A mixed bag

All posts in the A mixed bag category

Happy Ides of March, By the Way…

Published March 15, 2023 by Nan Mykel

Just today a new pop-up on my MicroSoft computer:

<img src="https://survivorpsychologist.files.wordpress.com/2023/03/ai-screenshot.jpg?w=300″ alt=”” width=”300″ height=”218″ class=”alignleft size-medium wp-image-19819″ />

I didn’t realize AI was going to follow us around…I SPY AI!

Senator Elizabeth Warren Criticizes Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell

Published March 11, 2023 by Nan Mykel

Again, this was a result of the Citizens United Supreme Court 2010 ruling permitting corporations to rule by exorbitant political funding. I wonder if the ruling was not very farsighted or on-purpose farsightrd by those judges who voted for releasing the reigns on corporations to buy elections rather than just the people’s power. (
From Daily Kos:

Senator Elizabeth Warren did not mince her words as she undressed Fed Chair for his blatant disregard for the American worker as he puts their jobs on the line Elizabeth Warren is on point.

I watch several minutes of the Federal Reserve Chair, Jerome Powell. He was discussing monetary policy and the economy with the Senate Banking Committee. While watching both Democratic and Republican Senators questioning the Chair, only Elizabeth Warren broke the undeserved praise and respect for a man that cared nothing about the middle class and poor America. She made him acknowledge the modus operandi of our economic system. It depends on having a certain percentage of people unemployed and suffering to ensure a stable economic system for the wealthy.

The Fed Chair is concerned about a stubborn 6%+ inflation rate. The strong employment market seems to concern him as well. A country with strong employment is a problem for the Fed, and our corporations, who want a heavy supply of unemployed workers from which to choose since, in a supply and demand world would accept pittances for wages.
Representative Katie Porter (D-CA) recently provided an analysis that proved most of our inflation was a result of corporate greed. They raised prices because they could. That is the definition of inflation. One would think the Fed Chair would advise Congress that if they did not want him to use the only draconian tool he has, raising interest rates, that they would create policies that stopped corporate attacks on those who put them into power. But he did not.

The purported worker shortage is a political choice. There are millions of immigrants who want to enter the United States for economic and political reasons and who are ready to work. Yet, many in our government use them as a political football that limits employment shortfall.

While corporate greed is responsible for more than half of the inflation picture, they are responsible for even more. Their incompetence and poor decision making is what we are all paying for now. They decided to offshore our manufacturing and at the same time create just-in-time-inventory, which means shortages occur whenever there is a shock in the system, like pandemics or natural disasters. They profit from those decisions, and they profit when their incompetence fails.

From <https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2023/3/11/2157480/-Sen-Elizabeth-Warren-slammed-Fed-Chair-Powell-

Fun Reads, in my opinion

Published March 10, 2023 by Nan Mykel

If you took my advice and added the still free subscription to 3 Quarks Daily then you know about this one:

Recently they carried this article from the Nautilus magazine. (You can read 2 articles in Nautilus for free, then subscribe if you like.:
“What Plants Are Saying About Us” by Amanda Gefter in the Nautilus magazineQuanta magazine via 3 Quarks Daily


I liked this one also, from Quanta (not Quora)

“A Link Between Hearing Voices and Hearing Your Own Voice”
An experiment with bone-conduction headphones suggests a way for neuroscientists to better understand some hallucinations.
People using bone-conduction headphones in a study were more likely to correctly identify their own voices from a recording in which they were blended with other voices.Credit…Michael Sohn/Associated Press
By Veronique Greenwood. Feb. 14, 2023
It is the rare person who likes hearing their own voice on a recording. It sounds fake, somehow — like it belongs to someone else.
For neuroscientists, that quality of otherness is more than a curiosity. Many mysteries remain about the origins of hallucinations, but one hypothesis suggests that when people hear voices, they are hearing their own thoughts disguised as another person’s by a quirk of the brain.

I’d really like to have someone to talk with about these articles but my interests differ from those around me. Old-fashioned am I. Smile.

Evolution’s Tipping Point?

Published March 5, 2023 by Nan Mykel

Many of us thought the 21st century would be the Age of Aquarius, not evolution’s tipping point:

The older generation knows the “The Age of Aquarius”, as a song by the 5th Dimension in 1969. This is exactly what they were telling years before us we were coming into this new age. They got this information from old writings and prophecies. They knew these kids would come to us to help us heal. From (Spring Rayne)

The dictionary’s definition of tipping point is:
“the point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change”.

Life-saving abilities, honed by evolution to foster survival, are being short-circuited in many areas. A look at various AI entries on Google just today is alarming. Do see for yourself…

Tech giants are heralding ChatGPT as revolutionary…. With millions of users, the chatbot has started an A.I. arms race. Companies are rushing to release their own chatbots, and some seem eerily human.
Beyond the excitement, the technology’s possibilities can feel scary — as if science fiction has become reality. ChatGPT has already inspired many people to ask: Will A.I. take my job? It’s a familiar panic, one that resurfaces every time a groundbreaking innovation emerges, like the car or the internet. Still, questioning how A.I. could replace jobs in the future misses a more urgent point: The platform is changing how people work right now.

