Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sanity Sunday- Street Piano Medleys from AJ Hickling

by Nomad

For a lot of us, the last day of the year brings reflection before we march forward into the fog. For that reason, for this special Sanity Sunday, I searched for the appropriate kind of meditative music.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Annus Horribilis: A Look Back at 2017 Explains Why It Was Such a Rotten Year

  by Nomad

The Latin term, annus horribilis, translates to "horrible year" and it is hard to describe 2017 as anything but horrible. From political catastrophes to acts of violence to natural disasters, there wasn't too much cause for celebrate.
With a few hard-to-find exceptions the events of the year were, for the most part, just 365 days of awfulness. By the end of 2017, most of us seem shell-shocked and looking over this list, that's a natural reaction.
A year ago, we all thought it couldn't get much worse.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Saying Farewell to 26 Remarkable People that Passed on in 2017

by Nomad

As 2017 comes to a close, we should take one last parting glance at some of the famous (an infamous) characters who are no longer with us. Most of those on this list were not celebrated doctors, inventor or scientists. Nor were they statesman of great renowned.  Mostly just random celebrities who once occupied the spotlight of fame.

At 77, UK actor John Hurt succumbed to pancreatic cancer on 25 January. With a screen and stage career spanning more than 50 years, Hurt first became famous to American audiences for his jaw-dropping portrayal of the mad Roman emperor Caligula in the BBC series, I, Claudius.
He also played the flamboyant writer Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant, Winston Smith in the film "Nineteen-Eighty-Four" and John Merrick in "The Elephant Man." The list of film and stage credits is remarkable.
He once said:
I'd love to be one of those people who, whenever you see them, you feel pleased.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sanity Sunday - Have Yourself a Jazzy Little Christmas with Max Abrams

by Nomad

Nashville-based saxophonist Max Abrams may not be a recoginizable name but he has worked with a variety of major label artists. His goal, at least according to a press release is "to restore the saxophone to its pre-Hendrix, post-smooth jazz position in the forefront of American musical consciousness."
Not sure if I'm qualified to explain what that really means. But I do know what I like.

In honor of the holidays, Abrams puts a jazz spin on familiar Christmas songs.So, without further ado, here are three Christmas albums to jazz up your holidays.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Nomad's Good News Round-Up for December 2017

by Nomad

Winter Scene

We have literally been bombarded by bad news for the past year. Well, not literally but it seems like it sometimes.
Sometimes it feels like things are just out of control and headed for some dark and vaguely-terrifying place. It's too easy to retreat and say "To hell with it."
Speaking from experience, I know there are moments when throwing yourself on the bed and cowering under the blanket seems like the only solution left. Surrender is, however, not an option for people who actually care about the future.
So I keep hoping.

Anyway, that's why I devote every month to boosting the morale of the community. Here's this month's installment.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sanity Sunday- The Enchanting Music of Anna Tivel

by Nomad

Anna Tivel is an American singer-songwriter based in Portland, Oregon. She creates lyric-driven folk/Americana songs. Her albums are entitled Heroes Waking Up, Before Machines, Brimstone Lullaby, Small Believer.
Let's start off with my personal favorite. I will leave the interpretation of the evocative video in your hands.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

What Happens When the Wisdom of the Crowd Becomes the Frenzy of a Mob

by Nomad

There was a plot twist when TV show's premise recently played out in real-time. It opened up the question: what are the actual effects when the wisdom of the people is put to the test? 

Wisdom of the Crowd

One of CBS' new TV shows for the fall season was called "Wisdom of the Crowd." Despite its high-tech twist, this crime-fighting drama is pretty standard fare. See if you agree. Here's the sales pitch:
Driven by a need to find his daughter's killer, Silicon Valley tech innovator Jeffrey Tanner takes crowdsourcing to a new level, creating a digital platform for people around the world to publicly share and evaluate evidence for criminal investigations. 
Thanks to smartphones and other connected gadgets, anybody can become a crime-fighting hero, a private detective on a stake-out or an amateur Sherlock Holmes or Jessica Fletcher. Criminals are stopped dead in their tracks, courtesy of millions of watchful eyes and pecking fingers.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

One Teacher's Courage vs Melania Trump's Empty Platitudes on Female Empowerment

by Nomad

The story of this Turkish elementary school teacher illustrates the difference between true courage and hollow speeches by posers.

