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Sat May 23, 2015 at 08:02 AM PDT

Obama and Human Trafficing

by rktect

Respected voices among us have come to the conclusion that President Obama would desire tier three Malaysia, the hub of human trafficking, be included in the TPP without expecting that would make a difference regarding the protections and enforcement needed to prevent twenty million people from continuing to be held in bondage, in dangerous, demeaning and disgusting forced child labor.

Really?

If the cries of those who are enslaved around the world today were an earthquake, then the tremors would be felt in every single nation on the continent on every continent simultaneously.

For years, we have known that this crime affects every country in the world, including ours. We’re not exempt.

More than 20 million people, a conservative estimate, are victims of human trafficking. And the United States is the first to acknowledge that no government anywhere yet is doing enough. W

e’re trying. Some aren’t trying enough. Others are trying hard. And we all need to try harder and do more.

At our last meeting of our all of government, President Obama has charged us with the responsibility of creating an all-of-government response. So when we sit down on this, every single Cabinet officer who has a responsibility, whether it’s DHS, Department of Justice, they’re all there, all coordinating.

And I, as the chair, instructed this year that none of us should travel anywhere in the world and fail to raise this issue with our interlocutors, no matter what meetings, no matter where we are. This has to be on the agenda

Remarks at the Release of the 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report
John Kerry, Secretary of State, Ben Franklin Room, Washington, DC, June 20, 2014

 

HR 181 (1) child human trafficking (as such term is defined in section 203(i) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 14044b), as added by this Act) has no place in a civilized society, and that persons who commit crimes relating to child human trafficking should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law;

(2) the United States, as a leader in monitoring and combating human trafficking throughout the world, must hold all nations to the same standards to which we hold our Nation;

(3) those who obtain, solicit, or patronize a victim of trafficking for the purpose of engaging in a commercial sex act with that person, are committing a human trafficking offense under Federal law;

(4) the demand for commercial sex is a primary cause of the human rights violation of human trafficking, and the elimination of that human rights violation requires the elimination of that demand;

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The Thing which bothers you most about TPP is

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Sat May 16, 2015 at 09:50 AM PDT

Do you like City Music?

by rktect

Maybe a day trip to the Lincoln Center in NYC on May 20 would help flush your mind for a moment. Get rid of all those concerns about Hillary, Obama, TPP, and Climate Change and just make you feel good. It might not be too late (May 15) to get 4 free tickets to see some kids make music.

Music in Bloom

Our students’ months of devoted work in the classroom are proudly celebrated in Music in Bloom, our series of community performances throughout New York City.

At mid-points in our programs, when students have learned several pieces from our established core repertoire, students engage in community outreach by performing at a local senior home, hospital, or neighborhood event.

During the months of May and June, students showcase their new skills in solo, duet, and group performance for audiences of school, family, and community members.

These concerts represent concrete goals for young people to work toward and achieve; they also provide positive arts experiences for thousands of parents and community members to enjoy with their children.

CityMusic

On Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 7pm, our Midori & Friends students will be showcased in CityMusic, at the Appel Room in Jazz at Lincoln Center. This event celebrates the heart and soul of Midori & Friends—our students—and expresses our commitment to presenting them in a prestigious New York City venue, whether they are just beginning their music studies or have advanced proficiency.

CityMusic brings together students, teachers, and administrators from our partner schools across the boroughs in a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration. The show will feature 6-8 student ensembles—including a guitar group, a band, a string trio or quartet, and select soloists—playing in styles ranging from classical to jazz, from bossa nova to the blues. A highlight of the evening will be the presentation of our annual Byron Gustafson Award to a student who has shown a high level of motivation, true passion for music, and a caring spirit for other classmates.

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Why wouldn't you want to be there?

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Tue Apr 28, 2015 at 09:33 AM PDT

Yes on HAMP is a Yes on TPP

by rktect

HAMP is a Home Affordable Modification Program designed to help people behind on their mortgage with hardships keep their home.

