Sunday, December 31, 2017

Motivation Monday

Make the leap!


Predictions

On New Year's Eve, everyone is in the prediction business.  And of course, they mean nothing.  Whether it's some brilliant prognosticator on TV, some celebrity who's only qualification for predicting is because they are in the public eye (and really doesn't know shit), or some little anonymous blogger who is sitting around watching football and thinks it might be fun.  Some predictions are based on stats and data.  I get that.  But many (most?) are just sticking your finger in the wind and putting in your two cents.  

So with all that as a qualification, here are mine.  The second thing is that some are focused on where I live.  Sorry, it's my Blog so I can do what I want.  In 2018 we will see:

  1. Continued ridiculous hysteria over President Trump by the #resistance crowd.  This will cause continued alienation of that group from the folks who either support him or at least want to see something accomplished.
  2. The Democrats in Congress will make a feint that they want to work with Trump on infrastructure, but in the end will load it up with so many ancillary and unrelated things that it will fall apart.  Trump will then move forward independently and get a bill passed, albeit not as big or impactful as it could be.
  3. The Dreamers are in for a big disappointment.  Trump will stay the course on demanding funding for a wall and immigration reform in return for action on DACA and the Dems will squander their advantage.  A caveat here is that this is the prediction I'm least comfortable with.  Because it's so emotional, it could go either way.  
  4. A Supreme Court Justice (probably Kennedy) will retire.  Whoever is named as a replacement will face an epic battle.  If a second Justice retires (RBG likely) the Dems heads will explode.
  5. The train to nowhere here in California will finally get cancelled.  In the same manner, there will be enough signatures gathered to get repeal of the gas tax on the ballot.  It will pass in Nov,  2018.
  6. The SDSU Stadium proposal for Mission Valley will win out over Soccer City.
  7. The Philadelphia Eagles will win the Super Bowl (although I'm rooting for the Steelers).
  8. The 2018 mid-term elections will go against the prevailing wisdom.  The Senate will stay in the hands of the Republicans.  The House...wait for it...will continue to have a Republican majority.  I don't know how big the majority will be, but the Republicans will maintain it.
  9. Despite all the bluster, the status quo will reign in North Korea.  They will continue to test their expanding nuclear capability and challenge both the U.S. and the world with their arrogance.  
  10. The freedom protesters in Iran will achieve some successes and concessions.  Unlike the last time this kind of thing cropped up in 2009 and we did nothing, Trump will both overtly and covertly support this movement.
  11. The big legalization of marijuana in California will be much ado about nothing after the first big media exposure.
  12. The Dow Jones Industrial Average will finish 2018 at 28,500
  13. The celebrity award-a-thons (Oscars, Emmys, Tonys, Grammys, SAGs, etc) will continue to be televised but will dramatically lose viewers as people really can't be bothered to put up with their BS
  14. The Olympics in South Korea will be a big success, but the sweat pumps of every security professional involved will be working overtime.
  15. Germany will win the World Cup.  That's soccer so I'm just guessing.  
That's probably enough.  Like I said, this is probably all BS, but it's sorta fun.  If I think of any others I'll update with those.  Oh...I'm not doing any sports predictions except the NFL (because it's just around the corner) and Soccer (because one guess is as good as another)

You Say You Want a Resolution VI


It's that time again.  Resolutions.  Hate em or love em, everyone seems to make them.  And despite best intentions, they are usually on the ash heap of history by the end of January.  But having said that here we go again.  But first, a review of last year.


Weight and exercise:  Perpetual resolution.  Gotta keep poking away at it.  Did pretty good in both.  Dropped about 20 lbs at the end of the summer.  Have kept about half off.  Need to hit it again.  With the new dog, the exercise is built in.  She's a Lab so needs a lot of walking.  We average walking her about 5 miles at least 3 days a week.  
Get back on the bike:  This will happen.  No excuses.  And with getting rid of some other things, think I'll have more time for it.  Key is moderation.  Nope.  Didn't do it.  A couple of bad accidents in the area gave me pause.  It also takes a lot of time.  But I'm hoping to get back out in 2018.
Guitar:  If anyone in the San Diego area knows a guitar instructor shoot me a note.  Nope.  Miserable failure.  The guitar is gathering dust.
Rotary:  I've been elected as President of my club to start in July.  I really like Rotary and am honored that the club has seen fit to elect me President.  I'm going to put a lot of my energy into doing the best job possible.  We have a great club and I'd like to do my part to make it better.  Pretty good success.  It has been a great first half of my Presidency.  I'm having fun and I think the members would agree.  And I hope I'm living up to this year's theme..."Making a Difference".
Social media:  I need to reduce my participation in social media.  It's sort of addictive.  So on FB, Twitter and the like I'm going to try and just be an observer.  I'll reduce my presence and I hope thereby reduce my participation.  We'll see how it goes.  And it might result in paying more attention to the blog.  Who knows?  Mixed success.  Up and down throughout the year.  My activity really depended upon seeing something that stimulated me to respond.  And unfortunately in our world today, there was a lot of that!


And that's it.  I tend to get ambitious and declare too many.  So I'm going to do something a bit different.  Instead of specific items that I'll probably lose focus on a few weeks after the year starts, I'm going to try and pick just a few things I need to do better in my life.  Check back next year to see how it went.


2018:

Make other people feel good:  As I grow older, I am aware that old dudes can get a bit...curmudgeonly (not sure if that's a word but you know what I mean).  I don't want to be that guy.  My Dad was that guy.  So I'm going to really try and look at all sides of every issue.  I'm going to be open to new thoughts and opinions.  Of course, I still have some pretty strong opinions on things that I think are logically thought out so this could be difficult.  As I go through the year though I'm going to give it a go.
Slow down: I'm pretty busy for a retired dude.  I need to focus a bit more on what and who is really important in my life.  And let the rest go.  As the saying goes...life is short, make the most of it. 
Exercise:  Nothing here about specific exercise or losing a specific amount of weight.  I just want to keep moving and enjoying what I'm doing.  Whether it's golf, walking the dog, getting on the bike, or a brisk walk at the beach, I will try to inject some activity in my daily routine every day.  Of course, there are some days when ya just gotta veg!






