In last night’s Democrat Debate neither candidate addressed the issue of how they would deal with the problem of GRIDLOCK in government.

Gridlock is the situation where there is difficulty getting government to work because the  two legislative houses or the executive branch and the legislature are controlled by different political parties, or otherwise cannot agree.
depiction of gridlock in Washington

The other day Bill Clinton attacked Sanders’s proposal for a single-payer health plan as unfeasible and a “recipe for gridlock.” But these days, nothing of any significance is politically feasible and every bold idea is a recipe for gridlock. This election is about changing the parameters of what’s feasible and ending the choke hold of big money on our political system. In other words, it’s about power – whether the very wealthy who now have it will keep it, or whether average Americans will get some as well.

See Robert Reich:The Most Pragmatic Way to Fix American Democracy

Update Feb 14,2016:
Government Gridlock has involved taxes, a shutdown, a sequester, and the debt ceiling. Now it’s looks like it’s also going to include a Supreme Court appointment. 🙁

Trump thinks that evidence for global warming is a hoax

Donald Trump is a global warming denier who spouts
goofy arguments to support his denial.
 As a result of winter storm Jonus,
 Baltimore just had the worst one day
 snow storm on record. Trump apparently thinks that
 this indicates that assertions of
 Global Warming are part of a hoax.

Satirical depiction of Donald Trump's position on climate change / global warming

Trump implies Bush deserves some blame for 9/11: ‘The World Trade Center came down during his reign’

See Trump implies Bush deserves some blame for 9/11: ‘The World Trade Center came down during his reign’

A Congressional report produced in 1946 contained a section, a minority report that censured President Roosevelt as bearing responsibility for the attack on Pearl Harbor. Some of the arguments presented there seem to echo or elaborate the point that Donald Trump was attempting to make when he cast blame on President Bush for the September 11 attacks. The relevant section from the Pearl Harbor report is contained below:



The President of the United States was responsible for the failure
to enforce continuous, efficient, and appropriate cooperation among the
Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Staff,
and the Chief of Naval Operations, in evaluating information and
dispatching clear and positive orders to the Hawaiian commanders as
events indicated the growing imminence of war; for the Constitution and
laws of the United States vested in the President full power, as Chief
Executive and Commander in Chief, to compel such cooperation and vested
this power in him alone with a view to establishing his responsibility
to the people of the United States.

As to the power, and therefore of necessity, the responsibility of the
President in relation to the chain of events leading to the catastrophe
at Pearl Harbor, there can be no doubt. The terms of the Constitution
and the laws in this respect are clear beyond all cavil.

The Constitution vests in the President the whole and indivisible
executive power subject to provisions for the approval of appointments
and treaties by the Senate.

The President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate,
appoints high officers, civil and military.

He is Chief Magistrate in all civil affairs, including those related to
the maintenance and operation of the Military and Naval Establishments.

Under the law he conducts all diplomatic negotiations on behalf the
United States, assigning to his appointee, the Secretary of State, such
duties connected therewith as he sees fit, always subject to his own
instructions and authorizations.

Under the Constitution the President is Commander in Chief of the armed
forces of the United States, and with the approval of the Senate he
appoints all high military and naval officers. He assigns them to their
duties in his discretion except in the case of the Chief Staff and Chief
of Naval Operations-these appointments must approved by the Senate.

And why did the framers of the Constitution vest these immense powers in
one magistrate-not in a directory or a single official checked by a
council, as was proposed in the Convention of 1787?

The answer to this question is to be found in No. 70 of The
Federalist. The purpose of establishing a single rather than a plural
executive was to assure “energy in the Executive,” “a due dependence the
people,” and “a due responsibility.” A plural Executive, it is there
argued, “tends to deprive the people of the two greatest securities they
can have for the faithful exercise of any delegated power, first, the
restraints of public opinion; and, secondly, the opportunity of
discovering with facility and clearness the misconduct persons they

The acts of Congress providing for the organization, operations, powers,
and duties of the Military Establishments under the President
particularized the powers and duties of the President in relation them;
in brief, they empowered him to issue orders and instructions the civil
Secretaries and also directly to the Chief of Staff and the Chief of
Naval Operations.

Such are the terms of the Constitution and the laws relative to the
Chief Executive.

