Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Trump: 2020?

According to Drudge....it'll be announced in the next day or two. More than 900 days away.

No President has ever gone and done this as early as this. 

The plus factor?  He can go and travel around the country, to just give speeches.  My guess....every two weeks....there's going to be some appearance in two cities over an eight-hour period, and he pumps up the crowd.

For the Democrats?  Man, this puts them into a tough position.  They don't have the money right now to help Democrat Senators in the 2018 election....that's bad enough.  But they don't have the money to plow into the top three folks to appear nationally over the next two years.  They are total dependent upon MSNBC and CNN to have their folks appear weekly.  The fact that few folks watch those networks?  Well....yeah, that's a problem.

Former President Obama in the mix?  Yep....Trump will pretend he's the target and use him and his weekly criticisms as the target.  For the Democratic Party, this is the wrong way of allowing the party message to go forward.

Any talk of the impeachment deal?  If you don't carry it out....your whole package for the serious Democrat is demoralized.

Here's the cherry on this cake.....he only has to appear in the thirty states that he carried before.  He doesn't even have to carry a 50-state campaign. 

There at the rear of this whole mess is Hillary Clinton...likely sitting and thinking over Bill's words in the summer of 2016, and looking at how Trump played the whole 2016 election.  If she were five years younger....she'd go into full-blast turbo and go against Trump for the three years.  She's likely contemplating the future, the money required, and age-health issue.  My guess is that she'd like to run. 

It's an odd topic and will dominate the headlines for at least the next seven days.

A Little History Story

My brother brought up part of this story, and I sat down to spend several hours last night looking over this curious piece of California history.

So, once upon a time.....there was this election for mayor coming up in San Francisco....4 November 1975.

Two individuals running.  Democrat George Moscone (state senator and lawyer).  Republican John Barbagelata (real estate guy and on the city council).

Most people in the summer of 1975...gave Barbagelata the edge.

For some odd reason, never to be explained in public....Moscone went and had some meeting with a guy by the name of Michael Prokes.  He was in his late 20's.....a journalism student for the most part but hooked up to various social groups and in particularly with the People's Temple.

Yeah, that's the Jim Jones crowd....if you were curious.

No one can say for sure what came out of this Moscone and Prokes meeting, but after this....Prokes has a lot of hyped up enthusiasm to get his people....the People's Temple religious crowd....into the canvasing for Moscone.

What most suggest is that the People's Temple crowd did cover a couple of neighborhoods (certainly NOT all of the city), and they were picky about the choice of the neighborhoods.  They just wanted a mass group of people to show up on 4 November from those selected neighborhoods. 

What occurred on 4 November?  Moscone won by 1-percent (4,400 votes roughly). 

The end?  No.  Barbagelata felt that a fair number of votes were simply bused into the city and were not legit.  Proof?  None really.  There is a strong suggestion which came out of a NY Times piece in 1978....that busloads of folks were carried from Redwood Valley.  That's 123 miles outside of the city limits.  But again, it's not substantial proof.  The comment by a Jone's member that Jones directed them on how to vote?  Maybe, but that's not illegal. 

Could you have bussed in 4,400 folks to make the difference?  Well....you figure sixty folks per bus, and the answer ought to be no.  But then they did canvas the neighborhoods and got people to show up and vote. That might have made the difference. 

What happened to Prokes (the guy to arrange this situation)?  Well.....18 November 1978....three years later....he dies in Jonestown. 

Moscone?  Well, this is an interesting twist or two.  He was way ahead on the gay trend business, and really hyped up on liberal agendas. 

Well....eight days prior to the Jonestown business...this odd event occurred in San Francisco.

There was an odd group developing and one of the city council guys was Dan White (former US Army), and tied to a conservative part of town. Over the two years prior, White had gotten into frequent arguments with the developing left-base of the city council (in particular, with Harvey Milk, another city council guy....and gay).

On 10 November 1978, Dan White finally had enough....the trend of the city council was becoming more and more frustrating.  So he resigned. Part of this issue revolved around the fact that he could not work for the city as a fire-fighter/cop....receiving a salary as such....while being a city council guy.  No one states the pay-scale, but I'm guessing that city council duty paid half of what a cop or fire-fighter made.

Four days go by, and Dan now realizes....that was a big mistake to quit as city council member.  He went back to Mayor Moscone and asked to be reappointed.

Well....Moscone says no.

On 27 November 1978....Dan goes into the city hall area and shoots the mayor, and Harvey Milk....dead.

Dan says in his defense....his mental conditions triggered this.  Oddly, the judge says fine....giving him seven years in prison for killing the two guys.  Yep....seven years for killing two guys.  He's paroled in January of 1984....so he doesn't even get the full sentence.  Roughly a year later, he commits suicide. 

Looking back at Mayor Moscone?  Within six to eight years....he would have gone onto running for the US senate, and been in DC.  Somewhere by the late 1980s...he would have run for President, around age 60.  The odds are....instead of Bill Clinton....you would have had President Moscone (my humble guess). 

The Jonestown thing fitting into this?  It's the odd piece and you have to wonder about how this all worked out, and this young guy....Micheal Prokes, if he hadn't died there in Jonestown.

How Did Prohibition Fail?

If you went and looked, through most countries in the 1880s-1890s....there was an anti-alcohol movement in a busy state of activity.

In the US....this movement reached the stage where they decided that only by writing this into the Constitution.....making it the only text without freedom (yeah, an odd thing).  In both 1913 and 1915, attempts were made in Congress to bring to a closure and pass the prohibition idea.  So it came up in 1917, and it passed. 

As January of 1920 rolled around, it was to occur.  You could still drink alcohol after X-day, but only until your stock was extinguished.  By spring of 1920....people were attempting to live without alcohol.  And within weeks....various people were distilling their own whiskey, or bringing in booze via some neighboring country.

Capone and crime?  Well....they found a lucrative market. 

Bars couldn't be public places?  Fine, they'd be quietly constructed and hidden.

Women?  Well, in this new era....Honky-Tonks were social places and guys could bring their dates or girlfriends.  Dancing and boozing became popular.  Women accepted the idea of alcohol.

In roughly four years, the whole idea of prohibition had become a joke.

We were a nation of hypocrites....joking about it in public, and trying hard to admit that the law could be enforced....when it could not.

So come 5 December 1933....it was undone and written out of the Constitution.

The saloon-like atmosphere that had been popular before prohibition?  For the most part.....it didn't come back.  We had been introduced to cocktails in this 13-year period, and liked that more than beer.  It was a fresh perspective that we'd gained.

Would any type of modification to the Constitution over guns come to the same fate?  Yes.  We would revert back to the nation of hypocrites, and likely not observe the law.  And the nation would gain some fresh new perspective. 

Monday, 26 February 2018

This List of Changes?

I sat and read through today the list of gun 'solutions' from this David Hogg-kid from Florida that CNN is all hot to feature and carry his message.

There are probably twenty-odd problems with his concept for a solution.

1.  The only guns to be home-owned...would be a pistol or shotgun.  Rifles that fit into the category of hunting weapon, would be allowed to be home-owned, but only with certain weapon-sights.

Hunters would laugh over the weapon-sight rule. 

2.  What happens to all weapons already in the homes?  Oddly, he skips that comment.  You'd have to go and confiscate them, and that probably won't be something that cops favor. 

3.  The idea of illegal sights existing?  You would see some kind of blackmarket start up and guys buying up dozens to sell later.

4.  When going on a hunt, you would have to register with local authorities.  Hunting on your own property?  He managed to avoid discussing that topic.  The fact that you could load the local gaming commission with non-hunter enthusiasts and squash all hunting in an entire region? Well....he didn't bring that up either.  Various fees tied to each single request for hunting?  Well, he didn't mention that either.

5.  "Any other weapon that person wants to own that is currently legal, may still be owned but must be kept at a secure firing range."  Well, there are thousands of regions throughout the US which have no secure firing range.  Who would manage the firing range?  Why are they special? 

6.  Firing would only be limited to the firing range.  This works fine if you live in some urban area.  If you live 300 miles west of Tucson...there will be no such range.  Who would run these ranges?  What federal and state rules would exist?

7.  A limited number of bullets to be issued with the purchase of the gun, period.  I sat and read over that piece, and kinda wondered how you were going to really enforce this.  It sounds like you'd have to account for every single bullet and have some county agency monitoring your bullet inventory. 

8.  No private production of rounds.  Right now, I'd take a guess that well over 10,000 individuals across the US are capable of producing their own rounds.  They'd laugh at your non-production rule. 

