Saturday, 31 August 2019

Who is the Federal Election Commission (FEC)? the weakest point in the 1970s for the Republicans, with both the House and Senate controlled by the Democratic Party....the FEC was created in 1974. 

Their one and only monitor Presidential elections, campaign financing, and act as some type of 'referee'. 

The group was to be made up of six officials....nominated by the President, and voted upon by the Senate.  They employ around 350 to 400 folks, and consume a yearly budget of 80 million (at least in 2017).

You go in and serve a term of six years, as a commissioner.  The rules say.....only three members from the Republican Party....three members from the Democratic Party.  Attempting to be independent?  Well....currently they have one individual who claims this status (Walther, 2008 appointed). 

Yes, you serve, until you are replaced.  So there is this odd feature of the six.....four of the six seats are filled with folks who had their term expired at least five years or more.  Two seats vacant. 

Typically, and this is another odd feature of the six.....just about everything comes down to a 3-to-3, or 2-to-2 vote. 

Most everyone will agree....for over a dozen years, that the FEC is broke, and unable to function at this point.  The desire to repair it?  This mostly gets into PACs and campaign financing....which neither party has much interest in the resolutions required to fix the FEC. 

The 2020 election likely to draw attention to this?'s the odd part of this story.  Donald Trump will likely take in over one-billion dollars....with the majority from the 'little-guy'.  If you were a pro-Democratic player....this ought to worry you.  It used to be the special people with big bucks who'd go and finance a Presidential campaign.  So it might screw up the whole process if this little-guy business were to continue into 2024 or 2028. 

But the other thing worrying folks.....this whole social media thing.  Could the FEC have enough power to curtail social media?  Do you want them with that much power? 

Was the FEC even a bright idea in 1974?  That is questionable today.  So when you hear chatter about the FEC.....there is some reason why political folks are hyped-up. 

Hurricanes, Electrical cars, and Florida

I sat today and was watching some video-clips of folks preparing to evacuate out of southern Florida. These were people who'd waited until Thursday or Friday to make the decision....and were short on gas. 

The lines were forming, and gas sales was brisk.....with some stations running out.

So what happens in 10 years when all these electrical cars have arrived?

Getting from Miami to central Alabama?  It's roughly 700 miles.  A Tesla?  It might do 240 miles on one good charge.  So upon leaving your'd be talking about another charge in five hours.  That means at least four to six hours of a charge period, and then if you are lucky.....another five hours of driving time before it's dead.

The odds of you finding power stations for all of your crowd....along the interstate....heading to Alabama or Georgia? 

I have this gut feeling around 2030...when one-third of all cars are battery-run.....that when a hurricane episode occurs....most folks are going to stay right there, and give up the idea of evacuation.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Omar and the Paramour

For the past couple of days, I've been following this new twisting story of Ilhan Omar....the Democratic Representative.

Unlike the episode of maybe (I emphasize the maybe here) of her at some point being married to a guy-relative, this is a bit more different, and potentially gets you into serious trouble.

So Omar at some point took up with a political adviser-paramour.  If you are from Alabama, you kinda know how this goes.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, appears to have paid the political consulting folks (including the paramour), around one-third of her political budget (if the news folks are correct, although I'm still questioning the amount).

What will happen as a minimum?  Some ethics group will have to take this apart, and I suspect one of two things will occur: (1) forced resignation (unlikely), or (2) a fine (maybe in the $10k range), but that's probably unlikely too.

Politically, is she damaged?  A Muslim married woman having an affair with a regular Christian married guy?  Some voters in her district will suggest that there's some bad vibes here, and incorrect behavior on her part.  Some idiot might even go and ask if the guy had converted her over to Christianity.

This turning into a b-rated movie for the USA-Network? sure does have a good script to it. 

Monday, 26 August 2019

Murder By the Numbers

There are 3,007 counties in America.

If you take 5-percent of these....the bulk of all murders in America (roughly 57-percent) occur in that group (figure around 150 counties).

An odd statistic?  That means that from the other 95-percent (2,890 counties roughly).....have only 43-percent of the murders. 


No one can clearly say.....other than urbanized living probably having more to do with the higher number.  So this means that if you live in an urbanized county have a higher chance of getting murdered?  Yes.

Here's the other funny roughly 14 counties in Alabama...your chances are a bit higher of being murdered.  The other 50-odd counties?  Fairly less chance of being murdered. 

Urbanization is the driving reason for more murders?  Maybe. 

What Exactly is the Fed?

The Fed (the Federal Reserve System) was created toward the end of December 1913 (Wilson's era) be the central banking of America.

It's safe to say that the 1907 'panic' was the wave to create the Fed.

What was the 'panic'?  In mid-October 1907, for a three-week period....Wall Street fell apart, and stocks lost around 50-percent of their value.  There was a recession around this period, and it helped to create this fear of banks failing.  Yes, folks got real nervous and ran off to the banks to get their money, and found that banks simply didn't have the cash like they were promised.

Yeah, I know.....1907 never gets brought up much.  Kinda odd, I admit....that 22 years later....the same 'panic' occurs.

