Monday, 31 December 2018

The Truth About the Wall

After much thought, and pondering....I have come to five observations about the Trump-Wall.

1.  Upon reaching such a wall....if you are young and fit, you can probably scale the Wall.  Folks over the age of thirty...those in poor physical shape....won't be able to scale it.  In a way, it's sending a message, if you are an older guy, or a out-of-shape gal....don't bother attempting to sneak into the US.

2.  For the smuggler crowd who tended to lead folks through some 'secret' trail.....your entire strategy and long-term success is now dependent on scaling the wall.  The odds of taking twenty folks (paying customers) and getting them over the wall?  I might suggest that smuggler crowd will thin out and only those in the age group of 15 to 25 years old....will be smuggler 'bosses'.

3.  Somewhere along this whole wall business, I suspect that some sensors or detection devices will be installed, and it'll just add more difficulty in entering.

4.  A mythical 'legend' will start up over the wall.  Just in some fake legend-status.....folks will discuss the matter and start to have second thoughts of making the trip up to the border.

5.  At some point, Mexico will react, and have to build an entire wall along it's southern front, and start to protect it's own integrity. 

Sunday, 30 December 2018

How I See Ocasio-Cortez (OC)

In a few short days, Ms Ocasio-Cortez will arrive in DC, and take up her job for the next two years. I tend to expect the news media (particularly CNN).....to have her up for opinion-pieces at least once every single week. 

But I also expect that reality will dawn upon Ocasio-Cortez as she realizes that she is merely one of 435 members, and a number of her associates (from the Democratic group).....will see her as some 5th-grade kid operating a candy shop.

I will forever remember this scene at the end of the movie 'Being There', where you realize that Chance has hit the big time and doesn't really grasp the world he's entered.  I see this fifth-grade kid mentality being in the same landscape. 

Some journalists will suggest that her arrival is 'fresh' and uplifting.  Some people sitting back in the homes will be laughing over the description and wonder how juvenile the journalist is. 


Saturday, 29 December 2018

On Vacations

My brother brought up the topic of vacations this weekend.  As a kid in Alabama, you more or less....went on 'farm-adventure-trips'.  My dad had three basic ingredients for his vision of a vacation: (1) the time away from the farm could be three days and two nights, (2) some element of this trip had to be tied farming, and (3) you tended to leave at 4 AM on day one. 

For me, the most interesting trip was the one where we ended up at the 'Arch' in St Louis and actually rode to the top in that train-vehicle.  I stood there for an hour admiring the 'Arch' and the amount of effort it took to construct it. 

For me, the road-trip was 50-percent of the enjoyment of the trip because you got to see a lot of the country.  Around a dozen years after the 'Arch' trip....I had a two-week period of leave with the Air Force, and drove from Louisiana....out to Arizona/Vegas, and then got onto Highway 1 in California and drove all the way up to Seattle.....then returned via the Rockies.  After that, I got the road-trip thing out of my system.

The most chilled-out vacation I ever took?  Around twenty years ago....I got talked into a trip to Denmark and rented a 1890s-built farm house about three miles from the Danish beach area for two weeks.  Yes, this place had this odd mildew smell, but this was the two-week period where it only rained one single afternoon, and I rode a dozen times on a bike out to the beach.  We brought tons of beef in a cooler and bar-b-q'ed almost daily.  I probably had the lowest blood-pressure of my entire life at the end of that two weeks.

The most challenging trip?  I had that 2017 Dubai-New Zealand trip which had nearly forty listed items tied into that 17-day period....from airline reservations, parking reservations for the car, hotels, car rentals, tours, shuttle bus pick-ups, etc.  I probably spent well over a hundred man-hours in the planning stage and executing the arrangements.    I had a binder in my carry-on bag which listed out times, phone numbers, emergency arrangements, maps to nearby restaurants, etc.  My dad's arrangement business?  Other than a packed bag and a box of cheap cigars.....that was it.  Whatever happened.....happened. 

Question of the Day

If Hillary had never married Bill Clinton....never gone to Arkansas....never bought cattle futures....never bought that Whitewater property....never developed the Clinton Foundation....and never been installed that stupid bathroom server for her State Department job....would she be President today? 

Short answer in my mind? Yes.

It was Bill, his ambitions, the Arkansas years, and all that hype that made her into such a marginalized individual for national office. 

Without the evil intent.....she's be a nicer person, and less 'shady'.  She would have married some fake GOP guy, and eventually pretended to be like John McCain....a 'Republican in name only'. 

Now I'll go back to slide down twelve shots of Jacky D's for this crazed moment of pondering. 

Friday, 28 December 2018

The Trump Tax Return ''Torture"

When the Democrats arrive in January and get the whole hype of getting to Trump tax returns....there's a law which covers this.  It basically says that the heat of committee (not his agents, or lawyers, or staff members).....but the Representative himself or herself....is the one who will go and read/review. 

Here's the thing....each yearly return, for probably over twenty years.....has been in the 500 to 700 page situation.  So even for a CPA-House Member to sit there and read the one single year in question....you'd be talking about an entire month.  For a non-CPA-House guy?  Just go and imagine the pain and torture of grasping this 500-page document. 

Making a 1,000 Mile Walk With a Kid

In the last three months....looking over this migrant 'trek' up through Mexico and leading to the US border, there are a lot of problems and poor-detailed news stories laid out over the event.

So I look today at the second kid who has apparently died from heat exhaustion from this trek (while in US possession).

Most people aren't aware of it, but in Arizona (one of those places where I lived for three years)....there's roughly 110 people (on average) that dies from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or dehydration.  No one goes down into details but I would take a guess that the bulk are people who didn't grow up in the state, and moved down into the region.

Folks getting all hyped up and angry because 110 people die each year in Arizona?  No.  No one seems to get angry. 

TV folks will often comment about the necessity of carrying water on you, and avoiding the sun in the mid-day. 

In 2017, an all-time record occurred, with 155 heat deaths reported in the state.

Most Americans will admit they've never been to Arizona and can't really imagine a typical July day where the heat might reach 110-degrees. 

From my period in Arizona, I came to four observations by the end:

1.  Concrete and asphalt radiate heat, so if you were walking or jogging in the mid-day period in Tucson (in July)....it's probably closer to 115 degrees radiating around you. 

2.  Just staying out of the direct sun makes a ton of difference. 

3.  Never drink beer or wine as your dehydration choices. 

4.  Just walking around for two hours in direct sunlight at noon, with a 110-degree temperature....is enough to get you going toward dehydration and heat stroke. 

So dragging a six-year old kid along on some 1,000 mile trek to cross the US border?  All you are doing is throwing a set of dice on a gamble that he might survive or he might die.  To walk only at night?  It might be a better choice but then you have to gamble on stepping on a rattlesnake.  So none of this makes much sense. 

The Half-Way Point on Gov't Closure

Until the Democrats sit down (likely to be at least late February), and talk over the 'mess'.....nothing is going to happen.  I don't think President Trump will have an issue in going 100-plus days.  The folks affected? There's probably 2,000 government employees in the DC area who are seriously in trouble by mid-January, and another forty-thousand who cannot survive 60-plus days without a pay-check.

So I'm going to suggest the mid-point resolution likely to come from Nancy Pelosi or her replacement (yes, it's possible that Nancy gets fired by the Democrats by day 60 of this shutdown). 

Basically, the Democrats will agree to fund one-billion dollars for the Wall in 2019, and sign up to a 2020 budget 'promise' of 1.5 billion to be funded.  The President, I think....will earmark the money to only go toward Texas and Arizona Wall construction....leaving New Mexico and California without the Wall, and making part of the 2020 election to wrap up the last of this project (figured to be 2021 to 2023).

The odds of a 100-day shutdown?  Actually, it's probably better than a 50-50 bet.  But this will give Amazon a chance to hold a job-fair and go to recruit these desperate DC folks.  That Arlington Amazon operation will require near 25,000 folks and I just don't see some massive number of new folks moving in and taking these jobs.  I think the bulk will come out of this shutdown situation. 

Monday, 24 December 2018

Living Elsewhere Story

There's a study that was done, which basically says that half of all Americans would be interested in moving overseas (meaning another country).   There was one shocker attached to this study.....this wasn't really attached to a political motive, it's just that people had this interest in going elsewhere.

The thing is.....this is just a thought process that people have.  They go off on some trip to Ireland or the Philippines....then they get some thought that it'd be great to just go permanently there. It's like some guy taking the wife to the isle of Aruba for a week, and they both get this funny idea that it'd be terrific to live on some island.  Military folks go off on career 'tours' and get all enchanted about Italy, Turkey or Iceland....then for years, they daydream about moving elsewhere.

I once spent seventy-two hours in Ireland.  I returned and for years had this vision of living in Ireland.  I can say after two weeks of driving around New Zealand in 2017, I felt that 'thrill' over the idea of staying there.  The two weeks I spent on Crete in the 1990s?  That went in the same direction. 

But after reading this article on the study....I came back to this one phrase...."would be interested".  It doesn't mean they will move....just that they fantasize about this idea and discuss it occasionally at the water-cooler with other co-workers or neighbors.  I worked with a guy who spent four years living in Japan.  He could sit and spend hours chatting over Japan and all the 'wonders' (which included Sake, and Highballs (Japanese soda mixed with whiskey).  He was overly enchanted with Japan....to the extent that he'd probably even be willing to live under bridges there as a welfare case, if he had the chance.

Here's the thing....you can ask a hundred people around age 25 about this 'movement' idea to another country, and fifty-percent might suggest they'd like to up and move beyond the US border.  So you go and look for the guy or gal forty years later, and 99-percent are still living within the US.  Oh, they might have moved from Texas to Idaho, or from Florida to Michigan....some might have three to five times.  But there's just not that many folks that moved beyond the border.   So what this study really touched on....was the fantasy involved.

