This world is getting discombobulated again. Here we have the deadly disease ebola circulating in three central African countries and around the world, killing thousands of people. One touch may give a person a death sentence. But here in the United States we are also deluged with ads for the cure of toenail fungus. I have never heard of anyone dying of toenail fungus. No one in our large extended family has ever had it to my knowledge. Does it creep up your leg, finally rotting it off? Is it like Trench Foot?
I remember Harvard Medical School doctors saying years ago this ailment could be eliminated by wearing clean, dry socks. A TV ad has been plugging a sophisticated cure called Jublia for months on a number of TV stations. And the victim has to remember to take the full 48-week treatment program or the fungus will come back with a vengeance! The drugs cost only $180. Toe nail fungus sufferers, I have read there are at least a dozen home remedies that work within a few weeks. Almost any potion containing vinegar, baking soda, alcohol, or apple cider (hard or soft) will nip the fungus in the bud. Perhaps even taking alcohol internally would be helpful. Listerine, often used to cure bad breath, will also often cure smelly, rotten toe nails. How much would a barrel of Listerine cost? Send me $5 for recipes!
My diatribe about toenail fungus was set off by Sir David Attenborough’s recent statement in the Huffington Post that humanity “is a plague on the earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.” Sir David knows a great deal about the earth and its inhabitants. He has made the nine-part “Life on Earth” series on the BBC, which is an intense study of all life on the planet, and organized and hosted many environmental reports. Now 88, Sir David has been recognized as one of 100 greatest Britons. He is a graduate of Cambridge University and the London School of Economics. Fascinated by nature from childhood, at age 11 he made a deal with the zoology department at University College, Leicester to furnish many newts at 3 pence each for science experiments. He fulfilled the contract.
Paul Ehrlich, president of the Stanford University Center for Conservation Biology and author of “The Population Bomb,” agrees with Attenborough that humans are causing a mass extinction of life on earth, perhaps similar to when climate and other factors killed the dinosaurs. Ehrlich claims we are capable of solving these problems if we give every woman absolutely equal rights and opportunities with men and provide them with modern contraception methods and access to abortion. Ehrlich says that’s the only way we will get population shrinkage enough to avoid a collapse of the earth. Jerry Karnas of the Tucson, Arizona based Center for Biological Diversity states: “It’s clear that increasing population growth makes some of our biggest environmental challenges harder to solve … but what’s needed is not population control but a real emphasis on reproductive rights, women’s empowerment, universal access to birth control and education … for folks to make better, more informed family planning choices.”
The earth’s population reached seven billion on or around Oct. 31, 2011. Estimates are there is an 80 percent chance it will reach between 11 and 12 billion by 2100. Because of his world-wide studies of wildlife, humanity, and the environment, Sir David has become active in the Optimum Population Trust, a group that advocates population limitation.
When the latest income inequality in the world started I remember Indonesian Luwak coffee got to be the drink for the superrich who constantly need the new, the wonderful, and the expensive. Indonesian civet cats love coffee beans but their digestive juices do not completely break down the bean. They begin to ferment in the stomach – and then are picked out of the cat’s dung by entrepreneurs. The beans are sold to rich connoisseurs who enjoy the distinctive taste. What an exciting way to end a gourmet meal at $300 a pound.
The recent crash of billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic rocket plane and the death of a test pilot amplifies that the rich have a constant need for the new and extreme. Branson says: “We would love to have to finish what we started some years ago … I think millions of people would one day love the chance to go into space.” Oh? Millions? If the plane ever works, the latest price for six minutes of weightlessness is $250,000. So far, 640 millionaires and billionaires have paid between $200,000 and $250,000 for the wonderful experience of vomiting in weightless conditions. NASA had astronauts experience the “Vomit Comet” as part of their experiences to prepare for space travel. This was a four-engine jet that performed parabolas in space to provide 25 seconds of weightlessness. Sometimes they performed 40 to 60 parabolas per flight. Two thirds of the astronauts, most of them experienced pilots of fighter jets, would vomit after undergoing these weightless periods. Welcome to Virgin Galactic. By the way, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie are celebrities who have paid to hold the barf bag.
Is Branson pushing Virgin Galactic just to make another buck? What else? His carrier plane and rocket plane can’t go into space, even if he says he is supporting it so millions can go into space. His planes are designed to go to the edge of space and provide weightlessness for six minutes. Big deal. We already have astronauts who have spent months in true weightless “space.” He has at least $80 million of advanced fees to stick in his pocket.
