Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Opuscula

Cell phone service
For home phones:
It works, saves $$s

I JUST GOT AN OFFER from Consumer Cellular for a “free” ZTE Wireless Home Phone Base.

My Spouse muttered that “Since we already HAVE the device, maybe Consumer Cellular will refund the money we paid.”

In any event, what follows is a user’s experience with

    Consumer Cellular

    Consumer Cellular Customer Support

    ZTE Wireless Home Phone Base

CAVEAT: The ZTE Wireless Home Phone Base basically is a cell phone that can be connected to a hard-wired or cordless system, with all the advantages and disadvantages inherent to cell phones.

We have been Consumer Cellular cell phone customers for a couple of years.

The company briefly offered the ZTE Wireless Home Phone Base, hereafter just “ZTE etc.”, then it disappeared from view. But that brief encounter made me curious.

From a cost perspective, Consumer Cellular’s $10-a-month – plus the multitude of taxes, seemingly levied by all taxing authorities extant – was an improvement over the local telco’s $25 (with the multitude of taxes) and always creeping up monthly fee.

We already had two Consumer Cellular plans; one of many minutes for the Spouse and one with fewer minutes for me. (Consumer Cellular keeps increasing her minutes, but not the charge; got’ta love that.)

Bottom line: I ordered the ZTE etc. It arrived in a few days – free shipping, too.

We kept our landline number (just as we kept our cell numbers) when we switched.

Consumer Cellular Customer Service

When the device arrived the antenna was broken off of the body. It is made in China; need I write more?

I contacted Consumer Cellular and immediately got an advanced replacement order. A few days later the replacement unit arrived – in one piece – and I packed up the broken unit for return to Consumer Cellular – also pre-paid.

Being a one-time technical writer, I DID read the manual and set up the device according to the instructions.

It failed to work.

Called Customer Service. Told to try this, then try that, Always the same result – I was unable to access the device.

After a number of calls to Customer Service – and having one guy promise to call back after escalating the call – I sent my last email to Customer Service, complaining (a) that the (expletive deleted) ZTE etc. STILL failed to function and (b) that after several days, I STILL was waiting for a call back.

A few minutes after sending the email, Shari R., a Customer Service Rep (CSR) called. (The whole megillah may be read elsewhere on this blog.)

Bottom line, Shari R. resolved the problem, then tested and confirmed that everything was working to specification.

One problem with Consumer Cellular Customer Service is that it is scattered across the U.S. I talked with CSRs in several states before connecting with Sheri R. in Arizona. All on Consumer Cellular’s dime. (I’m old and remember dime calls from corner pay phones – another relic from the past.)

SOME DIFFERENCES NOTED

We have an old Uniden DECT 6.0 cordless system; a couple of handsets and a base station. The base station connects to the ZTE etc. (There is a second connection if a “regular” telephone or answering machine is connected in lieu of or in addition to the cordless base station.)

While calls within the U.S. are free, standard with most cell phone providers, international calls must be routed through Consumer Cellular’s international long distance provider. I was not able to program the provider’s number, a few second “Pause” and then the destination number into the Uniden handsets. (I did manage this with the cell phone handsets; obviously a Uniden problem, not Consumer Cellular.) Consumer Cellular’s international rates are better than most so abandoning my long-time carrier wasn’t as painful as I anticipated.

Checking voice mail is a “delayed action.” The procedure with the cordless phone is

      Press TALK

      Press “1”

      Wait four (4) seconds

      Listen to any voice mails

Every thing else – saving, deleting, etc., is pretty standard.

Voice mails also can be retrieved remotely. It is all in the decently written guide that comes with the ZTE etc. (I keep it handy under the unit.)

TWO PROBLEMS

Problem #1: If you need 9-1-1 you may have to tell the 9-1-1 dispatcher your location. Some communities can register a cell phone location – and that’s what the ZTE etc. is, a cell phone – but many cannot.

Problem #2: The ZTE etc. requires 120 VAC. It has a 3.5 hour battery backup, but . . .   Corded phones connected to the local telco get their power from the telco, so an AC outage is not a problem. Calls to a powerless ZTE etc. are routed to voice mail; when power is restored, the message light on the ZTE etc. (and my Uniden handsets) blinks. Since most people who got the Consumer Cellular offer already have a cell phone account, they can use their cell phones until the power is restored. (Hopefully they can recharge their cell phones from their vehicle’s battery.)