You've probably never heard of the "International Women of Courage Award" (IWOC). For the last 10 years, the US State Department has presented this prize to women " who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk." 

The 2017 ceremony was hosted by Melania Trump on March 29 at the State Department in Washington.  This year thirteen women were awarded from Bangladesh to Botswana, from Peru to Papua New Guinea. A young woman from Turkey was also honored this year.
Check out the photos from this year's event.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sanity Sunday- The Music of Sleepy Holler

by Nomad

This week's Sanity Sunday is a bit of a mystery. There's really not much information available on this group. Sleepy Holler is the musical project of songwriters Matthew Evans and his pal J.T. Wilcox who live in Austin, TX and Washington, DC. That's about all I could find about either of them.

Despite this lack of background, the music speaks for itself. Tell me what you think of these three songs.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Person of the Year Hypocrisy: How has Trump Escaped the Sex Scandal Avalanche?

by Nomad

Trump and Sexual accusers

Since October, Americans have witnessed an unprecedented and- some think- disturbing- spectacle. Sexual accusations against some important names have been flying from all sides. From celebrities to business figures, from journalists to politicians from both sides of the political spectrum.
So far, however, one man has managed to escape scrutiny that's been a long time in coming - the President of the United States.

The Weinstein Rumblings

The conflagration all seemed to begin with the stomach-turning revelations of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein back in October. That's when the New York Times and the New Yorker published the statements of a large number of women claimed that they had been sexually harassed or assaulted by the 65-year-old Weinstein. It was a disgrace litany of predatory behavior.

Initially, Weinstein went into denial mode with lawyerly threats to sue the news outlets. However, the accusations - lurid tales of forced massages and promises to advance careers in return for sexual "favors"- were both detailed and damning.

It seems like it was an open secret in Hollywood. Literally, hundreds of people must have known about the Weinstein problem and for decades, nothing was done about it.

In his own forced mea culpa, director Quentin Tarantino told reporters:
"I knew enough to do more than I did."
The fact that nobody wanted to speak out had as much to do with the privilege of power as the social dynamic of male-female relations. Weinstein could make things very difficult for an ambitious filmmaker or actor.
For that reason, nobody wanted to cross this very powerful Hollywood player. And so, if the stories are true, Weinstein carried on for years. Or should I say, he was permitted to carry on for years. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Incapacitated President and the Fatally-Flawed 25th Amendment

by Nomad

A Question of Stability and Security

Before Trump became president, there were plenty of people- smart people- who were questioning his mental stability. All through his business career, Trump was always quirky, spreading nonsensical conspiracy theories to outlandish and bizarre claims. That was fine and it seems all he really wanted was to call attention to himself.
All that changed when he somehow wound up as president of the United States. It is no laughing matter.

Tony Schwartz, Trump's ghostwriter and a man who worked closely with the man, labeled the 45th American president a “sociopath.”
I think that now he has moved to a darker place. He was non-ideological when I knew him.. I think he’s drifted into that more for emotional and psychological reasons than for political and ideological reasons.
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman said on CNN last week:
"Something is unleashed with him lately. I don't know what is causing it, I don't know how to describe it."
Throughout this past summer, there were consistent reports leaking from the White House of Trump's erratic behavior. Those close to the president have in October spoke privately Trump, they say was “unstable,” “losing a step,” and “unraveling.”
Professionals too weighed in.

