OPINION: Halloween Identities


OPINION: Halloween Identities

Halloween is all about candy and ghosts.

OPINION: Halloween Identities

By Megan Wallin

The Unspoken

In the United States, there are five (unspoken) varying brands of Halloween, celebrated by distinctly different groups. These celebratory traditions exist in order to satisfy the holiday-savoring appetites of the average American, who—sadly relies on holidays and social media clicks for their happiness rather than access to affordable healthcare, parental leave, clean air and water, pothole free roads, safe bridges, tuition free college, and a whole array of policies that could change their real world.

Type One: The Family with Children

You know this type. They’re the  ones you buy candy for, leave on a porchlight, and decorate your house (just a little) in the hopes to see little witches and Disney characters bound up to your door with their hapless, usually sleep-deprived parents, as all the adults spend a night being tricked into treating their little ones. There’s a sort of child-centric quality to most holidays, undeniably, but Halloween ranks quite highly on the list, with dress-up and make-believe already being prominent tenets of their young lives.

Escapism

The motivation behind most families going out to celebrate Halloween is to make memories that give their children something to talk about with their friends at school or daycare, and to give the parents some time away from the responsibilities inherent in staying home. Trick or treating, especially with kids, allows an escape from both your usual surroundings and the identity you wear day in and day out as you about work, school, and house chores.

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Plastic Waste, A Global Concern

Plastic Waste, A Global Concern

Plastic pollution is a world catastrophe

Plastic Waste, A Global Concern

By William Jones

What is Plastic?

Plastic is a synthetic organic polymer made from petroleum.  Plastic is ideally suited for a wide variety of applications. Packaging, building and construction, household and sports equipment, vehicles, electronics, and agriculture; the uses are endless. It is cheap, lightweight, strong and malleable. Over 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year. Half of plastic products are designed for single-use; such as shopping bags, cups, and straws. While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become addicted to single-use or disposable plastic — with severe environmental consequences.

Oil, Natural Gas and Coal

More than 99% of plastics are produced from chemicals derived from oil, natural gas, and coal — all of which are dirty, non-renewable resources. If current trends continue, by 2050 the plastic industry could account for 20% of the world’s total oil consumption.

Worrying Trends

We produce about 300 million tonnes (metric tons) of plastic waste each year. That’s nearly equivalent to the weight of the entire human population. We’re seeing  worrying trends. Since the 1950s, the rate of plastic production has grown faster than that of any other material. We’ve also seen a shift away from the production of durable plastic, and towards plastics that are meant to be thrown away after a single use. These single-use plastic products are everywhere. For many of us, they’ve become integral to our daily lives.

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Advice for the 65-Plus Crowd

Advice for the 65-Plus Crowd

Stay active as you age for a longer, happier life

Advice for the 65-Plus Crowd

Twenty-Three Tips for the Silver Sneakers Crew

By D. S. Mitchell

A friend of mine since high school sent me the following advice on aging.  I looked on the internet to find the source of the article and I was directed to a cemetery/mortuary site in California as the origin of the text.  For some reason I found that extremely funny. Post-Internment is not the time to worry about such things, I said to myself. Despite those feelings I did feel that there was some good information and thought it was worth passing on.  Although the following is not in quotes it has been authored by some unknown person other than me and I would gladly credit their work if I knew their name.

Twenty-Three Tips for the Over 65 Crowd

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The Vanishing Amazon Rainforest

The Vanishing Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon rainforest is in peril. Experts predict there will be no rainforest in 30 years.

The Vanishing Amazon Rainforest 

The clock is ticking. The emergency real. Experts believe that in 30 years the Amazon rainforest will likely be, just a memory. . .

By Megan Wallin 

Ongoing Threat

The Amazon rainforest has been under threat for decades. Despite its indisputable ecological value and unspeakable beauty we are at risk of losing this incredible natural resource.  Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has vowed to protect the forest and reduce harmful emissions. His words don’t match his actions. Unparalleled development continues, transforming forest into farmland or deforested deserts. The entire ecosystem has been disrupted, all for the price of temporary, but immediate profit.

A Ravaged Landscape

According to Reuters, Brazil’s ecological losses have increased 1.8 percent just during 2020, losing roughly 1,062 square kilometers of forest to greed and corruption. But logging isn’t the only issue to blame in this scenario. Farmland conversion, wildfires, droughts and pollution have ravaged the land. More than one billion acres of rainforest have been transformed into public, government or miscellaneous use since the year 1990.

