Hello friends! I just learned of a delightful “holiday” that passed us by all too quickly on Friday, April 14th -- National Ex-Spouse's Day! Now, for many of you, a holiday recognizing your Ex might seem like the unwanted proverbial Red Headed Stepchild. Well, I always liked the Red Headed Stepchild! But I understand your skepticism. Bear with me.
You see, the real reason I’m pushing National Ex-Spouse’s Day is for the other discovery I had this weekend. Apparently, there is cake. Divorce cake! And I mean some pretty hilarious divorce cakes. Suddenly I’m all for National Ex -Spouse’s Day! Because of the cake!
It’s true you don’t need to a holiday to try some fine divorce cake, but the holiday makes it all the more delightful. And whenever I write the words “divorce” and “delightful” in the same sentence, I immediately think of Louis CK and his volumes of material on the subject including,“divorce is always good news” and “marriage is a larval stage for true happiness.” Check them both out. Both bits are NSFW but are well worth your five minutes.
According to the folks at foodandwine.com divorce cakes are on the rise nationally, but sadly, have not yet caught on in my native MN. So let’s spread the word. National Ex-Spouse's Day and Divorce cake. Mark your calendar for next year! Make Louis CK proud!
Now that we’ve learned how to eat an all-American diet and build an all-American home, it gets a bit trickier to buy American when it comes to furnishing your all-American home with American-made appliances. Televisions are not entirely made in America, but they aren’t a necessity either. The same goes for computers and smartphones, but you can outfit your home gym with Iron Grip Barbells out of California or recycled fitness equipment from IronCompany.com.
There are still a few audio equipment companies building in America, too. ATI, Milbert Amplifiers, Orb Audio and Rane are all good options. As long as you’re willing to give up your television, computer and smartphone, you can still store and cook your food using American-made appliances.
Picking up a refrigerator/freezer and oven/stove would be a good place to start when furnishing your all-American home. Thankfully, both General Electric and Maytag make appliances in the U.S.A. You’ll probably want to run your oven/stove on all-American natural gas because the average price to install a gas line is under $500. For American-made, natural gas appliances, you can start by looking at Blue Star, Wolf, Capital or Viking. Here's a list of Consumer Reports' best American-made appliances.
When it comes to hot water heaters, Bradford White seems to be a good place to start. Here’s a list of eight more companies. And while washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers are not essential, an American-made version of each is available. The rest of your kitchen needs can be found here, and you can clean your all-American home with HafcoVac, Metrovac or Tacony Corporation vacuum cleaners. GarageVac is an American manufacturing company providing shop vacs, and Bio Green Clean and Scott’s Liquid Gold are American-made cleaning solutions.
So now you can store and cook food, but where are you going to eat it -- on the floor? Thanks to all the American forests we enjoy, the U.S.A. has long been a top five furniture producer in the world. The best way to assure your money continues working to boost your local economy and American job growth is to find a local carpenter. CustomMade.com is a great source to find local furniture makers, and they have a vast selection available.
Even if you walk into a furniture store and buy something, it’s likely made in America. The furniture capital of the world is High Point, North Carolina, so there’s a really good chance any furniture purchase made in the U.S.A. is a purchase of furniture made in the U.S.A.
It wouldn’t be a home without a place to sleep, and there are plenty of mattresses made in the U.S.A. I recommend Tuft & Needle as an affordable, American option, but Amerisleep, CozyPure Organic Bedding, Easy Rest Adjustable Sleep Systems, Jamison Bedding, Live and Sleep, Moonlight Slumber and Original Mattress Factory are all American alternatives. For the money, though, Tuft & Needle is tops.
All of your American-made home decor needs are available here, and you can get American-made bedding from any of these places.Quilting has long been an American pastime, and with the amount of cotton America grows, it’s too easy to find American-made sheets. You can make your own sheets, bedding, blankets, curtains and drapes by visiting these American-made fabric companies. I've heard mixed reviews on MyPillows, which are made in Minnesota.
If you have hardwood or tile floors, a rug can really tie the room together. Cobalt Creek American Made Rugs and Sisal Rugs Direct are two options for American-made floor coverings. When it comes to covering windows, CountryCurtains.com is a good place to start.
Next up in our Made in America series is a look at where you can buy American-made clothing.
Multiple countries use vending machines that offer free syringes and needles to drug users, but this resource will be the first in the United States to help curb the spread of disease in IV drug users.
The machines will be offered and run by the Southern Nevada Health District, Nevada AIDS Research and Education Society and Trac-B Exchange. Dr. Jerry Cade, who co-founded University Medical Center of Southern Nevada’s HIV clinic, said, “There’s zero downside and lots of pluses.”
Many health agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend offering clean needles to users (200 sterile needles and syringes per drug injector per year). Offering free needles has not been proven to incite or increase drug use, and “clean needles” will allow users, victim to their addictions, a safer way to inject without being exposed to HIV, hepatitis C and other blood borne pathogens.
Each kit is free and users can receive one twice a week. Each kit contains the following:
a disposal container for used syringes
alcohol swabs to clean the skin prior to use
an information sheet about where one could go for addiction treatment.
In order to use the machine, users must “register” without the requirement of giving personal information. Once registered a card with a code is given that allows access to the machine.
The machines will be located at AFAN (Aid for AIDS of Nevada), the Community Counseling Center and Trac-B on West Charleston Blvd.
The initial steps could deter some from coming forward to use the machines, but many who use IV drugs WANT to get help and prevent further medical complications. The outreach this provides, offering help to those who are addicted, is a huge step in our fight against heroin overdose and infectious disease spread.
