Tuesday, 28 May 2019

The 'Corrections' Story

I sat today and read a business/economics story over at Yahoo.....which was prescribing this terrible awful event where 10-percent fall-out was due any day now, and people should worry.....this leading back to the 'evil' Trump.

At the end of this....I thought....10-percent drop?  That's a correction.  You have three to five of these per year.  Maybe back in the 1990s....it was one every eighteen months. 

Then I started to think....don't these Yahoo business writers go to college and pick up on 'corrections'?  Then it occurred to me.....they probably attend the same colleges as AOC.  They have no understanding of 'corrections'.

This is what angers me about journalism today.....we have so many individuals that went off.....got marginally educated.....then moved up because no one wants to pay that much for older and more experienced journalists.....so you get garbage talk because of their lack of knowledge. 

Monday, 27 May 2019

The Lost Story

For about a week, I closely followed this Hawaii story of the Yoga teacher who'd gone and disappeared into a hike.  The gal.....35 years old....on the 17th day, was found by a group flying over a canyon-like area. 

A lot about this story doesn't make sense.  On the positive side....she's alive and appears to have lost maybe ten to fifteen pounds over this 2.5 week period in the 'jungle'.

The real trigger?  Dehydration, I think.  I think she got weaker and more dehydrated.....reaching a level of doing stupid things.  Maybe she did eventually reach this stream, and got herself back into a hydration level.  But logic here, would dictate....if you had a stream in front of you.....you just follow it downward, and it eventually reaches a river or the ocean.  You simply walk out.  In her case....she stayed right there.

More to the whole story?  I suspect so, but you'd best not ask. 

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

If the House Goes to Impeachment?

In this scenario being played out....the House would have to draw up an investigation, and the first step would be a list of charges.  Right now.....no such list exists.  Amount of time to play out the charges game?  I would take a wag here and suggest that they'd have to appoint some prosecutor team, and that charges wouldn't occur until after they get their hands onto the tax records.  The fact that the President isn't cooperating?  This will go before the Supreme Court, and probably end up occurring around October/November timeframe. 

If the Court says no.....they are privacy issues here, then the whole impeachment thing likely falls apart.  If the Court says yes, then they'd be handed over.  Amount of time to read five years of 200-to-300 pages of tax returns for each year?  Another weg, but you'd need at least a dozen specialized accountants and likely three months. 

So these charges would occur in April/May of 2020.  The House (by the letter of the Constitution) would act as grand jury, and process the charges to the Senate.

Here's the interesting thing.  If the Senate denies the impeachment managers and the case, then the whole thing is 'dead-in-the-water'.  The charges will never be read in the Senate.

My guess is that they expect to happen, and it'll be some colossal item to be used to terminate various GOP senators in November. 

However, there are two additional scenarios here.

The Senate might shock everyone and say 'sure'.....come on in and lay out your evidence.  If the evidence collected by the House is weak or marginal?  The impeachment piece would end in matter of five work-days.  No impeachment occurs, and the whole thing backfires upon the Democrats in a massive way. 

The second scenario is that we get?  This fake Russian collusion stuff, and the dossier.  There are all of these Obama figures who might be drawn by mid-summer 2019....into grand jury proceedings and they might eventually force one of them to admit that they might have briefed President Obama on their plan.  AG Barr might stand there in a private moment with House Speaker Pelosi and tell her....they aren't just fishing for three or four characters.....they are fishing and calling for President Obama to give a statement in front of a grand jury.  Then he might suggest that he know someone briefed Pelosi in the summer of 2016 of this whole plan.  It'd be a total lie, but she might get freaked because she's forgotten  lot of stuff lately, and maybe one of Obama's people might point her as part of this whole game.

If you ask me.....this whole impeachment talk has weak links attached, and if this backfires.....it's the worst possible time and it might lead to a massive Democratic loss (maybe 45 states going to Trump). 

So the key part?  This tax return game, and how Justice Roberts might react.  Add to the mess.....any day now....RBG might be in a bad health situation and have to retire.  Without her.....the whole house of cards collapses, and there is no start-up of this mess. 