Back in 1982, I sat one evening and watched the movie 'Summer Lovers'.  It's a marginal two-star movie about some American young couple who goes off to Greece and ends up in some threesome deal with another woman.  I barely remembered any of the script....but the whole landscape of Greece was spilled out out on a large screen, and for years....I had this vision of leaving all things behind and moving to Greece. 

People are just that way....most everyone has that fantasy place they'd like to live. 

Shutdown 2019?

What I see happening:

1.  The Senate right now doesn't have the votes to pass the budget. 

2.  We will arrive at early January with a new House and no budget. 

3.  Around 23 January (four weeks of shutdown), Pelosi will go on a massive blame-discussion....finding that nothing has changed with the President.

4.  Around early Feb, Amazon will have a job-fair in Arlington....finding 50,000 government employees interested in quitting their gov't job and joining Amazon.  At least ten-thousand will be offered a salary within 10-percent of their government salary, and depart for Amazon in Arlington.  Another 2,000 government employees will be picked up for the NY City Amazon operation. 

5.  By late Feb, near day sixty, Democrats will be in chaos and wanting Pelosi replaced.  Her House Speaker job will end by 2nd week of March.  A deal will be made for half the five billion to be funded in 2019, and half in 2020. 

6.  The twelve-thousand government folks who departed for Amazon?  Their positions for the most part won't be filled. 

7.  Less than 300 miles of the Trump-Wall will be built in 2019. 

Sunday, 23 December 2018

The Elitist-Intellectual-PC Crowd

I sat and watched an interview this week.....a guy who'd decided that the San Francisco 'Valley' area had become too much for him, and he packed up the family and left.

His chief complaint?  He got to a point where people around him seemed to be elitist.  They had the 'magic' phrases, the agendas to discuss, the hyped-save-the-world attitude on turbo, and the need to sell you on their politics. 

So the interview turned and discussed where he went and how things fell into place there.  Basically, the guy opened up and said whatever you believed in or were interested about.....was 'cool' to the new associates (non-Californians).  These were people with regular lives, and zero interest in special political agendas.

The intellectual crowd were bound and determined to be 'right', and if you weren't going in their direction....then you were anti-intellectual (plain definition: stupid). 

If you had suggested thirty years ago that San Francisco would develop into a community like this, most people would have laughed at you.  Yet, all of the little conditions fell into place, and it's become an odd 'pit' for those who attempt to survive there.

In some way, it's become a tribal-land where the tribe is enforcing it's perception upon anyone who attempts to reside or function there.  You have to wonder where this is going to end up in twenty years.

Friday, 21 December 2018

US Troops Out of Afghanistan Story

Shocker?  No.  President Trump pulled another rabbit out of the hat and triggered the Secretary of Defense to react....announcing his exit.

So what's the end-story to Afghanistan?

Back in August, someone sat and added up the total cost of the Afghan war, the rebuilding stage, the continual 'baby-sitting' cost, and came to around $1.07-trillion (yes, trillion) dollars.  In fact, around two weeks ago....three characters who were deep into some contract deal with the Pentagon were brought up on charges....involving an Afghan project and massive corruption.

Are we any nearer to peace in Afghanistan?  No.  Have we fallen into the rut that the Soviets fell into?  Not quiet, but it's obvious that we aren't getting anywhere.

Did the Pentagon get the long-term strategy wrong?  The Pentagon, from 9-11 to this week....felt some obligation to 'bring' peace to Afghanistan.  The term 'bring' is questionable but on paper....there were various formulas and devices to construct some 'better' Afghanistan. 

Trump's view?  I think he looked at the money spent and asked the question....you spent a trillion dollars and what do you have to show for it?  It's not a pleasant answer.  Mattis?  In his view, we were always at some point where people felt things would turn and go into a more positive direction.  The problem is that this was an everlasting 'curve'....you just never saw this great positive direction.

The 3,000 US troops left now?  Most will fall into the category of trainers.  It's not the end of all US support, but I think money-wise, this is an indication that we just aren't going to waste billions more on the country. 

Thursday, 20 December 2018

US Troops Out of Syria Story

Shocker huh?

Well....when was the last time you heard about some ISIS guys taking control of cities in Syria?  What a year, at least?  Recruitment in Europe to get dimwits to go and join the ISIS war?  That grounded to a halt as well?

So why were we there for the past 12 months?  Mostly because of the Kurdish situation.  Is there any reason for the US to protect the Kurds?  No.

And why did the Pentagon feel some urge to save the Kurds?  From what?  A massive Turkish invasion?

The more you piece together this future in Syria, with the Kurd mix, the Iranians, the Russians, and the Turks....the less wise, this entire game became.  Those idiots with the Pentagon wanting US troops to stay?  They wanted a vast conflict boiling over and creating the perfect Bush-like storm to require Pentagon services.  Trump said no....we have no purpose left to accomplish, end of the story.

It was that simple.  And all this hype by CNN now?  Yeah.....they are engaging in misinformation and guiding you to another Bush-like war zone.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Meth Story

If you gaze over at a map of Afghanistan.....on the far west of the country, there's this community called Ghourian.  Over the past hundred years, there's not much of significance that ever happened in this valley region.  Population?  Around 54,000 residents....more or less.

In the last year or two, Ghourian has gotten itself on the map and kinda recognized.  If you follow TRT (the Turkish national news network)....they've gone and reviewed the town of Ghourian and found that they have a curious side-job that has erupted and gotten themselves on the map.....production of meth.

Yes, TRT says (you have to wonder how they arrived at the numbers) that four out of five households in Ghourian....are in the meth-pipeline.  They either make it or deliver it.

The customers?  This is the curious part of the story.  Ghourian is about an hour's drive from the Iranian border.  The primary customers for the Ghourian meth?  Iranians.

How big of an issue is this?  If you did the math and suggested that 30,000 of the city residents are involved in this.....putting forty to fifty hours a week into meth production and delivery to 'sales representatives' in Iran.....then there's an abundant flow of meth going in, and it has to be influencing rational or irrational behavior within Iran.

But then you look back at Ghourian, and kinda wonder.....with all that meth 'cooking' going on, and lack of labs....the meth is likely cooked in some guy's house, or the back of his bakery, or gas station.  In simple terms....he's in contact with the stuff and his judgement capability is pushing 'zero'.

All of this, if you add it up...would make for a great 'Breaking Bad' TV show....set in Afghanistan, with some CIA guy cleverly devising this as a method to bring down the Iranian government over the next ten years.  Imagine one out of every five Iranians under the age of forty.....addicted to meth.  Imagine a whole nation, where things are fairly screwed up because most people you are doing dealing with, from the local judge and cops....to the local doctor....are whacked out on meth.  And here in the middle of this is some 'Walter White-Afghan guy'. 

Saturday, 15 December 2018

This Russian Agent 'Thing'

Since late 2016, there's been this Russian agent or collusion thing going on.  Virtually every single day....there's some journalist wanting to tell you about the Trump folks and some Russian agents/spies.

This week, I sat there and finally asked myself.....how would one know that they were talking or dealing or meeting with a true Russian agent/spy? 

Is there a badge or special ID?  Does the guy have a Russian flag lapel on his jacket?  Does the guy give you the ultra super-secret handshake like the Mennonites do or the Knights Templar? 

How would you know that the guy you met at the bowling alley to chat over insurance is, or is not a Russian secret agent, or you might be engaging in some collusion thing?

Is it possible that Russian collusion has been going on for eighty years?  Is it possible that Russian collusion occurred to get JFK into office?  Did some Russian agent work to get Harry Reid money....to win his initial campaign?  Did the Russians help Carter win, and then lose?  Did the Russians help to arrange Bill Clinton's marriage to Hillary? 

The problem here is that you have no idea how far the whole Russian spy thing might go, and the other truth is that it might be just something that occurred in the past five years. 

What someone ought to do is start a spy reality comedy show.....Ivan has gotten a secret ID and attempting to infiltrate various American political 'landscapes' and industrial companies. 

What Makes the Clinton Foundation Unique?

The Foundation was capable of saying that roughly 15-percent of the money being used....went to rent, operational costs, internal salary, travel costs, etc.  Year after year....this could bounce from 10 to 15 percent.  It was the general average of most of charitable foundations that were considered 'good'.  The bad foundations?  Well....they were the ones that spent the bulk....sometimes 80 to 90 percent on operational costs, and NOT the charity.

But there's this one odd feature about the Clinton Foundation.  They hired people to perform the charitable actions....make speeches....attend conferences....write white-papers, etc.  And those charity-action people were not part of the operational costs.  They were the charity expenses.  You could have twenty people soaking four-million dollars a year on travel, meetings, and salary.....with it all counted as actually charity expenses....not operational costs.

How much was spent this way?  Unknown.  What work or accomplishments were done this way?  Unknown.  You could attempt some audit over the past ten years, but once you come to individual X....noting his $120,000 a year salary and $40,000 spent on travel and hotels....there's not likely to be some detailed report to say he did anything constructive for the entire year, or that he spent 160 man-hours a month actually working.  It'll just be a pit of budget reports and little else. 

Friday, 14 December 2018

Timmy and Lassie

Could Timmy and Lassie be produced today? 

I sat and pondered upon this.  In today's world....Timmy would have drug issues by age 14.....be connected to some nutcase girlfriend with green hair....detained by the cops at least once for setting bales of hay on fire, and Lassie would have a reputation for attacking poodles down the street.

The sad thing is that we can't make TV shows like that anymore.  Timmy has to be a problem-kid....mom has to be a semi-alcoholic.....dad has to be down-and-out, and Lassie cannot be a friendly dog.

