Monday, 24 April 2017

The Hawaii-Alabama Essay

Last week....the Attorney General (our former senator from Alabama) got into the news by referring to Hawaii as "an island in the Pacific".  Hawaii folks got all peppered up, because of this lack of 'respect'.

I sat and pondered over this story for a while.  There are three odd aspects to the story.

First, if you went to the 4.8 million Alabama folks....for those over the age of eight, and asked about where Hawaii was located, it's very likely that 90-percent would just point out into the Pacific and say "there".  They might accidentally point toward Japan, the Philippines, or perhaps even Tonga. Ten-percent (the remainder) might point toward the Gulf of Mexico or down near Aruba.

Yes, we do have a geography location problem in Alabama.  It's mostly because if you've never been there....you can't reference the local area.  You can ask most Alabama folks to identify the four border states, and 98-percent will get that correct.  Once you start asking about where Idaho or Montana is located....most folks just point out west on the map.

I would imagine that my brother (the Alabama engineer geek) has met more Chinese in his life than Hawaii folks.

Second, to be fairly honest about this....Hawaii is made up of eight islands.  Most lecture instructors from Alabama will point this out and even define that they were all part of some single land mass back around 12,800 years ago...then all hell broke loose and water rose 400-odd feet.

Third, if you asked the 4.8 million Alabama folks if they'd ever met a Hawaii guy ever....in their life.  Their response (probably 99-percent) will be no.  Probably over 99-percent of Alabama folks will talk up meeting Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, or Tennessee residents.  Some will refer to Arkansas folks as the nicest folks on the face of the Earth.  Then after a couple of comments, you get down to the number of folks who've ever met anyone from Wisconsin or Utah....and less than ten-percent of Alabama folks can say they've met such a person.

From the 20-odd thousand that might have met some Hawaii folks.....they are mostly former military folks who spent time on the isle, or politicians.

Maybe this is worthy of some controversy, but on the scale of hyped-up frustration or hostility....to an Alabama guy....this is maybe somewhere between number 10,500 and 11,000 on the scale of things. In Alabama, we worry more about summer revival activity with a broken-down AC unit in the church, dry counties converting to wet counties, and Governors behaving like nutcases.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Science Stuff

Both in Europe and the US yesterday (Saturday), there was a massive science-geek protest....mostly to ensure pressure on governments to continue research.  The slant on the US protest in DC, across from the White House?  Anti-Trump.

I sat and looked at the hyped conversation by the science-geeks.  They have a big problem.  While there are some great science research projects underway....there are also tremendous wastes of money.

You have idiots who approve studies on Facebook friends (whether they are real friends or not), how long it takes to fully urinate, checking out bee-sting sensitivity on different parts of the body (maybe it might hurt more if they stung your ass), why rich people cheat on taxes, and why monkeys will take risks when bored.

Here's the thing....it's readily apparent that you've got way too many scientists in the civilized world, and they need to pay back college loans (that's my humble opinion).  Maybe up until the 1960s.....we had some control and competence over the money handed out, but that has disappeared over the past couple of decades.

Various governments (it's not just the US) are reviewing their spending and making cuts.  So, there's likely to be less money in the future to study monkey urine, best ways to wreck a new car, or assign risk-factors to chainsaw usage.

Maybe in some way, we ought to go and send out the scientists to figure out why college costs have escalated and how to assign blame for that, or maybe ask scientists to explain why climate change science is settled, while the 500-odd other sciences are unsettled.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

University Topic

When I attended university in the 1980s....there were generally three requirements.  First, you needed pay them before the classes started....in cash, check, or money-order.  Second, you had to get form signed by the Air Force which would pay for 75-percent of the tuition.  And third, you needed to visit some counselor to ensure that you had some plan.

To be honest on the third requirement....there probably never was a plan within my scope of things, but the these counselors didn't really care one way or the other.

This week, I noted in the news that Kennesaw State University (within the beltway of Atlanta) had gone and added another seminar onto the requirements to attend.  This had something to do with privilege and interracial relations....note, NOT rank and privilege as most military folks would quickly have misunderstood and chatted on for an hour.

The university had gone out and hired some outside training counselor to ensure folks were hyped up on privilege and interracial relations.

So, you'd all come into one big room....I assume twenty-five-odd folks.  Then they'd say to you.....you folks who identify as white.....need to go to this room, and you folks who are of color....need to go to another.  By dividing the group....you'd create an "environment" of understanding and support.

I sat and read through this piece.

The contractor consultant was counting on folks playing his or her game.....getting up and going to room X or room Y.

Me?  I would have sat there with my coffee while everyone got up and just stayed in my seat.  Eventually, the instructor guy would have asked about my status.  I would have said that I was translucent in nature....not white or of color.

It probably would have confused the consultant a good bit, and I would have been told that I wasn't grasping the game being played.  Frankly, I see this as an hour or two of time wasted.  You could just as well chatted about limiting alcohol consumption....how to handle a firearm, or how to handle a rattlesnake situation.

No one said much over how much this seminar cost in nature.  I'd hate to think that you had to pay $25 for something like....without any value.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Church Story

Typically, it's just about impossible to get thrown out of a Baptist Church.  As long as you show up.....avoid sleeping during sermons.....and don't openly criticize the minister or Jesus....you are fairly set as a member.  This morning, I opened up local Alabama news and noted that the Governor, and his Paramour gal (with her husband) were kinda kicked out of their Tuscaloosa Baptist Church. Yeah, shocker.

At some point last year, after all this affair business came out with the Governor and the Paramour....the church minister got all worried.  Oddly, he calls for a meeting in his office with the parties affected.  Mrs Bentley didn't really care to attend (wouldn't blame her).

The minister wants everyone to lay out their part of the episode.  Now in the real world....most Governors would not have attended, and if they had.....a lawyer would have accompanied them.  So it's hard for me to figure out why Bentley showed up and started talking....other than perhaps him having dementia.

So after Bentley finished up his whole story on the affair.....Mr and Mrs Mason talk about their part of their affair. No one says how long this whole description of the affair took....maybe three minutes...maybe three hours.

Some guys from Alabama would have described their Paramour situation in thirty words or less.  A few might have used a thousand words, been kinda graphical (hands waving around), and the intensity involved (like a University of Alabama versus Auburn football game).  Then you'd have that one single Alabama guy who'd talk for three hours about this original meeting, the Paramour clothing choice, his fantasy world, telephone chats, licky-spity kisses, pancake breakfast meetings at the Waffle House at 4AM, five-inch heels, and lusty stuff best not to be told to Baptist ministers.

Then you come to this moment of talk with Mr and Mrs Mason.  Mr Mason would be in a dire Baptist situation if he acknowledged that he knew about the affair before it even started.  Usually, that would be an unwise situation to lay out....as if planned from day one.

Then you have to wonder what Mrs Mason said to the minister, and how she described her part in the affair.  Typically, most Alabama women would limit their chatter to maybe forty words.  Then you might have that one gal who'd get all chatty and spend twenty-five minutes describing the emotion, fervor, energy, and vigor involved.  She might have described the Governor as her "George Clooney".
The minister?  He might have been a bit disgusted with all this sex-chat stuff and wondered how these three characters attended his weekly sermons and got all hyped up over lusty stuff.

At the end of this meeting.....according to the journalist.....the minister asked the Governor to not attend the church any more.....taking away his deacon status/Sunday school teacher position.  Then he turned to the Masons, and just said it'd be best not to attend his church anymore.

The thing I see is that typically, you'd want to sell your religion on forgiveness.  You could have asked the Governor and the Masons to kneel down....pray for thirty minutes....ask to have the devil cast out of their lives, and then ask for forgiveness over the three.  Oddly, the Minister didn't care to do the standard Baptist gimmick on the three.

My take?  Way too much lusty stuff going on.  This was probably one of those meetings that didn't really fix anything, and probably made things worse.

At the end of this.....at least a hundred thousand Alabama Baptist members can sleep secure in knowing that their illicit affair didn't get discovered and they didn't get dragged in to admit with the choir director last weekend in some Mobile hotel, or have had a ten-year affair with the Minister's wife.

On the positive side, it does demonstrate that Alabama folks are awful passionate, and hot-blooded....probably more so than those Mississippi folks.  

Monday, 17 April 2017

How To Campaign and Win the Alabama Governor's Seat

Being both an insider and outsider to Alabama....I have a different prospective on things.

In most state elections in the real world.....you need to have some amount of money to do advertisements, and line up unique vote combinations (women's vote, Latino vote, minority vote, etc).

Up to the 1980s....I think that was the trend in Alabama as the Republicans and Democrats faced each other off.  Then something unique in Alabama occurred.  The GOP turned and picked out a couple of topics, and lessened the need for advertisements or unique vote combinations.  The topics?

1.  Anti-lotto.  The GOP went straight to the Baptist membership of the state, and harped on lottery operations being an evil thing.  Speeches would be made about the negativity of lottery money.  Naturally, the Democrats aren't stupid.....most every state around Alabama is raking in money off lottery....so it only makes sense.  The GOP legislature?  Oh, they will chat openly about lottery chances.  But whoever is the governor candidate....will always take a dim view of the lottery business.

2.  Anti-Casino.  The GOP went straight to the Baptist membership of the state, and harped on casino gambling being bad.  Speeches would be made by the GOP caniddate about the negativity of casino profits being taxed.  The Democrats?  They aren't stupid.....other states are signing up....so it only makes sense.  The Baptist loved the anti-Casino talk.

