As you might expect, your Uncle Roany marked a perfect score.
#1) The purpose of the mainstream media is to:
A) Keep you informed.
B) Feed you misinformation while keeping you distracted from the real issues our world is facing.
#2) Social Security is:
A) A financial safety net that makes sure people have a retirement income.
B) A government-run Ponzi scheme that requires more and more people to keep paying in just to stay afloat and will ultimately collapse into total bankruptcy.
#3) The fluoride dripped into municipal water supplies is:
A) A naturally-occurring mineral.
B) An industrial chemical waste byproduct.
#4) When you donate money to find the cure for cancer, that money goes:
A) To fund research programs that assesses actual cancer cures for the purpose of freely sharing them with the public.
B) To fund mammogram campaigns that actually irradiate women’s breasts, causing the very cancers that earn huge profits for the cancer treatment industry.
#5) The national debt is:
A) Under control and will be paid off in a few years.
B) Out of control and will spiral into a runaway debt collapse.
#6) GMOs (Genetically Modified Organism) will:
A) Feed the world and prevent starvation.
B) Threaten the future of life on our planet through genetic contamination and widespread crop failures.
#7) The FDA protects:
A) The people from dangerous medicines.
B) The financial interests of the drug companies.
#8) The EPA’s real agenda is to:
A) Protect the environment.
B) Protect the financial interests of the chemical companies whose toxic products destroy the environment.
#9) The Federal Reserve functions to:
A) Stabilize the economy and keep America strong.
B) Loot the economy and control America’s economy for the interests of the few.
#10) The purpose of TSA checkpoints at airports is to:
A) Keep air passengers safe and secure.
B) Indoctrinate Americans into surrendering to police state invasions of their privacy.
#11) The practical function of the U.S. Supreme Court is to:
A) Protect the constitutional rights of the citizens.
B) Legitimize federal tyranny over the People by ignoring the Constitution and its Bill of Rights.
#12) Vaccines are based on:
A) Gold standard science that conclusively proves their safety and effectiveness.
B) Quackery and fraud combined with a persistent medical mythology that utterly lacks a factual basis.
#13) Herbs and superfoods:
A) Are medically useless and cannot treat, prevent or cure any disease.
B) Contain powerful plant-based medicines that can help reverse and prevent disease.
#14) In Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq, America:
A) Led a humanitarian effort to save innocent people from tyranny.
B) Waged an illegal imperialist war to occupy foreign nations and control their oil.
#15) The U.S. Bill of Rights
A) Grants you rights and freedoms.
B) Merely acknowledges the rights and freedoms you already possess.
From AON which provides insurance for all types of risk from Errors and Omissions to Terror.
Click on the map for a nice interactive that identifies specific risks within specific countries.
Take note of Uruguay, minions ... if you can find it ... and then reflect on both the broadness and the depth of the wisdom that resides within your Uncle Roany.
I just love Urugay.
If you recall some time ago we took note of the fact that despite the relentless increase in America's yearly "investment" in education, results as measured by standardized test scores remain in decline.
You don't really have to recall, here's the stuff.
You may remember that at the time, we offered the following thought,
Then, in our last post we took note of a profound increase in women entering the labor force.
After which, we offered the following opinion, "We view this in and of itself as neither a good thing nor a bad thing." although the remarkable visual similarity between declining test scores above and the Husbands Only working line below is ... well ..... remarkable.
We do view it as is a thing.
More important, we see this thing on a daily basis as this just is how things are nowadays.
This much bigger thing ..... IOHO ..... we also see on a daily basis, as this is also how things are.
And while we're on the subject, single parent families account for over half the total of America's welfare recipients, while two parent families accounted for around 5% in 2010.
And family income is the single most powerful predictor for success on standardized academic achievment tests.
Apologies for the fuzzy image, it is however worth the eye strain as there is some good stuff in there.
Our conclusion here is that you should now be in a position to draw your own set of conclusions.
But ......... What to do? What to do?
Later for all of that, we're still bitching.
We've gone over much of this before, but it most certainly bears repeating.
