Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Latest Goings On In The Swamp

CNN: White House considering order to withdraw from NAFTA
"One senior administration official stressed that this is something Trump has "always been considering" and while the White House is currently considering an executive order, the official stressed a lot could change in the coming days.""

NAFTA like so many other trade agreements has no expiration date. Which means we're stuck with it. "Withdrawing" from it is not an option. Exiting such agreement would imply the United States could no longer be trusted in any of our contracts with other nations. Lord knows NAFTA needs some updating in this I concur. However this is no way to go about it. His continual habit of bullying others isn't going to turn out well for him or this country. We're one nation among many. I'm sure China, Europe or Russia would be more then happy to exploit this to their own advantage. Keep this up and see where it gets us.

FORBES: Trump's Tax Plan Is Even More Dangerous Than It Sounded
"Corporations on the whole get to use a wide range of tax strategies, credits, incentives, and loopholes to bring that 35% down to about 14%. In any given year, according to the most recent U.S. General Accountability Office analysis, at least two-thirds of active corporations pay no federal taxes at all."

Yeah even Forbes isn't too hot on the idea. Imagine that! I think of it in this way. Suppose I'm someone who owes over $19 trillion in debts. So I decide to go part-time bringing in far less earnings. It makes about as much sense. Face it none of us likes paying taxes, but we've been through this two times before. Once when Reagan tried it and again when George W. did it again. Anyone seriously believe the 3rd will be a charm? Not a single company is going to hire one more employee then they need. Any windfall they receive will go into investors pockets and that includes the Donald. Think of it as a gift from Donald to himself and the 1% at the top.

The moment I heard this happened I knew the Donald would blow a gasket on twitter. What Donald fails to realize the supreme court gets to decide what goes before it or not. Now that the judiciary branch of government has been added to Donald's list they're joined by Obama hanging-oners, the media, distrusted intelligence officials, refugees, poorly managed agency leaders and the congressional members resisting Obamacare repeal. Speaking of which....

The Hill: House GOP health bill changes exempt members of Congress
"The GOP amendment exempts members of Congress and their staffs to ensure that they will still be protected by those ObamaCare provisions."

For a plan congress claims sucks they'd sure would like to hang on to it for themselves.

Courtesy"Trump's' Bait & Switch"--

Monday, April 24, 2017

FOX News The Official News Source 4 All Things Trump

"The State Department on Monday announced the hiring of former “Fox and Friends” host Heather Nauert as the department’s official spokeswoman."
My Comments
I don't have a problem with people preferring to watch FOX, CNN or MSNBC--but it's entirely another thing with the president of the United States throwing his lot in entirely with only one of either of them. This is nutz!

A president is suppose to represent all sides. This president has made it more then clear--the hell with other peoples views. In doing so he has drawn the battle lines he so richly deserves to be embroiled in. He acts like he's some sort of world 's reality game TV show host.


This is the real deal. People's lives all over the world are at stake. I'm not someone sore he's won the election by any means. What I am concerned about is this guy's constant war with the other half he refuses to acknowledge or listen to.

I can't say I've agreed with other presidents, but this guy is unlike anything I've ever seen in my lifetime.

Friendly Skies Getting Worse And Worse

"When [she} protested and showed her ticket for the first-row seat, **** “took [her] arm without consent and forced [her] to a middle seat in the back of the plane,” the suit alleges. “**** further insulted and humiliated {her] by raising her voice and calling [her] a ‘c–t’ in front of other passengers,” according to court papers.... She had paid over $3,000 for the business class seat, the suit says"

Speeding Fines In UK Just Got Crazy

My Comments
One may ask why I would bring this up. Well I've always had this "monkey see.. monkey do" theory.

Let a few of our state legislators here in the U.S. get a whiff of this and you never know if they'd make a run for this too.

Not to mention insurance companies' cost penalties. Six points could result in a 300% increase in a driver's premiums--even if a driver never had one accident !

Sunday, April 23, 2017


April 23, 2017

If congress doesn't pass a budget by this Friday (April 28, 2017) we could be looking at a federal government shutdown. The White House has gone so far as to threaten cuts to Obamacare subsidies if the budget doesn't include money for the wall.

At this point it's questionable even if congress does manage to pass a bill Trump would sign it without money for his wall.

Is he bluffing or ain't he?

Trump No Fan Of Home Cooked Meals

"The Daily Mail" (04/23/2017)-- Trump fans went wild when he had dinner at his hotel in Washington, DC. The President had dinner with Melania, Ivanka and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin Saturday night

I wonder if he left a tip?
Photo Courtesy Daily (UK)

Apparently the White House chef had yet another night off. The way things are going his could become a part-time job.

