Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Military: Least Stressful, Most Stressful

When I retired out of the Air Force in 1999, I had wrapped up twenty-two years of stress.  After a year or two, I sat and pondered over the years and the various stress that I had come across.

People got stressed over simple crap....room inspections, haircut inspections, the month prior to base inspections, etc.

People got stressed over weather alerts, the long decision period for the wing commander to say 'snow coming, evacuate home', or the BX running out of Doctor Pepper.

People got stressed over new uniform requirements, retirement parade practice, spring cleanup, and surprise drug-dog inspections at the front-gate.

People got stressed over a bag-drag inspection for exercises, where you had to bring in your deployment bag within 90 minutes of being alerted and have the 32 items listed as a 'must-have' within the bag.

People got stressed over the NCO club dumping quarter-beer night, or bowling alley being shut down for six weeks of renovation.

In an average year, I probably ran through seven-hundred moments of stress.  One year....the unit was chosen for some unannounced mile-and-a-half run episode for a fitness check.  With just 24 hours notice....everyone sat there in some daze....being early spring and out-of-shape....and wondering if they'd pass the test.

Another year, we had the yearly mile-and-a-half run scheduled and about ten minutes before we started....some massive black clouds gathered up, and about half-way through the run....it started raining....BADLY raining, to the extreme of lightning being in the local area, and you were trying to just get to the line and hope not to be hit by lightning.

It's stupid stuff.....that most non-military folks never experience. 

The thing is....there's the other extreme side where you worry about war business....going into some combat zone....or getting stuck guarding something of extreme value. 

This is the reality of a military career....you have to get used to stress. 

The TSgt Story

A couple of days ago....an Air Force TSgt went on a rant about bad behavior female black junior enlisted.  I should note, for the sake of the rant....that the TSgt is not black.

Years ago, someone this frustrated would have gone to the NCO club....had a few beers, and shared this commentary with one or two associates.  While the video rant was up on social media....she later took it down.....it was viewed by over 900,000 folks.

Needless to say, the Air Force is unhappy, and she's going to get some counseling of some type.

Her real complaint.....simply bad behavior in terms of respect for the supervisor position.  Yeah, she did actually use some profane language, that typically gets you into trouble with the 'new' Air Force.  Yeah, it did appear racists in some ways. 

What's going on?

Three things.

1.  People want some immediate way to say something critical, and they've latched onto social media.  The problem is....it's not twenty people or a hundred people anymore who'd view the commentary....you could easily get 10,000 people in just one single day.

2.  Are there problem-kids now in the Air Force?  Yes.  I sat there in mid-1990s before retirement and noted that they were now recruiting some juvenile-like kids into the military who weren't capable of taking direction.  My worry at that point was that they would not mature, and later become lousy NCOs.  By the 2005 era, I kinda noted the various mood-altering drugs that were being issued out to junior airmen and wondered how they would mature in a decade.  I don't think anything has improved since then.

3.  The thing about this NCO who did the rant....is that she's base gym 'director'.  Yes...head of the base gym.  Of all the more stressful positions in the Air Force....I used rate this among the bottom ten stressful jobs.  In the 1970s....this was typically the job you gave to some NCO who was going to retire in two years.  Over the past twenty years....the gym profession has moved up and now probably one of the more stressful jobs.  Tons of money got pumped in....gyms are run 24-hours a day now, and people whine about the condition of the gym.

Monday, 29 January 2018

24-Million for Two Refrigerators?

It's a story which will be discussed widely.  Air Force One....the President's plane....has two refrigerator units which are failing.  The Air Force wants to replace the units.  The cost?  Twenty-four million for the two units.

Why?

First, size.  The units have to hold a massive number of dinners (with five total onboard), they are supposed to hold 3,000 dinners.  In case of a national emergency, the President and staff are supposed to be able to ride onboard for days at a time. So there has to be enough food sitting there and ready to go.

Second, the contract.  This contract specifies the company (Boeing) has to remove the two old units entirely, and install the two new ones.  I can only guess this part but I would assume that they get less than seventy-two hours to switch the two units out.

Third, service time.  The two original units?  They came with the aircraft when delivered in 1990, so they lasted 28 years.  One might assume that the two new ones will be there in 28 years....as they prepare to retire the aircraft. 

Everyone will have a laugh and suggest this is a ridiculous price.  Go state the requirements and ask for a bid.  I doubt that you can beat the deal that Boeing offered. 

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Huntsville: Mover and Shaker

About a year ago, it was brought out as page two news in the state of Alabama....but Huntsville officially passed Mobile as the number two most populated city of the state.  And the suggestion which has been on some minds....when exactly will Huntsville pass Birmingham.

So, some observations:

Mobile hit absolute maximum growth right around 1960 with 194,000 residents. Folks were awful proud because if you went back to 1920....they were at 60,700.  The war years helped, along with industrial growth.  The thing is....on trends....Mobile did more or less nothing for the past forty years.  It's stagnant.  It's not in decline, but there is absolutely zero-growth.

The Huntsville trend line?  In 1920, Huntsville had a population of roughly 20,000 people. By 1970, they'd hit 139,000.  And here in the past year, they've hit 195,000 resident, and counting.  Stagnation cannot be found within the city limits of Huntsville.  This is a town that didn't even hit the 10,000 level until the boom period of the 1920s.

So you turn to Birmingham, which in the 1920 era were already at 178,000 and growing.  Somewhere along the 1960s....they peaked out at 340,000.  A decade later, forty-thousand people had packed up and left.  Twenty years ago, they had shrunk down to 240,000....and today it is suggested that they sit at 210,000.

What happened to Birmingham?  Most folks from the state will center on three key issues:

1.  The suggestion of a corrupted local city government.

2.  Increased crime.

3.  Urban flight to better neighborhoods outside of the city....even outside of the county.

Birmingham hitting 200,000?  You can draw the line and anticipate that at some point by 2030....roughly twelve years away....unless something changes, it'll hit 200,000.

Huntsville in 2030?  With job growth discussed....it'll probably hit 210,000 by that point and be the major population center of the state, and likely be identified throughout the entire state as the 'mover and shaker'.

The added part to this story is that we are simply talking about Huntsville itself.....we aren't talking about Madison (the unattached neighbor).  In 1920, Madison had on 435 residents, and folks there were on a first-name basis.  Even by 1960....they'd barely hit 1,500 residents, and you still knew one out of five folks by their first name.  So today....Madison is sitting there with almost 44,000 residents.

A lot of the Madison 'flow' became the flight-folks who were disenchanted with Huntsville, and simply moved onto the suburb-town of Madison as the answer.  If you looked toward 2030 and Madison?  It's very possible that they will hit 60,000 by that point.

The curious thing here is that this job-growth in the region isn't medium-range....but it drifts on up into the upper-range.  These people spend money....cars, houses, RVs, fishing boats, quad-bikes, trips to Aruba or Vegas, and various 'toys'.  This increases business growth and shops throughout the entire region.

The Huntsville Airport by 2030?  Three years ago, a million passengers went through the airport in an average year, with the primary destination of Atlanta (roughly 40-percent of the flights).  I think flight activity at Birmingham will decrease over the next decade by 20-percent, and Huntsville's flight totals will probably jump by 50-percent.

For the state?  It'll cause state leadership to sit and ponder over the significance and revenue dollars spent in Birmingham.  I hate to suggest that it's a dying city, but you kinda wonder about the next thirty years and if the city will decay enough to be like Baltimore or Detroit.

If you had suggested any of this in the late 1970s....most folks would have laughed at you.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Old Bones

I noticed that the BBC put up a science article today which discussed the idea or discovery that the remains have been found of some humans....who apparently left Africa thousands of years earlier than PhD folks ever imagined.