LearnHealthSpanish.com / Medical Spanish made easy
It’s been widely reported the U.S. dropped the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) on Afghanistan, demolishing a tunnel lair and killing thirty six Islamic State terrorists. Every news site currently has headlines discussing the tactical details, the ethics and the cost of the weapon. Like many of you I am a bit awestruck in the details of the destructive force of the explosion and the cost of the weapon. The MOAB costs approximately sixteen million dollars apiece so the price per dead terrorist is about $444,000.
I don’t want to launch into snarky arguments about where that money could have been better spent, that’s what Facebook and Twitter is for. But it all got me to think about the bomb itself. Where exactly did the “GBU-43/ B Massive Ordnance Air Blast,” come from?
Like much of modern warfare, the seeds of the MOAB were planted in WWII. Throughout the Second World War both the Axis and Allies used rotorcraft (mainly helicopters) for a variety of roles; usually for reconnaissance or rescue operations. In fact, during the “China-Burma-India-Theater,” if U.S. military gliders were unable to reach downed American bombers, the Air Force would send helicopters to extract the stranded flight crew.
During the Korean War helicopters played a more integral role. Helicopters played a critical role in medical evacuations, flying wounded to “Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals” (MASH). A term made famous by the television series M*A*S*H, which depicted the fictional 4077 unit, based off the Robert Altman film, based off the book of the same name. You can read more about the use of Helicopters in the Korean War at the History.net’s article, The Rise of the Helicopter During the Korean War.
During the Vietnam War, the use of the helicopters expanded and the US Army relied on “choppers” as they never had before. The military plan was to use the heavily armed UH-1 “Huey” helicopters as cavalry. Huey’s would be able to offer air support, quickly resupply platoons or evacuate wounded. It was all part of the military strategy to heavily rely on the helicopter.
But there was a problem. The geography of Vietnam is a chaotic tangle of rugged mountain peaks, extended forest and flatlands. Sure, the Huey’s had no problem landing in the flatlands but there were no natural landing zones (LZ) in the peaks or the forests.
Something had to be done about that.
Enter the BLU-82B/C-130 weapon system, nicknamed “Daisy Cutter"
No natural LZ? No worries! The 15,000lb conventional bomb known as the “Daisy Cutter” is the solution to all your LZ problems! From the Wikipedia entry on the “Daisy Cutter:”
“...originally designed to clear helicopter landing zones and artillery emplacements in Vietnam ... but also powerful enough to strike against specific targets such as warehouses, vehicle parks, and enemy troop concentrations … It is detonated just above ground by a 38-inch fuse extender. This results in maximum destructions at ground level without digging a crater.”
A nice range of photos showing the flat destruction of a “daisy cutter” and the type of LZ it creates can be seen here at www.peteralanlloyd.com. Basically, the bomb pulverized the trees in a large radius but the ground remained relatively flat. All your LZ problems have been solved.
Later, the “Daisy Cutter” is used in Afghanistan, first in an attempt to clear minefields, and then ,due to its 300-600 yard blast radius, as an intimidation weapon as the bomb can be seen, heard and felt for ten(ish) miles.
At the time it was one of the largest conventional weapons ever to be used. The BLU-82 was retired in 2008 and replaced with the much more powerful, “Mother of all Bombs.”
Albert L. Weimorts, Bunker Busters and the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast
Enter Albert L. Weimorts (1938-2005). For his entire civil engineering career, Albert designed bombs for the Air Force and created some of the largest non nuclear bombs ever made. Sometime around 1990, Mr. Weimorts was turned on to a particular “bomb problem.” Apparently, Saddam Hussein's bunker was impenetrable. Well, obviously, the United States had issues with that and so turned to Albert to create a bomb that could penetrate the impenetrable.
From a Dec, 25th, 2005, NY Times article by Douglas Martin, “...need for this new bomb came after 2,000-pound bombs failed to break through a hardened bunker used by Iraqi leaders, possibly including Saddam Hussein himself. A book prepared by U.S. News & World Report, "Triumph Without Victory: The Unreported History of the Persian Gulf War" (Times Books, 1992), said "numerous officials" claimed the bomb was built explicitly to kill Mr. Hussein, although the first President Bush publicly said the Iraqi leader was not a target.”
The article quotes Mr. Weimorts from the book, "We understand quite well what it takes to penetrate targets -- what it takes in terms of fusing, survivability, explosives and all," Mr. Weimorts said in an interview with the authors. Ideally, such a bomb would have to be dropped from a high altitude, meaning the United States and its allies needed to establish total air superiority in order to use the weapon. "Just three days into the war, it looked to me like that was possible," Mr. Weimorts said. "So I sketched out something that we could carry high, and it would be heavy."
And so the world is introduced to the GBU-28s Bunker Buster, a bomb capable of piercing hardened concrete and exploding only when it had penetrated to a certain depth. The Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) was conceived, designed, created and falling on bunkers northeast of Baghdad, within five weeks.
Based on the success of that program the Air Force looked to Mr. Weimorts to upgrade the elderly “Daisy Cutter.” The Air Force wanted a “shock and awe” bomb for use as an anti-personnel weapon and for soft and medium surfaces and covering extended areas and targets in a contained environment such as a deep canyon or within a cave system. On March 11th, 2003 the MOAB was first tested at Eglin Air Force Base in FL. Then again on Nov 21st, 2003.
The Pentagon ordered twenty MOAB’s built for a grand total of $314 million. And then, for the next fourteen years, there they sat, in a warehouse, or a hanger or a garage or something. Somewhere. No one ever used them.
Until now. On 13 April 2017, a MOAB was dropped on an ISIL cave complex in southern Afghanistan killing thirty six terrorists.