Thursday, December 28, 2017

Jerusalem

It's been a few weeks since President Trump directed that our Embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  Of course, that caused a big hubbub around the world and in our own country.  It continually amazes me how Americans don't see that supporting our closest ally and the only democracy in the Middle East is the right thing to do.  And for several decades moving the Embassy has been official American policy.  No previous President has had the balls to do it.  President Trump does.  

One big thing that this little episode has done is to shine a light on Nikki Haley, our Ambassador to the UN.  She is the real deal and will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.  She took on the bureaucrats in the UN and showed her mantle.  I wouldn't be surprised at all to see her as Secretary of State at some point.  Some even go so far as to tout her as a future Presidential candidate.  I could see that. 

And so all the predictions of doom and gloom have not come to pass, at least in the short term.  I'm not sure what the upshot will be but I do know that the Israelis are happy and the Palestinians are pissed.  Of course, they are perpetually pissed.  The Palestinians have shot themselves in the foot for as long as I can remember.  They have have had corrupt leadership, inept strategy, and have aligned with terrorists supported by the Iranians.  Not a good way to get to a two state solution, which most intellectuals believe is the right solution.  I don't know what it's going to take, but I know the Palestinians don't want peace.  How do I know?  Here's a little scenario.  Let's say the Palestinians decided that they wanted to open a new chapter and seek peace.  Let's say they laid down their weapons, renounced terrorism, and  sought compromise with the Israelis.  Does anyone, anywhere believe that the Israeli's wouldn't jump at the chance for peace.  Now let's say the tables are turned.  Suppose the Israeli's said they would exit the West Bank in total, that they would remove the barricades and checkpoints, that their Army would assume a defensive-only posture.  Does anyone, anywhere believe that the Palestinians wouldn't attack Israel with gusto?  And that is why there will never be peace.  


Look at the Size of That...Rock!



Selfies

They have evolved.


Cats

They view humans as their servants...no matter what.


Friday Funnies



Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

From our house to yours!


Privilege

Saw this article in the UT this morning.  Torrey Pines High School is in a very affluent area of San Diego and some of our wealthiest citizens send their kids there.  Of course, many go to private school but there are a lot that come from a lot of money.  If you cruise the student parking lot on any given day you'll see a lot of BMW's, Porche's, Land Rover's, and the like.  For full disclosure, my kids went to the other high school in the district, San Dieguito which doesn't have the same numbers of kids from wealthy parents attending.  The kids at San Dieguito always took a little perverse pride in being more "normal" than the wealthy kids down the road.

Anyway, when I saw the headline and without seeing which high school it was I immediately knew it was Torrey Pines.  I mean, that is just normal.  You should see of their facilities which have been largely funded by parents.  They have an amazing stadium that was built by a local radio station owner when his kid was on the football team.  That kind of thing.  So this isn't surprising at Torrey Pines.

Now, I'm a capitalist and I usually am in favor of entrepreneurs figuring out how to make money, be it in business or for a fundraiser.  So it's difficult for me to criticize this effort.  However, I keep picturing paying $5000, parking in VIP parking, and prancing down to the reserved seats up front with my entourage.  I mean...that's just sorta slimy.  It's privilege run amok.  And it's not needed.  If you want to donate a bunch of money to the school, do it.  But a better idea for the graduation is to park in the lot and troop into the stands like everyone else.  You'll feel better and it's a way better example for your kid.

VIP graduation tickets sold for $5K
Some say offering inappropriate, favors wealthy at Torrey Pines
By Lauryn Schroeder
A nonprofit organization associated with Torrey Pines High is offering VIP tickets to the school’s 2018 graduation ceremony — for $5,000.
According to a Dec. 15 email from the Torrey Pines High School Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for extracurricular, artistic and other educational activities at the school, the VIP package comes with 10 field passes for the ceremony and exclusive seats on the field behind graduates.
“Instead of trying to save seats in the smoldering sun for hours before your students’ high school graduation ceremony…celebrate your graduate’s special day relaxed and in style,” the email says.
According to the foundation’s website, the VIP package includes two preferred parking spots and a gift basket with water, snacks, candy, sunscreen and other school-related keepsakes.
“It’s a very popular fundraising tactic but it’s not appropriate,” said San Diego resident Sally Smith. “Making a $5,000 donation in order to have exclusive seating and parking is indeed giving an instructional privilege to people that have the money to make donations of that size.”
The foundation has been offering VIP tickets to the graduation ceremony for years. They were “one of the most popular items” being sold at a 2012 Torrey Pines High School Foundation fundraiser, which included a live auction. A foundation newsletter as far back as 2006 advertised the ticket package, being sold at the time for the smaller cost of $2,500.
Smith last year filed a complaint with San Dieguito Union High School District, arguing that the VIP treatment established a “two-tier educational system.”
“The facts show 700 students did not have reserved parking and seating or gift baskets of goodies and shade, while five students received these VIP privileges,” the complaint said.
California law mandates that public education shall be provided to students free of charge. A 1991 California Supreme Court ruling determined that the high school graduation ceremony is “an integral part of the educational process.”
In its response, the district said the tickets did not violate state law or the education code. Records show the decision was appealed to the California Department of Education, which sided with the district.
“The key is that no student is required to pay a fee in order to participate in a school-sponsored activity,” San Dieguito Union High superintendent Eric Dill said by email. “There is no evidence that any student was denied participation in the graduation ceremony for failing to make a donation or paying a fee to attend.”
The graduation ceremony is open to anyone who wants to attend at no cost, Dill said. The school suggests a limit of six attendees per student, but that’s just a suggestion.
The ceremony for 2018 graduates will be held on June 15 at the Torrey Pines High School stadium, which has a seating capacity of about 5,000.
The right to a free public education — and what that entails — has come into the forefront of discussion in recent years. As the gap between state funding and education costs widened, many schools tacked on fees for education-related supplies and activities, including sports, after school clubs and field trips.
Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012 signed a law that helped strengthen the free-school promise by banning all school fees related to school activities, including after-school sports and clubs and gym class uniforms. The law said providing a mechanism to waive fees for poor students was not enough and did not make the fees legal.
Schools can solicit voluntary donations of funds or property, and issues still arise — including at Torrey Pines.
Torrey Pines parent Wendy Gumb in January filed a complaint with the district arguing that the school’s baseball program violated state law by requiring students to participate in a fee-based club in order to make the official team.
Gumb cited a letter that asked parents to pay a “MINIMUM donation of $650” and encouraged parents to “bring your checkbooks” to the mandatory parents’ meeting. There were concerns that not paying the fees would jeopardize a child’s standing on the school’s official team.
State officials concluded there was not a “pay-for-play” culture in the program, but at the same time acknowledged there were instances when district policies were not followed.
Gumb said district officials don’t understand the type of environment such a fundraiser creates.
“It’s just ridiculous,” Gumb said. “In our district, especially because it’s more of an affluent district, we see this kind of thing all of the time.”

