Friday, 28 July 2017

A College Club Story

I noted Swarthmore College in the news this week.

Swarthmore is a unique college.....private operation....costing $66,000 a year for tuition and board.  Yeah, it is one of the more expensive colleges in America.  It's about ten miles out of Philly and one of those has a character to it.  Starting out as a Quaker operation....it has grown quiet a bit.

This week....one of the clubs from the campus noted their demise....the Anti-Capitalist Collective.  The last of the members of the university club simply said that there were unique problems with anti-capitalism....including classism, and racism.

I sat and pondered this situation.  Your dad has to cough up a minimum of $260k....plus another $20k yearly to cover your car, fuel, beer, pizza, and proper clothing.  All total, I'd take a guess that you need $350,000 for the degree and life experience.

My guess....over the decades, and out of 1,500 students on average....there were always a dozen individuals who were real members.  Most had parents who were wealthy and this anti-capitalist club was just a joke to some, and maybe taken serious by a handful who felt they could change the world.

It probably wasn't something that you bragged about to dad, or wrote into your resume later in life.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

The Transgender Story

I sat and read through the President's general order and the negativity that came after that.  There are in my mind....two essential areas....which fell apart when the Pentagon sat and tried to envision this working.

1.  Boot-camp.  If you had transgender 'Joe' show up for boot-camp (female to male)....how would you handle the shower situation?  Or 'Missy' showing up (male to female)?  No one could ever detail the whole thing out.  Would you force 'Joe' to the men's physical standards, and if you did....how many would fail.  Few people realize this angle, but there's two different rule-sets for push-ups, sit-ups, and the 'run'.  Which do you use for the transgender?  Or do you make up a whole third-set  of physical standards?  No one ever said this part of the solution.  My guess is that it became more difficult to solve.

2.  Role of military in transgender health-care.  No one could ever say that the military would not get stuck with the bill for hormones or surgery necessary.  The hormone therapy?  Someone has to pay, and if you were on some process and your remote medical unit couldn't readily provide the hormone on a regular basis....your success rate would go down quickly.

Oddly, there are a thousand categories in which you could end up being disqualified for military service.  Epilepsy, low IQ, being too short, mentally unstable, etc.  Early on in my career, I noted the episode that developed at the health clinic on base where they wrote an evaluation up on a records clerk, ensuring that she could not re-enlist.  The reason?  Continued incompetence.  Week after week, she screwed up records and paperwork.  After twelve months of dealing with her....it came down to the point of every single detail of what she did on a daily basis....had to be peer-reviewed and checked.  As she was wrapping up the two-year tour (having roughly one year left on the contract), she was desperately trying to have the evaluation removed, and they were very firm in saying that the service just wasn't a place for her.  They didn't want to 'fire' her or toss her out, but simply to ease her out at the end of four years.

Will this simply end with the transgender deal?  No.  I would expect the House and Senate to pick this up and write some forty-page law to just do it.  Which physical standards will they use?  It won't even be mentioned and the Pentagon will sit there and have to figure out the way of solving this mess.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

The Toilet Paper Story

I noted this story off Breitbart today....which featured the picture taken from a Twitter note of Henrique Capriles.

As the story goes....in Venezuela....they were having a military awards situation with the commander giving out some citations, and as part of the 'rewards' with the certificates....you got two rolls of toilet paper.

If you haven't followed Venezuela news over the past year....things have gone into the crapper....literally.  If you walked into a store and had a hundred bucks on you....desperately wanting toilet paper....it's a very questionable situation if the store would even have toilet paper to sell you.

I sat and pondered upon this.

In the three decades that I was associated with the US military....there were a couple of occasions that you got some kind of 'reward'.  Usually, it was a three-day pass, a day off, or some $10-coupon at the local NCO club.  It was something that you generally didn't laugh about, although in value....other than three days off....it had limited appreciation.

The toilet paper?  I'm guessing each single GI went home and treasured the two rolls of toilet paper.  As bad as things are in Venezuela, I'm guessing that folks have learned to do their morning business in the toilet with two or three sheets....maybe four for a really bad situation.  These are young GI's and looking over the toilet paper as a pretty uplifting 'gift' from the colonel.  

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Sessons-Trump-Mueller

So you have an Alabama senator who gets this awful rare chance to meet up with a Russian ambassador.  If you lined up the last five Alabama Senators....I doubt if any of them had ever met the ambassador.

Weeks pass, and you get offered some job, and the Senate folks want to ask about meeting any foreigners of influence, and you say 'no'.....you never did.

You get confirmed, and then a month later.....it's obvious that you told a fib.  What's the deal?

(A) You are pretty Alabama-stupid.  (B) You are growing old and forgetful.  (C) You are told to get past point A by your chief supporter, and then are able to hand off the special prosecutor situation to someone that your chief supporter tells you is the 'right' guy.

It can only be one of the three answers.  Two of them make you look like a loser.  The third makes you look like some guy with an agenda designed by your chief supporter....whoever he is.

At this point, I think Sessons has demonstrated he's out of his league, and that he might be compromised because of his incompetence.  In other words, he needs to retire back to Alabama.

Mueller? Well....he's got this problem in that his old law firm (before the special prosecutor job) donated a fair sum of money to Hillary Clinton.  Mueller himself didn't donate....but his firm did.

Most of Mueller's big-lawyer team?  They either donated money to Hillary or were members of legal firms that donated money to Hillary.

At this point, Trump needs to find some legal wiz.....Cruz probably....ensure he's never ever met a Russian, and hire him as the Attorney General.  Cruz would then run the investigation business himself because of a lack of Russians in his background.

The Polling That Matters

I'm often amazed at the fake news agenda and the attempt to portray a national poll, which would lead you to certain false beliefs.

If you go back to the 2016 Presidential election....just over 52-percent of the general public showed up to vote (that in itself says a lot).  But here's the real substance to look upon....thirty states came to vote for Trump....only 20 states for Hillary Clinton.

If you go and do polling of the 30 states, I'm willing to guess that virtually all of them are still in some positive trend for Trump today, and will likely be that way in 2020.

So, only the thoughts of 30 states matter?  Yes, that's basically the whole story.  It doesn't matter if 90-percent of California or New York go another direction....those thirty states hold the electoral power over the remaining twenty.

What also falls into the 2020 election?  There's this odd 2018 senate race going on in Michigan....with 'Kid Rock' now announced as a GOP candidate.  He'll have to run against a Democratic senator who has been there three times now and won.  The influence of 'Kid Rock'?  He'll draw the youth vote and some of the Detroit votes, along with the GOP.  For 2020, Senator Kid Rock (assuming he wins in 2018) will be a major cog in getting Michigan again in the win-column.

If the GOP wins another three Senate seats in 2018?  It puts the polling back into the thirty-state equation, and you can basically discount whatever the Hillary states of 2016 say or think.  You could easily have another case where one or two million votes do appear for the Democratic challenger to Trump, but not enough to affect the thirty-state count.

On the Subject of Meetings

This morning, I read through a political news piece talking Jared Kushner (Trump's son-in-law) and his meeting business with the 'Russians'.  At some point, Jared realized that the meeting was a total waste of time, and sent a 'chat' to some associate to call him at the meeting and 'get him out' of the meeting.  The news journalists hyping up all this stuff....seemed amazed at people trying to get out of meetings.

At some point in the early-1990s....I moved from a play-mode to a manager-mode, and then came the realization that you had to go and attend meetings.  Some were a mere fifteen minutes long and drilled quickly down into the issue, and were worthwhile as a meeting.  Some were 90 minutes long, and basically accomplished next to nothing.  I came to value most meetings as worthless.

At some point around 2002 to 2004....I probably was wasting four hours a week in meetings.  In 2010 to 2013.....as a manager within the Pentagon empire, I was lucky to get myself down to 180 minutes per week.  The only enjoyable meeting each week in that last year was the building custodian meeting where all kinds of building renovation or history came out from the chief of the Pentagon building.

I brought this up years ago with a older guy who could remember the 1970s era, and how there were rarely meetings.  In his mind, when the internet and computer era arrived....meetings increased.  As he pointed out.....more people wanted 'stock' ownership in decisions made, and success from meeting decisions rarely paid dividends.

At some point about fifteen years ago....I worked with a female who had a husband who had a degree in business management (the master's degree), and he had weekly meetings with his staff (the wife, and the two kids).  One of the kids was a teenager and had become anti-meeting....thus causing friction in the household.  The wife tried to explain to the husband that these meetings were not of much value, and instead got lectured on the necessity of a 'focused-team'.  I asked the co-worker how would this all end, and she felt the kid would be out the door as soon as she graduated from high-school.

Jared in my humble opinion....has realized the value of meetings.  If you don't reach the necessary chat-topic in five minutes, and reach some solution in fifteen minutes....there's something wrong.  The sad thing is that we probably need thousands of Jareds in the US government, to stop worthless meeting-garbage.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Burlington College Story

Over the past year, I've sat and watched the Burlington College episode, with Jane Sanders....proceed.  It is a curious story.

Prior to 1971.....Burlington College didn't exist.  Some folks met....talked over some ideas and had this vision of a private college that served the local community.  Their eventual motto?  "Light a fire".
In 1972, the basic charter was written and the college took off....well....slowly took off.  In terms of student count....depending on who tells the story....they never got much past 300 students (that includes both full-time and part-time).