I usually pepper my stories with pop culture wit and personal anecdotes but I think I’ll leave it to Facebook, Twitter and late night comedians to crack jokes about the "Mother of all Bombs". Depending on whom you believe MOAB it is either, “the right weapon at the right time,” or, “an unethical use of power.”
I don't know. Perhaps it’s both.
While a Detroit-area doctor has been charged with performing genital mutilation on two young, Minnesota girls, the parents, who misled their children into believing they were taking a “girls’ trip,” have yet to be charged with child abuse as of this writing.
Female circumcision is most commonly done in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Egyptian politician Elhamy Agina supported the practice because Egypt’s men were “sexually weak” and could not meet the sexual demands of Egyptian women. So punish the women, right?
Many instances of female genital mutilation go unreported, but instances have tripled since 1990 according to this report by the Government Accountability Office. This is the first federal case of its kind under the federal statute passed in 1997. Female genital mutilation is governed by Title 18, Part I, Chapter 7, Subsection 116 of the United States code, but only focuses on the doctor performing the unnecessary surgery. The entire law follows:
(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), whoever knowingly circumcises, excises, or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
(b) A surgical operation is not a violation of this section if the operation is—
(c) In applying subsection (b)(1), no account shall be taken of the effect on the person on whom the operation is to be performed of any belief on the part of that person, or any other person, that the operation is required as a matter of custom or ritual.
(d) Whoever knowingly transports from the United States and its territories a person in foreign commerce for the purpose of conduct with regard to that person that would be a violation of subsection (a) if the conduct occurred within the United States, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
The parents will be subject to state child abuse laws, but no charges have come from the State of Minnesota as of this writing. The penalty for causing “substantial bodily harm” to a child is five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. Does that penalty fit the crime? Dr. Dalia Wachs doesn’t think so.
“Are you kidding me? I mean, that should be a lot longer,” she said, adding later that “if you psychologically traumatize someone at that age, especially a child … these girls might not ever have an interest in sex.”
Wachs thinks if some of the more than half million American women were to enroll in a study to determine the psychological effects of female circumcision, it would be helpful in determining a punishment that fits the crime, because “there are no health benefits” from the surgery.
The federal law should be altered to provide harsher penalties to parents forcing this procedure upon their children. Imagine if your parents did this to you at age seven and then you had to continue living with them for another decade or so, knowing they had forever altered your ability to enjoy sex and quite possibly your ability to have children of your own, according to the World Health Organization. Everyone has the right to attempt to be better parents than their own parents, unless, of course, you have parents like these.
If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: America’s Healthcare Advocate, The Bright Side, The Dr. Daliah Show, Dr. Asa On Call, Dr. Coldwell Opinion Radio, Drew Pearson Live, Good Day Health, Health Hunters, Herb Talk, Free Talk Live
Canadian government officials announced their plan to legalize marijuana in Canada by July 2018 on Thursday. Canada has taken a play from the American playbook by leaving the details of marijuana legalization up to individual provinces, but recreational use of marijuana will be legal nationwide, so how will it impact America?
The obvious impact would be more supply of marijuana, which will make it’s way south of the Canadian border via the black market since America still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, like heroin and Ecstasy. While just two Canadian-bordering states (Washington and Maine) have legalized marijuana, only Idaho and Wisconsin have yet to legalize medical marijuana. So many of the Canadian-bordering states already have an increased supply of marijuana due to medical marijuana policies, which would mitigate the chance of Canadian grass making its way into America. But the reason marijuana prohibition is ending in Canada is because it doesn’t keep drugs out of the hands of kids and only allows a black market to not only form but thrive. Prohibition doesn’t keep people from using drugs. Prohibition only makes drugs more expensive and results in violence when black marketers fight for a larger piece of the inflated market valuation. Canada’s legalization of marijuana puts them at a unique advantage to capitalize on an emerging market...
Canada’s legalization of marijuana nationwide puts it in a great position to capitalize on cannabis exports to nations that legalize marijuana use but don’t have the means to meet demand. Uruguay is the only country to legalize consumption, cultivation, transportation and sale of cannabis, but all of its available market comes from cannabis grown by Uruguayan authorities. That won’t last. As more and more countries move toward legalization, Canada, and not America, will be best positioned to capitalize on the export of edibles, waxes, and even bud. Canada is apparently three or four years ahead of any other country when it comes to the scale of cannabis companies created. It’s a great opportunity to eventually increase the gross domestic product of Canada.
Nothing is going to stop the momentum of the marijuana legalization movement in America, and Canada’s legalization policy will only fuel that fire. Eight states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana entirely, and 28 have medical marijuana policies. Arizona, Michigan, Vermont and Rhode Island are most likely to legalize marijuana in 2018, with Idaho, Wyoming, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas considering medical marijuana policies.
Canada is already a favorite settling spot for Americans emigrating due to the 2016 Presidential election. In fact, Canada hasn’t seen an influx of "talent" like this since 1989, according to the Seattle Times. Legal cannabis will draw even more Americans north of the border, most of whom will be leaving American jobs they do well, further weakening American businesses and the U.S. economy. Unemployment rates will decline, though, as new workers move into the private and public sectors.
Perhaps the biggest impact of Canada’s marijuana legalization will be on the American cotton market. The U.S. is the number one exporter of cotton in the world, but hemp can be used in lieu of cotton in clothing and a whole lot of other items. Hemp makes for stronger rope, longer lasting textiles and clothing, and you can even build a house out of hempcrete. With America clinging to marijuana’s Schedule I status, it limits where hemp can be grown and makes exporting the product impossible, despite hemp not having the psychoactive effects of marijuana.
If you’ve noticed, Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t have a positive impact on America. All Americans can hope for is that Congress legalizes marijuana before Canada does, or America will suffer these consequences.
