Being Real

[“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

― Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit.]

From the Atlantic:

 Can We Touch?

Physical contact remains vital to health, even as we do less of it. The rules of engagement aren’t necessarily changing—they’re just starting to be heard.

James Hamlin, April 10, 2019

֎  Today’s post largely is a number of excerpts from James Hamlin’s article. Regular readers know that mariner is skeptical about modern technology, especially Artificial Intelligence (AI) which is cleaving human behavior away from interpersonal touching, hugging, conversation, and deliberate sharing of the intimate space – a column of space that extends about a foot from the body. Several studies are presented that show a human is dependent on touching and hugging not only for social acceptance but for healthy bodies and emotional development. Brackets [ ] encompass quoted material.

[ Tiffany Field has spent decades trying to get people to touch one another more.

Her efforts started with premature babies, when she found that basic human touch led them to quickly gain weight. An initial small study, published in the journal Pediatrics in 1986, showed that just 10 days of “body stroking and passive movements of the limbs” for less than an hour led babies to grow 47 percent faster. They averaged fewer days in the hospital and accrued $3,000 less in medical bills. The effect has been replicated multiple times.

Field, a developmental psychologist by training, went on to found the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. She was a pioneer in highlighting the effects of “touch deprivation” among kids, famously those in orphanages. She explained to me that the effects are pervasive, influencing so many bodily systems that kids are diagnosed with “failure to thrive,” resulting in permanent physical and cognitive impairment, smaller stature, and social withdrawal later in life—which often includes aversion to physical contact. ]




֎ It is beyond question that hugging, touching, kissing, caressing, and many other intimate reinforcements are a biological requirement in primates – in fact all mammals require to some degree feelings of value, justification, affection, friendship, bonding, celebration and love.

[ Physical touch doesn’t make adults larger, but its effects are still coming to light. Field has published similar findings about the benefits of touch in full-term infants, and then children and pregnant women, adults with chronic pain, and people in retirement homes. Studies that involved as little as 15 daily minutes found that touch alone, even devoid of the other supportive qualities it usually signifies, seems to have myriad benefits.

The hug, specifically, has been repeatedly linked to good health. In a more recent study that made headlines about hugs helping the immune system, researchers led by the psychologist Sheldon Cohen at Carnegie Mellon University isolated 400 people in a hotel and exposed them to a cold virus. People who had supportive social interactions had fewer and less severe symptoms. Physical touch (specifically hugging) seemed to account for about a third of that effect. (The researchers conclude: “These data suggest that hugging may act as an effective means of conveying support.”) Cohen and his colleagues continued to show other health benefits of physical contact, such as a 2018 reveal in the journal PLOS titled “Receiving a Hug Is Associated With the Attenuation of Negative Mood That Occurs on Days With Interpersonal Conflict.” ]

֎ Everything mentioned to this point is critical to a healthy, mature sense of self. But there is another level of reality. Culture comes from human interaction; who we are among ourselves in a world of 7.7 billion people is reality. There is no way to identify and manage reality except through human interaction. Smartphones and iPads and computers are not reality. Let them take control and there will be no reality save ‘the cloud.’ Shades of “The Matrix”. We should have learned this on television: the fun parties in beer commercials are not real.

Reality comes from interaction with other people. The degree to which data mining distracts us from reality is damaging. Stop just to reinforce a friendship and hug them will enforce cultural reality. Giving the thumb a workout is time away from reality.

Ancient Mariner


When Migration becomes Immigration

In a recent post, mariner and Guru discussed migration. It was determined that migration is no more than a choice of action. One chooses migration because they can. There are many, many reasons that provoke the decision to migrate. The vast majority, however, would rather not have to choose migration. Migration is not class-specific; rich people migrate; opportunists migrate; poor people migrate; young people migrate; old people migrate; starving and life-threatened people migrate. Interestingly, the Internet is a new travel route for political motives and corporate investment – both forms of migration.