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Friday Funnies

A little military humor!

How to Tell the Difference Between the Branches of the US Armed Forces!

If you give the command "SECURE THE BUILDING", here is what the different services would do:

The NAVY would turn out the lights and lock the doors.

The ARMY would surround the building with defensive fortifications, tanks and concertina wire.

The MARINE CORPS would assault the building, using overlapping fields of fire from all appropriate points on the perimeter.

The AIR FORCE would take out a three-year lease with an option to buy the building.

Learning Through Technology

Relationships are mysterious enough.  Any help appreciated!


Clever Idea

I've known some neighbors who couldv'e used this idea...


Cats

Don't really give a shit about anything...


Cool Pic

But the thing to think about is that there had to be someone in another jet right next to this one.  Going straight up.  In afterburner.  At sunset.  Yikes!




Trump...One Year In

The conventional wisdom (at least in the media and certain sections of the population) is that Trump has been an abject failure in his first year in office.  They cite that he has gotten Justice Gorsuch seated in dubious means and everything else has been a failure.  International relations, domestic policies, relations with Congress, staff chaos, investigation by a Special Prosecutor, and the horrific tax reform bill that allows people to keep more of their money and gives corporations a break so they'll hire more people have all been failures.  If you listen to Democrats in Congress or the average celebrity from Hollywood, Armageddon is just around the corner because of the mess and chaos that Trump is creating.

Of course, there is a different view.  In the last week or so there have been a lot of articles assessing Trump's first year.  Some are more generous than others but I've noticed a little grudging admission that there have been some things that have been okay.  All of the articles have some sort of spin so I thought I'd go to the source.  Copied below is the White House list of accomplishments.  Now, you might say that this is wildly skewed because it comes from the heart of the chaos.  But if you think about it, this list is probably as comprehensive as you can get.  Because it's in their interest to brag about what they have done.  So you can take what you want from it.  It will probably come as no surprise that I tend to believe there's way more positive than negative.  So I'll just highlight the areas I agree with or think are significant so you know where I'm coming from.  But of course it's not all good.  So at the end I'll add my own little list of "others".
Below are the 12 categories and 81 wins cited by the White House.
Jobs and the economy
Passage of the tax reform bill providing $5.5 billion in cuts and repealing the Obamacare mandate.
Increase of the GDP above 3 percent.
Creation of 1.7 million new jobs, cutting unemployment to 4.1 percent.
Saw the Dow Jones reach record highs.
A rebound in economic confidence to a 17-year high.
A new executive order to boost apprenticeships.
A move to boost computer sciences in Education Department programs.
Prioritizing women-owned businesses for some $500 million in SBA loans.
Killing job-stifling regulations
Signed an Executive Order demanding that two regulations be killed for every new one creates. He beat that big and cut 16 rules and regulations for every one created, saving $8.1 billion.
Signed 15 congressional regulatory cuts.
Withdrew from the Obama-era Paris Climate Agreement, ending the threat of environmental regulations.
Signed an Executive Order cutting the time for infrastructure permit approvals.
Eliminated an Obama rule on streams that Trump felt unfairly targeted the coal industry.
Fair trade
Made good on his campaign promise to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Opened up the North American Free Trade Agreement for talks to better the deal for the U.S.
Worked to bring companies back to the U.S., and companies like Toyota, Mazda, Broadcom Limited, and Foxconn announced plans to open U.S. plants.
Worked to promote the sale of U.S products abroad.
Made enforcement of U.S. trade laws, especially those that involve national security, a priority.
Ended Obama’s deal with Cuba.
Boosting U.S. energy dominance
The Department of Interior, which has led the way in cutting regulations, opened plans to lease 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling.
Trump traveled the world to promote the sale and use of U.S. energy.
Expanded energy infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline snubbed by Obama.
Ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to kill Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
EPA is reconsidering Obama rules on methane emissions.
Protecting the U.S. homeland
Laid out new principles for reforming immigration and put hardliners in charge of his program.
Made progress to build the border wall with Mexico.
Ended the Obama-era “catch and release” of illegal immigrants.
Boosted the arrests of illegals inside the U.S.
Doubled the number of counties participating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement charged with deporting illegals.
Removed 36 percent more criminal gang members than in fiscal 2016.
Started the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program.
Ditto for other amnesty programs like Deferred Action for Parents of Americans.
Cracking down on some 300 sanctuary cities that defy ICE but still get federal dollars.
Added some 100 new immigration judges.
Protecting communities
Justice announced grants of $98 million to fund 802 new cops.
Justice worked with Central American nations to arrest and charge 4,000 MS-13 members.
Homeland rounded up nearly 800 MS-13 members, an 83 percent one-year increase.
Signed three executive orders aimed at cracking down on international criminal organizations.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions created new National Public Safety Partnership, a cooperative initiative with cities to reduce violent crimes.
Accountability
Trump has nominated 73 federal judges and won his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Ordered ethical standards including a lobbying ban.
Called for a comprehensive plan to reorganize the executive branch.
Ordered an overhaul to modernize the digital government.
Called for a full audit of the Pentagon and its spending.
Combatting opioids
First, the president declared a Nationwide Public Health Emergency on opioids.
His Council of Economic Advisors played a role in determining that overdoses are underreported by as much as 24 percent.
The Department of Health and Human Services laid out a new five-point strategy to fight the crisis.
Justice announced it was scheduling fentanyl substances as a drug class under the Controlled Substances Act.
Justice started a fraud crackdown, arresting more than 400.
The administration added $500 million to fight the crisis.
On National Drug Take Back Day, the Drug Enforcement Agency collected 456 tons.
Protecting life
In his first week, Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy that blocks some $9 billion in foreign aid being used for abortions.
Worked with Congress on a bill overturning an Obama regulation that blocked states from defunding abortion providers.
Published guidance to block Obamacare money from supporting abortion.
Helping veterans
Signed the Veterans Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act to allow senior officials in the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire failing employees and establish safeguards to protect whistleblowers.
Signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act.
Signed the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, to provide support.
Signed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017 to authorize $2.1 billion in additional funds for the Veterans Choice Program.
Created a VA hotline.
Had the VA launch an online “Access and Quality Tool,” providing veterans with a way to access wait time and quality of care data.
With VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin, announced three initiatives to expand access to healthcare for veterans using telehealth technology.
Promoting peace through strength
Directed the rebuilding of the military and ordered a new national strategy and nuclear posture review.
Worked to increase defense spending.
Empowered military leaders to “seize the initiative and win,” reducing the need for a White House sign off on every mission.
Directed the revival of the National Space Council to develop space war strategies.
Elevated U.S. Cyber Command into a major warfighting command.
Withdrew from the U.N. Global Compact on Migration, which Trump saw as a threat to borders.
Imposed a travel ban on nations that lack border and anti-terrorism security.
Saw ISIS lose virtually all of its territory.
Pushed for strong action against global outlaw North Korea and its development of nuclear weapons.
Announced a new Afghanistan strategy that strengthens support for U.S. forces at war with terrorism.
NATO increased support for the war in Afghanistan.
Approved a new Iran strategy plan focused on neutralizing the country’s influence in the region.
Ordered missile strikes against a Syrian airbase used in a chemical weapons attack.
Prevented subsequent chemical attacks by announcing a plan to detect them better and warned of future strikes if they were used.
Ordered new sanctions on the dictatorship in Venezuela.
Restoring confidence in and respect for America
Trump won the release of Americans held abroad, often using his personal relationships with world leaders.
Made good on a campaign promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Conducted a historic 12-day trip through Asia, winning new cooperative deals. On the trip, he attended three regional summits to promote American interests.
He traveled to the Middle East and Europe to build new relationships with leaders.
Traveled to Poland for the annual. G-20 meeting where he pushed again for funding of women entrepreneurs.
I think all of the above are arguably important and significant, it's just that I'm more attuned to some than others.  There wasn't much about personnel on the list but I think he's had some brilliant hires.  Of course Gen Mattis is right at the top of the list.  Others include Gen Kelly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, LtGen McMaster, Rex Tillerson at State, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Scott Pruitt at Interior, and Betsy DeVos at Education.  There are others but these come immediately to mind.  However, I think his A-number one hire was Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador.  She is fierce, brilliant, and very impressive.  I'd like to see her eventually move to State.