BOTTOM LINE

Consumer Cellular has provided cell phone service at least as good as the major providers.

The ZTE Wireless Home Phone Base – once the initial issues were resolved – has provided service that, to my ears, is as good as the landline carrier Consumer Cellular replaced.

The advantage of the ZTE etc. is that is does NOT require internet connectivity, unlike VoIP phone systems (e.g., Vonage, magicJack, Ooma).

For my money, in my location, Consumer Cellular's ZTE Wireless Home Phone Base is a keeper.

As an aside, AT&T does, or at last did, offer the ZTE Wireless Home Phone Base, but I don't recall it ever really advertised the fact.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Opuscula

Does Hillary THINK
Before taking action?
Anti-Trump ad says “No”

PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL HILLARY CLINTON is proving, again and again and again, that she either

  • Doesn’t think before acting, or

  • Listens to bad advice from bad advisors

Mrs. Clinton continues to run an anti-Trump advertisement showing her opponent behaving in a manner she contends should not be seen by children.

THEN, she runs the advertisement

  • In the morning while children are eating breakfast

  • During the day when pre-schoolers and home schooled kids can watch

  • During the “prime time” when many families watch together
  • .

If she wants to protect the impressionable children from Trump’s outbursts, will someone, ANYONE, explain WHY SHE RUNS THE ADS WHEN CHILDREN ARE MOST APT TO SEE THEM?

AS HARRY S FAMOUSLY said, “The buck stops here,” at Truman’s desk when he was president. (Harry S also said a number of other things today’s Americans are well advised to consider.) The President had the sign on his desk in the Oval Office.

Perhaps Mrs. Clinton fails to realize what President Truman understood, or perhaps she – like her husband ex-president Wm. (“I did not have sex with that woman”) Clinton – believes that her public doesn’t care what she does or says.

    Benghazi?
    Sensitive emails to a private server?
    Selling access to the Secretary of State for donations to the Clinton fund

Can Obama pardon Hillary before she moves into his house? Can she give a presidential pardon to herself? Granted, the FBI was convinced not to find anything “criminal” about her emails – just ANOTHER case of “bad judgment” on the Clintons’ part.

Americans have had better presidential candidates then Clinton and Trump; but after eight years of “change” (that brought us the “Arab Spring” and the rise of Islamist terror, of loss of the world’s respect for the nation, increased street murders and drive-by shootings claiming the lives of children, political correctness to the enth degree – the list goes on), perhaps Clinton and Trump are the best we can do. Or, perhaps they are what we deserve.


Ad-related Internet sites include:

Hillary Clinton's New Ad Paints Donald Trump as a Bad Role Model for Kids Using his own words against him

Hillary Clinton releases brutal new ad slamming Donald Trump: 'Our children are watching'

ICYMI: This Hillary Clinton Ad Full Of Donald Trump Clips Is Pretty Darn Soul-Crushing

Hillary Clinton’s New Anti-Trump Ad Reminds The Nation How Children Are Watching

3 Massive Problems With Hillary Clinton’s New Anti-Trump Ad

Hillary Clinton Ad Argues Donald Trump Sets Terrible Example for Kids (Video)

ONLY ONE of the foregoing take issue with the Clinton advertisement, five of the six ignoring the damage Hillary is doing in trying to protect our children from unbridled Trump - trying to protect our children by repeating the advertisement again and again and again. Some “protection.” Like a fox in the hen house.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Opuscula

Who pays price
For pols’ promises?

Presidential candidates are rather like the perfume commercial: “Promise them anything but give them Arpege.” Unfortunately for the voters, what they get may smell, but hardly a fragrance akin to Andre Fraysse’s concoction for Lanvin in 1927 (or the 1993 variation).

During “silly season,” candidates for offices from local to national promise that “If you vote for me, I’ll make sure you get” … pie in the sky.

What they do NOT tell John and Jane Voter is who will pay for the candidate’ largesse.

It should come as no surprise to the weary middle class taxpayer; people in that category will bear the burden, whether or not they enjoy any benefits of the politician’s promises.

Still, things could be worse.

Wikipedia offers a page titled List of countries by tax rates. Fortunately, the Wiki table’s columns can be sorted.