According to "The Washington Post"--"Of the 94 days he has been president, he has spent all or part of his time at Trump-branded properties on 33 of them, or an average of once every 2.8 days."

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Would You Buy A DIY Coffin?

"The Sun" (UK) came across a "£200 [$256.34 US] 'coffin in a box', which takes 15 minutes to assemble". All precut & hardware included. They even deliver. Too bad this one is only available in the Netherlands :-(

Is The End Near For "Birthright Citizenship"?

     In short... I doubt it.

"While Trump has not been publicly vocal about this issue since becoming president, there is a bill in the House to advance this proposal. We rate this promise In the Works."
My Comments
Rep. Steven King, R-Iowa, introduced H.R.140 - Birthright Citizenship Act of 2017. It would require those born in the United States to have at least one parent who is "(1) a U.S. citizen or national, (2) a lawful permanent resident alien whose residence is in the United States, or (3) an alien performing active service in the U.S. Armed Forces". Rep. Lou Barletta [R-PA] is one of 22 cosponsors of the bill.

It was first introduced January 03, 2017. On January 23, 2017 it was then referred to the "House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security" where it's been sitting idle. Therefore--unless Donald Trump gets a bee under his bonnet--it likely to languish. HOWEVER you never know with the Donald do you?

I can understand one reason where this may be coming from. A travel industry has been created so as to enable visitors to come here to give birth. Thus guaranteeing their children citizenship status. In other words gaming the system. Since neither parent is allowed to stay indications are parents do return to their home country with the child. So most are not dumping off their kids and leaving them here. If so why such a measure? Is this in the interest of national security, one which is racially motivated against foreigners or is something more elusive going on here?

Article II of our constitution only requires a President to be a natural-born citizen of the United States, at least thirty-five years old, and a resident of the United States for fourteen years. Think in terms of Barack Obama. Since this bill consist entirely of Republicans one can't help wonder if they want to head off a repeat of this whole birtherism thing if this should ever come up again? I suspect that to be the real motive for H.R.140 (2017).

Most of these parents are hoping to gain for their child dual citizenship. I doubt most have in mind one day their child would seek presidency. I suppose like most parents they are hoping their kid will have a better chance in life. This is one way of doing that. I'm not seeing much more then this as a motive for coming here to give birth. I highly doubt whether they were trying to give their kid easy access to become a terrorist or a free loader. What parent would want such for their child?

That said--I'm not entirely opposed to this measure. But let's do it for the right reasons (if there are ones). Donald Trump's angry words doesn't explain why he feels there's a need for it. Yeah I know he's against these folks.. BUT WHY? What's his rational? What's his motivation? Until he or the sponsors can explain such details let the bill rot in committee.

When someone starts messing with the 14th amendment regarding children born to citizens of other countries they better have some damn good reasons. It's a sure fire bet if this bill were ever passed it would be challenged in the supreme court. Given the history of the courts' prior rulings moving this bill forward would be taking on a fool's errand. This regardless of Donald's or the sponsors motives whatever they are.

Friday, April 21, 2017

News Roundup (04/21/2017)

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions hasn't named anyone after mass firing... three months into the new administration: He has yet to fill a single one of those 93 positions" COMMENT: Justice may have taken a holiday but criminals haven't. I wonder how many criminal positions have been refilled in that time?

"...reportedly well north of $10 million." COMMENT: Poor man. Lost his job. Can he still apply to the state for unemployment benefits?

"GM said Thursday that its only factory in Venezuela was confiscated" COMMENT: Here's an idea. Build them here--ship them there. Oh and insist on getting the cash upfront.

"There have been concerns that if a conflict breaks out Russia could face a humanitarian exodus from North Korea." "The troops have been dispatched to handle North Korean refugees and 'unforeseen circumstances', such as the prospect of preemptive attacks on North Korea" COMMENT: If Trump decides to start WWIII it looks like fleeing refugees will turn out to be South Korea's problem. Doesn't sound like a great plan to me. I'm certain more then one South Korean leader is thinking it isn't such a swell plan either. Who stands to lose the most?

Just saying... The White House Easter Egg Roll

Which of these entertainers do you think drew an obviously larger crowd of kids who could relate to the performances?

Trumps 2017 Easter Egg Roll 'Bunny Hop Stage' entertainment?


