Tax Breaks Don’t Work When Everyone is Giving Them


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The United States of America has a tax problem. We have too many local and state governments using ‘fire-sale’ tactics to attract business through tax breaks. It is a problem caused by conservatives. They have created the myth that taxes hurt business so lower taxes will increase business. The irony is that the strategy that conservatives inflict on government is a strategy that they would laugh at in the business world.

Panama’s strategy of low or no taxes brings in the wrong business

What’s Bad For Business is Bad For Government

When a business puts their products on sale, they do so with the expectation that it will increase business and volume will make up for the lower price. If the sale price is too low the business loses money. In addition, the customer might think there is something wrong with the product when the price is too low. If a company’s competitors match or beat the sale price, everyone loses except the customer. It is not good business.

The same is true for governments. Tax breaks reduce revenue for the maintenance and improvement of local communities. When tax breaks are overused, the community suffers from the lost revenue. The myth is that less tax revenue is more money for everyone only works if the tax break has no significant impact on the quality of the government. In addition, if competing governments are giving the same or better tax breaks the strategy fails for everyone.

In Nevada, the State has no income tax, no inventory tax, no corporate tax, and no capital gains tax. When the state or local government gives a tax break to a business, it is automatically a net loss for the community. Any business moving to Nevada is already coming for the low tax rate and any other break is just giving away money.

Panama’s What Not To Do

Panama has about the same population of Oklahoma. That is not a lot of people for tax revenue purposes. In 1994, Panama passed a law that basically gave a tax break to a property owner for 20 years. It was more complicated than that, but it attracted a lot of foreign investors. What happened?

It attracted people of modest wealth that were looking for only for the tax break. The jobs created were minimal, but it dramatically increased the value of land and property. Citizens of Panama suddenly found that home prices skyrocketed and because many were living as tenants, they had to move when the landlord sold the property for more money.

The end result was no one benefited from the tax strategy but wealthy developers.

Tax Breaks Always Fail

The reality is that tax breaks always fail. Despite thousands of tax breaks being given by local and state governments every year, there is no evidence that they actually have a positive impact on the citizens of the community. Tax breaks for companies don’t create more jobs, increase worker pay, or improve a dying economy. They make rich people richer.

April Fool’s Day is Donald Trump Day


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On the third Monday of February, our country celebrates the great Presidents. For Donald Trump, we have a different holiday. For this day the western world can join in a celebration that even predates our country. We used to call it April Fool’s Day, but now we have the poster child of April Fool’s Day as our President.

Our Biggest April Fool

Donald Trump Day isn’t just for the man who became the Resident of the White House, but it recognizes all Trumpsters who adore hu and hu’s foolish ways. It is a day that the new Soviet Republican party can be remembered for their Collective Closed Mind. This is a holiday that has been in search of its people and now its people have been found!

On this special day let’s remember how special Donald Trump and the Trumpsters are as Fools of Humanity. To be a Fool:

  • One must believe that freedom of religion means a Taliban-like State where Christian extremists inflict their made-up racist-based mythology on everyone.
  • A person must accept that gun deaths are caused by non-Trumpsters, and the solution is more guns.
  • One should know that a man has the obligation to rule over women as subservient beings.
  • A person must believe that a book of mythological stories of life written over 2,000 years ago. They should think that it is how we should govern all citizens of the United States of America in the 21st century.
  • One must ignore all facts that contradict what you want to believe.
  • One must read the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America without the words “militia” and “well regulated.”
  • One can declare that all non-whites are illegal immigrants and that nullifies all laws prohibiting racism.

We Look Forward to the Day

There are many more, but this is a day for Donald Trump and hu’s Trumpsters. Let them speak for themselves. For the rest of us, we look forward to the day when the holiday only reminds us of Trump reign. Remind us of when Soviet Republicanism briefly took over our country. Remind us of why we celebrate April Fool’s Day only once a year, instead of suffering through it all year.

Our Roving Intelligent Life On Mars


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For over 2000 Mars-days* the Curiosity Rover has been strolling across the landscape of Mars. The Mission is known as the Mars Science Laboratory and the star is Curiousity. Google defines intelligence as, “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.” Under that definition, Curiosity and its predessors certainly qualify as intelligent life on another planet.

[*Mars-day or sols = 24 hours + 37 minutes of Earth time]

Mars = Soviet Humiliation

To date, humans have attempted to send 55¹ missions to Mars and over half of them have failed. Soviet Russia tried to launch 20 missions and none of them were a complete success. Two misssion were mostly successful, and three of them were mostly failures. The other 15 missions were complete failures.

Russia seemed to give up sending missions to Mars after 1988. Since the fall of Communism, Russia has attempted two probes, both failed. Russia’s only successful probe to the Red planet is a joint orbiter mission with the European Space Agency (ESA) that is still in operation.

In comparison to Russia’s single success out of 23 attempts, India has sent one mission to Mars and the orbiter is now on an extended mission.

[¹NOTE:  An orbiter/lander mission is counted as two separate missions.]

What We Know About Mars, Thank NASA/JPL

NASA and its partners like the Joint Propulsion Lab (JPL) have been responsible for putting intelligent life on Mars. Five out of the current eight operational missions are NASA/JPL missions. The Mars Odyssey mission was launched 17 years ago (April 2001) and is expected to be operational until 2025.

The United States is the only country to successfully have a rover on Mars and it has a perfect record in four attempts (SojournerSpiritOpportunity, and Curiosity.) The Opportunity rover was launched in 2003 and is still operational.

Curiosity takes a selfie on Mars

Curiouser and Couriouser

The Couriosity rover was on a two-year mission after its successful 2012 landing. It is now on an extended mission without an end date. It continues to explore and offer new insights; however, it is a mission that has almost been too successful. As it continues to wander around Gale crater, one has to wonder how much more can our rover-on-the-ground learn in one location?

As it rolls beyond 2000 sols will its constant poking, prodding, and picture-taking result in more knowledge, or bias our understanding based on the massive data from one region? Perhaps we will find out in 2020. Three new rovers are scheduled for launch that year. The United States will send Mars 2020, ESA will send ExoMars 2020, and the yet to be named 2020 Chinese Mars Mission will also be sent.

Trump’s Soviet-Style Government


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Soviet Russia (1917-1991) had an oppressive government where one party ruled with complete authority. Soviet offices were all held by loyal communist party members and corruption was rampant. Donald Trump is creating his own Soviet-style government using the Republican party. They are not concerned about disenfranchising a majority of the citizens, but rather, treat opposing voices as disloyal elements that are to be ignored.

GOP all smiles

The United Soviet States of America?

Lenin’s Vision of His Soviet Party

Vladimir Lenin held the belief that a government could only be run by one person or a small group of people. He also believed that there were only two kinds of people in the world: friends or enemies. Obviously, friends believed what Lenin believed and everyone else was an enemy.

Like Lenin, Donald Trump sees only two kinds of people. His adoring supporters and disloyal people who are his enemies. Trump seems to see himself as a heroic figure in a tragic situation, besieged by his enemies. His inability to accept any responsibility for his failings and poor judgment is part of his leadership style.

Soviets and Republicans:  One Party, One Mind

Lenin divided his party when he demanded that membership must consist of only loyal followers. His groupthink party rejected all other ideas and discussion that contradicted his will. Those who were not loyal were not allowed to participate in his government.

Trump has followed a Lenin-like path with a constant stream of changes in his administration. He has reduced his White House staff to yes-people who do not offer different points of view and seek to please Trump with constant praise and admiration.

Like Lenin, Like Putin, Like Trump

The United States of America defeated Communism by being a nation of diverse ideas and opinions. Debate and compromise have been the strength of our country’s political system. After the fall of Soviet Russia, the idea of open discussion led to chaos in the new Russia. In less than a decade, Vladimir Putin rose to power and built a system of government that was a return to Soviet Russia in all but the name.

Trump is following the example of Lenin and Putin in his attempt to establish a Soviet-style government in our country using the Republican party as his version of the Communist party. If he is successful he will essentially be handing the defeat of the United States of America to Putin and Soviet Russia, 27 years after the fall of communism.

Novice Directors Make Theatre Painful


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For five years we ran a small theatre company. Between children plays and main stage adult plays we produced up to twelve shows a year. I had a BFA in Techincal Theatre; however, the experience as a teacher, director, technical director, actor, and executive director forced me to quickly improve all my skills.

Church and School Plays: How to teach young people to hate theatre

The Theatre Director’s Curse

I’m embarrassed to say how bad our first productions were but my skills I did improve over time. Now, I find watching a play is a constant effort to try and enjoy the action of the stage while suppressing my analysis of the work of the director. I deliberately avoid attending plays because I often can’t enjoy what is happening on stage.

My worst experience as an audience member was when I saw King Lear in Stratford-upon-Avon on a theatre tour in England. A Japanese director had violated several basic responsibilities of staging. While his work had been given high praise by many, I found myself looking for a nice pub after intermission.

What Not To Do

Here are some basic mistakes of novice directors:

Chaotic Blocking

An audience member cannot focus on the entire stage at once. It is the job of the director to guide the audience’s attention. Normally that is to the person talking, but it also includes key actions that give the audience information nonverbally. Blocking is the term used to describe how the director uses the movements of the actors to give focus (release the audience’s attention) and take focus (draw the audience’s focus.)