This new stuff?  Well....it comes out of Israel and suggests that the guys left Africa around 185,000 years ago.  That's a plus-up of 80,000 on the previous estimate.

Basically, this leads the PhD to this one new conclusion....they will have to rewrite all this history stuff they dished out over the past forty years and suggest that human evolution occurred earlier.

I paused over all of this and spent a few moments pondering.

What this basically said was that 185,000 years ago....Larry and Marvin were standing there on the African plains, with their wives....Wanda and Marge.  It was a dark gloomy day in April.  The wives were complaining, talking about the sh**hole status of their local surroundings.  Larry noted that he felt they had reached sh**hole status at least ten years prior.  Marvin kinda agreed....it was becoming a bigger sh**hole every single day.

So Larry and Marvin drew up this plan....that meant leaving the sh**hole.  The question was....where.  Marge just spoke up and pointed over toward the northeast and suggested the sun rose toward that direction....let's go there.

So the boys packed up their bags, and headed north.  Things went fine for three or four years, and then one night while sitting at a campfire in Israel....Larry got into an argument with Marvin over something that Marvin's wife (Wanda) had said....feeling insulted.  A fight ensued and Larry ended up dead.  Marvin, Wanda and Marge said some words over Larry's grave, and buried the guy....with these PhD guys finding the remains and writing up this big massive history change.  If there had been just some tombstone there, it would have noted Larry's role in leaving the sh**hole, and that he's mostly dead because of something that Wanda said. 

It's best we not read too much into these discoveries because it might reveal a bit too much of the story.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

John Kerry: 2020?

Speculation today is that John Kerry may run in 2020 as President.

I spent three minutes thinking about this, and just laughed through ninety-percent of this.  It's hard to imagine him (today at age 74, so he'd be 76 then) making a run like this.

The discharge paperwork?  Well....yeah, this would come up again, and maybe he'd finally clear up everything.  Maybe he's this working-class Democrat guy who could finally bring jobs back to America.....well....maybe.

On my top twenty-candidate list?  Well....no.  In fact, he doesn't make my top sixty-list either.  But this is the stage of disruption that the American Democratic Party has right now.  They need some characters that the public are enchanted with, and there are very few. 

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Senate Elections?

I noticed that Breitbart mentioned today....a list of ten Senators in Trump-win states....and nine of the ten have serious approval problems noted this week. 

The gut feeling that they dumped the shut-down real quick to ensure no further negativity for the nine?  Well....yeah.

1. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)
2. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
3. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)
4. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) 
5. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
6. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
7. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
8. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
9. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)

Current Republican balance in the Senate?  Fifty-one, with 2 independents.

From the GOP folks running, there's likely to be the loss of one Senate seat, but if you look at the nine here, the odds are that most of these will shift over to the Republicans.  So you'd have near 58, and two independents.

If this scenario were to go through, it'd be a shocker for the 2018 to 2020 period. 

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Why This Shutdown Ended So Quickly?

The news folks will spend about 48 hours to tell this story, and then dump it.  It's pure speculation on their part.  So I sat and speculated upon this as well.  My theory?

I think the Democrats had polling done three months ago that asked a couple of questions and felt good on making a big stand over immigration, and denying the wall construction money.  Things were fine.

I think in the past week, they did another poll....asking additional questions.  Then they hit the imaginary 'pit'. 

If you went into the thirty states that President Trump won, I suspect there is a very high number of folks who were asked about supporting the Democratic position, and their response was that this shutdown could last weeks for them, and they didn't care. 

Why this pro-shutdown feeling?  I think the news media from 2008 to 2016, hyped the theme that shutdowns were 'OK'.  And the public simply got used to it.

So just talking about a shutdown for ten days?  Well....it no longer bothers people.  On their list of the top hundred things to worry about....a ten day shutdown won't even make the list anymore. 

I can remember the late 1970s when I joined the Air Force and this first threat of no budget came up, and being told that I wouldn't get a pay-check.  I sat there, with a measly $500 in the bank and kinda wondered how many pay-days could I miss?  Living in the barracks....I could cut myself down to $20 a week on expenses, but I couldn't imagine this going for more than two weeks before a bunch of folks were in serious financial trouble.

These days, the threat occurs so often....that guys put more to the side and prepare for each shutdown. But I don't think most Americans really care anymore. 

Sunday, 21 January 2018

California and Huntsville

There's this draft law being discussed in California by a state Democratic Party member which spells out this fee-tax deal on companies.  If your company benefited by the recent tax revision deal a tune of more than one-million-dollars, then you would need to hand HALF of the 'profit' over to the state for social programs. 

Possibility of passing?  Unknown.  The state legislature does have a majority of Democrats and they might see this as a way gain more taxation power.  Legal?  I'm guessing that it would be challenged in court, and the Supreme Court would have the final say. 

If you were a company getting a million-dollars or more back....this would would trigger some reaction....a long discussion.  If you were to get back $25-million....would you feel happy handing half of that money over to the state?  Would you be bothered if you were to be set to receive $150-million, and half of that money would flow into the state?

Let's say the state would eventually get a billion dollars in one single year from these companies...would they actually spend it in a reasonable fashion?  Any guarantees?  None.

So, I'm of the mind that my hometown (Huntsville) and it's mayor....ought to pack up some bags and spend six weeks touring the state and discussing a move from California to Huntsville. A thousand jobs?  Ten-thousand jobs?  A hundred-thousand jobs?  To be honest, if you counted this entire region from the Shoals over to Huntsville, they could easily accommodate a hundred new companies, and a hundred-thousand folks moving in. 

The advantage of Huntsville?

1.  You've got an airport that already handles already 600k to 700k passengers a year, and could easily expand to double or even triple it's present size.  Adding more space?  Those folks would just grin....they've got tons of empty space around three ends of the airport.

2.  Property prices.  Go compare against what you pay for property in California and for property taxes, and then come to Huntsville.  It'll be around one-quarter of the price, and probably a quarter of the property tax.  Worrying about city regulations on where to build or fanatical folks hyped up on environmental rules?  Huntsville and the region wouldn't have that problem.

3.  Friendliness factor.  Got a car problem and stranded by the road?  Within ten minutes, some Alabama local guy will stop and analyze your problem....offer sympathy.....maybe offer a prayer over the car....and help you in whatever way they can.  You won't find that behavior in California.

4.  Your pay scale for company employees in California?  You can move them out to Alabama and cut the salary level by fifty percent, and they'd be making more take-home money.  To live in most areas of California, you need a minimum of $500k for a house.  In the outer-belt of Huntsville...$200k would buy you a fairly decent place.  Go 25 miles out and $200k would buy you a pretty decent house and 40 acres of property. 

5.  Weather?  Well, yeah...it's fairly hot and humid in July and August.  No one is going to argue about that.

6.  NCAA football?  Yes, we do have two of the top ten teams in the US residing in Alabama. 

7.  Huntsville city sales tax?  4.5-percent.

8.  Liquor?  Across northern Alabama, we've kinda cleaned up the dry-situation and would most happy to offer you a beer, wine, or cocktail if you were visiting.

9.  Single eligible folks?  I realize that a fair number of California folks are single and frustrated with local 'offerings'.  Huntsville and the region would have a fair number of datable folks.  Course, I would admit that some could be a bit particular about food (they aren't vegan or particular to sushi). Some of them might prefer skeet-shooting or bowling....over walks on the beach.  Some might even be fearful of California engineer gals. 

10.  Finally, some words about stupid taxation behavior.  Huntsville folks tend to have some shame when someone suggests some mega-project costing billions because it's just never going to amount to anything. 

