21 February 2017

Thinking long term

In these very trying times, it's natural to focus on short term crises, and dismiss as "necessarily deferred" as presently impracticable the longer term, more optimistic-outlook societal projects. But I think we should resist that tendency. The present era should be treated as an aberration, which we will emerge from, and, with effort, relatively soon.

To that end, there's a short piece in Scientific American about the advocacy by Obama's former science adviser James Holdren of not only continued by increased funding for fusion energy research.

There's a rather tired joke, about but not really shared by, advanced nuclear engineering professionals: "Practical fusion energy is thirty years (or ten, or twenty) away. And always will be." It's true that practical sustained fusion in both major branches of this research; laser ignition of small pelletized fuel or tokamak style magnetic ring vessels, has proved elusive. And the eventual solution may be something else entirely. But I would like to suggest that given at least the three important considerations noted below, this is not a reason to abandon or scale back research.

1. Fusion energy is truly inevitable. It is what powers stars. It is THE fundamental method of deriving energy from matter; all other methods are lesser, stopgap technologies. I believe this is all but irrefutable.

2. Our civilization has NOT made this an all out effort, and the progress that has been made is actually quite tangible, if not as miraculously successful as one might hope.

3. While the basic research and development is very difficult, and very expensive, the promised payoff is enormous. Fusion energy promises to be nearly limitless, and will have applications where solar and wind energy (which should also be developed on an accelerated, crash program basis) will not be practical, including space propulsion, eventually.

In the 1880s the main technological challenges were how to make a practical transformer so that AC could be used to distribute electric power cheaply and practically, and how to build practical submarines (among other things; powered flight being an area of more long term technology research). In our time, fusion power is the great "heavy industrial" long term challenge, with greatly improved batteries and hydrogen production and utilization technologies on the list as well (I consider solar power to be mostly a solved issue; the challenge is to work out the practicalities and invest in the infrastructure to make it a reality). I believe we should be looking for every reasonable opportunity to scale back wasteful military spending and should make major, Apollo Program, or even WWII production level investments in rolling out renewable energy using available technology while expending major resources on the long term challenge of fusion energy and manufactured hydrogen fuel (for aircraft and other large vehicles where grid-based or onboard solar electric power isn't practical, such as ships) to usher in our post fossil fuel energy economy.

I don't anticipate nuclear fusion powered tankers, but if fusion energy, combined with widespread low cost solar electric generation, become a reality, hydrogen can be manufactured from water. The storage issues are not really all that intractable; we used liquid hydrogen for rocket fuel in the 1960s. Aircraft can be built with hydrogen powered turbojet engines, and the whole structure, despite the necessity of keeping the hydrogen under pressure and cold, would weigh less, using advanced origami-fold superstructure, than current aircraft. Such aircraft would inject only water into the stratosphere, and although water vapor is a greenhouse gas to an extent, it is not a long term problem, and a reasonable level of air travel should prove completely sustainable without fossil fuels. Same with surface shipping. Very large ships might even use electric propulsion, with onboard small scale fusion reactors to produce the power. Or hydrogen turbine generators, which may prove more practical. (Hydrogen isn't a primary fuel; it's an energy transformation medium).

But my main point here is that WE NEED TO LOOK AHEAD, and invest, and invest HEAVILY, in our future. Not focus on nonsense like Donald Trump. He is a passing anomaly.

18 February 2017

A comment about something other than Trump

In my formative years, while most of my contemporaries and friends cut their teeth, well, ears, rather, on Grace Slick, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, I was parsing the niceties of each and every one of Mozart's piano concertos, as music, not to play. (I wasn't that good at the piano; still not, really). Later I looked further back, to Bach, to the great Heinrich Schütz (still hardly a household name), to Josquin, Ockeghem, Dufay.

So that accounts for the following obscure judgments, one actually rather commonplace among classical music aficionados, the second slightly less so perhaps, and the third rarely mentioned.

1. Had Mozart not had kidney disease and died at barely 36, (and instead lived to a nice, ripe old age) he would have eclipsed Beethoven and be thought of today as the greatest composer ever, with the sole possible exception of Bach. (There are some who think so anyway).

