Sunday, 31 July 2016

The Carfentanil Story

This week, I read up on a piece about a new drug, which had a fair number of people dead after using it.  The mixture?  You basically take an elephant sedative (you know....the type that a vet would use on an elephant) and you blend it into heroin.

Carfentanil was already something that was one of the strongest opioids in the world.

So when this hits your blood stream.....you kinda just lay there, and the heroin then settles in and there's not much happening except some false sense of reality.

Ten thousand more times more powerful than morphine?  Well....yeah.....that's the story from the medical side of the house.

The thing I could see out of this is that some idiots will be experimental and take Carfentanil with meth, cocaine, or a dozen other possibilities....maybe even LSD.

Who came up with this idea of blending an elephant sedative with Heroin?  That's a question that no one seems to ask.  It had to be some lab deal deal where they were just fooling around one day and shot some Carfentanil into an elephant with the Heroin-mixture.  Probably freaked out "Jumbo", and encouraged the lab idiots to go onto the next step of injecting themselves.

This kind of behavior just makes one scratch their head.  We are living in a period of time where you can just dream up some kind of 'high' and toss several crazy things into one single pot, and then you wake up four days later from daze and realize that you've been on an extended high for more than 72 hours and completely dehydrated to the point where your life is in danger.  Then you get crazy enough to repeat this again and again.

A Million Exiting the US?

Ever noticed since the 1990s....every time we have an election now.....there's countless numbers of folks who come up and say....if so-and-so wins, they will move to Canada?

I would take a guess that at least five thousand folks said this in 2000 when Bush was running against Gore.  How many moved after Bush won?  Probably less than three people.

The same threat was made in 2008, between McCain and Obama.  At least a thousand Republicans made the stupid threat that they'd leave the US if Obama won, and probably forty-thousand Democrats made it if McCain won.

Here in this election?  I'd take a guess that at least 300,000 Republicans have vowed to move to Canada if Hillary wins.....and at least two million Democrats have vowed to move to Canada if Trump wins.

The thing is here.....it's always Canada.  Ever noticed that?

No one ever says Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, Nigeria, Germany or Sweden.

If you brought this topic up with most Canadians.....I'd bet that most would ask why the hell do these Americans always whip up fake enthusiasm to move to Canada.....then never carry out the threat?  The simple reason.....I think if you dig into this....is that the idiot American always thinks about winters in Canada, and comes back to reality that they can't handle that type of harsh winter situation.  So it's all a fake threat.

Personally, I'd like for these people....on both sides of politics....to make a simpler threat....that they would move to Idaho or Mississippi if so-and-so wins.

You'd think that some Fox show or CNN show would start up.....helping these people with the threats of moving to Canada get accustomed to Canadian ways or beer.  Maybe a show entitled "Cruising to Canada with Calvin" and just make sure you know what you threatening to do.

The other question I'd have.....are there more men to women who make this threat?  It's rare that I hear some women make the threat....is it a guy thing.....wanting to move to Canada and just looking for a stupid reason?

Maybe one of the networks will start up a fall comedy series.....some poor Democratic guy who made the threat, and Hillary lost.....so he's moved his family to Canada and discovered most of his neighbors are right-wing conservative Canadians.

So, I'm sorry if I'm not taking these threats serious.  It's just that over the twenty years.....we should have lost two or three million Americans to Canada, and in real terms....there's probably not more than a hundred that moved....and their reason was mostly because of the lusty Canadian women, or desiring rustic living.....not to escape American politics.


Journalism and Politics

For roughly twelve months, journalists of various types played down the Trump enthusiasm within the heartland of the US.  Every week, you'd get twenty-odd pieces on how Trump couldn't win, or how Trump was a fraud, or how Jeb would come and win big in the late January period of primaries.

Now?  Now, you get various journalists who are trying to tell the public how Trump enthusiasm occurred....even though the same characters misread everything six to twelve months ago.

If you go back two weeks ago....among all of the emails from the DNC that got released via WikiLeaks.....there's various emails that were loaded with quotes and ready-built....for journalists to take, cut and paste, and pretend that they wrote original material (when they didn't).  You almost get the opinion that journalists of today, can't interview....can't write original material.....and can't find any way to travel into the heartland and talk to real people.

Thirty years ago, most Americans were left to four networks (PBS, NBC, CBS, and ABC).....the NY Times, Washington Post.....and their local newspaper.  Toss in Paul Harvey News and Commentary, and maybe the weekly copy of NewsWeak and Time.....and that was your whole view of the world.  Today?  There are probably twenty different TV networks that can deliver some political news, and a guy could be reading a hundred different newspapers or sites.  Time and NewsWeak?  They've both lost a huge segment of their audience and today barely exist.

Generally, I think half of the American public has lost respect for journalists and have an inherent disbelief in whatever story is being told.  So, when some idiot comes up to tell why Trump enthusiasm exists like it is....the truth is....it's just not a believable story.

