Saturday, September 30, 2017

Our future with the "beamsplitter"





"As I finish this article up, I have this one vexing question. What am I going to do with a laptop that operates at the speed of light? Is there anything they can do to get my fingers to type any faster? Probably not!"


I have said many times, if mankind can keep from blowing itself up, if we can avoid getting hit by a comet or an asteroid, and if the Tribulation does not start in October of this year (like the Christian numerologist said it would), we could have a very bright and exciting future in the next decade. How so? All these "gee whiz" science projects, which have looked upon in the past much more like science fiction than science, are going to come crashing together as science to help create a "Brave New World".

What is driving this huge change more than anything else? Computing power. Greatly reduced size and greatly increased speed. In other words, we are about to really kick the infamous "Moore's Law" right in the old buttinski. Rather than doubling the speed of data every year, it is about to go up by a million times or so.

Every time I am out shopping, and the clerk is working a terminal cash register which is slower than molasses, I often quip, "Speed of light, huh?" I say that why? First off, to inject a bit of humor in the situation. But mostly because (theoretically), computers are suppose to operate at the speed of light. Then why don't they? Because it is our fault. We clutter up the computing system with too many things which do not operate at even a fraction of the speed of light. So many times instead of a hare, data moves at the speed of a tortoise instead.

But hold on! Help is on the way! Both IBM and Intel are working on a beamsplitter. What the Sam Hill is a beamsplitter? I would have to let my high school engineering pal, Gary get into the nitty gritty of the technology. All I know about the beamsplitter is this - it is integral to keep the speed of data traveling at the speed of light. When the light source carrying the date comes into the terminal, the information must be split to get into the correct nanotechnology circuit boards - built so small, that data can continue to travel at the speed of light. How small is the nanotechnology circuitry in the terminals which will use the data? About 1/65th the size of a red blood cell. And without a functional beamsplitter, all that reduced size would be worthless to keep things traveling at the speed of light.

This breakthrough is going to change everything. Robotics, 3-D printing, computing,
data storage and extraction, transportation, medical science and energy. Is this going to happen in the next fifty years? Nope - next six to seven years. In fact, the beamsplitter will be out of the lab and in field testing as early as 2018. Our world in the year 2025 is going to look a whole lot different than our world in 2017. 

Before the year 2030, many of us will look back at these years and laugh at our anachronistic folly. We will have hundreds of unused train tracks and stations sitting around; tens of thousands of idled wind turbines in farmer's fields; and gasoline refineries waiting to be sold to a buyer who can tear them down and convert them into something useful.

One of my friends asked me a while ago how I find information on  some of this newfangled stuff. I go on the tech blogs, the tech sights, the tech companies web sites, and so on. The information is all out there. I am just scratching the surface. And there in abundance more every month. Information on hundreds of new items being tested in the labs. Items which will change and improve the lives of all mankind.

As I finish this article up, I have this one vexing question. What am I going to do with a laptop that operates at the speed of light? Is there anything they can do to get my fingers to type any faster? Probably not! That is - until bionics also kicks in.

Katrina 2.0










"What do we need to do right now for Puerto Rico? Something similar to a Marshal Plan. Time is a wasting. People are suffering. Some are dying. Excuses and blame will not cut it. Only life saving results will."



I really struggled with the title of this article. Part of me wanted to name it "Haiti 2.0" instead. If you have not guessed by now, this article is about the relief efforts going on in Puerto Rico. There are some similarities to Haiti, in that both Haiti and Puerto Rico are islands not that far from our shores. And both Haiti and Puerto Rico garnered some relief supplies which sat (or are sitting) at the ports rather than being sent to the people. But here is why I settled on Katrina 2.0 instead.

Katrina was not about corruption - the relief effort to Haiti after the earthquake was. Katrina was about inefficiency. Massive inefficiency. And the inability of county, state and federal relief agencies to work together. In the aftermath of Katrina, people died. A lot of people. And a lot of those people who died did not have to. 

The Mayor of San Juan (Puerto Rico) was on the news this morning. She was crying as she was trying to do a presser. "We are dying here! We need help!" As good as the needed aid was to arrive in a timely fashion in Houston, is as bad as it has been in Puerto Rico. It has been nine days since Maria essentially made mince meat out of Puerto Rico's infrastructure, and many people on the island have not seen one drop of water nor one crumb of food coming from rescuers. 

I also learned a new term this past week - "zombie apartments". Those are the high rise apartments in San Juan which are just sitting empty right now. Why? No electricity to use the elevators. And even if one could get top side to check on his or her apartment, with no electricity, the rooms would be unbearably hot and there would be no fresh food to eat.

Once the dead have been buried, the storm damage cleaned up, and the infrastructure restored, I am sure there will be a "lessons learned" exercise done by FEMA. Well, I don't need to wait that long. I will now give you my take:

  • The way we provide relief to an island community who has suffered a natural disaster is abysmal at best. Both Haiti and Puerto Rico have been classic fails. After Katrina, we have gotten much better at providing relief for CONUS cities after hurricanes, but that is about it.
  • Puerto Rico should have had "all hands on deck" when it appeared the storm was going to make a direct hit. Having only half the national guard mobilized was not a good play.
  • Here is the money line. Seeing how crippled up this tiny island is without an electrical grid, just imagine how crippled up our nation would be in the event of a cyber attack on our grid, or God forbid, an EMP strike. And for those who think that "living vertically" in downtown is trendy, make sure you check out those "zombie apartments" on the news tonight. That could be you if something happened to our electrical grid.
What do we need to do right now for Puerto Rico? Something similar to a Marshal Plan. Time is a wasting. People are suffering. Some are dying. Excuses and blame will not cut it. Only life saving results will.




Friday, September 29, 2017

The Amazon Canard





"We could end up hosting Amazon for a boatload of TIF money and other concessions, and end up with a huge building bristling with robots, AI computers, and drones." 



