____________________________________________________________________________ Robert Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, Supercapitalism, and his most recent book, Aftershock. His “Marketplace” commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes. He is also Common Cause’s board chairman.
In this hilarious spiel Penn Jillette holds forth on politics and religion starting with America’s most religious President (you’ll never guess.) It is a running rant on how this nation seems to have collective amnesia and wholesale suspension of reality when it comes to religion. Take Mitt Romney’s underwear, for example…
At 16, entering the steel gates of the Israeli military prisons, I could never go back to my former life. Levinger’s outpost, his settler violence, permanently changed my life.
Abdelrahman Al Ahmar | Haaretz | 23 Dec 11
The first time I was attacked by an Israeli settler, I was 14 years old. I was walking to school when an armed man wearing a skullcap, standing near some Israeli soldiers, pulled my pack off my back and threw it in the mud. That wasn’t last month, nor was it near a new outpost in Nablus. Rather, this happened 30 years ago, on the main road running through Bethlehem, near Deheisheh refugee camp, where I lived. The settler was not just any alienated, disaffected man. He was, I learned later, the father of the national religious settlement project – Rabbi Moshe Levinger.
The illustrations below are taken from a Blog called Street Art Utopia (streetartutopia.com) which is filled with hundreds of images of works that people around the world have done to make their environment more interesting and amusing. Some are whimsical, like these. Some are just beautiful art — drawings, paintings, even crocheted trees and bicycles. I love the one of a forlorn winter tree festooned with bright orange umbrellas. Incredible! Take a look…
Here’s an interesting tax idea. Raise taxes on those people whose staggering wealth threatens our democracy. In other words, let ‘trickle down’ result in more than just a trickle…
Don’t Tax the Rich. Tax Inequality
IAN AYRES and AARON S. EDLIN | NYTimes | 18 Dec 11
The progressive reformer and eminent jurist Louis D. Brandeis once said, “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.” Brandeis lived at a time when enormous disparities between the rich and the poor led to violent labor unrest and ultimately to a reform movement.
Over the last three decades, income inequality has again soared to the sort of levels that alarmed Brandeis. In 1980, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans made 9.1 percent of our nation’s pre-tax income; by 2006 that share had risen to 18.8 percent — slightly higher than when Brandeis joined the Supreme Court in 1916.
Christopher Hitchens was a man of many talents and abilities. Perhaps the one for which he will be remembered most was his ability to debunk religion vociferously and convincingly in all its many postures. Hitchens proclaimed loudly and often that religion is the root of all evil in the world and should be erased from human discourse. He was able to cut through the mumbo-jumbo of religious history, its practice and dogma, revealing its inherent inhumanity. Here is a remarkable collection of clips showing Hitchens at work dissecting ‘his enemy’…
Ever hear of graphene? Well, get ready because you’re probably going to hear a lot about it soon. In this video, Dr. Ainissa Ramirez, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science at Yale, discusses how a layer of carbon that is one atom thick, called graphene, will revolutionize our lives. Discovered in 2004 by Professors Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov of Manchester University (who won the Nobel prize for the discovery), graphene can be found in everyday pencils, is incredibly strong and super-conductive and will make blazingly fast computers a reality. Think that 8 gigahertz Mac you just bought is pretty fast? How about 8 terahertz processing speed with a 3D display stored in your eyeglasses?
Dr. Ainissa Ramirez | Yale University | 14 Dec 11
____________________________________________________________________________ Ainissa G. Ramirez, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Yale University. Before joining the faculty at Yale in 2003, she worked as a member of technical staff at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies in Murray Hill, NJ for 4 years. Her work focuses on the development of thin film NiTi shape memory alloys and the development of smart solders. Dr. Ramirez received her training in materials science and engineering from Brown University (Sc.B.) and Stanford University (Ph.D.). She has authored more than 30 technical papers and holds six patents. Her research has been awarded the Sloan Research Fellowship, the NSF CAREER award, the MIT MLK visiting professorship, and the MIT TR100 award for her invention of a solder that bonds to inorganic materials. Her invention is now commercialized by the company she founded, called Adhera Technologies (www.adheratech.com). Dr. Ramirez is also passionate about showing kids that “science is fun” and serves as a science advisor to NOVA, Dragonfly TV, and the Exploratorium. At Yale, she is the director of the award-winning science lecture series for kids, called Science Saturdays (www.sciencesaturdays.org).