Emily Talmage: Beware The Philanthrocapitalists’ Big New Plan

“[Bill] Gates is one giant, gnarly tree in a dark, overgrown forest of private ‘givers’ who are dead-set on remaking our nation into something reminiscent of a feudalistic society.”

Diane Ravitch's blog

Bill Gates has a big new idea. He has gotten together with a few other big-time philanthropists and created a pool of $500 Million, with which they plan to solve the really big problems in health, education, and economic opportunity. They call their collaboration “Co-Impact.” One of the collaborators is Jeff Skoll, who was one of the producers of the public school-bashing hitjob “Waiting for Superman.”

Emily Talmage is not happy about what’s coming from this group. She sees it as yet another attempt by the super-elites to impose their will on the rest of us, who lack their money and power.

Let us stipulate: no one elected a Bill Gates and his friends to remake social policy. Sure, Trump is busy dismantling and shredding social policy, but who put Bill in charge? One thing we can say about the richest man in America: Every one of his interventions into…

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Found on Quora: What’s the best Donald Trump joke you have heard?

I could not resist. I had to share these. I read them on Quora and roared with laughter. Because they also are so close to the truth, maybe I should have cried.

 

“Donald Trump and Barack Obama ended up at the same barber shop. As they sat there, each being worked on by a different barber, not a word was spoken. The barbers were both afraid to start a conversation, for fear that it would turn nasty. As the barbers finished their shaves in silence, the one who had Trump in his chair reached for the aftershave. But Donald was quick to stop him, jokingly saying, “No thanks. My wife, Melania, will smell that and think I’ve been in a brothel.” The second barber turned to Barack and said, “How about you, Mr. Obama?” Barack replied, “Go right ahead, my wife Michelle doesn’t know what the inside of a brothel smells like.” – Jeff Kelley, Pint glass political philosopher

 

God asks Bush: “What do you believe in?”
Bush answers: “I believe in the free market, and the strong American nation!”
“Very well”, says God. “Come sit to my right.”

Next, God asks Obama: “What do you believe in?”
Obama answers: “I believe in the power of democracy, and equal rights for all.”
“Good”, says God. “You shall sit to my left.”

Finally, God asks Trump: “What do you believe in?”

Trump answers: “I believe you’re sitting in my chair.” – Brad Jensen

 

Trump and Hillary go into a bakery on the campaign trail. Hillary steals three pastries and puts them in her pocket.

Hillary: “See? No one noticed and I don’t even need to lie. That’s how I’ll win.”

Trump: “No, Crooked Hillary. I’ll show you an honest way.”

Donald goes to the baker: “Give me a pastry and I’ll show you a magic trick.”

The baker gives him a pastry. Trump eats it and asks for another one. The owner gives him another one. Then Donald asks for a third pastry and eats that, too.

The baker: “Where the magic trick?”

Trump: “Look in Hillary’s pockets.” – Oleg Atbashian

 

 

Music Therapy for PTSD from a 13-year-old singer-songwriter

The Soulful Veteran's Blog

I’m a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat vet that has lived with PTSD since 1966 when I returned from the war, and recently I have discovered that music helps me cope and sleep better.  And not just any music but the songs written by and sang by child prodigy Grace VanderWaal. For me, no other music has worked to give me a sense of peace from the demons of PTSD.

But why does it work?

Brainwave Power Music reports, “Studies have shown that music can trigger the brain to release chemicals to distract the body and mind from the pain. Music, as well as binaural beats and isochronic tones which augment the effects, reach the brain’s auditory cortex, which causes the communication between the cortex and the sections of the brain that govern emotion, memory, and body control.”

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says, “Findings suggest that the…

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Be very Aware of ALEC’s Minions; Trumpist Lies and Propaganda

Freshman Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) spoke to an almost empty House of Representatives Wednesday in order to side with Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) to demand that Robert Mueller either resign or be fired. “We are at risk of a coup d’état in this country if we allow an unaccountable person with no oversight to undermine the duly-elected President of the United States,” Gaetz said. “And I would offer, that is precisely what is happening right now with the indisputable conflicts of interest that are present with Mr. Mueller and others at the Department of Justice.”

Where is the lie in that quote from Gaetz?