I read a piece this morning where some idiot journalist tried to convey in one article of a thousand words....the word "Trump" and "Hitler".  Both were mentioned at least twenty times each in the article.

The problem with this association-type writing....is that half the public is of an age where they really don't know much about this Hitler guy, and some of the twenty-somethings might imagine this Hitler-guy is a Texas punk-rocker on meth.  Some of the readers of the article might come to ask isn't there some comparison between Hillary and Hitler possible?

The question over where the enthusiasm for Trump?  It's what you get when fake politics has been played for two or three decades, and the general public (Republicans and Democrats) figure out the whole opera setting and script.  As much as journalism thinks they are some gift to the public.....they've pushed themselves into the corner and made themselves part of the problem, rather than the solution.

So, settle back for a hundred days of hard campaigning, and dozens more articles trying to compare Hitler and Trump.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

All This Hillary Email and Phone Chats

As yesterday came and went, and WikiLeaks put out 29 phone conversations from their collection at the DNC.....one has to sit back and wonder if any of these idiots ever sat down and talked to their security and IT people.

Before the 1990s, conversations were mostly by phone or by letter.  Keeping topics secret was rather easy.  Ample laws were in place about bugging and life was very simple.

But in the last ten years, technology has been old-timers into a difficult position.  These people aren't grasping the change or the threat to their little empire.

Are the 29 taped conversations the ONLY conversations recorded and held by WikLeaks?  I kinda doubt it.  It might only be the start of some weekly episode where more taped conversations get released.

For Hillary and the chiefs within the DNC?  They have to be sitting there and wondering about all the calls they shared and what they might have spoken about that would not be taken well by the general public.  Hardcore Democrats will stand by Hillary....through thick and thin.  But once you cross the line toward independents?  They won't be so easily convinced.

It's been 104 years since we've had an election like this, and people so 'entertained'.  The funny thing is that we've got a hundred days more of this to go, and tons of potential things to occur. So sit back....get some popcorn, and enjoy the "show".

Monday, 25 July 2016

How To Screw Up the 2017 German National Election

I hate drawing road-maps for people, but in this case.....it's simply things to wonder about for the next fifteen-odd months:

1.  Watch thirty weekends of the next seventy weekends where some jihadist or crazy Syrian or mysterious Iraqi conduct some event which gets German national attention, and nothing seems to slow down the trend.

2.  Watch December of 2016 arrive and basically none of the accused sexual assault cases results in convictions with real jail time (out of more than 300 such cases sitting there potentially).

3.  Watch one out of every female voters in North Rhine Westphalia get so disenchanted that they actually vote AfD as a hostility vote.....which results in the spring of 2017 election shock of AfD "anti-immigration wave" Party with 25-percent of the state vote.

4.  Watch continual state-run news shocking the limited viewers they have with "let's get the facts before we tell the story" acting.

5.  Watch more of the general public asking if it's possible to make make one of the AfD platforms to either cut the TV yearly tax to state-run networks by 50-percent or cease it entirely.

6.  Watch the SPD try ninety-nine different ways of insulting Trump after November to get him into a anti-NATO or anti-Germany tirade.

7.  Watch the Koln cops and political folks screw up the December 31st New Year's Eve episode so much.....that another riot breaks out and 300 more women report sexual assaults.

8.  Watch Austria's re-vote in September of this year result in a right-wing win and an entire weekend of freaked-out German politicians who seem to be frustrated and dwell on this so much.....that the general public asks if we could possibly rush-up the national election of Germany a bit.

9.  Watch the Bundestag try to rig up some welcome-to-Germany package for 10,000 Turkish professors who were fired from their jobs in Turkey and the German university system suddenly saddled with trying to invent work for the new Turk immigrants while the public tries to understand what the end-result of this will be.

10.  Finally, watch the the summer of 2016 and summer of 2017 pool seasons across Germany end with over 300 groping incidents with 99-percent foreigners and the topic comes up on some German national chat forum, with no one in the forum willing to suggest what the problem might be.

The truth is.....the AfD folks ought to barely be getting five to seven percent of the vote right now.  Instead, depending on what state you poll.....it generally runs from nine percent to twenty-four percent.  If all ten of these events I described were to occur.....you'd get almost one-third of the national vote shifted around to the AfD.  It might not be enough to win, but it would trigger a really marginal coalition situation for four years and the public whining about lousy leadership and national accomplishments.


Should Have Been Bernie Versus Trump

I've spent about 90 minutes today looking over various Democratic National Party emails and all the various comments, and I've come to this one harsh opinion.

If this primary had been run totally neutral, with no interference by the DNC.....then Bernie Saunders would have beaten Hillary Clinton.

So, ask yourself this....is this fall election really about a fraudulent candidate who couldn't even beat Bernie Saunders fairly just slugging along with marginal strength against Trump?

