JFK Assassination-The Shot Heard Round The World

The JFK assassination on November 22, 1963 was the shot heard round the world! Our beloved President was allegedly killed by the Marxist assassin Lee Harvey Oswald under very mysterious, murky circumstances, and it changed the nature and the fabric of our society in oh so many ways…. None of us Baby Boomers will ever forget where we were or what we were doing on that fatal Friday when the JFK assassination took place; like most tragedies it was completely unexpected and out of the blue, and we all had a mixed sense of violation, grief, fear and anger…

It was the complete loss of innocence to an entire generation of young people, I was in high school at the time but I can remember the JFK assassination as though it were yesterday! Nobody could ever have guessed that such a thing could happen in the first place, the assassins bullet tumbling down the walls of Camelot! This happened 52 years ago, and many may have already forgotten the significance of this date in American history, but I myself, and I am sure almost all of us alive then, never can….



When JFK was shot, I was a junior in high school, but I still vividly remember the shock, grief and outrage that engulfed our working class blue collar high school…Nobody could believe it, this sort of violence had never before happened in our peaceful country, and we were glued to our TV sets for the next 3 days watching the whole bizarre aftermath…

We all watched the constant 24 hour coverage of the latest events as they enfolded in a nightmare melange of images and unthinkable actions….The capture of suspected Communist assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, who allegedly shot from the window of the Texas School depository, his subsequent murder in broad daylight in police custody by a gangster affiliated club owner name Jack Ruby….Conspiracy theories abound to this day, including the fact that Oswald was a stooge and that the Mafia had ordered the hit, that there were several shooters etc etc….







But I am talking about my personal reaction here and over and over again, in my mind’s eye I can see the recreation of the fatal bullets striking the President as he was waving at the crowd from an open convertible in downtown Dallas, a right-wing hot bed of hatred for the liberal Kennedy….

Because he was oh so charismatic and so young and good looking and there were large crowds cheering him on until the fatal bullets struck him as well as Texas Governor John Connolly as they drove in that fatal motorcade through the streets of downtown Dallas…The shock and fear and confusion of his lovely wife, Jackie O as she seemed to try and scramble over the back of the convertible looking for help is seared into my memory…All the events of that fatal day are seared into my memory…




I remember watching the grim faced police escorting the motorcade and  rushing the President to the hospital, and then the final grim words on the new universal medium, TV: “The President has been shot, he died in the hospital from wounds inflicted by the assassin’s bullets”…

The networks even canceled the whole slate of Sunday NFL games out of respect for the tragic event, as a stunned and grief stricken nation slowly came to terms to the new reality of the modern world and the excessive hatred that permeated the minds of many…Things had changed, and they would never be the same again…Vice President Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as President right there in Dallas and then the plane flew home to Washington DC with the grief of a nation following it’s every move…


CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite reports that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite reports that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.


Flanked by Jackie Kennedy (right) and his wife Lady Bird Johnson (second left), U.S Vice President Lyndon Johnson (center) is administred the oath of office by Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes (left) as he assumed the presidency following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, November 22, 1963. (Photo by CECIL STOUGHTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Flanked by Jackie Kennedy (right) and his wife Lady Bird Johnson (second left), U.S Vice President Lyndon Johnson (center) is administered the oath of office by Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes (left) as he assumed the presidency following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, November 22, 1963. (Photo by CECIL STOUGHTON/AFP/Getty Images)



Pallbearers carry the casket of U.S. President John F. Kennedy for his burial at Arlington National Cemetery in Virgina Nov. 25, 1963. That day a funeral Mass was celebrated for the slain president at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington. (CNS photo/Cecil Stoughton, courtesy John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum) (Oct. 28, 2013) See KENNEDY-FUNERAL Oct. 28, 2013.





It is my generation’s version of Pearl Harbor….Those who saw it will never forget it, and it most definitely impacted our Baby Boomer generation as much as the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor united our parent’s generation, and there are many parallels…

That day will forever live in our memories, where we were, who we were with, what everybody’s reaction was, just like the shock of Pearl Harbor galvanized a nation and forcefully, irrevocably reminded us we were not Fortress America, that we were a part of the larger world, and that things could happen to us here too, just like in Europe…….

Even some of the Japanese military had 2nd thoughts about the wisdom of attacking Pearl Harbor…In the movie “Tora Tora Tora” there is a great scene where one of the Japanese admirals muses to his staff and himself, “We may have awakened a sleeping tiger” That outrageous sneak attack on the sovereignty of a neutral nation fueled hatred and resentment of the Japanese to an extreme degree, and was the rallying cry for the “Greatest Generation”: Remember Pearl Harbor!

So in many ways there was a parallel between these twin tragedies, but as a certified Baby Boomer, born after the war, I remember the shock, outrage and loss of innocence of the JFK assassination as a devastating blow to my young mind, and my entire generation’s psyche…This irretrievable loss of innocence coupled with the young peoples already existing growing resentment and questioning of the materialistic aspects of America in the early 1960’s was a major part of the hippie movement and the Summer of Love in 1967…

All the nascent feelings of revulsion about the American government and the system itself, the “Establishment” as we called our elders, led to political unrest among the students, and it was not just here in the United States…i am not a political person and was never an activist, but the late 1960’s saw student political movements all around the globe, in France, in Italy, all over Europe…







If they were not directly linked together, they were certainly inspired by and infused by the social revolution in America, and it was the JFK assassination that was the direct fore runner and inevitable reaction by the youth of America to the greed, hypocrisy, militarism and “Father Knows Best” condescending attitude of the United States government and the “establishment” in the late 1960’s…

.When the American military made the decision to fight a proxy war in Vietnam to fuel the Cold War with Communist Russia and China it was the last straw for the youth of America…We wanted no part of this political global chess game….

We rebelled in our own separate ways, not all of us became political activists, but we all shared the attitude of “Hell no, we won’t go” to Vietnam the activists promoted…..In fact the great majority of us simply took the advice of Dr. Timothy Leary: “Turn on, tune in and drop out.”

We abandoned mainstream America and it’s collective materialistic mind set in favor of the hippie creed of “Drugs, sex and rock and roll”….We dropped out and tried to live a simpler, more peaceful life, some of us even joined communes and all of us seemingly participated in the greatest non violent revolution of all time, the fabled “Summer of Love in San Francisco” in 1967…


1967, Woburn Abbey, Hippies enjoy themselves at the 1967 Woburn Abbey Love In  (Photo by Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty Images)







But none of this peaceful rebellion would have been possible, here in the United States and in Europe too, except for this this horrible political assassination a few years earlier, which jolted us out of our complacency and insularity and opened our eyes to the real world. It all started with the gut wrenching, shocking, mind numbing disillusionment of the JFK Assassination-The Shot Heard Round The World! I for one, cannot ever, forget it…

For more blogs by John Whye, see: http://www.johnwhye.com


Holiday Season Or Holidaze?

The holiday season has crept up on me again! I don’t know where the time goes, but I noticed that is was just recently Halloween and now the holiday season, or “holidaze” as I refer to it, is in full swing once again…Today is Monday, November 16, 2015 and already Thanksgiving is right around the corner! According to my calendar, in a scant 10 days it will be Thursday November 26, Thanksgiving Day! For some reason, and I don’t know if it is just me or if you also have the same problem, the whole holiday season just seems to suddenly ARRIVE without warning, and all of a sudden I am caught up in the mix, like it or not!

