Tag Archives: news

Of Swamps and Water Hazards

28 May

Image result for president trump golfing

So far in the almost 2 1/2 years of his presidency, President Trump’s golf habit has cost American taxpayers 102 million dollars in extra travel and security expenses, and soon he will achieve a new milestone: a seven-figure presidential visit to another country so he can play at his own course…over there.

According to recent non-partisan studies, U.S. taxpayers have spent 81 million dollars for the president’s two dozen trips to Florida,  17 million dollars for his 15 trips to New Jersey, another $1 million so he could visit his resort in Los Angeles and at least $3 million for his two days in Scotland last summer ― $1.3 million of which went just for rental cars for the entourage that accompanies a president abroad.

And according to the Irish media and government sources, the White House has done preliminary work for The President’s visit to his  resort on the west coast of Ireland next month even though no official meeting with Irish leaders is planned while there.

And should we mention that the 102 million total dollars to date spent on his presidential golfing represents 255 times the annual presidential salary he volunteered not to take?!

And should we mention that It is 3 times more more than the cost of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that he continually complains about being such an incredible waste of money…

And should we add that It would also fund the Special Olympics program that his proposed budget had originally cut in order to save the government money… for the next 6 years!

And should we dare to mention that President Trump, who was a frequent critic of former President Barack Obama for his “disgraceful” golf outings,  has spent more than twice as many days on the links, to date, as President Obama did at the same point in his first term…and at a cost of more than 3 times as much by the same point in President Obama’s term?

And because Our President only plays at golf courses that he owns, most of that tax payer money being spent on his golfing habit…goes to him! In fact, A U.S. recent GAO report (Government Accountability Office) found that Mar-a-Lago received approximately $60,000 in just the four visits it studied…and he’s made 24!

And all of this is from the president who promised that he would be too busy draining the wasteful, do-nothing, incompetent government swamp to be able to play any golf, should he ever be elected President of the United States. Then candidate Trump repeatedly promised that golf would never make it onto a President Trump schedule.

“I love golf, but if I were in the White House, I don’t think I’d ever see Turnberry again. I don’t think I’d ever see Doral again,” he told a rally audience in February of 2016.  “I don’t ever think I’d see anything. I just want to stay in the White House and work my ass off.”

President Trump reneged on that pledge within two weeks, and since then he has spent a total of 61 days on his Florida courses, 58 at Bedminster in New Jersey, one at Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles and two at Trump Turnberry, for a golfing average of 1 in every 5th day of his presidency on the gold course.

That’s a lie of 5 over par! Or as our President would characterize it: “A hole in 1!”

Nice work if you can get it…and boy are we getting it! Fore!!!!!

 

 

America’s Racoonteurs?

14 May

Here is a post that I recently saw on Facebook. It was posted by a supporter of President Trump and then copied and pasted by other loyal Trump supporters to their own Facebook pages to help explain to all other Americans why Donald Trump is the best man for the job of President of the United States.

In Summary: They, President Trump supporters, just want to get rid of the damn raccoons that have been infesting America. And that is the… one and only thing… that they care about. And President Trump is the one and only guy who understands what they want and who will do what they want… because the raccoons have got to go!

The best way to tell that what you believe in is wrong is when you know that you can’t say it out loud. When you rant and rave and preach and proclaim about what it is that makes you so angry but then when it comes time to name that one thing that makes you so mad you have to say “raccoon”  rather that what you really mean.

So who are the “raccoons” that 40% of American voters hate so much? Anyone care to guess…or say it out loud?

 

 

Why Wealthy Folks don’t need tax Breaks!

2 Apr

Image result for Why wealthy folks don't need tax breaks!

Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were among dozens of people recently charged by the FBI in an elite college admission scheme…Surprise! Surprise! Rich people use their excess wealth to bribe and influence people to get what they want! Who would have thunk it?

 

The Hollywood stars joined CEOs of private and public companies, real estate professionals and a fashion designer in paying up to 6 million dollars in bribes to ensure that their children were accepted to schools such as Yale and Georgetown. Most of the parents paid $250,000 to $400,000 per student.

