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Thursday, August 13, 2020

An Open Letter To My Congressman

"Senator Todd Young and Congressman Larry Buschon were in Evansville talking to local law enforcement about the current issues they’re facing. Senator Young tells us he’s walking away with a better understanding of what our local officers are feeling during a time when some Americans are asking officials to defund the police."

Following a news story that appeared on local television I emailed Congressman Buschon's office the following letter. 

I'm thrilled to see that Congressman Buschon and Senator Young have cultivated a passing interest in law enforcement and while I'm willing to withhold judgment on Sheriff David Wedding this forgiveness does not extend to the Evansville Police Force or any member thereof. Most of us in our neighborhood are too old to appreciate the what is becoming the perpetual sound of gun fire. From Channel 14 News:

August 7, 2020 at 5:43 AM CDT - Updated August 7 at 5:43 AM EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Evansville police say at least 30 rounds went off during a shooting overnight. That happened just after midnight on South Kerth and Cherry Street. Officials say a car was parked outside a home and two people shot at each other. Once they arrived on scene, officials say they weren't able to get anyone to cooperate with officers. Police say no one was hurt and no arrests have been made.

So law enforcement is dependent upon the cooperation of felons? The fact that no arrests have been made pretty much runs to form for Evansville PD's lamentable performance. What that article does not say is this is the second time the police have been called to that address in less than two years because of a shooting. The first shooting occurred in the early afternoon. The police noted that even juvenile delinquents had rights and inasmuch a no one had enough ambition to get a warrant to search the home the investigation ended. The lady across the street opined to police she had yard work the needed to get done. Too dangerous! Everyone should remain inside for the rest of the day. That said, the police left the neighborhood evidently not wanting to subject themselves to the danger that had befallen mere citizens. 

The August 7 shooting was followed by another shooting four days later. That time only about a dozen shots were fired so maybe it can be scored as an improvement. Again the police responded and left but it should be noted some of them actually exited their cars. There is a rumor that I cannot confirm that the police were called back a few hours later when someone found a video of the shooting on his outdoor surveillance camera. 

This neighborhood has suffered dearly since the economic implosion that created many home vacancies and the Winnecke-Bolin policy of benign neglect has not been a winning strategy. Three houses and one garage within a hundred yards of this house were destroyed by fire and not a single person was ever arrested. Arson was shrugged off as the natural result of a homeless population that was allowed to infest the surroundings. If there were actual police investigations they must have been an online Zoom equivalent. 

Let me be clear. The Evansville Police Department does not regularly patrol this neighborhood and it obdurately refuses to enforce the law. Before the house across the street burnt down people wanting to purchase drugs would park in front of it and walk the driveway to the ally to the drug dealer's home before it burnt down. When imploring the 911 operator to at least investigate the drug dealing proved fruitless my wife and I took pictures of licence plates and took them to the Heidelbach Street substation. It was a complete waste of our time. The drug dealing continued until the house was burnt down, probably by its occupant. Somehow the house and the unattached garage caught fire simultaneously in mid afternoon. 

The city exhibited yet another example of inexcusable, we don't give a damn misfeasance when a lady friend called the mayor's office and begged that the source of dirty needles be prohibited from camping in the ally lest her grandchildren be seriously injured. She wasted her time but if that call was made today it's probable she would have been lectured on the need to keep her grandchildren's faces masked. 

Frankly I don't give a damn if they fire every one of Evansville's "finest". Please explain why they would be missed. If you would like to hear from ordinary people who are neither BLM nor police apologists I have half a dozen neighbors who will give you an earful. 


Friday, June 5, 2020

That's Not a Faux Pas. It's a Felony. Or Something Like That.

A large portion of this text was part of another post, written on another blog. It was written contemporaneously before I knew the outcome of the trial. So what is the relevance to today? It is germane to today's political environment because it demonstrates just how badly a bad or stupid actor, in this case the chief of police, can screw up and still keep a job. Eight years after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found Evansville police “committed too many mistakes to pass the test of reasonableness,” the police chief remains on the job.
From the Indiana Lawyer:
After the Chicago court’s scathing opinion allowing Milan’s civil rights suit to proceed, two Evansville city council members called on the police chief to resign, the Courier & Press reported. In a statement, Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke stood behind his police chief, Billy Bolin, and minimized the 7th Circuit opinion. Winnecke said of the more than 18,000 arrests city police made from 2012 to 2014, Evansville has only three pending civil rights suits from that period.
“Of course, these positive results start with Chief Bolin’s leadership and are a direct reflection of the tireless work and dedication of each and every EPD member,” Winnecke said in the statement. “… I want to commend the women and men of the EPD. They have a tough job to do, they do it well and they do it in a lawful manner.
“While others want to ‘try’ this case to the media or politicize this mere procedural decision, we must take the prudent course and refrain from comment,” Winnecke said in the statement. A spokesman for Winnecke said he had seen the video but would not comment on it.
A lot can be said for keeping one's mouth shut but ignoring "this mere procedural decision" only demonstrates that today's militarized, politicized police departments are impervious to reform. The "protect and serve" BS may resound with the Fox and Friends disciples but to others the entire law enforcement industry from the FBI on down begs for drastic reform.
Yes, militarized police forces rank high on the Fraternal Order of Police's wish list. Open states, "Clashes between protesters and law enforcement around the country have led to a bipartisan call from congressional lawmakers to demilitarize America’s police". Open Secrets notes that " The National FOP has spent $220,000 a year in lobbying efforts since 2007, but its influence far outweighs its spending. The Union represents more than 351,000 members nationwide. It also has vast influence over state and local chapters that regularly endorse candidates running for elected office at all levels."
In June of 2012, threats against the police department were posted to, a seedy bulletin board more conducive to hooking up with a dominatrix than finding political bed fellows.
The following posts were discovered under the heading “EPD leak!!! All officers addresses are being passed around Evansville”:
“Me n my boys need them copys asap.need to pay a few a visit.”
“[Chief] Bolin lives behind parkside”
“Lol at all da cops commenting,f#+k the mfs need to b taught a lesson,always harassing n violating mfs rights. 4th of July a cops house gonna got hit.dont care about your kids or btchs lives.I dnt even care about my own life.I got my reasons…times ticking.?”
“Cops be aware.Note:I am proud of my county,but I hate police of any kind..I have explosives.:) made in America.Evansville will feel my pain.guess who’s in the river.,

