Monday, December 31, 2018

My Thoughts On The Upcoming New Year

Last year I said, "Here's to hoping 2018 will be a more compassionate caring and empathic world then the one we've experienced in 2017".

Yeah well we all know how well that turned out.

This year I have two words each of us should think about...

Personal Responsibility
Years ago when I attended what was then 'Central Jr. High' it's principle Carroll Parks had those two words plastered in every classroom. He also instructed teachers to explain what this meant. I think it was as good a lesson back then and it is now. What I would like everyone reading this to ponder is what those two words mean to you. For me it means... * Depending on others or drugs for happiness is not a good option.
* Everything I feel entitled to should come through my own efforts.
* If I screw up the first thing I need to do is take responsibility for it. Then do something about it so I don't repeat it--including an apology if necessary.
In 2018 a lot of the misery was based on peoples refusal to accept reasonability. It was a year filled with all kinds of finger pointing ranging from politics to road rage. Neither you nor I can change the world. What each of us can do is change our attitudes towards adversity. If we can't even manage changing ourselves how could we ever expect to change the world?

Realistically I don't expect next year to be different then the last but it's still worth repeating Michael Jackson's message over and over again in the hopes one day his words may finally sink in.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Immigration- Round And Round We Go

Obama to Use Executive Action to Secure Southern US Border (06/2014)

Oh my-- was that Trump or Obama speaking?

Let us not pretend this is something new. What is new is the way this president carries on like he's the only one who has ever had to deal with this problem. Shutting down the government and screaming at Democrats is not the answer.

Obama had to deal with inaction for 6 years under Republican control of congress while Trump has been only dealing with them for the last 2 years. Instead of a childish hissy fit maybe Trump ought to reach out to Obama and the two of them get together since they both are mostly on the same page. We pretend like there's some huge difference between the previous administrations over this issue when in reality there is not.

I could scream everytime I hear-- Republicans or Democrats are this or that. Damnit we're all Americans. Democrats are not alien invaders from some other planet. Neither are Republicans. But you'd never know it the way people are acting.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

"All I Want For Christmas" Charted Again This Year

Huffington Post
Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ Looks Like It Just Broke Another Record
"The song from Carey’s 1994 album “Merry Christmas” soared to the No. 1 spot on Spotify’s global top 200 chart on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day."

Yeah it did but here's the thing that annoys me. While by-and-large Mariah gets all the credit it's not hers alone. It was co-written by Walter Afanasieff who seldom is mentioned.

Walter Afanasieff's interview in 2014...
ASCAP writer-producer Walter Afanasieff has won multiple Grammys and written and/or produced some of the best-selling singles of all time, including Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On."

AND hundreds more! Including some for Kenny G, Michael Bolton, Savage Garden and Barbra Streisand to name a few.

The take away on this.
Whether it be in music, the movies or on stage it takes lots of people to make so-called stars look good. Composers, costume, makeup, writers, sound/lighting, set/stage designers, editors, computer programmers and all so many more. Without these working behind the scenes, unknown except to the insiders, there'd be practically no stars.

In other words it takes a hellva lot of people to make any one person look good. Same as it does in every other kind of endeavor whether it be in entertainment, the military, politics or any other situation where people appear larger then life.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Former Mayor Pawlowski Could Get Out Early

The president just signed the "First Step Act" allowing none violent federal offenders to get out early. According to Wikipedia... A prisoner, except for an ineligible prisoner under subparagraph (D), who successfully completes evidence-based recidivism reduction programming or productive activities, shall earn time credits as follows:

“(i) A prisoner shall earn 10 days of time credits for every 30 days of successful participation in evidence-based recidivism reduction programming or productive activities.

“(ii) A prisoner determined by the Bureau of Prisons to be at a minimum or low risk for recidivating, who, over two consecutive assessments, has not increased their risk of recidivism, shall earn an additional 5 days of time credits for every 30 days of successful participation in evidence-based recidivism reduction programming or productive activities.
Former mayor Pawlowski was sentenced to 15 years. Let's take a quick look at the math and see how this might benefit him. Under part (i) the number of credited days could total up to 120 a year. Under part (ii) an additional 60 days. So if Pawlowski were to meet both of these requirements he could reduce his sentencing by 180 days (6 months) yearly.

In other words by the end of 10 years he could be credited with 5 years off his sentencing under this act. In addition another 54 days per year credit for "good conduct". Meaning in a best case scenario the former mayor could serve as few as 8 1/2 years or thereabouts.

Flash Mob Hits Whole Foods Store In Lancaster Pa.

Published on Dec 22, 2018

Doing A Federal Shutdown The Right Way

If I were God of the universe this is the way I'd like to see the federal shutdown work. All salaries (with no make up pay) and transportation expenses be cut off for the president and all members of congress. This means no limos. No AF#1. The capital building gym closed. No nothing including their precious TV, magazine and newspaper interviews. Ignore them till they get the job done.

I tend to think that's all it would take. If not how about a fine or impeachment after a certain number of days for members of congress failing to do their jobs? After all isn't that what our employers would do to us if we failed to do ours?
No pain. No gain.
The problem is they no longer take shutdowns seriously. Since they themselves are unaffected they have no skin in the game. I'd bet things would change real quick if they did.

Of course this will never happen since they get to set the rules of the game. But wouldn't it have been nice if our founders had put it into the constitution? Course they never could have imagined leaders one day could wield such financial power over citizens.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

No Reason For The Government Shutdown

Oh we easily could blame Trump but truth is every federal politician deserves equal credit for this mess.

Both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate were equally content in passing a bipartisan "continuing resolution" bill forwarding it to members in the 'House'. It was at this point Trump pulled the rug out by threatening to veto it without the funding for "his" border wall. House members crumbled. At this point they voted and approved $5.7b more for Trump's border wall request. Then tossed it back to the Senate where everything came to a screeching halt.

