbs, etc.) from an accusation that she, individually, is a racist. Without being able to make that differentiation, White people in general decide to vigorously defend their own personal non-racism, or point out that it doesn’t exist because they don’t see it.

The result of this is an incessantly repeating argument where a Black person says “Racism still exists. It is real,” and a white person argues “You’re wrong, I’m not racist at all. I don’t even see any racism.” My aunt’s immediate response is not “that is wrong, we should do better.” No, her response is self-protection: “That’s not my fault, I didn’t do anything. You are wrong.”

Racism is not slavery. As President Obama said, it’s not avoiding the use
of the word Nigger. Racism is not white water fountains and the back of
the bus. Martin Luther King did not end racism. Racism is a cop severing
the spine of an innocent man. It is a 12 year old child being shot for playing with a toy gun in a state where it is legal to openly carry firearms.

But racism is even more subtle than that. It’s more nuanced. Racism is
the fact that “White” means “normal” and that anything else is different. Racism is our acceptance of an all white Lord of the Rings cast because
of “historical accuracy,” ignoring the fact that this is a world with an
entirely fictionalized history.

Even when we make shit up,
we want it to be white.

And racism is the fact that we all accept that it is white. Benedict Cumberbatch playing Khan in Star Trek. Khan, who is from India.
Is there anyone Whiter than Benedict fucking Cumberbatch? What?
They needed a “less racial” cast because they already had the
Black Uhura character?

That is racism. Once you let yourself see it, it’s there all the time.

Black children learn this when their parents give them “The Talk.”
When they are sat down at the age of 5 or so and told that their best
friend’s father is not sick, and not in a bad mood — he just doesn’t
want his son playing with you. Black children grow up early to life in
The Matrix. We’re not given a choice of the red or blue pill. Most white people, like my aunt, never have to choose. The system was made for
White people, so White people don’t have to think about living in it.

But we can’t point this out.

Living every single day with institutionalized racism and then having to argue its very existence, is tiring, and saddening, and angering. Yet if we express any emotion while talking about it, we’re tone policed, told we’re being angry. In fact, a key element in any racial argument in America is the Angry Black person, and racial discussions shut down when that person speaks. The Angry Black person invalidates any arguments about racism because they are “just being overly sensitive,” or “too emotional,” or– playing the race card. Or even worse, we’re told that we are being racist (Does any intelligent person actually believe a systematically oppressed demographic has the ability to oppress those in power?)

But here is the irony, here’s the thing that all the angry Black people know, and no calmly debating White people want to admit: The entire discussion of race in America centers around the protection of White feelings.

Ask any Black person and they’ll tell you the same thing. The reality of thousands of innocent people raped, shot, imprisoned, and systematically disenfranchised are less important than the suggestion that a single White person might be complicit in a racist system.

This is the country we live in. Millions of Black lives are valued less than a single White person’s hurt feelings.

White people and Black people are not having a discussion about race. Black people, thinking as a group, are talking about living in a racist system. White people, thinking as individuals, refuse to talk about “I, racist” and instead protect their own individual and personal goodness. In doing so, they reject the existence of racism.

But arguing about personal non-racism is missing the point.

Despite what the Charleston Massacre makes things look like, people are dying not because individuals are racist, but because individuals are helping support a racist system by wanting to protect their own non-racist self beliefs.

People are dying because we are supporting a racist system that justifies White people killing Black people.

see this in how one Muslim killer is Islamic terror; how one Mexican thief points to the need for border security; in one innocent, unarmed Black man shot in the back by a cop, then sullied in the media as a thug and criminal.

And in the way a white racist in a state that still flies the confederate flag is seen as “troubling” and “unnerving.” In the way people “can’t understand why he would do such a thing.”

A white person smoking pot is a “hippie” and a Black person doing it is a “criminal.” It’s evident in the school to prison pipeline and the fact that there are close to 20 people of color in prison for every white person.

There’s a headline from The Independent that sums this up quite nicely: “Charleston shooting: Black and Muslim killers are ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs’. Why are white shooters called ‘mentally ill’?”

I’m gonna read that again: “Black and Muslim killers are ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs’. Why are white shooters called ‘mentally ill’?”

Did you catch that? It’s beautifully subtle. This is an article talking specifically about the different way we treat people of color in this nation and even in this article’s headline, the white people are “shooters” and the Black and Muslim people are “killers.”

Even when we’re talking about racism, we’re using racist language to make people of color look dangerous and make White people come out as not so bad.

Just let that sink in for a minute, then ask yourself why Black people are angry when they talk about race.

