Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What does Memorial Day mean to you?

Burgers and Brats? Or our honored war dead?  Whereas Veterans Day is to honor all who served, Memorial Day is to honor those who died in military service to our nation.

Washington Post 

What did you do this Memorial Day?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Be Careful What You Ask For

Photo: Humanrobo

"It's cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who is inefficient, making $15 an hour bagging French fries," Ed Rensi former CEO McDonalds Corporation.

Foxconn Technology Group, a multinational technology manufacturer and supplier to Apple and Samsung has cut it's workforce from 110,000 to 50,000 by replacing workers with robots in 505 factories for a cost of $623 million.

A study by the UK firm Deloitte (professional services) and Oxford University place 35% of current jobs at risk to automation.

Is it that far fetched? Look closely at the tractors below and you'll notice that there is no one in them.

Photo: ASIrobots
 Or take a trip to the bakery

KUKA Roboter GmbH

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

More...not Politics

Photo: Alison Cassidy

Well, mostly not politics.  The Low Volume Vehicle Manufacturer's Act of 2015 is going into effect and could allow the return to American shores of some formerly fashionable cars (Morgan Aero 8 illustrated above).  The Aero 8 weighs about 2500 pounds and comes with a 362 hp BMW V8 engine (270 kw for Morgan afficianados). Or perhaps you'd prefer the roadster:

Photo: Semnoz
 The act allows low production volume vehicles an exemption to some of the American safety standards currently keeping them off American roads leaving the decision to the owner/operator where it rightly should be.  It's certainly as safe if not safer than any motorcycle, yet I can drive a motorcycle but not this?

I've always want the one that has remained available in the US, categorized as a motorcycle... the Morgan 3-wheeler.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Photo: Matthew W. Hutchins, Harvard Law Record

Libertarian candidate and former two term Republican Governor of the State of New Mexico, Gary Johnson has announced his running mate, Libertarian candidate and former two term Republican Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, William Weld.

Weld, the former US Attorney for Massachusetts was elected first in 1990 and reelected in decidedly liberal Massachusetts in 1994 by the largest margin ever in the state with 70.85% of the vote.

Coincidentally, I lived in both states during each Governor's first term.

Washington Times


Monday, May 23, 2016

Among people who take polls...

Photo: Michael Vadon
Trump leads Clinton by 2 points:

"At this point, the two candidates are in a statistical dead heat among registered voters, with Trump favored by 46 percent and Clinton favored by 44 percent. That represents an 11-point shift toward the presumptive Republican nominee since March." WAPO

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Google, Mao, & Yuri

Fair Use - Google

It’s with great pleasure that Google celebrates Yuri Kochiyama, an Asian American activist who dedicated her life to the fight for human rights and against racism and injustice. Born in California, Kochiyama spent her early twenties in a Japanese American internment camp in Arkansas during WWII. She and her family would later move to Harlem, where she became deeply involved in African American, Latino, and Asian American liberation and empowerment movements. Today's doodle by Alyssa Winans features Kochiyama taking a stand at one of her many protests and rallies.
Kochiyama left a legacy of advocacy: for peace, U.S. political prisoners, nuclear disarmament, and reparations for Japanese Americans interned during the war. She was known for her tireless intensity and compassion, and remained committed to speaking out, consciousness-raising, and taking action until her death in 2014.

On May 19th Google celebrated the life of Yuri Kochiyama. You've got to be kidding me.  This woman supported Mao, Ho Chi Min, the Shining Path, the Japanese Red Army, and Osama bin Ladin. Can we expect tributes to Stalin on December 18th and Adolf Hitler on April 20th?

The "Great Peace Advocate" and "Human Rights" activist supported a man who massacred 30 million people, most of them peasant farmers, and her other "friends" are no better. So when the Chavs at Google go home, don their Che Guevara T-shirts, crack open a bottle from their $16.99 six pack of micro-brewed craft beer, and kick back on their $6000 Italian leather sofa to play X-box on their 70" HDTV I just ask that they think about that for a moment and on the fact that when the revolution comes... they will be among the first to go.





Friday, May 20, 2016

Guy Clark

Guy Clark, Grammy winning Texas Country and Folk artist died this past Tuesday at the age of 74.  Clark had released 23 albums on his own and had his music performed by such artists as Johnny Cash, Vince Gill, Ricky Scaggs, John Denver, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, and Kenny Chesney.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A fool and his money...