Well, well. One of more business unfriendly states (that be Minnesota) is now jumping up and down, and screaming for attention. From whom you might ask? Amazon. Amazon is growing so fast, it has now determined it will need another major hub somewhere in North America. At first, our state's planners looked at this deal with the same jaundiced stare they gave to Wisconsin when was flirting with Foxconn. Give up all those TIF dollars and concessions, just to get a "maybe"? But on second thought, that "maybe" might be a pretty good deal.

I suppose since I brought this subject up, I should give my take on Amazon. First, please forgive the bias. I love Amazon. I am a prime member. I greatly respect Jeff Bezos. It has been many years since we have had a captain of industry like Bezos. He is an iconoclast. He has changed retail in the United States - maybe forever. 

But for similar reasons why I really respect Bezos, I am also going to throw out the yellow flag. Unlike his running mate Elon Musk who stays awake at night fearing the dark side of AI, Bezos is counting on it. Not only AI, but more sophisticated robotics which will greatly improve the efficiency of his distribution centers. It is no secret that Bezos as taken the "on demand" concept of everything and put a jet pack on it. His goal? Whenever possible or plausible - same day delivery.

So what is the canard Bird? You have something against a bit of technology improvement(s)? Not a bit. However, those 50,000 jobs which are being waived like a carrot for all bidders to see, might end up being half (or more) mechanical. And besides all of which, Hawaii is seldom like the post cards. Many people up in the iron range remember getting stung by the NWA/Delta maintenance base which somehow vanished in a cloud of dust. The end result? No added jobs and a huge empty building.

Here is my biggest fear. As we know, most government workers have trouble screwing in a light bulb. One has to look no further than the MNSure mess or the Stadium Commission debacle. Amazon on the other hand, have some pretty sharp cookies working for them. My concern is if talks get serious with Minnesota, they (Amazon) will bring in their sharpies to negotiate with Elmer Fudd. I can see Amazon really waltzing us around the May Pole. Anything, anything, to show Wisconsin we also can land a "Foxconn" like deal.

Anyhow - that is my take. It might be one of those "be careful of what you wish for" moments. We could end up hosting Amazon for a boatload of TIF money and other concessions, and end up with a huge building bristling with robots, AI computers, and drones. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Foolish tax cuts






"Yes, I am very, very disappointed in this 'once in a lifetime' opportunity to fix our way out of date tax code."


Are all tax changes foolish? No, but many of them are. I have to say, I am somewhat less than impressed with what I have seen so far in the long (can I say that again?), L-O-N-G awaited tax reform bill. Why do I say that? Some of the biggest winners will be those who claim the standard deduction. Good - they will need it, as the personal exemption is going away. And with the personal exemption going away (along with some other deductions), some who have waited anxiously for some tax relief might end up paying more when all is said and done. Huh?

Here is what many of us our here in the hinterland were hoping for:

  • Either a fair or flat tax system. Fair would be better, but we would settle for flat. What this plan is just more of the same.
  • Abolish the IRS. It is a corrupt system which has been weaponized by both political parties. However, with what we saw with Lois Lerner during the last administration, that really took the cake.
  • Fix the outlandish corporate tax rate we pay. Good. Some progress there. However, I would favor a zero tax rate for corporations. Why? The tax a corporation pays is just a cost which get rolled up into the cost of goods sold. When that happens, it is just a buried tax which the rest of us end up paying.
  • Eliminate the death tax. Good. Got that one right. Even though Uncle Bernie thinks that is "criminal" to let families keep their own money rather than hand it over to the government, getting rid of this is the right thing to do.
  • President Trump was very careful to say that the middle class is going to be the big winner and the rich will be the losers. However, most financial experts I have listened to the past day or two disagree. To correctly sell this to the public, giving real world examples to show how everyone save the top 1% would benefit. Sorry - after ObamaCare and our $2,500 savings on health care premium promise, many out here are a bit skeptical.
  • Debt? What will it do to our $20T in debt? I have heard, "It might impact it at first, but in the long run it will be fine." Really? Never heard that one before - NOT!
  • Seems the 35% top rate might actually stay at 39.5% for the richest of the rich. However, for the richest of the rich, that really does not matter. Much of their wealth comes from investments - not ordinary income.
Yes, I am very, very disappointed in this "once in a lifetime" opportunity to fix our out of date tax code. (Yawn)....boring. The devil is always in the details, and I am afraid once the Democrats get done carving this thing up, nobody will want anything to do with it. Me? I keep wondering how we could have mucked this thing up so bad. 

By the way, anyone heard about the progress on the GFY 2018 budget? It is due to be signed no later than Saturday night at midnight. Oh, that's right. On September 8, 2017, the President signed a CR to the current budget which "kicks the can down the street" until December 8, 2017. That one slipped right on by me. I thought only the debt ceiling got delayed. For a Congress and Administration who promised NO MORE CR's -EVER!, all I can say is -WOW!

Looking into my crystal ball, this is what I can see for the rest of the year. 1) Regardless of what Senator Graham said, healthcare reform under the title "repeal and replace" is done forever. The process of trying to triage ObamaCare will begin (in a bipartisan fashion) in earnest. 2) The proposed "tax reform" bill is going nowhere. It is a POS. Just like with "repeal and replace", I am afraid we will squander this opportunity also. 3) Get ready to see the GFY 2017 CR and debt ceiling issue kicked down the street far into 2018. December 8, 2017 will come and go with little fanfare.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Armed to the teeth





"And if they force us into something ugly, we stand ready to unleash everything but the kitchen sink at them. That would be all weapons at our disposal, both known and unknown." 



What is happening right now is very interesting, and also most of it is happened behind the veil. Due to the non-stop and escalating truculent of the North Koreans, the two nations which are closest to the cross-hairs (Japan and South Korea), are becoming armed to the teeth. On deck to this arms build up - Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and others in the Middle East. What would move them from the on deck circle to the batter's box? More evidence that Iran is developing a nuke with a plausible delivery system.

