Sunday, September 24, 2017

Senator John McCain May Be Losing His Life to Brain Cancer, But Did It Help Him Find His Heart. By Geniusofdespair

“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it. Without a full CBO score, which won’t be available by the end of the month, we won’t have reliable answers to any of those questions.

“I take no pleasure in announcing my opposition. Far from it. The bill’s authors are my dear friends, and I think the world of them. I know they are acting consistently with their beliefs and sense of what is best for the country. So am I.

“I hope that in the months ahead, we can join with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to arrive at a compromise solution that is acceptable to most of us, and serves the interests of Americans as best we can.”

John McCain's Prognosis: Because they keep returning, glioblastomas are almost never cured, and the prognosis is poor. With treatment, the median survival — which means half of patients live longer than this, and half die sooner — is 12 to 18 months.

Senator John McCain had the integrity to say this when running against Senator Obama:

John McCain is a decent man.

McCain spent more than 5 years as a prisoner of war in Viet Nam. 

Donald Trump said of John McCain being a war hero: 'I like people who weren't captured.' Only a hateful man would say this.
John McCain's Account of his Captivity in Viet Nam:

...the guards, who were all in the room—about 10 of them—really laid into me. They bounced me from pillar to post, kicking and laughing and scratching. After a few hours of that, ropes were put on me and I sat that night bound with ropes. Then I was taken to a small room. For punishment they would almost always take you to another room where you didn't have a mosquito net or a bed or any clothes. For the next four days, I was beaten every two to three hours by different guards. My left arm was broken again and my ribs were cracked.

The date was Oct. 26, 1967. I was on my 23rd mission, flying right over the heart of Hanoi in a dive at about 4,500 feet, when a Russian missile the size of a telephone pole came up—the sky was full of them—and blew the right wing off my Skyhawk dive bomber. It went into an inverted, almost straight-down spin.

I pulled the ejection handle, and was knocked unconscious by the force of the ejection—the air speed was about 500 knots. I didn't realize it at the moment, but I had broken my right leg around the knee, my right arm in three places, and my left arm. I regained consciousness just before I landed by parachute in a lake right in the corner of Hanoi, one they called the Western Lake. My helmet and my oxygen mask had been blown off.

I hit the water and sank to the bottom. I think the lake is about 15 feet deep, maybe 20. I kicked off the bottom. I did not feel any pain at the time, and was able to rise to the surface. I took a breath of air and started sinking again. Of course, I was wearing 50 pounds, at least, of equipment and gear. I went down and managed to kick up to the surface once more. I couldn't understand why I couldn't use my right leg or my arm. I was in a dazed condition. I went up to the top again and sank back down. This time I couldn't get back to the surface. I was wearing an inflatable life-preserver-type thing that looked like water wings. I reached down with my mouth and got the toggle between my teeth and inflated the preserver and finally floated to the top.

Some North Vietnamese swam out and pulled me to the side of the lake and immediately started stripping me, which is their standard procedure. Of course, this being in the center of town, a huge crowd of people gathered, and they were all hollering and screaming and cursing and spitting and kicking at me.

When they had most of my clothes off, I felt a twinge in my right knee. I sat up and looked at it, and my right foot was resting next to my left knee, just in a 90-degree position. I said, "My God--my leg!" That seemed to enrage them —I don't know why. One of them slammed a rifle butt down on my shoulder, and smashed it pretty badly. Another stuck a bayonet in my foot. The mob was really getting up-tight.

About this time, a guy came up and started yelling at the crowd to leave me alone. A woman came over and propped me up and held a cup of tea to my lips, and some photographers took some pictures. This quieted the crowd down quite a bit. Pretty soon, they put me on a stretcher, lifted it onto a truck, and took me to Hanoi's main prison. I was taken into a cell and put on the floor. I was still on the stretcher, dressed only in my skivvies, with a blanket over me.

For the next three or four days, I lapsed from conscious to unconsciousness. During this time, I was taken out to interrogation—which we called a "quiz"—several times. That's when I was hit with all sorts of war-criminal charges. This started on the first day. I refused to give them anything except my name, rank, serial number and date of birth. They beat me around a little bit. I was in such bad shape that when they hit me it would knock me unconscious. They kept saying, "You will not receive any medical treatment until you talk."

I didn't believe this. I thought that if I just held out, that they'd take me to the hospital. I was fed small amounts of food by the guard and also allowed to drink some water. I was able to hold the water down, but I kept vomiting the food.

They wanted military rather than political information at this time. Every time they asked me something, I'd just give my name, rank and serial number and date of birth.

