Quick Hits (Some are clearly quicker than others…)

The last pre-season NFL game is important only because it tells the coaching staff whom they need to cut to get under the team limit.

After watching the Charger/49er game I suggest they fire the entire list of players and coaches and draft the USC Team and coaching staff!

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I have not seen the movie 2016, but I did read the “fact checking” review by the Associated Press, and they note some inaccuracies.

I just wonder why I never read a “fact checking” review of the two books by President Obama.  I am getting a bit long in the tooth, but my memory is pretty good and I don’t recall the Associated Press ever fact checking those books. If anyone does, please send me a reminder.

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I see that the retired SEAL author of “No Easy Day” about the killing of bin Laden, has been informed he may be charged with revealing classified information.

I don’t actually object to that warning, or to charging him. As a long-time member of the Silent Service, I started feeling that way with the publication of The Hunt For Red October,  was absolutely incensed with Blind Man’s Bluff, and have been over the top with the New York Times disclosures of our military secrets which they attribute to “White House Staff.”

Until the current White House leakers to the New York Times get charged, this retired SEAL gets a pass in my mind, or else it’s HIGHLY selective enforcement!

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I note that a federal judge has ordered bankrupt Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to raise taxes on its citizens.

The New York Times says: “Judge Leadbetter acknowledged that the court’s power to order the Council to enact a tax increase intruded on the fiscal power of legislators, but said such action was appropriate when one branch — in this case the City Council — “imperils” the function of another.”

Now we must remember that judges are federal workers too, and they want THEIR salaries protected, so sometimes they overstep their bounds — and the Congress, House and Senate, are about our only hope of correcting this judicial overstepping.

Perhaps you recall the outrageous example in Kansas City a few years back, when a federal judge ORDERED the citizens of Kansas City to pay exorbitant taxes to build new, and “Gold Plated” schools?

Well, perhaps you don’t but he did, and he got away with it. I suppose that everyone thought the outrage was just for Kansas City, and I live in, say, Harrisburg.

Now its Harrisburg, and you think that just because you don’t live in Harrisburg…

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As a “local columnist” for a competing newspaper chain, I read the local columnist in my local newspaper, and today’s is a head-scratcher.

Brgid Brett writes that she is outraged (or at least concerned) that you may have been misled if you purchased a sweatshirt from a vendor in the recently run annual San Diego County Fair, and that the sweatshirt had the word “Veteran” on it.

Well I am a “Veteran” – 26 years worth – and I am scratching my head. You see Brigid Brett is concerned that the young entrepreneur who produced and/or sold those sweatshirts is not a “Veteran.”

Come to think of it, the last time I bought a sweatshirt that said, “US Naval Academy,” the guy who sold it to me didn’t go to Annapolis, either; the last time I bought a sweatshirt that said “Chargers,” the guy who sold it to me never played for the Chargers; and the last time I bought a sweatshirt that said Padres, the woman in that shop didn’t play for the Padres either.

I see all sorts of people wearing shirts that say Harvard or Yale whom I can presume from their age or economic condition never went to Harvard or Yale…you can buy Harvard and Yale sweatshirts in many locations throughout San Diego County, from people who have never been in the same state as Harvard, or Yale..

I have some shirts that say, Kauai Polo Club because I belonged to the Kauai Polo Club, but the guy who sold them to me didn’t. I do now feel better that my shirts for Zelo’s Bar and Restaurant (now Kalypso’s), in Hanalei and the Bull Shed Restaurant in Kapa’a both were at least employees of those fine eating establishments, but so far as I know those are the only wearing apparel I own where  that is the case.

(I was in my Chiropractor’s office last time, and a patient in the sitting room exclaimed, “I have been to the ‘Bull Shed!'”)

Then there are grey areas…my wife of 55 years wears a replica Naval Academy ring – but she graduated from Hood College, which, in those days, provided half their graduating class as Naval Academy wives. But, despite her travails of dating and marrying an Academy graduate, she never attended an Academy class. (I might add, parenthetically, that HER ring (deservedly) has a big, fat diamond, while her Academy husband’s ring does NOT!)

Anyway, I applaud the entrepreneur who sold the Veterans sweatshirt, so that Veterans like me can wear it if we choose. And I don’t care what his age or color is, or where he graduated,, or if he was a Veteran or not.

Nor should Brigid.

Out Of Afghanistan

I have long contended (and written) that we should be out of Afghanistan. That does not mean ignore Afghanistan.

If we are there to stop the Taliban/Al-Queda from using the country as the base for operations against the United States, there are better ways to do that than occupying the country.