If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: America’s Healthcare Advocate, The Bright Side, The Dr. Daliah Show, Dr. Asa On Call, Dr. Coldwell Opinion Radio, Drew Pearson Live, Good Day Health, Health Hunters, Herb Talk, Free Talk Live
Back in 2011, Anders Lewendal, a home builder and economics graduate, set out to build a home in Bozeman, Montana entirely of American-made building materials. I’ve actually been in that home. It’s beautiful. Back then, Lewendal was saying if builders used just five percent more American-made building materials, it would create 220,000 jobs.
“There’s not a thing in that whole house that isn’t made in this country,” Lewendal said in an interview with GCN Live on Thursday.
The story drew the eye of ABC and a three-part series about the all-American home resulted. Unfortunately, the idea didn’t take, and that’s likely due to the increased cost of buying American, Lewendal said.
“For a very, very entry-level home, the cost could be 15 percent more. Now, if you’re building a high-end custom home … the cost increase could be nothing,” Lewendal informed.
Lewendal said it was harder to track down American-made products back then because he didn’t have a list of American-made building materials. Now, though, you can find just about everything you need to build your home with American-made products at AmericansWorking.com.
Building a home from American-made building materials has a huge impact on the U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Lumber Coalition, U.S. sawmills and wood preservation industries employ over 90,000 workers across America, which represents an annual payroll of over $3 billion. The U.S. forest products industry is thriving, too, as American forestry exports set a new record in 2015.
The American forest products industry is the fourth largest in the world, but confirming that the lumber you’re using to build your home was born and raised in America is a little harder with Canadian imported lumber coming across the border. Just ask the folks at the home improvement store where they get their lumber. If it’s Columbia Forest Products you’re in the clear. Most Home Depot stores carry Columbia. Screw your lumber together with Brynolf Manufacturing screws.
When it comes to your foundation, it’s a pretty good bet your cement is local. Genova sells American-made PVC pipe for your plumbing, and Pipe-Tytes also makes its parts in America. The Restoria Bathtub Company and Mansfield Plumbing make beautiful bathtubs and toilets right here in the U.S. Rachiele has been making sinks in America since 1999. When it comes to bathroom and kitchen cabinets, The Original Granite Bracket Company, Bertch Cabinet, and Wellborn Cabinets are all local options.
When it comes to running electricity, Mulberry Metals is the only company I could find providing electrical parts that are made in America. There’s no shortage of window producers in the United States, though. I know there’s a Marvin plant in Grafton, N.D., and you can find four more options here. There’s also a plethora of American-made door companies.
Benchmark Foam in South Dakota is your foam insulation provider, and Dupont makes some of the best selective barrier products out there. I’ve seen Tyvek withstand a thunderstorm before we had a chance to put shingles over it and not a drop of water got through the roof. Typar products also provide adequate weather protection. Owens Corning has been producing fiberglass insulation in America since 1935. Fastening shingles or metal can be done with Great American Specialty Fasteners. It doesn’t get more American than that.
It wouldn’t be much of a home without a roof over your head. Classic Metal Roofing Systems provides metal roofing products that are made right here in the U.S. Auburn Tile sells concrete roofing tiles that look great, and if you’re wanting a traditional shingle, GAF has been king since 1886. I would recommend putting a roof over your head that makes your electric bill a thing of the past, and I don’t mean attaching a solar panel to your roof. Tesla has managed to create beautiful roofing tiles that convert solar energy into electricity. It even pays for itself in eight to 11 years.
Vinyl siding for your all-American home can be found here, and if you want that old-timey, log cabin look, check out EverLog Concrete Log Systems. Ventilation products can be found here. Uptown Floors, Homerwood Hardwood Flooring and ModuTile are all American-made flooring options. If you’re willing to lay down tile (trust me, it’s a literal pain in the backside), here’s a list of American, ceramic tile companies.
When it comes to heating your all-American home, I recommend radiant heat. Calorique in Massachusetts has been providing American-made radiant heating since 1980. And lighting your all-American home is as easy as going here for fixtures and then buying bulbs from Bright Lights USA, Aero-Tech Light Bulb Company or Light Bulbs Etc.
If you want to put up fencing, Aluminum Fences Direct is out of North Carolina, Centaur Fencing does business in Alabama, and Delgard Premier Aluminum Fencing is also American-made. Genova even makes PVC fencing products.
Understandably, not everyone can afford to build the all-American home, so consider an American Tiny House. Tiny homes are very trendy right now and cost around $70,000 for 320 square feet. They’re delivered pre-fabricated and look a whole lot bigger than they actually are.
If you don’t require a lot of space this is a great way to become an all-American homeowner, and owner Andrew Pleban said tiny homes are completely customizable, so if you want American-made, they’ll find American-made products.
“We’re a custom builder, and we’re building what the customer wants so sometimes and we have to go out and get it,” he said, adding that about 95 percent of all their models are made from building materials made in America.
So not only is it possible to build a home from all-American building materials, but it’s been done and should continue to be done. In the next part of our “Made in America” series, we’ll decorate your home with all-American products.
Much has been written about the man forcibly removed from the United Airlines Flight #3411 but for those that missed it, a quick recap:
Audra D. Bridges, a passenger on flight 3411, captured video of a man being forcibly ejected from the plane. Security violently yank him from his seat, smash his face into an arm bar and drag him off the plane. Bridges posted the video on Facebook with, “Please share this video. We are on this flight. United overbooked the flight. They randomly selected people to kick off, so their standby crew could have a seat. This man is a doctor and has to be at the hospital in the morning. He did not want to get off. We are all shaky and so disgusted. #unitedairwaves.” Overnight the video went viral.
