Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Political Correctness


The news this morning reported that ESPN commentator Kurt Schilling has been suspended because he Tweeted a controversial comment comparing radical Islam with Nazis.  While I don't know if his comment was technically accurate or not, I do believe his employer was within it's right to suspend him if they wished.  But the bigger picture to me is that, once again, knee-jerk political correctness has ruled the day.

"Controversy" is something we just aren't allowed to partake in any more for fear of offending someone, and believe me, there is always a someone out there.  We have become all-consumed with being kinder and gentler, while glossing over sometimes hard truths.

As my wife and others remind me regularly, I have a big, often uncensored mouth.  But when I say something, in my mind at least I have credible research to back me up, or a logically reasoned position to support me.  I don't mind putting my name on what I say or write.  Then if someone disagrees, they are free to tell me where I'm wrong, and for the record, I have been known to change my position if I feel the opposite position actually holds up to cross-examination better.

Which beings me to Donald Trump.  Why is the current political phenom soaring in all the polls?  Is it because his positions are so well thought out and articulated?  Doubtful.  Why would all of his ardently conservative supporters love him so, when if they'll just think about what he's saying, they'll realize his proposals would absolutely bust the budget?   *BLASPHEMY*

Why?   Because, IMHO, he has thrown political correctness out the window.  He's saying things that people may or may not agree with, but they like the fact that he's saying what he thinks, and he's putting his name on it.

Will this be The Donald's true, lasting political legacy....his willingness to say things out loud that would leave other weak-kneed politicians issuing serial apologies?  Would that really be such a bad thing?

OK, so now my NSA / FBI dossier has grown one blog-post-entry thicker.  Bite me.  This is my story, and I'm stickin' with it.    :)

S

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A timeline of ME!

August 22, 1950.... a date that will live in infamy.  (Sorry FDR)

Me, moments before I was born.  (This is actually a dramatization.  Ultrasounds hadn't been invented yet in 1950.)

 
I enjoyed a happy childhood thanks to wonderful parental units. 

First day of school. 

Second day of school.  It didn't take long for me to figure out I didn't like sitting still, being quiet, finger painting, and eating paste.  My parents would drop me off at school, and I would run back home before they could get there. 
 
Senior prom.

With the threat of military school and hard labor hanging over me, I finally decided public school probably wasn't so bad after all. 
 
College....350 miles away from home.  Yoo Hoo!

Love....marriage (#1)....

....and kids.  Three wonderful female kidlets. :)
 
Work, work, work.... 

Lots of cool critters along the way.

Aging gracefully.

A few bionic parts along the way, too. 

(Semi) retirement.

Happily ever after.  :)

That's me.  Happy kid, an intravenously-fed education, multiple wives, 3 awesome kids, 6 amazing grand kids, made a few bucks, spent same, life is good.  I've made it to curmudgeon-hood!

Why yes,  today I am 65.  NOW GIMME MY MY DAMN DISCOUNT!

The End.  :)

S




Thursday, August 20, 2015

He who bullies the most wins?

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders being scolded by a Black Lives Matter supporter, even though Bernie is very sympathetic to their position.

The "Black Lives Matter" movement is beginning to bother me.  I completely understand where their indignation comes from.  I really do.  But the direction this movement is taking, along with many, many other signs I'm seeing every day here in the US and around the world leads me to believe anarchy is beginning to gain a solid foothold.  Example:

Several weeks ago an Arlington, TX (DFW suburb) trainee police officer shot and killed an unarmed black youth, Christian Taylor.  Here's what we actually know at this time:  The youth stepped over the barricade at a new car dealership and vandalized several cars.  He then got back into his car and drove through the locked barricade and rammed into the dealership showroom, then went inside on foot.  An "officer-in-training" arrived on scene and walked into the dealership.  We know all this because it was on the dealership video surveillance tapes and aired on TV.

But within just a few days a gentleman who identified himself as part of the Black Lives Matter movement was demanding that the officer be fired and charged with murder.  His quote was, "The officer entered the building with his gun drawn with the intent of killing Mr. Taylor."  And the crowd gathered around him nodded their enthusiastic approval.

With the intent?  How does he know what the intent of the officer was?  Until an investigation is complete, how do any of us know what the intent of the officer was?  Lots of evidence needs to be analyzed first.  The CSI-types will determine who's story is corroborated and who's is contradicted.  Shouldn't we find out the facts before we decide whether to prosecute or not?

And of course during all this the "hang 'em high" crowd was saying Mr. Taylor "got what he deserved."  Since when is vandalizing cars a capital offense?  All this hysteria from both sides before any facts have been determined is to me an early sign of anarchy.

More?

Just last night police in St. Louis shot and killed a black youth who they said pointed a gun at them.  The scene quickly grew into a riotous crowd, with police reinforcements being called in.  Whoa...whoa.  Was the youth armed or not?  Did he point a gun at police or not?  Shouldn't these questions be answered first before the riots begin?  Knee-jerk reactions seldom work out well.


