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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wood Technology

Organic wood keyboards, calculators and other tools...if you can read the language click here. This is not an endorsement, but I felt the look was classy, and if it works...well...

Sunday Morning News and Views Part V

The cover of today's (Sunday) Las Vegas Review Journal begins a series of features celebrating the 75th annnivery of President Roosevelt's official dedication of the Boulder Dam (renamed by Eisenhower after the Republican engineeer who proceeded Roosevelt in the White House, Herbert Hoover).

The question of Federal tax increases or cuts could be mute compared to possible tax increases or service cuts by most states. Grants for 23 historic preservation projects in Nevada have fallen victim to the state budget crisis.Historic Preservation Officer Ron James tells the Nevada Appeal that grants totaling $3 million were pulled back because the state lacks capacity to issue new bonds this coming budget cycle. Projects were selected for this year's awards in March but the state treasurer's office delayed selling the bonds until a review of the state's bonding capacity. Budget Director Andrew Clinger says with property tax revenues expected to fall nearly 20 percent next year, there won't be any backing to issue new bonds.

The president's labor chief is coming to Las Vegas to help Asian immigrants
learn more about workers' rights. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis will join local union leaders and
Asian groups Saturday at a workers' rally targeting Asian immigrants.
The event is part of the White House's civil rights
initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Civil rights leaders say Asian immigrants are frequent victims
of wage theft and workplace intimidation.

For more politics and other Sunday Morning News and Views, click on 'read more' below.

Sunday Morning News and Views part IV

On NPR’s Weekend Edition

on Sunday host Liane Hansen talked to Christopher Palmer, 
author of the book, "Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the 
Animal Kingdom," The book is an expose of the secrets behind wildlife filmmaking. 
Palmer, a filmmaker who is also a professor at American University, reveals in his book,
published by Sierra Club Books, that some nature documentaries use manufactured. 

Click no 'read more' below for more on Shooting the Wild 
and other Sunday Morning News anand views observations.

Sunday Morning News and Views Part III

The Las Vegas Review Journal will be counting down the days to the 75th anniversary of the dedication of the Boulder Dam, renamed years later by President Eisenhower as the Hoover Dam.. Tomorrow (Monday) the RJ promised a snapshot of one of Boulder City's founding families. Saturday October 9 a group of descendants, the 31ers, will host a luncheon and educational event which may include a 93 year old veteran who worked in hazardous Black Canyon to build the dam.

Fall is here, but you would never know it by the 100 degree weather here in Las Vegas. Last evenings Wurstfest in Boulder City was in the comfortable lower 70's, only mild winds and lots of fun. One thing that did not work so well, in my view, is that the stage was moved to the opposite end of the street, with a narrow "peninsula" of land instead of the hilly areas of the park, in viewing area of the stage. Also much of the viewing was locked in by beer garden tables claimed early and the day and held on to with a territorial passion, keeping more Boulder City citizens and guest from sitting down and enjoying the music.

On this date in 1960, 50 years ago today the famed Kennedy-Nixon debate took place. American Politics entered a whole new era, with the first ever television debate. This was the first debate, in a Chicago television studio. Nixon declined television make-up since he heard Kennedy say no (because he had been made up earlier, and was healthier). Kennedy was young, cool, calm and appealed to a positive feel about the future. Nixon was recovering form an illness, white, sickly and with a fast growing "morning beard". While this debate was the first, the final debate, held in what would prove to be a key city in our history, Dallas, is widely credited to have cemented Kennedy's come from behind victory against the sitting Vice President. In Dallas, Kennedy arrived the night before, befriended the crew, took their advice on dress and make-up and found out what statements would make they feel good, eventually giving him more "screen time". Meanwhile Nixon arrived only and hour before the event, and was wearing a popular male "cover up" product for his fast growing stubble. On camera that make-up turned Nixon into a ghost.

Those who watched on TV gave the Chicago and Dallas debates to Kennedy. Those who listened on the radio tended to say Nixon won. And those who read the transcript in the newspapers overwhelmingly gave the issue driven and traditional politics of Nixon a victory.

Which tells you that the debate made television and political history, showing that not only do debates matter, but that television has become the dominant media in American political culture.

When Nixon ran and won, twice, he did so without accepting debates from his opponents.

Kennedy campaigned on health care for all, but was forced to push it to his ill-fated second term due to other national priorities.

An AP poll shows 30% of Americans in favor of new health care law, the first provisions of which took effect on Friday. 40% against, but site false information or items that did not even make it into the health care plan as reasons to abolish it and start over. Rhetoric and political pundits appear to have a strong influence on the right, since no one seems to research what is actually in the bill that passed before coming up with attacks.

40% of voters say the new law does not do enough, with most of them seeking the universal coverage Republics block by labeling it socialist or communist. We are a divided nation, right down the middle, with both sides claiming to be a majority.

Meanwhile the fervor over a "tax increase" which is actually a plan not to renew Bush era tax cuts for the very wealthy has many Americans confused and believing half truths or falsehoods. For example, ending the breaks would mean that the wealthy will be taxed more on income over $250,000 a year, while federal taxes on them middle class and poor would be reduced. Yet most Republicans and those who say they will vote Republican say that Obama wants to "increase" our taxes, a falsehood fabricated by FOX News and Republican strategists.

The rich have been, over the last forty years, been growing richer while the poor have been growing poorer, borrowing from a 1920's popular Depression era song.

In the last century there were only two years in which the richest 1% were taking home 25% of the entire income in the United States...1929 just before the Great Depression, and 2007 at the starting point of the Great Recession we are still suffering from. Wealthy people spend a far smaller percent of their income, and when they do they invest where there are returns, which means overseas. Huge tax cuts for the rich set in 2001 have reduced tax income for the US by more than 50%.