Lots of past shows fall into that category.  Go and imagine how Bonanza would work today.  Or how about Three's Company?  Or even even My Three Sons?

It says a lot about society, and how far we've fallen.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

My Description of the View

Back around 2010, I had a 'snow-day'....meaning it was bad enough on weather, that everyone stayed home.  So for the first time (and last time), I sat and watched the View in its entirety.  It's an ABC-produced show.....mostly designed for women.  The theme, as I figured out in ten minutes....is to have four female moderators and a 'chat'. 

A slanted chat?  Well....yeah, it's geared seem like an open chat, but the political method here is to have one single voice from a conservative view, opposed by three on the other side.   

A necessity to drive toward mostly a political show...in the midst of the morning, and repeat this each and every day?  Yeah.

Around a year after that, the topic came up in conversation in the vault that I worked, and a guy who'd watched a couple of the shows noted the nearest comparable show....WWE-wrestling.  I laughed in the very beginning.

He pointed out...it's all chatter like some WWE-wrestler would make, to get the audience hyped up.  Occasionally, some of the wrestlers are 'let-go' or sent off, and new fresh faces are brought in.....to keep the crowd all hyped up.  The chatter is all scripted, and leads onto fresh new chatter the next day (which is the same dynamic of WWE-wrestling).

He was basically right.

I know that women who watch the View will get all frustrated and angry over the description....but if you task them watch WWE for about a month.....they will eventually come to agree....they run a theatrical operation closely pattern after the wrestling world.  And you have to wonder....if they realize it. 

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Oscar's 'Crap'

Frankly, I'll admit that I haven't watched an entire episode of the Oscar's Award Show....since probably 1990.  There are few of these movies that I actually go out to the theater to watch, and to attempt to run some three-hour Frankenstein-like awards show.....well....it's a joke.

So when the Kevin Hart business came up this week, I pondered over the mess.  The solution to future shows?

Have some kid push a table out to the middle and let him ask the Amazon Alexa box each time....who won this or that.....just let Alexa do all the talking. 

No jokes.  No stage dramas.  No three-hour shows.  We can get this show over in 90 minutes.  Just let Alexa run the show. 

Migration Story

This week, some PhD group laid out their research and said that there are approximately 750 million people on the Earth....who'd like to migrate and seek asylum....somewhere else.

Naturally, there are various groups (pro-asylum in doctrine) who'd like to create these doorways to make this possible.

What the PhD guys didn't lay out....is that if you asked the 750 million folks about 'where' they want to go, it usually ends up being the US, Canada, the UK, France, Australia/New Zealand, and Germany.  No one cares about going to Mexico, Greece, or Peru....or for that matter....roughly a list of 120-odd countries.

Even if you had some path just ten million folks a year on this migration effort....to these seven countries....most would suggest a limit.  That limit in the case of the UK?  Probably 100,000 max.  For Australia or New Zealand.....they want questions answered over your English ability and past criminal behavior, and they might go and accept a limited number (I doubt if New Zealand would take more than 10,000). 

All of this migration chatter is leading to a smuggling gimmick where people are just paying money and figuring if they arrive....with no passport, the pain of forcing people to return will be too much and you will have to accept them.  Jobs?  Well....this is the fantasy of the whole story.  Most of these people have no skill other than flipping burgers or physical labor like mowing grass.  The same folks will be angry after five years of one-star employment, and shake their heads over the whole migration business. 

What really triggered all of this?  The internet.  People sat there and looked at these wonderful lives being lived out in Germany, Australia, and the US......then figured they could easily fit into that image. 

A bigger mess coming in the next decade?  You just don't see this being easily resolved. 

Sunday, 9 December 2018

2019 and What I Expect

My list of ten things I expect to happen in 2019:

1.  BREXIT will occur, with the treaty thrown out the door, and most Brits shaking their head over all the chatter that occurred about some trade situation with the EU.....which doesn't apparently happen.  The US concludes a trade agreement in six weeks and it opens up a number of unexpected doors for Americans and Brits to travel, trade, and expand on industrial relationships.

2.  The budget situation is not worked out, and President Trump ends up in the spring shutting down the government.  The Democratic House will think they hold some control over the situation, and find by the sixth week of the shut-down....that the President has no enthusiasm for their game, and by day 60....a massive negativity exists with federal workers running out money while sitting at home.

3.  The past dozen-odd folks who headed finances with the Clinton Foundation over the past 20 years....will find themselves in Grand Jury rooms, and having to explain details....which seem to suggest they never understood how the Foundation worked and that outsiders seemed to run the money aspects more than they did. Money-laundering?  Well, the end-result will suggest some small and limited efforts at money-laundering (unconnected to Hillary or Bill).

4.  Senator Feinstein of California will retire by mid-summer and the new incoming Governor (Newsom) will appoint himself into the job.

5.  At least fifteen Democrats will announce themselves for the 2020 primary season.  At least ten of them will only participate only in four races (lacking the money for a more serious effort).

6.  Macron will settle back into limited appearances in public.  Bastille Day in Paris (the 14th of July) will be a mess with Yellow Jackets showing up in 200,000 range.

7.  A minimum of one new special prosecutor is appointed to review the email server episode of Hillary Clinton.  Charges will come up but it'll be some junior employee who issued orders on the behalf of Secretary of State Clinton.

8.  Arlington, VA residents complain about escalating housing costs with Amazon folks taking root.  A 20-percent rise in apartment rental costs will be 'average' by the end of 2019.

9.  President Trump decides that he's accomplished everything on his plate, and will not run in 2020.  The wall?  The Democrats will see wall funding as the massive threat to get the budget back on track, and by day seventy of the shut-down.....will agree to fund one-quarter of the wall cost.

10.  Some coup unfolds in Saudi Arabia and for forty-eight hours.....no one will be sure of who is in charge or who was 'whacked'.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

If Global Warming is Coming

In recent weeks, there's been a lot of chatter about global warming, and the great catastrophic events coming.  The chief topic that accompanies this....we need to redistribution of money....mostly to go to poor nations (never West Virginia or the hill-country of Kentucky, or Selma, Alabama).

After much reflection, I've come to the better solution.....it's basically too late, and we need to put the money into transport (of some type) and just leave the Earth.

I've watched just about every single episode of Stargate, Star Trek, and Lost in Space (probably totalling 3,000 hours), and feel that it'd just be a better investment to haul up and leave (like when the trailer is no longer inhabitable or when neighbors have made a mess of things).

So what's our priorities in finding a new planet?

1.  No bug-people.  I've come to notice that things tend to go badly when you have to deal with them.

2.  Preferably a planet with 24 to 36 hour days.  If this is a planet with 134-hour days....it'll be a problem for me to adjust my sleeping hours to 60-plus hour per day.

3.  Preferably a planet with no snakes.

4.  Preferably a planet with ongoing climate change business.  The climate needs to be rock-solid and not changing sixteen different ways every year.

5.  Preferably a planet without any Amazon ten-foot tall women.  It'd just draw a guy's attention around the clock and make it hard to concentrate.

6.  Preferably a planet with no cable new networks or political business going on. 

7.  Preferably a planet with no giant eels or forty-foot alligators.

8.  Preferably a planet with no tornadoes.

9.  Preferably a planet with freaky monsters that you might have seen off a hundred of the Stargate episodes. 

10.  Preferably no robot creatures. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Knowledge Essay

Everyday that you walk around....you are forced into a situation where you have to retain a fair amount of knowledge....not only to survive, but to conduct most all of the little taskings in your life.

If you take a 1936 car....there's about fifteen general things that you needed really know about the car, and maybe eight total controls that mattered on the car (brakes, accelerator, lights, key, horn, fuel display, speedometer, heat control, and window 'roller'). 

If you take a 2018 car....after you've read the ninety-page manual....you will reach the conclusion that there's about three-hundred significant things about the car that you need to know and remember.  The sixteen different warning symbols on the dash?  Well....yeah, you need to remember what exactly they mean.  The forty-odd controls now at your disposal?  Their significance matters.  Every year that passes.....they add another two or three characteristics that add dynamics onto the way you operate the car.

GPS devices?  There's probably a hundred features now that matter (you could program it to tell you where all the Sonic-burger 'joints' are located as you pass through town after town).  You could use your GPS capability on the smart-phone to tell you about gas prices along the sixty-mile route to work and where you ought to stop to fuel up and save 4-cents per gallon.

Your refrigerator? You might have the newest model with forty features connected to some massive memory device. 

Your heating system in the house?  In my house, the system (from 2007) has seven control items, and I can arrange it to drop the temperature after 10 PM by fifteen degrees, and 'wake-up' at 5 AM to heat the house back to normal.  Some folks have AC units which work in the opposite fashion.

ATM machines used to be dirt-simple, with only four options (besides dispensing money).  Even their functionality has increased.

The problem is that you now need expertise there to answer very technical questions.  In 1975, if you'd stopped at some hardware store for a home-project....'Dandy Dave' would have been able to answer every single question and you would have left in eight minutes with the right items.  Today...'Dandy Dave' is gone, and you have his nephew 'Leon'.....who barely got out of high school, and he only knows of four types of hammers, while there are officially 23 models and types of hammers in the 'real world'.  'Leon' is worthless but he's all you got.

The burger kid at McDonalds?  In the 1975, that kid knew the entire grill operation and any problems could be resolved in three minutes.  Today, the kid has to call some technician out to repair the grill....mostly because it's too complicated for the real world.  Same way for the coffee maker, the soda apparatus, and the fryer.

We each now walk around with 40,000 index cards of information that we have to remember....to survive and operate all the gadgets in our life.  Will this actually double in the next twenty years?  It's possible. 