Here's why I said there was no reason for this shutdown. Initially all members agreed to a simple clean "continuing resolution". Why are they now kowtowing to Trump's demands? Congress could override a Trump veto with 2/3rds a majority coming from both the Senate and House. Since they don't seem to have the guts to oppose Trump they own it too.

Congress has always proudly stated it's main power is that over the purse. Apparently not anymore. Of the three branches Congress is the most important one. They set the laws the president and courts must follow Sadly right now the courts and president are running the show because of congress's failure to agree on just about anything.

Our form of democracy is being tested like never before. Our founders designed this country so it would have checks and balances on each of it's branches of power. They never wanted neither the judicial, legislative nor the executive branches to go unchecked. If any one of the three fail to live up to their responsibilities the whole system is in danger of collapse.

On You're Own While Getting Shot At

New York Times (12/18/2018)
Officers Had No Duty to Protect Students in Parkland Massacre, Judge Rules
"Police officers, in fact, generally are not under any legal obligation to protect citizens who are not in their custody... “Neither the Constitution, nor state law, impose a general duty upon police officers or other governmental officials to protect individual persons from harm — even when they know the harm will occur,” said Darren L. Hutchinson, a professor and associate dean at the University of Florida School of Law. “Police can watch someone attack you, refuse to intervene and not violate the Constitution.”"

Does the same thing apply to another cop or the judge being shot at?

Look if all they're going to do is write a report up I could hire stenographers for a whole lot less.

Either I'm living in another universe or severely laboring under a misapprehension of how I thought things were suppose to work.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

22 Musicals In 12 Minutes

I really enjoyed the way each were able to change their voices and accents (especially Lin-Mauel Miranda).

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emily Blunt & James Corden

What amazing talents!

Speaking of "Mary Poppins Returns"...

Monday, December 17, 2018

Allentown Property Taxes Rise 27 Percent

Allentown residents see 27 percent property tax increase
"For the first time in 13 years, Allentown residents will see a property tax increase."

This works out to an average of 2.07 percent per year. I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand that's not too terribly unreasonable. On the other, 27 percent in one giant leap comes as quite a surprise. What went mostly unrecognized Allentown's revenue nearly doubled over the last 13 years. These revenues mostly came from many other sources most taxpayers were unaware of. The problem here is this particular increase comes solely from property owners making this increase a lot more apparent. Thus becoming quite a hot button issue.

For most taxpayers this should amount to $25 a month or less. When I look back over my cable, car payment, insurance bills and others over the last 13 years they each went up a hellva' lot more. Rentals most certainly did. I bet so did most people's salaries.

Look, I'm not trying to justify whether this increase was needed or not. What I'm trying to point out is when you put this in perspective it isn't as bad as it sounds. Although it sure would be nice if candidates running for office would have been honest enough to prepare us for this so we could plan accordingly.

Once again I reinstate-- Rather then bitching them out, if anyone has any good ideas I'm sure council and the mayor are both more then willing to entertain them.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Saturday Night Live Is Tanking

Stick a fork in it...
Out of the three major networks 'Saturday Night Live' comes in dead last most weeks. There's a good reason for that-- they aren't funny. Not unless you find humor in making a dick out of other people. The other day I posted about the bygone era when comedians mostly made fun of themselves or some situation we could all relate to. Over the years SNL has steadily gone off the rails attacking public figures. Not exactly a great path to take far as I'm concerned.

Think back to the original cast. Laraine Newman, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris, and Chevy Chase. Later on came Bill Murray, Al Franken, and Eddy Murphy to name a few. You'd be hard pressed to come up with any of their bits trashing public figures. If SNL did a bit on a public figure it was done with a good natured ribbing in mind.

I'll embed a couple of clips that show why SNL is nothing like it use to be. Maybe Lorne Michaels ought to take a look back and see why his show is tanking.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

My Toughest New Year Resolution Challenge Ever

Nearly every resolution I make, I break. Let's see how long this one will last-- To ignore all the imbecilic things Donald Trump says and does. Since it's not January 1st yet let me get a few things off my chest before I wrap this year up. There isn't anything this guy comes across he doesn't wreck by not offering a solution after he kicked them to the ground A few examples are healthcare/arms/trade/Iranian agreements.

Every friend or associate he ever had becomes his enemy if not a convict.

He'll never listen to anything that doesn't fit with his view of the world. Everything has to be either his way or the highway period!

The only thing that matters more then his family is himself. Nobody else counts.
There's plenty more I could say. Let this be enough. I wasted too much time on this blog already on his buffoonery. I leave the rest in the capable hands of congress, investigators, the courts and fact checkers. I suspect even his supporters and FOX News eventually will wake up as he continues to drag this country down.

The thing about me is I only debate so much before my mind's made up. I've reached my wits' end fact checking knowing full well the guy is making stuff up as he goes along. So rather then spending another minute next year on this knucklehead or his supporters I intend to refocus on anything but him or they next year.

Don't even think of leaving a disparaging comment. They will be deleted. I'm not in the mood. Besides this is the last one you'll have to look at if I can live up to my 2019 New Year's resolution. Wish me luck. I'll need it.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Not Too Late To Get Your Flu Shot

This post is a reminder if you haven't already it's still not too late to get vaccinated against the flue. There's been an uptick in the number of confirmed flu infections here in Pennsylvania.

Pa. Dept. of Health reports for the week ending 12/08/2018... 91 cases in Lehigh Valley
41 in Northampton County
A total of 1,245 cases throughout all of Pennsylvania

It will only get worse from here. Peak flu season is in January and February. However it can run late as March before it begins to taper off going into April.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Quick Fact Check Of Immigrants Still Waiting At Border

This immigration problem is being vastly overstated for political reasons.

Current estimates are there's only 2,500 immigrants still waiting to get in at our southern border. Each and every day it's estimated there are 6,775 deaths per day in the United States. The number of births per day around 10,829. Thus our current population growth is 4,054 people per day. This works out to 1,479,710 more people per year.

