Nobel Prize Winners 2013 and a brief ‘shutdown’ comment

October 9, 2013

by Crane-Station

ALFRED NOBEL

Nobel Prize Awards for 2013 have been announced for many scholarly pursuits. The Nobel Prize for Peace will be announced on October 11, Friday, at 11 AM CET. The five contenders are listed here. (note: There may be more).

The Nobel Prize in Physics
has been awarded to François Englert and Peter W. Higgs, for their work at the Large Hadron Collider, that contributed to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was jointly awarded to Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel
“for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems.”

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
was jointly awarded to James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman and Thomas C. Südhof
“for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells.”

The Nobel Prize for Literature will be announced tomorrow at 10 AM CET.

The Nobel Prize for Economics will be awarded on October 14 at the earliest.

Question for discussion: Who do you think may be awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace?

_________

heads up. satiric rant

Heightened security and surveillance at Pearly Gates forces many of the blessed to choose to go straight to Hell.

This comes on the heels of a recent development where God installed additional security and scanning systems at the gated entrance to eternal paradise, making entry into Heaven nearly impossible.

Many of the blessed, who merely lived quiet and private working lives on Hell on Earth are boarding busses to Hell, because Heaven is “just such a hassle to get in to.”

David Jackson, who consumed unsafe food and died in septic agony during the recent US government shutdown said, “All I ever did on earth was try to survive, get along and raise a family. I was looking forward to going to Heaven and spending my eternity in peace. But then, they confiscated my water, stripped me naked, scanned me, and stole my soul. I chose Hell because it’s just so much more welcoming.”

Another of the blessed in the long, twisting line asked Saint Peter what the main problems with living conditions in Hell would be, and Saint Peter answered, “Gnashing of teeth. That’s the main complaint.”

“But I don’t have any teeth.”

“Teeth will be provided. Or, we can send you back to Earth, to live with Republicans, who hate you because, just glancing at your paperwork here…because you are indigent.”

“That’s okay,” said the sad and depressed man. “I’ll give Hell a try.”

_________________________________________

food safety inspections affected by shutdown


List of agencies and affected operations

Alfred Nobel image by Solis Invicti under creative commons on flickr


We need your donations to continue this website

October 7, 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

Crane and I are struggling to survive on my social security and Medicare, which have been reduced due to cutbacks.

We have not paid our rent or electric bill for this month and have just been notified by our landlord that we will be evicted next month, if we do not pay our rent by the 15th.

We desperately need donations.

Without donations we can no longer maintain this website.

Please make a donation today.

Fred


Our mental health system is failing

October 5, 2013

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Good morning:

Take care of your mentally ill brothers and sisters because our mental health system is failing.

Miriam Carey (34) is dead today. Police in Washington, D.C. killed her on Thursday outside the Capitol Building after she refused to stop her vehicle and surrender to their authority. They shot her multiple times after chasing her down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House where she had crashed her vehicle into a barrier at the entrance to the driveway in an apparent effort to enter the White House without permission. She was an unarmed dental hygenist and her 1-year-old baby was strapped into a child safety seat in the back seat of her vehicle.

Aaron Alexis (28) is dead today. Police in Washington, D.C. killed him in a building at the Washington Navy Yard when he refused to surrender to their authority after shooting and killing 12 people in the building with a sawed-off shotgun. He was a government contractor who passed through security to get into the building.

Ms. Carey and Mr. Alexis were mentally ill and delusional when they died. Both sought mental health treatment and were untreated before they were killed.

On September 17th, I warned readers that Mr. Alexis

may have been suffering from schizophrenia and experiencing paranoid delusions on Monday [the day of the shootings].

I relied on a report by Boston.com:

In Rhode Island [six weeks before the shootings], Alexis told the officers he had gotten in an argument while boarding a flight in Virginia, and he believed the person he argued with sent three people to follow him. He said he never saw the people but believed they were using a microwave machine to send vibrations into his body so he could not fall asleep. He said he checked into two hotels previously, one on the Navy base, and could not get away from them.