Good news, the "headline" unemployment number is in decline as both the seasonally adjusted and unadjusted rates are well below 8%.
As an aside, you might not want to totally trust the "headline" unemployment number as it has been tinkered with over the last 5 or so administrations in order to make things appear more rosy than they are.
The unemployment rate is calculated as a percentage by dividing the number of unemployed individuals ... that would be the numerator ... by all individuals currently in the labor force ... the denominator.
If you recall from fourth grade, both the numerator and denominator have something to do with establishing a ratio.
In this case a significant part of the "improved" unemployment rate has to do with people just flat out leaving the labor force ... the denominator.
Total labor force participation has declined to levels last seen in the early 80s with no sign in the chart of even an intermediate bottom being established.
As an aside, the average duration of unemployment presently blows the doors off any period since we started caring about such things.
Remembering here that numerator and denominator thing, an item that cannot be ignored is the increased participation of women in the labor force since the middle 60s.
You can see below that the percentage of men in the labor force has declined from the high 80s to 70%, while the percentage of women in the work force has increased from the low 30s in the early 1960s to the high 50s having topped out at 60% during the late 1990s.
That's some pretty serious pushing and pulling on the total labor force participation rate, not to mention the social fabric of the nation.
We view this in and of itself as neither a good thing nor a bad thing. But because at the very least we attempt to deal with whatever is around here, we take note of the fact and conclude that America damn well needs to create more jobs than it ever has before in order to accomodate an increased demand from women for employment regardless of total labor force participation.
Or ... and better yet ... America needs to somehow decrease labor's demand for employment without adding to the number of people on the dole.
While simultaneously increasing employer's demand for labor.
That one there is pretty much a definition for the word conundrum.
You should try dwelling on that some until the headache starts to develope.
And speaking of people on the dole.
If you haven't been hanging around here lately, you may be asking yourself, "Just what exactly is it that all of these people who are no longer in the labor force are doing for money?"
We've gone through this one before, but it also bears repeting,
Lots of them are going on disability. The first chart is old news as it extends only from 1970 to 2002. This following is charting dollars spent rather than the number of people collecting and is measured in 2003 dollars in an attempt to take inflation out of the view.
These next two charts demonstrates the percentage of working age population receiving disability insurance benefits.
It extends through the present and projects increases well into the future.
They are also collecting food stamps.
SNAP is the acronym for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
It continues to set records for both total participants at over 43,000,000 people and rate of participation of just under 14%.
The Obama years have been a particular disaster but the trend was already in place.
You might well be asking yourself here, "What to do? What to do?"
Later for that ..... today we're just bitching.
Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams along with a revolving group of friends worked the club and talent shows in and around Detroit area as the Primes and were well aquanted with Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin and their circle of friends who travelled the same circuit as Otis Williams and the Siberians, the El Domingos and finally the Distants which to my way of thinking are the three of the most ridiculous names in the history of Rock and Roll.
Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin, having scored an audition with Motown Records owner Barry Gordy and also having lost half of their group, partnered up with Kendricks, Paul Williams and Elbridge "Al" Bryant to sign with Motown subsidiary Miracle Records only to discover ... mercifully ... that their new name, The Elgins had already been taken by another group.
After much debate, they finally became the Temptations.
David Ruffin started hanging around their shows, jumped on stage one night at Detroit's famed The Twenty Grand during Shout and pretty quick Elbridge Bryant was out and the classic Temptations lineup was established.
This is Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams and the great David Ruffin lip syncing the Norman Whitfield classic Ain't Too Proud To Beg.
Years later after more lineup changes than I can keep track of Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin came back to The Temptations and The Temptations returned to Motown for the Reunion record and tours.
Here is David Ruffin, I'm thinking in 1982 or 83 despite the video claiming it to be 1987 as Ruffin was in a minimum security prison in Terra Haute, Indiana for much of 1987 for tas evasion ... just sayin' ... fronting Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Richard Street, Glen Edwards and Dennis Edwards ... I think ... as the Temptations.
My Whole World Ended.