Even if we were to approve all of the original 5,000 immigrants they'd only represent a one time growth of less then .33%.

All 5,000 would amount to about half of the babies born in just one day.

We can think of this in yet another way. If all 5,000 were spread out across each of our states it would amount to less then 100 in each. Far less then most of our smallest towns and villages. Hell even less then the average size apartment complex for that matter. By the way.. Lincoln Financial Field's capacity is 69,176. Coca-Cola Park in Allentown capacity is 10,000 (8,100 seats). J. Birney Crum Stadium 15,000. PPL Center 8,500.

There's nothing wrong with reviewing our immigration policies, but let us not exploit them for political purposes. This isn't a national emergency. There are far larger issues to concern ourselves with. Like our financial support for the Saudi's ongoing war in Yemen. According to the UN and other sources, from March 2015 to December 2017, 8,670–13,600 people have been killed. A national debt of $21 trillion and growing. To name only two.

I consider this little more then manufactured crisis exploiting peoples' insecurities for political advantage. Protectionism at it's worst. Something evil leaders in the past hitched their horses to. Which had disastrous consequences.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Remember When Comedy...

* Didn't need to use swear words

* Didn't need canned laughter

* Didn't do politics

* When comedians only made fun of themselves

* When all of us could relate knowing somebody like this guy...

Talk about self-deprecating humor...

There's lots of ways to be funny without it being at the expense of others. Matter-of-fact the funniest stuff came from comedians making an idiot of themselves.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

A Nation Of Renters

We're becoming a nation of renters. I don't see this as a good thing. Car and home ownership is becoming out of reach. It's always better to own rather then be subjugated to the terms and conditions set by others who have their own best interest in mind. It's almost like being beholden to a master.

New vehicles have become so expensive many are opting to lease instead. There's a few problems as I see it. (1) In two or three years lessees are forced out of their much needed transportation. Sometimes costing them more at the end for things they haven't factored in such as exceeding mileage or vehicle wear. (2) If one purchases a vehicle they can determine when they can best afford another one. Who knows in two or three years what one's financial situation might be. Maybe hanging on to a vehicle for a few years longer would be someone's best option to avoid financial difficulties. (3) Scheduled maintenance is not an option for a lessee. I'll give you one bad example. My son leased a van. The dealer forced him in for an oil change. They overfilled it causing the engine to blow out the crankshaft oil gasket. They demanded he pay $300 for the repair.

Housing rentals are a terrible option.(1) Some charge extra or won't allow pets. (2) Nuisance complaints are handled by the property owner rather then police. Police can't evict people for noise complaints, outside decorations and the all so many restrictions apartment owners come up with. (3) Mortgages payments are spelled out contractually. Apartment owners can raise them to most anything they desire. (4) Twenty or thirty years after paying rent you are entitled to nothing. Owning something on the other hand means you have a tangible asset of value. (5) Even crazier yet is to "buy" a property and still be obligated to pay condo fees. In most cases it's a hellva lot cheaper to pay contractors for repairs and maintenance only when necessary

Don't think for a moment government isn't encouraging this. Some cities have relaxed their single housing zoning requirements. Here in Pennsylvania there have been a number of multimillion government grants to help developers convert so-called historic structures into rental units (including right here in the Lehigh Valley).

While I'm on the subject-- why become a rental employee? I'm talking about being hired by a firm subcontracted to employ workers for a company. Companies are required by law to follow certain rules for their employees. Companies are able to skirt many of these protections by the use of a subcontracted third party jobber. In other words legally speaking, temp agencies. Others hire their labor as independent contractors. Both which means such a worker is being rented out to them on a day-to-day or hourly basis under whatever terms of their choosing.

Seems to me...
We should never buy a new car we can't afford. Buy a used one instead. Hang on to it till you can afford a better one. Rather then rent try to find a mortgage that would be in line with what you now pay in rent. For a long time people bought a "starter home. After a few years flipped it for something better as their earnings grew along with the value of their home. As far as jobs are concerned-- no one should ever settle for less then being actually hired by a firm itself. Perhaps at the same time seeking to make themselves more attractive by acquiring greater skills. It wouldn't hurt to start up a little side business on your own either.

The point is all too many of us are allowing ourselves to become enslaved by making wrong choices. Anytime we allow ourselves to be indebted we become beholden. In order to free ourselves as much as possible we need to release those ties which allow others to control us by financial means whenever possible.

Friday, December 7, 2018

BB&T Eliminating Allentown Headquarters

Lehigh Valley While the bank said it will maintain a corporate presence in Allentown, there will be some other positions eliminated in Allentown as a result of the changes.

BB&T joins the ever growing list of those coming and going. These businesses, much like it's residents, are renters. Nearly every new property built is for renters Not ownership. No wonder so few are concerned with the city's future over the long haul.

In the 50's when Allentown was in it's heydays nearly every business owned the property they did business out of. This was most certainly the case with those who were displaced by the NIZ a few years ago. The way things are in Allentown it's more like a campground then a city. This explains why Allentown is the way it is.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Thoughts On The George H.W. Bush Memorial Service

Frankly I had no intention of watching. Now I'm happy I did. Here are a few of my reflections on the event.

This went very well with just the right amount of humorous anecdotes while still maintaining dignity of the occasion. I think #41 should be well pleased. Many of the old stories had Donald Trump laughing. Seldom something I seen him do.

Usually I don't enjoy the musical selections. However in this case I enjoyed each and every one of them.

This was billed as more of a celebration of his life rather then a funeral. Yes there were some heart rendering moments but those were inner dispersed with humor as each speaker recalled their fond memories of him.

Most importantly it was a 100% politically free event. Very refreshing considering the National Cathedral was loaded with current and past leaders of all stripes. Exactly what Bush 41 wanted. People to come together if only for two hours to experience the common bonds each of us can relate to.

