A Physicist on Spirituality

I ran across this great quotation from a world-renowned physicist this morning and really resonated with its sentiment, apart from his characterization of us as “molecular machines”, which I find accurate but insufficient:

To think that we are animated molecular machines made of the remains of stars dead billions of years ago and capable of self-awareness — this, to me, is very spiritual. –Marcelo Gleiser, physicist


Millennials Are Listening to Cenk Uygur; Hear Jill Stein Interviewed by Him

If you want to get a handle on where I am in terms of the American political scene today, and/or if you are one of the majority of Americans who don’t trust or like either of the major parties’ candidates for President, you owe it to yourself to watch this video interview. Yeah, it’s kind of long (45 minutes) but you know you’ve already spent far more time than that listening to the gibberish emanating from Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton. Dr. Jill Stein, who has now clinched the Green Party’s nomination, answers good questions, covers the broad policy front and explains clearly why the traditional options of choosing the lesser of two evils and instead going for the greater good is a powerful political tool.

Please take time to listen carefully.

Is the “New Colin” a Ray of Hope for Niners?

The murkiness of the 49ers’ quarterbacking situation for 2016 gained a little illumination this week from an unlikely source.

According to press reports, last season’s starter, Colin Kaepernick, conducted an unusually long and entirely upbeat press conference as part of the on-going minicamp. Beat reporters were astonished. Last year, Kaepernick was sullen, private, and curt in his interactions with the press. So this is quite a change!

SF quarterback Colin Kaepernick

49ers QB Colin Kaepernick

During the exchange, Kaepernick made several positive comments about the new Niners’ head coach, Chip Kelly, and the two coaches primarily responsible for dealing with the quarterbacks as well. He says he’s looking forward to the 2016 season and to making a major contribution to the team. When asked about the trade rumors that swirled around him during the off-season, Kaepernick said, “What trade rumors?”

This may be an aberration. He’s not one of the more outgoing guys in the NFL. And he’s of course highly motivated at this point to ingratiate himself again with the team that treated him so disrespectfully in 2015, albeit not without some justification.

Assuming it’s not an aberration, however, this has to be a delightful development to Niners fans, even though it probably doesn’t signal a major improvement in their prospects for the upcoming season. I, for one, am sure I will enjoy the team under his leadership far more than I ever would with the mediocre and unexciting Blaine Gabbert at the helm.

Go Niners?

Sustaining the Bernie Revolution

Those of us who began the 2016 Presidential campaign as supporters of long-shot Bernie Sanders have now come face-to-face with the reality that he will not be the Democratic Party nominee for the White House. He and his followers will undoubtedly be conducting extensive postmortem analysis of the campaign and the mechanisms of the nominating process for many months to come.

But I want us to move beyond those moribund discussions and consider how we may help keep the revolutionary spirit Bernie engendered in so many millions of our fellow citizens alive, productive, and influential. Beyond the question of who we choose to support in November, the movement itself is too powerful and important to allow it to dissipate as has happened so often in the past with progressive causes.

move_to_amendI want to commend to your attention a movement of which you are probably aware called Move to Amend. This organization is dedicated to the sole purpose of overturning the worst Supreme Court decision perhaps of all time: Citizens United. By a number of different mechanisms and means, this rapidly growing group is attempting to establish the principle that corporations are not people, that they do not have “human” rights. That they are not entitled to unfettered free speech in the form of political contributions.

I’ve been a member of Move to Amend for quite some time, but I’ve decided to step up my visible involvement as a result of the now-concluding Presidential primary season.

At a minimum, I would request that you go to their website and sign the petition there. While you’re on the site, consider the possibility that you might be able to entice other friends or even gather petition signatures from strangers, in an effort to boost this cause.

If you feel so inclined, I’m sure they would appreciate you volunteering, donating, or otherwise promoting the cause.

Thanks for listening. Let’s keep Bernie’s great revolutionary work alive well beyond the upcoming election!



Bernie in My Home Town

Monterey, California, seldom has seen a Presidential candidate from a major party visit in the last few decades. First, thanks to the way primaries are run in this country (aka chaos), California’s votes hardly ever count. Second, even those candidates who do come to California typically don’t do public events; they’re here for the rich veins of fund-raisers in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Hollywood. Finally, Monterey is well off the beaten path located as it is all the way on the coast.

But there was Bernie. My friend MaryAnn Boylan took this picture at the rally. She had a great spot near the candidate, as you can see.

Bernie Sanders Comes to Monterey May 31, 2016

Bernie Sanders Comes to Monterey May 31, 2016

Several of my friends — some of whom remain convinced of Bernie having a remaining long shot at the Democratic nomination — found the rally refreshing. “Most of the people up front near me,” MaryAnn said, “were millennials. It was really great to talk to them and get their take. Most of the ones I talked do said if Bernie doesn’t get the nomination, they won’t vote for Hillary.”

Almost 8,000 people attended the event, four times the campaign’s forecast to local authorities.

Bad News :-(. Feds Clear Offshore Fracking for CA Coast

According to news reports, two key federal agencies have given the green light to fracking off the coast of California. This is a dangerously stupid decision.

Neither the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement nor the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management could find any reason to expect negative impacts on the California coast or the ocean from allowing the issuance of the drilling permits that cover fracking techniques. In view of the national experience with fracking over the past several years, this decision is a head-scratcher. The numerous known harms that result from fracking are bad enough. But thanks to the collusion of private companies and federal officials charged with governing the issue, very little deep study has been conducted.

Clearly, the Obama Administration is interested only in paying lip service to the environmentalists who continue to wage a thankless uphill battle against the human causes of global climate change. It is sad, really. The fate of humanity hangs in the balance and we as a nation would rather focus on short-term economic goals rather than the much broader and bigger picture.

We will pay the price.


Big News! More Jobs in Clean Energy Than Coal & Oil for First Time!

Global-Climate-ChangeThere was some great news for those of us advocating on behalf of Planet Earth today, as the United States reported that, for the first time, employment in the solar energy industry is greater than the number of jobs in oil and natural gas extraction. That incredibly important milestone, which flies in the face of many of the Right’s economic arguments against environmentalism, took place last year, but the numbers have just been released.

Anyone with one eye and half sense already knew this would happen. As the public becomes better-educated about clean energy and its myriad benefits — benefits which transcend the critical impact on global climate change — the demand for solar, wind and other renewable resources will simply continue to grow by leaps and bounds. The fact that those industries are now less profitable than their long-established dirty energy counterparts is due only to the fact that a great deal of research and development and marketing ramp-up has to take place before the economies of scale kick in.

This news gives great additional credibility to the Presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein as they attempt to convince the American voting public of the viability of an economy based primarily on these emerging energy markets and products.

Go tell that to your cynical conservative friends.