2. Had Schubert not had syphilis and died at barely 31, (ditto) he would have eclipsed Beethoven and be thought of today as the greatest composer of the 19th century.

3. Had Orlando Gibbons not suffered an aneurysm (or something like it) at about the same age that Mozart lived to, in 1625, (ditto) he would have eclipsed John Dowland and be generally thought of as the greatest English composer ever, and the equal of the other titans of the 17th century, Monteverdi and Schütz.

I realize these kinds of contrafactuals are pretty meaningless, and they seem to annoy some rather persnickety folks, but I find them irresistible now and then.

11 February 2017


 A friend actually asked for this, so I typed it up. 


*NOT low fat or low calorie

Serves 4. Cut in half approximately to make for 2


8 boneless chicken thighs, cut up into bite size pieces.  

   (I use the frozen ones from Trader Joe's most of the time, although fresh is better. If using frozen, thaw them most of the way and drain them with a strainer to get the water out of them, pat them dry. I cut them when they're still a little bit frozen; it makes them easier to cut)


1 entire head of garlic, peeled and minced (Use a garlic press)

(I don't recommend jarred minced garlic, but the frozen kind from Trader Joe's is acceptable).

1 heaping tsp. ground cumin

1 heaping tsp. garam masala

1 heaping TBS mild curry powder… (don't stint; you can use a little more, but don't go overboard)

  (I use Sharwood's mild curry powder from World Maket, but any mild curry powder will work)

½ tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. cloves

½ tsp. cardamom (may omit)

1 tsp. ginger, ground

sambal oelek (Indonesian pepper sauce), harissa, or red pepper flakes, to taste, as little as none as much as you care for

1½ tsp. sea salt or other salt

1 bell pepper, cut up into smallish pieces

1 regular size can diced tomatoes, partly drained, but retain some of the juicy water

1 small stalk of celery, cut into small pieces (optional)

coconut or avocado oil

1/3 stick of butter, or ghee (I just use butter)

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream


 In a large anodized aluminum pan or other suitable large flat pan with tight fitting lid, put a tbs or so of oil in the pan and heat to nearly smoking point.

 Add in the cumin first, then the garlic. (Cumin must be cooked in fat to yield its unique flavor).  Turn the heat down and cook this mixture in the oil, stirring all the while, until the garlic just starts to change color. Add the other dry spices except red pepper, and mix into a sort of paste. Add a little more oil if necessary so it doesn't stick to the pan. Once heated through plus a minute or so more, scrape with silicone spatula into a small bowl.

 Add another tbs or so of oil to the pan and cook the chicken until just turning beige (from pink), turning to cook all sides. Add salt and whatever red pepper you are using. Add back in the spicy garlic paste. Stir in the bell pepper and celery and cook for a bit. Add the butter, and incorporate. Add the tomatoes.

 Cover and simmer for at least an hour, preferably an hour and a half, stirring occasionally. Add liquid if necessary, but it shouldn't be. I sometimes even boil off excess liquid before adding cream.

 Incorporate cream, heat through, and serve.

 Serve with rice. I use a brown rice/quinoa/oat groats mixture. (see separate instruct. if you want to use that).


Complexer Carb Rice substitute


Mix in equal or not so equal parts (to taste) to make a quart or so:

Large red quinoa

Oat groats

Buckwheat groats

Black or brown whole grain rice


To make this "rice," it's necessary to thoroughly rinse in a fine strainer, then soak for a minimum of one hour before cooking.

I just soak in the same water it will cook in, in the same cooker or pan.

Then cook just like rice, except the water:grain ratio needs to be about 2½:1 rather than 2:1. Add about a tsp. of oil and a tsp. of salt for each cup of grain. 1½ cups of grain is enough for 3-4 people.

Cook 1 full hour in a rice cooker

or pan with tight lid; bring just to boil then simmer on very low heat, so it doesn't boil


Hope you like it. ​


06 February 2017

Fwd: Are you ready to take Indivisible Action?