I cannot deny the excitement in the air, the rush of anticipation, the crowded downtown streets when I drive down there, and it is a pleasant, familiar feeling…Personally Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite holidaze, and a very close second only to Christmas itself….What’s not to like about Thanksgiving?

There is plenty of food to eat, ham or the traditional turkey with all the trimmings, stuffing and gravy and sweet potatoes and green beans and mashed potatoes and biscuits, Yummers! And both college and pro NFL football games on TV all day long, plus if you are blessed enough to have your close family living nearby, a time to gather, celebrate, share and reminisce, to renew and reinforce good old fashioned family values and traditions……Mm mm….. The 3 F’s: Food, Family and Football



Common home utilitiesholidaze4












All the stores are already hustling and bustling with shoppers and sales, and advertisers are off the hook with their promotional deals, sales and discounts…Black Friday, as it is called, is the day after Thanksgiving and marks the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season…People line up overnight to be the first in line when the stores open, and the stores have been opening earlier and earlier, usually at the stroke of midnight…Some people even eat their Thanksgiving dinners and head straight to the mall to get in line for the eagerly anticipated sales!





As I understand it, and I am just a single older man living alone with no immediate family to explain these arcane shopping details and sales, there is even a Cyber Monday, which comes after the regular Black Friday, and it is supposed to be the day all the internet sales are unveiled for your shopping on line….Actually, there seems to be a marked trend in internet shopping in the last few years, and the lines of when it starts and does it ever stop are getting a little blurry from my perspective…

According to my Google sources, particularly an article in the Washington Post about this relatively new phenomenon, says : “One can reminisce about the days when department stores and mega-malls were among the main places for Americans to meet, socialize and, of course, shop. Spending an afternoon at the big downtown department stores used to be a family treat during the holiday shopping season. The experience eventually evolved more into trips to the mall – which were typically anchored by a major department store or two.

Cyber Monday sales this year (this data is from 2014) were up 8.7 percent compared with 2013, led by a sharp increase in mobile transactions according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark. Sales over mobile devices jumped 29 percent . That’s a sharp contrast with the mostly bad news for brick-and-mortar stores, which saw about 6 million fewer shoppers over the Thanksgiving weekend, with overall spending down about 11 percent , according to the National Retail Federation.

That’s all changed. We have certainly witnessed in recent years a pronounced uptick in terms of consumers doing their shopping online and through various mobile devices and applications. That’s the trend, but does it really mean people will shop exclusively on these devices in the not-too-distant future? Are we in the final days of a major retail shopping shakeup that will eventually make department and other physical stores a thing of the past?

There will always be a certain segment of the population who will frequent brick-and-mortar stores for the opportunity to “touch and feel” the merchandise. This is an important aspect for some age groups such as baby boomers and Generation X. On the other hand, the millennials and other younger generations tend to buy their clothes and gadgets online.

A desire for “instant gratification” or “instant ownership” is still key with some buyers – including youths – who appreciate the ability to touch, feel and buy an item all in the same moment, currently only possible at a physical store. Amazon’s new one-hour delivery service, however, may begin to eat away at this.

On the other hand, many people prefer to snag the best deal after surveying a large number of products, something difficult to do in stores, especially when there are large crowds, and don’t mind waiting for their purchase to show up days later in the mail. That jives with the sense that we’re a more “deal-oriented” society today.

So then what do brick-and-mortar stores need to do to survive and even thrive – and lure those mystifying millennials? Traditional brick-and-mortar stores may be struggling due to the meteoric rise of online shopping, but it doesn’t mean they’re losing out on those sales – they’re just moving to their Web site. While some argue that eventually it’ll all be online, (many people) contend that physical stores will be around for some time to come – if and only if they are successful at reinventing themselves more in the mold of Apple as experience stores.



holidaze23online applegetty

Some stores have excelled at doing this and creating an “in-store experience” that’s about more than trying to find a T-shirt or new computer, such as Nordstrom and Apple. Others will have to adopt similar techniques to compete. Clothing retailer JC Penney, for example, is in the midst of trying to reinvent its shopping experience to make it more than just a transaction with a cashier.

Value-added transactions
Retailers need to add value to the transaction to make it worth the trip away from the convenience of the computer. The entire in-store experience must be enriched. Necessary elements include:

  • Knowledgeable, professional and courteous employees who will do everything to ensure customer satisfaction (Nordstrom and Apple do this well)
  • Conduct continuous customer research to always better understand what prospective consumers will be searching for
  • A pleasant store environment and ambiance that is soothing and inviting to the customer’s senses
  • Warranties and guarantees that leave no doubt in the consumer’s mind that this is the place to do business
  • Irresistible and creative in-store displays that attract the consumer
  • An integrated e-commerce, online marketing approach within the storefront architecture so that all shoppers will get the “best of all worlds.”



Black Friday Shoppers Chase Deals At Wal-Mart, Best Buy

So I guess it’s still pick your poison, but personally I enjoy on line shopping more and love being able to avoid the crush of people and the jam packed parking lots at the malls and especially here in downtown San Francisco…For the major stuff, like for my daughter and grand-daughter, I let them pick out what they want, put it in “the cart” and just pay for it, especially now that they are living thousands of miles from me…

But conversely, I DO also still like to pick out certain items at stores, and go through the whole traditional routine of wrapping them, packing them and making that trip to the post office to mail them off to my family members back in the Mid West…So I guess I am of two minds here, but I think the convenience of online shopping will continue to grow for most people, because time is at such a premium in most people’s lives, and ordering on line is much quicker…

But like it or not, ready or not, the holidaze are once again upon us! I know that Thanksgiving, at least is a unique American experience, and I treasure it for that…Christmas and the holiday season have more of an international flavor, but sometimes the holidaze expectations overwhelm me, and I prefer to take them one at a time.. ..

And speaking of flavors, I can’t wait to taste that once a year turkey treat with all the trimmings, I LOVE Thanksgiving and I hope all of you also have a great Thanksgiving with family and friends as well!

For more information on retail stores vs on line shopping, see:https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/how-brick-and-m…The Washington Post

For more blogs by John Whye, see: http://www.johnwhye.com

Veteran’s Day “The War To End All Wars”

Today is Veteran’s Day, 2015….When this holiday was originally conceived, it was meant to honor all the soldiers who had ever served in the military, many of whom had died in battle defending their country in WWI…..They really believed back then that this terrible war, with it’s tremendous loss of life, sacrifice and the introduction of new deadly weapons and tactics that included trench warfare, massive artillery barrages, machine guns, suicidal forays into “no man’s land” and the introduction of chemical weapons was so horrible that no country would ever again be tempted to start another war….

Sadly, they were mistaken and in their classic song, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” the Who famously articulated the painful truth, “ And the world looks just the same….And history ain’t changed…’Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war…” which was WWII and was basically a continuation of the hostilities started, fought bitterly over, but never fully resolved in WWI….



Wounded British soldiers are attended to in a trench during the first day of the Battle of the Somme Date: 1 July 1916


The overall result is that this holiday has been downgraded in a sense, most businesses are still open as usual and only the Federal and state governments honor it by observing a day of remembrance that is as important now as it was then…It has since become in fact a general day of honoring that includes all the veterans from all of the wars, living and dead, besides WWI, which was ironically termed: “The War To End All Wars”….

Since most people today have no clue about the meaning of the holiday, I will go to my Google sources for some general information, and BTW, the holiday was originally called Armistice day but changed officially to Veteran’s day by Congress in 1938: “World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France.

