Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Donald does the right thing

He accepted the invitation from an important neighbor country.  He flew down to Mexico.  He had a talk with the Mexican president.  I dare say the Mexicans have a few things they want from us, and The Donald has a few things he wants from Mexico.  Since The Donald isn't president (yet) he is in no position to grant the Mexicans anything,  and the Mexicans certainly cannot make any concessions to a man who may never be president.  So they had a meeting. They issued bland but friendly communiques afterward.  And that is exactly what they should have done.  Even if they didn't achieve anything of real substance, just issuing a friendly press release and a friendly communique is a good thing.  Don't knock it. 
   Hillary was on TV knocking it shortly afterward.  

Asteroid Mission to Launch next week

A US built asteroid inspection vehicle named OSIRIS-REX is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral atop a Unitied Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.  OSIRIS-REX will attempt a sample return to Earth.  It has a robot arm to scoop up surface material into a return vehicle.  It also carries every other imaginable scientific instrument, a laser altimeter, and IR thermometer, and IR spectrometer, three cameras, and Xray imaging and spectrometer gear.   It's a long duration mission, lasting until 2023. 
   The samples returned will be analyzed for spores and any kind of biological precursor chemicals.  There is an old old theory (Arrhenius) that life on earth originated from spores coming from outer space.  Scientists will be looking, intensely, for such spores in the returned samples.   

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Peeling the Apple with a dull knife

Apple set up an operation in Ireland.  Probably because Ireland's corporate tax is only 12%.  All of a sudden the EU, in Brussels, says that Apple ought to be paying $14 billion more in taxes.  Both Apple and Ireland are appealing.
   Couple of things I don't understand here.  I thought the internal affairs of EU countries. especially tax law, was under the control of those EU countries, not under the control of Brussels.  Nor did I think that Brussels has the authority to levy EU wide taxes.  If this is the case, how does the EU get to demand an extra $14 billion from an American company operating in Ireland? 
   Then there was a chucklehead sounding off on Fox News.  He said that Apple should never set up operations in Ireland, Apple should do all it's business back here in the USA, to avoid exporting American jobs.  Sorry there my chucklehead, Apple management is required by law to maximize Apple's earnings for its shareholders.  Anyone can see that doing business in Ireland with a 12% tax creates more earnings than dong business in the US with a 35% tax. Apple was doing its duty in maximizing its earnings.  Maybe the US should think about lowering its tax rate to keep business in the country. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

It's a free country

That football player doesn't have to stand for the national anthem.  Freedom of speech and all that. 
   On the other hand, I don't have to like it.  It's disrespect for the flag, and to the Republic for which it stands.  I plan to avoid watching his team play, and I'll call him a scumbag.  My free speech rights. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Things I would like to hear Trump say.

1.  Repeal Sarbanes-Oxley.  It's a huge law on corporate governance.  Requires corporations to furnish thousands of pounds of paperwork to the feds.  It is so onerous that it decourages creation of new companies, startups.
2.  Allow health insurance companies to sell policies in every state of the union.  WithOUT having to do another thousand pounds of paper work for each of the 50 state governments.  I can get a cheaper policy if I can choose from many companies instead of being limited to one. 
3.  Allow duty free import of any medicine from all reasonable first world countries.  Starting with Canada and the countries of the EU and Japan.  If the health authority of a first world country has approved the medicine for its own citizens then it is OK for American citizens too.  FDA will scream and shout, but they don't vote.  Many medicines are available overseas or in Canada for half the price changed in the US.
4.  Stop the war on coal.  It throws miners out of work and raises the price of electricity for all.
5.  Lease federal land for oil exploration.  Obama has totally shut off  oil exploration on federal land at the behest of the greenies. 
6.  Approve the Keystone XL pipeline project.  We need the oil.  Pipelines spill less than oil tanker trains.
7.  Repeal the "Corporate Average Fuel Economy" (CAFE) rules.  Consumers will apply plenty of pressure for better fuel economy on Detroit.  We don't need  complicated and expensive federal regulation that establishes impossible-to-meet goals.
8.  Repeal the alcohol mandate on gasoline.  It takes nearly as much energy to make the alcohol as we get back when we burn it.  The corn farmers will  cry loudly but there aren't all that many farmers any more.
9.  Close down the federal department of education.  Let private lenders furnish student loans.  State and local governments run  and pay for all the schools anyway.  We don't need to pay for a bunch of federal bureaucrats to look over their shoulders and get in the way.

