Institutions that value dissent and auatonomy foster productive equilibrium.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Repurpose the useless. Stair steps. Now computer lap shelf.

Useless things. Make use.
Broad vinyl step things. Down. Up.
Skip it. Too boring.

Other oddments in your life;

Here, a tribute to repurposing.
Use the sturdy step instead for your computer as you sit on the couch.
Computer lap shelf. Sick or well.
Have a low table ready in front of the couch. Or in bed.

Angle the stair step on it half and half couch.
Hold computer. Sit. Put on stair step. Lift easily to lap.
 Can get up and down easily, lift unit off and on.  All stable.

Family reunited as the kid watches TV.
Computer happy right there.

Other uses: plants,
Stand and compute with one leg up.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Vacation in Our Place. We invite President Trump.

Take a week off. Here comes a long sentence for a very short idea:  Vacation in our place. No golf, no Mar-a-Lago or the ghost of Marjorie Merriwether Post there, nice but appliance-dated family home, splendid mix of kids and grownies in the neighborhood (we are close-housed here), movies across the street, people's restaurants, you can walk to supermarkets, caretaking 24/7 that is an eye-opener with, yes, fun, some fatigue, and allows for introspection (trips to the library, you head for the computers, he heads for the stacks), learn how to make friends. Dan couldn't wait to tell his co-workers about this.

Benefits to you:  As Russia unfolds as it will under the various political and other microscopes, see the bright side afterwards.  Russia has a long, deep history that can teach all of us, in many ways. For bad things in its past and emerging now, don't foster continuance of them, please, by idolizing in the wrong direction  -- Putin is not a good mentor. Our guy is. He sees you as his friend. He is a loyal friend. And he will get your good humor back. Yes, he will.  Get feet back on the ground, the worthiness of a human being may take on new weight. Consider, is he to be limited in advance based on some generic textbook condition definition?  Meet our guy. He gives and enriches more than any of us do (obviously, a mom speaking), he is adventurous, productive, enjoyed new places improvised, we offer you a nice old TV with a remote in the bedroom for the sleepless, snows are probably over but team up with the neighbor to cope, Take an economy flight. How do ordinary people get home from the airport. How's the infrastructure, transportation, welcome. Live it. Drive yourself into the city. Same issues. We do. Have your peeps call our peeps. Vacation in our place. We'd move out, except for Dan, here, who stays for the week, you can cook, hug, do the field trips when he isn't working (he has a fine job), learn how his IEP's have helped so much. We'll be in the neighborhood on call. Google knows who everybody is, so just ask them our phone, medical records, likes, images, background, who Aunt Tillie was, was she legal, addresses for our whole lives, schooling, what was purchased in the last 20 years, at what price, how fat am I, did we search for what, why do we erase our history searches, are we sinister because some of us disagree (no --  ours is a house of multiples), on merits of ideas, no blind loyalty to person or party, just the nation. Not so bad. Not to be deported. We would welcome thee.

Friday, February 24, 2017

What Russia offers. Statistics in staccato view. Why is Trump so enthralled. Kleptocracy.

Trump:  Lord, I want to be like Russia, In-a-my heart?

Why, for heaven's sake?  Is it the 'opportunity' the system affords? Or ill affords?  Overview:
Elite predation. Elite predation, as in corruption, pocketing of budget funds, results in "low economic growth, increased wealth inequality, and inhibited political freedoms." See p. 317, Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia, by Karen Dawisha 2014, 
Here: A focus on statistics from, first, this source; and to be updated with other sources as found. These broad topics from a focused section of the Dawisha book,roughly pp. 312-317,  Putin's Kleptocracy: see  a) interview at;  b) NYT book review;   c) online pdf text

1. Mortality rates, other statistics, source page; and our references.  Here, from p.314

Women -- 5X increase in cardiovascular disease, attributed to poor medical care, than Europe; more die per year from domestic violence than men died in the entire Afghan war (1979-1989). Some 15,000 Russian men died there, see

Men -- Life expectancy ((64.7 years?) is 3 years less than for a Haitian, attributed to poor standards at workplace and road safety, high suicide and homicide, high alcohol. One fourth of Russian men die before 55. See also

Add our research: young men -- armed forces conscripts fail health tests half the time, are disqualified (apparently the practice is to reject, and not accept with the person then brought up to speed in training). See