Obama's Silentó at the 2016 Easter Egg Roll

I could post the kid book readers. I think with Spicer and Sessions reading to kids most can figure out how that went over too :-)

For those who are really nosey how both went, here are the prior Obama White House Easter egg roll videos and these are the ones from Trump's in 2017

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Allentown Mayor Has A 5 Year Plan

     But nobody knows what it is

The Allentown mayor is required by ordinance to submit 5 year plan every year. City council got tired of asking and never getting one. So they filed a "right to know" request.

This is what they got in response...

It has more redactions then what a CIA document would contain.

You can check out the city council meeting video for yourself. It comes 52:47 minutes into the meeting Council showed the letter they received in response to a speaker who wanted to know how much is spent on overtime. Council said they've been blocked by the mayor when they request such pertinent information when it comes to mulling the city's budget request each year by the mayor. Council complained they can't get the required five year plan until they file a RTK request. When they do--it looks like this!

Damned if you do.. Damned if you don't
For years I've read comments from trolls on various sites complaining about council not doing it's job. Now some are complaining the president of city council is grandstanding since he decided to run for mayor. So let me get this right. If a council member doesn't question the mayor they're a bum who should be thrown out of office. On the other hand--when they do they're grandstanding. Why don't those complaining run for office or try and see if they can pry this information from the mayor's clutches. Good luck with that.

The mayor is receiving $95,000. The way Allentown's charter is written the mayor isn't required to show up for council meetings. Thusly he doesn't have to face off with his constituents. As a result the mayor is free to appear or not appear whenever and where ever on his own terms to only those he deems favorable to him.

One the other hand council members are paid only around $5,200 a year. For this they receive all the brunt for everything the mayor does with little to no power to do anything about citizen complaints. As one can see in the video only about a dozen citizens bother to show up. When they do it is to complain or grill council. For fifty two hundreds buck$ a year most of us would say they could take this kind of job and shove it.

Mayoral election is coming up
These are a few things I'd like the next mayor to address. (1) A charter change requiring the mayor to attend council meetings.
(2) A charter change granting stronger powers to council.
(3) A charter change on the budget approval process.
(4) Term limits for mayor
(5) Complete 3 or 4 year outside city audit requirement released to public.
(6) A public filing of business interests candidates hold.
(6) Council members being required to come from certain districts based on population.
Yeah I know--dream on

Monday, April 17, 2017

Immigration Reform Over 35 Years And Still Counting

Talk of reform started back in the days of Ronald Reagan. Still Congress fails to act unto this day. If Donald Trump thinks Congress is going to help or pay for his wall he's fooling himself. Numerous presidents have been on this journey before. Here's a few videos which demonstrate why this will never happen for Donald.

President Obama was fooled as well. Here he is speaking to the press after meeting with a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders to discuss ideas for immigration reform. June 25, 2009.

Here he is again speaking from the White House Rose Garden on June 30, 2014.
(five long years later of his frustrations)

Again on Nov 22, 2014
(some five months after that)

Now let's move on to the the 3rd presidential debate in 2016

Congress couldn't agree on having eggs or pancakes for breakfast. The thing we do know is if Democrats want pancakes...Republicans want eggs. So too vice versa. Bipartisan immigration reform isn't ever going to happen. Trump lied about Hillary's position on immigration. Hillary exaggerated Donald's (or did she given what's happening under his executive orders?).

Barack Obama sincerely tried to reach a compromise. Republicans wouldn't have any part of it. Trump on the other hand thinks he can steamroll congress now that he's president.

I'm here to tell ya, it doesn't matter whether someone (even the President) believes immigration is evil or one that adds value to our nation... congress will make damn sure this never gets resolved. It's too important to both sides when it comes to BS'ing their way back into office. There are sensible solutions. But you can bet your bottom dollar both sides will keep their bases fired up. We and the immigrants are just the monkeys in the middle.

One side pretends the other wants an open door policy. The other wants to completely shut out immigration. Neither of these are a practical solution.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

News Roundup (04/16/2017)

"Jane and David Matthews have had to book into a cottage for Pippa's wedding to hedge fund millionaire James on May 20. " COMMENT: Well I guess we know where this couple's priorities are.

"A three-month-old baby was summoned to the US Embassy in London for questioning after his grandfather accidentally marked that the purpose of his trip to the United States was terrorism." COMMENT: How many terrorists actually check yes?