It's a stupid question, but Bernie apparently was a lot more capable of winning against Trump, than Hillary.  And over the next decade.....we may all be asking questions about what would have happened if it had been Bernie versus Trump.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Fixing Saunders

Sometime today (Sunday), the Democratic National Committee vice-chief (Brazile) will meet with the Bernie Saunders team in Philly to discuss the leaked emails and how the DNC itself helped to take Bernie down a notch or two.

In the real world....people would sue the DNC for millions and demand a recount.

But Bernie can't really go in that direction.

If I were Bernie, I'd have a list.

I'd want the DNC to pay every single remaining debt for the campaign, period, no exceptions.  This could amount to tens of millions.

I'd want the person at the DNC who orchestrated this to be fired immediately after the convention.

I'd want a personal guarantee of either an ambassadorship or cabinet post if Hillary wins.  Maybe going off to Sweden for two years would be a good way of starting retirement.

Finally, I'd ask for a Ford Mustang.....just to tease the DNC a bit.  Maybe they'd grant that....maybe not.

The question here....if the DNC hadn't done this gimmick....would Saunders have beaten Hillary Clinton?  The answer is unknown.

For some Saunders-supporters, there's anger about the DNC, and I'd would guess that 10-percent to 20-percent will just walk away....not voting this fall.  If they do that.....it's virtually guaranteed that Hillary won't win, and this slam against Saunders by the DNC....was another remarkable stumble for Hillary.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

No Power or Water

If you follow military news....ever since Friday night's coup episode in Turkey....they've had the power and water turned off at Incirlik Air Base (a joint American-Turk installation).

So, they've been running the main generator on base, and alternate generators at various significant sites around the base.  Significant parts of the mission are getting power.  The lesser significant points....like the barracks and base housing....no power.

In the summer period, with temperatures up around 95-degrees....it's a harsh deal.

No one from the Turkish side says anything much about this.  No timeline given for restoring power or water.

The base won't say how much water or fuel they have to keep running a mission.  My guess is that they probably have enough for three weeks....maybe four if they really stretch it.  If they ran some Berlin-airlift-like operation.....they could bring in some stocks of fuel and water each day to get by but the question is how long do you do something like this, and how far will the morale on base go after a couple of weeks of this?

Why?  My humble guess is that the Turks have added up everything and figured that it'd be ok if the Americans (and the Germans who are on the post as well) were to leave, on their own.  The Turks won't order them to leave, but they will make it harsh enough that the Americans will just pack up and go.  The Pentagon probably realizes this and is just shaking their heads. Three months.....six months....a year.....without power or electricity?

I've been on Incirlik a couple of times.....three months at one point.  It was one of those places that you really never wanted to be permanently stationed or spend a three-year tour there.  I almost regarded Honduras as one step below Incirlik, which ought to give the idea of daily life there.

The visiting quarters on Incirlik was a hotel for cockroaches mostly.  I checked in one day for a five-day TDY and probably killed forty cockroaches in the first hour.  I asked for another room, and killed twenty cockroaches upon entering it.  I ended up walking over to the BX....buying a can of cockroach spray, and spraying every inch of the room.

There were extreme rules on how to enter or exit the base.  If you didn't have permanent status, then you needed to have a pass to exit.

No matter where you went....everything was marginally working.

I had to go over to the airport one day to pick up some guy.....so I took a taxi.  As I sat down in the Turk taxi, I happened to notice a baseball size hole in the floor, and could observe the ground as we progressed.  The shocks were non-existent.....so you can guess how I felt at the end of a 15-minute ride.

I worked with a guy at Ramstein who was given a week-long TDY there and there were weather issues so he ended up landing at Ankara (about six hundred miles north of the base).  He looked at the situation and decided to just rent a car and drive down.  There were three folks in the group, so it made sense.  What the car rental guy didn't really say much about is that there are generally two ways of driving down.  One way was a generally decent two-lane road....and one was half-paved/half-chirt-rock (this one cut through some mountain pass and actually looked shorter on the map).  Naturally,, the Captain picked the marginal road.  What should have taken seven hours to drive, ended up around 16 hours.

 I can feel bad for these guys stationed there right now, and the reality of Sarge telling them that water and electricity might never be turned on again.  One might hope that the AF would give them some medal or something, but they don't have such a decoration for putting up with crappy living conditions.

The Trump/Pence Ticket

Election campaigns over the past hundred years in the US.....have delivered all kinds of odd pairings.  Most Presidential candidates would end up picking some key state's 'favorite' son, who was not really known in any of the other states, and the guy's two functions during the campaign was to hype up votes in his own state, and not do anything stupid.

Few remember these party tickets, or the upside/downside of picks for VP.

In terms of Trump and Pence?  I would make these four observations.

1.  Pence is a fairly competent guy, who can stand on his own in a debate.  He's not going to be some lightweight Dan Quayle-type character.  Befuddled journalists attempting to take him down in the debate with 200-word questions....will find that he's capable of throwing it back in their face.