He wasn't perfect. Nobody is. What this memorial service reminded me is each of us one day shall pass. One day we will be judged for the good acts we've accomplished and those in which we faltered. In the case of George H.W. Bush most certainly his good deeds will remain as a measure to those of us left behind. Let us learn from them.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

High Cost Of Meds

One more argument for national healthcare.

A LVCI Explainer

The other day while blogger Molovinsky was arguing with Bernie he took a veiled snipe at me. Even though I could care less what Molovinsky's opinion is of me it compelled me once again clarify a few things. (1) I never took a snipe Molovinsky. Why do that to me? The only reason I can think of is he doesn't like my opinion pieces.

(2) The definition of word "clancularius"-- anonymous; writing in secret; concealed; unknown. I'm the only one who writes a blog anonymously. It was my choice to include this word in the name of this blog because of my strong belief a person's stature or identity is meaningless over that which is being said. FACTS MATTER. Not who says them. Some of the greatest works ever written were published under pseudonyms. Honestly how many authors can you name who wrote articles which impressed you? I see no reason why I or my family should feel threatened by the all so many screwballs out there. Besides why should anyone really care who I am anyway? It ain't like we're going to become roomies. QUICK FACT-- none of the books in the bible were written by those ascribed to them.

(3) 90% of what people read in the paper or seeing discussed on TV are little more then copy/pastes from sources such as Reuters, the AP or other news services so I'm not so different from they. I never claimed to be a reporter. Most newspaper reporters only get published a couple times a month. It's simply too overwhelming to come up with this volume of material each month for any one person. That's why it's important to me to credit each of their efforts. Thus why I always acknowledge my sources through the use of quotes and the links to them. This is much like a bibliography many writers make use of.

(4) This blog singular purpose is to share my many interests which might relate to yours also. Sort of like a public diary of my thoughts. I'm not doing this for profit nor seeking to be the big boy on the block (competition with other blogs). Yeah sure it would be nice to hear more feedback in the comments but I don't need all the crap other blogs put up with that comes with them.

(5) Yeah I'm all over the map. I'm not the kind of person who can post day after day on any single area of interest. I have many. That too I've been criticized for. There's no reason to write something everyday for many of the things I come across. Only those which motivate me.

(6) Finally this goes back to my anonymity. Anyone wishing to contact me doesn't need my email, name, telephone number or address. I'm easily accessible. All anyone has to do wishing to contact me is leave a comment requesting not to be published.

Economic Impact of Illegal Immigrants

Economic Impact of Illegal Immigrants
In The United States
"The Congressional Budget Office reported in 2007 that..."in aggregate and over the long term, tax revenues of all types generated by immigrants—both legal and unauthorized— exceed the cost of the services they use."

The Congressional Budget Office
The Budgetary Effects of Unauthorized Immigrants
Is Unauthorized Immigration an Economic Drain on American Communities? Research Says No.

Unlike Donald I don't pull things out of my *$$ without backing up my remarks via a link to a source for my information. Trump ought to try it sometime.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Newspapers Likely Doomed

Newspapers could be on their way out. They're facing difficult business models making them decreasingly less profitable. Compounding this difficulty are greedy investors.
Free the Free Press From Wall Street Plunder
"These hedge-fund scavengers know nothing about journalism and care less. They’re ruthless Wall Street profiteers out to grab big bucks fast.

They slash journalistic and production staff, void employee benefits, shrivel the paper’s size and news content, sell the presses and other assets, and triple the price of their inferior product — and then declare bankruptcy, shut down the paper, and auction off the bones before moving on to plunder another town’s paper"

Reporters and news media face lots of challenges if they are to continue. People have demonstrated time and again their unwillingness to pay for online content. So too local advertisers share much of that same reluctance. Most people get their local information from social media. As do newspapers and TV in many cases these days because of staff reductions.

This may be fine for car accidents, assaults, robberies, neighborhood complaints and the like. However without a financially well off news organization having a robust number of investigative reporters this does nothing to provide oversight of government. Perhaps the very reason why the 1st amendment was enacted and that which should be their number one mission. Only robust well financed operations can afford to confront those who'd otherwise crush any individual or small group who tried to expose corruption. Indeed we do rely on government to take care of these things but it's the news media who calls them out when it fails to do it's job or when because of budget cuts government is unable.

Ok now we know the problem. What's the solution?
Well the first step is to break up these huge chains thereby making them less attractive to wall street investors. No group of investors should be allowed to own more then say two or three newspapers (like in the old days).

The second step would be to refocus almost entirely on local issues. These should be on the front page and at top of the webpage viewers first come across. In other words localize it. Investigative pieces should come first. News that will actually affect people second. All else behind those two.

Next comes the revenue problem
The first thing that comes to mind is reporters don't need a desk and office in a expensive building to get the job done. They could quite easily work at home or file their stories from out in the field. When needed show up at shared workspaces and conference rooms provided. About the only thing a reporter needs is a recorder and computer to get the job done.

A la carte pricing for various subscription delivery. For those online who wish to view advertisement free there'd be an offering for a small fee. Those who insist on hard copy home delivery there could be two levels. One the way it's done now (tossed out a car window). Another delivered right to the door with additional coupons and features published separately not offered elsewhere either online or at the lower tier.

Shared reporting. There's no sense paying separate reporters to duplicate the same reporting as another newspaper, radio or TV station. Why not coordinate? Perhaps several small independent newspapers, radio and TV stations could financially contribute to the formation of a separate organization to gather their news. This would also help offset the costs for expensive investigative reporting they'd otherwise not be able to afford. Sort of like a mini AP (Associated Press) designed just for this region.

Finally there is this.
Just what if all the laid off media people got together and created a commercially sponsored website? There's no reason why they couldn't create a startup offering a little competition to those who've shunned them. When Huffington Post started out nobody thought it would amount of a hill of beans. Look where they are today. Hey ya never know.