The North Koreans might not know it right now, but they have opened Pandora'a Box. Even though most of what Japan and South Korea are arming themselves with weapons which are defensive in nature - not all of them are. But as far as the defensive weaponry is concerned, both of our allies in the WestPac are getting the best of the best.

They are both getting the current revision of the Standard Missile 2 - either block 3 or block 4. This technology has been around since I worked at BAE (left in 1999), and it has just gotten better every year. It can fly high, it can fly fast. And it is very lethal.

Japan is also scheduled to get the next installation of AEGIS Ashore. Plus maybe some THAAD to go along with their Patriot System. And that is just what we know about. I am sure there is much more which is being kept under the covers.

Putting the anti-missiles aside for a minute, if we can just keep North Korea and Iran contained for five years, their nuclear issue might become somewhat moot. Not too long ago, I read a very interesting article about laser technology being developed at Lockheed Martin. The land based and sea based development is doing very well, but the airborne still has some technology issues to overcome. Lockheed Martin believes five years is all they will need to to have a weaponized laser ready to go. One which can shoot down missiles.

It is a shame that the world has to spend this much money on armament. But humankind has been like this since Cain and Able, and we are not ready to beat our swords into plowshares. I guess we could thank the North Koreans for one thing. Because of their sprint to get a weaponized ICBM developed, we also are sprinting with our defenses against such a weapon. 

I also read about some pretty scary kinetic weapons we have at the ready. I am sure there is more stuff ready which we have never heard of. North Korea needs to know something beyond a shadow of a doubt. They think they are about to establish parity with us. But they will not. We are decades ahead of them in everything. And if they force us into something ugly, we stand ready to unleash everything but the kitchen sink at them. That would be all weapons at our disposal, both known and unknown. 


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A new rabbit hole....






"So that is the new rabbit hole I was looking down. What are we doing? Who are we protecting or aiding? Territory, protectorate or state?"


Okay kids. We are about to go down a whole new rabbit hole. Why? To find out why we have allegiance to Guam and/or Puerto Rico. I know - they both have delegates to our House of Representatives. But what are they? They are not states. Are they territories of the United States? Maybe. And maybe they are protectorates. Or maybe they are both protectorates and territories.

If you read the definitions of territory and protectorate, it does not get much clearer. In the definition, protectorate is a small colony which is "protected" by a larger nation. Protected how? By force? Kind of like we said we would protect Guam. But is Guam a protectorate or a territory? Good question. They have a delegate in our House of Representative. So that is like a territory. But we protect Guam like we do a protectorate. Hmm.

How do I know about protectorates? I lived on one. For a year and a half. Until Okinawa became part of Japan, it was a protectorate of the United States. But no longer. It is fully integrated into the country of Japan. Not an easy transition however - some on Okinawa wanted to remain a part of the Ryukyu Islands. But - in 1972 it became a part of Japan.

Guam however, is still a territory or protectorate of the United States. What does that mean? We are all in for the defense of Guam. That means Anderson AFB and their very large Navy base. We will PROTECT Guam from nuclear attack from the Norks. Does that make Guam a protectorate? Probably not, as it also has a delegate in our House of Representative. 

How would I fix this? No more territories or protectorates. Either cut them loose or make them states. Yes, I know - Puerto Rico is broke and bankrupt. But warts and all, they are part of us. Same with Guam, and all the other minor territories. Cut them loose, or make them a part of us. Sorry - that is the way I feel. Living on Okinawa as a protectorate really sucked. You really did know where you were. I would have much preferred it was part of Japan, the Ryukyu's, or the USA when I was there.

If the Norks attack Guam, will we protect them? Yes. Will be come to the aid of Puerto Rico after the hurricane? Yes again. Will we treat Guam or Puerto Rico any different than one of our continental United States, Hawaii or Alaska? Not a bit. So, what is the solution? Make them states, 51 and 52.. Make them a part of the USA. In know, I know - they all have warts and bruises. But many states we have incorporated also did.

So, that is the new rabbit hole I was looking down. What are we doing? Who are we protecting or aiding? Territory, protectorate or state? To make things easy, let's make them all a state. Why do I like easy? Because it is easy. And more important - it might be the right thing to do.


Justice served...





"One final thing in tying Carlos and Hillary together. The former Mrs. Weiner who worked for Hillary during the blizzard of classified emails which were not handled properly, was just a guilty as Hillary."



I am trying to find a sob or a regret in the house this morning for our good friend, Carlos Danger - or as others know him - Anthony Weiner. A smug, arrogant little Democrat from New York, he threw away a career in politics and a marriage just because he has a (dare I say it?) sex addiction. Some might call him a pervert and be perfectly justified in doing so. But the reason I think he has an addiction is this was the second time (that we know of) that he was busted for the same crime. 

In any event, Carlos Danger now has to report to the "big house" in early November to serve twenty-one months with people from all over who have done all kinds of unsavory crimes. In those twenty-one months, he will either come out a much better man, or - not. He will not be referred to as "Congressman", or "Mr. Mayor". Nope - just inmate.

One might wonder why justice was served in this issue, and his ex-wife's ex-boss (that be Hillary) is floating around Scott free. Any ideas on that one? I sure don't have any. But Hillary is not the only perp walking around after demonstrating that justice in this country is not that blind after all. There are many. And it is wrong.

For little people like me, when I had a high government clearance the rules of the road were made very clear to me. The code of conduct was made very clear to me. And the consequences for violating my clearance or my code were also made very clear to me. If I stepped over the line by just an inch, I could of (or would of) lost my clearance in a (sorry Carlos), New York minute. Hillary had thousands of infractions which would have put the average person in jail. At the minimum, cost the person his or her clearance. Hillary - no problem.