9.  Gun owners would have to licensed.  An interesting concept and some might go along with this.  But then the suggestion accompanied the idea of insurance required.  What company will handle that?  What if they felt it was too risky?  Would pistol owners be given a lesser amount of insurance? 

10.  No concealed carry....simply open-carry.  That means you'd walk into your grocery store with this shotgun over your shoulder.  I don't see people agreeing to this.

11. The problem of the Constitution....well, yeah.  Right off the bat....virtually nothing from this group would easily slide through the Constitution.  It was like you totally avoided that subject and pretended it didn't exist.  A lot of people back in the 1890s to 1920 era....felt that prohibition would work easily, and they guessed wrong.  Convincing folks to accept this type of change that he suggests?  No, it just won't happen. 

Sunday, 25 February 2018

The Neanderthal Story

This past week, a number of PhD folks in Europe decided to go ahead and agree that ancient cave paintings that were found in Spain a number of years ago with 'art'....were drawn by Neanderthal folks....approximately 64,000 or more years ago.

It's been a problem to admit this because they had this image of the Neanderthal folks as.....well....not quiet intellectual enough to draw fancy art like this, in this period 64,000 or more years ago.

The thing is....we aren't talking about vast numbers of paintings, which would lay out to 4,000 different Neanderthal folks over a period of time.

When you go and look at the different caves involved.....it's not that many.  So you come to this moment of pondering.  With a caveman group of forty-odd members, it's possible that you had only one single guy in some period of time, who seemed to be showing some flair for art.  Maybe as he matured and got ready to pass on....some Neanderthal kid took up the art idea and continued on....drawing on another wall of the cave.

As time passed, maybe two less than accomplished guys.....Joe and Marty....talked at length one afternoon about the stout nature of some wild cattle in the region, and each felt the muscular dimensions were something worth admiring. Eventually, they retreated into the cave....took some fire along to light the way, and spent an hour drawing up their image.  After that evening....each of the cave group would come by at various times and admire the art.....comparing Joe's rendition against Marty's rendition.  Joe's art probably was criticized a bit, while Marty's art was viewed as 'modern' and looking more like the intended subject.  This probably set off a feud between Joe and Marty.....with one knocking the front teeth out of the other guy.

The thing is.....I doubt if Joe, Marty, or the sixty-other odd artists ever thought much over future admiring of their art.  The idea that 10,000 PhD guys now look daily over the art and render judgements would probably make Joe, Marty and rest a bit dazed of the admiration.

The other curious thing which you eventually start to think about.....this is simply the caves found so far.  There could be another thousand caves existing....where Joe and Marty drew nude pieces with Wanda and DeeDee....rather than animal pictures.

Talk over Guns and Stuff

Prior to 1965....for a five-year period....there were between 600 and 700 murders a year in California.  In 1965...the numbers jumped 10-percent.  By 1970, they were up to 1,376 murders per year.  By 1980....3,411 murders per year.  By 1990, there were just over 3,500 murders per year.  In 1993, they finally peaked out just over 4,000 murders a year.  In 2016, they finally slipped back down to around 1,930 murders per year.

Why?  No one really discusses much on the trend line going up, or the trend line going down.  There's a fifty-year trend at work.

Part of the 1965 story could be GI's returning from Vietnam with drug issues and simply more prevalent drug use in California. 

Why did the 1993 number peak out and drop by half in a twenty-year period?  Again, no one says much.  My humble guess is that prison sentences went to the extent that you took a fair number of guys and removed them from the system.  Yes, oddly....the three-strikes rule started in 1994.  Journalists probably hate to admit that the law had that much affect but it does appear to represent part of the trend.

I came to this one odd topic in my reading today....a fair number of journalists want to use the term 'gun-death' when talking about individual states. They often want to put out low gun-death in states like California and New York....attributing their low numbers to strong gun laws. 

But you sit there and start to ponder.....if you had five-hundred assault-minded or threat-mined criminals who approached some house....attempted to enter or threaten harm.....and the five-hundred were shot dead....they fall onto this gun-death routine.  But obviously, they pretty much eliminated their desire to live by attempting a threat or harm to the innocent home-owner.  Does the gun-death statistic take that into consideration?  No.  That's an odd feature of this statistic. 

In the words of my brother on one moment of farm logic....some folks are just destined to die because of stupidity or bad behavior.  I would offer to that logic....we ought not be collecting statistics over such folks because it really won't lead to anything. 

Gone and Disappeared

It's a case which interests me.

Highly educated black guy....PhD in the medical field. Works for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention out of Atlanta.  Promoted last year to 'commander'.  Thirty-five years old. 

He felt sick....apparently leaving in the middle of the day around 12 Feb.  Then?  He disappears.

It's been two weeks.  Timothy J. Cunningham.

His parents flew down from the northeast to Atlanta.  He did drive home after stating the sick excuse for leaving, and parked the car in front of the house.  No evidence of a fight or such in the house.  Dog is sitting there.  Billfold is there.  Smartphone is there.  Keys here.  Car is out front.

Other than that....nothing else. 

No notes.  No suggestion of leaving the house.  Most dog owners would be dedicated to their pet and not leave the dog like this.  Same with walking out of the house without your keys....it just doesn't happen to most guys.

Cops?  They've put out pictures of the guy.  That's about it.  You would think phone calls would be checked and reviewed over the twenty-four hours before he disappeared.

My guess?  I would suspect that some neighbor took him in when he had a serious bout with the flu, and has quietly been nursing the guy back to health.  But you would be wondering about the dog, and the lack of keys.  Several things about this story don't fit.  It's like he stepped out the front door and just kept walking.  One other odd part to the story?  There are two windows in the open position as the family members arrived to check on his status.  This being winter, that makes it awful suspicious.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

The Lack or Loss of Maturity

One of the top ten all-time water-cooler discussions that I ever got into....occurred around 1998.  I was still in the Air Force and had some NCO visit from another base, and we were sitting in my office where he was explaining problem X, Y and Z with a particular airman that was in his office.

In roughly six months, this young airman (probably in the age range of 19 to 20) had arrived and gotten himself into twenty-odd issues.  This was a kid who'd been through basic training, done a minimum of five months in some technical training school, and spent a year at some base in the US, before arriving in Germany. 

Everything had to be debated.  The kid felt discipline or standards were intolerable.  The kid couldn't accept directions.  The kid felt the world was against him. A simple job required continual oversight.

The weight of this entire argument was that the maturity level you'd expect out of a nineteen-year-old guy, did not exist.  At best, this was a 12-year-old kid pretending to be an adult. I went over five or six of the points that this guest of mine had brought up, and each readily demonstrated 'kid-like' values.  This was all stuff that you would have left in the fifth-grade, and progressed onto the next three or four levels of life.  Since the kid wasn't improving, my suggestion was to dump him out of the Air Force as quickly as possible.

A couple of days passed by and my guest called and said that he didn't even have a chance to discuss my advice with the Commander....the Commander had already decided to move the kid to discharge-status.  It'd normally take a month or two to achieve this type of event.  The Commander had the paperwork finished by the end of the 4th duty day, and the kid was put on a plane back to the US by the fifth day of decision. 

I've often wondered what happened to the kid after that. He'd be approaching forty years old by this point.  He's probably stocking shelves at some grocery, or cutting grass for the local city parks department.

Over the past two or three years, I've approached the attitude that there are a heck of a lot of 12-year-old kids now pretending to be older teens, college-level kids, and even adults themselves.  I'd hate to assess the number but it's probably near ten-percent of the US population now that are immature and unable to act as adults.

They've lost respect.  They've lost dignity.  They've lost courtesy. 

Some are affected by legit drug usage.  Some are affected by just bad behavior.  Some want to impress you with their fifth-grade logic.  Some want to cite logic, while using illogic.  Some want to challenge your respect by denying you any respect.  And some are some great crusade for social justice....mostly heading in the opposite way, and away from actual social justice.

It's not a good society versus bad society thing.  It's just that theses kids never grew up and they've still got the fifth-grade view of life.  There are so many of them, that you have to interact with them at least a couple of times each week.  In fact, you might have been stupid enough at some point to actually marry one of them...waking up now to realize Wanda or Micky (your spouse) is obviously a fifth-grade mentality and it's just about impossible to exit this marriage without a mess.

At some point, in my mind....something has to change.  It's just the question of how you grow the 'kid' into an adult.

Baseball Chat

On rare occasions, I essay on sports, and the business-world that has developed.  So today, it's onto the topic of free-agents and baseball.

In the mid-1970s....baseball was forced into accepting the idea of free agency.  It meant you signed a guy for a period of time, and when the contract ended....the guy could leave.  It also meant that you could find several players, to build up a winning team....at a particular cost.