Was there an integral part to the 1907 'panic'?  Well....yes.  You see some folks felt they could arrange things and take up ownership of copper (to corner the market, as they say).  Silly, you might say today, but this was a big deal in 1907.

Congress sat and talked about this episode, and what they wanted.....more or less....was a watch-dog.  Six years went into this talk, and what you got was the Federal Reserve Act.  There were three jobs here...(1) moderating long-term interest rates for the government, (2) ensuring employment stayed stable, and  (3) keeping prices throughout the economy.....stable.

Some folks will say that the Fed has done a great job.  Some folks (particularly economists) will say they've often failed at their job.

The Fed efforts in 1929 and decade after the Wall Street collapse?  Most historians will say that the Fed wandered around and failed on two of the three jobs (suggesting they did keep prices stable).

So here we are....Trump on their case, with a recession on the horizon.   He expects the Fed to accomplish their act on the three requirements.  Some folks think that the Fed is there mostly to protect the banks now, and the private American is a lesser priority.  Holding the Fed to do their job?  Well....the President can't really fire them, and Congress can't really monitor or direct them.  So it's like a fourth element of the government (after the Supreme Court, the President, and Congress).

If the Fed refuses to do their job now?  Recession will be a harsh matter, and Trump will blame them every step of the way.  The Fed will mostly grin over the matter and laugh.  The public?  They may reach a point where the Fed has to be totally gutted by the House, and a whole new mechanism might have to be developed.  The sad thing?  It'll be the same three requirements as listed in 1913....assigned to them yet again.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

The Problem With a Democratic Candidate Dealing with the Recession

So you write up this scenario.  Trump enters 2020, with a recession.  You need an angle to counter him and to gain your respect for dealing with the recession.  The program?

Cash for clunker program? 

Gutting the budget by ten-percent and promising to cut taxes (while swearing that you are a Democrat)?

Give some tax advantages to US companies?

Telling people you can force the Fed to act?

Swearing to folks that no Green program will occur and inflict massive cost upon Americans?

Convincing the general public that you can get stock prices back up, with your policies?

Which Democrat from 15-odd characters has that capability to convince you?  Warren?  Sanders? 

Yeah, it's a bit crazy to imagine this scenario, and some Democrat from the group who has this ability to act like a Republican for four years. 

The Snack Story

When I bought my Lufthansa tickets (Frankfurt to Dubrovnik) noted that you'd get a 'snack' going and coming.

Generally, this might mean a sandwich or decent item....with a Coke. 

So the Stewardess came along and handed out these....a crispy candy bar, and a Coke. 

That was it.

For rating 'snacks'....on a scale of one to ten....this was probably a '2'.  But that's the thing about airlines today, they've come to realize that folks aren't happy anyway, so why spend any real money on a stupid snack.  I doubt if Lufthansa spent more than 35 cents for the 'snack'.

But this also tells the story of why so many people go and buy things to take along on apples, Pop-Tarts, Milk Duds, etc. 

Friday, 23 August 2019

Cross-Blade Encounter

The only place where you will find the Smart in hot climate places, like Dubrovnik.  The hotel I stayed at....had one for daily rental.

It was made for one single year (2002), and only comes in the 599 cc range (71 hp).

It's rare that you come across these now. 

Smart didn't really know how to sell the car, or to market it.  No, there is no top to it, and that might be 50-percent of the problem why it never caught on.  No windshield?  That is correct.  No doors?  Yep.  Top speed?  Around 130 kph (80 mph).  No trunk?  Correct, that space in the back is for the engine.  For beaches or sand?'s a rear wheel drive situation.

Maybe if this had been manufactured in Brazil, and sold for 7k would have been an interesting car to keep in the garage and use on weekends.  The chief problem I saw in 2002 when it came out....they were talking 15,000 dollars (European-made and added cost on labor). 

Thursday, 22 August 2019

The Insignificance of Google and the 2020 Election

Based on commentary, there is a good bit of speculation that Google's intellectual leadership crowd intends to play into the election and help defeat Trump.

I've sat and pondered over this a good bit in the last month, and come to this one really won't matter much.


First, between social media and the news media....they've both reached a point where trust and respect by the average American is that of a used car salesman.  Whatever the nightly 'talker' says on the network news piece from ABC or CBS....really doesn't matter.  Even if Google sensationalizes the piece....who really believes Google? 

Second, after all that chatter of Russian collusion....there's this general belief by the public that it's all one big fake soap opera....which leads back to either Brennan (the former CIA chief) or Hillary's campaign staff.  An attempt by Google traffic or creations to create a new Russian collusion?  No one would believe it.

Third, there's this strong possibility that Google will be thrust into a utility status, and that the various mechanisms of the organization will have to go in front of either a federal utility group or fifty state utility commissions.  It'd basically create a bigger mess for Google to handle.

So all this effort and chatter?  Worthless?  Yes.  That's the amusing part of the story.  Instead of working on their product and profits.....they've wasted all this on a political agenda. 

The 'Used Car Salesman' Chatter

I was watching a YouTube piece today and someone got around to talking over previous presidents, and they came to President Obama.  Their identifier for him?  He seemed to them (in 2008's election period) be like a used car salesman.