However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

An act of Congress approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I”….But the wars just kept on coming….




“So in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Many Americans mistakenly believe that Veterans Day is the day America sets aside to honor American military personnel who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained from combat. That’s not quite true. Memorial Day is the day set aside to honor America’s war dead. Veterans Day, on the other hand, honors ALL American veterans, both living and dead.



American soldiers are dropped off by U.S.Army helicopters to join South Vietnamese ground troops to advance in an attack on a Viet Cong camp 18 miles north of Tay Ninh, northwest of Saigon near the Cambodian border, in March 1965 during the Vietnam War. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)


In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for dedicated and loyal service to their country. November 11 of each year is the day that we ensure veterans know that we deeply appreciate the sacrifices they have made in their lives to keep our country free.”

The list of wars since WWI is almost endless…..Some of the major ones were of Course WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the first Gulf war, the conflict in Iraq, the Kosovo war, and the 2nd Gulf war, which continues to this very day, with Americans fighting and dying in various Middle Eastern countries…

The political reasons for war have always been hotly debated, but it has truly been said that “Old men argue, and young men die”…So today on this national holiday, let’s try to put aside all our petty differences of opinion, put aside our political differences and simply honor those brave young men and women who actually volunteer to serve our country and who have been there and personally put their life on the line defending our country…..

War is horrible, it always has and always will be, and yet it is apparently inevitable…. With the seemingly endless round of conflicts now centered in the Mid East it appears war to some degree will be with us for the foreseeable future….This day is not about the political correctness of the U.S. participation in these wars, or any wars, but rather about the personal bravery and self sacrifice of the individual veterans who have served their country by joining the Armed Services…….


Petty Officer 2nd Class Bridget Shanahan, a corpsman with Shock Trauma Platoon, 2nd Combat Logistics Battalion, and Lance Cpl. Michael Johnson, a wireman with Communications Platoon, Headquarters and Service Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, hand out stuffed animals to a second grade student at Houran Primary School in Rutbah, Iraq, Dec. 2. Not only was this the first time most of the children at Houran had ever interacted with Coalition forces, but it was an education in the integral role that females serve in the U.S. military.

Soldiers from 1st Platoon, Apache Troop, 2-5 Cav, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav Div move tactically as they enter and clear their objective during combat operation in Fallujah on the 9th of Nov 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Photo by SFC Johancharles Van Boers, 55th Signal Company, Combat Camera, Fort Meade, Maryland. Release for Public Usevets28womaniraq



If you know any vets, or see any on the street, take a moment and thank them for their efforts…..They have put their bodies on the line, and many today are suffering from post traumatic stress and some from horrible, disfiguring wounds suffered in battles in far flung places around the globe most of us have never even heard of, and for personal reasons most of us will never fully comprehend…..

And BTW, the Veteran’s Bureau should wake up and smell the coffee! Their lackadaisical, inept attitude and seeming indifference to the latest round of American war casualties needs to be seriously examined and overhauled….It is a shame and a scandal! The Veterans Bureau has been exposed and castigated in the media about their incredible bureaucracy the last few years, and rightly so….

These returning veterans deserve every right they are entitled to without having to negotiate endless miles of red tape and intolerable waiting periods for their benefits …Most of us have loved ones, friends or relatives who were in the armed services in one war or another, and risked sacrificing their very lives; the least the government can do is to alleviate their suffering and help them now that they have returned….

I am 100% against war as a policy tool, except as a last gasp defense, but that does not mean that I cannot honor in my heart and my thoughts the bravery of those soldiers who have earned the title of veterans….It is for them, living and dead, veterans of all the wars, that we should unite and dedicate this day to, Veteran’s Day 2015!

To all veterans, living and dead, thank you for your sacrifices: We Salute You!
For more information on The History Of Veteran’s Day, see :www.va.gov/…/vetsday/vet…United States Department of Veterans Affairs
For more blogs by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com

Weather And Psychology

Today is a beautiful, warm sunny day in San Francisco, unlike yesterday when it was cold, blustery and rained hard early in the morning….The temperature is in the high 60’s, and the sunshine is brilliant and warm…The small storm we had yesterday cleared the air of all the pollutants and irritants that our industrialized society produces, and when I look towards the majestic Pacific ocean, I can see for miles! I just wrote a blog yesterday about the extremes of snow and ice in the Midwest and the eastern part of the country, so today I want to just deal not with the physical drudgery of this extreme weather but rather with the psychological aspects of how the weather affects our daily outlook on life in general…

It is amazing to me how the weather can so affect a person’s attitude and well being….I read somewhere that people in Oregon, a very lush green state, especially when you fly over it, are among the most depressed people in the United States because it rains there all the time, the price they pay for their verdant greenery… I have relatives currently living in Seattle, who were born and raised in California, and they swear the people up there are way more grouchy and grumpy than Californians, probably again because of the gloomy, rainy weather they have to endure all winter long….



Sweden, Jamtland, Froson, Man looking at winter forest


According to my Google sources, first from an earlier study in 2005-2008 and then a followup study several years later in 2013-2014:

“The Weather Can Affect You Negatively and Positively

(A Dr.)Keller and his colleagues (2005) examined 605 participants responses in three separate studies to examine the connection between mood states, a person’s thinking and the weather. They found that:

[…P]pleasant weather (higher temperature or barometric pressure) was related to higher mood, better memory, and ‘‘broadened’’ cognitive style during the spring as time spent outside increased. The same relationships between mood and weather were not observed during other times of year, and indeed hotter weather was associated with lower mood in the summer.

These results are consistent with findings on Seasonal Affective Disorder, and suggest that pleasant weather improves mood and broadens cognition in the spring because people have been deprived of such weather during the winter.

So while Denissen et al. (2008) found no general ability for the weather itself to lift us into a more positive mood (contrary to both Howard & Hoffman and Keller’s findings above), the researchers did find that the weather can impact our moods negatively.

Another way to look at it is that Denissen and colleagues confirmed prior research that showed that people’s moods and emotions can definitely be affected by the weather. The strength of that relationship varies from person to person. So, sorry, yes, weather does appear to impact our moods. And that effect may become serious.

Look no further for evidence of this than the very real condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is characterized by feelings of sadness and depression that occur in the winter months when the temperatures drop and the days grow short. This specific form of depression is often associated with excessive eating or sleeping and weight gain. Women are twice to three times more likely to suffer from the winter blues than men. If SAD is merely a “culturally transmitted idea” (as the blog quotes the researchers as suggesting), then so is every mental disorder to one extent or another.”




That is one study…. let’s Google one more:

Higher temperatures can bring a depressed person up.

Denissen et al. (2008) found that weather’s daily influence has more of an impact on a person’s negative mood, rather than helping one’s positive mood. Higher temperatures raise a person with a low mood up, while things like wind or not enough sun made a low person feel even lower.Seasonal affective disorder is real.Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a very real kind of depressive disorder….Heat (and extreme rain) brings out the worst in people.

Hsiang et al. (2013) found a link between human aggression and higher temperatures. As temperatures rose, the researchers noted that inter group conflicts also tended to jump — by 14 percent (a significant increase). The scientists also found interpersonal violence rose by 4 percent.

These findings held true not only for higher temperatures, but also that wet stuff that falls from the sky — rain. The more it rained (especially in areas where high rainfall is not expected), the more aggressive people seemed to get.

