Thursday, April 30, 2015

Houston, we might have a problem...


"Yes, it could very well be a long, hot summer of discontent...."

Spring is finally here and summer will start before we know it. Soon the days will be long and hot. Very hot in some parts of the country. And that could be the beginning of a long, hot summer of discord. Of social unrest. Of riots.

Yesterday I addressed the issue of poverty. It is a testy topic for sure. Many people (and I can't say I blame them) have very little time for the current landscape. The landscape which was painted by our infamous War on Poverty. You know - the war which cost trillions and did absolutely nothing to fix anything.

Today on the news one of the pundits brought up a very good point about what was going on in Baltimore. He believed the current riots have very little to do with Freddie Gray. In fact, a sheriff from another large city offered an interesting opinion. He said that 99% of all people rioting could not pick Freddie Gray out from a group of three people. First off, not to be disrespectful to Freddie Gray, he had an extensive rap sheet for his young age of 25. Even though he was no saint, he did not deserve to die. It is still an open question if he died by 1) maleficence of the police, 2) neglect of the police, 3) his own doing, or 4) we will never know.

The pundit on the news show went on to say the main reason for the unrest in Baltimore is not only poverty (okay, I said it again), but the incredible income disparity. He went on to say the average annual income in Maryland (a well to do state) is over $70k per household. The average annual income for the inner city of Baltimore is around $35k per household. The average annual income for the neighborhood that Freddie Gray grew up in is less than $30k per household. Mix in an unemployment rate for young black men in Freddie's neighborhood of close to 50%, and you have a bomb just waiting to be lit. And the mysterious death of Freddie Gray was just that match.

What happened in Baltimore could have happened in any number of our larger cities. And this contagion might spread. Over six years ago, the African American community voted in a monolithic block to elect our first black President. Many hopes were pinned on this young community organizer from Chicago. Even though he had little political experience, many thought he would be a transformational force of change for the community. Over six years later, nothing has changed. In fact, things have become worse for the inner cities. No hope + no future = big trouble.

So get ready folks. This is a problem that has not be able to fix itself. We have seen it cannot be fixed by our government(s) throwing trillions of dollars at it. I would love to say something either pithy or wise on what the cure is, but I can't. I along with most of us, are flummoxed. Not only flummoxed, but worried and scared for our country. With bloodthirsty enemies at our gates, waiting to kill us and destroy our way of life, we cannot stand anymore internal divisions. Divided we will fall.

So Houston, we might indeed have a problem. Not just Houston, but Baltimore, Los Angles, Chicago, or you name the city. So hang on and pay attention. We are far from being out of the woods. And a long, hot summer is right around the corner. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The battleship of poverty


"It has been said that fixing entrenched poverty is like turning a battleship in a bathtub. Me? I think fixing poverty might be harder..."

It has taken a long, long time to get here. And will take a long, long time to get out of here. What happened this week in Baltimore is systematic of the problem. The problem of poverty. The problem AND the trap of generational poverty. And it is getting worse.

Poor people did not come into existence under George Bush. Not under Barack Obama. Not under FDR. Not even under George Washington. Poor people have been around since the beginning of time. Jesus said in the Bible the "poor would be with us always." These words ring true. Even though we were warned the poor would always be with us, it does not mean we have to accept it.

However, many of our major cities in these United States are becoming "hollowed out" due to generational poverty. Some parts of our cities are almost unlivable. Yet people are forced to live there, generation after generation. And this is a fertile ground for crime, drugs and despair.

I am not going to go into the genesis of poverty. People much smarter than I have filled libraries with books on that subject. However, I will give my opinion on why it has become so much worse in the past 50 or so years. And what it took to break the system will also be needed to fix the system. Hint: It is not more money nor more government programs.

Education - Before some hang up the phone right now, please hear me out. All men might be created equal, but all schools are not. Some are nothing more than failure traps. Graduation rates of 50% or less. And those who graduate don't know much. The standards have been dumbed down so far, many of these graduates cannot go any further without remediation.

Between the Federal, state and local governments, this country spends an extraordinary amount on education. And the return on investment is spotty, very spotty. Our education system (which once was very good) now reminds me of a car with 300,000 miles and a bad engine. Rather than face reality by getting a new car or at least a new engine, we continue to pour copious amounts of money into this wreck just to keep it running. And every year the repairs get more expensive and the car runs worse and worse.

The BEST ticket out of poverty and to break the mold of generational poverty is a QUALITY education. An education where kids truly LEARN. Not just how to express their feelings, but how to critically THINK. Think and know stuff worth knowing. Until we address our education issue, everything else we will do is just whistling in the wind.

Home life - This is a tough one for sure. The quickest way to get on the poverty express (besides dropping out of school) is to have a kid out of wedlock. Sorry - it is a fact. Been proven over and over again. I have no clue on how to fix this one. I do know this. Almost 50 years ago when I graduated from high school, it was NORMAL to graduate as a virgin. Very few girls had to leave high school to have a child out of wedlock. Those who did, either got married to the boy responsible or the child was given up for adoption. Now we were not perfect back then - far from it. But we were smart enough to not only stay in school, but also to realize an unplanned pregnancy was a life changer.

Until we elect leaders who are true thinkers, who are not status quo robots, our poverty index will be stuck in the downward position. We will accept the fact we have developed a permanent underclass in this country. It is almost like a caste system. We will continue to have areas of large cities which will be considered toxic, and "enter at your own risk" zones. If that is the kind of America we want, we are well on the way.

We need to address this issue with all guns blazing. Everyone needs to be involved. Because until we change our thinking, fixing poverty in America will be harder than turning a battleship in a bathtub. Much, much harder.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Another failure of leadership


"A nice city, with the Inner Harbor and Camden Yards. However, don't take a wrong turn or you could end up in deep, deep trouble..."

I watched the news last night. Watched it until 11pm or so. I don't know why I was so fixated on what is happening in Baltimore. I like many of us, have seen that movie before. Maybe it was because I had the chance to move to Baltimore many years ago. To accept a tempting job with Lockheed Martin. They even had my wife, youngest daughter and I fly out to get a feel for the city. That was all it took. Deal off.