In this post, however, mariner and Guru explore the other side of the coin – immigration.

– – – –

Migration is replaced by the word ‘immigration’ when nationalism confronts the emigrant’s decision. An emigrant’s desire to migrate to another nation is no longer the deciding factor. Rather, it is the receiving nation that determines whether entrance is acceptable.

For obvious reasons across a range of issues, nations are obligated to have standards for immigration. Economic stability and military security clearly are good reasons to have standards for immigration; illegitimate practices in international commerce, black market products, diseases and animal/plant/insect controls are good reasons to check who and what comes and goes across a national border. Troublesome social issues like slave trade, drugs, and persons intent on criminal behavior also are a concern.

As a procedural relationship, migration and immigration work well. There are procedures in the nation of departure for applying for entry which match closely the standards set by the receiving nation. One cannot forget that government oversight and civil management are required in both nations for the procedural relationship to occur.

Successful immigration is similar to purchasing a plane ticket, passing through airport security and boarding the plane – all before one can depart the initial location. The immigration struggles that have become worse around the world during the twenty-first century will become more troublesome as the world changes on many fronts. In virtually every troublesome case, the decision to migrate starts in a nation that has no government oversight, no civility, and to cite the analogy, no airport.

The typical reaction of most nations is to confront excessive migrants at the border after the migration has been accomplished. Taking a cue from the immigration procedure when it works correctly, the emigrant should qualify at the beginning, not at the end. Mass migrations have legitimate cause to leave nations at war, starving, with collapsed economies and management by murderous gangs, residency applications notwithstanding.

Mariner has more to learn before he can foresee a solution to the global migration issue. Being global and being international, it seems an organization similar to the United Nations would be the only comprehensive enforcement agent to take the pressure off national immigration services and push residency applications back to the nation of departure.

Pulling a process out of the air, perhaps the UN would manage humane immigration at the front end, filling out forms, etc. This would require all nations to agree to the UN’s screening. While nations still have the last say, the experience at the border may flow better.


[Politico] HOW MUCH THE BANKS ON THE HILL TODAY SPENT ON LOBBYING: The chief executives of seven major bank and investment firms — Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and State Street Corporation — arrived on the Hill this morning to testify before the House Financial Services Committee. As you might expect, all of them have a presence in Washington.

The seven companies together spent $14.8 million on Washington lobbying last year, according to disclosure filings. Citigroup spent the most, at $4.5 million; State Street spent the least, at $1.5 million. All of them also have active corporate PACs that give to members of Congress — including, of course, members of the committee.

–> Be honest. Is your vote 100% influential? Is it $10,000 for each representative or is it one person, one vote?

This is just the banks . . . The term for this form of government is plutocracy or corporatocracy. Certainly not democracy.

– – – –

[538] $1,535 rent

Driven by millennials’ demand, job growth and rising wages, the median rent in the U.S. rose 3.4 percent in March compared to the year before, according to data from the online rental housing site HotPads. It’s now $1,535 a month. Phoenix was the big “winner,” where the median rent rose 6.7 percent to $1,520. The median rent in New York, on the other hand, ticked up just 1.5 percent — to $2,380. [Associated Press]

–> It’s good news that citizens are finding somewhere to work. The rent statistics show that the unemployment record doesn’t tell the whole story. Salaries have a long way to go before they return to realistic levels. The other implication derived from the high rents is that the US faces a growing housing issue.

Ancient Mariner

Why Migration

Mariner had a closed door conversation with Guru. Amos wasn’t invited because he is deeply affected by the Donald reality. Mariner doesn’t know where Chicken Little is hiding due to the Russian military arriving in Venezuela.

Guru and mariner delved into the broader ramifications of the migration issue. They had to have some distance from the ravaging of the issue by Donald; his leadership is inadequate and he cannot process socio-political evolution.