Other research has confirmed this finding. For instance, researcher Marie Connolly (2013) found that women who were interviewed on days “with more rain and higher temperatures [reported] statistically and substantively decreasing life satisfaction, consistent with the affect results.” On days with lower temperatures and no rain, the same subjects reported higher life satisfaction.

Weather Doesn’t Have to Impact Your Mood

Connolly (2008) found that men responded to unexpected weather by simply changing their plans. Raining? Let’s stay in instead of going for a hike. Unexpectedly warm day? Let’s take advantage of it by going to the water park or beach. Women, on the other hand, didn’t seem as likely to modify their activities, thereby more often taking the brunt of the unexpected weather on their mood.

Weather seems to have a real and measurable impact on many people’s mood, but is dependent upon many factors. The impact of the weather is probably going to be greater in any geographic location that experiences lengthy periods of unusual weather. For instance, if it’s hot and sunny for months on end, that’s probably going to make more of an impact in Seattle (a usually rainy and cool place to live) than in Miami (a usually hot and sunny place to live).

It may also depend upon your “weather personality type,” but that needs further research to confirm. While we most commonly think of SAD affecting only people in the fall or winter months, a minority of people also experience SAD during the spring and summer months too.”

A revelation to me in both of these studies, especially the more recent one in 2014, is there is an actual name for how the weather can change your mood, and it is called “SAD” an acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder.According to the definition by the esteemed Mayo Clinic: “ Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year.

If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer…..Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (photo therapy), psychotherapy and medications.”





So if you are like me and rainy weather can change your mood, don’t be alarmed….we are not crazy! As noted above, the symptoms increase as the winter months roll in, and can even affect people in the spring or summer…

No matter how you look at it, weather has a definite psychological impact on people, who often are unaware of it, and it affects some people, apparently especially women, more than others…This is a fascinating topic to me, and I urge you to read up on it if the weather adversely (and sometimes positively) affects your mood in a very real and profound way, as it does mine….It is real…

Just remember, and this gives me at least some small but needed measure of comfort, we are not alone!

For more information on SAD see: http://www.mayoclinic.org/…/seasonal-affective-disorder/…/con-2…Mayo Clinic

For more information on how weather can change your mood, see: psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2008/…/weather-can-change-your-mood…

AND: psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/…/can-weather-affect-your-mood/

For more blogs by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com

Rain And Earthquakes

It rained today…California has been suffering through a 2 year drought, so I should have been happy, but I was not…In fact, the rain lashing against my windows and the gray skies outside and the colder weather from the storm all combined to make me feel frightened, confused and isolated…I know intellectually that we need the rain, but emotionally it was like a visceral shock to my system….Besides, because of the drought, and many subsequent forest fires that burned up thousands of acres of vegetation, we are in for many mudslides this year….

I guess it was like the change in the weather that affected me so profoundly, like that timeless classic song by Natalie Merchant with 10,000 Maniacs, “About the Weather”…I think that there is something inherently embedded deep in the human consciousness that always wants to resist change, even if the change is for the better…You can KNOW this intellectually, like I realize that California needs the rain, but there is a still a small part of me resisting the change on the gut level….


rain12carsplashrain3 flashfloods

Dark clouds move over the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. The National Weather Service says that by late morning Thursday 1 inch of rain had fallen in several hours across the western side of the county. Much of Northern California is under a variety of warnings and advisories for rain, snow and high winds. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)


Things are different today, and I don’t like it! I guess like most people I will just have to soldier on and deal with the weather, and since I grew up in Chicago I certainly know that a little or even a LOT of rain, is nothing compared to the weather they get back there all winter long…I clearly remember mountainous snowdrifts, icy roads that had to be snowplowed and then salted by special trucks to make the streets passable, and I most certainly remember having to shovel snow every day of the winter….

It is the law back there that every homeowner, store owner, or apartment manager is responsible for shoveling the snow off the sidewalks when it snows back there….Of course, if you have a house, you have to shovel the driveway to be be able to get your car out of the garage as well, and if you just concluded a backbreaking hour or so shoveling all this snow, don’t be surprised if this is just the exact instant that the snow plow will go by your house and dump a new load of snow at your driveway entrance!



People work to shovel snow-covered cars out in Boston's Charlestown section, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, one day after a blizzard dumped about two feet of snow in the city. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)


So once again you have to grab your shovel and go and shovel this new mound of excess snow away to get your car out of the driveway before you hit the icy streets, that have hopefully been snowplowed and salted to melt the ice enough to enable you to make your morning commute to work or to school, or just to do necessary shopping….Quite a wake up call!

I remember as kids whenever there was a large snowstorm overnight we would gather around the radio with bated breath hoping to hear that our particular school was closed for the day due to the extremely inclement weather…This happened infrequently, but there were always a few days every winter where the snow, cold and ice were so great certain school districts would be forced to close because the storm was so severe the roads were impassable for the school buses and the teachers to physically get to the school….

Of course, as kids faced with this most severe snow storm, ice and cold, our immediate reaction was Oh Yeah! We were so giddy and happy and joyous at not having to go to school we immediately bundled up and raced outside to play in the snow all day! Living in San Francisco, which is a very temperate area, we never get snow, and as an adult I don’t miss it, but in a way I feel sorry for the kids never getting to have the fun of building snow forts, having snowball fights, and sledding and ice skating…

rain25kidssnowmanChildren playing in the snow on a winter day

Large group of children are lying on top of each other on the snow. [url=http://www.istockphoto.com/search/lightbox/9786738][img]http://dl.dropbox.com/u/40117171/group.jpg[/img][/url] [url=http://www.istockphoto.com/search/lightbox/9786682][img]http://dl.dropbox.com/u/40117171/children5.jpg[/img][/url]



We do have ice skating rinks here in San Francisco, but they are few and far between and almost all indoor rinks, like at shopping malls…The city fathers DO provide an outdoor skating rink downtown outside the Embarcadero Buildings around winter time, but they are only there for a few weeks….At least the kids, if their parents take them, can get the experience of skating outdoors though, and without the bitter biting cold of the Midwest and most of the rest of the country….

I realize now how much the weather influences the daily activities, thought processes and mind set of the majority of the country to a much greater extent than I ever did as a kid…As a kid, you just grow up with that kind of weather and are totally able to adapt to it, you think nothing of it, it is just the way it is….As an adult, I realize there are choices to be made about the weather, and that you can move to places like California or Florida to avoid the snow year round; when I was a kid I did not ever even realize there was an option…

Most of my family, including my mother, sister and her family still live in the Midwest and put up with all this snow every winter….When I press them about why, they always say they enjoy the variety of the four seasons, spring, summer, fall and winter, and that the winter cold makes them appreciate the warmer weather the rest of the year….They also think I am crazy for living in earthquake country, and fear that all of California will one day be hit by a massive killer quake and fall off into the ocean, like Atlantis! We are actually in more danger of mudslides, especially in Southern California…




AZUSA, CA - MARCH 1: Ed Heinlein walks in front of his house that is threatened with a possible major landslide from the burned hillsides above as a storm brings rain in the midst of record drought on March 1, 2014 near Azusa, California. The rain offers some relief to the dry conditions but is not expected to be enough to break the historic drought. A drought-related unseasonal wildfire, the Colby Fire, was accidentally ignited in the dry chaparral vegetation in January, destroying homes and sending thousands fleeing. The charred and denuded hillsides are threatening the homes of about a thousand evacuated residents with rain-loosened mud-ash debris flows. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Since I have lived in San Francisco for the last 48 years I can say that has not happened yet and that we Californians consider it a highly unlikely prospect…Oh sure, we have had a few large earthquakes here, but the thing about earthquakes is they are quick, fast and in a hurry…In other words, by the time you realize you are having one, it is already almost over, because most jolts don’t last for more than a few seconds….An earthquake lasting a full minute would be very scary, and I went through one of those once…. It was sort of a rolling, sickening feeling and more like a succession of quakes one after the other, like the quake we had in 1989

So I will take my risks with the earthquakes, and I still feel threatened and even intimidated by driving around in the rain, but a small part of me will always remember and be grateful for the huge difference our moderate weather means to us on a daily basis and how it is is reflected in our mind sets and world view…Especially as compared to my relatives and the great majority of the country who are buried under Arctic blasts of snow and ice every winter season, and take it all in stride….