"United Airlines claims they were trying to sit in upgraded seats without paying... The couple claims they returned to their original seats calmly. Moments later, the US Marshal appeared and escorted them off... They were able to board another flight the following day and make it to Costa Rica in time for their wedding on Thursday... The airline however claims the pair did try to sit in an upgraded seat without permission and that they refused to return to the ones they paid for." COMMENT: In this case I can sympathize with the airline. Whenever I have guests over I always make them sit on the floor or bring folding chairs. Why should I let them sit on my good furniture without paying for it.

Cooking smelly food in Italy is now a crime
Natalie O'Neill | New York Daily Post
"The couple, who was not named in the report, was ordered to pay of $2,150 fine.." COMMENT: Actually what stinks is this law. What's next in Italy--making BBQ grills illegal?

"The men, ages 43 and 22, fought over who was going to walk the dog" COMMENT: So where does this leave the dog? The article doesn't say who's gonna walk it now. America needs answers!

"...they're hoping to save money by the switch." COMMENT: Yeah well--I think this speaks for itself.

life’s most ironic moments
Courtney Bartlett | The Sun (UK)

Trump's Tweets Don't Make It Easy

Believe me I'm trying to stay away from Donald Trump's ridiculous tweets. He doesn't make it easy!

Here's a quick search on YouiTube that says otherwise Here's another video clip in NYC posted by Stephanie Scrafano on Twitter. Protestors as far as the eye can see.

As to who paid-- I'm reminded of the Koch brothers who paid millions towards the 'Tea Party' movement. Ever maddening is his BS about the election being over. Trump himself held several rallies of his own since being sworn in.

Yes and why not?
What does one have to do with the other?

I get angry at myself for acting childish as he does when I respond to his infantile tweets.

Did You Know These Actors Can Sing?

Kevin Spacy

Zachery Levi ("Chuck")

Jason Alexander ("George"- Seinfeld)

Anne Hathaway

Yes... that's really her singing

Scott Bakula

2009 "Quantum Leap" Convention

Zooey Deschanel ("That Girl")

(2011- From Her YouTube Channel)

Some Women Refuse To Stand Down

Some say..
Ever since men started giving permission for women to drive they've become a problem.

"Older Ladies" by Donnalou Stevens

Republican's Worst Nightmare--Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Friday, April 14, 2017

Allentown We Don't Do That No More

Time Flies

Allentown once thrived.

Here a few of the large businesses once exclusive to Allentown that have since disappeared from the city (other then retail and eateries).

Furniture Stores: (Berman & Glazier, Harold Furniture Co., Stern & Co., Miller Furniture Co. and J.B. VanSciver). Dry Cleaners: (Kohlers, Allen Laundry, Tidy-Didy Diaper Service). Men's & Women's hat, clothiers and tailoring shops. Grocery stores: (Mohican market, A&P, Food Fair). Dozens of knitting and sewing mills: (Franklin knitting, Charis, Phoenix, Levin's). These along with A&B meats, Mack Trucks two huge locations (S. 10 Street & 12th & Lehigh), Breweries: (Neuweiler, Horlacher & Daeufer-Lieberman). Shoe manufacturers: (Quaker), several city founded banks, Appliance/electronic sales and repair: (Eastern Light, Laubach & Johnson, Peters, Lafeytte),.... I could go on and on.

The Point Is
We can't make Allentown thrive once again hosting only offices, retailers and eateries. Yes It's true most of these older jobs I mentioned either went overseas, relocated to industrial parks outside of the city or are no longer in demand. But what we still need are neighborhood jobs if we're going to improve. Years ago businesses were scattered throughout town. These days concentrated industrial/warehouse areas are the way to go. So how could we have found better ways in trying to revive the city?

One way we can't do it is by trying to make us a bedroom community for blue collar jobs residing outside the city. Offices and eateries can only take us so far. One of the things Bethlehem has done well is to set up a large industrial area close to I-78 and rail service. We've gone in the opposite direction. For example rather then encourage development along Lehigh Street near I-78 it's filled with car dealerships and retailers. It started off well enough (near the rail tracks to the South) but we never fully exploited the opportunity when we had it. We also dropped the ball in the Basin Street and 7th & Lehigh Street areas which houses older buildings. Each having close access to the Allentown rail yards.

Don't get me wrong I like Coca-Cola baseball park as much as anybody, but wouldn't it been better located on what currently is Allentown's non profitable golf course? There's just as easy an access off of 309 (I-78) or down Cedar Crest from Route 22 much like it is now. The area where the ball park is currently located would have been a perfect location for industrial warehouses seeking easy access for both trucks leaving and to the airport bringing in shipments.