The campus?  It was set to roughly 30 acres....fairly small by most standards.

In 2004, the college talked Jane Sanders (wife of Bernie) to become the President of the university.  Her immediate goal...repair the schools's financial health.  Part of this idea was to grow the university (more students) and part of this was to find someone to entice folks to donate to the school.

Six years go by and the school has gone out to buy property for $10 million....out on some lakefront area.  Being lake-front....you can assume it was over-priced and probably not an economically wise idea.

To make the deal occur....Sanders had to go over to a bank and convince them this was great for the bank and money would roll in to pay the loan back.  Whoever sat there at the bank and approved this....probably weren't that capable or competent.

It took almost a year for the whole thing to reach a level where the board of trustees with the school realized financially....they were screwed.  Sanders resigns under pressure.  Roughly three years will pass before the school's accreditation is in serious trouble because of all the financial troubles.

It's hard to figure the angle to the lake-front property.  My guess is that some third party wanted the property for a lesser cost, and they convinced Sanders to make the move....get the loan....realize the screwed-up nature of having the property, and then sell it at loss to the third-party.  Maybe a 20-to-40 percent loss....on a quick sale.

If you look over the resume of Sanders, there is little there to indicate that she had a business, real estate, or financial background.  In other words, she was marginally capable of filling this type of position.

The legal folks?  They will have to prove that she intentionally ran the college into the ground, or made money off this episode.  I don't think they can prove such.  If they do go into court....it'll be a short case where incompetence or marginal skills are laid out....which doesn't get you jail-time.

As for the college?  I'd blame the the recruitment committee.....they knew precisely who they were hiring and of her limits.  They got what they desired.

Friday, 21 July 2017

The $39 a Month Health-Insurance Concept

You don't really have to be a rocket-scientist to sit and visualize how to make a simple $39 a month health-insurance concept to work.

So, you start with cigarettes being taxed at a rate of $40 a pack.  Smokers will have to make a decision whether they smoke a pack a day....with the monthly cost at roughly $1,200 or they quit (the intention).

Then you go and ration out beer, wine, and alcohol.  Your limit?  Basically two six-packs of beer or two bottles of wine, or one bottle of booze per week.  Cheating on your limit?  A $1,000 fine.

Sugar content in candy, snacks, sodas and food?  You force the companies to cut sugar content by fifty-percent.

Weight situation.  You draw a simple line on weight.  A guy who is 6 foot 1 inches tall....can weigh a max of 185 pounds.  Every pound past that point is a $50 a pound tax figured onto your income tax each year.  You come down to the county court-house in January of each year to figure out your weight, and send the weight credit to IRS.  You weigh less than 185 pounds...you get a $10 a pound credit.

Got a guy on a drug-overdose?  Notify the dispatch unit to look the guy's name and address up.  First time ever?  You do everything possible to save the guy.  Second time.....you do absolutely nothing.   Leave him there.  If he makes it....fine, if not....he's not going to cost you any further money.

DWI accident?  Once they assess your alcohol level....they send the note to IRS.  You get assessed a $2,500 tax for alcohol-stupidity.

Rehab for alcohol or drugs?  You get one single free rehab for your entire life.  The second rehab is assessed and fifty-percent of the cost is handed to you via IRS.  The third rehab?  100-percent is assessed back to you.

In a period of five years, you'd slowly watch as each year....the health-insurance package drops.  All of the incoming taxes are handed over to the health-insurance bureau.  Through some simple deductibles (out-patient set at $20 a visit and in-patient set at $150 a day), you would find health insurance very affordable.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Extremist Story

I sat and read a British piece today.....which laid out this poll of British folks and who they felt were extremists.....meaning people with agendas....usually someone who is on an illegal or violent action to achieve what they desire.

So these Brits were asked if Jesus, Gandhi, or Martin Luther King were extremists.....one in five said 'yes'.

This worried some folks, because in their opinion....this one in five crowd weren't reading off the same script as most folks were.

If you went by this way of thinking.....well....George Washington, Moses, Elvis and even Donald Trump could be categorized as extremists.

Those one in five folks?  Are these regular people?  Do they smoke a bit of weed on occasion?  Are they emotionally stable?  Do they believe in elves, aliens, bigfoot, or that NCAA bowl games are legit?

The thing about this is that number of folks will read the poll....talk about this with their minister, and start to worry that maybe Jesus was an extremist.  They might go and spend weeks worried about this new attitude or 'facts'.  You can imagine these ministers getting all hyped up and trying to relieve folks of this opinion.


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

'Unproductive' Congress Topic

Yesterday, it came out that Congress and the Senate have been noted as the most 'unproductive' of the past 164 years.  I think most people would sit and admit that they aren't shocked (doesn't matter if they are Republican or Democrat).

The GOP?  For eight lousy years, they 'talked' and 'talked'.  They were going to do this.  They were going to do that.  So now....a majority in the House and Senate, with the President ready to sign?  They can't do anything?

My gut-feeling is that you probably need to flip out or 'fire' about ten Republican Senators.  It doesn't matter if they get replaced by Republican or Democrat folks....just that they need to go back home and sell used cars or manage some casino-hotel operation.  If there ever were a reason to have term limits.....I think this period of 2017 proves the point.

The rest of 2017?  I deem it mostly a failure.

My advice for Trump:

1.  Go and hire up a Senate-manager for the White House.  Find some guy who would do Mitch McConnell's work for him.  Build a database of the GOP senators and their likes/dislikes, and promises to their state folks for the election campaign.  Dangle the database in front of them and remind them of what they promised and how it might be used.

2.  Go and find five Democratic Senators in serious election trouble for 2018.  Put some emphasis into defeating those five.  Gain the five seats, and then tell the loser five GOP folks who always say 'no'....to just go and sit in the corner....you don't need them.  Make this a show item for the rest that you can defeat the Democrats and bring fresh blood into the Senate.

3.  Hire up one single guy to talk over GOP Senators on the news media.  Yes, I'm talking about Newt.  Let him make some blunt and pointed comments at promises made back in the home states.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Delta and the Stupid Seat Story

At some point in the last week, Ann Coulter was supposed to be flying Delta Airlines, with a extra-purchased deal.....a premium seat.  This generally means you get three inches more of legroom, and the ability to board early.  So as she arrived....Delta dumped her out of the seat.  Reason?  Unknown.  Delta doesn't give any explanation....except they are angry over her Twitter talk, and basically they offered her the $30 back for the premium cost.

I had to fly Delta a couple of weeks ago, and went through the same gimmick....do you want to buy the legroom?  Flying from Germany into the US....I said no.  I probably regret that to some degree but it seemed crazy to around $90 for this 3 inches of extra room.  On the way back from Atlanta to Germany?  Yeah, I paid the $90, and got the premium economy seat.

For years and years.....you didn't think much about this business.  You had had two typical choices....coach or business/first class.

In the last seven years, I've noticed at least a dozen different gimmicks.  Bags on stateside flights?  Now $25 or a full-ticket (not the discount ticket).  If they could charge for the toilet usage.....they probably would do it.

Between the TSA folks, the border control gang, and the airlines....they've all worked hard to make flying a miserable experience.  But then I'd have to include regular people on this problem as well.  I sat and watched some lady who got bumped off a flight about six years ago.  She went into some childish tirade and I thought for sure that the cops would get called.  I sat and watched some older guy who'd consumed a fair amount of booze at Atlanta's airport bar, try to enter and sit in four different (but incorrect) seats before the stewardess pushed him into the right seat.

To be honest, if I lived in the US, and had to travel somewhere....I'd prefer to just get into a car, and waste a day or two of driving to get there and avoid the airport stress and the TSA security game.

As for Delta and this Coulter episode?  Delta might like to sit down and analyze how Coulter had purchased the seat ahead of time and how their system 'dumped' the purchased seat.  It ought to be near-impossible to occur unless you got some air-marshal to arrive.  Based on the picture of the gal who ended up in the seat....it wasn't a air-marshal.  No, the system wouldn't dump the premium payer for a Delta pilot/stewardess either.  So, there's almost no way to make this occur....unless you just wanted Coulter to lose the premium seat.  Course, you wouldn't be that stupid now.....would you, Delta?

Saturday, 15 July 2017

My Cursed Barracks

During my Air Force years.....I stayed in six barracks or dorms (counting basic and tech school).  Five had nothing much to say negative.  The sixth....from the Barksdale period....would best be described as a marginal living situation.

It'd been built in the early 1960s with all the positives of the period.  It had a sink in each room....a central toilet/shower, and AC.  Oddly enough, it had a twelve-foot ceiling.  By the time I got there in 1981, it had reached an end-point.  The carpet had some moldy smell (still from the original 1960 construction).  Cockroaches were hour-by-hour thing.  The AC could no longer function.  The heat could handle temperatures only down to 20-degrees (beyond that....it was marginal).

In twenty years, there had been two single upgrades or renovations.  They put some shading film on the windows in the lat 1970s, and the month that I got there....they'd added cable TV connections.

Renovation?  About 18 months into my 'visit'...they announced that they were tearing the place down in a year....it was not capable of handling renovation.  I ended my period on base as the month came when they were shutting down the building.

The three peaks of miserability?

