Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How the Culture Has Changed

I was reading something about the change in journalism (the writer called it a crisis), and I remembered an incident from my youth.

What the writer said:
DETROIT — If you are a person of a certain age it's odd to drive down a major artery in a large metropolitan American city and strain to find a newspaper box at any of the crossroads.
That's especially true in a city such as Detroit, with a storied history of competitive journalism that dug deep into holding power in check, whether it was city hall, the unions or large corporations.
It's not that those papers are gone. The lack of boxes is in part because of contractual delivery systems and partly because of vandalism. But the disappearing boxes are mostly because we consume our news differently.
What I remembered:

I was in my late teens or early twenties, and working in downtown Cleveland. Then, like so many working class girls, I was doing clerical work in some office. Not well paid, but steady work, with benefits. It paid enough to buy a flashy wardrobe, enjoy lunches out, and have cash in my pocket. As I, like so many of that generation, lived at home, other than a token part of my paycheck to my parents was mine to spend.

I usually grabbed a cup of coffee on the way to work, and generally bought a newspaper - in those days, Cleveland had TWO major papers - the Cleveland Plain Dealer (mornings), and the Cleveland Press (evenings).

I stopped at a newspaper box, and was waiting for the middle-aged Black man to complete his transaction, when he turned to me, with the door open, and said, "Go ahead, just take yours, too."

I indicated that I didn't need an unpaid paper, but he insisted - not in a threatening way, but as though he was hurt that I didn't appreciate his kindly gesture.

Finally, I took the paper, and waited until his back was turned and he was walking away. Then, I put my quarter in, and opened and closed the door.

I just couldn't ignore my upbringing and STEAL the paper. It wasn't something that fit my standards, molded by parents who didn't have much, but were honest.

But, that gentleman's standards, multiplied by all the others who DID take the paper, not-so gradually eroded cultural expectations of honesty.

And, THAT'S why the newspaper box is no more. Because the norm is to steal in situations where it is possible. Because "nobody gets hurt".

But they do.


Friday, May 19, 2017

How Might the Progressives Take Back Power?

The Z-Man has some scary ideas.

Sometimes, there is a convergence between ideology and practicality. Importation of thuggish aliens to terrorize the non-compliant population might be such a case.

From the perspective of the Progressive Overlords (trademark pending), it's a Win-Win. They both burnish their compassionate credentials, and manage to use the 'undocumented Storm Troopers' to whip the unruly subjects into line with their agenda.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Miscellaneous Meanderings

I am NOT focused this week - the detritus of my changing life is leaving me with MANY loose ends, which I am trying to deal with, but - usually - only tossing into a box, with a tepid promise to deal with it later (when, presumably, I will have more time and focus).

Some tidbits I've noticed:
  • This guy actually talks sensibly about education reform. Naturally, he is relatively obscure, and likely to remain so, as long as he makes sense. This is Sponsored Content, as he is hawking a book, but - well, read it, and see what you think.
  • I don't understand why, in government, so few are fired for what are clearly firing offenses. Take a look at that article, and see if you agree with me. I'd also like those who are fired to have their pension contributions returned to them, with interest, and have NO pension rights after that. If you do something wrong, you should pay a penalty. Perhaps the possibility of that might discourage the 'Deep State' from cooperating with the ousted party.
  • Re: the above - I DO understand it, but I don't like it. Too much 'Mommy loves you' and not enough 'Daddy's gonna whup yo' a$$'. The feminization of the public arena has created more problems than it solved.
  • When all of the foo-fah of the Trump-Media war starts to get to you, remember - you always have a choice.
  • Bored? Ain't no big thing. And, used properly, boredom can transform your life.
  • Are we heading to Civil War? Well, maybe. 
    • ONE of the sides is self-righteous, claiming God is on their side, impossible to talk with, as any attempt gets an hysterical, screaming response - that is, if they bother to stop chanting in an effort to shut the other side up. For that side, NO compromise is acceptable. And, BTW, they are SURE that EVERY person that opposes their complete imposition of EVERY facet of their agenda is a Racist, Evil, Irredeemable, sub-human, who should lose ALL Constitutional Rights for all time.
    • The Other side wants to talk it out and compromise. Lots of luck with that, kids.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Too Busy to Blog?

Actually - Yes.

I've been nearing the end of the school year - always a stressful and busy time.

But, I've also been involved in my fitness program - down 24 pounds, so far, and MUCH more capable of walking and other activities.

And - Ta-Dah! I will be retired at the end of this school year - in only another 2-1/2 weeks!