The reality of America is that White people are fundamentally good, and so when a white person commits a crime, it is a sign that they, as an individual, are bad. Their actions as a person are not indicative of any broader social construct. Even the fact that America has a growing number of violent hate groups, populated mostly by white men, and that nearly *all* serial killers are white men can not shadow the fundamental truth of white male goodness. In fact, we like White serial killers so much, we make mini-series about them.

White people are good as a whole, and only act badly as individuals.

People of color, especially Black people (but boy we can talk about
“The Mexicans” in this community) are seen as fundamentally bad.
There might be a good one — and we are always quick to point them
out to our friends, show them off as our Academy Award for “Best Non-Racist in a White Role” — but when we see a bad one, it’s just proof that
the rest are, as a rule, bad.

This, all of this, expectation, treatment, thought, the underlying social system that puts White in the position of Normal and good, and Black
in the position of “other” and “bad,” all of this, is racism.

And White people, every single one of you, are complicit in this racism because you benefit directly from it.

This is why I don’t like the story of the good samaritan. Everyone likes to think of themselves as the person who sees someone beaten and bloodied and helps him out.

That’s too easy.

If I could re-write that story, I’d rewrite it from the perspective of Black America. What if the person wasn’t beaten and bloody? What if it wasn’t so obvious? What if they were just systematically challenged in a thousand small ways that actually made it easier for you to succeed in life?

Would you be so quick to help then?
Or would you, like most White people, stay silent and let it happen?

Here’s what I want to say to you: Racism is so deeply embedded in this country not because of the racist right-wing radicals who practice it openly, it exists because of the silence and hurt feelings of liberal America.

That’s what I want to say, but really, I can’t. I can’t say that because I’ve spent my life not talking about race to White people. In a big way, it’s my fault. Racism exists because I, as a Black person, don’t challenge you to look at it.

Racism exists because I, not you, am silent.

But I’m caught in the perfect Catch 22, because when I start pointing out racism, I become the Angry Black Person, and the discussion shuts down again. So I’m stuck.

All the Black voices in the world speaking about racism all the time do not move White people to think about it– but one White John Stewart talking about Charleston has a whole lot of White people talking about it. That’s the world we live in. Black people can’t change it while White people are silent and deaf to our words.

White people are in a position of power in this country because of racism. The question is: Are they brave enough to use that power to speak against the system that gave it to them?

So I’m asking you to help me. Notice this. Speak up. Don’t let it slide. Don’t stand watching in silence. Help build a world where it never gets to the point where the Samaritan has to see someone bloodied and broken.

As for me,
I will no longer be silent.

I’m going to try to speak kindly, and softly, but that’s gonna be hard. Because it’s getting harder and harder for me to think about the protection of White people’s feelings when White people don’t seem to care at all about the loss of so many Black lives.

Online Sellers of Firearms Trust Buyer To Be Honest About Felonies

This is from a gun broker online site, It is in the list they provide on how to buy from them. The key words here are the last sentence…..

“Anyone who is legally allowed to own firearms, ammunition, knives, and gun accessories is allowed to buy or sell them here. It is your responsibility to be in compliance with all Federal, state, and local laws when using this site.”

Really just take someones word for whether or not they are a convicted felon? Really?
You know, when serving someone buys alcohol the seller is equally responsible if not more, they are required to see verification of age with a photo ID. When you go to a Casino they are required to do the same. If either of those places is found to have neglected to ask for a photo id, found to accept one that states the customer is not of legal age or presents an ID that is not considered valid the seller is held responsible.
Jesus Christ this country has it shit bass ackwards.
The loop hole is here, the online dealer doesn’t have to do a background check because it is not handing the gun to the buyer directly, they ship the purchased weapon to a local gun store that has a Federal Firearm License (which they do require a copy is sent to them to put on file). The buyer then goes to that store and picks up the gun. The local gun store does not have to to a background check because they technically aren’t selling the gun, they just have a package that they haven’t opened to hand to the buyer. The buyer only has to show a printed receipt with the package number to pick it up, no photo ID required. Not even proof of age. The only stipulation is that the laws of the state shipped to are followed.
For instance the state of Arizona only prohibits the shipment of stun guns and tasers.
Now, if the local dealer doesn’t even know what is in the package, as they do not open it, then again trust is placed in the buyer to be following the laws of the state when ordering the gun. The online seller is not responsible for not shipping forbidden weapons, buyer is trusted to check the their state laws before buying and trusted to not buy anything on the prohibited list.
I don’t even have the words for the anger this ‘Really’? factor.

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