No movement on stage should be unplanned. If an actor is wandering aimlessly on the stage it is the director’s failure to give clear guidance to the actor. Blocking also requires that a director knows at least five ways for an actor to give and take focus. If they don’t know this, the audience will miss keys lines and action that establish the story.

Plodding Scene Changes

OH…MY…GOD! Any scene change that takes more than ten seconds is a failure. The play is a story and the scene change has NOTHING to do with the story. It actually breaks the concentration of the audience and the actors. The scene change is choreography. Everything must be rehearsed over and over with the lights down. Once the scene change is perfected, it must happen exactly the same way every time.

Bad Actor Management

During the rehearsal process, the director will begin to notice which actors may not be capable of handling their role. It is the job of the director to manage the actors and address performance issues. The director must either coach the actor, cut lines, transfer lines, or take other action to resolve the issue. A bad performance is the director’s fault.

Over Designing the Show

Scenic, costume, and lighting design enhance the play. They do not tell the story, and they can often be distracting. Actors are the alpha and omega of a play. Light them, dress them, surround them with a set to perform on, but never forget that a great actor can play a character on a bare stage, with a candle, in hu’s* underwear.

Falling Sky: China’s Tiangong 1 Space Station Last Hours


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Within the next 72 hours China’s first space station, the Tiangong 1, is going to end its life. It is already scraping the extreme upper atmosphere of Earth and the air resistance is slowing down the 7.7 metric tons (8.5 ton) spacecraft with every passing second. It is coming down somewhere, but scientists don’t know exactly when or where.

Tiangong altitude

The rapid altitude decline (in km) of Tiangong 1

Current Stats of Tiangong 1

The current speed of the Tiangong 1 (27 March 2018 at 12 noon PDT) is at 28,000 km/hr (17,400 mph) and it is at an altitude of just under 200 km (125 mi) at the lowest point in its orbit. Its orbit has lowered by over 60 km in the last two months. As Tiangong 1 approaches 160 km the air resistance will be too much for it to maintain orbit.

Statistically, Tiangong 1 will most likely fall into an ocean; however, there is a possibility that it could fall on southern Europe, southern Asia, Africa, Austrailia, South America, Central America, or the United States.

Lost Contact

Normally, objects like this are brought down in a controlled fall using thrusters to slow the craft down at a specific time and location. In the case of Tiangong 1, the Chinese engineers had planned to bring it down in a controlled reentry until they mysteriously lost contact with it two years ago.

China said they had shut down telemetry with Tiangong 1 in March of 2016. They didn’t admit they had lost control of it until amateur astronomers had confirmed the space station was tumbling in space a few months later. Without the ability to communicate with the space station, there is no way to command the thrusters for a controlled reentry.

Best Guess?

The experts are currently estimating that Tiangong 1 will come down on Easter Sunday (1 April.) Since Earth’s atmosphere expands and contracts with solar activity, the air resistance is not consistent. There is a critical point when the air resistance will win its battle with the space station and the orbit will decay exponentially. At that point, the spacecraft will begin a rapid breakup as it descends through the thicker atmosphere.

For what it’s worth, my guess is 7:42 am PDT on Saturday, 31 March.

Journalism Ethics: Interviewing the Reporter As a News Source


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News organizations have not evolved as much as they have devolved over the last sixty years. Journalism ethics have suffered the greatest. The priority in news organizations has shifted from high journalistic standards to gaining market share. The news anchor or primary news host now use the reporter as hu’s* news source.

I can't match the anchor's name to any of the CNN faces online

CNN news anchor interview CNN reporter Matt Rivers

How Did We Get Here?

Originally, the news reporter job was to gather the facts, confirm the facts, and organize the facts into a story. The myth of Superman’s girlfriend getting the scoop and landing a Page One, Pulitzer Prize article wasn’t how it really happened.

Good journalism was the verification of the facts, careful research, and exposing lies. In the end, the reporter’s name was the byline, not the storyline. Reporters needed the attention to detail of an accountant, the interrogation skill of a great attorney, the ethics of a great judge, and the knowledge of a college professor, in addition to the ability to write a compelling story.

But when investors began buying up news organizations, money became the priority over journalism standards. Advancement was based who could attract a bigger audience. Women were brought into the newsroom, but the motivation was ratings, not equality. Money flowed to those that could produce shock and awe. The young, idealistic journalism graduate discovered that a reporter was underpaid, overworked, and disrespected.

And while the journalism standards fell, the news source wall went up. Organizations created ‘public relations’ experts to ‘control the message.’ Now a reporter is the person between the news organization looking for ratings and the news source that wants to be a shining star.

Corporate Public Relations Mastery of Orwellian Doublespeak

Not every company believes in lying to the public, but it does seem the bigger they are, the less responsive they are willing to be. The most recent major incident is Facebook’s initial response to the data of 50 million users being collected by conservatives connected to the Donald Trump campaign.

After the story broke on Saturday 17 March, Facebook ran silent for days before issuing any response. Journalists that attempted to obtain information and/or a response were ignored. Major headlines were running about the data breach and Facebook was on lockdown.

Corporate PR has made the company the least likely source of accurate, reliable, and/or truthful information. So now the reporter digs up whatever information they can and becomes the ‘expert.’ The news anchor often interviews the reporter as the sole news source because no one else will talk.

The problem with this is that the reporter can’t speak with authority. They are not privy to the inside information so they can only offer hu’s opinion. That changes journalism into gossip and guessing. No one can be sure of anything because no one knows the truth. That leaves it up to the individual to accept what they want to hear and reject what they don’t want to hear. That is never good for a democracy.

[*Hu’s is a gender neutral pronoun for his or her.]

The Sad Life of a Russian Troll (Печальная жизнь русского тролля)


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It is a statement of life in Russia when one of the best jobs to be had is employment to write fake news stories, deceive people, and attempt to create chaos in other countries. Russian Troll Farms, or Web Brigades, as they refer to themselves, tell us more about Russian life, than about Western gullibility. What follows is my own fake story of an interview with a Russian Troll.

Troll – a mythical creature in folklore living in caves or hills or under bridges as either a giant or a dwarf, typically having a very ugly appearance.

Russia Condos

Living Large in Russia: Condos in St. Petersburg

Interview With A Russian Troll

[NOTE: Some language may be inappropriate for young readers.]

Interviewer:  What’s your job? (Кем вы работаете?)

Russian Troll:  I learned to speak English so I could be paid to agitate and influence people in the United States to vote for politicians like we have in Russia. (Я научился говорить по-английски, чтобы мне могли заплатить за то, чтобы агитировать и влиять на людей в Соединенных Штатах, чтобы голосовать за таких политиков, как у нас в России.)

Interviewer:  How does that help Russia? (Как это помогает России?)

Russian Troll:  It doesn’t, but it makes the Americans suffer like we have to suffer in this shithole country. (Это не так, но это заставляет американцев страдать, как мы должны страдать в этой стране.)

Interviewer:  Why do you do it? (Почему ты это делаешь?)

Russian Troll:  I live in Russia. How else can I pay the bills? (Я живу в России. Как еще я могу оплатить счета?)

Interviewer:  The economy of the United States drives the economy of the rest of the world. If you’re successful, aren’t you afraid of a worldwide economic disaster? (Экономика Соединенных Штатов стимулирует экономику остального мира. Если вы добились успеха, разве вы не боитесь мировой экономической катастрофы?)

[Language warning]

Russian Troll:  Don’t tell me about disaster until you’ve seen the crappy place where I live in the middle of winter. Fuck the Americans. Fuck the rest of the world. They all celebrated when Americans landed on the Moon. They all celebrated when the Berlin Wall fell. Fuck them! (Не говори мне о бедствии, пока не увидишь дерьмовое место, где я живу в середине зимы. Ебать американцев. Трахайте весь остальной мир. Все они отмечали, когда американцы высадились на Луну. Все они праздновали, когда упала Берлинская стена. Трахайте их!)

Interviewer:  What about your children? How will your work help them? (Как насчет ваших детей? Как ваша работа поможет им?)

Russian Troll:  Who cares? Did anyone care about me when I was a child? For the last twenty years no one cares, so why should I care? (Какая разница? Кто-нибудь заботился обо мне, когда я был ребенком? За последние двадцать лет никто не заботится, так зачем мне это волновать?)

Interviewer:  You mean the last twenty years when Vladimir Putin has led your country? (Вы имеете в виду последние двадцать лет, когда Владимир Путин привел вашу страну?)

Russian Troll:  Exactly!…No, wait. YOU TRICK ME! (Quickly looks around) No, Putin has been good. I mean Putin has been great. Great! Putin is a great leader! (Точно! .. Нет, подожди. ВЫ ТРЕТЬЕ МЕНЯ! Нет, Путин был хорош. Я имею в виду, что Путин был замечательным. Большой! Путин – великий лидер!)

Interviewer:  What does a Russian troll do after they leave the Farm? (Что делает русский тролль после ухода из фермы?)