So it’s like just pick your poison, rain and mudslides and flooding and the occasional earthquake or snow and ice and freezing cold weather every single winter, nobody is totally immune from the weather, and it molds and shapes our daily lives in every way.….It’s all just part of Nature’s plan, the grand scheme of things, and we as humans just have to learn to adapt….

I guess that old saying is really true, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence…”

For more blogs by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com

College Football $aturday In America

Well today is Saturday, and as usual if you are a college football fan, this is YOUR day…I mean Saturday is the couch potato special day of the week, break out the beer and chips and assorted munchies because it’s going to be a LONG day! If you are dedicated to watching college football you can do so by getting up at 9 am (west coast time) to watch Notre Dame at Pittsburgh and continue on until 730 pm (10:30 east coast time) and watch the last televised college football game of the day, Arizona at USC…There are a whopping, I just counted them, total of THIRTY SIX college games being televised today!….

Of course they are not being broadcast in consecutive order and a lot of them overlap and many are regional broadcasts anyway….For instance, I live in San Francisco so I can see the PAC 12 football games like Stanford, Cal, USC etc being broadcast on the PAC 12 channel if they are not picked up by the major channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, ESPN or ESPN2….I know I have touched on this topic before, but let’s take a closer look…. Somebody is making a TON of money on these “amateur” contests and it’s sure not the players…Let’s check out some numbers…

Of course, I cannot see the Big 10 games broadcast on the Big 10 network, only if they are broadcast on the major channels, like today Michigan State is playing Nebraska on ESPN, so since I get that channel, I can see that game….But it doesn’t take a whole lot of smarts to see somebody is making BILLIONS off of all these college games, the various networks and of course the individual schools…



These charts and statistics are boring, huh? But they ARE the bottom line…This is a relatively new phenomenon according to my Google sources: “It’s no surprise that college sports are big business for schools with elite Division I teams. Between TV contracts, merchandising and investments in athletic programs, colleges in the United states generate hundreds of millions of dollars every year. How much money specific sports, schools or programs generate varies wildly according to the popularity of the sport and how successful a team is….Most fans are AGAINST paying college athletes….


Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson (5) dives for the end zone to score a touchdown against Navy safety Parrish Gaines (2) and others during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014, in Landover, Md. Notre Dame won 49-39. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)



No college sport generates more money every year than football. In 2012, Business Insider reported that the University of Texas’ football program generated more than $95 million the previous season, the most of any college in the United States. These revenues come largely from broadcast rights, ticket sales and merchandising. In 2010, the collective revenue of the 15 highest-grossing football programs in the United States was more than $1 billion. In many schools, the revenues generated by successful football and basketball programs fund the entire athletic department.”

Although a recent bid by Northwestern University to start a student athlete union has been struck down by the courts, at least there is some relief in sight for the athletes themselves. And it is high time, because the NCAA and the schools are getting filthy rich off of these student athletes, most of whom are on paid sports scholarships which until recently were not enough to offset the actual cost of attending a major college…



Again, according to my Google sources: “Division I college football and men’s basketball teams made a combined profit of $1.7 billion in the 2013-14 school year, according to federal data. And that money is soaring with new broadcast deals and money makers like the college football playoff system. The (new revised) stipends are going to football and basketball players. But they are also available to athletes in the “non revenue” sports such as soccer, lacrosse, baseball and volleyball. The stipends come after a long fight by advocates for players.

For the first time, the NCAA this year is allowing schools to give cash stipends to cover the cost of things like late-night snacks, student fees, laundry money and movies. Scholarships cover the core expenses of college such as tuition and room and board. The new stipends are supposed to close the gap between scholarship money and what it actually costs to attend school.

The stipends, available at most of the country major sports programs, range from about $2,000 to $5,000 a year, although some schools are reportedly offering a few thousand more than that. That may not sound like a lot, but that’s real money for students from poorer families. Some star athletes have complained about going to bed hungry at night because they couldn’t afford to buy extra food while burning up extra calories during training and competition. Compensation is a touchy issue for college athletes. They can bring in big bucks for their schools but, as amateurs, don’t get a penny of salary.

Strict rules bar schools or boosters from giving cash — and even meals or clothing — to student athletes. Coaches who help players travel home after a death in the family can draw NCAA sanctions.

The new stipend “is a modest amount, but it’s definite solid progress,” said Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association, which is trying to win recognition as the first union for college athletes. Huma estimates the stipends will cost schools a total of about $100 million — a drop in the bucket compared to what athletics brings in. The NCAA says it does not know how much is being spent.”

Yeah right! So enjoy your special day, college football fans, and root on your beloved TCU Horned Frogs or your Arkansas Razorbacks or your Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, or like me my Stanford Cardinals vs the Colorado Buffalo’s or the Cal Bears vs the Oregon Ducks..I cannot deny the attraction of collegiate rivalries that I grew up with, and in a way the college game is more pure than the pros in the NFL, who are definitely in it for the money….So enjoy the glory, the glamour, the heartbreak, the exultation, the pageantry and circus that is American college football; it’s not going anywhere soon…

college football3college football31 cheerleaders




But alas, there are 15,588 senior student athletes playing football. Only an average of 256 of those athletes will be drafted into the NFL. That’s 1.6% of all NCAA seniors playing football that get drafted. . 008% of all high school athletes get drafted. Let’s hope that thanks to the recent increased stipends to their athletic scholarships, the majority of them will graduate and get those precious college degrees and find work at some far less dangerous venues than professional football…

They are after all, STUDENTS first and athletes second anyway, and if playing collegiate sports is their only way to get a college degree,and they can avoid life long debilitating injuries, then the system is working for them….So enjoy the pomp and the pageantry and the cheerleaders and the raucous, packed stadiums, the  howling crowds and the tradition and the decades long rivalries…..

I know I will….Oh and can you please pass the dip?

For more information on NCAA revenue sources see:finance.zacks.com › Investing › Investing for Beginners

For more information on increased college stipends see:

For more blogs by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com

The Pettiness Of Power

Have you ever noticed how some people become incredibly petty when they suddenly get a little power, like in a work situation? These type of people are often ignorant, ill prepared for their new position, and have few if any people skills…I have a friend who works in a pharmacy in a large company, and when a new pharmacy manager was hired, the new manager fired her…. (Or more accurately, reassigned her to another store in the chain ) !

