Saturday, February 24, 2018

Sophie Scholl and the Conscience of the Nation

by Nomad

This 22 February marked the 75th anniversary of the trial and execution of  21-year-old Sophie Magdalena Scholl. Along with her brother, Hans, and her friend, Christoph Probst, Sophie was charged with and convicted of high treason against the Nazi regime.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Why Russian Opposition Leader Navalny's Recent Video Deserves a Closer Look

by Nomad

At the beginning of this month, while all of us were preoccupied with porn star pay-offs and Trump's tweets, the main opposition leader in Russia, Alexei Navalny posted a video on YouTube, outlining interesting accusations against the Putin administration.
His private investigation involves a wild cast of characters: an indiscreet escort, a philandering oligarch, and an extremely powerful, and possibly corrupt government official.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Florida Inmates Serve Time Caring for Abandoned Animals

by Nomad

In honor of National Love Your Pet Day, here's a short video about an innovative program at the Stock Island Detention Center in Key West involving abandoned animals and incarcerated inmates.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Christopher Hitchens' Banana Republic of America- Revisited

by Nomad

KLEPTOCRACY  Christopher Hitchens

The term "banana republic" can be traced back to a collection of short stories by O.Henry a called "Cabbages and Kings." In that book, he described his observations based on the time he lived in Honduras when he was on the run for bank embezzlement. The portrait O. Henry drew was not a flattering one.

The bare-bones definition of a "banana republic" is a politically-unstable nation with an economy dependent on a chief export controlled by a single corporation, usually in foreign hands.
But there's more to it than that.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Good News Round -Up for Week Two of February 2018

by Nomad

In an endless search of positive news, I scoured the Internet, hunting high and low. and I managed to find these four stories for all my glum Nomads. 

Super Beans for Human Beings

Let's talk beans. Specifically, super beans. 
Developed by scientists at the National Agricultural Research Organisation of Uganda, in collaboration with the Colombia-based International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the Nabe 15 bean is better than your average bean. It's a fast-maturing, high-yield variety that drought-resistant. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sanity Sunday- The Music of Zach Winters

 by Nomad

Norman, Oklahoma-based artist Zach Winters has been described as "a multi-instrumentalist, a reader, a man of faith, a writer and a dedicated husband and father." According to his bio, Winters has had the honor to sing for Syrian refugees, laboring mothers, orphans in Mexico, and his friends, neighbors and family.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Insecurity on Display: Trump's Pompous Parade and Nixon's Palace Guards

by Nomad

Back in January 1970, then-president Richard Nixon took a good look at the White House guard (secret service uniformed division) and made a decision. The attire was not suitably fancy.
It would not do.
And so, he ordered an overhaul of the uniforms to match what he had seen in palaces worn in other countries.

From now on, the president ordered, the guards would be decked out in uniforms which featured a white, double-breasted tunic with gold shoulder trim and a stiff shako hat with peaked front.  

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Trump and the Lessons of the Rise of Benito Mussolini

by Nomad

Comparing Donald Trump to some of the more infamous dictators of the past is pretty standard fare nowadays. However, without even mentioning Trump by name, one blogger, Quintus Curtius, in an interesting blog post has made a few fascinating points about the Italian fascist Mussolini and the series of events that put him in absolute control.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sanity Sunday- The Temptations by Request

by Nomad

This week, a lead singer of The Temptations, Dennis Edwards, passed on at his home in Chicago. They did not disclose the cause of death but he had apparently been ill for some time.

Having joined The Temptations in 1968, Edwards was the voice behind such Grammy-winning hits as Papa Was a Rollin' Stone and Cloud Nine.

Edwards was not one of the original band members. (He replaced David Ruffin after contractual disputes with Motown label.) Edwards sang with the group from 1968 to 1976, 1980 to 1984 and 1987 to 1989.

In 1989, Edwards was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Temptations. Edwards was also inducted into Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame with The Temptations in 2013.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

How Trump's "Alternative Facts" Fuel His Racist Policies for Urban America

by Nomad

Recent remarks from Trump have reopened accusations of his racism. Yet, looking back to his campaign, Trump's racism has always been on full display, particularly when it came to his views on the urban life.

Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump preferred to paint an ugly portrait of urban life where things were on the verge of collapse and crime was out of control.
In his narrative, things were falling apart in the black community.
Our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before, ever, ever, ever. You take a look at the inner cities, you get no education, you get no jobs, you get shot walking down the street.”

Monday, January 29, 2018

Sanity Sunday- The Folk Music of Jim Ghedi

by Nomad

Six and twelve string guitarist Jim Ghedi lives in Moss Valley, just south of Sheffield, England. The 27-year-old Ghedi clearly feels a connection between his music and the land.
"I discovered a sense of place from exploring the natural environments and rich wildlife around the area. It was through gentle movement and close observation which brought an understanding, a connection, a stillness and a rooted sense of belonging.”

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Another Look at FBI Director Comey's Decision to Re-open the Clinton Email Investigation

by Nomad

One of the many as-yet unclear events of last year's election concerns former FBI director James Comey's decision to reopen a probe into Hillary Clinton days before the vote. 