Baltimore really has tried to come back from the dead. Even though I did not move out there, I spend quite a bit of time there on travel. I worked at Ft. Meade while on military leave. While on business, I worked with the Middle River Plant of Lockheed Martin. Been to the Inner Harbor many times for drinks and dinner. Camden Yards was a nice addition to bolster the inner part of the city. But with all that, Baltimore still has a problem. Massive poverty living in the midst of new wealth.

And why is there still so much poverty? My opinion - it is a deep blue city suffering another failed education system. Graduation rates slightly over 50%. Lower for some minorities. Systemic poverty, failed education system, Euphorian Democrats running the place, and no hope for the future. Just shut up and keep voting for the donkeys.

The current mayor is really a gem. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, an African American Democrat said the city needed to give people "the space to destroy things". After that really started to happen and she was taking severe criticism, she tried to walk it back by saying she was "misquoted". When Fox News played back the video tape to show the quote was accurate, one of the Mayor's aides used the "R" word for the news media. So the beat goes on. The Mayor continued to show an amazing lack of leadership and the burning continued on into the night.

A blue city, run by Democrats, policed by a minority police force. And we still end up with a race issue. Why Baltimore? No reason. Could have been one of dozens of cities. All have systemic and generational poverty fueled by the bigotry of low expectations caused by their education systems. Sorry Baltimore. I would like to give you some better news, but I can't.
So long as the recipe stays the same, the meal will always taste the same. Good luck.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Does our education system add up?


"In this state, when we fund education, we don't add on to last years number - we multiply it..."

First I would like to apologize. Seems I started a bit of a firestorm yesterday. On a Sunday. Okay - I bad. All I did was post the article which showed our "fiscally minded" Republican House proposing an INCREASE to our already BLOATED education system of over $150M. And that - is when the fun started.

My only point (and it was a trivial one indeed), is WHY IN THE SAM HILL ARE WE CONTINUING TO INCREASE OUR FUNDING TO A BROKEN EDUCATION SYSTEM??? Well, for that I received an online spanking. I did not understand how the formulas work. How our funding works. This Rubik's Cube mess of Federal and state funding mushed together. The political ramifications. I will accept that criticism. I don't have a master's degree in thinkology on this topic. I do however, understand results as well as return on investment.

First some numbers. Does Minnesota spend more on education that any other state or location? Not hardly. Washington DC is the champion in that race. And to show the amazing lack of correlation between money spent and results obtained consider the following. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (a bit dated now), the funding per pupil in the 2010-20122 school year in the Washington DC public schools was $29,349 per student. It must to be over $30,000 per student by now. In 2013 the 8th graders in the Washington DC school district showed amazing results after receiving all that cash to educate the youth. What was it? Over 80% of them were not proficient in reading nor math.

Private schools, some charter schools, and some home schools have shown time and time again they can be education iconoclasts. They can "do" education for less money than public schools and get much, much better results. How can that be? Simple - they broke the mold. They are refusing to follow the "formulas" the public schools use. And those formulas are very, very complicated. With the tentacles of the Federal and state government in every nook and cranny, school districts struggle just to stay "compliant". They have to hire extra staff just to do so. And that cost a wad of dollars. Meanwhile, back on the farm, kids are graduating without knowing a lot. Many of the graduates end up in remedial classes at colleges just to bring them up to baseline.

The above pertains only to kids who graduate from high school. In the United States today, only about 72% graduate from high school. In Washington DC the number is about 56%. For kids of color in Washington DC, it is even lower. In Minneapolis, the latest statistics show a graduation rate of almost 60%. That is the good news. Now the bad news. For African Americans it is under 50%. For American Indians, it is under 30%. And those results were gained by spending over $23k per pupil every year.

My opinion on education in this country is quite simple, as I am a simple man. When you find yourself driving in the ditch, your need to stop driving. In other words, the system is broken, and has been broken for years. And yet, we keep throwing money at it. Good money after bad. Meanwhile, much of our seed corn, our youth, continue to drop out of school before graduation. Many who do graduate don't know as much as their grandparents did who graduated in the 60's. And back then there was no Google, internet or smart phones. 

I know I might be shouting into an empty box. Before June, the House, Senate and Governor will compromise on a number which will be huge. It will be a huge number added onto an already much bigger number. And kids will keep dropping out. Futures ruined. Dreams spoiled. And many of our kids will continue to graduate thinking we have 57 states, a President for life, and Lincoln is only a car.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A life lived....


"Some lives can be lived for close to a century. Other lives are cut short, way too short. We need to hold every minute of every day and cherish it..." 

We went to a funeral this week. It was for the son of a family friend. It was my second funeral for a young person. As we got closer to the funeral parlor, I told my wife I would rather be at the dentist getting a root canal than be at this funeral. Not that I did not want to be there to support our friend - I did not want his son to be dead.

I know there are many who have been to the funeral of a young person, so you know of what I am trying to say. It is an unnatural act. The old should not bury the young. It should be just the reverse.

Both of the funerals of the young men who died, were killed in some kind of auto accident. The first a car, the second a motorcycle. The first funeral was for a 19 year old young man from Hopkins. A great kid, an only child, and a ton of potential in his future. However he made a slip in judgment which cost him his life - and almost cost our oldest daughter hers. It was just that quick, and it was over.

The funeral of this young man was so large, it had to be held in the auditorium of Hopkins High School. On the stage lay his casket, covered with his high school letter jacket. He was so accomplished in high school, his letters and awards all but covered every square inch of fabric. All that study, all that training for sports, all that preparation for college life - gone in the blink of an eye.

I attended his funeral by myself. I was just one of the hundreds that packed into the auditorium. My wife was not there. She was still at our daughter's bedside at North Memorial. I will never forget that experience. Not only the loss, but the lost. Many people looked so totally lost. It was surreal. Unreal. Unnatural.

This past week when my wife and I pulled in the funeral parlor, the Patriot Guard was out in front. They were there acting as an honor guard for my friend's son. He was a Navy vet and deserved that type of honor. The funeral parlor was packed. It was absolutely standing room only. Many, many people. Some older, many young. Many old high school chums of my friend's son. Then I saw that look I had not seen for years. Loss and lost. People not knowing what to say, what to do. Again, surreal, unreal and unnatural.

After we left, I once again pondered a basic thought. It is a thought that many of us have or have had. Life is precious. Life is fragile. Life can turn on a dime. One of my very wise friends on Facebook quite often closes a posting by saying this - "Tell someone in your family you love them today". Amen to that, as we never know if this day will be the last we can say that. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Something wicked this way comes - and may already be here...