A group of 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts recently warned that “anyone as mentally unstable as this man should not be entrusted with the life-and-death-powers of the presidency.” 
With denials of things he has already apologized for and with his excuses becoming more and more absurd, those drumbeats are growing stronger and stronger. Is the president insane and if he is, what are the steps to removing him from office?    

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sanity Sunday- Two Albums by Prosad

by Nomad

Prosad Freeman is a singer-songwriter, producer and a musician. I do mean a musician. He plays the sitar, guitar, saxophone, didgeridoo, bansuri, (flute found in many parts of India and Nepal) m’bira, (an African musical instrument) percussion, vocals and more.
His music ranges from a fusion of world instruments with reggae and trance beats, to acoustic meditation music.

Prosad is a nomadic performer and has performed across Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. His music transmits a positive vibration and spiritual energy. And you know what, that's exactly what we need at the moment.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Film Friday: The Brutally-Honest Animation of Steve Cutts

by Nomad

Artwork by Steve Cutts

It's time for Film Friday.

UK based animator/artist Steve Cutts is not what anybody would call an optimist. It has been said that his works are "nuggets of bitter truth sweetened with grotesque humor."

Black humor and satire are used to convey his opinions on fundamental aspects of modern society. Where's humanity heading? Where is the happiness we all seem to be desperate to find? What is the meaning of progress? Some big ideas for cartoons.
The aim of my work is to get people thinking more about these aspects. I see a lot of insanity in the way we live, and to progress, I think, we need to become more aware and look at the options we have more clearly.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Here's What the End of Net Neutrality Will Mean to All of Us

by Nomad

 Net Neutrality

The End of the Internet as We Know It?

In countries like Iran, Russia, and China, open internet access depends very much on the whims of the government. Through a wide variety of laws and administrative regulations, internet access in such countries is strictly limited. Such censorship has undermined the revolutionary promise of virtually-unrestricted openness for all global citizens.

In the West, the openness of the internet has been a source of pride and a benchmark of the kinds of freedom of expression and access to information that can be found only in liberal democracies.
However, soon that source of pride might soon become a source of shame.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sanity Sunday- The Music of Seckou Keita with Catrin Finch

by Nomad

This week's Sanity Sunday takes an ethnic turn and travels to the small West African country of Senegal. Senegal's rich musical heritage is due in part to the diversity and history of its people.One fine example of this rich heritage 39-year old Senegal- born Seckou Keita.

He is one of the leaders of the newest generation of African traditional musicians, fusing the traditional forms and instruments with those of other cultures. The instrument he is playing is called a "kora," a long-necked harp lute of West Africa. He is also a percussionist and singer. Remarkably, he is a self-trained musician and began studying on his own when he was seven years old.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Good News Round-Up - Thanksgiving 2017

by Nomad

What do you think? Is it time for a little good news?
It's been another demoralizing week in politics. There have been some fairly disgusting accusations flying around left and right. President Trump, his family, and all his cronies still haven't been called to account and it had to be patient and it is harder to be hopeful.

However, that is not the complete story. There's good news out there if you look for it.
With that in mind, I have scoured the net in search of optimism and glad tidings and here are four items that I've managed to uncover.

George Kaiser, the Philanthropic Oil Man

The Christian Science Monitor has highlighted the philanthropic efforts of Oklahoma oil tycoon, George Kaiser. Despite being the state's richest man, Kaiser (whose net worth is at
least $11.5 billion) doesn't go in for ostentation like any other billionaire. He is a simple man, reportedly does not own any vacation homes, airplanes or yachts; and travels on commercial flights.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Cutting Edge: What Happened When 3-D Printing Tech Collided with Gun Control

 by Nomad

Cody R. Wilson

The Fifth Most Dangerous Person on the Net

Free market anarchist and gun-rights activist, Cody R. Wilson of Austin, Texas, has a dream. He wants to end the gun control debate once and for all.
How? By giving every person who wants one the opportunity to own an unlicensed assault weapon. And he is using cutting-edge unregulated (and unregulatable) technology to make that happen.