As always in a discussion with Guru, the question of ‘why’ had to be answered first. Mariner started with some statistics to determine the scope of the issue:

  • Worldwide, there is an estimated 191 million immigrants;
  • The last 50 years has seen an almost doubling of immigration;
  • 115 million immigrants live in developed countries;
  • 20% (approximately 38 million) live in the US alone, making up 13% of its population;
  • 33% of all immigrants live in Europe;
  • 75% live in just 28 countries;
  • Women constitute approximately half of all migrants at around 95 million;

Between 1990 and 2005 ◦There were 36 million migrations (an average of approximately 2.4 million per year);
◦33 million wound up in industrialized countries;
◦75% of the increases occurred in just 17 countries;
◦Immigration decreased in 72 countries in the same period;[1]

An interesting factoid from is that the Mexico-to-U.S. link is the most popular bilateral migration path in the world. As of 2013, more Mexican immigrants (13 million) were living in the U.S. than all immigrants to Russia combined (11 million). Russia has the second largest number of total foreign-born residents, after the United States, which has a total foreign-born population of about 46 million.

Also from Pew Research, Countries with the fewest resources send lower shares of migrants. Although international migration is intrinsically tied with the search for jobs, people in the most impoverished countries may not have the money to finance a trip. The Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Niger – countries with some of the lowest U.N. Human Development Index ratings and GDP per capita – all have less than 3% of their population living outside their borders.

Then mariner and Guru focused on why migration happens. The first notable migration was the one 80-100 thousand years ago from Africa into the Middle East and Europe. A popular theory among paleontologists is simply that Homo sapiens, like any species, migrated because it could. Mariner is reminded of the French who have a larger percentage of citizens living around the world than any other nation. There must be a statistic somewhere that describes the high rate of citizen relocation within the US – just because they can. Some years ago, there was a statistic that said Americans move an average of every five years – for various reasons of course – but the bottom line is because they can. The first reason migration occurs: because it can.

Competing for the second reason for migration are economic hardship/opportunity, religious freedom, education, family ties, tyranny and war, famine and disease, and whimsy. All these reasons, save whimsy, can be listed in two groups of migrants: political reasons and economic reasons; the overlap is significant.

Lest one dismiss whimsy lightly, the migrations to the Caribbean, Central America and the South Pacific affect local political and economic circumstances in those regions. Years ago mariner sailed the islands of the Caribbean when virtually every island had a unique culture and distinctive value. In less than ten years, big time commercialism wiped out the colorful, fragile and balanced nature of these islands.

Another top-down migration occurred in Puerto Rico in the early 2000s when billionaires seeking to reduce taxes bought all the good shoreline and built magnificent castles they called ‘resorts.’ This in no way benefited the Puerto Rican economy and put out of reach the better shorelines that Puerto Rico could have leveraged.

Corporations migrate as well and are pushing the world economies into a new age of international finance. And, oddly, the Internet allows migration without ever leaving in the first place but, as the 2018 US election proved, Russian political influence affected US politics as much as a cruise ship docking at a small island in the Caribbean – without ever leaving Russia.

Given the discourse above, whether hardship or whimsy, migration happens because it can. The next post will look at migration from the opposite side, immigration.

Ancient Mariner



Can’t we all just do things right?

[The Guardian] More than $300,000

Last week, there was the news that Stephen Moore, the author of “Trumponomics” and President Trump’s nominee for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, was being pursued by the IRS for more than $75,000 in back taxes from 2014. (Moore has said that it’s not true that he owes the IRS that amount.) And, according to records obtained by The Guardian, Moore was held in contempt of court in 2012 for failing to pay more than $300,000 in spousal support, child support and other money owed to his ex-wife in their divorce settlement. (Moore declined to comment on the report to the news outlet.)

– – – –

[The Atlantic] The tax-collection system as we know it is the outcome of three forces: corporate lobbying, a stubborn resistance to borrowing good ideas from other Western nations, and the Republican Party’s decades-long campaign against taxation itself.