I sat there for a while and thought about the comment, and the 2008 period.  That was the weirdest election period that I've seen in fifty-odd years.

I identified Obama more as a insurance salesman, than a used car salesman (maybe because I've rarely dealt with used car salesmen.  It always seemed like you got a whole bunch of talk, which led to more talk and promises, and whatever was the end-product.....just never seemed to amount to much. 

But then you gaze at the competition for the primary....wife of some former President who was a Senator with no real accomplishments over eight years. 

Then you gaze over a the Republican side.  You had some former naval officer who bluffed his way through into politics.  There was the 'Mitt'.....who never seemed to be doing anything other than speeches.  You had the 'Huck' who was more suited to be a radio talk show host, than President.  And then you had Ron Paul.....who was a 180-degree flip-over from Bernie Sanders. 

But back to the identifier of a used car salesman.  It's a negative term.  People hate dealing with this crowd, and the older you are.....the worse it gets.  There are certain professions like this now.  Televangelist....for example....represent another identifier that folks can't stand.  School principals are getting up to the point of being continually disliked.  TV news journalists or 'anchors' are another group who are reaching the point of being joked about continually.  CEOs for technology companies are getting a reputation similar to used car dealers. 

The amusing thing is that identifiers are becoming common now, and we all seem to relate to it. 

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Explaining Greta Thunberg to an American

Prior to the fall of 2018, no one had really ever heard of Greta.  Then, the 15-year old Swedish teenager came out with this 'strike' idea in Swedish schools over climate change, global warming, and global warming.  Using social media, she advanced the idea of Friday at getting up and striking, for the remainder of the day (Swedish schools typically run to 1:30 PM.  Signs were made up....slogans devised.....with Swedish schools acting in a paralyzed state.  Yes, adults basically couldn't establish authority.

So it spread.

By January, via social arrived in Germany and various European countries.  Same deal.....leave classes at noon and strike.

The Germans loved this sort of thing, and journalists flocked to it.  School authorities?  Powerless.

So Greta sailed out this week of Europe and is heading to the east coast of the US.....mostly because flying would have used more carbon (she actually said this.....but engineers have proven that the sailboat will use more carbon for her, than flying in a regular plane.

She believes that her presence will flip US students over to her message......striking on Fridays.

The fact that she has Aspergers? one in the German journalist group will mention this, but yes.....she has Aspergers.

A problem?  Well....if you were an innovation or technology company, it might be positive to have a boss or leader like that.  In a religion or political group?  No.  You don't want a one-sided person running a political group.  As for someone trying to run some kid's group on climate change?  No, it's probably not going to be some super-positive idea.

But here's the curious thing.....when you approach some American kids and suggest a strike at noon on Fridays.....most school boards will step in and send a letter to the parents that either the kid attends or a officer will come to the house and take actions.  Failing a kid in various classes if he were to miss dozen Friday afternoons?  Some schools would take this action and send a signal.

The other possible action is that some kids....especially university students.....will begin to question Greta on her facts, and challenge her.  I have my doubts that she'll be in the US for more than ten days, and quietly be sailed back to Sweden.

So I'm reminded of the child crusades of 1212.  There are two legendary figures (Nicholas of Germany, and Stephen of Cloyes, France) who led Greta-like antics in 1212.  Neither are exactly proven as fact, or non-fact.

In the case of Stephen (the French kid).....he claimed that he had a letter written and signed by Jesus, and addressed to the King (Phillip II).  For some reason, the King just didn't believe the Jesus letter was authentic.   Stephen kinda claimed that he was going to lead a crowd to Holy Land and be crusaders....saving Europe, the King, France, and Christianity.  At some point, he had 30,000 idiots lined up and following him south through France.  By winter, the group thinned out, and the whole crusade business and Stephen.....just disappeared.

In the case of Nicholas, it ran the same way.....but without the letter from Jesus.  This child group was going off to fight the crusades and thousands of kids flocked to the group.  By winter, their whole mission had dissolved up.

It's argued over the two kids, and if either is true, or maybe just one single story in itself.  But the more you look at it.....if true, both kids were likely Aspergers or with paranoid schizophrenia.   

So prepare for the Greta show, and the news folks to hype it up.

A Stop at Medjugorje

While on this week-long trip to Croatia, I spent part of one morning at Medjugorje, Bosnia.  It wasn't on the tour, and the tour-guide added it at the suggestion of one of the folks on the bus. 

So, here's the jest of Medjugorje.  It's a town of maybe two-thousand residents.  It would mostly known for nothing except back in the summer of 1981....six teenagers came to view this apparition (a ghostly-like 'thing')....which they felt was Mary of 'Mary and Joseph' fame.  They ran down the hill, and reported this......a number of the townsfolk came up and felt they saw the apparition as well.  But to be honest, a significant number didn't really see anything.

A legend starts up.  The Catholic Church gets involved, and there's tons of money poured into a church, and outdoor ceremony set-up (room for 5,000 folks to sit).

Today, it's figured that around a million people (from across Europe) come and pray for sick relatives, or drag bad-off friends over to the site.