Members of the local media tipped the police to the post and were rewarded for their subservience and solicitude by being allowed to accompany the SWAT team on its raid on the home of Edna Milan and her daughter. After an exhaustive investigation that lasted for 2 hours the raid was planned. Keep in mind as you view this video that all of this is over a class D felony ( Intimidation Against Police Officers ) as stated in the search warrant. The warrant called for the seizure of tablets, cell phones, laptops and computers not guns, ammo and bombs. Police had traced the source of the offending post to an IP address at 616 East Powell. Police also were able to detect an unsecured WIFI connection by driving by the house and using a cell to connect to the unsecured port. According to the appellate brief 9 people were associated with that IP.

So much for objective journalism. The report neglects to mention that the two people taken from the home were a 68 year old woman and her 18 year old adopted daughter.
Helmet cam video of the raid shows how it went down. It was not a "no-knock" warrant, but the "knock" delivered by the SWAT team had very little to do with announcing its presence and everything to do with giving itself permission to smash through the front door and hurl flash bangs into the house.

The 2 ladies having been duly perp walked before the media were released after about 20 minutes. Then evidently Chief Bolin had a WTF epiphany. The day after the raid contractors showed up to repair the door and the broken window and to replace the carpet that was burned by the flash bang grenades. Bolin even wrote Milan a letter of apology. The case was eventually solved and one  Derrick Murray who lived 2 doors down the street from the Milans' was arrested. How was this desperado apprehended? Police called his home and asked him to come to headquarters were he was arrested.
Milan filed suit in federal court claiming that the use of flash bang grenades constituted excessive force and violated her rights as guaranteed by the fourth amendment. Chief Bolin claimed immunity citing the doctrine of qualified immunity. After that claim was denied in district court Bolin appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Diane Wood presided over the panel which included Judges Ann Clare Williams and Richard Posner, who was once considered as a replacement for Sandra Day O'Connor. Do not underestimate the power of the helmet cam video the police were good enough to capture. Although Milan's attorney did not mention it in his brief or oral argument the libertarian leaning Posner is very much disturbed by the video showing an extremely young looking Stephanie Milan being handcuffed.
The case is complicated by the fact that the son of Milan's late husband and her stepson was a cohort of Derrick Murray as was a second man with the last name of Milan ( obviously a relative of her late husband ) who was no relation to Edna Milan.
Federal courts take a less benign view of flash bang grenades than do police actions flicks and cable news commentators. A considerable body of case law has evolved restricting their use. From Judge Posner
"These are explosive devices, similar to but a good deal less lethal than military hand grenades, that are intended to stun and disorient persons, thus rendering them harmless, by emitting blinding flashes of light and deafening sounds. They can kill if they land on a person, especially a child. The police call them “distraction devices,” an absurd euphemism; we called them “bombs”'..
Listen to the audio recording of the oral arguments to hear three judges eat an attorney alive. "that's not an answer it's mechanical recitation" and it goes down hill from there. "These SWAT team guys seem so chicken"

It's surprising that the court does not address the threat assessment mentioned in the oral arguments considering its contradiction to known facts. The form is bureaucratic banality at it worse which one assumes is to provide the police with a numerical value to a perceived threat thus making it sound more credible but it only works if the questions are answered truthfully. Notwithstanding the fact that no man was connected to the house and the police were searching for computer equipment the assessment indicates the presence of fully automatic rifles and explosives.
In the unanimous opinion Judge Posner wrote:

True, we mustn’t base our decision on the wisdom of hindsight. If the police had had reasonable grounds for conducting the search as they did (that is, with flash bangs, yet without any but the most perfunctory, indeed radically incomplete, preliminary investigation), then the doctrine of qualified immunity would shield them from liability even though the flash bangs and ensuing search yielded no benefits for law enforcement. But, to repeat for emphasis, the police acted unreasonably and precipitately in flash banging the house without a minimally responsible investigation of the threats. The open network expanded the number of possible threateners and just one extra day of surveillance, coupled with a brief investigation of Murray and the three male Milans, should have been sufficient to reassure the police that there were no dangerous men lurking in the house.
Precipitate use of flash bangs to launch a search has troubled us before, leading us to declare that “the use of a flash bang grenade is reasonable only when there is a dangerous suspect and a dangerous entry point for the police, when the police have checked to see if innocent individuals are around before deploying the device, when the police have visually inspected the area where the device will be used and when the police carry a fire extinguisher.The police in this case flunked the test just quoted. True, they’d brought a fire extinguisher with them—but, as if in tribute to Mack Sennett’s Keystone Kops, they left it in their armored SWAT vehicle.
So while the defendants are correct to point out that a reasonable mistake committed by police in the execution of a search is shielded from liability by the doctrine of qualified immunity, in this case the Evansville police committed too many mistakes to pass the test of reasonablenes.
Eventually the case was settled out of court and no details were released.
 What cowardice! The officer actually has the nerve to tell a 68 year old woman that handcuffing her is mandated by a concern for his personal safety.Then the poor woman apologizes for the clutter of the displaced dishwasher and microwave that were probably awaiting disposal. Maybe she was not expecting house guests to drop in. The cop replies, "That's OK." Glad the disarray met with his approval.
But once again,  until very recently nothing bad ever happens to bad actors in blue.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Is This Act Ready For Prime Time?