Never give in to defeat!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Some George H.W. Bush Videos

Bush Senior's Debate With Reagan On Immigration 1980

On Climate Change (1990)

George H. W. Bush Rally in !992
The election he lost

Of course I don't agree with everything he said at the rally but he sure beat the hell of what we're stuck with today.

Three things I remember most about him....
He knew how to win and when to start a war (Kuwait). What the objectives were, then get out. The man new foreign powers like few before. Reagan knew that too. That's why he appointed him as his vice president.

Thirdly, he valued family and people above all else.

My hopes for the United States is one day we shall have another leader as compassionate, well spoken and knowledgeable as George H.W. Bush was. I may not always agree with everything he said or did, but he was as fine a person who has ever lived. May the United States be blessed once again to be led by someone so great as he.

Putin Turning Water Into Wine?

Merkel, Putin agree to four-way talks on Kerch Strait
"BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on Saturday to hold further talks about events in the Kerch Strait at the advisor level between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany, her spokesman said."

Some of you may be familiar with Russia blocking and seizing Ukraine's ships from entering the Black Sea. Some accused Ukraine of trying to create an issue so the United States would get involved with their military conflict against Russia. The way we and the Ukraine handled it was calling for Turkey to block Russia's ships in Istanbul from crossing into the Mediterranean (the only way into entering open ocean). Thus further escalating tensions.

Putin may be a lot of things but no one can ever accuse him of being stupid. Now I begin to wonder if it was a plan initiated by Russia all along before the G20 summit. Here's why... Step 1: Confront/seize Ukraine's ships creating an international crisis.
Step 2: Undermine the United States trade proposals at the G20 summit by cutting deals with France and Germany to make the problem go away.
No wonder Putin was so happy.

His former BFF in the back... not so much.

Friday, November 30, 2018

TMC Columnist Bill White Is Gone

Long time columnist Bill White joins the ever growing list 'The Morning Call' has let go. Bill stated, "I accepted a voluntary buyout offer from our parent company this week that made Friday [11/30/2018] my last day here...

At this point the Morning Call Christmas party for all their employees and families would be lucky to fill a shipping container. Course a shipping container might be just the thing since they'll all probably be shipped out before long the way this is going.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Best Trump Fact Checking Site I've Found

Why spend hours watching the news channels or scouring the internet when Donald's own twitter account has the best fact checking resources to be found anywhere?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Mueller Set A Trap?

Sunday Donald Trump submitted his answers to Mueller's questions. Monday Mueller submitted 175 pages to the courts claiming Manafort lied. Did Mueller wait to announce this the very next day after Donald submitted his answers because Donald's answers were based on Manafort's false testimony?

It's fairly obvious Mueller already knew the answers to the questions he asked Manafort might be false before he asked them. The problem for Donald is if his responses line up with Manafort's false testimony.

When Mueller goes to court with Manafort those 175 pages will be available to the public. In other words we will know what Mueller knows. The White House can't request the courts to seal this document since it isn't directly applicable to Trump. Thus Mueller might have done a legal runaround of any attempt by the White House to suppress his investigation results.

If Trump's answers line up with Manafort's false statements Mueller may very well be on third headed for home. We shall see.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Brief Look Back At The Roxy Theater In Northampton

I wonder how many remember the famous acts that once appeared at The Roxy. The following is a partial listing of those who appeared with the sponsorship under the former owner of WSAN radio. These acts appeared after WSAN switched from Top 40 to a progressive format. Shortly thereafter Z95 simulated WSAN's new format. Since Z95 had a better FM signal quality listeners began to leave WSAN. But while it lasted WSAN was king of the hill spanning several years for those fans of the newer up and coming performers. There were three main jocks during this period. Bob Ross, Harvey Musselman (the owner's son) and one other whose name I can't remember.

I assumed these performers came here to try out their new material before they took it to the big expensive venues all across the country. Which means we got to hear them first at a fraction of the cost. As I recall less then $10. Here's a list of many of the performers. Bruce Springsteen
Billy Joel
Sammy Hagar
Peter Frampton
John Belushi
Martin Mull
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
Gilda Radner
Melissa Manchester
Johnny Winter
Todd Rundgren
Leon Redbone
Cheap Trick
Thin Lizzie
Janis Ian
Blood, Sweat & Tears
Hall & Oates
Golden Earrring
The dates and some of the setlists.

Something also worth mentioning
Muhlenberg College use to do some of these too. I recall sitting down casually speaking with Steve Perry of Journey. I stopped him when he came from the back after talking with his sound guy. We spoke for three or four minutes. This was before anyone even recognized who he was previous to them hitting the big time.

Other artists included.... Counting Crows (10/14/2001), Los Lobos (10/12/1987), The Hooters (02/26/1986), The Stray Cats (01/27/1994), The Prentenders (02/04/1982), Harry Chapin (11/15/1980), The Kinks (02/26/1980), Al Stewart (11/06/1976), ELO, Ian Mathews and the Beach Boys (1966) to name some of them.

Indeed the Lehigh Valley was somewhat of a music Mecca before Musikfest or the PPL Center ever existed. In fact there were 100's of groups going back to 1958 who appeared at the Allentown Fairgrounds. One of my favorites was Jefferson Airplane. Grace Slick got crazy. Not only she invited those on the outside to come inside free but invited as many who could fit on stage as they performed.

One of the other memories was when concert promoters thought it was a good idea to pull in a farm wagon loaded with baskets of oranges to throw into the audience. For those handlers if ever planning to do it again I recommend wearing rain gear and equip yourselves with umbrellas. You'll need them both to repel all the INCOMING FRUIT MISSILES aimed at ya :-)

Ah the good times we old codgers had. Don't tell the kids. It'll spoil their image of us as well behaved citizens at their age in little old boring Lehigh Valley. Ssssh don't tell them about great grandpa's visits to the Saturday night burlesque shows at the Lyric either. Just tell them we all sat around the radio listening to Patti Page growing up.