If you want to keep ALL your money, move to Bahrain. No taxes on anything, and no Value Added Tax (VAT). On the other end of the spectrum is Belgium; it has a 33.99% corporate tax, a 64% individual tax, 38% income tax, and a maximum VAT of 21%.

The U.S. taxpayer falls somewhere in the middle. What the Wiki table fails to show (but does point out) that property taxes are not included in Americans’ tax bite. Renters pay property tax, too; they just may not realize it.

Benefit taxes for American taxpayers total roughly 20.2%, of which 12.4% goes to Social Security, another 3.8% for Medicare and the remaining % for state and local use. Again, this excludes property taxes that pay for schools, hospitals, emergency services (fire, police), libraries, trash collection, etc. Water usually is billed separately. Some locations pay an additional local assessment for special projects, e.g., street lights.

Benefits such as Headstart, congressional salaries, the military, congressional and presidential pensions, VA operations, and similar are culled from payroll and business taxes.

The bottom line is that the more the government claims it is providing the populace – legal and “undocumented aliens” – the more the government is going to take from the middle class taxpayer.

When a candidate – any candidate for any office – promises this or that benefit, understand that the benefit has a price. Most of the time, the price is paid by the middle class taxpayer.

Think about it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Opuscula

Media bias?
Half truths?
Recipe for riots

A CBS This Morning talking head on September 21, 2016, told the world that the riots in Charlotte NC were prompted by a black man being shot by police.

A “reporter” did state later that a protest started peacefully, but then disintegrated into a riot, with the rioters storming a Wal-Mart and stealing goods from the store.

NOT ONCE – NOT ONE TIME - did anyone on CBS This Morning mention that the cop that shot the black man ALSO WAS BLACK. The “on-the-scene” report showed photos of both the victim and the cop, but – again – the words “black” or “African-American” NEVER were used in connection with the officer.

Following the, at best, “incomplete” reporting from Charlotte NC, CBS This Morning reported, briefly, on the shooting of a black man by a white Tulsa OK policewoman.

Added to the report were Obama’s comments and Hillary’s condemnation of the shooting in Tulsa OK; never mind that neither mentioned WHY the men was shot. Obama is famous for knee jerk reactions; consider his hasty attack on the Cambridge MA police and his later hosting the “beer summit” to extract himself from the embarrassment.

According to news reports from Tulsa, the man walked to his vehicle with his hands in the air. Video shows this. Then, although told by police NOT to reach inside his vehicle, he allegedly tried to do just that and was shot.

The cops were, justifiably, worried that he had a gun in the vehicle, which is why he was told don’t reach into the vehicle.

The cops did NOT find a gun in the man’s vehicle, although they claim to have found Phescyclidine (PCP), a/k/a angel dust, in the vehicle.

Lawyers for slain Tulsa man contend that the "Drug discussion (is just) a distraction".

Truth in blogging. My first born is a cop. He tells me horror stories of careless cops who now are dead because they allowed a person to grab a hidden weapon. If a cop says to do, or don’t do, something, follow the cop’s orders and live.

I was a newspaper reporter and editor for many years in many places across the Several States. I do not recall so many police shootings, although there were shootings. I also do not recall so many times that people took to the streets using a death, or politics, as an excuse for rioting and looting. These things happened, but not in the numbers seen in the last decade. By the same token, I lived in the Middle East in much quieter times.

Reporting on trials taught me to get all the facts before deciding guilt or innocence. Knee jerk reactions before all the facts are in fails to serve anyone other than, perhaps, the jerk with the knee. People in positions of power, and people who WANT to be in positions of power, should control their tongues until they know all the facts. (The ONLY exception is in the event the nation is under attack and POTUS must make a decision with only the facts at hand.)


ABC News reported that Both the officer involved in the deadly shooting and the victim are African-American, a police source told WSOC-TV, but otherwise nothing was reported about race.

Fox News headlined At least 12 Charlotte cops injured in protests following officer-involved death of black man and reported in the first paragraph that the fatal shooting of a black man by police who said he was armed and posed a threat. Fox managed to note, in the second paragraph, the man was fatally shot by a black officer.

CNN, under the race-neutral headline, Charlotte police shooting: Protests erupt after officer kills man noted in the leed paragraph that a police officer fatally shot a black man; later, in the fourth paragraph that The officer who killed Scott, Brentley Vinson, also is black.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Opuscula

Hard choice:
Act or hesitate

LATE NEWS: Police arrested an Afghan man in New Jersey in connection with the NY/NJ bombings. He shot two police officers before being wounded and taken into custody.