We should withdraw troops immediately and inform the Afghanistan government that they have choices to make. If they permit the Taliban to use their country as a staging base against the United States, we will reply (after a fair warning) in a very swift United States special forces strike and kill everyone in the Afghanistan government.

That gives the Afghanistan administration the incentive to really crack down on the Taliban themselves. They will not do so on their own we have seen, and certainly not when we are willing to do it for them.

If all we want to do is just talk the Taliban from having base of operations, the threat, ,particularly if this is carried out one time, will have a very ameliorating impact on the Afghanistan government. It is not illegal to have a preemptive strike if someone is preparing to attack you. If the Taliban wishes to use that country is a staging base to attack us in the future we can do anything we have to do to stop it.

And the way to stop that is to have the Afghan government have an incentive to control their insurgent population, so that population does not create a threat to the United States — or anyone else. We have the drone technology to police the area without boots on the ground, and if we need to do so, a very competent Special Forces strike.

Of course, if the Taliban is just murdering people and making women wear veils, we may decry that but it is truly none of our business. There are all sorts of evil people around the world, about whom we care nothing.

Our ONLY concern should be the protection of this nation and our allies. So long as the Taliban operate as an indigenous terror group that is the Afghan’s problem.

When they, or thir allies in Al-Queda, plot and train to attack the homeland of the US, that, and that alone becomes our problem and we should vist that problem on the government of Afghanistan. I suspect that there are very few Al-Queda left in Afghanistan (they are mostly in Pakistan), and I suspect from reading reports that the Taliban, which was once the ideological ally of Al-Queda is now in a marriage only of convenience. The Taliban has paid a high price for helping Al-Queda in a fight that was only Al-Queda’s fight, and they probably have a better sense of the destruction that the US can cause them.

We should have a similar attitude against all nations, and in fact President Obama, when he was a candidate, expressed the same sentiment about Pakistan. Like so many other promises, he forgot that one, also.

There is a feeling among most liberals that military people like war. My 26 years of military life primarily in an elite force tells me differently. What is true is that the military hates politically-induced Rules of Engagement so it is reluctant to ever get into wars, but once the war begins, each service wants its share, partly for glory purposes and partly to defend its budgets.

But war can be wages remotely in this technological age, and it is. Where it can be, it should be.

Time For The Hook

Long-time readers of this blog know that I often watch MSNBC, and I did last night just to get their take on the Ann Romney and Chris Christie speeches.

I did not watch the speeches, because the reaction to whatever is said is more important, politically, than the speech itself.

All I can say about the MSNBC liberal round table is that the cartoonist for Mallard Fillmore (Bruce Tinsley) predicted the reaction to a tee. His morning cartoon had one TV analyst saying to , “…up next in our GOP Convention Coverage, we’ll check in with our snide-comments correspondent and then we head to the floor to see what our disdainful-snark correspondent is up to.”

I love to watch Rachel Maddow because she is liberal, bright, witty and pungent, but last night she was both snide and snarky. I am not certain if she was off her game, or if her show is normally scripted and she does not ad lib well. My other favorite on that channel is Chris Matthews, who has more political experience than almost anyone, and it looked like it last night. Too much time spent in gaining experience — he just looked tired. If Obama once sent a tingle up his leg, he just looked to old to enjoy it.

Conventions, which once made political sense, and following that made some TV entertainment sense, now do neither.

Time for “the hook.”

Edukatn

An Atlanta teacher, one of the 180 teachers and administrators charged with helping students cheat on standardized tests was overheard to have said to a fellow teacher,

“The words were, ‘I had to give your kids, or your students, the answers because they’re dumb as hell,’” Jones was quoted as saying about the interaction between Smith and the unidentified third teacher.”

http://atlanta.cbslocal.com/2012/08/28/school-teacher-helps-students-cheat-because-she-says-theyre-dumb-as-hell/

The jury found the teacher guilty of accessory to cheating, but the real crime is the education system itself.

Liberals contend that standardized testing leads to this sort of shenanigans, but Demming proved in Japan that, “that which gets measured, gets done.”

I have taken aa number of courses in the School of Education of the university that accredits the largest number of teachers in the State of California.

I QUIT the Masters program half way through (it would have been my second, and redundant Masters), even though my courses were free because I was a professor in the School of Engineering!

I quit because the program lacked academic rigor – everyone got an “A” regardless of results. I could spend a barrel of printers ink giving examples of things that happened in that program. I don’t want to mention the university because hopefully the university has solved the problem, but I can tell you that there are THOUSANDS of teachers still in California classrooms who went through that sorry excuse for an education program.