Criticizing the Criticizer

I sit and watch around three to five hours a week of YouTube lectures.  Often, after opening up for questions.....you have these 20-year old types stand up and open up with criticism on the lecture guy and it's the left-wing versus right-wing type of dramatic situation.  The 'kid' wants to make some melodramatic moment for his 'cause'.

In 99-percent of these breathtaking moments....the student basically drives a 'stake' through their own argument and you end up watching some theatrical defense of a fifth-grade kid wearing adult clothing.

So I often sit there wondering....the kid has at least a year or two of college....maybe even closing in on four years of university time.  Can't he sit and develop his basic argument and present it with a fact or two, and avoid stupid commentary, or protest-like singing, or yelling enough to shut down the lecture?

A lot of these university kids have tuition and living costs that amount to $25,000 a year and you would sit there and think about the limited capability that they are getting out of this deal.  A hundred years ago....debate was an actual class and you had to show some marginal skills in this....to graduate.

After you've seen enough of these, you just shake your head.  They obviously want to shut down the lecture....there's too much information flowing from the lecture guy.  There are ideas being suggested which 'just blow the mind' of the kid trying to oppose or hinder the hecture.  You can sense that they'd really like to stop this lecture chatter because some people in the audience might fall for this stuff and move away from the kid's beliefs. 

As each one of the episodes occur....you kinda wonder.....if the kid realizes his dramatic failure at this lecture, does he go back to his professor 'mentor'....the guy giving him the basic for his arguments, and admit failure....or does he just go to the routine of marking his criticism of the lecture as a 'win'? 

It's a sad thing to consider, but we are perhaps pumping out idiot university graduates, with huge debts, and debate skills are still that of a fifth-grade kid. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

The Odds of a Government Shutdown

In this period of 2009 to 2013, being a government employee.....this 'threat' continued to come up and began to really affect morale of personnel around me.  I look at the approaching threat of a shutdown, and think this might go longer than ten days....maybe even past the thirty-day point.

So some observations:

1.  Within the DC area, there are a heck of a lot of people who work for the government and have themselves in a massive mortgage mess....with fifty percent of their check going to car payments and their mortgage.  These are people who have enough 'extra' money laying around to handle a max of thirty days, and after that.....they go into emergency mode.

2.  If this were to go 45 to 60 days?  I could see banks having to send out warning notices and getting fearful of a massive collapse.

3.  If Amazon was up and running with their new headquarters?  That's a curious thing.....I think they could go and recruit 10,000 new employees and have them hired in seven days.

4.  If the shutdown went past 60 days?  A whole new door opens up with a 'all or nothing' political fight. 

Monday, 3 December 2018

Harris Running?

If you read the front page today.....Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) says that in the next couple of weeks....she will come to a decision on a 2020 presidential bid.

My take?

She has three problems.  First, beyond the borders of California....she's virtually unknown.  In the south and midwest, she won't be able to run a four-star campaign effort. 

Second, the Iowa-affect.  I think she falls into the category of being less-than-desirable with most Iowa Democrats.  Confrontational and prosecutor-like.....that's not an agreeable value to run a campaign there.

Third, personality-wise.....having seen her confrontations in the senate, she's a very difficult person on handling conflicts.  In a debate, she'd really lose votes.  A Trump-Harris election?  It presents a tough dynamic to figure. 

So if she goes forward....I think she's there mostly to run as VP.  Otherwise, there's not much in wasting time and money in 2020.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Hugging Story

My brother and I got into a discussion over a marginally serious event in the Alabama home-town....over excessive hugging, which got the local non-Alabamian doctor arrested on charges.  The gals being hugged, felt it was overly dramatic and maybe borderline 'wrong'.  The country prosecutor apparently accepted their version and so....some version of a court case will open up over lusty hugging versus general hugging. 

Generally, I would take the position that the less hugging you do....the better off you are, but some folks think that a hug-a-day is Ok.....unless you grab ahold of someone in some inappropriate way.  In Alabama, we don't really have fancy rules over hands in the middle of a hug. 

But my brother keyed into the topic that we'd be better off if the local channel (WHNT) ought to have a Doctor Phil type program that takes on Alabama topics.

I paused over this.  The problem is that most Alabama folks have a variety of problems that might shock folks nationally, and the Alabama Doctor Phil might be pretty weird.

For example....we have a lot of veterinarians in Alabama, and they've all got four-star stories over critters, fallen mules, killer-cows, and hunting dogs.  They'd take up a number of these local Dr Phil shows.

Then we have fallen Baptist ministers....who huffed on some magic 'smoke' and did some indecent acts with the Wurlitzer organ lady at the church.  Or they went to some conference in Tampa and got caught with a guy in ladies clothing.  Or they fell into some demon spell and hooked up with a Beverly Hills ventriloquist lady who does a sermon-episode with puppets. 

We also have NCAA obsessive folks who spend near $6,000 a year on personal attendance at various games (sometimes as far away as Texas), and chat only on NCAA football. 

We also have former female high school associates that suddenly show up twenty-five years after graduation and want to let you know that they've been obsessed with you ever since the senior year, and they are finally free of that idiot husband that they dumped.  You kinda stand there and admit after three minutes....you don't remember them or their name.  They'd like to talk to Dr Phil about this problem now.

We also have those folks who've gotten into some obsession about mennonites, often dressing up to look like them, and using mennonite-language accents.....while driving modern cars and violating the general standards of the group.  In simple terms, they just want to look fake-mennonite.  They could probably go to the WHNT Dr Phil and talk about their problem.

There's also those folks who woke up one morning after being a Democrat for thirty years of their life and suddenly jabber away that they feel 'changed'.....like they could possibly vote for Trump.  They've talked this over with neighbors who think they've suffered a stroke or had some emotional breakdown. 

Finally, you've got those Alabama folks who approach age fifty-five and start talking about this wild idea of moving to Alaska or Idaho.  You, as a concerned relative or neighbor, want to get them some special help, and maybe this Alabama-style Dr Phil could get them back into the right state of mind. 

Yeah, we probably need such a Dr Phil. 

Thursday, 29 November 2018

A Fake Story?

I sat today reading over the story from the London Guardian.....that suggests that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort met privately with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.  Three times, I should note.

Manafort?  He says it's totally fake and suggests that he will take legal measures....to sue the Guardian. 

So how did the Guardian suggest this story?  The comment is one single “well-placed source.”

The three meetings?  2013, 2015 and 2016. 

Did they occur?  Well....the only single source that might have some legit say...would be the Ecuadorian Embassy.  The British police?  They might have some team sitting there 24-hours a day and monitoring the place.....but to identify all of those who enter?

The only explanation on how the Guardian knows this stuff?  Bond, James Bond.  He was standing across from the embassy on all three occasions waiting for "M" to arrive to have an Ale and get new instructions, and he happened to see Manafort enter. 

The odds that someone fed the Guardian some fake story.....to lead Mueller on a wild-goose chase?  They'd have to go and get Assange in on this situation....then Assange leave the embassy with the US demanding to grab him.  Then Assange would spend six months leading Mueller on....with some suggestion that he might know something.  A deal would be made.....no charges on Assange, with US residency allowed.  Then Assange lowers the 'boom'.....there were no visits. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Understanding the GM Decision

Go take an hour's drive around any rural or urbanized community.  Count the more modern vehicles (less than eight years old)...divide them into the category of sedan, truck, SUV, or crossover.  The bulk of cars you see fit into trucks, SUVs, or crossover vehicles.  Where you do find sedens....it's high-end type....sporty models....Asian models (Japanese or South Korean), or normal US-made sedens driven by folks over the age of fifty. 

GM set up a strategy and stuck to it.....the customer base?  They went to something else over the past decade.

When they did try to build a seden.....they scored marginal point with pieces of crap like their Impala model (loads of noise, jolts on every bump, poorly designed seats, etc). 

If you went to some eighteen year old kid who will graduate this year from high school, and they'd like to get a new car for college coming up.....it won't be a US seden. 

Should they have realized this impact back around 2010?  I suspect that the statistical crowd was telling them every quarter that they had a problem, and they refused to change their strategy. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Discernment

There are a hundred skills to develop in life (being able to handle finances, resilience, critical thinking, empathy, handling stress, etc)....but I tend to rank discernment as the one skill you need to have some capability over by age 18, and hopefully have a fair amount by age twenty-five.

Discernment is where you are faced with an issue/problem....prioritize the situation, and opt for the best possible solution (maybe not the perfect solution).  Basically, it's wisdom being utilized to resolve something.

Can a school or university teach or lay out discernment?  I'd argue that unless you end up in a class of logic-thinking or some history course where you have to debate events as part of the grading process....you won't find this as a school offering.

The problem is that you need people with discernment talents.  You need some to look at something and admit that the program or project is doomed and will never work.  You need a guy who can tell you why your life-plan needs work.  You need discernment skills to tell you that the $80k being spent on some crappy worthless degree is a waste.  You need this type of thinker to point out the dangers of partying after midnight at a honky-tonk with thugs is stupid. 

 You would think some college would go out and start a course in this....related to logic or philosophy....and entice young people to develop this skill. 

Postcard From My Trip

One of the things I admired while in South Africa was this twenty-old 'jeep' that a couple were using to transit South Africa. 

Their 'drive' was settled around six months of just driving through every single inch of the country, and into some rough vallies. They had the tool-kit, the camping gear, the grub, and all the necessities of life. 

They had the gear to camp out, and occasionally stay in a hotel or B/B.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s....you could have done this and had zero fear except for lions or snakes.  Today?  With all the violence and criminal activity....it's generally unwise.