The last summer there....the AC simply died and they refused to fix it (cost-wise, it made sense).  So you sat in 95-degree heat with two fans whirling hot around the room.  Your only relief was a refrigerator that you kept beer and ice in abundance.

Then winter came....with a shocker period of two weeks in December where the temperature dropped to minus-temperatures on three or four nights, and room temperature for seven days in a row could only be kept at 40 degrees.  The system was at maximum capacity and was never made to handle minus-0 temperatures.

Then came the explosion.  Some natural gas leak occurred at one side of the building and they evacuated the whole building for 72 hours while they repaired the gas leak and cleared the threat.    It wasn't a big explosion....just enough to burn half the hair off some kid who who'd showered and lighting up a smoke while he was going blow-dry his hair.

In some ways, it was a cursed building.

Probably everything that came in 1984 has already met their end, and been replaced as well.

"Russia Fatigue"

The phrase was coined yesterday by CNN's Alisyn Camerota.

If you were sitting in 2010 and watching MSNBC, CNN, Fox, NBC, PBS, CBS, and NBC on a regular basis (30 hours per week of news)....the phrase 'Russia' probably wouldn't have been uttered more than 15 times a month.  From the business channel and referencing oil or gas news....it might have been uttered sixty times a month.

Over the past six months, I would guess the seven major networks together.....probably have uttered the word 'Russia' at least 500 times daily.  The business channel?  Just their normal sixty times a month and mostly over oil and gas news.

Yeah, it's kinda like the term 'whore'.....you utter it enough, and people get use to the term being uttered.  It's not so bad after a while.

If you went out into most rural areas of America....most folks will tell you that they've never a single Russian in their life.  Even if you lived around the metro areas of Atlanta or Nashville....there's fairly good odds that you've never met a single Russian.

Around 1996, I went off on a two week vacation to Turkey....a beach resort operation.  The guests?  It was roughly 75-percent German....15-percent Russian....and the rest from Europe (oh and me the one single American guy).  What I generally learned from that 14-day period from interacting with the Russian folks (some did speak English) is that they did like consuming a fair amount of alcohol....used very little sun-tan lotion (meaning massive burns)....and they could have a very good sense of humor.

I'm not sure where the Russia talk will go with the news media.  I think Camerota is correct....it's pretty much a dead-end street with people losing interest.

When the "Kids" Run the University

I sat and read through a piece today...it was mostly critical of a editorial piece from a University of Maryland student....suggesting:"There is nothing inherently wrong with screening speakers, teachers and even students on the campus. in “intolerant” points of view “....to prevent certain groups of people from participating in campus life safely.”

Basically, the editorial was suggesting that you need to deny “intolerant perspectives.”   This would help to preserve the peaceful nature of the campus.

The criticism?  It came from Campus Reform, and suggests that this is something that you really don't want to start up because you don't know where it ends.

I pondered through this logic of the editorial.  You see a lot of this these days....where students seem to think that too many facts change their judgement on things, and they would prefer just one story or one single line of facts....to base their decisions upon.

Rational judgement?  Gone.  The fact that you could add to your grasp of a subject or test your reasoning....isn't something of value to this new crowd of college students.

If you asked me for ten reasons why a college education doesn't mean much in today's atmosphere, this is one of those reasons.

You could easily end up with a bunch of idiots who have no interest in Socrates or Plato....nor desiring to understand Mao or Churchill.

This whole safety discussion going on in campus life is creating a group of 'wussy' intellectuals who will be unable to handle real-life situations.  We will be graduating thousands of these individuals who can't work in certain companies or perform certain functions because they simply don't have the ability to reason and reach rational levels of understanding.

In some ways, they are defeating the term intellectual and becoming something very much less than that.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Question of College

The Pew Research Center did a research project and asked the question of value of colleges in America....depending on your view as a Republican or as a Democrat.

What they can generally say is that most Republicans (or leaning that way)....in the range of 58-percent....think it's a negative objective now to go off to college.

For Democrats (or leaning that way).....near 72-percent think that college are a positive thing.

What Pew can also show is that the Republican position has changed in a fair degree over a short period of time (roughly five years).

Why?

I think reality has come to set on the whole college-education scheme.  If junior is going off and spending $60,000 to $80,000 over four years....what exactly is junior getting in return?  Can that degree relate to junior getting a starting salary of $35,000 a year and $45,000 within five years?  Or will junior be stuck as some assistant manager of a airport car-rental shop and barely clearing $30,000 for the next fifteen years?

Few colleges want to have studies done to explain the pay-back feature of the degree business.  Lets face facts....a four-year degree in engineering is a good bit different than a four-year degree in French literature or tourism science or turf management.

From roughly twenty years ago, I worked with a guy who was financing his daughter through college and at the end of the first year...which he'd spent near $25,000 on tuition and board/expenses....the daughter came to admit that the degree that she was pursuing....was NOT of value.  The change?  At the end of year two......she noted the new strategy or degree path wasn't interesting enough.  As I met with my associate on the fifth year of this college path, he more or less told the daughter that this would be it for his paying into this deal....he'd wasted almost $125,000 and questioned what he saw was a total waste of $50,000 of that sum (he noted that you could have bought two new cars for that sum).

Presently, there is a 'bubble' in existence over the college debt episode.  It's kinda like the real estate 'bubble' that grew in the 2002 to 2008 period, and triggered the massive chaos of 2008's crisis.  At some point within the next decade, I expect that 'bubble' to explode and some massive forgiveness by the government will be required....with hundreds of billions of debt simply disappearing because of the government's solution.

When that solution starts to occur, I expect the only adding feature of the Republicans to this mess will be a severe limit to any form of credit for college education.  The colleges?  I expect them to fall on their knees and beg for some type of government credit solution, but the massive loss of trust in forgiving the debt....won't settle much of anything.

Monday, 10 July 2017

The Health Insurance Story

The AP put out a short piece today and noted that the number of non-health-insurance folks in the US.....grew by 2-million over the previous year.  We are at 11.7-percent without health insurance....compared to 10.9-percent at this point last year.

You can interpret this in forty different ways.  But I would suggest that most people have reached a point where the yearly fee....usually in the $8,000 to $12,000 range, and the deductible of $4,000 to $6,000....has reached a point where it's simply stupid to pay into the deal.  Let's face facts....at $15,000 a year....you can almost afford to buy a bare-basic pick-up truck, or over three years....a BMW 3-series car.

If I were the Republicans....I'd do absolutely nothing.  It's obvious that they have no plan and no concept over how the program works in general.  I'd say the same about the Democrats as well.

At the pace of things....you can figure by mid-summer 2018....the rate will be around 12.5-percent and by mid-summer 2020....around 15-percent.

As much as people have some fraudulent idea that the Affordable Healthcare Act fixed things....it simply invented a new problem with cost being out of reach or reaching a ridiculous point.

Bergdahl Episode

I noted in minor military news this past weekend, that the Bowe Bergdahl episode has progressed to the next step.  He was the young Army guy who decided to walk out of the camp in Afghanistan, in search of a better life and was taken prisoner by the Taliban folks....held for a fair amount of time as a prisoner and then traded with a deal with the Obama Administration.  The Army has taken the view that some court-martial type offenses have occurred and the court is working up to a starting point.

So the two items that have occurred is that the military judge in charge decided that all charges that were referred to the court.....will be allowed.  There are two charges....both of which could get not just life in prison but the death penalty. The second item is that two witnesses will be allowed into the court.....both of which were members who were injured or wounded during the hunt for Bergdahl after he disappeared.  This is a bit difficult for the defense lawyers to overcome and harsh questions toward the two won't be appreciated by the jury.....all combat-veterans.

I will note....that if you go and research all of Bergdah's history....after getting removed from the Coast Guard boot-camp.....the Army should NOT have allowed him in.....he was simply not mature enough or competent enough for military duty.  Somehow, he made it through Army boot-camp and came to lose his prospective on life in Afghanistan.   I do put some of the blame on the Army for not recognizing the guy's behavior and limits.

All this said and done.....I think Bergdahl will end up with a 15-year sentence and be reduced to E-1.  They will likely credit him for the period held captive, but the rest of this....probably 13 years....will be what he owes the Army.  I will add that if he demands NCOs be on the jury (which is his right).....he's likely to get MORE time, not less, on the sentencing.  It would not be in your best interest to have NCOs on this jury.

Friday, 7 July 2017

PTSD and News

I sat this morning and was reading through the British paper....the Telegraph.  It had an interesting piece on a medical study about PTSD in kids.

So, kids that sit and watch BBC and Sky News in Britain appear to have some chances of getting post-traumatic stress disorder.

All of this goes to the various clips that you see nightly.....even in the US (CNN, Fox News, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, NBC, PBS, etc).  Most of us don't think about this. You see some bombed-out neighborhood in Syria, or some apartment complex burning away....but in the eyes of some kid, it's a pretty dramatic moment.

Resolving this?  Well....how?  You could go and make the network news folks only carry the dramatic stuff after 9PM.  They (the journalists) would laugh at you and suggest that it will be a fairly undramatic news period from sun-up to 9PM (they are correct).  You could forbid any images or video of dramatic news pieces (that would also make the whole news show concept pretty boring).

If you go and review nightly news coverage from the early 1980s.....there's rarely anything graphic or upsetting with what people typically saw.  All of this graphic stuff....the kind of material to trigger PTSD....started in the past twenty years.