In fact, this was a systematic pattern, the new pharmacy manager immediately began purging every single one of the old employees in her department and replacing them with her friends shortly after she was hired herself…She did not care how valuable, how intelligent, resourceful or skillful at their jobs each person was, she just wanted to clean house, from top to bottom…

A different store employee who works in another department told me that there was only one person left from the staff the pharmacy manager had inherited when the old pharmacy manager retired…I can imagine her days are numbered as well…



Why do people have to act so petty when they get a little power in their hands? I believe it is basically insecurity and lack of intelligence on their part….I could see maybe replacing one or two employees that the new pharmacy manager had a personality clash with, but ALL of them? Sorry, but this reeks of arrogance, ignorance, pettiness and insecurity…..Why did she do it? Because she could….There is no other logical reason….

She certainly did not do it for the customers, many of whom, like me, had developed a bond with several of the older workers over the years and are disturbed by this wholesale changeover of staff, maybe a dozen people in all ….I realize change is an inevitable part of life, but this kind of mass purge in a work world situation is nothing more than the new manager flexing her muscles; she must be one of those petty people who gets high on power….Her own actions have damned her and branded her as a weakling and a coward….

And what is power in work world anyway? It is an artificial designation of authority given to one person over another, and that is all it is....I personally have witnessed this myself in my 45 years as both a blue collar worker (truck driver) and a white collar, corporate employee (Administrative Assistant)….I have seen the abuse of power up close and personal, and it is not pretty….This often sudden ascension to power turns people’s heads, makes them think they are better than the rest, that they are some kind of a special breed, that they are special, that they are the anointed ones instead of what they really only are, the appointed ones…



When I was a blue collar truck driver, our dispatcher would assign routes to each driver every day, mostly based on his knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses, and this system worked out very well for the most part….But if our dispatcher was sick or on vacation, one of the other drivers would temporarily inherit his position and function to assign routes, to decide who got sent where that day, and what tasks they had to perform that day, and OMG!

Suddenly they were giving away all the easy routes to their personal friends and all the hardest routes to the people they didn’t like, no matter the requisite skill level or expertise for each job that was needed!….They weren’t mixing and matching, they were smashing and grabbing….It was all about the power….It was like a drug to them…

It was like they were suddenly “king for a day” and this sudden tiny bit of power immediately turned their heads…They became brusque, overbearing, and dictatorial, even knowing that as temporary dispatcher they would soon be relegated back to their regular positions as just another truck driver as soon as the regular dispatcher returned…This small taste, this experience of power completely turned their heads!

And it was even worse in the corporate setting, because here you had people who were hired at entry level positions who were scratching and clawing their way to a more prestigious (again, read power) position in their lifelong quest to get to the the top of the corporate ladder….As the best boss I ever had once told me, “Every rung up that ladder gets more slippery, difficult and treacherous to attain”….I have nothing against the capitalist system, I am an American and as they say, the business of America is business…But being a bully is not good business…


arrogance10bad ass bosses


But what I DO strongly object to is the misuse of power by unqualified ignorant people over people who are technically “under them” and who are technically placed “over them” because it is all a facade, a sham, a display of their own ignorance, insecurity and arrogant pettiness…And after a while, they actually start to believe that they are somehow superior to their subordinates, because they have attained a certain level of power, and that this designated authority makes them somehow innately better than their fellow employees…Unbelievable!

They completely lose sight of the fact that their authority was given to them at some point, and that it can be taken away again at some point, but they are so drunk on their power trips and so stupid they start believing that they are untouchables… They end up getting caught up in the heady mix of arrogance their designated position of power allows them, and they start to become ever more arbitrary, obstinate and short sighted…

Ultimately, of course, they almost always crash and burn, and are themselves fired, banished and disgraced, but it will remain an eternal mystery to me why they were ever given the power in the first place, but more importantly, how dare they misuse and abuse their power over their fellow employees! This kind of behavior by bosses is not only undignified, unjustified and morale sapping, but also counterproductive as far as achieving results….As Rodney King once said “Can’t we all just get along?”



The Illusion of Power

So my friend, an excellent pharmacy worker, will have to accept for now being unfairly dismissed by the latest in a long line of petty tyrants and bounce around the store chain till she finds a more humane, sympathetic boss…. Meanwhile the new pharmacy boss will surround herself with her own hand picked toadies and go home at night and glory in all her new found power, too stupid to realize it is all just an illusion, a facade, a fantasy she is living out, and that she will inevitably get replaced herself one day…

People like this new pharmacy boss and my last corporate boss are like the gollum in “Lord of the Rings” when they suddenly get their “precious” ( power), get their coveted ring in their greedy hands and find out that their reach really did exceed their grasp… Well, as the French say, “C’est la vie !” or “That’s life”

I guess they never learned that old karmic wisdom in time: “What goes around, comes around”…

For more blogs by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com


Sometimes I hear people complain about being bored, and this always shocks and surprises me….How in the hell in this fast paced, hectic, topsy turvy, upside down, inside out ever evolving and changing world do they have time to even THINK about being bored? Boredom to me is a foreign concept, I barely ever have time enough in each day to do even the necessary things, like shopping for food and performing the maintenance issues, like car repairs or house cleaning we all face…And I am retired, so I don’t even have that big 10 hour chunk of each day swallowed up by the demons of work world like most people!

Bored? Oh please! Not to mention continuously working on my blog, playing my music to relax me, reading 3-4 books at approximately the same time, one book one night, another the next… And trying to keep up with all the sporting events that are broadcast every single day and night, baseball, football, basketball; thank goodness I have a DVR and can record most of these to watch at a more convenient time but OMG! How can anybody in this turbulent mix of a revolving door that we call American society ever complain about being bored?


DCF 1.0



Boredom is defined by Websters dictionary as: “The state of being weary and restless through lack of interest”…Common synonyms for boredom include the “blahs, doldrums, ennui, listlessness, restlessness, tedium and weariness” OK! So now we are getting someplace…By definition, boredom then is not caused by a lack of things to do, as I perceived it, but rather from a lack of interest in things that you do….

It is more precisely defined as that feeling of being burnt out and that time is passing you by while you spin your wheels in some meaningless job, performing tasks you hate or have little interest in doing…… For example sitting in your cubicle knowing that what you are doing is only important at the moment…To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address, “The world will little note nor long remember what we say (or do) here”…..

I mean, who remembers the majority of work projects or reports or assignments that you do in the arena of work world even last week?….Unless of course you screw them up, I am wagering even you don’t remember them, they all blur together…In that context I have more sympathy for people who say they are bored, because after 45 years of breaking rocks on the chain gang of work world, looking back I was bored almost all the time….This is what they call “Professional Boredom Syndrome.”

Delegates sit at the stage before the opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, November 8, 2012. China's outgoing President Hu Jintao said the nation faced risk and opportunity in equal measure as he formally opened a congress of the ruling Communist Party that will usher in a once-in-a-decade leadership change. REUTERS/Jason Lee (CHINA - Tags: POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)



Studio shot of young woman working in office covered with adhesive notes

Woman Multitasking and Overworked --- Image by © Hannes Hepp/Corbis

I also read a fascinating article about “Chronic Boredom” and the risks involved in my Google research: “For most people, boredom is a passing, nearly trivial feeling that lifts as soon as your number is called, a task is completed or a lecture ends. But boredom has a darker side: Easily bored people are at higher risk for depression, anxiety, drug addiction, alcoholism, compulsive gambling, eating disorders, hostility, anger, poor social skills, bad grades and low work performance.