2.  Pence probably will deliver Indiana to Trump via the Electoral College.  It's not a big deal but if things were kinda close, it might matter.

3.  My humble guess is that Trump mega-vetted Pence.  As much as some journalists will try to find tons of stuff to dump on Pence....it'll be things like he let his grass overgrow in the backyard, speeding tickets from the 1980s, and he likes watching ALF reruns when chilling out.

4.  For experience, you have a business executive and a governor.  In some ways, that's a positive.  It's not like digging up two senators for President and VP.

Next week, in Philly....the Democratic Convention will start up.  No one says that Hillary will announce her VP choice by this weekend.  Obviously, she ought to be down to the final three people by this point.

Another governor VP pick?  Unknown.

What has shocked me is the limited amount of trouble for the cops in Cleveland.  Will that play out as well in Philly?  Unknown.

On the positive side.....in about ten days....for those of you who really are fed up with politics constantly on TV for the past year....you might get a couple of weeks of marginal politics, before the campaigns really start to take off in late August.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Republican Convention Prediction

The Republican Convention starts tomorrow in Cleveland and runs through Thursday afternoon.  My predictions for this?

1.  Cops are overwhelmed with riot potential.  At least 300 people arrested on Monday.

2.  Emergency meetings will be held by the city council, mayor and cops by Monday evening, with the anticipation of more riots by Tuesday afternoon.

3.  At least fifty convention members gone by Tuesday at lunch because of threats and hostile actions.

4.  News commentators using one-third of their coverage on the protest movement.  Shockingly enough, they are surprised when viewers turn off their coverage and go to Fox News for the convention.

5.  The RNC will meet by Wednesday morning and discuss alternate plans to rush up things and get everyone out by Wednesday night.

In the end, a bunch of folks....even some Democrats....will suggest that all this protest business really isn't accomplishing anything except galvanizing the general public to vote in a certain way (for Trump).  The term "thug" will start to be used when talking about the protest movement.....something that doesn't help them.

My suggestion in the future?  Pick either Vegas or Phoenix in mid-July, and let the protest thugs try to handle 115-degree heat.

UPDATE: 20 July, man, am I shocked.  Almost nothing of great significance has occurred at the convention in terms of a threat to keeping it open and active.  It's like someone whispered in their ear to cut it out.

My Observations of the 9-11 28-Pages Document

I sat down this morning and read the recently declassified 9-11 document which details possible Saudi involvement.  It is twenty-eight pages and you can read it yourself at this site.

Several details stand out.

There is money-laundering taking place within the US by the radicals and elements of the Saudi government (employees of the Saudis).  Maybe the government folks are doing this on their own.....maybe under orders.  There is nothing indicating a single US government official has acted to curtail money-laundering of this type.  This is a major issue.

An individual connected to the Saudi royal family has demonstrated enough behavior issues....that he should be restricted from the US.  So far, no US government official has acted to curtail his access.  This is a major issue.

One of the bodyguards for the Saudis in Washington.....was in contact with the 9-11 individuals.  It's a rather odd circumstance, and would demand more questions.....but apparently....NO one did nothing.  This is a major issue.

What you come to by the end of the 28 pages are three simple facts.

1.  While the government of Saudi Arabia wasn't organizing any of this 9-11 business....there were a lot of people who were connected to either the royal family or the offices of the Saudi government, who were doing their part to escalate the planning and help make it successful.

2.  There is more than enough evidence on the table to suggest that the entire Bush-Cheney team....absolutely didn't want to insult their Saudi friends.....so they looked the other way.  They can be regarded as fools, incompetent dimwits, or failed leaders....take your pick.

3.  For each one of these people that were allowed to walk away.....they've continued their life mission....to bring down civilization.  For whatever actions we did in the weeks, months and years after 9-11......we never disturbed the planning mechanism and support apparatus that made all this jihad business work.

In a way, I can go back and connect the dots now from Reagan, onto Bush I, Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, Hillary, Bush II, Cheney, and probably the Obama administration....they are all 'friends' of Saudi.

What happens now?  Mostly nothing, I fear.  Some individuals who've gotten campaign financing from the Saudi players.....need to stand up and admit this (even at the Senate level).  Some Saudis ought to be barred from entry into the US or EU.  Money-laundering needs to be brought into prospective and people prosecuted if necessary.

If you had an hour of time, it's worth reading the document and getting an idea of what was hidden for a decade.  Ask yourself at the end of the reading.....why did they have to hide this?  For those who say it's nothing.....then why bother hiding this information?

Friday, 15 July 2016

44 - 37?

If you look up the latest poll between Trump and Hillary.....Trump leads now by 44-percent to Hillary's 37-percent.

Why suddenly the shift?  For weeks....maybe even six months....the trend suggested Hillary was always ahead by five to ten points.

There are only two ways of explaining this.

