Author: hammondpaul91yahoocom

President Trump

President Trump

Another one topic that we were asked to discuss on our blogs was Election Day. What a day it was. I think i’ll remember the feeling of gloom that I felt everywhere I went that day for awhile. I don’t think I really have to explain what happened. Donald Trump shocked the world and won the contest that grants him the job of the President of The United States, therefore making him the most powerful man on the planet. I can remember the smiles on everyones face as if it was all a joke when hearing his name at the beginning of the primaries. For example, I distinctly remember a text message from my girlfriend that read “Donald Trump is running for President, that’s why I don’t give a shit about politics.” I think a lot of people are not realizing the extent of what a fucking crazy point in history we are currently watching unfold. I don’t see a scenario where a history professor many years from now casually glosses over this election and what happens going forward.

Trump shot right out the gate ranting about china and his realistic ideas on immigration. The crazier he got with it, the more we talked about and him and the more the media covered him. During the republican primaries he one by one took out his opponents assigning them the following nicknames. 1 for 38 Kasich, low energy Jeb, little Marco and lying Ted. He even accused Ted Cruz’s father of having a part in the JFK assassination. While all that went on tragic terror attacks and the issue of police brutality that led to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement pushed partisanship and identity politics to the extreme. Then we got to the general election. Russia got involved, hacker group Wikileaks hacked the Democratic National Committee exposing Hillary Clinton for more corruption (didn’t think that was possible), false information spread all over the internet and of course pussygate.

I very much did not like Donald Trump throughout the election. I don’t think anything he said had any substance, his rhetoric was hateful and I don’t think its a coincidence that racists love him. He is clearly an egomaniac and a narcissist to a clinical point. If I ever found myself talking to someone who talked like Donald Trump I would look to the sky and pray for a large object to fall exactly where that person stood. His supporters really liked the fact that he was not previously a politician and did not sound like one. This would normally would be something I would appreciate too but not in this case. Donald Trump in my eyes somehow manages to sound worse than a politician. He sounds like someone who has no idea what they’re are talking about. He will say the same sentence three times to buy himself more time to think about what he is going to say. I think a lot of the things he says sound so crazy because he’ll start talking like a shot out of a cannon and then has to scramble to finish the thought he started because what he originally said was so ridiculous. I also reject the common claim now that he is going to “drain the swamp.” His rumored cabinet candidates include classic establishment republicans like Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie who epitomizes Republican corruption.

I briefly just summarized my most major issues with President Donald Trump but I would now like to present a more optimistic route and leave you with some food for thought. I think this election completed the merger between entertainment and politics. America is done with the classic politician. Now most people immediately write this off as a negative thing that now most presidential candidates will be celebrities. It doesn’t help that the first one they think of is Kanye West. But is it that crazy? Can an assortment of candidates from different fields of business, the sciences and the arts be worse than politicians who at this point are basically professional bribe takers. Just maybe this is exactly the kind of transformation we need to expand ideas, diversify thought and get rid of the current two party system. Will it happen? I don’t know. But what I do know is that these next four years are going to be interesting.

Pioneers of Television: Standup to Sitcom

For an assignment we were asked to watch and write a blog post about the PBS series Pioneers of Television. The series explores different topics that span the history of television. I did not take me much time to choose the episode titled Standup to Sitcom being that I am a huge fan of comedy. So I sat back on my couch, drank two and a half beers and watched the show. The episode explains the art form of stand up comedy through the careers of comedic giants Jerry Seinfeld, Roseanne Barr, Tim Allen, Ray Romano and Bob Newhart.

The first comedian they explore is Jerry Seinfeld. Footage is shown of the first time Seinfeld performed stand up and his rise to fame following his first performance on Johnny Carson. After Jerry Seinfeld conquered the stand up he then went on to develop and star in what I think is undoubtedly the greatest sitcom of all time. I know Seinfeld is an incredible show because my Dad quotes from it and references it constantly and I still love it. Seinfeld details how NBC came to him and asked what idea he had a for a show. And he replied “I thought you had an idea.” Luckily, Jerry’s good friend Larry David had an idea, which went on to be one of the funniest television shows of all time.

“The whole show came from the way Larry and I relate. And that what was why I had asked him to work with me on it. . And he had a lot more ideas than I had, so he really  helped structure the whole thing.” Jerry Seinfeld on Larry David.

