Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

To the educated in science, I am not going to be talking about anything that has not been common knowledge for decades. But I have friends who think science is not essential, that education makes sinners, and asking questions that do not get answered in religious text is evil! So this is for you!

We will be talking about sciences like paleontology, molecular biology, evolutionary biologists, and general biology, you know, the birds and the bees!

Let’s start with Molecular biology, as it is there we find one of the most significant discoveries in modern times, DNA! Because DNA is universal to all life, its presence strongly suggests that all creatures on Earth evolved from a common ancestor! It also explains how the proliferation of genetic mutations (copy errors), combined with the processes of natural selection, enables evolution to happen. Ultimately, DNA is the engine that drives evolution. So every time you make a copy of yourself by procreation, no matter if you are a frog, a gnat, or a human being, sometimes there is an error in the copy, or DNA! So this is when natural selection kicks in! If that copy or DNA error makes you better able to cope with your environment, then it lives on. If it doesn’t, it becomes fertilizer! It is a brutal process that takes eons, but, it does not need a guiding hand! By that I mean no guy in the sky looking down and thinking I didn’t create that, I think I’ll drop a boulder on it!

So let’s move on to the paleontologist and evolutionary biologist, as they are both significant here as I bring up the very massive and prolific fossil record! Let point out that no, the fossil record is not some gigantic scam by millions of scientists that planted fake bones, skeletons, and fossilized plant-matter over every continent, and sub-continent of the globe to put one over on you.

Species come and go, but life does go on! This is the essential lesson of the fossil record that dates back 3.8 billion years! Oh yeah, not 6000, as some have tried to tell me! I think a few of us must have felt the Flintstones was a documentary! Hell, gators, whales, and sharks have been around for just a tad longer! In the case of the shark, about 450 million years. The alligator developed into what we see today about 85 million years ago, but has relatives that date back 200 million years! The whale was once a land animal, and they still have vestigial evidence of the legs they used to use to move around! They evolved into whales about 50 million years ago. The hippo is their nearest relative! The fossil record is considered to be anything found that is over 10,000 years old. We can date fossils using another scientific method called carbon dating. We are all carbon-based creatures! So by measuring the carbon-12 and carbon-14 that it contains, we can determine the age. What they do is to measure the difference between the two as the radioactive carbon-14 decays at a constant and measurable rate, so we can date the fossils we find!

So, evolution is real, with real science behind it! You cannot solve our problems if you do not understand the planet you live on and how it came to be! You also cannot understand how to nurture it, heal it, without this knowledge. All scientific knowledge is crucial if we are going to continue to live in this world without destroying it and ourselves. Science is the most critical survival tool in your arsenal, not your damn gun! Ok, get off your high horse, I am not advocating getting rid of your weapons, I can see that argument going off the rails already!

I wrote this blog because I just saw another article where schools in our country are refusing to teach evolution. Case in point, the new Florida Education Chair just stated that he would not support evolution being taught in that state as factual, making the old argument that it is just a theory! He does not understand that in the realm of science, a theory is generally accepted as true! Now a hypothesis would be accurate for his argument, but again, he does not understand or know his words! A person who has sway over education should know his words and their meaning! But you have to be adequately educated! You cannot understand the world you live in if you are not educated in how it came to be! This is not some off the wall new deal; evolution has been an accepted fact for a very long time by 97% of scientists the world over. There is just too much evidence to back it up!

My other pet peeve is history. Again, you cannot know why the world is the way it is without knowing the history that shaped it! Some politician said recently that history is not important, because it was in the past. He and the Florida guy must get their education from the same source! Illegitimate U.

Let’s start with a few facts. There are no true socialist countries in the world, never have been. There are countries that spout socialist ideas and like the Soviet Union, as it was called during the cold war era, mixed socialism and communism ideologies together, but was neither. It was a dictatorship or a monarchy take your pick! The communist party owned everything, controlled everything, and gave the populace enough to sustain the workforce, not much else!

So Trump wants you to believe, and why you would not just automatically assume anything he said was a lie with his record, that the Democratic Party wants us to become a socialist country! That liberals want to destroy capitalism using climate change as its driving force! That his wall and his rule are necessary to keep our country from being overrun and decimated by non-white criminals, and by any green initiatives, again an attack on capitalism, according to Trump! That he is a religious icon and that Christianity is under attack and the Christian Bible should rule our education and our government. In that vein, he states that the Constitution is too restrictive and the rules need to be rewritten! His words, not mine!