Imagine being able to spend all of that money sending your kids to schools that they are really not going to attend anyway! Couldn’t you think of a much better way to spend that kind of money on your children…or yourself…or your family? And do you remember how hard it was to put yourself or your children or to have your family pay to put you through school? You might even still be paying for it…and at 8% interest! (Thank you Congress!)

 

The scheme, which the FBI called a “nationwide conspiracy,” allowed parents to pay for their children to cheat on exams and apply to elite schools as student athletes, regardless of their actual skills. Top college coaches at the schools are also among those charged, but authorities said they are not investigating the schools themselves.

Of course not! Why investigate the schools? We wouldn’t want to put schools out of the “rich family schooling business” would we? Even if they qualify and sanction ne’re-do-well rich kids as bonafide scholars, it’s still great business…and an education for us all. Money Talks! It really, really does. It talks so much that even our U.S. Supreme Court, a fine collection of 9 “scholars” themselves, has declared money to be free speech…just like the kind of speech that we humans invented and which sets us apart from the lower animals.

But I digress because The bribery ring got its start several years ago when William Rick Singer founded a for-profit college admissions company in Newport Beach, California, that masqueraded as a not-for-profit group. This “sham charity” allowed him to conceal the nature of the payments made by parents, who could then take a tax write-off at the end of the year!

So the rich parents not only paid millions of dollars to get their children into colleges in which they didn’t belong and had no qualifications to attend but they were then able to write off the expense as a charitable one for a charity that didn’t exist! (unless of course you consider yourself to be a charity case) Holy Catholic sex offender restitution program, Batman!!! …This is what the wealthy do with their money!

And we thought they used it to help the poor! Instead they use it to trickle down on the likes of : Yale, Stanford, the University of Texas, USC, UCLA, the University of San Diego and Wake Forest University…to name a few of the struggling institutions that these wealthy parents sought to help…  and Some parents even paid for someone to pose as their child during entrance exams ― and even during classes ― with those scores submitted as part of the college application…and Other cases involved exam administrators allegedly providing students with answers during the tests or correcting wrong answers afterward. 

 

And it gets even worse because some parents also falsely claimed that their children had learning disabilities, requiring extra time on the exams, and that those claims were bolstered by notes from therapists! Holy Tax Reform, Bat Girl! Is there no end to what rich people will do to get even richer?

According to one witness in the scam, the one rationale that most parents accepted as they prepared to cheat their children’s way into a “good school” was

“Everybody’s doing it” …and… “The whole world is scamming the system!” Oops! That’s 2 rationales!…but whoever paid attention in school anyway?

Which brings us full circle and back to our own current United States Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, who believes that our public schools are “a dead end” and who has said that her education advocacy would “advance God’s kingdom.” And that “my generation hasn’t done a great job when it comes to dealing with one another in grace.”

What she wants to gracefully do is cut overall federal funding to public education for the third year in a row (7 billion dollars)…and she wants to cut the entire budget for the Special Olympics, which is about 18 million dollars. Ms. Devos and her family have a net worth of 5.4 billion dollars of which 18 million dollars would constitute less than 1% or .0033 to be exact. To put that in perspective, if you earned a minimum wage of $15 per hour (a wage that rich folks think is far too much for poor folks to earn by the way) then you could save the Special Olympics by donating $102.96 of your salary.

Would you spend that kind of money to save the Special Olympics? I bet you would. But an incredibly wealthy (and devoutly Christian) person like Betsy Devos wouldn’t because she has 10 yachts and 2 helicopters to feed. (besides her mortal soul)

And that is why we should never give tax breaks to wealthy people! That and because they will never show you their tax returns… nor their college grades neither!… And yet we still wonder why? (Hint: It’s not because they are being audited…by anyone)

 

Truth In Advertising?

18 Mar

Image result for stress free ambulance nj

I know that one of the major side affects of living in a capitalist society is that the individual citizen is constantly bombarded by advertising…and if there is one thing that Americans have become very good at it’s advertising…both sending and receiving.

Here, I’ll prove it: “Like a good neighbor….. (Did you sing the ending too?) And how about: “It takes a tough man to make a… (And did you remember his name also?… But I digress because as I was on my way home from a medical center in new Jersey today,  I saw this vehicle advertising “Stress Free” ambulance services!