There is probably more, but this will do for a start. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Double NIckel Rides Again

Back after the 1973 oil shock, a cry went up that we could save fuel and cut accidents with a national speed limit of 55 miles per hour.  And so it was.  Congress passed it, the president signed it, and every speed limit sign the length and breadth of America was replaced with new ones reading 55 MPH.
    And everyone hated it.  No one drove any slower, and traffic cops had a field day.  Since everyone was driving well over the limit, they could ticket everyone on the road.
    It took a while, years actually, but the double nickel speed limit was finally repealed.  In a matter of a few days all the speed limit signs were changed back to 65 and 70.
    Yesterday the bureaucrats decided to try again.  They limited their efforts to trucks and buses to avoid political backlash from everybody in the country.  Rather than a speed limit, they want to install speed governors on all big trucks and buses.  The bureaucrats claim it will save fuel and reduce accidents.
  Yeah right.  The professional drivers of heavy trucks and buses are the safest on the road.  They signal, they yield the right of way, they stay in lane, they don't tailgate.  The accident rate for heavy commercial vehicles is far lower than for private automobiles.  And who can make a better tradeoff between fuel economy and getting the cargo delivered on time, trucking companies or federal bureaucrats?
   Question.  How much money did the makers of governors contribute to the Clinton Slush Fund? 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Is This For Real???

Shrink claims 60% of college students are crazy.   
   This shrink has a pretty low standard, he clearly thinks everyone needs a head shrinker. 

Record sales don't count anymore

Records (and CD's) aren't selling much anymore.  So they are now counting the number of Internet downlords.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Corn is as high as an elephant's eye....

Drove down to Nashua (NH) Monday afternoon.  A good deal of backroad driving mixed with a bit of I91.  On the back roads, stands of fresh green corn, 6 or 7 feet tall, looking very good indeed.  Caught my eye they did.  These corn patches looked as good as ones I saw in Nebraska many years ago. 
  So this morning National Progressive Radio was wailing about the drought up here, claiming that all crops in NH and MA had been ruined, how farmers were switching to "sustainable" crops, and in general lamenting the ruination of New England farming.  They didn't come right out and blame it on global warming, but they wanted to. 
   How come the corn crops looked so good when all else is going to rack and ruin?  NPR never bothered to furnish us listeners with numbers, like average rainfall (inches) and this summer's rainfall (inches).  Numbers repel newsies. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What I might say to kids going off to school

My three children all made in thru college in one piece, so I don't have to make these points to them anymore.  But I thought I might share some of them with my blogoverse.

1.  Don't get falling down drunk at parties.  You go to parties to meet people, to chat, maybe dance, to show yourself off, to have a good time.  None of this works if you pass out on the floor, drunk.  Plus it makes a negative impression upon everyone there.  Plus girls are likely to get raped after they get drunk.  If you just have to drink til you are wasted, do it on dorm, with some trusty friends around.

2.  Know that everything you post on line, email, facebook, twitter, blogs, what ever, never goes away.  And everybody can read it, friends, enemies, future employers,  the FBI should you go for a security clearance, robo callers, everybody.  So don't post things that might be embarrassing after you graduate.  No racy pictures, no ethnic jokes,  stories of sexual encounters, nothing that you wouldn't feel good about showing to your parents, and posting on the down town bulletin board.

3.  Do your homework, do it the afternoon or evening it is assigned.  Start with the first day of class.  Classwork is mostly a discussion of how to solve the homework problems.  If you haven't at least tried the homework, the entire class discussion won't mean diddly to you.

4.  Think hard about how you will make your living after graduation.  Pick a major that makes you more employable in your chosen field.  There is little to zero demand for art history majors, sociology majors, gender studies majors, anthropology majors, or ethnic studies majors.  And a bunch of other majors.  Talk your major over with someone you trust.  DO NOT trust a college advisor, they know little, and try to steer you into their favorite major.  

5. Go out for a sport, everyone needs the exercise.

6.  Guys need to be super careful in relationships with girls.  The girl can turn on you, accuse you of rape, haul you in front of a campus kangaroo court, and get you expelled, with a rape charge on your record.  The careful guy gets to know the chick before having sex with her.