So now, let’s look at a few things from a world point of view. If climate change is not happening, and we are not accelerating it (humankind) then why is it that we are the only country, the only one, on the entire planet not to actively engage in the fight to combat it! Or why, on the world stage, are we the only industrial nation not to provide universal health care to its citizens, even though we spend way more than they do on healthcare, have less positive outcomes, a lower life expectancy than all to them! Again, the only one! When everyone else on the planet says one thing, and you are the lone holdout, does that not suggest you may be on the wrong side of a said issue? Especially since our own Pentagon has told us that climate change is the #1 most dangerous threat to our national security! That prestigious organizations across the globe like NASA and our own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have said that climate change is real, it is caused in large part by our industry and lack of restraint. And that it will be devastating to our economy, safety, and quality of life. Yes even under the Trump admin they still say the same thing!

Now let us dwell on the title of this article for just a moment. Trump only cares about power, money, and adulation, as do a majority of his fellow Republicans, they just do not take it the edge of lunacy, but they protect their President because he is their scapegoat. Get it while you can and screw the rest mentality exists in our political representatives, and if you are honest, more prolific as a GOP trait. In that pursuit, they have given out corporate welfare by the trillions, including huge perks to the most wealthy among us. At the same time write-offs that policeman, firefighters, and teachers used to get were abolished, in favor of the rich being able to write off the maintenance and storage costs of their private jets! If you block any attempt to barter for the best prices for drugs, what possible moral road have you just gone down, or are we protecting oligarchs and their bottom line? Of course, we are! They never replaced the Affordable Care Act with the big beautiful and so much better plan Trump promised! They, Republicans, are not even trying to create one, they never intended to! The ACA messed with the oligarch’s profit margins and that could not be allowed to happen. And since money now has as much standing as our citizenry, it just stood up and bought what it wanted, or those that have it did, anyway!

I do not know if you are aware, but the countries that inhabit the planet earth do not consider us a capitalist country, but an oligarchy! They no longer trust us, and think we are a threat to the health of the planet and its safety! And no matter what Trump says, he is not respected, but rather he is feared among our allies for his ignorance, his innate fascination with dictators, any so-called strong man, and people who have absolute power over their respective populations. This is power he admires and wants! This is why countries that used to be our allies are looking elsewhere because we are now thought of as a bullying nation, not a bastion of peace or safety for the globe, not any longer!

So Trump, our Liar in Chief, has already started on his campaign of misinformation and outright lies to make the American people think that he is at war and that he is our savior! Just fact check the CPAC speech, there was no truth in anything he said! It was all misdirection, obfuscation, and prevarication! If you cannot bear to vote democratic, at least try and elect someone who has some integrity, some moral values! I am sure there must be a Republican candidate that has not been accused of sexual misconduct, is not under investigation, convicted, or confessed to multiple crimes out there somewhere, find he or she and get rid of the orange menace!

From the Willamette Athletic Director;

Congratulations on your selection to the Willamette University Athletic Hall of Fame! The Bearcats have an impressive history of accomplishments by our teams and student-athletes and our committee felt as though yours were at the top of that list. We are hopeful that you can join us for the induction ceremony on Friday, October 12th, and stay for some of the other exciting activities that are happening on campus as part of Family Weekend. Here are some additional details with more to come later this week. The ceremony will take place in the Cat Cavern on the second floor of the Putnam University Center on Friday, October 12th. There will be a cocktail reception starting at 6:30 pm with dinner and the program to start at approximately 7:00 pm. We hope to introduce all inductees during halftime of the football game on Saturday, October 13th. The game kicks off at 1:30 pm. All inductees and their families will be invited to a pre-game tailgate inside the stadium.

His job
Foster was director of behavioral health at the Rosebud Indian Health Service Hospital, a 38-bed hospital on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Rosebud, S.D., an area marked by high unemployment, poverty, and substance abuse. “We are a beautiful place in terms of the hills, trees, grass, rivers, animals, people and culture, but we are a very difficult place in socioeconomic terms,” says Foster. With no psychiatrists on the reservation, Foster and the reservation’s other four psychologists — including his wife, Becky — earned master’s degrees in psychopharmacology to help improve care. By both working and living on the reservation, Foster sees firsthand how his interventions improve people’s quality of life. “I find that very gratifying,” he says.