Over the past twenty years in baseball...there's this odd trend that started to get noticed.  Players (and their agents) were pursuing deals where it was a multiple-year situation.  Not just three years, but onto five, or six, or even seven years.  What developed was this problem that after three years....the product level of the player sometimes became marginal....the guy developed an attitude problem...and the team was trying to give the guy away (thus having to pay another team to take him off your hands).  So you were paying a guy a hefty check, for marginal production, and then paying a second time to get another team to take the loser off your team. 

Anger and frustration occurred on various teams.  Part of the problem goes back to the agents, and the manipulation they used to convince teams to use longer contracts.

So in the past six months....teams across both leagues did this odd thing.  No one says it's a league policy, or that it's a secret philosophy from baseball....but they all started to shy away from free agents. 

If you had a listing as the 2017 season ended of all free agents (players with no contract)....fewer than 25-percent have been signed at this point. For some players, getting into early March, with no contract is now a frightening thing.  The agents are furious, if you follow public commentary.

The business now likely to occur?  By the end of March, I expect about half of the free agents to be signed....but mostly for a one-year or two-year type deal.  Pay escalations?  No....these are guys who will make the same amount as they did last year. 

The remainder? I think they are finished.  These are mostly marginal players over the age of thirty, or three-star-type players approaching their mid-thirties.    I think a number of minor-league players are going to be given a chance to move up and assume roles in the major leagues for 2018.

It's a bold new world.  The real losers here?  Well....the agents.  All of them are going to take pay-cuts for the future. 

Friday, 23 February 2018

CNN and MTV

Back in the early 1980s....I admired M-TV a good bit.  In a normal week, I probably watched six hours of music videos.  My attraction was mostly over the fact that you could take a two to four minute tune....run some great story video in the background, and it was like a sales-job over clothing, cars, lusty women, or Miami.

Over the past decade, I've come to view news networks (MSNBC, Fox, CNN, etc) as having gravitated over to having an effort with a text to attract your attention, and some video-type background that keeps your attention.  All of this....leads to a comparison to M-TV's videos.

Oddly, each of these are built in the same way....three to ten minutes in length.  They've even gone to having actors step in and be occasional fake witnesses to an event....give it that professional image and the right text of words to fill the agenda.

They can sell something....in the same way that M-TV sold clothing, cars, lusty women, or Miami. 

Course, I won't be critical of this....it's their right to be a sort of fake news outlet, and sell 'something'.  The problem here is that as M-TV matured, and audiences moved on....the sales-pitch became tougher each year and a lot of people simply laughed over the images in the end.  It's today to sell clothing, cars, lusty women or Miami. 

So I gaze over at CNN and kinda wonder....at which point will they fail or start to lose viewers?  Well....they already admit their viewer-count is down, and profits are starting to be marginalized. 

I sat this week and watched some of the anti-gun CNN pieces, and realized that it fell into the same path.....clothing, cars, lusty women, Miami, and now anti-gun. Maybe it'll sell for a couple of weeks....at least until the public tires of it, and then it'll just be another theme piece forgotten.

The Cop Story

As the story unfolds from this school in Florida with the shooter....we kinda find today that the school-asset-officer (whatever that means) stayed out of the shooting zone for three minutes.  He never engaged the shooter, and basically did nothing.  It's an older guy.....been with the county police for thirty-odd years, making $75,000 basic pay a year.

I've read a fair bit over the guy, and have come to four basic conclusions:

1.  In terms of being a policeman, or officer, or security guy.....no, he was there as some liaison guy who was supposed to talk to kids, and parents.  Beyond that, I don't think he really had the background or training.  Maybe they gave him a gun, and made sure he showed up twice a year to practice shooting it, but I don't think he was really a policeman.  If they meant for him to be there to protect kids.....I don't think they trained him to really be that kind of guy.

2.  The $75,000 a year?  Well....being some kind of liaison-guy for that kind of salary.....is a joke.  They could have gotten someone fresh out of college for maybe $35k to $45k for this type of work.  The cops were wasting the guy there, for that kind of money.

3.  Is this the kind of guy you have at every school in Florida....for security?  If so, you got a bigger problem.

4.  Finally, I come to necessity of having cops at schools.  I grew up in another era....where the one and only town cop usually showed up at the football games to ensure no fights broke out.  If you got an issue to exist where you need cops on the campus.....all the time?  Well, you need them to be able to arrest and detain kids very easily.  You don't see them giving that kind of authority to the cops in that school.

This guy now?  He'll retire....draw a pension, and quietly move away from Florida.  Sad deal for a guy who was probably a year or two away from retirement. 

The If Situation: Charlie Wilson

I sat the other day and watched Charlie Wilson's War...with Tom Hanks.  Second time that I've watched it.

It provokes a lot of history, and what if situations.

For those who aren't aware of Charley and his history, a brief moment.

Charley was this Democratic (shocking as it might sound) Congressman from east Texas.  He had a military background, and the Congressional job was more or less a playboy-like gimmick for a number of years. Then one day, after the Russians had invaded Afghanistan....Charley got onto this idea....why not stage a guerrilla-like war with the CIA helping those Mujahideen 'warriors' to retake their land.  So in 1983, Charlie arranged a funding vehicle which brought roughly 40-million in shoulder-launched missiles into Afghanistan.  The air-war basically ended within a year, and the Soviets more or less had to admit defeat....leaving Afghanistan.

As the smoke cleared, the US then failed to really review the next step....halted additional funding, and the Mujahideen moved to radical Islam.  This is where Osama Bin Laden became this iconic figure and we progressed to 9-11.

You can look back and realize that all of these problems we have today....go directly back to Charley Wilson.  There are basically two "IF" situations here:

1.  If Charley had never gotten this stupid idea.

2.  If the CIA had funded an after-action step when the Russians had left.

Either of these two steps, would have changed history and prevented 9-11 from ever occurring.

If Charley had never gotten this idea....the Soviets or Russians would still be in Afghanistan today.  Laden would have become a hunted figure eventually, and the KGB would have killed him.  The towers would still be there.  And we'd have marginal two-star security still at our airports. 

CNN, Script, and Acting

There was a time in the mid-to-late 1980s....where CNN was really a news organization.  Today?  It's basically become a drama-center or opera-house. 

I noticed folks talking to a great extent about the town hall-like operation over the Florida episode, and I watched about fifteen minutes of the 'act' via Youtube.  Its safe to say that it was designed for a media event, and to project some agenda item.

Fake?  Well....the problem here is that you sit and watch this, and everyone has cards to read.  When you reach the stage where your question is thirty words long....sometimes even going to sixty words....it's not a real question anymore, and the audience has lost focus by the end.  It's designed now by CNN to be some kind of drama, with acting and moderators-pretending-to-be-journalists.

I sat about ten years ago and listened to a former wrestler describe the layout of an entire season.  The staff of the wrestling headquarters had a big huge white-board set up, and they had around fifteen confrontations laid out for such-and-such wrestler....how they'd interact with this guy....how some bad-guy would arrive, and the dramatics necessary for a successful conclusion.  In a way, CNN has become that type of operation.

One might go and suggest it's time for a TV comedy show to come up and pretend to be some CNN-fake organization, play out the fake drama for entertainment, and just do a parody of the CNN-act.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Travels With Charley

In 1962, Travels with Charley was published.  For John Steinbeck, it was the last significant work.  He was in a retirement state of mind and this was supposed to be some literary piece describing some trip across the nation.  People liked the storyline, the travel agenda, and the characters mentioned. 

For me, of the 1,500-odd books I've read in my life....I consider it one of the ten best books I ever read.

All this said and done....I've kinda noted over the years various discussions with the book, and how actual events and travels mentioned....didn't really fit well together.  Some folks have gone onto discussing the idea that Steinbeck didn't really make the trip, or that he staged two or three of the stops, and just filled in the rest of it with fictional words and descriptions.

A Steinbeck-enthusiast would be shaking their and defend their hero, but then you'd have to imagine this trip, and having discussions with various people along the way.

My humble guess?  I think he basically drove the truck out to some Oregon coastal area, and just quietly sat at some cabin writing up the story while gazing at some map and travel books.  Six weeks later, he wraps up the piece and mails it off.  I don't think it's a terrible thing but it's an odd thing we are stuck with and wondering about. 

Arlington?

There's a piece out there today which suggest a number of browsing episodes are popping up from Amazon....noting Arlington as a question-topic.  There's a suggestion by folks now that the big number two headquarters being pursued.....will end up being Arlington, VA.

I sat and paused over this idea. 

Personally, I think it would one of the craziest and most stupid business decisions ever made....to base this in the county of Arlington.