I come to this last element which no one talks about.....that the Democrats have accomplished virtually nothing so far in 2019, and this would consume the rest of this year, and half of next year.  How would you go and face the voters, with nothing accomplished over two years? 

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Socialism Accepted?

Gallup went and did a poll....to find that 4 out of ten Americans....approve or support the ideals of socialism.

The problem with this poll....it really doesn't lay out the landscape.  If you went state by state....you'd probably find fewer than ten-percent of the folks in Mississippi or Georgia who approve of socialism.  If you went to New York City, it's probably closer to sixty-percent of adults.  In the entire state of Alaska, I doubt if you'd find more than 300 residents who support the idea of socialism.    So the poll is questionable.

Growing in rural Alabama, I would take a guess that in today's environment, in a county of 25,000 people....fewer than three-hundred might support plain basic socialism. 

The problem is that a journalist will hype this up....getting folks all pepped-up or pepped-down on socialism, and drive some new agenda. 

All of this is driving some Democrats to question themselves, and this socialism angle to politics.  You could end up pushing a quarter of the Democratic Party voters out.....looking for some third-party situation and just plain suggesting that they can't favor a socialism agenda. 

Monday, 20 May 2019

Bernie's Call for $60k Minimum Salary for Teachers

It's a curious statement that Bernie made over the weekend.....that we need to establish $60k as the minimum starting point for teachers.

The current rate in Montana?  Around $31k a year.  Alabama?  Just a notch above the $31k a year. 

Average pay (meaning ten plus years) as a teacher in Kentucky?  $52,000.  For Arizona, it's around $47,000. 

The problem I see is that you'd have to go to almost all of the fifty states, and raise levels up.  Into the billions?  Yes.

So naturally, you'd ask the question....are some of these teachers (fresh out of college) even worth $60,000 a year?  Are some of these teachers, even at age 38....worth $60,000 a year. 

If you got around to them....why not the road department employees for the state of Texas?  Shouldn't they be all making $45,000 a year minimum salary? 

Where would all this fresh new money for teachers come from?  Well.....more taxation. 

Fake Parents Story

The border patrol folks....ICE....started up a brief test program to DNA-test kids and parents that they pick up....ONLY in the McAllen and El Paso, Texas region.  Statistical comeback.....30-percent of parents don't match up.  In fact, some parents (fake parents) when told of the impending test....went ahead and admitted that they weren't the real parents, and thus cancelled out the family situation.

If they did this in all cases?  My humble guess is that 30-to-40 percent of family situations would fall apart.  But this kinda begs questions....how did the guy find the kids to do this....and what exactly was the plan after settlement into the US? 

Well, you don't know. 

All of this begs questions, but you really don't know how to stack the consequences.  Do you automatically send kids and the fake dad back?  Are these fake women with fake kids?  Do the kids even care about the fake parent?

Friday, 17 May 2019

The Best Fascism?

The best fascism.....is anti-fascism. 

People are stupid enough to believe anti-fascism isn't fascism. 

Political Chatter

"As I like to tell the president when he says he likes tariffs, I try to remind him that Smoot-Hawley brought about the Great Depression, brought about Adolf Hitler, brought about World War II, brought about 60 million people losing their lives as a result of it." 
-- Senator Chuck Grassley (Rep, Iowa)

Well, lets take a handle to this and discuss Chuck's poor vision of history.

There's at least a dozen 'warning' signals that were occurring from 1920 to 1929 that massive collapse of Wall Street was going to occur.  Various signals were taken and explained to the major banks, Senators, Congressmen, the Fed, and the Presidents.  None of them reacted.  You can count through dozen-odd speculation events that went into stock, real estate, and bonds. 

The Smoot-Hawley Act?  The idea (roughly a year into the depression era) was to prevent cheap products from overseas from coming to the US market.  In a sense, it was to protect US jobs.  If the priority was NOT US jobs, then this could have been avoided, and some other fake stance by the House and Senate could have easily been accomplished.

