Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Symptoms of climate change in Australia 12/31/19

This month, January, 2020, there will be a focus on Climate Change. The book, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells will be frequently referenced.


It is interesting that Mark Carney from the Bank Of England is asking financial institutions to gather information from creditors about their involvement in activities that fuel climate change. This seems to be a systemic intervention in asking corporations to become more socially conscious and not just consider their bottom line. This is a significant change in emphasizing certain values in our capitalistic economic system.

Non fiction books I read in 2019

Non fiction books I read in 2019

01/05/19 White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
01/11/19 Healing: The Patient Must Minister To Himself by Kenneth Wapnick audiobook of workshop
01/17/19 Saving Faith: A Memoir of Courage, Conviction, and A Calling by Elizabeth Osta
01/17/19 On Becoming The Touches Of Sweet Harmony: The Holy Relationship In Form by Ken Wapnick
01/25/19 The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson, Blinkist
01/25/19 Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose, Blinkist
01/25/19 On The Shortness Of Life by Seneca
01/25/19 Why Religion by Elaine Pagels, Blinkist
01/27/19 Storyworthy by Matthew Dick You can master storytelling by learning the right techniques. To tell a great story, include a meaningful element of change somewhere in the narrative, steer clear of vulgarity and unnecessary flourishes, and transport your audience by using the present tense.
Read this book over the course of a few months on the Kindle app on my phone while at the office. I enjoyed this book a great deal. Steve is a great writer. Former seminarian, lost soul, marking time while he supports himself as a waiter.
06/06/19 Barracoon: The Story Of The Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston
06/09/19 And The Pursuit Of Happiness by Maira Kalman
06/15/19 Who Was The Dali Lama by Dan Meachen Rau
06/19/  9 Who Were The Rolling Stones by Dana Meachen Rau
06/30/19 The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis
07/05/19 The Lifetimes When Jesus and Buddha Knew Each Other by Gary R. Renard
07/15/19 Who Was Gandhi by Dana Meachen Rau
07/17/19 Who Was Cesar Chavez by Dana Meachen Rau
07/18/19 Recollections by Viktor Frankl
07/22/19 Really Important Stuff My Cat Has Taught Me by Cynthia Copeland
08/25/19 Moonshots by Naveen Jain and John Shroeter
08/30/19 Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
10/20/19 Regarding The Pain Of Others by Susan Sontag
10/25/19 Where There’s Smoke, There’s Dinner: Stories Of A Seared Childhood by Regi Carpenter
11/30/19 Gleanings From A Country Journal: Life on the Southern Tier of New York State in 1870 by Lewis Morris Hall
12/29/19 The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis

The five I enjoyed the most and learned the most from
  1. White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
  2. The books by ken Wapnick
  3. On The Shortness of Life by Seneca
  4. Waiter Rant by Steve Dublanica
  5. The Lifetimes when Jesus and Buddha New Each Other by Gary Renard
The one book I would recommend to the general reader:

White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Mass killings reached new high in U.S. in 2019

From 10 Things you need to know today by The Week, 12/29/19
Mass killings reached new high in U.S. in 2019
A database compiled by The Associated PressUSA Today, and Northeastern University showed that there were more mass killings in the United States in 2019 than any year dating back to the 1970s despite the country's overall homicide rate dropping. In total, there were 41 mass killings — which is defined as an event in which four or more people are killed — including 33 mass shootings. More than 210 people were killed as a result of the violence. While some of the killings resounded nationally, such as mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Jersey City, New Jersey, many of them flew under the radar and involved people who knew each other. [The Associated Press, The Guardian]
Editor's note:
The Republicans refuse to do anything about the gun problem in the U.S, and need to be voted out of office at all levels of government, local, state, federal. The biggest impediment to appropriate gun legislation, which the majority of Americans favor, is Mitch McConnel, the senator from Kentucky, who is the leader of the Senate of the United States. Before you vote, check on the voting record and policy positions of the candidates on gun issues.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

How the legalization of Cannabis is being rigged for the 1%

Describes how Sinclair Broadcasting has taken over local TV stations even with different affiliates and then mandates the insertion of prescribed content into their local programming. The article then goes on to describe how the 1% is taking over the legalized cannabis business with all sorts of legislative regulations to favor their ownership. This left me to think that even with the legalization of production, processing, and marketing of cannabis there will still be a viable and vibrant black market.
Tags: Cannabis, How the System Works, Media

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Trump administration policy cripples workers' rights.