2. Girls -- and boys, and men and women, subject to human trafficking, sex trafficking -- millions claimed, attributed to Russia's declining compliance with international conventions over some 9 years, and compliance described by US State Dept as below Rwanda, lowest ranking possible. See US Department of State

3.  Further attribution factors:

Corruption -- theft of funds from health budgets; inadequate protections (an 8 bed women's shelter in St. Petersburg still not established by 2013); oil and gas exports produced some 1.6 trillion (dollars? I think rubles would have been specified) but none went to build any interstate highway. Moscow needs one from Moscow to the far East, for example (China builds 4,360 highway miles annually; gas pipeline agreed between Russia and Germany 2005-2010 cost 3X more in Russia than in Germany; 50 billion (dollars again) expended for Sochi Olympics? half of that alleged by Russian experts (not named)  to have gone into Putin friends' pockets.

See, extra credit,

Whew. Now to page 315.

4. Education -- Enormous talent in "applied and theoretical sciences" but patent awards lag behind even Alabama in "total annual awards". That is .2% of some 1.3 million overseas patents awarded 2000. Russians apply for patents 36X less than Austria.  Performance does not match abilities.

5. Emigration -- Wistfully considered by entrepreneurs and innovators -- some 62% so self-identified and under age 35, "well-trained young graduates", in cities, speaking a foreign language, looking to self-actualize, succeed, are considering leaving (see details at page).  Attribution:  reaction to the regime  ("the KGB corporation"), not the country, so those who do leave could well come back.

6. Loyalty - essential to advancement. Not so funny description of choice -- be a chief, or be a fool. To move from fool to chief is a matter of loyalty, not merit.  See parallels? Try a Trump route -- feudal type fealty oaths, demand for absolute loyalty, as defense to zemmiphobia --

Loyalty over performance.

And page 315. This is a succinct, must-read, depressing book.

7. Degraded socio-economics. Attribution: to the political elite. One group (Transparency International) listed 177 countries on a corruption scale, and Russia was 127th.   Look at the Russian think tank called Indem for Information Science for Democracy Fund (now, there's a moniker).  Finding:  Russian budget is some 300 billion. Annual amount paid in bribes: some 300 billion. See other countries low in corruption control, comparison in text with Nigeria, and Nigeria is a little bit better.

Here we are at page 317. Time flies when.

8. Human Development:   Thwarted by elite predation:  Russia has talent and has educated its people so skills to get places (even if barred in other ways) are high here (Nigeria is low). People have education, enough meet the level of socio-economic qualities, skills to make progress. So why is this gifted nation so high on the corruption scale?  Attribution:  Social and economic end-runs.  Connections are valued more than performance. Corporate raiding is commonplace.
  • Finger points: "Elite predation" is the term applied.
  • Result of elite predation: "[L]ow economic growth, increased wealth inequality, and inhibited political freedoms."
    • Let's put that in twice, with emphases.
      • "Elite predation." Result: "[L]ow economic growth, increased wealth inequality, and inhibited political freedoms."
9.  Shift gears to Crimea, and revanchism.  

I get the point about statistics for Russia, not so good and attributable in large measure to, as the book title proclaims, kleptocracy -- enrichment of the elite through government. 

I am now interested in the topic that comes after:  What happened in Crimea, the effectiveness long-term of sanctions rather than war over it as a first response (thank you, Obama), and all that begins at page 318.  War first is weakness. Is that so? Add State-controlled TV and other media (Trump is on to this here), disregard of facts, making up how popular the measures taken are, and here is a new one:
10. Parting shots:  The State employs 1/3 of the Russian workforce as a whole. People under 30 -- 36% of them have state jobs, compared 12% in OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). Nonprofits are fleeing.Prosecutions and pecking persecutions of them and entrepreneurs, by tax and other enforcers who then can deflect funds, suddenly focusing on them, not a good climate for betterment.  And on and on, carry on yourself at page 320.  Then read the beginning, then read the very end, then skim the contents and index, and maybe then start to read the middle.  This is heavy stuff. 