Rumor has it that George Zimmerman managed to sell his Kel Tec PF9 at auction... for $138,900.  The gun retails for around $200.  Like I said, a fool and his money are soon parted, I don't care who you shot with it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A look back and A look forward

(C) Finntann
The woman in the photograph above is a great aunt of mine, she died at the age of 28.  The photo above was taken at the Women's Infirmary at the Whitehaven Tuberculosis Sanitarium in White Haven, PA (south of Scranton).

For the first time in 23 years the infection rate for TB has risen nationwide.  Why are we losing ground?  Well according to the Minnesota Health Department 22% of refugees resettled into the state by the federal government test positive for latent TB.

Now the Minnesota Health Department has one of the highest treatment completion rate in the country at 86%, looked at from the other angle that means 14% of the refugees don't complete treatment.   Now you can't catch TB from someone with latent TB... but you can catch TB from someone with active TB and 10% of those with LTBI go on to develop into active cases.  

The majority of the LTBI cases come from African and in particular West African immigrants.  The population of those immigrants is 1.8 million, up 810,000 since 2000.  Using Minnesota as a bench mark since it claims one of the best programs in the country that leaves a potential 55,000 latent TB positive immigrants in the country, of which a potential 5,500 will go on to develop active TB.

Makes you think twice about the guy coughing on a bus or airplane next to you, don't it?

The question is why don't we confine these people until treatment is complete, although even then there is no guarantee that you won't develop TB it does seem to be wiser than letting fourteen percent of them slip off into the general population. Is it their rights? What about the rights of Americans to be free from next generation of Typhoid Marys running around?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


That's the Touching and Stealing Administration

From JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark to Chicago O'Hare, down to Atlanta, and out to Los Angeles.  The TSA asks you to show up two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for internationals...then makes you stand in line for four hours. Meanwhile San Francisco and Kansas City don't seem to be having any of the problems found elsewhere primarily since they have privatized security services.  The NY and NJ Port Authority and Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson are threatening to kick the government to the curb do to their inadequacy caused by gross incompetency.

Passengers stranded at O'Hare
NY-NJ threatens to fire TSA 
Long Lines in Atlanta

Remember when flying was an enjoyable experience?  Me? I won't fly anymore unless forced to by work. How about you?

Monday, May 16, 2016

To Continue Yesterday's Discussion

UnitedHealth Group the largest insurer in the U.S., recently announced that it would be vacating a majority of the 34 states it's currently operating in beginning in 2017.  Humana has also threatened to pack up shop due to losses suffered on Obamacare exchanges. More than half of all of Obamacare's approved healthcare cooperatives closed up shop heading into 2016 due to unsustainable losses.

In Virginia, Aetna announced an average premium rate hike request averaging 13%. Innovation Health, a joint-venture between Aetna and Inova, is requesting an average premium hike of 16.6%. Anthem HealthKeepers, a component of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, is requesting an average rate hike of 15.8%. The weighted average of the 13 received rate requests is nearly 18%.

In Oregon,  Moda Health Plan and Oregon's Health Co-Op are both requesting average rate hikes of 32%. Providence Health Plan is nipping at their heels with an average rate hike request of 29.6%. These three health plans comprise practically three-quarters of all enrollees in Oregon's individual Obamacare marketplace, implying a weighted average increase per ACASignUps.net of 27%!


Sunday, May 15, 2016

The "Affordable" Care Act?

This post began as a response to Ronald but I found it so illuminating I though I'd share it with the rest of you. Ron questioned my claim of suffering a roughly 50% increase in my health insurance premiums so I thought I would dig out my records and provide accurate information. Turns out that the 50% hike was only in one year. Viewed over the last four years it amounts to far more, and the farther back you look, the worse it gets.

My response to Ron Ward:

 Being a responsible adult, I've always carried the best health insurance plan offered by my company. What is now called a Platinum plan, with no deductible. You know. The kind that they are going to start taxing in a couple of years.