Good luck.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

MacBeth the 2015 version with Michael Fassbender

It turned up on Netflix and I rented it this weekend.  They obvious spent a lot of money on it, but the curse of the sound man ruined it for me.  I simply could not understand the dialog.  The actors mumbled or whispered, the mikes were poorly placed and the soundman mixed the score and the sound effects over the dialog.  It was so bad I gave up and turned the DVD player off before it finished.  
   Hollywood is hurting if they cannot even do Shakespeare. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Nightmare on Main St.

Title of an Economist editorial.  The Economist thinks America has too much home owner ship, and that the $26 trillion dollars of US mortgages outstanding are at risk of default.  $26 trillion in losses will shake the soundest bank.  They admit that real estate prices have perked up.  Used to be 25% of mortgages were underwater and now that is down to 10%. 
    The real problem in the US mortgage market is all the special favors the real estate industry (realtors, home builders, municipal boosters, appliance makers) are getting from long suffering taxpayers.  It's pressure from this widespread special interest that caused Uncle to create Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to run the secondary mortgage market.  And FHA to guarantee home mortgages.  And the mortgage interest deduction on federal income tax.  And federal flood insurance.  And a bunch of other expensive things. 
   A good mortgage is a very sound investment.  Good means a borrower who earns enough income to carry the mortgage payments and a property with a market value greater than the amount of the mortgage.  Preferably a borrower who is married, which gives him that much more incentive to avoid foreclosure.  It's hard to explain to the spouse why the family is out in the street.
   A bad mortgage is a default waiting the happen.  The borrower doesn't earn enough to make the payments, he isn't married, he is a house flipper.  The value of the property is way less than the mortgage. It's a sucker's mortgage with an escalator clause that jacks up the payments after a few months.
   Only the officer who originates the loan can tell good from bad.  He needs to interview the borrower, he needs to contact the borrower's employer to verify income, he needs to inspect the property to ascertain it's market value.  He has to know the real estate market in his area to form a valid estimate of value.  He has to be local to do all this.  The officer will be deligent in his duties, if and only if, he has some skin in the game, like his bank is going to hold this mortgage to maturity.  If the bank plans to dump the mortgage on the secondary mortgage market (Fannie Mae), then the officer doesn't care.  In fact, he wants to process as many mortgages as he can to rake in the fees he gets from doing a mortgage.  Dump it on Fannie before it defaults and all is well. 
  A broker on Wall St, or a banker in Germany have no idea how credit worthy any borrower is or what the value of a single family home in Kansas might be.   So the secondary mortgage buyers don't really know what they are buying.  Which caused Great Depression 2.0 in 2007.  The sucker investors wised up to the crud they were being asked to finance and refused to buy any more of it.
   The real answer to the problem is to shut down the secondary mortgage market.  We could do this with a simple law that declares a mortgage non transferable.  The borrower is only obligated to make payments to the guy who originated his mortgage.  He can stop payments, and keep his house, if the mortgage is sold to anyone.        

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Small Town Democracy at work

It all started with metal roofs and solar collectors.  They have been getting more and more popular up here in Franconia.  The fire department calls them dangerous.  Both are so slippery, especially when wet, that firemen cannot walk on them with out slipping and falling to the ground.  So the fire department has wanted to buy a ladder truck to furnish a solid footing when firemen need to go up on slippery roofs to fight the fire.
   And so, a deal turned up.  A nice big used ladder truck, in good shape, even painted yellow, Franconia's departmental color, for only $70K.  New ones go for ten times that.  The fire department wants to buy it.
   Buying takes money.  Franconia has some trust funds, in which the town salts money away over the years to replace various pieces of equipment, police cars, firetrucks and the like when they finally wear out.  We have  fund to buy a tanker truck for the fire department with $140K in it and a newly established fund to buy a ladder truck with only $37K in it.   The fire department wanted to take some money out of the tanker truck fund to buy this marvelous ladder truck.  Their thinking was a fire truck is a fire truck and it's OK to spend fire truck money on fire trucks.  I tend to agree, but that's not the way it works.
   We summoned a special town meeting for August to vote on the matter.  It was a lovely evening, warm and clear of sky.  Turnout was light, maybe 60 people out of a town with 900 registered voters.  All the old Franconia people turned up. All the fire department turned up.  Everybody knew everybody.  Lots of questions were asked, most of them about process and procedure, rather than do we really need another  fire truck.  And a vote was taken, written ballots just to be sure, and the ladder truck buy passed 43 to 14.  And a good time way had by all. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bill O'Reilly on Gitmo

