It’s Friday November 8th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1895, German scientist Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen became the first person to observe X-rays. X-rays are electromagnetic energy waves that act like light rays, but at wavelengths almost 1,000 times shorter. Upon their discovery, X-rays allowed doctors to see inside the human body for the first time without surgery. We here at Upside Downtrodden feel a special kinship with X-rays. We, too, possess the ability to see through humans. Read more
1. Syria remained subject to a bloody turmoil for over two years in 21st Century which promised highest civilization in the history of our planet. Over a hundred thousand innocent fellow humans killed and over a million Syrian citizens displaced. United Nations remained a silent spectator throughout the Syrian’s massacre and so are all the Global Heads of the States “The Hon’able Members of UNO”. What a tremendous conspiracy against an elected government and UN recognized sovereign state. Who financed, armed and patronized the Opposition Party of Syria! Who is a threat to Syrian’s integrity and their solidarity! Who promoted Civil War in Syria! Who will own & justify the innocuous blood of one hundred thousand Syrians! Read more
The world weeps for Syria. To the growing list of atrocious statistics achieved during the Syrian Civil War, we may now add the 100,000th death. While the West twiddles its thumbs, weighing its fear of being embroiled in a prolonged conflict against some moral imperative to intervene, Bashar al-Assad and his regime continue to pass bloody milestones.
When your neighbors are taken prisoner or murdered and your schoolmates are tortured at the whims of the regime, it's hard to sit by… so many Syrians are not. But the rebels who wage war on Assad have also committed violent acts in their fight against the government that, when viewed in isolation, may be considered extreme and even cruel. And yet we do not view them in isolation. Many of us intuitively consider the rebels’ use of violence to be justified in light of the violence committed by the other side. So, the argument might go, it is only appropriate to judge the cruelty of the rebels’ actions in the context of the greater battle and in reference to the violence that Assad is currently using – violence justified in virtue of reciprocity, what I call "reactive" violence. Read more
When the justice system awards no justice after an innocent 17-year-old boy is killed, it's time to stand our ground to change the laws, and challenge the racial codes in our culture.
When our surveillance community assures us that domestic spying is legal, necessary & limited, let's stand our ground and insist our democracy has transparency, privacy & new legal protections.
When an obstructionist opposition party refuses to seriously tackle our country's problems or even to debate & vote on affairs of the state, let's stand our ground for a functional government.
As Americans, we stand on common ground: a nation promoting safety, security & liberty, a society pursuing general welfare & opportunity.
We've seen what "Stand Your Ground" gets you. Let's see where "Stand Our Ground" can lead.
It's been a sad week in our country. Whether you need a drink to keep from crying or good company to lift your spirits, join your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
Yes. I busted my ass for Obama the first time around.
Opened my checkbook, campaigned, knocked on doors. Did everything I could to see that he carried Florida in the Presidential election.
Not easy in a place where Fred Thompson signs were as common as plastic pink flamingos at the time during the primary and right wing nuts carried Soviet flags outside of local Obama campaign headquarters. Where women thought Palin was the essence of true feminism. I had the lone Obama sign on my lawn in a sea of McCain - Palin cardboard.
But I got the last laugh. At least I thought so at the time.
We had elected a Democratic President and controlled the two Houses of Congress. And we carried Florida.
Maybe something would get done.
Maybe universal healthcare. Maybe peace would come. Maybe a society which would leave behind racism. Maybe repeal of the Bush tax giveaways to billionaires. Maybe we would spend money on people rather than aircraft carriers. Maybe we would stop torturing people. Maybe Gitmo would close.
Maybe. Read more
Its Wednesday May 8th! Do you know where your Podcast is? On this day in history back in 1858 John Brown held a secret anti-slavery convention in Canada where he and around 50 like-minded individuals adopted an anti slavery constitution. Brown is one of the most polarizing figures of the chaotic period leading up to the civil war. Hated by supporters of the southern way of exploiting human beings for their own personal gain and glory - I mean advocates of states’ rights; revered by the growing population of civil rights warriors who believed that change would not come without a fight; shunned and shamed by peace loving, meek abolitionists who preferred to sing songs, publish articles, and peacefully assemble to end slavery. Read more
Last week was a tough week. Moments after the marathon bombings, first responders and ordinary citizens rushed in to provide help to the injured, not knowing whether or not they were putting their own lives at risk.
After those exemplary moments, the week went down hill as the nation went into freak-out mode. Pundits, politicians, news outlets and self-appointed sleuths on the internet heaped disgrace on themselves.
The talking heads went on interminably as if in filibuster; the news outlets got the basic facts wrong and the internet geeks identified an innocent guy as a suspect while never identifying the actual suspects. A New York tabloid ran a picture of the innocent guy on the front page. Wonder how his family feels.
Right wing media immediately picked on a “Saudi national” as a suspect (he apparently had nothing to do with Boston) and accused the “gummit” of suppressing the “story”.
We prayed that the bombers were “foreign” rather than white-bread Americans - turned out they were a little of both.