Besides Industrial Parks?
Allentown doesn't need more housing. What we need is the "right" kind of housing. I understand it can take a long time but the city needs to be more aggressive with it's boarded up housing problem. Instead of incentivizing new construction--dilapidated current structures should be brought up to standard or torn down. Why not offer someone who is willing to buy and fix them up--with the contingency they have to live in them--the opportunity to live tax free for a few years? After all most of these boarded up properties aren't generating taxes now anyway. What we're seeing instead is a handful of individuals from outside the city sitting on these properties. Small individual homeowners will always have a greater stake in what happens within our neighborhoods when they have to live in them.

One or two years tax free dependent on them owning the building. It's important for them to own the building. Otherwise some will stiff the landlord--take the money and run. Some may argue they could do the same with taxes. Not if they agree the city holds a "deed of trust" for the first one or two years if they should skip town after bagging the profits.

Let's not kid ourselves Allentown schools are a mess. We've had several neighbors move here. When they started to have children--or when their kids were old enough to go to school--they sold their homes and moved out. One of the reasons ours schools are such a mess is because of administration not the educators. Check out this story in The Morning Call on April 14, 2017-- Report finds 'waste, abuse' of money in Allentown School Distriact's business office-- "The Morning Call had filed a Right-to-Know request for the report, but the district denied the request. The request was also denied at the state level on appeal." Unless/until we straighten our Allentown schools things aren't going to improve the situation either.

In Summary
We may not be able to turn back the hands of time, but there's better ways of going about then the way we have. It doesn't help our government is under a cloud right now with the FBI investigation going on down at city hall either.

I do think Allentown stands a chance to improve. What we all need to understand is the situation isn't hopeless--but without a clear understanding of the past mistakes made and taking future course corrections these hopes grow dimmer It's my wish--with the upcoming elections looming on the horizon--whoever leads the city and the school district forward in the next few years manages to do better jobs.

Parking Revenge

Who among us can't relate to this?
Some guy who hogs up two spaces.

Where I use to work some guy always angle parked across two spaces. One day I came out and two cars were parked aside of him on the same angle along with a rather nasty note left on his windshield. It didn't cure him but at least he moved two rows some 40 feet further out. A place where not even revenge parkers cared to walk any further then they had to :-)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Robo Calls Driving Me Nuts

I posted about this BS back on August 20, 2016. Lately they've started up again being the wife is nearing her age for Medicare. The last few days we've been inundated with 15-16 calls a day!

In my prior post I presented a sound file which would help eliminate these kind of calls.

Since then I wonder if these bozos might have changed the way their machines respond. I'm about to find out. I started employing my sound file once again. See how it goes. Ill let you know with an update in a few days.

How can I put this nicely?

I wouldn't buy from one of you bastards if you were the last on earth. If this is how you treat customers you want to entice I can't imagine how you'd treat them if they were signed up or late on payments. God sakes these guys are worse then bill collectors.

UPDATED: 04/15/2017
Since I posted this three days ago on Wednesday I've received only two calls on Friday. Today is Saturday and none so far. It looks like playing that sound file I talked about into the telephone still works out well.

In case you missed it, here it is again.

White House Spokesman Spicer's Godwin's Law Violation

Wikipedia: Godwin's Law states-- "if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler."

Whitehouse spokesman Sean Spicer the other day fell victim to it. The topic was over the use of Syria's chemical weapons and Spicer's awful attempt in trying to compare it to Hitler's use. This is totally understandable when you're speaking on the fly.

I by no means am a fan of Spicer. I think he is in way over his head. Who wouldn't be trying to explain Trump's never ending contradictions. However it's sort of amusing to see someone who faces the same dilemma I have when trying to make up these posts. The great advantage I have is I'm able to delete the things I might have posted before I screwed up. Sean on the other hand is speaking in real-time. In that I'm more persuaded to forgive him when he paints himself into a corner like he did on this one issue.

What I'm less forgiving of is his inability to get names, places and the facts correct. Sometimes he outright lies for the president. So while I'm more then willing to forgive his shortcomings I question his character as to why he allows himself to be placed in such a position. I certainly would never allow myself to take such a job. This is where we two go our separate ways on principles

By no means am I comparing myself to Sean. I'm sure a plenty of people agree I'm just some crappy little ole' blogger. AND that's exactly the way I like it :-)

Artists Free To Express Themselves NOT SO MUCH!

"The sculptor of Wall Street's "Charging Bull" says New York City is violating his legal rights by forcing his bronze beast to face off against the "Fearless Girl."
Funny how artists always demand freedom of expression--but not so much when it comes to their works. If I may suggest perhaps both could be replaced with this...

