Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Why you should care about The Power of Economics and Public Policy

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"Atlanta (CNN)-Under increasing pressure from major corporations that do business in Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal announced Monday he will veto a bill that critics say would have curtailed the rights of Georgia's LGBT community.
House Bill 757 would have given faith-based organizations in Georgia the option to deny services and jobs to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Supporters said the measure was meant to protect religious freedom, while opponents have described it as "anti-LGBT" and "appalling.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said the company "can't have a program in Georgia" if the bill were to become law. Disney said it would stop filming in the state, and Unilever said it would "reconsider investment" if the legislation were signed. Coca-Cola spoke out against the bill, as did Home Depot and several other Fortune 500 companies based in Atlanta.
The NFL said the bill could cost Atlanta the opportunity to host the Super Bowl. Time-Warner, the parent company of CNN, also opposed the legislation." 

So what's the big deal? What's key here is that major corporations used the threat of what is paramount to state economic sanctions to affect public policy. While business interests and their paid lobbyists have a long history of controlling public policy, often for just their own special interests, this is one of those moments where such influence was used for a more positive, depending on your politics, purpose. Is this just because that such an action was perhaps the right thing to do? Doubt it. Or, was this done because of the potential consumer backlash if they didn't do it? Something to consider.

Money talks is an old cliche but it is true. Look at the change in copmanies now willing to label, and support the mandatory labeling, of GMO ingredients in foods. How about Campbell's Soup announcement that they were eliminating BPA in their cans and General Mills eliminating artificial ingredients from their cereal products. Is this happening because corporations have suddenly developed a conscious--a sense of social responsibility? No, it's because, you, the consumer, have flexed your spending muscles and demanded change with your purchases.

Important is the fact that people can greatly affect public policy, not just by voting, demonstrating, petitioning, or lobbying, but by how they spend their money. This is, perhaps, the most effective way to make your voice heard.

Strong Coronal Hole, Space Weather | S0 News Mar.30.2016

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

It's not just the GOP that's imploding

 "A nation divided ...."

There are many recent news articles about the GOP imploding under the weight of the idiotic antics and positions of its presidential candidates. This implosion, however, is resulting from the implosion of American society. It is a symptom, not a cause. It reflects the current disarray of American society and culture--a cultural that is suffering from severe identity crisis.

There is talk about "making America great again." What the hell does that even mean? When was America every really great? Was America great when it destroyed Native civilizations? How about when it took land from Mexico? Vietnam? Iraq? Is greatness defined by military power?

Is America great because we've been such an open/tolerant society? How did (do) we treat Chinese, Irish, Italian, Puerto Ricans, Latin, Asian, Arab immigrants? Were/have they been welcomed with open arms? Have we embraced the religious beliefs of all? Have we been a nation tolerant of all races? Do we even know if we are a liberal or conservative nation? Do we know what we want to do with education (that is in a crisis of its own)? Are we committed to helping the poor? Have we ever been? Do we support universal health care or are we more concerned about profits for Big Pharma? Do we respect the rights of all or do we choose who and when rights apply?

There are nations with higher standards of living, better health care, lower mortality rates, less stress, and perhaps even more freedom. So again, what greatness did we have that we must return to?

Look, America is a good place to live. There are certainly many worse places. The point is, we lack direction. We have been trying to define who and what we are since the 1700s. We have been fed dogma about who we are, but 'they' have never portrayed reality. We have been brave, we have risen to 'the' occasion, we do sometimes help others (when in someone's best economic interest), and we love to preach but we don't do as we say.

Because of the internet and instant forms of communication, we are now better informed of how messed up we really are. The news is geared to polarizing opinions and the immediate attention and sharing of bad news prevents time to distill and sort out information. We react and no longer respond.

While it may be easy to laugh at our politics, and if it wasn't so sad it would be laughable, we must understand that we are laughing at our selves. Don't be shocked by what Trump does or says, but rather be shocked that people listen to and approve of what he says or does. We, as a people, have a very hard time setting a direction. And, when we do, we sabotage our own efforts. We'll elect a president because of his/her ideas, then put holes in the ship by electing a congress of a totally different persuasion. Then we wonder why nothing ever gets done. We have one side rowing north and the other south and we get angry because we're going in circles.

Rome fell from within, not because of the barbarians. Soon we will have the opportunity to have a president and a congress that could row in the same direction. We need to get it together!

"Implosion is a process in which objects are destroyed by collapsing (or being squeezed in) on themselves."

Meteor, Filament Erupts, CH Impacts Earth | S0 News Mar.1.2016