No longer the future….NOW:

Between them, some of the world’s biggest tech companies have [already] collectively laid off more than 150,000 workers in recent months.
The Real Reasons For Big Tech Layoffs At Google, Microsoft, Meta, and Amazon: In truth, it isn’t likely to be because the companies involved need money. Microsoft MSFT +1.7%, which is reported to have laid off around 10,000 employees, practically simultaneously announced that it plans to invest $10 billion in OpenAI, the creators of the viral application ChatGPT. It seems likely that there is a business reason at the heart of the decision to invest a sum that would equate to $1 million per laid-off employee in an AI company.

Likewise, Google’s parent company Alphabet GOOGLE announced plans to reduce its global headcount by 12,000 – a cut of around 6%. CEO Sundar Pichai has previously described AI as the most transformational technology of all time, and in making the layoffs, stated that the strategy will be to “direct our talent and capital to our highest priorities.” It’s widely thought that Google is working on its own AI-powered answer to ChatGPT that will be announced soon.

Folks are asking a machine what the weather outside is like; depending on a GPS to guide them to their destination;and apparently enjoying the auxiliary help. They’ve even made progress in robot tv anchors. And my college graduate granddaughter cannot read cursive handwriting.

I’ll eat my words if AI succeeds in killing Climate Change, but with a decrease in smarts, manners, education and brotherly love, our much earlier and more primitive underpinning of kinship selection makes a happy Aquarious future less likely.

AND MANY STATES WANT, ARE GETTING, AND REWARDING MORE BABIES. Poor babies, poor mothers and poor us.

My Needle Got Stuck

Published March 2, 2023 by Nan Mykel


The more I think about it the more incredulous I become.

Let’s see….MAGA types are clinging to the imagined White Replacement Theory and as a result want to force female humans to reproduce without end to fill the coffers so our White Civilization will continue to triumph worldwide? They want more fetuses in order to maintain our precious culture, making it a cesspool devoid of liberty in the process?* Sabotage by the back door…

And this is all part of our white civilization, which is worth saving by snipping the liberties of half our own culture in order to preserve it? Defiling Congress, booby-trapping the Statue of Liberty?

*In case you missed it, In 2021 for the first time, the USA’s white population showed a decline–the only racial or ethnic group to do so, by 8.6%. (Time magazine)


Published March 1, 2023 by Nan Mykel


You guessed it, didn’t you—that

I am drawn inside because

I feel the pull of the mysterious,

a curiosity about the edge of

the known, bordered by the

little-known and the unknown-

but-sensed as well as the unsuspected

and the impossible. How utterly deadly

life would be if there were no mystery—

everything cut and dried and shelved.

Do you know about the angler

fish and the flying monk,

or esp at the time of death?

And have you felt the insistent throb

of curiosity at certain quiet moments?

How is it that being in nature soothes,

the effect measurable by scientists?

The life of the invisible “mind” goes on,

experienced or not, or not yet.


Did I start a new conspiracy theory?

Published February 28, 2023 by Nan Mykel

You can tell me. In a recent post I suggested the right’s new insistence on making abortions illegal was due to our failure to replace our whiteness as a country. (“Oh so that’s what it’s all about,” January 2023)

I remembered seeing a reference somewhere–that I didn’t pursue–that one of our leaders had called for “more foetuses.”

Since then I have seen complaints that there is a Conspiracy Against Whites, and then I became aware of earlier political concerns and activities of former Rep. Steve King, a prominent Iowa Republican and a vocal advocate against illegal immigration, who tweeted in 2017 that “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” (CNN, Theodore Schleifer)

Following the shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., focus has been trained on the “replacement” theory, also known as “white replacement” theory. That’s because a white man, who killed 10 Black people and injured three others, posted a 180-page document online that promulgated racist conspiracy theories often referred to as the “great replacement.”

And he allegedly used the conspiratorial idea that minorities were and would be replacing whites as a reason to justify what he did…The ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory isn’t fringe anymore, it’s mainstream

I kid you not–it’s in Time magazine this week, by Isabel Wilkerson, author of “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.”

In 2021 for the first time, the USA’s white population showed a decline–the only racial or ethnic group to do so, by 8.6%. (Time magazine)

What has the drift resulted in?…The groundswell to outlaw abortions; increased killings and harassment of non-whites, the contrived accusation of “replacement theory,” the forced abortions in refugee quarters [female immigrants in custody] the stranglehold in the public schools on children’s minds about reality, the attack on adult pairings of couples unlikely to produce offspring (LGBT), taking with it the U.S. Supreme Court…

In Georgia, after a woman’s embryo has reached six weeks of gestation, people are allowed to claim them on their tax returns by allowing the state to include fetuses in the state’s population counts. There is a suspicion that red states are trying to swell their numbers so as to have a greater impact in Congress.