Russian Troll:  First of all, we are not a Troll Farm. We are a Web Brigade! We fight a war against the Free Countries of the World! We will bring them to their knees! Second, when I finish here I will be rich! I will never have to work again! I will move to America and be a…how you say,…big?, BIG, yes?, I will be a big man! You will know me by my shiny red sports car! (Прежде всего, мы не Ферма Троллей. Мы – веб-бригада! Мы ведем войну против Свободных стран мира! Мы поставим их на колени! Во-вторых, когда я закончу здесь, я буду богат! Мне больше никогда не придется работать! Я перееду в Америку и буду … как вы говорите, … большой?, БОЛЬШОЙ, да ?, Я буду большим человеком! Ты узнаешь меня своим блестящим красным спортивным автомобилем!)

Trump’s Tariffs Are For Putin


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Everyday Donald Trump proves his actions are guided by, or primarily for, Vladimir Putin. Anyone asking why is Trump pushing for tariffs on steel and aluminum against China should really be asking, “What’s in it for Putin?”

Vladimir Putin’s Trump Card

It should be noted that Vladimir Putin’s motivations are better understood if a person understands his background.

Vladimir Putin:  A Soviet KGB Agent With A Grudge

Space Race

The USSR launched Sputnik 1 three days before Putin’s fifth birthday. He was six when Luna 1 became the first human object to leave Earth’s orbit. On his seventh birthday, Luna 3 transmitted the first images that human’s had ever seen of the far side of the Moon. He was almost eight when the Soviets put the first animals into space and safely returned them on Korabl-Sputnik 2 (known as Sputnik 5 in the USA.) He was eight when the Soviets sent Venera 1 to Venus followed by the first man in space on Vostok 1, followed by the first human to spend over 24 hours in space on Vostok 2.

From age nine to age fifteen, Putin saw his country continue to beat that United States in space with the following achievements:  [Source:  Wikipedia]

USSR Space Race Achievements

It was the Golden Age of the USSR.

When Putin turned sixteen his country’s leadership in space was suddenly lost to the United States. The world cheered as Apollo 8 took the first men around the Moon in December of 1968. Then the world held it’s breath as Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon in July of 1969. Everything Putin’s country had accomplished in space exploration in a decade was eclipsed by the United States of America in less than a year.

Vladimir Putin’s 1975 Thesis

Vladimir Putin studied law in college, but his thesis was focused on economics. The title of his thesis was, “The Most Favored Nation Trading Principle in International Law.” In his thesis, Putin clearly establishes the importance of USSR’s raw materials:

Mineral and raw materials represent the most important potential for the economic development of the country.

Translated from Vladimir Putin’s 1975 Thesis

He noted the need for Soviet extraction industries to compete with the Western world:

…which could compete as equals with the transnational corporations of the West.

Translated from Vladimir Putin’s 1975 Thesis

And the need for the government to do everything necessary to help the extraction industries compete:

…the state must assist the development of processing industries based upon the extraction industries in every way.

Translated from Vladimir Putin’s 1975 Thesis

Putin knew in 1975 the critical role the Soviet natural resources would play in the advancement of the USSR. The world trade of raw material is central to Putin’s plan for his country.

KGB For Life

Vladimir Putin KGB

Putin:  KGB for Life

Immediately after he graduated, Putin joined the KGB. He was taught German and his cover was to be an interpreter. Putin had a front row seat to the fall of Communism from his station in East Germany. For the second time in his life, he watched his country be humiliated while the West celebrated.

He continued to work as a KGB agent after the fall of the Berlin Wall. He moved back to Russian and joined the University he graduated from to scout for new KGB recruits. While he claims to have resigned his position in the KGB, he has never done anything in his life that hasn’t been directed in some way to defeating his enemies. Putin is not a politician, he is a tactician.

Trump’s Tariff Fixation

It is clear that Donald Trump is under the influence of Vladimir Putin. Putin groomed Trump for decades and now it’s paying off. Russia cannot compete with its raw materials in the world market unless something drastic happens, such as a major trade war. Trump’s behavior on tariffs is leading to exactly what Putin desires. 

For Putin, it’s a perfectly staged economic and political win for Russia. It advances the sale of Russia raw materials and humiliates his arch enemy, the United States. It is payback for the space race and the fall of the USSR. All thanks to Donald Trump. 

Saturn V’s F-1 Engine: The Monster That Made USSR Cry


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When Vladimir Putin was a young man he was witness to his country’s space program being eclipsed by the United States. There are many reasons that the United States won the space race with the USSR, but Rocketdyne’s Saturn V F-1 engine was the element that the Soviet space program couldn’t replicate. It was a rocket engine that has no practical use for piddling around in Earth orbit. The F-1 is the top shelf engine of space exploration.

Apollo Saturn V

The massive F-1 engines of the Apollo Saturn V first stage booster.

Who Are Those Guys?

If there was a moment when the Soviet engineers said in wonder, “Who are those guys?,” it was when they saw the first massive Saturn V blast off using only five engines. They were working on a heavy-lift rocket that used 30 rocket engines in the booster phase. The idea that a Moon rocket could be designed using only five engines was laughable.

The USSR attempted four launches with their version of the Saturn V rocket called the N1 rocket. All four attempts failed. The Saturn V rocket had 13 successful launches in 13 attempts. One rocket (unmanned Apollo 6) had vibration issues and failed to make the desired orbit, but the launch was successful. NASA and its contractors crushed the Soviet Moon rocket in performance and reliability.

Comparing Watermelons To Sour Grapes

The Soviet N1 Moon rocket used the NK-15 engines on the first, or booster stage. Compared to the Apollo Saturn V F-1 engines, the USSR effort was similar to strapping a bunch of bottle rockets together to lift a person off the ground.

Each of the 30 NK-15 engines could lift about 1,500 kilonewtons or kN (1 kilonewton equals 224.81 pounds of force) compared to a single F-1 engine thrust of 7,000 kN. The total thrust of the first stage of the Soviet N1 Moon rocket was 45,400 kN, which was significantly greater than the Saturn V’s booster thrust of 35,100 kN and the N1 Moon rocket was 215,000 kg (480,000 lbs.) lighter.

USSR N1 Moon Rocket

The USSR 30 NK-15 engine design

However, the N1 required four stages compared to the Saturn V’s three-stage rocket, and the N1 booster stage could only burn for 125 seconds, while’s United States booster stage burned for 168 seconds. The big difference was the size of payload that the Saturn V could deliver to the Moon. USSR’s N1 could only put a 23,500 kg payload (51,800 lbs.) out of Earth orbit to the Moon, while the Saturn V could send a 48,600 kg (107,100 lbs.) payload.

The Rocketdyne F-1 engine was responsible for powering everything needed for a Moon landing and safe return off the surface of the Earth and it did it better than any other rocket engine in the history of space exploration.

GOP Disease: Say It, Then Apologize


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Republicans have a consistent problem. They first say what they are thinking…and then they apologize for it. It’s the GOP disease. In incident after incident a Republican office holder, or a Republican candidate will say something that is completely inappropriate and then smirk. They are proud of it. Then when it becomes national news, they suddenly grow a conscience and apologize for the remark…some of the time.

Former CIA Turned GOP Candidate Jokes About Killing Opponent 

The most recent incident to make national news is when a Republican candidate for Kentucky’s Secretary of State, Carl B. Nett, office suggested in a tweet that he could use an anti-NRA pin for a target if his opponent would move the pin closer to the center of his body.

The tweet itself is disturbing. What is more disturbing is that Nett is a former CIA and Secret Service agent. He was one of the people that our country entrusted with the use of deadly force because he supposedly was trained to control his impulses. As a former agent, the expectation is that he knows that killing someone is not a joking matter.

Nett has caused the world to question the training and discipline of our country’s CIA and Secret Service agents. He has made all of them look like cowboys out for a party with little or no self-control.

Trump As A Model

Donald Trump has been the model for Republicans in breaching intellectual and civil boundaries of behavior with his practice of saying anything that comes to his mind. Trump reveals his inner thoughts and expresses them in a diarrhea-type flow of violent, subhuman, and racist comments.

Unfortunately, Trumpsters love Trump because he says what they are thinking. That, in itself, is also disturbing.

Qualifications To Be a Public Servant

When someone says what they think, that is honesty. Honesty is good; however, when honesty reveals that the person is of a vile nature, they are not qualified to be a citizen of this country, let alone elected to public office. An apology is not the measure of a person. The person is measured by hu’s* actions.

Nett’s apology was a self-serving statement that he’s just a normal human:

Nett is not a normal human. Hu is representative of the nature and character of the Republican party. Hu’s values are Putin-like values that belong to a society of corruption and terror. We don’t need the excuses of people who can’t respect the ideals our country. We need people of character. Republicans are not those people. Carl B. Nett is a case in point.

[*Hu’s: a gender-neutral pronoun for his/her. Hu: a gender-neutral pronoun for he/she.]

100 Consecutive Days of Writing


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On 13 December 2017, I published an article titled, “Send Our Trash Into Space.” That began a streak of 100 consecutive days of posting an article. I had no grand plan to start publishing daily, but after a week it became addictive. I decided to go for two weeks, then a month. Now it’s been over three months, and I’ve discovered something about writing every day. It’s about me.