I can't wait! I'm full up with plans for the future, chief among them to FINALLY clear out my house of detritus, and organize what remains. Other plans include:

  • Writing - I have a more-than 1/2-finished book, that I will be expanding and revising. And, a non-fiction book - How to Teach Chemistry Without Blowing Up the Lab (meant for the beginner in a high school setting). Other books to follow, now that I have time.
  • Radio fun - I am currently putting my new workbench together, and will shortly move my radio magazines, books, equipment, and work-in-progress up to the new Ham Shack. When I get my HF rig (probably sometime this fall), I will have friends over to help me set up an outdoor antenna - type to be determined after consultation with my radio club's Elmers (experienced hams willing to serve as mentors for free).
  • Visiting family and friends - some of that for FUN, but also to assist family members currently experiencing health challenges.
  • Getting in better shape - walking, swimming, and other workouts to lengthen my life, and improve its quality.
  • Putting our Physics Workshops activities into high gear - if anyone knows of a teacher/school in need of professional development, have them drop me a line. We would love to get in touch to set up a workshop for them.


Thursday, May 04, 2017

After the LA Riots

There are two stories about them:

  • The first, one of the perps, who never served a day in prison for his actions. He is still angry, despite having benefited from the system's mercy to him - not having to pay, either in money or time, for his crime.
  • The second, one of the victims, is still suffering the after-effects of the attack - which included, beating, kicking, nearly having his ear torn off, stripping his clothes off, and spray-painting him black. Oh, and dousing him with gasoline - he is fortunate that no one had a match. He was robbed of money and tools and his truck was torched. And yet, he is married and largely supporting himself. And, not bitter.

Funny how that happens.



On  the matter of expanding the H1-B Visa program, I am just -


Not even.

Don't even THINK of it.

I - and a whole lot of voters - will NOT - REPEAT - NOT - be mollified by other decisions you make.

No matter if you enact, lobby for, fight to your dying day for ANY other bill.

Those actions will NOT overcome my visceral disgust for your YES vote on Visas.

WHY is that such a big deal?

Goldman Sachs estimates that almost one million foreign H-1B contract workers are now employed in college-level jobs throughout the United States, even though many media outlets routinely say the federal government approves only 85,000 H-1B visas per year.

Goldman’s February estimate of the huge H-1B population also ignores multiple other visa programs which invite foreign graduates to work in the United States. These other temporary work visas are used to employ an additional 470,000 foreign college graduates in the United States, according to a study released on March 7 by the left-of-center Economic Policy Institute.
The EPI study, titled “Temporary foreign workers by the numbers,” says U.S. companies employ roughly 470,000 foreign professionals via the little-known O, L, J, OPT, and TN visas.
The EPI study estimates that the H-1B population at a much lower level of only 460,000 employees, partly because EPI says many H-1B workers quickly get permanent green cards, which converts them into legal residents, not contract workers.
Guys, it's time to hit the phones, faxes, and emails. Snail mail would be better, but we may not have the luxury of time.

This abomination is being sponsored by Senator Ron Johnson (WI), and also backed by Rep. Ken Buck (CO). Their names - and faces - should be on every latrine wall.

The CATO Institute is also pushing this.


There is a Positive Side to This

There is an Up Side to the decision of Comey NOT to prosecute HRC and the Weiners.

This administration can decide to prosecute them ALL, with no double jeopardy involved.

And, no Obama-Pardon available.


Is the Republican Repeal of Obamacare Bad?

Like a lot of things in politics, it's mixed.

However, the 4% that have pre-existing conditions will NOT be thrown out into the streets.

Unlike today, when those with the 'wrong' health plan - including some of those with Obamacare - will find themselves unable to get care.


Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Dodging the Bullet

I get why the Bowie Bergdahl court martial was delayed until AFTER the election. Obama could avoid dealing with it and possibly screwing up HRC's coronation, and - most importantly - he could play hand-off to her, taking it out of his legacy and blaming her later for any reverberations.

The Republicans went along with it, because if they waited until AFTER the election, the incoming President might not pardon him.

It was put off until February 2017 - which, if you haven't noticed, has been and gone.

So, what's the status?

I couldn't find ANYTHING on a search.


So, I'm guessing that it will wait until a more convenient - and less likely to blow up in the administration's face - time. When more important - and urgent - situations push the trial into the background.

My guess?

Bergdahl will receive a guilty verdict. Then, after getting a middling harsh sentence, be freed after a short time on some kind of a mental/emotional hardship or compassionate release.


Monday, May 01, 2017

More on the Perfidy of Obama

The Iran Agreement (NOT treaty, because Obama refused to bring it before Congress - or to be honest about it's provisions).


Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Trend to Avoid Treatment

Dalrymple has his say about the overuse of 'mental health professionals' in Britain.

The bigger problem is that those people DON'T treat mental illness. Instead:

  • They ignore the raving lunatics until their actions land them in jail. At that point, they medicate them into compliance.
  • They use the time freed up to work with people who are MENTALLY perfect normal. Their problems fall into 2 groups - those whose family are nuts, and those whose problems stem from spiritual emptiness, and the choices (mostly bad) that they have made.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Astroturf Explained

Astroturf, something that Democrats always accuse Republicans, Conservatives, and any non-Democrat of using, is the practice of organizing people for protest activity.

