Friday, December 09, 2016

Donald Trump in mourning?

Donald Trump cancelled all of his appointments when he learned his favorite wig-maker had died.

If you believe the above, then you suffer from anoesis.  Thanks for the heads-up to Eddie whose Anoesis News Service is featured in Wiley Miller’s "Non Sequitur” from and on.

Anoesis is defined in the Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary as "consciousness that is pure passive receptiveness without understanding or intellectual organization of the materials presented.”  See

If you quote the first paragraph without the following paragraphs, then you are perpetuating false news.

A more common term for anoesis is gullibility.  And gullibility knows no political party, religious or political belief, or social standing.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Religious freedom and commerce

Much is being written about serving gays violating a merchant’s freedom of religion.  But what is the real question here.  Is the merchant being forced to serve people he or she doesn’t like or being forced to participate in activities that he or she doesn’t like.

The latest case I’ve seen is about a photographer being forced to photograph a gay wedding.  In this case, the photographer is being requited to participate in something he or she does not approve of.

On the other hand, if two men showed up at the studio can the photographer deny them service?  Not if they act as any two buddies might having their picture taken.  If they put their arms on each other’s shoulders the photographer should not have a complaint.  But if they insisted on a picture of them kissing each, then the photographer would have a complaint.

Similarly with a baker being asked to bake a wedding cake.  If two men showed up to order a wedding cake, then the baker should provide it, even if he knew they were gay.  However, if they asked him to put two male figures on the top of the cake, then the baker now becomes a direct participant in the choice of the two men.

Suppose a neo-nazi asks a Jewish baker to make a cake with a swastika on top. The baker has every right to refuse on both religious and ethical grounds.  However, if the neo-nazi just asks for a cake off the shelf, then the baker should serve him.

Suppose a Roman Catholic grocer is asked to deliver groceries to a nudist camp.  He has every right to refuse.  However, if one of the nudists comes to his store fully clothed to buy groceries for the camp, then the grocer should serve him.

Essentially, we should not be expected to participate in activities of which we disapprove, but we can’t refuse to serve those of whom we disapprove when they are acting in a socially acceptable manner.

A good case in point is the shock jock, Fred Tupper, in “Little Mosque in the Prairie”, who spreads all kinds of misinformation about Muslims.  He is welcome in Fatima’s restaurant, as long as he doesn’t spout off too much.


Jim Heffernan, a former Duluth News Tribune editor, posted in his blog about being left-handed.

I sent the the following email to him.

I’m belated catching up on your blog.  The left-handed entry really caught my interest: I too am an overhanded left-handed writer.

But writing is almost the only thing I do exclusively with my left hand, except scratch my right arm:)  I use tools with my right hand.  If fact I can hardly pound a nail straight or saw a straight line with me left hand.

I have a hypothesis on why left-handers write over-hand.

It's how we imitate others.  If we learn something side-by-side, we will imitate our teacher’s handed-ness.  If we learn something face-to-face we might mirror our teacher’s handed-ness.   If we watch somebody write across from us, we will place the pen in the mirror hand.  But then it breaks down because we place the paper in the same direction.  It is very awkward to write left-hand and underhand with the paper slanted “counter-clock-wise”.

I have noticed that fewer people say “Oh, you’re left-handed!”  My inclinations is to say “But when people say that I punch them in the nose with my right hand!”

Pollution hurts stock returns

"Higher pollution leads to worse returns for stock prices. Specifically, a usual (meaning greater than one standard deviation) increase in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) leads to an 11.9% reduction in the performance of the S&P 500 index. To be clear, this is not an 11.9% drop, but an 11.9% decline in relative returns."

For more, see

Fox guarding the EPA chicken coop?

See "Trump names climate change skeptic, oil industry ally to lead EPA  in Duluth News Tribune, 2016-12-08.

This definitely is having the fox guard the chicken coop!

Shouldn't a "populist" be in favor of the people being free to breathe rather than the corporations being free to pollute?

See also "China to become the leader of the free-breathing world".

Fake news exposed in the comics

“..most people who get their news on social media can’t tell the difference between fake news and real news…”

Wiley Miller, Non Sequitur

This applies to the “right” and the “left”.  I have had friends get all excited about an issue our of all proportion to the real problem.

Want to discredit Donald Trump? Show his base he's part of the elite

Trump is stocking his cabinet from the establishment. Democrats should reiterate his betrayal of the ‘drain the swamp’ campaign promise like a mantra.  See

Samantha Bee takes down Trump claims: 'Massive voter fraud is a lie'

The late-night host talked about the president-elect’s shaky transition and fabricated allegations about illegal voting practices.  See

If you have an iPhone with iOS 10, "The Guardian U.S." is one of the many newspapers in the News App.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

To my Russian “visitors”

I don’t know what you see in my little blog that you have more visits than all the visits from all other countries combined.  Your probably automatic visits just skew my statistics.

Please go away unless you are actually reading my posts.


Sunday, December 04, 2016

Software: automobile or yard equipment?

Software behaves more like yard equipment:  one has to continually add fuel and oil, tighten bolts, and clean many parts.

And it seems every time we turn around there is a new update.

With cars, we go months without any service other than adding fuel and maybe a wash.  And maybe we get one update a year on some warranty part.