Down the main drag of town, there's probably twenty-five gift shops set up, with Jesus shirts, Moses statues, crosses, and various memorabilia.  I would take a guess that the shops in town rake in at least quarter-million dollars a week in 'gifts'.

So back to the apparition.  The odds that at least one (maybe several of the six) have a bit of paranoid schizophrenia?  I would suggest that at least one is a 99-percent chance.  If you have a convincing level of it.....then you can probably talk the rest into believing some fantasy with minimum ease. 

But here's the interesting thing.  This one act, has led onto the Catholic Church being involved....pumping money into ceremony area, and having various Bishops supporting the whole story.  The town today?  It makes tons of money off the apparition and the story of the teenagers.

Why is it always Mary or Jesus that is seen, for apparitions?  As you look around at the theme in Europe (mostly Italy, France, and Bosnia), you never have a Elisha figure to appear, or Noah, or Jeremiah, or Balaam.  On some rare occasions.....someone will say they had an apparition of the angel Gabriel, but that's rare.  The angel Raguel?  Yeah.....he's a big zero on the apparition scale.

So I kinda looked at this stop (a mere 30 minutes) and I just shook my head.  It's a tourist magnet, and a bit amusing.  But it's part of the problem in getting onto tour bus operations, and having to stop where they desire. 

This Greenland Purchase 'Thing'

So, when you stand back to look at the idea of Trump thinking about buying Greenland, there's two basic things falling into play.

First, Trump often tests the junior people around him....challenging them with projects which lead nowhere.  I think this was a research project like that.  He probably sent five guys off with this idea, and four of them mostly laughed and did nothing....with one guy coming back and laying out the cost and benefits.  That 'winner' will move on....the others will just stay as junior-players.

Second, Trump might have this idea of offering 150-billion which the Chinese would wake up and decide to offer $300-billion.  Trump would then return to the table and offer $450 billion, and the Chinese would finally go and offer 900-billion dollars (to close the deal).

Denmark would have said 'no', period.

But here's the thing.....50,000 folks live on Greenland, and at 900-billion dollars.....I think they would have stood up and told Denmark.....the 'HELL' with you, we will sell it ourselves, and split the loot among the 50,000 residents, and each take a million or walk away. 

Minerals?  Well, here's the jest of can only get to them.....if climate change continues and Greenland melts off the majority of the ice.  If it doesn't occur, the offer is worthless. 

So I think the offer was mostly a joke, or an enticement to get China to throw money at something. 

Now, the odds that Greece or some economically suffering country might approach Trump and offer to sell something in the range of $150-billion?  It wouldn't surprise me if Kim approached Trump and offered up North Korea.....for $300-billion in cash.  That would be a shocker. 

The Xanax/Cocaine Shooter

So around two weeks ago, this Dayton shooting occurred.  One of the odd things is that cops reported now....that the dead shooter had cocaine and Xanax on him.  So he was actively taking both.  What happens when you mix the two?

Well, this gets interesting. 

Normally, if you use a good bit of got through a extreme happiness period, with hyped-up energy, increased alertness, and could possibly display paranoia. 

Normally, if you use a good bit of Xanax?  Drowsiness (to the level that you might be sleep-walking and not realize it), irritability feelings, depression, and sleepiness. 

The odds that a guy would be in some hyped-up dream-state, with paranoia going on.....disillusions perhaps?  This guy shoot folks, while in some dream stage? 

This guy not have even realized the stage that he was in or that this was rationally planned out?  You might go and suggest this.  Did he even know the consequences of mixing the two drugs?  I doubt it.  How did he get the prescription drug Xanax?  That hasn't been told yet, and they might go and avoid that discussion entirely. 

But this opens up a whole discussion....other past mass shootings....what's the odds that Xanax figured into two or three of those episodes over the past twenty years? 

Observations Over Dubrovnik

I spent the last week in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and will write a couple of essays over various things, but this is the travel and advice essay.  My 10 thoughts:

1.  Maybe it was cheap in Dubrovnik back in the 1980s or maybe the five years after the war.....but there's nothing really 'cheap' over the 'walled-city' today.  Part of this is related to the cruise-ships docking there (they actually limited it to around four per day now) and the Game of Thrones folks. 

2.  Russians.  There's simply a lot of Russians that mingle in the crowds.  I would take a guess on any summer day, there has to be at least 2,000 Russians in the town.

3.  Over-tourism problem?  Well....yeah.  Once you enter the boundary of the old's a mess from 9 AM to around 10 PM at night.  Maybe it's less in October.....but it's madness in June, July and August. 

4.  Crime and homelessness?  Mostly non-existent.  One could actively see the cops on patrol.  In the tourist season, there are tons of jobs.....of which I'd guess the unemployment rate in the region is less than 2-percent. 

5.  Just about every Croat I encountered in town....spoke English.  I would suggest that they are exceptionally friendly, and helpful.

6.  The heat?  A typical summer day will run in the 90 to 95 degree level.  With humidity added in, you will sweat through two to three t-shirts per-day.  Oddly, if you travel inland 50 miles, it's not that hot. 