Education is a state responsibility. It should be. It is also a state responsibility to set the standards for its teachers. I have often referred to the Massachusetts example of a state that sprung a 9th grade literacy test in the 1990s on a class of incoming teachers, and when MORE THAN 50% FAILED, Massachusetts revamped the program.

As a consequence, Massachusetts students now test in the top two states in every subject according to the US Department of Education, while California tests an average of 47th.

QED

Liberals Have No Shame

(Corrected Copy: When I tried to source the previously mentioned Freeman quote I was unable to find it, so I have deleted it and attached a more easily cited situation.)

I think that I can say with some conviction that liberals have no shame.

Protestors from the liberal Think Pink organization protested at the Republican Convention by dressing up as vaginas, stretching from head to knees.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/tampa-republican-conventions-code-pink-vagina-protesters-365541

Yes, you read that right, but probably it will not be shown on TV. First, it is at least unseemly, and second – and most importantly – nothing will be reported in the MSM

And this headline on Fox:

“Ellen Barkin Hopes Hurricane Kills ‘Every Pro-Life, Xenophobic, Gay-Bashing SOB’ At The RNC”

When it appears things are not running well for President Obama, the previously untouchable rock star, the libs come unhinged.

NY Times “liberal?” Heavens NO! :-)

POLITICO reports puts it just as succinctly as possible: “The executive editor of the New York Times is disputing an accusation of liberal bias made by her very own public editor, Arthur Brisbane.

In his final column for the Times, Brisbane wrote that his fellow staffers “share a kind of political and cultural progressivism” that “virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.” Brisbane even argued that Times reporters approached some liberal issues, like gay marriage and the Occupy movement, “more like causes than news subjects.”

A previous “public editor” (or Ombudsman) wrote a few years ago that the NT Times was a liberal newspaper, but the Times ignored the column for fear of drawing attention to it. This time, the new Editor decided not to ignore what is obvious to everyone else – not that the reporters of the Times are liberal, almost everyone admits that, but that the liberalism leaks – nay, JUMPS – into the printed word.

All Editors BELIEVE in their heart of hearts, that their pages are free of bias, but usually admit that their reporters may be personally liberal.

I have written for four editors over 35 years, and only one admits to personal liberal bias, and all contend that their newspaper prints only objective news.

My personal analysis is that there is no conspiracy of liberals to place themselves in publications to spread liberal information. Reporters, just like those who have a calling for the ministry, simply want to change the world. David Pearl who was decapitated by the terrorists, was said by his wife to “want to change the world,” in a magazine article. These are people with a cause, but not what they consider to be a political cause. That their personal cause to “improve” the conditions of the people brings them right to the message of Obama that, “you didn’t build that!” is immaterial to them.

That message is part and parcel of “J” schools. One of the newspapers I wrote for had a recent “J” school graduate reporter – a really good writer – who the newspaper had to let go because he thought it his DUTY to find business corruption among all small and large local businesses. A very liberal Editor let him go because even she could see the bias of this reporter. I am certain he is writing for some fine newspaper somewhere, probably having learned to be more circumspect.

Just as there is a “Warrior” mentality that attracts some to police, fire and military, there is a “social worker” mentality that attracts some to the professions of ministry, journalism, and social work. Those two cultures are NOT interchangeable.

And there are those in every profession that was a calling to them, who tend to overreach, rather than temper their enthusiasm to a reasonable point.

Journalists once were of a breed no longer seen in press rooms – the hard-charging, hard-drinking reporters of the on-scene eye, beat reporters of the “whom what, when and where” variety.

That “reporter” has been replaced by the “Journalist” who wants to get much deeper in the story, wants to be not just the eye of the reader, but the soul and conscience.

The NYTimes contends that it is not “liberal” but rather reflects the “cosmopolitan” attitudes of New York City readers, but New York City is more than the liberal-left of the entire city.

And it is not just the reporters, it is in the selection of what to cover as much as how it is covered.

Fortunately, and in just the past 20 years, there have been alternative messages on alternative media.

THAT drives liberals absolutely mad! They rail against “Faux News” as if MSNBC is not the polar opposite, but their REAL complaint is that Fox News pulls many times the viewership of their favorite channel. Poor CNN, once the darling of the liberals because it reflected the views of its founder, Ted Turner. Liberals no longer finds CNN sufficiently red meat for Democrats who have abandoned the relatively centrist party of Bill Clinton for something much further left.

That leaves CNN without a base, and their numbers continue to slide far behind Fox News.

That leaves the New York Times as the quintessential liberal flag-carrier, but with a diminished base, and losing money because there are alternatives. Their Ombudsman was correct, the NYTimes is liberal, and that liberality DOES bleed over into its so-called reporting, and although the Editor denies it she is just blinded by her liberality.