The Trump administration has crippled worker's rights. Rather than help workers the Trump administration has taken actions to cripple worker's to advocate for their rights.

For more click here.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Republican congress people sell out to campign contributors and lobbyists

From What the Roman senate’s grovelling before emperors explains about GOP senators’ support for Trump December 10, 2019 8.55am EST by Timothy Joseph

Trump has appointed a number of acting secretaries, bypassing the usual Senate confirmation vote. He has circumvented Congress’ power of the purse by using emergency powers to get money to build his border wall. He has evaded the requirement for congressional approval of arms sales to foreign states, and vetoed Congress’ attempt to block the sales.
In June he asserted that he does not need congressional support for war against Iran – much less to withdraw troops from northern Syria, as he did unilaterally this fall.
While we may chalk up senatorial inaction – in the first or 21st century – to fear of an individual leader’s powers, there is another underlying factor that may align political figures from these two periods: The rise of an autocrat was personally good for them.
New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie recently described this as the “simplest explanation” behind the motivations of many Republican lawmakers. He notes that their independence still emerges in, for example, opposition to the withdrawal from Syria.
But since Trump has pushed for policies long wanted by Republicans, such as lower taxes on the wealthy and minimal regulations, as well as a conservative judiciary, Bouie asks, “Why would any of them stand against a president who has delivered on each count?”
Editor's note: I added the bolding.
I have been wondering for sometime  how Republican congresspeople can be so disengenuous when it come's to supporting President Trump rather than the constitution and the welfare of the American People?
These Republican Congress people are beholden to their corporate donors who fund their election campaigns and support many of their congressional activities with the goals of decreasing taxes on corporations and the 1%, decreasing regulations put in place to protect the public from their mercenary products and services, and place conservative, pro business judges on the courts.
Republican congresspeople aren't afraid of their voters and constituents, they are afraid of their donors, and their donors are pro-Trump who has placed many of them into cabinet offices and in other roles as "special advisors."
Our U.S, democracy has been turned into a plutocracy run by and for the rich. If you want to understand the operation and functioning of our current government, follow the money.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Could Viginia finally be the state that passes the ERA admendment?

From The Nation, 12/2-129/19


Once the new class of legislators is sworn in to the Virginia General Assembly in January, Democrats will control both its chambers for the first time in almost 25 years. The change may herald a national progressive victory: the passage, at long last, of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Conceived nearly a century ago to end legal distinctions based on sex, the ERA was first sent to state legislatures for ratification in 1972. Within five years, it was ratified by 35 of the 38 states required to adopt it as part of the US Constitution.

But then the ERA entered a limbo that it has not been able to escape. In 1979 a congressionally determined deadline came and went; President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution extending it to 1982, though scholars disagree as to whether these cutoffs are constitutional.

Then a series of legislatures in more conservative states voted to revoke their ratifications—moves that may be unconstitutional. In the 21st century, Nevada and Illinois became the 36th and 37th states, respectively, to ratify the ERA.

This February, as Republicans clung to a slim majority in the state’s House of Delegates, Virginia tried and failed to become No. 38.

While the ERA’s adoption is by no means assured (particularly with a conservative majority on the Supreme Court), the Democratic victories in Virginia will almost certainly relaunch the decades-long fight to enshrine equal rights for women in the Constitution.

—Spencer Green

Monday, November 18, 2019

Hate crimes up 17% in 2017

Hate crimes rose 17% in 2017 after the election and antics of Donald Trump. Is our nation better off after his election?

With over 44 mass shooting so far this year in 2019, and active shooter drills traumatizing our children in schools, do you feel safer now under Trumpism than before under Obama?

It is interesting how this issue has not been brought up in the Democrat Presidential Candidate debates.

For more click here.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

The real story of Thanksgiving.

 Americans have a hard time with the truth.

They prefer their myths which present them in a more positive light repressing their darker side.

Without acknowledging their darker side they cannot effectively manage it and are doomed to repeat their racism, xenophobia, and white nationalism which we observe in our current time of Trumpism as the rise of  Nationalism with such inane memes as Make America Great Again. Really? Have we learned nothing from the sins of our past?

Systemic racism is alive and well in our current day and age especially in regards to our treatment of Native Americans and people of African heritage whom we enslaved.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

"A" Great Amercian Novel

Tyler Malone has an interesting short essay in The Fall, 2019 issue of the Hedgehog Review entitled, "An Ever More Perfect Novel".

