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Warning

The Cranberry Jello Revolution has begun!

cranberry jello revolution

Do not bring that gelatin to a boil.

What You Can Do That Google Can’t

This summer, Google bragged about its latest generation of server technology: “From Firehose, our first in-house datacenter network, ten years ago to our latest-generation Jupiter network, we’ve increased the capacity of a single datacenter network more than 100x. Our current generation — Jupiter fabrics — can deliver more than 1 Petabit/sec of total bisection bandwidth. To put this in perspective, such capacity would be enough for 100,000 servers to exchange information at 10Gb/s each, enough to read the entire scanned contents of the Library of Congress in less than 1/10th of a second.

When I read this, the first thing that came to mind was a question: To what end?

What does it matter if Google’s servers could process the entire contents of the Library of Congress? Google’s servers can’t apply that content. They can scan the content, and run algorithms to analyze it, but the servers can’t, in spite of what Google claims, read the contents of the Library of Congress.

Reading a text requires consciousness with which to interpret, and to react, not just in terms of data processing, but in terms of meaning. Interpreting meaning requires subjectivity.

Reading is not, despite what teacher lingo would have us believe, as simple as decoding. It is an experience. It isn’t as simple as receiving a code and the. obeying it. Reading is about having one’s imagination provoked.

Google’s servers can decode the contents of the Library of Congress, but they can’t read it. We human beings can’t read the entirety of the contents of the Library of Congress, but we have the power to do something else that Google’s servers can’t do. We can read something in the Library of Congress – a piece of proposed legislation, perhaps – and then decide to act out of inspiration from what we have read.

So what if I take one billion times longer to grapple with a document from the Library of Congress than a server from Google does? It’s what happens after we are done reading that counts the most.

How to Obtain a Positive Result with the Magic of Data Visualization

 boston medical center word cloud of inpatient comments
Hint #43: select your sample. The caption on this word cloud reads “Comments: ‘Positive’ (N=75).”  Look at how positive the positive comments are.

Congressional Prayer Caucus Insists on Christian-Centered America, Ignores Christian Principles in H.R. 1565

Number of Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus:

90.

Symbolic Resolution Promoted by the of the Congressional Prayer Caucus:

“Members of the Prayer Caucus supported H.Res.847, which recognized the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world, expressed continued support for Christians in the United States and worldwide, and acknowledged the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith. The resolution also acknowledged and supported the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization.”

Bill to Actually Change U.S. Law to Bring it into Accordance with Christian Principles:

H.R. 1565, a bill to prohibit credit card corporations from charging more than 36% in annual fees. Usury, loaning money at exorbitant interest rates, is prohibited by the Bible in Leviticus 25, Ezekiel 18,Exodus 22, Deuteronomy 23, and Matthew 21.

Number of Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus who have Sponsored or Cosponsored H.R. 1565:

Zero.

How To Support The Lawrence Lessig For President Campaign

During the 2014 congressional election, Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard professor who has made a career out of proclaiming himself to be the ethical center against which all American politicians should be judged, decided that he was going to transform the American political system by starting a secretive super PAC that would enable big money donors to buy influence over political candidates. Lessig set up the May Day Super PAC, which ended up taking a lot of money from Democrats, and giving it to extremist Republicans. Along the way, Lessig broke his promises to supporters about only using the Super PAC to raise money for a limited amount of time.

lawrence lessig 2016Throughout it all, Lawrence Lessig claimed that his political machine would be different from all the others. He said that, although he was helping people with big money to buy influence over the political process, he was doing it in the name of getting big money out of politics. He said that he would be standing up for outsiders by being an insider. He said that he would be participating in corruption to stand against corruption.

Why would anyone believe Lawrence Lessig’s promises that he, unlike anybody else, could engage in politically unethical activity but remain ethical? “Embrace the irony,” he told America.