It is a fact universally acknowledged, that Dr. David Dao, the man forcibly ejected, is not a criminal. He committed no crime on board the plane. He was not even doing anything particularly wrong. He wasn't even doing anything obnoxious; like reclining his chair too far back encroaching on the personal space of the passenger behind him! It had nothing to do with what he did. No, it was what he didn’t do that was the problem. He didn’t acquiesce when asked to submit to, “The Volunteering!” He didn’t jump high enough. He didn’t jump fast enough. And if there is one thing the AUTHORITY hates, it’s when people don’t instantly, and blindly, obey.
When Dr. Dao didn’t comply with “The Volunteering!” the folks at United “had no choice” but to call the cops. Chicago PD was quick to the scene and with assistance from airport security officers, snatch dangerous Dr. Dao from his seat and give him what for!
United Airlines quickly throws gallons of gasoline on the fire when CEO Oscar Munoz Tweets a tone deaf response: “This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.”
Late night comedians have a field day with the corporate goon phrase, “re-accommodate these customers.” The negative press coverage and social media hatestorm cause shares in United Continental Holdings Inc to fall approximately 2.5 percent (about a $500 million loss to its market cap).
Munoz, eventually, goes on TV and offers a more legitimate apology but his sympathy is clearly, a day late and a dollar short.
Do you think there will be a lawsuit? Or a made for TV movie? And will you be able to slip in a Scooby Doo reference?
There already is a lawsuit. And United will settle for an obscene amount of money. Other repercussions trickle in:
The Chicago officer and both security guards are on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.
All customers who were on the flight will receive a full refund.
People on the flight continue the negative press and publish their accounts, “I was on United flight 3411. Here’s what I saw.”
Endless late night mocking including this amazing Jimmy Kimmel “honest” commercial.
At this point, if United had really wanted to make room for their crew, they could have offered every single passenger on board fifty thousand dollars and still come out far ahead of the deal than where they are at now.
Though, to be honest, things like this happen all the time. All airlines overbook flights and sometimes a carrier will have to shuffle crew around. Which, in turn, means that sometimes paying passengers will get bumped from flights. Obviously, how you deal with the scenario is the question.
I was bumped from a flight once. About fifteen years ago I was flying out of JFK NY to MPLS and, while awaiting departure, the call came over the speaker asking for volunteers to take a next morning flight. I leapt out of my seat, “Me! Me! That’s me! This guy! Right here! I will! I’ll take that free extra night in NYC! Thank you very much Mr. AUTHORITY!” Wasn’t so bad, actually. Free hotel, free dinner, extra night in the Big Apple. But I’m a white guy who wanted to stay. I didn’t need privilege to help me out, I was all for it.
Dr. Dao didn’t want to stay. He didn’t want to participate in the “The Volunteering!” He resisted. And I don’t mean he physically resisted, because he did not, I mean he resisted the order to comply with the AUTHORITY. And United Airlines severely punished him for his resistance. And then they thought they could get away with it. And they would have gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids with their pesky cell phone cameras and that social media thing!
As for a, “made for TV movie?” Only time will tell. But just in case a network executive is reading, I will totally write and direct that movie! But it has to be a feature. You already know the title, "The Volunteering!” Starring Samuel Jackson. Warning though -- I’d make it a horror film. Imagine the voice over for the trailer:
“Flight 3411. Assault, blood and the screams of an innocent man. Unsuspecting passengers witness horror unlike that they have even known. “The Volunteering” begins, its wrath a terror to see -- and on the morrow -- it comes for thee! (At this point in the trailer Sam Jackson stands up from his seat and yells… wait-for-it...) ‘I've had it with this mother f**king volunteering on this mother f**king plane!’”
Would you watch that movie? I would totally watch that movie!
The Kevin Jackson Show joins the GCN Live lineup starting Monday, April 17. The show will air 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday.
The Kevin Jackson Show started as The Black Sphere Radio Show. TBS Radio began as a humble program on Blogtalkradio in 2009. The show garnered the notice of veteran radio man "Big Dave,” who encouraged Kevin, saying he was " made" for radio. Shortly thereafter the program director at WGUL agreed and offered Kevin the weekend slot. He eventually took the spot of radio Hall of Famer, Neil Boortz, and now is syndicated around the country.
The Kevin Jackson Show blends pop culture with politics, and is one of the most clever talk shows on the dial. If you like a heapin' helpin' of sarcasm and humor from a guy who learned to speak "LibTurd" as a child, then this show is for you.
Kevin is unapologetically American, Christian, Conservative and a proud Capitalist. You can follow him at theblacksphere.net or at The Blacksphere on Facebook. Stay tuned to GCNLive.com for more information as it develops.
The Minnesota Wild’s luck has obviously changed for the worse, but they’re in the playoffs anyways, hosting the hottest team in the league coached by former Wild head coach Mike Yeo.
The Wild and St. Louis Blues series will be the best in the west given the storylines. New Wild coach Bruce Boudreau is infamous for being wildly mediocre in the playoffs, and with a trade deadline deal that hasn’t worked, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher might be looking for a new job if the Wild exit the playoffs in round one once again this season.
Knowing all of that, I was surprised that my friend jumped at an opportunity to score two seats for game two in the lower level in row two next to the aisle for $280 each. He thought he could use them as leverage, but I told him that would be unlikely, as the price would drop. As of this writing, Craigslist has listings for lower-level, row two seats for as low as $180 for game one. The same row has already dropped $30 in price for game two. The fans have spoken, and they aren’t wildly confident in the Wild.
ESPN has picked the Blues to win the opening series in five games, and it seems Wild fans sense a letdown as well. Game one seats are going for below face value on Craigslist, which is unheard of, and if the Wild drop the first game, prices will continue to fall. That’s why your best bet when considering playoff tickets for just about any sport is to just wait. I jumped on Minnesota Twins playoff tickets in the last season of the Metrodome against the Yankees just before Joe Nathan blew the save in game two of the series in New York. It was a big mistake, as I ate two of the four tickets.