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Does the Shutdown Really Matter?

Here's the thing, if you went to an average group of one-hundred working-class folks and asked them if they are overly concerned about the government shutting down....the majority (probably toward 70-percent) will say no. 

A decade ago, I think it would have been closer to one-third, but in the past ten years....an attitude has developed and folks actually ponder upon this.

For example....is there any service that you are seriously worried about losing for a week or month?

The TSA and air control folks?  They are still working.

The FBI?  They are still working.

Federal prisons?  All operating.

National Parks?  If you charge an entry fee....you are open (unlike the last episode).

Walk around....ask your buddies.  The vast majority are unaffected. 

The last seven shutdowns?  Go and test folks....most have no memory. 

  1.  2013: 16 days
  2.  1996/1997: two actual shutdowns toward the end of 96 and beginning of 97.....total of 27 days. 
  3.  1990: an entire weekend.
  4.  1986: basically one single day.
  5.  1984: basically one single day.
  6.  1981: basically one single day.
  7.  1980: basically one single day.
 
The thing is....the news media has often wandered into this (particularly in 2013) and really hyped up folks about the issues.  Well....folks sat down and talked about the issues, for weeks and months after that one shutdown.  For most, they tend to blame both parties as dysfunctional and regard it all as opera-like in nature. 

I tend to think that once you get past two weeks.....political folks tend to worry about the theme and message getting lost, and that the public starts to think you can survive without hundreds of thousands of federal employees. 

My belief is that come early February, if the shutdown is still in effect....there'll be some meeting of both party leaders, and a fake resolution will occur to get them out of this mess.  In the past, this all worked fine, and the President would rubber-stamp it.  But now?  With Trump?  Could they work up a fake resolution and just pretend to maneuver out of this mess?  I have my doubts. 

And if we made it for thirty days without fixing the problem?  Oh, that would freak out most Senators.

Friday, 19 January 2018

The Hillary Story

I sat and pondered over this story which came out of Newsweek this week.

Professor Lawrence Lessig said and readily suggested via an interview with Newsweek (an actual serious news magazine)....that Hillary Clinton could still become President.

How you ask? 

First, President Trump would be impeached.  Lessig skipped explaining how this impeachment would occur, how the House would come to charges situation, or how the Senate would vote this through.  Then this VP Pence guy would either resign (no explanation why) or get impeached as well (no explanation on that either).  Then Head of the House Ryan would move up and become President....making the decision to hire Hillary, then resigning from the Presidency (no explanation why he'd resign). 

I sat and pondered over this Lessig scenario, then I came to remember....oh yeah...this is the same Harvard that brought in President Bush and President Obama. 

He could have suggested that aliens landed....dragging away 99-percent of all political folks and only leaving Hillary.

Or Lessig could have suggested that a flu bug wiped out most of the DC leadership over six months and she just accidentally survived and got appointed into the job.

The problem here is that Newsweek has done yet another episode to prove their magazine to be worthless and marginal in terms of value.  Once the reporter realized the idiot scenario....he should have dropped the whole story and moved onto some 'wild apes in Borneo' or 'lusty women from Raufarhofn, Iceland' type of story.

All of this makes me ask the question.....are you really getting any kind of valued education while at Harvard?  In this case, I could have asked four barbers from Tulsa to comment on how Hillary could still be President and gotten the same valued answer as Lessig gave.  They would have given you a fair education for a $10 haircut, while the Professor's yearly tuition deal at Harvard would run around $63k. 

Thursday, 18 January 2018

The New Amazon HQ's

The list of cities on Amazon's search for headquarters number two?  They listed the cities today....the final twenty:   Atlanta, GA,  Austin, TX,  Boston, MA,  Chicago, IL,  Columbus, OH, Dallas, TX, Denver, CO Indianapolis, IN Los Angeles, CA,  Miami, FL,  Montgomery County, MD, Nashville, TN Newark, NJ, New York City, NY, Northern Virginia, VA, Philadelphia, PA Pittsburgh, PA,  Raleigh, NC Toronto, ON,  Washington D.C.

I looked at the list and just laughed over about ten of the names.

Chicago?  Murder capital of the US? 

LA?  It's not a technology-driven region and property would be outrageous.

Miami?  Real estate and pay issues would make this a no-go.

Montgomery County, MD, DC, Northern Virginia?  All of this represents high-cost real estate and would impact greatly on the pay-level you'd have to give out to employees.

NY City?  Why would go and sign up for the enormous pay-scale required?

Philly, Newark, Atlanta, and Boston?  All have a hefty real estate situation.

The three places which I would think would be ranked near number one?

1.  Nashville.  If you drove twelve miles outside of Nashville....you'd find tons of real estate with a reasonable price tag.  Toss in the interstate routes hitting the city, and the major airport as a positive.  Pleasant 365 days out of the year.

2.   Toronto.  Ok, weather sucks for four months out of the year.  But real estate would be reasonable and they've got a major airport.  The Canadian government would literally bend over backwards to get this as well.

3.  Finally, I come to Austin.  A premier airport, pleasant weather for the most part, and a major university nearby. 

The shocker to me is if they get crazy here and actually put this Washington, DC.  I can't imagine any idiot being this crazy and putting it there, but to be honest, none of the suggested name really excite me.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The Sugar Tax

A case of regular Gatorade costs around $15.99....at least in 99-percent of the country.  If you live in Seattle....there's a surcharge for all stores within the city-limits....of roughly $10.50 on top of that case. 

So the question, would you easily walk into a Seattle city grocery, and pay $26.33 on the case?  Out of a hundred people....my best guess is that 95-percent of them will say no, and then drive a mile outside of the city limits, and buy bulk....enough for an entire month and avoid the $10.50 per case surcharge.

No one in the city council says much over the implications, but you have to figure that their city tax collection folks are looking over the situation and in six months....note they are missing 5-percent of their typical normal income.  In fact, if you were already at the bulk-grocery store....why not shop and buy most everything you need?  So you could be talking about 25-percent of the anticipated tax collection missing.

Don't get me wrong, I do believe this sugar gimmick of sodas and drinks is harming folks.  In a 12-ounce solution, there probably ought to be a maximum limit of sugar.  But all this fee-based business just makes folks go drive an extra ten-minutes and buy bulk....avoiding your fee. 

The Problem with Sh**hole Politicians

If you look back toward late last week....Senator Dick Durbin (D) is the guy who came out of a Trump meeting and noted that Trump mentioned the sh**hole countries.  This was a meeting with twenty-odd folks attending.

Then as each day passes, you begin to notice different interpretations of what Trump said by each of the twenty-odd Senators and Representatives.  Some felt was a negative word, but just not sh**hole.  Some said it was a neutral word. 

What really happened?

I'm to the point now where I think Trump was sitting there with twenty-odd folks who are either incompetent, drugged-up, or just in some daze. 

You probably had one or two folks who brought their invisible friend with them.  You probably had one guy who is on the edge of dementia.  You probably had at least one guy who is hyped up on opioids. 

The fix here....I think....is to start airing all of these meetings in a public manner, off YouTube and the sh**hole comments will pretty much stop, and some folks will start to comment on the crazy-factor of their Senator or Representative. 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

If This Had Been Alabama:

After looking over this whole hyped-up Hawaii worry of the missile launch warning from North Korea, I sat and pondered what would have happened in Alabama....had someone there accidentally pushed the 'green' button on missile warning.


Most folks in Alabama (probably over 90-percent) would not have seen it unless it was in the middle of local news, Judge Judy, the Andy Griffith Show, or aired via the Fox News.  Some folks would have felt their channel from the satellite was messed up and flipped it to the Braves Channel or some Mexican soccer game.