Add personal interest:  The disabled. From our brief trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg, can attest that you do not see the disabled.  Yes,even with open eyes. Kept out of tourist areas, sure, but where else? I was traveling with my Down Syndrome son, and he was received well, so why are not more out there?   See a); b); anad  c)  

Enough. Go read. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Trump: The Gingerbread Boy. Catch me if you can. Irregularities got Trump elected, cumulative FBI, Russian.

Update 1.16.2017. Presumptive illegitimacy of processes, irregular activities to elect Donald P. P. Trump by FBI and Russia. If currently boycotting legislators as to the inauguration have a commitment from Trump to an independent comission to explore, can Trump redeem himself.

The Trump presidency will remain presumptively illegitimate so long as there is no independent probe of  a) his and his business' and his campaign's connections with Russia (contacts and relationships since 1986, see Financial Times 12.13.2016; and  b) partisan activities of the FBI in condoning Russian intervention into or political system, and fostering the candidacy of Mr. Trump.  He is already a laughingstock, and deservedly so, given his clutching record. Whether any 2013 events were documented is less relevant than the years of motive, opportunity, and clear enjoyment of using women and vicey versey, see  His best recourse to legitimize himself and how he got to office is by the independent commission to study the issue. Support

Issue:  Irregularities in achieving office. Runaway malfeasors,  passer-by malfeasors.
What comeuppance in the folktale world, if not the current political?

When self-fatted journalism and analysis fail, go to folktales for insights that stand for time's tests.
1.  Gingerbread Boy,  2. Runaway Pancake,  3.  Devil in the Dough Pan (there the dough didn't walk, the woman pitched it because the devil took advantage and was already in it).  Teach folklore to those entering statecraft for the first time.. 

1.  American folktale;  The Gingerbread Boy.  Some (like me) remember it as: "Run, run, as fast as you can. You'll never catch me. I'm the Gingerbread Man!"  In that version, the egotistical, self-styled supremacist hero was a grownup. Moral. Yes, somebody will catch you, just you wait. See

American folktale, with liberties:
  • A little old woman made gingerbread, shaped it into a boy (buttons, hands, and all), and popped the doughboy into the oven to get the hots needed to make it portable as well as digesetible. 
  • But when she opened the oven door to see if it had matured properly for the purposes intended, out the gingerbread boy ran, laughing all the way. 
    • Knowing he was not finished baking, she ran after him, and he taunted her. 
    • So her husband joined the chase, and the gingerbread boy taunted them both. 
      • The little gingerbread boy ran on, not paying his bills, playing hooky from briefings ("I bore without entertainment. I can delegate those, I can, I can.").
    • And he went on fibbing a mile a minute, laughing at facts, hiding his assets and conflicts of interest, blowing kisses at Poot, groping the ladies, buying more orange, and soon had passed, in addition, the threshers, and mowers, and a cow, and a pig, who all joined in the chase. 

      • In effect, he said, "I've run away from all these, and I can run away from you, I can!"  Congress took note, as did responsible journalists, but nothing happened.
  • Then, however, he ran past a fox!  Oh, no! Not a fox! Yes, a fox. And the fox could run faster than the gingerbread boy because it owned 99.99% of the airwaves and it was the fave in the midlands, and the fox caught the gingerbread boy.  
    • What now? Thought the gingerbread boy. I know, I'll think up something and apply it. Where is math? I took that once in school. Think, brain, thimk. Can it help? And he cried out.  And did his new math work?
      • "Oh, no!  I'm a quarter gone!"  Munch. munch, went the fox.
      • "Oh, no! I'm half gone!"  Munch, munch went the fox.
      • "Oh, no, I'm three-quarters gone!" Munch, munch, went the fox.
        • And, finally, "I'm all gone!" And silence. But there was still a munch, munch, from the fox, and a crass burp for the buttons.     .................................................................................................................
2.   German folktale, The Runaway Pancake. See   Here, the pancake cannot be caught by speed, because he is faster even than the fox.

 When playing by the rule-setter's rules (here, this is a race by race rules) it may happen that interested parties who are not good racers may well lose.

 Interested parties in such case, however, may and usually will resort to trickery in order to be winners, and is that the moral? If a trick can be found to win, use the trick? By the time it is found out, it is too late. The winner is declared!.

German folktale, with liberties.
  • Two women made a pancake, but when it was nearly done, they each wanted all of it, and quarreled. 

