Thursday, September 18, 2014

As Scotland goes, so goes....the world?

Today Scotland votes on whether they want to stay part of Great Britain or go it alone as an independent country.  Many there have long wanted their independence, and this seems as civilized a way as any to get it.  If they vote "yes" they will probably claim much of the North Sea oil, which will fund their operations quite nicely.  Until it some day runs out.

But it's a much bigger vote than just that.  In many parts of Europe....the world even....there are many regions watching and taking notes.  After all the 20th Century European wars many of them are of one heritage/custom/language, yet are officially part of another country.

If Scotland can pull it off, will Catalonia (think Barcelona) give it a try?  Will Belgium finally just give up and implode, the Flemish and Walloons going their separate ways (to Holland and France)?  Will Poland grow and Ukraine shrink?  The possibilities are almost endless.

For a few of us it will be interesting to watch.  For the rest of you, you can go back to your Twitting now.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I might even have to let a Budweiser touch my lips

Kudos, Budweiser!

Budweiser became the largest and latest sponsor to speak out, saying Tuesday it was "disappointed and increasingly concerned" by the [NFL] scandals. The brewer, whose commercials featuring the iconic Clydesdales are almost synonymous with pro football, sponsors some 88 percent of NFL teams, according to consultants IEG LLC, making it the second-biggest sponsor in the league.

I understand the Radisson Hotel chain has also spoken up, and the Minnesota Vikings have decided (under sponsor pressure?) to cool their relationship, at least temporarily, with embattled super-star and child-whipper Adrian Petersen.    

This is something the NFL and the team owners get into their wallets, they pay attention.  Now if some other heavy hitters (Ooooo....sorry) will also speak up, sponsors like Under Armour, Nike, Gatorade, etc, then I'll bet you'll see the NFL clean up the game.

Fingers crossed they become and stay vigilant.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Big shock....the NFL has been out of control for years

I'm out of hibernation long enough to declare I'm tired of hearing about Baltimore Ravens running back and wife beater Ray Rice.  I think the media has pretty much run his story into the ground.

I lost interest years ago in the National Football League primarily because of the unsavory character of many of its players.  I refer to the NFL only semi-tongue-in-cheek as the National Felon League.  Too many are just thugs, plain and simple.  For years they have been allowed to do pretty much whatever they one ever says "no" to them.  They say "jump", the NFL asks "how high?"

And when they do run afoul of the law, high-powered lawyers are always there to negotiate a hand slap for them.  Their DUI arrests have become almost daily occurrences, then throw in your garden variety spousal abuse, sexual molesting, drug possession, dog fighting, and even an occasional murder, and you have a pretty sleazy bunch.  Enough!

It isn't hard to stay out of jail.  I've managed to do it for 64 years.  If threatened with the loss of their livelihood, the job that's the source of their idoltry, I'll bet they could do it, too.  Start booting these bums out of the game and replace them with some of the tens-of-thousands of college players who would LOVE to play in the NFL.  

I'll bet the players would then act like a bunch of choir boys.  And if they didn't clean up their act, well, lets just say there would be plenty of new day laborers available to spread concrete.

Fire NFL Commish Rodger  Think about it.  All eyes are on him.  If another incident is brought to him, do you think he'll ever again mete out a hand slap and a wink?  I suspect he'll hammer 'em 'em the door.  He'll want to show us all that he has a pair.

But for any of this to happen WE, the fans (well, YOU the fans), are going to have to speak up.  Show 'em some empty stadium seats, some untapped beer kegs at their concession stands, and maybe a few million unsold, overpriced jerseys and bobble head dolls.  Then it will be the OWNERS pocketbooks that are affected, and they can no doubt clean things up fast if they want.

I can't imagine how the NFL Players Association could defend their sleazy members against a movement to clean the game up.  That would be like defending Charles Manson or some child molester creep.  Good luck with that!

Next, if the NCAA and the individual universities AND THEIR BOOSTERS will insist that college football "employ" only people who can behave like decent human beings, too, then we'll be on our way back to a great game exemplified by civility on and off the field.  (To their credit, there are a number of college coaches who will bench or even revoke scholarships from players who commit serious indiscretions, even if they're starters.  Florida State excluded.)

It CAN happen.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What is that definition of insanity again?

"Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."

Why can't we get the Mexican drug cartels to line up for a photo op like this?
The United States has a serious problem with drug cartels physically venturing into US territory to expand their base of operations.  Do we go to the UN and ask that they put together a coalition to come help us?  Do we put in calls to France or New Zealand or South Korea and ask them to come to our aid?  NO!  It's in OUR back yard, making it OUR problem.

So why does the world always start chanting U...S...A... when it hits the fan in the Mid East?  In case you weren't aware, Turkey is a formidable power in that region.  So is Iran.  And obviously so is Israel.  And don't forget Saudi Arabia and Egypt.  If ISIS succeeds in Syria / Iraq, those countries have an immediate problem.  It's in THEIR back yard.  (America's problem with ISIS will be a bit longer range.) 

What I want to know is, what are THOSE countries gonna do about ISIS?  IMO those countries should be in the starting lineup.  We should be in the bull pen.  Those countries have their own planes and bombs.  We know this because WE sold them to them (along with Russia, the UK, France, and a few others).  