What happens now?  Mostly nothing.  No one wants to change the magic formula.


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The 'You-Know' CEO

I sat and viewed a TV interview on the business channel from last week.....journalists had a CEO of a company which was having a IPO situation (initial public offering of stock).

It was a ten-minute conversation and a chance to hype up the company.  Typically, guys or gals who get hired as CEOs.....have to be proficient at interviews.

About a minute into this conversation, I started to notice the guy using the comment "you-know" a lot.  Over the remaining 9 minutes of this chat?  I'd take a guess that he uttered the comment "you-know" at least forty times.

About nine years ago.....Caroline Kennedy came up for a big interview as a key player of the President Obama organizational committee....and she did the exact same thing, uttering "you-know" at least thirty times in a five to eight minute interview.

I doubt if these people ever realize how bad they got the problem.....until someone rolls the video out and shows the tendency to utter "you-know".

A nervous reaction?  To some degree....yes.  But they've spent years weaving "you-know" into their reaction for commentary and it's hard to get rid of the habit. You almost need to have some guy there with a electric shock device and throwing some voltage into the guy to condition them to avoid the expression.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Trump News Network

I spent a few days in the US.....at various airports and two hotels, and probably had seven hours of CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.  So I made ten observations:

1.  Both MSNBC and CNN are surviving off 50-percent Trump-news.  Doesn't matter what time of day....they are both covering Trump, Trump-associates, and Trump news (healthcare, foreign policy, etc).  For CNN, they can't go more than 10 minutes....without a Trump comment or negative report.

2.  I would suggest that CNN now has around 600 'Trump-experts' who rotate throughout the day and fill in the gap with Trump news.  Oddly, none of them are regular people, barbers, diesel mechanics, farmers, or landscapers.  It gets to being noticeable after a while.

3.  You would think that there's just about nothing much happening in the world.....except Trump, if you watch MSNBC or CNN.

4.  They continue to slide mental-health experts into the conversation and they want to provide analysis....which could be a reportable item to some state medical accreditation association sooner or later.  These guys don't seem to worry about it but you can lose your license if you talk in a public way about a guy and you haven't personally examined him or her up close.

5.  "Anonymous sources" gets used an awful lot.  I'm waiting on someone to say the anonymous source to an anonymous source....says Trump did such-and-such.

6.  Political burn-out?  You can probably carry this 'over-load' for maybe a year....but I don't see how your advertising folks would keep buying into this news item for long-term.

7.  All this chatter on Twitter and social media comments by Trump?  Here's the thing......there are probably 500,000 people o Twitter or social media who probably ought to be kicked off or terminated from public comments.  If some idiot wants to make the Trump the target.....I'd broaden this out and just fire a bunch of accounts.

8.  On Trump health-care news.  It's just odd that none of these network news folks are actually talking to regular people.  You notice this a lot.  MSNBC and CNN want to stay with either lobbyists, political folks or journalists.

9.  If you stand around at airports....people are gazing at the large-screen TVs and making commentary....but in Detroit, Nashville and Atlanta (where waited on flights)....this was mostly negative conversations about the networks.

10.  You have to admire the news management folks in one way....they've taken a topic and convinced the journalists to stick with it....even when it's barely worth reporting.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Jail Topic

There are a thousand ways that a guy can go off to jail.  Typically....the vast majority of us (working middle-class slugs)....avoid those thousand ways.  In my entire life....I can only think of three folks I was associated with (in high school, via the Air Force, or met up with on a personal level) that ended up going off for some jail-time.

I sat today and was reading the account of this Virginia student....Andrew Spiels....who decided to go out and registered a number of dead folks to vote.  Eighteen registrations as the judge finally figured out.

Total time handed out: 100 days in jail.

Will he actually the time and get some worked-out deal to just be probation?  If I were betting on this....I'd bet he doesn't spend more than seven days in jail.

The thing about this is that he had know that this was fairly illegal, and yet did it anyway.  He claims he didn't partner up with anyone....this was his own situation.  I have doubts about this, but the judge doesn't intend to press on this issue.

A problem later in life?  If he ever got into government service....there's going to be some review and this will pop up.

But this all falls into the thousand ways that you can get sent off to jail.  Most of us aren't that stupid to go and register dead folks to vote.  Most of us aren't that stupid to go and write bad-checks.  Most of us aren't that stupid to go and rob a bank.  In the end....this kid is simply a reminder of this line you need to avoid.

CNN Fake News?

I sat and watched this piece done on CNN and it's fake news episode covering Trump.  It leaves a bad taste in your mouth but I would suggest that you sit and watch the piece.

Basically, as much as they say commercialism has not spoiled the news....it's simply not true....commercialism pays the bills and ensures the survival of an overload of journalists.

The sad thing is that CNN's efforts make them appear to be marginal news people, and more to being just cheerleaders for some agenda.

The guy doing much of the talking?  John Bonifield....a supervising producer. More than 10 years with CNN.  You get the opinion that he kinda dislikes the whole commercialization of news but it's the only way to pay for his lifestyle.

So, all this CNN hype for the past five months?  Fake?  Yeah.  The Russians?  Fake.  Collusion?  Fake.  The only non-fake thing are the commercials that run between the news bits.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Chromosome Story

I am to some degree....fascinated by DNA and associated topics.  Over the past couple of months, I've been on a fair amount of reading about chromosomes.

You probably don't remember the pitch by our high school science teacher.....but humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes....totaling 46.  Apes have a total of 24 pairs of chromosomes....totaling 48.  What makes the key difference is that missing chromosome situation....but oddly enough, it's not really missing.  On the rear of 2nd row of the human chromosomes.....is the missing chromosome group....'fused' neatly onto the end.  In a way, it's not really missing....it's just slightly altered.

So this week, I came to this 'new' odd story (it's been around for seven years).  The Chinese have found this guy who has 44 chromosomes (a pair less), but it's the same story.....his missing chromosomes are also tightly packed and hidden within the 44.

How does he come to have 44?

After a fair amount of reading, there is a basic story to this.  He's living in a region where there aren't a lot of people, and some folks end up marrying cousins.  The general science story is that by this inbreeding.....the cousin-marriage after cousin-marriage situation....finally produced this one guy with the 44 chromosomes.  How many did it take?  No one really says.  You would think that some Einstein-PhD guy would be in the middle of this and asking a lot of questions....but it doesn't appear that way.  You could be looking at 40-odd cousin-marriages over the past 500 years to reach this stage.

For a new stage of humans to emerge out of the 44-chromosome guy?  The general explanation given by the science folks is that if he did have a kid with a normal 46-chromosome gal....it'd likely result in a 46-chromosome kid.  ONLY if he had a relationship with a woman with 44-chromosomes....would it likely result in a 44-chromosome unique kid.

So, this brings up a report where a 44-chromosome Turkish woman was found.  Her case isn't detailed as much.  The odds of an introduction of the Turkish gal and the Chinese guy?  No one suggests that but it would be a curious situation.

Across the globe?  That's the thing....most folks don't typically go and have DNA analysis done of themselves.  We might be shocked to find literally thousands of 44-chromosome folks existing.

But this brings us to the odd prospective of making evolution work from the Ape group to the human group.  You had to have numerous apes living in a very controlled environment....limited numbers....and inter-breeding over and over....to finally have one single 46-chromosome male or female, and then by luck....within a few years....to have a second of the opposite sex, and that those two mated-up and had kids.

Does this story help or hurt the evolutionist?  It would suggest that evolution is a continual thing and not yet finished.  For the creationist?  They could claim that God is still at working and changing the dynamics.  For the realist, it simply means that a million-odd dynamics are continually at work....changing the world minute by minute.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

The Times Story

Back in 2015, I came across a fair amount of analysis over the financial status of the New York Times.  You can go back almost a decade into the past at that point and see various mistakes of the NYT's and their inability to survive.

I sat this morning and read through a NY Post article...a massive journalist release is likely to occur in the very near future with the Times.  It wasn't just enough to go after editors....there are more people on the list to let go.

The two essential problems in my belief?  First, the Times is attempting to survive in a high-cost environment.  They are stuck....they can't move the newspaper out of NY City....to some lesser or cheaper location.  If you go down the list of employees....you have to pay them for the lifestyle of living in NY City....which isn't cheap.

Second, the Times became over the past two or three decades....a lesser news journal.  The agenda business became more pro-Democrat than analysis over both political parties.  People reached a stage by 2010 in seeing the Times as a lobbyist unit, than a newspaper.

In some ways, the Times is going along the same path as the Washington Post, the Newsweek Magazine, and Time....along with dozens of newspaper across the US.  The customer base lost interest in supporting them.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

The Bergdahl Story

I sat and read over the newest Bowe Bergdahl episode.  He's the Army guy awaiting a court-martial after 'walking-away' from his post, and then was held by the friendly Taliban crowd for a long-while, until President Obama's team could make a trade.

The newest wrinkle on the story is that the defense teams wants the judge (military judge, remember) to send a 41-question form to the potential jurors on the episode.  Somewhere in the mix of the 41 questions....asks the jury members who they voted for in the 2016 election.  Naturally, the prosecution jumped in and challenged this with the judge.  The judge said he'd look over the challenge.

The potential jury members?  All Army members.

