Typically I read 3-5 books at any given time plus the Smithsonian, Astronomy and Atlantic magazines and Medscape articles pushed to me. Mostly I read non-fiction with exceptions of classics (Les Mis, Mark Twain, etc) When I am on vacation then I pretty much only read the male versions of Harlequin romance novels (Louis L’Amour, Lee Childs…)

Books Currently Reading or Finished

1. Dark Money by Jane Mayer. A must read.

David and Charles Koch (pronounced Kock) along with Art Pope (North Carolinian owner of Roses, Family Dollar, etc.) and others have purchased the Democratic process through a tax deductible, anonymous and completely legal process. The Kochs and their wealthy friends spent nearly $1 Billion in the last presidential election cycle. Art Pope essentially funded the redistricting process which has created the Gerrymandered Disaster that is North Carolina. Hard to imagine a few old rich white guys would purchase this nation for the benevolence of it’s citizens. I mean, who orchestrates the hostile takeover of a business and then gives everyone raises and more PTO? 

Best Quotes:

“The public benefits most when the wealthy pay less taxes as they (wealthy) can do more good with their money than the government. Wealthy people self-tax by contributing to charities.”–Foster Friess, money manager of Koch family 81 Billion Dollar Empire (page 356)

“I just want my fair share, which is all of it.”– Charles Koch

2. Rat F**ked, why your vote Doesn’t Count by David Daley.

Rat F**ked is a political term dating from the 1920’s meaning, a dirty deed done dirt cheap. It’s political sabotage, it’s not buying and producing expensive political ads for television, rather, it’s creating a viral rumor that changes the course of history.

This book describes the systemic takeover of the redistricting process. Systematically Art Pope, among others, dropped large money into low dollar local elections whose states had very loose laws regarding the drawing of election districts. They then used “Spaced Aged” software to design districts specifically to solidify their power.

Congress is a mess due to gerrymandering. Districts gerrymandered to achieve either a Republican or Democratic candidate forces the primary to choose the most extreme. A “Republican” district in the primary will see competition from the extreme Right just as “Democratic” district will see competition from the extreme Left. In properly represented districts, the parties argue towards the middle where most of us live. Is there any wonder we see hyper-partisian behavior in Congress today?

Best Quote:

“In 2012 (after Art Pope funded Republican takeover and subsequent redistricting ), Democrats entered the election with 7 of 13 seats, Republicans won 9 of 13 seats. Three districts were minority drawn and won by a democrat with 70% margin. The remaining Democrat seat was lost in 2014.”– Page 47

Will find better, still reading.

3. Einstein’s Unfinished Symphony by Marcia Bartusiak.

General Relativity described by Einstein changed everything. Newton told us that the planets rotated in predictable orbits, Einstein told us how. Briefly, planets  and stars warp the space in which they reside. And it’s not just space, it’s time-space. So think of the space between plants attached or laying within a blanket. When major celestial events occur, such as the merger of two black holes, the energy given off by that event wrinkles that space-time blanket and creates what is  called a gravitational wave.

The LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravational-Wave Observatory), was designed and built and has successfully detected these waves which Einstein predicted. These gravitation waves have an amplitude of 10-20 which is less than the size of a proton.

The LIGO cost nearly 1 billion dollars all for a blip on a screen measured less than the diameter of a proton. Why do we do this? Well if you’re a militaristic Republican, this work is a part of the science that makes bombs. If you’re a reasonable anyone else, we spend money on this type of research because, “Our reach must exceed our Grasp.”

By the way, Einstein worked all this out with paper, pencil and a slide ruler.

4. The Evangelicals by Frances Fitzgerald, 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner.

Evangelicals have a long, diverse and complex relationship with American politics. The men who founded this country and wrote it’s original  documents, while they would consider themselves Christians, Evangelicals today would find little in common with them. There has been a long struggle between Christian/Evangelical theological purity and addressing obvious social ills and struggles. Often Evangelical purity is compromised for financial reality (e.g. Civil War, Civil Rights). What preacher wants to speak against the rich industrialist in his congregation who just built the new fellowship hall, even if he is oppressing his employees?

Must read for Christians who identify themselves as Evangelicals.

Best Quote:

“I tended to identify the Kingdom of God with the American way of life. I don’t think like that now.”– Billy Graham, page 257

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