One final thing in tying Carlos and Hillary together. The former Mrs. Weiner who worked for Hillary during the blizzard of classified emails which were not handled properly, was just a guilty as Hillary. They both had high clearances and mishandled hundreds, maybe thousands of classified documents. In fact, many don't understand how Uma received a clearance in the first place considering her families alleged ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. But then again, maybe the criteria for getting a clearance was different under the Obama regime.

So good-bye Carlos. I hope you get a good cellmate, and not a guy called "Brutus". Try to get better while you are serving your time. You still have a child, and that child deserves a father. A father who is a dad, and not a perv. Like I say, try and get better. Your child deserves better.






Monday, September 25, 2017

Abe's Bomb in the Basement






"Does Abe have "stuff in his basement"? My guess is yes. Time for Little Kim, aka 'Rocket Man' to behave. He might not like the outcome if he continues on this quest." 



Some might wonder why Japan puts up with so much BS from this twerp on the Korean Peninsula. I know I sure do. But there might be more here than meets the eye. Even though over forty years ago, Japan signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, there might be something cooking in the kitchen. Or as the experts say, the basement.

As we know, Japan has had nuclear reactors for years. The rumor is these reactors have been producing plutonium for many years now. Much has been stored in secret in Japan, some in France and some other places. If you believe the rumors, the Japanese have enough plutonium to make 5,000 bombs. That is almost as much as we have, and darn sure more than the Norks have. 

I have reading about this "rumor" with some bemusement. I am reminded in the not too distant past when the Israelis were rumored to have some nukes. Some program called "Jericho" or something. Then after years of denying it, the Israelis have come clean. Yes they have nukes. Maybe twenty or something. I will bet on the "or something". After dealing with the Israelis on some programs in my working days, I do know this. Besides keeping their cards very close to their chest, what they do produce is top notch. I would not be surprised if the Israelis have a butt load of plutonium stashed away just like the Japanese do.

Some might ask why the Norks and the Iranians are on a nuclear path when the Saudis and Japanese are not. Is it they not, or is it we just don't know. The brazenness of the Norks might be the key which unlocks Pandora's Box in Japan. Some experts think that the Japanese are only six months away from being able to weaponize the plutonium they have. Having the Norks overfly their airspace twice now with a missile might put that schedule up a bit.

Do I worry about the Japanese or the Israelis being able to defend themselves? Not for a second. And if the Saudis get the bomb, they will be capable also. According to the Christian numerologist, who said last Saturday would start the "beginning of the new age", the Tribulation will begin in late October. If this is true, we are in for seven years of big time suck. Having nukes bristling all over the globe would sure fit into that scenario. 

One thing Little Kim needs to know is simply this. He is not the only one with "toys". Japan has taken care of Korea in the past, and will do it again if it has to. Does Abe have "stuff in his basement"? My guess is yes. Time for Little Kim, aka "Rocket Man" to behave. He might not like the outcome if he continues on this quest. 


Healthcare Trauma





"Some might think this is pie in the sky, but help me out here. The path we are on right now is going nowhere. ObamaCare is broken, and the fixes put forward might be worse. Or better. We simply don't know."


I have said this before many times. Obama and Pelosi really did a job on this country with ObamaCare. Back in 2009, there was an opportunity to improve an already great healthcare system. The envy of the world. But no - we let politics and ego get involved. Politics from the then Speaker of the House (that be Ms. Nancy) and ego from POTUS (I have GOT to have a signature achievement!). Any losers here? The American people, that is all.

Right now, many are mad as hell at John McCain. I am not, and I will tell you why. This repeal and replace vote is half baked. The "cure" being put forward to "fix" ObamaCare might be worse than the disease. Why do I think that way? Nobody seems to have a straight answer if this will be cheaper or more expensive, insure or uninsure more people, or what. It is that same dark tunnel we looked down when Ms. Nancy said, "We need to pass the bill so we can understand the bill." So we passed it, and now understand it to be a POS.

Here is my take, and I really am trying to take politics out of it. Why? We can't afford the games. We need solutions. Citizens are getting killed by ObamaCare's sky high premiums, deductibles and co-pays.

First off, we need a national discussion (NOW!) on all our entitlements. Real truth talk. Our country is graying. Therefore, our Social Security recipients, our Medicare recipients are going up every year. If we decide we are going to do "Bernie-care" (Medicare for all), we need to know what that means. Cost-wise, service-wise, and debt-wise. To keep the politics at bay, we need facts. And the truth. The unvarnished truth.

Some want to go back to market based insurance. Okay - what does that mean? Will some people be uninsurable? If so, how many?  Pre-existing conditions? Are they covered or not? What I have heard is this. Whereas "Bernie-care" is coverage for everyone at some unknown cost, market based insurance might be coverage for some, but not all. I took enough math in school to know that too many variable in an equation make the answer an unknown - or a guess.

This is one of the suggestions that Trump has put forth in the past, which I think is correct. We got into this mess by excluding one side of the table. To exclude the other side for the "fix" will be a non-sequitur. The fix will affect everyone and therefore needs to have the input from everyone. Everyone from Libertarians like Rand Paul to Socialists like Bernie Sanders. EVERYONE needs to have skin in the game to fix this mess. Let me say that again - EVERYONE.

And if this fix (any fix) going to explode our national debt even further, that has to be part of this national discussion also. Then a basic question needs to be asked. Is the national debt even relevant? Is it dangerous to our economy? Or is it just smoke and mirrors. Most of us don't know as we don't hear our leaders talk about it much. If it is determined to be dangerous to our economy, what is the fix? We need all four of our entitlements involved in any national debt fix.

Until we can answer these questions, enough of this charade in Washington of fixing ObamaCare with something unknown or untested. This country does not need anymore division right now. Fixing our healthcare mess as a team would certainly help. 

Some might think this is pie in the sky, but help me out here. The path we are on right now is going nowhere. ObamaCare is broken, and the fixes put forward might be worse. Or better. We simply don't know.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Downtown...






