Employers Engage in Wage Theft That Totals $15 Billion

Best and Worst States to Raise Children
CNN recently reported on an Annie E. Casey Foundation study that ranks states on ethnographic data that gages the well-being of children. For the second year in a row, Minnesota ranks first as the most kid-friendly state. Predictably, Mississippi ranked last in the survey. The lowest ranking states fell in the South and the West. Except for Minnesota and Iowa, the other three top ranked states all fell in New England. To find out the other rankings, visit http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/22/health/best-worst-states-raise-children. Other fun facts include: Puerto Rico has the highest number of kids living in poverty, 58%; and one third of Mississippi students do not graduate on time. The President’s 2018 proposed Federal budget cuts education funding. Are you happy? Additional information may be accessed at http://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf-2017kidscountdatabook.pdf.

Minnesota Also Ranked Highest As The Healthiest State For Seniors
Maybe, it’s the water. A health website recently ranked Minnesota as the healthiest state for seniors. Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Iowa complete the top five. Again, Mississippi ranked last along with Oklahoma, Louisiana, West Virginia and Arkansas. To find out where New York falls, click on http://www.americashealthrankings.org/. Maybe New Yorkers should move to Minnesota. Or, if moving South to avoid snow, New Yorkers should avoid Mississippi like the plague. The site provides a nice, easy to understand graphic.

One in 20 Pregnant Women Infected with Zika Have Children With Birth Defects
In a recently released report, the Center for Disease Control says that one in 20 pregnant women infected with the Zika virus have children with birth defects. The study also reported that infected women who showed no symptoms also had children with birth defects. The percentage of children affected depends on which trimester the mother contracted the Zika virus. Women who contracted the disease in the first trimester produced the largest number of children with birth defects, 8 percent. Women who contracted the virus in the third trimester had the fewest number of children with birth defects, 4 percent. To read more about Zika produced birth defects, visit https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_166381.html.

Employers Engage In Wage Theft That Totals $15 Billion
According to the Economic Policy Institute, American employers in the 10 largest states cheat workers out of more than $8 billion in wages. In fact, the lowest paid workers suffer the highest amount of wage theft. EPI findings indicate that year-round workers lose an average of $3,300 per worker. Minimum wage workers on average lose $64 a week which totals approximately one quarter of their annual pay. The number of workers who suffer wage theft total about 17% of all workers. The 10 states with the highest amount of wage theft include: Florida, 7.3%, Ohio, 5.5%, and New York, 5.0%. If wage theft abuse is projected for all workers in the nation, employers steal more than $15 billion in wages each year. Workers in the 10 most populous states who are paid less than the minimum wage total more than 21 percent. Young workers, women, people of color and immigrants are the most likely workers to suffer wage theft. To find out more about this disgusting employer practice, surf over to http://www.epi.org/publication/employers-steal-billions-from-workers-paychecks-each-year-survey-data-show-millions-of-workers-are-paid-less-than-the-minimum-wage-at-significant-cost. One must question the morality of people who think this type of American capitalism is great.

While Trump Touts Coal, China Builds Floating Solar Power Plant
Except in Washington, D.C. renewable energy is the path to the future for the rest of the world. While the EPA and President Trump push coal as fuel for electrical generation, China and Europe are now relying on renewable energy to meet energy needs. For example, China just connected the world’s largest floating photovoltaic facility to the national grid. This facility produces zero hydrocarbons as it generates electricity from sunlight. The Chinese built this facility on land formally used to produce coal. The plant generates 40 megawatts of electricity which is enough electricity to power about 40,000 homes. To learn more about this topic, click on https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/china-floating-solar-power-plant/. And so it goes.

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Burger King Hijacks Google Home

Nearly One in Eight Workers Exposed To Toxic Substances
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 14.9 percent of all workers face exposure to toxic substances. Industry levels of contaminants vary. More than half of workers in construction face exposure to hazardous contaminants. Building, grounds and maintenance workers also face high contaminant levels. In contrast, legal services workers face a negligible risk of exposure. To learn where your industry falls, click on https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/14-point-9-percent-of-civilian-jobs-exposed-to-hazardous-contaminants-in-2016.htm. When Republicans cut federal agency budgets, will these types of reports get cut as well?