Now protestors have taken over the microphones of several legitimate presidential candidates, both Democrat and Republican, driving them off their podium.  Shameful!  Seems to me BOTH sides should have the right to free speech.  But now apparently only the loudest has that right.  Creeping anarchy?

Ordinary people everywhere seem to be fed up with the status quo (including me).  Look at who the polls say are our leading presidential candidates so far:  Donald Trump, with the establishment Hillary Clinton stalled-to-fading (with a majority unfavorable rating) and the rebel / independent Bernie Sanders gaining ground.  How big a step is it from being "fed up" to jumping into anarchy feet first?  Look at the pro-anti gay rights, pro-anti abortion, pro-anti gun control, pro-anti Occupy Wall Street, etc crowds.  Sentiment is nasty and getting more tense by the day it seems.  I can only imagine how far things might deteriorate by election day, 2016.


And it isn't just here in the US.  Look at the extreme anti-establishment parties now on firm footing in Europe in places like Greece, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, and elsewhere.  Like our own Tea Party, these very vocal disenchanted political parties are intimidating the majority into doing things their way.  Study your history....the National Socialists (Nazi's) never achieved actual electoral majority in pre-war Germany.  They gained absolute power by bullying the silent, docile majority.  The comparison is eye-opening (although I'm not at all suggesting any of these will ever resort to the barbarism of the Nazi's in WWII).

And then there's the Mid East.  Oh, Dear God!  What a dysfunctional, anarchical mob they are!  Hello....Al Qaida?  ISIS?  Muslim Brotherhood?  I even saw in the news this morning that one group claiming responsibility for a deadly bombing in Cairo, Egypt was the Black Bloc, a militant, anti-Islamic group of soccer fans.  Soccer fans?  Really?  Who's next, the Crazed Stamp Collectors Society?

Many are now predicting that Iraq and Syria, and probably Libya, too, will never again function as legitimate homogenous countries.  You might as well throw in Somalia, Yemen, Lebanon, and a few others, also.

So, am I being paranoid?  Am I a "Doom and Gloom"-er?  Ummm....I don't think so.  I'm just a person, a realist, who pays attention.  And what I see is creeping anarchy.  

S




Monday, August 17, 2015

My exciting road trip with the Google map lady


Today I was caught flat footed....I ran completely out of one of my meds, so I called my doctor and asked them to send over a Rx to what the CVS website said was their closest pharmacy.  In no time I received an automated phone call saying it was ready to pick up.  Easy peasy.



I got in my car and entered the address into my Google map app and it popped right up, telling me to get on the Dallas North Parkway.  Just as I passed the Stonebrook exit, the Google map lady said to continue straight for 7.5 miles.  Huh?  The pharmacy was on Stonebrook....shouldn't I have exited back there?  I took the next exit and did a u-turn, all while the Google lady was screaming "recalculating, recalculating....no...no.....go straight 7.3 miles."

Back on Stonebrook I found nothing. I pulled over and called the CVS and an oriental lady answered. I asked her where they were located and all she could tell me was the address (which I already had), and then, "It nice place....you like....come see....bye-bye."

Hmmm....maybe I should just trust the Google lady.  So I got back on the freeway and did as she said.  It wasn't long until I was in another county, and another town. What the....?  I followed her to FM 423, the right to CR 2937, then left, then right....on and on.

Finally she turned me into an older residential neighborhood and proudly announced my destination was on the left.  NOT EVEN CLOSE!  And to make matters worse my phone was quickly counting down its battery life to 0.

I called K at work and declared an en-route emergency.  She looked it up on her 'puter and told me to get back to Stonebrook and she would try to figure something out while I was driving.  I was soon in the 5100 block, and I needed to be in the 200 block.  The Google lady only missed by 49 blocks!

Thanks to K I found it, got my med, and returned home....45 minutes for a couple mile trip.  Grrr!

Remember road maps?  I NEVER got lost as long as I had a road map.  Oh how I miss those!  Maybe I should offer to teach the Google map lady how to read one.

S


Sunday, August 16, 2015

WE WON!



WE WON! 

We received word today from Scott Roberts of Creative Architects that our collaborative design/build effort, a major addition to a custom residence we built (and he also designed) several years ago won the ARC Award 2015 for Best Addition in Dallas.  *Or was it North America?  Yeah, let's go with North America*



I must admit it was a very challenging project, but Scott R delivered a superbly creative design and our subcontractors, who I honestly believe are true artisans, executed his plan to perfection.  And credit where credit is due, the homeowners, Mr & Ms W, had amazing vision, too.  

For our part....we had the good sense to employ great people, pay them fairly, and supply them with enough donuts, barbecue, and fried chicken (no, not all at the same time) to keep them highly motivated.  Great job everyone!  We're proud to be part of the TEAM!    :)  *big applause*

S


Thursday, August 6, 2015

A two-part-er.....