In the Netherlands, the procedure is simple. First, you look over the form the government sends you with your taxes already calculated, and you check it. Second, you sign it and send it back. Third—well, there is no third. That’s the entire process. Dutch citizens can file their taxes in minutes.

This is the case in country after country. In Japan, Sweden, Estonia, and Great Britain, people don’t have to file their taxes. They are spared the high-stress homework assignment that Americans face every year. Citizens of these countries do get the opportunity to check the government’s arithmetic if they like, but in most cases, taxpayers seem to think the calculations are reasonable…

Nothing is keeping the United States from copying these countries. The article is entertaining. See:

– – – –

–> Now it’s Herman Cain for Federal Reserve. Donald cannot deal with (a) a virtuous man (b) an honest man (c) a mature man (d) a competent man. Mariner wonders why. . .

– – – –

The Quiz

There was an erroneous question that slipped through as mariner was editing questions. It was the question about the wings of a dove and asked a bonus question which should not have been there.

Mariner hopes readers toyed with it a bit. Everyone has tidbits of memory that hang with them for their entire lives. Problem is, it’s not a complete set of information – a line here, a first name there, perhaps a vision of a scene but which movie?

Yes, ten planets. If the reader did not violate the rule about using search engines, they would not know that astronomers have changed their tune about Pluto and other stable objects because of the role they play in balancing the Solar System in general. By the way, the tenth planet is named ‘Far Out’ because it really, really is far out.

Ancient Mariner

How someone can live your life for you

The following article from CityLab’s Kriston Capps expresses the exact fear that mariner cites continually and why he is a privacy advocate:

[CityLab] Ben Carson mentioned you: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it is charging Facebook for violating the Fair Housing Act. According to the charges, Facebook’s ad delivery system discriminated against users by screening who can see ads for housing on its marketplace listings. The site gives advertisers—including lenders, real-estate agents, and landlords—the tools to target potential buyers or renters and block others based on specific characteristics.

The charges from HUD describe how that can translate into housing discrimination. One example in the complaint says users can block people from seeing housing listings if they’re categorized as “moms of grade school kids” or “foreigners,” or if their interests include “hijab fashion” or “service animals.” “Using a computer to limit a person’s housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone’s face,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson in a statement.[1]

–> Most people are not aware that data mining corporations like Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and many others already slice and dice a person’s profile and sell it to other interests. Internet users do not get offers for the better credit cards if their credit history is too low; every time someone uses a search engine, their selections are marketed and the user begins getting advertisements related to that search; does anyone receive only one seed catalogue? And on and on.

While commercial profiling is a nuisance, the HUD violation against Facebook points out the dark side: interfering in one’s private life and intimate issues like health (Insurance companies already are converting policies to require the insured to participate in electronic tracking of everything about the insured; if one didn’t jog today, their premium may increase). As mariner has mentioned many times (and readers know this), if the public isn’t stringent about privacy law, someone else will live their lives for them – saying where they can live, what they can eat, select their spouse, create their budget, limit debt ceilings, alter the cost of retail items – all without the authority and without the awareness of the individual.

Profiling data has the largest profit margin of any industry. It is inexpensive to create and generates political and economic power by suggestion. It takes no effort to slip from suggestion to manipulation by controlling the perceived reality of the individual.

Ancient Mariner

[1] CityLab’s Kriston Capps has the story:

More about Swamps and Glaciers

If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere
[CityLab] “Don’t sneeze: It looks like New York may finally become the first city in the United States to introduce congestion pricing on its streets. The New York Times reports that state leaders have reached a consensus to put electronic tolls in place for drivers entering the most heavily jammed parts of Manhattan. Politically speaking, the idea has come a long way since 2008, when then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg floated a version of congestion pricing that was seen then as a non-starter.”
–> Anyone who travels major highways around the US has observed electronic toll gates where a driver does not need to pay cash but has a pre-paid pass that reads the pass as the vehicle drives through the turnstiles. Some toll roads don’t want any cash but photograph the license plate of non-pass drivers; the driver gets a bill via the US Postal Service.
New York City has a two-fold issue: Manhattan traffic jams last all day and the solution is supposed to be a modern, civilized subway. The congestion toll will help pay for subway construction that is over budget in astronomical numbers. If one has need or simply plans to visit NYC, definitely use commercial transportation – leave the car at home.
– – – –
Mariner has a few friends who are preparing to move into retirement communities. One easily can relate to the confrontation of which books to keep, which memorabilia, large and small and dear to the heart and maybe belonged to a beloved grandmother, to dispose of or to keep. Will there be room to keep the entire collection of photograph albums, LPs and 45s? And clothes, and yard equipment, and furniture and . . . The agony of it all.
It occurs to mariner that changing a life style is as difficult as changing from one cultural age to another. Much faster, of course, than the decades it takes to make cultural changes in perceived ethics, economics, and life values in every family and business that is affected.
Many consider the decades after World War II to be the Golden Age of American history, the time when ‘The Greatest Generation’ lived. WWII expedited change by bombing every nation from Norway to Mozambique and from France to the islands of the Pacific. Mariner has mentioned before that many sociologists believe there is a fifty to sixty-year life cycle to a given culture – give or take a few years. This includes small towns, cities, nations and today many nations at once. The sixty-year cycle seems to hold up in recent history:
– From the War of 1812 to the Civil War (58 years).
– From the Civil War to World War II (75 years).
– From World War II to the Vietnam War (50 years).
– From the Vietnam War to the Iraq War (45 years).
It is a shame that cultural life cycles can be measured loosely as the time between wars. It seems the entire planet is at war right now; in fact that’s true. Only 11 nations out of 182 are not at war. The advantage living humans have is that they are aware that more is happening than just war. War is a simplistic and cruel way to respond to insecurity but in the midst of the gunpowder and espionage, people are changing their values. As the values change, increasing pressure is brought to bear on government, business, economic law and daily life to change as well.
And so it is that the US is in a bipolar state: what cultural behaviors and rules will be kept? Which will be thrown out? What are the new rules? Like it or not, the US is at a time similar to mariner’s friends; the nation is moving to a new culture.
Ancient Mariner

Progress is hard to define when walking through a swamp

But that’s how progress moves through a giant culture. Consider:

NPR] 55 Years Later, Lawyer Will Again Argue Over Redistricting Before Supreme Court

“Emmet Jopling Bondurant II knew about the civil rights movement when he was a student at the University of Georgia in the 1950s. . . As a 26-year-old lawyer, he took part in one of the most important voting rights cases before the Supreme Court in the 1960s — one that ultimately required states to put equal numbers of people in congressional districts.

“55 years later, in a case that bookends his legal career, Bondurant is returning to argue before the high court in a case that asks whether politicians can draw political boundaries to benefit their own political party at the expense of the other party. In 1964, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Bondurant’s side. In states with more than one House representative, districts must have the same population.

“This time he’s asking the court to block partisan redistricting in North Carolina. Although the state is closely politically divided, the legislature ensured that Republicans would dominate the congressional delegation.

“Bondurant has no plans to retire, or quit trying to improve democracy in the country through the courts.”

–> Unsung heroes are hard to find but that they exist somewhere in our culture is a blessing. Three cheers for Emmet Jopling Bondurant II at 82 years of age.

On Public Shaming

In his March 17 show, Last Week Tonight, John Oliver dedicated his subject to the destructive nature of public shaming – the kind of commentary that is excessive and often well beyond the real facts. A third of his air time was spent interviewing Monica Lewinsky, the subject of national shaming for an affair with Bill Clinton. Her life was interfered with on a brutal scale that lingers today. John’s interview was sympathetic, even to chastising old Jay Leno jokes that were incessant.