The suggestion by economic historians of some great 'evil' being done with the Act?  The Depression was already into the first entire stage, and nothing that Hoover had done....had accomplished much of anything in terms of resolving this issue.  Action by the Fed?  Almost non-existent.....they were the last people on Earth who wanted to resolve the Depression.  Some felt that the dire warnings for almost a decade....now had to be dished out in painful amounts to prevent the massive amount of speculation that had occurred.

As for this bringing about Hitler?  No.  There are three key observations here:

1.  The Weimar Republic was one of the weakest democracy platforms ever created.  It was doomed from day one. 

2.  Hitler was already enjoying from the 1925 era on....the great benefit of radio.  He had a platform to pump out speeches, and talk about suffering of the 'people'. 

3.  All that hostility and resentment by vets of Germany over WW I?  No one ever wants to go and discuss their hostility and how that brewed for almost an entire decade.

Senator Grassley and his assessment?  Mostly worthless.  But this is why the general public has such a low opinion of the bulk of GOP Senators and Congressmen in DC. 

Do Southerners Discuss Civil War and Pre-Civil War History Much?


This is a rather odd piece of misunderstanding that journalists and intellectuals seem to have....that 153 years later....it's just not that big of a deal.

If you find a guy who did family research and found that six members of his family were members of some state militia....then he gets into this, and maybe the guy starts attending Civil War reenactments.

Most folks go back on family history and find in 99-percent of cases....their family never owned any slaves.

Structure in high school history?  You can go and pull out the history books used for 8th grade or 10th grade American history and find that there's one single chapter on the period, and it's mostly over the northern perception of the war.  Some teachers might try to force kids to go and read Uncle Tom's Cabin.....to ensure they have some understanding.  Beyond that?  Nothing much.

If you held a history test over the 1800 to 1865 period.....General Lee and President Davis are about the only two southerners brought up by a majority.  Some might bring up another five or six generals, but otherwise, they really don't know much of this period. 

All these statues?  Well....the vast majority were put up around twenty to fifty years after the war ended.  Most were paid for by private donations or private parties.  In the vast number of cases, this whole statue phase ended by the 1930s (having peaked out between 1900 and 1920). 

The Klan business?  That's another odd thing.  The FBI says, for the most part....real membership hasn't existed in over forty years.  Even today, they hint that official members is probably in the 1,000 to 2,000 range across the entire US.  It would be safe to say that 99.9-percent of people who live in the state of Georgia....aren't members of the Klan. 

The sad truth?  More people in Alabama know more about the University of Alabama football record over the past forty years, than about the Civil War or the sixty years prior to the war. 

Black emergence over the past couple of decades?  That's another curious development.  Go look at the number owning relatively new cars and having a home-ownership situation....the statistics have rapidly risen over the past five decades.  Kids in a two-parent black families continue on to educational goals....end up in a community college, trade school, or college.....then get jobs and pay taxes.   Kids in the disjointed family situation get into screwed-up situations and then don't rise.

So all this hype over the Civil War and the years since?  Just fake chatter?  One might get that impression. 

Thursday, 16 May 2019

'Useful Idiots' Story

I sat today reading over a story out of Brazil.  Basically, the President there (a Trump-like character) announced that he wants to pursue cutting state contributions to colleges (30-percent).  Naturally, students got all hyped up.  The accompanying statement by the Brazilian President?  Well....he said that the Brazilian people really don't need so many 'useful idiots'.

Yep.....'useful idiots'.

I stood at a car rental shop back around 2010.....late at night....trying to get the keys and just drive out.  The only lady left was the manager of the shop there at the airport.  Young gal....maybe 24 years old.  While waiting on a process....conversation started up.  She was a recent college graduate....four-year degree....hired on with this car rental shop as manager.

I questioned this.  A decade or two prior.....these manager jobs with the car rental shops were mostly guys from the Vietnam era....no college degree.  It's not the kind of job that you really need to waste on a college graduate (at least in my mind).

I asked about the pay....they were marginally paying her $30k a year.  She'd have to stay on for at least four years to reach the next bump-up....$35k. 