He would not tell officers what the voices were saying. But he also told them he did not have a history of mental illness in his family and had never had any similar episodes, the report said.

‘‘He was concerned for his own safety,’’ Newport Police Lt. William Fitzgerald said Tuesday.

Later that day, Newport police alerted police at the naval station and sent them a copy of the police report because Alexis said he was a contractor, Fitzgerald said.

‘‘What he was claiming didn’t sound right,’’ he said.

Five days before the shootings, he traveled to Washington, D.C. on another business trip. Over the course of the next five days he changed hotels twice and visited two hospital emergency rooms seeking medication to help him sleep. He also purchased the sawed-off shotgun that he used to kill the 12 people at the Navy Yard. The purchase was lawful.

CBS News is reporting today that police in Stamford, Connecticut took Ms. Carey to a hospital for a mental health evaluation after she,

told police in December that she was a prophet, that President Obama would place the city of Stamford under a “lockdown” and that he had her and her residence under electronic surveillance.

On September 29th before the incident that ended with Ms. Carey’s death, CBS 60 Minutes reported:

The mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard two weeks ago that resulted in the deaths of 13 people, including the gunman, was the 23rd such incident in the past seven years. It’s becoming harder and harder to ignore the fact that the majority of the people pulling the triggers have turned out to be severely mentally ill — not in control of their faculties — and not receiving treatment.

In the words of one of the country’s top psychiatrists, these were preventable tragedies, symptoms of a failed mental health system that’s prohibited from intervening until a judge determines that someone presents an “imminent danger to themself or others.” The consequence is a society that’s neglected millions of seriously ill people hidden in plain sight on the streets of our cities, or locked away in our prisons and jails.

On September 18th I described what Crane and I did to assist a delusional person we knew:

In the fall of 2003, Crane and I received an odd telephone call from a student we knew at Seattle University. The call seemed odd because he claimed loud voices in the walls of his apartment had prevented him from sleeping for several days. We decided to pay him a visit.

He admitted us to his apartment after we convinced him that we were not two impostors attempting to trick him into opening the door.

We spent about an hour checking his apartment and the rest of the building, which contained four apartments above an underground parking lot. We did not hear any voices or see anything out of order.

Because he remained uncharacteristically anxious and fearful, we invited him to come and stay with us for a few days. Fortunately, he accepted our invitation.

This incident kicked-off a bizarre month in which Crane and I took him to see mental health professionals and alternated sleeping during the night so that one of us would always be awake. The diagnosis was always the same: Rapid Repeating Bipolar Disorder with Paranoid Delusions. He disagreed with the diagnoses because the delusions were so real to him that he could not distinguish them from ordinary reality and the anti-psychotic medication dulled his senses.

We finally persuaded him to voluntarily enter a secure mental health treatment hospital after a couple of property destruction incidents in our home and a threat to kill us in our sleep.

There is no known cure for this condition, but the delusions can be smoothed out and managed with appropriate anti-psychotic medication. Fortunately for our friend, his parents can afford to pay for his health care and medication.

Had his financial circumstances been otherwise, he would be homeless, in jail or dead.

Mr. Alexis’s story is worse than any horror movie could be because it is real and the tragic result was so preventable.

Take care of your brothers and sisters when they are sick, because if you don’t, no one else will.

Please create a quiet moment in your life today and light a candle in your heart for Miriam Carey and Aaron Alexis.

What happened to them could happen to you or to someone you know.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hello, everyone.

Producing articles and maintaining this blog requires substantial time and effort. Please take a moment and consider making a donation.

As you depend on us, we depend on you.

Situation is desperate.

We need your help!

Namaste,

Fred and Crane


My response to your comments and questions about the grand jury

October 4, 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

Good afternoon:

Dianne Trotter asked a good question about the grand jury and many of you followed up with additional questions and comments

She said,

So grand jury meets and decides there is not enough evidence for a capital murder indictment, can prosecutor then go for 2nd degree murder or manslaughter?

