Tuesday, February 28, 2017

President Trump

Did you watch it?  If not, you missed a transformative moment.  Tonight Donald Trump became President Trump in so many ways.  It was a masterful performance.  And I'm not the only one saying that.  Behold:


So here it is.  It's long.  But if you don't have time, watch the beginning, the part with the SEAL's widow, and the end.  Masterful.

And one more thing.  The Democrats proved to be small and narrow minded.  They are the ultimate obstructionists.  I hope that some of them will take some of the proposals put forward in this speech and start to compromise.  Elections have consequences and they need to step up to the plate.

And one last thing.  The Democratic response was by an old, old, old former Governor for Kentucky who had been beaten by a Republican.  What were they thinking putting him up to give the response?  Dumb move!

I Feel Like a Mushroom

You know...you're kept in the dark and fed a lot of bullshit.  It's a little over 5 weeks since President Trump was inaugurated.  He's had some successes and he's screwed some stuff up.  I include his staff and his administration.  They haven't been perfect.  But think about coming into that job and that situation.  Do you think you could do everything right?  Especially when your political adversaries and much of the press are diametrically opposed to your Presidency?  Don't think so.

There is also the little fact that it took inordinately long to get his appointees approved (and there are some who are still waiting).  Without someone to run a department of government, what do you think happens.  You might think that a Deputy would step in and take up the reins.  And I'm sure in a few cases that might occur.  But in many, many instances all of the political appointees are holdovers from Obama.  And for the most part they hate Trump.  So how do you think that's going?  Until the cabinet posts get approved and the leaders can get on with choosing their senior staff, things will grind very slowly.

And then there is the media.  I've made no bones about my disappointment in many of them.  I'm talking about all of them.  CNN, Fox, MSNBC, the MSM, the major magazines, the major websites...all of them.  It seems to that they have, quite simply, evolved into money making entities that put major emphasis and credence on getting a story first and ensuring it is as sensational as possible.  How many times have we seen partial truths play out.  Take the whole Russian thing.  I will concede that Flynn had contact with his counterpart, although why that is bad as incoming National Security Advisor is beyond me.  He screwed up by lying to Pence and the FBI about the substance of his conversations.  Okay, so he's gone.  What else?  We know that the Russian bastards did some nefarious shenanigans by releasing embarrassing emails during the election.  There was no impact on the outcome and Hillary and her tribe were mightily embarrassed.  But there was no impact on the election.  There is widespread agreement to that fact.  These guys are underhanded dicks who are not to be trusted.  That is a given.  And that seems to be agreed to by everyone in the Administration.  Doesn't mean you don't talk to them.  Doesn't mean you don't see where there are areas of agreement and cooperation.  But you keep both eyes open.  What else?  Oh yeah...how about "the press is the enemy of the people"?  Heinous right?  But here's what he said..."the fake news is the enemy of the people".  Is there anyone in the universe that doesn't think that most of the press is out to get Trump and will present half-truths and fake news to bring him down?

Which brings me to my mushroom status.  President Trump can be a dick.  No doubt about that.  His rhetoric during the campaign was sometimes tough.  But the folks on the other side are routinely saying that he is racist, xenophobic, homophobic, hates Muslims, hates Latinos, hates women, etc, etc, etc.  But I must be living in the dark.  Where are the examples of this hate?  Like I said, he has said tough things during the campaign.  But where has he said things that are bad enough to stimulate all this anger and outrage in the last 5 weeks?  I sincerely don't get it.  The only thing I can think that these people don't believe we should be a sovereign country, or don't believe that people should be encouraged to become productive members of our society, or don't believe that the government should try and improve the current health care system that provides health care to a small number of Americans, or do believe that every issue is black and white and there is only one true answer to every question.  There are so many issues that it seems to me there are ample areas to compromise on and get something done and yet everyone (both sides) seem so entrenched that it's incredibly disheartening.  I hope it gets better.  We'll see.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Saturday, February 25, 2017


That's the key word.  ILLEGAL!  No one (or at least very few) is against immigration.  That is the basis for our country.  We welcome immigrants.  In fact we take in more immigrants by far than any other country.  But there are many who are here ILLEGALLY!  As in, they didn't follow the rules.  They didn't exhibit personal responsibility.  They are ILLEGAL!  There is no getting around it.  It can be sad and it can be tragic and it can be difficult.  But what it isn't is unfair!  Because they are here ILLEGALLY.  Simple as that.  And our recent Presidents have recognized that and supported programs to deport ILLEGAL immigrants.  The difference with Trump is that he is targeting criminals and drug dealers first as a priority.  Of course, you won't hear any of that.