So what about the things that haven't gone so well?  Here's my list.
Charlottesville was a disaster.  He was tone deaf in that whole experience.
The whole Mike Flynn/Steve Bannon dustup.  He should never have developed a relationship with those knuckleheads.  
The failure to repeal Obamacare is a black mark but with the repeal of the individual mandate in the tax reform bill, it is effectively repealed.  It will implode.
I get why he fired Comey, but he should have done it right away.  Like the first week of his Presidency.  
Roy Moore endorsement was dumb.  That will be a lode around his neck.  He put votes before decency.  And it wasn't about the accusations with the girls.  It's about Roy Moore's fitness to serve.
Tweeting.  A lot of people hate it.  Like really hate it.  But I'm a bit ambivalent.  I get his need to strike back when someone strikes out at him.  And I like that he can go direct to get his message out.  But the snark factor can be too high sometimes.  He should stop with the original attacks.
So after all that two things stand out for me.  The first is that even with all the resistance, the investigations for what most believe are unfounded allogations, the personal hatred of him, the constant harangue from the press, and all the palace intrigue, he has still accomplished quite a bit.  Second, he's not Hillary.  For that fact alone, I will support him through thick and thin!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

For Some, the Climate Change Debate isn't Debatable!

I saw the article below in this morning's Union Tribune and it caught my eye.  If you've been reading at all you know that I'm in the camp that believes that there have been changes to our climate, that there is scientific evidence that humans have had an impact, that there are multiple scientific communities who have differing opinions, and that there have been a lot of misrepresentations and misinterpretations of science in the debate.  Above all, I believe that there is enough unknown so that we shouldn't take extraordinary economically damaging steps to negatively impact our economies for  dubious and debatable assumptions.  And that especially true given the time lines that most believe are in play.  So having said that, I was interested to see that the climate change advocates have become so zealous that the debate is over.  I'm disappointed in two things here.  First is that these officials are behaving how I would expect Nazis to behave.  To say that someone will be punished for voicing an opinion or saying that a subject is not open to debate is very, very Un-American. Second, Mr Sinnot has no guts.  That he would put his tail between his legs and cow tow to these bullies is pretty shameful.  And does he think he's representing all of the people of Del Mar when he voices the party-line climatista opinion?  If he does, then he's really not fit to serve.

SANDAG chair’s climate change remark sparks concern

Del Mar City Council reappoints Sinnott after he clarifies statement
Terry Sinnott says he be-lieves in climate change.

By Phil Diehl

On Friday, after being elected chairman of the region’s planning agency, Del Mar City Councilman Terry Sinnott reportedly said it was “debatable” whether climate change was real.
On Monday, facing removal from the San Diego Association of Governments board of directors for those remarks, he said he wanted to correct the record.
“I do believe we are in the midst of climate change, and that … humans are contributing to that change,” Sinnott said before the Del Mar City Council voted to reappoint him to the board.
Sinnott is Del Mar’s representative to the SANDAG board, which includes representatives of the county Board of Supervisors and each of the 18 city councils in the region.
The backlash came after Sinnott told a KPBS radio reporter that climate change is “a debatable issue,” an observation that outraged some Del Mar residents.
Several residents asked the council to remove Sinnott as Del Mar’s representative to the SANDAG board.
“Global warming is not a political issue, but a fact-based issue,” said Ann Feeney, chair of Del Mar’s Sustainability Advisory Board, in a letter submitted to the council over the weekend. “I am very concerned that the Del Mar representative to SANDAG does not understand the basic scientific facts of climate change.
However, Sinnott told the council Monday night that his remarks were “misinterpreted.”
His earlier remarks were an attempt to focus on his new role as the SANDAG board’s leader and “not to make statements that might alienate somebody,” he said. The SANDAG board and staff are dedicated to reducing the greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change and to meeting climate goals set by the state.
Residents and several council members said they were satisfied with Sinnott’s explanation.
“I came loaded for bear … to say that Terry needed to make a correction or step down,” Mayor Dwight Worden said, and he was relieved to hear Sinnott’s explanation.
Climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gasses are important issues that all cities need to address, Worden said.