"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

Albert Einstein

Can you feel it? I can. It is as discomforting as it is unsettling. It consumes my daytime musings and then disturbs my nighttime rest. When thinking about it too long or too deeply, it causes a queasiness in my stomach. A unnatural tingling in my skin. I sense it is close. It is on the horizon, and soon will be upon us. Maybe it is already here. When it comes there will be no place to go, there will be no place to hide. What is coming  is evil. Not the personification of evil, but evil itself.
I have borrowed the idea for this title from the Ray Bradbury book Something Wicked This Way Comes. I felt this would set the tone like no other phrase could. The evil that approaches has nothing to do with the season of Halloween, nothing to do with the growing darkness of evening. The evil which approaches has turned love to hatred, interest to apathy, brother against brother. It is truly could be one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. 

We are vulnerable to this evil. Our great and pluralistic Republic has become fractured and bifurcated. We are split between winners and losers, red and blue, rich and poor, makers and takers. Our tax code has become a weapon for legalized theft as the wealthy are now eschewed by those who are not. Jealousy has replaced admiration. Greed is replacing generosity. In short, we are a mess.

The evil coming this way will take advantage of our confusion. It will take advantage on how some have clouded our perspective, muddied our history. Values which made our country great are now being replaced with selfish entitlements to things to which there is no claim. Hard work is being slowly and irreversible replaced with dependency.

Our great history and the facts which surround it are becoming ignored or interpretive. Numbers which describe our dire financial condition have become meaningless. Yes, evil is coming, and it is looking for fertile ground in which to dwell.

Years ago, when the Cold War was young, Nikita Khrushchev told us the Soviets would bury us. Even though spoken over fifty years ago, Khrushchev was describing the dwelling place evil always looks for. He was not describing nuclear war between our countries. He implied our system, our economy, our society would implode. When that happened, America would be finished and the Soviets would have won.

Today as compared to decades ago, our country is vulnerable and weakened. The evil which approaches from other shores now has a face. What is coming will not be a Cold War. It will not be a shooting war between nations. It will not be a Viet Nam type asymmetrical war. No, this evil will drag us into a new type of war. It will a war pitting fanatics and zealots of a religion against all who do not believe. Against all who are perceived to be corrupt. It will be the final act of a conflict which not only goes back centuries, but millennium. Some even say to the beginning. To Isaac and Ishmael. The zealots who want us dead are bloodthirsty killers. The are not afraid to die - in fact, they welcome it. 

Yes, evil is upon us. It knocks at our door. This evil can only be defeated with resolute hearts. The same hearts which allowed us to forge this great country by practicing out of many, one. To forget that, to reject that in favor of tribal rivalry, makes us no different than countries fraught with sectarian violence. To defeat this coming evil we must be united and strong. We must be able to recognize this evil and call it out by name.

We owe our forefathers better, we owe our children better, and we owe ourselves better.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Can we just take them to court?


"I hate bullies. Always have. Today's bullies reside inside the Met Council..."

One of the things I continually have been amazed by is how in the world the Met Council stays in business. How they are allowed to survive. They remind me of my youth when a bully would say, "I'm in charge!" If someone would dare ask "Who says?", the bully would yell back, "Me! That is who!" Today's bullies live in an artificial construct which is called the Metropolitan Council.

Like bullies of yester year, this group loves to walk around, chests puffed out, attitude and clenched fists. It is like they are saying, "Go ahead - I dare you to try and stop me!" In a way, they remind me of the Clintons. Even though the Clintons are knee deep in poo, they still dare anyone to stop them. But the Met Council are not the Clintons. The Met Council works for us. This unelected, unregulated and mostly unwanted group of bureaucrats work for us. They are paid by us. It is time to pull in their leash.

By now we all know this group started out as toilet flushers. Then by the magic of "mission creep", we allowed this biped to become a centipede. They have more "authority" now than one could shake a stick at. They have become like the computer in the movie "War Games". And nobody in St. Paul seems to have the recipe on how to tame this beast. Better yet, how to fire them. How to control them. It is time we take this group to court to find our just how much "legal" authority they truly have and just how they received it.

Most know one of the top plays in the Democrat playbook is to create regulators. Have the regulators tucked away neatly under anything statutory. Then, when a tidal wave of regulations are promulgated, they hide under the aegis of the statue. We have seen that in spades with the current Administration in Washington. That Administration is replete with unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats making life miserable for the rest of us.

Enough is enough. As part of the growing number of citizens trying to take back our country, we need to call out this group of posers. No more stacking the deck in this organization by a statist Governor. No more nepotism where the spouse of the Mayor of Minneapolis or Governor's Chief of Staff gets a ticket to ride. No more taxation without representation. No more unconstitutional mandates. No more, no more, no more! 

It seems today the major push back against this group resides in the hinterland of the metro area. That is fine. This is where many of the wagon pullers live. It is time to see our state House strangle this beast. Withhold their funding. Take them to court. Do something. Sunday liquor sales and gun silencers are good ideas, but we need to take care of the 900 pound gorillas first. And the Met Council is one of the biggest apes around.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Just when you think you have heard it all....


"Actually I am not even that upset these whoppers are told by elected officials. I am upset so many believe them..."

I have to tell you. I have heard some whoppers coming out of Washington over the past few years. Not just little whoppers - I mean the king sized whopper, extra cheese, bacon and everything else thrown on. But now another big whopper is coming out of St. Paul. And (supposedly) backed up by some metro sheriffs. First, some former whoppers to set the stage.

Al Gore - I would first like to give our former Vice President credit and congratulations. He is a rich man. And he became a rich man not by inventing a product which enhances lives. No he became rich beyond dreams by inventing a story. A story about manmade global warming. J. T. Barnum was correct when he said suckers being born every minute.

In 2007, Al Gore said our Artic sea ice could be completely gone by 2014. That be totally gone. Not even enough ice left to put in a cocktail. And it is our fault. We burn coal. We drive V-8 trucks. We eat meat (and as we know, cows fart). Well as we know from reading the FACTS last year, artic ice is doing just fine thank you. Plus in his movie "In Inconvenient Truth", it was pointed out when the polar ice cap started to melt, the sea level would rise a foot or more. Still waiting. For me, I was hoping that prediction was true. It would mean fewer miles for me to drive to an ocean beach.

