Friday, January 20, 2017

Looking for a Non-Political Diversion? Try Listening to these True Story Podcasts

by Nomad 

Headphones Watercolor

In honor of the "coronation, I've decided to offer my readers an alternative, a diversion from what will be, for many of us, a spectacle very difficult to watch. Here are three true story podcast episodes that you might find interesting.

Pleasures of Podcasts

Blogging can be hard work.
A lot like digging ditches in the Texas sun. In August. Some days my shoulders ache from toting that barge and lifting that bale. You just can't imagine.
Okay, it's not really all that hard. And to be honest, my reward is watching the lively chat that I am privileged to host on this blog.  

Of course, there are times in writing a blog article when the spirit is willing but the eyes feel like burning globes of fire. At such moments, it's time to take a break from all things Internet. 
But how?
By reading? No, that's clearly not a solution.
By sleeping? Perhaps but then my mind is still active- at least, as active as it will ever be. I need a shot of mental stimulation while keeping my eyes closed.
That doesn't leave a lot of options.

This is why listening to podcasts make so much sense for me. Maybe you too.
There are literally tens of thousands of podcasts available online. If you aren't familiar with the format, it's kind of like a radio program that you have control over. You can pause it or listen to it as many times as you like.
When you subscribe to a podcast feed, (and it is best to subscribe to more than one) you will receive a new show regularly, every week or so.

The subjects are practically limitless and can be loaded onto whatever device you wish, (phone, tablet) making them more portable than your laptop. Many podcasts are not discrete episodes but run as a season-long series.
But it's no problem if you have missed the previous installments, though. In that case, you can download all episodes and binge on a full season. (That's great if you are traveling and you don't feel like toting a book around.)

Unlike humans, not all podcasts are created equal and some of them are unbearable to sit through. As a rule, I cannot tolerate the kind of podcast where two people are sharing their opinions about politics a la the Howard Stern format.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Government for Sale: An Interesting Discovery in the CIA Files on Donald Trump

by Nomad

Newly-released CIA files offer us a bitter look back at what we used to laugh at decades ago. A satirical op-ed piece is a timely reminder of how far we have come along the path to corporatocracy. And under Trump, it's likely to get a lot worse. 

When I heard the news that the CIA had just uploaded around 13 million formerly classified documents, I did what any inquisitive blogger would do. I hastily typed in Donald Trump's name in the site's search engine. What I found was, to put it mildly, not what I was expecting.
No, nothing scandalous, so don't get too excited. There is one rather peculiar find to report.

Among a few other items, there's a photocopied news clipping of a June 1985 article by the then-editor of the monthly, Harper's Magazine, Lewis Lapham.
This article's presence in the CIA file is very likely to do a very brief mention of the CIA head at the time, Bill Casey. As for the Trump reference, you'll have to be a little patient.

The piece itself is a tongue-in-cheek op-ed entitled "Putting the Government Up for Sale: Deals to Ponder." The crux of the article is pretty basic and is summed up in the first paragraph.
"Sooner or later, it will occur to somebody in the Reagan administration to put the federal government up for sale in a patriotic series of leveraged buy-outs. The deficit and the national debt would vanish as if in magician's smoke. The Dow Jones stock averages would gain 4000 points and everybody lucky enough to command the necessary lines of credit and political patronage would make a killing."

Monday, January 16, 2017

Three Inspiring Stories To Brighten a Gloomy Monday

by Nomad

Suffice to say, the recent days haven't done much to bring much happiness in our lives. I don't know about you but I am finding it hard to find much in the way of silver linings in the present fiasco. It's difficult to stay positive when every day there's some new trauma to contend with.

The really unfortunate part is that we currently live in a world where a person like Anne Coulter or Rush Limbaugh (or a hundred others like them) can effortlessly grab the attention of millions with some divisive and discouraging remark.

It's time we took a break and heard a little good news about good people.
*   *   *

Teacher Retires After 38 Years, But Students’ Heartfelt Send-Off Leaves Him Speechless

Last month, the students at College Paul Fort– a junior high school in Courcouronnes, France- decided to give a proper send-off to their teacher who was retiring after 38 years.

The 63-year-old gym teacher, Alain Donnat, was leaving his final class and heading towards the doors of the school to leave, when.. well, I will let you watch the video to learn what happens next.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Russian Journalist to US Media: Congrats on Trump's Press Conference and Get Used to the New Normal

by Nomad

Immediately following last week's press conference, in which President-elect Trump faced off with the reporters, many in Russia were laughing their heads off. Others were totally astounded by what they saw.
Not, however, for the reasons you might automatically assume. Not because of America's abject humiliation on the world's stage.

A report in The Moscow Times points out:
In Russia, the independent media has gradually eroded under a president who seems to share Donald Trump’s disdain for disruptive journalism. But Russian Twitter users who tuned in to watch Trump’s meeting with the press weren’t partying or seething — for the most part, they were laughing.
Many prominent Russian Twitter users seemed to think the most amusing aspect of Trump’s confrontation with the press was the fact that reporters actually asked him tough questions, sometimes quite aggressively. This is a far cry from the tone at Vladimir Putin’s annual press conferences, where a room packed mostly with sycophants pampers the president with praise, disguised as questions, and opportunities to impress the nation, framed as requests for presidential intervention.
Alexey Kovalev, a Russian journalist who writes about propaganda, fake news, and Russian state media, has a message for US new organizations about Donald Trump.
If you think that Trump press conference was a disaster for journalism, you'd better get used to it.
Kovalev says the Russians have been dealing with this kind of thing for over a decade.