A welcoming spirit

After the Fosters’ first four children grew up, the couple adopted seven special-needs children. Their oldest son is 40, while their youngest children are 6-year-old twin girls. Balancing work and child-rearing often require Daniel Foster to remind himself to breathe throughout the day. “I feel like a one-legged man at a kickboxing tournament a good deal of the time,” he says.

A handball prodigy

Foster competed as a member of the U.S. National Handball Team, including in the Pan Am and Olympic Games, from 1971 to 1982. Foster, who had played football and basketball in college, for which he is being honored next month, came to handball as a fluke while he was in the Army in the early 1970s: Members of a handball team spied Foster working out one day and invited him to join them. He was a natural. “The coach ended up inviting me to compete in the nationals with the team in New York and we won the national championship,” he says. He has earned several National Gold Medals in handball since, the latest in 2002.

Giving back

Foster decided to become a psychologist when he witnessed how many fellow soldiers suffered psychological wounds much like those American Indians bore from oppression. To contribute to the profession on the national level, Foster is a member of APA’s Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs and attends the annual meeting of the Society of Indian Psychologists — with all of his young children. Psychology, he believes, is the career he was born for. “I have truly enjoyed listening to and being a part of people’s life narrative,” he says.

Dan Foster is a lifelong friend and an example to me of what we should all aspire to be like. We met in the 8th grade in Council Idaho, a small logging and ranching community. He was the preacher’s kid and I was the new kid with no parents, so we formed a don’t mess with us society and became best friends. Dan, being of kind heart, probably does not remember it that way, but being large for my age, the tough guy of the class and I were having it out, so I needed friends. To be fair, I and this tough guy later became very good friends! I never won any of our fights, but I never gave up and he respected that, so finally decided we should be buddies, way easier that way!

Dan was always more concerned with others than himself, he is someone with whom friendship is an honor! He did not give me permission to post this, as he would have most likely, knowing him, said no! So I just went the hell ahead because some of his classmates might not know about some of his accomplishments. I got most of the information other than the hall of fame info from this website: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/06/random.aspx

Let me give you a little history of the two men whose pictures I will post and trip I will be writing about in this article. Also a little bit about me, the author.

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These two pics are of  Jim Mahon, a 17-year-old Marine shipped out to Vietnam in the late 60’s. Yes, I said 17! Not old enough to drink or vote, but old enough to risk dying for his country. I don’t have exact dates, and Jim does not like to talk about it much, but I also joined the Marine Corps May 5, 1969, not long after he did and spent my first leave visiting him in the hospital in Bremerton Washington. He did not look good. He had been blown up by a booby trap, a high explosive device near Danang in the bush! He died twice in the field, but due to a Corpsman’s superhuman efforts was delivered alive ta a hospital and his life was saved. He looked like the victim of multiple shark attacks when I first saw him. Scared me half to death! He eventually, as many other wounds were attempting to heal, lost a right leg that just could not be saved even though valiant efforts were made to do so over many years! I myself served four years in the Corps, did two tours, parts of both were in Danang. However I was an avionics tech working on computer warfare birds, so never left the safety of the airbase at Danang. It was, however, not called Rocket City during that time for no reason! I was inaugurated within my first half hour in the country! I was a Sgt and NCOIC of crews running missions out of Danang and repairing aircraft in Cubi Point in the Philippines. I practically lived on a C-130 Hercules. But I digress.