He writes that the idea of "The" Great American Novel was born in 1868 in an article in The Nation magazine written by John William DeForest where he wrote that the best American novel would be "the picture of the ordinary emotions and manners of American existence."

Suggestions have been made for the winner of the Great American Novel accolade such as Moby-Dick, The Great Gatsby, Uncle Tom's Cabin, To Kill A Mocking Bird, and many others.

At the end of the essay, Malone opines that since America is always changing there never can be "The" Great American Novel, but prefers to think of the idea as "A" Great American Novel. In other words, I think Malone is saying that as times change, the novel that best captures the identity of the American Spirit will change as well.

As an amateur sociologist, I tend to think about this question as generational. We have the Depression generation, the Greatest generation who fought World War II, the Boomers, the Gen xers, the Millential's and now Gen Z. So if you have to pick A Great American Novel for each of these generations which novel would you nominate. I'd open it up for non fiction nominations too.

What fiction and nonfiction books best exemplify the American experience in each of the above mentioned generations?

Friday, November 15, 2019

What are the biggest countries in the world by geographical size?

What is the size of the countries in the world measured by square kilometers?

Which do you think the top five biggest are?

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Show me the data - Is "voter fraud" a real problem in the United States as Republicans claim?

Today we are starting a new feature on MarkhamsSlowNews tagged "Show Me The Data" which will describe empirical facts that help us to define and describe various topics in the news.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Science is resticted in policy making by Trump's Republican Administration.


The following was posted on a listserv by a colleague of mine regarding the New York Times article.


The phrase, "know nothings,” well fits the Trump administration and their fervent GOP followers who seem proud of their ignorance as found in the latest  E.P.A. proposed agency rule restricting the science that can be used in drafting health regulations by requiring researchers to turn over confidential health data. This is yet another dangerous and toxic policy designed by Trump/GOP to put blinders on/mislead the public to justify their plan to "take America back, make America Great again” by significantly limiting  scientific and medical research that the E.P.A. can use to determine public health regulations; overridden were protests from scientists and physicians who said the new rule would undermine the scientific underpinnings of government policymaking.

     This proposed rule well fits Carl Sagan’s related comment:"The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.”


Doug Stephenson, LCSW, BCD

For more click here.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Impeachment isn't as much about Donald Trump as it is about core democratic principles.

What is at stake in the impeachment of the United States is the core beliefs in our constituion of the United States. All Americans have a duty to educate themselves and inform others about our values and support for democratic processes.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

United States of Distraction - Is slow news the antidote for "fake news?"

Chapter one

Is slow news the antidote to "fake news?"

Today we will begin studying the ideas in the United States Of Distraction: Media Manipulation in Post - Truth America (and What We Can Do About It) by Nolan Higdon and Mickey Huff. Get a copy and read along and comment as you are moved.

I don't agree with Donald Trump about much but his complaint about "fake news" seems to me to be legitimate. With the advent and growth of electronic, digital communication platforms and the dying of newspapers and other forms of communication which benefited from editing, it seems that conspiracy theories, misinformation, disinformation, and downright lies and manipulations no matter how suave and sophisticated seem to be the rule these days. Without a public educated in what is called "media literacy" our democracy is doomed to "alternative facts," sensationalism, manipulation, and mob rule.

Ralph Nader writes the forward for the book and he writes in the first paragraph, 

Given the inherent pragmatism of the human mind, the oppressed have often found it safer to believe rather than think, to obey rather than dissent. Today, such a path is reinforced by a plutocratic political economy that allows corporations to dominate mass media, education, and the production of knowledge and memory.

Huff, Mickey. United States of Distraction (City Lights Open Media) . City Lights Publishers. p.15

And so we begin a study of how the corporate media and the digital communication platforms do damage to our national mind and soul.

So much of our media these days are sensationalized, exaggerated, and designed to be "click bait" because it is emotionally arousing rather than informative. To counter act this practice of hyperbole and "breaking news!!!" we have created this blog devoted to what some call "slow news," meaning news that has stood to some extent the test of time. The news cycle for slow news is measured in months and years not in hours and days. As you watch or read the news, you might ask yourself, is this going to important to me one year from now, five years from now, ten years from now?

Action steps:

Name the 3 media providers that you most trust and 3 that you don't trust. Explain your choices.

