Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Just Something To Wonder About

Donald Trump brought up the Vince Foster episode today.....which is tied back to Hillary and Bill Clinton from 1993.  He didn't say much, but a quote gets picked up and people go back to discuss this matter again.

I went and did some old research and there's this one odd thing that stands out today.

Vince Foster is found in the Fort Marcy Park....on the Virginia side of the Potomac River, near Chain Bridge.

It's a unique location.....mostly because VIPs all live next to the park on the Virginia side.  In 1993, from approximately 600 to 700 feet away from where the body is found....is the residence of the Saudi ambassador to DC.   Cops did ask if the guards heard any shots from that evening, which they have an active patrol and people out there protecting the guy, and they said no.

Today, that seems odd because within 700 feet....you'd hear a gunshot.

So, I went off to read up on Foster, and the Saudis.  There is this odd relationship and function for Foster.....he's the insider guy for Saudis to get quick and easy visas with the Clinton administration.  No one ever mentions this much.

This house that the Saudi ambassador lives in on road next to Chain Bridge?  It's curious because around March of 1993.....he bought the house next door to him.....which makes that house only 500 feet away from the area of the body.

Two ultra up-scale homes owned by the royal family?  Yeah.  Not unusual, but you have to wonder.....who was the guest of the 2nd home around the night of Foster dying.

So, you go back to March of 1993, and there's this odd piece of US history.....this was when the first attempt was made by some radicals (Saudi-background) on the North Tower of the World Trade Tower.  It was a utter failure.  Cops got the guys involved, and people just wrote it down as good police work.

After this attempt, you get to a point of wondering....since episode one failed....could someone within the royal family group have the enthusiasm to attempt a quick come-back and needs to bring a couple of guys into the US with a quick visa.....and Foster asks some really stupid questions at this meeting because he wonders about the March attack and the connection of the Saudis?

Twenty years ago.....no one ever said much about the Saudis and connectivity to 9-11.  Today?  You just look over the visa business, money being spread around, and just start to ask stupid questions about who was on the inside of what, and did something wicked happen to a guy who just stumbled onto some bold terrorist agenda?

Trump brings this up.....but with things in the open today.....it just makes you wonder.....who was staying at the 2nd residence of the ambassador on the night of Foster being found.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

"Make Rome Great Again"

At some point around the third century....probably around the 238 to 284 AD period....things of a unstable political crisis continued on and on....starting a downward trend for Rome.

Emperor Diocletian came onboard in 284 AD and spent twenty-one years trying to make Rome great again.  Economic reforms were noted but no one today really says much over this changing the path of Rome and its continued spiral.

Constantine I came along in 306 AD for 31 years and erected Constantinople....plugged in Christianity as the state religion and forced all Romans to convert.  The downward trend for Rome continued on.

The war with the Visigoths in 376....which continued on for six years?  It came to an uneasy truce which lasted for a couple of years and then started back up.  The peak of this Rome versus the Visigoths occurred with the Battle of Adrianopole in 378.  It's curious to note that an army of rag-tag Germanic tribes under the Visigoths banner would defeat the Roman army at Adrianopole and kill the Emperor (Valens) at the time.

So, we come to Emperor Theodosius I, who ruled for eighteen years (starting in 379).  He set the priority to unite western and eastern areas of Rome into one cohesive unit.  One of his top priorities which disconnected him from a large segment of Rome?  The push to make Christianity the one and only religion of Rome.  As much as he wanted everyone to unit with him to make one central religion in Rome.....the general public just didn't buy off on the unity talk.

After 406....there's not much 'great' left in Rome with various groups invading sections of the empire and the country unable to react in defensive fashion.

Around 410, the Visigoths came back for another round with Rome....led by King Alaric.  Rome itself was invaded this time around.

It's curious to go back and look at almost a 130-year period that Rome tried to 'make itself great again' and failed miserably....year after year.

Emperor after emperor came and went.....all with various priorities, new agendas, tough talk, enthusiastic charm, and legendary charisma. Nothing ever changed the path of Rome.