   Farflung correspondents, 

If you are like me, you are deeply concerned about the crisis to our constitutional form of government and want to take whatever action you can to make sure it survives the current regime and that a semblance of actual representative democracy emerges from whatever havoc this regime is able to wreak. 

Personally, I have concluded that the individual elected to the presidency is in violation of the Emoluments Clause, at the very least, and that, based on ongoing investigations by Matt Taibbi, David Van Pelten, David Cay Johnson, and Scott Horton, there appears to be substantial evidence of financial entanglement with Russian oligarchs and Russian financial ties that, if even half of what is rumored is true, could amount to treason. I favor a robust and immediate investigation, while at the same time, I want my Congressman to start urging his colleagues to organize for what I believe will be inevitable: the impeachment of the 45th president. 

In any case, this tool... Indivisible.com is literally invaluable for anyone who believes it is their civic duty to get more involved in demanding responsiveness from our national government in this time of crisis. 

We're Indivisible, and we're ready
Sent via ActionNetwork.org. To update your email address or to stop receiving emails from Indivisible, please click here.

03 February 2017

Fwd: SMS from Brad Fenton [(818) 579-3340]

Fwd: A very cool tool (that works):
If your senators and reps aren't saved in your phone yet, text your zip code to 520-200-2223. You'll get a text back with everyone's contact info!



Farflung correspondents, 

I'm a retiree, and of course (unsurprisingly) as such I have some issues with the way my former corporate employer (Chubb Limited) deals with its retired employees. This is America, after all, which has its downsides as well as its great good fortunes. But what I want to point out is the following global letter to employees and former employees from the company's CEO, Evan Greenberg. (The company, as a result of a merger, is now based in Zurich, after having been headquartered in New Jersey for decades and New York for even longer before that). All I can say is "KUDOS!"

Chubb Limited
Message from the CEO: 
U.S. Travel/Immigration Restrictions


Dear colleagues,

We have heard from many colleagues worldwide who have expressed concern about the U.S. Executive Order restricting travel from seven countries in the Middle East and Africa. As a truly global company, we are proud of our diversity at Chubb and proud of the diversity of our many business relationships. We have long valued our colleagues and clients in Muslim nations, and we have worked hard to build an inclusive culture that welcomes and values the contributions of people from all parts of the world.

Chubb will continue to embrace our values and culture, notwithstanding the challenges created by this order. If anything, we believe it is more important than ever that we promote our values, including our commitment to inclusion. We all want security for our citizens and to combat terrorism, but we believe it needs to be done with respect for due process, individual rights and the principle of inclusion. Speaking as an American, and as I noted on today's earnings call, the U.S. is a country of immigrants - my country's openness to immigration is fundamental to its identity and history as a nation and vital to its future prosperity. Shutting our doors to immigrations is a mistake.

In addition to the broader implications of this order, we have been working to assess the impact it may have on travel for Chubb employees globally. At this time, we believe there are relatively few individuals whose travel will be directly impacted, but of course the full implications are still being assessed. We also are closely monitoring the repercussions for our U.S. citizens traveling abroad. If you have any questions or concerns about how this order might impact you, please contact your local human resources manager, who can arrange for you to speak with an immigration attorney at an outside law firm with whom we have contracted.

Chubb has and always will engage with and welcome people in all parts of the world. That is at the core of who we are and always will be.




Sen. Merkley: Make the Republicans go Nuclear

Please read this excellent op ed by Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley. He does us proud here in Oregon. And he is dead right on this vital issue. Democrats MUST RESIST the disintegration of our constitutional system being committed by the minority rule Republican party. NO MORE ACCOMMODATION.

Make the Republicans Go Nuclear https://nyti.ms/2k8c5V5

02 February 2017

Calling your senators and representatives (call to political action)



Call both your senators and your House representative's local AND Washington offices DAILY, if you can, to urge them to support resistance and oppose Trumpism by any and all lawful means necessary.