Personal View Writing is Historical, Not Instant Analysis

Writing on a frequent basis is not great for the reader. There is a saturation point at which I passed a long time ago. To keep someone’s attention over the long-term usually requires a mystery, sensationalism, a serial-type plot, or some other device to capture a reader’s mind. I write in an episodic style that is observational. My readership numbers ebb and flow depending on the topic, but I’m not writing to attract an audience.

Our world has become obsessed with instant analysis, interview the person on the street, report the story before we have the facts, and/or assess the pulse of our society based on what is trending on social media. That is not necessarily bad, but it is not news. That is ‘entertainment.’ Its focus is attracting a bigger audience.

News organizations have always fought for market share, but in the days of Watergate and before, journalistic integrity was the foundation and audience size was secondary. Now all the media organizations are investor-owned and viewer/listener/reader body count is the center of the news world. When the goal of ‘news’ media is based on the size of the audience, the focus turns to the most outrageous, most shocking, most disgusting stories.

We have made the news into a for-profit business, and that means its primary focus is to entertain, not report. What is needed is an alternate view that is not about trying to entertain to attract an audience. The perspective of the individual writer, devoid of concerns of the accountants, is the last remnant of what was called journalism.

Witness To a Calamity

I am convinced we are in a time of crisis. We are the frogs in the pot that the heat has been slowly turned up to a boil. Many are in a state of denial, but no one can deny that our society is in upheaval with a severe conflict in process.

I am not the one who can judge the effectiveness of my writing but I hope that by offering my perspective, not for entertainment or market share, that it will give the sense of the time of this crisis. Our country has made horrible mistakes that the future needs to understand.

I’m sure people in the future will wonder at how we allowed these Republicans and this President to rise to power. In part, my political writing is to give my viewpoint in how and why that happened. Writing is a recording of history and the United States in 2018 is a time of dire history.

My Method

Not all my writing is about politics. I also try to interject subjects that interest and/or amaze me. I’m not sure I can claim to have a method in my writing. Most of the time I create a working title for the topic a few days in advance. Usually, that is all I have to start with when I start writing. I don’t plan out, nor outline my articles. If I have multiple points to make in an story I will sometimes write draft headings to remind me.

Typically, I do some research on the issue, but sometimes that doesn’t occur until a reach the point in the article that I’m trying to say something that should be backed up with a fact or source. I link to my sources rather than footnote the source. If I’m writing a reaction piece to an event or act I will link the article or include a quote.

I’m not held to any standard of truth, but my own. There have been times I have started writing about a topic and changed my opinion about the issue during my research. As a liberal, I know I have an opinion, but I it also means that I have to support my opinion. That doesn’t make my opinion correct, but it is absolutely required in a decent society.

The Score

In 2016 I wrote 40 articles using 22,085 words (an average of 552 words per article.) In 2017 I wrote 53 articles using 23,954 words (an average of 452 words per article.) So far in 2018 I’ve written 82 articles (including this one) using 47,337 words (an average of 577 words per article.)

I don’t know if I will keep going on the streak. I have other writing projects that I would like to finish and I find that writing at this pace is difficult to maintain. Regardless, this has been very rewarding for me. I hope it has been of some benefit to you.

Looking Back

Here are the articles I’ve published during the last 100 days (and more):


13-Dec-17 Send Our Trash Into Space 271
14-Dec-17 The End of the United States of America 225
15-Dec-17 School Vouchers Are About Religion and Racism, Not Choice 625
16-Dec-17 Journalists Using Uneducated, Uninformed Opinion As Fact 237
17-Dec-17 Government Regulation Makes USA Business Great 412
18-Dec-17 Redacted Review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi 477

[NOTE:  Articles from 19 December 2017 to 28 February 2018 are not currently linked. This is being corrected.]

19-Dec-17 What Happens In Sixty Years 304
20-Dec-17 Senator Dean Heller is Still a Stockbroker 298
21-Dec-17 A New Year’s Earthquake? 386
22-Dec-17 Review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi 217
22-Dec-17 Failure to Diagnose: Right Hemisphere Strokes 482
23-Dec-17 SpaceX and Mars: The Illogical Strategy 453
24-Dec-17 GOP War on the Spirit of Christmas 326
25-Dec-17 Can Venus Be Made Habitable? 475
26-Dec-17 Illogical: Commercial Real Estate Price Boom in an Internet Economy 183
27-Dec-17 Religion Controls Equality For Women 398
28-Dec-17 Dear Republican: Your Party Left Without You 345
29-Dec-17 1929 is Coming 216
30-Dec-17 Are You Not Breathing When You Sleep? 670
31-Dec-17 Understanding Global Warming and Cold Weather 530


1-Jan-18 Why a Bigger Government is Being Fiscally Responsible 507
2-Jan-18 Need a New Plan for Gaining Political Support 285
3-Jan-18 Nevada’s Pot Business About to be Smoked 401
4-Jan-18 Telsa Powerwall Has Product-Killing Questions Unanswered 1000
5-Jan-18 Trump Corrupt Public Relations: Using Business PR as the Model 393
6-Jan-18 12 Days in 1968 956
7-Jan-18 1968 Mystery: Four Subs Lost In Four Months 626
8-Jan-18 To Sleep, Perchance To Dream 327
9-Jan-18 Panamá versus Oklahoma: Transportation 457
10-Jan-18 Zuma Fail: Why Space Is No Place For Private Business 509
11-Jan-18 Rapid HR Hiring Process Required In Professional Environment 477
12-Jan-18 ICE Solidifies Itself As Trump’s SS Police 555
13-Jan-18 About This, About Writing 412
14-Jan-18 Panamá’s Caribbean Afterthought 805
15-Jan-18 Why You Won’t See A Tax Cut 338
16-Jan-18 Why Trumpsters Don’t Understand Anti-Trump Reactions 377
17-Jan-18 Should the Nuremberg Code Be Applied to Internet Data Collection? 1212
18-Jan-18 Government Shutdown An Opportunity 416
19-Jan-18 NASA’s Orion Capsule: A ‘Look Busy’ Project? 1067
20-Jan-18 Total Lunar Eclipse January 31…Western United States 243
21-Jan-18 Popes That Damned Women, Choice, and Humanity 708
22-Jan-18 An Indictment Against NPR Journalism Standards 745
23-Jan-18 SpaceX Falcon Heavy-Lift Rocket: A Soviet-Style Disaster? 865
24-Jan-18 Why the Stock Market is Like a Strip Club 316
25-Jan-18 Trump and GOP Causing Emotional Numbness? 455
26-Jan-18 Employee Relations: The You’re-Not-Getting-a-Raise-Letter 342
27-Jan-18 Why We Elect the Wrong People?: #1 Business Wants Dumb Politicians 428
28-Jan-18 The Day Business Killed The NASA Space Program 1246
29-Jan-18 The State of the Union of the United States of America 1069
30-Jan-18 Why We Elect the Wrong People?: #2 We Don’t Understand the Purpose of a Republic 592
31-Jan-18 2018 Blue Moon Lunar Eclipse 499


1-Feb-18 Zuma Mystery: It’s Classified and Invisible…Apparently 777
2-Feb-18 Should You Become a Parent? 789
3-Feb-18 The Plantar Wart and HPV 385
4-Feb-18 Housing Prices Edge Closer to Catastrophe 419
5-Feb-18 Stock Market Symptom of Great Depression, Not Cause 629
6-Feb-18 GOP Memo is Last Straw 343
7-Feb-18 SpaceX Falcon Heavy Defies the Odds 484
8-Feb-18 66 Years Ago: A Princess in Africa Becomes Queen 392
9-Feb-18 North Korea Bizzare Olympics Stunt 382
10-Feb-18 Snowpack is No Longer a Viable Water Supply 583
11-Feb-18 500th WordPress PAULx Post: Milestone of Words 553
12-Feb-18 Forget Stock Market & Bitcoin, Invest in Mendadent Toothpaste 329
13-Feb-18 Reno Nevada Mayor Schieve Declares She is Uninformed 804
14-Feb-18 To Love Your Child, Be Honest With Them 652
15-Feb-18 Corp USA: “The Stock Market Requires We Underpay You” 312
16-Feb-18 Space Exploration Isn’t Profitable, It’s Transformative 707
17-Feb-18 McDonald’s Shake Machines Legendary Unreliability 551
18-Feb-18 Mass Shooters Not Criminals Before They Picked Up A Gun 341
19-Feb-18 Are These People the Next Mass Shooter? 353
20-Feb-18 Center of the Milky Way: Update 608
21-Feb-18 Second Amendment: A Well Regulated Militia 501
22-Feb-18 Victims of Major Mass Shootings Since Sandy Hook Elementary 709
23-Feb-18 David Brooks is Wrong Again on Guns 473
24-Feb-18 Five ‘Facts’ About the Equinox? 529
25-Feb-18 Trumpster ‘Hillary’ Excuse Proves Russian Influence 1701
26-Feb-18 Hiding Journalists Behind the Paywall 527
27-Feb-18 My Imaginary Interview with Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal 499
28-Feb-18 SpaceX 2018 Launch Schedule Is PR Gold or PR Nightmare 681