Monday, December 18, 2017

National Security Disasters and a Plan for Renewal

Given my background and interests, a couple of stories today naturally grabbed my attention.  The first is a very detailed and descriptive article in Politico titled "The Secret Backstory of How Obama Let Hezbollah off the Hook".  You can read it here.  Be forewarned that it is a long, detailed and I might add maddening and depressing read.  A better idea may be to read a summary of this sordid story over at National Review by David French, who is one of the best commentators on national security issues on the scene today.  It is titled, "How Obama Appeased Iran by Turning a Blind Eye to Hezbollah’s Crimes".  You can read it here.

Bottom line on this revelation is that the DEA got wind of Hezbollah getting into the drug business in a big way.  By some estimates they were making over a billion dollars a year by pushing drugs into America.  This was obviously going to fund it's terrorist activities.  It was a very complicated scheme but the DEA was having some success.  When they wanted to go after some of the big guys in the organization they were turned down by the White House and the Justice Dept because there was a worry that it might undermine the Iran deal.  That's the gist, but there's a lot more detail if you're interested.  

To me it's just another example of the disaster that the Obama administration was in developing and executing a National Security Strategy.  Maybe it's just because this stuff is my background and I have an interest in it, but I really think that the damage that Obama did to this country in the security area is profound.  Starting with the Cairo speech and continuing with the cut and run from Iraq, the decimation of the military through the sequester, the shameful appeasement of monsters around the world, the pull back from so many of our commitments, the unfortunate and ill-conceived "leading from behind" strategy, the disasterous adventure in Libya, the appointment of two hyper-partisan politicians as Secretaries of State, and on and on and on his tenure as Commander in Chief on the world stage was a disgrace and a disaster.  

Which brings me to today's release of President Trump's National Security Strategy.  Creating this document is no small task.  Obviously we live in an incredibly complicated, dangerous, ambiguous and interconnected world that is not given to simple strategies and actions.  But this new document gives me some hope.  I've just given it a quick read but upon first blush I really like what I see.  You can read it here.   It is clear, unambiguous, and logically written.  After a summary stating clearly that putting America first is priority one, the document lays out four pillars along with priority actions that are definitive steps we will focus on in the coming years as we engage around the world.  The pillars are:
  1. Protect the American people, the homeland, and the American way of life
  2. Promote American prosperity
  3. Preserve peace through strength
  4. Advance American Influence
At the end of the document is a section on the Strategy in a regional context.  It breaks down the regions of the world and provides priorities and directions that we will use in engaging with various actors.  The other thing this document does is that it doesn't mince words.  It clearly calls out Islamic Jihadists.  It clearly talks about energy as a national security issue.  It clearly talks about protecting the homeland and our borders.  It clearly has a component of economic prosperity as a national security issue.  It clearly states that we can't be everything to everyone in the world and we will limit our engagement.  It clearly talks about the need to bolster our military.  There are many, many things to like in this document.  I'm sure in the coming days it will be picked apart and the intelligentsia will find things that are deficient.  But like I said, on first read it's pretty good.

One of the laments I always had about Obama's ineptitude when it came to national security was his lack of any coherent strategy.  I looked up his documents in the Archives and found that he produced two National Security Strategy documents in 8 years in office.  One in 2010 and one in 2015.  I read both of them and they are as opposite from Trump's as they could be.  The most relevant one from 2015 reads like a novel of aspirations.  Not much specificity.  Lots on esoteric things like climate change, promoting young leaders, ending poverty, and advancing equality.  After living the disaster that was the Obama years and now reading this wishy-washy, inept 2015 document, the failures start to make sense.  It will take time, treasure and luck to reverse all of the setbacks that were self-inflicted.  But this new NSS is a good start. 

Chinese Amusement Park Rides

I'm not sure if this video is enhanced, but it's still pretty scary.  I'm not a fan of amusement park rides and I think this would make me keep my feet planed on the ground!


Friday, December 15, 2017

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Roy Moore and Steve Bannon....Losers

It has become very strange when the entire country pays such rapt attention to a Senate race in Alabama.  But that is what it has come to.  I won't rehash all the sordid details because you'd have to be living under a rock to not know the story.  Bottomline for me is that I'm glad a guy like Moore is not going to the Senate.  To me he is a hick.  He's a bigot, a buffoon and a liar.  A guy who is just not living in the 21st century.  His views on gay people and minorities are not in step with society.  The fact that he has been removed from State judicial appointments twice for not following Federal law in my mind disqualifies him.  And oh yeah...40 years ago he pursued some teenage girls as a grown man in his 30's.  That makes him pretty smarmy.  I don't know what happened and it's a definite he said, she said, but he seems like a loser who would do something like that.  But...I was talking to some guys after golf today who are around my age and most agreed that any of us couldn't withstand a 40 year look at our actions.  So for me I'm glad he lost because I don't think he has the right ideals.  The other stuff is just yucky.  It's tough to lose a Senate seat.  But if there was ever a reason to give one up, this is it.

And Steve Bannon is a big loser here also.  This guy is a slime.  He's a smart guy and has some strong opinions, but he is a slime.  He has backed a bunch of losers and my sense is that his time has come and gone.  I just don't think most folks are interested in the radical attitudes that he espouses.  I think he'll continue on the political scene, but I also think he will become more and more irrelevant.

So we have a Democratic Senator from Alabama.  Amazing.  But I think the Republicans will be back.  It's a pretty reliable Republican state.  But for the short term the Republican majority in the Senate becomes thinner.  We'll see how that plays out.

Even more interesting now is that the speculation about the 2018 elections will heat up.  With the losses in Virginia and Alabama, the "experts" will probably predict that there will be blood in the water and the Republicans will get trounced.  I'm not so sure about that.  Mid-terms are pretty tough to handicap and polls have proven to be not as reliable as once thought.  So stay tuned.  It's going to be a bumpy ride!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Army Navy Intro

Today was the Army-Navy game.  Army won.  By a hair.  The game was great.  The crowd was great.  For those of us who care, it was goose bump city.  This game is timeless and for many the greatest rivalry in sports.  Count me among those who thing that.  So much has been written and said about the rivalry that I can't really embelish any of it.  So just let me recommend two things to check out if you're not familiar and want to get a sense of the game.  First is John Feinstein's book, "A Civil War".  It is the definitive book on the rivalry.  The second is today's intro by CBS Sports.  You can see it here.  Watch this and you'll get a sense of the game, the rivalry, the love.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Motivation Monday

Saw these over on another web site that I routinely surf.  The wisdom of Dr Suess.  Can't get much more motivating than that!