Just going to find open ground to fit this large-type complex....would be near impossible.  My humble guess is that they'd go the Army-Navy golf course folks and make some billion-dollar offer, for the whole golf course, along the interstate (I395).  Beyond that, there's just no place with decent space.

But then you come to entry into the region.  from 7 AM to 9 AM....it's one of the most congested areas in America.  From 4 PM to 6 PM, it repeats itself. 

Mass transit?  If you were near some station, it might make sense....but virtually every station is layered out and I'd just shake my head over this idea.

Escalating home prices?  Right now....to buy just a marginal house...it's $300,000.  Putting 5,000 to 10,000 employees into the local area?  You would escalate housing prices to $500,000 easily. 

Apartment pricing?  I used to rent a plain studio place (full heat and electricity, with AC) for $1,150 a month in the local area.  That was a 400 sq ft place.  Go imagine the rent for that building if Amazon existed....it'd probably run at least $1,800 for the studio apartment. 

My humble guess is that....if they build it....within six years....this will be downsized to a thousand-man operation at best, and most of the real work will be done at some alternate site a hundred miles to the south. 

Monday, 19 February 2018

Trying to Use the German Gun Control Template to the US

How would the German system work in the US case?

1.  You'd go to the county seat/court house and register yourself.  You'd fill out a sheet and they'd do a background check.  If you've ever been arrested for threats or such (even with no conviction), that little threat will hinder your application.  Threatened your ex-wife?  You won't pass.  Been convicted of some misdemeanor?  No big deal.  Convicted on some serious crime, especially with a weapon?  Well, your application won't pass. 

If you had 10,000 folks in one single country to push their application through....you can figure it'll take at least 12 months to get it validated.  My best guess is that out of a hundred folks....maybe ten to fifteen will fail at this level.

2.  Medical check.  Your doctor will look over your records and determine if you have a mental disease or use serious drugs.  Bi-polar?  Schizophrenic?  Cocaine-user?  Opioid-user?  You can figure your application will fail.  I would suggest that 20-percent of Americans as a minimum.

3.  You go and take a class on gun safety, and handling a weapon.  Figure two Saturdays.  The guys who accidentally fire their gun while in the class?  You can figure they won't pass. 

That would be it.  My humble guess is that out of a hundred folks who currently have guns....thirty-percent would not get the license.  Loss of the weapon?  That would be the harsh reality, and I doubt that guys would be willing to accept this new reality. 

Florida and the Remainder of the Year

For the remainder of 2018, here is how the school shooting plays out;

1.  The kid.  I'm guessing about 48 hours after the shooting....most of his drugs have worn off, and he's sitting in the jail without any gaming 'set'....maybe for the first time in ten years.  His reality is starting to return, and he is contemplating all the screw-ups.  On a suicide watch?  Yeah, probably.  Zero chance he'll ever walk free, and about a 50-percent chance for a death sentence.  He probably doesn't remember much and says he was in a daze.

2.  The schools.  Well, for the remainder of this school-year, it'll be a hyped-up mess....sixty-percent of kids all anti-gun and social-meddling this to the ninth degree.  The opposite group....the kids who always oppose stuff, and the pro-gun kids....will be picked on.  With two weeks, some pro-gun parents will demand face-to-face teacher meetings and principal meetings.  Some teachers will bluntly push back and say they are anti-gun teachers.  This will set off a new mess that the school boards can't handle.  Ability to accomplish anything for classes?  No, don't go and anticipate anything getting done for the next four months.  Some teachers will be on a list to fire (the pro-gun folks as well as the anti-gun folks).  Various fights will occur and blame will be tossed onto both groups.

3.  The 17 House members from Florida who are Republican?  They run in November's election and they are screwed.  The kids will go against them and the wave will be very negative.  At least half of these seats are now permanently lost.

4.  Adjacent states?  Social media will carry this anti-gun wave across to other states and trigger in-house fights....the pro-crowd versus the anti-crowd.

When You Don't Have School Discipline

As a kid in rural Alabama, I don't remember the topic of suspending or dismissing a kid from school until probably the 10th grade.  To be honest, you just didn't have 'drama-types' who needed the suspensions. 

With all of this Florida-shooting hype, someone sat down and dug out the Broward County School Discipline Agreement

It's an odd piece...signed by local city/county judges, the state attorney general, and the Sheriff.  The school system has to comply with this local document. 

So in the midst of this agreement, there is a list of things that you will NOT be suspended or expelled upon....if they were to occur.  In these cases, you get a warning, a lecture, and possibly detention (meaning a couple of hours per week in study hall).

The list: all student misbehavior, disrupting or interfering with class or school functions, fighting in hallways or classrooms, theft of less than $300, vandalism (if less than $1,000), disorderly conduct (against other students, or teachers),  trespassing, criminal mischief (unclear what the heck this means), gambling, loitering, prowling, harassment, alcohol use or drunkenness, any possession of  Cannabis or drug paraphernalia, threats, obstructing justice with or without violence.

In most companies, the hint of any of these acts....would be enough for HR to bring you in and fire you on the spot. 

In the school?  Totally acceptable.  The worse that you might get is extra study hall. You could show up daily after consuming half-a-bottle of whiskey....no problem.  You could start a fight every other day.....no problem.  You could disrupt your science class daily....no problem. 

So I just look at this accepted behavior deal and can judge the school system as a failure.  The fact that judges and the sheriff signed off on it?  They are just as much part of the failed system.  They are themselves a failure.

You can draw up a long list of failures that brought this idiot kid to the event of last week.  The FBI failed.  The local cops failed.  The school discipline failed.


Sunday, 18 February 2018

Just Ten Suggestions

After reading a fair bit over mass shootings and pondering over things....I have ten suggestions:

1.  Dump all disciplinary issues that pop up in any school over to the cops and the local judge.  Let the parents, and the trouble-making kids, get used to direct court action and the police.  Let teachers do the only thing they should be doing...teach.

2.  Got any kid who displays attitude problems in school or can't respect teachers or fellow-students?  Bring them in for Saturday sand-bagging.  Give them the job of filling five-hundred sandbags.  You screw up a second time?  One-thousand sandbags.  You screw up a third time? Two-thousand sandbags.

3.  Raise the gun purchase age to 21, along with the voting age, the age for buying alcohol, the age for getting a credit card, and the age to buy cigarettes.   You want to join the military and are still under 21?  Go get your parent's signature. 

4.  You make any threat to harm anyone....cops get called and they are mandated to arrest you and hold you for a minimum of forty-eight hours.  Judges get called and you have to face some court activity before you get a chance to go back to school.

5.  Give the school system an opportunity to let kids test out, and leave by the end of the 10th grade. 

6.  Unannounced drug tests on students and teachers....minimum of two tests per year.  You fail as a student, you get two weeks of suspension.  As a teacher, you get a month off without pay.

7.  Cellphones forbidden in all schools. 

8.  Showing disciplinary issues?  Let the judge retain your social media account and prevent your use of any social media for 90 days.

9.  Fights at school?  Call the cops, let them sort it out.

10.  Fights on a bus?  Call the cops and let them sort it out.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

The 21 Discussion

A senator today hyped up the idea of gun purchases having an age limit across the entire US of 21 years old.  I sat and pondered upon this idea.

First, sure....this would be a mighty fine law.  So once you have some Baltimore gang member.....18....with a pistol....are you willing to send the kid off to three years of prison?  If you did make this a law....what's the jail-time?  Six months?  A year?  Three years?

Second, if Junior to go hunting this weekend (Junior is 16)....there's no problem with him borrowing dad's hunting gun....right?

Third, if you had five or six attacks where 19-year old Junior used a professional bow-set....would limit those purchases as well?

Personally, this sounds so swell....that I'd go and add in....no beer or booze sales until 21, no military participation until 21 (unless your parents sign off).....no credit cards or home loans until 21.....a maximum limit on college loans of $10,000 a year until you turn 21...and no voting until you are 21. I doubt if this Democratic Senator would go along with this idea of mine though. 

If you added up all the mass killings in the past forty years....how many would have this simple law prevented?  Five?  Maybe ten?  Would not have prevented the Vegas shooting.

If I were Trump....I'd go and wretchet up this idea and suggest everything goes to age 21....no credit cards, no booze, no cigarettes, no guns, and no voting.  Very quickly.....this idea will disappear. 

The Medicated Society

Last night I spent a fair amount of time reading over statistics.

Roughly twenty-six million Americans (around 9-percent of the population) use illegal drugs (meth, crack, weed, etc).

Roughly one out of every six Americans use some legal mood-changing drugs or antidepressants.  The doctors say it's fine....it passed all the tests, and you can have them. 