Typically, with the Uniformed Military Code of Justice.....no one within the military can be compelled to speak or be forced to declare who they voted for.

It's going to be some odd moment in the judge's office as he looks over this.  As far as I know.....no one has ever asked for identification of your past voting trend.....as part of a jury situation.  Once you allow this to occur.....you open up a mess for future court martial episode.

The amusing about this?  You could say literally anything if the judge goes forward....saying you voted for Hillary, Trump or some professional wrestler.  You could also refuse to answer the question and get yourself off the panel.  

The conviction potential?  If I were guessing here...I'd say it's a 95-percent of a conviction.  The question will arise if they go for the lowest number of years or maximum number of years.  The sad thing is that the guy was stupid enough to walk away and get into a prisoner status with the Taliban-crowd, and was a prisoner for a fair amount of time.  I might give him some sympathy for that period, but he's probably getting a minimum of ten years in some military prison in the end (as a minimum).

Some Advice

After viewing the Ossorf election results in the 6th district of Georgia (3-point margin win for GOP Handel)....I'm going to offer ten bits of advice to the national strategy team of the Democrats.

1.  Maybe in highly urbanized areas, this VIP or Hollywood star involvement makes a difference....but in lesser areas or rural regions, it doesn't go over that well.  I might refrain from using this tactic in seventy-percent of voting districts of the US.  I know your Hollywood types think they are an asset, but it's best to only use in limited situations.

2.  If you have a highly gerrymandered district....built to be 60-percent GOP....don't waste 50-million expecting to convince them to slide 10-percent of the votes over.  If the 6th district had been built with a 52-percent GOP voter trend....it might have been worth the effort but that's NOT the design of the 6th district.

3.  You might need to worry about the 2020 Census and results coming out of that.  I'm guessing that at least six states (minimum) will be redrawing their district lines because of representative losses/gains.  If you don't control the legislative process in those six states.....you can guess the outcome of the redrawing.  Adding to this....the Supreme Court is going to pick up the topic of gerrymandering and either give it a clear path ahead or some drastic interpretation (maybe only using county lines).

4.  Silently across the nation for well over twenty years....jobs actually was one of the top three topics on people's minds.  Job stability, job growth, etc.  What was in the Democratic message over this period and what did you actually deliver?  This perception by people outside of urban zones isn't helping you.  A total revamp of Democratic strategy is necessary and asking the question of how you can actually grow private industry and help jobs to be created.  And please don't immediately jump up and start talking 'green' jobs....it only makes people laugh.

5.  Tone down the Trump-negativity theme a notch.  If you go through to the summer of 2019....approaching the next election period (November 2019) and we find that the threat of impeachment never occurred, no Russian-hacking charges ever occurred, and no one in the Trump administration went to jail.....your entire theme will be laughed upon during the election period.

6.  Gone are the days when you could go to NBC, CBS, ABC, the Washington Post and NY Times to garner and attract public attention.  The Huff-Post threat?  Gone.  They've fired off all their 'silver bullets' and reached a point where profit margins are openly discussed and downsizing of staffs is a monthly topic.  Thinking that's just the national scene?  Note that the Birmingham News is now a 3-times a week publication.  Various regional newspapers which used to carry your message aren't being read at the level of the 1960s or 1970s.

7.  Rebrand yourself.  The time has come to set Nancy Pelosi into the retirement stage and reshuffle the leadership of the Party.  Fresh new faces.....people without attack-talk....different prospective.

8.  Fix healthcare, period.  Every single year since 2009.....the cost pattern of health care insurance escalated. For some people, with the better plans....it means a combined cost of the insurance and deductible of $18,000.  If you look two years in the future....it'll likely go beyond $20k a year.  The only thing that really got fixed in 2009 was that you forced the companies to accept everyone, regardless of condition.  Beyond that.....nothing in terms of affordability occurred.  You might want to openly talk about this failure and how it could be resolved.

9.  Know your voters.  If you aren't willing in seventy-percent of the voting districts around the nation....why?  Take a dozen of highly-paid strategists and fire them.....then go find some folks to replace them but send them out for four months of traveling around nation and get a new prospective on voters and their view of the situation.

10.  Eventually, every musical shuts down.  With the hyped-up nature of politics over the past thirty years, it's safe to say that a fair number of people are fed up with Washington DC, and the continual opera-like atmosphere.  They hit the mute-button on TV.....they refuse to buy various newspapers....they quit watching Sunday morning political-chat TV....and they ask questions which you really don't really appreciate.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

This Otto Warmbier Story

I've sat for several days looking over this story of the American kid who finally got removed from North Korea, and passed away in the US in the past twenty-four hours.  There are a lot of mysterious things over the Warmbier story, but the top one that interests me....is how he got to the point of being in a vegetative state.

My guess?  I think toward the conclusion of the court case.....they began to dope him up.  Guard A would be given some instructions, and in some shift change....give out a dope-dose.  Guard B would come on and get the same instructions.  Guard C would get the same instructions. At some point, Warmbier is permanently in a coma.  The guards can truthfully say they followed the precise instruction they were given, and the idiots above them will realize that they'd killed Warmbier without any intention. The sad fact is that they probably do this several hundred times each month to other prisoners and no one ever says anything about what was done.

My observation on traveling to North Korea?  Why not just select downtown Detroit for a week, and go on nightly tours of the no-go areas of Detroit?  Why not select the gang zones of Atlanta?  There's just no reason to go into North Korea.

Some Reality

I watched a short piece from the Monday night MSNBC show with Chris Mathews.  I rarely agree with Mathews although 30-percent of the time....he does come up with some blunt and true analysis.

So the topic was.....has Hollywood and the news media been insensitive to rural and working-class Americans?  For a brief seven minutes....it was a rare door open on reality and the realization that a whole group of Americans are just fed up (not just with politics, but the news media, entertainment, and public media).

I think if you went out and asked a hundred Americans in some small Iowa town about their view of Washington and politics.....more than half will just start laughing and comparing it to some third-world banana-republic.  The same opinion will be expressed about the Hollywood elite and maybe half the crowd noting they barely go out to two or three movies a year now.

Is this a new trend?  No.  I think it's been going on since the 1970s and about every decade....doubles up.  It's unfortunate at this point....we've reached a point where we refuse to read regional newspapers (making them economic failures), give more viewing to the History Channel and alternate networks and refusing to view various shows from CBS/NBC/NBC (causing chaos with long-term planning), and skipping the news stand with Time and Newsweek on sale.

Quietly, a message is being generated and sent out.  It's not a blunt or harsh message....just that folks won't listen to your theme or message, buy a particular product, view a certain show, or vote for your candidate.

I often point out the problem of the Democratic Party since the mid-1990s, and how they are unable to win more than 30-percent of counties in America now in national elections for President. Five elections have passed since this odd turn of affairs has occurred.  Does the DNC care?  No.  They have specialized groups which lead them to believe that will be enough to win elections.  It's a good formula in urbanized zones (like Atlanta, Baltimore, or Detroit).....it doesn't work well in most sections of Texas or Idaho.

I doubt that Mathews analysis really picks up viewers or changes much of anything.    

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Levy Email

This past week, I got this personalized email from a big-wig (Cliff Levy) from the New York Times.  Basically, it was a personalized appeal that I needed to support and read the Times because only they had brilliant journalists.  The hint also....was that bloggers simply didn't have the sources for the news.....like the anonymous source folks.....to help give you a four-star story.

It took me about sixty seconds to assess that it was a rather weak and marginalized attempt to get me to subscribe with a newspaper known greatly for it's biased reporting and comical analysis.

The best quote from the email?  "Real reporting is vital in a media landscape full of deceptive or outright false news. And we can do it because we have the support of our subscribers".

Maybe a decade ago, I would have easily bought off on quotes or news from the Washington Post or New York Times.  In the past decade.....I've gone to a different plateau and ask a lot more questions.  Just say some news comes from the Times or Post.....doesn't mean anything to me.  I get this almost nightly now from public TV here in Germany, and find the handcuffed method of convincing me of things to be questionable.

How many people will buy off on this email from Cliff Levy?  My humble guess is less than a hundred people will subscribe.  I would even make the assessment that the Times has reached a point of desperation where it really needs another twenty-thousand subscribers.

Batman Story

I noticed this in comic news (I hate to admit it, but I am an old-time comic fanatic).....that DC has decided to introduce this bold new threat to the Earth.....seven evil Batman-characters (actual Batmen) from other alternate universes, will be coming to Earth and posing some new major threat.

To be honest, just about every single scenario in the book has occurred with the Batman and Superman franchise story.....but this goes off into some really weird and unusual direction.

Batman A, B, C, D, E, F, and G?  All evil and intending to do harm?

Do we get introduced to the gender-switcher Batman?  Is there a goofball-loser Batman in this mix?  Is there a fed-up-with-good-stuff Batman in the group?  Is there a nutcase Batman that will enter into these stories?  Is there some possibility that from some alternate universe that the Joker will emerge as a hero and help save Batman?

Why 490,000 Votes Mattered

The 2016 Trump-Clinton election comes down to three states that Hillary Clinton figured to win, and could not.