Cool Pic



Old School

Don't see this much anymore!


Dogs Are Cool!



Camouflage

Wonder if anyone (important) noticed?


"Why Grandpa Carries"

Like most of you I get a lot of emails from friends, organizations and entities that are trying to sell me something, mold my thinking, or provide me with information that they believe is important that I receive.  And like most, I get a lot of 'spam'.  Some of it's good, some of it's educational, some of it's interesting, and of course, some of it is utter bullshit.  I think the email I got from a friend this weekend falls into all these categories, depending upon your perspective.

I'm not a gun owner.  I've never felt the need or the fascination that many have with weapons.  But that's not to say I'm in any way against them.  I just have had other things to occupy my time.  There are a lot of things like that in my life.  Motorcycles, boats, season tickets to my favorite team, wine tours, etc, etc, etc.  So much to do, so little time.  I think guns fall into that category for me.  I'm a supporter of the second amendment, concealed carry laws, and allowing law-abiding citizens to own guns.  I believe in the popular saying, "when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns".  But that's not to say I don't also believe in some reasonable 'rules' when it comes to guns.  I think background checks are important.  I think things like this bump-stock device that turns semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons should be controlled.  I'm in favor of turn-in programs to try and rid the streets of guns.  But all those things are on the margin.  The right to own a weapon is fundamental to our Constitution and our culture.

So I thought this email was interesting.  It's obviously one of those things that goes around and has a ring of truth and is designed to anger gun supporters and cause them to hunker down in their beliefs.  And that's okay.  Since I'm sitting in the suburbs in SoCal and don't own a gun, I can't really relate to the whole concealed carry thing, but I'm sure that it resonates with many.  But the numbers in the gun history really got my attention.  I have not idea if they are real, but I don't have any reason to doubt them.  And even if they are exaggerated, they are pretty sobering.  As Americans, we tend to think 'it can't happen here'.  I know I catch myself thinking that sometimes.  But it can happen here.  Just because something is one way, doesn't make it a hard and fast rule that it will always be that way.  Nothing lasts forever.  So we have to be on guard.  We have to understand history and what has happened in other places, at other times.  And we have to ensure that for as long as we can, we protect the rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution.  Because they can go away...faster than you think.

Subject: ​ ​Why Grandpa carries

> Why Grandpa carries a gun
>
> The quintessential reason why Grandpa carries a gun.
> Please take time to read this and pay particular attention  to  "A Little Gun History" about half way down “ staggering numbers!
>
> Why Carry a Gun?
>
> My old Grandpa said to me, "Son, there comes a time in  every man's life when he stops bustin' knuckles and starts  bustin' caps and usually it's when he becomes too old to  take a whoopin'."
>
> I don't carry a gun to kill people; I carry a gun to keep from being killed.
>
> I don't carry a gun because I'm evil; I carry a gun because I have lived long enough to see the evil in the World.
>
> I don't carry a gun because I hate the government; I carry a gun because I understand the limitations of government.
>
> I don't carry a gun because I'm angry; I carry a gun so that I don't have to spend the rest of my life hating myself for failing to be prepared.
>
> I don't carry a gun because I want to shoot someone; I  carry a gun because I want to die at a ripe old age in my bed and not on a sidewalk somewhere tomorrow afternoon.
>
> I don't carry a gun to make me feel like a man; I carry a gun because men know how to take care of themselves and the ones they love.
>
> I don't carry a gun because I feel inadequate; I carry a gun because unarmed and facing three armed thugs, I am inadequate..
>
> I don't carry a gun because I love it; I carry a gun because I love life and the people who make it meaningful to me.
>
> Police protection is an oxymoron: Free citizens must  protect themselves because police do not protect you from crime; they just investigate the crime after it happens and then call someone in to clean up the mess.
>
> Personally, I carry a gun because I'm too young to die and too old to take a whoopin'!
>
> A LITTLE GUN HISTORY
>
> PLEASE  DON'T  THINK  FOR  A  MOMENT,  THAT    THIS  COULDN'T HAPPEN  IN  OUR  COUNTRY  ALSO !!!!!!
>
> In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control:
> From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated
> -----------------------
> In 1911, Turkey established gun control:
> From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
> -----------------------
> Germany established gun control in 1938:
> From 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.
> -----------------------
> China established gun control in 1935:
> From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
> -----------------------
> Guatemala established gun control in 1964:
> From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
> -----------------------
> Uganda  established gun control in 1970:
> From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
> -----------------------
> Cambodia established gun control in 1956:
> From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.  
> -----------------------
> 56 million defenseless people were rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control..  
> -----------------------
> You won't see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.
>
> Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens.
>
> With guns, we are 'citizens'; without them, we are 'subjects'.
>
> During WW II, the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!
> Gun owners in the USA are the largest armed forces in  the World!
>
> If you value your freedom, please spread this anti-gun  control message to all of your friends.
>
> The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible  victory in defense.
>
> The sword is more important than the shield and skill is more important than either.
>
> SWITZERLAND ISSUES A GUN TO EVERY HOUSEHOLD!   SWITZERLAND'S GOVERNMENT ISSUES AND TRAINS EVERY ADULT IN THE USE OF A RIFLE.
> SWITZERLAND HAS THE LOWEST GUN RELATED CRIME RATE OF ANY CIVILIZED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!!!
> IT'S A NO BRAINER! DON'T LET OUR GOVERNMENT WASTE MILLIONS OF OUR TAX DOLLARS IN AN  EFFORT TO MAKE ALL LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS  AN EASY TARGET.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Blasphemy

I've traveled extensively throughout the Middle East so I'm pretty aware of the history, the culture, and the issues present that cause the region to generally be amazingly regressive.  Oh, there are pockets of modern culture that are reasonably progressive in places like the UAE and Bahrain, but they even have their issues.  Many, many areas though are living in another century.  But it's increasingly a clash of cultures.  In most places there is an upper class and a low, low, lower class.  There is abudant money and desperate poverty.  Education of the elites is pretty pervasive but education of the lower classes is problematic.  I've heard it said that Islam needs a reformation similar to what Christianity went through centuries ago.  That seems pretty right.  And it will take a very, very long time.  What it points to is that we need to tread carefully, pick our friends wisely, understand the various sects and their motivations, and resist the impulse to engage heavily to impose our values.  Even when we see tragic stories of repression, we have to understand that there are some things that we just can't impact.