First, the polling folks knew weeks ago that the shift occurred and they delayed this through various methods....rigging the polls in different ways.....hoping the trend would reverse.  By this point, they can't really continue this game and have to report the truth.

Second, the polling folks have rigged up Trump to be ahead.....to force Hillary to go and beg for more money and thus spend more on advertising and polling.....so the guys in the middle get more cash.

I'm likely to believe both stories.

If Trump maintains a seven-point lead up to the debates?  That's a curious thing.  Hillary is a lousy debate person and Trump is slightly above average....prepared at a moment's notice to stand and argue on something.  It's very likely that Trump would gain two or three points more after the debates.  So we could be talking about a lead that Hillary could never overcome....existing by mid-October.

This week, I noted that Trump is already putting more emphasis in swing states.  This will force Hillary to react and have to find the funds to go at least two months early into those states with major funding.

Beginning of the end?  By late August.....I think if Trump is still seven points ahead.....it's mostly done.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

The Hillary Defense

“She was unaware she was committing a crime. Here, there is no crime whatsoever.”

About a week ago, I was watching some news piece and the journalist noted that we'd start to see more and more people use the Hillary defense as part of their issue with a crime.  Today, in the New York Post....I noted that some local cop in NY City was under some review, and he'd invoked the Hillary defense.....claiming he didn't know what he did was a crime.

My humble guess....over the next decade.....on college campuses, in school rooms, within banking operations.....we will see more and more people invoke the Hillary defense and charm someone to get out of trouble.

Ten years ago, no one would have accepted that type of answer, and judges would have just grinned and slapped the guy or gal down a notch.  But today?  Things are different.  You can be a college graduate, and be stupid.  You can be some big-name CEO of a billion-dollar operation, and be stupid.  You can be the chancellor of a top-grade NCAA university, and be stupid.  You can be a NCAA football coach, and be stupid.  You can run for president, and be stupid.  It's all acceptable.

There used to be some point in society where we demanded people be accountable for their actions.   You didn't have to be a rocket scientist or show any Einstein potential.  You just needed to be wise enough and clever enough.....to stay out of trouble.  Well....we've reached a stage where there just aren't enough rocket scientists or Einsteins out there.....and will have to accept some idiots who plead that they just don't know any better.

So don't get all hyped up over the lack of accountability.  After a nuke plant mishap where the Hillary defense is used, or some cruise liner sinks because of incompetence and the Hillary defense is used.....we will eventually drift back to the real world.  Reality will fall back into place....at some point.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Fixing the Cop Problem

After looking over the Twin Cities shooting business, and the general attitude of minorities about cops today....I've come to this idea.

What the cops have done in the US over the past couple of decades is become a money-generator organization for communities and counties.  Whether they will admit this in public.....they give out tickets to reach a certain level, and that helps to keep the city or county revenue pot at the level that the mayor and city council enjoys.

So, let's fix this problem.

1.  Go to the various city council members and demand that you want a monthly tally listed on a city web page, which notes ticket number, status, fine, end-result (dismissed or fine), and the judge involved.  No names of the cop, but put his or her badge number by the ticket number.   Let the public know how much is being generated.

2.  All this fine money being generated.....go back to the city council and demand that they put this into a pot of money which is NOT spent until the last month of each city planning cycle.  Then the city must use a formula related to the overall population.  If you 60,000 residents in town, and 52,000 are over the age of eighteen....then the city can keep up to $250 per person and spend as they desire.

3.  The remaining money in the pot?  It has to be returned....percent-wise....to the guy who paid their fines.  If you had one idiot who paid $1,500 in five fines....fine.  If the return amount if 50-percent of the pot, then he'll get 50-percent of his money back.

4.  The use of cops as revenue generators would quickly dry up and be no reason to make this gimmick a lasting operation.

5.  Those city council guys who refuse to pass this change?  Dump them. ID them in public and put new people up to replace them.

6.  Take the cops out of this stupid revenue game and lessen the whole need for tickets.

A Faustian Deal

I was reading a piece today in the NY Times.....which noted a "Faustian Deal".  I had to go back and read up on the phrase.

Faust is a character in literature to some degree....a German legend in another degree....who sells the public on the idea of him being a scholar or intellectual of some degree....always successful in what he or she does.

But the story doesn't end there.  This is an intellectual who is never happy.....never satisfied....never complete.....never fulfilled.....never at a final stage of success.

So Faust makes a deal with the Devil....giving his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures.

The selling point of this story and constant reminder in real life is that a highly ambitious person who surrenders his or her moral integrity.....for power and perceived success.....may never reach the ultimate pay-back position, and forever be regretting how this deal all went down.

Different Germans have picked up Faust as a character or theme, and retold the story in dozens, if not hundreds of different ways.  The thing is.....once you cross some line into this remarkable deal where success ought to be iron-clad.....it just never seems to be deemed as a five-star success story.