Barack Hussein Obama - The hand off has been made. It was a lateral from Al Gore to our current President. And our President has taken this fable to a whole new level. Like making the use of coal almost illegal. Don't worry the nation gets 40% of its electricity from coal - we will worry about that another day. But the whopper in the story is this - our President, the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces, said the biggest threat we face today is not the Norks, not ISIL, not Iran, not China, not Al Qaeda, and not even Mother Russia. Nope. It is that dastardly thing called man-made global warming. And it is your fault. It is my fault. So our Pentagon is gearing up and getting ready to fight - a myth.

Governor Dayton - Yes the allure of very good BS has now hit close to home. I know, I know. Our Governor is also "all in" on the man-made global warming myth. But that is old news. One of our Governors new "pet rocks" is Pre-K. This vital, critically important program will be the panacea for all our ills. Not only will it erase the achievement gap metro schools (and make Rhodes Scholars out of everyone), it will also stop crime. And we have hard core, empirical evidence to support that assertion. What kind of evidence? The same kind used for man-made global warming predictions. In other words - none.

So for a "throw back Thursday", the hits just keep on a coming. Lies are good if they bring in money. Sometimes personal wealth as in Al Gore, other times government growth. Pre-K would be a bonanza for the state education coffers. And for the teacher's union? Let the good times roll!

My advise to all is simply this - keep you BS filters clean. With the amount of crap which is being spewed today, they can clog up very easily. And that is no whopper.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Gaia - where are you when we need you?


"Earth Day, Mirth Day. Is there a difference?"

HAPPY EARTH DAY! And let me the first to say how sorry I am for living on this planet. Sorry Gaia. I pollute. I eat foot. I drive. I even go to the bathroom. Depending upon nature, sometimes I even use more than 1 sheet of 1 ply toilet paper (sorry Sheryl Crow). I know - I bad.

Today, our climate loving national leader (our President) used 9,000 gallons of fuel to travel to the Everglades to talk about the GREATEST threat in world history to our planet. You mean ISIL? Sorry - he was talking about man made global warming. Plus he took "Bill Nye the Science Guy" with him! That is so cool! And they went to the Everglades for....whatever - it beats me.

So please, please...spare me the hypocrisy! Here is the truth. If you live on this orb, you pollute. We can talk about being "green" all we want, but if we live here, we are not green. I believe the Earth was created by our Creator (sorry - not Gaia, not you) to be our home. This is the place where we live. We eat. We toil. We procreate. Yes, we do propagate our species. And we love the thrill of having children, grandchildren, (and if blessed) great-grandchildren.

Truthfully most on my side do not litter. In fact, we don't pollute unless we are living in a house or driving someplace. So here is the question - how do we separate "Earth Day" from the myth of manmade global warming? Quite simple actually. To quote a good friend of ours, "We worship the Creator, and take care of the created". It is no more than that. If the Creator (God) did not want us to live, prosper and procreate here, He would not have made this excellent home for us. And here is were we dwell.

So tonight, I will have an nice supper, spend some time with my daughter and grandson, and watch some TV until I doze off. Will I feel guilty? Not a bit. Will I feel grateful? All the time. 24 X 7 on this planet.

A Problem for Little Mogadishu


"Is this part of our Brag Minneapolis campaign? That we have become a giant terror recruitment hub?"

We have big, big problems in our fair city. Our city, which is transforming right under our very eyes, has been referred to as "Little Mogadishu". And that name comes from some of the recent immigrants who have moved here. Yes, and we have some issues in our "Little Mogadishu". So much so, we have made just about every major national news source (again).

So the question I keep hearing over and over again is this - like the immigrants before them, will the Somali immigrants integrate? Assimilate? Will they put "Coexist" bumper stickers on their cars? Become part of our national fabric? Or do some of them want us to become part of their fabric? Can we discuss this issue without being called racist, jingoistic, or misogynistic by the "Loony Left"? I am starting to think these problems we are having with terror recruitment might just be the tip of the iceberg.

Why would I say such a thing? First off, this story goes back to almost the beginning of time. To Abraham. To his two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. And it goes forward from there. To the time when Christ walked the Earth. And after listening to Glenn Beck yesterday, the light switch really came on. When the Ethiopian Christians were murdered on the beach of the Mediterranean, one of the terrorists said this was a warning to "people of the cross" (Christians). And what is the problem that devout (or radical) Muslims have with Christians?

First off, Muslims do believe in Jesus Christ. Yes, it is true. He was a great prophet. And that is it. No more. Muslims believe that there is but one God - Allah. That is the basis of their faith. And it is monotheism. They look at anything but monotheism as being an affront to their faith. In their eyes, Christians have taken this prophet (Jesus) and elevated him to God. Plus Christians also believe in God the Father. That is polytheism. And that is an "oil and water" issue to the true believers.

Some true believers have chosen to become foot soldiers in the great battle which is going on in the Levant. The problem for people like Mayor Betsy, the Met Council, our Governor, and a host of other Euphorians is simply this - reality. There are no sidelines in this contest. Atheists, agnostics, gays, tree huggers, you name it - none are safe. In fact, if more people would PAY ATTENTION to world events, they would know what happens to gay people in strict Muslim societies. They tend to have very short life spans.

Will the terror war come to Minneapolis? I sure hope not. However, only people who wear rose colored glasses would say never. Even though our President does not believe we are a Christian nation, we are. And we also have quite a few Jewish people living here.

To assimilate, we need to accept our differences and "live and let live". After seeing how Christians are tortured and murdered in the Middle East and Africa, I don't think "live and let live" is in the cards. God help us all.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Let us please be smart this time...


"Sometimes us taxpayers feel like beggars just for asking for what is rightfully ours..."

Well, the battle is now joined. Besides the Governor, the Senate, and the House all having their budgets out in the open, the Republican led House published how they would cascade the surplus (and future taxes) back to the taxpayers. I looked it over, and it looked good - mostly very good. Now comes the tough part. The part that will make or break it.

One of the things the Democrats have always been better at is putting a face on a story. And it is usually a sob story. Here is a chance to do the same thing - just not the "sob" part of it.