Then yesterday, the CBS Sunday Morning show interviewed Kathy Griffin who was publically shamed for holding a bloody, chopped off head of Donald Trump. It cost her contracts and appearances to a point that Kathy had to recreate her career via 1,300+ comedy bookings in Europe – a crowd more understanding of her motives regarding Donald. The CBS interview also was sympathetic.

Guru ponders whether the glacier of identity politics may have started cracking.

Ancient Mariner

The State of Things

6 days

Just six days after the attacks on two mosques that killed 50 people, New Zealand’s prime minister announced that the country had banned military-style semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles. The country will oversee a buyback program for the guns, and owners who don’t get rid of theirs will be subject to fines. [The Washington Post]

–> Now if the US had a functioning government, it could do the same thing. . .

– – – –

2,500,000 miles per hour has an article today about a pulsar (spinning sun) traveling through space at 2.5 million mph! Fortunately, it isn’t heading toward Earth but will leave the Milky Way Galaxy soon. How about ten minutes from now?

– – – –

Our Ozian future

The plot of the movie ‘The wizard of Oz’ comes to mind. Our nation (in fact many nations) are skipping along on the Yellow Brick Road. Like the characters, the US citizenry has deep-seated issues, e.g., a missing heart, no courage, and no brain. So off to the Ozian world of the future. No one knows what’s behind the curtain. Can Future Oz give us a heart, courage and a brain – or – will Oz simply ignore the nation’s plight and impose an Orwellian future upon the citizenry?

There are many futures: the Artificial Intelligence future, largely still behind the curtain but bits and pieces escape. Will the citizens be nothing more than tools to sustain an economy, buying what they’re told, doing what they’re told, living where they’re told?

What has caught international attention in economic sectors is that a deep recession is bound to happen soon. The first absolute indicator comes from Europe where bond sale prices are dropping.

There is a growing rift of reality between those over 55 years of age and those less than 55; the rift grows larger as the age drops – especially to those under 30. Why are young people not having children at a rate that will replace the population? Why is the new democratic surge using the word ‘socialistic’?

The Planet Earth is fed up with humans. Scientists predict that sea levels, strong weather, droughts and flooding will increase to levels that will bankrupt human economies.

Let’s just pray that Oz gives the citizenry a heart, courage and a brain. We’re going to need them.

Ancient Mariner

Peace by any Means

The following story copied from mariner’s newsletter from The Atlantic deserves to be distributed as widely as possible. It speaks to the joy of human compassion; it is a giant example of Pass It Forward.

Peace by Chocolate

Mar 06, 2019

For decades, Issam Hadhad ran a chocolate factory in Syria, the second-largest in the Middle East. In 2012, it was destroyed in a bombing. Hadhad and his family fled war-torn Damascus soon thereafter. After spending years in a Lebanese refugee camp, they were granted asylum in Canada. When they arrived in Nova Scotia in 2016, they had little more than the clothes on their back.

Hadhad, a chocolatier at heart, hoped to resume his profession once he was settled in his new country. But he spoke no English and had no resources. That’s when the community around him stepped in. Locals noticed Hadhad at the farmers’ market, where he sold sweets baked in his home kitchen. When they learned of his ambitions, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and other skilled workers from the community rallied around Hadhad to help build a factory. The family even received a loan to kick-start the business. “I was welcomed as [if] Canada was my homeland,” Tareq Hadhad, Issam’s son, has said.

One of those friendly and solicitous locals was Frank Gallant. “Rather than viewing Issam as an outsider, Frank simply saw him as a friend going through a tough time,” Jonathan Keijser, who made a short documentary about the pair, told The Atlantic. Keijser’s film Brothers premieres on The Atlantic today. It follows Gallant and Hadhad on the latter’s first-ever camping trip. “Frank told me about how he’d been wanting to introduce Issam to some ‘real Canadian experiences,’ and mentioned how Issam had never been camping before,” Keijser recalled.

Gallant was initially skeptical about the prospect of being filmed. “He questioned what would be so interesting about following the two of them around,” Keijser said. “To Frank, the friendship that developed between [him and Hadhad] and their families was nothing out of the ordinary.”