Despite boredom’s ubiquity and pathological associations, psychologists have yet to pin down what, exactly, it is. Several different scales all claim to measure boredom—the most widely used is the Boredom Proneness Scale—but a recent analysis suggests that they are measuring slightly different phenomena. Explanations for ennui are even more plentiful, ranging from Freud’s theories of repressed emotions to individual differences in personality traits, the need for excitement, and attention skills.

Part of the boredom puzzle may be individual differences in how much excitement and novelty we require. Men, for example, are generally more bored than women. They also exhibit more risk-taking behaviors, report enjoying more dangerous entertainment and are more likely to say that their environments are dull. “People who are more likely to become bored do not see their environments as very rich or lively,” says Stephen Vodanovich at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, who has been working on boredom for almost 20 years.

Clues to the underlying causes of boredom have come from patients who suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI). According to James Danckert, a neuroscientist at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, people with TBI often begin to indulge in riskier activities after their accidents. These activities might include taking drugs or jumping out of planes;pursuits they pick up in an attempt to deal with their new and chronic boredom.

Danckert theorizes that the massive flux of endorphins or pain medication necessary for recovery from a brain injury may have literally raised these patients’ threshold for psychological pleasure and reward. “Now instead of a coffee doing it for you, you need a triple espresso,” Danckert explains. “Anything that used to give you pleasure now has to be ramped up in order to succeed.” Like chronically bored but healthy people, they need far bigger hits to find fun.


PUBLISHED by catsmob.com



Highly bored individuals also tend to lack the ability to entertain themselves. As a result, they may turn to activities like doing drugs, says McWelling Todman at the New School for Social Research in New York City. “Drug use takes place during downtime when the person would have otherwise been entertaining themselves.” This may be especially true during adolescence, a time “when they are putting together the skills needed to deal with boredom in adulthood.”

Ironically, the proliferation of new technology and the overabundance of shiny new toys like lap tops, I pads, smart phones, and computer games may be contributing to the rise in boredom in today’s world…Many people feel that if they are not constantly multi tasking, they will become bored…They feel that they must constantly be “doing something.” Some people have even been observed playing computer games at movie theaters!….

So it appears I was hasty in my initial cursory dismissal of boredom as impossible or improbable in this modern world, especially after doing some more in depth research on the topic….It is apparently a valid psychological condition, and many people suffer from it…I guess the key for me, is that I am never bored because I have the luxury of mostly only doing things I like to do, instead of being forced to do things I hate to do…So I apologize to those people afflicted with this particular mental and psychological hangup…..I hope I haven’t bored you to death!

Maybe the new definition of boredom should not be too little to do, but too much to do!

For more information on boredom, see: Bored to Death at: http://www.scientificamerican.com › The Sciences › Features Scientific American

For more blogs by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com

Why Poor People Vote For Republicans

We just had a municipal election here yesterday in San Francisco, mostly for the Mayor and assorted propositions, and I was happy to find out most of my choices won…But in doing research for this blog, I picked up on some interesting data and made some observations about elections in general….One thing I truly don’t get is why do poor people vote for Republicans? What’s behind the rising tide of Republican strength in the so called red states, mostly in the South, when there are clearly so many poor people there to account for this strange phenomenon? ….

Any logical person can see that the Republicans, by their very words out of their own mouths, are the party of racial discrimination, hatred toward minorities as in their stance on immigration, (this in a nation founded by immigrants!) and the general viewpoint that big business is always better, and screw the working class and the lower class, as well as their ill concealed war on women and old people….



They are clearly the party for the rich people, the corporate overlords, the fascist 1% like the infamous Koch brothers whose individual family wealth alone could pay off the national debt….But what is really puzzling me is how they are convincing poor people to vote for them in the first place, when they have all but declared economic and social war on poor people? Here are some interesting theories I found on the internet:

As per my Google sources: “Have you ever wondered why so many poor people vote for Republicans, even though Republicans do very little to help them? Here in Louisiana, Republicans have taken every state-wide seat in government, and they couldn’t have done it without convincing the poorest people in the state to vote against their self interests.” Here are 5 main reasons in how and why they manipulate the poor people:

5. Liberals can be really elitist: I hate to have to say it, but it’s true…However, if all you know how to do is attack someone’s character by calling them stupid or a shill, you’re not going to persuade them to see things from your point of view. What it will do is further alienate more moderate conservatives who could be convinced that some gun restrictions aren’t a bad idea, just to give you an example.

4. Racism: I’m putting racism in here because there’s almost never a discussion about why poor people vote conservative without racism being cited as a reason. While there are certainly racists who identify as Republicans, simply writing everyone off as racist for voting Republican is stereotyping, stupid, and counterproductive.

3. They’re “pro-life”: Few things besides gay marriage get religious conservatives more worked up than abortion. Having grown up in the “pro-life” movement, I can tell you that while some religious people (especially Catholics) tend to support Democrats on economic issues, they’ve been told by their pastors that they could go to Hell for voting for someone who is pro-choice.

2. Fox News: In order to keep people voting the way you want, you need a propaganda source. When you travel through Red States, Fox News is on in most gas stations, fast food restaurants, and public areas. An unabashedly conservative media outlet, Fox News continually broadcasts a right wing agenda to its viewers.

They blame The Other; immigrants, ethnic minorities, LGBT Americans, and women, while saying people need to “take America back” They repeatedly bash the President, give platforms to lobbyists and corporate shills, and constantly work to undermine progress and support obstructionists. They do all of this while telling the viewer that they are the chosen people of God and America.

Then they tell you the most important part, everyone else is lying to you. Don’t touch that dial. Fox News creates fake “wars” on Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and whatever will shock their audience. This paranoia is sown to distract their viewers from voting from the GOP’s real war on poor people.

1. Religion: Calvinism is one of the two major camps in modern Christian American theology and predestination is part of Calvinist teachings..If you’re poor, it’s part of “God’s plan” and it is not our duty as individuals or the government to help. If someone is rich, then they were chosen to be rich by God, and we shouldn’t punish them by making them pay more in taxes. Calvinism and the belief in predestination are rarely mentioned in political discussions, but they’re a huge factor when it comes to conservative Protestants and how they think.



As long as Republicans continue to exploit these advantages and we fail to counter them, poor people will continue to vote for the GOP – especially if we continue to write them all off as being poor, racist, ignorant rednecks when so many of them are not. We can convince people not to vote against their self interests over and over again, but it will take time and a lot of patience.” From the Huffington Post, from a woman’s point of view:

“Equally troubling is why Republican women support a party who barely passed the Violence Against Women Act, who don’t support legislation to guarantee that a women receives equal pay for equal work, and who think women’s bosses should have the right to determine her health care and reproductive decisions.

As Republican governors refuse to accept billions of dollars in free federal money to expand Medicaid, hundreds of thousands of people are going without medical care and are dying needlessly. As the GOP continues to cut billions from food stamps, many women and children are going hungry.

Men are also hurt by the policies of the Republican Party. Many men support the party because they are pro-gun, but Republicans also vote to keep the minimum wage at poverty levels and are against extending unemployment benefits. These policies hurt the working class.

Republicans want to reduce government spending and control, but I wonder if the populace realizes that many solidly red states that they live in receive a huge percentage of their income from the federal government? In actuality, the amount many red states pay in federal taxes is small compared to the amount of money they receive back from the government.

In reality, the Republicans don’t want to cut spending, just redistribute it from the poor and middle class to the wealthy. The Republican budget once again gives massive tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, while it cuts programs and safety nets that help many of the people who vote Republican. I don’t understand why people vote against their own best interests, especially when it hurts their family, the economy and the principles on which America was founded.”