7.  Slut-level.  I stayed at one of the top five hotels in Dubrovnik (5-star status).  Morning breakfast would come each day, and in a normal hotel....there's attire rules.  Well, at this place....with 350 rooms.....there was no attire rule for breakfast.  So you had an awful lot of skin on display at 9 AM.  I wouldn't mind if this were mostly all 18-to-30 year old women.  But when you got some 50-year old gal displaying 92-percent of her body, and there's forty extra pounds somewhere in the's a bit much for morning breakfast.   Oddly enough, this is a hotel that is frequented by Muslim guys from Iran, Kuwait, etc......with their traditional wives. 

8.  Game of Thrones.  It's safe to say that most Americans who tour Dubrovnik.....are there to see scenes from the show.  So you will be sitting at a cafe, and four young ladies are across from you and in deep conversation about such-and-such character, and this scene from this square.  It's pretty weird that people are consumed this much by a tv series.

9.  Hilly.  Well, virtually every single inch of Dubrovnik is built on hills and you find yourself climbing up and down.  So just walking one single block, you might encounter 100 stone steps up, and then walk another hundred down. 

10.  The max you should spend in Dubrovnik?  You can see the 'old-city' in eight hours flat.  The tours in the local area are mostly worthless.  And if you were there for sun and beach could do it far cheaper 50 miles northwest of Dubrovnik.  Locals will even tell you that better beaches exist, and cheaper rates can readily be found in NW Croatia. 

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Sensory Overload?

This past week, I sat and watched about 20 minutes of video-clips over the Democratic Socialist Convention held recently.  In the midst of this....some guy got around to letting folks know that he was 'prone to sensory overload'. 

I sat and stopped the clip and thought about what he was attempting to say, or maybe what he meant to say.  It's bothered me a good bit over the week, and I come back to that topic for this essay.

There a fair number of folks who think they are exceptionally bright, but when a 1962 repair manual is given to them for some broken farm implement....this super intellectual  guy falls apart. In simple terms, handling the knowledge and using common sense strategies wasn't something  brought up in college.

So are we producing intellectual PhD idiots with value?  Yes.

Go take a 1968 gumball machine and ask this sensory overload character to examine it for an hour and explain how it works.  He'd have a problem.

But here's the positive....this guy will at least admit overload.

Should this guy even be attending a convention like this?  Well, that has bothered me as well. Normally, hookers and booze matter more at political conventions. That would have taken your mind off stupid political talks.

Another Example of a Mass Shooting

Around 20 June 1994, on Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington-state....a mass shooting took place, involving Dean Mellberg (age 20). 

Dean had shown at the base clinic, armed with a MK-90 (basically a AK-47).....around 3 pm in the afternoon.  When the smoke had cleared, he'd killed five individuals, and wounded 22 others.

Dean's basic story?  This is rather interesting.  Around age 18, he'd enlisted in the Air Force and gone to basic training.  Dean had trouble with virtually everyone that he came in contact with, and at some point.....they sent Dean for a mental eval, and the doctor wrote in strong language that Dean needed to be removed from the service.  In simple words, a personality disorder existed. 

Maybe if they'd held the guy for a week or two.....they might even have reached the point where he'd be noted as paranoid schizophrenic or bi-polar.  But no....the paperwork got shuffled around, and they kept Dean in basic training.  He would actually graduate and be sent off to aircraft mechanic's school.

When he graduated from mechanic's school....he was sent to Fairchild AFB, Washington.  There....he moved into the barracks.  Now the second episode comes up....the room-mate sends a note to the commander and strongly suggests that Dean is not sane. The commander actually does send Dean over to the clinic for a mandatory eval.   Remember, this isn't the first's really the second.

So here in clinic....two doctors exam Dean and come to this remarkable conclusion.....Dean is not just a little bit crazy.....he is dangerous-crazy.  They write the recommendation to get Dean out.  But here's the funny thing.....somehow, the hospital is convinced to send Dean for another eval (down to Texas, to the main Air Force hospital).  They host Dean there for roughly sixteen weeks (yes, an incredible four months of time), and they reach this conclusion....Dean is unfit for service and mentally unstable.  In simple terms....he's a threat to just about anyone who knows him.

Whathen it's apparent that Dean will be thrown out....his parents get involved.  So they use their Congressman to push the Air Force along with this diagnosis that they'd had for a number of years....that Dean was suffering from some minor form of autism.  So a Air Force board met, and the three folks decided that autism was good enough for them, and dumped the recommendations from Fairchild, and the Texas hospital.

But rather than part with Dean there at the Texas Air Force hospital....they make the decision to send Dean back onto duty (just not at Fairchild) he's ordered to Mountain Home AFB, Idaho.  But here is this twist to the story.....they've heard about Dean, and conversed with folks who know the background on the guy.  They refuse to accept him.  Yes, this is the part of the story.....they weren't going to allow him on Mountain Home.

So Dean gets Canon AFB, NM.  Dean arrives there and lasts around five weeks.  Then....shockingly enough, the new commander asks for another mental eval (number four).