Which leads me to a good article in the WSJ this morning on the rise of the 'crime' of blasphemy in Pakistan.  You can read it here.  The article may be locked so I'm going to paste it below.

Bottom line is that people are being pretty routinely put to death for making disparaging comments about the prophet Mohammad.  Put to death!  Now if that isn't something that the average American can't understand, I don't know what is.  Here's the bottom line quote, “In my religion, there isn’t any room for ‘free speech’,”.

Freedom of speech is fundamental to our culture.  Arguably it's the most fundamental right.  It also points to the harshness and backwardness of Islam.  I hear people all the time say that Islam is a religion of peace.  And like all religions, there is some truth to that.  But it is also harsh, narrowly interpreted, and ultimately violent.  I'm not saying that there aren't good and peaceful people, especially in this country, practicing Islam.  But if a part of your religion is putting people to death for saying something, then there is a fundamental problem with violence.  Add in the radical Islamic zealots of ISIS, Al Quida, and others and the recipe results in violence.  No two ways about it.  So unless and until there is a pretty radical change in the center of the religion, and that means the Middle East region, I don't see an ability to have routine, peaceful relations.  As I said, this can change.  But it's generational and not something that I believe will happen in my lifetime.

"Drive to Halt Insults Against Islam Gains Political Clout in Pakistan
Anti-blasphemy uprising in majority sect wins influence through protests, prosecutions
By Saeed Shah
Dec. 2, 2017 7:00 a.m. ET
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—An emerging religious movement is gaining political clout in Pakistan around the incendiary issue of blasphemy, posing a particular challenge to the country’s leadership because it springs from the country’s mainstream Islamic sect.
Religious activists led by a cleric with a weeks-old political party besieged Pakistan’s capital in late November and forced the government to give in to all of their demands, including promises of stricter implementation of blasphemy laws.
“This is a mini revolution,” said Ayesha Siddiqa, an expert on religious extremism.
The anti-blasphemy wave, supported by vigilantism and political activism, is reviving religious strife in the society and politics of Pakistan, which is gradually surfacing from a decadelong struggle with Islamist terrorism.
This time the conflict comes not in militant attacks but an inquisition over who is a proper Muslim.
With national elections set to be held by September, the concessions to protesters last month underscored the threat that the movement could pose to Pakistan’s ruling party among voters and lawmakers, some of whom are threatening to leave the party over the issue.
Laws prohibiting blasphemy—statements or actions against Islam—have long been on the books in Pakistan and other Muslim countries. But there are more cases recorded in Pakistan, with harsher punishments, including a mandatory death penalty for using derogatory language about the Prophet Muhammad.
Anti-blasphemy campaigns are also growing in other parts of the Muslim world, including Indonesia, where a conservative party gained clout this year with accusations of blasphemy against the governor of Jakarta, who is Christian. He lost re-election, was convicted and is serving a two-year prison sentence.
In Pakistan, the new campaign was ignited by a February 2016 decision by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government to execute a police officer, Mumtaz Qadri, who had shot dead a politician who had sought to make the blasphemy law less open to abuse. Some 300,000 people turned out for Mr. Qadri’s highly charged funeral.
Khadim Rizvi, then a little-known firebrand cleric at a small mosque in Lahore, seized on the moment, using social media to build a following and launch a group called Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah, or Movement in Response to God’s Prophet’s Call.
In recent weeks, Mr. Rizvi made the group a political party, which came third in two by-elections, ahead of long-established parties.
“There’s a big conspiracy, coming from Europe, to take Pakistan towards liberalism,” Mr. Rizvi said in an interview in November. He said there can be no forgiveness for blasphemy, and no punishment for anyone who kills a blasphemer.
In November, Mr. Rizvi led a three-week sit-in protest in Islamabad to directly challenge the government and Mr. Sharif’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N party.
His group has drawn most of its followers from the Barelvi sect of Islam, which is followed by the majority of Pakistan’s population and has been largely moderate, resistant to the militancy spawned by purist forms of the religion. Mr. Rizvi represents one arm of a broader anti-blasphemy movement that isn’t yet unified, but is now organizing.
The U.S. had viewed the Barelvi as a moderate bulwark against militancy, and in 2009 gave a Barelvi group a $36,000 grant to organize a rally against the Pakistani Taliban, according to the State Department. That group, the Sunni Ittehad Council, is now also part of the anti-blasphemy movement.
The Barelvi venerate the Prophet Muhammad with an absolute devotion, making a perceived insult an inflammatory issue.
Mr. Rizvi is an upstart in the Barelvi world, which doesn’t have a single leader. But his influence is pushing the sect in a harder direction.
The head of a Barelvi seminary in Lahore said the message of tolerance he tries to teach to his students can’t compete with the fiery oratory they hear online from Mr. Rizvi.
An accusation of heresy in Pakistan can trigger a mob: In April, a university student who described himself as a humanist was beaten to death by other students in the northwest of the country. A later police investigation found no blasphemy had been committed by the student.
In the November protests in Islamabad, Mr. Rizvi’s group won concessions including the resignation of the law minister and positions for group representatives on the education boards that decide on the contents of school textbooks.
An editorial in Dawn, a leading daily newspaper, described the agreement as “a surrender so abject that the mind is numb and the heart sinks.”
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday said the deal “was not desirable but there was little choice,” as religious riots would have followed.
Members of Mr. Sharif’s party privately accuse the powerful military, which has long allied itself with radical religious clerics, of backing Mr. Rizvi’s protest to further weaken an administration that has been critical of the armed forces. The military didn’t respond to a request for comment, but has in recent years insisted it no longer interferes in politics.
The blasphemy laws apply to Muslims and non-Muslims in Pakistan. In Punjab province, Mr. Sharif’s home region and the place where most blasphemy cases are registered, between 2011 and November 2017 there were 1,572 blasphemy charges filed, according to police figures.
The number of cases in Punjab had dropped after 2015 because of a procedural change that means only a senior police officer can now register a case, provincial officials said. A band of lawyers has organized to bring blasphemy prosecutions pro bono.
The blasphemy wave has spread watchfulness and paranoia. Cases are often concocted to settle personal scores, human-rights groups said.
Pakistan’s telecoms regulator has twice this year sent text messages to all cellphone users asking citizens to report blasphemy committed online. This year, a Muslim man was sentenced to death by a Pakistani court over a blasphemous Facebook post.
A professor of Urdu literature is currently on trial for blasphemy for asking his class, in a lesson on a poem on a religious theme, to consider whether the Quran’s description of heaven was to be taken literally or metaphorically.
“In my religion, there isn’t any room for ‘free speech’,” said Rao Abdul Rahim, an Islamabad-based lawyer who specializes in prosecuting alleged blasphemers."