Privatizing the commons - Commercializing spring water in Florida

From The Week September 27, 2019

Stop giving away Florida’s spring water

Michael Sainato and Chelsea Skojec

The New York Times

Nestlé is set to renew its permit to bottle freshwater from one of Florida’s bountiful springs, said Michael Sainato and Chelsea Skojec. This permit “allows Nestlé to take 1 million gallons per day at no cost, with just a one-time $115 application fee.” The arrangement to take millions of gallons from Ginnie Springs is one of many deals that Nestlé has to “take water directly from the source” in Florida. As a result, the largest concentration of freshwater springs in the world is being devastated. Some springs have already dried up, while “others have shown signs of saltwater intrusion and harmful algae blooms.” Florida is not the only state where Nestlé’s favorable bottling arrangements have rankled communities. The company pays Michigan just a $200 annual “administrative fee” to extract millions of gallons of that state’s water too. Meanwhile, residents of Flint “are faced with high bills for poisoned water and have to rely on purchased bottled water.” In California, groups are “battling Nestlé’s water-bottling operation in the San Bernardino National Forest, an area suffering from drought.” At the very least, companies like Nestlé should pay a meaningful tax that reflects the value they’re getting. Or even better, and simpler: Stop issuing extraction permits that let big companies siphon off water from our streams.
Editor's note - Water is the new oil. It is being bottled and sold. The commercializing of the commons is one of the sins of capitalism.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Use Wikipedia? Thank me whenever you're ready.

Dear David,

About a year ago, you donated $52 to keep Wikipedia online for hundreds of millions of readers. I'm surprised by and deeply grateful for your continued support. You are part of the 2% of readers who donated to support Wikipedia. We need your help again this year.

Will you renew your solidarity with a $52 donation?

This is awkward to admit, but I have to be honest: 98% of our readers don't give; they simply look the other way. And without more one-time donors, we need to turn to you, our past donors, in the hope that you'll show up again for Wikipedia, as you so generously have in the past.

If all our past donors gave a small amount today, our fundraiser would be over. But most people will ignore this message. We have no choice but to turn to you: please renew your gift to ensure that Wikipedia remains independent, ad-free, and thriving another year.

We're a non-profit. That means we aren't selling the articles that millions of people read on Wikipedia each day. We don't profit from the knowledge you seek. In fact, we firmly believe that knowledge should exist outside of the realm of supply and demand. But that's hardly a given nowadays; profit has contaminated most of the internet and the big sites we all use only care about boosting their earnings.

Wikipedia is different in that it doesn't belong to the highest bidder, the advertisers or the corporate giants. It belongs to you, the readers, editors and donors. You're our community, our family. You're the reason we exist. The fate of Wikipedia rests in your hands and we wouldn't have it any other way.

It's folks like you who safeguard our non-profit mission. You help us maintain our integrity, quality, and accessibility. And today, you have the power to keep this wonderful website free and independent for another year.

Now is the time we ask: can we count on you to renew your solidarity with a small donation? It will keep Wikipedia online, ad-free, and growing another year.


Katherine Maher
Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Editor's note:

I did donate another $52.00 to wikipedia today because I appreciate its ad free knowledge distribution service. If you haven't donated to support wikipedia which 98% of its users do not do and you can thank me and the other 2% who do support the platform. 

Katherine send me a nice boiler plate note already thanking me for my donation. I hope to hear from you. You're welcome in advance.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Job loss increasing due to Trump's trade war with China

Click on image to enlarge

The Week reported in its September 27, 2019 issue that Yahoo Finance reported that because of President Donald J. Trump's trade war with China the U.S. economy has suffered 300,000 job loses according to Moody's Analystics and that figure is expected to rise to 450,000 by the end of 2019 and to double to 900,000 by the end of 2020.

Editor's note:
Donald Trump bragged that being a billionaire and the world's best businessman he could create jobs and make America great again bringing back jobs to America. In fact, his trade policies have done the opposite. And while employment is at low levels this is due to low wage jobs in the service sector where working class Americans can not earn a sustainable income.

Is it accurate to say that working class non educated white Americans got conned?

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Chris Collins resigns his congressional seat in anticipation of pleading guilty to felony charges of insdier trading.