After finding State Department emails on a computer belonging to former Rep. Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton's aide, Huma Abedin, on 28 October, Comey sent a letter to eight Congressional committees, informing them that the Clinton email probe was- at least, partially re-opened. 

Only 11 days before the election, the timing for the Clinton campaign could hardly have been worse. 
Comey's decision has been called "a mistake of world-historic proportions."
Given the consequences, it's not quite as inflated an exaggeration as it initially sounds. Together with probable Russia interference, this event helped put a man who was clearly unfit to be president in the White House. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

One Young Man's Emotional Story about Gay Conversion Therapy and Self-Acceptance

by Nomad

Under the influence of the evangelicals, the Republican party has for years now endorsed the practice of attempting to alter or reverse an individual's sexual orientation using psychological or spiritual interventions. Otherwise known as gay conversion therapy.
Some have compared it to Victorian efforts to impose conformity by converting left-handers into "normal" right-handed socially-approved human beings. However, as the linked video below suggests, the implications for this kind of forced suppression/inhibition of sexual orientation can be psychologically-devastating to the individuals.

More fundamentally, perhaps, the majority of medical professionals strongly doubt that the "corrective" techniques are ever successful.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sanity Sunday - Luna Lee and the Gayageum

by Nomad

The word "gayageum" might sound like a senior LGBT organization but in fact, it is a traditional 12- string Korean musical instrument. The Gayageum was probably manufactured around the 6th century, in the time of King Kasil in the Kaya Kingdom.

One musician who plays contemporary music on the gayageum is Luna Lee. She has performed covers songs by such groups as
Rolling Stones, Queen, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. 
"The gayageum has a beautiful sound and amazing potential so I wanted to share my music with many people."

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Allan Law, the Sandwich Man of Minneapolis

by Nomad

You've probably never heard of Allan Law. There's no reason you should have. This former teacher's not a man in search of fame. However, I think he does deserve a bit of recognition for the selfless work he has done for the last 12 years.
Every night, while most of us are sleeping.
And when you ask Law, why he does all this good work, he just says,"Because somebody has to care."

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sanity Sunday- Mathieu Terrade on the Harpejji

by Nomad


It must be one of life's greatest rewards to be acclaimed as a master at something. When it comes to playing the harpejji, French musician Mathieu Terrade is probably the most celebrated.
A few "notes" about this unique instrument:
  • Developed in 2007 by Tim Meeks, founder of Marcodi Musical Products.
  • The instrument aims to bridge the gap in sound and technique between the guitar, bass guitar, and piano.
  • Stevie Wonder features the instrument in his stage performance
  • There are no formal rules on how to play the instrument and new techniques are emerging all the time. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Ungovernable: How Partisanship Wrecked US Politics Just as George Washington Predicted

by Nomad

Trump the Partisan President

Commentator John Dickerson on a recent episode of the podcast Slate's Political Gabfest, was talking to the show's host, David Plotz, about why President Donald Trump represents something new and foreboding in American politics.
He pointed out:
"One thing we are witnessing is our first purely partisan president. The rise of partisan politics in the presidency has been increasing since 1980 for a variety of reasons. But the idea of the president who could build a coalition from members of both parties- kind of fly above the party fights and pass legislation- has been declining.
According to Dickerson, there has been a sea change in the rhetoric under Trump. There was a time when a president would, at the least, give a nod to the idea of  Americans' putting aside their differences and working together. True, most of it was less than sincere when push came to shove. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Donald Trump and the Swamp Thing

by Nomad

You might have missed it but the final chapter in the "Drain the Swamp" saga was, at long last, posted. And it was just as ridiculous and sickening as you expected it would be.

Three Little Words

Back in October 2016, Candidate Trump issued a press release which declared his intention to "drain the swamp in Washington, D.C."

In specifics, Trump was planning to introduce "sweeping ethics reforms" and pledged to "make our government honest once again."
From the outset, the very idea of Trump bringing honesty to anything at any time seemed fairly outlandish. That was true even before he embarked on a political career.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The 2018 Women's March and Beyond: How to Make the Next 300 days Count

by Leadfoot

On November 6 of this new year, we could take back the Senate and the House – which means we could take back the country! November 6 is about 300 days from now. Will you pledge to make at least 10 of those 300 days count?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

California and Jeff Sessions' Big Marijuana Legalization Hang-up

by Nomad

I produced this short film about a surprising moment in California history and the man who would like to see that history reverse itself.
Last week, recreational use for cannabis became legal - at least, in some areas- for the first time since the state officially declared marijuana illegal in 1913.
It was a high point in the state's history, you might say.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Study Shows a World Divided on the Benefits of 50 years of Progress

by Nomad

According to a Pew Research study, most of the world's population has mixed feelings when it comes to the advancement made in the last 50 years. Polling nearly 43,000 people in 38 countries around the globe, respondents were asked a simple question: Do you think life is better now than a half-century ago?