ISIS is taking credit for the knife attack that injured 9 in a St. Cloud, MN mall.

A talking head news reader asked if there is a connection between the bombs in NY and NJ and the knife attacks in Minnesota. There is: ISLAM.

BASED ON THE AMOUNT OF TIME the next president will have to make a “Shoot – Don’t shoot” decision, American voters have to decide between Hillary (“Let’s get all the facts” Clinton and Donald (“It’ s bomb”) Trump.

According to the CBS 60 Minutes program airing 9/18/2016, the president will have, maybe, 10 minutes for the “we’re under attack” message to filter through too many individuals and then make the “Shoot – Don’t shoot” decision.

NBC News, under the headline How Trump and Clinton Reacted to New York City 'Bomb' reported that

    The presidential candidates remained true to form in their reactions to the explosion in New York City on Saturday night, with Donald Trump sounding alarms and Hillary Clinton offering caution.

    After waiting on his plane for about 13 minutes, he took the stage and reported what no news outlets or law enforcement had yet: that a "bomb" went off in New York City.

    While Clinton, the Democratic nominee, appeared to criticize Trump for immediately calling the incident a bombing, she initially referred to it the same way.

    "I've been briefed about the bombings in New York and New Jersey and the attack in Minnesota," she said.

    Asked later to respond to Trump's calling the explosion a bombing, Clinton told NBC News that it's important to wait until jumping to conclusions.

    According to the CBS 60 Minutes program on 18 Sep 2016, the president will have less than 12 minutes for an ICBM attack on the U.S. to be filtered through multiple layers of bureaucracy before reaching his ears and forcing the “Shoot – Don’t shoot” order to America’s defense operations: ICBMs, bombers, missile submarines. There will be less time to respond to missiles launched from submarines off America’s coasts. (Apparently all efforts are focused on threats from Russia; ignoring China and North Korea. Iran is not a threat to the U.S. since Obama paid them off in return for a promise to halt work on nuclear weapons.)

    If Trump’s sources are discounted, then his declaration that a “bomb” exploded in New York city can be considered “knee jerk.” (I am not discounting Trump’s sources which, based on Clinton’s initial remarks, also were available to her.)

    A knee jerk reaction in a nuclear scenario would be fatal to millions – both in the U.S. and in attacking country.

    On the other hand, Clinton’s “wait and see” reaction – again, even after initially calling the explosion in New York city a “bombing” – would result in millions of American’s dying – some instantly, some slowly and painfully.

    Americans will be caught between a rock and a hard spot is we elect a president who acts on reports not made generally public (e.g., available to the media) and a candidate to back tracks on her initial statement ("I've been briefed about the bombings in New York”) and then urges a wait and see approach (important to wait until jumping to conclusions).

    I assume the NBC article got Clinton’s remark that it is “important to wait until jumping to conclusions” screwed up. “Waiting” and “jumping to conclusions” is an oxymoron.


    In an effort to be fair to both candidates, the following Web sites also carried their responses:

    CNBC: Trump, Clinton respond to New York City explosion

    ABC: Trump, Clinton Respond to New York City Explosion

    CNN: Trump says 'bomb went off in New York'

    Bizpac: CNN edits Hillary’s embarrassing response to NYC bombing – fixed it right up

    Business Insider: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both refer to New York explosion as a bombing

    Conservative Treehouse: Hillary Clinton Says “Bombings In New York” – 40 Seconds Later Criticizes Use of Word “Bombing”…

    Politico: Clinton tweaks Trump over Manhattan blast response

    The list is not "all inclusive," I took the first page of "hits" on Google and listed them above.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Opuscula

Easy money for munis:
Enforce handicap parking

IN MY “NECK O’ THE WOODS,” the penalty for parking in a space designated for vehicles with a “disabled” tag or license plate is $250.

I have a handicap tag – it may not be “PC” to write “handicap(ed),” but that’s what I am, and, assuming my one-year-old grandsons don’t make off with it, I have a cane to prove it.

I am able to perambulate, albeit not fast and not for long hikes, so if all the handicap slots are full, I look for a regular spot as close as I can get to my destination.

I also look at the cars parking in the handicap slots.

Too many cars in the handicap slots lack a handicap tag or a handicap plate.