Now, Lawrence Lessig is at it again. Only, this time, he’s amping up the self-promotional part of his moral relativism roadshow. Lawrence Lessig is running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

Right out of the gate, Lessig is up to his old trickstery ways. He tells us that, “Before we listen to more politicians’ promises, we must find a way to un-rig that rigged system. Here is our plan…”

… and that’s right where we have to put on the brakes on the Lessig for President bandwagon.

Lawrence Lessig IS a politician.

If he’s telling us that we need to stop listening to politicians’ promises, I say let’s take him at his word, and start by refusing to listen to all the promises that Lawrence Lessig makes in his own plan.

The only appropriate way to respond to Lawrence Lessig’s political games is to apply his own principles right back at him.

You want to support the Lawrence Lessig for President campaign?

Lawrence Lessig’s defacto political message is that whenever you want to accomplish something, you should pursue its opposite. So, if you want to support the Lawrence Lessig for President campaign, you should do so by withholding support for the Lawrence Lessig for President campaign. Send the Lessig 2016 presidential exploratory committee a great big box of irony as your political donation, and let him see how far he can get with that.

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan Found With Ritual Items In His Office

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan made a name for himself a little over a week ago when he abruptly announced that a triple Wiccan blue moon ritual murder had taken place within his jurisdiction Pensacola, Florida. Quickly, the story fell apart, when people pointed out that the murders had not taken part on the blue moon, and were in accord with no known ritual from any religious group.

I’ve been following the case as it continues to develop. This hasn’t taken a lot of time out of my schedule, because the Escambia County Sheriff’s office is refusing to make any new comments about the case for a while, because they have been “awaiting the return of lab analysis related to the murders… for the last six days. That must be some very interesting lab work they’re doing down there.

When any news about the murder of Voncile Smith and her sons comes out, I’ll be sure to let you know all about it. I’m tracking the case, but honestly, I don’t expect to have much in the way of updates… ever.

But I do want to note, while we’re on the subject of ritual killings and all, that Sheriff David Morgan seems to have an interest in ritual killings quite outside of the Smith murders. As the photograph below shows, Sheriff Morgan keeps statues of ritual killers on his desk.

sheriff david morgan ritual items

This image, from the Sheriff office’s official web site, shows Sheriff Morgan smiling in between two small statues of knights from the time of the crusades.

The crusades were essentially a jihad, and they were a terribly violent undertaking. Think of anything that ISIS is accused of doing now, minus the 21st century technology, and the crusaders did it too. They exterminated entire towns, went on genocidal rampages against Jews and Muslims, beheaded thousands of prisoners in a single day, and were even accused of killing and eating children.

The crusades were a pilgrimages of blood. They were conducted in the name of religion, too. The crusades were gigantic rituals of death. People were told that if they went on a crusade, and killed people in the name of their god, they would gain eternal bliss in the afterlife. They were even given special blessings before they set out on their pilgrimages of ritual killings.

That’s who we see on the desk of Sheriff David Morgan. These little statues even show the ritual killing crusaders holding murder weapons, with religious insignia right there on their clothes, to remind everyone that their killing is done in the context of a religious ritual.

I would say that this is a weird and twisted thing for a Sheriff who claims to be out to bust Wiccan ritual killers to have on his desk, but then, well, the crusaders were Christian ritual killers. So, that makes them the good guys, right?

Web Comparison: Bernie Sanders vs. Hillary Clinton on Racism

Number of unique web pages at the campaign website berniesanders.com discussing racism: 16
Number of unique web pages at the campaign website hillaryclinton.com discussing racism: 4

Number of web pages at berniesanders.com that make the subject of racism the centerpiece: 3 (link | link | link)
Number of web pages at hillaryclinton.com that make the subject of racism the centerpiece: 1 (link)

Number of policy proposals in Bernie Sanders’ dedicated web page on Racial Justice: 28
Number of policy proposals in Hillary Clinton’s web page discussing racism: 4