There used to be people in the US who'd go and do some three-month period of adventure trek, and live out of a jeep for weeks.  Today, it's rare. 

On Tear-Gas

I sat and watched some news piece this morning over the crowd at the Texas border, and the use of tear-gas.  The journalist (safe to say they were awful supportive of the migrant guys)....laid out this terrible in-humane use of tear-gas.  After sixty seconds of their chatter, you had this feeling that it was the 'end of the world' for these people who'd been hit with the tear-gas.

I sat over this.

Around in January of 1978 (six months into my enlistment into the Air Force), I was in-processing through the last part of Rhein Main's introduction period, which meant a half-day of fake combat training (my term for it).  You had to be able to grasp the wearing of the chem-warfare suit, and there was this three-hour period where they talked about the terrible things which would occur if war started up and the Soviets used chemical warfare. 

Then came this brief one-hour introduction to the gas-mask, and a visit to the 'room'.  You basically entered with a group of five folks and the instructor....with the full-up mask on.  The instructor had some tear-gas capsule set off, and he wanted you to take the mask off....count to three....then put the mask back on. 

You got a pretty good 'huff' of tear-gas.  Then he let you leave the chamber.  It was one of those miserable experiences that you disliked, and repeated every twelve months, for the next 18 years.  Toward the last three years in the Air Force, I found various ways to skip out and miss the training episode.  So I probably did at least fifteen of these tear-gas episodes. 

I kinda look at the journalist hype and just start laughing.  It's harsh stuff, but it won't kill you.  If you don't like tear-gas....don't get into some stupid environment where it's going to be used. 

Sunday, 25 November 2018

DNA Story

It's an interesting science piece from the Brit Daily Mail.....which discussed DNA discoveries, and the likely history of mankind.

Scientists went and took DNA samples from 100,000 animals, and to include humans in the 'test'.  Conclusion?  Roughly 250,000 years ago...something of a major consequence occurred, with ONLY one set of parents left for the humans, and roughly 90-percent of the animal breeds (across the globe).  That one set of parents....reignited life on Earth.

The scientists in this project?  More or less shocked....every single theory that they had on evolution...now, more or less, tossed out the door. 

Questions?  Thousands of them.

The last big enormous event to wipe out most life on Earth.....was 65 million years ago (that killed off the dinosaurs finally, or at least they believed that).  So was there another big wipe-out in the range of 250,000 years ago?  No one has ever suggested that.

The Noah story?  Well....the problem here is that you have various lands which weren't land-connected and animals would not have crossed over to re-populate regions.

So you end up alien-Joe and alien-Francis, who arrived and reset the balance of things on Earth.....that's my theory.  Various animals were dumped off in certain areas, and the world was given some kind of chance number 2. 

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

If I Were Going to Make the White House Press Rules

I'd have a list of ten rules for press behavior:

1.  Your question can't be longer than 20 words.

2.  If your question can't be understood by the typical average American, I'd ask you to rephrase it.  If it take three requests to rephrase it, and they all fail my 'typical' test....then we skip you and move on.

3.  You have to stand....state your name and press organization, then render the question, and finally sit as I respond.

4.  The phrases 'don't you think' or 'haven't you thought' won't be used.

5.  Any ridicule of the President or personal criticism.....renders your press pass void for two weeks.

6. Tie and suit required.

7.  I'd only do the conference on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

8.  If you attempt to make a speech (going two full minutes of chatter) as part of some fake-question....my answer will be for you  'Dallas Cowboys' (every single time).

9.  At the end of each week, I would hand out a 'Jean-Claude Van Damme' award for most dramatic journalist of the week (to signify overacting or bad-acting).

10.  The first row and priority questions would go to newspaper journalists of small towns in rural areas of the US.  They would get the first three questions.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Zucker in Freefall

This week, it looks more and more like Mark Zuckerberg will end getting fired from Facebook as the CEO.  His capital investment?  It's still there and he's still got a hefty amount of money.  But the loss of status, and a zeroed-out CEO pay-situation?  It would make things a bit more interesting.

The odds of catching on as CEO with another company?  I think it's near zero percent.

The odds of getting another Facebook-like idea?  Zero percent.

The odds of some political career?  Zero percent.

His value at 70-odd billion dollars?  At some point, Facebook is going to evolve and fall into some lesser value scale (maybe not 2019, but definitely in the next five years). 

My gut feeling is that he goes through 2019 and sells half of the Facebook stock and buys some newer player in the APP market, and tries to make some comeback in 2020 or later.  Who knows....he might even show up in Europe and try to pick up several developmental companies and try to evolve on his Facebook concept. 

My Suggestion For a New TV Series

There's so much 'crap' loaded on the networks these days....that you really go begging for shows to watch.  Reinventing?  Well....why not go to another different scenario?

One of the ten great characters of all time, was 'Cliff' from Cheers.  Cliff was the postal guy who seemed to live out of the bar....knowing virtually everything in life but rarely telling you his life story. 

So my idea is this....instead of using Cliff for Cheers at age 47.....retell Cliff's situation in life at age thirty.

Cliff was this guy who got the postal job at 18 but rarely showed up to work, yet never got missed.  In his part-time, he attended (without paying, naturally) various college classes and lectures.  At some point, he puts on a suit and sets up fake lectures at the university....pretending to be some PhD guy, and has the lecture hall filled to capacity.  Eventually, the university figures all this out, being highly embarrassed at the accomplishments of the fake Cliff professor.....then decides to give Cliff a PhD under the table if he just quietly leaves. 

Cliff returns to the real postal world and can't find happiness in a full-time work capacity.....so he drinks a good bit to make up for his situation in life. 

Carl's Imaginary World

I sat and read through a piece which quoted DC journalist Carl Bernstein a good bit.  The commentary?  Carl says that the cable news networks ought to stop broadcasting White House press conferences and briefings in their entirety.  Reason?  Carl says they are merely "propagandist exercises."

I sat and pondered over Carl's commentary.

With the exception of ESP*N.....I can't think of any network that has carried the entire WH press conferences in their 45 to 60 minute version.  The ABC/CBS/NBC folks will splice a 2-minute piece for their nightly newscast with three minutes of commentary or attached 'extra' political chat.

The CNN folks might have three or four clips that they run....but they rarely if ever will carry an entire press conference.

So what is Carl talking about?  I think he's imagining that various networks carry the full WH press conference.  Yes....a rather fake comment about an imaginary event that simply doesn't happen.

This is another reason why I think journalism is worthless today.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

After the Santa Monica Fires

If you owned a 10-million dollar home, and it burnt to the ground with just about every single one of your 500 neighbor's houses.....then the insurance guy came around and basically played his game of 'delay' and your insurance didn't amount to more than four-million....would you rebuild?

This is one of those debate questions. Most normal folks would look at the possible repeat statistics and the marginal forest management that helped make this a mega-fire, and then gaze at their California tax situation.....then finally make this decision to pack up and leave. 

I doubt if it will be discussed much in the news or public forums....but I would speculate that more than a hundred of these 'Hollywood' type folks will make a life decision to leave the Santa Monica region, and California itself.

Most will want a great landscape and some privacy....but this is stuff that you can find in Flagstaff, Arizona or some coastal town west of Portland, Oregon. 

So the burnt sites end up being on the real estate market?  Quietly, in roughly four weeks....I think a site or two each week will pop up, and some pop-rocker will swiftly move up....pay the $3-million for a burnt-out lot with four acres attached to it, and start construction. 

My 2020 Election Scenario

This essay discusses the likely November 2020 Presidential election, and the scenario of President Trump running a second time.

Generally, after the election wraps up.....the fate of the election is then tied to electoral votes.  The Electors would meet in their individual state capitals, on the Monday after the second Wednesday in December.  The Constitution then states that they would cast their votes on separate ballots....for one occasion only....for president and vice president.  If they fail to reach the 270 point, then the whole affair using the Electoral College is finished, and you move onto plan 'B'.

I would suggest that the ultimate strategy now developed by the Democratic Party....is to use the court system, the fragile voting system in a number of states, and simply stall by judge's decree the meeting on that Monday.  If they can't deliver their vote.....the Electoral College doesn't matter and it won't bring us a President.

Plan 'B'?

There would be a joint session of the House/Senate on the 6th of January, with the new incoming House/Senate normally blessing off the electoral vote winner.  In this case, there is no winner.  So they would proceed with the game plan.

The House would then go into a meeting, with each state group, and take up the top three vote-getters of the election.

In the case of Alabama....the seven House members would meet (six GOP and one Democrat) and they'd hold a 'state-vote'. 

The Senate would go into a meeting and vote with the top two vote-getters for Vice-President.  Each individual would have one single vote.....it would not be a state by state thing. 

The Senate would likely end their meeting in two hours, with a few speeches in the middle of this mess.

The House?  Several states would be able to block any vote because it's split (same number of GOP and Democratic members).  A key rule in this episode?  Delegates from two-thirds of the states must be present to start the process.  The winner?  You need 26 states to vote for the winner.

I would suggest the strategy here is to reach 6 January 2021, and ensure that the 26-number cannot be reached.

Who stands as the sub-president in this case?  The Senate picked-VP.  He will take the oath to fill in the position.  The intent of the Constitution is that some decision would be eventually reached (hopefully before 20 January).  If the Senate fails?  Well....the House Speaker takes the oath and serves as sub-president.

So, my humble belief is that this is the game-plan and we will reach 20 January without the House being able to conclude their job. 

Disgruntled voters?  It'll be a massive negative situation and likely shake the foundations of the republic.  But it'll be the only way that the Democrats can prevent a second term (if Trump runs). 