If you figure up the two groups, you can assume that in a normal day of bumping into one-hundred people....at least thirty of them have medication in their system, or they've doped up in the past couple of days. 

It's a high number, if you think about it.

The real problem though...is that you tend to only think of this group as adults.  So if you were to look around the local school with 500 kids between the ages of ten and eighteen....would it bother you if sixty of them are on some type of antidepressant or mood-changing drug?  If you were a teacher and came to realize in this group of twenty-two students in your room....there two kids contemplating suicide because of the antidepressants, and at least one kid who wanted to terminate some 'mortal-enemy' in the class for stealing their pencil.....would it bother you?

If you were the school bus driver, and had forty-two kids to pick up or deliver home, and eight of those kids were potentially on the borderline of harming themselves or other kids....would it bother you?

It is a heavily medicated society...something that you didn't really have to face in the 1930s or the 1960s. 

So this brings me to this observation.....where exactly will this lead onto? 

Topic of Mass Killings

I sat and spent a fair amount of time on a piece of a 2015 study by Michael F. Stone, a PhD psychoanalyst from New York.  He sat down and spent a fair amount of time looking at mass killings.

For his study, he ended picking 235 mass events (only from the US), from the period of 1913 to 2015.  My guess is that he picked events which had a fair amount of written material, but it's unclear how the 235 were really picked.

One might also note that he didn't go out and interview witnesses but just relied upon the newspapers and books written.

The FBI will tell you that roughly one-thousand mass murders occurred between 1900 and 1999.  Since they didn't come along until the 1930s.....I might go and question how they arrived at their number but I'm willing to accept some basis to start this discussion from.

In most of these 235 events....Stone comes to a clearly defined end-result....at least 228 of these were folks who had some type of mental illness, psychosis, schizophrenia, or bipolar.

Basically....well over 95-percent fit into his profile of people who weren't capable of grasping the event or what they were doing.

The Vegas shooter?  Well....if you go by what the girlfriend said....he was showing signs of schizophrenia.  The doctor giving him mood-altering drugs?  Nothing in terms of a pubic statement but the fact that the prescription started about a hundred days prior to the event....would lead you to some view of the serious nature of his mental condition.

This kid in Florida?  Based on various descriptions, I'd take a guess he was on medication and probably bi-polar.

The problem here?  Let's say you opened up the books and admitted out of the past twenty years....98-percent of all mass murders were triggered by mental illness.  What exactly are you willing to do?  Would you be willing to confirm six-hundred people per week from across the US to a permanent and ever-lasting mental institute?  I doubt it. 

If they wanted to kill a mass group and didn't get a gun?  Well....you'd go and explore various other ways from toxic gas, to poison. 

The 9-11 crew?  I think if you really dug into their mental side....most would be defined as having some form of mental illness. 

We've got a problem but it's clearly not going to be solved by discussing gun-control.  The study by Stone?  I'd highly recommend it but it's pretty long. 

The Russian Meddling Story

As the smoke clears over the 13 Russians indicted for campaign 'meddling'....you have to ask yourself....what exactly happened?

In 2014, some Russian authorities (no one says Putin) decided to send a couple of Russians into the US, on a vacation....to gather information (intelligence).  They weren't interested in US missile silos, rockets, or even troop strength.  No....their interest was public usage of social media, and how social media was used.

It's probably the weirdest collection mission ever attempted by the Russians.  A couple of guys driving around....asking stupid questions over social media....how social media really works....and how to create fake news. 

Over a period (probably two years), they devised this plan to 'meddle' in the US election.  They would use social media.  They would plant reports and stories. 

No one....not Mueller, or Congress, or any media system....can cite what real affect this led to.  Maybe it influenced 10,000 voters.....maybe 100,000 voters....maybe one-million voters.  But you can't cite this as a fact.

In various ways, they planted stories or news that made Bernie Sanders look better than Hillary.  They planted stories that made Trump look good.  They might even planted stories that made McCain look brilliant, or Jeb Bush look like an idiot.  They had public events where they sponsored groups.

Prior to the November election, they used one tactic of suggesting to blacks not to bother voting.  To be honest, you can't cite the true effect of this.  Maybe 10,000 blacks did take the advice and just stayed home.  Maybe 100,000.  Maybe even one-million.  And if they did stay home....were they honest-Hillary-voters or honest-Trump-voters?  Again, there are no facts.

Then after the election, they funneled money to leftist groups to show up for anti-Trump rallies.  No, these were not the Hillary-supported, or Soros-supported, or DNC-supported anti-Trump rallies....these were the Russian-supported anti-Trump efforts.  The fact that one anti-Trump rally would occur in X-city and be Russian-supported, but two states away was another anti-Trump rally but supported by Soros?  Well....let's not bring that up.

Where this goes now?  You bring the 13 Russians into a court and try to have some jury case worked up.  The problem I see is that the Russians might show up with the KGB experts and documented evidence from November 2011, and January/February 2012 Russian elections.....where US social media (you know, Goggle, Facebook, and Twitter) showed up and influenced the anti-Putin group and harmed the Putin campaign.   If you were on the jury, you would sit there and eventually ask the judge....if the American 'idiots' from the Obama Administration started this whole thing in 2011....shouldn't those Americans be dragged into a Russian court and be charged with election meddling as well?  Were the Russians only returning the favor? 

Oh.  Yeah. 

But here's the bigger question, with all the Russian work done....is it possible that they really only affected 10,000 votes across the entire US?  This is the bigger mystery to the whole story. 

Friday, 16 February 2018

Need a PhD Guy

It's an interesting question to ask....to someone who needs a PhD type project for a year.

Mass shootings....for the most part....all men or boys.  You ever noticed that?

I went looking.  From around 15 years ago, someone had done a study and found that ritalin (or mood-altering drugs) were prescribed at that point....at a rate of three boys to each girl. Maybe it's changed, but it would be curious to see the results of this.

So why don't you see girls in gun battles or knife fights?

My humble guess?  Estrogen.....something that boys can't produce.  I suspect all these mood-altering drugs can't fight off estrogen. 

Course, I can't prove any of this.  But it just does seem odd that you continually see this male-dominated topic.  There are no female mass murderers. 

Yep, for some science geek with a empty lab schedule and some test folks....you might get yourself a Nobel Prize for something. 

MIlitary Story

It came up in Pentagon news today that they are looking at this rule change that says that if you are non-deployable for over one year....they will release you (friendly way of saying you will be kicked out).  How many are we talking about?  The Pentagon suggests that it's near 300,000 total from the Marines, Army, Navy and Air Force (active duty and reserve/guard).

How this comes up?  Someone must have centered in on statistical data that showed in some professions....it might one out of twenty folks who are on a year or two years of some ailment/health issue...and that it's a growing trend.

I sat there in the 1990s, and began to notice various trends which were falling into this category.

First, you had those sports-obsessive folks who were having serious sports injuries....the type where you are on limited or marginal physical profiles for a minimum of six months. 

I worked with one guy who had an Achilles Tendon injury, which never healed right after the original episode, and this guy was on a profile for fifteen months.  In the early 1990s, this wasn't a big deal....you'd cross the guy's name off the deployment list and you just went on.  But these days, you might find two or three guys in a 120-man unit....with long-term injuries and this turns into a worry-fest for the commander to deploy people. 

In one unit that I was associated with....they had a female in her early 30's with back issues.  For six years, she was on a medical profile....no deployments possible.  Course, they couldn't bring themselves to just medically discharge her.  So she stayed on....reaching retirement at the 20-year point. 

Second, you reached a level in the 1990s where people had mental or stress issues....and the doctors were favorable to start profiles on the individual.  That would have been fine if this was a six-week episode and the guy needed alcohol rehab or he needed four months to get over the death of some family member.  But I sat and watched the Air Force keep some nutcase around who was emotionally unable to handle any kind of stress.  They wrote some profile which had nothing to do with physical health....just mental health.  It took them near five years to admit the guy should not be in the military and to refuse to allow them to re-enlist.  All the time in that five-year period?  Deployable.

So what's going to happen here?  You will start to see people argue with the military health profession and refuse profiles.  If it's just a thirty-day profile for a pulled muscle or a 90-day profile for a knee operation...fine.  But I suspect that most everyone is going to get hyper and tell the medical folks to just stop handing out the long-term profiles. At some point, the medical folks are going to argue about this, and it'll become some Congressional mess.

It's in a way....like the NFL.  If you got two players on a team that can only play five games out of the season, and it's that way for several years....what value are the two guys?  Zero.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Talking Over the Gun Episode in Florida

About a decade ago, while visiting the farm....my dad made an observation that concerned the late 1930s in Alabama.