America Was Never White.

Came across this article on 'alternet'. It's a good read. Check it out.

America was never white, and it never will be.
By Joe Krulder, Ph.D., who teaches history at Butte College.
"What the alt-right desires is an America where whites maintain some semblance of power over anyone of color if not outright ethnic cleansing. Their rhetoric of Heritage is pure myth, a fabrication of a false past, creating memory where none existed."

A Different Kind Of "Dancing Queen" (Music Video)

They say, "There's more than one way to crack a nut". The same goes for different musical arrangements. A great composition is always a great composition no matter how it's rearranged if done right.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Gasoline How Does $7.06 A Gallon Sound?

No wonder protestors in France are going bonkers.

If there's one sure fire way to get people fired up it's when they are getting their pockets picked. Kind of works that way between countries as well. Something to think about when it comes to trade deals. More then one war got started this way.

Ever notice in countries where the economy collapses chaos ensues. Not long after refuges begin to flee in huge numbers. Seems to me the refugee problems can be attributable to the economic woes in their home countries from which they are attempting to flee. These refugee problems are a result of sanctions and unfair trade deals.

Here's a crazy idea. We should negotiate trade deals giving priority to needy countries over our current partners who are doing quite well. Those in poor countries whose labor would not only be more appreciative but work for far less money. Manufacture items and grow crops that would be tariff free with promises to import certain volumes. Both our economies and consumers would be better off for it.

This could be achieved through tax incentives for companies to build and buy in these underdeveloped countries for things that wouldn't greatly impact our own labor force. Some examples are agricultural products indigenous to these poorer countries. The tedious and time consuming task of assembling parts our engineers design and manufacture here could be done in theirs. Allow greater numbers of foreign workers exclusively from a select number of poor nations prone to refugees fleeing to work here for a few months doing the jobs most Americans don't want.

Doing anything towards this direction is better then the policies we have in place. I don't see how threatening desperate people at the point of a gun is going to make them any less desperate. Poverty ALWAYS leads to violence. Either we can choose a path towards helping to make these people economically sustainable or continue treating them as vermin. One speaks well of the United States. The other, a country who deserves no more respect then other nations who fallen before it.

One Damn Big Tree

Not every tree has a nickname, but 'The President' in California has earned it. This giant sequoia stands at 247 feet tall & is estimated to be over 3,200 years old. Imagine, this tree was already 700 years old during the height of ancient Greece's civilization and 1200 years old when Jesus lived and Rome was well into its rule of most of the western world and points beyond.

The trunk of The President measures at 27 feet across with 2 BILLION needles From base to top.

National Geographic photographers have worked along with scientists to try and create the first photo that shows the President in all its glory. They had to Climb the tree with pulleys and levers, and took thousands of photos. Of those, they selected 126 and stitched them together, to get this incredible portrait of the President. And here it is:

The man standing near the trunk of the tree is a good indicator of the tree's size.

Friday, November 23, 2018

LVCI Movie Recommendation "The Greatest Showman"

I'll admit I'm a little late to the party but this had to be one of the greatest musical films in 2017. The two most important elements was the music itself...

And the message the film contained-- we all deserve respect.
Rich, poor or those considered freakish.

Very uplifting for me especially in such times as these.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Trump Have Dementia?

As hard as I find it to keep up with his lies it seems he has even a tougher time. Either that or something's wrong with him. Maybe we should be more concerned for his health rather then angry at him. Is there a doctor in the house who could clarify these inconsistencies of his?

Politifact--Trump’s recent comments present a sharp contrast with remarks he made on the 2016 campaign trail when he boasted about his financial ties to Saudi Arabia."

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Democrats And Republicans Both Rig Elections

TEDx Talk (October 2013)

Goes to show not all us oldsters are onboard with either party's nonsense.

We should be neither a nation of Democrats nor Republicans. Rather a nation of one beyond either of these cults.

Sometimes us damned old farts hippies got it right!

It sure would be nice if we had some new tunes to inspire the young uns like we had back in the day.

Gerrymandering Affect Election Outcomes

2016 Midterm Election Outcomes

Oft times those in control of congress would have us believe they speak for the majority of people. Statistics indicate otherwise.

History shows us the majority of people aren't always right, but neither should members of congress discount other views they are suppose to take into consideration. Failing to do so places our democracy at risk.

Monday, November 19, 2018

What I've Learned Since Trump Took Office

What A Cheerleader !
Our trade agreements suck
American media sucks
Our allies suck
Half of congress sucks
Our courts suck
Half the American people (liberals) suck
Immigrants suck
The NFL sucks
Forest Management sucks
War heroes who support Democrats suck
Hollywood celebrities suck
Most of our military interventions suck
The Department of Justice sucks
Our election system sucks
Recent past presidents suck
Puerto Rico's politicians suck
Protestors suck
The U.N. Sucks
Our peace agreements suck
Social services expenses suck

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Here's A Video For Bored Brains

Hacking Reality

So what's going on?
Are we just some experimental software algorithm playing out?
Previously archived files on a server as testament to days gone past?
Perhaps three dimensional beings limited and unaware of other dimensional beings living beyond our own?

Inquisitive minds seek these answers.
Does Yours?

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Civics Lessons No Longer Being Taught?

There can be no better example of failure by the American schools then that when comes to teaching civics classes. Apparently most of the people in United States (including it's politicians) have little clue how voting works. It seems nearly everyone believes in instant results This is especially true of our paranoid president who has the impression there is some sort of con going on if all the results are not made official with 24 hours.

Hopefully these two links will help educate some folks who never paid attention in Civics Class, never had one, missed a semester in high school or dropped out before 9th grade.

Why it takes so long to get election night results

Kicking civics out of class and taking it to the streets

Vote tabulators from one end of this country to the other are not in on some giant scheme to defraud voters. Frankly it takes a sick mind to think all these people are reprehensible and untrustworthy as some of the candidates they're required to certify for office.

