Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Ten Things You Get Out of the Moore Event

1.  To be blunt, no one really cares what Charles Barkley thinks about....outside of basketball.  If you ask most Alabamians who Charles Barkley is....less than 10-percent will say retired basketball player.  His comments on the election (negative as they are about Moore)?  No one cares. 

2.  To suggest any Alabaman is 'stupid' by voting for Moore?  Boy, you just invalidated your whole argument and you probably won't get invited to supper, or be offered any ice tea while visiting. 

3.  By withholding this story (as WaPo did) and intending to dump it only four weeks prior to the election....the WaPo staff have made themselves appear to be provocateurs....not journalists.

4.  All that money thrown into the Democrats strategy?  Well....it flushed down into the TV networks and was appreciated.

5.  View of this underage dating business?  All legit, and considered normal by Alabama standards up until the last twenty years.  Trying to suggest otherwise to some folks over the age of forty?  They just laugh at you because they know young ladies who married at age 14 and 15 to guys who were twenty to thirty years old. 

6.  The Shelby-pretender.  Most folks have an amusing opinion of Senator Shelby at this point.  He has virtually no chance of running again, and most folks suggest he's not really a Republican.

7.  All of this mess?  Created by Bentley and Strange.  You can ask a hundred folks where this mess started, and the majority will start with some lusty tale about Governor Bentley, and the corrupted mess in Montgomery.

8.  Worthy of a epic Forest Gump-movie?  Most folks would say yes.

9.  Is Moore a nut?  Well....most Alabama folks will say he's a bit of a nut, but we all seem to forgive folks like this for being a bit crazy. 

10.  The odds of some Mitchell theme to dump Moore....upon his arrival in DC?  If you really wanted to get folks riled up....go for it.  You'd wipe out the pro-Mitchell group in Montgomery, and hurt the Democratic Party for an entire decade within the state. 

The Ball Plan

It's one of those sports stories that you have to laugh about.  A few weeks ago....three NCAA basketball players from the west coast....went to China for some games.  They shop-lifted while there, and got arrested.  They couldn't leave China until President Trump got involved.  Then when they did get back to the college.....well....they were kinda suspended.  The college doesn't appear to have any desire to give them much of a second chance.

One of the players....LiAngelo Ball (son of LaVar Ball)....finally added up the problems and left college (UCLA). 

Dad sat there reviewing everything....knocking Trump several times for commentary that the kid should appreciate what Trump did. 

Today, the Ball family announced what LiAngelo would do next.  It's an odd deal.  The other son....LaMelo (in high school) announced that he was quitting high school (odd decision too).  Both kids are now signed up with a semi-pro league in....Lithuania.  The team  Prienai, Lithuania.

Prienai?  Well....yeah, it's a town of roughly 9,800 residents.

The team?  BC Prienai.  They've been around for about twenty years, and play in the Baltic League.  Their arena?  Prienai Arena.  It was built around six years ago, and holds 1,500 fans.

What this whole Ball-family move to Prienai adds up to?

Most basketball teams in Europe over the past decade have really grown their game, and they really don't care to be baby-sitters.  You got a drug problem, an alcohol problem or attitude problem?  Fine, go home....we don't need you.  I would compare about one-third of the clubs in Europe today as being almost at the level of the better NCAA teams.  In another decade, I expect the majority of clubs (maybe 75-percent) to be as good as the average NCAA team. 

The Ball boys?  There's some advantages to being in a small town like Prienai.  No stress.  No major journalists following them.  A chance to work out daily.  As for making a name for themselves?  Maybe.  But if neither kid expands their game or does much to attract more attention by the end of 2018....then their careers are finished.  They might stay around three or four years and be back-up players in the NBA eventually, but the chance to be starters in the NBA will diminish by the end of 2018 if they don't show improvement. 

I'm not going to suggest 'dad' is stupid here, but the odds of all three Ball kids making it into the NBA are statistically very low.  There's obviously no plan 'B', and I feel sorry for both of these kids thrown into the middle of Lithuania and trying figure into some plan without good odds. 

A Suggestion of Patterns

I sat and looked over this graphic today.  It does make sit and ponder 'patterns'.  

Saturday, 9 December 2017

That New Mexico Shooting

“Work sucks, school sucks, life sucks, I just want out of this s--t.”

-- William Atchison

This week....the twenty-one year old William Atchison wandered into his old high school....Aztec HS, New Mexico, and shot two students before killing himself in the bathroom of the building.

From all reporting done, it doesn't appear that he knew either kid that he shot.  They were just random picks.

News analysts spent a fair amount of time on the shooting, but the truth of the matter is that it was at best a eight-line story.  He had a legal weapon, and he had no real police record.  Nut-case?  No one suggests that...he probably was maxing out on depression at a ten, but that won't get mentioned much.

Classified as a mass shooting?  No....by FBI standards, you need four folks dead, and in this case...while he did shoot himself as well in the end, that only adds up to three folks.