Extreme wealth has changed our educational priorities to the point where college basketball and football coaches make eight times what university presidents make and 30 to 40 times what full professors make. Wealthy alumni provide and name stadiums and basketball arenas and the cold cash for athletic scholarships. It’s an ego thing. Let’s take a look at what big money has done to the football and basketball programs at the University of North Carolina, the oldest state university in the country, established in 1789. Over 3,000 athletes over the last 20 years are involved in an academic-athletic scandal. Before the scandal UNC was considered one of the five best universities in the country, and was also ranked as one of the world’s leading research universities. UNC now has over 280,000 graduates living in every state and 140 countries. Many of them are ashamed to say they are graduates. Some call it the “Carolina jock shop.”
In order to keep great football and basketball players in school academically eligible, these so-called “student-athletes” were offered “paper classes.” These classes never met, no attendance was ever taken, students never met with professors–and got guaranteed high grades! But these “courses” went on student transcripts. UNC has had one of the winningest basketball programs under legendary coaches Dean Smith and Roy Williams. The coaches claim they knew nothing about the paper classes. Let’s see. Over 3,000 “student?-athletes” were involved in the scam. How did they keep it a secret for 20 years? Did a coach never ask himself: “How is this dumbass kid passing any course?” Read more about it. It’s happening all over the country.
About three years ago 85 of the 125 scholarship football players at the University of Georgia were reputed to be majoring in “Athletics Management.” All courses in that major were taught by football coaches. What will happen when these “students” try to get a job? This charade starts with rich alumni and others buying buildings, athletic programs, coaches, and athletes to boost their own ego. Remember Ralph, the casino guy, who built his mausoleum in Grand Forks? It ain’t no library.
The midterm elections were all about who voted “with black Obama 97% of the time” and “we have to take the country back.” No one exactly spelled out what they were taking it back from. This is what the election should have been about: What is the ranking of this country in the world in what makes a great democratic society? No one talked about the fact we are facing more inequality today than we have in 80 years. The richest 14 billionaires in the US made $80 billion last and this year, enough to pay the entire food stamp bill for 50,000,000 Americans each year. Or hire two million pre-school teachers. Or hire two million emergency medical technicians.
Our schools are about as segregated as they were in 1960s. We have more hunger, fear, and feelings of powerlessness now than we have had in decades. A few wealthy interests with major investments in our resources have made it very clear they are going to keep going to the bank until someone stops them. A study by Princeton and Northwestern Universities reported that voter’s preferences were irrelevant to elected officials. The officials did the bidding of their billionaire backers.
A cartoon by Jim Morin of the Miami Herald nails the Republican campaign theme. In a six-part sequence a reporter asks a Republican what their agenda is: (1) Reporter: “Okay, you won the Senate. What are you going to do about jobs?” Republican: “Hate Obama.” (2) Reporter: “Climate Change?” Republican: “Hate Obama.” (3) Reporter: “Islamic State? Iraq? Syria?” Republican: “Hate Obama.” (4) Reporter: “Immigration Reform? Tax Reform?” Republican: “Hate Obama.” (5) Reporter: “Crumbling infrastructure? Stagnant wages?” Republican: “Hate Obama.” (6) Reporter: “But surely you want to accomplish something? Republican: “Impeach Obama.”
People who brought us slavery, lynchings, “colored” and “white” public facilities, “Nigger Heaven” in two-story theaters, poll taxes, “Separate But Equal” (which was a big lie!), white flight and black ghettos, Watts, Detroit, freedom buses, Selma, the Ku Klux Klan, and Neo Nazi-styled white supremacy won the election. It was another Civil War battle in the South. Because of racism we now have solid white states added to the political red, blue, and purple. The KKK and the Neo-Nazis still dominating Southern politics are currently holding rallies in many Texas cities. Former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn’s daughter Michelle garnered only 23% of the white vote because she shared political ideas with the black Obama. Contrary to what the Republican Supreme Court has declared, racism is alive, kicking, and as strong as ebola in the old slave states.
Then we have all of those Bible-thumping white evangelicals voting against Roe vs. Wade and sex in Texas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, and other states dominated by sex-crazed “Christians.” Catholic “Christians” in the Vatican have been so wrong about contraceptives and sex for centuries they have succeeded in creating the second largest religious organization in the US next to Roman Catholics -- ex-Roman Catholics. The Vatican and many evangelicals are still hung up in the Middle Ages when women were considered erotically insatiable and adulterous. Folks, sex and abortion are here to stay – like it or not.
Another very important question: Is health care a privilege or a right? Every civilized country has universal health care. ObamaCare is just the very beginning of universal care and Republicans want to repeal it. We now spend about $8,500 per capita for health care, twice as much as any country with universal care. So with the US median salary at around $50,000, a family of four pays $34,000 just for “free market” health care! In economics, Wall Street has decided the best way to rob a bank is to own one. No bankster is in jail yet for stealing the middle class blind and causing the Great Recession. And I see no way that Congress in the next two years will lift itself in public approval ratings above cockroaches. The billionaires have the politicians in both front and back pockets.
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