New Drug Cuts Cancer Risk for Some Breast Cancer Patients
A drug named Xeloda may extent the lives of breast cancer patients whose cancer has not been wiped out by standard treatment. According to Medline Plus, “Oncologists said the results are ‘practice-changing.”’ Xeloda is a pill that is much less toxic than standard chemotherapy noted Dr. Stephan Malamud who was not involved in the study. Women whose cancer did not respond to Herceptin related drugs lived 30 percent longer than patients treated with other therapies. To find out more about this treatment breakthrough, visit https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_166103.html. Under the Trump budget, the CDC which funds much of the current cancer research will experience big budget cuts. Are the Republicans willing to sacrifice the lives of cancer victims to gain a big tax cut for millionaires and billionaires?

Password Manager OneLogin Hacked
Zdnet recently reported that password manager and single sign-on provider OneLogin confirmed that the company “had detected unauthorized access to OneLogin data in our US data region.” Hackers have the ability to decrypt encrypted data. To read more about this hack to see if your data has been compromised, surf over to http://www.zdnet.com/article/onelogin-hit-by-data-breached-exposing-sensitive-customer-data/. “It’s always something,” opined Roseann Roseannadana on Saturday Night Live.

Baby Teeth Link Autism To Heavy Metals
Baby teeth from children suffering from autism contain more toxic lead and less of the essential nutrients zinc and manganese compared to teeth from children without autism according to a study funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The institute is part of the National Institute of Health, a federal agency. According to researchers, the differences were most notable in the months after the children were born. The researchers noted, however, that larger studies must replicate these findings to confirm the connection between metals and autism. To learn more about this topic, click on https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/baby-teeth-link-autism-heavy-metals-nih-study-suggests. This type of research is also at risk because of the proposed Trump budget. Just so you know.

Burger King Hijacks Google Home
Burger King hijacked an ad for Google Home by having an actor say in the Burger King ad that 15 seconds was not enough time extol the virtues of the Whopper. The actor then said, “OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?” Google Home then proceeded to respond the Wikipedia article in answer to the question. As you may expect, Google wasted little time correcting this flaw. For a good laugh and more about this, surf over to http://www.pcmag.com/news/353033/this-burger-king-ad-will-hijack-your-google-home. Additional information about similar hacks is available at http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2459496,00.asp.. This article details an issue where an ad for the Xbox One activated the consoles of everyone watching the commercial at home according to the BBC . Ah, technology. The good also brings the bad.

American Ingenuity at Its Finest?
PC Magazine recently reported that unsupervised prisoners incarcerated in an Ohio prison pieced together computers from computer parts from computers that were to be disassembled to recycle computer parts. Inmates hid these contraband computers in the ceilings. The inmates then used the computers to commit identity theft and tax fraud as well as change their security levels at the prison. To read more about inmate ingenuity, surf over to http://www.pcmag.com/news/353024/inmates-build-computers-from-recycled-parts-hide-in-ceiling. And so it goes.

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Hacker Profiles

Hacker and Cyber Criminal Profiles
Hackers and cyber terrorists at best pose an inconvenience and at worst present a very dangerous threat. How do hacktivists, pranksters, tinkerers and sharpshooters differ? The definitions of these terms are found on the Government Computer News website. GCN.com. The site reported that open-source developer , Eric Raymond, has taken a stab at categorizing hackers by their most essential and universally shared traits. For example, Raymond argues that sharpshooters are individuals who exhibit obsession with details. Pranksters gravitate to information security and test engineering. All told, eight types of hackers have been profiled. To read the short excerpt, click on https://gcn.com/articles/2017/04/10/hacker-archetypes.aspx. And don’t forget state sponsored hackers and cyber terrorists. The full blog post may be accessed at http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=7478. This is a fascinating examination of computer hacker profiling.

Measles Disease Is Still A Threat In The US
Even though Measles has been eliminated in the US since 2000, every year new Measles cases pop up all over the country. The disease enters the country with infected travelers from Europe and Africa, either nationals from countries carrying the disease or by returning US travelers. whose vaccinations against the disease have lapsed. Since the disease has disappeared in the US, Americans don’t think to make sure that Measles vaccinations are in place. To read more about how to keep from becoming a modern day Typhoid Mary, click on https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_165583.html. More medical travel information may be obtained at https://medlineplus.gov/alphanews_t.html#travelershealth.

Scott Pruitt Take Note: Satellites Have Tracked Antarctic Ice Loss For Decades
According to the European Space Agency, five different satellites have tracked ice loss in the Antarctic over the last 24 years. For example, the agency found that from 1992 to 2016 glacier movement has increased speed to 20 to 30 cm a day, or an overall speed increase of 13%. This movement is tied to the warmer temperatures of the water off the coast of Antarctica. This is just another example of global warming that EPA head, Scott Pruitt refuses to accept. To learn more about this topic, click on http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Satellites_track_Antarctic_ice_loss_over_decades.