Mr. Mueller must go in front of a Grand Jury that will examine the accusations against persons charged with crimes and if the evidence warrants it, the grand jury will make formal charges on which the accused persons are later tried in court.

A Grand Jury plays an important role in the criminal process, but not one that involves a finding of guilt or punishment of a party. Instead, a prosecutor will work with a Grand Jury to decide whether to bring criminal charges or an indictment against a potential defendant — usually reserved for serious felonies.

Gaetz alleged that Mr. Mueller is unaccountable and has no oversight. That was a lie because a Grand Jury is the oversight to decide if the alleged criminal goes to court where that alleged criminal will be judged by a jury of his or her peers that are guided by a judge and the U.S. Constitution.

That Grand Jury and the justice system is the oversight. Mr. Mueller must prove guilt with evidence.  All Gaetz has is the Alt-Right lying, conspiracy theory generating media machine to support his allegations against Mr. Mueller.

And who is Robert Mueller?

Mueller was accepted for officer training in the United States Marine Corps in 1968, attending training at Parris Island, Officer Candidate School, Army Ranger School, and Army jump school.

In July 1968, he was sent to South Vietnam where he served as a rifle platoon commander with Second Platoon, H Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division; he eventually became aide-de-camp to 3rd Marine Division’s commanding general. In April 1969, he received an enemy gunshot wound in the thigh, recovered, and returned to lead his platoon until June 1969. For his service in and during the Vietnam War, his military decorations and awards include: the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”, Purple Heart Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals with Combat “V”, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze stars, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Parachutist Badge.

He was the second-longest FBI director in history, only behind iconic and controversial director J. Edgar Hoover. Congress passed legislation in 2011 to extend Mueller’s term from the usual 10 years, giving him a 12-year tenure. Mueller, 72, oversaw the FBI from September 4, 2001, just days before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, until September 4, 2013.

Mueller is widely seen as a nonpolitical, dogged investigator, respected on both sides of the aisle. The extension of his term passed the Senate 100-0, and he was also initially confirmed in 2001 unanimously, 98-0.

BDG Media reports, “As he (Muller) was considered for FBI director by the Bush administration, the Washington Post reported that he was a registered Republican. In the same report, though, it was noted that he is considered by most to be ‘apolitical,’ and that he had a history of pushing Democrats for temporary openings, even under a Republican president. … That could be why Democrats and Republicans have resoundingly supported his appointment as the special prosecutor.”

Who is Freshman Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)?

He is an American attorney and politician who has been the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 1st congressional district since 2017. A Republican, he was a member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 4th District, which includes most of Okaloosa County, from 2010 to 2016. Gaetz was born in Hollywood, Florida. He graduated from Florida State University in 2003 and from The College of William and Mary in 2007 with a juris doctor.

In 2008, Gaetz was arrested for a DUI as he was driving back from the Swamp, a nightclub on Okaloosa Island, Florida, in a 2001 BMW SUV registered to his father. While he was arrested and refused to take a breathalyzer test, “he didn’t have his license suspended for a year when he refused the breath test — as Florida law dictates. And he didn’t have that refusal used against him in a criminal proceeding.” At the time of his arrest and consequent criminal proceedings, his father was serving as a local politician. The attorneys agreed to drop the case, despite the fact that the police reported that “Gaetz fumbled for his license and registration, his eyes were watery and bloodshot, and he swayed and staggered when he got out of the car,” and Gaetz cited the dropped charges as proof that he was innocent.

Matt Gaetz is also a Koch-Funded Congressman and he was behind the bill to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.

Eco Watch reports, “The four GOP representatives have raked in campaign cash from some of the biggest corporations peddling fossil fuels, including Koch Industries, Duke Energy, Chevron and ExxonMobil. What’s more, an independent political spending group funded by an oil and gas company stepped in with ad buys to aid in Gaetz’s recent U.S. House race.”

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

I am a very boring guy

Recently I was asked this question: “Do you take weekends off to do some fun things? I hope you take a break once in a while.”

Here’s my rambling reply (with a few revisions):

Do I take weekends off to do some fun things?