There’s rarely a time tickets can’t be found before the game starts. If you’re not too picky and just want to get in the door, waiting almost always pays off. Greed dissipates as the risk of taking a loss increases. The closer you get to puck drop the lower ticket prices get. The Wild box office even has select tickets available in the lower ($150) and upper ($110) levels for game one.
Even if the Wild win game one of the playoff series, tickets for game two will hold steady. Ticket resellers want every playoff series to go seven games. If it was a race to five wins that’d be even better for them. Don’t give them the satisfaction of fleecing you because you aren’t familiar with the local fan sentiment. Local Wild fans are fed up, and many won’t even consider attending the first series let alone the first game. This franchise is in all-or-nothing mode, so don’t go all-in on Minnesota Wild playoff tickets two days before the game. Wait.
Editor’s Note: An update follows.
Don’t get scammed by Craigslist ticket sellers! There are easy things you can do to avoid being scammed. Generally, if tickets are listed below face value it’s a scam. No one in their right mind, regardless of family emergencies, would list playoff tickets under face value. If there are no photos of either the tickets or the view from the seats, it’s likely a scam. If the Craigslist seller says they are a season ticket holder, ask for their account number located at the top of the tickets or call the ticket office and ask them to search their records by the seller’s name. The whole call takes about a minute and could help you avoid being scammed.
Editor's Note: An update follows.
By taking my own advice I managed to score tickets in row 10 to Game 2 between the Wild and Blues for $170. That's $110 less than my friends paid to sit in the second row. It was also $50 less than the going rate on Ticketmaster, not including fees.
The other day I found myself very confused by two signs advertising gasoline prices at two gas stations directly across the street from each other. I was confused because one sign advertised unleaded gasoline at $2.17 and the other at $2.27. Why one gas station would be cheaper than the other I didn’t know, but I obviously went with the gas station advertising the cheapest price for gasoline.
I was even more confused to find five different options for unleaded gasoline. While I was familiar with E85 gasoline, I had no idea E15 gasoline existed. I did a quick Google search to determine whether E15 gasoline would be good for my car, and multiple sources revealed that as long as my car was newer than 2001 I’d be alright. I should have done more digging.
I’m not even through half my fuel tank and my fuel economy is two miles per gallon less than what I get with 87-octane gasoline. Doing the math, while I save $1.80 filling an entire tank with E15 gasoline, I lose 36 miles in range and roughly $3.25 due to that drop in fuel economy, resulting in a $2.45 net loss. So that warm feeling I got purchasing cheap gas is now cold as ice. I actually got robbed at the pump by subsidized corn growers.
If you’re like me and don’t own a flex fuel vehicle, don’t buy E15 gasoline. It’s that simple. The price of E15 gasoline would have to drop at least 18 cents below the price per gallon for 87-octane gasoline in order for E15 to be cheaper for me. This price point will, of course, depend on the difference in fuel economy you receive when switching to E15 gasoline.
It’s no surprise that Exxon Mobil is doing what it can to make sure E15 gasoline doesn’t take off. It pulled this graph from a blog page that no longer exists, but now that I’ve crunched the numbers, it’s a pretty good recommendation. Unless you drive a flex fuel vehicle or something made in the last couple of years, don’t buy E15 gasoline.
There’s plenty of other reasons not to buy E15 gasoline according to this report published by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Not only is it bad for the environment (“cellulosic and corn-based ethanol (E85) were ranked last of nine technologies with respect to climate, air pollution, land use, wildlife damage, and chemical waste”) and less efficient, it makes your engine run hotter, so if you have a high-mileage engine and are worried about extending the life of your engine, don’t use E15 gasoline.
States are even banning E15 altogether, and multiple bills have been introduced to limit the spread of E15 gasoline. One bill would eliminate the Renewable Fuel Standards entirely, which would probably please the Republican-led Congress and Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt, who has blasted ethanol in the past and whose ties to the oil industry are well-publicized. Another bipartisan effort, obviously sponsored by legislators from corn-growing states Nebraska and Iowa, would expand E15 gasoline availability by allowing it to be sold year-round. E15 gasoline is currently not available during summer months because of that overheating issue I mentioned.
Four of the five bills introduced and listed below would be bad for E15, ethanol producers and corn growers. If that's any indication of the short-term future for ethanol during the Trump administration, it doesn't look good.
There’s still money to be made on ethanol exports, though, as Mexico has approved ethanol in small doses. The ethanol industry outlook for 2017 is mostly optimistic, but that’s because it’s written by ethanol producers. Dipping ethanol stocks are indicative of ethanol’s uncertain future, but gas station owners seem to think E15 will take off in 2017.
The fact remains: E15 gasoline just isn’t any good if you don’t drive a flex fuel vehicle. If it's not too hot out, though, and you can find E15 for 20 cents less than 87-octane, go for it. But never put it in a boat engine or lawn mower. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.
|Date Introduced||Bill Name and/or Reference||Purpose|
|Jan. 3, 2017||Leave Ethanol Levels at Existing Levels Act (H.R. 119)||"The bill would freeze renewable fuel blending requirements under the RFS at 7.5 billion gallons per year, prohibit the sale of gasoline containing more than 10% ethanol, and revoke the EPA's approval of E15 blends."|
|Jan. 31, 2017||N/A (H.R. 777)||"The bill would require the EPA and National Academies of Sciences to conduct a study on 'the implications of the use' of ethanol gasoline blends containing 10-20% ethanol by volume."|
|Jan. 31, 2017||N/A (H.R. 776)||The bill would limit the use of cellulosic biofuel required under the current RFS.|
|March 2, 2017||N/A (H.R. 1315)||The bill would cap the ethanol blend rate at 10%.|
|March 2, 2017||RFS Elimination Act (H.R. 1314)||The bill would fully repeal the RFS.|
DATA SOURCE: PACIFIC ETHANOL.