Tonight the top-10-polling Republican presidential candidates will bloviate in a nationally televised debate.  And front and center will be The Big Wind himself, Donald Trump, aka "The Donald".  He's a lightning rod for sure, but I must give him due credit for two things:  

First, I like the way he speaks his mind.  It's obvious he says what he thinks, and not just what this morning's poll numbers say people want to hear.  Whether I agree with what he's saying or not is another matter, but at least I never have to wonder what he's thinking. 

Second, I like the way he is paying for his campaign out of his own pocket instead of having to prostitute himself before the usual cesspool of special interests.  

Of course, following this logic, that would mean only billionaires should run for president, which is of course a complete other problem.  But as my lovely wife pointed out, it's either the billionaire who funds his own campaign, or the common man who is corruptible.  Maybe we should look at public funding of campaigns, taking fund raising and all it's corrupting influence out of the equation?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to rule soon on whether publicly traded corporations will have to reveal what their CEO's make (in TOTAL compensation, not just salaries) as well as the gap between what they make and what their employees make.  The two Republican commission members are against it, the two Democrats are for it, and the lone Independent is expected to be the tie-breaking "yes" vote.

Big business interests such as the US Chamber of Commerce are steadfastly against it saying it will cost businesses $700 million to calculate and report the yearly numbers (the SEC says it shouldn't cost more than $73 million), and that it is simply an excuse to embarrass highly paid CEO's.

That last excuse seems self incriminating to me.  If you haven't done anything to be embarrassed about, why should you fear being embarrassed?

I have no problem seeing CEO's make big bucks IF THEY DESERVE IT.  But too often they make their money via smoke and mirrors.  Think of the 2008 financial meltdown and today's Greek debt fiasco....those were just giant shell games!  They tweaked things to make it look like they were masterful business people when they were just blowing up a property bubble that eventually burst, or were making loans to credit-worthy sovereign countries.  Their shareholders were left ruined, while they lived happily ever after (with their millions of $$$$ in ill-gotten compensation) in the Hampton's.

Legitimate, skillful management that builds a solid, long term company SHOULD be handsomely rewarded (former CEO's like Southwest Airline's Herb Kelleher and Costco's James Sinegal come to mind), but not these "skim all you can and move on" shysters.  

Maybe this new rule will shed light on the "too good to be true" CEO's.  If their company is a laggard, but their pay is at the top of their segment chart, why shouldn't it be brought forcefully to the attention of their shareholders?  What possible excuse can you use to justify NON-transparency?

S




Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Death by hanging, or death by firing squad?

 Just my two cents, which actually has no cash value at all....

  
Of course the O'Bama administration is touting the new Iran / 5+1 (or whatever it's called) nuclear freeze deal, and now our living rooms are being blasted with TV commercials saying it will be the end of the world and we must stop it.  So who's right?

IMHO both are.  There is no way we are going to get (our definition of) a good deal with the Iranians.  They are led by religious zealots who don't care what the world or even their own people want.  Oh sure, they trotted out the guy with the neatly trimmed facial hair and a suit of western-style clothes to be their front man....



....but it's really this guy, their Grand Exalted PooBah, who holds the real power, and he has said the agreement will in no way alter his determination to destroy Israel or deter him from spreading his pro-Shia Muslim influence across the Mid East.  I don't trust him, or the rest of the Gubment of Iran, and look for them to cheat every chance they get. 

They'll get the world's sanctions off their backs, get the go-ahead to buy critical "stuff" from the West, then they'll be off to their old shenanigans again.  (Before the ink even dried they announced a deal with Pootie Poo Putin to buy 100 Ilyushin aerial-refueling tankers, enabling their shitty little air force to extend their range to cover virtually the entire Mid East.)


BUT....

Let's get real here....we can't stop them.  With regard to this particular crisis, we're essentially powerless.  Sure, sanction hurt them, or more specifically hurt their people, but the religious zealots who call the shots there haven't cared about their people in decades.  Why start now?  

A few years down the road this will surely look like it was a bad deal.  But at least on paper it bought us some time.  Time to figure out what to do.  Time to develop some miracle new technology that can zap their nukes, or scramble their computers with some new computer virus.  I dunno.  Anything is possible.

So I guess we should take the deal, but NEVER let ourselves think this will be the peaceful end of those pesky old Iranians.  Like your slug of a brother-in-law, they'll be back.  Count on it.  *sigh*

Fortunately (?) for us, the Egyptians, Turks, and Saudis, and of course the always vigilant Israelis are making noises like they might step to the plate and do something.  'Course, if they succeed, what will be the unintended consequences from those odd bedfellows?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On a totally unrelated (believe it or not) topic, this evening I'm going to the gun club to shoot this:


You know what they say about men and their toys.  :)



Now where did I put my tin foil hat?

S