 In 2011 the annual cost for myself and my then wife was $3497

 In 2012 that rose to $3775.20

 In 2013 it rose to $6084

 In 2014, my company's decision to comply early to the provisions of the ACA increased the premium to $9048

 Late in 2014 I got divorced. So since I was only insuring myself in 2015 the annual nut fell to $5383.04

 This year my annual premium will be $5929.04, but I now have a $250 dollar deductible for the same  coverage. Adding that to the premium it becomes $6179.04

So now that I am paying more to insure one person in 2016 than I was paying to insure 2 people in 2013, please, pray tell how the ACA is going to save me money?

I'd be interested to know how many of you have had similar experiences?  Who's zooming who about the ACA?

As a footnote, a Federal judge has just ruled the healthcare subsidies being paid by the current administration "unconstitutional" as Congress has not appropriated the money.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Cheap Trick

Referred to as the Japanese Beatles, none of Cheap Trick's first three albums made the top 40 in the US, they all went gold in Japan.  Cheap Trick at Budokan came out when I was in Junior High.  Hadn't given them much thought over the years until the other night the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert at Barclay's Center in NY was on.  Guess who just got inducted.

Thursday, May 12, 2016


The government is not responsible for everything!

This may seem like a local story but the implications are nationwide.  

When I was shopping for a home here I actually looked in the areas shown as red spots on the map above.  The line of red dots is where the Rockies meet the Plains, they are prime real estate for on reason - the view.  Perched all along the front range foothills are neighborhoods looking out over the rest of the city.  I looked in the Broadmoor Bluff area (small red dot at the bottom) and admitted to the real estate agent that yes, the house had spectacular views of the mountains from the back yard.  She laughed at me... the "view" is the one out over the city.  Well, not for me.

The Rockies are young mountains as mountains go, and as the song goes, slip sliding away. The neighborhoods in question are built on what's known as a landslide escarpment.  The mountains are steep, the plains flat, all those pretty foothills came from somewhere and I'm sure you can figure out where.  Many geologists won't even work in the area:
"We don't work in the Cedar Heights or the Broadmoor areas," he said. "The risk is too high, and we think people who build up there are nuts. You'd think people would get the hint when we refuse, but they don't." 
So here we are, >27 inches of rain last summer and a large number of houses falling off the mountainside.  The homeowners want the federal government to buy them out.  The city notes on the plat documents that a geological hazard report exists but when presented with a two inch high stack of documents related to the sale most homeowners don't read them. Caveat Emptor! The only person responsible for not knowing are the buyers themselves.

Not the federal government's problem.  Think you were wronged? Lied to? Sue the builder, sue your real estate agent, sue the seller, heck you can even sue the city for granting the building permit, but the rest of the nation is not responsible for your poor judgement. 

When I purchased (any of the homes I've owned), I read every document, poured over maps and studies, I could tell you exactly how many feet my house in New Mexico was from the flood zone (600). Most people don't. Why? Because we immunize them against the consequences of their own stupidity. From oceanfront to mountainside it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the hazards.  You bought because you liked the view, the risks came with the view, and chances are that except for the dumbest among us, the thought of the consequences crossed your mind at some point.

Unsolid Ground

Geological Hazard Evaluation

Creeping Landslides

Landslide Information 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Laugh In

"if you like your healthcare plan, 
you can keep your healthcare plan."

Or not

4.7 million Americans had their plans cancelled as a direct result of Obamacare whether they liked it, or not.  AP

14.6% of 18-65 year olds were uninsured in 1Q2008 and 11.4% were uninsured in 2Q2015  Obamacarefacts

But this isn't a post about Obamacare!

This is a post about the attitude of our politicians and their underlings towards the American public.

Do you like their attitude? 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Urinary Segregation OMG!!!

The Attorney General is suing North Carolina and North Carolina is suing the federal government all over a law passed by the state that requires people to use the bathroom of the sex annotated on their birth certificate.

Now you would think this would be a simple proposition as the world is divided into two categories:


Yes folks each and every one of us is either a pointer or a setter, it doesn't get much simpler than that.

It is nice to suffer only from first world problems; there is nothing like your first experience standing at a urinal in a public restroom when somebody's grandmother comes in and cops a squat behind you over what appears to be urinal mounted horizontally on the floor, and I'm not talking numero uno here folks.

In that context, doesn't all of this seem a bit ridiculous?