In those days....a relative could write up a letter detailing how so-and-so relative was crazy....then two local folks would 'swear' (full oath in front of judge), and then some judge would order the county sheriff to bring in so-and-so for a face-to-face meeting.  The judge would assess the threat-level, and then make the decision to confirm that guy or gal to a real mental facility. 

As my dad discussed the matter....he noted with a grin that most young folks took this as a humorous moment and joked about having such-and-such relative sent off.  For folks over forty, it wasn't joked about much.

I look at the Florida shooting episode, and this punk kid, with some descriptions given of him and his behavior....and in the 1930s era, he would have been packed up at age 13/14....and likely sent off to be evaluated for a couple of months.  Maybe he would have learned to grasp reality and earn his way out.....or maybe he would have stayed permanently in such a place.

In the 1950s and 1960s....everyone decided that the mental institutions were not good places, and they more or less went away.  If places exist today....it's more or less a place where you go for a couple of months until they figure out the right drugs to give you.

The plain truth is....there's probably over 3,000 folks just in the state of Alabama today....who ought to be in a mental institution.  If you count up folks who have made violent threats to relatives....maybe another 20,000. 

Across the entire US?  You could be talking about locking up 300,000 people very easily.  I just don't see the public accepting that. 

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Leaves and Obama

They had a ceremony yesterday, to show off the official Presidential portrait of former President Obama.

I sat there and looked at the image for probably sixty seconds.

First, the leafy green business kinda takes your breath away.  Why the leafy background?  Unknown. Most presidential portraits have a dark background, so this is a bit odd.

Second, the chair? Looks like a regular dining room chair.  It actually appears to be a small chair because he's so oversized.

Frankly, most folks will view it as some radical art design and just laugh over the image.  The leafy thing will discussed for months and probably end up as some trend.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

The End of NPR and PBS?

If you dig around the news of the day, involving President Trump...there's this ten-line piece appearing which suggests that the administration will cut funding to NPR/PBS over a two-year period.....to nothing.

Course, NPR and PBS both stood up and said there would be a fight.

My guess is that Trump is going to force the Democrats to negotiate over this deal greatly, and there's going to be some 25-percent cut that will be forced down upon PBS and NPR.  In fact, I would take some wild guess here that he's going to ask which of the two should survive...forcing them to fight each other.

Back in the 1980s....NPR had a wide and varied landscape.  News and politics in the first couple of years didn't amount to more than three or four hours a day.  There was culture and a fair amount of non-news. By the 1990s.....the non-news had disappeared. 

PBS?  There might be reason to retain the child education business, but the rest of this is of marginal value. 

The entertaining thing here....will be to watch as NPR and PBS put up this fight.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

V, Again?

I sat and read a piece today that a Hollywood group is going back to make a movie version of V, the science fiction series of the mid-1980s.  I just shook my head.

V, the science fiction series, was fairly simple script for a TV series.  Some alien dudes in fifty ships arrived on Earth.....talked up this great relationship they'd like to have with humans, and became some pain-in-the-ass for humans.....kidnapping and killing humans.

It was the first series that ever had a cost factor of one-million dollars per episode.  Total made for V?  Well, that's the curious thing....they basically got to episode 19, and the audience numbers were very low....so they stopped right there.  For a science fiction series, it was a lousy TV production.

Oh, I had no problem with the script idea....but it simply didn't go anywhere.  The acting?  That was another funny thing about the whole series.  I think I watched the first three episode, and just laughed over the acting talents.  Faye Grant was the only big-name person brought in, and appeared for maybe three minutes out of a 42-minute episode.  The rest were all wannabe-actors and just ran through a scene.  For the whole season, I think I watched a total of four episodes.

So, taking this back into the studio and making this into a full two-hour theater-production?  Maybe if they improved the acting, or rebuilt the script....maybe it'd work. 

Saturday, 10 February 2018

The 333 Story

There is this one small detail of this story revolving now over FBI agent Peter Strzok and his mistress FBI attorney Lisa Page.  They are both page one news, and have been so for several months.

In the texts that have been recovered and reviewed....there's this one interesting number that pops up.

The two of them....on a daily basis....averaged 333 texts total.

It means from wake-up each day (remember, they are married, but to other folks)....to evening....about every five minutes, one is sending a text to the other.  Throughout the work-day, at lunch, walking between buildings or offices, etc.

You have to figure in a eight-hour day that they owed the government for their monthly pay-check....they were involved in typing a text collection for at least 90 minutes each and everyday. If you subtract lunch, coffee breaks, and the text episodes....they were basically working for four hours a day.  That's it.

Each was likely making $100k a year as a GS-employee....for four hours a day of work.

Around eight years ago, I got into a discussion with a co-worker over the effect of email and automation, and we came to the conclusion (or agreement) that automation really hasn't improved the quality of work or the amount of work over the past thirty years. If anything, we seem to do less work now.

If I supervised either individual?  After looking over their past behavior....I'd do everything possible to limit their access to systems and actually herd them toward productive work.

The question to ask....of the hundred-thousand folks in DC....how many of them are in a 333 text per day mentality?  That's what ought to worry a lot of people

Thursday, 8 February 2018

The Logical End Result of Russian Hacking

After hearing the term 'hacked' about a thousand times....I sat down and pondered over the entire story.  Frankly, it leads only to one single conclusion.

First, if Ivan hacked his way into various city, county or state servers....what exactly did he find or get into?

1.  A listing of voting sites.

2. A listing of poll watchers, their addresses, and phone numbers.

3.  Training roosters for the poll teams.

4.  The roster of active voters in that city or county.

5.  The list of absentee ballot individuals.

Second, from this list of five things....what's really of ZERO value?  Well, you can cross off the sites, the poll watchers, and the training rooster. The list of active voters?  You could manipulate this, delete names, or add names.  But then they'd have to vote to make a difference.

Third, finally come to the only device where the hacking would be a benefit....absentee voters. You get into that list....add three thousand names to some town, and have the bulk of these go to one single address, where Ivan #2 sits and waits.  He gets the absentee ballots and fills them out....voting all for the right candidate.

You and repeat this process in three-hundred communities, and create roughly one-million extra voters....who really don't exist but our system is so corrupted that we don't even realize it.

Fixing this?  You'd have to dissolve the bulk of absentee voters, make people actually show up, and go to voter ID.  The odds of this being accepted?  Zero.

So, if you are frustrated and angry....just get used to it. 

Explaining Universal Basic Income

Back in the 1800s, there were a number of experimental communities.....mostly all in the US (yeah, no one else was that stupid)....where these really wise PhD-level guys stood up and said that everyone....no matter their walk of life or education, or craft, or enthusiasm.....ought to get one simple level of pay.  It wouldn't matter if you worked, or did part-time work, or pretended to work, or even just sat around....you'd collect a basic allowance or income.

The natural tendency of the stupid people was to ask how this would be funded.  It's absolutely foolish to ever get entangled into the 'engine-aspects' of how this would be eternally funded.

In the past decade, it's been brought back up in Europe, and around some liberal circles in the US. 

So the idea is basically to create some level of substance....pay the guy....and he will be eternally happy.  If you make more than the that level....you get nothing.  If you get less than the level.....you get paid something.  If you make nothing....you get full substance.

The general problem with this concept is that you'd introduce it and out of a thousand folks in some community....four of them will be loafer-types....unwilling to work or contribute.  Because of the effort of 996....this won't be a problem. It'll be accepted.

Days, weeks and months will pass.....then you find that there are twelve loafer-types..  The financial wize now does the math and says it's not much of a problem, but you can't go past twenty-one loafers.

Weeks pass, and now you have twenty-four loafers, and the money guy is a bit nervous.  So you suggest to the whole group of a thousand.....the substance-level has to decrease, or you all have to work more. 

Now some folks get disgruntled.  It's not fair.  And in a short amount of time.....you've got sixty folks all hyped up over the loafers, and the substance cut. 

Things start to get unstable when you hit one-hundred-and-sixty people now frustrated and angry. 

The problem with this whole universal basic income idea is that it just looks good on paper.  In real life, it's like owning a distillery and letting employees sit output all day long. 

Are You Affected?

I noticed this brought up today via the Columbia Business School....a new study that suggests that man-made global warming, could alter people’s personalities.

After reading the Watts Up With That blog commentary (usually geeks and PhD level folks)....I sat and pondered over this.

Could it be that this global warming thing has already affected us....triggering us to vote for Trump, or against Hillary?

Could it be affecting my brother and causing him to get into French literature, California-bottled water, and hippy-clothing choices (like Redwing boots)? 

