Monday, 23 February 2015

The Mall Scenario

The Mall of America is now mentioned by some ISIS group as the next big target in the US.  I sat and read through the reports and pondered upon this.

Bloomington, Minn is a fair sized city, and the Mall of America is a big operation.  The state makes around $2 billion a year off taxes and fees from the operation.  Reportedly, the mall not only runs their own security force but also an anti-terrorism group (at least NPR claims that in a report from four years ago).

When you sit and look at some threat like this.....you kinda wonder if these 'bad guys' have some idea about what they might face.  You can figure what an average mall....at least five-percent of the folks in the mall carry a handgun in their purse or within their jacket.

Unlike cases that have unfolded in Europe or Africa....on a good day, there might be 500 folks armed to some degree within a typical mall, and another 500 who have a weapon in their truck or car.  If they retreat from the mall.....you'd best not assume they are simply retreating and leaving.....they are simply going to pick up their shotgun or pistol from the truck, and return for action.

As silly as it sounds.....four stupid Islamic teenagers on some jihadist adventure might find themselves within sixty seconds facing off forty civilians prepared to erase their existence from this earth.  We aren't talking about a marginal caliber weapon....they might be carrying some decent firepower.

Here's the other odd thing about this whole scenario.  For several decades....folks have been arming themselves to face off a simple robber or nutcase.  Let's say we change the scenario slightly....where one single group of three dimwit Islamic teens think they might test people in a mall or public situation.  Within a month of such an event.....you might find people now convinced to haul not just a Walther PPK, with a .380 round possibility....but to have it only as weapon number one.  Somewhere in the truck will be the Saiga 12 shotgun, with the ten-round magazine.  Next to it....will be the third weapon....an AR-15.

A guy packs up each morning.  He's got his hot thermos bottle with coffee.....some donuts....his charged-up tablet....his PPK....his Saiga 12 and his AR-15.  Couple of punks decide to test society at some local mall.....this guy and a dozen other such guys climb out of the cab of their truck, and take the punks down in sixty seconds.

With such scenarios in place....the anti-gun crowd is finished.  They won't be able to pursue anyone to give up their weapons....ever.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Priorities of a Everyday Person

Some 'got-you' reporters attempted to corner Governor Scott Walker this week.....asking the questions to get Walker to say President was Christian or not.  This was to be the weekend cover story for the Washington Post, and generate some form of criticism over Walker.

Walker countered in the answer given.....he has no idea what religion that the President is identified with.  Then he noted....the news media seems concerned over issues with no value.  Regular people have different priorities in life and this idea of the President's religion isn't at the top of the list.

This brings me to this odd feature of American life today.....where you get briefed throughout a day....via the 6AM news, the NPR folks as you drive to work, the CNN folks at lunch, Limbaugh as you drive home, and Fox News during the evening.  They want to get you settled up with their priorities and goals.  Well.....they really don't mesh up with real people and their priorities.

Folks sit and get frustrated over taxes.....local sales taxes, regional property taxes, state income taxes, gas taxes, airline ticket taxes, federal taxes.  When did the Washington Post ever talk about this frustration?

Folks sit and talk over road conditions in their region.  Potholes, bridges of a questionable nature, limited access, and too many lights?  When did the Washington Post ever talk about this frustration?

Folks sit and discuss public bond programs which they are against.  When the local city volunteered to build a $700 million football stadium with public bond money, and there's not much discussion....when did the Washington Post ever talk about this frustration?

Folks sit and ponder upon the $15,000 they will put down this year for healthcare costs (their monthly payments and the deductible), and how they can keep up this type of payment as it escalates each year (likely to be $20,000 within four years).  When did the Washington Post ever talk about this frustration?

Folks sit and confer over the hassle of TSA folks, the amount of time wasted at airports, and the crappy rules that were implemented.  When did the Washington Post ever talk about this frustration?

Farmers sit and consult with each other over regulations.  Every year.....more rules get added and it's a problem staying ahead of the game.  When did the Washington Post ever talk about this frustration?

Grocery stores, truckers, taxi drivers, small business owners....they all have various problems which aren't featured by the Washington Post or any of the real news media sources that blanket us today with their prioritized news.

Walker is right....but we are stuck with a bunch of people trying to get us hyped on non-existent issues or problems.

Friday, 20 February 2015

The Bathroom Discussion

Various political agendas have started up at city and state levels over the past year or two over an odd topic.....transgender folks needing to use a public toilet of their choosing.  This mostly started up around bigger cities, where urban priorities were falling around the LBGT folks.  Naturally, a second side woke up in the middle of these discussions and arguments.....preferring that things stay kinda simple.....you use the public toilet of your birth-sex.  As you might guess.....these argument intensified.

A smart guy would ask....across the entire United States.....three-hundred million folks.....how many are transgender?  There's not a real database to really use.  From 2011.....a foundation did some research and claimed that they came to a fairly decent number.....which was 0.3-percent.  This, if correct and matched up against three-hundred million residents....would mean that 900,000 folks present fit into the transgender category.

Now, a guy from Bama would stand up and note that they've never met such a character.....in their vast travels across the state or even up into Tennessee or Kentucky.  Well, that might be true.....but then you didn't travel across to Baltimore, Orlando, or Seattle.  And you likely didn't hit the right bars.

If a guy or gal did happen to develop into a transgender type.....they'd likely pick a major urban area where other transgender folks hang out.  So, in a small town in Tennessee of 25,000.....it's unlikely you might bump into such a person....normally.

What qualifies you to fit into this lifestyle?  You either do an operation of sorts to get things rigged up the way you want, or you just kinda pretend this is the new lifestyle....without any modifications.