3.  Anti-Evolution.  Amusing as it sounds....the Baptist crowd likes to hear this, and no Democrat will dare suggest anything on evolution.

All of this costs almost nothing, and gets talked around via various Baptist channels in the state.  So you take the crowd who will vote GOP no matter what.....toss in the Baptist-chatter crowd, and you got a remarkable 60-percent chance of winning.

In an amusing way.....the Democrats in Alabama have no virtual way of getting in on this action....even with the latest GOP resignation of the governor, and the suggested corruption going on within the state.

What happens after the Alabama GOP gets lottery and casino bills passed?  I suspect that they will move onto marijuana and it's evils....suggested their anti-marijuana position will save the state....then oddly, five years later, we will find that the GOP and Democrats have passed a medical marijuana bill into law.

Are folks that stupid?  Well....it's just that they'd like to believe in something related to their religious preferences.  Since Jesus never said anything much about lottery, casinos, or marijuana....it's left to interpretation.  You know how that goes.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Mike Goes to Cyprus

This week....not widely reported....but a Democrat House member (Rep Mike Quigley (Ill)) flew off to Cyprus.  He's on the House Intelligece Committee, and he's gone to Cyprus because...."thats where Russians launder money."  He believes he will gather intelligence and data on Trump's former campaign chairman....Paul Manfort and his work in eastern Europe.

What we expect out of this fact-finding mission to Cyprus?

First, he'll likely fly business class all the way into Frankfurt....board one of about a dozen airlines which fly into the small island of Cyprus.  The airlines are: Bulgaria Air, Air Moldova, Alitalia, KLM, LOT, Air Malta, Pegasus, Czech Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss Air, Aeroflot, and five or six no-name airlines.

Mike will probably be shocked that the ticket his folks bought in DC....is just a passenger only ticket, and he'll have to pay 30-Euro for his bag (one-way).  He might also be shocked at the quality of the airlines involved, and that half of them don't offer a direct flight to Cyprus....which means he'll have to spend five hours in some no-name airport, and this whole expedition to Cyprus takes 22 hours from DC.

So, Mike will arrive at one of the only two airports on Cyprus....Larnaca or Paphos.  Hopefully, they picked Larnaca (that's the capital city).  Paphos is about 90 minutes away from Larnaca.

Right off the bat.....Mike will discover that almost no banker in Larnaca will talk with him, period.

Then, Mike will discover that the Cyprus government folks aren't that willing to talk to him either.

The US embassy?  They will bring out their economics expert and maybe have a hour-long chat which centers mostly around rumors....scuttlebutt.....hearsay....and gossip.

The CIA guy?  He'll mostly chat about his secret investigations....which indicate that virtually every single bank in Cyprus is deep into Russia money, and that billions come in each month, and flow out. Then he'll list out forty-odd lobbyists in Fairfax, Virginia....some deep into Republican and Democratic circles....who might be getting some piece of the action.  Mike would prefer not to hear about the Democratic lobbyists in this episode.

Mike will eventually come to realize that Cyprus isn't your normal corrupted government or country.  It's much like the US.  People have money...they want service....they pay for your service....and you perform.

It's at this point that Mike will realize this whole trip to Cyprus was just a wasted trip, but will enjoy the excellent five-star hotel that he spent five nights in.  He might also come to note that they have lousy water pressure, and you aren't allowed to put toilet paper into the toilet, but instead into the trash can....which kinda stinks up the room.

Mike will also probably consume a fair amount of Zivania....which is a brandy-like drink. The locals will tell you that Zivania started out (hundreds of years ago) to treat wounds or to massage into sore body joints.  Then, folks discovered it was great for colds and flu.  Then folks discovered it was great for toothaches.  Then folks discovered it was great for a heated-drink during winter periods.  Then finally, folks discovered it was a great drink to offer visitors or guests.  Note, while it does come in watered-down versions.....the typical bottle you'd pick up at the grocery will be 45-proof.  So just three or four shots of the stuff will get you going, and if you had ten to fifteen shots....you'd be in no condition to do much of anything.

Then Mike will return to DC, and chat for weeks about his fact-finding mission to Cyprus.  Eventually, some of the DC lobbyists who get funding from Cyprus....will come to visit Mike and try to get him to see a practical side to Cyprus, and put a bit of money into his campaign chest.

Here's the simple truth.  The Russian billionaires discovered that Cyprus had a wide-open door, and banks which weren't regulated very much.  The Russians didn't want to put their money into Moscow banks....because it's just not safe.  Financially, it only makes sense.  So Cyprus found that investment money into condo construction....resort hotels....and shipping companies....were all helped by this flow of money.  You can call it money-laundering but there's all this positive stuff going on, so why get bent out of shape?  The billionaires have their money in a safe place, and they get to move it around.  Putin and state-sponsored work?  No, that's the amusing thing about this whole story.  It's a bunch of rich guys.....like the New York City rich guy crowd, or the Miami rich guy crowd, or the Chicago rich guy crowd.....just protecting their money.

The cost of this Mike expedition to Cyprus?  I'd take a guess over $10,000 will have been spent on this.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Paramour

This week, my home-state has been in the news a fair bit.....the governor has finally resigned.

What can be said is that Robert Bentley (Republican) was a small-time state legislature guy, and fairly successful in his life at the medical business.  Somewhere around age 65, he'd met up with a couple from his church who felt he had the 'right stuff' to be governor.  With their help, he ran.....got elected....and brought the couple into jobs within the state office.  The gal was hired to a $400,000-plus job and the husband in a similar but less paying job. What developed was some girlfriend situation with the gal, and eventually....Bentley's wife figured out the whole thing (divorcing him).  It would be safe to say that Bentley was not really the governor.....and that this girlfriend was pressing the right buttons to ensure things happen.

So we come to this reporting of the event.  Depending on who you read....the girlfriend is described as a: paramour, kept woman, beau, mistress, concubine, sugar, main squeeze, doxy, or 'other woman'.
If you are from Alabama.....typically, you'd use 'other woman', sugar, mistress, or kept woman.  The W-word might also be used but not in front of Baptists.

If you used the word paramour, I would take a guess that 90-percent of folks from Alabama have no idea what it is, or what it means.  Some might suggest that it's a French pastry, or some town near Fairhope.  I would take a guess that out of the whole state.....less than 3,000 folks speak French or would easily recognize the word.

My brother (the engineer) might have some knowledge of the word....but only because he read the Three Musketeers two or three times, and a bunch of the characters were having paramour situations.

The governor?  I'm pretty confident that he'd use the word sugar.

All this lusty talk kinda unsettles the typical Alabama guy.  It'd normally be something that you didn't talk about....settling instead on NCAA football, bass fishing, pick-ups, septic tank replacement, garage advice, beef prices, the Braves, Kenny Rogers tunes, and Trump.

Some ministers will attempt to weave some Bible-tale into this situation and advise guys off the trail of paramour situations.  Half of those ministers over the next year will be pointed out to already have their own paramour situations.

What I think will develop out of this whole Bentley and paramour thing is that folks will begin to see Alabama as the lusty state with a bunch of paramour activities.  Some Bama folks will hate the aspect of a lusty state....but it'd bring in more tourists and generate more jobs..  Maybe eventually, we'd even make a car-tag referring to Alabama as the paramour-state.  Well....maybe.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

An Investing Story

Around 2008....I worked with a guy whose dad called him up one day about a stock....SIRI (Sirus XM Radio).  It was doing lousy and gone down to 10 cents a share. His dad was hearing some good stuff about a comeback.  Dad said he was going to $10,000 of shares (figure about 100,000 shares).

My buddy brought this up with me.  I just couldn't see the wisdom....it was a dying stock in my mind.  The buddy went ahead bought some stock (couple days later, it was around 12 cents a share).  I seem to remember it being near 150,000 shares that he bought.

Six weeks later....stock was near 18 cents a share, and I jumped into this.  I wasn't crazy over a huge number.....so I bought near 2,000 shares.  About two months later....it was near 25 cents and I sold my shares, happily.  I went back in a couple months later at 35 cents and sold at 45 cents.

My buddy and his dad were still into this in 2010, and I suspect they are still both into the stock.

Value now?  I was glancing at stock prices today and went back to look over SIRI.  His dad would have $500,000 of value.  My associate would have $750,000.

You come across some kind of gamble like that once in your life.  Either you take it or you walk away.


An AP Story

I read a fair amount of news, and came to this one odd piece, which developed from two days ago as a 'man-lost' story.  The AP wrote up the original piece, and the end-piece (appearing late last night).

For those who are familiar with the Atlanta Braves....they once had this outfielder by the name of Otis Nixon.  Toward the end of his career....he was lucky enough to be picked up for a couple of seasons with the Braves.  He was suspended in one season for drug use (cocaine).

So Otis came up in the last couple of days and told his girlfriend that he was going golfing, and left in his SUV.  He didn't come back.  She got all worried and upset.....then called the cops.  The cops simply put out a note to folks about him missing....but I doubt if they put any effort into this.

Yesterday, Otis reappeared.  As the AP noted.....foul play was not involved.  They kept you dangling over this episode.....telling you little else.

Then they kinda end the story....Otis had 1,379 hits and 620 stolen bases over a 17-year career.

It's how a guy would like to end a mysterious epic disappearance....just some AP writer noting his baseball statistics from a career twenty years ago.  You could have just chatted about the wife, girlfriend, or kids.....but you need some slam-bang ending to a story.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

The World of Worry

In our mighty world....we worry.

We worry about gas prices, chicken prices, corn prices, electricity prices, natural gas prices, and pizza delivery prices.