MARCH 2018

1-Mar-18 Pigs In Space: Discrimination on the ISS 744
2-Mar-18 Trump’s Family: Keepers of the Big Liar 335
3-Mar-18 Is There a Planet Nine or Not? 553
4-Mar-18 Urban Coyotes 609
5-Mar-18 Could David Brooks Be Correct About Being Wrong? 664
5-Mar-18 Breaking News: Trump Loses Control of Hotel in Panama 321
6-Mar-18 Pence’s White Greed National Space Council 710
7-Mar-18 Trump’s Trade Deficit Talk Proves Lack of Knowledge 522
8-Mar-18 Leadership Madness: Time To Check Trump’s Urine Color 373
9-Mar-18 Three Myths That Gun Extremist Believe 350
10-Mar-18 Magnetic Pole Reversal: Will It Turn Our World Upside Down? 620
11-Mar-18 Time To Stop Changing Time? Why We Need Daylight Saving Time All Year 425
12-Mar-18 Are We Ready For Gender Neutral Language? 355
13-Mar-18 Why Are Conservatives Anti-Society? 558
14-Mar-18 NRA is Not a Gun Safety Organization 719
15-Mar-18 The Ides of March is Really About the Moon 381
16-Mar-18 Three Steps For Solving the Assault-Type Weapons Problem 375
17-Mar-18 Saint Patrick Wasn’t Irish and Other Facts? 461
18-Mar-18 Roots of ‘Easter’ Myth Adapted For New Testament 946
19-Mar-18 Why Are There 360 Degrees in a Circle? 376
20-Mar-18 First Day of Spring is Fake News 506
21-Mar-18 Ten Reasons There is Life on Earth 965
22-Mar-18 100 Consecutive Days of Writing 828
23-Mar-18 GOP Disease: Say It, Then Apologize 477
24-Mar-18 Saturn V’s F-1 Engine: The Monster That Made USSR Cry 445
25-Mar-18 Trump’s Tariffs Are For Putin 775
26-Mar-18 The Sad Life of a Russian Troll (Печальная жизнь русского тролля) 697
27-Mar-18 Journalism Ethics: Interviewing the Reporter As a News Source 507
28-Mar-18 Falling Sky: China’s Tiangong 1 Space Station Last Hours 355
29-Mar-18 Novice Directors Make Theatre Painful 536
30-Mar-18 Trump’s Soviet-Style Government 409
31-Mar-18 Our Roving Intelligent Life On Mars 427

APRIL 2018

1-Apr-18 April Fool’s Day is Donald Trump Day 368
2-Apr-18 Tax Breaks Don’t Work When Everyone is Giving Them 502
3-Apr-18 Should Federal Dollars Go To States With Low Taxes? 451
4-Apr-18 The Dichotomy of Small Towns: Good People, Small Minds 608
5-Apr-18 My First and Final (gulp) Imaginary Interview With Terry Gross 833

Ten Reasons There is Life on Earth


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As scientists are finding more planets orbiting other stars it is becoming more of a reality that we are not alone in the universe. We may never be able to contact or observe life on other planets, but no one can deny the possibility that life might take root these islands in space. Still, it is important to remember that life on Earth is due to special circumstances.

Ten Factors Required For Life On Earth

A planet orbiting a star does not necessarily result in the development of life. On our planet, we have at least ten factors that allowed life to develop.

1. Not Too Close to Other Stars (Location, location, location)

If our solar system was located near the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, life probably would not have been able to develop on Earth. Stars are dangerous. They do bad things including spitting out radiation that destroys the basic structures of complex life. A planet in a solar system with other stars in the neighborhood is asking for trouble.

2. Our Sun is Special

Life on any planet requires a star, but not just any star will do. Size matters in the development of life. So do the qualities of the star. Our Sun is bigger than most, but still it is a relatively small, stable star and it’s been that way for over four and a half billion years. It will be stable for about another 5 billion years. It also has a treasure of heavy elements that are necessary for planet formation. Without planets, there is no life.

Life around stars of different sizes are possible, but our Sun seems to be about the perfect size for the development of life. In addition, our Sun is 85% brighter than the rest of the stars in the Milky Way, which has been vital in ‘powering’ our planet.

3. A Star’s Habitable Zone

Planet hunters and the media have made a major issue out of the concept of the ‘Goldilocks Zone.’ This is the area around a Sun where a planet is not too close, nor too far away. It is an important aspect of the potential for development of life on a planet, but it is only one factor of many. For Earth, we are resting in the orbit that is just right.

4. Moon

It’s hard to overstate the importance of the Moon for the development of life on Earth. First, the Moon was likely formed in a collision when a small planet-sized object hit Earth and tilted our axis (more on this later.) In addition, the Moon has slowed the Earth’s rotation down (more on this later,) and helped enhance the tidal movement of the Earth’s oceans. The Moon has played an important role in human activity, but just as an important role for all our planet’s species.

5. Size of the Planet

Again, size matters. If a planet is too big and the gravity will inhibit the formation of larger, more complex molecular organic structures. Too small and there can be no atmosphere. Earth is in the zone.

6. Axial Tilt

If Earth’s axis was perpendicular to the plane of the solar system the Sun would heat up the equator creating a zone too hot for most life forms. The poles would have minimal solar heating and would be extremely cold. In between would be the combat zone between hot and cold. Constant violent storms and wind would batter the mid-latitudes.

The tilt of the Earth causes solar heating to warm one hemisphere and allows the other to cool down. Every six months the warm/cool cycle swaps hemispheres. This creates storm systems in both hemispheres, but they act to distribute the warmth more evenly. The tilt of Earth’s axis is almost perfect for nurturing life.

7. Length of Day (spin)

We take the 24 hour day for granted. We shouldn’t. Last year Takanori Sasaki, a planetary scientist with Kyoto University, pointed out that the Earth originally spun so fast that its ‘day’ was only four hours long. Multicellular life didn’t develop on Earth until the day was 23 hours long. It’s is not clear at what point a planet’s rotation makes it habitable, but it seems obvious that a planet’s spin is a factor in the possibility of life formation.

8. Atmosphere

It may be obvious that an atmosphere is required for the development of life, but there are qualities to an atmosphere that are also required. The atmosphere cannot be too thick or too thin. It has to consist of an oxidizer, such as oxygen, to promote chemical reactions in cell structures. There is more to Earth’s air than just air.

9. Liquid Water

Water is necessary for all life that we are aware of, even though it is more important to some species than others. Liquid water is even more important to life than water vapor or ice. It is not an accident that the development of life happened on a planet where 71% of the surface is covered with liquid water.

10. Continent to Ocean Ratio

It’s not obvious, but life on Earth has been helped by the ratio of land to ocean. Land tends to have more temperature variance than the oceans between summer and winter. Land that is not covered in ice or vegetation absorbs much more heat in the summer. If most of our planet consisted of continents, the temperature change from summer to winter would be more dramatic, and less friendly to life.

Earth is Unique, Not Rare

Life on Earth was not an accident, nor is it divine. The conditions that led to the development of life here must exist on millions of planets, but there are an estimated 100 billion planets in the Milky Way Galaxy alone. We are unique, but we cannot be alone. Give life an opportunity and it will seize it.

First Day of Spring is Fake News


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Today at 9:15 am Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) the Sun will be directly over the equator. For this reason, the news media will relentlessly remind us that Spring is here. They will tell us it is the return of warm weather! Yea! But, don’t be fooled by their fake news.

Springtime in the Northern Hemisphere. Bah!

You Call This Spring? 

The Vernal equinox may be the date that the Sun comes back over to our side of the equator, but let’s be real, warm weather doesn’t rush back the northern hemisphere. At least not to those over 35° north latitude. Some of us will be lucky to see our shadow on the first day of Spring. Forget about the stupid groundhog that never, ever is correct.

The northern hemisphere will continue to be smothered in cold air masses and bring snow down across much of the lower 48 states. (Don’t get smug Hawai’i. You can have snowstorms after the Vernal equinox, too. You just have to climb a really tall volcano to get to it.) The media calls them ‘Spring snowstorms’ as if that is supposed to make us feel better about them. News flash: It doesn’t.

And don’t get me started on those people who like to slip down a snow-covered slope while trying to stand on bent slats of fiberglass. They are all smiles when a new storm dumps more solid water in the mountains. After the third week in March, skiing and snowboarding should be done on ice and melting snow, as God intended. None of this ‘fresh powder’ crap.

Spring Reality Check

For the next three months, the axis tilt of the Earth will increasingly favor the Sun in the northern hemisphere. For those of us that are done with cold weather, we have to remember that warm and cold are like new lovers can’t get enough of each other.

As the lower latitudes of the northern hemisphere heat up, the cold air in the higher latitudes rushes down to embrace the warmth. Tornados in northern Florida are an indication that the Sun is heating up the northern hemisphere and the winter cold is rushing down to meet it. As we move from March to April to May to June, tornados will show up farther and farther north.

The Script

News media will still try to convince us that the weather significantly changes on 20 March. I’ve stolen an advance copy of the script that is to be used by local television weather people across the northern United States:


(Try to sound homey) Well, it looks like Spring is here, but we still have some Spring snowstorms hanging around for the next few days, weeks, or possibly months. These storms are Spring storms so the temperature will be one half a degree warmer than during the Winter. We should see only a trace of snow, up to two meters if your house is located within the area of snowfall. It will quickly melt off in May, so get out there and enjoy the Spring weather!