A fish does not know it is in water, because water is ALL it knows.

Ignoring Examples

It seems that with examples everywhere, liberals would learn some economic lessons, but their ideology overwhelms their common sense, time after time.

It is not just Europe that is on the hook for overspending, along comes Argentina!

Argentina took the bankruptcy route years ago, and therefore is shunned by the international financial lending markets.  Led by a left-leaning President, Cristina Fernandez, who has had a 30% plus drop in popularity in just the last year because her spending has caused at least a 20 % inflation rate in her country, she sticks to her spending habits.

She is just another liberal like President Obama, who believes you can spend your way out of recession. That road has led her country into massive inflation. At least 20% per year.

No one knows the exact inflation rate because, like in most leftist countries, transparency is preached, but not practiced. In fact, in Argentina, economists who publish inflation rates are charged by the government, and fined! That does tend to stifle free speech!

Meanwhile, in Europe, there is a new “Plan” — however neither France nor Germany has yet signed on, Greece is not living up to its promises (Surprise!), while both Portugal and Ireland are (generally) adhering to the austerity promises they made to the EU. To secure bailout loans.

Because Ireland has good tax laws (read low business taxes), they have done well in their financial recovery because they have good trade relations with US corporations. US corporations tend to base their European businesses there, so they can have access to European markets. The Irish recession was not caused by overspending so much as their home prices tumbled when ours did, and for the same reason, toxic bundling of home loans. Ireland’s recovery will not be significant to the EU because it has a relatively small economic impact, compare to the problems of Spain and Italy.

Liberal/leftist governments both in Europe and South America think they can reward their poor for their votes by generous government benefits, but the spending just begets demands for more benefit spending, which must the be borrowed as in the case of Greece, Spain and Italy which causes borrowing and austerity, or printed as in the case of Argentina, which brings about inflation.

The lessons are lost, and the problem continues again and again. It is political hubris to believe that governments can heel-and-toe the accelerator and brake combination with sufficient speed and precision that government can “manage” an economy. Only a free market has the built-in feedback response to answer the financial demands of a population where trends take place quickly, and without warning.

Government is far too large, cumbersome, and filled with “managers” whose pay does not depend upon being right.

Some California Businesses Protect Themselves Ar Our Expense

There is a term, ” Feeding the alligator with the hope the alligator will eat you last.”

That is the story of California business supporting the Brown Tax Increases.

Threatened with raised taxes on oil products and sugary drinks, those businesses have thrown their industry money behind Brown’s plan to raise taxes through a sales tax, and an income tax on those making more than $250,000 a year.

So we see an unholy alliance between business and labor in this state allied against the taxpayer.

Yes, it is cynical and yes it is sometime successful — but Brown’s tax increase, once enjoying plurality favorability is now losing traction. There is now a probability it will lose, because the taxpayer strongly oppose the “High Speed Train From San Diego to San Francisco” which has turned out to be vastly underfunded, slow, and going from Adelanto to Fresno, or some such unknown places.

And, yes, the state agencies keep finding lost or hidden millions of dollars in secret slush funds, which makes voters ask if this government really knows what it is doing with what it already has.

But the monied interests of business and labor unions will join profligate politicians to vote money out of our pocket. Their combined economic clout is something the taxpayer organizations cannot match, but ever since Prop. 13 opponents declared such economic chaos the day after that vote that never came to pass, California voters have voted responsibly on tax issues, at least some of the time.

We can only hope!

Gov. Brown will now run the normal “It’s for the children” ploy, and that would be a winning strategy except there may be sufficient voters who know it’s for the union pensions that taxes must be raised.

The Poway Unified School District borrowing $15 million but repaying $967 million is a demonstration that even the most beloved of the governmental agencies in California, a “good” school district, has lost control of their financial minds.

Only the voters can restore sanity before we become Greece.

Many Questions Left in the Apple/Samsung Decision

Apple beat Samsung in their US court battle, after a virtual tie in the South Korean courts and an Apple win in Europe within the last month.

Whether the consumer wins or not is still up for grabs. All intellectual property verdicts are two-edged swords. A corporation may protect their intellectual property, but it stifles innovation in the rest of the industry.

Back when I was writing code, the laws said only completely copied code was protected, so people took the code, rewrote a few lines and were free.  Then came a concept called “look and feel” — if your code was not exactly the same but the final product had the “look and feel” of the first product even with different code, the first product was protected.

That meant that someone had to determine how closely one product looked and felt like another — a purely subjective analysis that varies from person to person, judge to judge.