Spring Fever

Just a few more weeks...

Great Try, Kid!

Cool Pic

Now That's Old

We took a river trip down the Danube a few years ago.  When we stopped in Regensburg this was a must visit.  We got our sausages and giant beers and ate outside on the patio.  Classic.

Cops Are Cool!

Dogs Are Cool

Cool Pic


Dean was cool.  But Frank wrote the book for cool!

Urinal Etiquette

Most guys would get this...

Glass Houses

The double standard continues to prevail.  Read about it here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Media Bias

Media bias seems to be all over the news these days.  Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that there is a bit of a war between President Trump and the media.  It is unseemly.  But, there is merit to the various charges and it certainly plays to his base as a politician.

I've always been a big 1st Amendment guy.  Freedom of speech is foundational.  We cannot and must not restrict that freedom in the U.S.  At the same time, in the news business, the ideal is objectivity.  Of course, humans being what they are, objectivity is difficult.  Add in the profit motive and the need to boost ratings, and you have a recipe for bias.  Another thing that sways the news is who owns various outlets.  Check out these two graphics.  They are pretty shocking.  Virtually everything is owned by just a few big conglomerates.  It would be a real stretch to believe that these big companies aren't influencing the news to their advantage.

So what to do to stay informed.  Well, here's another graphic that you can use to decide where you want to get your information.  The problem for most people is that they have a lot going on in their lives and they just revert to something they are familiar with or someone has told them is a good source.  And then pretty soon you're getting all your information from one source and believing everything they say.  Since I'm an old retired dude and have a bit of extra time on my hands I try pretty diligently to look at the spectrum.  I review Drudge and Vox.  I look at Fox and CNN.  For the MSM I generally favor CBS but look at the others.  I've found that The Economist is a straight shooter and I read the Wall Street Journal every day.  Real Clear Politics and The Hill are good sources of political info.  I like National Review but have to take it with a grain of salt.  And then there are a number of blogs I scan.  They are listed on the right side of this blog.  So depending on your time, take a look at as many as you can.  Get different perspectives.  And for goodness sakes, don't believe everything your read or hear.  Everyone has an agenda.  Everyone has a spin.  Everyone is trying to sell something.  Be smart.

Update:  Just saw this little beauty of a video and had to share.  Now, given my political proclivities you'd probably guess that I don't agree with these little darlin's.  They've clearly been brainwashed to provide a particular biased viewpoint.  I guess it's no big deal and most thinking people would recognize this hit job for what it is.  But there are two things that are strikingly objectionable.  First, it's almost child abuse.  To exploit children to spout political propaganda is shameful, whichever side does it.  And second, this video is a product of NBC News and is on their website.  Think about that.  NBC News.  Unbelievable!

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Real Deal!

Today President Trump named a new National Security Advisor, Lt Gen H. R. McMaster.  To say that this selection was a good one is a serious understatement.  It's more like a grand slam home run.  Lt Gen McMaster is widely thought to be one the best strategists in today's military.  That he is a fierce warrior and a beloved leader is beyond doubt.  I've been watching all the usual websites and blogs and there is widespread praise.  One of my favorites, CDR Salamander, shared this video over on Twitter.  It's a bit long and a bit military heavy, but it tells you all you need to know.  This guy is the real deal.  Team him up with Mattis and Kelly and the team is strong.  Add in Tillerson at State and Haley at the U.N. and our National Security is in great hands.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The End of Identity Politics

Every once in a while I come across an article that is just so relevant, so good, so important that I feel compelled to share it.  Such is the case with Victor Davis Hanson's article copied in it's entirety below.  I have been disheartened by the rise of identity politics for quite some time.  It is corrosive and, if it continues, could be the end of us.  This article gives me some hope that maybe, just maybe, we have a path forward to a more just and homogenous society.  Because if we continue categorizing each other and putting each other in particular buckets, then we are doomed.  I realize this is a bit long, but it's an important read!