Along with the now customary travails associated with the pandemic, readers of the national media are frequently treated to dire prophecies of protein deficiencies brought about by the great, impending meat shortage. Occasionally online readers are treated to images of empty meat cases along with the inaccurate pronouncement the Americans are paying more for meat than ever before. Furthermore it's asserted that China by virtue of the fact it acquired Smithfield Foods plays a major role in meat production.
Fortunately, we are told, salvation is at hand if only the Congress would enact the PRIME Act thereby granting governors such as Cuomo, Whitmer, Murphy, and Pritzker a larger role in meat production vis-a-vis meat inspection. What could possibly go wrong?
Are American paying more for meat? The below charts would say otherwise. The charts reflect the data gathered from the wholesale prices paid for lean hogs, live cattle and poultry but over time they  reflect the retail prices paid at the supermarket.

It looks like the price of live cattle peaked in late 2014.

Live hogs seem to have followed the same price line. But what about poultry?

It peaked last year. To verify these data for yourself please go here.

While Smithfield Food is a wholly owned subsidiary of WH Group of China it operates only in the United States under the Department of Agriculture regulation. The United States is an exporter of pork not an importer.
I genuinely admire Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky. He has been the loudest Republican voice in Congress to demand that Congressmen actually show up to vote for legislation rather than phoning it in as Speaker Nancy Pelosi wishes but on the PRIME Act we part company. While I generally favor granting more power to the states, the blue state governors and RINO Republicans in the images of Governors Dewine, Hogan and Holcomb have pretty much exhausted my trust. It should be stated the Rep. Massie does raise cattle, actually getting his hands dirty, and while this petty conflict of interest is in no way tantamount to the insider trading the members of Senate have recently indulged in it is nevertheless a conflict.
What would the PRIME Act do?

This bill expands the exemption of custom slaughtering of animals from federal inspection requirements.
Under current law, the exemption applies if the meat is slaughtered for personal, household, guest, and employee uses. The bill expands the exemption to include meat that is
  • slaughtered and prepared at a custom slaughter facility in accordance with the laws of the state where the facility is located; and
  • prepared exclusively for distribution to household consumers in the state or restaurants, hotels, boarding houses, grocery stores, or other establishments in the state that either prepare meals served directly to consumers or offer meat and food products for sale directly to consumers in the state.
The bill does not preempt any state law concerning (1) the slaughter of animals or the preparation of carcasses, parts thereof, meat and meat food products at a custom slaughter facility; or (2) the sale of meat or meat food products

The federal government has been inspecting ALL commercially processed meat since 1906. Many credit muckraking author Upton Sinclair and his novel The Jungle for providing President Theodore Roosevelt the insight, graphically illustrated to be sure, for the need of regulation. I haven't read it since high school but you can borrow a copy here.
While it might be a bit much to expect meat processing to go back to 1906 at present there are no meat inspections at the state level. USDA inspectors are knowledgeable in veternary medicine. They know what makes a chicken sick. They are aware of cancer in farm animals. For a gory illustation of livestock cancers go here What state agencies have the personnel to inspect meat? Can New York do for meat inspection what it has done for nursing homes? Would a governor shut down all meat inspection therefore meat production in the event of a pandemic? The present USDA inspection program, if not perfect, has a remarkable track record. If it aint broke don't fix it.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Support Your Local Police State

Did they forget this is an election year? Suddenly the governors of four of our most populous states seem to have concluded that the concept of limited government was obsolete. One must assume that the high handed dictates will change but for the present the latest media reporting shows that:
New York has closed its public schools after the Teachers union threatened a massive sick in. Naturally teacher will get paid and kids who rely on school lunches will get fed but it gets better. According to NBC News, " Cuomo also said in a statement that New York City must put a plan in place to make sure that children who rely on school meals will still get fed and that parents, especially health care workers and first responders, will be provided child care."
So now the taxpayers will be providing babysitters for New York's public healthcare workforce, cops and firemen but there is a limit to this largess. It applies only to public sector employees. As to bar and restaurant owners and employees; let them eat cake but only at home. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling on restaurants and bars in the state to close down voluntarily.
Moving to Ohio, RINO Governor Mike DeWine has given all bar and restaurants orders to shut down until further notice. Sorry about your jobs but you're welcome to apply for unemployment.

The arrogance is breathtaking!
In Illinois the rhetoric is even more strident.
"The time for persuasion and public appeals is over,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. “This is not a joke. No one is immune to this.”
The sainted executive said he had tried earlier this week to appeal to everyone’s good judgment to stay home, to avoid bars, and not congregate in crowds. He added that it is unfortunate that many people didn't take that seriously. Now every bar in the state will shut down tomorrow and stay shut down until March 30. After going unemployed for a couple weeks maybe these miscreants will listen when the governor speaks. As there are 25,000 establishment in the state several hundred thousand will be unemployed. C'est la guerre.

In California Governor Gavin Newsom has called for bars, nightclubs and wineries to close but for now restaurants may remain open if the don't get too crowded. It's not clear if a restaurant can finically survive while serving only half as many diners but social isolation should only cause half the state's restaurant employees to end up on the unemployment rolls. The governor would also like for citizens over 65 to stay home.

