All posts by dj

Apr. 14, 2019 Blumbers

Tax Day

US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said taxes are the price we pay for living in a civilized society. You help millions of people when you do. Sometimes yourself.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Mar. 31, 2019 Blumbers

California Rising Sea Levels

On March 23, 2019 in Mother Jones, Nick Bowlin reported “The Vulnerability of California’s Coast Is Terrifying.” Patrick Barnard of the US Geological Survey headed the study. Pacific storms can surge several meters on top rising sea levels of at least one or two meters by 2100. “A quarter-meter would endanger more than $30 billion in property—and more than 150,000 Californians””In that scenario, researchers expect that $150 billion in property and 600,000 residents would be impacted by flooding. And if sea level rise approaches three meters by 2100, an unlikely but possible scenario, more than 3 million people would be exposed to flood risk.”

Brett Milligan of University of California-Davis “San Francisco Bay would need to spend up to $450 billion on climate-adaptation projects—including higher seawalls, infrastructure protections, wetland and shoreline restoration, flood control and more—to defend itself against an extreme storm if sea levels rise by two meters.””Cities and officials need to realize that retreat from the coast is inevitable in some areas, and that retaining all low-lying areas and current infrastructure is unlikely” said Milligan. “There are lots of cities thinking about this study and assessing their vulnerability,” said USGS oceanographer and study co-author Juliette Finzi Hart.

“Rich homeowners may be able to rebuild, or move to higher ground, Barnard said. But others might lack the financial capacity to rebuild or relocate. Already, natural disasters have been shown to disproportionately impact economically disenfranchised communities and people of color. Milligan called it the hardest question: “How are we going to provide equitable solutions?”

Time to sell the beach house… in Fresno.

Copyright 2019 All rights reserved.

Mar. 17, 2019 Blumbers

Admission Accomplished  

On March 12, 2019 in Boston, CNN reported Andrew Lelling, U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts said that from 2011 through 2019 wealthy parents wanting to get their kids admitted to top universities allegedly paid William Rick Singer of Edge College & Career Network LLC (‘The Key’) to create false academic and athletic credentials and bribe college college staff. Parents allegedly paid between $200,000 and $6.5 million for this service. Boston FBI special agent in charge Joseph Bonavolonta called the operation Varsity Blues. The accused parents are CEO’s, investors, lawyers, and celebrities. The accused staff are athletic coaches and college exam administrators from Georgetown University, Stanford University, UCLA, University of San Diego, University of Southern California, University of Texas, Austin, Wake Forest University and Yale University.   The charges include conspiracy, racketeering, money laundering and obstruction of justice, cheating on tests such as the SAT and ACT and even faking photographs. Lelling said “There will not be a separate admissions system for the wealthy. And there will not be a separate criminal justice system either.” As these wealthy parents will learn, it is better to go to a state university than a state prison. 

This is yet another example of income inequality getting so out of control that it is difficult for poor people to improve their lives through education. Many can barely afford college and are mired in student loan debt. A free college education for all would help everyone. That way an electrical engineer can compete against someone with a masters degree in tennis. Sometimes it is not the Ivy League surgeon who saves your life, it is the community college EMT.

Quite often I will run into Silicon Valley companies that want only candidates from top universities. Often the companies are disappointed with graduates who cannot perform. They are young, attractive, wealthy people. Most of these companies fail because they have no idea what life is like for billions of other people. When it comes to hiring from universities, hire the brain and not the brand.

Copyright 2019 All rights reserved.

Mar. 10, 2019 Blumbers

The Last Gas Gasp

There has been a lot of talk about a Green New Deal converting vehicles to renewable energy. I don’t see that on the street …yet. I see old gas stations getting new fuel tanks and several new stations under construction. I cover emerging technology but there also is submerging technology. It reminded me of walking around a Blockbuster Video store or Border’s bookstore. I knew at some point that they would close, but when? What was the last VHS cassette you rented or hard cover book you bought? Where will you buy your last tank of gas?