May Clean Hands Campaign Provides Teaching Materials For Physicians and Patients
May 5th was World Hand Hygiene Day. The CDC offers posters and other materials for medical personnel as well as for the general public to heighten awareness for the need for clean hands to prevent disease spread. Materials may be accessed on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. The Center for Disease Control provides timely information on numerous topics. To access the information on clean hands, surf over to https://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/campaign/index.html. Spend at least 20 seconds washing and rubbing hands to get rid of germs.

Fourth Quarter 2016 Job Growth Noted By BLS
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently noted that job gains exceeded job losses in the fourth quarter of 2016 by 688,000. Job gains exceeded job losses in 9 of 13 major industries. Professional and business services and education and health services led the list of gains. An interactive graphic indicates the number of jobs gained/lost for each industry. To learn more about employment data, click on https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/gross-job-gains-exceed-gross-job-losses-by-688000-in-third-quarter-of-2016.htm. In spite of the election campaign charges that Obama caused job loss, the opposite appears to be the case. And so it goes.

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New York Times Summer Reading Contest

What the NRA Doesn’t Want You To Know
According the website MedlinePlus, 16 children are hospitalized every day from gun injuries. The American Academy of Pediatrics research revealed that children face a public health menace with unintentional gun injuries and more children are injured in gun assaults. Researchers said that the data indicated that kids under 15 who suffered gun injuries were accidental victims. Kids 15 to 19 suffered gun injuries due to physical assaults. 57 percent of injuries to kids were unintentional. Almost 90 percent of victims were male. Half of the victims lived in dangerous neighborhoods. To read more about this issue, click on https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_165226.html. Could more stringent gun laws reduce these injuries? Not according to the NRA.

New York Times Summer Reading Contest for Kids
Beginning June 16th The Times will ask kids “what interested you most this week and why?”
Every Tuesday beginning July 4th the Times will publish the winners’ names from the previous week and feature what the winners wrote. Contest rules and registration materials will be found on line at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/27/learning/the-eighth-annual-new-york-times-summer-reading-contest.html?_r=0. The article provides a link to a downloadable PDF that provides all the details. The Times limits the contest to teenagers from 13 to 19. So, sorry genus 6th graders, you’re too young. The contest does not award money prizes, but winners get published in the paper.

Data From BLS For Writers of All Ages
For everyone who wants to write, technology today provides many avenues for paid work. The salary information featured here, though, indicates that the average writer makes slightly more than the US average salary all wage earners. While there are exceptions to the rule, writing jobs may be less desirable than other professions as college grads weigh the salary outlook against college loan debt. To find out more, surf over to https://beta.bls.gov/labs/blogs/2017/05/10/put-your-writing-skills-to-work/.

Government Purges Global Warming From EPA Web Pages
In an example of climate denying, the Trump administration removed all climate information from the agency’s website. Scott Pruitt, agency head, said that the change will give voice to the new direction adopted by the administration. To read more about this head-in-the-sand approach to policy making, visit https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/05/epa-purges-climate-change-information-as-part-of-website-updates/.

Scientists Collect Human-like DNA in Cave Dust
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology located in Leipzig, Germany say that very little human bone material is needed to find DNA in the dust found in empty caves. Finding the DNA is one thing, analyzing the DNA to understand what it means is another. Work continues on understanding the data. For more information, click on http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/01/04/507543208/dust-to-dust-scientists-find-dna-of-human-ancestors-in-cave-floor-dirt. An interesting first step.

James Fenimore Cooper’s Daughter Is First American Female Nature Writer
Susan Fenimore Cooper became the first American Woman to publish Nature Writing. So says the Library of Congress, Susan Fenimore Cooper published Rural Hours By A Lady based on Journals written in 1848 and 1849 that focused on weather, fauna and flora in and around Cooperstown, New York. Susan lived most of her life in Cooperstown, although she did live in New York City and in France. Another work, Journal of a Naturalist in the United States, was published in London in 1855. The article posts several links to online sources where readers may access and read the books on line. To find out more about the relatively unknown Susan Cooper, visit http://blogs.loc.gov/inside_adams/2017/04/susan-fenimore-cooper-the-first-american-woman-to-publish-nature-writing/. This is yet another example of useful government programs.

