This Week: Politics & Science

A Few Stories and Thoughts in Two Important Areas of Life Today + A Bonus


Pretty much all the poles show that immigration is a major issue for the coming presidential election, and one that hurts Biden.  Much of this is a result of fear mongering and racism fanned by Republican politicians, but honesty requires noting that there is actually something of a problem (as well as some opportunities). Reliable reporting from border communities and popular destinations like New York City make it clear that a flood of immigrants is happening at unsupportable and unsustainable rates.

This reality, and the political price being paid, led to the executive orders Biden put in place. No one of good will wants to see this type of approach (the ACLU has already sued), but I don’t think Biden had much choice at this point.  The bipartisan draft legislation that Trump killed would have eased much of the current problem, but it never happened.

Unfortunately, the word is out that if you cross the border and make an asylum request, it will be years before the case is adjudicated. Asylum is a life or death matter, and we need to take requests seriously, but there has to be a better and faster process, as well as requiring those making denied claims sent back or sent elsewhere. The current process fails everyone.

The opportunity is that we need a lot of foreign workers. A push by Biden for a functioning guest worker system would solve a lot of labor problems, could be well supported by business, and could undercut the scare tactics of Republicans. I hope the presidential campaign highlights these solutions and opportunities, while making it clear that others have only sought to fan fear and hatred, not solutions.

Hunter Biden  

Not surprisingly, Mr. Biden was convicted, in short order. We will know soon enough his sentence, then on to his tax trial in the Fall. The Biden family has been a roll model of support, sadness, and proper conduct in every way. The MAGA response has been shameful and full of silly conspiracies. Can these people not discuss anything seriously?

For me, the Hunter Biden matter has 3 key elements:

(1) Much of this is self-inflicted. The man has shortfalls in many areas.

(2) He is a sad person to contemplate. He has a loving family but has been lost in addictions and has likely felt inadequate all his life when compared to his deceased brother. Addictions have destroyed him. I hope he is truly on a better path.

(3) This is a deeply personal family matter. It’s none of our damn business. Leave them alone.

The Not-So Supreme Court

Everyone’s least favorite court had two major rulings last week.  The first was a pleasantly unanimous decision protecting, for now, women’s access to mifepristone.  A most welcome decision for sure, but one based only on the standing of the plaintiffs, not the substance of the case. Things are OK for now but stay tuned. The complete ban of all birth control and abortion crowd will keep trying.

The other big decision was one that reallowed bump-stocks. It did so for all the wrong rationale and featured the kind of technical dancing on the head of a pin logic that gun nuts love to cite. People will die – lots of them and badly – as a direct result of this decision.

Meanwhile the financial and standards of judicial mindset scandals keep popping up, new ones daily almost, on Thomas and Alito. One would hope pressure on both of them to resign and/or face impeachment would be possible post-election, followed closely by serious reform legislation. Of course, some semblance of leadership by Roberts would help as well, but that clearly is not going to happen. This Court has secured its place in history as the worst we have had and the least trusted by the public. Roberts goes down as completely ineffective. What a sorry bunch.

And on a side note, other judges have more restrictions on personal conduct than does the Supreme Court (which has no restrictions at all), but recent reporting demonstrates that judges widely are often not reporting gifts, income. Great if the profession would take this on itself, but I would not bet on it.

 Science – Lots of News to Share

As always, science brings us much promise, and no small amount of worry. Three caught my eye in recent days.

Apple’s Artificial Intelligence

Apple made a pretty big announcement last week, that it was about to thoroughly integrate its own AI into much of its software and had set up a partnership with GP4 and successor AI. Some concerns, of course, since we are talking AI, but I think this will advance AI use and adaptation phenomenally. AI is already advancing almost exponentially. The few uses I have applied have been pretty impressive already.

By not setting up separate AI but rather integrating it into other software millions already use, I expect will dramatically accelerate AI usage and adaptation. It is certainly true that AI is worrisome in big ways, but the potential for good is staggering. And it is here to stay. Might as well get on to developing it and controlling it. Fingers crossed for the future.

Mushrooms & Micro Dosing Drugs

The evidence continues to build that micro dosing of some types of hallucinogens can have powerful, positive effects. Medical tests and studies are building the case. Yet, just a few days ago the USG indicated it would not support more testing and controlled applications. I think that is a serious mistake. Hoping this was not the outcome because big Pharma lobbied against it.

There are many problems that require a lifetime of expensive drugs. Early indications that a few, even one, dose of these micro-drugs can cure problems forever. Not much of a profit model in that.  Several of us recently watched an interesting documentary on some of these new materials. Check it out. It is on Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV, YouTube, and elsewhere. The title is Fantastic Fungi.

Three Energy and Materials Notes

Just read a fascinating article about the power of coated pavement to dramatically reduce atmospheric heat. Check it out:

Another article I came across noted that a new scientific breakthough may make cement into a battery, and does so simply an cheaply. Imagine all those bridges, roads, and buildings generating electricity! See for yourself:

A new 3D printed material has been developed that has remarkable properties. It is over 50% stronger than anything ever invented, stronger than anything in nature, flexible, and lightweight. There must be a zillion potential applications for such a product, as well as the new 3D printing technique that made it. Read all about it (short article):


Once upon a time, walking into a favorite bar and buying a round for the house was a well-known tradition. It seems to have mostly slipped into history. Too bad. It is a fine way to celebrate. This short article makes the case for bringing it back. Cheers (and have one on me)!

See You Next Week

Presidential debate (maybe) on the horizon. More Supreme Court decisions. Gaza. I expect we might find a few things to talk about.

Bill Clontz

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