All the powers that be were doing their level best to shade the story for short term advantage, either in the ratings or politically. Read more
It’s Monday April 8th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1935, Congress established the Works Progress Administration program, and FDR signed the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act. Not too shabby considering they were in the depths of The Great Depression, eh? It makes you wonder. We were able to find money to help people during the time in America’s history when we were as broke as broke can be. We were able to create jobs, invest in the country, and work together towards what would become America’s golden age. We were able to pass The Social Security Act and form unemployment insurance delivering a New Deal for Americans. This only happened because enough people decided that helping people was the right thing to do. They realized we were stronger together. They were right. Read more
Its March 18th, do you know where your podcast is? On this date in history back in1937, 298 school children experienced the worst gas of their lives, and not the kind that would provide their schoolmates with smirks, giggles, and sour smells. Their school, Consolidated School of New London Texas, had been built in 1930 and was in the middle of massive oil and gas fields and many of the nearly 1,200 students were sons and daughters of energy workers. The gas that troubled the school on that day was natural gas, there was an explosion, and those 298 students were killed, many of them instantly. This astonishing disaster was investigated thoroughly; findings revealed that raw gas escaping from leaking lines had accumulated in the dead space between the foundation and basement floor. The gas expanded due to a drop in barometric pressure and an electric spark from a switch in the manual training shop had triggered the explosion. It has been reported by history.com (caveat emptor) and others, that a cryptic message was found on a blackboard in the rubble, “Oil and Natural gas are East Texas’ greatest natural gifts. Read more
Marcus Licinius Crassus was the richest man in Roman history. Indeed, he is considered one of the richest men who ever lived. He made his fortune as a supporter of the dictator Sulla by confiscating the properties of Sulla’s political enemies.
He was also a shrewd acquirer of real estate, especially when it was on fire. Rome had no fire department; fires were left to burn themselves out. Crassus organized some 500 men and, when there was a fire, he would show up and offer to buy the property for a song. After the beleaguered owner sold out the burning buildings, Crassus would call on his fire department to put out the flames and then restore the buildings.
In any case, Crassus was described by Plutarch as the ultimate man of avarice. Crassus never had enough and always wanted more.
It was Crassus who, wishing to add glory to his wealth lead the legions which defeated Spartacus in the slave revolt. Several Roman armies were off fighting elsewhere and Crassus offered to personally equip several legions and lead the fight against the slaves. Initially he had trouble. Read more
Remember the Tom Cruise movie "Minority Report" released in 2002? Sure it seemed liked science fiction at the time.
Washington D. C. is virtually crime free in the year 2054 due to the effectiveness of the "Pre-Crime Unit". This unit arrests and jails individuals before they even commit the crime thus sparing society from the scourge of lawlessness.
How is it determined who will commit a crime in the future? A crime that hasn’t happened yet?
Why the "pre-cogs"- pre-cognitives provide the names of future criminals. The pre-cogs are three gifted humans who can see the future, give the information to the Pre-Crime Unit so that hero Tom can go out and sweep these pre-criminals off the street..
Being a pre-criminal can make jury trials and those pesky constitutional issues a major annoyance. After all, no crime has a yet been committed so the system can’t exactly charge the perp with any wrong-doing. There may be some circumstantial evidence of a pre-crime but maybe not. Read more
President Obama and Vice President Biden created the next wave of social change this week when they announced sweeping reforms to gun laws using both executive orders and legislation for Congress to pass. Though these are clearly sensible reforms meant to curb systemic violence against innocent people, Pres. Obama’s agenda is being ferociously thrashed by the National Rifle Association and politicians paid for by this organization. I have only one request for those folks who are over-reacting to this development: Think about Grace.
Grace, a beautiful, seven year old girl brutally murdered at Sandy Hook School last month, wanted to be a painter. Pres. Obama told the press her parents gave to him a painting she’d made, and he now keeps it in his study. I relate to this story because I was a little girl like that- in me still is an inner child who likes to paint pictures and give them to loved ones. Grace could have been any of us, or anyone’s daughter, sister, niece, or granddaughter. This shouldn’t have happened to her- to anyone. Read more
The very powerful gun advocacy organization, the NRA (National Rifle Association) may have found their Waterloo in the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre. The death of 20 elementary age children has shaken America to the core. Both Republicans and Democrats are now calling on sensible gun control bans on assault weapons; limits on the size of ammunition clips; along with calls for universal background checks at gun shows and for private sales. Read more
If anyone said the solution to drunk driving was more alcohol, we would all think they were nuts. Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association (NRA) finally made a statement concerning the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut where 26 people were killed, including 20 children who were all six and seven years old.
LaPierre called on Congress to pass a bill to put armed guards in every school in the United States. The NRA is putting together a safety plan called “National School Shield” in which they are hoping to be a model for schools nationwide.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” remarked LaPierre in the statement. The problem with that is, some good guys with guns turn into bad guys with guns; just add maybe some alcohol and a jealous rage and anything can happen. Read more
I posted this after Aurora. Unfortunately it fits again.
And so we have another "massacre", this time in Aurora, Colorado, maybe 20 miles from Columbine. Pretty soon we can just start characterizing these barbarities as "incidents".
This one is life imitating art. Apparently the young man colored his hair red and called himself "The Joker"; Batman’s arch nemesis was going to spoil the midnight showing.
Our young man had no trouble at all buying four guns at local gun stores, and chemical weapons, full body armor, a gas mask and some six thousand rounds of ammunition over the internet. He had it all shipped directly to his school dorm and to his apartment - over 60 deliveries by UPS alone. Fifteen thousand dollar’s worth of shit.
Did anyone ever ask why this kid, who wasn’t a cop or in the military needed full body armor?
Naah. This is a free country.
As it turns out our brilliant neuro-scientist was a loner and totally forgettable if you passed him on a street or saw him on a bar stool. No criminal record. No Face Book page; no girl friend; no close buddies apparently.
Forgettable. Read more