The End Of Identity Politics

by Victor Davis Hanson//via Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)

Who are we? asked the liberal social scientist Samuel Huntington over a decade ago in a well-reasoned but controversial book. Huntington feared the institutionalization of what Theodore Roosevelt a century earlier had called “hyphenated Americans.” A “hyphenated American,” Roosevelt scoffed, “is not an American at all.” And 30 years ago, another progressive stalwart and American historian Arthur Schlesinger argued in his book The Disuniting of America that identity politics were tearing apart the cohesion of the United States.

What alarmed these liberals was the long and unhappy history of racial, religious, and ethnic chauvinism, and how such tribal ties could prove far stronger than shared class affinities. Most important, they were aware that identity politics had never proved to be a stabilizing influence on any past multiracial society. Indeed, most wars of the 20th century and associated genocides had originated over racial and ethnic triumphalism, often by breakaway movements that asserted tribal separateness. Examples include the Serbian and Slavic nationalist movements in 1914 against Austria-Hungary, Hitler’s rise to power on the promise of German ethno-superiority, the tribal bloodletting in Rwanda, and the Shiite/Sunni/Kurdish conflicts in Iraq.

The United States could have gone the way of these other nations. Yet, it is one of the few successful multiracial societies in history. America has survived slavery, civil war, the Japanese-American internment, and Jim Crow—and largely because it has upheld three principles for unifying, rather than dividing, individuals.

The first concerns the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution, which were unique documents for their time and proved transcendent across time and space. Both documents enshrined the ideal that all people were created equal and were human first, with inalienable rights from God that were protected by government. These founding principles would eventually trump innate tribal biases and prejudices to grant all citizens their basic rights.

Second, given America’s two-ocean buffer, the United States could control its own demographic destiny. Americans usually supported liberal immigration policies largely because of the country’s ability to monitor the numbers of new arrivals and the melting pot’s ability to assimilate, integrate, and intermarry immigrants, who would soon relegate their racial, religious, and ethnic affinities to secondary importance.

Finally, the United States is the most individualistic and capitalistic of the Western democracies. The nation was blessed with robust economic growth, rich natural resources, and plenty of space. It assumed that its limited government and ethos of entrepreneurialism would create enough widespread prosperity and upward mobility that affluence—or at least the shared quest for it—would create a common bond superseding superficial Old World ties based on appearance or creed.

In the late 1960s, however, these three principles took a hit. The federal government lost confidence in the notion that civil rights legislation, the melting pot, and a growing economy could unite Americans and move society in the direction of Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision—“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

This shift from the ideal of the melting pot to the triumph of salad-bowl separatism occurred, in part, because the Democratic Party found electoral resonance in big government’s generous entitlements and social programs tailored to particular groups. By then, immigration into the United States had radically shifted and become less diverse. Rather than including states in Europe and the former British Commonwealth, most immigrants were poorer and almost exclusively hailed from the nations of Latin America, Asia, and Africa, resulting in poorer immigrants who, upon arrival, needed more government help. Another reason for the shift was the general protest culture of the Vietnam era, which led to radical changes in everything from environmental policy to sexual identity, and thus saw identity politics as another grievance against the status quo.

A half-century later, affirmative action and identity politics have created a huge diversity industry, in which millions in government, universities, and the private sector are entrusted with teaching the values of the Other and administering de facto quotas in hiring and admissions. In 2016, Hillary Clinton ran a campaign on identity politics, banking on the notion that she could reassemble various slices of the American electorate, in the fashion that Barack Obama had in 2008 and 2012, to win a majority of voters. She succeeded, as did Obama, in winning the popular vote by appealing directly to the unique identities of gays, Muslims, feminists, blacks, Latinos, and an array of other groups, but misjudged the Electoral College and so learned that a numerical majority of disparate groups does not always translate into winning key swing states.

At one point Clinton defined her notion of identity politics by describing Trump’s supporters: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up… Now, some of those folks—they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”


What is the future of diversity politics after the 2016 election? Uncertain at best—and for a variety of reasons.

One, intermarriage and integration are still common. Overall, about 15 percent of all marriages each year are interracial, and the rates are highest for Asians and Latinos. Forty percent of Asian women marry men of another race—one quarter of African-American males do, as well—and over a quarter of all Latinos marry someone non-Latino.