A stress free ambulance? Is that even possible? Who could possibly be stress free in an ambulance? The patient? The loved one who gets to ride along? The paramedics and driver? I certainly would hope that they are all experiencing some stress while attempting to: save my life…or keep me alive…or get me to the hospital on time!?

And what about picking me up? How fast would a stress free ambulance go while on their way to my emergency? I don’t want anyone(else) to get into any accidents but a little stressful driving just might be what saves my life!

Unless of course, I’m being transported after I’m already dead!? Then I’d be in a hearse wouldn’t I? A stress free hearse I could understand…maybe. But a stress free ambulance? Do I really want to get into one of those?

How about you?

 

Only In America…

13 Mar

Can a guy from anywhere go to a Superbowl party with the former owner of a chain of Florida massage parlors, eventually patronized by one of his best friends and The owner of the most prolific NFL football franchise, who both contribute thousands of dollars to his campaign… and grow up to be President!

And of course they all employ illegal immigrants…which they encourage to come here so they can exploit them at slave wages, even though they publicly hate them and do their best to stir up anger and resentment among the common masses, all for political and personal gain.

It’s America after all! Where anything is possible…as long as you can imagine it and have the money to create it… And where at the same time nothing can be accomplished, as long as you have the money to obfuscate, lawyer up or make it go away.

If you really want to stop immigrants from coming to this country illegally you could pass laws that make it a crime to aid and abet them by hiring them for any job at all…but of course that would upset wealthy employers…and cost them money.

If you wanted to catch immigrants who have come here illegally you could look for them in all of the places where they can be found…like the homes, gardens, nurseries and grounds of wealthy folks and wealthy farms and wealthy corporations…instead of building walls or stopping motorists or inspecting those who need emergency assistance and medical care…that’s the hard way!

But even if you were really serious about catching and removing immigrants who have come to this country illegally, there are already about 12 million of them here now. So if you were identifying and capturing and expelling said persons at 1 thousand per day or 365 thousand per year (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) removed approximately 226,000 people from the country in 2017) it would take 3 years to deport 1 million illegal aliens!

So at that rate it would be 36 years before the USA was Illegal Immigrant free! But don’t forget, immigrants come to America every year. More than likely that’s how you got here…and many if not most or all of the illegal immigrants that are here are not here to rape and kill and join gangs but rather they are imported or employed by the likes of the 3 people mentioned at the top of this blog.

so we might just as well stop chasing our tales. Look at the smiles of all of those people at that Mar-a-Lago Superbowl party in the photo above. Do they look worried or upset or outraged about anything? And yet they’ve got the rest of us frothing at the mouth and at each others proverbial throats over the 3% of the countries population that they use and abuse and make money from with impunity.

So now we are going to cut food stamps and healthcare so we can have more money to waste on a symbolic wall that won’t keep one wealthy “entrepreneur” from exploiting, using, abusing or hiring as many illegal aliens as they want.

Of course we could try to solve our citizenship problems by treating all human beings, no matter who they are or where they live or where they come from, with humanity, kindness and compassion…but I ask you…where’s the profit, opportunism and…angst… in that?

 

Do Earthlings Know Science?

15 Feb

Well, at least American Earthlings…Do they know science? Duh, Is the globe warming? And of course your answer to that probably depends upon how you answer these questions on the National Science Foundation Exam. I first posted this blog in 2014 under the title Galileo Gali…fianakis? and even though the NSF re-issues this survey to Americans every 2 years, and it is now 4 years later…the results haven’t changed! So here it is again. If you’d like you can take the survey at the end and see how you do.

Galileo Gali…fianakis?

1.Does the Earth go around the Sun, or the Sun go around the Earth; and how long does this journey take?

2.Did Zack Galifianakis appear in the movie The Hangover; and did he appear in a sequel to that movie?

Odds are that if these questions were asked as part of a national survey, question #2 would receive more correct responses than question #1, because in a recent survey conducted by the National Science Foundation only 73% of those surveyed knew that the Earth revolves around the sun…and of those only 71% also knew that it takes 1 year for the Earth to complete said journey.