No tag, no plate = $250 ticket.

In Florida drivers are supposed to remove the hang tag from the rear view mirror when driving; some do, many don’t. Sometimes the driver forgets to rehang the tag, but rarely.

I was at a mall in Norfolk VA once when I spotted a tagless car in a handicapped slot. I called this to the attention of a passing cop who prepared to write a ticket. The driver came out of the mall – walking briskly, no sign of a handicap – and told the cop he had a tag but simply forgot to hang it up. The cop told me that since the guy had the tag, he couldn’t write the ticket.

I stayed a little longer and watched as the driver and his passenger returned to the car – neither showed any signs of a physical handicap. Mental handicap, perhaps.

The other day I watched as two young (compared to me anyway) women get out of a car parked in a handicapped slot and strolled into the nearby supermarket. The car had a hang tag.

Florida law makes it pretty clear that unless someone in the vehicle has a physical handicap, using the handicap tag is unlawful. Unfortunately, as my Number One Son the Cop reminds me that there aren’t enough cops to go around so I am reluctant to call the local police department – even on the administrative number; I never would use 9-1-1 for a handicap parking complaint – inconsiderate slob who parked in the handicap slot probably would be gone by the time the cops arrived.

But the ones who have a handicap tag thanks to a relative and who “forget” to remove the tag on the mirror before jaunting off to whatever store is their destination, these people deserve a summons.

I suppose that when they get to court with the tag in hand the judge – ignoring an absence of handicap – will (may be forced to) dismiss the charge. Still, the turkey who unnecessarily took up a handicap slot may remember the inconvenience of having to go to court and reconsider before abusing the handicap slot.

It probably is not “wise” to challenge a person who parks in a handicap slot about the hang tag or a lack of visible handicap. Still, I do occasionally ask a driver who parks in a handicap slot sans hang tag if he (or she) forgot the tag. I try to at least seem polite: “Excuse me, did you forget to hang the handicap tag?”

The inconsiderate ones, whom I assume are mentally handicapped, are the ones I resent the most. People who are too lazy to walk an extra few steps from a “regular” parking slot. They are abusing the tag – as well as taking up a slot that a truly handicapped person – me – might need.

Even before I joined the ranks of those who have a hang tag I resented people who, with no obvious mobility handicap, parked in a handicap space.

I have learned patience; the handicap tag or plate may be there because a passenger has a mobility issue. I was grumbling at one driver who had a tag and was parked in a handicap slot until I saw him remove a fold-up wheelchair from the trunk and wheel it around for his passenger. (The driver wasn’t going to run any races himself.)

Granted, not everyone’s mobility handicap is as obvious as mine – remember the cane. I’ve seen others who slowly make their way from Point A to Point B and I wonder why they don’t apply for a handicap hang tag or license plate.

I’m tempted to go to the local auto store and buy a valve stem core remover. It is a small device that is used to remove the one-way valve in a tire. No core = flat tire. Remove two (or more) valve stems and the vehicle is “stuck” where it sits. (Remove one valve stem and the driver can simply put on the spare.)

Granted, this is a relatively minor aggravation in the grand scheme of things, but it is an aggravation none-the-less.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Opuscula

Liberals punish
NC for protecting
Its citizens' modesty

THE NCAA* IS PULLING all of its championship games from North Carolina because the state insists that a transgender person use the bathroom for which they are physically equipped.

In other words, if you LOOK like Marylyn Monroe but hide a penis under your skirt, you use the men’s facilities.

If you LOOK like Terry Gene Bollea** but you are covering a vigina under your tennis shorts, head for the women’s facilities.

Until the transgender person completes the change and become completely, physically the sex they want to be, they remain the sex they were born.

Seems simple enough and that is, basically, North Carolina’s stance.

The NCAA is a “me, too” group that is following the lead of more people and businesses than believable.

Esquire Magazine noted that When the corporation that designed the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant and a porn website are boycotting your entire state, you know you've done something horribly wrong.

Esquire went on to list the following:

    Celebs past & present: Ringo Starr, Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Moore, Joel McHale

    Corporations: Deutsche Bank, PayPal, General Electric, Dow Chemical Company, Pepsi, Hyatt, Hewlett Packard, Choice Hotels International, Whole Foods, Levis Strauss & Co., Lionsgate, and - last but hardly least, xHamster.