Your senators and congressional representatives do not read e-mails or even letters, but their staffs DO keep track of who calls and what positions they identify. This does have an effect, and is worth your time.

Thank you.


Jeff Merkley
Local 503 326-3386
Washgington 202 224-3753

Ron Wyden
Local 503 326-7525
Washington 202 224-5244

You can Google Oregon's five districts, if you live in Portland Metro area, and figure out which of these is your representative. It only works to call your own representative. And give them your ZIP code even if they don't ask for it.

Suzanne Bonamici (East Portland)
Local 503 469-6010
Washington 202 225-0855

Kurt Schrader (Oregon City/Clackamas/Salem and over to Central Coast)
Local 503 557-1324
Washington 202 225-5711

Earl Blumenauer (Beaverton, parts of Western Portland)
Local 503 231-2300
Washington 202 225-4811

IF YOU LIVE ELSEWHERE, this information is easily found on the internet! Call! Thank you!

31 January 2017


I tried to post this several times on Facebook but am finding FB unresponsive. Which is ginning up my paranoia.

Anyway, WE NEED TO CREATE A MASS MOVEMENT OF RESISTANCE. People like Former Pres. Obama, Colin Powell, Col. Wilkerson, former Conservative Radio Host Charlie Sykes, even Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham, Conservative Constitutional scholar Bruce Fein, and others, need to unite to urge the relatively few sane members of Congress and Senators on the Republican side to unite with Democrats to RESIST THE UNDEMOCRATIC TAKEOVER of our government and institutions by the Trumpists. This is SERIOUS and it will not go away. We must organize and actively resist.

Thanks, Sean Masse, Brad Griffith. Very helpful. PLEASE READ. 
From Heather Richardson, professor of History at Boston College:

"What Bannon is doing, most dramatically with last night's ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries-- is creating what is known as a "shock event."

Such an event is unexpected and confusing and throws a society into chaos. People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line that those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone know how to restore order.

When opponents speak out, the authors of the shock event call them enemies. As society reels and tempers run high, those responsible for the shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a goal they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been distracted as they fight over the initial event. There is no longer concerted opposition to the real goal; opposition divides along the partisan lines established by the shock event.

Last night's Executive Order has all the hallmarks of a shock event. It was not reviewed by any governmental agencies or lawyers before it was released, and counterterrorism experts insist they did not ask for it. People charged with enforcing it got no instructions about how to do so. Courts immediately have declared parts of it unconstitutional, but border police in some airports are refusing to stop enforcing it.

Predictably, chaos has followed and tempers are hot.

My point today is this: unless you are the person setting it up, it is in no one's interest to play the shock event game. It is designed explicitly to divide people who might otherwise come together so they cannot stand against something its authors think they won't like.

I don't know what Bannon is up to-- although I have some guesses-- but because I know Bannon's ideas well, I am positive that there is not a single person whom I consider a friend on either side of the aisle-- and my friends range pretty widely-- who will benefit from whatever it is.

If the shock event strategy works, though, many of you will blame each other, rather than Bannon, for the fallout. And the country will have been tricked into accepting their real goal.

But because shock events destabilize a society, they can also be used positively. We do not have to respond along old fault lines. We could just as easily reorganize into a different pattern that threatens the people who sparked the event.

A successful shock event depends on speed and chaos because it requires knee-jerk reactions so that people divide along established lines. This, for example, is how Confederate leaders railroaded the initial southern states out of the Union.

If people realize they are being played, though, they can reach across old lines and reorganize to challenge the leaders who are pulling the strings. This was Lincoln's strategy when he joined together Whigs, Democrats, Free-Soilers, anti-Nebraska voters, and nativists into the new Republican Party to stand against the Slave Power.

Five years before, such a coalition would have been unimaginable. Members of those groups agreed on very little other than that they wanted all Americans to have equal economic opportunity. Once they began to work together to promote a fair economic system, though, they found much common ground. They ended up rededicating the nation to a "government of the people, by the people, and for the people."