Michigan, 16 electoral votes, votes that Hillary needed: 11,000
Wisconsin, 10 electoral votes, votes that Hillary needed 23,000
Ohio, 18 electoral votes, votes that Hillary needed: 455,000

It's amazing over the last ten weeks of the Hillary campaign....there were only 71 stops or speech-episodes in this period.  Most of the stops?  Mostly on the eastern coast....and a couple of stops in Vegas and California.  She did stop a couple of times in Michigan and Ohio, but it appears to have barely helped.

So this entire episode today.....all over the lack of 490,000-odd votes?  Yes.

The number of stops for Tump in the final ten weeks?  106.  Why the lesser number for Hillary?  There's a one-week period for the pneumonia episode, and there are a number of days where there were only one single speech or appearance arranged.

One might reach the conclusion that the energy needed for a massive year-long campaign simply wasn't there.  This is one of the problems of modern-day elections and why youth might play a bigger role than people want to believe.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

What does Collusion Really Mean?

It's been hyped up in the news media for several weeks, so one might want to sit down and analyze what the heck collusion really means.

The plain definition is....a secretive effort, a conspiracy by multiple individuals, or an illegal plan to deceive others....usually to have some type of profit or positive outcome in the end, which they normally would NOT have had with normal non-collusion efforts.

Examples?

You plot with your nutcase liaison girlfriend to have some devious guy hook up with your wife, and the plan is to have your wife fall for the guy.....divorce you in quick fashion with no real pay-off....ditching you, and allowing you to marry up easily with the girlfriend.  Note, all of this is perfectly legal, in a court of law.

You plot with a dozen folks to hype up your ice cream stand with outstanding reviews and Facebook mentions....which pump up business and ice cream sales.  Again, all legit and perfectly legal.

You plot with four guys to buy some city property, which needs a code change to allow you to build a strip bar.  You go and have various talks with several city council folks and talk about your religion, outstanding charity work, and talk about some quiet piano bar club.  They approve the code change, and six months later.....you have the building up and feature topless women.  All of this?  Legit and perfectly legal.

So what does the House team hope to find?  'Bad' collusion would mean money got exchanged and people profited in some way.....meaning illegal stuff and jail-time.  Did money move around?  It's very doubtful.  Did the Russians offer free hookers or cases of wine?  Very doubtful.

Can a court case be established on collusion?  Look around?  Do you know of any Congressmen or lobbyists who've been prosecuted in the past decade for collusion?  A single one?  It looks good on TV.....like a Gunsmoke classic episode with bad-guys.  But seriously, is there anything illegal here? My guess is no.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Resolution Ten Crowd

While I was off on a short trip this week.....the fine folks at the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution referred to as "#10".....condemning the Alt-Right crowd/all forms of racism.....in accordance with the gospel.

Yeah, it's actually written into Mathew, Mark and Ezra.  Even Moses hyped up the issues of being Alt-Right and a member of the GOP.  Jesus wept at some point and noted that Alt-Right was a terrible thing....it's all in the scriptures....you just need to read between the lines.

Well......no, it's not there.

Some SBC dimwits made up some hype and went off to say that the Gospel was interpreted to mean this and Alt-Right was something that ministers need to talk negative about.

In a way, the move helps to lessen the appeal of the Southern Baptists and focus some members on the comical behavior of the organization.  It's pretty simple to just say adios and let go of the politicized organization.

The odds that Minister Bob or Deacon Joe will come to visit you after you stop showing up?  You can just bring up resolution ten, and that you think Jesus was actually an original part of the Alt-Right trend.  Minister Bob or Deacon Joe will stand there with some deer-in-the-headlight look, and realize their gimmick to paradise just isn't going to sell well.

In a way, the SBC folks are helping to dissolve the whole organization, with a long-term plan of non-existence.

London Fire

I sat this week and observed the news-feed over the London fire.  A number of things bothered me about this episode.

This was a building with roughly four apartments on each floor....one single elevator, and one single stairway.  In a fire situation, it was a no-win situation.  If you were above the fifth floor, your odds of getting out were severely limited.  If you were above the 15th floor....it's just about impossible odds of getting out.

This material added in the renovation phase from a couple of years ago?  It's been a big sales item in Germany, and I noted last year in Frankfurt.....they had a building which went quickly from a minor one-apartment fire to a massive fire.....same type material.  Luckily, this was a three-story building....not a multi-floor building.  My guess is that in roughly four months.....some PhD guy will come out and prove this renovation material is a major threat, and trigger a massive removal-type situation across Europe.  Billions will be spent to remove it from the exterior of buildings.

Then I come to this personal feeling....that you need some type of rope-harness deal in your apartment and a repel-type device that you could just hook onto a doorway and break a window and slide down.  It doesn't require rocket-science.  Some engineer ought to be able to fashion something that cost less than a hundred bucks and guaranteed to dump you 300 feet to the ground....safely.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

11-9 Syndrome

For several weeks, I've contemplated this new syndrome or mental issue which exists, and have decided the best wording for it is '11-9' syndrome (not to be confused with 9-11 syndrome).

For those affected?  These are people who woke up on Wednesday, the 9th of November....to realize that Hillary Clinton had lost.  The rage, the madness, the hysterics, the frenzy, the ferment and the mania displayed?  It's unlike anything ever seen.

Over the past ten days, the Feds swooped down onto Reality Leigh Winner, who had been some highly recognized and trusted Air Force member....who'd left the service and gotten a contractor job with a TS clearance, and decided that she needed to help punish Trump and bring justice to this world (judge and jury-mentality).  Prior to 11-9-2017?  She was perfectly normal.  The election affected her mentality and judgement. She had a lapse in common sense.

Across the spectrum, you can find hundreds of thousands of individuals with the same affect....11-9 syndrome has made them aggravated enough to say things that they'd never say.  In some cases, they've dissolved marriages or relationships.  In other cases, they've cut off fathers, mothers, sons and daughters.

Could 11-9 syndrome last a full four years?  Undoubtedly so.

If Trump chooses to run in 2021 again?  Would it continue?  I'm of the mind that it would continue on for another four years.

Treatment for 11-9 syndrome?  There are only two possibilities.  First, just wait for a Democrat to enter office.  Maybe it'll occur in 2021, or 2025....or maybe even 2029.  The second way is simply to turn off the TV.....chill out with some wine or beer.....and just refuse to watch any news for about six weeks.

In the case of Reality Leigh Winner?  She'll get a minimum of ten years of 11-9 'detox' and will be able to chill out in a comfortable federal prison.  Somewhere around the 4th month in the facility....without internet access or the ability to chat with 'her people'.....she will start to recover.  Without Facebook and Twitter, her world will revolve around other prison folks who have zero interest in politics, Trump or the 2016 election.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

CNN, Fake Stories, and Iran?

CNN came out this morning and wanted everyone to know that this whole Qatar-Saudi Arabia mess....is because of fake news, which....naturally.....goes back to the Russians.

I'd actually like to believe this....but then they kinda just dropped the ball and refused to talk about either story.  Yes, there are two stories and you would need to say both are fake and Russian-driven.

There are two stories to pick from and decide upon fake news potential:

1. Several members of the Qatar royal family were kidnapped and held for ransom by a group of thugs with Iranian background. The ransom was paid and equaled one billion dollars (so the story goes). The royal family members were released. Who were the royal members? Unknown. What’s the name of this thug-group from Iran? Unknown. Where did the cash go? Unknown. At best, this is a two-line story, but virtually everyone in Qatar and throughout the Middle East believes the story. Some people think it was just pay-back on activities of the royal family.

2. The ‘non-profit’ policy organization Counter Extremism Project....wrote up a piece and published a story on how Qatar has been financing and giving shelter to a dozen-odd terrorists. One reference suggests a life of luxury. These would be thugs probably tied to the Muslim Brotherhood....the group that Egypt hates with passion. Several things about this story are limited. Someone does fund Counter Extremism Project....but you don’t know who. Where they got this info on the dozen terrorists lounging around pools and luxury? Unknown. How they figured out some financial connection to the suggested terrorists? Unknown.

Both stories sound true but there are various pieces to them missing. CNN could step in with investigative analysis and in two weeks clear up both stories....proving them true or false. However, CNN has chosen to just brand the whole episode of Saudi, Egyptian, and Bahrain behavior is acted out only because of fake news. Either of the two stories could be fake. The CNN fake news story could be fake. And meanwhile, public confidence from within Qatar is shaken because of the nature of stability tied upon happy relations with all neighbors.

So this brings me to activities in Iran today....where some ISIS thugs showed up at two separate places and conducted raids.  One was at the shrine of Khomeini (kinda like the Statue of Liberty to some Iranians) and the other at the parliament building.  The parliament raid is still underway and no one says much over deaths so far.

Who paid ISIS to conduct the raids?  That might be interesting to know.  My best guess is that when it's done and the dead terrorists are rounded up....they won't be Iranians.  Shocker?

So, Iran might be looking at this Qatar episode, these two raids, and start to think about the 1,000-lb guerrilla in the room and who financed the guerrilla.  The curious thing is that on the crazy-scale....some Russian idiot on his own without any Putin input....could have paid for the attack.  Or Qatar's ISIS enthusiasts could have paid for it.  Or you could have some crazy Saudi private citizens who paid.   The thing....Iran is going to react.

Oil prices about to react?  That's the thing about this.  You start some minor misunderstanding....some bold words....a tanker sunk....then oil prices jump to $120 in one single day....maybe to $170 in a week.

