The Value of Old Habits
ELDER MUSIC: Unchained Melody

INTERESTING STUFF – 20 June 2015

[PERSONAL NOTE: Today's Interesting Stuff is so different from the usual I just want to let you know that someone else has not hijacked the page.

It is much longer that most weeks not because there are more items – there are not - but because I had more to say about most of them. The mood is different too, darker. I couldn't help it. There is more about that below, at the bottom.
]



JEB BUSH SUPPORTS SSA PRIVATIZATION

It's impossible to keep up with all the Republicans who think they are qualified to be president so I rely on others to tell me what they are saying.

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) alerted me this from Jeb Bush:

BushSSPrivatizationNCPSSM370

Bush said that last Tuesday in New Hampshire. Here is the entire pertinent quote from his speech:

”Not that Social Security is an entitlement. I learned that in town hall meetings. It's a supplemental retirement system that's not actuarially sound. How about that?

”And certainly Medicare and Medicaid are entitlements and they're growing at a far faster rate than anything else in government. So it will overwhelm us. The contingent liabilities are clear.

“We can ignore it as we've done now—my brother tried, got totally wiped out. Republicans and Democrats wanted nothing to do with it. The next president is going to have to try again.”

Jeb Bush's brother tried to privatize Social Security 10 years ago. The idea is just as bad now. There is video of Jeb's speech at American Bridge along with more information. Oh, and about half what he says in this quote is untrue.


GARDENING WITH ELDER PRODUCTS

When you first hear that this gardening tip involves adult diapers, you think it's a joke and probably an ageist one at that. Well, it's not and it's a fantastic idea.


SAFETY FEATURES TOP CONSUMER CAR CHOICES

My car is 12 years old. It has 38,500 miles on it and I intend to drive it until, for whatever reason comes up, I no longer need a car. It has zero bells and whistles and serves me fine but I'm still interested in the amazing technology developments for automobiles in recent years.

Some, I think, are deeply stupid. Like using a phone under any circumstance at all while driving – even hands-free. I worry about that front-seat screen every car comes with now too.

And that is why I was heartened to read,

”Research shows that consumers are increasingly disinterested in needing to interact with their vehicle during the driving experience. Health and wellness systems, hand gesture controlled cockpit features, biometric driver sensors, and haptic touch screens are all out.”

Hurray for drivers. That information is from the latest J.D. Power survey of consumer auto preferences which reports that

”Among the technologies consumers express most interest in having in their next vehicle are blind spot detection and prevention systems, night vision, and enhanced collision mitigation systems.”

Here's a video overview of other findings from the survey.

You can read more here.


WHEN A BOOKSTORE CLOSES

I don't know if elders in general are readers or if this blog, for some unknown reason, attracts people who like to read – but there are a lot of us here.

I'm guessing that as much as we have embraced electronic readers and the ease of ordering books online, browsing in a bookstore is still a great pleasure but it's getting hard, these days to find one, especially independents.

A week or two ago, Adam Gopnick wrote in The New Yorker about the sad closing of a 70-year-old bookshop in Paris, from where he has been reporting for the magazine over many years:

”As Adam Smith understood so profoundly, economic choices reflect value choices. Markets don’t make men free; free men (and women) have to have the confidence to accept the instability that markets make. Otherwise, panic sets in.

“If we try to protect small merchants, or mourn their disappearance, the last thing we are being is nostalgic. Books are not just other luxury items to be shopped for. They are the levers of our consciousness. Every time a bookstore closes, an argument ends. That’s not good.”

The entire essay is here (and I'm fairly sure even non-subscribers can read it.)


DONALD TRUMP SAYS HE'S RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT

Donald Trump fudged his announcement as a Republican candidate for president last week when it was revealed that he hired actors at $50 a pop to cheer for him as he spoke.

Aside from Fox News, the media treated his entry into the crowded field as a joke. Mocking the man's penchant for putting his name in gold letters on almost any building he enters, this was the next day's cover of the New York Post.

WhiteHouseTrump370

We aren't required to take his announcement as anything more than a stupid joke for now because, as Politico noted:

“So far he’s not 'in in.' Federal Elections Commission records show Trump has yet to file any paperwork making his candidacy official. He has 15 days to do so.”

At least one person did take Trump's entry seriously – for its comic value. Actually, any comedian who breathes would feel the same way. Here is Jon Stewart and The Daily Show on “American id running for president.”

You also should not miss Stephen Colbert's impression of Donald Trump. It is amazing.


FRUITS AND VEGETABLES KILL MORE AMERICANS THAN HAMBURGER

In recent years, it has become commonplace, announcements that millions of pounds of hamburger are tainted and withdrawn from sale. It happens a lot with chicken too, that it makes people sick, and the U.S. is currently experiencing a shortage of eggs because of contamination.

Occasionally there is an outbreak of bacteria in packaged spinach or lettuce but who knew this? I didn't. Vox reports,

”According to an estimate from the CDC, produce causes nearly half of all food-borne illnesses, while dairy and eggs cause 20 percent, meat and poultry are the culprits in only 22 percent of cases, and fish and shellfish just 6 percent.”

You can read much more at Vox where the story also has an excellent list of procedures to follow in your kitchen so you can eat your fresh veggies and fruit and not get sick.


TORTURE IS JOHN OLIVER'S TOPIC THIS WEEK

The main story on Last Week Tonight last Sunday made me cry the first time I watched it.