Confederate leaders and Lincoln both knew about the political potential of a shock event. As we are in the midst of one, it se

25 January 2017

Important read

David Bornstein interviews science journalist Gary Taubes, author of the recent book The Case Against Sugar, in the NYT today, about the toxicity of sugar and its role in an endemic of obesity and related health problems.  

19 January 2017


I don't want to be critical of the post office, which is under assault from the Right Wingers in government who basically have a pre-18th century idea of what the role of government should be. But, seriously, is it reasonable that after MORE THAN A WEEK after a relatively minor snowstorm, the only mail I received was a little bit I was able to pick up at the post office myself (they admitted there was "a lot of raw mail back there but we don't have time to sort through it.") And this is within the 23rd largest metropolitan area in the country (obviously meaning quite a few whole states don't have a comparable conurbation). Whatever happened to "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" ?

Apparently, like so much in Corporatized America, that's gone by the wayside. Of course, if one of the corporations (such as a health insurer) wants to hold you to some deadline despite your not having received the mailing in which it was communicated, tough shit.

18 January 2017

Indivisible resistance guide, and Keith Ellison

Lots of people are frustrated, saying to themselves and their friends, "I want to resist Trump and Trumpism, but how?" 
Well, here are some answers. (see pdf attachment). 

Also, I heard a really excellent interview with Keith Ellison on Ezra Klein's podcast. Ellison, you may know, is running for DNC chair, a position which is NOT primarily ideological or policy-setting. It is a process-driven post, one where someone who has some real ideas how to organize the DNC on a grassroots level, an art we have lost in recent years, can shine. And Ellison has some really great ideas about how to do that. I wholeheartedly support Ellison for DNC chair. 

Ellison had a "radical youth," but he is not an ideologue, or a radical. He is a very practical Sanders-wing Democrat, who, in my view, represents the future of the party and our movement to take back America from its anti-democratic Right Wing hostage takers. His analysis that we have strayed, becoming a party that is primarily only interested in presidential politics, and as a result have lost far too many governorships, far too many state legislative races, far too many House races, is right on. And he notes, correctly, that we have been out-organized for years by the Right Wing party. It's time to change that. Please check out this interview. I found it totally convincing that he is the man for the job, and his ideas are the "way to go." 


♦ David Studhalter
¡El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido!
«The people united will never be defeated!»

14 January 2017


I am not one of those folks who likes to pretend the 2016 national election was anything OTHER than a total catastrophe. But we must move forward as best we can. And, while I am not optimistic about the future of publicly funded health care in America in the short to mid range, the fact is that "Obamacare" WAS the Republican plan, as it was devised by the Heritage Thinktankers back in the 90s as an alternative to Democratic proposals for truly universal and public healthcare. And without its key elements, an individual and employer mandate, regulation to ensure everyone is in a common pool, some kind of cost controls, and incorporation of an expansion of Medicaid, IT SIMPLY WILL NOT WORK. The Republicans CANNOT "replace" Obamacare, unless with essentially the same thing under a different name, without throwing 20 to 30 million people off of health insurance entirely, and drastically degrading the level of care for everyone not able to afford the "Cadillac" policies wealthy executives and oligarchs enjoy. So what will happen? They will repeal the ACA all right, and the result will be a disaster that the great majority even of their deluded supporters will see is far, far worse than what we have now. Maybe THEN we can build a coalition for real national health insurance, which I prefer to call "Enhanced Medicare for All" rather than "single-payer," a term which the Right invented to highlight the supposed Socialistic aspect of it. To ease that eventual transition, it becomes DOUBLY important to resist their efforts to cripple Medicare as it now exists (through idiotic and unworkable privatization schemes. And they are going to try. We must resist, first the effort to repeal the ACA (which I have to assume we can't avoid), and then any effort to destroy Medicare (which we simply MUST succeed in preventing).

PLEASE LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD IF YOU AGREE. Contact your Senators and Congress persons, and contact key "reachable" Republicans in the Senate, especially in the Senate. Such as Susan Collins, John McCain, Rob Portman, Bob Corker, Bill Cassidy, Lisa Murkowski, even Rand Paul and Lamar Alexander. Let them know you OPPOSE repeal of the affordable care act and OPPOSE any effort to cut, voucherize or privatize Medicare or cuts to Medicaid, especially the Medicaid expansion which is key to Obamacare's workability in the states where the Republicans haven't already wrecked that.