After a period of adjustment, my lifelong friend Jim, we met freshman year of high school gearing up for football, basically became a professional student after he recovered from his injuries! He has multiple degrees, can teach, owns his own gym, worked with PTSD vets for the VA, and is my hero! He is in Nam looking into teaching English classes as I am writing this. While in college he met Sonny Dee Dam in the early 1980’s, a man born and raised in Vietnam.  He and Jim became close friends and roommates, both going to Boise State in Idaho. During that period of time Jim, always curious about the place he had fought and been wounded but knew so little about wanted to go back and start exploring! Sonny could not go at that time but told Jim his family would sponsor him so off he went.  So here is Jim, still suffering and torn up from wounds received fighting in Nam, going through all kinds of red tape trying to get into a country we did not then officially recognize! Vietnam had no U.S. Embassy back then, so he had to go through our Embassy in Thailand. He was successful after years of work and several trips! He was able to to get Sonny’s sister and children to the States, which was one of the tasks he intended to accomplish when he started his first trips back to Vietnam. He subsequently married the sister, who shall remain nameless for now. They subsequently divorced years later as Jim’s wanderlust and desire to travel was not a desire she shared. I believe they are still friends! During the time he was sharing a domicile with Sonny, his friend was a single parent, and Jim also single with twin boys to support. They shared good times, hard times, but this only strengthened their friendship. Sonny around 1990 moved to California to pursue his career and Jim had a new marriage and instant family, a new language to grasp, so they did not visit or talk much for a few years! After Jim became single again they reconnected. He now lives in Council Idaho with Jim when in the states and he and Jim are not in Vietnam.

This is a recent picture I took of Jim in my front yard. Just before we set off on our motorcycle trip through the Northwest. Jim and I have also shared some adventures over the years. We consider ourselves family and call each other brother! I am only one of many friends, but I consider him to be my best friend! As I said, my hero for many reasons. One of the most determined men I know!

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Not long before this picture was taken Jim took another trip to Vietnam and the Danang area to see if he could visit places he had been, battles he fought in, bush he had traversed! Of course, it had changed so much over the years that nothing was recognizable, but still a cathartic adventure for him, in my opinion, anyway. One bridge he remembered as a one-lane wooden structure was now a four-lane concrete behemoth as one example! One of the things he mentioned stayed with me. When the people there found out his wounds were received fighting during the conflict, they treated him very well. He met no one holding a grudge, regardless of what side they were on. He had to get used to how things got done there, a kind of barter system with local authorities, but he navigated the whole thing with skill and good humor.

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This is a picture of the 2017 trip last year taken with Sonny and Jim drinking coffee and relaxing in Ho Chi Minh City! [Saigon] Sonny has relatives there, and now that he is retired he spends part of every year in Vietnam, and Jim usually travels with him! The next several pictures are from that same trip, they have not given me the pics from the current trip, but I am told they are forthcoming! I am told if the teaching job in Nam comes through for Jim, they will spend six months there and six months in Council. Sonny says they started talking about these trips 30 years ago! The subjects in the following pictures are Jim Mahon, Sonny Dam, and Lan Thanh. At present Jim and Sonny are checking into the teaching gig and a permanent residence.

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A little sightseeing with Lan, Jim, and Sonny. Lan Thanh is Sonny’s girlfriend of several years. You will see her in most pics with Sonny and Jim.

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They all love to eat. These are all from the last trip in 2017.

 

 

This is a video of Jim cycling in Nam, I assume the video was taken by Sonny. this was a 23-mile ride on a hot day. And I complain about my daily treadmill walks! This is current, the video was sent on March 4, 2018. You can see why motorcycles and scooters are so popular. I should be getting more pics of Jim and Sonny’s current trip and will add them and post as soon as they send them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biblical scholars at the University of Texas, Austin have discovered an oldest known copy of a heretical Christian writing that describes Jesus’ secret teachings to his brother James. The biblical texts, which relate to the First Apocalypse of James, contain information about the heavenly realm and future events, including James’ inevitable death, according to news…

via Researchers Discover Forbidden Texts Of Jesus’ Secret Revelations To His Brother James — Sparkonit

This is in response to a post about how Democrats were originally for slavery and were opposed to civil rights! Well I had to respond, actually a friend asked for my opinion, and she got a little more than she bargained for, I am sure! So here goes! 