Why Are There 360 Degrees in a Circle?


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Everyone knows there are 360 degrees in a circle. Why? A circle could have a 1,000° which would make a half circle equal 500° and a quarter circle 250°. Who chose the number 360? Was there a vote? Who do we blame? Inquiring minds want to know!

Two circles getting in each other's way

2017 Total Solar Eclipse from Canyon City, OR

As it turns out there are at least two reasons we use 360° as the number to define a complete circle. One reason has to do with astronomy and the other with mathematics.

360 Degrees? Blame the Babylonians

The Greeks are partly responsible for defining the numerical value for a circle, but really it was the Babylonians. It may even be farther back than the Babylonians, but someone erased their hard drive and now we will never know.

Apparently, the Babylonians loved the number ’60.’ They created a number system using Base 60 (we use Base 10.) The number 60 is amazing because it can be divided into so many factors. 60 can be divided evenly by 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30, and 60. Since the Babylonians loved 60, the fact that a circle can be divided into six equilateral triangles made 360 the best option for defining the numerical value of a circle.

We don’t actually know if it was the Babylonians, but we do know that several prominent Greek mathematicians used 360° as the numerical value for a circle. It is written…in Greek of course.

Star Gazers In a 360 Days

But long before the Babylonians, it was obvious to anyone who looked up at the sky at night that the stars followed a circular pattern through the year. If one noted the position of a star or constellation on a particular night and time, next year that star would be in the same place on the same day and time.

The elapsed number of nights for a full circle? About 360. Anyone who tracked the stars would have noted that the circular pattern of the stars resumed after about 360 days.

The reason we have 360° is most likely because of the speed at which the Earth rotates, (once every 24 hours,) and there are approximately 360 rotations (days) in a year.

Metric Circles?

Believe it or not, there were attempts to make circles metric. It didn’t take. There are some uses for it, but the 360° value is more accepted ‘around’ (that’s a joke) the world.

Roots of ‘Easter’ Myth Adapted For New Testament


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This time of year Christians focus on the narrative of Jesus Christ and his life, death, and resurrection. It is detailed in the New Testament from the viewpoints of multiple authors. For a Christian, the ‘Easter’ story of hu’s* death and resurrection is the foundation of the deification of Jesus. The reality is that the Bible is a collection of stories, most of which predate Judaism and Christianity.

[ADVISORY:  The following information may be disturbing to Christians and other faiths that believe in the divinity of the Bible/Tora. This information is based on historical data that is available to the public and is not intended to dissuade anyone from hu’s faith or beliefs.]

Origins of the Easter Story

Those who believe in the divinity of the Bible accept that the stories are original; however, there is a clear connection between the myths of the previous cultures. These myths developed over centuries with each culture making revisions while keeping the root of the myth.

The Easter myth is a good example of this process. The roots of the myth can be traced back through the Roman and Greek cultures; however, the beginnings of the story go back to at least the Phrygian culture. They lived in what is now the southern Balkans in Europe.

Mother of the Gods of Phrygia

The Mother Mary aspect of the Easter story would seem to be a version of the Phrygian myth of Cybele (a.k.a.; Kybele.) Cybele was known as the Mother of the Gods. Very little is known about the nature of the goddess Cybele, except that she is the only known goddess of that culture.

Androgynous God of the Greeks

The Greeks adapted Cybele into their mythology but changed the narrative. In the Greek version, Zeus impregnates the Mother God, Gaia who bore the diety, Agdistis. This diety had both male and female organs and the other gods feared this dual-gendered diety. The mythology is that a god tricked Agdistis while hu* slept and tied a rope to hu’s penis. When hu awoke the rope pulled the penis off as Agdistis stood up. It gets worse.

Now a woman, she became Cybele. [NOTE:  Some say that Cybele and Agdistis were separate beings.] Hu’s blood from the castration fell to the ground. On that spot, an almond tree grew and later an almond fell into the lap of Nana. That almond impregnated Nana and she bore Attis, a beautiful boy. Nana abandoned Attis who was found among some reeds, (possibly the root of the Moses myth,) and raised by foster parents.

When Attis became a man, Cybele was infatuated with hu. Attis was to wed the daughter of a King, but at the wedding, Cybele appeared to them and drove Attis and the King mad with love for her. They both castrated themselves, (I said it would get worse,) and Attis died. Cybele could not bear the loss of Attis and hu asked Zeus to keep hu’s body from decomposing.

Roman Easter Celebration

The Romans kept much of the Greek version of the myth. They transformed the Cybele and Attis story into a multi-day Spring celebration. The Roman calendar began each year in March. Spring was celebrated based on the Moon phases near the Vernal equinox. The first day of March was the marked by the New Moon. The ides of March fell on the Full Moon and the celebration consisted of the following observances. [NOTE:  The following has been copied, with editing, directly from a Wikipedia page.] 

Ides of March (Full Moon)

Canna intrat (“The Reed enters”), marking the birth of Attis and his exposure in the reeds along the Phrygian river Sangarius.

Ides of March + 7 days (First Half Moon)

Arbor intrat (“The Tree enters”), commemorating the death of Attis under a pine tree. The dendrophores (“tree bearers”) cut down a tree, suspended from it an image of Attis, and carried it to the temple with lamentations. A three-day period of mourning followed.

Ides of March + 8 days

The tree was laid to rest at the temple of the Magna Mater (the Great Mother.)

Ides of March + 9 days

Sanguem or Dies Sanguinis (“Day of Blood”), a frenzy of mourning when the devotees whipped themselves to sprinkle the altars and effigy of Attis with hu’s own blood; some performed the self-castration of the Galli. The “sacred night” followed, with Attis placed in his ritual tomb.

Ides of March + 10 days

(Vernal equinox on the Roman calendar): Hilaria (“Rejoicing”), when Attis was reborn.

Ides of March +11 days

Requietio (“Day of Rest”).

Ides of March + 12 days

Lavatio (“Washing”), Cybele’s sacred stone was taken in procession from the Palatine temple to the Porta Capena and down the Appian Way to the stream called Almo, a tributary of the Tiber. There the stone and sacred iron implements were bathed “in the Phrygian manner” by a red-robed priest. The quindecimviri attended. The return trip was made by torchlight, with much rejoicing. 

Ides of March + 13 days

Initium Caiani, sometimes interpreted as initiations into the mysteries of the Magna Mater (the Great Mother) and Attis at the Gaianum, near the Phrygianum sanctuary at the Vatican Hill.

Easter of the New Testament a Developing Story

The Christian story of Easter is a story that began centuries before the myths were written into the New Testament. The Virgin Mother, the Mother of God, the death and resurrection of Jesus are all part of the myth of Cybele and Attis. The reason that Easter is a floating holiday traces back to the original Roman calendar that was based on the phases of the Moon.

(*’Hu’s’ is a neutral pronoun replacement meaning his/hers. ‘Hu’ is a neutral pronoun replacement for him/her or he/she.)

Saint Patrick Wasn’t Irish and Other Facts?


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Saint Patrick. The grand man of the Irish! Green beer, green clover, green Puritan-style hats, green beer, wearing green…did I mention green? All the great Irish traditions as we celebrate the anniversary of his death on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day. Except, he wasn’t Irish.

Chicago takes the green of St. Patrick’s Day to a new level.

The Real Saint Patrick

Patrick lived sometime during the 5th century (400-499 A.D.) in Roman Britain and his father was a deacon in the Catholic Church and was a decurion of Rome, (member of the City Senate.) His grandfather was a Catholic priest, but Patrick was not a believer in the church at first.

When Patrick was sixteen he reports that he was captured by Irish pirates and taken to Ireland where he was made a slave. It is during his enslavement that his religious beliefs grew. After six years he said God told him that a ship awaited him. He escaped and traveled 200 miles to a port and convinced a captain to take him back to England.

Once back, he claims that he and the crew of the ship wandered for 28 days. Then desperate for food, he encouraged the group to have faith and they then came upon wild boar and the group feasted. He eventually returned to his family and studied the Bible and the Church’s teachings.

Patrick the Profiteer?

Patrick then returned to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity. In his writings, he defends himself against accusations made against him for apparently receiving money and gifts for religious favors (baptism, ordainment, etc.) He doesn’t specify what the accusations were, but he does deny receiving money or gifts.

As a Christian and a foreigner, he wasn’t well received by the wealthy and powerful of Ireland. He was apparently successful in converting some of the sons and daughters of significant Irish families, which likely added to his poor reputation among the royalty of Ireland.

Legends of St. Patrick

The Clover

Over a thousand years after his death, (appeared in a writing of 1726,) Patrick was said to have used the three-leaf clover to represent the Holy Trinity during his teachings. There is no earlier written evidence of this and it is unlikely the story is true.

Snakes, I Hate Snakes

The story that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland is false. They were flown out in modern times. Maybe you saw the movie, Snakes On A Plane.

The Truth Doesn’t Matter As Long As There Is Beer

Historians even question St. Patricks own writings. Some don’t buy his kidnapping story. Some suggest that he was a con man that used religion to make money. All that doesn’t matter today because Patrick is our excuse to drink beer. Cheers to you St. Paddy!