New Body Found In Pensacola Shows Signs Of Ritual Murder, Says Expert

At end of last week, the local news media in Pensacola, Florida suddenly went silent on the story of the murder of Voncile Smith and her two sons, after sensationalistic claims by Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan about a blue moon Wiccan blood ritual were not matched by the actual evidence in the case.

neoconfederate ritual murder pensacola floridaTonight, however, the world is learning that another murder has taken place in Pensacola, and this one has signs of ritual killing all over it, according to an expert in ritual murder, Dr. Morning Merlputter. The corpse of a man was found at a known ceremonial location in downtown Pensacola, a place with obvious significance, according to Dr. Merlputter.

“The truncated obelisk at the site where the dead body was found is symbolically derived from ancient Egyptian obelisks, but has been adapted by a well-known regional cult,” explained Dr. Merlputter, who is not at all to be confused with Dawn Perlmutter, who specializes in remotely identifying blue moon ritual murders.

According to Dr. Merlputter, who is Director of the Institute for the Study of Confederate Ritual Murder, and has both a Doctor of Philosophy degree* and a Master’s degree**, the placement of the corpse near the base of the Confederate Monument in Pensacola is a sure sign of a ritual killing. “The region has a culture of ritualized rebellion in which entire communities would rise up to offer human sacrifices to the Confederate cult, known colloquially as ‘lynchings’,” she explains.

The fact that the person of interest in the case was earlier seen threatening the victim with a brick is a sign of a more complicated ritual murder setting than is typically seen. “The use of a brick as a murder weapon is a sure sign that the Freemasons are involved, because the brick is a symbol that those involved in these occult groups instantly understand,” says Dr. Merlputter. “Also, the fact that this occurred a just little bit over a week after a blue moon is a telltale sign that the perpetrator is an astrologer.”

The timing of the murder suggests additional clues about the identity of the killer. “The body was found on a Sunday morning, and that’s no accident,” advises Dr. Merlputter. “As we all know, Sunday morning is the holy day of the Christian religion, a tradition that to this day teaches its children stories about divinely inspired plans for human sacrifice by one of the religion’s chief prophets, Abraham. I would suggest to the police that they narrow their search down to suspects who are Southern Christian members of the Freemasons – but exclude 7th Day Adventists.”

Pensacola-area residents were aghast at the news of yet another ritual murder in their city.

Pearl Lynn Daltry, of Lee Ferry Drive, told reporters that she just doesn’t know what Escambia County is coming to these days. “This is causing me a lot of stress,” Daltry said. “Lord have mercy, it’s enough to make an old lady like myself go get another lottery ticket from the convenience store. I’m afraid to take my cat on a walk in the park these days, what with these Sons of Confederate Veterans for Jesus whatever killers running around on the loose! First they used Megyn Kelly and her blood to take Donald Trump out of the presidential election, and now this. Well, I think we all know who is behind this, and his name rhymes with ‘My Socks Have Drama’.”

The office of the Escambia County Sheriff has yet to issue a statement confirming allegations of the ritual murder’s link to late-night discount shopping at Wal-Mart. The Pensacola Republican Party has, however, released a petition demanding a ban on all flights from countries originating in West Africa, as a precaution against the spread of Ebola in the wake of the outbreak of ritualized homicide in the city. “Protect our borders first,” said Escambia GOP Chairman Ron Trepeneur at an emergency meeting of the East Pensacola Library Preservation Society. “Then we can talk about due process for the ritual killers in our midst!”

* in Dairy Herd Management
** in Theatre Studies

Guess: in the past decade, has the Congressional Prayer Caucus grown or shrunk?

The Congressional Prayer Caucus is a group of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate who are interested in maintaining government sponsorship of religious prayer, and who are organized to “use the legislative process – both through sponsorship of affirmative legislation and through opposition to detrimental legislation – to assist the nation and its people in continuing to draw upon and benefit from this essential source of our strength and well-being. Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus also work together to preserve the presence of religion, faith, and morality in the marketplace of ideas.”