Everything is waiting for you, downtown...downtown...downtown....

Downtown
Petula Clark



For those who do not regularly read the Sunday Star and Tribune, I urge you to do so today. In particular, the editorial section. The editorial board, as well as a contributing author, really took it to Minneapolis. I know, In know - I write about this city often. What it has become. But today's paper put it in words that I never have been able to.

The article which was the most poignant was written by a young man who moved to the infamous Warehouse District of the North Loop in Minneapolis. He moved there in the year 2000. Why? For the city life. The excitement. The ability to walk just about anywhere and find eateries, entertainment, culture, you name it. And right after he moved in, he did find what he was looking for. But that was then, and this is now.

This young man could not believe how much things had changed in the seventeen years since he moved downtown. He has gone from loving it to hating it. Why? (And this was not in the article - rather my own take) - he is watching Minneapolis morph from the City of Lakes into a smaller version of Chicago. Crime, shootings, brawls, aggressive panhandling, you name it, has made being outside at night in Minneapolis a virtual no-man's land. 

Gunfire which at one time was rare, is now common to the extent it is heard on a weekly basis. From his window, he can see victims of gang violence rolled up into emergency vehicles to be taken to the local hospital (or morgue). The vibrant city life after a sporting event is over has never materialized. Once the event is over, many folks from outside the metro area, just want out - and fast. 

Things really get sketchy after the 2 am bar closing time. Our parents were right when they said nothing good happens after 2 in the morning. What have the city planners, in particular the City Council and the Mayor done about this mess? Nothing. The Mayor is more concerned about harboring illegals from President Trump, and fighting global warming. The City Council? They are just as bad, if not worse.

Just like Minneapolis, Chicago has ignored their crime problem in the City. Hello? Coming up on 500 murders by shootings this year. Death by violence in Chicago has become so common, people are immune to the shock of it. Downtown? That is just a place to stay away from. Like a toxic zone.That territory has been ceded to the street thugs. And Minneapolis is on the same trajectory.

It is nice to hear our very liberal Twin Cities newspaper be a truth teller on this issue. Downtown? Not any more Petula Clark. It has gone from a wonderful, exciting place to a venue of crime, injury and death. Same on the Mayors of our large cities who have allowed this decay. Shame on all of them.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Taking a knee...





"Thanks for nothing, Mr. Kapernick. You have screwed up some of our college players and now even our high school players. President Trump is right on this issue. Get your poop in a group or go find something else to do." 


Oh boy! He said it - he really did! Once again, President Trump said what many of us only have had the guts to think about in silence. He called out the football players who kneel during our National Anthem. Said they should be thrown off the team if they kneel.

Many of these primadonna athletes have had a silver spoon in their mouths since middle school. They had the world handed to them once they got into high school. BMOC for four years. In their final year or two of high school, college scouts come hanging around. Then come the scholarship offers. While their classmates had four years of hard work and debt to look forward to, the primadonna football players got free education and free tutors for four college years - all because they knew how to play a game.

After college, some of these primadonnas are drafted into pro teams. Some can get some very lucrative salaries. How lucrative? Making far more in one year than most folks make in a lifetime. And what are these primadonnas doing while our National Anthem is being played? I mean, these primadonnas who were treated like royalty during high school, receive a free college education, and then make more money than 98% if the country while playing the same game. What do they do for appreciation? They take a knee. Wah, wah, wah. They have been so very screwed.

Now the NFL is madder than hell at our President. And so are the Democrats. In fact, some Democrats are imploring ALL NFL players to take a knee tomorrow when our National Anthem is played. If they do, this is what I think will happen. There will be a resounding "CLICK!" as televisions are turned off. I know mine will be one of them. I also think many fans will walk out of the stadium, regardless of how much they spent for their tickets.

How much has football changed since I started watching it? Bud Grant, who is one of the finest coaches ever to walk this Earth, one of my heroes, had some very simple principals. One - no fancy shoes. We all wear the same uniform. Two - no sideline heaters. This is a game played in all conditions, and it is survivable. Three - (and this is big one) - no celebrations in the end zone. Why? Bud said this is what we are paying you for.

If Bud could go into a time tunnel and coach today, how would he react to players disrespecting our flag by kneeling during the National Anthem? I don't think it would have been pretty. First off, Bud had the Leroy Jethro Gibbs "death stare". If you screwed up, you knew it.  Number two, and even more important - Bud knew what was right. If you wanted to "kneel" when the colors were displayed, maybe the Bears or the Lions could use your talents. Because Bud did not need you anymore.

Thanks for nothing, Mr. Kapernick. You have screwed up some of our college players and now even our high school players. President Trump is right on this issue. Get your poop in a group or go find something else to do. If you don't - the NFL will go the way of the Dodo Bird.




Friday, September 22, 2017

Off the grid! What grid?





"I am thinking these storms might have an impact on not only those whose homes were affected, but also the new, yet to be released tax reform bill. Timing is everything. And the timing for the tax bill could not have been worse."



This storm which hit Puerto Rico was something else. It had barely come down from a weak Cat 5 to a very strong Cat 4 storm. Puerto Rico, who had been spared many strong storms in the past (mostly, due to the water to the east not being as warm as it west of her) took one on the chin from Maria. Just like Irma did to St. Martins and St. Thomas, Maria pretty much wrecked the island of Puerto Rico.

The ferocity of this storm was such that it did something very unusual. Rather than knocking out the power to part of the island, it knocked out the entire island. Over 3 million people, in this sub-tropical climate, are now living without power. Here is the real oddity however. To restore power, a new power grid will have to be built and installed. Why? The old grid is "gone with the wind".

I know the number one priority will be to get the juice back on as quickly as possible for the island. I was thinking however, since the grid needs to be totally replaced, wouldn't it be nice to get some lemonade out of this lemon? Take this opportunity to replace it with a "smart" grid which is also robust. One which could handle a natural or unnatural EMP event?