Space Junk Surrounds Earth and Should Be Cleaned Up
Earthlings have been shooting objects into space since 1957. Today more than 7,000 satellites spin around us making it increasingly difficult to find space for new satellites. Now the European Space Agency is speaking up about this threat. In fact, according to Holgar Krag, head of the ESA Space Debris Office, there are more than 20,000 pieces of junk more than 10cm in size and 750.000 bits larger than 1cm. Particles of this size are capable of damaging space crafts. To learn more about this problem, click on https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/248159-esa-says-time-come-get-serious-removing-space-junk. And so it goes.

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Coffee Lovers Relax

Sexism Rampant In Science, Too
The University of California, Davis recently published research that scientific research results have been polluted by the lack of recognition that male and female members of a species may be genetically/physically different. According to the researchers, this fundamental assumption of genetic equality between the sexes has ignored many differences between male and female members of a particular species. In the past, researchers recognized differences in sex organs between males and females. But, the current study found that when researchers primarily used males for analysis, the researchers missed the many physical differences between the sexes. To access the study results of Rock Pigeons study at UC Davis, visit https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/pigeon-study-takes-sexism-science/. On a more personal note, medical research on human heart attacks has focused primarily on male subjects. Thus female heart attack victims face a more difficult disease treatment due to a basic lack on medical knowledge.

California Beachfront Property May Not Be a Good Investment
The Huffpost recently posted a story about climate change that has California beachfront property owners concerned. A California government council recently advised that due to global warming, sea levels may rise as much as 10 feet by the end of the century. A worst case scenario projects that airports in San Francisco and Oakland as well as 42,000 homes will be completely submerged. The agency, California Ocean Protection Council’s advisory team, accepted these higher sea level estimates as the team warned that roads, railroad tracks, bridges, farm land and cities faced serious risks from rising water levels. In addition, Louisiana stands to lose 2,250 miles of shoreline due to rising sea levels. To learn more about this threat, click on http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/california-sea-level-rise_us_59027f0fe4b0bb2d086c5f31. As you drive around with your fossil fuel polluting car, consider the effect of rising sea levels on Long Island, The New Jersey shore and Miami, Florida. Oops! Where did Long Beach Island Go?

New York City Cops Aren’t The Only Law Enforcement People In Trouble
The New York Times recently reported that New York City Corrections Commissioner, Joseph Ponte, was reprimanded for the misuse of city- owned vehicles. It seems that the commissioner who was brought in to correct abuses in city jails, used city vehicles on many trips to Maine on his vacations. In addition to the unauthorized vehicle use, the commissioner also managed to take 90 vacation days so far during his two plus years in New York City. How many vacation days do you get in a year? To read more about this, surf over to https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/28/nyregion/new-york-correction-commissioner-joseph-ponte-reprimand.html. When it comes to New York City law enforcement personnel, it appears difficult to tell the good guys from the criminals.

Coffee Lovers Relax: It’s OK To Drink More Than 4 Cups of Coffee a Day
The International Life Science Institute reviewed 740 studies on the effect of coffee drinking on people. Thankfully, the review indicates that the amount of coffee people drink has little or no adverse affects. Even pregnant women may consume 300mg of caffeine daily safely. The study concluded that children may consume 2.5mg of caffeine daily as well. To learn more about coffee drinking, surf over to http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/drinking-4-coffee-cups-four-no-health-risks-caffeine-safe-life-sciences-institute-ilsi-a7700921.html. Good news.

35 New York Schools Save On Technology Expenses
T/H/E/ Journal recently reported that 35 school districts in the lower Hudson Valley will roll out managed IT services provided by the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center of the Southern Westchester BOCES. The school districts are located in Westchester, Putnam and Rockland Counties served by the Southern Westchester BOCES. This state-aided service lowers local costs and provides needed curriculum support for districts as well as hardware support. Since districts eliminate the necessity of hiring I T curriculum specialists, the programs get more bang for their technology bucks because BOCES personnel services generate extra state aid the following year. To learn more about this program, visit https://thejournal.com/articles/2017/04/24/35-ny-school-districts-adopt-managed-it-services.aspx. Other BOCES regional computer centers should be able to provide similar services for component districts as well. And so it goes.

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NSA Data Leaks

Stronger Muscles May Improve Kids’ Memory Skills
According to www.lHealthDay.com, new research suggests that kids with stronger muscles may have improved memory skills. Researchers examined 70 children aged 9 to 11 years and found that muscle fitness was directly related to more accurate memories. The problem is, only 1 in 3 US children are physically active every day. Physical inactivity produces weak muscle mass. The type of physical activity did not include such strength skills as weight lifting. To read more about this research, click on https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_164718.html. If you have trouble accessing this post, surf over to HealthDay at https://consumer.healthday.com/fitness-information-14/misc-health-news-265/stronger-muscles-may-pump-up-kids-memory-skills-721586.html. Best of luck getting your kids to exercise.