Identity politics hinges on perceptible racial or ethnic solidarity, but citizens are increasingly a mixture of various races and do not always categorize themselves as “non-white.” Without DNA badges, it will be increasingly problematic to keep racial pedigrees straight. And sometimes the efforts to do so reach the point of caricature and inauthenticity, through exaggerated accent marks, verbal trills, voice modulations, and nomenclature hyphenation. One reason why diversity activists sound shrill is their fear that homogenization is unrelenting.

Second, the notion of even an identifiable and politically monolithic group of non-white minorities is also increasingly suspect. Cubans do not have enough in common with Mexicans to advance a united Latino front. African-Americans are suspicious of open borders that undercut entry-level job wages. Asians resent university quotas that often discount superb grades and test scores to ensure racial diversity. It is not clear that Hmong-Americans have much in common with Japanese-Americans, or that Punjabi immigrants see themselves politically akin to Chinese newcomers as fellow Asians.

Third, ethnic solidarity can cut both ways. In the 2016 elections, Trump won an overwhelming and nearly unprecedented number of working class whites in critical swing states. Many either had not voted in prior elections or had voted Democratic. The culture’s obsession with tribalism and special ethnic interests—often couched in terms of opposing “white privilege”—had alienated millions of less well-off white voters. Quietly, many thought that if ethnic activists were right that the white majority was shrinking into irrelevance, and if it was acceptable for everyone to seek solidarity through their tribal affiliations, then poor whites could also rally under the banner of their own identity politics. If such trends were to continue in a nation that is still 70 percent white, it would prove disastrous for the Democratic Party in a way never envisioned during the era of Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton discovered that Obama’s identity politics constituencies were not transferrable to herself in the same exceptional numbers, and the effort to ensure that they were often created new tribal opponents.

Fourth, it is not certain that immigration, both legal and illegal, will continue at its current near record rate, which has resulted in over 40 million immigrants now residing in America—constituting some 13 percent of the present population. Trump is likely not just to curtail illegal immigration, but also to return legal immigration to a more meritocratic, diverse, and individual basis. Were immigration to slow down and become more diverse, the formidable powers of integration and intermarriage would perhaps do to the La Raza community what it once did to the Italian-American minority after the cessation of mass immigration from Italy. There are currently no Italian-American quotas, no Italian university departments, and no predictable voting blocs.

Fifth, class is finally reemerging as a better barometer of privilege than is race—a point that Republican populists are starting to hammer home. The children of Barack Obama, for example, have far more privilege than do the sons of Appalachian coal miners—and many Asian groups already exceed American per capita income averages. When activist Michael Eric Dyson calls for blanket reparations for slavery, his argument does not resonate with an unemployed working-class youth from Kentucky, who was born more than 30 years after the emergence of affirmative action—and enjoys a fraction of Dyson’s own income, net worth, and cultural opportunities.

Finally, ideology is eroding the diversity industry. Conservative minorities and women are not considered genuine voices of the Other, given their incorrect politics. For all its emphasis on appearance, diversity is really an intolerant ideological movement that subordinates race and gender to progressive politics. It is not biology that gives authenticity to feminism, but leftwing assertions; African-American conservatives are often derided as inauthentic, not because of purported mixed racial pedigrees, but due to their unorthodox beliefs.

The 2016 election marked an earthquake in the diversity industry. It is increasingly difficult to judge who we are merely by our appearances, which means that identity politics may lose its influence. These fissures probably explain some of the ferocity of the protests we’ve seen in recent weeks. A dying lobby is fighting to hold on to its power.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Coyote Principle

A friend sent this to me.  Sad to say there is a lot of truth here...


The Governor of California is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks the Governor's dog, then bites the Governor.
The Governor starts to intervene, but reflects upon the movie "Bambi" and then realizes he should stop because the coyote is only doing what is natural.
He calls animal control. Animal Control captures the coyote and bills the state $200 testing it for diseases and $500 for relocating it.
He calls a veterinarian. The vet collects the dead dog and bills the State $200 testing it for diseases.
The Governor goes to hospital and spends $3,500 getting checked for diseases from the coyote and on getting his bite wound bandaged.
The running trail gets shut down for 6 months while Fish & Game conducts a $100,000 survey to make sure the area is now free of dangerous animals.
The Governor spends $50,000 in state funds implementing a "coyote awareness program" for residents of the area.
The State Legislature spends $2 million to study how to better treat rabies and how to permanently eradicate the disease throughout the world.
The Governor's security agent is fired for not stopping the attack. The state spends $150,000 to hire and train a new agent with additional special training for the nature of coyotes.
PETA protests the coyote's relocation and files a $5 million suit against the state.