As founder and director his non-profit organization. Defense Distributed, Wilson published open-source gun designs (CAD files) which can easily be downloaded and self-manufactured using 3-D printing and assembly tools.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Complicated Truth about Why So Many Women Go to Prison in Oklahoma

by Nomad

Photographer: Yousef Khanfar

Women Behind Bars

In the Sooner state, if you are a woman-especially if you are not wealthy- your statistical chance of ending up behind bars is far higher than in any state in the union.

In Oklahoma, 151 out of every 100000 women are in prison and that's twice the national average. In fact, according to a 2013 report, the state had the highest incarceration rate for women per capita in the world.

Are Oklahoma women more predisposed to crime for some reason? Are they just more inclined toward lawlessness than ladies in other parts of the country?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Diversion Time: General Knowledge Trivia Quiz

by Nomad

The art of hosting is based on knowing what your guests crave before they do. And based on the recent conversations on the blog, you need a something more than a steady diet of Trumpian politics. mass shootings and sordid scandal.
That's why I have devoted time to trivia contests, even if they are not strictly political.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Gates of War: Donald Trump and the Temple of Janus

by Nomad

Keeping the decision to go to war out of the hands of a single person has long been considered a prudent policy, dating back to ancient times. History has plenty of examples of what can go wrong when this restraint on executive power is ignored.
And that's exactly what Congress is doing with Trump.

The Sacred Gates of War

In Roman mythology, the god Janus was always connected to the ideas of beginnings, of gates, transitions, but also conclusions and endings. This duality is usually the reason Janus is depicted as having two faces, with one face looking to the future and the other to the past.

The Temple of Janus in Rome had a sacred custom of opening its great double-doors during times of war and closing them again in victorious peace. Not too surprisingly, the gates of war were rarely closed. There were always wars being waged somewhere, first to expand and later defend the conquered lands.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sanity Sunday - The Music of Bill Withers

by Nomad

At age 79. singer-songwriter Bill Withers sums up his career like this:
I don't think I've done bad for a guy from Slab Fork, West Virginia."
From 1970 to 1985, Withers dominated the pop music world with award winners like 1980's "Just the Two of Us" and Grammy-award song like 1971's "Ain't No Sunshine" and 1972's "Lean on Me."

And then something unexpected happened: Withers walked away- one of the few stars in pop-music history to abandon a lucrative career, entirely of his own volition. Despite his fame, Withers was never tempted to revive that career.

Wither's life began in a poor rural area in one of the poorest states in the US. The youngest of six children, his coal miner father died when Bill was 13. As if that were not enough, Withers was born with a stutter.

After a stint in the Navy, Withers traveled to California in the mid-1960s. And somewhere along the way, he conquered his stutter and picked up the guitar. While working at a factory, he was also writing his own tunes. 
"I figured out that you didn't need to be a virtuoso to accompany yourself."

Saturday, November 11, 2017

"Stay Tuned with Preet": One Podcast You Really Ought to be Listening to

 by Nomad

As the editor of this blog and host to a very interesting and well-informed community, I am always eager to hear your tips for high-quality sources. I am sure you've noticed that, with so much happening in Washington and all around the world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with it all.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Outrage and Indifference: Comparing Sex Scandal Claims against Spacey and Trump

by Nomad

Spacey's Disgrace

In the past couple of weeks, there's been understandable outrage over revelations regarding House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey.  
This sordid tale began when a fellow actor, Anthony Rapp, alleged that Spacey at an after-hours party attempted to seduce the then- 14-year-old Rapp. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Trump Card: Why VP Pence is Never Going to be Trump's Impeachment Ace in the Hole

by Nomad

VP Pence

There was a time when vice-president Mike Pence was thought to be the Republican trump card. Any discussion of impeachment was countered with Pence's option of pardoning any and all of the accused- whether or not they were convicted of any crimes. 
However, as the scandalous stain of Russian collusion expanding, that's becoming more and more unlikely.