Losing Value

The worth of an intact and thriving Amazon rainforest amounts to approximately a whopping $8.2 billion , but the forest is losing its value both economically and environmentally.  This world wonder spreads across Brazil, Peru, Columbia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. The Amazon rainforest extends over millions of miles, and provides a safe habitat for thousands of tropical animals. Furthermore, it is home to at least 500 tribal communities.

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Jeff Bezos: On To The Stars

Jeff Bezos: On To The Stars

In 3 decades Jeff Bezos has gone from selling books in his garage online to the richest man in the world.

Jeff Bezos: On To The Stars

By William Jones and D. S. Mitchell

 

A Gifted Child

A gifted child born to a teen mom, Bezos grew up never knowing his biological father. Reportedly the father was a top-rated unicyclist and circus performer. Jeff’s mother soon married a Cuban immigrant who had fled the Communist revolution. Miguel Bezos had his life shattered when his elite private Jesuit school was closed and his family’s lumberyard seized.

Passion And Struggle

When Jeff Bezos first started an online book shop in his garage in 1994, even he would have struggled to envision the sheer size and impact of Amazon today. With the internet still in its infancy, Bezos’ foresight on all things digital, combined with his passion for retail, enabled him to devise a revolutionary model for how consumers would one day purchase their goods. Fast forward 27 years, and Amazon has the infrastructure and the know-how to capitalize on an e-commerce market that continues to sky-rocket in popularity and profit.

Jeff Defined E-commerce

Bezos ran the mammoth technology corporation across three decades. Under his leadership, Amazon has become a dominant force in online retail, cloud hosting, media production, and artificial intelligence. Bezos helped define e-commerce as we know it and made ordering from Amazon the default for millions of shoppers locked in through the Prime subscription service. But his true master-stroke may be Amazon Web Services, a computing and cloud storage service that millions of companies now turn to. Amazon Web Services, Inc. is a subsidiary of Amazon providing on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs to individuals, companies, and governments, on a metered pay-as-you-go basis.

Permeated

Journalists have speculated whether Bezos’ near-pathological competitiveness is a product of his early abandonment, similar to that of fellow tech overlord Steve Jobs. No doubt equally formative to a young boy was Bezos’ adoptive father and his view of the world. In fact, during an interview Jeff Bezos told  Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, that their home life was “permeated” by complaints about totalitarian governments of both the Right and the Left.

Poor Working Conditions and Monopolistic Practices

While Bezos’ stewardship of the company can be seen as a heroic mission to give everyday shoppers low-cost access to any item under the sun, his ethos has contributed to poor working conditions and harmful monopolistic practices. By 2011, Amazon’s workplace culture was toxic. A negative series of headline-grabbing reports defined Amazon workers as poorly paid, ceaselessly surveilled, and overworked. Reportedly, the company ruthlessly pushed employees to maintain a breakneck pace, to such an extent that both physical and emotional well-being was jeopardized.

Debate, Criticize, and Disagree

Bezos created a culture in which everyone from the lowest peon to the highest-ranking executive is expected to match his devotion. This approach has resulted in spectacular levels of staff turnover. A declared enemy of “social cohesion,” Bezos pushed his underlings to reject compromise and instead fiercely debate and criticize colleagues when they disagreed. One former employee described it as “purposeful Darwinism.” Known for withering put-downs — “Are you lazy or just incompetent?” ​”Did I take my stupid pills today?”—Bezos also isn’t above pulling out his phone or, in some cases, simply leaving the room when an employee fails to impress.

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Mask Know How

Mask Know-How

Masks and handwashing are important components in staying healthy during COVID-19

Mask Know-How

By D. S. Mitchell

The Rights & Safety of the Community Come First

I am amazed to hear all the screaming and hollering about the rights of the individual; as if the community had no meaning, or importance. Besides vaccines the 3 most effective things we can do to protect ourselves, our family and our society, against disease is to 1) wear a mask, 2) wash your hands, and 3) give yourself some distance, at least six feet.  These behaviors save lives.