We will worry about grandma's impending death, the dog who is fourteen years old this year, the 1978 Ford out back which is on its fourth transmission, and the tree that is leaning across the yard at a 12-degree pitch.

We worry about the Alabama governor who might actually be certifiably crazy.

We worry about the store being out of fresh grapes or strawberry's or melons.

We will worry that the butcher might only have fatty sirloin steaks tomorrow when we shop.

We worry that our company is crapped-out with incompetent managers and bonus money flows like the Mississippi into the CEO's pocket while talks of a merger or a bankruptcy occur.

We worry about cheap airline tickets which are non-existent today.

We worry about flying through JFK and if we might be stuck in Manhattan tonight at the Roosevelt, with a breakfast in the morning at $32 per person.

We will worry about the 44-year old bus at Grand Central Station that would take us back to JFK, for $19 and whether the Koran bus-driver understood what we asked.

We worry about the doctors office, Nurse Wanda and whether everything is sanitized there.

We worry about the wonderful nurse doing our blood-pressure check who has the open blouse and a 44DD cup....and whether our blood pressure is accurate or over-accurate.

We worry about McDonalds switching over to fat-free fries.

We worry that Wendys will give up on regular chilli and serve diet-chilli.

We worry if Pepsi will redo the receipe and add butterscotch to the recipe.

We worry about Coke adding 33 more flavors of Coke, including one that has turnip-flavor and B-12 vitamins.

We worry about aliens who might come tonight and "probe" us.

We worry that Bigfoot might actually come out of the woods and engage with us into a conversation on Trump's Syria bombing, and we just aren't prepared for this kind of chat.

We worry about cattle mutilations and whether the black helicopters are really the nuclear department or from the Mexican Army.

We worry about Matt Lauer and if he might one day just walk off the stage of the Today Show and marry Britney Spears.

We worry that Oprah might actually lose weight and keep it off.

We worry that the news people might actually run out of news to report tonight.

We worry that the networks might start a new soap opera for daytime TV entitled Washington Democrats (with sexy hot lust scenes).

We worry that Pro Wrestling might go bankrupt, with Roller Derby, and we'd be stuck with tennis or bowling to watch on Monday nights.

We worry that Mike Tyson might actually be able to act and get a Oscar next year.

We even worry about global warming, global cooling, global climate change, polar bears who might be dying or might be attacking environmentalists, and even the amount of peppermint in the air at any given time.

Frankly, we worry an awful lot. Not to criticize our magnificent world....but maybe things will just work out and tomorrow the sun will rise.....bacon and waffles will be in the air....and life will go on. Maybe. Just maybe.

The Column That Won't be Returning

This morning, I read a piece off the hometown newspaper where I grew up from 7 December 1961.  In those days, it was fairly common that every community in the county would have a column....maybe 40 to 60 lines that would lay out the news of that community.

It'd typically read; The such-and-such club held a coffee-social over at home of Ms Jones, Forty ladies gathered with various cakes and pies.  The son of Will and Ann Frederick arrived home after the semester ended at Texas Tech.  A tree fell on the car of Martin Fulks last Saturday, causing a complete loss, and he is reported to be looking at a new Ford.  The widow Norris has installed a new air conditioning system into her house .

I can still remember my dad pulling out these articles and pointing out names mentioned in these columns.

At some point in the early 1970s....they started to disappear.  It's hard to say the reason for the end.

I will admit that the clubs often mentioned (the Saturday Social Club, the Home Demonstration Club, etc) all started to disappear in the 1970s.  I will also admit that by the early 1980s....lives were more complicated with the gossip being less-friendly and more problematic.  One might also agree that stories were getting to a point of where you couldn't tell the whole story without someone getting offended.

If you were to try running one of these local community columns today?

- The Widow Hanks had her nephew visiting, after six months in a Dallas jail for meth distribution.  Warren says he's on a new track and just looking for a full-time job.

- A fight broke out as the Home Demonstration Club met at the home of Wanda Sinyard.  Witnesses say that several ladies had tossed back shots of Tequila and made offensive comments toward Ms Richards and her new Mexican boyfriend.  Police settled the social meeting and arrested two of the ladies for 4th degree assault.

- Cindy Pruitt took up with the Piggly Wiggly manager (sixteen years older than her) and has gotten a $700 tattoo to note her affection for the guy.

- Ronny Jones returned home after six weeks at the University of Florida.  It's noted that he was invited to leave the university and not come back.

- Mr and Mrs Smith announced that they will be divorcing shortly.  Mr Smith had taken up with the new UPS lady driver, and Mrs Smith was going to start a new relationship with a British cook.

By the time you throw in the gutter gossip, the drug-thug news, break-ins, off-and-on marriage woes, financial issues, and secret affairs going on....our local communities have become something that we'd rather not discuss much except behind closed doors.

It is a bold new era that we live in.  Some folks might go and wish upon some simpler time or return to a wholesome era.....but I kinda doubt that it's possible now.  We've permanently lost our innocence.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Was the Syria Episode Scripted Out?

It's a stupid question, but you have to stand back and look at some simple issues.

- While everyone was pumped up months ago when Syria handed over all of it's chemical weapons to be disposed of.....you really couldn't say that they all had been given over.

- The device for the chemical weapons.....a type of bomb that would be fitted onto an aircraft.  Not a crude tank hung off a helicopter, or an artillery-shell.  Does ISIS have aircraft?  No.  Does Syria have aircraft?  Yes (oddly the type flying from this base that got bombed out by the US).

- Did the Russians likely figure out the whole bomb thing and the odds of it being from Assad's Air Force?  They'd have to be idiots if they didn't figure that out in five or six hours.

- The use of the chemical weapon making the Russians look bad?  Well....yeah.  They can talk to Assad and try to convince him of the stupidity involved....but it doesn't matter.

Who knows.....maybe Putin called up Trump and laid the cards on the table and just said....you know....you were to bomb this one air base under Assad....we wouldn't be terribly unhappy.  And by the way, here's the coordinates for every building on the base.

After the event, Putin can look furious for about 60 seconds, and talk about the evil Americans.  Then he goes behind the door and just grins because Trump fixed Putin's problem and will ensure this doesn't happen again.

Maybe I'm wrong, but it just seems so scripted out.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

This Security Council Topic

The news media has hyped up Trump's guy Bannon, and the fact that he's been edged out of the Security Council.  For twenty-four hours, I've been reading through the bits and pieces.  Behind all of this is this simple reason....when they did have council meetings....he rarely attended.

The President himself....has little reason to give on missing the Security Council meetings.  No matter how silly or long these meetings are....he kinda has to be there and say 'something' to pep folks up or to move the US position in some direction.

Bannon?  I would imagine after two or three meetings, and the topics discussed....he realized the worthless value of allocating his time to these meetings.

Between January and now?  What exactly of a major crisis would have been discussed?  North Korea doing something stupid for the 600th time in twenty years?  ISIS thugs in Syria who never seem to go away, and we will drop another 44 bombs next week on another ISIS target?  After that, you down two or three steps, and get into pretty worthless discussions on Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Venezuela.  The days of talking over the Soviet Union are long gone....so the value of the Security Council is questionable. But you don't dare get rid of the concept.

If you had some Cuban missile crisis, some massive terror attack in London, or some US passenger ship kidnapped at sea....then the council would have value.....but as a week to week thing?  No, it's not the kind of meeting you want to waste your time at.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Fresno Story

There's this news piece I read this morning....out of Hampton Roads (WAVY)....over this story from Fresno, California.

Cops get a call....go out, and here's this gal standing there..."mostly naked". She had no idea who she was....was fairly wet....and asking for help.  This was around 3:15AM.  She did claim that she was a Mermaid and that she thought her name was Joanna.  That's it....not much else.  Cops took some fingerprints and are waiting for the gal to come to her senses or someone calls up about knowing her.
There are two aspects to the story which interest me.

First, the term "mostly naked".  It's not clear what they meant.

In California....this might mean that she was wearing some bikini-bottom.  In Fresno, it might mean a t-shirt only.

My brother (the engineer type and farming enthusiast) would say that she was likely wearing Red Wing boots and a Auburn-athletic shorts.

My son would probably say she was wearing a Scooby Do shirt and a towel (since she's a Mermaid).

I would be thinking that she's wearing a tube top and men's underwear.

The cops will probably get 500 phonecalls today.....asking about her attire situation.

Second, it's pretty obvious that she's heavily doped up, and lost some perception of time and memory.

With all the drugs going around today.....I have this worry in the back of my head.  It surprises me on the level of acceptance for people.....if you walk in and say you got some new fantastic drug that will keep you doped up for seven days....then forty people will beg to try out that drug.

Eventually, someone is going to develop a drug that has some ten-day high attached, and when you wake up finally....you will have forgotten who you are.  Yeah....an amnesia drug.  Even if you told people of the effects.....there'd still be thousands who'd go ahead and take the drug.

Could we survive as a society, if you suddenly had 300,000 Americans on some self-induced amnesia episode?  Maybe.  But if this was 300,000 every year....it'd only take five to eight years for us to reach a stage where care for the million-plus was impossible.

I know...on the list of 1,000 things to worry about....this ought to be non-existent.  But for some reason....I've moved it up to number 997.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The Wrong People

There's talk that the Trump administration will hand TSA authority to ask incoming folks (even from France or Germany) a couple of questions over their ideology....maybe digging in various details of their life.

I sat and paused over this idea.