This time, the eval sticks, and Dean is removed from duty....with just a plain discharge.  What happens over the next month?  Dean travels around the west, and even gets up into Alaska.  Then he decides to come back to Fairchild....for revenge. 

Dean would die that afternoon....shot by a Senior Airman on duty. 

A nutcase from day one?  Just based on the comments at basic training....he wasn't sane enough to be in the general public.  As far as I can one has gone back to his years in high school or talked with people who knew him in that period.  That might reveal more of the story.

What the Air Force did after this?  They changed forms for psychological review, and you had to check certain boxes.....which would indicate treatment only, or dismissal only.  That was it. 

Dean being unbalanced?  I would go and suggest after reading two differing accounts of the story....that Dean was prone to violent encounters, and probably lived in some type of imaginary world. 

Here's the thing though.....four different groups of doctors came to the same position....Dean wasn't safe or balanced. 

When Social Media Becomes a Public Utility

I'm one of those people who think eventually (probably before the November 2020 election) that all social media 'giants' will be put into a public utility situation, with oversight by Trump-appointed audit people.

It'll be argued by the Democrats and fought, but I think most Americans has reached the point of a utility operation.

So here's the curious you know of any utility that runs freely or untaxed?  There are none.  So somewhere in the midst of this transformation, either by government directive (to pay for the oversight) or by the media companies themselves....there's going to be some fee situation. 

The odds that a Facebook account or Twitter account will cost you $4.99 per month?  You might be lucky in the beginning, and this only amounts to a yearly cost of $15.   Even government taxation might amount to $1 a month from each user.  And if the federal guys could get that.....state folks ought to be able to drag 25-cents into their revenue pot as well. 

But this brings up this curious idea....would a cost situation start to eliminate or limit users?  What's the point where you say....'enough' and quit?  $4.99 a month, $7.99 a month, or $9.99 a month? 

Would you have juvenile ratings where kids under the age of sixteen can't see or hear anything unless it's stamped approved-for-juveniles?  That's very possible. 

Regulation that would eventually kill the industry?  I could see over the next ten years....tons of regulation occurring, with fines being dumped on Facebook and Twitter....and eventually making the monthly fee upwards to $30. 

So settle back and wait for this landscape to really morph overnight. 

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Two Examples of Mass Shootings

So today, I've picked two examples of mass  shootings, and lay out the basic landscape over each:

1.  The Webster Shooting (24 December 2012)....yeah, the day prior to Christmas.

In this case, firemen got a call around 5:30 AM to a house fire in West Webster, NY (way up in the north part of the state).  As they pull up and get out, there's gunfire on them (the firemen).  Two of the firemen end up dead.

Cop now arrive and take on the single gunman.....Bill Spengler, age 62.  Bill is armed with a shotgun, a pistol (38) and a Bushmaster semiautomatic.   When everything is done, the cops have killed Bill.  Total wounded: 3.  Total dead: Bill, and three others.  It should be worth noting....the fourth person.....that was his older sister that he'd killed (several hours prior to the fire). 

The fire?  It was planned the firemen and cops arrived....he simply was going to kill more.  He even wrote the letter and detailed his plan. 

So here's this story on Bill.  Back around 1980, Bill killed his 92-year old Grandmother, with a hammer.  No one talks much over what got him hyped up and able to kill her, but the best that the DA could do....was 17 years in prison.  Was Bill already a nutcase in 1980?  Probably, but rather than mess around with that was simpler to send to a state prison for seventeen years.

To fix this (at least by NY standards), they made up this new law that invoked 'first responder' provisions.  So if you attacked any first responder at a fire or situation, that got you life in prison, and zero chance for parole.  It didn't really fix much of anything when dealing with unhinged people or nutcases, but at least the politicians could say that they did their best.

Should they have dealt the guy just 17 years for the grandma killing?  Probably not....but no one seems to think over that issue.

2.  The Wedgewood Baptist Church shooting (Texas, 15 Sep 1999)  occurred on a Wednesday with lessen prayer services going on.

Larry Gene Ashbrook walked into the church with a pipe-bomb, and two pistols (AMT Backup and a 9mm).  When his encounter was done, he'd killed seven folks and himself....injuring seven others.

Roughly a decade prior to this (around age 37), his mother died and for some reason....that set Larry off into a decade mode-swings.  Some were nice....some were violent.

In the year prior to the church-shooting, people who knew Larry....spoke of disillusions.....saying at one point that the CIA was out to get him.  At some point, he suggested that he'd been assaulted by co-workers and the cops had tried to kill him.  In his home later, after the death.....folks noted that holes had been made in the wall.....concrete dumped into the toilets, and something had been laid out to poison trees and plants in the yard.

Odds of paranoid schizophrenia?  I'd say 100-percent chance.  In the year prior to the church shooting....if the system had worked correctly, cops should have picked up the guy, had him evaluated, and put into a secure mental facility.  But things simply don't work that way.

The odds that the death of his mother affected some chemical balance in his brain?  Maybe.  That's odd part about Larry's history....there's just nothing up to around age forty to say Larry was crazy.  After the mother's death.....year by year, Larry was sinking into some mental abyss.