  • The pancake heard the nonsense argument, sprouted legs for itself, got out of the pan and ran out of there, right out the door. 
  • The pancake then passed a fox, a hare, and a ship full of people on the water. Each asked, "Hey, pancake. Where are you going?"  
    • Answer: "I ran away from all those and I can run away from you, too." And the running went on. 
  • Then the pancake passed a pig, who also asked why all the running?  "I can outrun you, too," taunted the pancake.
    • "Eh?" said the pig, sidling a little closer, tilting an ear? "Eh?"  
      • "I said," said the pancake, "I ran away from all those and I can run away from you, too."
        • "Eh?" said the pig (a Canadian pig), looking puzzled, head tilting an ear even closer.
          • "I said," said the pancake, "I ....." 
            • And that was the last word.
              • Snap, chomp, went the pig's jaws and teeth, and soon there was no pancake at all.
                • A trick in time saves nine. 
                  • If you can't win by somebody's rules, make up your own.
                    • Otherwise you're a loser.
4.  Russia folktale, The Devil in the Dough-Pan. See
The moral here is prevention:  Do it right the first time and save your dough.

This tale also issues a warning to the demon Potanka and his ilk:  Don't settle in too fast in what looks like a foolish person's mistake. You may think you won, but she may yet have wits, and do you in.

Russian folktale, with liberties: 
  • A woman, kneading bread, forgot something very important.  She forgot to bless it. 
  • Aha! thought the demon, Potanka, who was passing by. She has forgotten to bless the bread! And he came and sat right down on it. 
    • Now, I remember, thought the woman. I forgot to bless this bread!  And so she did -- she went right up and blessed it. She crossed herself.  There.
  • Now Potanka had just shut his eyes to enjoy a nice nap on a soft place, when he heard her come back. She had remembered her mistake!  She had not blessed the bread!
    • But he was too late. She had already blessed the bread -- with Potanka on it.
      • Did the woman see him, or did she just figure she had better get rid of that dough anyway. Either way, she rolled it all up and pitched it out into the street with the pigs.
        • Lucky us, said the pigs, as they rolled the dough and Potanka round and round for three days.
          • Finally Potanka got out of the terrible dough and escaped.
            • Where have you been, Potanka boy, Potanka boy?
              • I got stuck in a woman's dough! Never again, he swore.
                • Wit a sly wink, indicating that oh, yes, he would?

4.  Read more Russian fairy tales at and the Runaway Pancake. Stories often feature old women. Here, Romania, not Germany, but folk tales cross borders

5.  Read more international insight tales at -- Denmark, England, Ireland,

A Pig's Tale:  Our hero in another guise,  For a Romanian folktale with the moral that doing good for a creature, helping others, despite obstacles and risks, repays itself many times, try this one:  Aspirational presidencies.  See also, pick your own topic, at

Monday, December 05, 2016

How to bell the Trump cat? If in office, contain. If not yet, there are procedures.

Nov 26, 2016 - There are always options before the Electoral College votes; and before an Inauguration. It is like the rescission period for vacuum cleaner. Broadly.  With time getting short to the electoral college now, review here. Procedures and concepts addressed in this update.  Look at issues of conflicts and ethics that are not yet resolved.  How to preserve them for action, if not now.

Belling the Cat.  The old story holds that the mice give up when noone will step up to bell the cat.  The tale as tole by Piers Plowman, however, goes beyond.

1.  Containment.  When it is not possible to do away with it entirely, box it in, deprive it of prey. The issue of belling the cat). Piers Plowman's version of the old story makes sense.

Where that is too time consuming, be direct:

2. Amend regulations governing specific objectionable, dangerous activities of employees of the executive branch, to include the executive branch itself as "employee" of the nation, if no other statutory or rules framework applies. See 5 CFR 2635, Standards of Ethical Conduct.  Include specific sources of the topic. Code of Federal Regulations   5 CFR 2635.801 - Overview of regulations applicable to employees.

  •  The President and Vice President do appear to be included as employees for purposes of controlling their outside behavior.  Unless "subparts" refers to other subparts of a part not immediately here. It does get complicated.
5 U.S.C. 3371, et seq. here with emphases added --

"For purposes other than subparts B and C of this part, it does not include the President or Vice President."
So they are included for B and C.  See, the Code of Federal Regulations. Aha?