Wow! And why do we suppose that is?

Is it because only 74% of America’s science teachers in America’s public schools have ever mentioned or illustrated this amazing fact to America’s students?

Is it because only 74% of America’s parents have ever had “that talk” with their children about where the sun goes at night?

Is it because we are a Christian country and as such only 74 of us will ever believe in both god and science?

There must be an answer because the National Science Foundation has been conducting this survey with these exact same questions every two years over the past 20 years as part of a report that the National Science Board presents to the President and Congress and guess what?…According to their own report, “Generally speaking, the percentages have had little variation over the past twenty years.”

So 20 years ago one quarter of those surveyed did not know that the Earth revolves around the sun…and 20 years later one quarter of the U.S. population still doesn’t know this simple and basic fact…nor have any of the other questions received any significant increase in the number of correct responses.

What gives? 25% of Americans just can’t learn? Ever? Or is there something uniquely American when it comes to taking tests? I taught high school students for 33 years and every year I would meet children who could recite countless hip-hop songs from memory yet couldn’t remember 2 words on a vocabulary test. I had students who could surf their way through the internet on the newest computers with the greatest of ease but could not master the basics of Algebra I, even after 4 years in Freshman level Algebra! There were classes filled with young adults who could program and operate through their complicated cell phone menus and send and receive text messages using just their thumbs on a keypad smaller than Thumbelina’s purse and yet they could not write a coherent introductory paragraph for an essay question while using a pen and notebook, no matter how hard they tried…

And no matter how many standardized tests we gave them…and no matter how important we told them these tests were…and no matter how many times we revised the curriculum…and no matter how many times we developed new and improved learning strategies…and no matter how many times we replaced the Superintendent and Principal or revamped the teaching staff or asked the parents to please get involved or threatened the students with failure and the withholding of diplomas…or declared nationally that we would “Leave No Child Behind”…their test scores little improved.

I’m willing to bet that just about every American knows that the Earth goes around the sun. It’s just that a certain percentage of us just don’t see the importance of remembering that fact or in paying attention to someone who wants to ask us such a stupid question to see if we know it. Does the Earth or Sun care? They’re still going to be doing their thing whether I answer that question correctly or not, right? And don’t you have something better to do than ask me that?

We’re Americans after all…and we’re busy! We’re a nation of seriously professional consumers who have been trained literally from birth to buy and sell and entertain and be entertained and consume and waste and innovate and reinvent and get bored if all of that takes too long.

The question and answer test, especially in pencil. paper and booklet form, is just no longer relevant to the 21st century world and I believe that we 20th century minded educators are the ones who have to get out of the way and stop worrying about numbers on tests as the only way to discern and/or prove whether or not learning is taking place.

Here’s the National Science Foundation’s test. Take it and see how well you score. Then ask yourself how many times these answers were given to you over the course of your lifetime by your teachers and parents and how many times these topics were probably covered during your schooling or lifetime… And then ask yourself if how well you did or did not just score on this test has any bearing or relevance to your present life or living conditions, even if it once did. When you’re playing on your X-Box do you really need to still be tested on your Atari skills? If you score better than a 7 on the following test then…you’re not average…and maybe even not American?

Physical Science

  1. True or False: The center of the Earth is very hot.
  2. True or False: The continents on which we live have been moving their locations for millions of years and will continue to move in the future.
  3. Does the Earth go around the Sun, or the Sun go around the Earth; and how long does this journey take?
  4. True or False: All radioactivity is man-made.
  5. True or False: Electrons are smaller than atoms.
  6. True or False: Lasers work by focusing sound waves.
  7. True or False: The universe began with a huge explosion.

Biological Science

  1. True or False: It is the father’s gene that decides whether the baby is a boy or a girl.
  2. True or False: Antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria.
  3. True or False: Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.

Meth and me?…And You?

13 Feb

Image result for methamphetamemes drugs

Once again I returned to my local pharmacy in search of my allergy medication…and when I ask for Claritin-D (spoiler alert: It contains pseudoephedrine!) They scan my NJ driver’s license, and wait for their computer to say I’m OK (as in I didn’t buy some yesterday… anywhere in the state… let alone from the same store or from a different person, and have not exceeded my one pill per day allowance) (The computer of course knows all this) then I sign my name and offer payment and off I go with drugs in hand.

