Friday, June 17, 2016


I'm in favor
Of gun control -

CAVEAT: My First Born is a cop and while we often disagree, when it comes to gun control we almost are in complete agreement.

"PROVIDING" WHAT? Providing that the first guns to be controlled are those belonging to criminals.

Meanwhile, politicians of all stripes are getting in front of cameras to stake out their resolute positions on any form of gun control, even the most innocuous, e..g., having a three-day waiting period to acquire a gun for people on a terror/watch list.

UNFORTUNATELY I know of no way to prevent criminals from acquiring guns illegally. It is relatively easy, albeit sometimes expensive, to buy on the black market assault rifles with 30-round clips and semi-automatic pistols with 15 round clips; it is possible to buy multiple clips (magazines) and ammunition in 1,000-round lots.

According to a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agent, most illegally obtained guns come from inside the U.S., not, as some might suspect, from Mexico.

It is unfortunate that law enforcement cannot seem to prevent people on a government threat list from buying the same gear legally. As with the Muslims who carried out the 9-11-2001 attacks, one government agency won't talk with another agency; protecting their own turf at the expense of the citizens.

The guns used in San Bernardino, Sandy Hook, and Orlando all were "more or less" legally acquired. The weapons used in San Bernardino and in the Columbine shooting (Littleton, Colorado) were "semi-legal"; an adult bought the weapons - a "straw purchase" - and gave (sold) them to the shooters.

ON THE OTHER HAND guns , while "convenient" for terrorists and other crazies, are not the only weapon options. Knives often are the weapons of choice for personal attacks. Knives are popular worldwide and everything from a steak knife to a Bowie knife is easily obtainable.

Bombs - made from readily available materials - also are an option for terrorists around the world. The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City was brought down, leaving 168 people dead and hundreds more injured when a diesel fuel-and-fertilizer bomb inside a box truck exploded. The bomber was mad at the U.S. government.

The website infoplease lists bomb-bearing vehicles from 1920. In Israel, Muslim terrorists angered PETA by sending a bomb-laden donkey to slaughter Israelis. PETA has less regard for the human lives lost than for the animal. A Wikipedia entry titled Animal-borne bomb attacks lists "incidents" where animals were used, or proposed for use, against an enemy.

According to the Boston Globe, “The Marathon bombs were constructed using improvised fuses made from Christmas lights and improvised, remote-control detonators fashioned from model car parts,” prosecutors wrote.
Also, prosecutors said, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, appear to have crushed and emptied fireworks containing black powder to make explosive fuel for the bombs. Three people, including a child, were murdered and more than 260 others wounded.

A Wikipedia entry notes that Pressure cooker bombs have been used in a number of attacks in the 21st century. Among them have been the 2006 Mumbai train bombings, 2010 Stockholm bombings (failed to explode), the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt (failed to explode), and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
On Canada Day 2013, pressure cooker bombs failed to explode at the Parliament Building in Victoria, British Columbia.

In Israel, terrorists from the Palestinian Authority (PA) areas often use vehicles - cars, trunks - to murder Israelis: Jews, Muslims, and others indiscriminately. Suicide bombs remain a staple in the Islamists' choice of murder weapons.

Where guns are banned or severely restricted, terrorists simply select another option.

Wikipedia's Overview of gun laws by nation entry does exactly what the title claims.

Guns might be banned, but terrorists and other crazies will find a way to kill, maim, and otherwise disrupt our lives. Their options are limited only by their imagination and access to the internet.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Our government NOT at work

Be very careful
What you eat;
FDA slow to act

TWO ARTICLES HIGHLIGHTED by Advisen FPN caught my attention, both concerned food and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

One, in the Chicago Tribune for June 10, was headlined Investigators: Consumers are 'at risk of illness or death' because of slow FDA recalls.

The other, from the Wall Street Journal, is dated June 9 and headlined Reports Show Inspectors Found Recurring Problems at CRF Factory.

The ChiTrib article focuses on the apparent disregard for consumers by the Federal agency.

The FDA seems to be following the in the footsteps of the Veterans' Administration for ignoring the mandates that are their raison d'etre.