Having dealt with the TSA folks on a couple of occasions....I can generally say that it's loaded with folks who have a 8th-grade mentality, can't chew gum and talk at the same time, and if you gave them some instructions....it's a 50-50 shot whether they would be capable of grasping the instructions.

Most (probably 99-percent) don't speak a second language.  They might have access to some phone and be able to call up 'Joe' who will translate over to some French guy.  But you can imagine the German guy trying to understand the question and thinking the TSA guy is talking about 'geology' (instead of ideology) and talking up rocks and meteors.  The TSA guy will try to get a clear meaning of what he is referring to....and after two minutes....realize that the German just doesn't get the true meaning of ideology.

Me?  I might infer to the TSA guy that I was anti-NCAA, anti-Baptist, anti-Jeb Bush, pro-wrestling, pro-pancakes, anti-Ford, pro-automatic transmission, and anti-Bigfoot.  They'd probably push me into some room....asking if I was on medication or a registered Democrat.

You can just sense that some type of order like this....would just make things worse than they are already.  Maybe if TSA was loaded with rocket-scientists or Einstein-like characters....they could act like some Columbo-like detective and spot those Jihadist guys real quick.  Instead, you will end up with a bunch of angry frustrated French or German tourists who didn't come to the US for 99 questions over their ideology.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Orientation, Knowledge and Innovation

At some point around 1920....in the rurals of Alabama, my grandfather made a trip up to a Ford dealer....going likely by some convenience (either by horseback, bus, or neighbor's Ford Model T).  Cash was laid down for the vehicle of choice....black in color....and some type of orientation was given.

No one talks over the orientation or length involved....my humble guess is that it was most of two hours to cover the fifty-odd things you needed to know, and a brief drive to demonstrate motion, braking and turning.

In verbiage from this period....my grandfather would probably have taken six hours to describe the brief orientation.

No one ever talks about these operator's manuals from this period, and I seriously doubt that they would have been more than ten pages max.

It is an interesting view to sit down and realize that the previous generation, with his father....that your mode of transportation was limited to just horseback, wagon, or train.  The generation prior to that?  Just horseback and wagon.

Eight generations ago...my relative crossed the Atlantic on a vessel that took a minimum of six weeks.  It was a miserable trip and was probably something that you didn't have any desire to repeat.  His orientation onboard?  It probably took six minutes for them to lay out the sleeping area....the galley where food would be prepared, and the top deck.  Your biggest priority was the 'head' where the toilet facilities (the bare minimum) existed....likely to be a bucket.

The tenth generation of my family made a decision to move from a safe and comfortable rural location on the northeast side of England, to London.  It was a distance of 112 miles....figure three days on horseback to reach London.  Orientation?  Probably none.

Over the 90 years since my grandfather's brief orientation with the dealer?  I can climb into a car and travel the 112 mile distance (same as from Kirby Bedon to Lodon) in about 70 minutes (at least that fast on German autobahns).

Later this fall, I will do the Frankfurt to Auckland, New Zealand trip.  With a minor stop in the middle, I could have wrapped up the whole trip in roughly 22 hours.  Orientation?  Other than sixty seconds of some safety briefing on the get-out procedures, there will be little else.

I sat a month ago going over the operators manual of our car....an Audi TT.  It's roughly 200 pages of data, charts, graphics, pictures, etc.  To be honest....forty-percent of it is useless and would never be of importance to anyone.  Fifty of the pages are critical in nature, and you have to more or less memorize.  The current German drivers manual?  The US Army manual which is handed out is 98 pages long (AEP 190-34).  You have to memorize at least 100 signs, and have a fair knowledge of 50-percent of the rules.

All of us now live in a fairly robust society, with orientation and use of skill-sets are necessary to survive.  It's not just about baking chocolate cake, installing a satellite antenna, or putting a new laptop into use.  Whether we realize or not....there's likely 100,000 skill-sets that we are all using now on a routine basis....all based on some orientation and what we've added to that knowledge.  My grandfather probably did well with 3,000 likely 3x5 cards of knowledge as his basis for everyday life.  I'm probably working with 150,000 3x5 cards of knowledge.  Some with engineering or medical backgrounds are surviving with probably 500,000 3x5 cards of knowledge.

The thing is...no one ever sits down and thinks about the amount of distance covered in this short time-span.  Rarely do we think about two or three generations ago, and just how limited things were, or how difficult something might have been.  Two generations ago....a guy with pneumonia could have easily died.  Two generations ago....your chief ability to communicate a long distance was primarily a letter, or a short telegram.  Two generations ago, your operator's manual to a car would have taken you 15 minutes to read.

Life, whether we like or not....has become more complicated.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Austin, EU?

Today, at some dinner function function in Malta, the head of the EU (Jean-Claude Juncker....pronounced Yunker) said that if President continues to talk about taking apart the EU....then he (Junchker) would suggest that parts of the US also remove themselves from the US government, and go independent.  He didn't say that the EU would take them.....just that they might be independent.

He suggested that Ohio and Austin, TX could go independent.

The odd thing is that if you went around a dozen US metropolitan areas today....they could probably get up enough votes to succeed and try to apply to the EU.  I doubt that the EU would want them....but that's the state of affairs in the nation today.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Colin Kaepernick

I rarely get into football discussions.  Over the past four years....I've watched maybe a total of two games, and admit my interest in the last decade has rapidly declined.

This past season, I watched the Colin Kaepernick business unfold, with the knee on the ground during the national anthem being played.  When it started up, I thought that he must have reviewed his career options and knew that most teams looked upon him as a magnet for negative media attention.

Since his contract ran out....over the past three months....almost zero interest by any team in the NFL.  He seems shocked, and some sports journalists hype this as unfair.

Here's the simplicity of this 'business', and I emphasize it as such.  If you are going to pull out five-million dollars for some guy to work for you....for one season, then you kinda expect him to be a positive media device for the team.

You don't want to wake up one night and react to a phonecall that your highly paid "Joe" was arrested for beating his wife, or was arrested for badly assaulting some guy at a bar.

I can rattle off a hundred different things that you really don't want to hear about some guy that you are paying five-million dollars for.

In this case, you have to continually wonder...on game-day....will Kaepernick go back to the one-knee trick?  Maybe you could make it through a season without him going for some media attention.  Maybe not..

It would be different if you were just paying the guy $500 for one single game on a Sunday. You probably wouldn't care if he worshipped Satan, drank tea from marijuana, or if he had a tattoo on his back of Trump.  But for some guy to make a million or more?  No, he has to set some examples and be awful dedicated to his profession.

I don't see Kaepernick in that fashion.  He's not focused on pure football....he has some angle at work, and why should I risk my money on a guy like that?

My guess is that three weeks into the season....some quarterback will have a serious injury and some team will sign Kaepernick to a short one-season contract for less than one-million dollars.  It'll stipulate something about focusing on football, and he'll get one single chance.

In some ways, this is why I hate football today....it's more of a reality show....than a sport.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

"Doc"

With the comments that came up over General Flynn in the past couple of days....this brought back all these images and memories of incompetence among general officers.

At some point after I retired, but continued to work as a contractor to the Air Force....we had this four-star general who descended upon Ramstein. "Doc" Foglesong.

There is hardly a week that would pass when you'd sit there for five to ten minutes in amazement at some weird directive which came out of the headquarters.

He had twelve programs which became the primary joke that airman discussed for days, weeks and months.

At the top of thee special programs....was Combat Proud.  This was a base beautification situation.  Fences that didn't meet some particular scale of acceptance were torn down.  In some cases....fences which had been only up for five years....were torn down.  Beauty became this topic and people began to question who held the key to beauty.

During the first year of existence, I'd take a guess that almost every airman and junior NCO on base was spending a minimum of four hours a week in some Combat Proud task.

At some point....painting white rocks came into the vogue, and a month later....it was deemed 'non-beauty' and the rocks had to be picked up and thrown away.

Staff meetings in squadrons always had tasks listed for the commander to assess if they were all doing enough to meet high expectations.  Lt's and Captains were walking around on Friday to analyze and determine accomplishments.....so they could be measured on various slides for Monday.

Combat Nighthawk was another program started by "Doc".  This was supposed to be this deal where junior officers on night shift....were to meet up with senior NCOs on night-shift, and there would be sharing of experiences.  They would get into a truck....as night descended, and just drive around.

I asked a junior Captain about this once.  Basically, he noted that they spent four hours in a some truck one evening.  I asked....what was the conversation.  Well...he said....they basically talked on the Dallas Cowboys....they were both from Texas.  For four hours?  Yeah....they went over the Roger Staubach days and recounted various players.

I'm not sure if this was an exchange that "Doc" wanted....but it was better than talking four hours of nothing.

Combat Education was another "Doc" invention.  For years, the base education center on each base handled education requirements.  "Doc" woke up one day and felt that he wanted to emphasize this more.  So they invented this program, and put the title above their newsletters or emails.  Nothing much changed....just that "Doc" got credit for something that had been going on for years.

Then came Combat Touch.  It was the wrong title and it conveyed something of an arousing nature.  It was supposed to be a program for Chaplains.....to bring spiritual needs and well-being to airmen and their families.

The program itself had existed for decades, but "Doc" made it his program.

The big problem came about twelve months into this when "Doc" wanted TV advertising fixed up for AFN.  60 and 30 second commercials.

Army guys started to laugh when this 'combat' word came up in the advertising.  Drinking games were created....a shot when the 'combat' advertisement started, and each time the voice uttered 'combat'.  Typically, it'd be a minimum of four times in a 30-second ad.  Over a four-hour period on Saturday evening?  You could have 'combat' require you to consume 20 shots....if the ad's were lined up for an Air Force evening.