An op-ed on the too short history of Pakistan's religious tolerance

My friend M. Imran Hayee wrote a op-Ed in the Duluth News Tribune, 2016-12-04 warning about a slide to religious intolerance under a Trump government.  He notes how intolerant religionists destroyed Pakistan's thriving, tolerant democracy.


Trump gives new meaning to "political" science

Trump's staff is toying with taking climate research responsibility from NASA and giving it to another agency.

That is, those with business and law degrees know more about science than those with physics and chemistry degrees.

See "Earth, the Final Frontier", Adam Frank, New York Times, 2016-12-02

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Who is the us in U.S.?

Way back when, a bunch of Puritans fled England to practice their religious beliefs.  They pushed back the people who were already here.  Later, they persecuted Quakers who publicly preached a different religious view.

Opportunists saw large areas of land to raise cotton and tobacco.  By hook or crook they laid claims to that land, pushing back the people who were already there.  To make matters worse, they bought people who were kidnapped from their homes and put on ships in chains.  They put these people to hard work, whipping them if they slacked off or showed any signs of independence.  They often quoted select passages from the Bible to justify the situation, completely ignoring “Do unto others…"

Later on, Irish escaped the famine brought on partly because the English took away some of the best farmland.  When they came to the U.S., they were often greeted with signs “No Irish need apply!”  Now people who have no Irish ancestry celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Swedes came in large numbers for better farmland than was available in Sweden.  Because their English was not perfect they were often called “dumb Swedes”.  This dumb whatever naming continued when immigrants from many other lands came to the U.S.

Russian Jews had their land expropriated by Tsarist thugs.  They fled to the U.S. and made many cultural and business contributions.  At the same time they were ostracized by “Christians” and kept out of many groups.

People of European descent kept pushing west taking land from Indians and Mexicans.  For a variety of reasons, successive governments in Mexico were often corrupt and did not create an economy that benefited all the people.  Many of these people sought jobs in the U.S., often in land that once was Mexico.  They are paid lower wages than those whose ancestors took the land would accept.

The U.S. waged several wars in the Mideast to ensure a supply of oil, often corrupting or overthrowing governments to do so.  Many people from these countries fled to the U.S. for a more stable life.  Also large corporations hired many of the highly educated of these people because they worked for less and the corporations didn’t have to pay the taxes to educate them.

On and on it goes.  “Why don’t you go back to where you came from?”  This is directed at people whose families have been here for generations as well as people who have helped enhance the bottom line of large corporations.  And how does one go back to where they came from if their ancestors came from many different places?

On top of all of this, the descendants of dissenters who left their homelands now want others to believe just as they do.

“When will we ever learn!”

Monday, November 28, 2016

Anti-abortion but pro-war?

How is it that those who are against abortion are allied with the party that wants to get involved with wars all over the world?  Doesn’t war kill pregnant women and their unborn children?

How many pregnant women in England were killed German rockets?  How many pregnant women were killed by the fire-bombing of Dresden?  How many pregnant women were killed in Leningrad and Stalingrad?  How many pregnant women were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?  How many pregnant women were killed in Viet Nam by either side?  How man pregnant women have been killed in Iraq, Syria, and many other places?

None of these war victims was given a choice.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Corporate slip-up

David McGrath wrote a local view, “A few ‘no thanks' are in order today".

I sent him a note of thanks, but when I sent it, I realized that the address was wrong.  The first four characters of his address were not included.  In the Olive Edition of the DNT the email address was split.  (Olive is software that displays the printed edition as is and then will open up single articles.  It has many of its own problems.)

I thought it might be that the opinion editor was being careless.  That would be ironic because he always seems to find something to change in almost all of my letters or commentaries.  So much so that I have given up sending anything to the DNT.

I looked at the DNT on my iPad this morning, but I am using my MacBook Air to write this blog entry.  The Olive Edition opens with an error on this computer, and nobody has fixed the problem yet.  So, I looked at the web edition, and surprise! The email address is correct at the bottom of the article.

That means that the opinion editor probably never saw the result once it left his computer to the automated process to be put in all the various formats.

And probably nobody double checks all of these errors because the owners won’t provide enough resources to check and correct all of these irritating errors.

Corporate fast response

This morning we woke up to a cold house.  My wife noticed that the alarm clock was not lit.  The light switches didn’t work.  I checked the breakers and only an unlabeled breaker was tripped.  I reset that but nothing happened.

The gas furnace was off because it needs electricity for ignition.

Well, it was cold cereal for breakfast.  While eating breakfast i went to the Minnesota Power website ( and found an outage map.

Bingo, right in the middle of our neighborhood was a head with a hardhat.  Clicking on the icon I found the outage was reported after 7:30 and was projected to be fixed by about 10:30.

Soon after I found this information, the furnace came on.  Power was restored within an hour of the outage being reported.

Since only 15 households were affected, I assume that nobody noticed until about 7:30, at least nobody reported it until then.

Thanks to those who work on holidays and after hours to make sure that our conveniences stay convenient.

The minor downside of this is that I could not find an email address to thank MNPower for this quick fix.  I could call but there was such a long list of choices that I gave up.

I hope someone at MNPower reads this and passes it on to the crew that responded so quickly.