It CAN be paid-for protesters, but can also include those not given money or other incentives, but willing to show up, hold signs, and shout slogans on command.

Why is this a problem?

Because, normally, only those who feel quite strongly about an issue or candidate will put themselves in a public arena. Someone that committed at least deserves a hearing.

That supposition that the individuals involved have 'a dog in that hunt' is up-ended when the person is found to be apathetic, but appearing due to the efforts of a few 'community organizers'.

One of those community organizers is Robert Creamer, who was caught on tape bragging about his efforts - which included the payment of up to $1500 a day.

You can buy a LOT of protest, including a willingness to commit violence and other crimes for a lot less than that.

What was even worse was that the paid protesters put on Trump shirts before getting violent, so it looked as though the Trump supporters were the criminals. At that time, they laid the groundwork for their current claims that Trump supporters are Fascists.

The Obama administration also laid down the framework for trouble for the next administration. There are 250 offices of Organizing for Action around the country. Hard to imagine that they will all decide to peacefully build playgrounds and tutor elementary students.


Resolving Budget Issues

In some ways, this process is not that different from that of a personal budget. If the income is not sufficient, you have to trim expenses.

At first, you cut the easy stuff - the frills, the expenses that are not core. There is ALWAYS give in Americans' budget - it's a result of a standard of living, even at the margins, that includes nonessentials.

Some different takes on the likely sticking points:

  • The Atlantic talks about a concept I'd not heard of before - the Skinny Budget. Nothing to do with cutting calories, or, for that matter, expenses.
  • The Washington Post provides a more conventional view of the upcoming battle.
  • USA Today focuses on the NEA battleground.
  • And, CBS tries to explain the Progressive side.

One change that was made a long time ago, in response to Government employees that gamed the system to collect MULTIPLE public pensions, as well as Social Security benefits, was WEP - the Windfall Elimination Profits provision. It was yet another WONDERFUL action by Jimmah Carter, designed to put the screws to people who DARED to find another job, outside of government, after being vested.

It primarily affects 2 groups: military, who often retire after 20 years, and teachers in those states whose paycheck does not take out Social Security (although, they DO pay Medicare taxes). If they then go to work at a job that DOES take out SS, they will be SEVERELY penalized by having their EARNED SS benefits cut by a complicated formula that takes into account their non-SS pension earnings.

There are 2 ways to avoid it - work a part-time job during your government years (who had the time - I was a Mom), or, work until you're 70-80 years old.

No, really. That last suggestion - was perkily suggested to me by a government loon, to whom my answer - do you really expect me to work until 80 years old? - was defensively countered with the admonition that I should not be hostile.

So, after retirement, I will be losing about 1/3 to 1/2 (they can't say just how much before I retire - which makes planning really hard!) of my SS check each month.

It's kind of OK - I will survive, thanks to judicious budget cutting many years ago, and saving in retirement accounts. We learned long ago not to spend up to the hilt, and have kept most of our expenses low. We will be using any windfall money over the next year (IRS refund, final paychecks, etc.) to pay down consumer debt that remains. And, having bucked the trend of divorce, I have a husband with pension, SS, and assets, also.

Lucky me.

My thought to reduce the government/business/lobbying industry, with the blatant profiteering by former functionaries:
  • Make 80% of any income over $100k earned by former government employees subject to 100% tax, & put that amount into debt reduction - buying back government bonds.
  • That confiscatory tax should apply to ALL sources of income - speeches, foundation work, board activity, writing books, appearing on any media, etc. No more milking that former Presidential status, or government connections, for CA$H.
  • Dis-allow shoveling that money into foundations, trusts, scholarships/jobs for their children, or other legal dodges for the money.
  • Non-monetary perks, such as travel, use of homes, etc., offered by 'friends' is assessed at market value, and is counted as part of that limit.
Ex-employees may NOT choose to forego the pension, and keep that money. It is a limitation that is permanent.

Found on MOTUS:

Off-Topic:  If Trump or another non-Progressive had met with the judge beforehand, it would have been considered evidence of collusion. So, why is it OK that the judge who issued the ban on Trump's immigration orders had a meeting with the former President?

Also Off-Topic: I've long followed FoxNews, but I do think it's time to find other sources of information. The Sharp Turn Left is NOT improving its broadcasts.

I always love the arrogance of people who believe that, not only is their position the ONLY one, but that the Plebes better fall into line with it.

News Flash - Conservatives, and non-Progressives, made this network. They can walk away without a qualm. Then, you have to ask yourself, how will you fund the Progressive Agenda?

The current shaky status of cable, which is being put in even greater jeopardy by the unplugging of the TVs, may well find itself in the same situation as Current TV - broke, unwatched, and fast disappearing.

I'm one of many that stream from my Internet connection (I do it through Roku, but there are other ways).