The thing is....all of these existed in some form, prior to 'Doc', and all reverted back to some normal scheme after he left.

Doc's next two jobs?  He settled into a Mississippi university for two years, and then kinda got enough people upset enough....that he left.  After that, he ended up with some energy company for a year or two....that had serious write-up handed down by the gov't over safety practices.  

It was a period where you began to assess the competency of officers, and realized that a fair number of them were not capable of leading people.  It wasn't about their degree, past background, or previous jobs....these were people who just weren't competent and lacked common sense.

Seven Years of Hype

Done.  This attempt to pass a replacement healthcare bill to replace ObamaCare?  Never voted upon because it would not pass.

So you sit there and ponder upon this.

For seven lousy years, you had to hear GOP bigwigs out of DC....from McCain to Ryan and at least 150 Republicans who'd appear on Sunday chatter shows....gushing over how they'd have a better idea and fix the terrible dilemma that ObamaCare laid upon the nation.

It was a farce...a hoax....a joke....and never worth discussion.

This is part of the problem of the Republican Party now.  They have so much hype and theatrics built into their operation....that you can't tell where fake chatter starts and ends.

What should you expect now?

1.  Ryan is practically worthless on leadership, and some challenge will come up to replace him.  Frankly, if I were him....I'd leave the chairman job, and move to some other occupation after the election in 2018.

2.  Democrats shouldn't say much of a happy note.  ObamaCare is losing participants every year.  It's built to have a very limited life.  By the GOP screwing this up....it's laid out a very short string of survival....maybe four to six years before various states, and a large number of the public are complaining bitterly.  Single-payer is the only method left.

3.  If the financial bill comes up and faces the same type of GOP division....then you can assume that the big-plus-up that would have occurred in November 2018's election for more Republicans....will never occur.  In fact, you might be able to assume that 25 House seats will shift over to the Democrats, with two or three Senate seats also going to them.

4.  For Trump?  New reality.....the GOP is fractured and unable to be of any benefit.  He might as well assume this for the remaining three years, and just make the best out of a marginal situation.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Sears

If you read through various business journals over the past week....there's a sense of Sears coming to an end....maybe sooner....maybe later.  It's an odd feeling.

I grew up with the local Sears which operated in some 'giant' location in the midst of Florence, Alabama.  It was mid-town (well, in the sense of what mid-town means in Florence).   In retrospect, I doubt that you could have put more than 100 cars in the entire parking lot.  So on occasion (especially around Christmas), you had to park on the main street and put a nickle in the parking meter.

My folks would have made the trip into Sears about every six weeks.  It was the obvious place for clothing, tools, or Christmas toys.  I can still remember the Christmas catalog which would arrive in early fall, and you'd have an entire hour of enjoyment checking out what they offered for sale.

Across the street was the Sears annex where lawnmowers were sold, and tires were available.  My dad bought tires from them on a random basis.  At some point, he flipped to Wal-Mart and their tire shop.

By the late 1970s....that location had reached it's maximum usage and they swung Sears around to the new mall on the end of town.

Over the 40 years since....I've probably been in a Sears at least fifty times....mostly for clothing or shoes.  In the past decade?  I've been in Sears once.  I'm probably one of the reasons why they are in the negative position that exists today.

The thing is that they always had quality clothing or shoes, but beyond that....they were in a competitive situation with a dozen other companies and Amazon.  When I needed plain white shoes for the office....I went to Landsend and ordered via the internet.

I see this end as some comment to an era that is closing out.  Radio Shack (sinking at the same rate as Sears), Grants, Big "B" Drugs, Circuit City, CompUSA, Woolco, Zodys, ABCO Foods, Blockbuster, Tower Records, Price Club, etc.  It is a totally different environment today than in the mid-80s.  You can drive across various urbanized areas now and see various large store-fronts which are empty and waiting for the next start-up and their eventual failure.  At best, you probably have six to ten years of life upon opening some store these days....before you stumble or meet up with real competition.

So I have this image in my mind....Christmas....mid-70s....and this small town Sears decked out in Christmas decorations and lights flashing. That's the Sears that I remember.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

When Happy People Aren't Happy

The UN has some department which has the function of determining your happiness....as related to your country.

I know....you sit amused that such a department would exist and people would actually get paid to rank people by their happiness.

Yesterday, the ranking was updated for 2017.

Norway now ranks as the happiest land on Earth....displacing Denmark.  Over the past year, something must have happened to make Danes less happy, and Norwegians more happy.  A logical guy would ask what, but then you'd come to realize it might be something as simple as weather, some soccer league action, or a movie which came out to thrill Norwegians.

The rest of the top ten?  Well, it's an odd thing....Denmark, Iceland, Finland, and Sweden make it into the top ten.  All Nordic countries....all have a Viking heritage element.  One might come around to ask the UN folks if there is a favoritism deal going on, or if they are very pro-Viking.

Over my life, I've spent time in Denmark (six weeks), Finland (one week), and Iceland (one week).  There are several key elements in life that you come to notice in these countries.

First, it's extremely expensive to live any kind of life.....even a marginal life.  On my scale of a regular meal at McDonalds....where it might cost $4.90 to have a full-up burger deal in the US.....in Denmark or Finland....you are talking about a minimum of $7 for the same deal in local currency.  Don't ask about Iceland because they shut down their operations a couple of years ago (it was too costly to run and make a profit).

Second, booze and smokes cost a heck of a lot.  Taxation ensures that you don't drink the hard stuff....just the beer and wine.  Go look for teens smoking and you will notice very few because they can't afford a pack of smokes.

Third, gasoline....especially in Denmark....has a hefty tax attached to each liter sold.  So you don't drive much.

Fourth and final, there is this odd aspect about a happiness scale, the suicide rate for the Nordic countries, and the continuing escalation of anti-depressants issued out in Nordic countries.

I noticed in the last week that Iceland did the math and figured out that roughly 12-percent of Icelandic adults are on some anti-depressant.  If you look at the scale of this and trend....they are within five or six years of probably hitting 20-percent of the nation on some kind of anti-depressant. From a 2015 report, you kinda notice a trend building up.  These same five Nordic countries are in the top ten of dispersing anti-depressants.

Reason given?  I think there are three central reasons for the high rate of anti-depressants in these countries:

1. This July sun-up hour total (roughly 22 hours per day) and the December sun-down total (roughly 22 hours per day), if you use Iceland as the example.  Your sleep cycle is continually messed up and trying to recover.

2.  In most of these regions, you are in a self-contained 'cabin' situation.  There are vast areas of Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden which are fairly rural.

3.  Once the medical profession got all wrapped up in accepting legalized happy-pills (instead of marijuana), it was fairly easy to just start handing out the pills if you met these prescribed conditions.

So the question to ask now.....if the UN rated these Nordic countries for happiness, and they were hyped up on happy-pills....are they really happy or just drugged-up happy?  Without the happy pills....would they be as happy as you think they are?

It's best not to ask questions over this whole happiness thing.

Monday, 20 March 2017

We Just Don't Care

I came to notice this morning a survey by C-SP*N this morning....they discovered that only 43-percent of the people they polled....could name one single member of the Supreme Court.

Yeah, most of the court have been on the job for five years, and their names get mentioned in the news at least forty times a year.

I think if more surveys would be done, there'd be some sad truths learned:

1.  My guess is that more teens (15-to-19 years old) can name members of the Kardashian family more so than members of the Supreme Court.

2.  More guys from Louisiana can name more NCAA football coaches than members of their delegation from the House and Senate (total of eight).

3.  Most women over sixty can name more soap opera characters from their favorite show, than name members of the House of Representatives.

4.  Most New Yorkers, if given a choice of watching an hour of politicians chatting or watching a rerun of The Sopranos.....they'd pick the mafia family over the political talk.

5.  Most people from Oregon, if given a priority listing of true events versus fake news....would rank Bigfoot higher on the truth scale than the Russians hacking into the 2016 election.

6.  Most NASCAR enthusiasts can probably name more race-car drivers than members of the Senate.

7.  Most Baptists can name more disciples of Christ than members of the Supreme Court.

8.  If Speaker of the House, Rep Paul Ryan, were to walk into the primary Walsenburg, Colorado cafe....the Huerfano Cafe...to have breakfast, I doubt if 20-percent of the crowd would be able to recognize him.  Ten-percent might suggest that he's some reality TV show guy, or some male model from New York City.

9.  Most residents over forty in Alabama can name more University of Alabama quarterbacks over the past three decades for the university, than name the seven current Representatives from the state.

10.  If you asked just in general....for folks to name the VP candidate for Hillary Clinton from 2016....I doubt if more than 40-percent can cite the guy's name.  Even folks who voted for Hillary....might have trouble.

Here's the thing....no one really cares.

None of these Supreme Court Judges, Presidents, Senators or Representatives are really doing things that affect us in some personal way.  Some folks might get hyped up and charged to the max....but if you had to go and cite names....other than Nancy Pelosi, President Obama, President Trump, President Bush, and Senator Ted Kennedy (he's been dead for decade, if you didn't know)....that's about it for recognizable names.

 Maybe it's a shock for journalists or the national media, but this is reality.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Trump's New Budget Target

It's an odd piece that popped up in the news this morning.  President Trump is preparing his first budget, and in the middle of this....folks kinda noticed this....he zeroed out the normal $445 million that would have gone to PBS, NPR, and went on to eliminate the money for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, along with the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art.