The Reasons

The reason you wear a mask is to prevent mucus and saliva from escaping your nose and mouth,  when you speak, eat, cough, sneeze and breathe. When that mask is in place it is a barrier to the spread of diseases like COVID-19 is slowed dramatically. Conversely, a mask  shields you from other people’s droplets. If your glasses fog up, make your own nosepiece to keep warm breath from escaping the top of your mask. A small piece of tape works great, and you can use tape with both the reusable and the disposable masks. Your mask should fit snugly over the whole lower half of your face and chin. When your chin’s left uncovered, germs and viruses can creep in and reach your mouth, nose, and eyes. They can also escape from your mouth and pass to others. It can also let your mask ride up on your face, which can fog your glasses or even block your vision.

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Electric Vehicle Basics

Electric Vehicle Basics

Electric Vehicle basics

Electric Vehicle Basics

By D.S. Mitchell

Worth Looking Into

The financial benefits of owning and driving an electric vehicle play out in the long run. To begin with, you’ll spend a bit more on the purchase price for an electric car, but you can make up for that cost with tax benefits and immediate savings on fuel. There are also local rebate options worth checking into. Electric vehicles are also really good for the environment, which is enough to convince buyers.

1.) Purchase Price: Government subsidies to off-set the higher sticker cost of an EV versus an ICE (internal combustion engine) are helping purchasers switch from a gas powered vehicle to an electric vehicle. Currently, tax rebates and auto maker incentives provide about $7,500 toward the purchase price of an EV. EV costs are continuing to drop, and Bloomberg has predicted that EV battery costs will halve by 2025. At which point electric and gas vehicles should be at price parity. A couple things to keep in mind about the EV tax credit include:

  • Tax credits are for owners only.
  • The federal tax credit is not available to those simply buying an electric car in order to resell it.
  • In order to qualify for the federal tax credit, the electric car must be mostly used within the U.S.
  • The manufacturer must be qualified for your car to be eligible.
  • The battery of the EV must be able to store at least 4 kWh of energy.
  • The battery must also be able to be charged by an external energy source.
  • An electric vehicle tax claim can be denied, the IRS always has that right.

Other tax credits, especially state and local, for electric cars apply to businesses. Sometimes, a business can enjoy tax exemption status of some sort as reward for owning an electric company car.

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The Electric Vehicle Revolution

The Electric Vehicle Revolution

The Electric Vehicle Revolution is here

Electric vehicles are the future, be ready. . . 

The Electric Vehicle Revolution

“Adoption of a new technology, like EV’s (electric vehicles) may seem slow or look like it’s never going to happen, until it passes a threshold. . . .and then it just takes off.” *Reda Cherif  

By D. S. Mitchell

Horse and Buggy Days

There is a growing understanding that gas and diesel-powered vehicles will soon join the horse and buggy and dial telephone. New studies support a rapid acceleration process and a gathering momentum of the coming EV tsunami. Surprising as it may seem, soothsayers predict that more than 90% of all passenger vehicles in the U.S., Canada, Europe and other wealthy industrialized countries will be EV by 2040. Some studies are even more bullish, predicting that by 2030, ninety percent of all U.S. vehicles will be EV. That is less than 9 years away.

A Big Culprit

One of the major sources of deadly air pollution, and a major factor in climate change, is transportation. In order to protect the climate and the health of our citizens it is imperative we modify the vehicles on our roads. A few years ago, transportation edged out power plants as the leading source of carbon emissions. We can end this catastrophe. Sources tell us a rapid shift to electric vehicles can cut more than 800 million tons of CO2 emissions every year by 2040, and cumulative reductions will reach 16.2 billion tons by 2050.

New Technology

The transition is going to happen fast because EV’s are better than gas vehicles. There is less maintenance, lower operating costs, and more power. A big factor in boosting sales of EV’s is that production costs are also coming down. The cost of an EV battery has dropped 86% in the last 10 years. In spite of chip shortages and COVID-19 challenges, Ford Motor Co. has been showing profits throughout 2021. Ford announced that its F-150 Lightening electric pickup has generated over 120,000 pre-orders since it was unveiled to great fanfare in May.

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In Support of Nuclear Energy

 In Support of Nuclear Energy

When ever nuclear power is mentioned there are many that question is use

In Support of Nuclear Energy

By Megan Wallin 

Controversial Power Source

Utter the word “nuclear” in a discussion about the environmental impact of alternative power sources, and you’re likely to garner some attention. While people are happy to indulge solar power, wind power, and other less controversial sources, nuclear energy has a less neutral effect—to put it mildly.

Is It Dirty And Dangerous?