From The Week on 10/01/19

GOP Rep. Chris Collins resigns
Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) resigned, effective Tuesday, ahead of a scheduled hearing to change his plea to guilty in an insider trading case. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) received Collins' resignation letter Monday. Collins was arrested last August on insider trading charges, and his plea change hearing was scheduled for Tuesday in New York. A trial was scheduled for early 2020, but Collins was narrowly re-elected last fall to represent his heavily Republican district, although he was stripped of his congressional committee seats. Collins' 2018 Democratic challenger had already pledged to challenge him again next year, while several local Republicans had also announced they'd compete for Collins' seat. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) will likely call a special election to fill the seat. [The Buffalo News]
Editor's note:
When I lived in Batavia NY Chris Collins was my congressman. He was the first congressman to support Donald Trump's run for president. Back in 2018 he was accused of insider trading and announced he would not run again for his congressional seat in November of 2018. However, later he changed his mind and ran with the charges pending.

Western New York is heavily Republican and even though the charges were very credible, the voters re-elected him anyway. Due to his felony charges he has been crippled as a representative of the people in his district not being given a committee assignment. Now, in September of 2019 he has resigned the seat he was elected to, and will pled guility on October 1, 2019 to the charges.

It seems ironic that a corrupt congressman who is ethically challenged would be the first supporter of the most corrupt President in the history of the United States. It also is interesting that my fellow citizens in Western New York would vote for a corrupt congressman and a corrupt President. What is wrong with the moral compass of my fellow citizens? They seem like nice people on the surface, but at a deeper level there is something seriously flawed.

Here at Markhams Slow News we will continue to research the origins of the voters tolerance and support for moral deviance.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

4 ways to improve the use of email.

Editor's note: 

I have found increasingly that people don't use email effectively, especially people under 40 who prefer text. I have found that email isn't reliable because people don't read it or it gets buried in their inbox and never perceived as relevant. I have begun once again to use the telephone to call people and actually talk to them.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

How well are governmental whistle blowers protected in the U.S,?

From The Conversation on 09/27/19:
In many instances, whistleblowers find the abusive power they have revealed turned against them, both ending their careers and harming their personal lives.
For more click here.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Judicial branch blocks Trump's racist policy of indefinitely detaining immigrant children

From The Week on 09/28/19

 Federal judge blocks indefinite detention of migrant children
U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee on Friday blocked the Trump administration's proposal to alter rules for the detention of immigrant children, ruling that detaining undocumented families together indefinitely is inconsistent with longstanding precedent on the conditions of migrant custody. The Trump administration sought to override the Flores settlement, a ruling that requires the government to release immigrant minors in 20 days or less. While the Department of Homeland Security argued the settlement made immigration enforcement more difficult, Gee said officials "cannot simply ignore the dictates of the consent decree merely because they no longer agree with its approach as a matter of policy." [The Associated Press, CNN]

How media literate are you when you rely on corporate media solely for your information?

How media literate are you? Do you rely solely on corporate media for your information? How can you make good political decisions about your own, your family, your community, your state, your country's welfare when the information you receive is being filtered by the 1%?

From Bernie Sanders' book, Where We Go From Here.

The truth is that it is very difficult for people to understand what’s going on in our country economically or politically, or to imagine an alternative vision, if the corporate media is their major source of information. Let’s be very clear. Corporate media is not ‘objective’; they are not the ‘referees’ trying to provide ‘all sides of the story.’ Corporate media are profit-making entities owned and controlled by the ruling class and some of the wealthiest people in the country. And, like all private corporations, they have an agenda.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Ice melt leading to rise in ocean levels irreversible

This appeared on The Week on 09/26/19

U.N. report says some impact from warming oceans irreversible
A landmark United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released Wednesday warns that sea levels are rising faster than previously believed, and that some ice melt could already be irreversible as many coastal areas face increased flooding. Even if countries significantly curbed emissions blamed for rising global temperatures and warming oceans, most of America's East and West coasts will face 100-year flood levels annually due to a one-meter sea-level rise. "This report highlights the urgency of timely, ambitious, coordinated, and enduring action," said IPCC vice chair Ko Barrett, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's deputy assistant administrator for research. "What's at stake is the health of ecosystems, wildlife, and importantly the world we leave our children." [The Hill]

Friday, September 20, 2019

Be aware of the funding of your news source

From America magazine, 09/02/19 issue in an article entitled "Why Americans need nonprofit sources for news."

The First Amendment guarantees the right to a free press because the founders recognized the vital role the Fourth Estate should play in the republic. A free press helps hold government accountable to the people. But the commercial press, pressured by different motivations, has been negligent in fulfilling its civic function. There is a need, even if the demand is not yet loud, for a press that is less susceptible to market influences and keeps the government in check.