NPR and PBS?  So far, nothing said.  I suspect they both knew it was coming and mostly hoping that it'd be a fifty-percent cut, or maybe a two-year gradual thing.  Well....it's all cut, and would be effective as they pass the budget.

The Senate and House?  From the Democrats.....they will freak out.  The Republicans?  There might be five or six GOP Senators who will fall on their sword to protect PBS and NPR....the rest?  They will grin and just say it was time to cut the budget.

I remember NPR in  the early 1970s and the great book readings, classical music, jazz, and theater readings.  It was a great network in the beginning.  Somewhere in the middle of the 1980s....they turned into some news network....classical music started to disappear unless it was late at night, and culture and literature was something that you only got on weekends, and in limited doses.

What will happen to NPR and PBS?  I suspect a lot of pressure will be brought upon the Senate and they will find five or six GOP Senators who won't agree to a total zeroed-out budget.  So Trump will offer them a simple bone....a twenty-five percent cut now, and a total cut by 2019.

If I were NPR....I'd start to look at the headquarters location....in the midst of high-cost DC....and opt for a lesser environment.  Maybe Colorado Springs....maybe Nashville....but somewhere that is half the cost of DC.  And then I'd tell all the employees that we will move you there on our 'nickel' but you give up 40-percent of your current pay.

Both NPR and PBS can survive on....if they are careful on their budget and dump the idiots making $200,000 or more.  Who knows....maybe NPR will sign off the air in two years and just admit they can't do it without government support.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Trump's Tax "News"

After you read over the brief three-line story (that's really all there is of the two-page 2005 tax submission of Donald Trump)....you are left with three simple thoughts.  I will get to those in a minute.

Who dug up this 2005 return (only the first two pages)?  No one dug it up.  Pulitzer-winner David Cay Johnston simply got it in the mail.  No source.....just two simple pages.  One might admit that Johnston has written pieces on Trump in the past....mostly critical, so maybe someone thought he'd easily accept these two pages.

Value of the two pages?  All it says is that he made $150 million in income, and paid $38 million in taxes.  That's it.  You don't get the other pages which note which stocks he sold, or the NY state tax form, which might have noted that he paid another $10 million to them.  But no one bought up the state tax side of this story (notice that).

So my three thoughts.

1.  Trump made a copy up himself and sent it to Johnston, knowing precisely what he'd do with it.

2. Anyone who wants to make a big deal out of unfair shares of taxes.....need not complain about Trump, BUT instead about the Senators who write the code and ensure unfairness across the whole system.

3.  For the next two weeks.....all that MSNBC will talk about is unfair taxation, and the result?  Trump has led them to some public anger and to wipe out the current tax code entirely, fire IRS, and just have a straight flat-tax for companies and individuals.

News?  No, this is all fake news to get people up to some point of anger and accepting massive change.  Brilliantly done, if you ask e.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Why Paul Harvey Mattered

A couple of years ago....there was a newspaper (the Rochester Democrat) that wrote up a piece talking of a comparison between Rush Limbaugh and Paul Harvey.

“Talk radio needs a little more Harvey.” “A lot of word pictures are drawn every day purporting to describe how inflexibly partisan and flat-out angry the world of popular communication has become. But few things tell the tale better than two names. In short, Harvey was the velvet glove. And Limbaugh is the iron fist. Take your pick.”

It was an attempt to take the image of Paul Harvey, with his wit....and make some comparison.

Paul was never a real news guy...he was mostly an accomplished story teller...who sat and read all the news of the day, and then would tell you the layout of the world.

If you sat in a state of blindness...Paul painted the image for you.

If you were in a state of chaos....Paul laid out the simpleness...thus making you feel at ease.

If the technicians of vast design were tossing words, verbs and adjectives at you with no clear understanding...then Paul wrestled them to the ground and simplified it in five brief lines.

If some political hack out of DC gave a 45-minute speech...Paul would simply carve out the two lines that mattered to you.

If some farmer in Red Bay had only fifteen minutes a day to spare...where he could rest his weary feet and tortured hands...sipping some coffee and catching up on worldly events....then it'd be by the pick-up radio as he listened to Paul advising him on the world today.

If a dozen nightly newsmen had spent a thousand man-hours....working up a sweat and done everything possible to discredit the US military, then Paul could undo their damage in 60 seconds...making the giants of corporate broadcasting look like fools.

If you needed a pep talk after 9-11, Paul gave it.

If you needed a reason not to despair or worry about life...Paul gave it.

He had no gentle hands or delicate touch. He would dispense absolutely terrible news and tragic opera in the sense of life today.

Paul knew your strength was based on this American uniqueness...'we'll just ride this out' and know that the sun will rise again tomorrow.

Paul would avoid using the word "whore" but say it in a gentle way that the gal had no morals.

Paul could whip up a bit of advice to some 15-year-old kid that got him back onto priorities and a decent compass direction.

If someone had whipped up some huge mess of rocket science....then Paul would untangle the story enough to lay out five or six science statements which would make sense to some guy with a ninth-grade education.

The thing was....Paul was never obsessed or dedicated to biased news.  If he'd said something bad against the Democrats today....he'd come right back tomorrow to say something crappy about the Republicans.

If some politician was acting like they were an idiot....he'd kinda let you know that the guy wasn't hitting on all cylinders.  It'd be said in a nice way, but he wouldn't have avoided the obvious.  With the Hillary-pneumonia episode at the 9-11 Memorial....he might have been able to suggest that she needed some medical attention but a week later when she seemed all fine....he would have asked what medication that you can take to get over the pneumonia that quick.  I think he would have said a dozen odd things over Trump, suggesting the GOP could do better.

The sad thing is that there are no Paul Harveys today.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Something You Can't Have

For most of my life....I never thought much of health care.  On a handful of occasions as a kid, my dad whipped out his checkbook and wrote a $25 check for a doctor's visit or shot.  At age 18, I was covered by the Air Force medical deal.  After retiring from the Air Force, I have their Tricare program.  So for the most part, I haven't thought much about it.

Back around 2010....I became a government employee and for 3.5 years....had a commercial health insurance policy.  When I went to the doctor....I sat and asked stupid questions....like why this visit costs $65, or why I need this particular drug, which might have cost $40.

I had one idiot hearing specialist who tried to talk me into buying a $6,100 hearing aid.  I eventually figured out a better deal...at only $1,500.  Yeah, it had all the features of the $6,100 deal.

I sat and watched the comical behavior of congressmen, senators and the President in 2009, on the health care act, and seem mostly amused with the behavior of the GOP as they attempt to fix all of this.

So, I've come to this one single prospective.  You can't have affordable, high-quality, four-star healthcare, period.

If you said you wanted decent three-star affordable health care.....well, maybe.  But that's not what you are asking for.

Why? I'll give you six reasons.

1.  You aren't in Denmark, where highway speeds are 55 mph or less.  Go walk into any major city in Denmark and note the lack of business in the emergency room on weekends.  No drug overdoses.  No shootings.  No knife attacks.  There might be one single doctor in the emergency room area, with four or five nurses, and maybe two ambulance crews on call.  Beyond that....they don't have the type of character that you see in urbanized US cities.  You need bulked up hospitals to handle stupidity, for the most part.

2.  Look around Europe for controlling behavior over alcohol and tobacco.  Less cancer and less kidney/liver issues.  In the US?  No one is about to take either item down a notch on usage.

3.  Go and suggest single-payer type programs around with hospitals or medical companies.  They don't like the idea because the government is only going to pay X-amount on such-and-such procedure.  If you tried to make it occur....they'd just go and shut down various operations, and you'd have only one single hospital within two hours of your house that did ALL common medical procedures.  The rest of these would go to twenty-odd procedures and just become some minimum care hospital.  Would you be happy with less options?  No.

4.  Would you want some doctor reviewing your files and saying your hip operation or knee operation can only occur IF you lose 60 pounds?  You'd go ballistic.  Well, the majority of doctors say successful operations can only occur if you fit into a certain frame of health or weight.  They aren't joking.  The same with doctors who suggest that you need to quit smoking for two months before they conduct such-and-such operation.

5.  Plastic surgery and optional stuff?  This is all stuff that you need to pay for out of your own pocket rather than force the general public to cover this.  The people who want to transform themselves into some other 'being'?  It's going to be hard to find an economical program....when you fit this into the deal.

6.  A cut-off point for generic folks who have only a 20-percent chance of surviving ten years more?  No one wants to sign up for that because it's not fair.  But when you talk about $65,000 in care required this year, and $25,000 each year after that point....to keep you going....it adds up.

I think in five to eight years....after we realize that Trump-Care has problems and the Democrats proceed onto the next version of this, then at that point we might have 20-percent of the public finally ask....is it possible to have affordable four-star health care?  They will realize what I've already come to figure out.

In fifteen years....maybe half the population will realize that you can't reach this perfect level of affordable health care.  Then what?

That's a good question.  If we make it through three separate health insurance programs....all deemed a progressing failure by the end....we might come to realize that having DC manage this whole thing is part of the problem.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Agent Provocateur

Years ago, the term "Agent Provocateur" was created.

It's French....if you were curious about the pronunciation.

It was historical in nature....meaning basically that you (the agent provocateur) helping or enticing someone to do something (typically illegal) in a careless way....without thinking over the event or the consequence of the act.  The agent provocateur himself?  They often felt compelled to do this out of loyalty to a group or a creed.....or simply were employed by someone who needed something devious done.