Last night, on his TV show, O'Reilly said he was in favor of closing Gitmo because, he said, the prisoners at Gitmo had not received trials. 
   Sorry about that Bill.  Those prisoners are in Gitmo because they were bearing arms against US forces.  They were captured on a foreign battlefield.  We are holding them in Gitmo to prevent them from continuing to fight against us.  They are prisoners of war, not convicted criminals.  No American court, court-martial, or special commission is going to convict them of crimes when all they did was fight against us.  Back right after 9/11 we took prisoners alive.  They are clearly enemy, clearly hostile, and  unless we snuff 'em, we gotta put 'em somewhere.  They are not criminals, they are enemy soldiers  (enemy combatants the politically correct jargon used today).
   The only reason we don't call them prisoners of war, is that the Geneva Conventions give prisoners of war a fair number of protections that we don't want to grant these guys.  Geneva Conventions prohibit grilling POW's for intelligence.  We grilled everyone sent to Gitmo until they were medium rare. 
   Obama (and O'Reilly) want to close Gitmo for who knows what reason[s].  The result is we don't take prisoners much anymore.  We kill them with Predator drone strikes, or we shoot 'em right in the lips, like we did to Osama Bin Laden. 
   Which was a mistake.  Bin Laden knew a lotta things that we need to know, and a nice long interrogation session at Gitmo would have given us a lot of good intel. Plus we could have run off a nice show trial.  Bin Laden in an orange jumpsuit and shiny handcuffs, a long parade of tearful victims testifying against him, would go a long way to convincing the world that Bin Laden really was a nogoodnick rather than a martyr.  .

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

New missiles for USAF

The Air Force has released two Requests for Proposals (RFP) at the end of last month.  One is for a new ICBM to replace the aging Minuteman III missiles and the other for a new Long Range Stand Off  Cruise Missile.  Timing is a little odd, for two massively expensive programs just before election day.  Clearly the incoming administration will have it's own ideas. 
   They used to assign snappy names to missile programs.  Atlas, Titan, Thor, Skybolt, and the like.  Now they just go with acronyms.  The ICBM is dubbed "Ground Based Strategic Deterrent Ballistic Missile" or GBSD for short.  The cruise missile is called "Long-Range Standoff Missile"  (LRSO). 
   GBSD is long term and slow going.  USAF budgets $3 billion  over the next five years for studies.  First production missiles are not expected until 2028.  That's a long long time away, many profitable years of contractor paperwork.  Production of 642 missiles will cost $62 billion spread over thirty years.  That's $1 billion per missile in round numbers.  Pricey, very pricey.  It wouldn't cost so much if it didn't take so long.  I remember the original Minuteman program put 1054 missiles into silos inside of five years from start of contract.  And built the necessary 1054 silos at the same time. 
   The LRSO is really a penetration aid missile.  Bombers (B52, B1,B2, B21) carry them to soften up air defenses.  The missiles can reach out 1000 miles ahead of the bomber and vaporize enemy radar sites, fighter bases and SAM sites.  With enough missiles, and good intel about where to shoot them, the bombers are pretty much unstoppable, at least in an all out war where nukes are used.  The program schedule is just as slow as GBSD.  They budget $2.2 billion and 4 1/2 years  for studies.  Then another $10 billion to actually build the missiles. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

"Boy" and "Girl" outlawed by Charlotte NC school board

The TV snippet didn't mention what word[s] were supposed to replace "boy" and "girl" which have been words in English since the time of William the Conqueror.  "Kid" perhaps?
  Ya gotta wonder what this school board was thinking when they made this really amazing ruling.
  Was it the unisex "There is no difference between male and female" people?  Who hope to make boys and girls the same in all respects, opportunity, dress, life roles, what ever? 
  Was it the Transies who want to teach children that they can change themselves from boy to girl or girl to boy if they so desire?
   Was it a desire to defuse or sidestep the boys and girls room issue?
   Was it the LGBT crowd who must be thinking it will ease the social pressure on gay and lesbian students?

   And, how is this amazing ruling going to interfere with the push to start sex education at ever younger ages?

   And what will the signs on boys and girls room doors read?  