I think it was on the fourth day that two guards came in, instead of one. One of them pulled back the blanket to show the other guard my injury. I looked at my knee. It was about the size, shape and color of a football. I remembered that when I was a flying instructor a fellow had ejected from his plane and broken his thigh. He had gone into shock, the blood had pooled in his leg, and he died, which came as quite a surprise to us—a man dying of a broken leg. Then I realized that a very similar thing was happening to me.

When I saw it, I said to the guard, "O.K., get the officer." An officer came in after a few minutes. It was the man that we came to know very well as "The Bug." He was a psychotic torturer, one of the worst fiends that we had to deal with. I said, "O.K., I'll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital." He left and came back with a doctor, a guy that we called "Zorba," who was completely incompetent. He squatted down, took my pulse. He did not speak English, but shook his head and jabbered to "The Bug." I asked, "Are you going to take me to the hospital?" "The Bug" replied, "It's too late." I said, "If you take me to the hospital, I'll get well."

"Zorba" took my pulse again, and repeated, "It's too late." They got up and left, and I lapsed into unconsciousness.

Sometime later, "The Bug" came rushing into the room, shouting, "Your father is a big admiral; now we take you to the hospital."

I tell the story to make this point: There were hardly any amputees among the prisoners who came back because the North Vietnamese just would not give medical treatment to someone who was badly injured—they weren't going to waste their time. For one thing, in the transition from the kind of life we lead in America to the filth and dirt and infection, it would be very difficult for a guy to live anyway. In fact, my treatment in the hospital almost killed me.

Sunday Culture: Celebrate the best Tap Dances ever. By Geniusofdespair

Fayard and Harold Nicholas: The Nicholas Brothers.

From Wiki:

One of their signature moves was to leapfrog down a long, broad flight of stairs, while completing each step with a split. Its most famous performance formed the finale of the movie Stormy Weather.[3] In that routine, the Nicholas Brothers leapt exuberantly across the orchestra's music stands and danced on the top of a grand piano in a call and response act with the pianist, to the tune of Jumpin' Jive.[3] Fred Astaire once told the brothers that this dance number was the greatest movie musical sequence he had ever seen.[3]

In another signature move, they would rise from a split without using their hands.[3] Gregory Hines declared that if their biography were ever filmed, their dance numbers would have to be computer generated because no one now could emulate them.[3] Ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov once called them the most amazing dancers he had ever seen in his life.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Watch This Hurricane Irma Hole in Coconut Grove and Tell Me What it is. By Geniusofdespair

This hole is at my condo just off the seawall bordering Biscayne Bay. I watched the hole for awhile because that is the type of person I am, inquisitive.

It filled to the top in foamy water, then it was quickly sucked out (you can hear it)...the pattern repeated over and over exactly the same. What gives?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Eye on Miami Exclusive: The Raging Bull Jake LaMotta had a heart. Guest Blog by Linda

This is an exclusive, written by my friend for Eye on Miami.

I was 22 years old when I started working as a waitress in a topless nightclub called The Mardi Gras in New York's Times Square. They served steaks to their upscale clientele. The establishment was more Vegas than Times Square in the 70's. The dancers were all gorgeous and were not allowed to talk with the customers.

The bouncer was a man named Jake and many of the men who came in would shake his hand. I didn't know he was Jake LaMotta, the famous boxer. I was innocent when it came to the world of nightclubs. He once pointed to a stunning dancer and said "do you know that she's Betty Davis's daughter"? I asked "does her mother know she works here"? She wasn't. After that, he teased me a lot. He introduced me to a good looking man and told me he just graduated from college. I asked "What school?" What Jake meant was, he just got out of prison, that was the euphemism  then for being released. I was so naive, the teasing persisted but Jake took me under his wing and protected me.

Jake, never hit on me or disrespected me in any way. Being "green" I didn't think anything of it. After working in other clubs with other bouncers, I realized he was one of the exceptions. A gentleman.

The Jake I knew looked like this.
When I read Jake LaMotta died, it brought back all the memories of my time working with him and I cried, fondly remembering our funny little friendship.

RIP Jake LaMotta! My condolences to his family and friends. - Linda

County Commissioner Xavier Suarez Looks at Evacuation During Hurricanes. By Geniusofdespair

City Commission Francis Suarez with Dad Xavier Suarez
 I liked this Op-Ed by Xavier Suarez my County Commissioner, as I call him: 
The X man.

Commissioners, we need some overhaul of rules for evacuation at the airport as well, but that is another matter.