This Faust point was told in the Times story of the impact of the Clinton attachment to the Obama Administration.  There weren't a lot of happy characters at the point where the DNC told the Obama team that they needed to keep Hillary Clinton as part of the new team in 2008.  The Obama team did everything possible to keep Sidney Blumenthal out as a part of the State Department.  The team failed.  Even now.....forced to be energetic and helpful for the Hillary campaign effort.....there is hostility over how the email server dragged them down into a deep mess.

As much as Hillary is concreted into the Faustian Deal herself and having no desire to disembark from the deal.....the Obama team is on its own Faustian Deal, with Hillary as the prize and their success or failure.....will depend on her.

All of this Faustian Deal business is mostly a false story told to the news media and public.....selling them on a theme that no matter how stupid you appear or behave like.....it's all good stuff and you can just overlook it.

Back a decade ago.....I think the Faustian Deal could be easily sold and the news media was capable of making the public believe it.  But there's a lot of things that have occurred, and lack of trust in the news media and politics.....are at a all-time low.  A sarcastic individual might easily sit there now and ask.....which closet of the White House will the new email server be kept, and will the KGB guys have the normal access to it?

If ever offered into a Faustian Deal?  My advice is to ask a few questions and then admit it's just not the kind of thing you want some part of.

These Three Things

What do the Timothy J. Russert Highway, Major George Quamo Post Office Building in New York, and Kate Mullany Historic Site Act....all have in common?

Well....these are the only three pieces of legislation that Hillary Clinton drafted and sponsored.....over eight years....and got passed into law.

A highway name, a post office name, and a historical site designation for some Irish union gal from the 1800s?  That's it?  Yeah.

There are various positions that she took.....to hook onto sponsorship of other drafted bills.....from various senators.  But these three are the only ones that she wrote, drafted, and got passed.

There are various ways to look at this and be amused or happy.  For example.....it demonstrates that she's not really going to do much or change much.....except to name roads or buildings.  That's a positive for a anti-big government guy.

Course, you could ask.....doesn't it show that she is lazy or doing mostly nothing?  Well....yeah, but what exactly do you want a senator to do?

So if you ever get into a discussion with some right-wing guy and he asks what the heck she did for eight years.....it'll be easy for you to remember the three accomplishments.

The Patience Game

In my whole life....I've been pulled over by the cops a total of three times.  In all three, no tickets were issued.  I should note....one was on an Air Force installation and I noted to the airman that I had obeyed the traffic regulation and he was incorrect on what had transpired.....which he stood there a minute looking at the signs and agreed with me.

So I pull up this Twin Cities shooting story from last week.

It is bothersome.  This guy....Philando Castile....had been pulled over 52 times over the past decade (he was 33 years old when he was shot by the cops in another stop).

According to the various news folks out there.....from these 52 occasions....they were all for minor things like speeding, muffler noise, lights out, etc.  In terms of fines?  Well, that's a curious thing.....the city, county and state....over this decade of observing Castile.....made $6.5 thousand off the guy.  You can figure that they were making $500 a year....off a guy who was minimum wage.

Bad driving habits?  Bad luck?  Aggressive local cops helping the bank account of the county or urban area?  No one can say.

I have one distinctive driving habit that I've had since the mid-1980s......I drive mostly from sun-up to sun-down.  Probably less than five-percent of all my driving has been in the evening hours.  No one notes the hours that Castile's 52 stops occurred.  My bet would be that most are after sun-down.

The thing is.....after a while.....a guy who has paid out $6,500 in fines, gets aggravated.  Its not an awful lot but since you are only making minimum wage....you get less and less agreeable with the cops.  You argue with them.....you bicker over the fine.....you reach a level where you just aren't friendly anymore with the cops.

Castile even went into court on numerous occasions and argued his position.....getting half of the tickets dismissed.  Course, that meant two or three hours away from work and just more frustration on top of what existed already.

Maybe the cops were always doing their duty and never handed out a single bad ticket.  But the odds of a decade of driving and 52 occurrences happening where the cops confront you?

What if you traveled by air a good bit, and over a decade.....you ended up with some dimwit TSA guy who forced you to do a more intensive check-out.....say 52 times.  Would you be fairly agreeable with the friendly TSA folks as you enter an airport?

What if you often had to do business at the local bank, and over a decade....had 52 occasions occur where they screwed up some business transaction of yours.  Would you be fairly agreeable with the bank tellers as you perform your business with them?

I'm only taking a guess here, but across the nation of 300 million residents.....there's probably one million Philando Castiles existing....who've paid out $500 a year for a decade to cops handing out tickets.  While the money-generation side of urban society appears to be concreted into position....it just makes one wonder where exactly things will go with society and if they are willing to permanently accept $500 a year as part of their tax contribution to the local political game.

If you ask me.....patience is not unlimited.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

What to Sip in Iceland

The one thing you notice in Iceland is that every time you go to lunch or dinner....these kind  restaurant folks come out with this great bottle of Icelandic glacier water....straight from their water facet.