But the right-wing fringe has hijacked the sanity of the Republican Party, and the GOP needs to get back on track. Gerrymandering, suppressing the vote, allowing unrestricted funds and unlimited terms have led to undemocratic practices which will destroy America if voters don’t stand up and fight for what is right.”




So what it apparently boils down to is ignorance, prejudice and religion….These are hard obstacles to overcome, but to me it all starts and can be stopped by eliminating the Super Pacs, the tool that is giving unrestricted power to the fascist 1% and allowing them to cynically manipulate the system by buying politicians who will promote their extreme far right wing views…

We need to institute strict campaign contribution laws, with minimal contributions allowed, to eliminate the Super Pacs smoke screen these anti-American fascists like the Koch brothers are hiding behind before it is too late and they succeed in their attempt to hijack America and subvert the democratic process….

And always remember the chilling words of Martin Niemoller, in response to the advent and growth of power of the Nazi’s in Hitler’s Germany…He was a prominent Protestant pastor who opposed the Nazi regime. He spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

For more information on what the republicans are doing, see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/voting-against-own-bes…

For more information on why poor people vote for Republicans, check out: http://www.forwardprogressives.com/5-reasons-why-poor-people-vote-for-rep…

For more blogs by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com

World Series 2015

Well the World Series, the ultimate baseball classic traditional end of the season has come and gone, so quickly that if you blinked you may have missed it! The Kansas City Royals beat the New York Mets 4 games to 1, and it was just over Sunday….In almost every game, the Mets had the lead late in the game, but in every game except for one, the KC club staged a late inning comeback….They were relentless, aggressive and  stubbornly always refused to go down quietly….In the final game on Sunday, the Mets had a 2-0 lead going into the 9th inning, and all they needed were 3 more outs to extend the Series and force a game #6 back in KC…..But it was not to be….

As they did so many times, both in the playoffs leading up to the World Series and then the Series itself, the KC Royals would not be denied…They fought, clawed and scratched out a tie in their last at bat in the top of the 9th, extended the game into extra innings (for the 2nd time in this World Series) and eventually came out the winners, flying back home to KC triumphantly….In fact, the Royals set a record for most comeback wins in playoff and World Series history…..In 8 out of 11 of their post season victories, the Royals were able to overcome a deficit, including in all 4 World series games to win their first World series title since 1985….




I have to admit, as a San Francisco Giant’s fan, I don’t like the KC Royals, because they gave us all kinds of trouble (and excitement) last year…. But we eventually beat them in the 7th game of the 2014 World Series thanks to a super human, MVP performance by our superstar ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner, whose incredible feat of pitching 5 scoreless innings in relief just two days after he had started and won his 2nd start in the Series earned him the MVP trophy in 2014……KC admitted that last year, they were just glad to be there, this year they wanted to win….

Injuries wracked the Giants roster this year and we did not even make the playoffs, but with everybody back and healthy we fully expect to be back in the World Series, possibly against these same Royals, but only time will tell…Actually the odds against being in 3 World Series in a row are prohibitive, most teams don’t even make it back the next year….The Giants have accomplished the remarkable feat of winning THREE World Series in 5 years, although they are all in the even numbered years, 2010, 2012, and 2014…But hey, next year is 2016, an even year so we will be expecting to be back on the grand stage and I, and all true Giants fans, fully expect us to emerge victorious again in 2016!….

worldseries1bumgarner with mvp in 2014worldseries16giants


But this is the KC Royals time to enjoy their bitter, hard fought and well deserved victory…This year, 2015, they were clearly the better team over the New York Mets……The World Series itself is an incredible culmination of a long, long season; 162 full games, plus spring training, and it has been accurately described as a marathon, not a sprint…You have to keep after it each and every game, knowing you are going to win some and lose some…You just hope to win most of the 3 or 4 game series you play, have at least a .500 record on the road and a winning record at home….

But the KC Royals were a gritty, gutsy never say die team all year long, and they fully deserve to win this year’s trophy and being coronated as the World Series champions, the reigning elite team of all of baseball! They persevered against all odds, and they overcame those odds just by making it back to the World series, so my hat is off to them…Baseball is a grind of a game, and marks the summer months in a uniquely American way…. It defines and mirrors the American way of life in so many ways….




Oct 31, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; Fans of the Kansas City Royals cheer during game four of the World Series against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball rewards those who stick to it, who fight and battle their way through the inevitable slumps, the ups and downs of life just like us common Americans do…It has truly been said, baseball is a metaphor for America…As the Beatles said, in another context, it is a long and winding road and there are so many obstacles to overcome along the way….There are so many times you just want to throw up your hands and quit, so many times you have to fight back from both minor and major setbacks to just keep going, to keep plugging and grinding along, to overcome the obstacles and avoid the pitfalls of daily life, the temptations and adversity we all face each and every day….

And at least in baseball, your efforts are rewarded at the end of every season…True, for the rest of America, we have an even longer grind to achieve our goals, but we can celebrate life’s little triumphs along the way, and just by following baseball and identifying with the players we can share in the reflected glory of our home town teams winning, especially when they win the World Series…

There is nothing more exhilarating to a sports fan, especially a baseball fan, than to have your own home team, whom you have suffered and exulted with for a full 6 months out of every year, come out triumphant in the end….Because of the long season, there is a baseball game on almost every day of the season, and baseball has been the background and constant companion of all true baseball fans their entire lives…

I know, the flashier, more dramatic football season is on in full force, and football televises very well, but the specter of all those football head injuries, multiple concussions and growing public awareness of CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, causing permanent brain damage are always lurking in the background whenever you watch a football game…It almost makes watching football a guilty pleasure these days, with the added knowledge of how these football players are sacrificing their long term health for their own and our, short term enjoyment…


One of my youthful heroes, QB Jim Plunket, who played and excelled for the local college team Stanford and was later a San Francisco 49er and a two time Super Bowl winner with the Oakland Raiders was in the news the other day, revealing he had had EIGHTEEN operations because of his football career….This included replacement of both knees, replacement of a shoulder and numerous other grisly operations over the years…

And Jim Plunket was not one of those affected by multiple concussions syndrome, or CTE…He never complained, is currently a TV announcer for the Raiders organization and simply regards his multiple operations and battered body as a fair exchange for the thrill of excelling and having a long successful career in his chosen sport…

Baseball is a much cleaner sport, although concussions, especially suffered by catchers on foul balls, is becoming more of an issue here too…But for the most part, baseball is still a skill sport and little contact occurs among the players themselves…The emphasis is on skill and strategy, not brute force and physicality…Baseball is also the only sport an average sized person can play; you don’t have to be a hulking behemoth like football players or a glandular freakish giant like most basketball players to participate in the game, and hence it is easier for the common fan to identify with baseball players…

I think that baseball always has been and always will be the national past time because of all these reasons, the slow leisurely pace of the games, (baseball is still the only sport without a clock to regulate it) the slow but steady grind it out approach of the players and managers and coaches as they deal with day to day injuries and setbacks and the exciting reward of your home town team making the playoffs….



And then the ultimate thrill of playing in and winning the World Series all make baseball the king of sports…So congratulations, Kansas City for overcoming all obstacles and going all the way to the top of the baseball world by winning the World Series! You earned it and are the Champions of baseball 2015!

For me, and millions of baseball fans like me, baseball will always be the true national past time, the quintessential American sport of all time! Long may it reign!

For more blogs by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com