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This year, nine confirmed cases of rat lungworm disease have surfaced in Hawaii (Maui and the Big Island), and a couple in California who recently traveled to the Aloha State came down with symptoms after they returned home from their honeymoon. Four additional cases have been suspected since the start of the year and fortunately no deaths have been reported. The Hawaii Department of Health confirmed 11 cases in 2016, and between 2007 and 2015, 42 cases were reported. Here are your questions answered.
Rat lungworm is in the family of roundworms (nematodes), named Angiostrongylus. Angiostrongylus cantonensis is a parasite that can cause neurological infections such as meningitis, and its sister species, Angiostrongylus costaricensis, can cause severe gastrointestinal illness. The specific meningitis, or inflammation of the brain, caused by A. cantonensis is an eosinophilic meningitis, where the main blood cell involved is an eosinophil, prevalent in parasitic infections as opposed to a bacterial or viral meningitis.
It's found primarily in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Basin but up until recently it's been extremely rare in the United States. In 2015 a study published in the Journal of Parasitology cited cases had been reported in Florida, Alabama, California, Louisiana, and Hawaii.
It primarily lives in rodents but the larvae can be passed to other species through rat feces. Adult nematodes live in the pulmonary arteries of rats. The females lay eggs and these, once they hatch and become first stage larvae, may migrate to the rat’s throat and then enter the GI system, eventually exiting through feces.
Symptoms include severe headache, fever, neck stiffness, visual disturbances, difficulty looking at light (photophobia), nausea, vomiting, numbness, temporary paralysis of the face and possibly coma and death.
The incubation period, on average, can be anywhere from a week to three weeks and symptoms could start within that time and possibly last for months. Neurological sequelae of the survivors can last for extended periods of time.
An individual could become exposed to A. cantonensis when one eats undercooked slugs, snails, frogs, shrimp, mollusks and contaminated fruits and vegetables. Slime from slugs may also be a source of contamination of the deadly parasite.
If a person presents with symptoms of meningitis, the cerebrospinal fluid, or fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord is able to be sampled during a lumbar puncture. The needle entering through the back could aspirate enough of a sample for laboratory technicians to determine if the meningitis is caused by bacteria, virus or parasites, the latter of which causing a higher concentration of eosinophils to be demonstrated in the CSF fluid as well as the blood.
Currently there is no official treatment of the parasite. The parasite will die on its own but can do so in a relatively short amount of time such as days, or become latent for months. Dead worms could also cause severe neurological symptoms. Symptomatic measures of the patient are instituted to help with pain, although some have been treated with steroids and antiparasitic medications.
Make sure all raw vegetables are washed thoroughly, Handle slugs and snails with gloves and wash hands diligently. The University of Hawaii recommends boiling snails for at least 3-5 minutes prior to preparing for consumption. And keep rodents, snails and slugs away from your food and kitchen counters.
For more on prevention of Rat Lungworm infections, read: Avoid Contracting Angiostrongyliasis (Rat Lungworm Infection): Wash Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Before Eating!
LearnHealthSpanish.com / Medical Spanish made easy
There are plenty of reasons why Amazon Instant Video is the fastest growing streaming video app, and many of them have nothing to do with streaming video. We’ll get to those. First, though, let’s focus on what makes Amazon better than Netflix and Hulu when it comes to streaming video apps.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably tried all three of the big three streaming video apps. And if you’re like me, you grew tired of the Netflix and Hulu libraries pretty quickly. Netflix might have a vast library, but it’s all crap. And while Hulu boasts about providing all the best television at a discount and with limited commercials, it doesn’t have the movie selection of either Netflix or Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime has the most quality titles from the silver screen and your flatscreen. I always seem to find something to watch with Amazon Prime, and I used to tune into Netflix and Hulu just to turn it off having found nothing to watch. The quality of titles is important to people, and Netflix and Hulu just aren’t providing the content people want.
Remember when Netflix and Hulu were in a price war? Well, that war is over and both sides lost. Price is no longer the driving force when it comes to choosing a streaming video app. If there’s one thing the internet has done well it’s helped consumers make more informed purchasing decisions. Both Netflix and Hulu can be had for as little as $7.99 per month, but my Amazon Prime membership at $8.25 per month ($4.083 per month if you’re a student) is much more valuable than the 26 extra cents I pay. Here's why:
I don’t even get my $8.25-worth of monthly value out of the streaming video. I could go most the year without streaming anything and probably still find value in paying for Amazon Prime. I get free, two-day shipping on any Amazon-fulfilled product I purchase. That’s worth $8.25 almost every time I make a purchase. I also get access to Prime Pantry – a service that not only saves me money on home essentials but trips to the store and time standing in line. I get all my non-refrigerated food, cleaning supplies, toiletries and garbage bags delivered to my door. I just have to remember to order them when stock is getting low.
I watched Spectre on my Hisense 4K UHD TV using Amazon Prime last night and was shocked by how far televisions have come. I didn’t think picture quality could get much better because the human eye can only see so much. I was wrong (because I sit/lay pretty close to my TV), and Amazon Prime seems to be the most committed to providing new, 4K UHD content, despite it only being available in the US, UK and Canada.
I haven’t listened to any of Amazon Prime’s 2,000,000 or so songs or any Amazon playlists, but it’s just another reason why Amazon Prime is more valuable than both Netflix and Hulu. I have purchased vinyl records from Amazon and taken advantage of their digital music downloads, which neither Netflix nor Hulu offer.