Most states do vest considerable executive powers in their governors but the power a downstate Illinois mayor would like to bestow upon herself would make Hugo Chávez giddy.
Champaign Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen signed the executive order on Thursday. The order “comes with extraordinary powers for the mayor to enact over a short period of time as the city combats the spread of the coronavirus”.
And what pray thee tell would those powers be? Would you believe the power to take you home? Well fighting coronavirus is serious business.
The City proposes to grant extraordinary powers to the Mayor, which include:
  • Violating parts of the Open Meetings Act
  • Ban sale of firearms and ammunition
  • Ban sale of any alcohol
  • Closing of all bars, taverns, liquor stores, etc
  • Ban sale or giving away of gasoline or other liquid flammable or combustible products in any container other than a gasoline tank permanently fixed to a motor vehicle
  • Direct the shutoff of power, water, gas, etc
  • Take possession of private property and obtain full title to same
  • Prohibit or restrict ingress and egress to and from the City
The good people of downstate Illinois do have a unique history complete with river pirates, rural gangs and a reverse underground railroad but none of that history would suggest they are sufficiently servile to accommodate mayor Feinen's pipe dreams. As for the governors who are demanding extreme sacrifice on the part of the bartenders, waitresses and busboys and nothing from public employees they should not expect much cooperation with law enforcement and no support at the polls. The die is cast! Let the backlash begin!

Friday, March 13, 2020

We aren't falling for your stupid virus indoctrination

     If you listen to talk radio, you have come to realize that the dramatic response to the "Wuhan Virus" is meant to gin up anxiety, fear and dependence on entities of significant power (ie government).
    What is Trump's greatest accomplishment?
    Well, the economy, of course.
    So---rather than treat this Wuhan Virus the same as they treated the Swine Flu or H1N1, the media and the left have chosen to exaggerate concern about the impact of the virus on the culture.
    In truth, no one under 50 has died from the Wuhan Virus; in fact, "the average age of the people who die of the virus is eight."
     Seventy seven percent of the deaths have occurred in Washington State, 10 % in California.
   I had to hit a couple stores yesterday; people were moving like drones, snagging toilet paper (??), cleaning agents (???) and facial tissues (???)....
   I stood in the TP aisle and said, "Somebody please explain to me why the toilet paper is selling out? Why are we buying this?"
   Response: "I don't know, but I'm doing it because everyone else is."
   In Ohio, schools are officially close for 3 weeks after today.
   Even today, kids of all ages were ALL OVER with parents who ALREADY look strained.
   What's been interesting to me is the conversations that have developed with strangers.
   Even a person I know who is fairly resistant to the conservative message and is fairly apolitical said, "I find it really strange this is all happening in an election year."
   On two other occasions, individuals said, "Isn't this STRANGE that this is happening in an election year?" (sarcasm)
   Another individual: "I'm a Democrat but I see clearly what is happening. I will NEVER vote for a Democrat again because I am outraged that Democrats are using this situation as leverage to gain votes."
   You may sense, as I do, that this "Corona Craziness" is preparation for larger issues of government control, a dry run of sorts. This may be true, as it may also be true that the culture itself has shaky underpinnings.
   But I would suggest this, to those who think they can run our lives, either personally or vicariously.
   We know what you're doing.
   We see your influence on the culture, on media.
   We aren't buying it.
   By "we," I mean those of us who are politically aware, who understand that much of what we see in so-called new, in social media, in the "NEWS"....we know what you're doing
   You can claim this is our "new normal," but the truth is we will never, never, NEVER accept your indoctrination as normal.
   It isn't.
   And more of us awake daily to what you are doing.
   Those who don't?
   Well, you know, they were easily bought anyway.
UPDATE: To clarify. I am not suggesting this virus is not serious and/or does not exist. I am suggesting it is being leveraged for maximum political advantage to defeat a political opponent.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

A Former Democratic Senate Candidate Backs Trump!

Kesha Rogers is, or rather was, a different kind of Democrat. The Texas maverick was a disciple of Lyndon LaRouche and no fan of Barack Obama. She was the subject of several of my posts and pulled off one of the most remarkable political accomplishments in Texas history. In the Texas Democratic Senate Primary race Rogers was able to force a runoff election by spending just $24,000 against her opponent's $3.5 million. That ratio is is 126:1. Read more here.
She was hardly fan of Barack Obama. This graphic is from her 2014 congressional race.

I have admired Miss Rogers since I first ran across her on the web. I even follow on Twitter. Imagine my surprise when I saw this from the two time Democrat candidate.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Biden's been running & lying for years-here's proof

     Not unlike Elizabeth Warren who can't seem to get her stories
straight even after she's been discredited, debunked and proved a liar,
Joe Biden has a history of telling grandiose lies about himself, in
addition to a history of baldness.
    Take a look at this remarkable video.
    "High IQ" Joe Biden "misremembered" that he was top of his class, had 3
degrees and received special accolades for his brilliance.

Sayonara, Klobuchar

    Not to gloat, but Klobuchar has dropped out and endorsed Biden.
    Heh. What's SHE been promised?
    What's PETE been promised?

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Biden: Who am I talking to?

Looking forward to the Trump rally Monday night-are you?