Nonprofit sources of news may be one answer. Government-funded media outlets like National Public Radio demonstrate—most of the time—how a news organization can function when it does not rely solely on marketplace conditions. But Americans also need options that are not susceptible to de-funding threats from Congress. Nonprofit media, like ProPublica, can zero in on matters of public concern instead of aggravating existing partisan rifts.
While cable news outlets have benefited from a divided America, independent news groups could be in a better position to communicate difficult truths on which audiences can agree. Nonprofit trusts—independent of both the government and the marketplace—may provide a much-needed avenue to civil conversation. Profit-driven media conglomerates will not always give us trustworthy news. It is time to find another way.

Editor's comment:

Trumpism is rampant in the United States currently and there is not much about it that is beneficial to our society except their complaint about "fake news" and "alternative facts."

Of course, "alternative facts" is an oxymoron because there is no such thing. There certainly can abe "alternative opinions" or "alternative interpretations" but a "fact" by definition corresponds to empiral, fundamental reality. People are entitled to their own opinions but not to their own facts.

Even with empirial facts reality can be distorted by chosing which facts to lift up for viewing and which are marginalized are silenced into the shadows for hiding. 

Commerical media has a profit incentive and so it presents the "facts" and interpretations which will emotionally arouse and hook viewers and readers. In other words the "news" is often sensationalized to grab attention for advertisers to the channel or conduit of the media communication being attended to. Nonprofit news has no profit incentive and is not so dependent on the quanity of consumers and thus can concentrate on the quality of the consumers.

The truth is sometimes painful and upsetting and thus preferably avoided. The truth is hard some times, and yet would you rather know it and be told it? The truth can sometimes be boring even if illuminating and enlightening. Would you still want to attend to it?

Support nonprofit news sources. My favorites are Propublica, Mother Jones, and Democracy Now. There are others. Distrust the profit making news sources like Fox, MSNBC, CNN, etc. 

In the age of Trumpism the ratings for the profit making news sources are up because Trumpism is more entertaining and emotionally arousing than the truth. It reminds me of fake wrestling which has a huge fan base and makes millions of dollars per year. The U.S. President, Donald J. Trump has been a participant in and a purveyor of fake wrestling long before he was elected President. Did the voters want a chief executive of their country or an entertainer? Apparently they wanted the entertainment because the competence and performance of the chief executive is very poor and in some ways destructive to the well being of the American public.

One of the most fundamental skills in media literacy is deliberately choosing one's news source and vetting it. It is a good idea to use and financially support nonprofit news sources for your information gathering so you can make more informed and less biased judgements about what is best for yourself, your family, the country and the world.

Friday, September 13, 2019

McDonald’s offers larger educational plum to seek new hires and hires more retirees

McDonald’s restaurant owners and Rochester City Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced on Thursday morning two new recruitment tools that may help the restaurants hire about 230 new employees this fall.
McDonald’s is expanding its Archways to Opportunities program that supports employees attending college, completing high school diploma requirements, or learning English. At the same time, it has partnered with the American Association of Retired Persons to be able to tap into new hires 50 years and older.
At the same time, the McDonald’s corporation recently completed the AARP process required to advertise jobs through that organization’s channels, said Louis Buono, who operates 12 restaurants in the Rochester area. McDonald’s offers work for people who to return to work after retiring, and for those who never retired but want to continue to work into their older years, he said.
Up to 8 percent of his work force of 650 employees fall into the AARP age group, Buono said.
“Some have worked 15 years or more years,” he said. “And a bunch of employees came back and need part-time work.”

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Can AI help recognize click bait?

From Penn State News on 08/29/19

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Humans and machines worked together to help train an artificial intelligence — AI — model that outperformed other clickbait detectors, according to researchers at Penn State and Arizona State University. In addition, the new AI-based solution was also able to tell the difference between clickbait headlines that were generated by machines — or bots — and ones written by people, they said.

For whole article click here.

One of the big topics in media literacy is what is called "click bait" which seduces readers into clicking on links for fake news stories.

In the time of digital media where every person with an internet account can become an author, publisher, and distributor editorial vetting is a quaint practice from the past.

As we have learned from disinformation introduced into our 2016 presidential campaign, robots can be programed to flood digital media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram with increasingly false and misleading information and narratives.

How is even a critical, media literate person able to discern the authentic news story from a fake one? It is interesting how computer algorythms are beling trained to help with the task.