Note this entire act by the agent provocateur could be for an entirely peaceful event (a march or a demonstration).  This could be simply for a student gathering to ensure various 'mouth-pieces' exist to talk to the press or get the message out.  This could just be for wording a document that will be sent in mass to various journalists to ensure that they use their manipulation capability to carry the message further.

Could the agent provocateur be a journalists?  Yes.  They could undertake a cause close to them and help to form a message or fake public sentiment....to ensure some successful conclusion of the act.

In recent years, the police in America were great at using agent provocateur folks....to get on the inside of groups.  But you can find political action groups who have used the format to get their message carried direct to the public.

The problem for the general public?  Basically, you are stuck there reading through a news piece, or watching some interview, or getting a live coverage piece of some riot.....wondering who is the agent provocateur in this case.  Is it the intellectual gal who is mostly talking for the demonstration?  Is it the CNN guy who seems to have lots of facts?  Is it the Fox News journalist who seems very determined to tell the story in a certain way?

People are stuck having to ask stupid questions and wonder who the agent  provocateur really is.  All of this complicates the process of assembling information and determining what is news and what are the real facts over an episode.

Yes, we've dug a pretty deep hole and seem to have fallen into it.

The Samsung Story

This week, with the WikiLeaks release....you kinda learn that the CIA has a bug installed in some Samsung TV systems....those with internet-video capability....that allow the system to be bugged, shoot video and audio of the room, and send the data stream back to some CIA bunker.

So you sit and ponder about this.  How many TVs are affected?  No one says.  It could be 100,000....it could be a million.

So you imagine this room in a bunker with twenty guys sitting there and watching collected data every day....for eight hours.  Mister Banker....Miss Charming....Pastor Joe with his wife Wanda who do the wild-thing nightly....Little Martin who sings Christmas carols when no one in the house is around....Ingrid who does the house-cleaning without any clothing.....Peppy who talks to Jesus for hours when the house is empty....and so on.

It's not just American houses....it's houses across Europe, Asia, Middle East, etc.

Imagine yourself as one of the twenty-odd people who view these and send the best stuff onto some language group to give them the verbal comments.

Chancellor Merkel?  Yeah, she might have a Samsung and maybe it's caught her in some compromising situation where she was lounging on the couch by herself and sipping straight from some whiskey bottle.  Yeah, Le Pen from France might have a Samsung and gotten caught eating American-made cheese crackers and sipping from a Pepsi-can.  That crazy Prince Charles?  He might have been caught smoking French cigarettes and farting.

If you ask me....this might be one of the worst jobs in existence....in this CIA bunker deal and viewing Samsung video action.

The sad thing is that you need to occasionally produce reports and act like this is really valuable stuff....convincing the CIA chiefs to continue funding this and ensure your job (which pays $88,000 a year) will continue on.

Amongst the guys.....your greatest story is the one where some Democratic Senator has over some Republic Senator, and the two guys embrace in some moment of passion.  You don't tell this story often....mostly because no one believes it.  

And what no one says much....is that the Chinese and Russians have known this for several years, and copied the data trail....so they have the same intelligence generated.  And they will admit that they have video of the CIA bunker guys themselves doing stupid things.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The $500 Check Discussion

I read a piece that centered on a comment by the CEO of Assurant (Alan Colberg), who was discussing economics and sales approaches, and then said, “The reality is, half of Americans can’t afford to write a $500 check,”

I sat and pondered upon the comment for a while.

In the early 80's, while in the Air Force, I came across a lot of characters who simply didn't have cash reserves....period.  It was not a big deal for a guy to come up on the 25th of the month and be out of cash....so he'd take his color TV to a pawn shop for $40, and it'd be enough to get by until pay-day.  I witnessed on one occasion a guy who desperately needed $500 for airline tickets, and he got the pawn shop to agree to take his car for a couple of weeks until he had the money to repay them.

Do I believe Colberg's statement on half the nation?  I seriously think that roughly 35-to-40 percent of the nation is seriously walking on limited cash, and counting on their monthly check to just help them survive.

The real question is.....has society changed and is the $500 check problem a bigger problem today than twenty-five years ago?  I have my doubts.  I think it's the same crowd that existed back in 1995...the same crowd from 1980....the same crowd from 1970...etc.

This crowd represents a political trend in some ways.....they are promised year after year, decade after decade....that help is coming and better days are ahead.  Most believe the promises and keep waiting.

What does this all say about the nation?  Well....the truth is that roughly sixty-percent of Americans are carrying the economic buying-power of the country.  Those are the people buying $1,000 chainsaws, $8,000 fishing boats, $35,000 RV trailers, $1,500 hunting rifles, and $700 a weekend resort deals in Vegas.  We seem to never give this group the proper credit for all of the fine spending efforts to keep the nation afloat.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

The "Mute-Flex"

I can remember the first TV that I ever bought....which had a remote control and a feature to it that I came to appreciate...the mute-button.  As the weeks passed with this new TV and the ability to mute....I came to hit the button almost automatically when commercials came on the air.

By the 1990s....my German wife had tired of my mute-flex activity and I was told to lessen my mute-button activity.

Over the past five years, when I sit and watch news media shows....I tend to hit the mute-button an awful lot.

For example, if Senator John McCain appears....it takes barely twenty seconds for me to sense incompetence and do the mute-flex until his segment is finished.

When Jeff Bezos, the Amazon and Washington Post guy, appears...it's a five-second reaction and I hit the mute-button.  There's just not much that Jeff is remarkable about or keen on....it's mostly some personalized political hype.  He had one bright idea in assembling Amazon but beyond that he's just not an authority on anything else.

There are certain actors now....that if they suddenly pop for an interview, it's a pretty quick mute-flex for me to react.  Kim Kardashian, Kevin Spacey, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Springsteen, Cher, and Whoopi.....it only take three seconds for me to react.  Nothing personal....it's just that when they typically appear, it's not to talk about their latest work....it's either soap opera talk or some political gimmick.

For US Senators, there three groups from which I put the mute-flex into effect.  There's the folks who get five seconds (Patty Murray, Lisa Murkowski, the Rubio, and 'Chief' Warren).  The second group gets about 20 seconds to show their level of competence for the day (McCain, McConnell, and Booker).  The third group will get up to an entire minute (Portman, Cruz, and Tim Scott fit into that category).

The problem for me is that I see a lot of people trying to influence you with nickel and dime-talk.  They don't know much about the topic but seem to have memorized ten lines and repeat those often (Nancy Pelosi is famous for that type of behavior).  Maybe twenty years ago, Pelosi was bright and clever, but if you look at statements over the past three years....she's got some card in her pocket to remind her of the scripted answers and sticks always to the script.

The Apple CEO....Tim Cook....is on my twenty-second list.  If he's there to talk about products....fine, I'll sit and listen.  If Tim wants to get hyped up on social commentary, politics, or the status of bathrooms in America....well....the mute-flex is pretty quick.

For Rush Limbaugh?  I'd put him on the twenty-second list as well.  Sometimes, Rush might pick out one single topic and show a fair amount of research.  On other cases, he's just hyping some one-star topic without any value, and that mute-button lessens the pain of having to listen to him.

If you add it up?  I probably mute at least ninety minutes every month.

The thing is.....it becomes more and more a habit.  Rather than sit there and listen to some idiot on NPR talk on some fake topic...I hit mute.  Rather than listen to some journalist give a five-minute piece mostly on speculation rather than fact....I hit mute.  Rather than listen to the Today Show Matt Lauer give a fake interview with some idiot....I just hit mute.

So all of this brings me to the general public.  Are they doing the same thing?  Are twenty percent of the viewers of some Sunday talk-show hitting mute when Senator McCain appears?  Does anyone track this?  Would it scare the networks to realize that a quarter of all their hyped up political talk isn't being listened to?  Would Tim Cook of Apple get all upset if he found out that most people don't care to his his political feelings?

The mute-button, in my humble opinion....was the one of the top ten things ever devised or invented.

This Wire-Tap Story

Here's the sad likely trend of this whole Trump-Obama wire-tap story.

Within ten days....the Senate will decide that some truth-commission committee needs to form up.  The Democrats will realize the full impact of this and start to get real fussy.

By early May, the committee will start up.  I suspect that neither former President Obama or AG Lynch will agree to appear.

After four months of testimony and stalling, some charges will be handed over to various individuals.  All will be lawyers within the Attorney General's circle....likely all rookies.

The damage to the 2018 mid-terms?  Prior to this, one could anticipate six to eight Democratic Senate seats would flip.  With the truth-commission and the results.....I'd go ahead and figure 12 Democratic Senate seats will likely flip....giving an enormous advantage to the GOP through 2020.

The sad thing about this is that any idiot could have seen this as a potential train-wreck and refused to participate on the warrant to wire-tap.  None of them saw that angle.

As for former President Obama?  The sad thing is that when some reporter finally asks the question of when he knew about this.....he will simply answer when the news people announced this story this week.  Otherwise, he didn't know nothing....about nothing.  It could be the truth because he was simply the 'empty-suit' to the White House, with the handlers running everything.

All of this revolves around some lost sense of ethics.

It seems like every year.....you come across hundreds of examples now of bad ethics..  You have policemen, Wall Street players, bankers, judges, teachers, businessmen, etc....who seem to have made it to a successful point in life, but without any ethics. Their world collapses rapidly when they finally get caught in some mess without a clear exit.