Quick answer: Yes.

Reason: The Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment prohibits successive prosecutions of a defendant who has been acquitted on a particular charge.

Explanation: A grand jury decides whether there is probable cause (i.e., reasonable grounds) to believe that a particular person committed a particular crime.

If the answer is “yes,” the grand jury “hands down” (i.e., issues) an indictment (i.e., formal accusation) accusing the defendant of committing that crime.

If the answer is “no,” the grand jury “no bills” (i.e., refuses to issue) an indictment.

A refusal to indict a person is not a decision regarding the ultimate merit of the case against a defendant. A grand jury can only consider evidence presented by the prosecution. Since defendants and their lawyers have no right to be present, to cross examine, or to present a defense, a grand jury lacks a proper basis to decide the ultimate question of innocence or guilt. That decision can only be made by a jury after it considers all of the evidence presented by both sides during a trial.

Expressed another way, a decision to charge or not to charge someone is just a screening mechanism to decide whether a suspect should be held to answer. A defendant cannot reasonably claim that such a screening method constitutes a decision on the ultimate merit of the case.

Similarly, a grand jury decision not to charge someone cannot reasonably be construed to be an acquittal and no law prohibits the prosecution from returning to the grand jury at a later time to request an indictment. For example, ongoing investigations may lead to the discovery of new evidence that merits another look by the grand jury.

The purpose of the Double Jeopardy Clause is to prevent the prosecution from retrying a defendant after a jury has considered all of the evidence admitted and acquitted the defendant. The prosecution gets only one chance to prosecute and convict a defendant.

I noticed in the comments to my post yesterday that many of you asked questions regarding the secrecy of grand jury proceedings and the exclusion of the defense.

The grand jury, like the Magna Carta, is a product of the war for power in England during the Middle Ages between the land-owning aristocracy and the king. The struggle to create a grand jury was an effort to transfer the power to decide whom to accuse of committing a crime from the king to the land owners. That struggle was important because most crimes were punishable by death and forfeiture of land to the king. By inserting themselves into the process of deciding whom to prosecute, the land owners hoped to prevent the king from using the criminal law against them for unjust economic gain and political advantage.

In grand jury parlance today, the primary suspect in an investigation is called the “target” of the investigation. An investigation may have multiple targets depending on the nature of the crime(s) being investigated.

Other suspects with less involvement or less evidence of participation in the crime(s) under investigation are called “subjects” of the investigation.

Everyone else is called a witness.

Since the 5th Amendment prohibits compelling a person to testify against himself, targets and subjects of a grand jury investigation cannot be compelled to testify before the grand jury. They are warned to seek counsel before the scheduled date of their appearance at the grand jury.

The standard operating procedure for any lawyer retained or appointed by the court to represent a target or subject of a grand jury investigation is to contact the prosecuting attorney and tell her that the client will exercise the right to remain silent and refuse to answer any questions at the grand jury.

Targets are usually excused from appearing before the grand jury.

Assuming the subject of the investigation is not claiming factual innocence, the lawyer who represents him will generally initiate the let’s-make-a-deal game hoping to obtain an agreement that the client will not be charged in exchange for the client’s agreement to cooperate and testify against the target. The client will normally be indicted and excused from testifying before the grand jury, if no agreement is reached. If an agreement is reached, however, the client normally testifies before the grand jury.


The Importance of Laughter

September 29, 2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Good afternoon:

With so little good news lately and our government poised to lay off 800,000 employees, one could be forgiven for reaching for the razorblades. So, I decided to to post something lighter.

This is Chapter 22 of my non-fiction book, Namaste: If Not Now, When?

The Importance Of Laughter

Just as perfection never is attainable, becoming a warrior is a never-ending developmental process. A key part of that process is laughter, particularly the ability to pop your bubble of self-importance by laughing at your own know-it-all self. Since I am married to Crane-Station, I do not have to worry about deflating my sense of self-importance, as she manages that chore rather well, ahem! And I do laugh, although not always at first.