One article I read said this storm threw the island back into the dark ages. Without electricity, not much works. On a larger scale, this could happen to America if we got hit with a solar flare, or if the "Rocket Man" ever get lucky and get explode an EMP bomb over our country. Then we also, would be back in the dark ages.

I do know this country is going to be on the hook for fixing what has been broken in Puerto Rico. Just like with the American Virgin Islands. It would be nice to replace what has been broken with something which is better. Not only better, but tougher. Ready to withstand the next punch from Mother Nature better. 

If the estimates are correct, and Puerto Rico will be without power from 4 to 6 months, living down there might be out of the question for many people. Not just because there is no air conditioning, there will no way to store food. I am thinking there is going to be an exodus of people coming to the mainland until the island is once again habitable.

I don't know how much this trio of storms (Harvey, Irma and Maria) is going to cost this country, but it might be as much as a half trillion dollars with all is said and done. I am also thinking these storms might have an impact on not only those whose homes were affected, but also the new, yet to be released tax reform bill. Timing is everything. And the timing for the tax bill could not have been worse.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Walking while chewing gum....





"Stay tuned folks. I have heard the Speaker say many times that Congress can walk and chew gum at the same time. Well Mr. Speaker - now it the time to prove it."



Here it is, a drop dead gorgeous afternoon right before the start of another beautiful Minnesota autumn. That new season starts on Friday. Did I mention the fact that the world was suppose to end on Saturday? Never mind - already covered that. What I did want to talk about was not the end of the world, but the end of the year - the government fiscal year. Don't worry - we have plenty of time. Like a bit over a week.

Coming back from an ill advised five week vacation, Congress had a HUGE to do list. Even with working 24 hours a day, and if all the stars were lined up, getting everything done by the end of September would be daunting. But hold on. Right before the boys and girls of summer got back to work, we had an unannounced visit from a storm named Harvey. And did Harvey ever do a job on Houston! Not only Houston itself, but also our biggest gasoline refinery. What a mess!

Just as money and relief supplies were pouring into Houston, another small storm was spinning up off the coast of Africa. Soon, it got big enough for the weather folks to gave it a name - Irma. And Irma was growing into a monster storm. 

By the time it got to St. Martin, Irma was a strong Cat 5 hurricane with winds hitting 185 mph. It about wiped St. Martin off the map, and then hit St. Thomas with similar results. Still strong after St. Thomas, it then hit the north shore of Cuba and did a whole lot of damage. From Cuba, Irma set its sites on Florida. Even though the trip by Cuba caused Irma to lose part of its punch, it was still strong enough, and wide enough, to affect the entire Florida peninsula.

Shortly thereafter, a major earthquake hit Mexico City, and Hurricane Maria all but ruined Puerto Rico. Meanwhile back in Washington, Congress has still not finished the GFY 18 budget (due October 1st), settled the ObamaCare mess, nor the long awaited tax reform. Can Congress be a friend to all these places which just had natural disasters and still get their job done at home? In other words, can they still walk and chew gum at the same time? I will bet they wished they had those summer vacation days back. 

Stay tuned folks. I have heard the Speaker say many times that Congress can walk and chew gum at the same time. Well Mr. Speaker - now it the time to prove it. The President has told all who were impacted by these disasters that "we are with them, 100% of the way". Time to spit the gum out Mr. Speaker - time to get to work.



Mediate this Dayton!






"If you want more of the same starting in early 2019, vote for one of the clowns in the clown car. If you want normal government with normal governance, and a business/senior/citizen friendly environment - vote Republican. Not only for Governor, all the way down the ticket." 


If we are not the laughing stock of the nation right now, we sure should be. The man who was voted one of the worst Senators of all time by Time magazine, is living up to his reputation. He has actually eclipsed "The Body" in acting like a total buffoon while sitting in our Governor's chair. And if it were not for the Minnesota Supreme Court being stacked with Dayton appointed leftists, we would not be doing this dance right now. But we are, and Minnesota is going to pick up the tab for it.

I think it goes without saying, that Mark Dayton is referred to as "Marx" for a reason. Like most progressive statists, he HATES the fact that citizens believe the money in their pocket is theirs. Oh contraire, that money belongs to the STATE! Which gets to the nut of the nut in this entire post session kerfuffle. Those dastardly Republicans had the stones to offer the people of Minnesota some tax relief! And they put a "poison pill" in the tax bill so Dayton was "forced" to sign it.

So what does Dayton want out of this so called "mediation". He wants his money back. He wants to undo most everything which was agreed to in this past session. He wants a "do over". Like a little kid who lost a parlor game, he has now turned the game board over and threw the game pieces at the wall. "Wah, wah, wah", said the little rich kid.

Every time I hear this man talk, or witness his actions, I am simply amazed. Amazed on how he could have defeated a fine man like my Congressman, Tom Emmer two elections ago. And even more amazed after seeing what a dunce he was in his first term, how he could have defeated an equally fine man like Commissioner Jeff Johnson in the last election. Many of the people in Minnesota (mostly in the Twin Cities), must have been on some kind of mood altering drug when they went into the voting booth (both times).

Well, Dayton's term is up in a bit over a year. Somehow, we need to survive this guy. The DFL clown car is already filling up with progressives, statists, lefties, and weirdos to be the next Governor. Fortunately, the Republicans have some very fine people also running to fix what Dayton has ruined. To let the people keep more of their money. To make Minnesota business friendly. To make Minnesota senior friendly.

If you want more of the same starting in early 2019, vote for one of the clowns in the clown car. If you want normal government with normal governance, and a business/senior/citizen friendly environment - vote Republican. Not only for Governor, all the way down the ticket. We need to rid this state of this disease called progressiveness. We can't do it with all these DFL hacks in there feeding the beast.