    Well, now that Buttigieg and Steyer are gone, we'll wait to see who drops out next. My guess is the whiny, boring, repetitive and pedestrian Klobuchar will be next to go; though Warren's campaign posted something weird about looking forward to a contested convention, I can't imagine Klobuchar has the $$ to stay in.
   One can only imagine the high entertainment value of a contested convention, given the ugliness of the last debate. Previous debates were snooze fests, but the last one was a contest between watching a Trump rally and the fight fest between the whiny show clowns.
     I have to admit that when first Trump entered the race, Hoosierman had to take me off the "Dump Trump" ledge, but Trump has truly become the best president of our lifetime.
    Given the pomposity and faux elegance of the unpatriotic previous administration, Trump's brashness (admittedly a covert word which masks the crudeness of most New Yorkers, including DJT) is refreshingly straightforward. You never have to guess where he stands on an issue and you can guarantee his face will reflect a deadpan comedian's style that is unlike anything the presidency has ever seen.
     Having attended the Toledo Trump rally, I can attest, also, that most of the people there were not rich: veterans, truckers, elderly, Hispanics, college & high school age kids...they were all there.
    So Trump appeals to the blue collar, common folks like the occasional writers of this blog. This fact is something the elite simply deny, refusing to see the reality of the world outside the Hamptons, NYC and DC.
    Just listening to the commercials that run on WMAL radio out of DC is enlightening; in blue collar country, you won't hear commercials for same day dental enhancements or adverts to sell your house in 10 days.
     (Speaking of WMAL, Chris Plante from 9:00 -12:00 am M-F is must listen radio. He's funny, clever and smart; he's also a reformed Democrat.)
     This is a season of high entertainment: that's for sure.
     As Selena Zito wrote in September of 2016, we take him "seriously, not literally." She wrote:
The 70-year-old Republican nominee took his time walking from the green room toward the stage. He stopped to chat with the waiters, service workers, police officers, and other convention staffers facilitating the event. There were no selfies, no glad-handing for votes, no trailing television cameras. Out of view of the press, Trump warmly greets everyone he sees, asks how they are, and, when he can, asks for their names and what they do.
     Zito understands what WE understand: that regardless the case the Mikas, Joes and Chucks try to make, Trump is no phony. They're the phonies and we've caught them lying time and time again. They claim Trump is a liar, but even their accusations are nothing but lies. He didn't make fun of a paralyzed reporter, he didn't claim he COULD go shoot someone on main street but rather that the press SAID he probably could and he DIDN'T claim Nazis were decent people. Take anything out of context and it can say what they want.
    So we look forward to another Trump rally tomorrow night, Monday, March 2, at 7:00. He's become quite the show, that one.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Wake Up Democrats. Nine In Ten Americans Are Satisfied

When listening to the Democratic candidates one cannot help but wonder if they a talking about this country. To a person they all begin with the statement that the economy is working great for the top one percent but the rest of the population lives in abject desperation, living paycheck to paycheck, presumably waiting for a white knight in the person of, pick your favorite Democrat, to rescue them.
Not so says Gallup polling. Nine in 10 Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in their personal life, a new high in Gallup's four-decade trend. The latest figure bests the previous high of 88% recorded in 2003.
Yes, nine in ten, a full 90 percent are, God forbid, satisfied with the personal lives.

But it gets worse for the Democrats. Sixty-one percent of Americans say they are better off than they were three years ago, a higher percentage than in prior election years when an incumbent president was running. In the 1992, 1996 and 2004 election cycles, exactly half said they were better off. In three separate measures during the 2012 election cycle, an average of 45% said they were better off.

Critics can question the accuracy of the polling but it's the same polling techniques Gallup has used in the past. If they did not question the polling then they shouldn't question it now.

Dollar Stores Prey on the Nutritiously Unwoke

"Research hasn't yet yielded many answers to how dollar stores affect neighborhoods, mostly because scholars and media have only paid attention to dollar stores in the last year," 

Who knew the affects of dollar stores on neighborhoods begged for academic research? While Mayor Pete promises to end incarceration for all drug possession retailers Dollar Tree and Dollar General loom as clear and present dangers to public health.
That dire assessment comes from Planetizen, a web site owned by Urban Insight of Los Angeles but it is pretty much in agreement with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's anguished analysis.
"While dollar stores sometimes fill a need in cash-strapped communities, growing evidence suggests these stores are not merely a byproduct of economic distress. They’re a cause of it."
Think about that the next time you drive past one of these doomsday catalysts. By selling merchandise for less they cause economic distress. Following that logic Bernie should be promising more expensive health insurance. Worse yet, they "encroach on the grocery business" as if the grocery business was the lawful venue of Walmart, Kroger, IGA and of course Whole Foods.

How did this happen? Who let these poachers threaten public health and invade the rightful domain of Walmart, Kroger et al? "The dollar chains have thrived in part by taking advantage of lax land use policies." So says the ILSR. Whether free citizens want to admit it or not the appointed members of their local zoning boads know better than they do where they should shop.  But shopping is not the real issue. It's not where you shop that upsets the paternalistic ILSR it's what you eat and the dollar stores just do not carry enough healthy foods.

So if one wants to eat healthy he should eschew the corn chips from DG and revel in Creamy brie, aged gouda, nutty gruyere from Whole Foods who have Certified Cheese Professionals to guide you. Where would the world be without Certified Cheese Professionals?

Personally, I take bargains where I find them. Usually the wife and I buy everything we can at the Dollar General before going to the the supermarket. On some items DG is the cheapest by a big percentage. DG trash bags are the cheapest and the best. Their house brand bleach Top Job is $1 for a gallon jug and their Clover Valley chicken and beef broths cannot be beat price wise. Now I have a new incentive to shop at DG. Like voting for Trump, I know it pisses liberals off.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Two Really Good Apps

No, we are not turning this site into a tech blog but this long lay-off has produced some writer's block. Although the primary focus of this blog has been politics I did report frequently on the development of the Utica Shale gas fields and occasionally took on the contentious subject of Bluegrass music. Now before returning to the grind that is contemporary politics allow me to share my opinion of two apps I found to be useful.
I installed this app on my wife's Samsung and liked it so well I installed it on my phone. The shopping list app from TK Solution with voice to text is simplicity squared. Just tap the speaker icon and say " pork chops" and the text appears. Once you have the item in your shopping cart tap the delete icon and the text is gone. It doesn't get any easier.