Four percent of Alabamians would have asked what 'BALLISTIC' meant.  Various meanings would have been offered and every college graduate in the state would have been getting calls to explain the term.

The first reaction by the Baptist crowd would be to arrange up a quick prayer over something misguiding the missile to land in some state. 

Some folks would have asked if this was a warning similar to tornado warnings, or just a tornado-alert (which tends to mean nothing unless Doppler-Radar shows it impacting).

Most local TV news folks would have argued about who would be the guy talking folks through this....either the weather guy (the chief science expert), or Misty (the blond gal from Tulsa). 

Bars and public drinking establishments would have offered up a two-for-one deal on drinks, but demanded cash for each drink served.....no credit cards.

Some guys would have debated putting feed or hay for cattle, or just waiting till after the impact to see if there were any cattle left.

This might have triggered some of the more long-term bachelor guys to finally agree to date some of the more long-term single gals.  Course, this is a 30-minute window and it's hard to figure how much of a date you can accomplish in that period.

Discussions would have occurred with the more intellectual Alabamians.....over whether storm-cellars or tornado-shelters would provide adequate protection over a nuke missile from North Korea. This would have triggered various comparisons to shelters that had been seen on the History Channel.

Finally, some Alabama kids would have called into their local school and asked if the missile alert was enough to cancel school for tomorrow. 

The Missile Warning Story

I noticed this in the news this morning, which worried a lot of folks.


The basic story is that in Hawaii...because of the North Korean missile business....they stood up a system to warn the public of incoming missiles (if it should ever occur).  Well....some guy hit the 'green' button and for thirty minutes across Hawaii....the alert said that there were missiles coming in.  It noted.....THIS IS NOT A DRILL.

From my Air Force period, we had two typical emergency warning episodes....one would always hint that this was an exercise or drill, and the other would openly state....this is not a drill or exercise.  You knew what you were supposed to do in the fake warning and the real warning.

In this case in Hawaii....folks saw this on the TV and heard the internet chat, and got freaked out.  I think they finally got a dose of reality, in that you actually need to worry about this North Korean missile business.  It could actually happen.

Course, another thing came out of this.....it simply took one single guy to make a mistake and activate the alarm.  No one has said how he made the mistake or if this was just a new guy problem, or if the button is too easily turned on.

This also got everyone hyped up on Saturday...like the Pentagon, the FBI, the missile-watching folks....all of them had to stand up and say that they were monitoring the episode and were 'vigilant' (even if they weren't).

This of course then triggered CNN to ask how the US military would track missiles IF THEY WERE LAUNCHED.  So everyone got this mega dose of military explanations about missile launches, satellite tracking, and geometric-chat....most of which is way past the understanding level of approximately fifty-percent of American society.

Then it also forced interviews with Hawaii state folks to explain what the hell they would do....IF there was really a missile hit on Hawaii.  They pulled out some checklists, noted the emergency response plan, and mostly hoped that more intensive questions didn't occur.

Somewhere out there, there's some Hollywood producer noting all of this and racing now to produce a script and convince CBS to make a movie for this fall entitled...."Doom Over Kepuhi Beach", where a nuke missile has slammed the beach and failed to detonate.  Racing to the scene will be 'Buddy' (David Hasselhoff playing a down-and-out former CIA guy who is a PhD electrical engineer and part-time marijuana-farmer) and 'Micky' (Cuba Gooding Jr, playing a retired Navy Seal who mostly drinks in the afternoon to excess and runs a coffee-shop).  Together, Buddy and Micky disarm the nuke missile, save Hawaii, and get a heroes welcome at the White House by President Trump, who refers to the potential nuke blast 'would have made Kep-U-ALL beach a sh**-hole live if it'd gone off'.  Hawaiians will be furious over the mispronunciation of Kepuhi by Trump, and that he suggested sh**-hole status on a beach if a nuke had gone off. 

Saturday, 13 January 2018

If Carlin were Alive

At some point in 1972, comedian George Carlin uttered the phrase which has stood around for almost forty years: "There are seven words you can never say on television.  The words are: s**t, p**s, f**k, c**t, co**ksu**er, motherf***er, and t*ts."

At some point around 1978, I bought the George Carlin record at the base BX, and I sat and heard the entire dialog.  I came to agree with George.  These were phrases which would never be uttered.

Well....up until this week with "s**t-hole supposedly uttered by Trump (maybe he said, maybe he didn't).  But then you had to sit and listen to CNN.  In a one-hour period, the term sh**hole was uttered at least fifteen times. 

Carlin, if he were alive today....would rolling around and laughing his ass off at the news media and the ability to quickly adapt to profane terms as being legit.  Trump?  I think he's got some masterplan existing now on how to insert c**t, f**k and t*ts into the next mid-week meeting and see how quickly the news media would bend any moral standing to utter the phrases.

It'll be some topic related to c**t-countries, or f**king poor behavior by some Asian dictator. 

The world is forever changed now. 

Alabama, Letterman, and Niceness

I follow Alabama news to some degree and noted this week that as part of some trendy new show for Netflix....David Letterman (former night-time TV show host) ended up coming down to Alabama for a tour of the Selma area by Georgia Congressman John Lewis.

The constructed vehicle for this episode is semi-serious, so Letterman can't joke around much.  But I noted in the comments section that he was awful surprised at how nice and gracious folks were to him.  He wasn't expecting that.  Course, if he'd asked the folks if they recognized him....beard and all....I suspect more than fifty-percent would have said no...that they just are nice to people in general.

So this brings up this odd topic of Alabama behavior that few ever admit to or recognize as some trait.

Some folks will say that it's all that church-stuff that reinforces public niceness.  Some would suggest it's something left over from the depression era and the 1930s.  Some would suggest that it's the fact that Alabama folks missed out on radical periods and that being civil/respectful is the result of that.

The truth is that most folks around the state can be awful sympathetic, good-natured, and diplomatic.  It's true, you might drive up and lay out some poor woeful story over your wife leaving you and your cousin might be real diplomatic and attentive in hearing the ninety-minute story, then offer you several shots of whiskey and urge you to attend church....mostly because that's where all the single women hang out and you can rebound.  We call that attitude of the cousin....true diplomacy.

Maybe you got some catastrophic story of the car transmission failing for the second time in twelve months.  As a neighbor, I'd try my best to soften the pain by offering a beer, and then suggesting that a Honda product would be a good replacement for the Ford.

When folks get into a sad situation, we Alabamians often tend to look on the bright side and suggest prayer and a shot of something.

My worry here with Letterman visiting and having this idea of folks being so nice....is that it'll all get back to those Hollywood and New York folks, and then suddenly they all want to show up and get some niceness and kindness dished out to them in abundance.  Some idiot will start up a Alabama-rehab program (probably will be called the Bentley-program) for crazy Hollywood folks, and then the whole state attitude will come crashing down.

So my final word and advice....mostly for Alabama folks....always be prepared as you walk into a Piggly Wiggly or a Catfish Cabin restaurant, because Letterman might be standing there, and you need to quickly utter the phrase..."How you doing", and don't let on that you don't recognize the guy.

The NPR Statement

"If you watch Fox News, you are living on a different planet than you are if you are listening to NPR.”
- Barack Obama

I sat and paused over this comment made by the former President yesterday.  It's actually a true comment....mostly because of the slanted nature of NPR and the amusing circus-like atmosphere of National Public Radio.

If you take all of your incoming news 'bits' from strictly NPR, you end up with a fairly screwed-up opinion of the world.  I'd even make that comment if you went 100-percent with only Fox News. 