Thank you.

08 January 2017

Podcast recommendations

 Anyone not already overloaded with public affairs podcasts, I recommend:
1. Background Briefing (Ian Masters)
2. Majority Report (Sam Seder & Co.)
3. The Josh Marshall Show
4. Le Show (Harry Shearer)

All are readily available on podcast providers, such as Podcast Republic or any number of others. (Even ITunes, although I boycott them forever). There are several others that I occasionally listen to, but these four are the ones I rarely go too long without listening to. Majority and Background are 5 days a week.

Majority Report is also a YouTube channel, but I just listen. On YouTube, I recently replaced almost all of my MSNBC watching with dips into the YouTube segments of The Young Turks.

03 January 2017


Hey, Kids. Look what just happened. There was a HUGE PUBLIC OUTCRY against the outrageous attempt by the House Republicans to gut the House Ethics office (y'know, cuz Republicans got no USE for no damn ETHICS!). So what does Trumpo do? He aligns himself with the public outcry!

What does that tell us? It means WE HAVE POWER. We can do what Bernie Sanders says. Light up the Congressional switchboards. Rally. Show up. Write to Congress and to media outlets of all kind... especially against gutting the Affordable Care Act, cutting Social Security, privatizing Medicare, cutting Medicaid and SNAP, granting huge tax breaks to the obscenely wealthy...When we make it CRYSTAL CLEAR that the American people WILL NOT STAND FOR THESE THINGS and DID NOT VOTE FOR THEM, Trump, who wants more than anything to be popular, just might abandon the Right Wing Republican position on some or even many of these issues, and many others. Climate Change. LGBTQ rights. Minimum Wage. Infrastructure investment, not crony capitalism. We must be ACTIVE.

DO NOT BE PASSIVE. DO NOT allow Trumpism to become "new normal." Resist. Be Active. SHOW UP. Please, it really, really, REALLY MATTERS.

Thank you.

¡El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido!
«The people united will never be defeated!»

25 December 2016


Merry Christmas, or other end of year holiday of choice, to all, and may our new year be as prosperous, felicitous, and uneventful as possible. Given our current situation, uneventful would be good. 
♦ David Studhalter
¡El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido!
«The people united will never be defeated!»

17 December 2016

Letter re electoral reform to governors of key blue states

I sent this letter to the governors of four key blue states, including my own state of Oregon.

December 16, 2016

Hon. Kate Brown, Governor of Oregon
State Capitol Building
900 Court Street NE, 160
Salem, OR 97301 

Hon. Jerry Brown, Governor of California
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Hon. Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

Hon. Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New Yor
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224


Dear Messrs. and Madam Governors:

I am writing to strongly urge you to support efforts in your states to further the ideas recently promoted by the leading progressive thinker Thomas Geoghegan to improve the essential democracy of our nation, wherein your states are crucial: 

1.       That your state refuse to cooperate with the undemocratic Electoral College, by returning presidential ballots blank or not returning them at all. This will force the Congress to use procedures to obtain the votes, and will register for the notice of the public that your state's people object to being disenfranchised by this undemocratic system. (In the case of Oregon, it is also necessary to pass as soon as possible the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which when it is triggered into full effect at 270 votes will effectively end the injustice of the Electoral College.

2.      That your state enact as soon as feasible Australia-style mandatory voting (coupled with Oregon-style vote by mail). If this law were in effect in this recent election, nearly 6 million votes would separate the majority vote for Clinton from the non-democratically designated winner. Such a wide margin of popular electoral preference being disenfranchised would make it virtually impossible for the nation not to reform its electoral process in the near future.

Please consider these recommendations carefully. I trust that as patriotic leaders who believe in essential democracy, you will realize the wisdom of supporting them.

Thank you.


Very truly yours,


David Studhalter