How the states stack up in 2019?  Once seated, there would be a 26 state hold for Trump.  So you have to wonder about the House election in November 2020, and if judges can step into the middle of results (like in Florida) and run out the Electoral College clock.  If the judges could then stall the seating of twenty-odd GOP House members?  Well....you'd get to 20 January and the VP becomes the temp-President. 

Friday, 16 November 2018

Why Vote-Counting is Difficult?

It's pretty simple....everything flipped over when we went to common-core math, and the folks over age 35 can't count in this mathematical system.  So we need to search Georgia and Florida....for nine-year-old kids....who can handle this, with a six-pack of Mountain Dew to start them off, and some Ms Watkins (the incompetent math teacher) to lead the group. 

Course, at the end of the six-week period with all the common-core math counting.....it's possible that we started out with 455,000 people voting and the common-core counting results suggest that 555,000 votes are in the bucket.  But with common-core....it's all fine. 

Thursday, 15 November 2018

The 'Right' to News?

When you dig down into this court episode brewing with the CNN reporter (Acosta) and the Trump White House....it really amounts to the question of a right existing....to news.  Or that news reporters have the right to sit in some room. 

So you start to think about it, and the longer you ponder.....the more amused you become.

There is no right to news.  There is a right to a free and open press, but no one has ever spoke to this concept in that way.  Usually, it meant you could type up a story and tell the story in your own fashion.  It didn't really mean that you were 'owed' a seat in some house, hall, or facility. 

How this will go?  Some judge might issue an order that the President has to give the CNN guy (Acosta a pass to enter the room), but since it's an executive facility....it's doubtful that the President will comply.  If it were a football stadium or banquet hall....then maybe the court might have some right. 

So this is mostly for show, and it'll be dragged out for six to twelve months.....just as a show item.  CNN?  They will find another reporter and put him in the Acosta spot.  What happens to Acosta?  That's really the curious question left to answer. 

Unwritten Laws

There are various unwritten laws that exist today.....which folks tend to gravitate over to....mostly because of logic and common sense.  So this is a list of twenty of these laws:

1.  Murphy's Law: Generally,  if something can go wrong....the odds are in the favor of that occurring.

2.  Sod's Law: Generally, as things are going wrong....it's best to just accept this as some accident or fate.

3.  The Ballpark Law: Generally, if you build it, they will come.  No one says who 'they' are, but just that they heard about you building something and need to check it out.

4.  The Indian Law: Generally, you can't ride a dead horse.

5.  The Whiskey Law: Generally, what whiskey cannot cure....there is no cure.

6.  The Septic Tank Law:  Generally, once you pull out the shovels, start planning on a 12-hour day and hope that the ground temperature is 32-degrees or more.

7.  The Baptist Chat Law: Generally, never engage in conversation with a Baptist enthusiast over wet-dry issues, Revelations interpretations, or houses of ill-repute (they usually want to know the location).

8.  The Handling of Delusional People Law: Generally, just about everything they say....didn't happen.  The landing of the UFO in their cornfield, the phone call from President Trump, and the girlfriend from Selma.....none of those events likely occurred.

9.  The Wal-Mart Law:  Generally, if they don't sell it.....you don't need it.

10.  The Food Poisoning Law:  Generally, a $6 bad case of food poisoning can occur with the same power and intensity.....as a $25 bad case of food poisoning.

11.  The Birmingham, Alabama Law:  Generally, there are cities and villages in Afghanistan which are safer after 10 PM at night to walk around, than within the city limits of Birmingham.

12.  The True Grit Law:  Generally, if you've fallen into a pit of snakes....things aren't likely to go well.

13.  The Diarrhea Law: Generally, if you consume a fair bit of booze nightly, eat high-content fatty food and excessive fruits, mix a hefty amount of dairy products into your diet, drink four or more cups of coffee each morning, enjoy eight slices of bacon each breakfast, and toss down two or three boiled eggs each morning....then you ought to expect extreme diarrhea by 9 AM.

14.  The Hurricane Law:  Generally, even if the President and Governor both encourage evacuation of areas on the beachfront due to an oncoming hurricane....there's pretty good odds that 3,000 Alabama folks would like to drive down and observe the hurricane first-hand (on the beach) because they've never seen such a thing before.

15.  The Thanksgiving Law:  Generally, no one ever loses weight from late November to early January.

16.  The Mennonite Law:  Generally, things stopped advancing around 1890.  If they'd just accepted 1918....they'd still be driving Ford Model T's today instead.

17.  The NCAA-Alabama Law:  Generally, the University of Alabama must fit into the final bowl selection process, unless some freak of nature has occurred.

18.  The Governor Bentley Law: Generally, if you hire up someone to be your closest advisor and some inappropriate lusty stuff goes on.....it's best that you don't get bugged or recorded talking about your 'feelings'.

19.  The Fork-in-the-Road Law:  Generally, if you've reach a folk in the road, with no map, no directions, no signs....it's best to ask the first guy riding a horse or mule down the road about where this path will take you.  It should not matter if he's a Republican or Democrat....a tobacco chewer....or wearing flip-flops.

20.  The Sandbag Law: Generally, if you've filled a hundred sandbags....you tend to reach a pondering stage asking yourself if maybe this just isn't the right place to live or camp upon.  By that point, it's really too late.

This Wine/Whine Argument

In recent days, the topic of US wine (typically meaning California quality) being equal to French wine....has come up (again).

So I'll walk into this discussion.  I'm not a wine connoisseur....but I have probably had over 1,500 glasses of wine in my life, from at least twelve countries.

First, you can go and find some really awful wine from France, Germany, and Italy.....which everyone will agree that you can't price the wine above 3 Euro (roughly 3.75 US dollars), and it's best to only use the wine for cooking purposes (like for a stew or chilli).

Second, I've had some really great Australian wine, but will admit that by the time you handle shipping costs to Europe....it's really overpriced.

Third, it's an odd thing to admit....but if you were looking for a decent red wine from Germany, and stacked against the same products from South Africa.....the South African red wine would win.  It's something about the soil....sunlight....and temperatures.  Germans don't like to admit it but quietly....most will say there is no way for them to compete.

Fourth, I suspect if you lined up forty 'regular' people (not the intellectual or connoisseur crowd) and laid out wines from across Europe, the US, and South Africa....I don't think anyone could really suggest a geographic location for what they were sipping.  They could say X is better than Y, but this would amount to a quality standard.

Fifth, this thing about Italian Lambrusco wine.  This is a red wine which typically ONLY comes from Mantua, Modena, Parma, and Reggio nell'Emilia (the central region of Italy).  I'm particular about Lambrusco, and would probably sip three or four glasses a day if given a chance.  It's generally cheap (rarely higher than four Euro (5 US dollars)....fairly sweet....and I might even suggest that it goes down like a alcoholic Ni-Hi grape soda.  The connoisseur crowd looks down up this wine.  But on a hot afternoon....you can't beat a chilled glass of Lambrusco unless you got some ice tea. 

So this Trump-talk that occurred and challenged up the idea that French wine might not beat California wine?  The California folks will point out various awards that they've won and that the vines themselves....are from Europe originally.  Same for South Africa.  Same for Australia and New Zealand.  In twenty years, I suspect that the vines will be put into place there in China, and also get them on the wine market situation.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

EU Army Chatter?

Chancellor Angela Merkel stood up and made a speech before the EU Parliament yesterday.  The main topic?

A sort of wild idea of hers....suggesting a EU Army.  The key phrase....NOT to be an alternate, but an ADDITION to NATO.

The news piece I pulled this from?  ARD, public TV new in Germany.....Channel One.

The amusing part of this piece (I watched the video clip)....as she gave this suggestion....there was a brief interruption and 'boos' taking place (not a lot but it was obvious).

So I sat and pondered over this comment and suggestion.  I have seven observations:

1.  To achieve this....you'd have to go and spend something greater than this 2-percent of GDP issue that currently plagues about twenty of the EU members (Germany and France are both having this same problem).  But let's be clear....you'd have to reach 2-percent and to really add any 'meat' to this EU Army existing....you probably are talking about a minimum of five-billion Euro a year from the 28 nations (oh, and lets remember that the UK won't be part of this deal after spring of 2019).  Can they whip out another five-billion Euro for this united EU deal?  Or would we go cheap....throw 500 million EU on the table and just run a 3,000 man tank and assault unit out of Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and France? 

2.  Could you sell the 27 remaining members (having taken the UK out) on this idea of spending on a EU Army?  I suspect you can only find seven to ten nations that really think this is a wise idea.

3.  The idea that NATO still continues to exist, and this EU Army is separate?  Go explain how this would work, and who would give the orders.

4.  Once you had this mechanism created....wouldn't the next step be to dislodge NATO and move the remaining European military units under the EU?

5.  Wouldn't President Trump take notice of this game and just start moving US troops out of Germany....perhaps to Poland?  Well....nothing really prevents him from doing so.  Even a Democratic House would only have a budget in hand to prevent him from doing so, but since the Senate won't go hand-in-hand with them.....there's likely no budget for the next two years.

6.  Who would be the director or general of such a EU Army?  Could they pack up and leave the NATO line of command and step into the EU line of command?  Could the EU declare some conflict but NATO refuse to get into it?

7.  Finally.....once you explain the extra cost feature to EU citizens...won't they go a bit 'nuts' and ask what the heck are they paying for? 

So I think this talk of Chancellor Merkels.....is mostly just chatter.  It won't go anywhere.  It sounds good on some university thesis project, but in real terms.....it's beyond their financial capability

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

“Make France Great Again!”

This afternoon, President Trump finally laid into France's President Macron.  Macron could have gone through the weekend and just hyped the end of World War I.....but no....he decided that via his intellectualism and brilliant gift for talking....he'd go and dump on President Trump.