We are living in an era where you have to have at least six to ten different sources of news, and discount probably fifty-percent of what you are told because it's so fake, or so slanted, or so constructed like some propaganda-vehicle.  And the sad thing is that most folks don't have the time to sit and analyze what they are being told. 

Trump's Suggestion of Norwegians

During this meeting where Trump said (or perhaps never said) the word 's**thole' and noted the issues with people from such countries....he then turned to suggest the US ought to have more people from Norway.

I sat and pondered over this.  While I've never been to Norway (it's on my list), I've seen enough travel documentary pieces and read enough on the Norwegians to have some views.  This idea of bringing more Norwegians into the US has a negative angle to it. 

1.  Over the past decade, with success and stress....Norway has slowly become a major drug empire.  It's generally rated as the number two place in Europe for drug-related deaths.  So the odds are, if you had a hundred Norwegians entering the US....you'd probably have to drug-test them and discover that 10-percent are dopers.

2.  Drinking to excess.  Well, yeah....most all folks in the Nordic area (to include those Swedes and Danes as well)....drink excessively.  The state taxes the heck out of hard booze and probably helps to prevent some major issues, but you just cross the line with beer instead.  You might not want to let some Norwegians into the US who'd just get into serious trouble because of their drunken status.

3.  Prejudice values.  Folks in Norway tend to brag about their ability to accept social changes (gays, blacks, weird religions, etc).  The problem with this is that it's basically centered around Oslo, Bergen, and maybe four other major cities in the country of five million.  Once you cross the urban line of those major areas.....you find yourself in small communities where they aren't quiet as accepting as their city-brothers.  Yeah, you might find yourself a fair number of bigots, racists, and extremist characters.  You probably wouldn't want members of this crowd in the US.

4.  Generally, if you watch the travel documentary pieces....just about anything that requires extreme manual labor or is classified as 'nasty-work'....is not performed by a Norwegian.  If you have a construction site.....a fair number of the workers will be Poles.  If you have some clean-up crew for a train, it'll be foreigners who've come into Norway, and been hired.  Norwegians don't do sh**work or things that are beneath their status in life.

5.  Generally, if you bring up suppression of people around the world....Norway gets on the list because of the treatment of native people to the north of the country....the Sami folks. In a way, up until the late 1970s....they were pretty harsh on this group of Norwegians. 

6.  Finally, you come to this issue of personal debt.  Norway is a pretty successful country and to provide all the services that you see....they tax the heck out of people.  There's the twenty-five percent sales tax....right off the bat, that you notice.  The hefty income tax takes a chunk of money.  For smokes and booze....more taxes.  So the government gives you a lot of free stuff, but if you were a working-class guy, there's a limited lifestyle ahead of you.  All of this leads to folks borrowing money to enjoy a few extras in life, and it becomes a major habit, which leads onto significant debt facing most Norwegians. 

I'm not saying most Norwegians are trouble-makers...far from it.  But if you had a hundred Norwegians at the door and knocking to come in, you might want to evaluate folks and determine that twenty-percent probably should be denied.  It might even go past the twenty-percent point. 

Friday, 12 January 2018

How to Recognize That You Live in a S**thole

I don't profess to have a PhD or have been a member of some s**thole foundation....but I've traveled enough to note general circumstances.  This is how to recognize your community, city or county has fallen, and can't get up:

1.  A large segment of the local population think that the overall leadership is corrupted.  Maybe not fifty-percent or more....but to the idea that one out of every three people think the authority in charge can't make ethical decisions anymore.

2.  To accomplish s**thouse status, you really need a news media which refuses to address the problems. This usually means that murders are on page six...that no one ever discusses or writes a story about white-flight where folks leave a city or region....or that some corrupted city or state official was arrested on bribery charges. 

3.  Jobs tend to disappear.  Companies start to add up the cost on security, or the problems in recruiting employees, or the decaying neighborhood around their headquarters or production center.  Unemployment jumps above ten-percent, and stays above ten-percent.

4.  Drug usage escales.  People are disconnected from society and hope for the future.  They need something to tranquilize them, and a couple hours of some decent high will help alleviate the frustration of living in a s**thole.

5.  Robbery increases.  It might be nickle-and-dime situations....some guy breaking into your garage.  Some kid stealing your co-worker's car at the gas station.  Maybe even some dynamic duo breaking into your business one night and just spray-painting the whole interior with some special theme-message.

6.  Cops don't care.  Rather than work on crime....they focus on public events, traffic tickets, and speeders.  They know that the prosecution folks won't do much of anything, and the judges would prefer not to handle public cases.

7.  Murders ramp up.  Maybe your 150,000 residence city went through two decades with just a dozen murders a year, and that was the norm.  Then something 'clicks', and you wake up to see the 20th murder by August, and the mayor talking about more cops. 

8.  You start to notice either in city parks or along the streets themselves....more folks just hanging out, and drinking from 10 AM on.  It's not just twenty-odd folks anymore....but a hundred or two-hundred hanging out and sipping booze all day long.

9.  You start to notice more graffiti on public streets. 

10.  People start talking about massive renovation to upgrade away from s**thole status, but then the money cost comes up and you realize that the tax base is no longer existing to fix the problems and you are simply climbing deeper into debt. 

My Top S**thole Cities in the US

This is my list....other folks would have a different view.

1.  Detroit.  Up until the 1970s....it was a pretty good metropolitan area.  Since the 1990s....it's a s**thole.  There's entire neighborhoods of empty houses sitting there.

2.  East St Louis.  I've driven through the area once (needing to ship my car overseas).  There's just not much you can say about the town.  It's a s**thole.

3.  Birmingham, Alabama.  Back in the 1970s, you probably could have driven through and said it was a middle-class town.  Cocaine came, incompetent city management, crime, murder, etc.  It's a real s**thole today.  It's a place where you don't leave the interstate unless it's a real emergency or you need to fly out of the airport.

4.  Memphis.  There are a couple of neighborhoods and areas of the city where it's still safe and reasonable.  Most of the city though...is a s**thole.

5.  Up until the 1990s, Atlanta was in this growth and boom period.  Since the crime and mass urbanization period, most big organizations (including the Braves) are in the process of moving out of the city. 

6.  Baltimore.  Based on the murder rate, and crime....you don't go anywhere other than the downtown harbor area where cops are out in force.  They spent the last twenty years making this a major s**thole.

7.  Stockton, CA.  I traveled through the area back in the mid-1980s and kinda thought it was mostly a middle-class, working-class town.  You go and look at murders and crime today....it's a four-star s**thole.

8.  Cleveland.  Basically, the city died in the 1970s.  In 1950, they were near 915,000 residents....today, it's near 395,000 and shrinking.  It'll probably hit 250,000 by 2025.  By 2050, I think the city will actually reach 100,000 in population. 

9.  Buffalo.  Businesses left the area in the 1970s and 1980s.  There's just no reason to remain in the local area.

10.  New Orleans.  The curious thing here is that there is a  mile-by-mile area in the party district of town where you might want to stop off and have a couple of drinks and enjoy the festive attitude of the area.  But once you venture out of the protected area....this is mostly a s**thole.

Sh**hole Countries, Sh**hole Cities

After watching the news this morning and getting the hyped-up talk by the news media, I sat and paused over the President's words.....concerning sh**hole countries.

First, I've been to a couple of sh**hole countries in my life.  These are typically places where you fly into the airport....get a taxi and go immediately to where you need to be, and you don't venture too much beyond the 'safe' zone.  You drink only bottled water that you can trust.  You avoid cops because they are heavily corrupted.  You avoid the local beer or alcohol because they might not be pure or safe.  You generally keep your shot-records current and worry about getting TB from these sh**hole countries (I already went through the TB medication process after getting TB from such a country). 