Pence's Sinking Ship

In June, with the Trump Administration deep in the Russian collusion scandal, vice-president Mike Pence announced that his longtime aide and chief of staff would be stepping down.
In a variety of roles, Josh Pitcock had been with Pence since 2005. Starting to the time when Pence served in the House of Representatives, to Pence's term as Indiana governor, where Pence went, Pitcock was sure to follow. 
And at the beginning of a tumultuous summer, he bolted.
Meanwhile, the once vague allegations of wrongdoing looked more and more realistic.   

Last month, something similar happened. Pence's press secretary, Marc Lotter, also said "hasta la vista" to the administration. In that case, Lotter saw a brighter future in making the rounds defending Trump and Pence in the news media as a so-called surrogate. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sanity Sunday- Two Gabriels of the Subways

  by Nomad

If you've never been to New York, there's one pleasant thing that might catch you off-guard. That is the extraordinarily high quality of street music. Jaded New Yorkers think nothing of it. It is their background music but as a visitor, I was deeply impressed.  I suppose that's why I often feature street musicians on my blog.

That high quality is not an accident. Every year since 1985, the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority holds auditions, to maintain that standard.
The program is called “Music Under New York” or (MUSIC) and with acts like Haitian folk singers and Balkan party bands, reflects the wide cultural diversity of the city itself. 
Musicians Gabriel Royal, and Gabriel Mayers, who play and sing in the subway, are featured in this post.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Privileged Executive: How Sessions Has Shut Down Congressional Oversight

by Nomad

Jeff Sessions

One of the duties of members of Congress is to provide oversight over the executive branch. Presidents have long attempted to evade this scrutiny by means both legal and questionable. One tool at president's disposal is the use of executive privilege. 
Here's how Trump's Attorney General has used it to shield the president from oversight in the matter of Russian collusion.

No question about it, as a concept, executive privilege is a tricky thing. It is defined as "a constitutional principle" that allows the president (and high-level executive branch officials) to withhold information from Congress, the courts and ultimately the public.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Conservative Blogger Unmasks Laura Ingraham's Fake Populism of Mr. Trump

 by Nomad


It's always a pleasant surprise to find a post of the past linked on other websites. Okay, it's rather flattering. However, when the site that links is called "American Conservative," I tend to be wary about checking to see what gives. I was intrigued, but at the same time, prepared to be insulted and mocked. What I found, to my amazement, was something unexpected.
Common ground.

The Busy Ms. Ingraham

It's an understatement to call the 54-year-old Laura Ingraham a busy lady. She is a nationally syndicated radio show host, an editor-in-chief for her own website, a long time Fox News Channel contributor and starting soon, a full-on Fox News TV host. She riding a wave of conservative broadcasting and publishing that been very good to her. 

She is also a writer of bestselling books like Shut Up & Sing: How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the UN Are Subverting America, The Hillary Trap: Looking for Power in All the Wrong Places and The Obama Diaries. a fictional collection of diary entries not written by President Obama. And finally, there's this year's bestseller to be, Billionaire at the Barricades: The Populist Revolution from Reagan to Trump.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sanity Sunday- The Music of Manuş Baba

 by Nomad

Now a musical interlude in this calm before the storm.

Born in 1986 in the southeastern Turkish city of Mersin, Manuş Baba studied music in the Faculty of Fine Arts of Akdeniz Üniversity.

During this time, he played in coffeehouses, bars, and nightclubs either as part of a group or as a solo performance.

After graduation, Manuş later moved to Istanbul, the cultural capital of Turkey to advance his career.
For a young and talented musician, Istanbul is really the only place to be noticed and to grow as an artist.