The Governor of Texas is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks his dog.
The Governor shoots the coyote with his state-issued pistol and keeps jogging. The Governor has spent $.50 on a .45 ACP hollow point cartridge.
The buzzards eat the dead coyote.
    And that, my friends, is why California is broke and Texas is not.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Motivation Monday


When our precious Windy went over the rainbow bridge last June, it was difficult to think of another dog.  But life goes on...  So as these things go a few months ago we starting researching breeders and visiting kennels.  We feel very lucky to have found a great breeder and a wonderful litter of beautiful pups.  We went up today to make our selection.  We wanted a girl (well...one of us wanted a girl) and there were two available.  After much holding and playing, we settled on this precious one.  Her name is Emmy and she comes home in 3 weeks.  We can't wait!

Cool Pic

Fun Game

Don't think this is real, but it looks like a lot of fun!  My wife routinely kicks my ass in ping pong...she'd probably wipe the floor with me if we played this.  But fun!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Funnies

Valentine's Day

Guys...in case you were wondering...this is NOT an option!!

Double Entendre

Such infantile behavior!

California Goes Confederate

Saw this article from one of my favorite writers, Victor Davis Hanson over on National Review.  Thought I'd just copy it in it's entirety.  It's that good.  Do I really think this effort will play out to secession?  No way.  But will it be painful, embarrassing, and hurtful?  Most definitely!
"California Goes Confederate
February 9, 2017 
 by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review
Threatening secession is far from the only thing that the Golden State has in common with the Old South.
Over 60 percent of California voters went for Hillary Clinton — a margin of more than 4 million votes over Donald Trump.
Since Clinton’s defeat, the state seems to have become unhinged over Trump’s unexpected election.
“Calexit” supporters brag that they will have enough signatures to qualify for a ballot measure calling for California’s secession from the United States.
Some California officials have talked of the state not remitting its legally obligated tax dollars to the federal government. They talk of expanding its sanctuary cities into an entire sanctuary state that would nullify federal immigration law.
Californians also now talk about the value of the old Confederate idea of “states’ rights.” They whine that their state gives far too much revenue to Washington and gets too little back.
Residents boast about how their cool culture has little in common with the rest of the U.S. Some Californians claim the state could easily go it alone, divorced from the United States.
Sound a bit familiar?
In December 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union in furor over the election of Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln did not receive 50 percent of the popular vote. He espoused values the state insisted did not reflect its own.
In eerie irony, liberal California is now mirror-imaging the arguments of reactionary South Carolina and other Southern states that vowed to go it alone in 1860 and 1861.
Like California, South Carolina insisted it could nullify federal laws within its state borders.
Like California, South Carolina promised to withhold federal revenues.
Like California, South Carolina and other Confederate states bragged that their unique economies did not need the Union.
They boasted that “King Cotton” had created the wealthiest class in the United States. Silicon Valley now often assumes that Google, Facebook, Apple, and others are near-trillion-dollar companies that are a world unto their own.
Slavery and the extravagant income from cotton warped the Southern economy and culture. A wealthy plantation elite, with its millions of exploited slaves, ensured that there would be virtually no middle, working, or small-business class.
Huge estates were surrounded by the impoverished shacks of servants. Hardscrabble farmers or small businessmen often fled westward to escape the shackles of wealth disparity.
The export-dependent Southern elite demanded unfettered free trade. It offered bitter resistance to Northern protectionism.
South Carolina elites were opposed to federal infrastructure projects such as the building of roads, canals, bridges, and reservoirs, and other such unwelcome “progress.”
Confederates boasted that their antebellum culture was more romantic, natural, pristine, healthy, and moral than was the bustle, grime, and hyper-capitalism of Northern industrialism.
Southern aristocrats believed that they were culturally superior — in terms of music, art and literature — to other Americans.
Of course, this is 2017, not 1860, and California is super-liberal, not an antebellum slave-owning society.
Nonetheless, what is driving California’s current efforts to nullify federal law and the state’s vows to secede from the U.S. are some deeper — and creepy — similarities to the arrogant and blinkered Old South.
California is likewise becoming a winner-take-all society. It hosts the largest numbers of impoverished and the greatest number of rich people of any state in the country. Eager for cheap service labor, California has welcomed in nearly a quarter of the nation’s undocumented immigrants. California has more residents living in poverty than any other state. It is home to one third of all the nation’s welfare recipients.
The income of California’s wealthy seems to make them immune from the effects of the highest basket of sales, income, and gas taxes in the nation. The poor look to subsidies and social services to get by. Over the last 30 years, California’s middle classes have increasingly fled the state.
Gone With the Wind–like wealth disparity in California is shocking to the naked eye. Mostly poor Redwood City looks like it’s on a different planet from tony nearby Atherton or Woodside. California is becoming a reactionary two-tier state of masters and serfs whose culture is as peculiar and out of step with the rest of the country as was the antebellum South’s.
The California elite, wishing to keep the natural environment unchanged, opposes internal improvements and sues to stop pipelines, aqueducts, reservoirs, freeways, and affordable housing for the coastal poor.
California’s crumbling roads and bridges sometimes resemble those of the old rural South. The state’s public schools remain among the nation’s poorest. Private academies are booming for the offspring of the coastal privileged, just as they did among the plantation class of the South.
California, for all its braggadocio, cannot leave the U.S. or continue its states’-rights violations of federal law. It will eventually see that the new president is not its sickness, nor are secession and nullification its cures.
Instead, California is becoming a reactionary two-tier state of masters and serfs whose culture is as peculiar and out of step with the rest of the country as was the antebellum South’s. No wonder the state lashes out at the rest of the nation with threatened updated versions of the Old Confederacy’s secession and nullification.
But such reactionary Confederate obstructionism is still quite an irony given California’s self-righteous liberal preening."