Remember the glory days of Napster when you could download about any music you wanted for free, copyright restrictions not withstanding? Napster went on to become a streaming service, where, for a price you can listen to but not keep the music. Pirate Bay and other torrent sites are still around if one can endure their periodic disappearances, some very malicious malware and nasty email from one's internet provider threatening to suspend internet access. What's a body to do?
Hiding in plain sight is YouTube which boasts of 1700 years of content but downloading music has always been a tedious chore. No more. Playlist Downloader from Microsoft's Store allows the user to download entire playlists, extracting the audio portion ready to be played on your favorite device. If one wants to keep the video that option is available.
 Once you have installed the program go to YouTube and search your favorite artist. For instance a search for Judy Collins might produce this result.

Now click on the first playlist "Mix - Judy Collins. It will open the page below. Copy the URL from the address bar and paste it in Playlist Downloader.

Playlist Downloader will look like this. Select audio (mp3) then click on Import to download list.

Review the pending downloads. If there are any songs you do not want just uncheck the respective box. Open Windows Exployer on your computer and create a new folder somewhere on your computer where you can find it. Now click start in Playlist Downloader and select the folder you created. That's it.

Once the mp3 files have been downloaded they may be listened to on your computer or burnt to a cd. I cannot speak to all automotive media players but if your car has Ford Sync 3 you can play them from a thumb drive via a USB port. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Dems' appeal to patriotism won't work because...

     I gotta say it's pretty offensive how often the Left is claiming to love our Constitution, our DEMOCRACY and our independence as Americans.
     It's interesting that these buzz words have been so rapidly and frequently employed by Democrats and those who despise Donald Trump, even while adoring all Democrat politicians as if they have no desire to rule the common people. You know, like the farmer, the blue collar worker and the deplorables in general.
      In fact, it's most astounding to see contemptible self important narcissists like Maxine Waters trying to move her face, er,  claiming that she, SHE is trying to "save our democracy" against Trump who views himself as "monarchical."
    So to whom are these leftists appealing?
    It certainly cannot be their own **true believers** because those folks ARE the gullible peaceniks who believe that the communist Chinese government is reasonable when it comes to human life. The vaunted Bloomberg believes we should change the news according to what the Chinese government thinks is news, not the truth.
    You know, that government that abuses Muslims and Christians, Falun Gong, routinely tortures political prisoners, even harvesting organs to donate to the favored, even rewriting Scriptures.
    Yeah, so these desperate Democrats, some of whom (like Carville) seem to understand that Bernie really is a communist and will not appeal to mainstream Americans, are reaching out to appeal to YOU, Americans who really do value the Constitution and our REPUBLIC.
    These frequent and often immaterial references to values we hold dear are part of a "journolist" style attempt to change the minds of those patriots who get queasy when Trump tweets an insult.
    It's all a ploy.
    Bernie loves communist administrations, Warren loves criticizing tuition while getting $300000 to teach one class at Harvard, Bloomberg is buying a candidacy (no, REALLY), and so it goes.
    Hypocrisy abounds.
    Not to mention meaningless flailing to get the vote of those who REALLY love the Constitution and all the freedom it represents.
    We can't be bought.
    No, the Dems' appeal to the patriotism will not work because we know that the Democrat party has historically represented racism, misogyny, class warare and genocide of babies.
    And so they spiral even lower.
   To be honest, I didn't think it was possible.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Democrat IMPLOSION continues! Worsens!

     So, wow. The Democrat race is a reminder of the chaos in the Democrat party itself.
     With the fan-tabulous mess into which the Biden campaign has devolved, Warren and Biden are complaining that billionaire Bloomberg shouldn't win by already throwing more cash into his "race" than Trump did in his whole campaign.
     Other than Tulsi Gabbard (who has links to a cult), all the Democrats currently running are at least millionaires. Personally I have no animosity toward millionaires/billionaires, but being accustomed to flying private jets kind of changes your attitude toward the "blue collar" workers that make up the Trump audience.
    Consequently, Democrats are running on nastiness, bad feelings and negativity about a country which, while far from perfect, is the best on earth.
    So on a couple notes to prove my point:
  • Warren is whining that the media aren't treating her fairly because she's, um, a girl, I guess.
  • There's concern the Bernie bros will devolve into violence when/if he gets screwed again on the nomination.
  • The Hillary fans are undoubtedly cranked up that Bloomberg may want to tap her as a VP. 
  • It's possible the nomination may morph into screaming and running around the room Road Runner style if the Democrat convention becomes a brokered convention.
  • While concern grows over the mess of the Iowa convention which was run by the DNC, lawyers have been hired for that particular can of worms, which was so eloquently illustrated when the Iowa Democrat chairman posed at his little podium just as the Democrat Party sign fell off and broke.
  • Another (however agonizing) example of the poopy streets coming your way/controlling your Big Gulp/increasing the minimum wage to $15, $20 and as much as $22 an hour. Of course, they don't do it themselves, but whatever.
     Well, that's all for now, though I could go on, like the fact that Nevada's LatinX population doesn't like Bernie, and Michael Avenatti was convicted and **IN JAIL** rather than spewing lies on the political scene as the Democrat nominee, and Sports Illustrated has committed to featuring some really (shall we say) imperfect bodies on their pages, and liberals continue to devolve in front of the ever present cameras.
      But, oh, there's so much more.
      I gotta say this little article about how Democrats just don't get it is one of those must reads of the week.
      MEANWHILE we look forward to another great show on February 19 in Arizona by our dude, Donald J. Trump who has our back.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The best live presentation in history