Breitbart lists "8 Artists and Entertainers Boycotting North Carolina over Religious Freedom Law." I'm not certain how allowing a person of one sex to invade the facilities of the other sex is a "religious freedom" issue, but Breitbart's head writers thought that was the case.

Breitbart's top eight are:

    Musical writer Stephen Schwartz, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffet, Ringo Starr, Cyndi Lauper, Laura Jane Grace, Brandi Carlile, and Michael Moore.

How Mississippi got lumped together with North Carolina is beyond my ken, but Breibart notes that Canada’s Bryan Adams canceled a planned concert in Mississippi this week. “I find it incomprehensible that LGBT citizens are being discriminated against in the state of Mississippi,” Adams wrote in a statement. Sharon Stone backed out of production for a short film in Mississippi because of the state’s religious liberty bill.

The Charlotte Observer under a headline reading “Updated list: Who has spoken for, against NC’s new LGBT law” reports that More than 100 top executives from major companies, including major Charlotte employers like Bank of America, have signed a letter opposing the “anti-LGBT” legislation. The NBA, set to host its All-Star Game in Charlotte next year, has also said it’s against measure. Some states and cities are banning government-funded travel to North Carolina.

NOW, IF ANYONE IS INTERESTED in reading the (in)famous House Bill 2, An Act to Provide for Single-Sex Multiple Occupancy Bathroom and Changing Facilities in Schools and Public Agencies and to Create Statewide Consistency in Regulation of Employment and Public Accommodation it may be read at http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2015E2/Bills/House/PDF/H2v4.pdf.

If my daughter takes my five-year-old grand-daughter into a women’s restroom, I want to have some level of confidence that they won’t be “treated” to a “woman with a penis” sharing the same space.

I’m pretty sure I would be taken aback if I saw a “man with a vagina” in the men’s facilities at the highway rest stop.

Where, dare I ask, is MY protection; where are my civil rights?


 *  NCAA: National Collegiate Athletic Association

 **  Hulk Hogan


Monday, September 12, 2016

Opuscula

Black-on-black
Murders ignored

ONE GAME INTO THE 2016/17 football season and we see players expressing themselves about social injustice in the U.S.

No one with eyes to see and ears to hear can honestly deny that America is not 100% fair. Never has been, never will be. The U.S. probably is “fairer” than most places; a listing of places with less – or zero – “social justice” would be boringly long. Many of those places are America’s political allies.

But in the U.S. people CAN express themselves; that’s guaranteed by the Constitution and backed up by the courts. There was a time when wearing a flag patch on the back of a pair of britches was a crime; no longer. Freedom of speech – expression – trumped respect for the flag.

Still, I have a problem with blacks “taking a knee for social justice.”

My problem is simple: if Black Lives REALLY Matter, and they should – indeed ALL lives should matter – then the blacks who are kneeling, and those that stand tall, hand over heart, need to take their concerns, their prestige, their money to the black neighborhoods where black-on-black killings are commonplace.

They need to redirect the young adults away from guns and violence.

They need to encourage the people to “see something, say something”; to help the cops find the people responsible for the murders. The killers are not selective – drive by shooters casually and indiscriminately slaughter the old and the young.

If someone wants to play with guns, let that person enlist in the Marines (where they quickly will learn a rifle is not a “gun”).

Perhaps if the shooters learned, as I did, to fire a rifle at the tender age of 6, they’d have more respect for weapons and the injuries they can inflict. ‘Course today’s murderers are armed with fully automatic rifles and pistols, so learning to aim a gun isn’t necessary. The .22 rifle I used was a bolt-action; fire a round, manually eject the shell. Takes time for a 6-year-old to manage that.

I realize, watching my children and grandchildren, that times have changed and continue to change, sometimes for the better, more often not.

But to blame America for a lack of social justice – translated as white-on-black shootings - is ignoring the real problem. It IS a “social justice” problem without a doubt, but it is not necessarily a white-vs.-black problem. No one who reads the papers, suffers tv’s talking heads, or reads internet blogs, will deny that there IS a very small percentage of bad cops; cowboys too quick shoot. On the other hand, if a cop FAILS to shoot, the cop could be murdered; would anyone march down the street with signs stating Cops Lives Matter? Think about that.