Second, as much as people talk about sh**hole countries....I even talk about sh**hole cities. These are cities that you don't drive through after dark....stop at ATM machines....refuel your car at any gas station, and you tote a pistol within the car.  You worry about your car being stolen as you pull up to refuel.  You note the murder rates within the city and listen to the mayor talk about more police....then you watch as cops refuse to really do much to stop the killing.

Third, sh**hole countries are places that typically don't get big conferences, world fairs, or Olympic sport/World Cup situations. 

Fourth, go ask about resort options at the local travel office for sh**hole countries.  Watch the travel agent just grin, and ask if you been smoking any good weed.

Fifth, go ask about protected hotel compounds in sh**hole countries.  I worked with a guy who got this great deal on a resort hotel....five-star rating, in a sh**hole country.  He flew in....walked ten feet from the airport into a bus, which drove straight to the protected compound.  Fantastic place.  Great food.  Free booze (cocktails and beer) were part of the deal for two weeks.  Guards roamed the perimeter and ensured safety and no robberies.  Never once did he venture beyond the protected area.  Came back with great words over the hotel, the beaches, and the staff there.  As long as you didn't venture beyond the protected area, it was fine.

Sixth, go and ask yourself....why do sh**hole countries exist?  It's mostly because these folks never reach a crisis stage where revolution occurs.  They never truly overthrow their regime or dictators.  They just keep living on the edge of society, and accept it.

Seventh, go and ask journalists....why don't you go and report from sh**hole countries?  Go and do on-the-scene interviews.  Ask about garbage pick-up. Ask folks about the cops and safety.  Go and ask about the hazards of life in the sh**hole country.

My advice for the journalists hyping this....if you had to go and pick something to jump down on Trump about and talk about forty-eight hours straight, boy....did you pick the wrong topic.   Most Americans who've done military time and gone to the sh**hole countries will vouch for Trump's words.  Such countries exist and they just aren't places that you'd desire to go and spend a week.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Hillary and Oprah

With the hype in the past week over Oprah, and the suggestion that she'd run for President....it's time to pull out the 2007 landscape and revisit some history that the news media rarely talks about.

In the mid-summer period of 2006....a Senator Barack Obama was discussing the idea of running for President.  Around Illinois, a number of parties were starting to envision this political run.  One of those folks was Oprah.

In September of 2006, Oprah came onto the Larry King Show, and endorsed Obama.  This was before his announcement, and she simply was resetting the stage to show another potential candidate instead of Hillary Clinton.  This is sixteen months prior to the primary season.

There in September of 2007....almost a year later, Oprah holds a fund-raiser for candidate Obama there in California....raising millions to help jump-start the primary campaign.  He needed the funding to push head in the first couple of primary states.

When the smoke cleared in the summer of 2008 with the Democratic Convention now center-stage....most political analysts figure that Oprah's endorsement, campaign talk, and fund-raising episodes....brought in a minimum of two-million extra votes for the primary period for candidate Obama.

In simple terms, Oprah reversed whatever advantages that Hillary had in this primary, and prevented her from reaching the Presidency in 2008. 

It's a curious episode in American history.  If you subtracted the Oprah help and campaign-funding....Obama likely never gets past the Convention, and ends up as a VP possibility at best. Hillary easily wins against McCain, and later in 2012 against Romney. 

No one really discussed this today or the impact of Oprah on the general public. 

The Oprah Dossier?

Things have picked up now and some folks are suggesting Oprah will be the Democratic player running for President in 2020.

This has brought up the topic (to a light-hearted discussion) of a Oprah dossier now being built by the Russians.

Yes....probably going in the range of a hundred to one-hundred-and-fifty pages....a dossier over all the juicy gossip that the National Enquirer and various gossip magazines published from the 1970s to now.  There's at least sixty photos showing thin Oprah, chunky Oprah, muscular Oprah, and fat Oprah.

The pay scale for such a dossier....compared against the millions that the GPS folks were paid?  I would imagine that you could buy a copy of the dossier for less than ten-thousand dollars. If the Enquirer folks were smart, they'd pull all of their material  and just market it for $25. 

The sad thing is that folks now have to worry about the Russians coming into their lives....getting the insider info, and selling it. 

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The Truth About Moderate Republicans

At some point around 2004, I remember watching some Sunday political chat show and some intellectual type journalist hyped up the idea that moderate Republicans were the way to go.  The idea was....if you just had some centralist GOP guy....things would go fine with Democrats supporting the guy.  For several years, I hear the expression repeated over and over.  At some point around 2012 (with Mitt Romney), I figured that the magic expression would finally work, and the general public would likely vote for Mitt...instead of Barrack.  Well....I was wrong.

In the last five years, I've come to this conclusion....Democrats vote for Democrats, and Republicans vote for Republicans, and independents are locked in for policy changes or particular reforms only.  The theme of a moderate Republican?  It is non-existent.  It's like a magic unicorn.

I will admit, it's a nifty catch-phrase, and folks can be led to believe that some Democrats might cross an imaginary line for a moderate Republican.  The problem is if you ask a hundred Democrats....there's probably only one or two who would fall into this strategy. 

So it's mostly just a gimmick of provocateurs, to keep convincing naive Republicans and independent voters....into thinking that there is such a person existing and that the public might vote for him.   

When people stand there and suggest to you about finding this mythical creature....the moderate Republican....ask them to identify the moderate Democrat instead.  The pause will last for a while.

Monday, 8 January 2018

The Iran Story

In the past couple of days.....it's been noted in the western newspapers that a couple of Islamic leaders in Iran...decided that things are out of control, and they issued the order to fix things.

So...Iranian schools are now banned from teaching English language in the junior schools.  The way that it's said....you could still teach it toward the end of your high-school environment, and onto college.  They just felt too many subversive young people (probably meaning twelve to fifteen years old....were getting English language, western culture, rock and roll, and funny ideals.

I sat and paused over this.

It doesn't matter if you were in some French school system, or a fancy Russian academy, or some junior Chinese school....the minute you start learning English, you are probably out of control.  You start watching Madonna videos, listening to the Bee Gees, or maybe even watching John Wayne movies. 

If you wanted to maintain control of society, you need to isolate English from being spoken and ensure the public never gets any fancy ideas about the crazy world in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, or the US.

What'll happen in Iran?  My guess is that a bunch of kids will sit around and just do self-learn type situations and in three years....the religious folks will be all hyped up that somehow....via some miracle, those punk kids learned English and got all these fancy ideas. 

Advice to Mika

“I had some friends that went to Paris over the holiday, and they said they were just viscerally embarrassed to be Americans. They said it was the first time that it was sort of chilling. That they didn’t even want to share where they were from.”

-- Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe 

This has oddly come up over the past fourteen months as folks across the great Atlantic had to warm up to the idea that Hillary Clinton lost.....to of all people....Donald Trump.  Yes, it is a shocker, and still to this day....some French folks, some Brits, a fair number of German intellectuals, and various oddball Europeans have felt the need to let the American visiting how they felt.

I tend to look at this in a different way.

I knew some Americans that also went over for a 'holiday', in France.  It was one of those affairs where they mostly threw together the bare essentials (some smokes, a deck of cards, a couple of pairs of underwear and socks, a canteen, a web belt with a holster for a M-1911 handgun, a M-1911 itself, and two changes of clothing).  Sarge would have tightly controlled the M-1 Garland until they officially arrived at the destination.

They seemed to leave off any men's cologne (feeling it wouldn't help matters).  Ties weren't necessary.  A dress suit for a night out might have been nice but they didn't anticipate any evenings or fancy dress balls.  Their list of things to see in France was awful short.  Most just wanted to leave the shores of France as soon as the 'tour' was finished. 

