Mike Rowse A voice from New Mexico

9Feb/160

Quick Hits

quick hits

It's time to relabel Bernie Sanders; he's not a socialist nor is he a Democratic Socialist. Now Bernie's is espousing his "brand of neoliberalism" according to a pundit I was listening to on Fox News. Why can't he just come out and say what he is and let people judge him based upon the truth? He believes it, he's been spouting his beliefs for years and pushing our country to adopt the philosophies of Marx and other 'populists', but now that he wants to run for national office...

I've listened to a lot of people say the Super Bowl was no good, it was a low scoring, turn over riddled game. Let's see, if you believe that, then you are minimizing what half of each team did; how hard they worked and how good they were at what they were supposed to do; the defenses controlled the game and kept the offenses from scoring a thousand points. Isn't that what they are supposed to do? I think most of the people stayed tuned because they enjoyed the game. It was close and there was a chance for Carolina to win right down to the last few minutes. It was after all the second highest rated Super Bowl of all time; just shows you what the pundits know.

So now if you are female and don't vote for Hillary, there is "a special place in hell for you". Really, don't vote for Hillary based upon her merits as a potential leader, but vote for her based solely upon the type of plumbing she was born with. That's according to Madeline Albright who was speaking at a rally attended by a lot of younger women. Ok, so if Jodi Arias were the lone female running for office, we are supposed to vote for her? That's what you are saying Ms. Albright. To me, these types of arguments set back women's rights because they continue to encourage others to treat women differently solely based upon their gender while expecting that men will be judged upon their merits.

Obama is proposing a $10 a barrel tax on oil. The oil and gas industry is reeling; companies are going bankrupt, people are being laid off, and he wants to add another tax to the industry? That will add between $.25 & .35 to a gallon of gasoline, which increases the cost of all goods purchased by consumers. That hits the working poor the hardest because they have to spend a bigger percentage of their income on the increased cost at the pump and/or the cash register. But this is Obama's plan to kill the fossil fuel industry and force us to switch to more expensive, less efficient, and not so environmentally friendly alternative energy sources.

The 10 year Treasury bond is now yielding 1.75%. That has the markets nervous because the 10 year T bill is a bell weather for the strength of the economy, especially the long term prospects for growth. To be at 1.75% is not the all time low, but it's pretty darn close. The Fed is not going to increase interest rates for most of this year because they know the economy is weak; the GDP for most nations has been revised downward; the Feds also know the truth about unemployment, that the real unemployment number is still well over 10%, another sign of an unhealthy economy. A cut in corporate tax rates would help tremendously, including allowing companies to return foreign earned profits to the U.S. without being double or triple taxed; that would help and then interest rates could increase. Essentially, if 10 year T bills are being purchased, it's because investors don't have faith in the strength of our economy and are looking for someplace to just protect their principal without earning really any return.

I was listening to someone discuss Lady Gaga being selected to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl. This person was praising Lady Gaga for being a risk taker and leader in our culture. She is not a risk taker; people expect entertainer's to do weird things. Let her put on a 'meat' dress and try to sell a 2 bedroom, 2 bath walkup in today's market; now that's risky.

5Feb/160

Time for a little history

The War

It is February and time for a little American history with a hat tip to Elbert Lee Guillory. The photos are of the black representatives and senators elected from the south after the Civil War. Note that every one of them is a Republican. From 1860 to 1880, blacks voted and held office. Then something happened; Democrats took control of the South and drove out not only blacks but Republicans as well.

The Democrats were then able to impose voting laws, segregation, discriminatory practices, and Jim Crow. Not until the 1960's with the help of the Republicans and against fierce opposition from southern Democrats, did the black community begin to rise out of the pits once again.

The more you know...

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4Feb/160

MLK is rolling over in his grave

MLK

The dream is dying. I'm not going to repeat myself by going over the litany of examples of how our country has progressed towards racial equality; if you can't see it you don't want to see it. But in the last seven years we have taken huge steps backwards in 'race relations'.