So the Twitter comments came.  I suspect they were written out weeks ago in anticipation of this moment.

“There is no country more Nationalist than France.”

Then came “Make France Great Again!”

Here's the thing....if you go back to the France of the 1700s and through the Napoleonic era....France was this iconic society that thrived upon some great character of nationalism.  To be French....was some great achievement in life (at least French people used to believe that).

Since the 1940s?  There's been this odd 'loser' mentality bleeding over on society and an intellectual battle taking place to chip away at this great character of Europe. 

As for making "Make France Great Again"?  I suspect that MFGA will start to appear as bumper stickers and some younger French folks will pick up on this chatter.  Macron?  All he had to do was give some decent weekend speeches and he could have avoided this whole public spectacle.  Now he's gone and invited some Trump-like game to be played out on his front porch. 

The Fire Story

On the far northwest end of Los Angles, there's a massive suburb called Santa Monica.  It's maybe two miles by three miles in size.  Heading west....you got the ocean.  South and east....Venice Beach and Beverly Hills.  North....the hills and 'forests' (state parks and protected land).

The folks who live there....have money.  You can't really afford to live there unless you got some income level of $500,000 or more per year.

On the far north 'edge' of the suburb....this is where the real wealthy folks live....inches away from the state park, limited houses around you....everyone having some status of some type and semi-important in the entertainment industry.

This week, most of their houses caught on fire.  Blame will shift around....global warming will end up being the most utilized blame for the fire and massive destruction.

Here's the thing about this discussion, the fire, and the urbanization that has taken place.

The wealthy want a piece of property that is large....way out away from public viewing....with a magnificent view.  They will pay for that property.  You can list some three-acre lot for two-million-plus dollars and no one bats an eye.....they shell out the money and start building their mega-structure house.

Most folks with common sense would view this in a different way.  A kinda dry landscape with a few trees and a fair number of shrubs which have adapted to this weather landscape.  Various political positions taken to avoid cutting back on vegetation or clearing away the extreme dry or dead vegetation.  Everyone patting each other on the back for their pro-environment positions but no one sizing up the threat to their housing via fires.

All of these folks wanted risk.  They may not have recognized risk....but they signed up for massive risk.  Rebuilding?  More than likely but you have to figure....within thirty years, the possibility of your house burning down again will be better than 50-percent.  Insurance?  My guess is that as the companies pay out the hundreds of millions....they will review factors and decide that a 50-percent increase in yearly premiums will be necessary, and the risk-crowd will go ahead and pay the increased cost.

They wanted maximum risk....it's part of this game for the view and status-symbol lifestyle.


Monday, 12 November 2018

Ocasio-Cortez and DC Rent

I noticed a short story over the weekend where the NY City soon-to-be House Representative.....Ocasio-Cortez....did a chat and admitted that she's shocked at rental prices in DC, and won't be moving until she gets her first 'pay-check'.

So the basic truth is that if you wanted a decent two-bedroom apartment, in a guarded or secure building, with some privacy....it's going to be in the range of $2,400 (minimum).  This is the base cost for someone in her position, living within five miles of the capital building.  Going outside of the 'zone'?  If you made it around ten miles out, you might be able to get your rent situation down to the $1,500 range.

My guess is that she's going to 'accidentally' find someone who has a condo in the region and will be out-of-town most of the time, and they will sub-lease it to her for 'super-nice' price (maybe $1,000 a month).  Rigged-up?  More than likely, but no one conducts audits on Congress folks, and there's probably well over fifty of the House members who live in this type of arrangement.

This is one of the serious problems in procuring a seat in the House or Senate.  No one has ever conducted a survey of living arrangements of the Senate or House members, and they'd balk if you attempted one.  For a number of years....one particular US Senator lived out of a basement apartment of his chief-of-staff's home.  There's also the story of the one House member who slept in his office Monday through Thursday night, and flew back home each weekend (his wife balked at moving to DC).

If you go back historically, in the 1800s, a lot of the political folks stayed at boarding houses, and even shared beds with each other. 

But this brings out a weird question to ask Ocasio-Cortez....how did you survive in the NY City rent situation?  No one seems to ask that question.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

The Last Time That The US Came Uninvited to France

I sat and read over various comments by French President Macron today.  A day or two ago, he was suggesting that the EU needed to build up an Army to handle the potential threat one day from Russia, China or the US (hinting that we might invade).

Twice, the US has come over to France.

The first time, we were invited.  It was one of those grave and serious moments when a worn out British and French Army could not mount some major attack and end World War I.  You can go over the list of battles and the change of the war from the moment of arrival....it doesn't matter.  It ended in roughly eighteen months, and we quietly packed up and left.  We didn't stay.....we had no need to stay.

The second time, we were not invited.  To be honest, the French government in 1944 was dominated by the Germans, and there just wasn't going to be an invitation.

So we came on landing craft....upon a beach or two, and left young dead American GI's there upon the beach.  To be kinda honest, we ensured that there were a lot more dead German GI's than American ones. 

We didn't stick around the beach much or have a chance to really mingle with local Normandy folks (things were pressing for time and movement).

In six to eight weeks, we'd kinda crossed the French countryside....met a number of French people who seemed to want to hug us, offer up plenty of wine, and shed some tears over what had to be done.  For this type of business....you need rough men who are capable of going out into the night, and stormy weather....with a preoccupation to settle wrongs.  It's hard to find men like this, but we seem to have found enough to do the job.

When 1945 ended, the beaches of Normandy were silent....graves were dug....and memorials were being prepared. 

To be honest, I've traveled around a fair bit of Europe, and found that around regular working-class French folks....we Americans tend to be more like them....than our Brit cousins.  Course, with the French intellectual class.....it's not the same story. 

I look upon Macron's commentary as one delivered by someone with a political agenda and hyped to send a message.  The general public trend for Macron?  It's spiraled down since the election and he able has a 25-percent approval rating in the country. 

I think we can mostly all assure Macron....we have no real intentions of invading France.  Yeah, if some Nazi folks were to show up and things were going badly for the French....we'd probably find more landing craft, and stage another landing at Normandy, if required. 

Upon Reaching Age Sixty

I've made it to sixty years old.  There are ten things that I've come to observe....particularly over the past forty-odd years:

1.  There's probably five-percent of population reading, watching or listening to seventy hours per week of political drama via TV, radio, or internet.  These folks can name more political and journalist figures than Bible characters, and live/breathe by the actions that occur each single day. 

2.  The Braves can have a payroll of 82-million and yet still not make it to the World Series.

3.   You'd be better off spending six months in some Air Conditioning school, or plumber qualification course.....than attending most university degree programs (unless engineering or medical).  There are people actually borrowing in the range of $80,000 for a four-degree in English literature. 

4.  There's at least sixty hours a day via various networks on TV.....telling you something about the President of the United States.  In 1976, it might have been sixty minutes per day with the options that you had.

5.  In 1973, you tended to get the best low-down on local politics either at the barbershop or general store.  Today, the barber is usually some lady who wants to chat about the View, or man-problems.....with the general stores mostly all shut down.

6.  County fairs are still the best place to drop off a 12-year old kid for the afternoon, but he'll need $30 instead of $6.

7.  As a kid, there was one single McDonalds existing within a 25-mile radius.  Today, there's close to twelve of them.

8.  There's at least 300 women appearing on the various TV networks who I would deem harlot, jezebel, slut or 'loose woman'.....and no one says much about the increasing number.

9.  Around 1977, out of the Huntsville Airport....you could end up on a plane with 80-percent of the seats empty.  Today, most every single is filled.....course, you can still only go to Atlanta, Dallas or Chicago. And it's still curious that a can of Coke at the airport can run in the range of four dollars. 

10.  Probably the best burgers ever made, in the history of man, were produced at the Florence Pool Hall, on East Tennessee Street.  Whatever the mystery ingredient was.....is still unknown. 

Me and Musicals

Most Alabama guys are lucky in their life to have avoided any attendance at musicals or operas.....that's my humble opinion.  I've been more or less dragged off to five musicals in my life, which two were probably worth the effort, and the rest were something 'less than enjoyable'. 

So this past weekend, I ended up at the another musical.  The catch here, which I felt real positive about....this was 'Bat Out of Hell', which was supposed to feature a lot of Meatloaf's music (from the late 1970s).  It's a memorable album, which I tend to rate as one of the ten best albums overall to listen to. 

My wife and I showed up in Gelsenkirchen (2.5 hours north of the house) and had a whole weekend planned out of this. 

The musical?  It was basically a bastardization effort and they used maybe five or six of his tunes, then threw in some tunes for the musical to work.  Their background story?  Destruction of the Earth, a bunch of young punks, some romance between teens, some fighting with the authorities, and then some wrap-up.....with this Meatloaf music in the background.  I know.....it's pretty weird.

If they'd just come out and done twelve to fourteen of his tunes with no theatrics or jumping around....it would have been a fine show.  But they just couldn't do that. 

The audience?  Well....Saturday evening and only three-quarters of the seats filled.  Probably at least a hundred seats empty. 

Not to complain or nothing, but if you spoke up about some opera business in Alabama, it means you'd be going off to Nashville, and attending the Grand Ole Oprey, with some five-star tunes.  Here?  It's mostly some kind of tale over woes, marginal music, and a bunch of skipping around the stage. 

Friday, 9 November 2018

The Problem for a Antifa Dude

'Winston' (my name for a 20-year old kid in some college program somewhere)....has been sitting around classes and gotten enough chatter from Professor Wendy....that he believes he can right 'wrongs'.  To be honest, he's probably not sure about the 'wrongs' thing, but Professor Wendy says by protesting and getting ACTIVE....you can make a difference.