Could it be affecting folks enough to be anti-NFL?

Could it be affecting folks to drink light-beer more than regular beer?

Could it affect folks and their ability to focus?  If you sat and watched nine hours of news yesterday, and you only remember four lines of text today....could that be the result of global warming?

Are you eating less often at McDonalds because of global warming?

Is there a difference between global warming effect and global cooling effect?  Could you be flipping from one extreme to the other? 

Yeah, on the list of 1,000 things that I tend to worry about....this probably moved up to number 898 on the list....just behind NCAA football bowl manipulation. 

The truth is....I'd like to get one of these jobs with think-tanks and just write fake studies-reports on global warming. 

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

A Question Over the Dossier

After you go and look at the various chats and journalistic effort to tell the story over the FUSION-GPS dossier on Trump, you come to this odd conclusion (at least on my part).

I suspect that various characters from the FBI, and both the GOP and Democrats....paid over and over to FUSION for the same basic dossier.

It might have been bought six times or more.  There's even a suggestion that the FBI may have paid for the document. 

This would bring me to ask the question....did anyone come to realize that they had copy #2, copy #3, etc?  I doubt it. 

Did McCain pay for his copy?  Most everyone avoids this question, and they simply go to the statement that McCain got a copy.  But to get the copy...the associate of McCain had to actually travel to Europe to get it.  That would make one ask the question....why make this trip....unless you had to transport some kind of payment device to hand FOCUS? 

You can imagine this big Congressional room, with a hundred folks standing there, and the reality suddenly hits them that they paid six times over for the stupid fake document.  Even the news folks would be embarrassed to admit this story.

Monday, 5 February 2018

A Money Story

My dad told me this story originally in the late 1980s, and it came up in a conversation with my brother over the weekend.  It's a 10-page type story but I'll try to limit to forty lines.

Where I grew up....rural northwest Alabama....we had one single local tour bus 'company'.  I refer to it as a company but it was simply one single bus that locals could rent for a group trip to Opryland, Six Flags, a Braves game, etc.  It was run by a local gal....married to a guy who had a 'real' job beyond the bus deal.  She'd run the bus company for at least a dozen years or more.

At some point, she lets on to locals on tours that she had some knowledge of investing, and she was tied up into some network that delivered real payoffs for investing. Her source could seek out and get big pay-offs.  Course, this being the late 1980s and the standard CD paying near 9-percent....you'd have to ask why take enormous risks when you were getting a terrific pay-off with banks on CDs?  But these were folks who were not satisfied.

So as the months went by....she convinced a number of folks to part with their money....up to around $3.6-million (the highest in the $700,000 range).  For these folks, it was their life savings. They all wanted the BIG money.

Questions arose....cops got called, and then a court adventure opens up.  Roughly 300 charges are done, and the question is....where is the money. 

Her response is....there's this mystery guy who takes the money from her hands and does this magic investing.  Well.....what's his number?  Where does he live?  Nothing really comes out of this discussion.  Charges are mostly done against the gal, and her son (he apparently was handling the money to some degree).  The husband?  None.  No one can show any connection of the husband to any of this fake investing.

Days, months pass, and the gal makes a deal.....she'll take the blunt of the court episode and accept a guilty situation.  The son walks free.  The judge hands down a conviction of 800 years, but to run concurrently.  So the max she'll ever serve?  Twelve years.  She's supposed to pay back the money, but that will probably never occur. 

Somewhere in the 2004/2005 era....she gets finished with the jail sentence and walks free.  The odd thing?  Well....this was not a federal or state charge episode.....it was a local deal, and the whole sentence was served in the county jail.  Frankly, I can't think of anyone who ever spent more than a year or two in a county jail. 

The 3.6-million?  Well....it just never has appeared.  Both the woman and the son still live in the region.  Neither appear with any wealth or status in life.

The odds of this mystery man existing?  That's the thing.  You have to go and wonder if such a mystery guy could exist and convince this woman to do some might stupid stuff for prison time.

I'm of the mind that on these travels with the bus groups, she might have accidentally bumped into some guy in Nashville and he laid out this gimmick.  The Alabama investigative folks?  You just don't get the impression that they were capable of figuring out the money angle to this.  And no one seemed to want to ask the FBI to step in and do real analysis.

The 3.6-million simply just disappeared.

It'd make for a fine epic movie, but who would believe that this was all true?

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Measuring Financial Success/Failure

There are two significant factors (in my humble opinion) that tell you the story of a good year, and a bad year.  They also tell you of a bad decade.  Listed below  are the first the CD rates since 1965, and then the GDP percentage since 1965.  A lot of people have no memory of how great the GDP was in the 1970s and 1980s., nor do they realize at various times....we had CDs running at more than 8-percent.:

Year, CD, GDP
1965, 4.88-percent, 6.5-percent
1966, 6.14-percent, 6.6-percent
1967, 5.95-percent, 2.7-percent
1968, 6.39-percent, 4.9-percent
1969, 8.95-percent, 3.1-percent
1970, 9.06-percent, .2-percent
1971, 6.06-percent, 3.3-percent
1972, 5.65-percent, 5.2-percent
1973, 10.71-percent, 5.6-percent
1974, 12.06-percent, minus .5-percent
1975, 7.89-percent, minus .2-percent
1976, 6.31-percent, 5.4-percent
1977, 6.96-percent, 4.6-percent
1978, 11.28-percent, 5.6-percent
1979, 13.97-percent, 3.2-percent
1980, 17.74-percent, minus .2-percent
1981, 17.98-percent, 2.6-percent
1982, 15.12-percent, minus 1.9 percent
1983, 10.17-percent, 4.6-percent
1984, 12.08-percent,  7.3-percent
1985, 9.6-percent, 4.2-percent
1986, 7.83-percent, 3.5-percent
1987, 8.19-percent, 3.5-percent (Black Friday Year)
1988, 9.28-percent, 4.2-percent
1989, 10.40-percent, 3.7-percent
1990, 8.57-percent, 1.9-percent
1991, 7.17-percent, minus .1-percent
1992, 4.42-percent, 3.6-percent
1993, 3.39-percent, 2.7-percent
1994, 6.78-percent, 4.0-percent
1995, 6.71-percent, 2.7-percent
1996, 5.75-percent, 3.8-percent,
1997, 5.90-percent, 4.5-percent
1998, 5.67-percent, 4.5-percent
1999, 6.07-percent, 4.7-percent
2000, 6.94-percent, 4.1-percent
2001, 5.45-percent, 1.0-percent
2002, 2.16-percent, 1.8-percent
2003, 1.30-percent, 2.8-percent
2004, 2.66-percent, 3.8-percent
2005, 4.62-percent, 3.3-percent
2006, 5.54-percent, 2.7-percent
2007, 5.40-percent, 1.8-percent
2008, 4.37-percent, minus .3-percent
2009, 1.76-percent, minus 2.8 percent
2010, .75-percent, 2.5-percent
2011, .67-percent, 1.6-percent
2012, .58-percent, 2.2-percent
2013, .29-percent, 1.7-percent
2014, .13-percent, 2.6-percent
2015, .14-percent, 2.9-percent
2016, .15-percent, 1.5-percent

CD-wise, it's been crap for a decade now.  The days when CDs were a minimum of 8-percent haven't been seen since 1990.  The days of a four-percent or more GDP?  That hasn't been seen since 2000.  The GDP over a decade being four-percent or more in seven of the ten years?  Well....that hasn't been seen since the late 1970s.  You can dish out a lot of crap over both the Bush and Obama Administrations with the damage done. 

Saturday, 3 February 2018

The Memo Aftermath

I spent roughly ten minutes gazing over "THE MEMO".  It's only four pages and can easily be read by anyone with at least an eighth-grade education.

My general complaint over it....noting the old classification at the top and bottom of TOP SECRET/NOFORN, is that it was way over-classified.

After almost three decades of handling classified material, I can generally look at material and vouch for the bits and pieces that make it classified and how far up the levels it ought to go. 

But in this case, how some idiot came to classify it as Top Secret/NOFORN is a total mystery to me.  At the very most....it might have been worthy of being Secret. 

Generally, there is this thin border between plain Secret and Top Secret.  Any idiot can get the Secret clearance level and read such material.  Even weather folks within the government can easily have a Secret clearance.  But the Top Secret (TS) level?  Well....that's a step up and there are far fewer.  My humble guess is that some FBI idiots decided that by making hundreds of these associated reports Top Secret, it would limit who would come in later to read them.  Apparently, this Congressman got his staff up to the TS level, and they spent days and weeks surveying all the various reports to reach this memo-status.