He has earned deserved recognition in the last year and released his debut album in May 2017.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

How Rampant Corruption in Russia Forced Putin to Attack Western Democracies

by Nomad

A few days ago, Sergei Aleksashenko wrote an article in The Moscow Times that very likely went unnoticed in the West. Aleksashenko was Deputy Minister of Finance and Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank in the 1990s.
Since that time, Aleksashenko witnessed with his own eyes the 1992 promise of economic transformation turn sour. The creation of the Putin's autocracy, wiping away Russia's chance for substantive reform, has been one of the modern history's sadness stories.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Some Surprising Reasons Why Identifying Psychopaths is Harder Than You May Think

  by Nomad

Confessions of a Psychopath-Spotter

I recently found this extremely interesting and amusing TED talk by Jon Ronson. Even though you've probably never heard of him, Ronson's career covers a lot of ground: a journalist, author, documentary filmmaker, screenwriter, and radio presenter. And one other thing,  he is also a certified psychopath-spotter. He's taken the course and everything.

His TED lecture begins with Ronson stumbling across a DSM manual, the comprehensive manual of mental disorders. If you don't know, the DSM Manual is produced by the American Psychiatric Association and serves as the official authority on mental health diagnoses (and related insurance claims).

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Distraction: A Video Tour of the Turkish City of Izmir

by Nomad

Not too long ago, I posted some photos of Izmir which some of you found interesting. I thought I would follow up with a few video clips. These clips come from the city of Izmir only and not from the more beautiful outlying areas. Still, it's a lovely town, I think.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Trump and de Tocqueville: America's Battle Between Two Types of Patriotism

 by Nomad

Patriotism and What it Means

In 1831, the French diplomat, political scientist, and historian Alexis de Tocqueville made an excellent observation about patriotism in his masterwork "Democracy in AmericaDemocracy in America."

Strictly speaking, the term, patriotism means an attachment to a homeland. The word "patriotism" is derived from the Greek word πατρίς (patris), meaning 'fatherland.'
And with that comes all the loose connotations of a patriarchal system, defined as "a social system in which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authoritysocial privilege and control of property."  Historically, the term patriarchy was used to refer to autocratic rule.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sanity Sunday- Songs by Neil Young

 by Nomad

The spotlight of this week's Sanity Sunday shines on the classic hits of Canadian singer/songwriter, Neil Young. His biography is much too long and detailed to go into here but his Wikipedia bio covers all of the high points.
In November, Young celebrates his 72nd birthday (unbelievable, right?) and that makes him one of the surviving "greats" of the 60s.
A rare honor for a rare kind of artist.
Here's my selection of Young hits.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Film Friday: A Story about Hope and the Bookmobile

by Nomad

We all have stories to tell. It's one of the best things about having an online community: the stories you share. These are stories that make us who we are and what we believe. Stories about experiences that shaped us, for better or worse.

The animation below comes from the StoryCorp archives. The mission of this non-profit storytelling organization "is to record, preserve, and share the stories of Americans from all backgrounds and beliefs." 
We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters. At the same time, we are creating an invaluable archive for future generations.
In that regard, StoryCorps follows in the great tradition of oral historian Studs Terkel and the interviews of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the 1930s. Its weekly podcast should be on your list of things to listen to.
Below is a true story which has been made into a short film.   

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Good News Round-Up for Week Two of October 2017

by Nomad

With ugly events happening every place you turn, with stupid insensitive people running the show, and with so many people affected by man's inhumanity to man and all living things, you might sometimes think the world has gone to shit.

You might think that last remaining thing on the to-do list is to shovel the whole mess into a trash can and walk away.
That's one plan.

Giving in to despair might seem like the easiest thing to do. No question about that. That course, however, never made the world a better place, never saved a life and never inspired anybody to be a better person.

To remedy that, it is time for a round-up of the despair-immunizing news for the month. Let's start our search for good news in what might seem an unlikely place. The Carribean.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Reddit's AMA Reveals What Life in Post-Maria Puerto Rico is Actually Like

by Nomad

If you aren't a regular Reddit user, you might not be aware of some of the interesting things going on there. One of the topics- called subreddits- is AMA, which stands for "Ask Me Anything."