They save their weaponry for parades and fly-overs (and occasionally crushing a dissident group at home) while we expend ours.  While they spend their money on massive social programs for their citizens, our infrastructure crumbles, our schools struggle for adequate funding, and our food banks have trouble meeting demand.

Ever since Vietnam showed the world our military Achilles heel we haven't been able to defeat a guerrilla-style enemy.  That's because we value life.  We won't wipe out a city block to get one bad guy for fear of killing innocent civilians.  It happens, and we agonize over it, but we do make a valiant effort to prevent it.  Our guerrilla enemies have no such conscience.

We've become a foreign policy "Jack of all trades, master of none".  We try to be everywhere, but we actually accomplish very little.  Trying to prop up "countries" that were just figments of some post-WWI European diplomat's imagination is a lost cause.

I say let "those people" thrust and parry among themselves.  Let them decide their own borders.  Let them organize themselves by clan or tribe or whatever.  Let them establish their own balance of power.  It will be bloody, yes, but even if we try, we can have very little (if any) lasting influence.  It's called "reality".

We need to be backing up the Mid East regional powers who are truly on the front lines, and not the other way around.

Just sayin'.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Cars, and more cars....

This past weekend included the first Saturday of the month, which meant another Cars and Coffee event.  As my friend Neil was out of town and K would rather watch paint dry than go to a car show, I went solo.  The only negative was the and humid.  Yuck!

A place of honor right up front went to this Ferrari FF.  Dunno about a Ferrari in white, though.

As the largest Ferrari in their lineup, including a back seat even, this is the one people either love or hate.  I'm a lover.  Err....umm...

I was surprised by all the vintage off-roaders there this month, like this Land Rover Defender.

Here's another.  I'm told that every farmer in the UK has one, but on this side of The Pond they're somewhat rare.

I was always partial to the International Harvester Scout.  This was a nice one!

Italian cars always have a strong following here.  This Ferrari 458 Italia Spyder was a gem.

Yep, there's an engine in there somewhere.

This is the new(ish) Lamborghini Huracan.  They can usually be seen parked outside pharmacies while their owners are inside getting their Viagra prescriptions refilled.

I'm always on the lookout for a MGA for JoeH.  Sorry Big Joe, but this ragged out example was the only one I could find.

The English were there of course, exemplified by this rather bloated Mini....I can't remember which variant this was as they have so many of them.  I'm just gonna call this one the "Middle Age Spread".

Ahh, but don't worry Brits.  Someone brought their very nice Triumph TR3 to uphold the fine reputation of British sports cars.

A classic....I love this!

Can you see the vintage Triumph's similarities with this new Aston Martin?  No?  (Me either :)

Speaking of cars the public loved to hate, here's another....a BMW Z3 Coupe.

I guess us oddballs have to stick together, cuz I like it.

It looked like a circus was in town Saturday also.

Darn!  I missed seeing all the clowns when they arrived riding their little motorcycles.  :(

Look!  This mutant race car grew a grotesque wing on top!

And this one must have been left in the dryer waaaaay too long!

Of course there was a huge contingent of American iron present, but of them all I'm always drawn to the old ones, like this beautiful '57 Cheeeeevy from my yout.  :)

What's all the hub-bub about the NEW Sting Ray?  How you gonna beat an original '63 split rear window?  (Correct answer:  You can't.)

And just for giggles, hats off to Tiff, whose Subaru WRX was otherwise spotless.

Lastly, my favorite of the day was this BMW Z4.  This color was even appealing.  Not too big, not too small....juuuuust right!

That was Cars and Coffee/Dallas for September, 2014.  Right after this I traveled to Grapevine, TX for the annual Italian Car Fest.  I'll have pics of that later in the week.  Have a great day everyone.  :)


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Easier said than done

I just saw on TV that the US Justice Department is set to launch an investigation of the Ferguson, MO Police Department.  It was pointed out that, "shockingly", the police department was only 6% African American while the population of Ferguson was 67% African American.

I know nothing about the Ferguson Police Department and their staffing policies, but I can tell you that recruiting for police officers is like pulling teeth.  As I've mentioned before, I was on my city's Civil Service Commission for 18 years, overseeing our police and fire department hiring, firing, discipline, promotion, etc.  They, particularly the police department, regularly sent recruiting teams to job fairs all over the state...out of state, even...trying to entice minority applicants to come join us. It was a tough sell.

To make matters even more difficult, as a Civil Service Rule city our applicants had to take a standardized test, prepared by a 3rd party out-of-state company who specialized in civil service exams.  (Their tests had previously been scrutinized, and even court challenged in other jurisdictions, and were found to be race / gender / orientation neutral.)  

We could and did award a few extra points to honorably discharged military veterans, but by law, we were then required to take the highest scoring applicants, period.  Police recruiting isn't just putting a "Now Hiring" sign in the window.

As I said I have no idea how the Ferguson Police run their department, and they might be crooked as a barrel of snakes for all I know, but be careful when you hear those statistics about a particular department being shy of this or that minority representation.  Often times, hard as they try, it's out of their hands.

Just thought you should know.