There is the usual furor over the lack of blacks in head coaching positions in professional sports, although I don't hear a lot of complaining about the dearth of black coaches in hockey or soccer. And this year the complaining about not enough minorities, aka blacks, in the major Oscar categories. Of course the complaints are always based in arguments about equality; equal representation for minorities.

Isn't it funny (not in a good way) that black activists don't want equal representation in 'their' award festivities? BET awards didn't feature one non-black that I could see. In fact, in the promo for the NAACP Image Awards, the host says the reasons to watch are because blacks are nominated, blacks will win, 'blacks". So I guess equality and all of those catch phrases only work when blacks want to be part of something else and not when they have their own celebrations, teams, etc.

Back when Michelle Obama attended Princeton, she was part of an activist group called 'Third World Center' or TWC for short. The group's board was reserved exclusively for black students and they claimed every white person was racist even if they didn't know it yet. Sound familiar?

When Princeton's administration decided to force students to room with a student of another ethnicity, TWC's members were livid. They argued that forcing black students to room with non-black students would harm the support system available to black students. Princeton ultimately caved.

Fast forward 35 years and TWC is alive and kicking. Chapters at NYU, UC Berkeley, Oberlin, Claremont McKenna, and several other colleges are making similar demands. They are calling for 'safe spaces' devoid of anyone but black students or other specific students of color; so they may be segregated from white students. The claim is that campuses dominated by whites are oppressive, discriminatory, and represent institutionalized racism. The group wants entire dorms or at least entire floors for example dedicated only to students of color.

Doesn't have separate but equal facilities go against everything that Dr. King and others fought for? Didn't Brown v. Board of Education make it clear that separate but equal was not acceptable? The Civil Rights Act of 1964 said the same thing. Integration was the only acceptable solution. Can you imagine if white college students demanded segregated facilities? It would make national news and those students would be excoriated and ostracized; rightfully so.

But that is the state of our society thanks to our educational system these days. Equality really doesn't mean equality does it?

4Feb/160

Carter sees Trump for who he is…

Trump

When this presidential nomination race began, I was leaning towards Scott Walker and Ted Cruz. Both had shown that they can stick to their conservative principles in spite of overwhelming pressure not only from the opposition but those in their own party.

Then the Trumpster entered the fray and like moths drawn to a flame, a lot of people from all over the political spectrum began flocking to support him. Donald said a lot of the right things about immigration, war, economic policy; although there wasn't a lot of detail about how he'd accomplish those goals. Yet, the way Trump spoke, what he said and how he took on his critics attracted a lot of people.

I was intrigued, not so much about supporting Trump but about how his message was bringing in Americans of all demographic groups. And how he was really ticking off the liberals, the media, and the political establishment. If he was making all of them mad, then he must be saying and doing something right.

But there was always the lingering doubt in my mind. I'd heard Trump speak glowingly of Hillary and Bill Clinton and their policies. Trump had said on multiple occasions that he supported universal healthcare, taxing the rich more (including those who make $200,000 a year) and supporting other liberal policies. While there's no doubt I'd vote for Trump over Clinton or Sanders, there was always doubt in my mind about Trump and what he'd really do as President. My fear was that he was a typical politician, say what you need to say to get elected and do what you want while in office.

Trump's own books revealed what he really believes at his core; the art of the deal is asking for the outrageous and you'll end up where you want to be in the end. That's pretty typical for most elected officials.

Enter Jimmy Carter who probably articulated what many of us were feeling about Trump and Cruz. Carter was speaking to the UK Parliament and said he would support Trump over Cruz any day of the week and twice on Sunday. His reasoning: Cruz has conservative principles to which he will adhere and fight for vigorously. Trump is malleable and has no fixed opinions.

There it is in a nutshell. Carter says correctly that Trump doesn't have any fixed opinions and can be manipulated to act any way you want him to act. It's all about appearing to win for Trump. With Cruz, he's proven his conservative principles matter and he will pursue them vigorously and consistently and Carter can't have that, especially since Cruz can articulate sound reasons for sticking to his guns in the face of heavy pressure to compromise and be 'bipartisan'.