The premise is simple. A person with inside information, whether they be a scientist, celebrity or politician or an Average Joe or Jane willing to share with first-hand or eye-witness information.  He or she attempts to answer questions from the curious.
Like a virtual press conference for the world with the general question: "what's it like to be you?"

This particular subreddit has become one of the most popular on the site. As of May 2017, Barack Obama's AMA is the highest rated on the site. Wikipedia notes that the increased traffic for Obama's AMA brought down many parts of the website when it occurred on August 29, 2012.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sanity Sunday - The Music of Ian Randall Thornton

by Nomad

Ian Randall Thornton, a touring indie folk artist from Norfolk, Virginia, produces comfort music, precisely what is required for a Sanity Sunday musical break.

A review at Billboard magazine had this to say of Thornton:
"...beautiful vocal and instrumental layering, solemn and thoughtful lyrics, and a rousing chorus. The song’s stoic themes are also given a heavier weight with the impressive, breathy power of Thornton’s voice."
Hard to disagree with that.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Altruism or Anarchy? More Reasons Why Facebook Deserves Closer Scrutiny

 by Nomad

Facebook CEO

In Praise of Facebook

Until recently, most people believed that social media's influence on politics and on society was overall beneficial. It was the world forum for discussion. It allowed people a voice in nations where free speech was limited. Facebook supporters have often sounded like technocrat crusaders, determined to save the world through CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Louisiana Parish's Ignorance of Constitution May Cost Taxpayers in Legal Fees

by Nomad


Taking a Stand in Louisiana

Last week, a Louisiana parish school district took a controversial step to support President Trump and his stand against the NFL players who refused to honor the American flag.  

Superintendent Scott Smith of Bossier Parish notified 34 schools that standing during the national anthem prior to sporting events would be mandatory for all student-athletes. Smith said he would support decisions taken by school principals to make sure athletes stand.
According to his statement, it would be up to individual schools to discipline any defectors. Potential punishments range from “extra running to a one-game suspension.” 

To make this policy clear, a letter to athletes and parents describing the school’s rules during playing of the national anthem. Smith said:
"In Bossier Parish, we believe when a student chooses to join and participate on a team, the players and coaches should stand when our National Anthem is played in a show of respect. It is a choice for students to participate in extracurricular activities, not a right, and we at Bossier Schools feel strongly that our teams and organizations should stand in unity to honor our nation's military and veterans."
That might have been music to Trump's furry ears, but it, as we will see, extremely misguided.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Trivia Quiz: How Well Do You Know the 70s?

by Nomad

Time to take a short break from all the bad news. You've punished yourselves enough for one week.

I thought I would challenge you with this 15-question trivia quiz. The subject this time is the 1970s.
I have questions on news, culture, and even a sports question.Some of the questions are slightly obscure but all of them are multiple choice. There's no rule that says you can't guess.

Actually, there are only two rules: No Googling please. And after you've taken the test, don't spoil the quiz for the late-comers. It's only fair.

If you enjoy this quiz, please be sure to pass it along on social media so you can show your friends how clever you are.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Surviving in Post-Maria Puerto Rico

by Nomad

As of September 29, the situation in the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico has reached a full-blown humanitarian crisis in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Homeless Millennials

by Nomad

For this particular post, I will refrain from too much editorializing and allow the two videos to speak for themselves.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Sanity Sunday- Four by Creedence Clearwater Revival

by Nomad

It's hard to imagine anybody being unaware of the band Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR). Formed in 1967 in El Cerrito, California, this band consisted of lead vocalist, lead guitarist, and primary songwriter John Fogerty, his brother rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty, bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford.

Despite its San Francisco Bay Area origins, CCR's musical style was arguably closer to Southern rock. Besides the band's ability to crank out some good tunes, its enduring legacy was its political and socially-conscious lyrics.
The music has, over the years, been featured as part of the soundtrack in films about the Vietnam War, especially "Fortunate Son" and "Run Through the Jungle."