Cost per Student

I'll just put this out there and let it sit.  Illegal immigrants are costing California taxpayers $8 billion a year.  $8 billion.  How long can we keep this up?  How long should we keep this up?  And I didn't say immigrants.  I'll pay my share for immigrants every day.  I said illegal immigrants.


Before anyone goes apoplectic and think that I'm disparaging teachers by posting this...I'm not.  My wife is a retired Sp. Ed. teacher.  My daughter teaches 1st grade.  I know how hard teachers work.  I know that that they bust their ass on a routine basis.  In fact, when I retired from the Navy I thought briefly about teaching but realized that I didn't want to work that hard.

But, comparisons are interesting.  You could see how someone could look at this and wonder what the big deal is about teachers salaries.  That would be before you realize how hard they work and how much extra time they put in.  Now...the time off is pretty sweet.  But the work is really, really tough.

But it got me thinking about the kerfuffle about Betsy Devos as Secretary of Education.  The big hullabaloo seems to be that she isn't experienced enough and that she is an advocate for Charter schools.  People went and are still going bonkers.  This for the smallest cabinet secretary job who really doesn't have much to do.  Ms. Devos has been an advocate for charter schools for decades so she probably knows a smidgen about education, even though she didn't attend public school.  Sorta like in my lifetime I never saw a Defense Secretary (until now) who had any military experience to speak of.  Or take Secretary of State.  Hillary Clinton?  John Kerry?  The last career diplomat to hold the job was Madeline Albright and that was 20 years ago.  So don't give me the experience excuse. 

I saw a pretty good article in today's WSJ that gives a good explanation about the state of our education system (at least to me).  You can read it here.  Bottom line...teacher's unions are petrified of losing clout and money.  They are eroding.  And they see many, many better alternatives educating kids more efficiently.  But change is hard.  And power is difficult to cede.  Most thinking people outside the education establishment can see the writing on the wall.  Another thing that turns people off to the plight of the teachers is tenure.  Name me one other profession where employment is guaranteed for life after a few years.  It's just not fair.  So the teacher's unions are facing an ebb tide.  They are doing all they can to resist, but like the kid playing in the sand as the tide comes in, sooner or later that barrier is going to crumble.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Advice From Old People

Saw this over on FB and thought it worth posting here.  Lots of good take-aways.  When I saw title I thought it's good to get advice from wise and sage older people with experiences.  And as I read it I realized I'm sorta one of them.  And I agree with all of these.  Especially 3 and 10!