Seinfeld than reminisces about classic moments from the show like the famous Marine Biologist episode and the bit about George doing everything against his instinct. After the success of the show, Seinfeld returned to his place at the top of the standup game. The narrator swiftly transitions from comedian to comedian, detailing the rise to fame and the defining moments of their career. Roseanne Barr quickly went from being a waitress and a mom to moving to Hollywood and starring on a sitcom that was really able to push a progressive message onto the American public. Tim Allen made his career on joking about the blue collar dad. And Ray Romano makes me uncomfortable and I still don’t get what all the fuss is about. It seems like twenty years ago all it took was one good set on the Late Night comedy circuit and then you immediately got a show. What all the figures represent is the classic definition of a good comic. They gave their entire life to their craft. As the narrator puts it “comedy is not a job it is a life.” “You don’t really think about ‘why do i do this?’ it’s just the thing you do” Seinfeld explains.

Comedy has always been something that has grabbed hold of my attention. I still remember the first night my brother showed me South Park when I was younger, and I ended up on the floor kicking my legs in laughter. It seems to exist in infinite forms and has the ability to take us away from all negativity in the world for a brief moment. Comedians to me are like the philosophers of our time. They expose the world and force us to think. Comedy is currently really helping me cope with the current state of the world. Like all art, when comedy is good slips it behind your ego. It bypasses any barriers you’re putting up and speaks directly to the psyche.

The Sugar Conspiracy

The Sugar Conspiracy

For my assignment on a New York Times article I decided to do mine on a topic that immediately caught my interest. I found out about this issue on my favorite podcast, The Joe  Rogan Experience. Joe often brings health experts like Chris Kresser and Dr. Rhonda Patrick on his show to discuss various health issues. He routinely recites the fallacy that fatty foods raise cholesterol. The real culprit is sugar and this New York Times article reiterates that point. In fact it exposes the sugar industry for paying off scientists to blame saturated and trans fats as the main cause for heart disease. The documents exposing the sugar industry were recently published, and they reveal that the studies put forth in the sixties and seventies were false.  The Sugar Association paid three scientists from Harvard $50,000 to dish out the faulty studies in the New England Journal of Medicine. It is quite the dietary conspiracy.

Unfortunately, this type of story is nothing unusual. The New York Times goes on to talk about another story they put out a year ago explaining how Coca-Cola has put millions of dollars into downplaying the link between sugar and obesity. The article that reveals that Coca-Cola has a partnership with the Global Energy Balance Network, a non profit that routinely deflects the blame for obesity and heart disease away from dietary habits and towards lack of exercise. Organizations like the The American Society for Nutrition and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have also been accused of being coerced by food giants. Marion Nestle, author of Soda Politics explains this issue.

“The Global Energy Balance Network is nothing but a front group for Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola’s agenda here is very clear: Get these researchers to confuse the science and deflect attention from dietary intake.”-Marion Nestle

It is pretty clear that a lot of these dietary scientists are being corrupted and influenced by big food and beverage conglomerates. I find it incredibly shameful that there is actually false information being published in medical journals about something as important as diet and health. Considering that heart disease is the leading cause of death, killing 7.4 million people annually according to the World Health Organization, it blows my mind that anyone would do something like this. And on top of it, saturated fats aren’t really that bad! Sure, when consumed in excess they will raise your LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and can clog your arteries. However, this study concluded that saturated fats and essential for your body to produce testosterone!

I personally think that diet and health is vital issue and deserves to be discussed more frequently. Now that we know that a lot of mainstream rhetoric we commonly hear are not always true, we need to be more skeptical and challenge ides. The importance of diet needs to be more properly understood in order to develop a happier and healthier general public. A more objective approach that is not influenced by private institutions need to be put in reveal the truth and prevent disease and premature deaths.

One of The Most Pressing Issues that No One Is Talking About

One of The Most Pressing Issues that No One Is Talking About

We live in a world that is rapidly changing, adapting and innovating. We are starting to see another chapter of technological revolutions that will significantly alter the way our society operates. Artificial intelligence or “robots” are coming and they are very capable of replacing the average worker. In fact they are already here considering there is most likely one named Siri in your pocket as you are reading this. We have been warned by literally hundred of sci fi movies about how the invention of digital beings can lead to mankinds demise. This is a very serious problem, because a recent United Nations report estimated that as many as two thirds of current existing jobs could be lost to automation. It seems as if humans are at a fork in the road, stuck between a utopian hippy paradise or a impoverished distopia.

You may have seen recently that Uber tested out self driving cars in Pittsburgh. Maybe you went to Wendy’s or ordered a pizza from Domino’s recently. It is becoming increasingly clear that computers and automation will be replacing a lot of us in the workforce. This is what is being referred to as the digital revolution. It is accelerating globalization and making the average routine job obsolete. The current forecasts are staggering and suggest unemployment reaching a new record high. If we do not start planning for what seems inevitable society is at risk of experiencing a level of social destabilization like never before.

“We are approaching the time when machines will be able to outperform humans at almost any task, Society needs to confront this question before it is upon us: if machines are capable of doing almost any work humans can do, what will humans do?” -Moshe Varde computer science professor at Rice University.