Getting it approved takes persistence, about a year's worth working your way through all the levels of servitor  bureaucrats till you get to somebody who gives a shit but its worth it in the end.

In my case it drops my mortgage payments from 53% to 31% of my income and its one of those little things that the Obama administration does differently than the big banks, wallstreet and the Republican think tanks that often draft legislation as was the case with the Heritage Foundation, Ronald Reagan and NAFTA in the 1980's.

In July 2009, FHA launched the FHA-Home Affordable Modification Program to provide assistance to borrowers to modify their mortgages to provide more affordable payments. Under Chapter VI of the MHA Handbook, FHA-insured first lien mortgage loans that are modified under FHA-HAMP are eligible for certain incentive payments under HAMP.
But wait, below the orange map of the route through the paperwork, there's more
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Could you use an extra $600 a month

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Wed Apr 22, 2015 at 04:46 AM PDT

Obama is not a Republican

by rktect

The Hysteria being whipped up paints Obama as serving Republican interests and being against the interests of labor, environmentalists and those of us who are primarily concerned about climate change.

There is no need to get nervous. Obama, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are all on the same page regarding what needs to be in the TPP to safeguard our labor and environmental concerns.

What Obama is saying Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are wrong about is how the TPP trade agreements will treat labor and the environment. Obama is not a Republican. As a Democrat he has the back of both labor and environmental concerns.

WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and the White House have agreed to subject any trade deal negotiated by President Obama to a months long review by Congress and the public, a concession aimed at winning the support of Democrats who view trade agreements as a threat to American workers.

That provision, expected to be formally approved Wednesday by the Senate Finance Committee, would give Mr. Obama the “fast-track” authority he has been seeking to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership with a dozen Pacific Rim nations, potentially expanding markets for American companies. But the compromise will almost certainly push a major trade accord with Asia into the presidential election season, a politically charged prospect that trade supporters had hoped to avoid.

Take a moment and review NAFTA which is the source of their concern.
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Whats the worst thing in this bill?

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There probably was a time when religion served a purpose, helped to organize and unite and build consensus to be law abiding and decent; to do what was right and proper and to show hospitality to strangers and people who needed help.

All of our experience with religion going back to the second world war at least but perhaps earlier still, indicates that religion is no longer about those things but rather its become about us and them and hating them.

It bothers me that organized religion can have ever supported inquisitions, crusades, the burning of witches and heretics, jihads, man's inhumanity to man let alone the present war on women, family planning and birth control.

I am obviously not a believer, but am still somewhat bemused, amazed, astonished, shocked, surprised and on occasion find myself fighting through my natural skepticism to be delighted with the pronouncements of Pope Francis, so there's still hope, but its an expensive luxury these days.

I compare that to the recent apparent change of attitude in Iran and the reaction of the rest of OPEC, especially ARAMCO which seems to have the status of a secular religion amongst people who believe that fossil fuels have a future.

Finally I admit that my knowledge of the religions of the world that are not some subset of the people of the book is virtually non existent but that I have the negative prejudice to expect them to value whatever they hold sacred over any pragmatism regarding cooperating to bring an end to the consequences of our last ten millenia of waging war on nature and would like to be proved wrong in this regard.

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Where is your religion teaching or practicing something that is more of a problem than a solution

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Wed Apr 08, 2015 at 04:25 AM PDT

Living with water

by rktect

For some of us living with water relates to things like turning on the tap and discovering the water has a funny taste and further experimentation allows you to set it on fire, or you turn on the tap and everything below the basket falls off because its old and rotten and for the last decade nobody has been spending any money on replacing rotting infrastructure

Maybe for you its the roof leaks, or the basement floods, or last winter it just never stopped snowing and the drifts haven't melted yet.

For California I'm aware that the water has packed up and left and taken the kids.

West Texas, the southwest and soon the midwest would be in the same boat if there was any water left to float it. For the Great Lakes its invasive species.

Looking at the East coast as modeled by Florida, it appears we have a bit more than we need with the latest projections scrubbing the 2 feet by 2050 and 2 meters by 2100 with 3 meters and 5 meters respectively. Our rising sea levels are what will take us out.