You kinda look at the current chat going on in the heartland of America and how it relates a good bit to Rome.  Some people talk of things possibly changing.....maybe making America great again.  I look at history and particularly the Roman period, and just note that nothing ever connected Rome to some significant change in attitude or adjusted their path.   They were doomed.

So pardon me....if I am a bit cynical or disbelieving in change coming to America.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Do We Really Need MacGyver Version 2.0?

CBS is apparently stupid enough and desperate enough....to bring back MacGyver one more time....with a new version of the dynamic one-man wrecking squad.

There were 139 episodes made of MacGyver...from 1985 to 1992.

To be honest, from this seven-year period.....I probably watched a total of four episodes.  After the series ended and over the past 20 years.....I've watched another four.

The scripting always seemed to me to be written by a 12-year old kid with some drunk science teacher dictating what happens in each episode, and how to mix X and Y to get an explosive cocktail from bathroom cleaners.  The curious thing I noted after each show ended....no one ever died....at least from the eight episodes I watched.  Bad guys just shock their fist at MacGyver as he flew off, or crossed the international border safely.

Why a reboot and bringing the series back?  Well.....let's just admit it.....the networks have used up just about every ounce of creative talent that they've got, and can't think of anything really great to start fresh from.

It would be interesting if they'd go back to season one of the Andy Griffith Show, and toss the script for each show in the middle of a room, and bring each week five or six big-name guests in.....to play the parts of Andy, Barney, Goober, Aunt Bea and Otis.  Run through the whole season with 200 guests in the spotlight and each getting a chance to play Aunt Bea.  Maybe at the end of the season....have a vote on the best Barney or the best Otis.

What does this mean for the fall and the TV season?  Well....if you planning a massive 400-hour repair job....maybe it's time to start and just forget about TV for one entire season.  Just some humble advice.

A Little Complaint on Baseball

I rarely discuss baseball on essays....mostly because of my negativity after the steroid era.  Over the last eighteen months, I've watched my former favorite team.....the Atlanta Braves slip from a half-way decent team....to a AAA-level team.

Yesterday, they'd decided enough was enough....9-29 at this point in the season....so they fired the manager.  Not that it really helps but it gives people something else to talk about.

But you sit there and look at pricing for tickets for a Saturday game.

The nose-bleed section will run around $11.  But then you kinda skip over things, and regular seating will run you a minimum  of $33, and for pretty good tickets....you are talking about $42 to $86 per seat......for what amounts to a visiting major league team playing what amounts to a Braves AAA-level team.

On top of that, you will spend another $75 on beer, food, and other items.  All of that amounts to roughly $125 per person.....for what is really a major league team playing a AAA Brave-team.

Maybe if this were the Dodgers playing the Mets, or maybe the Reds playing the Phillies.....I wouldn't say much.  But the level of play for the Braves is AAA.....not major league.

You'd like to for the major league management guys to fire or fine the Braves.  My suggestion is that you can't keep your record above a 40-percent win level....you ought to deduct a quarter of the ticket, beer and food prices from the normal cost of things.  In some way, you need to punish the team enough.....to force them either to recruit better or find better players.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

The Cleric Story

One of the memos from the 9-11 Commission was released by the National Archives yesterday, and the NY Times posted it.  Forty-odd pages.

What the FBI says....hits a particular gut-point around page 7 when they note that such-and-such guy to be within the attack....meets with the Saudi diplomat in California.....but the FBI identifies this diplomat as both diplomat AND cleric.

It's like mixing the skills of librarian and professional bear hunter.  They don't mix.

This cleric?  Fahad al-Thumairy.

I went did some research.  He was sent to California for the Saudi annex on the west coast in 1996.  At the time, he was 24 years old and his chief field of studies was Islam.

What department did he serve in?  Cultural studies.

It's a curious story over this guy.  For 9-11, we basically did nothing except note his involvement.  We didn't expel or detain him.

At some point in the spring of 2003 (April-time frame), it appears that the guy left California for some period elsewhere.  In May, he tries to return to the US from Frankfurt, and the customs guys stop him with the diplomatic passport....refusing to let him enter the US.  He's been put on a 'bad-boy' list and cannot enter the US for at least five years.