If Trump wins the Republican nomination, I will vote for him just to make sure Hillary, Sanders, or Biden stay out of the White House. At least with Trump you'd know that economic policy will favor free market capitalism and he might actually stumble into enacting other conservative programs. But for now, why not support the one person in the race who has taken a stand for his principles and stuck with them consistently?

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3Feb/160

Quick hits

quick hits

I was waiting in line at a local restaurant behind 2 older couples. They were talking about the new bridge on Highway 90 leading out of town. The discussion was about the sidewalks on each side of the bridge with the fencing that curved over the top of the sidewalks so as to prevent someone from either jumping off the bridge or throwing things off the bridge. They were not very impressed by the fencing and didn't think it was necessary, especially given the expense involved. I wasn't really paying much attention until one of the husbands said that the bridge wasn't high enough for anyone to jump off and die. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. This bridge is a good 50+ feet high and spans a road and almost dry creek. The road is on bedrock; that isn't very soft. I'd say it would be very easy to kill yourself by jumping off the bridge, especially if you were serious about it and went head first. His comment really made me wonder how he'd lived so long; that's weapons grade stupid.

North Dakota is being hurt by the low oil prices. This year the state is facing a $1 billion shortfall in expected revenues and anticipated spending. Now the Republican controlled state government was forward thinking in that they actually planned for this eventuality. They know from history that the oil and gas business is cyclical, boom and bust. So when things were good, they not only spent a lot of money but they saved a ton. They are in position to be able to make up the shortfall with money they put aside for a rainy day. Imagine that! What a concept. And they have plenty left over. I also have one other question; ND is one of the most sparsely populated states in America; what the heck are they spending billions of dollars on each year? So much spending that they would have a shortfall of $1 billion. Is every citizen getting free health care, royalty payments, a weekly massage?

I was watching a National Geographic program about China. Part of the show talked about a desert in eastern China, I forget the name. But it's unique in that it's a high desert and is qualified as a desert only because of the lack of rainfall. It does get very cold and has some of the most bitter winters in recorded history. The temperatures regularly are among the lowest on record each year. But it was the explanation of why it gets so cold that got my attention. The narrator said that the reason this desert gets bitterly cold is because there is not a nearby large body of water to help warm the desert. Wait, what? That doesn't jibe with the climate change arguments. When there are huge snow storms in the northeastern U.S., it is blamed upon the lake effect snow and the warm water evaporating into the atmosphere, then returning over land in the form of snow. Buffalo and those cities on the shore of the various Great Lakes are bitterly cold. I don't see them regularly having warm winters. These are some of the biggest lakes in the world, so if large bodies of water are a prerequisite to having warmer winters, shouldn't people be migrating to Buffalo or Chicago for the winter instead of Arizona? I guess I just don't understand the 'science' of climate change...

1Feb/160

MMF – how much cereal can you eat?

Fat Kids poster

Phillip Patrick, 19, needs your help. He has an addiction and can't stop. He's tried, going 3 days at one stretch but wasn't able to keep it up. It all started 3 years ago when Phillip moved out of the family home and into a flat with his girlfriend. He fell into some bad habits and before he knew it, he'd given up his previous lifestyle, lost his job and was stuck at home eating 13 bowls of cereal a day piled high with 3-4 cups of sugar. He's gained 60 pounds, doesn't have energy to walk up the stairs of his apt without stopping to rest and is afraid he soon won't be able to take care of his baby. His GF left him because of his addiction to cereal; both had a healthy lifestyle when they moved in together and she couldn't take it; but she left the baby with him? Now he's turning to the internet for help. No, he's shopping for a reality show, that's what he's doing. If he had hit rock bottom, he'd have the motivation to stop. But he says after a day or two of not eating cereal and sugar, he goes to the market and sees the boxes or bag of sugar and he's back binge watching his favorite TV shows munching on corn flakes. Hey at least he lives in England where the state pays for his flat, big screen TV, cable, food and gives him spending money.