I will address the low fruit on the tree - state income tax on Social Security. This should be a no brainer. However, the Left will come out firing on this one. Statements like, "how much it cost" and "the state really can't afford it". If the Republicans are smart, they can easily paint this as a nonpartisan, no-brainer issue. It is not just the Republicans who are being skewered by this most unfair tax - it is the Democrats, the Greens, the Independents, the politically agnostic as well.

We need to give real world examples in dollars and cents on how much money this tax cost an individual senior living on fixed income. For example, if a seniors effective tax rate is 6.875%, and that person received $17,400 in Social Security benefits for the year, the state tax owed would be $1,196.25. If the Social Security benefit receiver is married, and the spouse has the same benefits, it would cost the couple almost $2,400 a year. That is $200/month that could be used for food, the ever escalating insurance costs, or ever escalating utility costs.

The same is true for Minnesota veterans who are receiving military retirement. Those taxes should also be tossed. Again, this affects veterans on both sides of the aisle. Put a face on this issue. Our veterans, while serving, were not getting rich. For many it was a struggle. To tax them on the parsimonious retirement they are receiving is nothing more than unfair. Talk to retirees in Wisconsin - they don't pay state taxes on Social Security nor military retirement. Talk to people in South Dakota - they don't pay state taxes on any type of retirement.

One more thing in the Republican proposal that I would have liked to have included. And it addresses a problem which is right around the corner. Make Long Term Care insurance premiums deductible. Not part of them - all of them. If Long Term Care becomes too hard or too expensive for the average person to get, many will just "spend down" and go on Medicaid should they be in a long term care facility. And that will be a backbreaker for any state.

Anyhow, those are my thoughts this morning. We need to be smart, we need to be nimble. The other side is better and more experienced that we are. We need to do it right this time. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

The upside down wedding cake of education


"Question: What does our education system and an upside down wedding cake have in common? Answer: Just about everything!"

Well I might as well stay on my theme from this morning. Over the years, I have been amazed by the number of people I have talked to that don't know how many layers of bureaucratic crap we have in our education system. It is staggering. As we attempt to pare down the size of all our government(s), education is always a tempting and low fruit on the tree.

I know this will tick some people off. Public education is a pet rock to many on the left. They will defend it to the death, regardless of how bad the results are. And the results are bad in many schools. The amazing thing is this - how can the results be this bad when there is so much "help", and money, being poured into the schools. And just how much money is spent on public education? Buckle up. I will give you just a taste.

US Department of Education - This is the top layer (and the big one) of the wedding cake. Arnie Duncan is the Secretary of this gargantuan cesspool. Established in 1979 (please don't ask me why), it is puny compared to other cabinet departments. Even so, it employs 5,000 people and has an annual budget of about $70B. In violation of the 10th Amendment (my opinion), their job is to tell the states how to do their own public education.

Minnesota Department of Education -  This is the next layer down on the wedding cake. Not nearly as big as the top layer, it is still big. Minnesota spends about 30% of its budget on K-12 public education. That is about double what our surrounding states spend. 30% of a $26B budget (state dollars only in FY14 dollars), that would amount to almost $8B. That is a huge number for nothing but an oversight department.

District Education - This is the bottom layer of the cake, and by far the smallest. This is really where the rubber meets the road. Where the teaching is done. The school districts should be autonomous. The residents of the district, by the election of their local school board, should determine how their children are taught. Would it fix the malaise in education if we got rid of the top two layers of the wedding cake? Possibly. However, my opinion is this - maybe not fix it, but certainly improve it. PLUS - make the size of the Federal and state governments smaller.

During the Reagan Administration, the Gipper wanted to get rid of the Department of Education (as well as a few others). Even back then, when this department was less than ten years old, he saw it was as waste. But we kept it as the President did not have the backing in Congress to eliminate it. And since then, we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on it. During the past five fiscal years alone (including this one), we have spent or will spend around $350B. Think of how much money we could have saved if the Gipper had been successful in getting rid of this mess. 

So the next time the President, our Governor, or any of their cronies on the Left tell us we need more money for education, please try not to laugh out loud. On second thought, forget I said that. Please do laugh out loud, and do it for a long, long time.

Tax Reform


"Income tax, sales tax, gas tax, property tax, wheelage tax, death tax - we have them all..."

I think there is one thing most of us can agree on. And this is something that many people on both sides of the aisle might shake hands on. Our current income tax structure sucks. Now people may think it sucks for different reasons, but like I say, many think it does suck.

I believe to fix it, we first need to explore the universe of ideas. All should be listened to, and then debated. Just kicking the can down the street with our current system will not work. I know many favor the fair tax. Others favor the flat tax. Both have merits, both have some inherent problems. So just for grins, I am going to put something forward that I have been thinking about.

Before I start to explain my proposed system, let me first do a preamble. As most of us know, our Federal Government does way too much. Too much it was never intended to do. Too much stuff the states should be doing. Too much stuff the private charities and churches should be doing. What we have ended up with is a bloated behemoth that takes a large and complicated tax system to feed. And lots and lots of cash (ours).


Charity or church - To keep the highly inefficient government from trying to act like a worldwide and national charity, you will have an option. Should you give 10% of your income to a legal and viable 503C charity (say a maximum of 5% administrative costs), or a legal church, your flat tax to the Federal Government would be 10%. Should you decide not to give 10%, your Federal Income tax would be somewhat higher.

Federal Tax - As previously stated, should you take the charity and/or church option, your tax would be flat at 10%. One page. No deductions, no credits.

State Tax - If we are going to honor the 10th Amendment (States Rights), the states must also take back many of the tasks the Federal Government is now doing. We need to decentralize government as much as possible. Even if we put the state governments on a strict diet, there are still services which need to be done - especially if the states are taking those back from the Federal Government. The state tax should also be flat at 10%. One page. No deductions, no credits.

Local Tax - Again, to practice decentralization of government, many of the tasks the state performs can be flowed down to the local (county) community. Property tax would be flat at 10%. This tax would take care of country roads and bridges, schools, law enforcement, fire and emergency services.

Here is the sweet spot in the deal. Some might say, "Holy cow - that is 40% of my income!" True, it would be. But there would not be a nickel of tax paid on ANYTHING else. No gas tax, no sales tax, no liquor tax, no cigarette tax - nothing. Try to figure out sometime how much tax you really pay with ALL taxes taken into consideration. It is whopper.

