Hillary Easily Wins the Election  In the popular vote, the one used by most democratic countries, Hillary easily beat Trump by millions of votes.  Congratulations, Hillary!  Unfortunately, we don’t have a modern democratic system but rather an 18th century version which assures that mere voters cannot determine the outcome of a presidential election.  When George Bush was appointed President (another recent “President” who lost the popular vote) there was a huge outcry and widespread demand to eliminate the outmoded electoral system.  Now this is coming up yet again, but chances are slim.  Why?  It would need a Constitutional amendment which has to be approved by the states.  There are about 13 states where anyone voting gets more than one vote.  How will they ever agree to give up their undemocratic supervoting status?

News in Brief.   Scientists have discovered that lots of small quakes (200 recently in the Salton Sea area) tend to raise the risk of larger ones.  They have revised the chances of a 7.0 or greater quake near the San Andreas fault from 1 in 6000 to 1 in 100….Did you know that the seldom used third stanza of the Star Spangled Banner contains racist language?  Francis Scott Key was angry at slaves who joined the British in return for a promise of freedom….A 600 year old oak tree in Basking Ridge, NJ, perhaps the oldest in the country, finally died.  I was alive when Christopher “discovered” America.  George Washington was said to have picnicked under it….The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that the Earth’s record breaking heat streak is over.  For 16 months in a row the temperature was the hottest in recorded history. But September broke the strek because it was only the second hottest on record – by a few hundredths of a degree….Carrie Tolstedt, the Wells Fargo executive who oversaw the program where 5,300 employees scammed customers with fraudulent bank accounts, retired with a $124,6 golden parachute….In the year 2000, 32.8 million people lived in poverty.  In 2015 the figure was 43.1 million.

Where Did Humans Come From?  Scientists recently published in the journal Nature the results of a study using genetic sequencing of DNA from people all over the world. We now know that the human race originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago and began to migrate out of Africa about 50-80,000 years ago.  All modern humans no matter where they live trace their ancestry to Africa.  What about the universe and its origins?  NASA recently announced that the Hubble space telescope found 10 times more galaxies than previously thought.  Scientists now estimate about 2 trillion galaxies in the universe.  Some galaxies contain a trillion stars, but our puny Milky Way has only about 300 billion.  You do the math to find the number of stars:  two trillion X one trillion, and then multiply times the number of planets around each star (they now say there is a newly discovered planet in our own solar system).  After digesting this, contemplate the importance of Earth in the greater scheme of things.

Chapman University Survey of Fears 2016.  In case you wondered how many people really believe in conspiracy theories, consider this random sample of 1,511 Americans nationwide.  Here is the percent of those who believe that the government is concealing what they know about alien encounters (42.6%), Obama’s birth certificate (30.2%), the 911 attacks (54.3%), the plans for a one world government (32.9%), and the death of supreme court justice Antonin Scalia (27.8%).  Only 26% disagreed with all 9 most popular conspiracy theories. Those most likely to believe in conspiracy theories tended to be Republican, Catholic (or Biblical literalist), and those with a low education level. Those who believed in a lot of conspiracies tended to distrust others, fear Obamacare (57.3%), were more likely to buy guns, and believed that the world would end during their lifetime.

Laos War Exposed.  You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to know that some government lies are real.  Remember the war on Laos that never happened?  President Obama recently declared that it was time to acknowledge what was concealed at the time of the Vietnam War.  The U.S. dropped over 2 million tons of bombs on Laos, more than all the munitions dropped on Germany and Japan in World War II. Turns out that Laos is the most heavily bombed country in the history of the planet.  

Do Gun Control Laws Reduce Violence?  Yes.  Although denied by the gun lobby, research now shows the benefits of gun control legislation.

Does the ‘Trump Effect’ Teach Prejudice?  Are children adopting some of the negative attitudes and prejudices espoused by Donald Trump?  A developmental psychologist says that children are cultural sponges.  Research shows that by the time they reach kindergarten they can adopt implicit racial attitudes and attribute positive or negative values based on gender, race, or wealth.

Teacher Pension Rip-Offs.  The NYT has been running a series about how teachers get ripped off by bad pension plans that have hidden high commissions.  Look up Tara Siegel Bernard and check out one of her recent posts.

Did You Make the Trump Insult List?  On Oct. 24, the NYT ran a double page spread in tiny print of the 282  “people, places, and things” that Trump insulted in the last few months.  Check to see if you made the list.

14 Reasons Not to Vote for Trump.  The New York Daily News has a marvelous expose on the Trump campaign. Thanks to Chuck Reutter for this gem.

Judge Rules in Favor of Citizens Oversight.  San Diego superior court judge Joel Wohlfeil ruled in favor of Ray Lutz and Citizens Oversight Projects (COPs) in their lawsuit against San Diego County Registrar Michael Vu, et al. The ruling finds that ALL Vote-By-Mail ballots must be included in the 1% manual tally audit, a move that will help insure election integrity.  Congratulations, Ray!

 

 

 

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