So one day...'Winston' shows up at some rally or downtown area, and some folks get hyped up to go and protest at some guy's house.  It's a right-wing guy of some type.  The crowd is convinced of the great deed they are going to accomplish.  Somewhere in the middle of this mess....'Winston' encounters 'Claude' the maintenance guy, who pulls out a baseball bat, and whoomps on 'Winston' and six others.

Broken bones, ribs, concussions, and in 'Winston's case....he's got some brain damage.  'Winston' probably won't be able to function as a member of society and will have the behavior of a six-year old kid for the rest of his life.

The court?  After seeing enough video of threats made by the crowd, they believe 'Claude' did the right thing in protecting himself and the owner of the house.

The sad thing here is that 'Winston' and literally hundreds of others are going to face off and find that there is a real situation where massive violent reaction will occur, and lives hang in the balance.

It's a sad end for guys like this.  They were hustled around by stupid college professors to believe something, and naive enough to believe anything told.  They could have led productive lives, and instead.....sit in some artificial 'battle' thinking they are saving the world. 

And the really sad thing is that there are literally thousands of 'Winston's' around in America....who will never lead productive lives. 

Thursday, 8 November 2018

'Rural' Versus 'Rural'

If you ever sit down with a guy from Alabama, among the 7,000-odd topics that you might get into (depth of septic tanks, best paint for barn roofs, copperhead snakes, failed camping trips, etc).....there is this PhD-level discussion that would consume an hour over the definition of 'rural'.

Regular folks will classify a junction of two roads....where a church, a cemetery, and a gas-station lay....as being only semi-rural.  Some will suggest that a junction of two roads....where one bank, a catfish restaurant, a Dollar-General store, two churches, and a cemetery....as being truly rural.  So there is a thought process going on and some folks want to define real rural...as just plain rural.

I grew up near a two-road junction, with a cemetery, two churches, and a farm-related-general store....which I tended to note as just plain and absolute rural.

On the opposite direction, about another half-mile was a road that passed along a creek, and this 'town' had around four churches, a cemetery, two gas stations, a barber shop, a catfish restaurant, a post office, and a general store (Ottos).  As much as one might want to define it as rural....it just never had that appeal.

Southerners get into discussions like this because some folks think they've got it 'rough', when they actually have a 'drive-up' burger enterprise, a Dollar-General, a cemetery, and three churches.  Then the next guy will lay out his woes as a kid, where they had only a run-down gas station (with leaking tanks), a beer-joint, a church, and a cemetery. 

This discussion appears to be getting less and less of a topic-item.  Today, that junction of two roads doesn't really matter.  Within a four-mile circle, there's likely two Dollar-General stores, a couple of gas stations, a honky tonk, a cellphone-satellite TV shop, and six to eight churches of various faiths.  People under the age of thirty?  They don't even size up rural status anymore.  In another thirty years....ruralness may not even matter. 

SNL, Pete Davidson, and the Crenshaw 'Joke'

Over the past weekend, I observed the Crenshaw 'joke' from Saturday Night Live from Pete Davidson.  I watched it one single time, and then had this fairly negative view of the joke, the intent, and the lack of responsibility.  So, this 'joke' and the whole SNL show thing has been on my mind.

I've come to three observations:

1.  In 1975, across the entire US.....there were probably a grand total of 300 true comedians (either doing stand-up, TV, or movies).  There might have been more....but these were folks were making a living and you tended to recognize.  

Today?  There's probably over 8,000 folks attempting to do comedy....either via stand-up, TV, or movies....of which the bulk of them...probably 90-percent...don't measure up to the 300 folks from 1975.  In this case, Pete Davidson just isn't a comedian, and he's attempting to make up for the lack of humor with critical punchlines that you'd expect out of some fifth-grade kid trying to insult another fifth-grade kid.  

2.  Once someone today (2018) has gone and truly insulted someone....they have no ability to go back and apologize for bad behavior.  It's a talent or skill that they've never developed.  Important?

Johnny Carson never openly insulted anyone in his entire life, and basically never had to apologize for any bad behavior.  He could get away with it.  Same with Buddy Hackett.  Same with any of the folks from the Andy Griffith Show, or Gilligan's Island.  Pete Davidson? He probably needs to develop this talent because I don't think he's done....he's got dozens of other folks to insult over his career.

3.  Finally, I come to Saturday Night Live.  When it started in the 1975....for probably two years, I felt they had something unusual.  Every show clicked.  By the mid-1980s....I felt less enthusiastic about the show.  Over the past decade, there might have been a couple of sketches which worked but the bulk of it simply isn't comedy anymore....it's something 'else'.

Maybe it's time that SNL just retired itself.  Bring in some Dance-Fever Show, or Soul-Train Show, or perhaps some Saturday night roller derby action, or even a celebrity crash derby show.  But to continue this fifth-grader type humor, and pretend they measure up to the crew from 1975 or 1977?  No.  

South Africa: 2038

I've been back from this South Africa travel episode now....for ten days.  It was my first, and likely last trip to the region, but it dwells heavily upon my mind.....so I sat and pondered the past couple of days. This is an essay of where I see South Africa in twenty years.

1.  I don't see it surviving as one single united nation.  Between the political climate, the government acquisition of farmlands likely to occur, and massive unemployment....there's very little to keep the country united.  My humble guess is that five to eight states will come out of this revolutionary period, with the Western Cape likely to be the largest 'piece'.

2.  There's little to nothing to hold young blacks to the region, and no hope for jobs.  I think at least three to five million over this twenty-year period will simply up and leave....either for the US or Europe.

3.  Drug trafficking will simply continue and escalate, with a drug-war likely to occur among gangs in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Duban.  Township police protection will be demanded....and ultimately fail.

4.  Bank failures or banking corruption practices will become a monthly topic, with trust dwindling for most folks in South Africa.  While people need a banking vehicle to exist....it won't work if half the nation distrusts the majority of banks.

5.  Drought and lack of water will remain a topic on the Western Cape for the next two decades.  The amusing thing here....if you had some real leaders....real capital investment, you'd have a dozen reservoirs existing, and a massive amount of water for irrigation projects, and make half of the Cape an agricultural paradise, with fresh fruit and vegetables available for the locals and to sell. 

6.  Finally, social media is likely providing a vehicle which will be the downfall of the ANC (the African National Congress Party), where their shortfalls and 10,000 promises will finally be open to public scrutiny.  But here's the thing....once they splinter up and dissolve, you will end up with numerous parties and agendas which will make stability impossible to attain.

Acosta and Trump

I sat and watched that clip of the exchange between Jim Acosta and President Trump at least ten times. 

Once the intern stepped forward to take the mic...you can observe Acosta using his hand deny her and assert that he wasn't going to let her do her job.  Suspending his privilege for a month....ought to be the punishment here. 

But I would go one more step....replace the mic-handling business with a Marine Gunnery Sergeant.  Once Acosta would have refused the directive and then put his hand on the Sergeant....the Marine would have laid him flat on the carpet.  After that, Acosta would have understood the message. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

The Big Question

What if the Democrats go and make the entire period of 2019 and 2020....on some massive Trump investigation period, with zero 'other' accomplishments?

Two whole years, with soap-opera-like theatrics....CNN, Fox, and the networks hyped on the 'story'....and absolutely nothing done beyond that?

It's an interesting question to sit and speculate upon, with the odds now that the House will have just enough seats for the Democrats to control the message.

I anticipate three things out of this period:

1.  A massive shutdown of the government will occur over budget talks in 2019, and this shutdown will likely go beyond 90 days, with some federal workers in massive despair over their lack of a pay-check and a catastrophic 'doomed' landscape for politics in general.

2.  Another Supreme Court seat will come up to be filled, and we will get another round of Kavanaugh-like opera.  But this time, with a likely 56-seat situation for the GOP....it might be less theatrics.

3.  A majority of Americans will be fed up with politics in general by 2020....fed up with television news....fed up with journalists....with open confrontation taking place.

If you thought the last two years were just a marginal TV political reality show.....get prepared, we are doubling up now.

The Non-Existent Swift Effect

There were probably a hundred odd political 'games' out of 2018, but the one that interested me a great deal....was the Tennessee Senate race (Blackburn - R, Bredesen -D).

About a month ago, all hell broke loose when pop singer Taylor Swift stood up and did a big social media call out.....to support Bredesen.  At the time, everyone was hyped up....all chatty...that this one single endorsement would figure into the 18-year old voter group, and bring tens of thousands of votes over to Phil Bredesen.

Well....as the smoked has cleared....it's an eleven point margin for Blackburn.

The Swift-effect?  There is virtually no indication of an effect.  I think if the PhD guys sat and did a survey over it....there were probably about a thousand 'kids' who stood up and said Swift helped to settle their mind over the election.

So this brings me to the real discussion.  If so-and-so actor or singer comes up to chat over some candidate....does it really matter?  Thirty years ago, I would have said it's absolutely zero on the scale.  Today?  I would suggest it might have moved up from zero to maybe one or two percent chance. 

Now, if this was a catchy comment....made by Clint Eastwood....it might be remembered and thought about.  But this is like you asking your Waffle House pancake guy what he thought, or the exotic dancer at the Tin Star bar, or the Piggly Wiggly cashier....what they thought about election choices.  It just doesn't happen that way in the real world, unless you accept advice left and right...from strangers on the street.

Why did we listen to the journalists hyping this a month ago?  That's the thing about this.  Thirty years ago....you would have dismissed the Taylor Swift comment in sixty seconds flat.  Somehow, it now dwells on our mind and and we seriously think that Swift might flip 100,000 votes. 

Scientists ought to study this Swift effect and talk about how you get nothing, out of nothing.