The connection to the toilet deal?  When a guy has to go.....he has to go.  Doesn't matter if he's a pure guy or some modified guy-turned-gal.

The problem comes up when you go off to some library in some major town, and you come to realize some guy without all the modifications or body changes.....has arrived in the women's bathroom, and there might be old ladies or young girls in the room who might take offense to this situation.  It's kinda like you had a pet thing with rattlesnakes and took one with you in a bag to the library, and he needed some water.....folks might get peppy if you dragged your rattlesnake out and dosed him with library water in the sink of the women's bathroom....while dressed in a fine satin cheapo thing from Big K, which brings out your lady-like character.

My solution to this whole mess is to go back to out-houses.  You know.....that four-foot by four-foot wood building out back the house or facility.  If you go back to the pre-1920s of Alabama.....most stores had a toilet, but it was a out-house.  A guy or gay went to the multi-purpose facility.....did their business.....as regular or overloaded as they were, and then they left.

I realize.....we've come a long way, but there's just no way to fix this without some folks getting upset.

Now, since I am a pondering sort of guy.....I do have one other thing that has come up in my mind.  Eventually, while we are pretty scientific and creative....we will come to create not just men-converted-women and women-converted-men, but we will have oddball science fiction creations which are not male or female.

You know....like creatures you saw on Star Trek or Star Gate.

A guy might spend three years studying weird things and decide that he needed to be some alien creature type thing, with four ways of getting stuff out of the rear end.  He might decide that a 3rd ear needs to be added.....a third boob.....and maybe some fancy cat-like tail that dangles a good three foot.

What toilet will these folks use?  With this addition of three more devices to get crap out of you.....there might be a need for a whole table-like device in the toilet, with a waterhose, and some large bucket.  I don't think guys or gals would appreciate something like that in their current toilet.

All this means.....is that building codes are going to be written up over the next thirty years to have six different toilets on every floor, and a vast army of janitors will be around to clean just about every kind of crap possible......from a wide variety of folks with different agendas.

I know.....it's the kind of stuff that you'd prefer your Democrats or Republicans to just avoid, and work on top priorities (potholes, legalization of marijuana, improvement of ditches, water treatment facilities, hookers reported with local ministers, and interstate highway improvements).  But, life is life, and just being normal.....isn't exciting.....like transforming yourself into trailer transexual-women, or fake men with rubber attachments.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

The Degree Business

Howard Dean is one of those foundation-think tank Democratic strategists that you can spend around ten minutes engaged in his discussion.....then come away asking a dozen questions because what he brought to the table.

This week, Dean got all pepped up on Governor Scott Walker, who is in the top-three for the Republican primary season, and the fact that Walker never graduated from college.  To be president, as Dean puts it......you need a degree.

I read through the episode.  Walker finished up three years and somewhere in the midst of the fourth year.....got up and walked away.  He got a full-time job with the Red Cross and got started on a political career.  I admit....most folks who were a semester away from finishing college.....normally finish.  But I admit that some folks get hyped up on college, burn through a significant number of hours of stress, and reach a point where they can't see any logical reason to wrap up the goal.

I worked with some guy years ago who had a daughter in some state university.  She had screwed up on the first year and basically wasn't going to get any credits out of what was done.  Money flushed down the toilet, as my associate described it.  Somehow, the girl emerged in the second year and got wise, and by the end of the third year (two years of college credit), she got a decent job and just walked away.  In her brief explanation to dad....she couldn't see any reason to continue, and the stress of tests was hefty.

As for our need for a President to have a degree?  Well, why would you say that only a lousy four-year degree qualifies a guy?  He'd have to have a Master's Degree or PhD.....if you were so engaged on educational requirements.

What if the guy had a Master's Degree in electrical engineering?  Would you even want a guy like this as President?  He'd be rewiring the White House and talking up schematics constantly.

What if the gal had a PhD in veterinary science?  Would you want her as a President?  She'd have horses out on the west lawn of the White House and be talking up vaccinations and 'wild behavior'.

What if the guy had a degree in library science.....French literature.....Shakespeare studies.....or agricultural business ethics?

Harry Truman is the last President that we had.....without a degree.  Few people realize this....few care.  If you get down to it.....neither Washington or Jefferson attended any college.  Their private instruction and studies?  You could put both up against the brightest of Harvard today.

Scott Walker came back onto the Howard  Dean's comment quickly.  He noted.....America just didn't need another Ivy League guy using a teleprompter to deliver some crafted speech.  In a way, he's right.  The trouble is.....we don't have a requirements list of things a guy ought to be able to do....before coming President.

For example.....a primary candidate ought to have run a business for a couple of years.  A primary candidate should have taken a trip across the US in a car for four weeks and seen the bulk of America from the prospective of locals.  A primary candidate should have read forty American classics (Huck Finn, to White Fang, to Grapes of Wreath, and To Kill a Mockingbird.  A primary candidate should have the ability to balance a checkbook, talk NCAA bowl selection issues, and be able to change a tire.

My fear is that Dean will open up this whole thing of college education and folks start asking about grade point averages.....something that President Obama probably doesn't want to have an open discussion about.

The bottom line?  If the White House was a pretty technical place where the President personally ran the budget business himself and he had to handle all foreign affairs without any Secretary of State....then Dean might be right.  The truth is.....the office of the President has become a position where you simply need to look Presidential.  Beyond that....nothing matters.  Even with a Noble Peace Prize.....a guy could still be stupid enough to bomb the crap out of some country with no real plan or agenda.