The jury is usually not qualified to make these decisions, although in the case where Apple won yesterday the seven men and two women jury had six college graduates (three with advanced degrees), so the technological knowledge was much better than average for juries.

The ruling just means that Samsung must pay a goodly sum and must license the Apple technology. (Assuming the case is not appealed.)

Apple won, but innovation lost. Some of the items Apple won on we’re questionable — like someone patenting a round steering wheel or four wheels on automobiles. Still a win is a win.

This particular court case was almost a spite case win for Steve Jobs, who was incensed when he appointed the CEO of Google (Dr. Eric Schmidt) to Apple’s Board of Directors and signed a multi-billion dollar contract with Samsung to build parts for Apple’s phone and tablet innovations, only to find Google software (Android) combining with Samsung to produce VERY similar products competing with Apple’s products.

Jobs felt betrayed. He was. It happens daily in technology as people go from tech company to tech company, they take their knowledge with them.

How does anyone stop this interchange of knowledge, and should we?

This is a continuing battle of competing interests. How much protection does an inventor or his/ her company have, and how does that protection stifle innovation in other companies?

How much can you expect lay people to comprehend such highly technical details?

How much does “homerism” play into a South Korean court favoring a South Korean corporation, and a US Court play into a US corporation winning in the US?

While in this case two huge corporations faced one another, what happens when one mega -corporation like Apple with $150 billion in the bank faces Joe’s Electronics over a patent infringement suit?

I have been involved with this personally, when a Fortune 500 company Chairman called me in to evaluate the damages when IBM put THEMSELVES on report for inadvertently stepping on a patent. IBM actually said, “we goofed. Tell us what you think we owe you.” My job was to determine the damages, but I replied that the real thing the Fortune 500 company needed to determine was the technological  life of the IBM product and I was asked to do that. I concluded that the life was very short (it was the “Peanut” or IBM PC Jr.), and advised a lump sum settlement. I was right and got not just my consulting fee, but a big bonus.

The point of this is that IBM did the right thing — they voluntarily reported themselves for invading a patent, and paid a fee for doing so. We live in a much more litigious society now, and no one benefits except the lawyers.

We Got Away! (Just not long enough…)

Not looking for any sympathy, I now report that I have been high in the mountains of California for a couple of days.

San Diego is such a great place to live – you can surf in the morning at Del Mar, and ski in the afternoon at Big Bear – but even better you can escape to a quiet little community with virtually nothing except serenity – Idyllwild from my home in an hour and forty five minutes.

We rented a “cabin” called Strawberry Corner, right on Strawberry Creek for a few days. It was built in 1925 and retains its vintage beautifully, complete with squeaky floors, claw foot bathtub and vintage light switches. It sleeps nine people, so my wife and I had plenty of room. The home was the vacation home for a Rancho Santa Fe couple, but their daughter has outgrown that vacation place so they put it on the registry for a rental. In a town just filled with rentals, this one stands out. It would be great for an extended family vacation, because it is just a few blocks from the center of the town and still about a million miles from nowhere.

While it has all of the modern amenities, the one we used was the wi-fi to listen to internet classical music – we never even turned on the TV. That was a treat!

Idyllwild is such a terrific town, with everything you will need and little of what you want to escape from…like traffic, noise, and the bustle of commerce. The people are friendly, the restaurants excellent and the whole thing is about the size of a postage stamp.

It is the tall pines it=n the middle of the San Bernadino Mountains that makes the place very special. Most Southern Californians have been to idyllwild at least once, and, like us remember it fondly but just don’t quite manage to get back there. That is a shame because every time most people say, “Why don’t we come here more often?” The answer is that we just get too busy.

I can commend Gartrognome for its perfect setting and excellent food, but they don’t open until 10 am for breakfast – it’s that sort of community – so if you need an early breakfast to store food for a long hike – it’s also that sort of a community – the Red Kettle will fill you. I am a pretty normal-sized guy with a big appetite, and I left lots of good food on my breakfast plate.

There is also a new place called Honey Buns and Joe, Hidden away behind the little center with the Chamber of Commerce. It is a one-person bakery that starts baking at 4 am, and although they open at 6 a.m. the locals know that if the lights are on, they are open. You can’t eat an entire Sticky Bun for breakfast, they are that large!

Great place to get away! It’s easy to forget the rest of the world up there in the pines at 6,000 feet. I didn’t ask because I really didn’t care, but I’ll bet no one I talked to had any idea about Congressman Aikin’s remarks.

Come to think about it, I didn’t either. Today I also don’t care and I hope my mental vacation lasts a bit longer than the physical one.

Getting to Idyllwild is easy, but getting away to get to Idyllwild is hard. You can do it! You should! You deserve it!