Quick — make a guess: is the Congressional Prayer caucus bigger or smaller nowadays compared to its size over the last decade?

Got your guess nailed down? Now check out the actual trend:

Number of Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, 2007-2015

(Data from source | source | source | source | source)

Did you guess corectly? I didn’t. I thought that in the past five years, the share of members of Congress who would participate in the Congressional Prayer Caucus would have gone down, a reflection of the declining religiosity of the U.S. populace. But I was wrong. While the share of non-religious people in the United States of America has markedly grown in recent years, the size of the Congressional Prayer Caucus is essentially as good in the 114th Congress as it was in the 113th Congress, which is in turn much better than it had been in earlier years. If you believe in government officials using the tools of government to encourage and practice Christian prayer, then this trend should cheer you. If you believe in the separation of church and state, the difference between trends in popular opinion and trends in elite caucusing should be alarming.

What The Republicans Say And What The Republicans Do

Donald Trump, who seems to have begun a campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in order to get people to pay more attention to him, claims to have fired his top strategist, Roger Stone, because Stone “wanted to use campaign for his own publicity”.

In similar news, Rick Santorum, who told the audience during the first of two Fox News GOP presidential debates on Thursday that, “I know we have a president who wants to do whatever he wants to do, and take his pen and his phone and just tell everybody what he thinks is best, but the reason America is a great country, the reason is because our compassion is in our laws, and when we live by those laws and we treat everybody equally under the law, that’s when people feel good about being Americans, and I put forth an immigration policy that is as strong in favor of the folks who are struggling in America the most than anybody else,” accused the Fox News moderators of the debate of being “a little long winded and a little convoluted”.

Also in GOP campaign news, Carly Fiorina responded to the controversy over Donald Trump’s habit of making extremely insulting attacks against practically everyone he encounters by saying that she would be a better presidential nominee than Trump because, “We need a nominee who is going to throw every punch, not pull punches.”

Aides to the Jim Gilmore for President campaign were unable to confirm whether their candidate, after declaring that “We have to be prepared to defend the American people, prepare them for a long war,” has been briefed about the fact that the current year is 2015, not 2001.

Senator Lindsey Graham, around whom rumors have swirled that he may soon run for President ever since he declared that he is running for President, explained his policy on energy, saying, “When it comes to fossil fuels, we’re going to find more here and use less.” Apparently, Graham’s plan is to take the additional fossil fuels that will be found under his initiatives, and put them all in a gigantic vat alongside the Potomac River with a big sign on it, reading “Not For Burning”.

Corporate Insider Exposes Opponents of CEO Pay Disclosure as “Petty Guardians of Self-Interest”

Earlier this week, the Securities and Exchange Commission finally — after a five year delay — allowed the implementation of a 2010 federal law requiring America’s largest publicly-chartered corporations to disclose the ratio of the pay of their CEOs to the pay of their average workers.  Due to further SEC intransigence, the won’t actually see any of these reports until 2018 — eight years after the requirement was passed into law.  Why has the SEC delayed, delayed, and delayed action at every possible step, when the ratio of public comments to the SEC regarding implementation is an astonishingly high 3,000 comments for the measure for every 1 comment against it?  The answer is that to the SEC, some comments matter more than others.  Some people matter more than others.

It’s possible for us to peek behind the curtain at the inside game behind the delay of this rule, thanks to the fascinating public comment of Lee S. Webster. Lee S. Webster is not an ordinary person like you or I. He was a leader at the Society for Human Resource Management, a professional organization that supports hiring, firing and employee management in corporate America, and before that, Webster worked as a leader in the ExxonMobil and Pepsi corporations. He’s no socialist. He’s not writing as an anti-corporate figure. Webster has a history as a corporate insider, which makes his letter all the more telling.