Okay. I know I am going to take lots of shots over this one. But that is good. It will keep the conversation going. The IRS has had it's day and needs to be put to bed. Our current tax code is convoluted and we now know, has been used as a political weapon.

I am not married to the 10-10-10-10 idea. However, consider it a straw man. But it is an idea. We need to keep the conversation going at the grass roots level. And we need to hear some fresh new ideas coming out of our elected officials on fixing our tax mess. Not tomorrow - today. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A POX on both their houses!


"John McCain has said on the Senate floor that saying the government spends like drunken sailors is an insult to drunken sailors. Drunken sailors stop drinking when the money runs out."

Man oh man! Have I been hearing one thing over and over again as of late. Who is guarding the hen house? Is it someone trustworthy, or just another fox? Seems like in the past few years, people we have elected to go to either Washington or St. Paul get mesmerized by the view. Or intoxicated by the water. Or maybe just fascinated by the lofty perch they now occupy.

Disappointment has been the feeling du jour with Conservatives and Tea Party activists. The money keeps pouring into federal and state coffers, and the spenders are lined up "heel to toe" ready to commit the cash to "vital programs". The faces change, the names change, the results do not. We are on an express elevator heading downward with no brakes to stop us.

Consider the following:

State Transportation - This morning our local "unbiased" paper weighted in how they would solve our transportation "problem". Three solutions offered were as follows - taxes, taxes and then more taxes. They thought a good compromise would be something between the Governor's proposal and the House proposal. When I read the paper's compromise, it looked nothing like the House plan and a whole lot like the Governor's plan. Is the House going to state resolute and reject more taxes? Or will this be another trip into yesteryear when our elected Tea Party delegates turn into Democrat "Light" delegates. 

More Education Spending - Imagine my surprise when I turned on the television and there was a commercial sponsored by the Education Minnesota. What was it about? (Gasp!) More money for the darling children. Why? Because we don't spend enough on them. And now we have that big, fat juicy surplus. Plus Education Minnesota is now using their most favorite term - investment. Spending more money on our broken education system is an investment in our future. "Reduce the achievement gap!" "More Pre-K funding!" Blah, blah, blah. We spend a ton of bucks in the Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts and get miserable results from many of the schools. Under all this Education Minnesota pressure, we will see if our "stalwart guardians of the purse" stay true to their principles - or not.

Higher Ed - Yes, even the head of our University had now weighed in on what we should do with our projected $2B surplus. Seems he did not like the "cut" the University was going to get from the House budget. He wants more. He also wants some of that tempting surplus. Here is a guy making over $500k/year saying the University needs more. They always need more. In reality they need less. They need less and to learn how to do a better job with less. This is why we should NEVER put educators in charge of our education systems. We should have people with a business background who understand what it is like to live and prosper under a budget.

State Welfare - This one might step in some toes. I will say sorry in advance. Our state continues to be a magnet for not only people in this country, but also the world. Is it our wonderful climate? Not hardly. "Moneyapolis". Our very generous and seemingly endless welfare benefits.

Now it is crunch time. We have already seen some of our troops go soft and migrate to the dark side. Our state budget proposal seems like only "pennies" less that the Governor's or the Senate's budget. Our TEA Party principles seemed to have been left at the front door of the Capital buildings, both in St. Paul as well as Washington.

The TEA Party has been seen by the party faithful as the little Dutch boy, trying to save the dyke by putting his fingers in the holes. Seems that some of our representatives are like the little Dutch boy who has forgotten his mission. In fact, some are drilling new holes in the dyke.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Hello? Looking for the reset button...


"I suppose there is no chance to reanimate President Reagan. Because this current bunch has no clue how to operate this button..."

Please, please tell me we are not going back into another "Cold War" Did we really just commit 300 troops to the Ukraine? To "train" people? This is pouring gas on a fire. Now I think that Putin is a thug. If left unchecked that is. But the time for "checking him" in the Ukraine and Crimea is long over. Both the United States and Russia have bigger fish to fry. Whether or not our President or the Kremlin chooses to admit it, we are in a worldwide war with Radical Islamic Terrorists.

Back to Mother Russia for a minute. Putin and his staff are not stupid. They have seen what President Obama has done to our armed forces during the past six years. While Russia has been building up, we have been pairing down. When I was in the Navy, I always hoped there would never be a shooting war with the Russians. I knew we could take them, but it would be a tough, bloody fight. And if it went nuclear, everyone would lose. Today, I am not so sure if we could take them in a conventional fight.

As hard as it might be, we really need Russia (and China) to be on our side to defeat this new enemy. Left unchecked, Islamic Terrorists will go after every government on this planet. That is the ones which do not subscribe to Sharia Law. And it will not be pretty. This new enemy practices gutter street fighting. They go for their enemy's jugular, and they are not afraid to die in attempting to cut it.

Islamic Terrorists are equal opportunity haters. They hate Jews, the United States, Communists, Socialists, agnostics, atheists, gays, the disabled, and whoever does not believe exactly as they do, in the same fashion. Should you think just because you don't believe in God, you are safe - sorry, you are not. They have no time for the non-believers. The gay people in the Western World should fear this group more than anyone else on the planet. Should they be captured by the Islamic Terrorists, their chances of making it out alive are zero.

Back to the Reset Button. Forget it. This is for another day. Just like when the United States had to dance with the devil (Stalin) during World War II, we need to kiss and make up with Putin. And do it now.

There are a growing number of people in the world who believe this is the start of World War III. It will be a holy war. Maybe Armageddon. It might be Islamic Terrorists against everyone else. And we have seen how they fight. How they terrorize. How they kill.

So here is the new "Reset Button" for the world. WAKE UP! They are coming for you, for your kids, for your parents, for your friends, for your country. They take no prisoners, only severed heads. God help us if he don't push the button the right way. 

Back to an ugly future...


"It was the worst of times, brought on by the worst in people..."

This is an anniversary year. Most times, anniversaries are a time for celebration and remembrance. This one is certainly not a celebration - but I hope it is a remembrance. This year marks the 100 year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. A very, very ugly blot on human history.