My guess is that the US watched the guy and noted that he'd left the country, and moved to change his status, and never allow the guy back in, but make this a small episode instead of presenting paperwork to anger the Saudis.

He leaves the US.

Nothing much out there exists on this guy, since May of 2003.  He's now in his mid-40's.

The odds that he's in some other country....posted as a diplomat and cleric there?  Better than fifty percent chance.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Where the Transgender Talk Will End

At some point in this whole discussion.....someone will quietly bring up that federal,, state, and local prisoners.....need to be able to self-identify themselves and have their own transgender status.  So a guy sitting in maximum security at such-and-such state prison will stand up and say he's self-identified himself as a woman.  The President's rules.....would have to work, and we can guess the reality here.  The prison system will not engage upon this.  It would become complicated and suddenly offer dangerous avenues that virtually no one wants to create.

Oddly, no one has brought this up....preferring to go after the schools first and intimidate or provoke them.

It's hard to see how this ever got brought up on the President's staff and became a top ten subject.  It simply charges up the public to be either for-or-against, and depending on what state you are in....it might be a political-killer.

The law school connected to UCLA did a study, which is a statistical analysis, but without a real solid platform.  They say across the US.....there are approximately 700,000 transgenders.  State-by-state?  No one has ever carried it to the length and the trend (at least by journalists) is that it is growing.

Based on some reading....there has to be a minimum of a dozen sub-categories under transgender.....some of which require operations or steroids......some which just require you to wear clothing to be happy.

The pinnacle of this trend?  People want to reach a level of happiness.  If it means you want to tap-dance, speak Latin, carve Indian Totem Poles, race motorcycles, or have $25,000 worth of plastic surgery done to look 'almost-female'.....that's the pursuit of happiness.

"Sex-change-reversal"?  Well, this word got invented about a decade and now occurs.  No one cites statistics or numbers.....mostly I think because you ridicule by the community and harm a trend.  This is where Mr X went through all the procedures, did the surgery and got the hormone treatment, endeared hours and hours of psychological counseling to help convince them of the change......then came to realize they didn't reach that level of happiness, and in fact.....were less happy than before.

There are 26,407 public high schools in America (2014 numbers).  How many have some kid with transgender status?  Unknown.

At some point, I expect some guys to come up in a high school, and self-identify as girls.....then demand that they be allowed to play girl's sports (field hockey or basketball for example), and a bunch of people get disturbed by this because they think it's unfair.  In some ways, I think this is just inviting chaos but it's the kind of chaos that some political folks get happy and charged-up about.

I expect within the next year......some father will sign paperwork and present it to some school.....self-identifying his son as a "horse" and expect the school to allow the kid to "graze" at lunch-time, and defecate in that field.  The school will say 'no', and then some legal procedure will start up.  If transgender kids have rights.....then trans-horse kids do as well.

Some federal judge will look at this trend and then realize that trans-whatever will occur and the school system isn't where you practice politics or play mind-games.  That's the point where this all stops.

It's an interesting trend.  You could have trans-Hitler people, trans-Chinese people, trans-vampire people, and maybe even trans-adults (this is where a 12-year old kid tries to convince himself that he's really an adult, when he's not).

It is a bold new world out there.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Grounding

I spent this weekend at a late 1800's hotel in Kassel, Germany.

One of the key things of interest in this old hotel.....is that just about everything in it....was grounded.

The radiator pipes leading into the room.....grounded.

The water drainage pipes?  Grounded.

I looked at the way it was done.....not the stuff from some amateur or fly-by-night guy.....all professionally done.

Why?  Unknown.

Maybe Kassel has more lightning than normal.  Maybe the hotel (sitting on a ridge of town) has more lightning strikes than normal.  Maybe they've had five or six guests struck by lightning.

In my Air Force years....we grounded a couple of buildings and facilities.....usually from 'big' hits and simply lessons learned.  But I can't recall a hotel or regular building having this kind of effort made.