Strategies To Combat Fake News
How can Internet users, newspaper readers and TV news viewers avoid fake news? It seems that even reputable news organizations occasionally fall for a fake news item. Well, help is on the way. A website, www.thenewsliteracyproject.org, provides instruction for students, teachers and news media personnel techniques essential to avoid fake news. If interested, sign up for free newsletters focused on students, teachers and reporters. The cure to fake news is not a magic bullet. Rather, the solution requires some training which does require work. Nevertheless, to avoid being taken in by fake facts such as 3 million voters committed voter fraud, give this site a look

Burning Down The Barn After The Horses Have Escaped
The US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, indicated that the Justice Department will close a federal agency formed four years ago to instill more scientific rigor in the forensic sciences. This national commission has worked on establishing best practices for crime lab personnel. The FBI as well as prosecutors all over the country rely on DNA results as well as other forensic tests to determine the guilt or innocense of those accused of crimes. But the truth is, crime lab data may be flawed or inaccurate. In Massachusetts, nearly 22,000 drug convictions may be overturned because a crime lab worker made up test results. And in another test of hair sampling, 26 of 28 examiners gave flawed testimony in more than 200 trial cases. Oops. To read more about CSI screw-ups, visit https://www.propublica.org/article/another-startling-verdict-for-forensic-science. Note: Propublica just shared a Pulitzer Prize with the New York Daily News for a series on widespread abuse of eviction laws by New York City police officers. This abuse caused hundreds of innocent people to lose their apartments. The police used a law designed to fight porn and prostitution in Times Square to unjustly push people out of their homes. New York City cops can’t seem to catch a break in the press these days.

Some Federal Protection For Internet Users
There have been a plethora of news stories about the decision of the FCC to allow internet providers to sell customer data to third parties without the approval of individual customers. That issue is still cooking at the FCC, but Internet users can rely on the Federal Trade Commission to provide some Internet protection for users. The FTC is described as the top cop on the privacy beat. The agency provides consumer protection for health, credit and financial data. To learn more about how the Federal Trade Commission provides protection for you, click on https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/blogs/business-blog/2017/04/your-cop-privacy-beat. Of course, President Trump and his minions now scrutinize all agencies to reduce the size and effectiveness of agency services.

NSA Data Leaks
Two websites have recently published stories about the Shadow Brokers’ data drop on NSA hacking software. On one hand, the government tasks the NSA to protect the country from attack by hostile forces on many fronts. On the other hand, whistleblowers have leaked information that the NSA has overstepped its authority by hacking into financial sites that put all financial transactions on government view regardless of whether or not criminal activity or national security is involved. To learn more about this complicated issue, visit these two sites:
http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/malware-made-by-the-nsa-released-by-shadow-brokers-group/article/490006. A second site with additional information may be accessed at https://arstechnica.com/security/2017/04/purported-shadow-brokers-0days-were-in-fact-killed-by-mysterious-patch/. And so it goes.

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Political Humor

April is Poetry Month
The National Council of Teachers of English recently posted a lesson plan on poetry activities. This activity allows students to play with words and letters in an imaginative way. Ogden Nash once wrote, “ Cows are of the bovine ilk. One end moo the other milk.” A great introduction to poetry for kids, Ogden Nash can win over any poetry hater. The site presents alphabet poem examples. To learn more about the universality of poetry appreciation, surf over to http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson988/modelalphabetpoems.pdf. For more generalized poetry info click on http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/abcs-poetry-988.html. Now you, too, can help kids learn to appreciate poetry. N.B. Poetry serves as the basis of ‘Rap’ music as well. Enjoy. ReadWriteThink is a service provided to English teachers to improve teaching practice.

Another Education Topic: Can You Write Cursive And Other Questions?
An article in Education Week Teaching Now reports that a second grade Facebook request asking for comments on a number of questions such as can you write cursive went viral. Within 2 days, the question garnered more than 300 thousand responses. The teacher’s ultimate goal was to provide data for her students to study graphing. To learn more about the questions and the responses, click on http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2017/03/can_you_write_in_cursive_2nd_graders_survey_goes_viral.html. Keyboarding is quick and everyone learns it in schools, but cursive writing broadens options when computers are not handy.