I have this theory that a fair number of shooters are nut-cases....maybe in the forty-percent range.  Some are people who are drugged up and unable to account for their actions, and then there's this last group who are plain tired of life (suicidal). 

In the old days, you'd reach some desperation stage and just go off to handle the suicide by yourself....not involving other people.  There is some trend going on where people think that they need others involved for some odd reason.  Maybe it's the thought that people should have helped you or that some folks prevented you from reaching success in life. 

Making a law to halt this behavior?  Go for it.  People in this stage of thinking don't readily react to laws.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The UN Dude

Once in a while, I'll notice a Alabama story which draws me to ponder.

So it came out in the news today....that some UN (United Nations) dude is planning a trip to Alabama this week to investigate.....poverty, inequality and "barriers to political participation". 

I looked at the item....roughly 12 lines.

This guy....Philip Alston....says he will visit a couple of places (Puerto Rico, West Virginia, and California are mentioned) on this 'road-trip'.

Where he intends to stop in Alabama?  Lowndes County....down in the south central region of the state.

Based on comments, he's got some folks lining up his schedule and prepared to hype up their poor situation in life, while living in Alabama.

How exactly he will help to change the poverty and inequality?  Well....that's the thing.  He's basically a nobody.  He'll write some report which will bring tears to your eyes, but he's basically going out to stay in some nice Holiday Inn situations....eat some high quality food....travel business-class....and spend a fair amount of travel funds.

You can imagine these folks trying to line him up and their hype?  Well....we are so poor, and bad-off.  He will have sit there for hours while these folks hype up their negative status in life.  When he asks about the barrier to their political situation...he'll do his best to ask how evil the Republicans are in the state and is there any way we can get more folks signed up to vote....because the more that vote....the more likely they would go and fix all the problems that exist in the world. 

It would be interesting if some Alabama folks would take him over for a catfish dinner, some Friday night football, a sip of whiskey, and offer up some advice on car mechanics....but that just won't happen.

Taxes

It's one of those statistics that news folks tend to skip.....roughly 45-percent of Americans don't pay anything on federal taxes.  It adds up to around 77-million households. 

They might have made enough in some cases to require the form submission, but when you add up credits....they zero out.

Oddly, I can go back all the way to 1978 and remember submitting my tax form in the spring of that period for five months of pay with the Air Force....feeling silly to waste time on filling out the form and to admit a total pay situation of roughly $5,000.  That was the only time in my life where I paid nothing.  I looked at the refund check as simply a 'gift'. 

I sat there in 1979....a year later, and figured I'd just repeat the whole episode, and that $400 of pre-paid tax-money would ALL come back to me.  I was wrong....I still ended up paying roughly $180 that year in taxes. It was an amazingly low amount of money but it just made no sense.

Are these 77-million households avoiding all taxes?  No.  They still meet up with property, car and sales taxes.  For a lot of them, they are still throwing a thousand dollars a year toward their state government in various ways.

If you think about this....no one in America is truly living a tax-free lifestyle.  Either through the federal folks, the state folks, or sales-taxes...you are paying into some pot.  It's virtually impossible to skip out entirely. 

Replacement for Conyers Topic

The 13th District of Michigan comes up in the news this week.  John Conyers, because of his harassment situation....will end up retiring.  So the seat will come up for 'action'.

The 13th District is 100-percent Detroit....roughly 705,000 residents....roughly 33-percent white and 55-percent black.  A typical election (every two years) would circle around 180,000 total votes cast, with Conyers typically winning with 85-percent of the vote.  In 2016, Conyers actually faced the toughest competition he's ever seen (he started in 1964 with 84-percent that year)....with the GOP guy getting almost 20-percent.

It's just about impossible for a Republican to win in the city election.

At this point, some folks are sitting there and looking at how this replacement game will run, and it gets pretty interesting.

First, John Conyers wanted his son to assume the seat.....John Junior.

Second, there's the nephew who has made a name for himself in state politics, and he says he will be running....Ian.

Third, Coleman A. Young....the 'secret' (illegitimate) son of the former mayor of Detroit says he will be running. He's actually been active in politics and done a number of speeches.  He actually tried running for the mayor's job but got beat out there.

Brenda Jones....the city council gal.

Benny Napoleon....the sheriff from Detroit.

Rashida Tlaib...politically active Muslim gal who is term-limited within the Michigan House of Representatives.

After that, there's maybe five or six others....but they don't have the traction like these six.

In a way, it's fairly odd election....all of the six are Democrats.  Each has some career role and can show their path.  The question is....if you shuffle up the 180,000 likely Democratic voters of the district, who are the likely final two?  Can Young use his name to captivate voters?  Can Tlaib find 40,000 votes from the Muslim crowd in Detroit to step up and get into the final primary?  Can Napoleon captivate voters with his speeches?  Can John Junior get dad to help in the election?  Can Ian Conyers find enough votes?

Might be an election worth watching.