If you look at history and the platforms of both parties they have completely switched ideologies since the days of Lincoln. So what used to be the democrats is actually represented by republicans, and vice-versa. It of course is not as simple as just switching names, but the Democratic Party of old does not exist as such anymore, has not probably in our lifetime! So what is claimed is accurate, just not accurate to ascribe those attributes to the current party. The democrats have lots of problems which they need to solve, but if you look at what Republicans are trying to do right now, for example getting rid of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, trying to completely shut down the education and environmental agencies in total, trying to open up open pit mining in the heart of the last remaining natural Salmon fishery, closing down or vastly reducing our park systems and opening them up to mining and oil interests, I cannot see this as in our interest. The premise of the Republican Party is a solid one, but Republicans now in power are not abiding by or even resembling such a premise. I used to be a staunch Republican, but when they became bought and paid for, I had to leave. Not saying there are not bought and paid for Democrats, but way less in my opinion. If you dig into social security, it is income deduction based, does not affect the debt, and would be solvent if left alone and not the Fed piggy bank. But employers, especially large ones, have to match the Soc. Sec. contribution. Now they figure all that in when deciding how much salary to pay an individual, along with 401k matching, health care, vacation time, etc. But that is the driving force to the GOP hatred of this particular program, and in other forms of imagined attacks on their bottom line tend to foment hatred for all healthcare programs! Why after seven or eight years did the Republicans not build their own healthcare bill instead of trying to shove a hastily thrown together bill down our throats in secret to try and fool us into thinking they had our interest at heart! Because they never intended to offer a healthcare plan. They thought we would let them  get rid of the ACA and then they would just ignore cries for a new program until it faded away!  Big business, pharmaceuticals, petroleum companies, and others, all make billions, even trillions in profit, and they need to keep increasing profit or their stockholders get nasty! So that is what is being legislated, not our needs or wants or desires. Politicians get their money for re-election from these sources so you and I do not figure into their machinations in congress anymore. We have always been a socialist democracy. Otherwise there would be no fire, police, emergency response teams, paramedics, interstate highways, and the list goes on. So you have to decide if backing a person who acts like a bully in a grade school sandbox, who lies every single day, tells you exactly what you want to hear but has no intention of actually doing any of it, who changes horses midstream on policy weekly, and who cannot let any slight go no matter how insignificant it is! So he undermines his own secretary, his cabinet members flee in disgust, almost all of his appointments are still empty, he has no takers, despite his blaming democrats or Obama for everything. Tillerson almost left this summer! The buck stops at the Presidents desk, but he does not know that! Sorry for going postal here, but I have a lot of pent up rage at what is going on. I spend long hours reading bills, studying history, and looking at foreign news, even Russian outlets along with British, Irish, etc., to try and get the real picture of our world and our place in it. We are not the jewel of the earth anymore, we are more like a cancer! Education and science are scoffed at right now, and we are going to be sorry for letting those two slip our grasp. We need to start paying attention to science and education again or we are going to fail as a country! Our esteem in the world by our peers has diminished by leaps and bounds. This is not my opinion, it is a fact! You cannot replace a scientist with multiple degrees with a used car salesmen in an agency based on science and expect him to make the right choices for our well being. I am talking about the Environmental Protection Agency, oh and NASA as well! Anyway, I will shut up now, but I was asked!

 

I look at things differently than most folks. But here is my quarter cuz 2 cents won’t do it! The world is overpopulated, people are just not going to give up sex, just is not gonna happen! Our resources are already strained and our planet being too crowded causes most of our pollution. So, what do you do to lower the world’s population? You make birth control and sex education available everywhere to everyone. Now certain religions harp on you to have a dozen or so kids. This was their effort to make more Catholic babies, or Protestant babies, Muslim, Hindu; you see where I am going here! They wanted a majority, so they mandated large families within their respective religious communities. Going to have to get over that! I am not talking abortion, to hot to handle! If you are going to start talking birth control is a killer, well you are a problem that has to be dealt with. I personally do not believe I have any right to tell a woman what she can or cannot do with her own body, so I will leave it at that! We are scheduled to double our population in just a few decades, and your children’s children will be living in chaos! Now some white folks are saying that only white people will hold back on large families and babies of color will overrun us, and eventually we will be a minority! So what! I am already a minority in California and it has not hurt me one bit! I say everyone marry outside your race, so in a few generations everyone has a nice light tan and the race issue goes away! If you notice, mixed race marriages make some really beautiful and bright children! It is like Mother Nature said wow, you have finally quit marrying into the same gene pool, and look at me cook now! I would have said to also marry outside your religion, but I did not want to start another war! However, after a few generations, everyone would have a totally different attitude about religion. I mean, how do you wage war on your spouse or your own grandchildren. I guess waging war on a spouse is not unheard of, but you get my drift!