Though Gallant and Hadhad cannot communicate fluently, the language barrier doesn’t seem to have impeded what is a palpable connection between the two men. “It was profoundly moving to witness firsthand the effortless friendship between Issam and Frank, despite their inability to speak the same language,” Keijser said. “It was clear by their interactions that they have an inherent understanding of each other—something many people search their whole lives for and still never achieve.”

Gallant frequently works alongside Hadhad in his chocolate factory, Peace by Chocolate. The company has pledged to hire 50 refugees by 2022.

– – – –

[CityLab] As AI Takes Over Jobs, Women Workers May Have the Most to Lose

Women, especially if they are Hispanic, may be at most financial risk from the automation of jobs says a new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. (Sarah Holder)

– – – –

This is a blatant, unabashed promotion by mariner: His go to news channel is NEWSY (283 on DISH and available on many other outlets). The following is copied from a search engine list:

“For news networks like CNN and Fox News Channel, about 70% of the viewership is over 55. By contrast, about 70% of Newsy’s audience is 25-54, according to E.W. Scripps.”

Nevertheless, if those over 55 checked the program, they may become regular viewers.

–Straight news, no gossip, no manufactured reality. Sean Hannity would have nothing to say.

–Conversational style directly to the viewer. Chris Matthews would never make it.

–Very appropriate special interest coverage.

–Get it all: world news, US news, local news, weather – each in a crisp, two or three minute presentation.

–Newsy also offers an email newsletter covering top stories.

–Website is friendly. See:

Ancient Mariner



Leash Laws for America

Mariner lives in a small town. There are many children and many senior citizens. There is a fear that dogs on the loose will run in packs, defecate everywhere, bite everyone, destroy gardens and otherwise frighten the populace. Hence there are dog leash laws. Having lived in the town for years, mariner has noticed that there are very few dogs that weigh more than their leash. If one is to fear anything, it may be that feral shih tzu will roam the vastness of the town’s back yards competing with squirrels, chipmunks and birds for meager garbage. Rabbits need not be afraid.

However, when it comes to American society, our corporations, our governments and our moral liberties, nothing seems to be restrained, fair, compassionate or rational. This is because very little is on a leash. It is not dogs that are the issue; it is humans who should be on a leash. Humans quickly can pillage nature, greedily destroy balanced economies, and form angry packs not to bite but to kill and all the while, piss on everything.

Just like dogs, humans have special breeds. The Government Breed has two classes: elected and professional; the Corporate Breed also has two classes: small business and profiteer; The Intellectual Breed has two classes: ideological and technical; then there is the Mongrel Breed divided into four unequal classes: conservative-poor, conservative-rich, liberal-poor and liberal-rich. While dogs are not concerned with coloration, humans are not as mature as dogs and tend to flaunt color. As a last description, all human classes bite, form packs at the slightest provocation and are absolutely territorial.

Those who manage the leashes are called ‘the electorate’. It is the electorate’s job to attach or remove leashes to the Government, Corporate, Intellectual and Mongrel Breeds. Attaching leashes is difficult because the spirit of the founding Constitution says, in a phrase, “There are no leashes – freedom for all; guns for all; pursuit of wealth for all – oh, and women can’t vote and it takes five blacks to equal 3 blacks for the purposes of counting population to be represented in Congress.” Fortunately, the last limitations have been unleashed – not including guns which never have been on a leash.

Because the electorate has been derelict in its duties, the Breeds have decided for themselves whether to be leashed or not – in almost all cases, not. What meat is to a dog, money is to human Breeds. The Breeds have become voracious ‘carnivores,’ garnering more and more money and not letting disadvantaged Mongrels have any and just as importantly, not taking care of the human park.

It is past time for the electorate to get off its derriere and rearrange leash laws. It also is time for every government entity that has dog leash laws to provide a good dog park as well.

Ancient Mariner