There are many who will see this posting and decide not to read it. I can't really blame them. This is indeed an ugly story. But a story which must be told. Compared to the Holocaust against the Jews in World War II, the Armenian Genocide gets very little press. In fact, many of the genocides in the world during the past century get very little press. This one however, I fear may be getting ready to repeat. A different location, but similar players to the genocide 100 years ago.

A hundred years ago in the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey), in and around the city of Constantinople, a couple hundred Christian intellectuals were rounded up and executed. That event opened the floodgates. As the world was mired in World War I, hundreds of thousands more Christians were executed in that area of the world, some in the most heinous fashion. By the time the genocide had stopped, it is estimated that 1.5M people had died. However, the exact number will never be known. 

Well thank goodness that event is in the dustbin of history so we don't have to witness that type of carnage anymore. Or is it? During the past couple years, thousands of innocent Christians have been killed, wounded or displaced from Syria, Egypt, Iran, Libya, and Africa. And the players are similar to the ones 100 years ago. Christians being hundred down like dogs and murdered by Muslims. And similar to the Arminian Genocide, many times killed in the most brutal fashion.

Many years ago, George Santayana offered his famous quote - "Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it." What is happening today, to innocent Christians, bears this quote out in all its truth. We are repeating the past. And just like 100 years ago, the world is doing nothing.

So I will not say "happy anniversary" as this year marks anything but. As cries for justice
continue to rise from the souls of the million plus Christians killed a hundred years ago, they are now joined by new voices. Voices of the thousands killed in the past few years for committing the same crime as the Armenians did - simply being a Christian. 

Friday, April 17, 2015



"Man, it is good to live in a land of unlimited (tax) money!"

We are big time now. Big, big, big, big time! We have more stadiums than one could shake a stick at! And now we might get yet one more! What a life! What a country! What a waste...

In the real world, this type of stadium planning would not cut it. It is a huge waste of money. Money. What money? And whose money? The "Bank" stadium at TFC is open for revenue business a few (about 7) Saturdays in the fall. The place is seldom filled up, and at times the student section looks like there had just been a bomb scare. Some question what was wrong with the University sharing a stadium with the Vikings. Answer - nothing. Many Gopher fans liked it better at the Metrodome as the tailgating was much, much better. However, due to special and selfish interests, the "Bank" was built. And taxpayers got stuck with this $300M lemon.

Now "Dollar Bill" McGuire wants some tax considerations to build yet ANOTHER stadium in our urban playground. This one is cheap at half the cost. But there will be a cost to the taxpayers. Tax favorability leading to lost revenue, and who knows how the cost of annual upkeep will be shared with the taxpayers.

Here is a stunning idea. I know, I know. The Vikings had to use the "Bank" for two seasons while the new Taj Mahal was being built. We will forget that for a minute. What if we had a true multi-purpose stadium downtown? One that the Vikings, Gophers and a new soccer team could use? The stadium would cost a wee bit more as a retractable roof would have been needed. This would have been important mostly for the soccer games, so "Dollar Bill" could have ponied up that cost. Each opportunity the stadium had to be used would have been another revenue opportunity. Right now plethora our stadium(s) have as much chance of paying for themselves as our light rail train system does.

St. Paul has the Xcel Energy Center for the Wild, and soon the NEW Saints (CHS) Ball Park. Oh yes, one more thing. The taxpayers are also helping on the new Saints $63M CHS stadium. So are the toilet flushers on the Met Council.

Minneapolis of course still has Target Center (which is going through a $150M renovation), $400M Target Field, Vikings Stadium (~$1B) and the fore mentioned proposed soccer stadium. And the lightly used, modestly attended TCF "Bank" stadium.

I don't know about anyone else, I am about stadiumed out. We have found out from the Twins that building a fancy new stadium does not change the product being offered. The Twins still suck. It just costs more now to watch them suck. As for me, an ordinary taxpayer, please keep on building stadiums. Maybe tennis will be next, so we can host an event like Wimbledon. I will just bend over and take it. Over, and over, and over again.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

And what if?


"He was a bad man. A very bad man indeed. Could he have kept ISIL at bay? Good question..."

Recently we have found out this bloodthirsty band in the Middle East called ISIL is NOT a JV team. So a question which seems to pop up more and more frequently now is this - Would ISIL exist if Saddam Hussein was still in power? In other words, if the United States had not gone into Iraq and deposed of Saddam, what would the Middle East look like right now? And if we had left Gaddafi in power. Or if Mubarak was still in power? In know, I know - this is the "what if" game.

I want to first address Saddam Hussein. Many of us can remember his naked aggression towards Kuwait in 1990. He invaded a sovereign state. In 1991, under the aegis of the United Nations, the United States led a large coalition on nations and removed Iraqi troops from Kuwait. However that war did not end with a defeat - like many recent conflicts, it ended with a negotiated peace treaty. And that treaty had stipulations. And should those stipulations ever be violated by Iraq, it could be "game on" all over again.

Well Saddam did break that treaty many times. There were subsequent UN resolutions condemning Iraq. Legally, the coalition could have gone back into Iraq at any time when the peace agreement was violated. Finally in 2003, the United States had enough. Saddam was a bad man. He used Mustard Gas on the Kurdish people in northern Iraq. He used chemical weapons on the Iranians during the 8 year war. The United States took care of what the United Nations should have.

The same is true for Libya. Even though it is not getting as much press and Syria and Iraq, Libya is a hot, hot mess. There really is no functioning government there. Even though Gaddafi was not the thug Hussein was, he was no saint either. Terrorists and criminals run free through the streets of many of Libyan cities. Egypt - not as bad. Egypt seems to have had the good sense to put the adults back in charge. ISIL will not have a free ticket to ride in that country.

My guess (and that is all it is) of how the Middle East would look now (if Hussein and Gaddafi were still in power) is this - it would still be a cauldron, only a different cauldron. ISIL believes strongly in the prophesy of the 12th Imam as well as living under Sharia Law. Libya, Syria, Egypt and Iraq all have (or had) secular governments. Would ISIL have been strong enough to topple these four governments? I don't know. That will be a good question for future historians.

Back to reality. No more "what if". This morning it was reported that ISIL had captured three more towns in Iraq. The "Iraqi Army" is rag-tag at best and in shambles. If the United States (or someone) does not enter the fray to back up what is left of the Iraqi Army, I am afraid Iraq will fall. If that happens, the world will once again have a front row seat to unfettered genocide. Stay tuned. I am afraid the Middle East is about to go from very bad to worse than bad. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Saudi Arabia - Friend or Foe?