Dead at 50 from a Cocaine overdose, David Ruffin was/is to my way of thinking the greatest voice in the history of Soul and arguably all of popular music.
I have Terry and a couple of the minions all over me to get it back up to speed.
And I will.
Mostly lately I've just been reading in an effort to separate fact from fiction.
The news of the world by the way is mostly fiction, as you can no longer trust any source.
I don't view this as tragedy since it began to occur to me that in all likelihood, you could never trust any source.
We just mistakenly choose to trust those sources that we mostly agree with.
After all, I'm a reputable guy and if these guys agree with me they must be reputable as well.
Mmmmm ..... maybe not.
So what can a poor boy do?
Except to join in a rock and roll band.
Cause in sleepy London town there’s just no place for a street fighting man.
For the forseeable future, you just gotta test everything.
Anyway, here's some pretty good stuff from CBC, The National, it's about 24 minutes and moves along pretty good.
The Monarchs of Money.
That's 178 words TD ..... not counting these.
It's 185 if you count those, but not these.
199 counting those and these.
Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many.
Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.
It still holds true that man is most uniquely human when he turns obstacles into opportunities.
Retribution often means that we eventually do to ourselves what we have done unto others.
The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not.
We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. But it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.
We lie the loudest when we lie to ourselves.
When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.
You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.
It is when power is wedded to chronic fear that it becomes formidable.
We feel free when we escape—even if it be but from the frying pan to the fire.
In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.
Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.
People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.”
Irrationality often manifests itself in upholding the word against the evidence of the eyes.
Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”
It is the individual only who is timeless. Societies, cultures, and civilizations -- past and present -- are often incomprehensible to outsiders, but the individual's hungers, anxieties, dreams, and preoccupations have remained unchanged through the millennia.
Far more crucial than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know.
A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business.
An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head.
You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy.
The greatest weariness comes from work not done.
The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.
Since we were already on the subject.
Our favorite Lombardi quote however, remains unchanged.
So useful under so many sets of circumstances.
Particularly if one happens to be raising children.
We've some commtments that we need to attend to and will be shutting it down for three, maybe four weeks.
As always, when we go away for a bit we encourage you to consider the wisdom of Sgt. Phillip Esterhaus.
That's good advice.
If you're a Detroiter of a certain age, the MC5 is a part of you that just ain't gonna wash out.
Arguably the first punk band 10 years before punk was even identified as a thing, the MC5 invented riffs, moves and attitude which are nowadays de riguor for rock and roll bands the world over.
In light of recent events and building tensions in Detroit and Cyprus, not to mention still fresh memories in Egypt, Greece and Spain, here is Rob Tyner on vocals, Wayne Kramer and Fred "Sonic" Smith on guitars, Michael Davis on the bass guitar and Dennis Thompson on the drums in what was for them a very reserved performance in 1972 for the televison show Beat Club.
Motor City's Burning.
On the morning of July 19, 1970, with the memory of the Joe Cocker fiasco still fresh in my mind, I told my mother that I was going to The Beach to play some basketball and then meet up with some friends for a boat ride.
Instead, I picked up Donny W. and drove downtown to Tartar Field on the campus of Wayne State University to see The Früt, Savage Grace (soon to be better known as Rare Earth), Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen and the MC5 at the WABX free concert.
If you look real close that's me all the way over to the right, the scrawny little guy with the straight hair and goofy glasses ..... rockin' hard.
Just kidding, you can't see me ..... I know because I've been looking.
Anyway, this is Wayne Kramer, who on that day I thought to be the single coolest guy on earth, taking his star turn on Ramblin Rose.
And now ..... and now ..... and now it's time to .....
KICK OUT THE JAAAMMMS .......
You know the rest.
When the Nazis came for the communists, I did not speak out; As I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats, I did not speak out; I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; As I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews, I did not speak out; As I was not a Jew.
When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.
It's starting to feel like it's about time to break this old chestnut back out.
So, who really has the gold?
Is it Putin?
Or the hapless imbeciles of the EU?
You now know our bet.