1. The most important person in your life is the person who agreed to share their life with you. Treat them as such.

2. You might live a long life, or you might live a short one — who knows. But either way, trust me when I say that you’re going to wish you took better care of yourself in your youth.

3. Stuff is just stuff. Don’t hold onto material objects, hold onto time and experiences instead.

4. Jealousy destroys relationships. Trust your significant other, because who else are you supposed to trust?

5. People always say, ’’Make sure you get a job doing what you love!’’ But that isn’t the best advice. The right job is the job you love some days, can tolerate most days, and still pays the bills. Almost nobody has a job they love every day.

6. If you’re getting overwhelmed by life, just return to the immediate present moment and savour all that is beautiful and comforting. Take a deep breath, relax.

7. Years go by in the blink of an eye. Don’t marry young. Live your life. Go places. Do things. If you have the means or not. Pack a bag and go wherever you can afford to go. While you have no dependents, don’t buy stuff. Any stuff. See the world. Look through travel magazines and pick a spot. GO!

8. Don’t take life so seriously. Even if things seem dark and hopeless, try to laugh at how ridiculous life is.

9. A true friend will come running if you call them at 2am. Everyone else is just an acquaintance.

10. Children grow up way too fast. Make the most of the time you have with them.

11. Nobody ever dies wishing they had worked more. Work hard, but don’t prioritize work over family, friends, or even yourself.

12. Eat and exercise like you’re a diabetic heart patient with a stroke — so you never actually become one.

13. Maybe this one isn’t as profound as the others, but I think it’s important… Floss regularly, dental problems are awful.

14. Don’t take anyone else’s advice as gospel. You can ask for advice from someone you respect, then take your situation into consideration and make your own decision. Essentially, take your own advice is my advice…

15. The joints you damage today will get their revenge later. Even if you think they’ve recovered completely. TRUST ME!

16. We have one time on this earth. Don’t wake up and realize that you are 60 years old and haven’t done the things you dreamed about.

17. Appreciate the small things and to be present in the moment. What do I mean? Well, it seems today like younger people are all about immediate gratification. Instead, why not appreciate every small moment? We don’t get to stay on this crazy/wonderful planet forever and the greatest pleasure can be found in the most mundane of activities. Instead of sending a text, pick up the phone and call someone. Call your mother, have a conversation about nothing in particular. Those are the moments to hold onto.

18. Pay your bills and stay the hell out of debt. If I could have paid myself all the money I’ve paid out in interest over the years, I’d be retired already.

19. If you have a dream of being or doing something that seems impossible, try for it anyway. It will only become more impossible as you age and become responsible for other people.

20. When you meet someone for the first time, stop and realize that you really know nothing about them. You see race, gender, age, clothes. Forget it all. You know nothing. Those biased assumptions that pop into your head because of the way your brain likes categories, are limiting your life, and other people’s lives.

The Travel Ban

It seems like every day there is something else for the media, the left and the Dems to go apoplectic about.  If they didn't look like such idiots, it would be comical.  

I must admit, I'm really having trouble processing what all the hullabaloo is about regarding the Executive Order enacting a TEMPORARY travel ban on seven countries which either have proven that they can't vet incoming immigrants or have no structures to do so.  This TEMPORARY ban will enable Homeland Security to assess their own procedures and put in place some very sound (some would deem extreme, in a good sense) vetting procedures for visitors or immigrants from those countries.  When it was signed, it seemed pretty logical to me.  And it was certainly a strong step back from President Trump's election rhetoric about a ban on Muslims, which no thinking American believed would happen.  

I looked up the law that allows and supports the ban and found this.  Now I'm not a lawyer, but this seems pretty specific.  And it seems that he is well within his rights.  
But then came the hysteria.  The people claiming that this was a Muslim ban surprised me (although given the rhetoric I guess it shouldn't have).  The demonstrations and the ignorant "standing with refugees" was over the top.  Now not only are more cities claiming to be "Sanctuary cities" but California and New York are flirting with the idea for the state.  It literally makes no sense.  These places are saying they will not turn over criminals to Federal authorities.  Think about that.  Criminals.  No one is saying they expect cities to round up illegal aliens, whoever they might be, and turn them over to the Feds.  But to listen to some of these zealots, you'd think that all who support our President want to round up 11 million people and kick them out.  It's ridiculous.  