Find better ways to get residents out of Miami-Dade, and then back in

September 20, 2017

Hurricane Irma came with every possible warning and the longest period of anticipation ever provided by modern technology. We had hurricane-tracking planes and expert models ad infinitum on the job. I can’t imagine that technology can do much better in the future.

However, if we suffered like we did, in terms of power outages, from being 100 miles from the eye, how much worse would that suffering have been if we were hit head-on?

There are two specific preparedness issues on which we can all agree:

▪ Powerlines must be either underground or at least above ground on sturdy, reinforced concrete columns. There is really no argument here. Having wooden poles to support power grids is living in the Stone Age.

▪ Facilities for elderly residents, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities must have stand-by, working generators. Most high-rise condos and hotels in Miami have generators for emergency lights and elevators. Some nursing homes and ALFs don’t have them, and if they do, their capacity is insufficient to provide air conditioning. When you combined that deficiency with shuttered windows, you got tragic deaths such as the ones in a Hollywood nursing home.

Suffice it to say, there now are even more people who live in the Florida Keys who most likely will not follow future evacuation orders. They were hampered in their efforts to repair and rebuild by the constraints imposed post-hurricane that kept them from accessing their homes. Clearly, there are lessons for government officials who issue evacuation orders, emergency curfews, and other limitations to freedom of movement:

▪ Evacuation orders must include highway counter-flows. When Miami-Dade orders evacuation of 600,000 residents, you would think it would be coordinated with the state of Florida so that all or most lanes of I-75 and I-95 would be immediately used for one-directional travel. Forcing people on the highways north without gas supplies is a dereliction of duty.

▪ Traffic signals must be immediately replaced by temporary measures. Miami Beach did well by placing portable stop signs at every intersection. Miami-Dade County did well by providing police officers at many major ones; Miami also mobilized large numbers of public service aides, though they should be more visible and better trained.

One of my most enduring memories was driving back to my place in Miami Beach (after three couples and five grandchildren took over my city condo) and being stopped for ID on the MacCarthur Causeway. One officer saw my county ID and yelled to the other: “Hey, we have a county commissioner here.” The other one answered: “County commissioners can go anywhere they want.”

It made me wonder: If a county commissioner and the news media can go pretty much anywhere they want, why can’t a regular citizen who wants to secure his residence after a hurricane do likewise?

City of Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez (Xavier's Son) is Running for City of Miami Mayor

Thursday, September 21, 2017

I hate the word Resiliency. By Geniusofdespair

It is that kind of day, sunny, hot and hateful.

Miami Beach Mayor in the Miami Herald:

"Create a resiliency commission, to be chaired by a chief resiliency officer, appointed by the governor."  (What he means: What the fuck are we going to do about Climate Change flooding already happening in Miami Beach?)

Read more here:

There are certain words and phrases that make me want to scream because they are repeated ad nauseam. People say them over and over and over and then nitwits start to believe them and repeat them (sometimes not even knowing why or what the words mean).

Crooked Hillary
- Fuck that one but Crooked Trump uses it on twitter all the time...STILL. It isn't even clever Donald.
Resiliency - Code word Democrats thought up because Republicans don't like Climate Change. Call it what it is.
Rocket Man - Please let this one die quickly. I am afraid that your president likes it now, so we will be hearing it ALL THE TIME.
Memes - Started by neo nazi, naming the little jokes in their light-hearted twitter campaigns of hate and evil. The word is now embraced by the media. Let it die everyone.
ANTIFA - Stop. This is so gang like.
Perfect and No Worries - over use. Not really bad, just super annoying now.
Fake News - Should be called Fox News.
Alt Right - Nazis and racists thought it up. To rebrand white supremacists/Neo Nazi's so they sound better to the masses.
Mainstream Media - hate the term.
Obamacare - this one is probably the worst, started by pubs and embraced by dems. If it was called the Affordable Care Act, they wouldn't be so big on repealing it. Any reminder of the Black President has to go. Republicans are determined to erase him from history.

Sept. 22 ---Get over her Crooked Donald she is old news.

Words mean a lot. Watch what you say, watch what you write. It is toxic to keep repeating some of this crap because it feeds into stupid people remaining stupid. Republican talking points suck. They must get a list every morning because they all sound the same by the end of the day.

An appeal to climate change deniers, the choice really is yours ... by gimleteye

In the Tampa Bay Times, Susan Glickman compares climate change deniers to football die-hards who will not abandon their team under any circumstances (see below). There is truth to the point. Here is an appeal to the other team.

I'm a consumer, just like you. My carbon footprint is much larger than it should be. I don't like to be made feel guilty, and this perception holds back some climate change deniers from switching sides. Whether you are guilty or not, my carbon footprint could be smaller and so could yours.