So, settle back and enjoy the whole opera unfolding.  The fat lady won't be coming out for at least six months.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

PESD (Post-Election Stress Disorder)

Some mental health folks have finally sat down and diagnosed a new disorder.  People suffering from this....are said to be suffering serious anxiety attacks and feeling stress throughout every single day.  They apparently get up in the morning, turn on the Today Show.....and start getting aggravated and stressed out.  Driving to work....they listen to the talk-radio show and news, and start getting more aggravated.  By mid-day and chat topics going on with co-workers.....they get more stress.  By late-afternoon....watching MSNBC and listening to NPR....their disorder gets worse.

What the APA is suggesting is that you might need to see a mental health specialist and seek 'real help'.  These feelings....the PESD....could lead to serious health problems and potentially treatment in a 'facility'.

Oddly, if you just turned off the TV and radio for two weeks....went to landscaping your backyard....cut off contact with radicalized political junkies.....and simply read a bit of Hemingway or Steinbeck.....you'd likely be cured of PESD.

You would think that folks were hyped up over missing the second-coming of Jesus or something.

Can the PESD folks survive four to eight years of this?  I have my doubts.  At some point, you will have to do some fine drugs (provided by your mental-health doctor), start consuming more alcohol, or find themselves dumped by family, friends, or their company.

Somewhere along 2020 to 2024, it'll be considered a national problem....with Doctor-Phil-like characters trying to bring people into forced treatment and accept reality.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Demons, Curses, and Prayers

A number of cult folks, witches, and those of the demonic realm have come out this week to put a curse on President Trump.

I've surveyed the comments.  Generally....'spells' have a particular slant to them.  In this case, it's simply a curse or spell to get him out of office.  The fact that he might be out in four years or eight years....might show success with the curse business....but otherwise, it's mostly all a show.

Not to be outdone....the Christians have gone to prayers for Trump.....to lessen the effect of the demons.

In Alabama, if you were to bring up demons and witches....it starts to worry some Baptist folks, and they generally meet to discuss the matter, and get some words from the local minister.  They will ask about witches....which there really isn't much in the Bible covering that topic.  But there's plenty on demons.  Although he might tell them that only Catholics can cover this position....with exorcism.

Exorcism isn't something you ought to bring up around southerners.  They get all freaked out and worried abut casting demons out and will cite some movie that they saw in 1979.

If I were Trump, I'd haul up some voo-doo Haitian gal to do a double witch-curse to reflect back upon the fake cult-demonic crowd, and let that Spicer-kid who does the daily White House briefings introduce her and let her do a two-minute chant.

All of this makes one wonder....what exactly we've come to with politics?  Is it bad enough that we need demons, or prayers to counter curses?

Trump would probably say that he felt he dealt with all that demon stuff back in November with Hillary and it just can't work much with him.  Bill might agree with that statement.  

Thursday, 23 February 2017

How to Blow $5,000

Last week, I sat and read a couple of pieces over the CIA guy who resigned....citing that he had conflict with Trump in charge of the government now.  At the time.....I didn't think much of the deal.  If you work for the government, you have to accept the fact that Presidents will come and go, and your part in the government is an awful small piece of it.    After that bit of reading....I put the story away....there wasn't much to it.

Today, someone went and updated one curious part about this former CIA guy.  It's an odd piece.

The guy got hyped up on politics in mid-2016 (mid to late August) and donated two checks to the election campaign.  One went to Hillary.....and one went to the DNC as a group deal.  Altogether....five thousand dollars.

Normal folks will get hyped up on politics, and might occasionally donate 50 to 100 dollars in a normal election year.  In a hyped up year.....I could see some regular and normal folks writing out a check 500 dollars.  If you were a business man....wealthy farmer....big-time New York Yankees pitcher....or a Indy 500 driver.....then I could see a guy donating 5,000 to 10,000 dollars.

But this was a CIA guy....maybe in his mid-30s....probably in the GS-12 range.  For DC, this meant he was making 85 to 103 thousand dollars a year.  If you live in Maryland or Virginia.....you pay a fair sum to the state tax folks.  With property tax, vehicle tax, sales tax, social security, TSP donations, state tax, federal tax, etc.....you will see 50-percent of your pay disappear.

This guy gave 5,000 dollars away in a heat-of-a-moment election?  What kind of idiot does that?

I am reminded a situation at a base where I was stationed.....where one of the guys that I worked around got into a year-long state-of-mind mess.

He'd moved into some apartment building....got friendly with some single gal there....and she becoming some potential love interest.  Sadly, along the way....he spent around $4,000 to help buy her a used vehicle.  Then he helped to spend a thousand on some TV because hers broke.  Then he came up and spend various sums of money on little bills that popped up (a hundred here.....two hundred there, etc).

At the end of this period.....he'd put nearly ten-thousand into this relationship situation. Then he came home one day....she'd moved out and left her apartment.  No note....no address mentioned by the manager....nothing.

For three months, he was a in a bad state of mind.  All this money spent on his honey.  He felt they were working up to some magic moment (marriage of course).  He was unable to really concentrate at work and was continually screwing up....to the point that his performance was being monitored by his boss.  Most everyone told him to take a month off and just go camping or fishing.  A couple of months later, he just ended his military contract....got out....and was going to move back back to wherever he grew up.

I see this CIA agent in this fragile state of mind.

He could have spent the $5000 on a down-payment for a car.  He could have gone off to a fancy resort in Aruba for a whole month and sipped top-of-the-line Jacky D's.  He could have bought a pretty fancy watch.  He could have gotten a top of the line leather sofa.  He could have put a big down-payment down on a sail-boat.  He could have gone to Vegas and stayed a weekend in the $1,500 a night hotel room.

Instead, he blew the 5,000 on Hillary and a lost cause with the DNC.  My humble guess is that he's a bit angry and disturbed.....it was money flushed down the toilet.

Did he have intentions of getting some pay-back?  That's the odd thing....if she'd won, his name would have been on some special favor list, and maybe her crew would have come in, and he'd go and ask for a big special CIA assignment to Rio, or London, or Paris.  It sounds crazy but 5,000 might get you a pretty good favor.

If you wanted a special ambassador job....like to Tonga....it'd just require usually $250,000.  You'd go for two years....act real swanky and wear some fancy clothing as the ambassador.

What happens with this CIA guy now?  I'm not sure.  Maybe he ends up with some foundation, or think-tank, or with some private bank data company.  The $5000?  Well, here's the thing....if he'd donated it to some charity....you'd at least get a tax credit.  In this case?  There's nothing left of the $5,000 except some remarkable evening he had planned to watch the Hillary win.....and how he fell apart hours later.  Kind of tragic.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

This Cuba Thing

Last year.....everyone got all hyped up that the tough line with Cuba was finished, and that the travel ban was lifted.  So they all chatted like wild monkeys on the massive amount of tourism and flights going from the US into Cuba.

This morning.....the news folks admitted the newest trend....airlines cutting back on flights into Cuba.  Jet Blue, Silver, and American Airlines all said reduced flights are the way to go.

What happened?  First, it's not tourist season to make some warm-weather trip into Cuba.  I could see maybe seven or eight months out of the year where people would care to go.

Second....the Dominican Republic already had a large number of resorts and was well established.

Third....what exactly is historic or very magnetic in nature to draw you to Cuba?  I really can't think of a single thing.

Maybe in five years....some massive tourist zone will be created and this will make sense.  But right now....there is nothing to get excited about.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Ten Things That Seem Odd

Over the past month, there are ten things which have strike me as odd:

1.  After you look at the Flynn contact with the Russian ambassador.....you have to ask.....how did he come to get the personal number of the Russian ambassador?  Obviously, the NSA and FBI folks knew the number.  Never once did the general seem to worry that someone would monitor incoming calls and ask stupid questions later.  It's probably another sign that he wasn't the brightest guy around.

2.  I noticed yesterday some comment by NPR that President Trump was now engaged in a permanent campaign.  Where exactly has NPR been for the past eight years?  Didn't they notice the same tactic and strategy within the President Obama administration.....or were they too stupid to notice it?

3.  CNN has hyped themselves into a corner.  They can't do a positive story on the Trump administration....even when something positive does occur.  They've become some loosely connected group of 'Agent Provocateurs'.....mostly working on some agenda....not the news.

4. It's becoming apparent that the last place in the US where you'd find free speech....is on a typical university campus.  Socrates would be rolling on the ground and laughing.

5.  Does anyone really care what the Hollywood crowd really thinks on politics?  I mean seriously.....as long as some dimwit can pretend to be a damsel in distress, or fake-Superman, or deliver a decent Macbeth line or two....that's really all I expect.  Beyond that....even if they eat dog-food, or sleep in a snake-pit....I really don't care.

6.  For all these idiots pumping the $15 wage for burger joints and such.....when you finally accomplish this completely....then you walk in and discover that a Big Mac meal is $9.99.....will it curtail your future visits?  The other question here that bothers me.....are there really people who plan on some forty-year career at McDonalds....just flipping burgers for the rest of their life?

7. The odds that the Republican replacement healthcare law will fail within ten years?  I'd give it better than 90-percent odds that it will fail as well.  Oddly, no one is asking questions....they just know that the present program won't work, so it's time to move on.

8.  I read a piece this morning where some university students were hyped to condemn the Dalai Lama's visit....because he wasn't tolerant enough for them.  It's the same crowd who would have condemned Britain's Neville Chamberlain visiting Nazi Germany and going negative against him because he wasn't tolerant enough of Nazi society.

9.  If you wrote down a list of all the enemies of the President Bush, President Obama and President Trump administrations.....it'd probably be 100 pages long.

10.  When you go and examine this Oroville Dam episode in California....it's just a matter of when the dam fails, and possibly kills a thousand people that reality will set in and folks realize that responsible leadership never existed to protect them.