No. Everything I do is fun to me. I enjoy building things. I enjoy exercise. I enjoy reading books, and I enjoy writing them. I enjoy going out to see a movie at the theater (mostly alone). I don’t pay for cable TV, because I can’t stand all the advertisements and news that is almost always depressing especially with Donald Trump as the President of the United States. Trump is nothing but a pile of vile orange turkey crap. Why let him ruin my day? If I watch anything on a TV, it is after 8 PM and it is always from a DVD.

In short, I enjoy life, because every day is a holiday to me and has been since I retired more than twelve years ago. Sometimes I go out to eat alone and sometimes with a friend or friends. I enjoy eating alone or with friends as long as the food is healthy and my definition of healthy food doesn’t match most people, because I’m a vegan and have been for thirty-five years. Most American’s would not go one day without meat, sugar, sodas, sugar, dairy products, or sugar.

Going out to dance would not be fun for me so I don’t do that. Going out to party is not fun to me, and I don’t go to bars because drinking booze or beer is not fun to me. Paying to go and watch a football game or any sports would not be fun to me.

Celebrating my birthday is not fun to me. Celebrating any holiday is not fun to me, because every day is a holiday to me. If I get through a day without pain, loss or an injury that is a good day and most of my days are good ones.  And even when I injure myself, I do what I have to do to treat the wound, and return to what I was doing when I injured myself. Since I’m a woodworker and have a lot of dangerous power tools, I do cut myself and all I do is clean the wound, pack it with cayenne pepper, bandage the wound, and get back to work. The cayenne pepper stops the bleeding, protects the cut from infection and blocks the pain from the cut so I don’t feel it. It also speeds up the healing process.

If I had to go back to work to a job with a boss, that probably would not be fun because during the 45-years I worked and had bosses most of them were tyrants and/or were incompetent, and I even hated a few of them. But since I retired, every day is a fun day just because I’m alive and healthy to enjoy it. I have no desire to spend money just to have fun. For instance, I have no desire to visit theme parks like Disneyland. To me, that is an expensive waste of time. In addition, even though I was once a gambler and card counter, I don’t gamble today. Even though it isn’t illegal, there is too much stress counting cards in a casino and avoiding getting caught. I did that for several years and always won more than I lost, but the stress wasn’t worth it.

I take and enjoy life one day at a time no matter what I’m doing. I see no difference between any official holiday and all the other days of the year. They are all equal to me. I think most people have been programed to spend too much money on official holidays, but spending money to make someone else wealthier, isn’t fun to me.

I enjoy listening to music and right now that music is from Grace VanderWaal or Angelina Jordan, the eleven-year-old Norwegian jazz singer. For instance, this video of Angelina singing is incredible and I never get tired of watching it.


Every time I watch this video, I have fun because of Angelina’s amazing voice. Wow!

And I’ve watched Grace VanderWaal’s first concert for her first concert tour so many times, that I have lost count. Every time I watch her first Austin City Limits Music Festival concert for her own fans, I enjoyed stopping the replay to scan the crowd looking for expressions of joy and there was a lot to enjoy. For me, that is fun. And Grace’s expressions of joy are fun to watch too. It’s obvious that she is having fun providing music for her fans.

I have a vast choice of things to do every day that I enjoy doing. The list is so long that I have to manage it so I don’t spend too much time doing one thing. For instance, I just got in from doing two hours of yard work and I enjoyed the results and the fact that it was also free exercise. Now I’m writing this post and when I’m done, I’ll work on a chapter for my next book.

Why pay someone to mow my lawn while my body rots? It is a fact that if we don’t use our bodies, our bones will become brittle and we will lose muscle mass. Why should I pay someone to do the yard work for me and then pay to join a gym and exercise when I can do it for free?

For those two hours mowing, trimming and cleaning the yard, I was constantly on the move and I think that counts the same as a two-hour walk. I know going out to drink and dance is fun to many people, but I don’t pay to go out and drink booze and beer and dance. That is not fun to me. I will probably never pay to go on a cruise and eat too much bad food and gain ten or twenty pounds because that is not fun to me. The only winery I want to visit is a castle in the Napa Valley called Castello di Amorosa. I wouldn’t visit it to sample the wine or buy any wine. I’d visit it to see the castle. I like castles, and that is one trip I wouldn’t mind taking.  I’m even willing to travel to Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Germany, and Portugal to visit their castles. I wouldn’t go for the food or the alcohol. Why is eating unhealthy food and drinking alcohol considered fun to so many people?