Maybe one of New York's steam lines could be hooked up underneath for greater effect?

Fly United's Unfriendly Skies

"... had paid about $1,000 for his primo perch on the flight from Kauai, Hawaii, and was already sitting back in comfort enjoying a glass of orange juice when a United employee rushed on and ordered him to leave" Imagine if it were common practice for the NFL or MLB to sell two people the same seats all over the stadiums at each of the games?

Imagine if cruise ships and hotels did the same?

Jobs- Trump Got It All Wrong

Somehow this president thinks by blocking jobs from going to other countries he can "Make America Great Again".

Following his short sighted plans will do the opposite.

If America is to stay in the lead we need to focus on regaining the lead in technological development. Bringing back coal isn't going to cut it. Neither is any plan that fails to recognize we're not competing with other nation's workers.

What we are competing with is other nations abilities to stay ahead by the use of evolving technology.

At one time we were at the forefront of the industrial revolution. That's what made us a great nation. It wasn't because we had harder workers. It was because Henry Ford came up with a better way of making automobiles cheaper and faster then anybody else. We developed computers before anyone else. It was because of these and hundreds of other technological advances we remained at the forefront (up to now).

An old adage says "work smarter, not harder". This philosophy more then ever still applies today. It doesn't matter whether it's China or anywhere else. Any nation's government that doesn't encourage innovation will be left behind along with it's workers and economy.

Donald's Trump's polices are taking us in the wrong direction from where we need to go. We can't pretend he can bring back the same jobs we had years ago. Not while the rest of the world moved beyond coal, electric steam generators and gas guzzling automobiles we made 20 years ago. He, the American workers and voters need to insist on developing forward looking policies. Either that or we can one day hope the wagon wheel industry will one day make a comeback.

Even China knows the importance of technology if they want to stay ahead.
Published on Sep 11, 2016

Published on May 31, 2016

Uncovered United Airlines Training Video

Monday, April 10, 2017

Indoor Malls Becoming A Relic (TED Talks)

YouTube filmmaker Dan Bell gave a TED Talks presentation on his work filming "dead malls".

Now that so many consumers are doing online shopping brick and mortar stores are becoming extinct as the Dodo bird and yesteryear's drive-in movies.

Check out his films featuring...
     "The Fairgrounds Square Mall"- Reading
     "Schuylkill Mall"- Frackville
     "The Gallery"- Philadelphia
     "Coventry Mall"- Pottstown
     "Granite Run Mall"- Media
     HIS ENTIRE "DEAD MALL" series of videos

At one time everyone did their shopping downtown. Then along came the malls. Now they too are facing the same challenges trying to survive in the marketplace. I tend to think the take away is consumers are no longer interested in large shopping mecca's. Smaller locally owned specialty shops seem to be more sustainable. While there still may be a need for 'big box' stores--consumers no longer seem interested driving on the ever increasing crowded highways more then a couple of miles from where they live to get to them.

One of the things I've noticed with my own shopping habits--when it comes to big ticket items--I can do better online.

We all can relate to the misinformation underpaid/commissioned retail sales employees sometimes gave us in order to make a sale. Online I can do a lot more research on the item myself without driving to several stores. Online delivery costs these days are compatible to what brick and mortar stores are able to provide. To name a couple Recently we purchased two custom made to order mattresses out of New York. A electric generator from Tennessee. Both purchases worked out well. More importantly I always try to buy American. Most retail stores carry inventories that are not.

There's more reasons I--like I'm sure many others--prefer to give my business to private owners. For the most part private ownership provides better benefits and salary to their workers because they don't have to pay out high salaries to corporate management and stockholders. Private owners have a lot more vested interest in providing quality products over some management employee drifting from company to company. To my way of thinking this is the old fashion way of doing business. When Al Boscov, Max Hess, John Wanamaker or other owners directly ran their businesses is nothing like these retailers we're seeing today. Too much overhead--less dedicated employees. No wonder malls are folding.

It's tough to always buy local. However this doesn't mean consumers can't support private ownership via the internet. Sorry if that's bad news for these malls, but I consider that a good thing.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Gambler's Date Night Cost Him $100,000

Boston's WHDH TV 7 News reported on 04/07/2017 how a man was denied a $100,000 jackpot because a woman pushed the button instead of him. Evidently it doesn't matter who is paying for the slot machine. The only thing that matters is who pushes the button. Supposedly he told her to push the button for him hoping for good luck. Turns out it was quite lucky.. for her. Him.. not so much.