Reality Leigh Winner

I've sat and watched this newest leak story unfold.  You can say five things about this and the young lady involved.

1.  This is another case similar in nature to Snowden and Bradley/Chelsea Manning.  They held clearances....felt some great purpose in life to 'save the world'....decided that they had the authority to share classified material....and were 'judge and jury' over their mission.

2. Winner will very likely claim at some point that Trump-frustration-syndrome was affecting her and that she wasn't totally responsible for the act (suggesting that Trump caused her to do this).

3.  Presently, with the one charge....it appears they will max out at 10 years if they go for the full-court episode.  Did she share other reports in the past (while in the Air Force)?  I'm guessing that the AF is now be reviewing the past year or two.  Some group will put several thousand man-hours into this past review.  For her sake, one might hope that it's just one single screw-up.

4.  She's 24.....doing likely ten years in prison if convicted and out by probably age 35 (figure the court case will not start until January of 2018 at the earliest).  It's the best years of your life lost but she would still able to restart.  Oddly, with all clearances permanently gone and the past six years mostly in the intelligence field....there's not going to be that many options on employment.  Maybe a fitness trainer, yoga instructor or such....in her mid-30s.

5.  Everyone used to worry about spies.  It would appear to me that leakers are more of a threat today than spies.  Maybe there needs to be training episodes required each month to remind people over and over....they aren't there to 'save the world', and that ten years in prison is a waste of a good life.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Sears T-Shirt Story

This got brought up by the Jerusalem Post today.....Sears, for a number of months.....has carried this T-shirt..."Free Palestine".

I sat and pondered over the political message and the weight of the message across most of America.

To be honest, if you brought up the topic of Palestine or Free Palestine....roughly 75-percent of adults wouldn't have much of an idea what you were referring to.

Maybe you mean a new soda called Palestine which will be given initially away for free.  Maybe you mean a new store for fashion trends.  Maybe it's for a comedian named Palestine who insulted Trump and got arrested.  Maybe it's even a new ice hockey team from Ottawa.

As much as people think that the public is that bright....it's mostly proven day after day that the public IS NOT that bright.

Sears in this sales gimmick?  Thirty years ago, they wouldn't have sold a t-shirt like this.  Today, in a moment of desperation....trying to appeal to various crowds....they will attempt to sell just about anything.


Understanding Qatar and the 'Mess'

Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, UAE, Bahrain and the Maldives stood up and said 'enough'.....cutting Qatar off.  They aren't just talking politically.  They shut down flights from their countries into Qatar.  An embargo of goods appears to be on the agenda as well.

Over what?  For a long time (over 40 years), there's been this suspicion that someone was funding the Muslim Brotherhood....but officially, no one was sure about who was paying their bills.  Adding to this....the sponsorship of ISIS over the past six years has also been on people's minds.

In the past couple of months, it appears that someone came onto the scene, and laid out some banking notes or information, and it all points back to Qatar.  We apparently are not talking about a little bit of help or a short-period of help....it goes much further.

So, what's happening today in Qatar?  Lot of panic buying of goods....groceries....food.  Whatever was in the grocery stores is mostly gone.  Warehouses that were stocked up will be empty of food by the end of this week.  It's anyone's guess when deliveries will start back up.  Bringing food in?  It'll have to be shipped in or flown in (but not from the listing countries above).

The potential friends to help them?  Iran and Turkey area mentioned.  Turkey probably would love to be an insider sales partner but you'd be talking about two or three weeks for them to react and hustle up freighters there with food.  Tons of money to be made.  For Iran, it'd make perfect sense but they might be asking about the Muslim Brotherhood deal and if they were targeted along the way.

All of this brings up the delicate topic of the 2022 World Cup of soccer.....Qatar was the chosen location.  I'm guessing that enough legal papers were signed that the World Cup bosses really don't want to think about relocating the games.  But if these seven countries were to chat about this and work up negativity on Qatar, then you might see a dozen more countries refuse to play soccer in Qatar in 2022.

As for the real question here....who provided insight into the sponsorship and money business?  Oddly, you don't see a single news service tackle that.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Trying to Do Andy Griffith in 2017

This weekend, I pondered upon someone coming up today and trying to remake Mayberry and do an Andy Griffith episode in today's atmosphere.  I doubt if they'd get past twelve episodes.

Andy?  He'd be a failed student at Liberty University, who quit and spent six months trying to make it in Nashville.  On the final night before leaving Nashville, before returning to Mayberry....he got drunk and banged out three tunes in sixty minutes to some guy for $500....enough to pay his ticket home.  Andy remembers nothing of the night but all three tunes went over the next year to make $20 million for the country guy now made into a star. Andy returns to Mayberry mostly as a failure but just in time as the old police chief dies in some trailer on the south-side of Mayberry while 'hugging' some trailer-trash gal.  Andy agrees to the chief's job but admits he knows little to nothing about the job.

Barney?  He's be some Gulf War-vet who has PTSD and goes nuts about every three weeks from some drug that he's taking.  What no one knows is that he got there in Iraq a month after the war ended, and ended up as the custodian to one of Saddam's palaces, and was mostly there to water the plants, arrange for clean-up crews, and ensure Army guys hanging out there don't break anything.  He's convinced Andy to let him tote several military assault weapons in the police-car but no ammo.
Aunt Bee?  She's a cigarette-smoking ex-bartender from Tulsa who tinkers with motorcycles, makes apple pies from scratch, and has some mysterious past from San Francisco (claiming to have known at some point Charles Manson).

Otis?  He's been on sixteen different alcohol rehab adventures.  He's under study now by a Swiss PhD guy with radical ways of treating this.  Otis's wife is a die-hard far-left liberal who mostly drives Otis to drink.

Floyd?  He has a secret history of dressing up as women.  He's secretly written a dozen romance books and flies into the Bahamas once a year for two weeks while he writes another successful book.

Gomer?  He's mostly a gas-sniffer and comes in and out of brilliance about four hours a week.

Goober?  He's PhD character who flipped out and gave up a life in computer design to just repair cars.

Ernest T. Bass?  He's mostly a crazy nut, who can't be put away in a home.

And Helen Crump?  She's a fireball teacher who does crazy stuff and never seems to get arrested or fired.

The show would be watched intently for two or three episodes and then folks would say that it just isn't the same as the old show.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Actual Paris Accord

I'm probably one of the few around that has sat and read the whole Paris Accord document.  I spent an hour this morning reading over it.

You should note....while 175 pages....it's in Chinese, French, etc....so the real bulk of this....in plain English, is 25 pages (more or less).

So, there's nothing there on pollution or cleaning up creeks, rivers, lakes, etc.  There's nothing there on cleaning up air pollution, unless you count carbon as the air pollution (a serious science blunder if you do that).

What I would generally say is that it looks like some club-agreement, that members would promise on something to be part of the club, but it doesn't really demonstrate anything of a serious nature other than working on carbon.

There is a piece in article 2 which chats on keeping temperatures at such-and-such range....but the method for which you'd achieve this....isn't really demonstrated in the document.

If you were to ask me about actual impact and using this document to reach some certain stage of mankind....then if this is "IT".....it's an awful weak document.

If you did have an hour and just wanted to understand the episode better....go and read through pages 27 to 51 of the PDF document.

To have some idiots go into Richard Burton dramatics over this....is a bit humorous in nature, but that's the world we live in today.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Other 25 December Folks

There are four characters in history, which I've sat down and read over some odd connections:

Horus.  Horus was a Egyptian 'God-like character' from the period of roughly 3000 BC.  Horus lived, at least as much as history has recorded him.  Oddly, he's born on 25 December....from a virgin-birth.....noted by a connection in the sky that is often referred to as the 'three kings' where three particular stars line up in a row.  He's also known for being at a young age, and instructing others by age 12.  Sometime after the age of thirty.....he was noted by history as having his own religion, which had a dozen individuals attached to his as his 'chiefs'.  It should be noted that he healed the sick and also accomplished a couple of miracles (at least history records this fact).  His nickname among the writers of the time?  The lamb of God.  Somewhere along age forty, he got into a conflict with some folks and ended being hung up and thus died.  Legend has it....after three days dead....Horus returned to life.

Attis.  Attis was a Greek who lived around 1200 BC.  He also was born on 25 December....oddly enough....from another virgin.  He's noted for a handful of miracles.  He developed a cult group in western Turkey, and oddly enough....came to be prosecuted by other cults in the region which eventually led to his death.  Again, oddly....after three days dead....he arose.

Krishna.  Krishna was an Indian from the period of 900 BC.  No, he wasn't born on 25 December, but it is widely noted that he too was a virgin-birth situation, and led a fairly established cult.  He too....ended up dead.  He also returned to life after a couple of days.  It should also be noted that he was an accomplished miracle creator, at least among his followers.

Dionysus.  Dionysus was a 25 December situation, from a virgin-birth, and is widely known as an instructor in youth.  This was around 500 BC, in Greece.  Miracles?  Yes....it's widely noted in history notes of some legendary feats accomplished.  The water-into-wine episode?  He's the first guy to have been noted having accomplished this. Greeks at the time, noted him as the "Alpha and the Omega".  He originates from a small town about a two-hour walk NW of Athens, Greece.  His return after dying?  Yes, he's another guy who returned from the dead.