Monday, May 9, 2016


Viburnum posted this late in comments yesterday and I thought it was so apropos that I didn't want to see it get lost in the static of bygone posts.  When you stop and think about it you can substitute the names of any of our current candidates and it still works... actually might work more than it did back then. Even the intro still works, better than it did back then, can you believe it was 46 years ago?

You don't know what to believe anymore because the television just spews forth lies. It's such  a rapid rate now, a cancerous rate, they can't control it, they can't cover up their tracks, they used to be able to do that.

So here you go, It was a used car dealer's election and the choice was rather small... Go on, listen to the video, you know you want to.

Spot on choice for the 2016 election! If you had asked me years ago to come up with a farcical story with the worst possible candidates for each party, well, I couldn't have surpassed what reality has given us.  Karma? God has a sense of humor? Or the final proof of the Second Law of Thermodynamics?

By the way, on the subject of yesterday's post about running mates, I've come up with the perfect ticket for each party:


Why the heck not?  After all, what difference does it make?


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Running Mates?

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have yet to announce a running mate, who do you think they might be? Who might run with Trump? Christie? Rubio? Lyin' Ted?

What about Hillary?  Could it be Bernie?  Fauxcahontas? 

Who do you think your candidate should pick?

Friday, May 6, 2016


A Shining City on a Hill

Max Brückner

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Republicans who won't support Trump

There are a significant number of Republicans who have come flat out and said that they will not vote for Trump, some have even said they will vote for Clinton over Trump.

For those Republicans I give you a two-term Republican Governor:


Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Following her apparent drumming in Indiana, there is more bad news afoot for the Clinton Campaign.  A WSJ/NBC News poll shows Hillary has dropped 15 points among independents and has a whopping 62% negativity rating among them... that's independents folks, not Republicans.  Our liberal readers shouldn't feel too bad though, Trump doesn't perform any better than Hillary does among them. Could prove to be an interesting election season.

On a lighter note, Ted Cruz dropped out of the race.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


Joe Rosenthal/AP
The photo was snapped in the midst of battle, the photographer never got anybody's name.  The Marine Corp later identified the personnel as: John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, Harlon Block, Michael Strank and Franklin Sousley.

It seems there is now some doubt as to the identification of John Bradley and it may in fact be a PFC named Harold Henry Schultz.

You can find out why here: MSN  

My opinion, no offense to those hoisting the flag, is that the identity of the individual members of the group is irrelevant as anything other than a historical footnote. The image is representative of all American serviceman who were fighting in the Pacific theater at the time, and in fact representative of American servicemen past, present and future.  By focusing on the individual soldiers, sailors, and marines you miss the point, forest for trees so to speak.

What do you think? 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Say your Sooth

John William Waterhouse
Tomorrow in the Indiana primary 57 delegates are up for grabs in a winner take all competition.  It won't finally settle things but it will certainly be a good indication of how things in the remaining primaries may go.

We're well into the election cycle so dust off your crystal balls and make your pronouncements.  Will Trump get enough delegates to clinch the first round vote?  If not, what do you think is going to happen.  Do you think that anything can stop the Clinton machine short of a felony indictment?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Ted Cruz 2016

Anointed by God or Mad as a Hatter?

Or, as some claim... is he just full of gas

The story is that God speaking through Heidi Cruz has endorsed Ted Cruz:

We were on our knees for two hours seeking God's will. At the end of that time, a word came through his wife, Heidi. And the word came, just saying, "Seek God's face, not God's hand." And I'll tell you, it was as if there was a cloud of the holy spirit filling that place. Some of us were weeping, and Ted just looked up and said, "Lord, here am I, use me. I surrender to you, whatever you want." 
Now I know this to be false because just the other night when we were, coincidentally, playing Texas Hold'em with Moses and Abraham, he clearly and distinctly told me he was voting for Gary Johnson. God is after all, a libertarian; you're free to accept him or turn away from him, and in the end you suffer the consequences of your own actions.

Now I normally don't visit the sins of the father upon the son, or the sins of their relatives upon politicians, i.e. Billy Carter.  But having your father go out and stump for you was really a bad decision opening you up for public ridicule.  You're fair game Ted. In the end is there really that much of a difference between Rafael Cruz and Mullah Omar?