"In life, it is important to know that your friends have your back - not stab you in the back..."

I don't think I am the only American who was bothered after the 9/11 attacks by the nationalities of the hijackers. 15 of the 19 were citizens of Saudi Arabia. We all know who the Saudis are, right? Our friends, one of our closest allies in the region. Right? Maybe not. And now it has been disclosed that retired Senator Graham (D-FL) is looking into an old allegation the Saudi government had a hand in the attacks. Not just 15 of their citizens, but the government itself.

When I first heard this on the news a few days ago, I thought it was a delayed April Fool's joke. We have had a good relationship with the royalty in Saudi Arabia since John Paul Getty went over there to help set up their oil business. We have known for years the dominant minority religion in Saudi Arabia is Wahhabi - ultra orthodox Islam. Many think Saudi Arabia is the current home for Wahhabi. Some believe that Wahhabi was the cornerstone faith of the hijackers.

Back to Senator Graham. Love him or hate him, the Senator does have some "street cred". While in the Senate, he was a chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee during and after the 9/11 attacks. He spent 18 years in the Senate and people who know the Senator describe him as cautious and not easily cowed nor misled. He along with some others, believe there are still many pages of damning evidence the FBI has in the past, and continues to withhold.

Trust me - I am not a big conspiracy theorist. I have never bought into the "truther" theory. The theory the US Government was behind the attacks. For me, that is simply a bridge too far. But Saudi involvement? That is almost as hard to believe.

But what if it is true? What possibly could have been their motive? And if we prove it is true, what do we do? Go to war with the Saudis? Destroy their Kingdom Tower to pay them back? Nuke Mecca? It is all bad. If Senator Graham is on to something, and there is a modicum of truth to this allegation, it will result in one the biggest and hottest messes this country has been in.

This story might just be a tasty morsel which will soon be gone, or it might grow legs. It is good to keep it on our radar until we find out. The last thing any of us need right now is for the cauldron in the Middle East to get any hotter.   

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Whose "Rights" are right?


"My freedom, my right to swing my fist ends at the tip of your nose..."
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

There was a very interesting discussion on the thread of one of my postings the other day. It had to do with rights. Rights is a topic so fundamentally important to our way of life, yet we sometimes take the genesis of our rights for granted. I know I do.

My position on rights is very simple. Yes, I do subscribe to the analogy that Oliver Wendell Holmes used. To paraphrase, I can do anything I want until in infringes on someone else's rights. That is where my rights end. I love that way of determining our rights. It just makes sense.

I also believe our rights and our freedoms are two peas in a pod. A saying I had on my study wall when the girls were growing up simply said, "All men are born free. Someone just needs to take that freedom away." What I meant by that is we all are born with natural rights. Many believe these are God given rights. When we pop out of the womb, we are totally free, armed with a plethora of rights. And that is the way it should stay unless someone (voluntarily or involuntarily) takes those rights away.

Our Bill of Rights enumerates our natural rights. Our Declaration of Independence addresses our right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". These are natural or unalienable rights. Should we voluntarily decide to give up some of our natural rights to a government, we then receive legal rights from that government. However, should we not decide to give up our natural rights, our founders believed that those natural rights should always trump legal rights.

So where does that lead us? Today there are many on the "Left" who believe we can't handle our natural rights. We need a 'Big Daddy" government to come and supersede our natural rights with legal rights. However many of us believe otherwise. Our natural rights are the cornerstone of our liberty.

Our Second Amendment is an excellent example. By definition, a person should be able to go out and buy any type of gun, own as many guns, as buy as much ammo as that person desires. This is a natural right. However, should that gun be used for evil purposes, where it infringes on someone other's rights, someone's life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, that natural right would be replaced by the government's legal right.

I liked it when this discussion developed on my posting. We need more discussions like this. We don't teach nearly enough of this subject in our schools today. Way too much Common Core and other confederate teaching going on by left leaning unionists. Sorry - I should not be so harsh. However, our First Amendment reminds me I have the natural right to do so.   

Monday, April 13, 2015

One bad penny...

"He is like a bad penny. He keeps showing up, and the worst time and in the worst places..."

This is a tough one for me. Why? Because I have such a visceral dislike for this man, it will be hard to keep this civil and factual. But I will try. I am going to be addressing the biggest racial arsonist in our country. And he is supposed to be a "reverend". Yes, it is "Reverend" Al Sharpton I will be talking about.

The "Reverend" Al is quite accomplished in his theological training. Not really - poor stab at humor. He was ordained by some Bishop in the Pentecostal church at age 9 (no, that is not a joke). He later became a Baptist, but I guess somehow he got the "Reverend" title to stick with him. He has had very little college and zero theological training at any kind of seminary. Truthfully, he is no more a "reverend" than any of the rest of us.

So where did this shill, this phony, this racial arsonist get all his power and authority. Plus, please don't let me leave out he is now a millionaire (and a tax cheat). Quite simply, Al and his bullhorn have learned the fine art of legalized extortion. He threatens boycotts, sit-ins, protest marches, you name it. Does he ever try to heal wounds like a legitimate man of the cloth would do? As the wrestler Steve Austin would say, "That is a big hell no!"

In the paper today, it said our friendly "reverend" is down in South Carolina. Why? This case is a slam dunk. It was clearly an unfortunate case of second degree murder by a cop making a very poor choice. However, I will say this. In each of these cases where a black man was killed by a cop, be it in Ferguson, New York or now South Carolina, there is one commonality. If each of these men had just obeyed the lawful order of the police and did not resist nor flee, they would be alive today.

In any event, the cop in South Carolina has now been fired, he is in jail with no chance of bonding out. So why is Al Sharpton down there? To inflame. To make things worse. To gain even more power at the expense of others. Our "lemming" President insists on having this phony over to the White House time and time again. I don't see a true man of God like Franklin Graham invited over to the White House that many times. And Reverend Graham runs a life changing ministry in Samaritan's Purse

Enough of this rant. My wife thinks this is just a waste of ink talking about this guy. It just gives him more attention. Attention he does not deserve. So I will stop now. I will think of something much more cheerful to write about tomorrow. Or not.