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Healthcare reform to cut the federal budget

W all know that the federal budget is in trouble.  Has been since Obama became president.  Obama has managed to spend $1 trillion more each year than the IRS collects in taxes.  He sells bonds (T-bills) to the public to keep the Treasury checks from bouncing. 
  There are only two fixes for the problem, raise taxes (the favorite Democratic  plan) or reduce spending (the Republicans like this but never carry thru).  Right now, the second biggest outlay is healthcare, Medicaid and Medicare.  These are "entitlement" programs, they don't have to be approved or funded by act of Congress, they just are.   Eligible patients submit their medical bills, and Uncle pays them.  So the program costs cannot be controlled by law.  Right now, health care payments are the second biggest part of the US federal budget, 27% of total spending.  There are other big things (defense, Social Security, highways, and a bunch of others) but let's just look at one big enchilada for this essay. 
  Everyone agrees that health care costs in the US are twice the costs in any other country.  And for spending twice as much as any other country, US healthcare isn't all that good.  We are down around number 10, not number 1. 
  If we could just lower healthcare costs of  by half, like every other country in the world manages to do, we would chop Federal healthcare spending in half.  That would knock healthcare down to 13% of the federal budget, down from 27%.  That is serious money. 
   Neither The Donald nor Hillary are talking about this at all.  They should be.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Persid Meteor Shower

The Internet said it was peak last night.  So I got up at midnight and went out to see.  And I did see three good bright meteors in about 20 minutes.  To get a good view I went up to the Peabody Slopes parking lot.  The sky was lighter than optimum, the moon hadn't quite set yet although it was below the tree line.  All I had to do was look straight up, and there they were.  The flash was too quick to photograph, at least not with my humble point-n-shoot.  If I do this again, remember to bring a flashlight and a folding chair. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Estate Tax, small business killer.

Small businesses employ a lotta people, and a few of 'em grow up to be the next Apple Computer.  We need more of them, and we ought to pass laws to make things easier for them.  Eliminating the estate tax would help a lot.
   Typical small businesses, a gas station, a retail store, a motel, a general contractor,  a farm, a medical practice, or a restaurant.  Typically a sole proprietor  deal.  Sooner or later (death comes to everyone) and the sole proprietor dies.  His estate is the small business.  He may have a few bucks in a checking account, but over his lifetime he put everything into the business.  And now that he died, Uncle Sam wants 50% of the value of the business for estate taxes, in cash, right now. 
   Few small businesses have that kind of money.  Not now, not ever.   So the business is closed, sold off, the employees laid off.  The owner cannot will the business to an heir, he has to give half of it to Uncle Sam.  And paying half the value of the business kills it. 
  Me, I think business owners ought to be able to pass the business down to heirs, tax free. 
  The estate tax was invented to confiscate the fortunes of  people like the Rockefellers and  the Gates.  It does skin some of them, but they hire clever well paid lawyers who construct tax shelters for them.  The estate tax really does hammer small businesses, so hard that many of them die. 
  We ought to repeal the estate tax, all the way. 

Delta computer crash. Again

This morning's Wall St Journal had a few words from Delta's chairman.  He says an equipment failure on Delta's site both knocked out the system AND started a small fire.  A fire?  Where are the Halon fire extinguishers that any decent computer room has???   We actually had them go off once at my old place.  It was a false alarm, and it's a good thing that Halon just puts out fires and doesn't wreck electrical equipment like water will do.  But the question for Delta is, why didn't your Halon extinguishers work? 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Delta admits it was their own equipment that failed.

The local power company, Georgia Power, said that their power had stayed on all night.  Delta admitted that a "power control module" (which might be anything)  failed early Monday morning and crashed their computer system, shutting down Delta flights world wide.  And apparently rebooting the world wide systems isn't working so well.  Delta is announcing further flight delays and cancellations for tomorrow.
   Delta clearly needs to decentralize their computer systems, preferably down to the local airport level, so that a failure only knocks out ONE airport, not the entire world.  The only thing that has to be centralized is the airline's seat reservation system.  Agents sell seats all over the world.  Before an agent can sell a seat, he has to know that the seat in question is available, not already sold to someone else.  So all the seat sales go to the central computer system, which keeps track of which seats on which flights are available and which are sold.  This function has to be centralized.  But a lot of other  stuff, like running the airport kiosks ought to be local.
   Good luck Delta IT dept.  You gotta lotta work to do, and a lotta flak to catch. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Words of the Weasel Part 38

Optics.  The politicos are now saying "The optics are bad".  Us real native born English speakers still say " It doesn't look good." 