Who over-classified the material?  Unknown.  Reasons?  Unknown. NOFORN typically means you can't let any foreigners ever read it....even illegal residents of the US. 

As for what happens next?  The GOP is so full of bunglers and inept political folks....that I think they won't dare open up a committee hearing to discuss dismissals of DoJ folks or FBI individuals. So I think the President will go to an amusing solution....subdividing the Department of Justice and the FBI....into two or three organizations, and basically force them to fight among themselves. 

If they were both already ineffective, then dividing them two ineffective groups will not be that big of a negative.  Congress can spend months arguing but Trump can issue the order....secure a new building, and set group A up against group B.  It's a stupid way of fixing this mess, but it's the only legit way to undo what was created. 

Friday, 2 February 2018

The Memo Story

One of my odd-jobs while in the Air Force was to sit and read over a ton of material, and eventually write a short summary each day...maybe eight lines out of a three-page story, where you separate out all of the extras and just tell the three basic facts of the story.   All of this amounted to three or four hours of extreme reading and research, then wasting an hour to write this one-page summary of four big stories.

I sat and paused over this whole 'chat' about this FBI memo thing and the big hype going on currently.

What you ought to know about this is that the memo WAS NOT written by the FBI or anyone associated with the FBI. 

Naturally, your news folks don't chat much about that, and if you asked 99-percent of them....they'd all claim that it's a product of the FBI.  Well....no, it's not a product of the FBI.

This simple four-page memo was created by the staff of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.  They sat in a vaulted area and read tons of material over the FBI's episode with the Russian investigation and came to a short summary of what happened.

Yes, it is strictly one summary.

The centerpiece of the document?  Well....it talks about FISA, which is the tool that allows FBI agents to walk into a judge's office and ask for a warrant to monitor folks.  The suggestion here is that a bunch of facts were alleged to the judges involved, which weren't valid.  Course, you don't know about this valid talk....unless you read the Nunes memo. 

The thing that you have to now wonder about....Nunes has some people on his staff who are reading classified documents, and they are fully capable of analyzing the situation and crafting a memo to cover the content of dozens of reports....maybe even hundreds of reports.

In a way, Nunes has created his own FBI or CIA agency, and all they do is read other folks material.

What if they were to continue?  That's the thing you have to worry about.  They might go and spend weeks reviewing tons of material and writing thousands of memos.  Eventually, some idiot would even refer to the team as the NIA (Nunes Intelligence Agency). 

Thursday, 1 February 2018

The Hope Quote

"All we have is hope."

-- Michelle Obama quote from today

The words went with the political estimate that people are fearful about the country, fearful about Trump, and that empathy will save the day....somehow.

When the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock....they were six-hundred miles from the agreed upon location, dumped off in November (about six months later than the original planned date) and had no real supply of food.  All they had....was 'hope'.

When Washington took charge of a dismal collection of non-military civilians and led them against the heavier trained Brits....all he had was 'hope'

When Lincoln took the Union Army and trudged off to the Civil War, all he has was basically 'hope'.

When 'Black Jack' Pershing took charge of the American Expeditionary Force in July 1917 and went to fight the more experienced Germans....all he had was 'hope'.

When we landed a military force at Normandy and fought our way into Germany.....all we had was 'hope'.

When we launched a rocket off to the moon.....all we had was 'hope'.

When the University of Alabama was down 13-0 at half-time, and all hope seemed lost, then Sabin brought in the Hawaiian quarterback, and launched the greatest comeback of all time in NCAA football.  That was entirely based on 'hope'.

The plain truth is that most every single thing that the country is built upon and exists with.....is 'hope'. It's our trademark, and our brand.

Frankly, we might have too much 'hope'. 

The Problem with Trump

When you go and ask most of these MSNBC journalists to give the negative talk on Trump....it's stuff that 12-year-old kids would recite and without much in terms of 'weight'.  In a way, these wannabe journalists are simply making the case to support Trump that much easier.  So this is my simple list of seven issues with Trump:

1.  He's not an intellectual.  This is absolutely true.  From the past four Presidents, Bush I/II...Clinton...and Obama all had 'real' degrees and went onto a masters degree program.  They went to the prestigious Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Georgetown, and Oxford.  Reagan? Well....he went to the mostly unknown Eureka College.  Carter?  He went off to the Naval Academy.  It's safe to say that if you are between eighteen and forty....you associate the presidency mostly with intellectuals.  In this case, it would have been better to get the more intellectual Hillary Clinton who attended Yale Law School. 

The plus-up on intellectuals?  They seem to know 'everything'. 

2.  TV reality show geek.  For two decades, if you got some dose of Donald Trump, it was usually through the networks and their reality shows.  Occasionally, he'd get an invite on some Sunday morning news forum, and you'd get six minutes of wisdom from Donald Trump. 

Most everyone knows that you can only get real presidential material from TV new forums. 

3.  Trump is associated with bankruptcy.  Over the entire history of Donald Trump, there are four Trump companies that have eventually gone to bankruptcy.  Typically, it's a pretty black mark that you hang on folks who've gone onto the act of bankruptcy. 

The problem here is that if you go to most real estate tycoons or syndicates....well, you find a bunch of these folks because it's just a fairy risky environment.  You could go and build five casinos in Vegas, and have all of these in great areas with a five-star design, and wake up at the 4th year of operation to find two of these are total failures (for different reasons). 

The other issue here is that you typically....after one single bankruptcy.....don't get money from regular banks, and you have to present a superior business plan for anyone to hand you money.  So each time he went through this....he had rethink future plans and make for a better risk environment.

4.  He's NOT pro-minority enough.  In essence, he hasn't attended the right conferences, made the right comments, or spoken to 'hardships'.  On this, it's pretty much a straight statement.

Maybe if one of his ex-wives had been black, or he'd donated a fair amount of his income to a black university, or hung out with other folks besides boxing promoter Don King....he'd have a better view of things.  Course, that would mean he only understood blacks, and not Latino folks.

5.  He curses.  Yeah, it's strongly suggested (some of the folks in the room say it wasn't said) that he spoke up to sh**holes.  It's bothersome for some folks to go home, and junior comes to the dinner table saying he heard Trump talk about sh**holes, and wants you (dad) to explain what sh**holes are.  So you sit there and shake your head because you start off suggesting its a curse-word, but then junior says there's six different ladies at CNN who said sh**hole over the past hour, and he thought it had something to do with bathroom chat or laxative results. No, you say....correcting Junior....it's about places in the world that you'd rather not go, and he asks if Tampa is such a place. 

We all know that President Obama, Bush, and Clinton never cursed.  Hillary Clinton never cursed.  We are pretty sure that Reagan and Carter never cursed.  On Johnson, it's a pretty sure bet that he cursed an average of once every sixteen minutes. 

6.  He uses Twitter too much.  Some people think that he makes twenty statements a day off Twitter.  At present, and counting, there are around 39,000 total Tweets, from day one of the campaign period. If you asked most folks....they'd say that they aren't used to getting verbal communications from some President at this rate. 

The problem here is that probably a third of the American population have a problem with Twitter usage, and they are telling you volumes about themselves, their failures, their dogs, their new hunting rifles, their NCAA football picks, their wife's complaints, and the state of their neighborhood.  Trump is basically doing the same thing.

Adding to this....it's a direct line to the American public.  You get some update every hour or two and start to thinking he's your best friend.

7.  He said some pretty bad things about John McCain. No one argues about this much.  In fact, probably fifty percent of all Republicans now have something negative to say about John McCain.  In some ways, for Democrats to come to the side and support McCain, is a bit of a shocker.

Yeah, if you went and really dug up every single negative of substance, there's probably over 500 negatives to say about Trump.

So I come to this odd factor that came up out of the State of the Union message.

Over eight years, you could count on President Obama to use the "I" a minimum of eighty times in any speech.  I sat and watched a speech in 2011 and gave up when he hit 100 times usage of "I".  Someone kinda pointed out that in Trump's speech....there were well over 100 times of the word "we" used. 

It's not something that you'd typically point out but it tends to mean to folks that folks are in on the big game plan and part of the success.  When he utters some employment numbers that look good, and uses the term 'we'.....then you sit there at home and think you are part of the success story.  As many problems as one might suggest with Trump.....it's going to be hard to convince folks that they are attached to a loser. 

It's kinda like being behind 13-0 at the half of an important game, and Coach comes out in the second half....benching the star quarterback and bringing on some Hawaii guy, and picked up 26 points to outlast the opposition.  Coach is crazy. Coach is awful risky.  Coach ought to know that Hawaiian guys just don't make good quarterbacks.  In the end, you needed Coach.  I suspect in some ways, we've come to a point where we need a Trump to resolve some things.