If black athletes – actually, any athletes – want to promote “social justice,” to prove that Black Lives DO Matter, let them get off their knees and go into the neighborhoods where blacks are killing blacks. Let them use their influence, knowledge, and money to improve the community, to get the shooters and wanna-be shooters off the streets.

Some super-jocks HAVE started and continued to support programs to educate and employ young adults who are on the fence between heading for respectability or heading for the penitentiary.

Let the guys “taking a knee” follow the example of those super-jocks.

Put up or shut up.

It’s plain. It’s simple.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Opuscula

Trump is new
Teddy Roosevelt?

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump vowed on Friday that any Iranian vessels that harass the U.S. Navy in the Gulf would be "shot out of the water" if he is elected on Nov. 8, according to numerous sources, including Reuters. (Other sources cited at end of blog.)

In his effort to “Make America Great Again,” presidential candidate Donald Trump told supporter in swing-state Florida that if Iranian boats continue to threaten U.S. warships, he will authorize the Navy to, paraphrasing U.S. Navy pilot Donald Francis Mason, “sighted ship, sank same.”

During his tenure as president, Theo. (Teddy) Roosevelt ordered the Navy to assemble a fleet of 16 battleships with various escorts to show the flag around the world, making certain the “world” knew that the U.S. was prepared to take its place as a world power. Roosevelt’s fleet sailed around the world from 1907 to 1909. This followed the Spanish-American War (1898).

The Spanish-American War was one of the several times the U.S. intervened in Cuba to provide Cubans with a U.S. type freedom.

While air power eventually overtook sea power to dominate combat, TR made his point.

I’m not sure giving a finger to sailors on a U.S. warship constitutes a threat, getting close enough to that U.S. ship should be considered a threat, especially keeping the USS Cole in mind.

The decline in respect for America is not new.

In 1983, when Ronald Reagan was president, both the U.S. embassy and the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon were bombed. A total of 259 Americans were murdered, along with 104 Lebanese and French citizens. The group Islamic Jihad, affiliated with Hezbollah and ultimately Iran, claimed responsibility for both attacks. (Source: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3403300454.html)

The attack on the Benghazi consulate that resulted in the deaths of "only" four Americans came as the result of the “Arab Spring” supported by the Obama administration, with candidate Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

America’s enemies believe that they can attack America (this is keyed on 9/11/2016, 15 years after the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, victims of Islamists) and Americans with impunity.

After the bombing of the Cole, then-president Wm. Clinton (ibid.) promised that justice would be done. “To those who attacked them we say: You will not find a safe harbor. We will find you and justice will prevail.” It didn’t.

Mashur Abdallah Ahmed al Sabri, one of the members of the USS Cole cell, already has been released by Barack Obama from Guantanamo Bay despite being “rated as a high risk terrorist who is ‘is likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests, and allies‘.”

The question is: Will U.S. ships fire on threats, a “stand your ground” situation if you will, and will U.S. military aircraft be allowed to defend themselves if other nations’ planes threaten them by flying dangerously close (e.g.,China and Russia). Indeed, if Trump is elected, will Russian pilots stop playing “tag” with U.S. aircraft due to the alleged Putin-Trump “friendship”?

The bottom line: Can Trump, if elected, make America great again in the eyes of other nations? If he can accomplish that, perhaps he can make America great again at home.

His opponent seems to think things are fine as they stand.

As an aside: The Washington Times reported that Bill Clinton vowed to ‘make America great again’ in 1992, now says slogan is racist


Other sources

Note: A number of sources are more than a little biased.

Trump: I would shoot confrontational Iranian ships (The Hill)

Donald Trump declares he would shoot Iranian ships 'out of the water' if they bother American ships (Business Insider)

Trump in FL suggests shooting Iranian naval ships ‘out of the water’ over ‘inappropriate gestures’ (Twitchy)

Trump Favors Regime Change in Iran, Says He’ll Attack Them Over Rude Gestures (New York Media, LLC)

Donald Trump’s Crazy Idea To Bring Back Battleships Might Actually Be Possible (Foxtrot Alpha)

Trump threatens Iranian boats that make improper ‘gestures’ to U.S. vessels will be ‘shot out of the water’ (National Post)


Opuscula

The holster that
Is not a holster

BECAUSE OF THE CRIME in nearby communities, I bought a handgun, specifically a Taurus Model 605 .38/.357 five-shot revolver (a/k/a wheel gun).