“Replacement” theory began in white supremacist circles, but has since moved more mainstream on the political right in this country and among many Republicans, explicitly or implicitly.’

I think mine may not be a conspiracy theory but referring to a Conspiracy, in which Christianity is taking the rap, which apparently Christian Nationalists are all too glad to do.

In fact, it sounds more like old-fashioned psychological projection to me. I’m curious what you think…

We Used to Call It Brotherly Love

Published February 27, 2023 by Nan Mykel

I’m still thinking about that Harper’s issue last month that had experts discussing (among other things) Liberalism versus Democracy. I wanted to discuss and recommend it, but there were too many fancy words in it I didn’t really know, so I thought I’d clarify the words first, with the help of Wikipedia. They all talked about “demos,” and out-of-date-me thought they must mean the Democrats, but it turns out it means the populace, as used in ancient Greece…I’m re-writing a book, so haven’t time to look up so many fancy words, and perhaps you don’t either…i.e., “instantiation,” etc. They’re all experts I tell myself. I may be just as unintelligible while writing something on psychology, but I’m not sure.

I was really fuzzy on a lot of the words: autonomy, telos, dialectical, counter-majoritarian institutions, etc.
I never wondered about the word Liberty, , and was surprised to learn it has a different meaning than democracy. I was glad not to notice the word “freedom,” since it has been so differently used.

I looked up Liberalism and Democracy, and with its use in the Harper’s article the difference is that Liberalism focusses on the humanity of all, being equal as human beings and democracy meaning being ruled by the people, without reference to which people. (Remember that not so long ago women were not allowed to vote in our democracy, and there has been a movement afoot to limit the democratic participation in voting by blacks. Sorry, I don;t have time to think of a better word for blacks). Now that’s the definition I arrived at, in my own words. Argue with me if you know how to comment upon comment.

In the article Francis Fukuyama pointed out that Abe Lincoln, in the Declaration of Independence, chose liberty as a higher principle than even democracy: All men are created equal. He’s saying that “democracy can be trumped by a higher principle–which is this principle of equality.”

And it seems to me that Liberalism is what used to be referred to as brotherly love. More anon

P.S. Late edit: Just came across a good example of something that is not an example of Liberalism: An Alaskan Republican Representative serving in Alaska was censured by the entire house (except for his vote) for trying to find something positive about child abuse that results in death of the child: “In the case where child abuse is fatal, obviously it’s not good for the child. But it’s actually a benefit to society because there aren’t needs for government services and whatnot over the whole course of that child’s life?”
Daily Kos reported this from BBC Feb. 24, 2023

It’s About Time…

Published February 27, 2023 by Nan Mykel

At last some publicity for positive action from Christian groups! Apparently the positive efforts from Christians against Christian Nationalism have gone largely unacknowledged. About his own article by Daily Kos staff writer wesmorgan1, he says:

One of the common arguments found here at Daily Kos is that US liberal/progressive religious believers in general, and US Christians in particular, aren’t “fighting back” against the Religious Right and Christofascists in theological terms.

That’s a false perception, and it’s exacerbated by the lack of media coverage of such actions when they occur. It isn’t just a question of denominational entities like the LCMS; when’s the last time we saw significant media mention of Lutherans for Social Justice, Christians Against Christian Nationalism, Evangelicals for Democracy, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, or any other religious group fighting the good fight? (For that matter, when’s the last time you saw a DK staff writer cover any of these groups in any detail?)

I wrote this article, in part, to illustrate that point. Beyond the linked article by Jack Jenkins of the Religious News Service (who does excellent work in this area — check out his Twitter timeline for examples) and commentary in various Lutheran sources, I can find no mention of this event in any other media outlet of significance. NYTimes? Zippo. WaPo? Bupkis. MSNBC? Nada.

If a tree falls in the forest, but CNN doesn’t issue a BREAKING NEWS alert…you get the picture.

Nan’s Comment: Bravo. See the post he (wesmorgan1) wrote at Daily Kos Feb. 23, 2023:
Lutheran Leader Calls for Excommunication of White Nationalists


Published February 23, 2023 by Nan Mykel

During a recent genealogical search I came across a poem that was posted in the local newspaper:


To The Voters of the Town of Martinsville

Two years ago as you know well
The ticket bore my name
And if you scratched it off or not
I thanked you just the same.
Again I ask for your support
Not that I claim to be
A better man than others are
For all of you know me
But promising to ever stand
For what is just and true
I will simply sign my name
And leave results with you.

Yours to serve,
J.L. Minter, The Shoe Maker (?)

(From Nan: Just thought you’d like a breath of fresh air, smile)

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