"Caveat emptor" has become the motto of the Federal government over the last few years.

The ChiTrib article noted that the Food and Drug Administration waited 165 days after confirming the contamination before recalling tainted peanut butter that caused salmonella poisoning in 14 people. It waited 81 days to recall a variety of cheese products even after a baby died and eight people became ill.

An FDA report noted that This lax approach to food safety put consumers "at risk of illness or death" after testing showed the food was potentially hazardous. The report blamed loose or nonexistent policies for how and when the FDA does recalls when commercial food has made people sick. And it noted that despite new powers the agency got in 2011 to force companies to recall dangerous products -- rather than ask them to act voluntarily --and new technology that allows scientists to identify pathogens faster, the government is still endangering the public by dragging out its investigations.

The article went on to detail other FDA problems and that the agency has started a more rigorous review process for food recalls.

The WSJ article starts off with In the year and a half before CRF Frozen Foods LLC launched a sweeping recall of its products from grocery stores, government inspectors found recurring problems at the frozen-food maker’s factory, according to reports released this week by regulators.

Three inspection reports, released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, indicate problems at CRF’s Pasco, Wash., plant were more widespread than previously known.

The WSJ's interest in CRF and its health inspection apparently was promoted in the wake of a listeria outbreak linked to CRF that sickened eight people since September 2013 and prompted recalls this spring of hundreds of frozen fruit and vegetable products.

The bottom line for consumers is that the Federal agency charged with assuring the food we eat is, if not healthy, at least not dangerous is failing to do its job,

As far as the VA goes, refer to the U.S. House of Representatives' VA Accountability Watch and a Washington Times article titled VA still plagued by problems two years after scandal. According to one combat wounded veteran, the local VA facility is a "last resort"; he refuses to travel the few miles to a VA facility because, he claims, a person has to become violent before anyone pays attention to the vet.


Obama promised change
He delivered on promise
Look what change brought

U.S. President Barak Obama was elected - and re-elected - by promising "change."

He made good on his promise.

ISRAEL, once a loyal ally that marched to America's drummer, now has growing political and economic ties with the enemies of the U.S.: China and Russia.

While Israel still buys military gear from the U.S. - and then adds its own pieces of the puzzle to improve the imports - it also can look to other vendors; primarily Russia and China, both of which make highly serviceable aircraft.

Submersibles are from Germany and while perhaps not the "latest and greatest," they suffice for Israel's needs. (Israel never has bought subs from the U.S.)

The AK rifles from Russia are as good as, and easier to maintain, than the U.S. made AR rifles. Ask any terrorist organization why they prefer the Russian product. The Chinese, doing what they do best, are manufacturing an AK knock-off.


Because the powers that be in D.C. insisted everyone should have an "American style" democracy - funny, the U.S. is NOT a democracy despite what we've been told since kindergarten - Obama & Company agitated and funded malcontents to overthrown existing governments.

Granted, the governments were dictatorships and a few of the dictators - Bashar Hafez al-Assad and Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti to name the two best known - were notoriously cruel, others, such as Muammar Gaddafi, were less so.

Washington, in it arrogance, fails to understand that not every country can operate under a U.S. style government.

Yet, interestingly enough, Obama & Friends have no problems with China, which "owns" America NOTE 1, or Saudi Arabia, which holds billions in U.S.IOUs - how much only the U.S. Treasury knows - and it isn't telling.NOTE 2

Apparently Obama's advisors either don't know the history of the region or they choose to ignore history - in the same was a former Secretary of State ignored laws and stored classified emails on an unsecured server (when she's president she can give herself a pardon).

The Middle East - the the Indian sub-continent as well - are populated by tribes, not all of which got along peacefully.

Over the years, the Brits and French, as well as the Dutch and Germans in Africa, drew borders that suited them, disregarding the local tribes. Indeed, with the exception of Canada and the U.S., everywhere the British established borders, there has been, and continues to be, conflict:

    India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan Ireland Middle East, with help from the French NOTE 3 (Sykes-Picot)

Gaddafi ruled over the tribes within Libya's borders, just as the Alaouite dynasty has ruled Morocco since 1672; neither was a "democracy" and both ruled over disparate, sometimes warring, tribes. Both France and Spain at one time laid claim to parts of Morocco, but the presence of both is relegated to history books.