By the way, just as an aside, one of the candidates running for Governor this time around is Jeff Johnson. I am supporting Jeff for many reasons - one of those is he is a true conservative. How much so? His lifetime rating with the Minnesota Taxpayers League is 95%. I wonder what "Marx" Dayton's rating is? 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Is this the end of the world as we know it?







"What does this mean? Live for today and plan for tomorrow. If the end of the world happens tomorrow, and if you are in the faith - it is all good. Live your life and plan for tomorrow - that sage advice has never changed."





Okay. Maybe the smartest man in the universe was correct (that be Steven Hawking). We should have found another planet to live on. The world is coming to an end of Saturday. Now to be honest - I don't know which time zone nor which time. It could be Friday night if it happened in the WestPac. Or it could be 9 am EDT - or something like that.

Now some Christian numerologists are saying this is the right time and the right place. Many others in the faith are saying this is nothing more than hogwash. So where would we go? Is there somewhere safe? Calm down Earthlings. Let us first look at the facts. First, we are suppose to "end" by the collision with another planet. Which one? They are all in their usual rotations. Unless it is Nibiro - the infamous "Planet X". Even if Nibiro has been hiding behind the sun, it would have to haul a** to get here by Saturday.

So what is the right play? Live your life. I am planning to have a nice ham diner on Sunday. Yes, that is the day after Saturday. In spite of the hurricanes, the earthquakes, or whatever - we will all probably be here on Sunday. Why Sunday?  According to the Holy Bible, no man knows the time nor the date. So it could happen this weekend - or not.

So to my friend who might be cowering (I believe that number to be very low), fear not. I will say again - fear not. When the time comes, and if you are okay, it is all good, But I have been through this end of the world crap since 1969 when Jean Dixon said the slide of California into the ocean would start the end. Hello? We are still here!

What does this mean? Live for today and plan for tomorrow. If the end of the world happens tomorrow, and if you are in the faith - it is all good. Live your life and plan for tomorrow - that sage advice has never changed.

Betsy Hodges for Mayor!




"So good luck Minneapolis. Your City Council is a clown car, and your field of candidates for Mayor is like something out of a comedy."



I would like to go on record by joining my fellow Minnesotans Tina Smith and Al Franken with a full throated endorsement of Betsy Hodges for re-election. After looking over the field of candidates, I have decided that Betsy has some qualities which rise above the rest. Which qualities? In a crowed field of commies and progressives, Betsy has consistently had the most hair brained ideas. Therefore, for a city on a rapid decline, Betsy is the one to keep driving it into the ditch.

This endorsement did not come easy. There is Captain Jack Sparrow (yes, that is his name) who offered a compelling vision of what he would do to the City of Lakes. And the dark horse, Raymond Dehn almost beat out Betsy. This convicted felon wants to disarm the police in Minneapolis and turn them into London style Bobbies. Now that - is vision!

But Betsy is still my choice. For a city which is becoming ever so gentrified, with an escalating crime problem, Betsy recently laid out her vision for the fair city. Her two biggest issues - global warming and fighting Donald Trump. This woman has a future which lies way beyond the City of Lakes!

The business leaders like to cozy up to Jacob Frey as he might be one who is less loony than the rest, and might listen to common sense. Might. Even though he has raised a bundle of cash, his standing right now is in the middle of the pack instead of being a front runner. 

One of the things which really drew me to Mayor Hodges is her courage. After the Diamond shooting, Mayor Hodges abruptly fired the Chief of Police for being on vacation when it happened. Of course, also right after the shooting, the Mayor hopped on a plane and flew to the west coast to attend a fund raiser. Talk about chutzpah! Collecting money from the Hollywood lefties in a time of crisis! Only a special type of person would do something this brazen!

As a conservative, I like to always point to the city of Minneapolis. Why? The City of Minneapolis is exhibit "A" on how not to succeed. Be it traffic, schools, crime, poverty, you name it - the "blueness" of the city is starting to hollow it out. This once proud and great city is nothing more than a shell of what it once was. Many people don't even want to visit there anymore. And because of people like Betsy Hodges, who continues to drink her own bath water, she, along with many other progressives, think Minneapolis is Nirvana. Huh?

So good luck Minneapolis. Your City Council is a clown car, and your field of candidates for Mayor acts like something out of a comedy. In the paper today was a story about how black families continue to flee the city's education system. News flash - it is not only black families who are fleeing, and not only because of the education system. Wake up and smell the coffee Minneapolis. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The sudden death of the apology tour





"Today, at the United Nations, with the entire world watching and listening, Donald Trump sounded a whole lot more like Reagan, and a whole lot less than Obama."


Wow! I knew it might be good, I had no idea it would be this good! We now have a President, who instead of genuflecting to the esteemed United Nations, rather put them on notice. And put them on notice he did! The man everyone was afraid would embarrass this country instead acted like the leader of the greatest country on Earth. He did this country proud.

By the way, not just the United Nations got put on notice. North Korea also got to hear it from the horse's mouth rather than his tweets. In no uncertain terms, he told the Norks if they continue on with this path, they will be vaporized. Okay - he did not say vaporized. He said completely destroyed (which in my book might be the same thing). To add insult to injury, he called Little Kim, "Rocket Man". Sorry Elton - had to borrow that term for effect.

And Iran? Holy cats! He as much as called Iran the biggest exporter of terror on the globe. Then he said (in so many words), the "treaty" we have with them is a POS! Hey Iran! You have also been put on notice. It is no longer Bebe blowing the whistle on you. President Trump has your number also. And unlike Bebe and Obama, Bebe and Trump are on the same page when it comes to your nuclear ambitions. Think we are going to let you become the next North Korea? Fat chance buster.

The Islamic State did not get off the hook either, nor did the country of Venezuela. Not since the days of G. W, Bush, when he called out the Axis of Evil, have so many bad guys been put on report at the UN. One word of caution however, to the brass at this worthless organization. Before you come up with a retort for Donald Trump, know this much. He is keenly aware of what and how much we sink into this joint every year. And how little we get out of it. Will he pull the plug on the UN? (Excuse the expression) - In a New York minute. 