It normally comes in a bottle as shown in the picture, and is awful chilled.

I have to admit.....it is one of the finer waters that I've ever tasted in my life and a guy could become awful attached to the taste.

Course, if you look to the right of the water.....is a glass of some awful fine Tuborg Classic beer.  A guy could become attached to it's taste as well, and I suspect they use glacier water to make it. It's in the 4.6 range for the alcohol rate.

The water is free, but the Tuborg runs around four bucks at a restaurant (it's not that cheap).

Land of the Midnight Sun

When someone says 'Land of the Midnight Sun'.....this photo is the best example possible.

This was a few minutes before midnight in Reykjavik.

In mid-July, there is no real darkness.  The sun will set but there's enough light left that you can see just about everything.  The sun will officially rise around 3:30AM but there's already light existing.

A bothersome thing?  After a week, I have to admit that I wasn't getting used to this and the 24 hours a day of light bothered me.

In December, the opposite problem, with the sun rising around 11AM and setting by 3PM.

It kinda got brought up on Muslims having a big problem in this area of the world.  In the four-week Ramadan period.....from sun-up to sun-down.....you can't drink liquids or eat.  This means almost 20 hours of no liquids in the summer time.....for four weeks.

It is one of those odd things that you come to experience and realize how screwed up things can get with much daylight.

The Bulb

 I stayed at a fancy upscale hotel on the south coast of Iceland this past week.  To be honest, I actually forced myself to pay roughly $350 for one single night in this place.  For a guy from Alabama.....it's a tough decision to make.

There were a bunch of fine things about this hotel, and it was right next to a glacier.....which probably helped to inflate the pricing of the room.  But it's the ceiling light that consumed my time in the room.

It's one big custom blown-glass bulb....probably twice the size of a basketball.  It has to weigh at least 20 pounds.

So I laid there in the bed.....looking up at the globe and kept looking at what was basically holding the globe there.....one thin electrical cable.  That was it.

On the safety scale.....one to ten.....this was a marginal two at best.

The place just opened in June and this was a fancy upscale place.  Maybe the globe light does make sense.  But you can just sit there and envision some night coming up in a year or two.....where this thin electrical cable will break and dump the bulb down onto you as you are sleep.  If it's thick glass....it'll probably hurt you pretty good.  If it's thin glass....it'll break and cut you up.

Cost?  Oh, I'm guessing this was a 400-dollar light fixture, that some interior decorator felt would add to the room.

This was one of twenty-odd features of the hotel that just made me question the value of the rates.

The Cop Shooting Observation

If you stand back and look over the Dallas cop shooting (five dead cops) and the whole story.....you come to this observation.

In the late 1960s....there were X-number of cops and law enforcement in towns, counties, state apparatuses, and the federal government.  Today?  There are double, and in some organizations....triple or more.....cops that have been added to the system.  The question is.....are you safer now, or from the late 1960s?

Go look at your local small town cop force that had two guys on the payroll in 1969.  Today?  It's probably seven guys.  What do the seven guys mostly do?  Hand out speeding tickets, and traffic violation tickets.  They are a money-maker for the small towns, infuriating the general public (mostly the low-wage earner), and a sad comical force.

As we added more and more cops to the system.....we didn't really ask questions.  Joe would show up and just say he was the cousin of Marvin.....who was already a sheriff's deputy.....no real experience.

Some guys showed up with MP experience from the Army.  Some guys had five or six classes from some community college.  Some guys had an academy deal with some state organization.  Overall, we did a lousy job hiring people and in some cases....hired thugs instead of law enforcement.

Add in the aggressive drug and thug crime issues on top of the cop issue.  If we drug-tested everyone arrested in a normal year.....I suspect well over fifty percent have some significant drug in their system.  They aren't clean.

Then you come to the various mass movements started in the past six to eight years.....all using some dead 'hero' to get public appeal.  The news media is stupid enough not to ask questions anymore.....they just publish the banners and pump the message out to the public.

Social media?  Also part of the mass messaging system to the public.

Here's the general part to affect each of you.  If you live in a small town.....some nutcase meth-head will look at the shooting business.....get some stupid idea.....fire a round or two at the local cop, and suddenly, you have everyone in the town carrying a gun.....24 x 7.  Cops will react more often with a gun, and the public will do the same.

Bunch of shooting....scores of dead people.....and for what?

There is no fix for this.....other than accepting it as the norm for the next couple of years, and forcing a bunch of folks into the legal system for stupid stuff.

The Hillary Observation

After watching for six months this whole FBI dance of sorts over Hillary.....you can generally come to five observations.

1.  Up until the late 1990s.....if you were reviewing classified material.....it was printed out at some communications center and put into a book, which you read.  If you wanted to chat about it.....you went to a STU (a special phone which was marginally effective in talking and hearing).  In the late 1990s....things changed.  Networks came up, and individual accounts.  So everyone was forced to become technology gifted.  In today's world, you would have a personal email account (like Yahoo), a gov't unclassified account (functioning slightly different than Yahoo), a Secret account (very much different from Yahoo and the unclassified account), and a Top Secret account (extremely different).