Monday, August 8, 2016

No backup generator for Delta?

Delta's main computer system went down early this morning, and Delta announced that it was canceling flights world wide until they bring the computers back up.  Delta claims a power failure at their main computer site caused the outage.  And stranded passengers all around the world.
Question for you Delta.  Where was the back up generator at your site?  In the Air Force we had diesel backup generators for crucial stuff, the tower, the radar approach control, the runway lights, the instrument landing system, the electronic navigation aids.  Where was Delta's backup power for this absolutely crucial computer system? 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Ethnic voters, Black, Hispanic, Muslim.

Endless talk on TV about how Hillary and The Donald are doing with this or that ethnic group, who's ahead, who's behind, where they stand relative to previous races.  Endless yak.
None of the TV newsies are talking about the largest ethnic group in the country, women.  Fifty percent of voters are women.  Romney lost the woman's vote to Obama by 10%.  That was the election right there. Hillary and The Donald's race will be decided by women's votes.  But the TV newsies, not even the Wall St Journal ever talks about it.
  We know that The Donald has his problems with women's support.  So does Hillary.  A lotta women think she should have divorced Bill over the Monica affair.   How many of each sort of women voters do we have?  Would those women admit their real feelings to a robo calling pollster? 

How much should a nuke plant cost?

The new British government announced that it will be reviewing (read delaying) a decision to build a nuclear power plant financed by the Chinese to be located at Hinkley Point, England.  The strangest part of the brief article in the Wall St Journal was the price.  The plant is estimated to cost $23 billion to build.  Wow.  The going price for brand new nuclear plant is "only" $5 or $6 billion dollars for a 1 Gigawatt plant.   $23 billion sounds like a rip off to me. 
   Another odd detail about this deal, the Brits promised to pay double the going electric rate for juice from this Chinese financed plant.  Does this sound like crony capitalism? 
   You have to wonder why the Chinese are dickering to spend (invest?) so much money in the utility electric power business, which is not noted for high returns.  And to spend all that money in England, where the power helps the British economy rather than the Chinese economy. 
  Anyhow I can see why the new British government is "reviewing" this high price project. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Get the US economy growing again

Gross National Product (GNP) is a count (or perhaps estimate) of the  value of all the goods and services produced in one year.  At least that's what they called it when I took economics in college.  Now that PC has slipped in thru out the land, "national" has become a bad word. So all the PC MSM call it Gross Domestic Product (GDP)  now a days.
    Ever since WWII the US GNP has increased by about 3% a year.  This means that the number of jobs increases at 3% a year,  which is enough to offer jobs to each year's crop of high school and college grads, as well as jobs to a lot of immigrants. 
   But, since Obama took office in 2008, the US economy has only grown at 1% a year.  Which is why young people are having a tough time finding jobs, and all that anti immigrant talk.  What can we do to get economic growth back on track?
1.  Repeal Obamacare.  Obamacare lays heavy costs upon business.  Businesses larger than 50 employees get hit harder.  So a lot of businesses have decided not to grow beyond 50 employees.  All businesses get levied for a lot of costs and the levy is on a per employee basis.  So businesses have stopped hiring, except when it is absolutely necessary. 
2.  Reform the income tax.  The current tax code is just a vast fabric of loopholes.  If you hire clever and expensive tax lawyers, they can find ( or create) loopholes for your company.  Loopholes create a lot of pure tax dodge companies, like "hedge funds".  Hedge funds enjoy a giant loophole called "carried interest".  I'm convinced that many hedge funds are in business solely to take advantage of "carried interest", not because they are serving any real need.
3.  Get the cost of health care down.  The US pays 19% of GNP for health care.  That is twice the amount paid by any other country  in the world.   And US health, while good, is not the best, there are a dozen countries with better health than the US and they are doing it on half the money.  If they can do it, so can we.  Right now all US goods cost 19% more than they ought to, just to pay the worker's healthcare.
To do this, we ought to make health insurance good anywhere in the US.  Any licensed health insurer ought to be free to offer policies in all 50 states.  Right now, an insurer has to be licensed in the state in which it is selling the policies.  Needless to say, the necessary licenses require the  insurer to do a ton of paperwork and in a lot of cases, they decide it's just too much trouble.  Which is why we only have two companies selling health insurance up here.  And we ought to allow duty free import of any drugs from any reasonable first world country, places like Canada, England, Germany and others.  If the authorities of a reasonable first world country allow the sale of the drug in their country, it is plenty safe enough for Americans.
4.  Straighten out the patent office.  Right now, if a company introduces a new product, it gets sued by a patent troll.  We ought to outlaw patents on "business methods" and software, and common standards like the ASCII code, the QWERTY typewriter layout, TCPIP, and the like.
5.  Get Uncle out of the home mortgage business.  Close down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which triggered off Great Depression 2.0 and then went broke, costing the taxpayers billions.  Home mortgages are the safest and most profitable investments out there, and private businesses can raise all the mortgage money needed.
   That's enough to get started on.  