Reportedly she walked out of the Ft. Lauderdale casino with the $100g's in hand leaving him behind. It was said she even had the nerve to ask security to escort her out alone so her date couldn't follow her.

Personally I don't see those two having much of a future. Too many differences. His understanding of getting lucky is apparently far different then hers.

Besides it looks like she already gave him a "honey moon".

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Trump's Missile Launch Against Syria

I'm not going to debate who did what to who or why. Whether it was justified or not. Whether it was a false flag operation or if it was legal. What really matters is what was accomplished?

A few hours after the $60+ million dollars worth of missiles pounded one of six Assaad's air bases he went right back at it. He bombed the same city the gas attack reportedly took place as a way of flipping the finger to the world. The people there are no better off for it. The way I see it many innocent Syrians are getting bombed by their own leader, Russia, the United States, ISIS and by so-called Syrian rebels. In short there's no way we can bomb our way out of this one. So what's the answer?

Maybe it's best we stay out of this mess. Assaad may be an ahole but what's the alternative?


The so-called rebels or Russian/Iranian control?

Which is the less of all evils?

Seems to me no matter which way this turns out the Syrian people are screwed.

What A World !

ASD Finds Itself In A Pickle.. AGAIN!

What has become a annual rite of passage the Allentown School District once again in 2017 finds itself in a financial bind. Or should I say we?

Allentown School District, $15 million in hole, looking at raising taxes by 4.8 percent
By Jacqueline Palochko Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call
"By raising taxes 4.8 percent, the district would still have a $15 million deficit. That would be covered by taking $14.9 million from the fund balance." From A Taxpayer's POV
Even it could be said my home's value has increased doesn't mean it generates one single dollar more revenue for me. Yet when it comes to school taxes on the property we get hit two ways. (1) When reappraisals go up. (2) When mileage increases. What a lousy way to fund schools. On top of that there's a huge number of us on fixed incomes who retirement sources never come close to rising at the same rate as these taxes.

Funding Considerations
I'm against funding schools through property values on primary residences. Another argument could be made for imposing a school value added tax at the time of sale. BUT NEVER for peoples primary homes that aren't generating increased revenue. If a point could be stretched maybe for business properties that increase in value it might make some sense.

Perhaps rentals should be included considering they are a business and for two other reasons. (1) Responsible home ownership should be encouraged. (2) Rentals tend to put our neighborhood school populations in a expensive constant state of flux ss you see in the following story.

"Jennifer Ramos, the executive director of elementary education, said... the elementary program is experiencing space constraints with little space remaining in many of the grade schools to accommodate increased enrollments in special education and English as a second language... The district's plan is to move all 212 Lincoln Elementary, and nearly 100 Ramos students, to Jackson which currently contains 35 alternative education students in grades six through eight destined for the William Penn Building, which has room for 130 more children." If Allentown had a large population of homeowners instead of renters with kids constantly moving around all the time this would be less necessary. Kids do better academically when they aren't moved school to school. These special programs could be consolidated to where they are most needed on a long term basis. More importantly it makes better financial sense not to constantly be closing down one school then paying to expand another. Then in a few years regret selling off a school that might be needed a few years down the pike when the student population shifts back again.

A Few Ideas For Funding Schools
* A value added school tax at the time of sale on privately owned primary residences. A higher value added tax on non primary residential properties.

* Lessen the deductions for dependent children both on federal and state income taxes. The way it works now childless couples are paying more on their earnings while couples (who's children actually use schools) are burdening the budgets for educations. These deductions came about when we encouraged larger populations. This should no longer be the case. Despite less deductions be allowed for children this would be offset by reducing or eliminating property taxes. Thus making it possible for more young couples with children to own homes. Course the state and federal government would have to pass these increased revenues along.

There's a few more advantages. People being able to hold on to their homes longer after retirement. Greater tax fairness in not financially punishing someone for not having children. Schools would see their budgets rise with incomes. This is better then having to face angry home owners year after year when they price them out of their homes.

* Federal and states laws have to change. It's unfair public schools are saddled with different requirements then charter schools due to unfair lobbying of our law makers. At the current time public schools have to provide the same pupil costs to charter schools without the same restraints public school programs are required to provide. While I don't see that as happening--it still remains a fact.