To be honest, they weren't really invited.  This was one of those invitation slips that meant you needed to show up several months prior and get into some decent shape because you'd have to a fair amount of walking across the French landscape.

The arrival on French soil?  Well....if you were on the original first-arrival list, you probably didn't see much of the countryside, or French hospitality.  And the odds are that your weary bones lay on some French soil, where you had sixty seconds to note the beach and the charm of the French people.

Some folks got past the beach party situation, making miles inlands.  Oddly, they were getting a mixed welcome.  Some non-French folks felt the sudden arrival of the poor uninvited American was not necessary.  But just about every single French citizen came out, openly wept and slobbered over the poor American guy who didn't really grasp a single word of French, and guzzled down whatever French wine was offered....whether it was dry, sweet, or a lousy year.

We mostly just noted that we were passing through, and weeks later...had made it to the border of Belgium, where we found those folks acting the same way.

Course, when the folks arrived at the German border, there wasn't much of a welcome reception. 

I sit and ponder over Mika, her friends who spend the holidays in France, and the rough treatment of the French....oddly enough, they probably got the same wine, and listened to a good bit of French criticism while toasting some snails and eating some half-cooked calve's liver with a lovely mustard sauce.  Course, Mika's friends will all weep over the fact that they did everything possibly for Hillary, and the French host will pat them on the back and refill their wine glass. 

Yes, it seems that if we'd just voted enough for Hillary to win....the French would love us.  So this brings to this point....if someone worries about some authority figure who is there or who is not there....isn't this like a Jesus-figure syndrome?  If you can only be accepted if the right person wins the Presidency, what does it really say?

Oddly in the summer of 1944, no one asked the poor American about the right guy or the wrong guy situation.  If Trump had been President in 1944....would the French have come to the beach and asked the Americans to leave because it was the wrong President?  Would those Americans at the beach been viscerally embarrassed as well, and choose to remain at the beach or return to the safe shores of Britain?

My suggestion to Mika and her friends....life goes on.  If you are prone to visceral embarrassment....it's best to remain at home, sip some California wine, toast some Texas snails over the grill, and weep over some Edith Piaf songs.

The Tapper Effect

I watched a short clip of CNN journalist Jake Tapper....listening to some degree to Trump adviser Stephen Miller for a Sunday interview, then....as if on cue....Tapper says: 'I'm wasting my viewers’ time'.  He stops the interview and more or less goes to a commercial.

Frankly, I wish that more reporters would just terminate interviews if they are just a waste of time. In a typical day, with dozens of hours between the various networks....I'd say that about sixty percent of the news cycle and interview cycle....are totally worthless.  There's nothing but speculation or personal opinion.

Are we getting 'dumped-upon' by the news dimwits?  In some ways, yes.  But here's the thing...let's say Tapper did the right thing and ended most of the interviews in two minutes when it was obvious that they were a waste of time...you'd come to the end of the Tapper-hour with fifteen minutes of 'nothing'.  You would need to fill it with something. Magic-tricks?  Poetry? Landscape video of Alaska?  Sinatra songs? 

We've reached a level where news just isn't news anymore, and people are losing their focus about sixty seconds into an interview. Only speculation on my part, but it's an indicator that society is starting to turn off the news.  That can only be bad for the news networks.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Ice and Lethargy

I've sat the past few days and looked over this book which mostly quotes Bannon's opinion on President Trump.

Several observations.

1.  The book company who paid Wolff?  Well, you track it through the system, and eventually come to the real mother-company....Bertelsmann.  It's a German company.  It probably doesn't really matter, but it's just a curious footnote.

2.  Up front, Wolff has kinda admitted that he really never checked out a lot of the comments made, so the reliability or value of the comments....well...it's marginal.  Maybe Bannon did say these things but if Bannon is nuts (as I'm often told by MSNBC), then Wolff is quoting a nut-case. What good is that?

3.  The suggestion that dozens of White House employees are lined up to quit after the book came out?  I heard that on Wednesday. One of the news media networks hyped this.  Why?  It's a marginal sense that they give, and after hearing it....I started to laugh.  It's like the 10,000 other things spoken about over the last year that simply never came to pass. The idea that Rex would quit by such-and-such date, or that Sessions would resign?  None of them ever came to pass.

4.  Why did Steve Bannon talk like this?  If you were really adapt at playing poker, you never sit and lay out your details to other poker players, so it makes little sense.

5. Will the book sell outside of the beltway?  I have my doubts.  There might be a hundred-thousand books sold in the first month, and then?  It'll drop like a rock.  I doubt that Bertelsmann will make much more than a break-even point on the book. 

The funny part to this story is that it's a ten-day story at best, then it'll dissolve and be replaced by the next big mess in DC, or some Supreme Court judge retiring, or some KGB agent found in Cleveland, or some drunken Senator falling out of his chair. 

Tired of News

I noticed this story pop up today....via the Star Tribune.

So the company....Life Time....which is a fitness studio operation throughout the US....sat down and analyzed the general public and made a serious decision.  They cut news networks from the screens of their studios.  Quote: "They don't fit a healthy lifestyle."

Gone: MSNBC, Fox News CNN, and CNBC. 

At some point in my 'fitness-years' (up until the end of 1998), the military gyms were starting to put TV screens up and you'd show up to use one of their thirty-odd bike-machines at 6 AM.  They would run videos that were mostly landscape biking tours.  It was supposed to get you relaxed.

If you go to any of the fitness centers around the US today....most all will run some news program and it either helps or hurts the client enthusiasm.  I read a piece in the summer of 2017 where some gal got all fed up that the local club only used CNN, and she basically quit the fitness club over this one-channel only policy. 

My guess is that Life Time management probably got numerous complaints about the choices of channels and tried to rotate them....to make everyone happy and unhappy, and eventually decided that this was all a stupid and stressful part of their business operation.

Now?  No one says much over what will be over the screens.  My guess is bike-tour landscape scenes.

But I would go and suggest that airport TV selections will be next.  Most airports that I've walked through in the past five years, are bound and determined to run only CNN.  I've reached the level where I'd rather not watch news in airports, and I think at least a third of population is going in that trend.

Are we sick and tired of news?  Yes.  I think the overdose trend has been building up for a decade, and the public needs some relief.

Friday, 5 January 2018

2020 Election: My Prediction

While we are eighteen months away from the moment where Trump has to make the decision....does it run in 2020, or retire....I am leaning toward the likely outcome where Donald Trump retires.  Let's face it....he will likely have gone and accomplished at least fifty percent of what he promised.  The tax-reform?  We might actually see a second reform episode on this by the summer for 2019.  The GOP will have more than enough Senators by November's election to center their program for 2019, and make it a very productive year.

I also would suggest that at least two Supreme Court selections will occur in 2018, and at least one more in 2019. 

So, who follows Donald Trump?  This is my list of the top five GOP characters:

1. Mike Pence.  He's obviously locked into the number one slot

2.  Nikki Haley.  I think she will pick up the Secretary of State position by this fall, and gain traction as a statesman.

3.  Soon to be Senator.....Mitt Romney.  Yeah, it's a shocker but I think he's going to be elected and show up in the spring of 2019....to be this weekly featured guest.....to undo all the things that Trump has accomplished....yet be some favorite darling of the news media.

4.  Bob Corker.  It's mostly a joke to suggest he'll be taken serious, but I think he's determined to label himself as the anti-Trump GOP guy....to replace Trump's legacy.  He'll make it through three states in the primary before retiring.