When the Algerians voted in the anti-American Islamic Salvation Front, the U.S. remained silent while the military cancelled the results of the election.

Somehow Obama failed to overthrow the Algerian government even though it failed to comply with America's sense of "democracy." Likewise Egypt.

Nor did Obama challenge the Saudis (perhaps because the U.S. is so far in debt to the royal family, ibid.). The Emirates also were exempt from Obama's "Arab Spring."

On the other hand, despite apparently many Iranians who want freedom from the mullahs, and despite the rush to nuclear weapons, Obama rewards the rulers by cancelling sanctions and encouraging other states to do likewise.

No one can say that Obama failed to deliver on his promise of change.

Trouble is, they are changes the world could have done without.

Note 1: See

Note 2: See

Note 3:

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Would you buy
A car sans tires?

Then why buy an A/C
System without a filter?

The temperature in the shade was close to 90 F with an 80% relative humidity.

The air conditioning system's compressor failed and the air handler was on its last legs.

I sent out RFQs for a new system - compressor and air handler. Several vendors came out to measure space available and offer quotes. Some PROMISED quotes but failed to deliver.

Finally we settled on one vendor and arrived at a price. The installation was a few days later (a weekend getting in the way).

Three guys came out: an A/C specialist, a plumber, and an electrician. All seemed competent and they managed to get the two units installed in about 5 hours.

During the final check out I asked where to install the air handler filter. I was shown. Then I asked: "Where's the filter?"

The air handler must have a filter if it is going to last for any length of time. The filter filters air pulled into the system from inside the building. Good filters need to be changed every two to three months - at a minimum. Failing to change a filter lets it get clogged and that causes all manner of problems.

Been there, done that.

I could not believe an A/C system, or even just an air handler, would be installed without a filter. A/C companies - Carrier, Rheem/Rudd, Amana, et al, need to include as part of the installation a suitably sized filter.

Filters for the air handler range in RETAIL cost from $5 to $20 each. The more you pay, in theory, the better the filtration.

If the company installing air handlers buys in quantity, the cost of a $20 retail filter could be driven down to - say - $7. If a new A/C system costs $3,800 (or more), including a $7 filter makes good business sense.

Because I am who I am, when the installation supervisor stopped by to check on the work, I mentioned that I thought it was stupid to jeopardize a system for lack of a filter. The old "For want of a nail, a shoe was lost…" story.

To his credit, he agreed to provide a filter, and one of his troops, the electrician, made a special trip to deliver the medium grade filter that apparently had been lying around the shop.

The new system has been running a few hours now and the temperature, 88 F when the work was finished, now is 80 F, but it is too early to tell if the everything is OK. Ask me in 12 months and I'll "rate the system" and the company that installed it.

But I'm still shaking my head: selling and installing an air handler without a filter is like buying a car without tires.

Friday, June 3, 2016


Speak out
Against violence


WM. CLINTON'S WIFE wants to be president.

Senator Bernie Sanders wants to be president.

Neither is acting very presidential.

WERE EITHER "ACTING PRESIDENTIAL" they would call for an end to the rioting by their supporters at rallies for presidential candidate Donald Trump.

I fail to hear or read that either Democrat candidate condemns the attacks on Trump supporters. Where are these "leaders" when they should be telling their supporters to act civilized, to restrain themselves, to take their anger out at - not on - the ballot box.


Funny enough, Trump supporters don't seem to be attacking Clinton or Sanders supporters. Are they better people? Is Trump a more civilized candidate than his opponents?

You have to wonder.

Clinton's and Sander's silence on the attacks gives their supporters tacit approval to continue the attacks. Their silence condones the attacks.

Perhaps candidates Clinton and Sanders also support the attacks on the police who are assigned to try to maintain peace in the face of, apparently, candidate-sanctioned mob violence.

Is that the type person we want to lead our nation?

This is not the first time in recent history that riots have been associated with Democrats. Think back - or use the computer to study history - to the Democrat's Chicago Convention in 1968. The rioters were NOT from the Republican candidate's camp.