Did anything change much after this church killing?  No.  Some churches might have armed up a guy or two at the entry of the church, but politicians didn't see anything much to resolve Larry's accomplishment.

Oh, and this group attending the church on that Wednesday?  This is the odd was mostly teens and folks in their twenties.....a youth prayer meeting for that evening.  Four of the dead were 14 to 17 years old.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Milkshakes, Straws, Environmentalists, and McDonalds

This is one of those essays that leads you along a pretty rough path.

So, if you haven't noticed both in the US and in Europe....plastic straws are fairly negative now (like plastic bags).  McDonalds wanted to get ahead of this situation and have some positive stories to tell. They were going to dump plastic straws entirely. 

Leading out of McDonalds-UK, straws were all going to paper.  They'd gone and done some bare essentials research, and then bought a number of pallets of paper straws to start this new program.

Then, this odd development occurred....they discovered that paperstraws simply don't work well with milkshakes.  Maybe it's the thickness of the paper, or the absorption level of the straw....but it simply doesn't work. 

Added to this misery, the people who do recycling for McDonalds-UK.....looked at the waste product left, and made the decision that these recyclable straws are NOT recyclable.  So they go into the regular waste....not the recyclable waste.

What happens now?  No one says much.  Maybe they could go to bamboo straws, or maybe just dump straws entirely.....handling you a plastic spoon for the milkshake. 

The amusing side of this is that the environmentalists getting into the middle of this whole business....just made it a bigger mess than it was already. 

Monday, 5 August 2019

My Observations over Dayton and El Paso

Ten thoughts:

1.  The word 'Incel' comes up a good bit....meaning 'involuntary celibates', a sub-culture of male 'boys' who are mostly gamers, and unable to date or assemble a life of normalcy.  This has been going on for more than twenty years, and helps to explain why the majority of the shooters are white, losers, and lacking any care of society or people.

2.  Weapons of war.  It's a nifty term, but trying to use it for the AR-15 won't work.  There's not a single military structure in the world that uses the AR-15.  The M-16?  Yes, but the AR-15 is simply a different gun, and not a weapon of war.

3.  People who write manifestos.  In general....anyone who writes a manifesto, is aiming to bring society to a civil war or revolution....through a violent means, and death is involved.  Charles Manson was that type of nut....Adolph Hitler was that type of nut.  The Christchurch shooter, was that type of nut.

4.  Attempting to take all guns?  I just don't see cops being enthusiastic about storming homes and trying to take weapons that people refuse to turn in.

5.  Raising the age to purchase a weapon to 21?  Well, if that kid is that immature....why are you letting him vote, get a credit card, borrow tens of thousands to get into college loan debt, etc?  It seems like if the age is the big deal....lets go and really screw with the immature kids and take their vote away as you take the gun right away.

6.  Treating juveniles in high school who make threats or suggest some 'hit-list' to be treated like adults?  Parents might want to prevent this, but once you took some kid who made a death-threat into a jail situation for a year or would eventually get the attention of kids, and clean up a growing threat.

7.  Ever noticed that the number of black mass shooters are mostly guys who got fired, and returned to work to extract some revenge?  Ever noticed that women shooters are non-existent?

8.  After each of these events, there's a up-turn on folks wanting a conceal-and-carry permit, and folks carrying more weapons?  I would take a guess right now in the state of Alabama....five out of ten vehicles leaving for work this morning....have some guy or gal armed.

9.  Video-gaming dehumanizing kids?  Yes....but what are you willing to do about it?  Would you forbid sales, or criminalize any store that offers the games....even to adults?  I doubt it.

10.  Will-power to change the Constitution?  As much as Democrats blabber about 'change'.....I seriously doubt that you can find more than four of ten Democrats who want the Constitution changed on guns.  I would also suggest that in cities like Detroit and Atlanta....seventy-five percent of Democrat-voting homes will have a minimum of a pistol in the residence.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

The Hand-Bag 'Guys'

Over the past five years, I've come to be fascinated by stone carvings which display a guy, with a 'hand-bag'. 

People could point this out from carvings in Egypt and Iraq.  But as time went by, the carving showed up in the Americas, Asia, and even cliff drawings in Australia.  The bag scene even shows up in Turkey at the new site of Gobekli Tepe (oddly enough, just the bags....not the guy holding the bag).

So I've come to ask myself some questions.

First, why so many points around the Earth?  Maybe you could make up some excuse if this were just a 1,000-mile circle from Iraq....but to find this virtually every corner of the Earth? 

Could it be some guy who was just a traveler and made up some fake legend story, and convinced folks of important people existing with handbags?  I've contemplated this....mostly because it's so easy to convince folks of a hoax (like Bigfoot).  Oddly enough, no matter where you find the image in's always the size of a lunch-box. 

Stone characters being women with the hand-bag?  No.  So far, I've yet to find an image where it's a woman.  It's either men, or animal-creature men. 

What's in the bag?  The images never convey that part of the story.  It must be important to identify the guy carrying the bag, but the contents are not that important.