I kinda asked, in a nice way.....weren't there better jobs (more challenging ones) and paying better?  Well....this was the only job that she'd found with her business degree. 

No one does the data collection, but I would take a guess that roughly twenty-to-thirty percent of all people wrapping up their bachelor degrees.....are in jobs without any real promise for the future.  The colleges?  They are pumping out 'useful idiots'.....a degree attached to someone.....thinking they will move up in the world.  The sad thing is that you could create some one-year degree program, and maybe forty-percent of kids in high school and aiming at some four-year degree....would be better to aim for something like that. 

This Brazilian President taking on a lot of trouble?  There's no doubt. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Mower Story

Around 1967/1968, my dad went over to the local Western Auto shop and sought a new mower, for the new house property. 

Western Auto, in this glory period of the 1960s and 1970s....really had a very limited selection of anything they sold.  The local guy probably had no more than four types of mowers, and it didn't really matter what you selected....you were going to spend between 100 and 150 dollars. 

For roughly $125, he bought the Wizard high-wheel mower.  It was a mower destined for early replacement (not for the quality though).

This was a fairly heavy-steel American-made mower, with high rear wheels.  I would guess the weight at near 80 pounds.  For some folks, this big wheels on the rear meant that you could 'swing' the mower and do a 90-degree turn fairly easy.  But by the time you add in the heavy weight, no propulsion, and a 2-acre total yard....you could easily sweat out a bucket of liquid and probably burn through 2,000 calories on a hot Alabama July afternoon.

It made it through 1.5 summers, and went into a early retirement as a riding mower was then purchased.  Quality-wise, someone was probably still using it ten years later.  And that someone was probably a fit and trim individual who actively burned off calories every week mowing. 

Sunday, 12 May 2019

If This Were a Trump versus Buttigeig Contest

Just six observations of mine over this scenario:

1. Buttigeig isn't a Bill Clinton, John F Kennedy, or for that matter Joe Biden. Buttigeig is Buttigeig. He's a young mayor from Indiana who is about a dozen years ahead of his time.

2. Resume-wise, he's got four lines of material and can basically build a 3x5 inch card. That's just not a brilliant way to explain this to the general public.

3. As much as being gay might help him for some numbers, the bulk of older Democratic voters who are happy with the economy.....probably would question the idea of voting for a 'Mayor-Pete' character.

4. The magic of the unknown Obama figure working again? Basically, you'd need all of the news media apparatus to work as it did in 2008 and 2012. Then you'd have to count on the general public not asking stupid questions, or trying to relate this election to a great economy.

5. If Trump were to use the phrase 'the kid' in terms of talking about Mayor-Pete? Well, that's something that could occur twenty times in a debate and develop into a public view being exactly that.

6. Finally, there's this gimmick of New York City Trump and South Bend Buttigeig. Maybe if he'd worked as a life guard as a kid, delivered newspapers to pay for his first year college, and spent a year off in Africa in the Peace Corps.....he'd have some magic for the votes. But I just see this guy being that much better than Joe Biden.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Why Did the Seinfeld Strategy of 'Nothing' Work

I was one of those people who who actually didn't watch Seinfeld during the years that it was on (yes, I lived overseas and simply never caught it).  So it was around a decade later....that I finally sat down and began watching the episodes....one after another. 

Presently, I've watched some of these at least twenty times (my all-time favorite one is the one about the golf ball and the whale, where George becomes a Marine biologist).

I've tended to disagree that it's a series about nothing.  It's presented four central characters, and least forty additional characters that people were simply charmed to meet.

It's like talking over the guys in Elaine's life, the jobs that George had and lost, or the innovations that Kramer tried to sell people.  It was the same principle that Andy Griffith used with unique characters.  People latch onto things like this.

The Limo episode with the Nazis?  People could sit there and imagine this happening because this involved George's little world of impossibilities.  The same is true with George getting a job with the Yankees...it was simply possible.

I was reading a piece around two years ago....on how some Iranian guy had found a way to bring in the complete series, and began to loan it out to friends.  Over the course of a year or two.....every single person who'd watched the DVDs......got into the show and actively discussed the topics of each show. 