Webster writes to indicate his support for implementation of the CEO pay disclosure law. But more than that, he describes the action of corporate forces to “quash” an earlier attempt at implementing CEO pay disclosure. When news got around about an attempt by a committee of business leaders to draft standards for CEO pay disclosure, the committee’s work was quickly brought to an end. According to Webster’s letter, “entrenched,” “collusive,” “anti-competitive” corporate leaders held an off-the-record meeting at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to stop CEO pay disclosure from the inside. Webster asserts that the same colluding corporate leaders, eager to protect their padded wallets, have been behind the delay of CEO pay disclosure.

Webster’s allegations have not received any attention from the professional broadcast news media. To help his account see the light of day, I’ve placed the full text of Webster’s letter below.


December 1, 2014
Elizabeth M. Murphy, Secretary US Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE Washington, D.C. 20549-1090
Via Email: rule-comments@sec.gov

Re: File Number S7-07-13 – Dodd-Frank Act Pay Ratio Disclosure Mandate; Proposal for a Safe Harbor Disclosure Process

I write as a twenty year practitioner and an expert in human resources. I have also spent my career in various leadership roles in large public organizations. I offer my support for the proposed rule regarding the CEO Pay Ratio. Moreover, I have signed the document that NSFM submitted and support as well its table 1 that indicates the recommended disclosures. Any effort to fully implement the parts of the Dodd-Frank Act on Executive Compensation, Risk Management, and Corporate Governance would be a great benefit to investors, employees and even consumers of the products and services of the effected companies. I come at this issue as someone who also attempted to encourage companies to become more transparent in their organizational structures and their management of workforce issues. I believe that the same entrenched organizational leaders that oppose the full expression of the Dodd-Frank Act, were largely the same leaders who quashed my efforts as well.

As the former Director of HR Standards Development for the Society for Human Resource Management and the Chair of the ISO Technical Committee 260, I oversaw the development of American National and ISO standards in human resources from 2008 to 2013. One area of inquiry we pursued was the development of an American National Standard that we called, “Investor Metrics.” This standard would help public companies capture and report to their owners those material workforce management metrics that investors should know before making investment decisions. The opportunity then, as now with the Dodd-Frank Act, was to establish consistent, comparable, and credible measures that were publicly reportable to the investment community. Over 160 participants from HR, finance, accounting, and academic communities worked for 18 months to develop this document.

However, the same forces that I expect to oppose the full implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act, met at the US Chamber of Commerce in October 2012 to pressure me and those developing this standard to stop this work. The attendees, many of whom were the CHROs or government relations executives from F500 companies and nonprofit associations, argued that investors were not interested in workforce performance/management data. Although many had clearly not read the draft standard, they argued that the metrics were impossible to gather, that they are not “material” disclosures, and to disclose this information would create risk for their companies. The metrics in question were similar to the Safe Harbor factors that are under discussion in File Number S7-07-13. Also note that these attendees did not want to improve the draft standard. They instead wanted the work to stop and no further mention be made about it, especially to the SEC.

In my opinion, their true desire was to stifle free inquiry into ways to create value for investors and to avoid the direct accountability to CHROs that would and should emerge from providing the investment community honest and timely information about their human resource practices, including pay. As the NSFM document shows, having an accurate and comparable description of the management structure and the organizational architecture of public companies is essential in order to fully understand and respond to the complexity of the Dodd-Frank pay ratio. I believe reason they demanded that this meeting be “off-the-record” and that they refused to let anyone who supported these HR disclosures participate was to shield these collusive and anti-competitive views from the public. It would be a historic shame for the SEC to permit the same petty guardians of self-interest to succeed in denying investors the Safe Harbor information they need to make the wisest decisions possible about the quality of the governance practices of publicly traded companies.

Thank you for your time and consideration of my views.

Sincerely, Lee S. Webster, JD/MBA

Former Director, HR Standards, SHRM