To operate all four? You need to use them daily and be fairly gifted.

I get the impression that the people in the background of Hillary Clinton.....realized that she isn't that gifted with hardware or different email gimmicks.  So blending all of this into one single system....like a Yahoo account.....made perfect sense (sadly).

2.  No one lost their security clearance or got fired over this whole thing.  It's amazing to see this part of the episode.

3.  The FBI used up around $4.5 million dollars worth of time on this so far.....with zero results.  It kinda says a lot about prioritizing efforts and the value of an investigation.

4.  Multi-task capable?  After looking at the various routines, you tend to see a White House that really didn't use Secretary of State Clinton, and she was just around to make speeches and travel across the globe.  The emails and lack of authority.....all demonstrate this.

5.  The odds of her repeating the same procedure and email game?  Well.....it's hard to say.  If you were really that stupid, yes.....you'd go right back and do it the same way again.  Maybe she learned something from this.  Well.....maybe.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Dress Code

Lately in the news, I've noticed more and more comments about mandatory dress codes being enforced within companies, and people trying to rebel or change the code.  For twenty-two years of my life....I was in the Air Force and played along with their dress code.  After that period, I left and entered the corporate world, and met up with another dress code (for 11 years) and finally put in 3.5 years within the Pentagon's world of civilian dress codes.

The thing about dress codes is that you are trying to establish a threshold where people look professional in the work-place.  In 1999, as I went into the contractor world....our big-name company had a dress code but if you went through what was three or four paragraphs.....it was mostly a simple deal.  All shirts had to have a collar....no tennis shoes....professional image.  That was it.

About a year into this period, I noted that the company had hired some 20-year old gal as a admin person....who was wearing the shortest possible dress possible.  This came up one day as a topic among the five or six guys in my group, and we were curious how long this would be allowed to continue.  She actually made it six months into the job when the boss of the section had a private meeting and laid out the rules.  The next day....she showed up with the same type dress.  A week later....he had another conversation with her.  Nothing changed.  Several months would pass and one day....they just let her go.

I worked with one contractor from another company who wore sweatsuits to work everyday in the winter....with no collar.  For one whole winter....the company said nothing.  As the second year came around....they got all hyper that this couldn't continue.  So, he came in the next day with a shirt collar appearing with the sweatshirt.  That was acceptable.  What they didn't know....was this was just a fake shirt collar that some South Korean sewing shop lady had fixed up for the guy, and he had three or four fake collars for his winter garb.

At the Pentagon, my organization had actually existed for thirty-odd years without a civilian dress code.  For some reason, things hit some wall and the military officers decided that they needed to be a code.  They argued about this for two years and never got anywhere.  Down the hall from me....another organization had some rules in place that went to the extreme.....you had to wear a wool-like blend in your trousers from mid-October to mid-March.  They also had a rule about black socks being mandatory.....all year round.

I brought this up one day with a guy who'd been around the Pentagon for thirty years.  As he noted, there really wasn't a problem existing until you get to the 1990s.  It didn't matter whether you were talking about inside the Pentagon or just in DC itself....a whole group of people came out of the university system in the 1990s and just didn't agree with dress codes, period.

I was reading a piece this week where they discussed at one company....the rule that shoes all had to be leather, and people had noticed 'fake-leather' shoes on some folks.  They had posed the fake-leather issue with HR, which brought up some frustrations with people.

Personally, I think you need some rules or you'd end up with a bunch of folks pushing the limit (showing up with green hair, men wearing red business suits, or women wearing men's business suits). The sad thing is that once you start writing these rules......you end up writing 300-percent of what you really needed.  And then people start to get cynical about the whole business.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Crystal Pepsi?

Back in the 1992/93 period, I was one of those people who tried Crystal Pepsi.  One single soda.

I read this week that Pepsi has decided to retry the market again for Crystal Pepsi.  It was dumped somewhere by the end of 1993.  What people say was that it really hyped up big in 1992 and they felt it had a real chance in the market.  Six months later....it dropped big-time.  And they decided to just say adios.

Why bring it back now?  Unknown.

My gut feeling was that it tasted OK, but the sweet taste....wasn't exactly the same sweet as regular Pepsi.  In the prospective of going back week after week to drink the stuff?  No.  It's like Mellow Yellow.....it's OK if there were nothing else to drink but otherwise, it's just not that great of a soda.

Why not invent another soda out of thin air?  I'm guessing some group of Pepsi engineers or lab guys....are awful attached to the Crystal drink.  They kept the recipe and kept trying to figure out some way of improving it and bringing it back.

As for this failing again?  If I were betting, I'd say better than a 75-percent chance it will fail within three years.