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Our new sheriff in town is starting to feel his oats. The "Rocket Man" should know his days are numbered. Well. maybe he may not know it, as he is used to dealing with a "paper tiger". This sheriff, along with his chief deputy, Jim Mattis, don't believe in The Mouse that Roared.

No, they both come from the Colin Powell school of how to win a war. Powell said, "I don't believe in a fair fight. I like to go into the fight with overwhelming odds in our favor. First I like to find the head of the snake, cut it off, and then kill the snake." That with some minor paraphrasing was General Powell said right before the Gulf War started in 1991.

I know. Many on the Left are missing Obama reminding the world of what bastards we have been in our past. And we are so, very sorry for it. Reagan on the other hand, liked to gently remind the world that we saved it from despot regimes - more than once. That we are the "bright shining city on the hill".

Today, at the United Nations, with the entire world watching and listening, Donald Trump sounded a whole lot more like Reagan, and a whole lot less than Obama.


The Don-ing of the UN





"But what they use for peace keepers, resembles the "F" Troop more than soldiers trained to keep the peace. Maybe instead of blue helmets, they should have been yellow - for obvious reasons."



I don't like the UN. Have I mentioned this before? Maybe a few dozen times. So let me say it a bit stronger. I have a strong antipathy towards this rag-tag collection of useless PC cowards. Stronger message to follow. We all know the history. After World War I, which everyone thought was "the Great War", we established the League of Nations to ensure this type of war would NEVER happen again. We all know how that worked out.

World War II spelled the demise for the feckless League of Nations. After the war was over, the United Nations was formed. Why? To ensure this type of war would NEVER happen again. The United Nations was going to be the global peace keeper. However, since the dawn of the United Nations, we have seen many wars, a protracted Cold War which took us to the edge of a nuclear showdown, torture, genocide and on and on and on. The UN does however, know how to social engineer. The UN's publication Agenda 21 is proof positive of that. 

Today our President is going to address the UN. Supposedly, he is going to "lay down the law" about North Korea. Plus the Iran "non-treaty". What do I hope he is going to say? Do your job. Right now, you are about as useless as ice cubes at the North Pole. And what gives us the right to tell the UN all this? We have every right to scold the UN. We pay the lion's share of annual dues - about $8B a year. And - we are the landlord to this organization. 

Can you imagine a world without the UN? I can. It would look ---- a lot like this one. The UN is so ineffective, so feckless, if it went away nobody would notice. That is, except the progressives. We could turn the former UN building into a nice office tower or a upscale hotel. But Bird! Who would write all those resolutions when a country (like the Norks) misbehaves? Nobody. The UN resolutions which are written today are only good for fish wrap, fire starter or toilet paper. 

I am hoping that our President tells this esteemed group of bureaucrats this is their final warning. Become relevant, or we are pulling the plug. Do your job, live up to your charter, or leave. If the UN was truly interested in world peace, they would not only be taking the Norks to the woodshed, but also any nation (China, Russia) who help the Norks through the back door. The UN would mandate an embargo, a blockade, or whatever it takes to get the Norks to disarm. But no, they (like Obama) just write nasty letters and wag their fingers.

What about the peace keepers should the UN go away? If the UN really had peace keepers, they would be missed. But what they use for peace keepers, resembles "F" Troop more than soldiers trained to keep the peace. Maybe instead of blue helmets, they should use yellow - for obvious reasons.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Playing not to lose





"And South Korea - you are on your own. We will give you and Japan weapons which will give you parity with the North. But for us - we are done. Not just a little done - we should be done forever."


Have you noticed that every war (conflict) we have been involved in since our victory in World War II, has not resulted in a victory? We either play to a draw, or not to lose. Even the stellar victory we had in 1991 in the first Gulf War. We kicked butt and took names. We could have gone right into Baghdad and effected regime change right then and there. Could have saved the Iraqi people a whole bunch of suffering. But nope - after we kicked Iraqi forces out of Kuwait, we took our boot off Saddam's neck. Big mistake.

But the grand daddy of them all, the place where we have spent tons of bucks and sent thousands of troops year after year, - is South Korea. And for what? The armistice was signed in 1953, for crying in the beer. And we are still over there. With over 25,000 troops and spending about $750M a year (after South Korea kicks in the other half). Using my "bunny math", I am guessing we have spent north of $30B since hostilities ended. That number is much, much higher in Afghanistan, and we have only been there since 2001.

I guess as a citizen, as a retired vet, I can ask this question. What is the end game? Is it to still play to a tie? To try and not lose? Do we have a path to victory? I know, I know. The citizens don't want to hear what that is. Why? Because it is ugly.

The United States remains the world's greatest super power. We have "toys" in our toy chest which would rattle the soul of the fiercest hawk. Could we use them? Oh, yes. The collateral damage? Next subject please. If we were like the Russians, we would not give two toots and a holler about "collateral" damage. But we are not them. We are us. And we don't play that way.

So, here is the truth. Why are we sending another 3,000 troops into Afghanistan? Is it to win the day? Allow that country to be free and experience a democratic way of life? Or is it to continue to "play for the tie", and not to lose. Just asking.

As far as South Korea is concerned, I would tell them this much. Your capitol, being a stone's throw from the 38th, is hampering our defense of you. The year is 2017 - we are ending this right now. We will either end the threat along the DMZ (done with great harm to Seoul), or we are leaving and you can figure it out. After almost 70 years, we are done.

Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan - get ready for bad news. We are not playing "peace keepers" or "tie breakers", or "nation builders" anymore - we are just going for the "V". And South Korea - you are on your own. We will give you and Japan weapons which will give you parity with the North. But as for us - we are done. Not just a little done - we should be done forever. Good luck and good hunting.