That's what the 2020 SOTU was, if you have a heart. Just sayin'.
The behavior of the Democrats was abhorrent. They can't even pretend to love this country, its inhabitants or its principles.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Kentucky Got A Shot In The Arm And It Didn't Hurt

There has been much news since Trump took office of idled plants recalling laid off workers but there has been precious little in the way of new plant construction. Well, the times they are a changing. On June 1 Braidy Industries broke ground for a $1.3 billion aluminum rolling mill in the Eastern Kentucky town of Greenup. When completed the mill will generate upward from 550 high paying job. Braidy Industries is a holding company incorporated in Delaware. This entity houses the Bouchard family interests in the global metals sector. It is named for Braidy Bouchard, the daughter of its flamboyant founder and CEO .
One might question the propriety of the state of Kentucky's $15 million investment in the plant but the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development has been in existence for some years. The Cabinet is a not for profit LLC owned by the state.
While the media is wont to predict that Trump's tariffs may cause the EU to retaliate against Kentucky's bourbon industry and even harm domestic aluminum producer Craig Bouchard defends Trump's trade policies.

Monday, June 25, 2018

A Time to Laugh, a Time to Weep and Time To Sit Down And Shut Up!

To quote the affable Yogi Berra, the New York Yankee catcher turned linguistical gymnast, "It's deja vu all over again."
The current domestic upheaval in recent weeks replete with the aged Maxine Waters preaching civil unrest, with the reemergence of the proper noun "Fonda" in conjunction with political protest and with the promiscuous use of the word Nazi to describe voters of a particular persuasion hearkens back to the Vietnam War protests. In those days, before toxic masculinity had replaced Bourgeoisie morality as the latent cause of all things immoral and unsightly in the eyes of God and Democrat leadership, supporters of the war were condemned just as today's supporter of border integrity are harangued by the media and the left. Eventually the middle / working class had had enough. It boiled up in lower Manhattan, in the Wall Street district.
On May 8, 1970, one of the strangest confrontations in American post-war history took place when roughly 200 construction workers attacked a thousand demonstrators protesting the Kent State shootings, the invasion of Cambodia and the Vietnam War. Seventy people were injured and six arrested in the fracas, which was dubbed the Hard Hat Riot by the media of the day. For a longer exposition on the riot please see this Wikipedia post.
The event was unique. It is remembered almost half a century later not for the injuries, not for the oratory and certainly not as a political happening, It was the day America said ENOUGH. SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP ALREADY. "Wow, it was just like John Wayne taking Iwo Jima remarked Jack Friedman, a 32-year-old insurance underwriter watching the action.1
The riot occurred almost two years after the riotous Democratic convention in Chicago. Richard Nixon had latched on to the "silent majority" to win the presidency with 301 electoral votes. Hubert Humphrey got 191 and George Wallace took 46. Two years later George Mc Govern lost 49 states to Nixon, winning only Massachusetts. Union leadership stood with the Democratic Party but the rank and file are yet to come home.
Mature democracies got to be mature democracies by demanding domestic tranquility at all costs. Trump's popularity has increased with Democrat outrage simply because the vast majority of Americans are afraid for the nation and are offended  by politicians, a partisan media and a learning impaired academia. It really does not need another Hard Hat Riot but before long it will somehow, tell the left it's time to sit down and shut up.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Hyping The Hyperloop

The last time I addressed the hyperloop drama I noted that Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has allowed Elon Musk and his Boring Company to dig a 10.3-mile tunnel beneath the state-owned portion of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. The Maryland Attorney General later nixed that deal.
Oh well, even Robert Fulton had his off days but hyperloop movement is gaining momentum! While we are warned that we may be lagging behind Russia in the great hyperloop race and Musk and his Boring Company have spawned at least two copy cat competitors, Virgin Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.The privately funded X Prize Foundation whose membership includes such scientific heavy weights as Arianna Huffington and film maker James Cameron has come aboard. Lastly, the aptly named Clive Burrows will lend his expertise to the tunneling venture. If only they could find an insurance underwriter named Justin Case.
Suddenly Cleveland appeared on the front lines of the transportation revolution with the announcement that it had inked a deal with HTT to put it on the fast track to become part of the first interstate hyperloop connection. Yup, going to Chicago will soon be as quick and easy as driving through a car wash. One may even want to select a private kindergarten in the Windy City for that wunderkind in the nest.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies announced it has signed agreements with the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency and the Illinois Department of Transportation to study several high-speed routes that would zoom between Cleveland and Chicago in as little as 28 minutes. First envisioned by inventor and business magnate Elon Musk, Hyperloop is a technology that could speed passengers or cargo in specially designed capsules or "pods" through a steel tube maintained at a partial vacuum.