It's not about 'nothing', it's more of a 'something'.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

This Trump Tax Story by the NY Times

If you read the headlines, and the grasp the talking topic of the news media....Trump didn't pay a penny of tax for almost a decade. 

The curious thing?  Last year (2018)....sixty Fortune 500 companies avoided all federal taxes (ZERO), because of the tax code on the books.  Most of them can readily show that not just for 2018, but for numerous years, they paid no taxes.

The system.....the code.....allows for that.

Who wrote the tax code (80,000 pages)?  Wise Senators and Congressmen. 

If you ask, the Times, by putting that story out there.....now might generate public interest in finally dumping all 80,000 pages and going to a 10-page regulation that requires you to pay a tax, period.  Will the wise Senators and Congressmen do so? 


Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Med Story

I came upon this topic about a month ago, and it's been on my mind.  A number of states have to medical marijuana being legal.....oddly then saying that if you had a gun license or a concealed gun situation....that the legal weed situation would invalidate your gun situation.

Naturally, if you sat and thought about this enough....then logic would dictate that you'd avoid medical marijuana and just going to 'Curtis' (your weed dealer on 3rd Street), and buy the illegal stuff. 

But this also brings up additional questions about medical marijuana.

If you use the stuff....can you still operate a car with your regular license?  Shouldn't that right be taken away as well?

If you owned a riding lawn mower.....shouldn't that mower be taken away because of your medical marijuana situation?

If you liked to play with lawn darts in the front yard.....shouldn't your dozen lawn darts be taken away?

If you used medical marijuana, how can you be allowed to apply for home loans?  You might be too doped up to realize what you were doing.

If you used medical marijuana, can we even allow you to attend Baptist revivals?  You might be too doped up to realize demons are just six feet away, or that dump into the pool with the reverend might accidentally drown you. 

If you ask you....we need to go back to the old system....where 'Curtis' down on 3rd Street sold you all the weed you wanted....no chatter about government regulations....and he didn't care about your nervous twitch, your knee issues, or your gun license.  It was just a deal.

Ten Observations on Switzerland

I spent a couple of days traveling around Switzerland in the past week....checking out Lucerne, Bern, and Zurich.  I came to note ten things:

1.  I rode the trains extensively, which regard as one of the finer railway systems in the world.  At some point (in Zurich), we were ending the day and needed to return to Lucerne (it would be a normal 45 minute ride).  We boarded the train, sat down and the departure time came up....but we weren't moving.  A minute or two passes, and this teenage female voice (probably 18 years old, but sounding like a 10-year old kid) comes on the speaker system, and suggesting a technical 'default' had occurred with the engine, and they were working on the problem.

She was careful not to suggest a safety issue, or broke engine.  But between the voice and use of wording, it was obvious that she was trying to be careful without saying the worse-case scenario.  Five minutes pass, and the worse-case scenario has occurred....in a squeaky teenage voice.....we were broke, and needed to move onto the next train (leaving in 20 minutes).

One of the odd features of Switzerland that you learn is that they really have an abundance of technician jobs, but not enough in population to fill them.  So they often recruit from outside of the country, or go and force kids into trades that they'd typically never think about (like a 17-year old girl being recruited to be an engineer driver). 

2.  There are Chinese tourists all over Switzerland, and carefully noting lots of things to copy.  The comical side of this is that a lot of the knife sales (something the Swiss were famous for in the 1980s).....have been bought by Chinese companies, and when you buy what appears to be a high quality knife....it's actually made in China, and shipped to Switzerland to sell.

3. The finest hash browns in the world (called rostis)....are made in Switzerland.  They are served primarily for lunch and dinner.

4.  Maybe for burgers or pizza, you can still eat for $10 or less....but if you walk into any real restaurant and order a table dinner.....don't expect to get anything decent for less than the equivalent of $25. 

5.  With one single exception, over five days....I saw the cops only once.  It doesn't matter if you are talking about train stations or shopping districts.....you just don't see the cops.