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Mar. 3, 2019 Blumbers

The Price of Poverty

On Feb. 28, 2019 in Washington DC, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a nonpartisan report on child poverty in the United States.  Poor health and high crime from poverty costs the US nearly $1.1 trillion a year. In 2015 an estimated 9.6 million children live in poverty or about $26,000 annual income for a family of four. How to solve this crisis? Proposals like promoting marriage, family planning, mandatory work requirements do not work. More effective recommended solutions include increasing the earned income tax credit, increasing dependent care tax credits, expanding housing vouchers and food stamps. It would cost $90.7 billion a year but would  cut child poverty in half in a decade.

FBI agent Bill Douglas said in his book MIndhunters “Bill Tafoya, the special agent who served as our ‘futurist’ at Quantico, advocated a minimum of a ten-year commitment of money and resources on the magnitude of what we sent into the Persian Gulf. He calls for a wide-scale reinstatement of Project Head Start, one of the most effective long term, anticrime programs in history. He doesn’t think more police are the answer, but he would bring in “an army of social workers” to provide assistance for battered women, homeless families with children, to find good foster homes. And he would back it all up with tax incentive programs.”

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Feb. 24, 2019 Blumbers

Probation Nation

On Feb. 13, 2019 Trevor Noah of the Daily Show appeared on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert proposed that elected positions be limited to one term. Politicians would not have to worry about getting reelected. Most likely they would become lobbyists. At least it would require a constant influx of new talent. Another idea would be to have a probationary period of ninety days. If they seem unfit for office, the candidate who came in second takes their place.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming

David Wallace-Wells, deputy editor and climate columnist for New York magazine has a new book The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. It talks about the severity of climate change. “Russia could play a bigger, more dynamic role of rival in the future. And the same is true of China.” Regarding green technology “We could save $26 trillion in the global economy just by 2030, which is a very fast return, if we decarbonize quickly.” Regarding sea levels “So, we could see at least a hundred feet of sea level rise, possibly as much as 260 feet of sea level rise, if we melt all of the ice.” Regarding heat waves “You see, you know, projections that many of the biggest cities in India and the Middle East will be lethally hot in summer as soon as 2050, which means you really won’t be able to go outside during the summer without incurring some risk of heat stroke.”

Increasingly there are youth movements calling for action like the Green New Deal in America or the Extinction Rebellion in Europe. On February 21, 2019, sixteen year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden addressed the European Union: “We need to focus every inch of our being on climate change, because if we fail to do so, then all our achievements and progress have been for nothing. And all that will remain of our political leaders’ legacy will be the greatest failure of human history. And they will be remembered as the greatest villains of all time, because they have chosen not to listen and not to act. … And if you still say that we are wasting valuable lesson time, then let me remind you that our political leaders have wasted decades through denial and inaction. And since our time is running out, we have decided to take action. We have started to clean up your mess, and we will not stop until we are done.”

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Feb. 17, 2019 Blumbers

Trawling

We are still trying to get artificial intelligence right with Autocorrect. I got a message from someone who said they were trawling. They meant to say traveling. I pictured them on an Alaskan fishing boat like an episode of The World’s Most Dangerous Catch. In fact, they were eating sushi on a plane.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Feb. 3, 2019 Blumbers

Polar Vortexting

Last week there were record breaking below zero temperatures in the Midwest and Northeastern United States. It is an example of how chaotic and dangerous the weather is becoming. We need to have infrastructure and social safety nets to help people deal with the change.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jan. 20, 2019 Blumbers

Kings Rule

It is over fifty years since Martin Luther King’s death. People should remember that he was fighting poverty when he died. He was in Memphis trying to get decent wages for public employees. His words and work are more relevant than ever. None of us is free until we are all free.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jan. 13, 2019 Blumbers

Shutdown The Shutdown

Last year about this time the Dow Jones Industrial Average was about 26000. I said it was not sustainable. The DJIA is now about 23000. This means it dropped about ten points a day. Some say it was the worst performance since the First Great Depression of the 1930s. Global trade wars are adding to the chaos, but the shutdown of many federal government services is making things worse. You do not know how important something is until it is gone. While a few people complain about government, there is a reason for a lot of it. Over the years the people have encountered a problem and fixed it with a program of one kind or another. You might be annoyed with a stop sign, but it allows you to drive safely through an intersection. It is better to have a fully functioning civilization and not need one than to need one and not have one. So contact your political representatives and tell them to do their jobs so we can do ours.

Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.