It's an odd thing.  Dionysus, Krisha, Attis and Horus....all from different time-periods.  All with the same legendary feats....mostly all born on 25 December....all performed recorded miracles....all were instructors at some point....all developed followings....all died in complicated situations.....and all returned from the dead (at least history records this).

The thing about this is that there's just too much similarity between the four.

Today, I got around to a fifth character in my studies.....a Persian guy from the period of 1200 BC.  His name?  Mithra.  Yeah....born on 25 December, from a virgin-birth, and created a religious following.  Yeah, he also had 12 significant people who were under his leadership.  Yeah, history does record a handful of miracles accomplished, and strangely enough....precisely after three days....he returns from the dead as well.

The odds of five or six guys having all the same character, same story, same birthdate, and same return from the dead?

Observation over Griffin

I've waited twenty-four hours, after the smoke has cleared on this Kathy Griffin episode in the US to offer an observation.  Frankly, the NY Post offered the best words yet....someone in a 'bubble' who was unable to note how stupid a stunt could go.

In destruction values, I'd say over the next twelve months....she's wiped out about 70-percent of her income (my humble numbers).  She'll make some TV appearances, and maybe do a special somewhere....but she can probably erase the majority of her schedule.

My advice....go take 18 months off, and travel outside of the US.  Get a new prospective on life.

The thing about this is that people (in particular since the election) have continually shown that they are 'bubble-people', and just thinking/reacting in some unusual way.  If you suggest to them that this kind of behavior toward President Obama would be viewed as extremely hateful....they mostly just grin.  It's almost child-like.....they don't expect any punishment or retribution to occur.

I look at the loss of common sense over the past decades as the biggest factor in this episode.  If you look over news and events....you just see people wandering around and thinking that they can survive without using common sense.  These are the same people who have a public career, and then jeopardize it by becoming political....attaching themselves to some idea and then feeling shocked when a quarter of their income drys up...from a loss of fans.

In Griffin's case, I'd suggest packing a suitcase and quietly going off to Europe for a rest....maybe a year-long rest.  You've done something that requires a review of your attitude and behavior.  Frankly, turning yourself into this 'beast' over the past decade....doesn't say much.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Two Islamic Stories

So, the first story.  There's this guy named Arthur.  He's from Florida, and for a couple of years....he identified himself as a neo-Nazi.  There's no real history on this, or details how he got to be a Nazi-like dude.....but most folks agree that this was his 'thing'.

So, in the last couple of weeks....Arthur found religion.  Arthur got himself all into a new religious group...Islam.

Yeah, converting over from neo-Nazi to Muslim is pretty unusual.  To be honest, I can't think of a case ever....occurring like this.

Arthur had this problem though...he was living in some apartment with at least two other guys (maybe even a third).  Once Arthur laid out this new religious thing....his friends/room-mates.....didn't really take this serious. They joked about it.

Eventually, Arthur couldn't take much more....and killed two of the guys.  Cops come onto the scene.  No denial over what he did.  They had to be killed because of the insult to Islam.

My humble guess is that several investigators will pour over the case, find some kind of drug activity connected to this, and that Arthur will be lucky if he avoids the death sentence.  The thing is.....there just might be some mental issues with Arthur, and he gets off all charges by going to some mental facility.

The second story?  Some high school kids are supposed to graduate and have a prom in two weeks.  In this group of American kids....are a couple of Islamic kids.  The Islamic kids want the prom rescheduled  til the period after Ramadan (we just started this in the last three days).  Well....the school isn't that open to the idea.  Lot of folks have reservations, and plans.....so waiting two more weeks isn't practical.

Law-suite against the school?  Maybe, but I seriously doubt that it would change anything.  The kids say that one of the Ramadan rules is no music to be heard during Ramadan.  It's a curious interpretation.  I'm kinda wondering why no-cellphone usage can't also be applied for this period from sun-up to sun-down.  The use of any electronic device?  Same way ought fall into effect.

What happens when these students go on in life and find that companies aren't willing to bend over backwards when Ramadan occurs?  It's hard to say.  The Koran does give the 'waiver-deal'...meaning if you live around westerners.....you can use their lifestyles, their food, and their rules.  Oddly, people don't seem to want to seek out that waiver.    


Sunday, 28 May 2017

2020 Election?

To be honest, I'm of the mind that Trump will not run for re-election in 2020.  Chief reason?  Most of what he expected to change will start to be seen in 2019 and he'll see no reason to do another four years.  I think his physical health is being challenged by this daily routine and that will add into the mix as well.

So, what's the landscape look like?

Twenty-two democrats are said to be exploring a run:  Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Saunders, Cory Booker from NJ, Cuomo of NY, Tim Kaine, Mark Cuban (the business guy), and then fifteen lesser folks.  Hillary?  Potentially, yes.

Age ought to take out Joe Biden, but some folks aren't sure.

The odds of Obama coming back to run again?  Legally, he could run after sitting out for four years.  For Democratic Party, it'd be a win-win but a fair number of DC crowd would like their chance at the 'glory'.

For the Republicans?  VP Pence, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and a couple of governors.  If you went and measured up accomplishments and 'shine' over the past five months....Haley is probably the shocker.  If she stays at the job until late 2019 before exiting for a campaign....she might have a fair number of topics to put her in the top of the group.

The news media in all this?  They are expending every single silver-bullet that they have and I think the general trust by the public will be viewed in fairly negative numbers by 2020.  The real loser over this four-year period.....will be the national news media.

For the Democrats talking about this great lesson learned from the Hillary loss?  In the end (2020), it'll be mostly a myth of some change.

The Characteristics of a Terrorist

“He said that Muslims couldn’t exercise their religion peacefully in France.  He spoke with words that didn’t belong to him. He was under a spell, like a cult.”
         -- Mother of Adel Karmiche, Islamic terrorist who killed a priest in Normandy, France in 2016, in a NY Daily News article

I sit and read an awful lot over terror acts and the gentlemen behind them.  The fine details.....often have to be gained through hours of reading and analyzing.

There are generally five descriptive reminders that you can use for the bulk of these individuals involved in terror attacks.

First, most all of them are under the age thirty.  You might find a handful of 30-to-35 year old guys....but there's virtually no one over the age of forty.  If you were to go and look over the list of terror attacks and the descriptions of the 'players'....the vast majority are between 18 and 25 years old.  For the most part, you'd say they are immature young men.

Second, it is painfully obvious as the mother described her son Adel from this Normandy attack....he at this point in his life a full-up recruited cult member.  The cult owned him....body and soul.

Cults work hard to ensure ownership over their 'team-members'.  It's personal property to them.  Cults don't care about the guy, just that he serves the cult's purpose.

Third, almost none of the terrorists that have been seen in the past twenty years....had a real occupation.  Some pretended to be students.  Some were legit drug-dealers or small-time thugs.  You won't find carpenters, roofers, plumbers, mechanics, or dry-way guys among them.  This is one of the odd features of this whole racket.  These are mostly what you'd kindly refer to as 'losers'.

Fourth, most of the individuals noted in this category have drug usage noted.  They aren't just a once-a-week weed-smoker....they smoke daily and probably two or three times a day.  They probably pop captagon pills or occasionally use type of uppers.  Even during the act of terrorism...if you did a drug test on all of these guys....they are pumped up on something.

Fifth, in the suicidal phase for these young men.....all aspire to do some greater good to be known for. They've lost so much touch with reality, that they can only dream of the after-life as their ticket to success.

Normally, folks would get all hyped up against cults....but no one wants to touch that topic in this case.  So, we will simply continue on.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

The Montana Story

I walked a good bit yesterday....in the woods around my house and settled upon one mental topic....the Montana election.  After a day or two of surveying the Montana special election for an empty House seat in DC....I've come to three basic observations:

1.  As much as the Democratic Party says that they learned from the Hillary loss in November and have a bold new strategy on the future....I don't see it.  It's either non-existent, or just a painted-up version of the old strategy.

2.  This fight, brawl, scuffle, duel, melee, skirmish or shove (pick whichever based on the news network you watch), really didn't change much of anything.  If this had been some Italian or Russian reporter, they would have shoved back, and a full-scale fight would have erupted.   To suggest that 20,000 Montana folks would have seen this comment and changed their voting strategy....was an embarrassing suggestion by the news media.  Idiots in some urbanized community like Baltimore might do something like that....but not in Montana.

3.  For the hundreds of thousands of Democratic donor funds which got shoved into Montana to win at all cost?  Total waste of money.  Out of the 235 seats that the GOP controls....I would take a guess that at least 180 of them are in extremely safe districts, and it's a total waste of funds to go "all-out".  At best, my humble opinion, is that there might be thirty districts across the US where the right money and right Democratic candidate might make a difference.  The problem is....find those districts...then finding the right Democrat...and then running a pumped-up enthusiastic campaign with no errors.  In the 2018 election? It would shock me if the Democrats were able to take more than  five additional seats.  The chief reason?  I'd go back to the 'right Democrat' mix.  Where are these guys?

The sad thing about this whole woeful story is that the national Democratic Party apparatus is hurting Democratic chances with a lot of bogus talk and TV opera business out of DC.  It's like watching a last-place NBA team, which desperately needs to go recruit new faces and bring in young talent with some optimistic views.  Ten Senators need to just retire or avoid being weekly guests on Sunday chat shows.