To my way of thinking there are two kinds of people bitching when it comes to this vote counting controversy. Those who are guilty themselves of what they claim others to be. The other too dumb to know any better.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Drivers' Alert


Courtesy: Daily

Same goes with the snow piles along the streets kids tend to play in.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Trump Says Florida Should Quit Counting Votes

Quit While Your Ahead
Sounds like a plan to me. Next time the Eagles play a home game the refs ought to call the game as soon as the Eagles are ahead. Who wants to waste their time sitting around waiting for all four quarters to play out. You know this sounds like a good idea for the Sixers, Phillies and Flyers home games too.

I wonder if this is how Trump plays golf?

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Quantum Computing Is Spooky Stuff (And More)

I have a few thoughts running through my mind after watching this video. First off is how close we are coming to know how this universe actually functions. Experiments have proven when it comes to the exact same quantum experiments any number of outcomes can result. There are no wrongs. It all depends on what outcome you're expecting. In other words all things can exist at the same moment. Thus time is an illusion that owes it's existence to whatever differences an observer expects an outcome to be. So in truth time has no basis. This is getting petty close to explaining what we misunderstand eternity to be when in fact there may only the here and now. It's only when we limit ourselves by expecting certain outcomes they appear as such.

This is why us mere mortals will never be capable of immersing ourselves into the greater whole. All our physical being (including our brain) relies on a series of events. Never will we be capable of assimilating simultaneously all events at once. For us we are doomed to be forever limited in our observations for that which we are only physically capable of. One could assume from this our so-called God whom we think exist separate from us isn't at all. Instead everyone of us and everything are only aspects of the same thing all occurring at once.

The video brought up another consideration. Could so-called artificial intelligence one day replace us either peacefully or by other means? I don't see how it wouldn't be possible. Whatever this quantum conundrum is would still remain as it always has. It's not dependant who it observes but rather the observers who prefer to continue observing. Whose to say machines have not already? Could us humans just be some archived recorded memories that once existed before intelligence evolved? Perhaps every war, every death and all that comes before or after may be nothing more then an outcome to some really vast experimental quantum equations being carried out far beyond our limited human comprehension.

One thing is for certain. Deep within us all buried deep inside there is knowledge in the beginning we all came from the same place as one. The core element that shall forever remain a timeless eternal part to all that exist. Retreat to the comfort in knowing these things. By doing so we will come to realize we're one of many expressions to whom we are a part of as one without end.

Florida Finally Finished Counting Votes

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Voting Doesn't Need Be This Complicated

Imagine if you will what would happen if banks and retailers would conduct business the same way states do when it comes to voting. I mean, come on really how hard could it be to create a national database fed by each registration office who would issue these individual cards.

People would have 24 hours to either physically swipe their cards at a location or enter them online. Thus ending these insanely long lines, the need for so many poll volunteers or wait days, sometimes weeks for election results.

(1) It wouldn't be that hard to have triple verification. Each use of the card would go to three separate banks of servers administered by three separate entities. All which would have to match.

(2) Each person gets a separate transaction number which either they or the polling station prints out helping prevent duplicate voting. Everyone who wished could check online their transaction number to verify their votes were recorded correctly.

(3) Any stolen, missing cards or incorrect votes could be invalidated attributable to any particular card.

(4) If each county registration office had access to some sort of national database it would make it a lot easier for them to verify a person's citizenship status and whether they were registered in other states at the same time.

I honestly don't see why we make this so damned harder then things have to be. Maybe we just like bitching more then actually solving these kind of problems each and every election.

Pa. Weekly FLU Updates

Already as of November 3, 2018 there were 216 confirmed cases in Pennsylvania. 25 of them in Lehigh County.

Pennsylvania 2018/19 Influenza Season Data

If anyone still hasn't gotten their shot I recommend they do it soon as possible.

Nationally The CDC reports
1,538 tested positive as of 11/03/2018.

The 2018 flu vaccine will probably provide more protection than last year's.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

2018 Midterm Voting Is Over

Official Computation starts at 9:00 AM November 9th, 2018

My general impressions are...
Neither party was given a mandate. Even though some house members were replaced by Democrats the vote spreads were only a couple percentage points apart. Hardly a mandate. I wasn't expecting a 'blue wave' however I would have thought the spreads would have been further apart.

Question remains will Trump tone down his divisive rhetoric or get worse once Democrats in the House start putting pressure on him?

Whether it be in the House or Senate neither party has enough votes to do any kind of meaningful legislation unless there is a bipartisan agreement put forth on the bill under consideration.

Generally speaking most conservative votes came from rural areas and those for liberals urban areas.

Things were less predictable because usually heavy turn outs mean incumbents are likely to lose seats. In this election there was nearly the same turn out supporting incumbents as there were those hoping to unseat them.

Those wishing things would settle down in Washington D.C. are going to be disappointed. Democrats no doubt will conduct a bunch of investigations into Trump. The purpose of which is to make him look as bad as possible if he should decide to run for a second term. Yes folks as soon as one silly season ends the next begins with this bunch. It's a never ending cycle with sometimes a bit of work getting done for the people who elected them.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Hannity Appears Onstage At Trump Rally

Fox News Responds to Hannity at Trump Rally: We Do ‘Not Condone’ This ‘Unfortunate Distraction’
"Fox News responded to Sean Hannity‘s appearance at a President Donald Trump rally on Monday with a statement declaring that the network “does not condone any talent participating in campaign events.”"

Are you kidding me. FOX aired it. FOX owns it. This along with Judge Jeanine Pirro's appearance on the podium. If FOX didn't "condone" it this never would have aired.

Could you imagine how rabid FOX would have become if David Muir (ABC), Jeff Glor (CBS) or Lester Holt (NBC) would have pulled one of these stunts!