Thursday, August 4, 2016

President Trump vs President Hillary

If elected,
President Hillary will raise our taxes.   She said that on live  TV to huge applause yesterday,
She will try to take our guns away,
She will pack the Supreme Court (and the lower federal courts) with lefties, who will persist and continue to do harm for decades.
She will do more payoffs to foreign scumbags, and she will take up her disasterous foreign policy where she left off when she turned the secretary of state office over to John "Swiftboat" Kerry.

President Trump might do some real and badly needed income tax reform. 
He won't press for more gun "control" aka taking our guns away.
He will appoint decent law abiding judges to the Supreme Court.  He has published a long list of names. 
We aren't too sure of his foreign policy, he hasn't said much, but it cannot be worse than Hillary's.  I know he could have gotten four hostages back for less than $100 mil a head. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Large unmarked bills. Small unmarked cargo plane.

Totally disgraceful.  And Hillary set it up.

Two Party system

This morning NPR was touting third party candidates for President.  Couple of guys whose names are new to me, couple of parties, Libertarian, Green.  Then they segued into a  pro third party pitch, and denounced various state laws making it hard for poor old third parties to get on the ballot.  Sounded dreadful.
   In real life, the two party system is a good thing that makes legislation possible.  In a two party system, if you have the votes, you can pass your legislation.  Once we let more parties into the game it becomes difficult to impossible to get anything done.  On any political issue there are always six of seven different courses of action.  If you have six or seven parties, each one of them will pick one of the possible courses of action, but none of the parties will have the votes to push it thru.  France, going all the way back to the Third Republic, worked like this.   The French had half a dozen parties, all going there own way, and they could never get anything done.  This pattern of French politics persists to this day.  It brought France invasion and defeat in 1940, Diem Bien Foo, the Algerian civil war, and overall weakness and confusion for nearly a century. 
   In a two party system, the six or seven courses of action get whittled down to two, one for each party, by internal party negotiations and log rolling.  Then the party with the votes gets it's program passed.  With only two partie, one of 'em will have the votes to pass its legislation.  If, like today, the country is evenly split on a lot of issues, nothing happens, neither party has the votes.   When the country is evenly split, it's probably best not to do anything. 
   And, consider this.  The last third party candidate to win the presidency was Abraham Lincoln and that was a long time ago.  To my way of thinking, casting your vote for a third party candidate is same as throwing it away, or not voting at all. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

We need some Cruel and Unusual Punishments

For robo callers who ring my phone and don't answer when I pick up.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Military in Politics???

I am hearing some chat on TV about how retired military officers should not engage in politics.  I beg to differ.  Once retired, a military officer is just an American citizen, with all the rights and privileges thereto, such as shooting his mouth off in public, or even at the Democratic convention.
  Active duty military is another kettle of fish.  On active duty an officer commands the armed forces of the United States, under the direction of the commander in chief (the president).  On active duty, criticizing the political leadership is criticizing your military superior, a big no-no, and a court martial offense in the US armed forces.
   But after retirement, a military officers is just another civilian, and if he wants to politick, that is his right and privilege.    General Washington,  General Jackson, General Grant, and General Eisenhower all made first class presidents.   In fact I'd be happy to trade our current crop of presidential candidates for any one of them.  Too bad they are all dead. 

Zitka in Florida

According to the TV newsies, a very small area in Florida, maybe a square mile, north of Miami is the cause.
   You would think a few hundred gallons of DDT, or whatever less effective insecticide the greenies allow us to use would solve the problem in a day or two.    TV newsies aren't saying anything about spraying the skeeters.  Maybe they haven't thought of it, maybe spome greenie regulation prevents it, who knows.  But a one square mile pest hole is treatable.   Best to treat is now, before it spreads.