5.  Finally, Jeb Bush.  I think he'll raise some funding and try to show up in Iowa....to find that no one is interested in his politics or strategy. 

The problem for whoever wins?  Well....most of them will seek to reduce the GNP back down to one to two percent, and discharge a million-plus new jobs that were created in 2017/2018. 

So my ultimate suggestion here is that as much as the GOP and Democrats think that 2020 will come and Trump walks out the door, and they never have to deal with that mess again.....I would suggest that by 2024....another Trump-like character emerges, and likely wins the election in the same manner. 

Shocker?  Is there another Trump-character in the making out there?  Will we repeat the Russian collusion game yet again?  Yes. 

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Romneyism

With Mitt Romney now spoken to be the likely candidate running in Utah to replace Senator Orin Hatch (now retiring)....the question will come up, with the vast amount of negativity existing with Mitt against President Trump....what is it that candidate Romney will speak up for in this Senate race in Utah:

Reducing the government?  Well....yeah, he did speak to this as a promise in 2012.  He wanted to downsize the US government and cut spending.  Trump?  He's not only made the promise, but he has shown signs of achieving this.

Reducing regulations on manufacturing?  Well....yeah, he did speak to this as a promise in 2012.  He wanted to help build up American business operations, create new jobs and help put people back to work.  Trump?  He made the promise, and by October of 2017....he'd created one-million new jobs in the US.

Cut taxes?  Well....yeah, he did speak to this as a promise in 2012.  He wanted the working class paying less in taxation.  Trump?  He made the promise and delivered by the end of 2017.

Champion small business?  Well...yeah he did speak to this to some degree in 2012.  He felt the Obama Administration was not helping the small business environment.  Trump?  On this, most small business folks would give a split opinion about the environment today versus four years ago.

Reversing military budget cuts?  Well....yeah he did speak to this in 2012.  Trump?  He's been selective on what the increased budget will cover, but he's pushed more funding into the Pentagon.

On getting tough with Iran?  Well....yeah he did speak to this in 2012.  Trump?  He's been very vocal in getting tough on Iran....more so than President Obama.

On Obamacare?  Well....yeah, Mitt wanted to replace Obamacare because he didn't think it was cost-effective.  Trump?  Same story, no success yet though.

On the Keystone Pipeline?  Well....yeah, Mitt was ready to go and build it.  Presently, the business environment is marginally accepting it (prices have decreased on oil anyway).

In fact, if you go and pull out the listing of everything Mitt Romney talked about in 2012....roughly 90-percent was included in candidate Trump's package, and probably half of the Mitt-topics have had some action accomplished.

So this act between Mitt and Trump?  It's like a fake wrestling gimmick.  Mitt just didn't get the votes to beat Obama in 2012, and I think he's angry that Trump did get the votes to beat Hillary in 2016. Beyond that....they tend to both read off the same damn script.

It's hard to figure how the angry-Mitt will fit into this Washington scene, and if this is all a scripted deal to have Mitt suddenly pop up in 2020's GOP Presidential primary, and run against Trump.

If I were in Utah....fine, Mitt might be worth voting for.  But then what exactly will Mitt pretend to do for the next six years....hinder Trump or support the same policy list that Mitt wrote in 2012?  Can you fake your behavior enough to convince people you hate Trump but love all the topics that he's embraced?

So I invented this term....Romneyism.  It basically means you bad-mouth Trump as much as possible, but try hard not to admit that 99-percent of what Trump does....is exactly what you'd do.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Randi Story

People seemed hyped over some CNN episode from New Year's Eve, involving Randi Kaye.  So I went to YouTube and reviewed the clip.

Basically....CNN was doing their big year-end update and Randi was in Denver where folks can buy and use marijuana without any issue.  At some point....Randi lit a bong and did the intake of a joint while on the air....live.

Then Randi went to some gas mask deal, and did another intake of weed.

The accusation is that folks sitting at home were "appalled".  Then some folks went and suggested that this would confuse people into thinking that marijuana was legal in all fifty states, and they'd rush out to buy some weed and smoke it on their front-porch or while standing on their driveway.

First, let's be honest.  Probably a quarter of all top-level journalists for CNN, NBC, BBC, CBS, PBS, and even Fox News....probably smoke a joint at some time during the day, or the minute that they get home.  Yes, that gal that does the 10 PM news is probably got her act together strictly because she did three or four huffs on some bong prior to getting on the air.

Second, was this real marijuana or fake marijuana that Randi was smoking?  Is it possible that Randi was smoking just to get viewers and has never smoked real marijuana in her entire life?

Third, to suggest folks are appalled?  I'm guessing in the age-group of twenty to fifty....probably over fifty percent of the US population has done marijuana, and probably 20-percent do it a minimum of once or twice a week. 

Fourth, if you were fairly naive and believed everything on TV, then we'd have to dismantle the networks and just run puppet-shows, Fred Flintstone cartoons, and Judge Judy episodes.  Oh, I agree, the entire population of schizophrenics in America probably watched Randi huff on the marijuana and got all hyped-up to huff themselves.  But the rest of the nation simply opened a can of Pabst and sipped on it slowly.

My prediction is that Randi will end up on some Saturday night CNN show, with guests....and everyone will pass around a bong and engage in marginal chats while viewers sit at home and note the effect.  We will end up calling it.....entertainment.

Three Observations

There's three things that I came to note this morning which lead me to pondering:

1.  The Today Show finally announced Matt Lauer's replacement (since he had to leave in a hurry)....some gal by the name of Hoda Kotb.  Around the studio, they seemed all excited.  Now they can continue on.

I paused at this point and kinda wondered....what exactly will Hoda bring to the table to make this all exciting?  Course, I asked that with Matt as well.  It amazed me that they were always willing to pay Matt more than 2-million dollars a month for what he did.

I look at most of the morning shows on TV at 7 AM and grade the majority to be 'coffee-journalism'....rather light and geared for mostly housewife mentality folks.

2.  This button-talk with Mr Kim of North Korea.  Kim says he has finally acquired a nuke button. My immediate take on this.....where do you buy nuke-buttons or did he have some Kim-technician manufacture the button?

I'm guessing out there in the real world, there are engineers working hard each day to develop a 'cool' and professional nuke-button that would be eagerly bought by Trump, Kim, Macron, Putin, etc.

At some point in the Kim-talk....he noted his nuke-button was in the office.  I'd be a bit worried on that issue because the cleaning lady could come through in the after-hours, and dust up around the button....then accidentally hit it.  The 3,000 nuke-support folks would see this red-light come on and assume the real Mister Kim hit the button, and then run to launch their one-and-only nuke missile.  Things go downhill at that point.

3.  I kinda noticed in the news that this Joshua Boyle character....the guy held by the Taliban in Afghanistan for a couple of years with his wife.....had gotten himself arrested yesterday.

Boyle was all worried and stressed out in early statements after getting out of Taliban-control that the US would arrest him.  The thing is.....he could never explain why.

The cops arresting him now?  Well....it's Canadian cops.  Yeah.  The charges?  Two charges of assault (no one says who he assaulted), one charge involving a death-threat (usually something taken serious), and some charge over giving the drug Trazodone to someone.  Trazodone is usually for anxiety or stress issues, or to get you into a sleep rhyme. In simple terms....a downer. It's a prescription drug and I'm only guessing here that he had some pills and simply gave one to a friend.  It's not a charge that would usually get you into big jail-time.  But the assault charges?  Well...that's a different story.

The thing about Boyle is that he and his wife were held as prisoners for five years.  It's a miserable five years and I think he was extremely affected by the episode.  As much as he was worried over getting arrested in the US....it's an odd aspect that the statement did come true but in Canada instead, and mostly through his own actions.