The Mullah Nasruddin was invited to deliver a sermon. When he reached the pulpit, he asked the people,
Do you know what I am going to say?

They replied “no.”

“I have no desire to speak to people who don’t even know what I will be talking about!” the Mullah said, and he turned his back to the people and left the building.

Feeling extremely embarrassed, the people invited him back the next day. This time, when he asked the same question, they replied, “yes.”

Nasruddin said, “Well, since you already know what I am going to say, I won’t waste any more of your time!”
As he had done the previous day, he turned and left the building.

Now the people were really perplexed. They decided to try one more time and once again invited the Mullah to speak the following week.

As expected, he asked the same question, “Do you know what I am going to say?”

The people were prepared, so half of them answered “yes” while the other half replied “no.”

Without missing a beat, Nasruddin said, “Let the half who know what I am going to say, tell it to the half who don’t.”

Then he turned and left the building.

A warrior does not know when Death is going to reach out and claim his physical form. Therefore, he assumes that it can happen anytime. With that in mind, he decides what to do and when to do it focusing all of his attention, energy, and will on acting impeccably while he is doing it.

There is no time for remorse or second thoughts. A warrior accepts full responsibility for all of his decisions because he is literally ready to die for them.

He never sees himself as a victim and never wallows in self-pity.

He is never bored, resentful, helpless, bewildered or frightened.

Instead, his acts are focused and powerful because he never wastes energy or time reacting to what others say or do.

He never makes excuses because he understands that excuses are irrelevant and unnecessary when he does his best.

For a warrior there is time only for his impeccability.

Everything else drains his power; impeccability replenishes it.

He controls his destiny and he is happy and free because he is in charge of his life.

Because of the relationship he chooses to have with his death, he knows that no decision he makes is more or less important than any other. They are all important because each one might be his last.

Because of his focus and detachment, however, he also understands that they are all equally unimportant.

He sees his own imperfections and self-importance and he acquires power by laughing at himself. As he does, he sees imperfections and self-importance in others and their clueless pretensions, disorder, and confusion until one day when he realizes he has forever transformed and can never go back.

A renowned philosopher and moralist, who was traveling through the Mullah Nasruddin’s village one day, stopped and asked him where there was a good place to eat. Nasruddin suggested a place and the scholar, hungry for conversation, invited Nasruddin to join him. Much obliged, Nasruddin accompanied the scholar to a nearby restaurant, where they asked the waiter about the special of the day.

“ Fish! Fresh Fish!” said the waiter.

“Bring us two,” they answered.

A few minutes later, the waiter brought out a large platter with two cooked fish on it. One fish was quite a bit smaller than the other.

Without hesitating, Nasruddin speared the larger of the fish and placed it in on his own plate.

The scholar, giving Nasruddin a look of intense disbelief, proceeded to tell him that what he did was not only blatantly selfish, but that it violated the principles of almost every known moral, religious, and ethical system.

Nasruddin calmly listened to the philosopher’s extemporaneous lecture patiently, and when he had finally lapsed into a ruddy silence, Nasruddin said,

“Well, Sir, what would you have done?”

“I, being a conscientious human, would have taken the smaller fish for myself.”

“And here you are,” Mullah Nasruddin said, and placed the smaller fish on the gentleman’s plate.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hello, everyone.

Producing articles and maintaining this blog requires substantial time and effort. Please take a moment and consider making a donation.

As you depend on us, we depend on you.

We need your help!

Namaste,

Fred and Crane


Open Thread about anything except Shellie Zimmerman

September 28, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

This is our 692nd post.

Namaste to all who enter here.


Is White Supremacy the White Knight of Capitalism

September 25, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Good evening:

Every once in awhile I come across an interesting article that I want to share with our readers. Here’s an article by Michael Ortiz that was published at Truthout, titled, The Age of Hyper-Racism: White Supremacy as the White Knight of Capitalism. He holds an advanced degree in sociology. He works on equitable diversity initiatives for college institutions and writes about issues that focus on consciousness raising and empowerment.

What do you think?

Fred


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