Since the recession started 6 out of 10 Americans have cut back on spending since the official start of the recession in 2007. Housing prices have gone down fifteen to as much as 100% depending on where you live. Unemployment in some part of America range from 13 to 17%, or between one out of ten and one out of five Americans on unemployment, an estimated one if five one in three are unemployed, employed at lower income levels or putting together multiple jobs and working more hours to earn the same as prior to the recession.

"The New Normal" means hard times, not as bad as the recession, but the worst it has been since then...

The lies and distortions being heaped upon Harry Reid in Republican hitman Carl Rove's

Restrictions on the construction of new settlements in the West Bank expire today with developers planning to move in quickly with suburban sprawl, adding fuel to the Palestian fire. It is possible that US brokered peace talks will bread down at Israel's failure to extend or make permanent the ban. For Israeli citizens their dream of owning a home and raising a family in suburban style may hinge on the opening of the West Bank to construction. A radical group says that "Judaian Semaria" should house more than 300,000 Israeli citizens. That group plans on starting up a bulldozer as soon as the ban ends in a symbolic action.

Sunday Morning News and Views pt. II

In Sweden Donald Duck earned more than 120 votes as a write in candidate for president. Meanwhile in the US Pat Boone is hosting a Tea Party fundraiser in Beverly Hills. Funds will go to candidates who are on ballots a Tea Party, and a few select Tea Party backed Republicans.

Over half of registered Republicans believe that President Obama is a Muslim and one third feel he was not born an American, despite factual evidence that he is a Christian and was born in the first president born in the US State of Hawaii. People believe and stick to what they want to believe, regardless of facts or research.

The Internet has had an unforeseen impact on our memories. It is defining them. Test have shown that people remember events that they were not a part of and will swear they were there because of Internet connections to the event. Photo's, videos and audio files stored on computers, posted on social networking sites such as Facebook or carried around on Internet enabled cell phones or other devices now impact how we remember an event in our lives and people in our past. Test with children show that they remember events that they were not at, places they have not been and people they may not have met in person. Adults under 30 have a similar framework.

Democratic Sen. Harry Reid and Republican rival Sharron Angle have agreed to their first debate, on Oct. 14.

A study released by the state Health Division says Nevadans are more likely to die of suicide than murder. Nevada's suicide rate was nearly double the national average in 2006. The report says suicide victims in the state are twice as likely to be Nevada residents rather than tourists.

Click on read more below  for more Sunday Morning News and View short briefs.

Sunday Morning News and Views Part I

Business news from Africa, the US and the political front:

If Africa were a continent, it would be the fastest growing economy in the world, faster than India or China. But on the surface no one would notice, not because of the historic "back waters" attitude of other nations to the countries of Africa, but because of rapid population growth, ethnic and racial wars, low per capita education levels, dangerous disease (including Aids) and poor infrastructure. Africa buys from China and Europe, gets aid money from China, India and the US, and seems to be a poster child for UN Development funds. But funds are not flowing through the complex and sometimes corrupt political channels of over a dozen separate nations.

On Marketplace money the turnover at the White House was pained as if they were rats abandoning a sinking ship. The truth is that there is a high turn over after two years in any administration. Those who study the history of the White House that turnover at year two is normal. The expertise it takes to shape and administration is different from that need to maintain it through the first term.

Well, a recession from December 2007 officially ended in June 2009...the longest and deepest since World War II. Truth is layoffs began in 2004 and we have yet to truely recover. What is to economist and business centered anchors or hosts the pure definition of recession, in reality may be nothing more than a summary of theoretical economic indicators.

Robert Reich, Former Labor Secretary says that the turn over in the White House is normal and good, because we are moving into a new phase in the recovery where different policies and expertise may be needed. As a practical matter the first phase of the administration is over, and like all White House's before it is time for a change of the internal guard. Every time in out history when so many people are so concerned about their jobs or their homes, you see the politics of resentment, so what we see is not, according to Reich, an anti-Obama move or an anti-Democrat move but a damaging anti-incumbent tide, which has already taken out good solid and professional Repbulicans and will take out its share of Democrats in the all, if the party is unable to bring out its less likely to vote segment of the rank and file.

He favors ending the tax cuts for the welathy, which Repubicans falsely present as a tax increase. If you expand the tax cut we would be digging a 36 billion dollar hole in our economy, while the rich int he top 2% ($250,000 a year or more) tend to save money or invest where the growth is, which means other countries and even countries that are our economic and potentially military rivals.The Middle class has not had a raise, adjusted for inflaction than it was 30 years ago, and large percentages have been downgraded to lower middle class and even poor. So taxing the wealthy, in his view, is the only viable option.

Former President Clinton says small business, manufacturing and clean energy are the mostly likely to drive buisness in the short run. He proposes passing Obama's tax cuts for small business and the middle class. He also feels that more stimulus is essential, due to low cash reserves, a total of 3 trillion in cash reserves including America's companies. 80% is of that is controlled by 75 companies. He feels that banks need to be encouraged, or forced if necessiary, to loosen their tight credit politices and start loaning money, particurally to small business.

Clinton says he will give up is tax cut if it will train workers and stimulate jobs.

Americans and America give less than 4% of out income to charity, including corporations. That's the lowest in the industrialized world, and far lower than most third world countries. cClinton feels that if American companies and individuals do not give, the government must, as the need for those funds does not go away. Every big country needs a strategy to deal with recessions and cost increases ever five to ten years. Under the administration that proceeded him and preceeed Obama we did not have a policy and it was a strong contributor to the eventual recession.