I got teary because once again, this time on something so terrible, it is not the mass media anyone can see or read but Oliver - ostensibly a comedian on a cable channel hardly anyone can afford to watch - who consistently, week after week, exposes the hypocrisy, lies and deceit of the leaders our country allows to make decisions in the name of the people.


RUSSIAN RIVER FERRY

Thank TGB reader Darlene Costner as you gasp at the apparent fearlessness of these people crossing a river in a way you've never seen before.


HATEFUL, REPUGNANT RICH PEOPLE

Water is disappearing from the earth. Rivers and lakes are drying up and California, where a huge percentage of America's fruits and vegetables are grown, is (so far) the hardest hit by the drought in the U.S.

Now, on 1 July, water rationing goes into effect for the first time ever in one of the richest enclaves in California and America, Rancho Santa Fe. The entitled elite of the town don't like it.

”People 'should not be forced to live on property with brown lawns, golf on brown courses or apologize for wanting their gardens to be beautiful,' Yuhas fumed recently on social media. 'We pay significant property taxes based on where we live,' he added in an interview. 'And, no, we’re not all equal when it comes to water.'”

Really? Will they demand a greater share of the sunshine next? Here are a couple more:

”Barbre sits on the 37-member board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, a huge water wholesaler serving 17 million customers. He is fond of referring to his watering hose with Charlton Heston’s famous quote about guns: 'They’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands.'”
“'It angers me because people aren’t looking at the overall picture,' Butler said. 'What are we supposed to do, just have dirt around our house on four acres?'”

Oh, and one more thing:

”In April, after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) called for a 25 percent reduction in water use, consumption in Rancho Santa Fe went up by 9 percent.”

I fervently wish I were as smart and talented as John Oliver and his crew so I could more properly express my disgust. You can read more here about these loathsome people.


WHEW! IT'S A ROUGH WEEK AT INTERESTING STUFF

Almost everything in this week's post is ugly, awful and horrid, and I haven't even mentioned the terrible shooting in Charleston on Thursday. Some weeks are like that so I'm not apologizing.

But it IS tradition now that we end with something cute and cuddly and you'll be surprised at this one – an adorable, tiny octopus.


Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the upper left corner of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.

Comments

Super good stuff, as usual, Ronni. Absolutely love Stewart & Oliver. They made the past miserable week of "media madness" slightly more bearable.
I use to say that the world is mad, but now I'm inclined to re-phrase with the "US is mad." We have found the enemy & he is us.....we know who said that.

Have a great w/end in your low-mileage car.....without the bells & whistles! Dee :)

You live near the best independant bookstore of all, Powells. Nirvanah. :)

Loved that river crossing video. Now that was positive. Loved the no fancy stuff in cars bit too. I drive a 21 year old truck whose radio is fading away. The one thing I like about my radio is that it has an equalizer. I use it.

The rest of my truck has slowly been upgraded from no carpet/no drapes to having a carpet. Buying a carpet was cheaper than putting a rubber mat in the cab. LOL

I agree with you on the cars. Mine's was new in 2011 and I expect it to be my last (since I drive less than 3k a year). But I sure am envious of all the new safety features -- side vision, rear vision, collision prevention. lane change warnings. So many of them sound like even if I tried to get into a crash, I couldn't. There would be a lot of peace of mind in that. But I guess I'll just have to settle for being a safe driver with both hands on the wheel and minimum distractions on the dashboard. It's served me pretty well so far. At least I have antilock brakes, stabilization control, and brisk acceleration if needed.

When a millionaire (Jeb Bush) tells you Social Security isn't sound and wants to put your money into the volatile stock market that is even less sound, you know he doesn't have your best interests at heart.

I loved the cool Gardening with Elder Products video. What a great idea.

I need to go back to read Adam Gopnick's article about browsing in a bookstore. That's one my favorite things to do.

John Oliver's report on torture is so important and so well done. I wish that all of the Americans who supported it then and still do would get the report John talked about. Then they need to read as much of it as they can bear.

Why don't some elders get it? The Republicans will never stop trying to do away with Social Security (and the ACA) on ideological grounds. The facts do not support their position, but that will never stop them.

Heaven help us if we get a Republican president because Mother Nature will be the only one to save us from wrong headed dolts.

John Oliver's shows should be required viewing of all Americans.

Republican politicians want to privatize the social safety net like Hitler wanted to privatize the Jews.

My old faithful 1986 Toyota is in the auto shop for the weekend with a clutch problem. But it has served me well with few mechanical problems for nearly 30 years now, as I know it will continue to do.

My personal theory is that all the new "safety" features on cars just serve to distract us from what we should be doing, which is personally and carefully driving 3,000 pounds of machinery down streets full of cars and kids that WE should be watching for, not allowing computers to do it for us. I like that my car's transmission is not even automatic because, first, when a gear goes out, it's just that one gear not the whole expensive shebang; and second, shifting those gears keeps me engaged and alert while I'm driving. The fewer complicated automated features, the fewer things to go wrong.

The car still looks good because it was never a show car, just good honest transportation. I keep it in the garage when not in use and this, too, adds to its service, since to do so I must keep the excess "stuff" in the garage trimmed back at least enough to squeeze the car in.

I agree with Darlene that John Oliver should be required viewing.
I admire you, Ronni, for managing to put this post together despite all the disheartening, discouraging and disgusting daily news.
Thank you.

interesting, but not surprising, that the 10 candidates who will NOT make the executive order on torture into law, are all republicans.

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