Some Utah Courts Seemingly Hold Rapists in High Regard
According to The Daily Kos, Utah District Court Judge Thomas Low spoke in glowing terms about the prisoner he was about to sentence to prison for sexual abuse and rape. Judge Low said moments before sentencing Keith Vallejo to prison that, “The court has no doubt that Mr. Vallejo is an extraordinarily good man.” The judge made the comment while one of the two victims sat in court watching the proceedings. To read the complete post, click on http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/04/14/1653236/-During-sentencing-judge-said-he-had-no-doubt-the-convicted-molester-is-extraordinarily-good? So much for judicial impartiality and integrity.

NYC Cops Exhibit Thuggery, Again
Last month several NYPD cops threatened to use Tasers against a group of black youth standing on a public sidewalk near Brooklyn’s Midwood High School. The officers began pushing and shoving and threatening the youths without explaining why the group should disperse. This is the most recent example of police behavior that the New York Civil Liberties Union cited as, “That confirms the all-too-frequent-complaints of NYPD officers abusing their authority to intimidate young people of color.” To read the complete post, visit http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/40171-nypd-officers-threaten-high-school-students-with-taser. It’s hard to sympathize with cops for the real threats they face when they behave in this manner.

Is Criticism of Israel Anti-Semitism?
This is the question that Rebecca Vilkomerson, director of the Jewish Voice for Peace, answers in her book On Antisemetism. The book compares the clear antisemitism of the Alt-Right with supporters of Israeli behavior in the West Bank who claim that criticism of Israel’s behavior amounts to antisemitism. Since the Trump election, Alt-Right supporters of white nationalism have committed acts of vandalism on the Temples and cemeteries of American Jews. According to Vilkomerson, a distinction must be made between criticism of Israeli actions at home and antisemitism in the U.S. To read more about this thought-provoking piece, visit http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/40207-antisemitism-and-support-for-israel-are-not-incompatible-we-must-confront-both. An expanded analysis of this work appears at http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/40224-israeli-government-is-petrified-of-boycott-divestment-and-sanctions-bds-movement. In the second link, the Israeli opposition to the BDS, Boycott, Divest, Sanctions, uses the charge of antisemitism to prevent and forestall any criticism of Israeli treatment of Palestinians in Israeli controlled territory. Given the apparent blank check President Trump has given the Israeli authorities on this issue, the topic seems very relevant.

Political Humor
The Daily Kos posted a hilarious piece listing 12 reasons why cats aren’t Republicans. Dems and Progressives will love this. Conservatives and Republicans not so much. To read visit http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/10/27/1339526/-Why-cats-aren-t-Republican. And so it goes.

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Salary Data for the Nosey

Satire Requires Knowledge To Appreciate
Johnathon Swift wrote Gulliver’s Travels in the early 18th Century. Today the four novels are read as elementary school level fiction. When originally written, the novels featured excoriating political attacks aimed at adults. Most contemporary readers do not know or appreciate the criticism. Similarly, The Onion publishes contemporary satire that only the knowledgeable really appreciate. For example, in a recent post The Onion reported that computer accessory manufacturer Logitech released a new keyboard with raised letter keys so that fitness-minded computer users can get a cardio-workout as they type. A second story says that Jared Kushner just added ‘Solve the Middle East Crisis’ to his to- do-list. This report says that Kushner will devote an hour or two to solve the Arab-Israeli issues as he attacks the to-do-list in his Daytimer day-planner. This site is a national treasure which must appeal to all who love Mad Magazine. But, you have to be in-the-know to see the humor and the criticism. To visit, click on http://www.theonion.com/article/jared-kushner-quietly-transfers-solve-middle-east–55639. Enjoy. To really appreciate the satire genre, find a copy of Swift’s ‘Modest Proposal’ which English professors say is one of the best examples of sustained irony in the English language, shocking though it is.

Salary Data for the Nosey
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released salary data for the construction and extraction industries. According to the Bureau, average wages in these industries fall just below the average wages for all workers: $48,900 for construction and extraction workers and $49, 630 for all occupations. To find out the average wages for carpenters, electricians and hazardous materials removal workers, surf over to https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/annual-mean-wage-of-construction-and-extraction-occupations-was-48900-in-2016.htm. These salaries are accurate as of May 2016. Now you know.

World War l Trivia On the 100th Anniversary of Our Entry In The War
The war effort produced many technical advances that are still in use today. For example, the invention of a cotton substitute for bandages called cellucotton proved effective in treating wounds previously treated by the use of cotton bandages. The highly absorbent material found a new use for women after the war when Kimberly Clark invented sanitary napkins under the Kotex brand. We also have modern equivalents of airplanes, submarines and trench coats: all used in World War l. To learn more click on http://science.dodlive.mil/2017/04/06/world-war-i-innovations-still-used-today. The post also features vintage photos that are interesting as well.