I think it is alarming that this issue is not on the forefront of human debate. The rise of artificial intelligence and the future of the economy was not mentioned in this election cycle. Instead, we opted to argue about various decade old rape scandals and race issues. I’m not sure if everyone is aware of the severity of the issue of unemployment. Unemployment is already linked to 45,000 suicides a year and I am not excited to see how many they will cause if we do not find a solution. A report from the god damn white house reported to congress that there is an 83 percent probability that a worker earning less than $20 an hour will eventually lose his job to a machine. So the question we have to ask is, what the hell are we going to do?

UBI

The idea of universal basic income is the idea of government providing its citizens with a conditional income with zero work requirement. Advocates of the controversial idea that if you provide . The idea was first suggested by a founding father, Thomas Paine. In his political pamphlet from 1791 The Rights of Man he argues that an honest and efficient government should always have a surplus of tax revenue that he believed should be redistributed to the poor and elderly. Paine gets much more radical in Agrarian Justice and talks about poverty calling it “a thing created by which is called civilized life. It exists not in the natural state” and argues government should issue payments to citizens annually as well as at age 21 (adulthood) and 50 (elder). Thomas Paine laid the groundwork for the theory, but it was two economic giants of the 20th century Frederich Hayek and Milton Friedman that really legitimized its argument. Friedman’s contribution came through Richard Nixon’s attempted implementation of his Family Assistance Plan, that would grant poor families up to $10,000 a year. Even real life Tony Stark, Elon Musk recently suggested ubi as probability going forward. Lastly, and most importantly, Dr. Martin Luther King advocated for a universal basic income as an extension of the civil rights movement. A universal basic income was the main topic in his final book that was published in 1967 titled Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? In it he states the following…

We have come a long way in our understanding of human motivation and of the blind operation of our economic system. Now we realize that dislocations in the market operation of our economy and the prevalence of discrimination thrust people into idleness and bind them in constant or frequent unemployment against their will. The poor are less often dismissed from our conscience today by being branded as inferior and incompetent. We also know that no matter how dynamically the economy develops and expands it does not eliminate all poverty.

The natural instinct for most is to write of ubi as unfeasible or communist. However, we are already starting to see it being implemented. Switzerland already dishes out $2,800 a month to its citizens and here in the United States, Alaska annually redistributes it oil revenues to its citizens. There is clearly a lot of things that would need to be worked out for ubi to fully succeed but it is the only idea to my knowledge that attempts to resolve the issues I am writing this blog about.

Burning Man

Haha yes, maybe this counterculture extravaganza is a glimpse into the future. The music festival out in the desert operates on a gift economy with no currency. So did these dirty naked hippies just solve these uncertainties facing humans? To early to tell, but what is becoming increasingly clear is that if we do not figure out how humans will provide for themselves once the digital revolution ushers in a wave of artificially intelligent machines that are capable of doing the majority of societies tasks, we’re all fucked.

How this Deadly Drug Manufacturer Plans to Keep Your Kids Safe

How this Deadly Drug Manufacturer Plans to Keep Your Kids Safe

This election day five more states will vote on legislation regarding the legalization of Marijuana for recreational use. Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada are all on the ballot for being legalized on November 8th. There is a solid chance that these five states will join the likes of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington as the select few to legalize marijuana for recreational uses. Support for legalizing the drug is growing and the latest gallup poll indicates that 60% of americans support legalizing the drug, the highest its ever been. However, the legalization movement isn’t being met without resistance. The powerful painkiller Fentanyl is lobbying to make sure marijuana does not become legalized in Arizona.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid and prescription narcotic prescribed mainly to patients suffering from severe pain. It is highly addictive, deadlier than heroin and killed the man who wrote Purple Rain. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that in 2014 there were at least 28,000 overdoses in 2014, up 79% from the year before. Earlier this year Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit against fentanyl stating”This drug company’s desire for increased profits led it to disregard patients’ health and push addictive opioids for non-FDA approved purposes,”.

The bill on the ballot this election day is called Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative, or Proposition 205. If passed, the bill would allow Arizona citizens over the age of 21 to recreationally use and grow marijuana up to six plants. Insys Therapeutics, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures fentanyl, gave $500,000 to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, an organization aiming to prevent Propositon 205 from being implemented. In a statement, Insys explained its opposition to Proposition 205 stating “it fails to protect the safety of Arizona’s citizens, particularly its children.”