The difference between "should" and "could" is vast. "Should" implies moral approbation: if we were only better people we would all be driving a Prius, Volt, or Tesla.

No one likes being lectured or hectored unless it is a place of worship where our souls are at stake. Another way of saying: people don't like their values to be questioned unless it is from within the tent. They don't like "outsiders" telling them how they should behave. The funders of climate change denialism prey on this the same way pro-tobacco forces waved away scientific evidence and promoted cigarette consumption as the "cool" choice.

The "could" part is different.

You "could", theoretically, get from point A to point B by train, efficient bus or bicycle. The "could" part of it is practical and political. Because we do have agency over our polluting choices, polluters tip the scales in their direction.

In the United States, our choice is to be "free" to pollute to whatever extent government incentivizes consumption. I do drive a gas combustion car. I do take airline flights to see my children. I have used many plastic bags in a lifetime of grocery shopping. But as a taxpayer in the first world, I also recognize that my use of gasoline, electricity and other consumer products is shaped by government.

For example, mileage standards in autos. Another example, Florida Power and Light; a monopolistic energy supplier to my home; the regulated public corporation that controls governmental regulatory processes in Florida. I love being able to turn the lights and air conditioning on, at a flick of the switch. It's not only reliable, it's also "affordable" as FPL drumbeats into consumers' heads at every opportunity.

This critical point is embraced by the marketers of climate change denial: even if climate change is real -- even if we are responsible "to some extent", the murmur now being heard in denial circles -- adapting energy consumption away from polluting fossil fuels is "too expensive". It would cost jobs and wreck the economy.

You hear this all the time from the right-wing message machine, but hear it for what it is.

This idea that climate change adaptation is not "affordable" appeals to the innate sense that freedom and liberty -- distinctly American values -- should never be dictated, even though it is provable that the global hidden subsidies of fossil-fuel consumption are in excess of five trillion dollar per year.

Government shapes consumer preferences to pollute in many ways. At Eye On Miami, we have been arguing local county government should halt an effort by developers to move the Urban Development Boundary because, among other problems, it reinforces the sprawling development pattern that forces more people into cars onto congested highways and streets. It is no longer possible to be willfully ignorant, when you are stuck on mind-bending traffic on US 95 or SR 826.

We could have a carbon tax or a gasoline tax: we don't.

Another example how government turns value judgments by polluters into a limited set of choices for consumers is the dismantling of campaign finance rules (Citizens United); a legal and political battle initiated by the nation's fossil fuel supply chain in the name of freedom of speech. This "conservative" bedrock principle -- that government must harnessed to protect Constitutional rights --  has no influence on climate change.

Some conservatives shrug and wave climate change away for precisely this reason: they say, there is nothing we can do about it. This hopelessness leads in only one direction: fortified bunkers where no one is safe. That is what the US military says. Just last week, the commander of the US National Guard was asked how climate change has affected his preparations for natural disasters. Air Force Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel broke with Trump on climate change, like Secretary of Defense James L. Mattis. Lengyel said climate change highlights the need to have a robust Guard presence in each state.

Strict constitutionalists often link arm-in-arm with those who are convinced that if climate change isn't fully accounted for in scripture, adaptation has no place in our lives.

President Trump's likely, imminent withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord and surrendering regulatory agencies like the U.S. EPA to lobbyists and lawyers who represented polluting industries a few hours ago are further examples of hurling consumers toward forced choices and an un-American form of hopelessness.

American voters could do better and would have in 2016, if elections were secure and districts drawn fairly. In a recent letter to the editor of the New York Times, US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse observed succinctly:
The answer to why Congress doesn’t act on climate change is simple political hydraulics.

The Supreme Court let unlimited money into politics. The fossil fuel industry has unlimited money and, according to the International Monetary Fund, a multi-hundred-billion-dollar subsidy to protect. The fossil fuel industry used its unlimited money (and related threats) to capture the Republican Party. Climate change then became “partisan” and untouchable.

It’s actually not that complicated.

The Supreme Court’s Republican appointees got in the habit of doing what they were told by the forces that appointed them (which include the fossil fuel industry, which asked for the Citizens United decision), and in a fateful combination of obedience and political ignorance, they wrecked our politics.

Before Citizens United there were multiple bipartisan climate bills every year; afterward, none.
Recent studies of public attitudes show that anxiety about climate change is burning through populations who understand that unpredictable shifts in food production, massive wildfires in the American West and climate-change fueled Category 5 hurricanes are a preview of what's to come. In an August 2017 Pew Research Center review of public attitudes in 38 countries, in public perceptions of the threat to security, climate change was second just behind ISIS. (In Latin America and Africa, climate change was viewed as the number one threat.)