6.  Head Shops.  Legally, weed is still illegal.  However, just about everything around the use of weed is sold.  So, one might take this to suggest that twenty-percent of the population is using marijuana in some form, and the cops are just looking the other way.

7.  E-scooters.  In Bern and Zurich, I probably noted around 10,000 e-scooters being used or parked around the two cities.  I saw older retirees riding them, and kids down around the age of ten.  There's rapid growth going on, and it's a part of the landscape now.

8.  Tourism appears to be booming.  It's not just bus travel....people are using the railway system to travel around, and go select their own choice for a hotel (like I did).

9.  You see an awful lot of housing via the train lines, in rural areas.....which were built in the past ten years.  Ten miles....even twenty miles outside of a metropolitan area.

10.  You just don't see dirt-poor or welfare-type people around on the streets. 

Water and Cost

I spent several days in Switzerland, and one observation that I came away with....you need to think about prices and what you are asking for....almost every single minute.

I sat in a restaurant and had reviewed the menu to order something 'safe'.  That typically means while in Switzerland, to avoid anything saying 'Tartar' (which means it'll be delivered to the table 'uncooked').

But at some point, being dehydrated, I ordered the beer, and noted that I really needed some water, so I asked the guy.....for a bottle of water.....'still' water, meaning without the bubbles.

So he comes out with this Arkine water bottle.

Later, I'm looking at the receipt, and realize that the water was actually just as expensive as the beer I ordered (around 5.5 SF, meaning around $5 for a bottle of water).  I felt silly (being Alabama where spring-water is typically free).

I will admit, it was fine water, but probably not in the $5 range for a 10-ounce bottle.  Course, maybe it was refreshed and poured from the spring-site by naive innocent virgin ladies. 

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Legal Chatter

Over the past month or two, I've noticed a couple of 'blue' states which have worked up draft laws (and passing them), which would require you (as a Presidential candidate) to release your tax submissions to the IRS.  No release?  No path to the state nomination process for President.

Legal?  Well, it'll be challenged, and the chie problem I see is that they made this feature ONLY for people running for President.  If they'd said everyone (from dog-catcher to city councilman) would have to do the same.....it might withstand legal issues.  I think the big court folks will just laugh and throw this out.

But somewhere along the way, some state (maybe Alabama) will get into this game, and add blue-state-like tactics as well.

For example: mandate that you have to be five-foot six inches tall to run for President and show up to be measured by the State Attorney General.

For example: provide all social media commentary for three years, if running for President.

For example: provide evidence of a driver's license being current, if running for President.

For example: provide your shoe size, preferred breakfast menu, and a photo of your favorite teacher....if you want to run for President.

It's silly but we are evolving into a silly society.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

If the Census Avoids Counting Illegals?

In general, two states (California and Texas) will likely (based on various statistical displays) will lose two representatives and districts.  Florida, New York, Illinois, and New Jersey stand to lose one district/representative.  Georgia, North Carolina and Arizona would be on the list but those have some gains in number population, and might survive this.

The real pain here?  Redrawing the districts, and the amount of suffering that the Supreme Court has to go through over the next decade.

In the case of Texas, with enough GOP in the state house....the redrawing would eliminate two Democratic districts (my suspicion).  In the case of California, they'd work to eliminate two GOP districts. 

The gainers?  There are differing views on this.  Most believe that the illegals will be counted, and that California, Texas, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Arizona, and Oregon will be the gainers.  If you subtract out the illegals....zero gain for California, Florida and Texas (perhaps one less).  But all of this assumes some numbers in the California population (if these people haven't packed up and left).

This idea by Senator Jones of Alabama to go ahead and count illegals in Alabama?  Well, based on a count in 2014, the state has at best....around 65,000 illegals.  Some will dispute that number and suggest it's more (closer to 100,000) and others will say down to around 30,000.  That's the problem with this whole game of counting.

And the international students in various Alabama colleges?  Well, no one has brought that up.  Most universities in the state will not advertise their number or publicly announce the trend.  My humble guess is that more than 15,000 foreign students exist in the state.  Those kids are on a visa, and probably should be counted.