CDC Reports Zika Virus Effects on Pregnant Women
Much has been learned over the last year about the Zika Virus and its effects on people. At first, doctors believed that only pregnant women faced risks. Today, doctors know that birth defects are only some of the problems produced by the virus suffered by members of both sexes. To learn more about the Zika Virus, visit https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/zika-babies/index.html. Be careful where you travel. Zika patients live in 40 states. Additional Zika information may be accessed at https://www.cdc.gov/zika/hc-providers/index.html.

Newspaper Job Losses
As a high school student in the late 1950s, I considered a career in print journalism. Even then, 60+ years ago, pundits proclaimed the immenent demise of newspapers do to the increasing reliance on radio/TV newscasts by newspaper readers . Today, however, the chicken-little ‘the sky is falling’ pronouncements are taken seriously. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the situation today is different than the situation was seven decades ago. Newspapers, now, have lost nearly half of their employees in the period 2001 to 2016. Other media employment remains stagnant with the exception of internet publishing which has more than doubled employment numbers during the last ten years.
As one might expect, salaries in print journalism have suffered as well. Average salaries for internet publishing and web portals comes in at $197,549. Television broadcasting salaries come in second at $90.583. In contrast, newspaper salaries average $48,403. Even radio broadcasting salaries now average $56,382 or next to last. Sadly for journalism, my choice of an education career proved prescient. To find out more about this issue, click on https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/newspaper-publishers-lose-over-half-their-employment-from-january-2001-to-september-2016.htm. And so it goes.

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Be Careful What You Wish For

Be Careful What You Wish For
Those of you who would give anything to feel safe should read the following link about police actions focused on minority individuals in American cities. During the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, the guiding philosophy preached that prejudice faced by some meant the future risk of prejudice against all. In this link, learn about police militarization that brutally places minority citizens’ rights in jeopardy. To read about this police injustice, click on http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/40059-with-nighttime-raids-police-wage-war-on-black-and-brown-families-in-new-york. Maybe the visions of dystopian writers Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, nee Erik Blair are now our unperceived reality.

Republican Rollbacks Threaten Privacy
The recent decision of the Republican Congress to rollback Internet users privacy rights initiated by the Obama administration presents a real threat. This threat allows ISPs such as Comcast and Spectrum to collect user data and sell that data to third parties without the permission of the users. The action provides corporations with the tools to further monetize Internet use by individuals. Such uncontrolled merchandising by ISPs presents a grave threat to individual privacy. To read more about this Republican assault on individual constitutionally protected privacy, visit http://www.pcmag.com/article/352757/privacy-101-why-you-need-a-vpn. A virtual private network or VPN, allows individuals to surf the Internet anonymously. The link to PC Magazine argues that all Internet users can easily put together a VPN that provides undetected Internet use without the threat of ISP merchandising such use. Good luck to all who feel threatened.

March Was Women’s Forgotten History Month
The Library of Congress recently blogged about an online resource that casts light on the activities of African-American women who fought for civil rights during the 19th century. The online blog presents rare photographs of black female activists collected by Howard University professor Henry Richards. Richards taught at the Howard University law school from 1890 to his retirement in 1928. To learn more about female black activists, click on https://blogs.loc.gov/picturethis/2017/03/portraits-of-nineteenth-century-african-american-women-activists-newly-available-online/. Modern students may think that Martin Luther King and his contemporaries were nearly the first American civil rights activists. And while some may know about the career of W.E.B. Dubois, this information provides a much needed effort to improve history knowledge in this regard. The online blog provided by the Library of Congress now documents the actions of many others who pushed for civil rights from the 1850s on.

CDC Provides Public Health Data for 500 Cities in 50 States
In this study, the CDC, the Center for Disease Control, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation analyze data by census-tract area to estimate the occurrence of 27 chronic disease measures. The study presents data by state and by the largest cities in each state. This epidemiological data allows public health professionals to target prevention actions as well as track health risk behaviors for effective interventions. To learn more about this effort, surf over to https://www.cdc.gov/500cities/. Viewers may access data by disease category such as health outcomes , preventions or unhealthy behaviors. To target specific cities, click on the desired city in each state shown alphabetically by state and city for individuals aged 18 to 54. Several small states such as Wyoming and Vermont include cities that do not reach the population cutoff, but are included to present data from all 50 states for a total of 500 cities. Your tax dollars fund vital research such as this. Let’s hope that the Republican leaders in Washington, adequately fund this agency rather than increasing funding for an already bloated military.