Academia, the media, many churches and several other institutions went way over the top in their hyperbolic and ignorant comments and decrying of the order.  The Bishop in my Diocese came out with a statement that was not only against the ban but also against our President.  It was almost too much to take.  It really wouldn't take too much for me to walk away.  Here it is so you can judge for yourself.  

We are all Syrian. We are all Muslim.

The last nine days have been a disquieting and dizzying display of presidential action in Mr. Trump’s first days in office. It is difficult for us to find focus as he occupies the media space railing about the size of the inauguration crowd and making unsubstantiated claims regarding voter fraud. From a public policy perspective, there is much to worry about: news blackouts from federal departments, possible trade wars, and comments about illegal torture to name a few.
However, Friday’s executive order to halt immigration from seven Muslim countries, including the suspension of refugees from war-ravaged Syria, is an affront to our sense of fairness and equity. Indeed, the president even stated that our nation would give preferential treatment to Christians over Muslims, thereby invoking a religious standard for entry that is anathema to our national creed. Fanning the fears of 9/11 and ISIS, the president wants us to believe that we will be safer because we change who we are as a people who welcome the immigrant and the refugee. But we are the nation of the Marshall Plan, Famine Relief and Tsunami recovery. Our dark chapters of the last century include Franklin Roosevelt’s executive order 9066, which interred Japanese Americans because of their ethnicity. This is too eerily familiar. Surely we have learned from our past and discovered the better angels of our nature.
As a Christian and a bishop, I have struggled with Trump’s quick claims of his own Christian identity, which seem at odds with his sexist behavior, his dishonesty, and his ostentatious consumption and wealth. But I now know what “America First” means to him and I cannot be silent. America First means the exercise of power and selfishness of which I want no part. These actions will give fodder and strength to those who wish to do us harm. We are at our best as a nation when we give. We are strong when we have appropriate boundaries and an open heart. The truth of the Christian life is indeed part of our national story: it is in giving that we receive.
After 9/11, the French paper, La Monde, ran a headline that declared: “Nous sommes tous Americains,” “We are all Americans.” In the spirit of the Confessing Church of Dietrich Bonhoeffer that stood against Nazi Germany, this follower of Jesus Christ can only stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters from other nations and other faiths who are refugees. On this day, we are all Syrian. We are all Muslim.
President Trump’s actions are unacceptable and un-American. They do not represent who we are as a people. We must recover our senses. It is time to speak out in the name of all faiths and our national identity as a people united in our diversity. That is our gift to the world.
All of this hyperbole is a real affront to the majority of Americans who voted for or support President Trump and believe in the sovereignty of our nation.  It is also an affront to intelligence.  If we can't even take moderate, temporary steps to protect our nation, how can we govern ourselves?  I take heart in the writings of our Presiding Bishop, Michal Curry, who truly embodies the Episcopal way of discerning things through scripture, tradition, and reason.  I certainly won't be a part of a radical leftist church, so we'll see where this goes.

And as these things typically do these days, it quickly went to the courts.  So a liberal judge slapped a restraining order on the ban and it's now being appealed up through the Appellate Court.  But since it's going to the 9th Circuit Court, the most liberal court in the land, it will most likely go to the Supreme Court.  So we'll see.  I'm pretty sure Trump won't give up on this so it's likely to continue.  Welcome to the zoo!

Helicopter Pilots

This little ditty is pretty old.  In fact I first saw it when I was a young Navy pilot flying helicopters all over the world.  Thought it was pretty funny then as I do now.  And it's timeless.  Therefore when I saw it on another site I decided I needed to post it again.  And the best thing about it?   It's sorta true!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Sports in 2016

I'd forgotten a lot of these.  But when you think about it, 2016 in sports was pretty amazing!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Motivation Monday

Proven winning philosophy from Bill Billichek, winningest coach in NFL history...

"Do Your Job"

Friday, February 3, 2017

Salad is Good!


Leaving tomorrow after a week in Napili, Maui.  We've been all over the Islands, but this place has fast become our favorite.  And gazing at sunsets are a major activity.  Mesmorizing!

Thursday, February 2, 2017