The assumptions regarding nuclear energy range from “dirty” to “dangerous,” with only a scattered few endorsing its use. But, what is nuclear energy? Few can define it. The best answer I can give is, nuclear energy is essentially a zero-emission energy source generating power via fission. Through the process of splitting uranium atoms, heat released by this fission, creates steam to spin electricity-producing turbines which then produces energy for human use.

Research Shows Nuclear Energy Is Viable 

Nuclear energy reduced carbon dioxide emissions by at least 476 million metric tons, according to a 2019 Nuclear Energy Institute study. Energy.gov compares this type of impact to “removing 100 million cars from the road and more than all other clean energy sources combined.”  Additionally, NEI confirmed the efficiency of such practices, stating that wind farms require more than 250 times as much land in order to match nuclear energy plants, and solar plants require 75 times more land. When stored properly, nuclear energy  is also a space saver due to its density. Six decades worth of nuclear energy produced in the U.S. would fill fewer than 10 yards of a football field. And it can be reprocessed.

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*uck The Tuck

*uck The Tuck

Tucker Carlson started out as a bowtie preppie pundit on CNN

*uck The Tuck

By D. S. Mitchell

Remember When

I remember when Tucker Carlson was a bowtie preppie pundit on CNN and then later on MSNBC. This was when he was at least a semi-accurate, semi-reputable, semi-serious, semi-cautious journalist, that appeared to crave authenticity and most of all respectability. Truthfully since his move to Fox News(sic) I feel as though I have been watching the making of the Republican Darth Vader.  Anakin Skywalker, lured to the dark side, is now in his full power bending the minds of Americans and directing the guns of his Death Star at the foundations of American democratic thought every night at 8 pm.

Outrage-Driven Commentary

The Tuckster has turned deranged populism, hate spewing madness, irreverent contempt for decency, white outrage, racial grievance, and aggressive nastiness, into a combustive cocktail for his audience of over 3 million devoted followers. Whatever the topic may be-crime, ‘defund the police’, BLM, immigration, race, vaccines, education, health care, or the Democrats, Carlson uses it as fuel for his outrage-driven commentary. Red meat to the masses. Fox News is the Roman Coliseum of today.

Red Meat Culture

Carlson is a product of wealth and privilege. Some might call him a boarding school elitist. His racism and homophobia near legendary. He has always been a bomb thrower and a pompous ass, but over the last decade at Fox he has given up any pretense of journalism and his schtick has devolved into open senseless cruelty. After a visit to Iraq Carlson is reputed to have said, “it’s a crappy place filled with a bunch of, you known, semi-illiterate monkeys.” He has famously called women both “whores” and “pigs.”

A Change Overcomes Him

Tucker Carlson is now approaching five years as host of his hugely popular nightly political talk show, ‘Tucker Carlson, Tonight.’  His stint of peddling bullshit on Fox seems to have self-radicalized the man.  Whatever the topic he offers, he’s pissed off about it, and so should you be, he tells his audience.

Strongman Support

Whether it is vaccine skepticism, white nationalism, or his increased support of anti-democratic right-wing regimes around the world, Carlson is all about being an entitled white man. He recently wasted a week embracing and promoting Hungarian strongman, Viktor Orban. Even I have been amazed at Tuck’s open love affair with authoritarianism.  Of course it is white male authoritarianism he likes and supports, certainly not black,  brown, or female (ha, ha) dictators.

Are Tuck’s Questions Really Legitimate?

Carlson uses his platform to portray his bad faith attacks as honest, good faith inquiries. He sounds alarm bells over issues of fact under the guise of asking legitimate questions. There are answers to his questions, but Carlson suggests there are not. Conspiracy theories fill the ether as well as outright lies. Tucker, like Hannity has grown fat and bloated, continually sneering at liberal democracy as the seed of our destruction. He focuses on culture war stories that fuel the Republican base. Tucker Carlson is certainly the best the extremist right has to fan the fires of Trumpism and righteous Americana outrage.

Carlson’s Message

Tucker Carlson’s message is simple and he does not hesitate to play it over and over. The existential future of America is at stake. At the heart of the matter is the doomsday scenario painted by the right wing media.  Tucker Carlson believes America is on the verge of being lost, because old white men might lose political power in the United States. I’d say to Tucker, “about time.”

https://www.calamitypolitics.com/2021/08/21/opinion-fox-news-and-its-shameless-bias/