Three Steps For Solving the Assault-Type Weapons Problem


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Some people are saying that assault-type weapons genie is out of the box. Their belief is that the ban on assault-type rifles can never be reinstated. They fear that collection of assault weapons may involve violent confrontations with gun extremists. There is a way out of this mess caused by letting the assault weapons ban expire. It involves three steps.

Designed to Kill Without Aiming – Semi-automatic Mossberg-MMR

STEP ONE:  Reinstate the ban on assault-type rifles

All future sale, trade, and/or gifting an assault-type rifle, including all rifles with an automatic and/or semiautomatic firing function, would be banned in the United States of America. These weapons would not be allowed to be imported, nor purchased outside the United States and brought into the country.

STEP TWO:  Voluntary Surrender of Assault-type Rifles

Any current owner of an assault-type rifle would have the option of surrendering hu’s* weapon to local law enforcement. Those guns would need to be secured or destroyed.

STEP THREE:  Conditions of Ownership of Assault-type Rifles

Condition One:  Registration

Anyone with peaceful intent should be willing to comply with the registration of all assault-type weapons. Those that fail to register their automatic and semi-automatic weapons shall be considered to have a violent intent. They will face stiff fines and possibly prison. Registration will also consist of a background check, regardless of whether one was done when the owner purchased it.

Assault-type weapons cannot be sold to anyone else without approval from the local law enforcement agency. That agency will be required to perform a background check.


Anyone owning a weapon in question must obtain and maintain a one million dollar liability insurance policy. This is similar to the liability policy required to own a car. Failure to do so will require forfeiture of the gun and a significant fine and possibly prison.

CONDITION THREE:  Compliance With the Second Amendment

Per the Second Amendment, an owner of an assault-type rifle must join a State National Guard and submit to regular training and duty as long as they own the weapon. Use of the weapon shall be regulated by that State’s National Guard, including the determination of mental and physical qualifications of use of such weapon.

(*’Hu’s’ is a pronoun meaning ‘his’ and/or ‘hers.’)

The Ides of March is Really About the Moon


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Thanks to William Shakespeare, the Ides of March is associated with the assassination of Julius Caesar (15 March 44 B.C.) Most people know the Ides of March to be on the 15th. The Ides of a month is often referred to as the middle of the month, which is true, but there is more. The Ides of March is about the Moon, not Caesar.

The Greek and early Roman calendar:  New Moon began each month (kalends) and the Full Moon was the middle (ides)

The Growing Pains of the Months and Years Concept

The concept of a month and a year was in a transitional phase during the rule of the Romans. Early calendars simply followed the phases of the Moon. A New Moon started each month and the Full Moon was the middle. This meant that the cycle of the seasons and the months were not in synch.

Each month included three reference points associated with the phases of the Moon. They were the  kalends (New Moon), nones (first half Moon,) and ides (Full Moon.) Every other day of the month was a number based on how long before the next named phase of the Moon (March 12 would be ‘3 days before ides.’)

However, there were only ten months in a year so they added Winter as an unnamed time period between the years to match the Spring, Summer, and Autumn. The New Moon prior to the Vernal Equinox would begin the new year. March was the first month of a new year and celebrations were held between the kalends and ides of March. For example, in 2018 the New Year (kalends of March) would be 17 March so the ides of March would be 31 March.

Back to J.C. …Julius Caesar

Cavete Idibus Martiis

Beware the Ides of March (in Latin)

The situation of Caesar’s death is interesting considering the current political environment of the United States. Caesar had won the support of the lower Roman classes and was named dictator for life. His assassination threatened the rise of a civil war led by the lower class. Antony used this threat in an attempt to take Julius Caesar’s place, but Caesar had named his 18-year-old son, Octavius, as his successor. In the end, the conspirators in the Senate were all killed and Octavius ruled Rome.

NRA is Not a Gun Safety Organization


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I obtained a National Rifle Association (NRA) card in 1967 (updated in 1975.) Actually, it was a hunter’s safety card. It was a new requirement for a Colorado Department of Natural Resources hunting license for anyone born after 1949. I earned it by attending a hunter’s safety course sponsored by the NRA. I was nine years old, and as I recall, I was among the first children to go through the course. That was when gun safety was important to gun owners and to the NRA.

Today’s NRA:  Put Guns In the Reach of Children

Now the NRA is a nonprofit group with a focus on increasing the profits of weapons manufacturers. Safety is in conflict with its primary mission. Now its goal is to propagandize weapon ownership and instill fear in the mind of the public. The concept of promoting safe use of firearms has been replaced with promoting unsafe firearm practices. Protecting the sale of assault-type weapons and putting a gun in a room of children, for example.

In 1967 good gun ownership included making sure guns were unloaded when coming back into town. Guns and people are never a good combination. In 2018 the NRA philosophy is driven by one concept…How can gun manufacturers sell more guns? The new philosophy can be seen in every aspect of NRA activity. Guns in schools, guns at home, assault rifle for everyone, no background checks, etc.

… the NRA is a powerful political organization that lobbies for gun rights and opposes the restriction on firearms by gun laws … the National Rifle Association has become one of the most powerful organizations that has great influence at the political level.

The National Rifle Association website

Voice of Common Sense

Today at 10 am, students around the country will remember last month’s mass school shooting that killed 17 people. Gun extremists are quick to focus on the minor transgression of students walking out of class and ignore the murder of children by a man with a gun that no one should own. If this protest was for the NRA, gun extremists would be voicing the right of Free Speech, but only a fool would protest for the NRA.

Voices of common sense about gun ownership are always seen as a threat to gun extremists. I once spent over an hour discussion common sense gun ownership with two gun extremists who were on a campus seeking to recruit more gun extremists. My debate with them became pointless. It was the same NRA indoctrination over and over. They have to defend themselves against an imaginary enemy. When I asked them what allows them to be judge, jury, and executioner, their retort was, “I have a right to defend myself.”

Assault-type Rifles Are To Kill People 

One of the demands of today’s student protests is to reinstate the ban on assault-type rifles. Anyone who has hunted knows that an assault-type rifle is not compatible with shooting game animals. The first step in discharging any firearm is to aim at your target, and be sure there is nothing in front or behind that might be hit by the bullet. Once fired, a gun will jerk and require it to be aimed again. An assault-type rifle is designed to spray bullets in rapid fire, and if configured with a ‘bump’ stock, or illegally retrofit to be an automatic rifle, aiming is not possible.

The comments I have heard from owners of assault-type rifles is that they are ‘fun to fire.’ This leads me to believe that the man who committed the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas was on a ‘thrill kill’ that was triggered by having so many weapons of mass murder available. He simply wanted to use them for their intended purpose.

The NRA’s position is that assault-type rifles should be available for anyone who can afford one. Their reason is simple; more weapons instills fear in others, which in turn sells more weapons. There is no downside to mass shootings in regard to the NRA’s goals.

Am I Safe?

After finding my Hunter’s Safety Card I contacted one of the Colorado Wildlife offices and asked if my card from 1967 or 1975 was still valid. They are, but that doesn’t make me a safe gun owner. A card doesn’t make you a safe gun owner. Nor does a gun make you a safe gun owner.

Why Are Conservatives Anti-Society?


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The conservative agenda is not society friendly. It is designed to benefit few and ignore the rest. The ideology of conservatism is based on an idea of keeping what is perceived to be good and avoiding risk-taking in the future. It assumes that there will be winners and losers so life is about making sure they are the winners.

Fear and Hate are the Entrees for Conservatives

Religions As Safe Harbor For Conservatives

Religions are typically conservative because most religions are built on a paradigm of preserving past traditions. Even the Christian religion is filled with rules and rituals that preserve the thinking of the past and are resistant to change. This is why so many Christians identify themselves with conservative thinking.

The idea that everyone is worthy and equal is usually rhetoric in religions mixed with a condescending effort to help those less fortunate. Often religions and conservatives blame the less fortunate for their own problems. They are the losers and a conservative often consoles hu’s* conscience by making offerings or volunteering to help the less fortunate.

A Liberal Perspective is in Direct Conflict with a Conservative

A conservative, by definition, is focused on preserving what they believe with the assumption that any other belief is irrelevant. It is easy to understand why anyone who has a liberal perspective is worthy of ridicule to a conservative because liberals tend to have a less cynical view of humanity.

Conservatives are driven by fear and self-preservation, while liberals are driven by hope. Conservatives need to believe that they are under threat. Examples of conservative thought consumed by selfishness and fear are:


All efforts in a society should be of direct benefit to the person paying taxes. Any money spent for the welfare of others is a target to conservatives and considered a waste of money. Conservatives often use rare examples of waste to ridicule spending for the benefit of less fortunate.

Gun Ownership

Conservatives use their fear of humanity to base a belief that a system of laws and impartial judgment are not effective. Conservatives believe that they should have the right to judge the actions of another person and execute them without trial. To the conservative, the term ‘defense’ justifies the instant execution of an unarmed person based on hu’s fear of that person.


Conservatives typically interchange hu’s racists beliefs with issues that target a particular race. Even though there is no significant immigration problem in the United States, conservatives manufacture a fear that immigrants are a threat. Immigration enforcement targets non-Caucasian races and typically ignore Caucasians.