America in recent years has been polarized; the middle-of-the-road American has been marginalized while the far left and far right have taken over the political parties and the media. What civilized discussions moderates might attempt have been high jacked by the those who figuratively scream My way or the highway and tolerate no one who might dare to challenge their opinion.

Are were watching the end to an almost democracy and the birth of rule by organized violence, violence condoned by the people who would lead the nation?

Thursday, June 2, 2016


Language as risk

LET'S SAY you own a business that employs people from around the globe.

Many of these people work at one location; others work in other countries.

Should all employees worldwide have a common language?

Yes .. . and no.

FAILING TO HAVE A FACILITY-WIDE common language is a risk, a threat to the safety of personnel who cannot comprehend the language of the location.

In the U.S. it also is a risk for management that will be threatened with a Federal lawsuit.

According to an article on the Milwaukee WI WDJT Channel 58 web site, the 'English-Only' Policy At Leon's Frozen Custard Sparks controversy and a threat by the League of United Latin American Citizens that is calling for an investigation by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Ron Schneider, the owner of Leon's Frozen Custard, told CBS 58 he wants all of his employees to be able to communicate with each other -- and because he speaks English, that's the language he wants used at his business.

"It becomes a business issue, a safety issue," Schneider said. "It's much easier to try and conduct business if everyone can understand each other."

The article makes it clear - to most readers at least - that Schneider

    (a) has no objection to hiring employees who have English as a Second Language

    (b) has no objection to employees speaking to each other in a language other than English

    (c) wants employees who speak Spanish to speak to customers whose first, perhaps only, language is Spanish

According to the Metro Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) Greater Milwaukee's demographics break down as follows:

Population by race & Hispanic population, 2013 estimates
All races, metro Milwaukee 1,569,659
White 1,207,058
Black/African American 267,767
American Indian & Alaska Native 10,782
Asian 51,472
Native Hawaiian & other Pacific Islander 694
Two or more races 31,886
Hispanic/Latino population (may be of any race) 158,035

Perhaps merchants should be forced to have employees who speak Vietnamese or the language(s) of the 11 federally recognized Indian tribes in Wisconsin today; after all, the Indians were here first.

    Before anyone takes umbrage at the use of the word "Indians" rather than "native Americans," I live up the road from the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. The tribe is part of the Seminole Nation, a nation that never signed a peace treaty with the Federal government.

In south Florida, if you speak only English it IS almost impossible to find a job. But I don't recall anyone asking the Feds to step in to force employers to hire English-only speakers.

To turn around the English-Only Policy At Leon's Frozen Custard, employees at many businesses would be required to have a command of Spanish - Cuban, Puerto Rican, or Mexican so far is not specified.

While the U.S. sadly lacks a "by law" national language, English IS the dominant language and the common language across the 48 contiguous States. It is the "glue" that binds the man in Barrow, Alaska to the fellow in the Conch Republic (Key West Florida) - a mere 4,283 air miles (6,893 km) apart.

I cannot fathom young people who come to the U.S. and refuse to learn the dominant language.

    Seniors are another matter. My Mother-In-Law is nearly 90 and lives in a neighborhood where most people speak the language she knows. She never had to learn more than a few basic words to "make do."

English remains the "international language of business" (except perhaps in France where not knowing French can mean you are stuck in De Gaulle airport much like Charlie on the M.T.A.).

I'm delighted that Schneider wants to cater to his customers who either cannot speak English or prefer to speak Spanish, but to force Leon's Frozen Custard to abandon a common language and the safety it brings with it is not just foolish, it is dangerous.

Take this to the extreme.

Assume Leon's Frozen Custard has employees who only speak some variety of Spanish. A fire or other hazard occurs and Schneider yells: "Get out of the building." All of the English-speakers escape and survive; one Spanish-only speaker dies inside. What happens? The deceased worker's survivors sue Schneider for not warning their relative who could not or would not learn English in Milwaukee.

For Schneider, it is a lose-lose situation. If the Feds do file suit, his best option is to close up, putting the Spanish-speaking employees on the street along with the English-speaking workers.