Yep, I’m a really boring guy because I don’t do what many people think is fun.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

 

 

 

 

What does it take to become a child prodigy?

I have two favorite living child prodigies: one from the United States (age 13) and one from Norway (age 11).

Grace VanderWaal won America’s Got Talent in 2016, at age 12. She competed by singing her own songs that she wrote (the first video). She then signed a contract with Columbia Records and put out her first short album (with 5 songs) that reached #9 in the United States. She went on to win awards from the Teen Choice Awards and Disney.

Angelina Jordan won Norway’s Got Talent when she was age 8, singing classic jazz. At age ten in 2016, she recorded “I Put a Spell on You.”  If you enjoy that performance, there’s more. You will discover Angelina performs barefoot. Her first album is scheduled for release this year.

Grace VanderWaal and Angelina Jordan are both child prodigies. Scientific American explains what it takes to be a child prodigy.

“Recent research indicates that basic cognitive abilities known to be influenced by genetic factors also play a role in prodigious achievement. In the most extensive study of prodigies to date, the psychologist Joanne Ruthsatz and her colleagues administered a standardized test of intelligence to 18 prodigies—five in art, eight in music, and five in math. There was a wide range of IQs in the sample, from 100—the average for the general population—to 147—well above the usual cutoff for “intellectually gifted.” However, with an average score of 140 (above the 99th percentile), nearly all of the prodigies did extraordinarily well on the tests of working memory. …

“With an average score of 148, the music prodigies in the Ruthsatz study were especially high in working memory (the average for the math prodigies was 135 and for art prodigies was 132). In fact, all eight of the music prodigies were at or above the 99th percentile, and four were at or above the 99.9th percentile. The odds of eight randomly selected people scoring this high on a test are essentially zero. …

Prodigies also exhibit an unusual commitment to their domain … “Often one cannot tear these children away from activities in their area of giftedness, whether they involve an instrument, a computer, a sketch pad, or a math book. These children have a powerful interest in the domain in which they have high ability, and they can focus so intently on work in this domain that they lose sense of the outside world.”

What happens to child prodigies when they grow up?

To discover how far Grace VanderWaal has gone since winning America’s Got Talent at age 12, in 2016, to the first weekend in October 2017 at the Austin City Limits Music Festival as she starts her first national concert tour at age 13, watch the next video.

It’s wild! Her fans love her songs and they love who she is at this age. We all change as we age and mature. I hope Grace gets only better as a person, and that she never forgets who she was when she started out.

UPDATE

Since I’m a writer and a published author, I wanted to add the names of a few child prodigies in that field, but to be clear, I was never a child prodigy.

  • Flavia Bujor wrote her first book when she was 12 and published it with Harper Collins when she was 14.
  • Nancy Yi Fan started writing her first novel when she was 7. She completed that novel when she was 11. Harper Collins published that book in 2007, and it became a New York Times bestseller.
  • Jake Marcionette wrote his first book when he was 12, and that book also became a New York Times bestseller.
  • Alec Greven was nine when he wrote: “How To Talk to Girls”.  His book made the New York Times bestseller list for a book he says he wrote in a week.
  • Dorothy Straight is on record as being the youngest published author ever. At the age of four, when many children can’t read let alone write, she wrote a story for her grandmother. Her parents took a shine to it and sent it to Pantheon Books, who published it in 1964 when Straight was 6.
  • TopTenz

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

What is Populism? Why Trump, Bannon, and Breitbart Are NOT Populists

Diane Ravitch's blog

Words matter.

Trump has been called a “populist.” The Brexit movement has been called “populist.” Marie LePen, who ran for president of France on an anti-immigration platform, was called a “populist.” Bannon and his anti-Establishment movement funded by the billionaire Mercers are called “populists.” No doubt, someone thinks the Koch brothers are “populists.”

None of these people are populists, not in the literal sense of representing ordinary folk, nor in the historical sense of connecting to a movement that surfaced in the late 1890s.

Populism as a movement means “for the people,” for the ordinary people, for working people. It should not be confused with appeals to nationalism, racism, and chauvinism. Demagogues appeal to base instincts, but they are not populists by doing so.

If you support a plan to take away health insurance from millions of people, you are not a populist. If you support tax reform that cuts…

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