The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency or NOACA, the sugar daddy for current outbreak of hyperloop hysteria seem to have much more to do than making the trains run on time. It is fighting the good fight for transportation equity and bike paths.
"Northeast Ohio's top transportation planning agency is preparing a new, 20-year vision for the region that will focus on improving social equity, particularly for households without cars.
The interstate highway system, conceived under President Dwight Eisenhower in the late 1950s, has had consequences for Northeast Ohio that need to be addressed, says Grace Gallucci, director of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, NOACA.
HTT notes that Ohio’s legislature passed a resolution supporting the initiative in January of this year, and that it’s also worked with congressional representatives from multiple states to jointly send a formal letter to the Trump administration asking for federal funding support for building out a Hyperloop network. Has anyone asked Indiana? Inasmuch as most of the route runs through the Hoosier state Indiana residents, especially those who will endure the inconveniences of the construction may be forgiven for asking what's in it for them. HHT, Ohio and Chicago want to build the project on the cheap which means burrowing under existing highways rather than buying right of way. Part of the Interstate 80 / 90 route is the Indiana Toll road which has been leased to an Australian firm. A privately owned concern will cheerfully endure hardships and declining toll revenues to keep Cleveland and Chicago happy? Without power of eminent domain no one can lay a 1 inch PVC pipe across Indiana or any other state.

I have been critical of the hyperloop from the beginning because:
1. No mode of mass transportation makes money hence creation of the hyperloop will simply drive public spending. Call it Amtrak 2.
2. It will siphon off funding for roads and bridges and probably use gasoline tax dollars.
3. The Boring Company, Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies are the last people we want building anything. We don't ask Boeing to build airports. There are at least a dozen tunneling companies, some in their fourth generation of management, that could do the job safer and cheaper.
4. The aforementioned companies have no interest in participating in a competitive bidding process, a process that demands the submission of sealed bid with the job going to the cheapest and best bid.
5. There should be no hyperloop construction permitted until the federal government creates an agency to regulate interstate underground construction as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulates pipeline construction.
6. It is simply stupid to tunnel across a plane such as Northern Indiana. Cut and cover is far cheaper than tunneling. Only tunnel if going under an existing right of way.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Cumberland Colony

News that a congressional candidate would be hosting a discussion on opioid addiction caught my attention because of the location, Cumberland, Maryland. Cumberland is the county seat of Allegheny County where I lived the first 9 years of my life. My father's family had lived there since the early 1800's but most have moved on. The coal, rail and paper industries have also moved on. The 2010 census showed the median household income for the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area was $30,916 and the average household income was $39,021. It is one of the poorest in the United States, ranking 305th out of 318 metropolitan areas in per capita income.

And who pray thee tell is David Trone I wondered?
He is the billionaire co-owner of Total Wine & More.
Awesome! And he lives in Cumberland?
No, not really. In fact he doesn't even live in the 6th congressional district. He lives in the 8th congressional district.
So why doesn't he run in the 8th?
Been there and done that and lost.
Lost to whom?
A dork named Jamie Raskin.

Candidate Vote% Votes
Jamie Raskin 33.6% 43,776
David Trone 27.1% 35,400
No only did Trone lose; he lost big! Running second in a nine horse field would be nothing to be ashamed of except he spent $13.4 million dollars to do it. Trone out spent Raskin roughly 6 to 1. The almost constant media messaging cost him an astounding $329 per vote or about one tenth the average annual family income in this district. Not even Hillary Clinton could spend at that rate. If she had spent $13.4 million in 435 congressional districts she would have spent over $5.8 billion.
To add further context, Meg Whitman spent $178.5 million on her losing campaign for California governor — $144.2 million of it her own money, according to 2010 campaign finance reports. The campaign’s overall spending broke down to $43.25 for each vote she received in November’s general election. From her own pocket, it was $34.93 per vote.
On the economical side of the ledger, Ted Cruz would win his 2012 senate seat in Texas by spending just $3.16 per vote in the general election but Kesha Rogers set the mark for campaign expenditure efficiency in 2014 in the Texas senatorial primary. Even while being out spent by a ratio of 124 to 1 the Lyndon LaRouche Democrat was able to force Texas' richest dentist, David Alameel into a run off in the Democratic primary by spending just $24,139. Alameel spent $3,512,912. His per vote cost was $12.93 while Ms Rogers spent $.22 per vote.
Campaign ineptitude aside, is Trone a good fit for Western Maryland? While keeping in mind the dismal economic milieu in Cumberland with it opioid addictions and the ne'er-do-well former coal miners, peruse the Wikipedia entry for Trone's hometown, Potomac,Maryland.
In 2013, CNNMoney listed Potomac as the most affluent town in all the United States based on median household income.[1] Potomac is also the seventh most top-educated American small town according to Forbes.[2] Bloomberg Businessweek labeled Potomac as the twenty-ninth richest zip code in the United States in 2011, stating that it had the largest population of any U.S. town with a median income of more than $240,000.[3] In 2012, The Higley Elite 100 published a list of highest-income neighborhoods by mean household income, which included four neighborhoods in Potomac; one of these neighborhoods, "Carderock-The Palisades" was ranked the highest-income neighborhood in the United States, followed by "Beverly Hills-North of Sunset" in Beverly Hills, CA, and "Swinks Mill-Dominion Reserve" of McLean, VA.[4] More recently, two Potomac neighborhoods were ranked among the ten wealthiest neighborhoods in the country by CNBC in 2014.[5] In 2018, data from the American Community Survey revealed that Potomac was the 6th wealthiest city in the United States.[6] Many Potomac residents work in nearby Washington, D.C.
Obviously it's a great place to live, so good that the incumbent Congressman  John Delaney lives there too. Parenthetically NBA greats Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning also live there. In 2011 the district was gerrymandered to oust long time Republican Congressman Roscoe G. Bartlett. This was done by adding part of Montgomery County. The demarcation is so arcane that the state provides a website with a zip code look up just so voters know what district to vote in. The redistricting process is being challenged in the Supreme Court. It's impossible to overstate the outcome of the Court's decision. It will determine whether the forgotten men and women in Western Maryland can once again be masters of their own destiny or remain a colony of the Potomac elites who can outspend any of them by hundreds of dollars per vote.