Fast food workers are so easy to prank. A friend of one of the workers thought it would be funny to call a local Morro Bay Burger King and tell them a gas leak had been reported, then tape the ensuing hilarity for You Tube. The caller rang up the burger joint, spoke to the shift supervisor and said he was from the fire department; a gas leak had been detected and the restaurant needed to be ventilated and everyone evacuated. What's the best way to ventilate the building? Break all the windows of course. The employees turned off the stoves, ovens, and friers, evacuated the guests and then threw chairs threw all of the windows. Sure seemed like the right thing to do. Police have yet to file charges.

Selling fake anything is wrong; including fake sports memorabilia. Joshua Aaron Shores, 41 of Maryland was charged with several crimes by federal prosecutors this past week. The Feds claim Shores bought sports jerseys in bulk from a Chinese manufacturer then affixed fraudulent autographs, selling them online under the name of several different companies. Shores may get away with it, since he cleverly 'mis-signed' many of the jerseys. Who hasn't heard of Barry Binds, the baseball player or Emil Smith the former Dallas Cowboy? If you purchased a jersey with one of those signatures, you deserve to be ridiculed and defrauded.

Filed under: Funny Stuff No Comments
29Jan/160

Quick hits

quick hits

Dan Lebatard is at it again. This week he was talking about Dan Coleman, a running back for the Seattle Seahawks. Coleman got caught smoking synthetic marijuana. Apparently Coleman said he'd smoked it all season or that a lot of players smoked it through the season. But once again, Coleman was acting strangely, suffering the worst side effects of smoking fake ganja. Lebatard used the incident to rant about how the NFL, along with the NBA, MLB, NCAA, and society in general were forcing players and everyone else to smoke a product that is inherently dangerous and avoid a product, real marijuana, that has no negative side effects. Oh, the ignorance of the liberals; it constantly amazes me. There plenty of real scientific studies, long term studies, that show marijuana has plenty of negative side effects. Long term, moderate use has been show to inhibit brain function, not to mention the damage done to the lungs by inhaling unfiltered smoke. Let's not forget that smoking marijuana inhibits motor functions making it difficult to drive or operate heavy machinery or be a doctor or whatever. Many professional athletes, especially in the NFL, admit they smoke marijuana in the off season and then quit during the season when they might get drug tested. Lebatard apparently forgets that Coleman lives in a state where marijuana is legal. So why was Coleman smoking the fake stuff? Oh, that's right, liberals like Lebatard don't believe individuals have free will; Coleman couldn't make that choice himself.

They say if animals cold talk, we'd all be vegetarians. That's not true. I think they'd tell us which ones taste great! Can you imagine a panther telling us a duck billed platypus is tastes better than chicken? Platypus ranches would pop up all over the place.

Michael Smith of ESPN is normally another liberal pundit, but for some reason when discussing the situation with Can Newton he 'channeled my inner Rush Limbaugh". He said the media was so desirous of having a polarizing issue to talk about that they made the Cam Newton discussion all about race. Smith, who is black, said it wasn't about race even though Cam mentioned race in his comments. Smith pointed out correctly that, despite Newton's claim, he is not the first black QB to dance and celebrate the way Cam does. He went down a list that included Doug Williams and others. Smith said the media is ginning up the controversy to sell papers and get people to tune in; at least one liberal got it right about Rush's opinions.

Denmark is now joining Sweden in making immigrants pay for their benefits. Danish police have the right to search immigrants and take anything that has a value of over $1500. That money will be used to offset the cost of housing, feeding, and providing health care. The Danish and Swedish governments say it's not right to allow immigrants to keep assets and not help in providing for themselves. All you liberals who want the U.S. to be more like Europe, where is your God now?