A Few Ideas For Allentown's Schools
* Consolidation. Currently the Allentown School District has 25 schools. One of the advantages some suburban schools take advantage of is having almost all their schools on one campus. In Allentown we have almost 25 principles along with the associated staffing at each. This includes separate cafeterias, janitorial services, etc By consolidation much of these could be eliminated. In some districts (who have main campuses) when the elementary buildings becomes overcrowded they move some classes over the middle school next door (and vice versa).

While transportation cost may be a factor--I'm certain moving pupils around would be more cost effective then opening, closing and expanding buildings year after year. Instead of dozens of music rooms, gyms, crossing guards/security staff, auditoriums, heating plants and so forth they all could be reduced to just 3 or 4 in large buildings. I don't see how this wouldn't make sense.

* Currently According to the ASD website the poverty rate is 38.64% (89.1% denoted as low income). Students come from 51 different countries (speaking 26 languages). One of problems I see here is students are geographically assigned to one of our 25 schools. The quickest and most effect way to integrate separate languages, cultures and financial background differences isn't by isolating them from one another. Hence the need for what I spoke about above regarding consolidation. It's one thing for educators to try and assimilate students, but the most efficient and cost effective method is to actually assimilate them among their peers.

* Finally let's talk about the whacky way we go about hiring administrators. The school board itself needs a wake up call when it comes to hiring. The current way we do business has got to go. The first step is to pay recruiters or advertise nationwide for some drifter who is double dipping their retirement or wants a guaranteed contract. Folks this isn't some wall street corporate CEO we should be looking for. How many times do we need to get burned before we figure this out?

I'm positive we can find qualified people within our district or outside of it who would be willing to take the job without a contract that rivals that of an NFL player. It's sheer lunacy the way we've paid for folks who taken advantage of this idiocracy. Someone performs the job or they're let go just like anyone else. There--is that so hard to understand?

* Free lunches: There's nobody who will ever convince me some kid can't afford a packed lunch. Be realistic how much could a baloney sandwich already bought with taxpayer supported food stamps for impoverished kids cost. Great if ASD get' federal funds, but really--it's shouldn't be ASD's taxpayers' responsibility for something they already paid for.

* Free daycare for underage student's offspring: There's nothing wrong with it but shouldn't come out of schools educational budgets for other students.

* Pre-kindergarten: Taxpayers are already on the hook for 13 years of education. In reality it is nothing more then free daycare. Most parents are more then qualified to prepare their kids. No one needs a degree to help their kids play with crayons, turn on the TV or access the internet if they are so inclined. There are a great deal of others who can afford to send their kids off to nursery school but instead choose to cheap out making the rest of us pay for it. Let em be kids for one more year. There's nothing wrong with it.

Education has become big business, a lot more complicated and expensive then it need be. We'd do far better for our kids by allowing them to commingle rather then separating them by neighborhoods, culture and financial upbringings in small neighborhood school buildings.

There's plenty of other ways to provide school funding. Instead of punishing someone because either they are childless or happen to own a home there are alternatives we haven't explored.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Jersey Blueberries--I Wondered About This

"" is reporting on something I thought about--blueberries.
HAMMONTON: "I’m very worried about it. ... I know a lot of other farmers are, too” said Bill Mortellite, a third-generation blueberry grower... he’s trying to round up his labor crew for the upcoming summer, but like other farmers here is worried about how the Trump Administration’s crackdown on immigrants will affect migrant workers... the grower was anticipating having a hard time finding his usual crew of about 125 migrant laborers.. "Atlantic Blueberry" needs about 500 workers each summer to farm the operation’s 1,000 acres and work in its packing house." This family is a huge consumer. The wife bakes them in muffins and homemade pancakes/waffles. The granddaughters eat a bowl of them at a time and we make shakes out of them.

Although the job pays well--the hours are long and the work is hard.

Simply put--I don't see American workers willing to pick them

Much of the same problems exist on farms from coast to coast. Whether it be vegetable/fruit crops, dairy or meat operations a bunch of farms are having trouble finding labor. So are the seasonal amusement parks and contractors who relied on foreign labor..

Enough Said
Unless we adopt better policies consumers are going to be hit hard

Baltimore's Mr. Trash Wheel

Invention two guys came up with in 2014 to help remove Baltimore waterways of litter

NBC News | Oct 30, 2014

Published on Jul 26, 2016

Follow Mr. Trash Wheel on TWITTER
Follow Mr. Trash Wheel on FACEBOOK

WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore
Published on Apr 22, 2015

Of course it would be a lot better if people weren't such pigs in the first place

A Reminder From ""
click on the picture for more information

Thursday, April 6, 2017

This Is Just Plane Crazy!