See  prohibition on outside employment or any other outside activity that conflicts with the employee's [see definition above] official duties, limits on receipt of outside earned income by certain Presidential appointees and other noncareer employees; limits on participation in professional organizations;limits on paid and unpaid teaching, speaking, and writing; and limits on fundraising.


"An employee shall endeavor to avoid actions creating an appearance of violating any of the ethical standards in this part and the prohibition against use of official position for an employee's private gain or for the private gain of any person with whom he has employment or business relations or is otherwise affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity."

So:  Look to your conflicts, Mr. President-elect.  The clock is ticking.  Electors, this is your nation. more than your party or your state. Vote accordingly.  Selah

See FN 1, for discussion. So many behaviors are red flags.  Isolate, list, find a way to preserve evidence (do not condone).

See also

2.  Selected journalists addressing the issue of ethics and this president-elect:   See new analysis in particular, at

3.  Original post, abbreviated.

There are always options before the Electoral College votes; and before an Inauguration. Any elector can exercise honorable faithlessness and vote conscience. Such should be considered free of constraint by party or State and may vote conscience without penalty or vengeance wreaked later. Is Issa listening?

Keep a list of violations-in-waiting, and violations in process to establish a pattern, at least.

a.  Use of office for personal gain. How is the business interest, the brand, insinuating itself in official actions that promote the business. See

b.  Currently now in the news in a serious way: The electorate learns that they have been misled fraudulently by a foreign power to denigrate the malleable candidate's opponent, to instill reflexes that the opponent is untrustworthy, a liar. See

c.  Currently now in the news in a serious way.  Fake news. Recognize the damage of disinformation.  Free the electors to vote conscience.

d.  Fraud on the voter.  False promises, false claims of representing their interests, while putting throw-away (not qualified for the job) pay-to-play or token appointees in line for SBA, HUD, Education etc. People without education are more easily exploited, is that so, and is that why our president-elect is throwing away real-world standards in education with his Education choice?  To any curriculum, add how to defend against the Predatory Arts. People trying to persuade you of something. Spot the tactics. Start with those around you, your community, your harder-to-relate-to genus.

e.  Quackery may well be woven into our own history, see Smithsonian Magazine, The Fastest Nun in the West Nov. 2016; but that does not excuse ongoing exploitation.

f.  Legal means:  the injunction, the restraining order, the declaratory judgment.
If a president does this, is it possible to include it as a conglomerated impeachment filing, where each particular item in itself may not suffice.

Each family, each individual, each community, shall school everyone in the

And the big one, Impeachment:  “The president, vice-president, and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Constitution Article II Section 4.
  • 2.  High crimes and misdemeanors. "Since 1386, the English parliament had used “high crimes and misdemeanors” as one of the grounds to impeach officials of the crown. Officials accused of “high crimes and misdemeanors” were accused of offenses as varied as a) misappropriating government funds, b) appointing unfit subordinates, c) not prosecuting cases, d) not spending money allocated by Parliament, e) promoting themselves ahead of more deserving candidates, f) threatening a grand jury, disobeying an order from Parliament, g) arresting a man to keep him from running for Parliament, h) losing a ship by neglecting to moor it, i) helping “suppress petitions to the King to call a Parliament,” j) granting warrants without cause, and k) bribery. 

Meanwhile, get familiar with wordings, to keep straight the definitions, contexts. See subheadings  [Same site, at Cornell University Law School]
SUBPART B — Gifts From Outside Sources (§§ 2635.201 - 2635.205), see discussions at 
SUBPART C — Gifts Between Employees (§§ 2635.301 - 2635.304) 
SUBPART D — Conflicting Financial Interests (§§ 2635.401 - 2635.403) 
SUBPART E — Impartiality in Performing Official Duties (§§ 2635.501 - 2635.503), see discussions at 
SUBPART F — Seeking Other Employment (§§ 2635.601 - 2635.606). See discussions at 
SUBPART G — Misuse of Position (§§ 2635.701 - 2635.705). See discussions at 
SUBPART H — Outside Activities (§§ 2635.801 - 2635.809) 
SUBPART I — Related Statutory Authorities (§§ 2635.901 - 2635.902)