How has temperature changed in each country over the last century? Here is a data visualisation showing temperature anomaly –the departure from the long-term average – by country from 1900-2016. Visualisation by Antti Lipponen (@anttilip) of the Finnish Meteorological Institute based on GISTEMP data (CC BY 2.0).

At a recent Yale Climate Conference, actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio said:
“These facts (on climate change impacts) have been presented to the world time-and-time again for decades. Quite simply, we are knowingly doing this to ourselves, to our planet and to our future, and the cost of our inaction is becoming clearer... Yet with all of this evidence – the independent scientific warnings, and the mounting economic price tag – there is still an astounding level of willful ignorance and inaction from the people who should be doing the most to protect us, and every other living thing on this planet.”
Some conservatives deride the idea that a Hollywood star should mess with politics. The same criticism was leveled against Pope Francis in 2015 when he issued his encyclical, "Laudato, Si: The World On Fire".
Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions. We require a new and universal solidarity. As the bishops of Southern Africa have stated: “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation”.  All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.
At the time, some American conservatives clucked that Pope Francis should stick to religion, but climate change is not a matter to be cherry-picked like sermon topics. It is real. It is happening now. And most troubling of all, there is nothing in the trend lines showing climate change impacts have plateau'ed. In fact, we are cooking our children's future right quick.

The best way forward is to vote in 2018 for incumbents and candidates who will act in taxpayers' and voters' best interests on climate change and against politicians rooted in denialism and falsehoods spread by polluting industries.

That choice is unconditionally yours. 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

Column: Now is exactly the time to have that discussion about climate change
By Susan Glickman, special to the Tampa Bay Times

Thursday, September 14, 2017 4:57pm

As a native Floridian, I chose to ride out Hurricane Irma in my hometown of Tampa — just a few miles north of where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play football. Like millions of other Floridians who evacuated low-lying beach communities for higher ground, I had the obvious safety concerns and worries about whether I would even have a home to return to. But as a public interest advocate who has worked on climate and energy issues every day for almost two decades, I also have intense concerns about the growing climate change/hurricane nexus.

So when EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt says it's insensitive to Floridians and Texans to talk about climate change during hurricane emergencies, I say he missed the boat as to what's truly insensitive.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Live Web Cams of Hurricane Maria Hitting Puerto Rico. By Geniusofdespair

And the Tweeter in Chief:

I was saddened to see how bad the ratings were on the Emmys last night - the worst ever. Smartest people of them all are the "DEPLORABLES."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Handmaid's Tale. By Geniusofdespair

Photoshop Original! I am getting good.
Canadian Margaret Atwood wrote the book Handmaid's Tale in 1985. Hardly plausible then. However, now? Seems so likely. Touched a nerve. I recommend it. The Emmy award winning series is worth the watch.

 I bought it and watched the entire season on my phone during the hurricane aftermath. It is a very intimate series and I thought the way I viewed it was just perfect. I used headphones and had the Iphone resting on my chest.  Cinematographer Colin Watkinson should be put on a pedestal. It is poetic and austere. Elisabeth Moss is amazing in the series. Better than Game of Thrones? I liked it better. But then after 7 seasons Throne's plot can get worn. Same can be said of the Walking Dead's 7 seasons.

Restoring democracy and turning the tide on climate change: in the U.S., it's not too late to learn from our mistakes ... by gimleteye

This letter from US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) explains it all for you:

To the Editor:

Re “It’s Not Too Late to Learn From Our Mistakes,” by Nicholas Kristof (column, Sept. 3):

The answer to why Congress doesn’t act on climate change is simple political hydraulics.

The Supreme Court let unlimited money into politics. The fossil fuel industry has unlimited money and, according to the International Monetary Fund, a multi-hundred-billion-dollar subsidy to protect. The fossil fuel industry used its unlimited money (and related threats) to capture the Republican Party. Climate change then became “partisan” and untouchable.

It’s actually not that complicated.

The Supreme Court’s Republican appointees got in the habit of doing what they were told by the forces that appointed them (which include the fossil fuel industry, which asked for the Citizens United decision), and in a fateful combination of obedience and political ignorance, they wrecked our politics.

Before Citizens United there were multiple bipartisan climate bills every year; afterward, none.


The writer, a Democrat, is a United States senator from Rhode Island.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Everything Upside Down: Life Imitates Art ... by gimleteye

@realDonaldTrump nonchalantly swinging into an imaginary inferno
Players nonchalantly golfing near a real inferno