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Another One Bites the Dust

I woke up this morning to the news that NBC has fired Matt Lauer for inappropriate sexual activity, whatever that means.  It strikes me that we're seeing two very different reactions to this kind of stuff.  The private sector seems to have been dealing with this for a while and has developed procedures, processes and priorities.  In most companies, including my old company, there is pretty much zero tolerance for this kind of stuff.  Now I'm sure that there are instances and occasions when some guys (or gals) get away with sexual harassment or abuse.  But there are also plenty of instances in which the perpetrator is brought to account and either rehabilitated or fired.  Simple as that.  The ones we've seen in the news or entertainment business have been pretty visible.  Witness Lauer, Charlie Rose, Mark Halperin, Weinstein, etc, etc.

But then look at the public sector.  You know, the people who work for us.  Congress has an unbelievably cumbersome process to deal with this crap and it seems more designed to protect the perpetrator while using taxpayer money to cover it up than to hold people accountable.  Look at Al Franken.  Look at John Conyers.  And probably many more.  So how is this fixed?  I don't see Congress policing itself.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Dam has Burst

I guess it was inevitable.  Sooner or later I was going to offer some commentary about the avalanche of claims of sexual harassment against prominent men.  The problem is that it seems that they just keep coming so it's difficult to characterize where we are in this sordid mess.  But we're far enough in that it's likely not going away and will probably get worse.  So there's really no reason not to jump in.

As I was out walking the pup this morning I was trying to think of all the people who have been accused.  It's a long list.  Trump, Clinton, Conyers, Franken, Rose, Halperin, Weinstein, other Hollywood types, Washington DC swamp types, media stars, etc, etc.  Just tonight there was another name from Pixar who is in deep shit.  It seems that the Harvey Weinstein accusations started the snowball down the hill.  And the accusations were real doozy's.  I've written previously that in my opinion all you had to do was look at this guy and it wouldn't be difficult to characterize him as a slime ball.

During our 6 years living in the Washington DC area, I came in contact with many who worked on the hill.  Some were friends and colleagues.  It was no secret that there was a big sexual component in the environment.  Lots of pressure, long hours, many away from home, plenty of alcohol, and most importantly, power, all contributed.  I heard somewhere today that our government has spent $17 million of taxpayer money over the last 20 years funding sexual harassment settlements aimed at members of Congress and their employees.  If true, that is pretty disturbing.  Probably not much we can do about it, but it needs to stop!

Let me state clearly that I don't think this whole issue is about sex as much as it is about power.  Quite simply, it's a bunch of guys abusing women because of one reason.  Because they can.  They are jerks of the first order and I'm happy they are getting called out.  And as a subjective assessment of these guys, where did they get the idea that they could do some of the things that they are alleged to have done?  I mean, most of these guys are not God's gift to women.  They actions they supposedly took, the way they treated women, the blatant and flagrant flouting of what I can only characterize (because I've photos of them) as old and fat men, is frankly disgusting.  I mean, they must have egos as big as a house.

But there are some questions to ask and some issues to ponder as we confront this new paradigm.

In my most cynical mood I wonder if a lot of this isn't some big diversion.  The hate for Trump is so deep and pervasive, that I wonder if some aren't trying to push this abuse narrative to open the old allegations against him.  Maybe not.  But it causes me to wonder.

As we watch the news and hear the revelations, this sordid mess is causing us as a populace to think about and deal with things that are really smarmy.  Not that they are unserious, but in comparison to the world's problems, they are fundamentally third or fourth order in importance, if that high.  And because of the attention, they have risen to the top.  And I wonder how that affects our people.  And our kids.

These folks, both the abusers and the abused, have a fair amount of the hypocrite in them.  These abusers are the first to call for human rights and then abuse women.  They are also the ones who decry global warming while driving in their limousines and flying in their private jets.  And they campaign for affordable housing while living in gated mansions.  Or they are passionate about open borders while employing immigrants at slave wages.  They are also the ones who don't want tax reform while maintaining their wealth in offshore accounts.  And the women have some accounting to do.  I will go easy on them because they have been on the receiving end of some really terrible actions, but why is the damn breaking just now?   Maybe it's because it's just that simple.  A few came forward and more and more and more felt empowered to do so.  Okay.  So be it.  But it's difficult to figure out why they stayed silent for so long.  If something like that were happening to someone I loved, I would be terribly disappointed if they stayed silent, no matter the consequences.  And I'd be disappointed because they didn't come to me or someone they trust to help.

I also wonder about when the abuse occurred.  The judge in Alabama has charges from 40 years ago. 40 years.  Really?  That's a tough one.  But most are more recent so they need to be taken at face value.  I've also heard it said by more than one person that if anyone commits this kind of crime is should be the death penalty as far as public service is concerned.  Okay.  But I wonder if someone can be rehabilitated in 10 years?  20 years?  40 years?

It's also interesting to see the reactions.  Some give excuses.  Some apologize.  Some deny.  I don't know if any of these strategies work.  There doesn't seem to be anything that they can do but recede from the public eye and hope for the best.

This kind of crime fundamentally comes down to he said, she said.  But we have defaulted to total belief of the woman.  Okay.  So be it.  But...there could be some real consequences with this reaction.

I'm sure that there will be other revelations as the days and weeks unfold.  And they will be probably be just as bad as what we've heard to now.  And it will cause further circling of the wagons and attempts to deflect and blame someone else.  My sense is that strategy is becoming problematic.