Historically women have endured a subservient role in society. Conservatives want to preserve that subservient role and consciously and unconsciously act as if women are a lesser gender. In religion, a fear of women has pushed them into a role of service to men and the church.

Conservatives Anti-Society

The problem with conservative ideology is that the fear and hate of non-conservatives places them as the adversary of society. It divides the population, often along the lines of race and power. In their mind, everything is an ‘us-versus-them’ battle regardless of a lack of evidence.

This attitude impacts the effectiveness of our society as the concept of a few winners is at the expense of the rest of the population. 

(*’Hu’s’ is a pronoun meaning ‘his’ and/or ‘hers.’)

Are We Ready For Gender Neutral Language?


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In an age where gender issues are rising to the surface, language demonstrates the depth of gender discrimination. In centuries of the spoken and written word, a division between male and female became part of communication. The only logical reason for creating this division of masculinity and femininity in language is to create bias.

Language begins the division of the genders

Implied Gender Embedded in Language

English has shed most of the masculine and feminine constructs; however, pronouns remain a roadblock to gender-free writing or speech. Many other cultures face an almost impossible task of removing gender from their language. Masculine and feminine are embedded deep into the language of Spanish, French, Italian, German, and many other languages.

In many of these languages, not only the pronouns are gender defined, but the definite article (the, a) is gender-linked to the noun, which is also gender-linked.

Table 1.0 Gender Differences in Different Languages

Gendered Language Creates Social Issues

There are many studies that consider the issues of gender in languages. Most demonstrate an insidious bias caused by using words to define a person or thing as male or female. One significant issue of gendered language involves people who are transgender. Defining a person as male or female is offensive and harmful to a person whose physical form does not match her or his internal perception. It also creates undo awkwardness with people who are androgynous in physical appearance.

Gender is an unnecessary problem as there is almost never a need to establish masculinity or femininity using language. The reasons for using gender in writing and speech were attached to a patriarchal society where men were assumed to be dominant. Keeping gendered language is a failure to let go of the past and move forward.

Introducing ‘Hu’

I can’t change how people use language but I can experiment using a non-gendered pronoun in my writing. Because the he/she/him/her/his/hers pronoun is unnecessary, I am going to use the word ‘hu‘ for a non-gendered pronoun and ‘hu’s‘ as a non-gendered possessive pronoun.

Are we ready? We will never know unless we start somewhere. I’ll be interested in your reactions.

Time To Stop Changing Time? Why We Need Daylight Saving Time All Year


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Many people dislike the two days of the year we go to or revert from Daylight Saving Time (DST.) It requires changing the clocks and adjusting to the new rhythm of our activity related to the rise and set of the Sun. It is annoying and, as a species, annoyance is a prompt for finding a solution. Perhaps it is time to stop changing time.

A Problem of Degrees

We should recognize that the length of day is only an issue for those living between 30° and 70° latitude. The length of day within 30° of the equator doesn’t radically change from summer to winter. Above 70° latitude, the Sun sets for weeks or months during the winter and there are not many people living that close to the poles.

For those living between 30° and 70° latitude, there is an undeniable problem. Reno, Nevada, USA is at 39° north latitude. At the summer solstice, the day is almost 15 hours long and sunrise is at 5:30 am under Daylight Saving Time. If we did not have DST, the sun would rise at 4:30 am.

A Diurnal Vespertine-Adapted Species

In an agrarian economy, working in the field is easier during daylight hours. In that situation, time is relative to a solar schedule; however, in an interactive urban economy, working in shops and offices is more suitable for a common clock schedule.

After artificial electric light became the standard, and after the population moved into cities, we became a diurnal, vespertine-adapted species. Most of our country’s population works during the daylight hours and participates in non-work activities in the evenings. Today, most people are not active before six in the morning, but they remain active until 10 pm or later.

Sunrise before 6 am disturbs the typical sleep patterns of humans, and light later into the evening is more suitable for evening activities. Daylight Saving Time creates a favorable environment for a later sunrise and more sun in the evening. 

Daylight Saving Time Year Round

Standard Time was traditionally based on the position of the Sun at High Noon. That approximately divided the daylight into Morning and Afternoon. We no longer use High Noon as the foundation of Standard Time; however, it is an artifact of a primarily agrarian economy. Daylight Saving Time was used to adapt the clock to human behavior as we moved from the farms to more urban living.

Time is a human invention. It should serve the needs of humans. It would seem it is time to stop punishing humans with Standard Time and remain on Daylight Savings Time for the entire year.

Magnetic Pole Reversal: Will It Turn Our World Upside Down?


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The magnetic north and south poles are up to something. It looks like Earth’s magnetic poles are about to swap. It usually happens every 300,000 years or so but it’s been 780,000 years since it last happened. What does it mean for humans? Is this the end of human civilization?

Earth magnetic normal magnetic field (left) and during a swap (right)

Pole Reversal:  Another Y2K?

To answer this question let’s go back to 1984. That is the year that Jerome and Marilyn Murray published a book called Computers in Crisis, changed to The Year 2000 Computing Crisis in 1996. They laid out a problem of computer code that handled dates using only the last two digits of the year. The crisis was that at the moment the year 2000 began, they said all the computer networks around the world would crash. This was known as the Y2K problem.

The Y2K problem was a significant issue; however, because computer codes are constantly being changed, updated, and replaced, it probably would have been resolved without the hyper-scare stories in the media. Computer codes were changed and Y2K came and passed without incident.

That Y2K problem is a good comparison to the North/South magnetic pole reversal issue. There is a problem, but it is a problem that will unfold over hundreds to thousands of years. Most will not notice the effect in the next decade, but there is a significant change coming as soon as the next solar minimum.

Your Magnetic Field is Temporarily Out of Order

The problem is not about the reversal of the magnetic poles. The problem is about the process of the reversal. The magnetic field around Earth deflects cosmic and solar radiation from reaching Earth’s surface. Without this field (or shield) life, as we know it on Earth, would not be possible.

As the poles begin the process of swapping the magnetic field it becomes less organized. This results in the magnetic north and south pole fading and that causes cosmic radiation to come closer to Earth’s surface.

In addition, the magnetic field becomes weaker during solar sunspot minimums. This is when the Sun has few, if any, sunspots and generates less solar flares. This lull in solar activity approximately every eleven years is matched with a similar lull in the strength of Earth’s magnetic field.

Captain! Our Shields Are Down!

Scientists have discovered that the magnetic field is weakening much faster now than in the past. They believe the process of pole reversal, which is overdue by about 400,000 years, has now begun. We are also in the beginning stages of the solar minimum, which will result in an anemic magnetic field for the next two to three years.

Projections of the radiation dosage for this upcoming solar minimum were about 20% above the last solar minimum; however, actual rates are closer to 30% so far.  This is not a major concern, but it does mean that satellites may encounter more radiation that could damage or disable them. It also means that an astronaut only can spend about 700 days in space now than the 1,000 days they could spend in the 1990’s.

Oh Where, Oh Where Will Our North Pole Go?

The poles are on the move thanks to a liquid layer of iron in Earth’s Core.  Earth is already experiencing a strange phenomenon of magnetic weakening across the South Atlantic stretching from Africa to South America. Since we have not experienced this change before, no one can be absolutely sure what odd side effects may occur during the process; however, the only significant concern is increased radiation in Earth’s atmosphere and in orbit.

It’s important to remember that in geologic time frames we are the equivalent of lightning. As problems develop we’re pretty good at responding.

Three Myths That Gun Extremist Believe


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Gun Extremists have been fed a steady diet of misinformation by the NRA. Decades of crafting a lie have resulted in gun owners being one of the most misinformed groups in the history of the United States. When you talk with an NRA gun extremist you hear the following statements:

1.  Gun Extremist’s Myth versus FACT: 

The Second Amendment gives me a constitutional right to own an assault rifle and the government can’t take away my guns.

False. The Second Amendment begins with “A well regulated militia…” That is the focus of the amendment. Everything that is stated afterward is subject to the topic of a well regulated militia. Well regulated clearly means that the government is expected to regulate gun ownership. 

Guns are not trophies

2.  Gun Extremist’s Myth versus FACT: 

The Supreme Court ruled that the government can’t take our assault rifles away.

False. The Supreme Court ruled in The District of Columbia v. Heller that the government can’t ban handguns in the home, providing the person meets the qualifications required to own a gun. The Supreme Court specifically stated that more dangerous weapons could be banned from public use.

In fact, a ban on assault rifles existed from 1994 until 2004 when Congress failed to renew the ban. The ban was constitutionally legal.

3.  Gun Extremist’s Myth versus FACT:

I have a right to defend myself with a gun.

False. If you use a gun to injure or kill someone it must be proven that it was in defense. It is true, that in many states if someone enters your home it is considered allowable for a homeowner to shoot that person even if they are unarmed. The law does not give a person the right to be judge, jury, and executioner.

However, it is rare that a gun death is a legitimate ‘defensive’ act. In 2013, of 33,636 deaths due to “injury by firearms,” 21,175 (63%) were suicides and 11,208 (33%) were homicides, 505 (1.5%) were deaths due to accidental or negligent use of a gun. We are the most well-armed nation in the world and over 97% of all gun deaths were not because someone killed the bad guy.