Suicide Presents Problems for Family Survivors
The website https://consumer.healthday.com/ posted on March 22nd, the results of Danish researchers that posit that the suicide of a spouse may cause mental and physical problems for survivors. According to the research, surviving partners are more likely to develop PTSD, depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. In addition, surviving spouses find themselves at greater risk of suicide. To learn more about the effects of suicide on surviving family members, click on https://consumer.healthday.com/general-health-information-16/suicide-health-news-646/suicide-often-leaves-mental-physical-woes-in-surviving-spouse-720886.html. Not only is suicide a selfish act on the part of the individual, such actions pose great health threats for surviving family members. And so it goes.

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Employee Burnout a Huge Problem

Employee Burnout Becoming a Huge Problem
While corporations book record profits and unemployment continues to decline, employers face a tangible problem: employee burnout. According to a recent study, employees find themselves working more hours and receiving fewer pay increases. These conditions lead to burnout which then leads to new job searches. To learn more about this problem, click on http://www.govexec.com/excellence/promising-practices/2017/03/employee-burnout-becoming-huge-problem-american-workforce/136314/.
A related study completed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that in 2016 substantially more individuals quit their jobs as opposed to employees who were fired or laid off . A generally robust economy now allows employees to find other work instead of unhappily staying put. To read about this research, surf over to https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/quits-rise-while-layoffs-and-discharges-fall-in-2016.htm
This data indicate that under the Obama administration, economic indices improved greatly so President Trump did not inherit “a mess” when he took office.
A second related document from the BLS indicates that salaries year over year, 2016 to 2017, actually declined by more than one percent. To access this information, visit https://stats.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/real-earnings-unchanged-over-the-year-ending-february-2017.htm. No wonder employees burnout: work more, earn less. As Bill Bendix observed in the 1940s sitcom ‘The Life of Riley’, “What a revoltin’ development this is.”

DIY Projects For All
Even if you are not handy, some DIY projects are so easy that anyone can complete them. And I don’t mean putting Christmas toys together late at night on Christmas Eve. For even the modestly adventurous, www.hometalk.com provides a plethora of projects to choose from. At my visit, I found pillows with tassels, driftwood art, and a number of DIY dining room projects from which to choose. Even if doing- it- yourself does not appeal to you, looking at these projects may give you decorating ideas you can pursue at your leisure. To learn more, click on http://www.hometalk.com/search/posts?filter=diy%20ideas. Good luck to all.

Teacher-in-Residence Positions Available for Geography and History Teachers.
The Library of Congress recently advertized for applications from world history and world geography teachers for a residency at the Library of Congress for the 2017-2018 school year in Washington, D.C. By clicking on the link, readers will find a description of the position and by clicking on a page link, bring up an online application. The application deadline is April 17, 2017. If interested, click on http://blogs.loc.gov/teachers/2017/03/call-for-applications-world-history-or-world-geography-teacher-in-residence-position-at-the-library-of-congress/.

Staying Safe Using Plastic Money
“Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you.” For those of you who use plastic frequently, the new credit cards with embeded security chips don’t seem to lower credit card fraud. It seems that most merchants have not invested in new credit card readers. Customers must swipe their cards the old way and leave themselves vulnerable to identity theft. To learn more about this issue, surf over to http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2017/problems-with-the-new-chip-cards.htm You don’t have to be 55 to get help from the AARP. For those readers 55 and over who qualify for membership, AARP offers a monthly money newsletter that carries news items of financial interest. And when you visit the site, AARP will show you where you can receive tax help for free in your area. A big bonus.

Trump Budget Cuts Hurt NOAA Earth Monitoring Satellite Program
President Trump’s proposed budget cuts 22 percent from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration budget for the next fiscal year. At risk is a new satellite, JPSS-1 satellite, designed to complete 14 polar orbits daily. The satellite will provide NOAA scientists with an unprecedented amount of infrared and atmospheric data that will improve weather forecasting and agricultural outlooks. This technology does not come cheap: $800 million for this year alone as well as a nine-digit price tag through the mid 2020s. NOAA administrators indicate that such a cut will imperil the agency’s ability to protect Americans from weather emergencies. To learn more, click onhttp://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2017/0304/Budget-cuts-at-NOAA-threaten-climate-monitoring-satellite-program. And so it goes.

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    hunterj

    The idea for this blog arose from fourteen years of writing columns on the same idea that I produce monthly for my computer club newsletter. Over the years I found a number of the Internet URLs featured in a particular column became dated because I ... Read Full
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