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What's your biggest issue living with water

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Mon Apr 06, 2015 at 01:53 AM PDT

I dare you

by rktect

“I DARE YOU.”

This was long before my mind was filled with thoughts of climate change and rising sea levels wiping out all the cities on the East coast.

Before I began to think about Being on the Beach. I wasn’t at all sure I wanted to head out on the highway road tripping past the last of the stop signs.

“YOU CAN DO IT”

It was toward the end of the last millennia, one Ramadan near the end of the first Gulf war and I was sitting behind the wheel of a white 1990 Caprice.

I’m not saying my trip had the same vanishing point as sitting behind the wheel of a white 1970 Dodge Challenger but I did have to ask myself was I ready to go.

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What's the best thing about a road trip

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Wed Mar 11, 2015 at 11:51 AM PDT

Arithmetic, Population and Energy

by rktect

Most Americans have difficulty comprehending exponential growth. A few years ago Dr. Albert A. Bartlett professor emeritus of the University of Colorado at Boulder explained it well in this video entitled "Arithmetic Population and Energy".

The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. The exponential function is used to describe the size of anything that is growing steadily, for example at 5% a year.
We are now in a position where we need to understand the difference between a steady arithmetic growth series and an accelerated geometric series of exponential growth in which the rate of change increases at an increasing rate.

When something doubles over a period of time the increase is more than everything that has gone before but that is still an example of steady growth.

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which increases to its breaking point fastest

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The hypothesis is that CitiCorp owns our political system. CitiCorp might argue in the alternative it just a servitor of the mortgage like CitiMortgage with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and that the real owner is the Fed.

The test is whether or not the language Elizabeth Warren objects to that puts us on the hook for CitiCorps failures while leaving all the profits to it remains in the bill.

CitiCorp would probably want to argue that in any case it has a judicial lien on our government and that if it doesn't since it owns all the judges that's just a remedial procedural deficiency in the decision making process.

CitiCorp requires it be paid regardless of how its risky bets on derivatives turn out because its banks and bankers have been investing in the ownershiip of our government with campaign contributions since before the Articles of Confederation were signed and the gleam in the eye of the Federalist Society saw to it that its dream of CitiCorp as a special corporate entity became a person.

If it does it seems apparent we are underwater in this government and should just walk away if not run..

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How much would a livable minimum wage for all Americans cost Wallmart?

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Others have made  Diaries and comments about how Democratic congress critters have challenged each other to live on a minimum wage for a week to demonstrate they understand the hardship people face in hard economic times.

Living on a minimum wage for a week isn't hard, They can do a week.

My Social security pays out a little less than $6.50 an hour if you figure 160 hours a month. My wife gets about the same. We get paid once a month and are well above the poverty line with that income.

Lots of elderly people and people on disability share the experience with us. Some make do with incomes below the poverty line. They are still much better off than people whose unemployment insurance has run out. It's the third and fourth weeks of the month after you have run out of money that things begin to get desperate.

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What do you consider the definition of middle class?

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Thu May 08, 2014 at 06:02 AM PDT

A 100 year plan to save the East Coast

by rktect

an AutoDesk 360 Dashboard

As I understand it this is interactive, you can invite people to join it, or create your own

My thing as an architect is how to deal with losing the East and Gulf Coasts to sea level rise. Can we Relocate or salvage anything with a 100 year plan. Your input is appreciated.

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Can we save the East and Gulf coast

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Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 05:46 PM PDT

Susan Collins votes against $10.10

by rktect

Susan Collins, Maine's Republican US Senator just voted against the minimum wage which 96,000 Mainers were depending on for survival.

If you think that like her buddy Paul LePage who can't open his mouth without making you want to cringe this was another in a long list of bad ideas,  just go go to the polls and vote her out of office. Go the the Polls and vote a straight Democratic Ticket in November. Go to the polls and vote for Shenna Bellows for US Senator.

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Susan Collins US Senate seat is a safe R because

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