Then later today I saw this report in my news feed: The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in a newly released report, said that it saw a dramatic 5,657 percent increase is Methamphetamine seizures from 2015 to 2017 in New Jersey, jumping from 4,468 to 257,206 grams!

According to the DEA, One of the explanations for the rise in methamphetamine use (which can be made from pseudoephedrine, hence my having to prove who I am when purchasing it lest I go home and cook up some Meth) is that it has become a popular substance to help combat heroin withdrawal symptoms because “meth” is readily available, inexpensive, and provides the user with a high that can last more than 24 hours.

And Heroin has become a favorite drug of use for Americans lately because of the recent opioid epidemic which has also kept the DEA quite busy over the past few years.

Opioids are expensive and their abuse usually begins with a doctor’s prescription. Then when the abuser can’t afford those he turns to heroine which is cheaper and then to “meth” because that is cheaper still and they all seem to provide the same high and/or help with withdrawal from the previously abused drug.

In the DEA’s report, their analysis found that purity levels of the NJ Meth are as high as 99 percent! Which they say is indicative of large-scale labs in Mexico, where the Sinaloa Cartel are attempting to expand its market for crystal methamphetamine in New Jersey.

Said DEA special agent in charge, Valerie A. Nickerson, “Over the last several years much emphasis has been placed on the opioid epidemic. We are also taking this methamphetamine threat seriously. DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate those people and drug organizations who choose to put this drug on our streets.”.

To which I add…Seriously? USA law enforcement has been fighting a declared war on drugs, and those who make and distribute them, for over 60 years! And how are they doing? We now have 5,657 percent more of Methamphetamine than we had 3 years ago! And that’s just in NJ! And that’s just Meth! And that’s just in the last 3 years let alone 60! How much more of every other drug do we have now in the USA then we did 5, 10, 25 or 60 years ago!

That’s some war! And something tells me that we’re losing and it’s not even close. And I’m not even complaining about my having to wait in line and show my driver’s license just to get a little allergy medication…but obviously that little regulation isn’t helping one little bit.

And the DEA and all of law enforcement for that matter,  knows where it’s coming from because they told us in their report. And they even know the names of the particular bad guys who are selling this particular drug…and where they live! And no one can catch them or stop them?…after 60 years of trying?

And the opioid epidemic we know starts with doctors! Who write prescriptions! To give the drugs to their patients… and they get those opioids from American pharmaceutical companies! And we all know who they are too! And where they are! And we can’t stop them either? Why not?

Because there is no drug war. In America we have the Drug Business. And it’s a very lucrative business and if you are on the selling, making, enforcing, legislating, banking, jailing, treating or doctoring  side of it you make great money. And if you are on the using side of it you spend great money, and get high and possibly go to jail… but usually only if you are already poor, or browner than most or not in cahoots with someone on the money making side of the equation…or you ruin your family, lose your friends and eventually die from overuse and/or abuse.

And that’s drugs in America!…and the war continues…and that’s only with the illegal ones! The legal drugs are an even bigger business! And we’ve got no war with those…more like a love affair. So “Just say no” and don’t do them…or not? It doesn’t seem to matter one way or the other as far as “the war” is concerned.

Ironically though The Federal Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act was actually such a success that domestic meth production plummeted. And so Production has shifted to Mexican super-labs, and some smaller American labs which all now make a more potent version that is nearly 100 percent pure…

And it’s cheap! And meth cases now account for the majority of federal drug cases in more than half of U.S. states… but my Claritin-D now costs too much for me to want to try to buy it all up and open a meth-lab. I’d never be able to make a profit! So go figure. Are we winning or losing the drug war?

Well, according to our President’s most recent tweets, drugs are pouring over our southern border in record numbers… but our economy is doing great and jobs are up and The Dow is up… so we should all cheer up…and build that wall ASAP! (He really did recently say all of those things, just not all in the same tweet)

So that about sums it up… I guess? But cheap is good, right? So Tally Ho!…Just say No! And Into the valley of death… We go!?

 

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