Amazon Prime is just better than Netflix and Hulu, so pony up and pay the $99-annual fee or just give it a try for $10 per month. I think you’ll find it’s worth it.
Remember way back in 2011 when Netflix bungled their streaming/DVD unveiling and announced a 60 percent price increase? Social outrage resulted in an almost 80 percent drop in Netflix’s share price in four months, and cost them over 800,000 subscribers.
Well, Netflix is back at the bungling with its March announcement for plans to drop its five star rating system in favor of a “thumbs up/thumbs down” approach. Netflix has an adorable short video explaining the change. The “ratings makeover” was widely reported online but had little impact on social media, and, in turn, the internet released a collective, “meh.” But now that Netflix has actually gone through with the change, subscribers are not happy.
The fine folks over at the The Mary Sue covered the Reddit and Twitter hate with their “Backlash Against the New Netflix Rating System Shows That People Want and Miss Nuance.” Polygon, Variety and even the New York Post jumped on the bandwagon with “Thumbs Down” editorials. I found Indiewire’s “Netflix’s New Rating System is a Terrible Idea” to be the best read.
But Todd Yellin, Netflix's VP of Product, sticks to his guns. “Five stars feels very yesterday now. The five-star rating system really projects what you think you want to tell the world. But we want to move to a system where it’s really clear, when members rate, that it’s for them, and to keep on making the Netflix experience better and better.”
It will make my Netflix experience better, huh? What kind of malarkey is this? It’s actually making me kind of angry. Don’t make me angry, Netflix. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
Ugh. And maybe (depends on how angry I get).
My first and foremost thought about the change is the lack of nuance. Netflix’s five star rating broke it down like this:
1 star: Hated it
2 stars: Didn’t like it
3 stars: Liked it
4 stars: Really liked it
5 stars: Loved it
There are problems already. Do you know how many films I want to rate 3.5 stars? Or 2.5 stars? Lots! That’s how many! Lots! Netflix doesn't allow that! One to five stars is already a tad limiting and now they expect me to vote yes or no? Um, I don’t think so. In fact, I’m pretty sure I will just not rate movies on Netflix. It’s not improving my Netflix experience, yet.
I decided to post a righteous, whiny rant on my Facebook page and complain about Netflix. I sought solace from my English-y lit friends, and Pat Harrigan, part time editor for M.I.T. Press and author of the novel “Lost Clusters,” does not disappoint, “Dammit! 1-5 is perfect; it maps intuitively onto an A-F grading system, and avoids having to distinguish Jesuitically between things like “9 or 10 stars .. Godfather 1 vs. Godfather 2? No one has the time for that; give them both 5 stars and move on. But thumbs up vs. down is a commercial distinction (“buy vs. don’t buy"). Siskel and Ebert both hated it, and you’re right to hate it too.”
Yes. That! You win!
Actually, though, to be fair, Gene Siskel, the late Chicago Tribune film critic and co-host of At the Movies and The Siskel and Ebert Show, eventually warmed to the thumbs up/down system. Siskel writes, "What's the first thing people ask you? Should I see this movie? They don't want a speech on the director's career. Thumbs up--yes. Thumbs down--no."
Roger Ebert, the late Chicago Sun Times film critic and co-host of said shows, had problems with all the limiting systems. Ebert responds to Siskel: “That makes sense, but in a written review thumbs up/down has the effect of nudging a lot of films from 2.5 (a negative review) to three stars (a positive one). There is never any doubt about giving four stars, or one star. The problem comes with the movies in the middle.” Ebert goes on to wonder if instead of worrying about Yes/No or the amount of stars attached, perhaps one should just, “...consider actually reading the review?” Roger Ebert’s thoughts on star ratings for film reviews and on reviewing, in general: “You Give Out Too Many Stars.”
I tend to lean more towards Ebert’s thinking. Yes, a star rating has problems, especially with the muddy middle portions, but it’s still vastly superior to a thumbs up/down. Siskel’s, “Should I see this movie? Yes/No” could be answered, “I can’t just say yes or no to that. Let’s talk about it. What other movies do you like? What do you not like? Do you like seeing movies with strong female leads? Does excessive swearing bother you?” So on and so forth. I can’t just answer that question yes or no. I need nuance and information. I need more and more nuance and information!
They do. I found it. Let’s see how well it works. I watched a movie six years ago. I can’t remember if it was DVD or streaming, but I want to see what rating I gave it. I follow these steps:
Ugh. Who doesn’t love scrolling through pages and pages of information? I sure do!
It hasn’t even been two full weeks and I find all sorts of dubious recommendations with Netflix’s new system. Based on all our previous ratings their algorithm now creates a “percent” for everything on Netflix. The percent should communicate to you “the percentage chance one will like this particular movie/TV show/documentary.” So, if I see a movie with a 90 percent green marker there is a high chance I will like it. The opposite should be true as well. Seems easy enough. The more you thumb up/down, the more Netflix will be able to improve your experience!
Except, getting back to the “dubious recommendations,” I see many movies I rated two stars come back to me with a Netflix Approved 98 percent chance of “liking it.” I see many movies I rated four stars come back to me with a Netflix Approved 40 percent chance I will like it. Like I said, “dubious recommendations.” You know what? Maybe it’s time to jump ship for Amazon Prime.
Look, I know the deal. There are more important things going on, and besides, no one will get cancer from Netflix’s new system (at least not that Netflix would ever admit to!). All this does is affect my entertainment consumption. But as for something that affects my entertainment consumption, it’s an obnoxious, time-wasting change.
And obnoxious, time-wasting changes make me angry. And when I’m angry, I smash!