Insys’ claim is quite ironic considering it is twice as potent as heroin and the number of overdoses linked to fentanyl are rapidly increasing. Meanwhile, legalizing marijuana in has had positive outcomes in states like Colorado. Legal marijuana in Colorado has created more tax revenue than alcohol and is a billion dollar industry. It is helping the states homeless problem and has benefitted education. The publics support for legalizing marijuana for recreational use is overwhelming and is only growing.

Perhaps Insys Therapeutics motives for fighting Prop 205 have more to do with business than public health. Considering the pharmaceutical firm has its own synthetic marijuana compound, it is in its best interest to keep pot illegal. Or their opposition could stem from the fact that marijuana is considered to be the answer to stopping opiate abuse. Not only is it deterring opiate abuse, is proving to be more effective and a safer alternative to opiates. So much so that this study done by the Drug and Alcohol Review revealed that 80% of patients preferred marijuana for treating their pain. People are not buying Insys Therapeutics bullshit explanation for their lobbying efforts to prevent marijuana from being legalized in Arizona. The support, medical benefits and positive effects on communities where pot is legal is too vast for the makers of Fentanyl to deceive the public.

The Feeling In Your Gut

2000 years ago, the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, said “all disease begins in the gut.” This phenomena is currently on the forefront of modern health. A healthy gut is essential to preventing metabolic diseases, bone diseases, and achieving optimal cognitive function. Not only that, but research done over the past twenty years has linked an unhealthy gut to diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, autism spectrum disorder, depression, and chronic fatigue syndrome. The National Commission on Digestive Diseases reported that in 2009 that more than 60 million Americans were affected by digestive diseases at the cost of over 100 million dollars in direct medical expenses. Researchers on the topic believe that supporting and maintaining intestinal and gut health will be most significant issue of medicine in the 21st century.

The two primary factors for a healthy gut deal with the type of bacteria living in your gut as well as the integrity of the lining of your gut. Humans have ten times the amount of microbial cells (bacteria) than we do human cells. We have enough bugs in our body to fill a half gallon jug container. Now the natural impulse is to assume that bugs and germs are bad for our health and will make us sick. WRONG. You idiot, these bacterias are essential for things like mood, memory, the immune system, hormone regulation, mineral absorbency, vitamin absorbency, ability to eliminate toxins and your overall health in general. The second factor I mentioned, the integrity of you gut lining, can lead to a what is called a leaky gut. It is medically labeled intestinal hyperpermeability, and it occurs when the lining of the small intestine is damaged. This occurs when a food someone is sensitive too is consumed and causes inflammation. When this inflammation occurs the protective barrier between your intestine and bloodstream are damaged. Now large molecules are able to leak into your bloodstream, generating antibodies and increasing your chance of catching viruses.

More importantly than what I just discussed above is what a healthy gut will do to your brain. Recent research has shown that your gut can effect cognitive functions like clearer thought processes and memory. The evidence of your gut and brain being directly linked is leading to health professionals labeling the gut your “second brain.” It is now believed that serotonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates mood and mental health is mainly generated in the digestive tract. What else do you need to know? A healthy gut makes us happier and smarter! But don’t take it from me, listen to an expert. (Starts talking about the gut at 5:08)

Like what was just explained, the key to a healthy and properly functioning gut is probiotics. And what are probiotics? They are bacteria and yeasts that are good for your digestive system. They are often referred to as “friendly” bacterias. Probiotics can balance the amount of good and bad bacteria in your gut which like Chris Kresser just described can boost your immune system, limit food cravings, prevent infectious parasites, and over long term prevent fatal diseases. Here are some of the best sources of probiotics and what kinds you should look for.

Yogurt

Probably the most common and well known food with probiotics. Look for yogurt products that come from goat’s milk because they are known to have the most concentrated forms of probiotics like hermophillus, bifudus, bulgaricus and acidophilus. Be sure to read the yogurt products label before buying, yogurt can be extremely high in sugar.

Kefir

Kefir is something that not too many people seem to know about. It is very similar to yogurt and is made from fermented goats milk and grain. Kefir is also very rich in antioxidants.

Sauerkraut

That’s right these fermented cabbages and vegetables are filled with healthy probiotics as well as several vitamins. So next time you go for a hot dog lather up the pork penis with some tasty sauerkraut.

Kimchi

Much like sauerkraut, Kimchi is fermented and pickled cabbage often served as a side dish in Korea. It is most commonly served spicy and is rich in many different types of nutrients and one of the best sources of probiotics.

Kombucha

Last but not least and probably my favorite source of probiotics organisms, Kombucha. Kombucha is a fermented tea that contains Scoby (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). Kombucha has been around for centuries and has a long list of healthy benefits. It is known to give you energy, help you lose weight and has been known to liven your mood!

So take good care of your gut and your brain will follow. This notion is changing what we previously thought made up a healthy person. So next time you have a “gut feeling” make sure its a good one.