From March 4, 1933, to December 7, 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt was
President and Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United
States and in him was vested all Executive powers under the Constitution
and the laws.
See President Roosevelt’s failure to enforce cooperation between high military authorities in Washington

Carl Jung’s observations about Hitler and the “madness of crowds”

What Carl Jung had to say about the leadership and characteristics of large groups of people would also seem to apply to social groups linked together by the Internet and bonded by religious causes such as Islamic Fundamentalism:

“There is no question but that Hitler belongs in the category of the truly mystic medicine man…since the time of Mohammed nothing like it has been seen in this world. This markedly mystic characteristic of Hitler is what makes him do things which seem to us illogical, inexplicable, curious and unreasonable….Don’t you know that if you choose one hundred of the most intelligent people in the world and get them all together, they are a stupid mob? Ten thousand of them together would have the collective intelligence of an alligator…. In a crowd, the qualities which everybody possesses multiply, pile up, and become the dominant characteristics of the whole crowd. Not everybody has virtues, but everybody has the low animal instincts, the basic primitive caveman suggestibility, the suspicions and vicious traits of the savage age. The result is that when you get a nation of many millions of people, it is not even human. It is a lizard or a crocodile or a wolf.”

~Carl Jung interview with H.R. Knickerbocker in Cosmopolitan [1938] See: C.G. Jung Speaks; Pages 115-135.

Quotes from the physicist Steven Weinberg that seem to be topical to the recent events in France

Some quotes from the physicist Steven Weinberg that seem to be topical to the recent events in France:

“I have a friend — or had a friend, now dead — Abdus Salam, a very devout Muslim, who was trying to bring science into the universities in the Gulf states and he told me that he had a terrible time because, although they were very receptive to technology, they felt that science would be a corrosive to religious belief, and they were worried about it… and damn it, I think they were right. It is corrosive of religious belief, and it’s a good thing too.”

“There are those whose views about religion are not very different from my own, but who nevertheless feel that we should try to damp down the conflict, that we should compromise it. … I respect their views and I understand their motives, and I don’t condemn them, but I’m not having it. To me, the conflict between science and religion is more important than these issues of science education or even environmentalism. I think the world needs to wake up from its long nightmare of religious belief; and anything that we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done, and may in fact be our greatest contribution to civilization.”

Today these religious fanatics are murdering satirical cartoonists. I would not be surprised if in the future they turned their attentions to attacking intelligent atheists who express themselves as eloquently as Steven Weinberg does.

Richard Feynman metaphorically describes the quest for scientific understanding (video)

What Feynman is presenting in the video is an atheist’s version of the story of Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge. Feynman’s banana is analogous to the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, which is more typically depicted as an apple.

And as an atheist, Feynman rejects the version of man’s origins presented in Genesis, but rather considers man to be a close relative and a descendant of the apes. Plucking a banana from its tree is like obtaining one additional bit of understanding of “the ultimate laws of physics”.

Feynman asserted that science is imagination constrained by a tight straitjacket

“The game I play is a very interesting one. It’s imagination, in a tight straitjacket.” — Richard P. Feynman

“Feynman once said, ‘Science is imagination in a straitjacket.’ It is ironic that in the case of quantum mechanics, the people without the straitjackets are generally the nuts.”
–Lawrence M. Krauss

Here is link to a video clip where Feynman makes his science as imagination in a tight straitjacket assertion:

Here are two shots I took of a street performer entertaining spectators by struggling to get out of a straitjacket while balancing on a large ball. It’s interesting that some of the spectators watching him have their arms crossed as if they themselves were wearing straitjackets:

A quote by Feynman on flowers, illustrated with photos by me.

Richard P. Feynman
“I have a friend who’s an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say “look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree. Then he says “I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing,” and I think that he’s kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is … I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts.”

Introducing Mr Magnet, man with a body which radiates a special energy

Muhibija Buljubasic, 56, poses for photo with cutlery and a Samsung Galaxy S4 phone on his body and head in Srebrenik, February 23, 2014. Buljubasic discovered five years ago that he had the unusual ability to attach items to his body by radiating a special energy. Without making any special preparation, he was able to hold on to spoons, forks, knives and other kitchen appliances, as well as non-metal objects like remote controls and cell phones. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic This fellow’s portrait (above) seems to bear a resemblance to the decorations that are attached to a manniquin outside of a resturant in Baltimore (below). Perhaps this fellow (above) simply sprays a little adhesive on the backs of the spoons and cellphone to get them to stick to his body.

Perhaps this fellow has a “magnetic personality”? Some Chinese fortune cookies contain slips of paper that make such assertions about people: 😉