All made around the same time?  This is harder to say or prove.  In the case of Gobekli Tepe, it has to be less than 12,000 years ago. 

Did the stone-carver actually see these folks, or simply get a description handed down....maybe five to ten generations later?  So when folks talk about the bag....maybe it was originally a backpack, and the story got shifted around to identify it as a purse instead?  Well, that's possible. 

Are the bags ever seen just by themselves, and not carried by some VIP-dude?  Well, the only images I've seen so far is the Gobekli Tepe site where multiple bags are put onto a statue indicating great chaos, or on some Australian rock (drawn by an Aborigine). 

Are the bags even significant?  This is debatable.  Obviously, the stone-cutters thought they were.  But you never see an image where 'Joe' is removing something from the bag. 

If the size is realistic....what would the VIP-due carry in a lunch-box size bag?  A Snickers-bar, bag of peanuts, a Mountain Dew, and a deck of cards?  Maybe it was just some aspirin, band-aides, and bug-repellent?  Maybe his communications device, a laser-gun, and a bottle of gin?

So I come to the end of this essay.  It is rather odd that 500-odd stone-carving experts, across the globe, without the ability to send images....came to chip out these carvings....all with the hand-bag guys.  Accidental?  No.  That's the one element to this story that you can cross couldn't have 500-odd guys performing the same accidental visual representation. 

It'll just remain a mystery until someone digs up the statue or image of the hand-bag guy pulling something out of the bag. 

Friday, 2 August 2019

Explaining This Missile Treaty Chatter

Back in November of 1987, the US and Russia signed a missile treaty.  Basically....short-range missiles were OK, and long-range missiles were bad. 

New missile programs came and went.  So in the past couple of years, the Russians came onto this new program (SSC-8)....a cruise missile, which they said only went about 480 kilometers (300 miles).  The US monitored one says how but they did.  In their mind, the cruise missile is capable of carrying nukes and going up to 2000 kilometers (1,200 miles). 

After a number of months of talking about this....President Trump finally said that the 1987 treaty is dissolved (will take six months for this to occur).

Naturally, this has hyped up the Europeans a lot (especially the Germans).  Russia?  They've warned the US about bringing in medium-range cruise missiles to off-set this.  So they are chatting about bringing in missiles to Cuba or Venezuela to play this game out.

Trump's game-plan?  Unknown.  But this might be an occasion where he tells the NATO folks (in particular the Germans) that he has zero intention of bringing in more missiles to Europe, and that if they have a serious worry.....maybe they should take care of it themselves.

You see, the chief method of Russia making Oligarchs wealthy and by oil and natural gas sales to Europe.  I don't think any Russian Oligarch or billionaire has any desire to mess up this situation. 

So this is all fake 'worry'?  More or less.  They will spend hours and hours trying to do public TV displays about Trump screwing up.  Well....he's actually telling Germany and the's your business to protect yourself, and we won't necessarily be paying for it or helping you. 

As for the SSC-8?  Somewhere in the next year or two, I expect the Russians to conduct some test and demonstrate to the Europeans that it can go 2000 to 3000 kilometers.  NATO will try to entice Trump to come into the picture, and he'll tell them that it's their situation to resolve. 

Thursday, 1 August 2019

5th District Chatter

“Democrats aren't the only members of congress who represent districts of distress. Mo Brooks who represents Alabama five, right, they have a median household income which is less than Maryland seven where Elijah Cummings represents, they have a median home value that is less, fewer people with bachelor degrees and the poverty level is a little bit less than Maryland 7 but about in the ballpark. my question to you is this, so Mo Brooks spends a lot of his time defending the president, why should he do that by your logic and not go home and deal with the issues in your district?"

-- CNN's John Berman

My brother pointed out this comment by CNN's journalist.....trying to slam a district in Alabama.  So the district (5th district), is basically where I grew up as a kid.

I just started laughing.

First, he picked on bachelor degrees, which if he'd come to northern Alabama....he would have found out that a fair number of kids are in community college or trade schools, and don't see any value in getting into serious debt with a worthless bachelor degree.

Crime?  Crime in northern Alabama just doesn't compare to Baltimore.  Murder and assault just doesn't occur at the same rate like in Baltimore.

If I actually went to locals in Baltimore and offered up a way for them to move.....given the chances, I think more than half would agree that northern Alabama is a heck of a lot safer than Baltimore.

But lets go to the odd figures.  If you went into the 5th district and started to look at individual households.....a lot of those households have either an RV, or bass-boat.....more so than Baltimore's surroundings.  Cars able to pass a state inspection on a moment's notice?  I would take a guess that more than 95-percent of the 5th district cars could easily pass the inspection.....with Baltimore's collection of cars questionable.

Lets go to this one odd final factor.  If you gathered up 1,000 residents of the 5th district in Alabama and can move, and leave.  There might be a hundred willing to talk about this idea (most wanting to move to Alaska or Wyoming).  But in the end, less than 25 would take the step of leaving the 5th district.  In Baltimore, with a 1,000 residents offered the chance to move?  I suspect that a minimum of 800 would discuss the matter, and maybe 600 of them agreeing to move (virtually anywhere but Baltimore).