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Nomadic Trivia Quiz- How Well do You Know the Sixties?

 by Nomad

Thought you might need a bit of a weekend distraction. Here's a 10-question trivia quiz on the Swinging Sixties. I don't think this one's particularly difficult so googling the answers is definitely unnecessary. 
In any case, good luck. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fall of the Emigre: A Second Look at the Mysterious Death of Mikhail Lesin

by Nomad


For those who appreciate a conspiracy theory, the baffling death of Mikhail Lesin is straight out of a John le Carré spy novel. Officially, it was ruled as an accident and yet, given current events, Lesin's demise becomes even more suspicious.

Blunt Force Trauma

When the doors of the luxurious suite at the Doyle Dupont Circle Hotel were opened on the Thursday morning of November 5, 2015, Russian emigre, Mikhail Yuriyevich Lesin was found dead and alone. He was found without any identification in a hotel room that was under his name. Police detected no obvious signs of forced entry.
After some delay, a member from the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., confirmed the identity as that of 57-year old Lesin.

Traveling from Los Angeles, Lesin had been invited to attend a fund-raising dinner for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the city’s West End two nights before.

However, he had not appeared at the event and had failed to respond to phone calls or text messages from the fellow Russian who had invited him, a banker and philanthropist who was honored at that dinner.
Lesin's failure to attend must have seemed peculiar. He had recently confirmed he would be there and was flying into Washington specifically for the ceremony.

In fact, Lesin had been listed among other numerous guests. It meant, as one investigator points out, that "his potential presence could have been known to a large number of people, not all of whom were necessarily his well-wishers."

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Names in the News: A Crossword Puzzle

by Nomad

Distraction time- it's a crossword puzzle, specially made for Nomadic Politics readers! 
The theme is names of political people who are currently in the news. Some of them are well-known and some of them are a little obscure. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Invisible People: Why It is Important to Hear the Stories of the Homeless

by Nomad

But For the Grace of God

Throughout my childhood, I grew up hearing from my mother this phrase: "There, but for the grace of God, go I."

This was drummed into my head at the earliest age, not as some kind of arrogant boast of divine favoritism. It was instead a reminder never to take things for granted. No man, no woman or child should ever feel exempt from misfortune.

The vagary of life, sudden changes in circumstance, is the one things we all share. A business shuts down, an accident or illness, a poor choice, a hundred things beyond our control. (Add to that the temptations of drugs and alcohol and the instant relief of from boredom, stress or emotional pain.)

All of these things, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, are a part of our common humanity. Today, it might be that person who is begging on the street, living in their car or suffering from an addiction, but never ever think it could not be you or I in that situation tomorrow.
That was the greatest lesson my parents learned from the Great Depression.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sanity Sunday - Six in Ska

by Nomad

Last week, somebody commented that reggae music made them smile.With the news of the nation essentially on autopilot and Florida being ravaged by Hurricane Irma, bringing smiles is something of a challenge.
So, I thought I would devote this post to Reggae's precursor, Ska. The selection of these six is random; a few of them are originals and a few cover versions of earlier popular songs but with a Jamaican spin.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Before the Storm: A Special Announcement to Readers about Hurricane Irma

by Nomad

Path of Irma

Today the nation is holding its collective breath as Hurricane Irma sweeps across the Bahamas, threatening the state of Florida and very likely Georgia and the East Coast in general.  The latest prediction is that Irma will make landfall in the early hours of Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane.

It is possible - but unlikely- that Irma will surprise the weathermen and veer out to sea. Nothing is impossible. However, Few sane people are counting on that miracle.

The window of opportunity is closing as we speak. By now, all of us have heard the reports of mandatory evacuations and residents desperate to get out of Irma's path. We have seen images of crowded airports and highways blocked with traffic.