Back in college, I had a date one night. After dinner and drinks she asked if I wanted to go back to her place for dessert. Of course I did. Once there, she excused herself for a moment and then came back from the kitchen covered in nothing but whip cream. I'm thinking, all right, she ate the whole damn pie by herself. Selfish bitch. I left.

28Jan/160

Of course it’s all about race

A lot of people don't like Carolina Panther QB Cam Newton. Cam is a very talented football player. He's probably the best combination QB the league has ever seen; as far as combining the ability to run and to throw in a more traditional manner. But he's also very demonstrative and some people don't like his celebratory dances when he scores. As his team has started winning, his celebrations have become more elaborate and lengthy. Of course there are a lot of people who don't like that; especially since he was much different when his team was not winning. In fact when his team wasn't winning, he was often sitting on the bench by himself and the theatrics were very subdued.

Now of course, the fact that there are haters out there, it's a race issue. Cam, Charles Barkley and a lot of other black players and commentators, along with white commentators, are saying the hate is because he's black. Cam said he's just being himself and representing the African-American culture with his dancing and the antics. He says that we've never seen a black quarterback who acts like he does, much less a QB of any other culture.

We, meaning all of us who are not black, can't understand what he's doing, including thumbing his nose at the status quo and our ideas of who a QB should be or how he should act. OK, let me ask the obvious question; if Cam is just being himself, looking in the mirror and being true to who he is, then why wasn't he acting that way when his team was losing? If you are true to yourself, you treat winning and losing the same way.

If it's a cultural issue or representation, then why didn't Emmitt Smith act the same way when he scored, dancing all over the place. Why did Emmitt say, "act like you've been there before." Emmitt is black and didn't act that way. Why was Joe Namath hated by so many people? Not because of his race, but because he was brash and confident; because he was out partying at the hottest clubs in NY and chasing women. Why don't people like Aaron Rodgers? Because he's arrogant and cocky. Jerry Rice might be one of the most beloved and respected players in all of football history, but he's black. How can that be, if it's all about race?

Larry Bird was at the same time one of the most beloved and hated players in the NBA, while Magic Johnson was widely loved and respected, except of course by Celtics fans. Those stories don't fit the narrative though. If it really was about race, then wouldn't we love Larry and hate Magic? I can go on...

And this crap about being exposed to a culture that non-blacks aren't familiar with is total crap. For more than 20 years we as a society have been exposed to the 'black' culture that these guys are talking about; almost non-stop. And as a society we have embraced the 'black' culture; it is money from non-blacks that have made Jay-Z, Puff Daddy, Snoop Dogg, and so many others super rich. Oh yeah, we've been exposed to it and we are familiar with it; and we don't, as a society reject it out of hand because it's 'black' culture.

Quit telling me that I don't understand what's going on because I'm white and can't relate. That's racist. You claim to know what's going on in my head or my heart because of the color of my skin. No you don't. I don't look at anyone of any race, and neither do most people, and make an assumption about whether or not I like them or how they are going to act because of the color of their skin.

I don't like Aaron Rodgers, I don't like Tom Brady because of how they act and carry themselves; I like Magic and Charles because of the way they carry themselves, even though I may disagree with their opinions at times. Many of us are tired of the constant, elaborate celebrations many of which occur after almost every play. Dude, you made a first down or sacked the QB or hit a jumper; great. We don't need to see you hog tying or reeling in a fish after every big play or dabbing for that matter. It has nothing to do with being black, white, yellow, brown, or anything else. It has to do with being respectful and a professional. And why not celebrate with your teammates; without them helping, you wouldn't have made that big play.

26Jan/160

How’s that Iranian nuclear deal working out?

Iran President Rohani

We are hearing that the world is a safer place since the US backed nuclear deal with Iran has taken place. Memes are floating around social media and the web saying that Iran has given up all of their centrifuges and gotten rid of enriched uranium and missiles; now they are growing flowers and singing 1960's peace songs while they conduct love ins and praise America. Right.

Here's a little fact check; no outside inspectors have independently verified Iran's claims that they have given up all of their nuclear enrichment equipment or stopped development of long range, nuclear capable, missiles. We are just supposed to take them at their word.