In other voting news...
I see the U.S. soldiers stationed in El Paso thought today (voting day) would be the perfect time to conduct military exercises even though the immigrant caravan is 3 weeks out. This just so happens to be 4 blocks away from the polling station mostly attended by Hispanic voters likely to vote against Ted Cruz. Just a coincidence?

Texas has some voting machines flipping their straight Democratic party votes to Ted Cruz. Indeed voters can correct this before they hit the final vote cast button... but they must see it. If they don't, well...

Among other problems one polling station with 13,000 voters has been moved miles away from the closest bus stop outside of downtown Dodge City, Kansas. The population of Dodge City, KS is 59.1% Hispanic, 35% White, and 2.79% Black.

North Dakota is trying to screw with native Americans being able to vote through the use of their new voter ID laws.

Check out on alternet how broken and dysfunctional America’s voting systems are.

It seems the 2018 midterm elections are more greatly affected by various methods of voter suppression then any other previous elections were by outside forces.

My Voting Day

Here's a voting tip. The wife and I deliberately went when the rain was at it heaviest around 9:30 am. This allowed for us to take only 18 minutes out of our day from the time we left the house till we returned after voting. Kinda figured most people would try avoiding a downpour :-)

Our polling place had around 145 who already cast their votes. About 20 more then some of the others I heard about.

Ed Rendell is making the rounds in Allentown. I saw some people taking selfies with him. Gee, I sure hope he doesn't skip voting.

Official Computation starts at 9:00 AM November 9th, 2018

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Allentown Taxes Going Up Next Year

City taxes are going up.

County Taxes are going up.

School taxes are going up.

One question..
When is this NIZ thingie going to
start helping taxpayers?

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Anyone Else Remember The MTA Song?


This tune came out in the era when the TV show "Hootenanny' was popular

The New Christy Minstrels (1963)

One of the most famous acts to come out of that era was 'The Smothers Brothers".

If you thought that was so not PC...

Watch Pat Paulson

My how times have changed haven't they!
Merv's show would have been cancelled on the spot

Friday, November 2, 2018

Trump Shit Show Rolls On

I just watched Trump's latest trash talking before his departure to his next rally. Unless something unexpected comes up this will be my last post before the November 6th elections.

I realize some folks may be turned off with all these political postings. Up until now I feel these were the most important issues to concentrate my efforts on.

I will make one final statement after the election outcomes. Then intend to get back to business as usual with the many other things of interest to me. To be truthful I'm almost as sick of talking as you probably are of reading about these postings concerning politics.

In short Trump, Trump, Trump-- no more after November 6th on this blog after one final post on November 7th 2018. I'm sick of talking about the guy!

Forget Voter ID...

What we need is a test for intelligence

Scene from 'The West Wing' TV show (2002)

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Trump- Paul Ryan Doesn't Know What He's Talking About

Now Trump is turning on his own party!

What's this "new Republican majority" he's talking about? Are traditional Republicans going to allow themselves to become the party in trump's image or will the "Grand Old Party" become once again what it stood for?

How far will Republicans go to appease Trump before supporters begin to rebel?

John Boehner- There Is No Republican Party (05/2018)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Trump Plans To End Birthright Citizenship

I call bullshit. This is just another one of his campaign distractions. I highly doubt he has any intention of doing this... BUT

Let us imagine for one moment if this were possible.
(1) It would mean every woman giving birth would have to prove her citizenship before federal government would certify the child granting it citizenship.

(2) If the new law wouldn't be "grandfathered" it would mean not only she, her baby but so too her parents as well would be deported. That's three generations-- possibly more!

(3) If this clown could pull this off-- what else does he have in mind?

We've Been Down This Road Before

Tamaqua SD 1st In Pa. To Allow Armed Teachers

School district in Schuylkill County becomes first in Pa. to allow armed teachers
"Not everyone is convinced, though, and skeptics have already formed a Facebook group about the proposed change. Those skeptics include the head of the local teachers union, and a chorus of parents."

When the cops arrive at a shooting how can they differentiate between the two?

The other problem. After some kid gets killed in the crossfire by a school employee there will be one hellva lawsuit.

How can we be certain some kid won't get a hold one of these guns? They'd have to be in easy reach of teachers to be of any use. Places like desk drawers or concealed on their person. After all they wouldn't do much good locked in a file cabinet or closet would they?

It's been said "only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with one". Please define "good guys". Can we safely assume every student, teacher, janitor and administrators are all "good guys" who will never whack out?

Should school bus drivers have them too?

Monday, October 29, 2018

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Listen To This Music Video's Message

Considering all the present day division Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury recorded this most fitting piece in 1985. My hope is we can all benefit from their musical message.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Barack Obama Campaigns For Democratic Candidates

I'm posting this because 99% of the time all we get to see and hear about are Trump rallies. So in the name of fairness I'm posting one of Obama's.

How many of you saw this one aired on any of the networks liberal or otherwise? Most likely very few since Trump has a talent for sucking all the air out of the room with his antics.

Of course no one has to agree with Obama's words but at least he should be given a small portion of media's attention. All I'm seeing in the media is about Trump saying this or that on his way to the helicopter headed out to his next rally. Trump twice a day saying something out of line at some ceremony or bill signing in the Whitehouse Trump tweeting this or that. Wall to wall coverage-- Trump, Trump, Trump.

Yeah he's the president but NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT HIM BEING VICTIMIZED (as he'd have people believe). Every time the spotlight isn't on Donald he comes out with some shocking statement the networks go ga-ga over for unending hours. Talk about rope-a-dope.

Like bees to honey
So next time you see one of news networks criticizing him keep in mind this is exactly what Donald wants. It keeps the media's attention away from running a clip like the one I've presented above. Even the most liberal news desk jockeys can't resist jabbering about the things Donald wants most. ATTENTION.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

CNN Bomb Scare Twitter Comments

This is a small sampling.

Folks this is no longer an election between Republicans or Democrats. What we have here is a choice between SANITY and INSANITY