And remember this, Iran has not officially signed the agreement nor has it been ratified by Iran's parliament. Not that those things really make a difference since Iran has never followed any agreement they've made. But still, for appearances don't you think they'd at least sign the paper?

But let's assume that's all true and things are all hunky dory with the terrorist regime. In the last few weeks, they have taken U.S. sailors hostage, pointing guns at their heads and threatening them with death. Yes, they were released shortly but why take them prisoner at all? Iran has also fired a missile, one that has been banned by the U.N. for over a decade, within 10 miles of a U.S. warship that was in international waters. Not a peep about either violation of international agreements from our Glorious Leader.

Even though Iran hasn't officially agreed to the pact, the U.S. is living up to its end of the bargain, releasing $1.5 billion in assets to Iran. Obama has completely ignored orders from international courts that said that money should be distributed to victims of Iranian terror and aggression. U.S. citizens have successfully won about $2 billion in judgements against Iran and have yet to be paid. But hey, they're just U.S. citizens, Obama has no obligation to protect their rights especially when it comes to potentially violating the rights of Muslim terrorists or tarnishing his legacy of peace making.

And Obama and John Kerry said the opening of relations with Iran would benefit American businesses. Iran's President is on a world tour making business deals with everyone but America. It was announced this week that Airbus would be selling something like 700 planes to Iran; a deal worth in the neighborhood of $20 billion. Other deals are being made with Russia and China to buy equipment for oil fields and pipelines. So far, no big announcements or small ones about deals with American companies. Maybe Iran is going to adopt common core in their schools; woo hoo!

26Jan/160

This is why we get rid of the lawyers

Lawyer

Before he became a star player in the NFL, Cam Newton (current QB of the Super Bowl bound Carolina Panthers) had something of a checkered history in college. He ended his career at Auburn University after being kicked out of Florida State and having to spend some time at a junior college. He was probably the stereotypical stud athlete; the one with the attitude that he was entitled or special because he was the star of the football team.

Cam was implicated in several sketchy situations including the alleged theft of computer equipment from another student as well as a rape allegation by a coed. You know there were other problems while he was at FSU, because a football factory like FSU just doesn't kick a talented QB out of school for a couple of 'small' problems like these.

Long after Cam left college, FSU is finally putting some of his residual problems behind them. This week it was announced that Florida State had settled a lawsuit brought by the woman who accused Cam of rape against FSU. Cam had plead out or settled the cases brought against him some time ago. FSU announced they would settle the case for $950,000.

Given that I have some background in civil litigation, I understand settling a case to get rid of it, even if you think the claim has no merit. Lawyers are expensive. But to settle this case this far into the lawsuit and for that amount of money, my first thought was that there was some merit to the woman's claims; which seemed to center around FSU's handling of her allegations and an alleged cover up or protection of the star QB. To have some merit, there not only has to be a mishandling of the allegation and subsequent investigation but there probably has to be more than a modicum of truth to her original claim, that sex with Cam may not have been totally consensual.

But then you hear how the settlement is split up amongst the accuser and her attorneys; she is getting $250,000 while the attorneys are getting $700,000. That seems equitable. No doubt FSU was going to have to put out some money to defend the allegations, the defendant always gets the shaft for that reason, even if they are completely innocent. To go this deep in the process, there was no doubt that FSU and their attorneys didn't feel too confident about the potential outcome at trial. But you have to think they probably tried to settle the case for much less, much sooner.

But who wins in this case? The attorneys, especially the plaintiff attorneys. They do far less work than the defense attorneys, often delegating tasks to underlings. Then they waltz into hearings or depositions, make a lot of noise, and collect a nice payday. It just doesn't seem right that they collect almost 3 times as much as the 'victim' in the case. But hey, the victim is just a means to an end; that expensive house on the beach isn't going to pay for itself with $100,000 settlements that see the victim get 2/3 of it, now is it?