My son the cop funded a concealed weapon license; he was afraid I would be toting the gun and end up facing a felony charge. (To that point the gun always was transported in a fully legal manner.)

Since I now had a license to carry the wheel gun, I needed a safe way to carry it. Sticking it in a belt or pocket is not recommended.

My state (still) does not have an open carry option. All civilian handguns must be concealed. An untucked shirt or a jacket – the latter not likely with the local heat and humidity – meets the concealment criteria.

Bottom line: I needed an Inside the Waistband (IWB) holster.

I bought a Sticky holster, but it shifted when I sat down; when I stood up, it was badly positioned.

I tried a Barsony Outside the Waistband (OWB) holster, but while the shirt tail covered the holster and gun, the gun’s position was not satisfactory. Barsony let me return the holster and gave a full refund.

NOTE: Concealed weapons are NOT for “fast draw,” and that’s just as well.

My son-the-cop showed me a holster that really isn’t a holster.

What he had was a Versacarry.

The Versacarry basically is an interchangeable pin screwed into a very strong plastic “hook” that fits over a belt, preferably a 1 ½-inch wide belt. (Narrower belts tend to let the Versacarry shift, albeit only slightly.)

My son’s Versacarry is for a .40 semi-auto. In theory, I could use his “holster” by simply swapping the very hard plastic “pin” for one to fit the barrel of my .38/.357. The weapon fits snuggly on the pin; I had to sandpaper the pin on my “holster” so it would fit the muzzle of my wheel gun.

Unlike more traditional holsters that have straps through which a belt is threaded, the Versacarry clips over the belt. This is good and it is bad.

The two good things are:

    1. The wearer doesn’t have to remove the belt to add or remove a holster, a necessity for traditional holsters. It also is good because the same Versacarry holster can be used with the “draw” in any position – right hand, left hand, or cross-draw.
    2. The price; my Versacarry cost one cent less than $20. By comparison, the Sticky was $29.95. The Barsony holster I returned lists for $29.99. All prices are from the companies’ web sites.

The primary “bad” things about the Versacarry are two:

    1. The plastic “hook” is very tight and hard to get over the belt –but once on the belt, it isn’t going to accidently come loose.
    2. Once the weapon is drawn, the holster must be removed to re-holster the gun. That means
      getting the plastic “hook” off the belt
      loosening the belt
      taking out the holster
      re-holstering the weapon on the pin
      then securing the holster to the belt; hopefully remembering to tighten the belt after the holster is secure.

The Versacarry for my wheel gun includes a removable trigger guard; I believe trigger guards for semi-auto models are fixed in place (although I have not checked).

The best things I can say about the Versacarry are that it is comfortable, it secures the weapon where I want it, and it is as minimal a “holster” as I can find.


Friday, September 9, 2016

Opuscula

Hillary Clinton
Dumb & dumber

IF, AS HARRY S TRUMAN famously said, “the buck stops here” (with the president) than Hillary Clinton must accept responsibility for her tv advertisements.

Proving, at least to this scrivener, that she is not qualified to lead the nation, she “approves” the message shown throughout the day, including “prime time” that shows her opponent setting a “terrible example for children.”

View the Clinton advertisement at http://www.thewrap.com/hillary-clinton-campaign-ad-donald-trump-not-good-role-model-for-children-video/

QUESTION: If Trump’s behavior is so bad children should not be exposed to it, why is Mrs. Clinton repeatedly putting it in front of the children she allegedly is trying to protect?

You can call it an oxymoron or, if your computer centric, you might say “it does not compute,” but either way, she is blatantly showing SHE cares nothing for the sensitivities of our children.

This is a person who wants to lead our country?

Unless her opponent actually is paying for this advertisement, the Democrat seems to be blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other.

It is an unfortunate truth that American voters in recent years have had to choose the lesser of two evils rather than the better of two good candidates. The 2016 elections will be a continuation of that sad state of affairs.

Mrs. Clinton, who already and repeatedly has shown very bad judgment, is in her attempt to damage her opponent, paying to air a commercial showing her opponent saying things she contends children should not see or hear.

It might be acceptable for late night television, but the commercials run in the afternoon and during so-called prime time; times when children are out of school and have access to the tv. (True they ought to be doing homework or, if too young, watching altogether too violent cartoons. I have a five-year-old grand-daughter so I have some firsthand knowledge of the cartoons’ contents.)

I’m not happy with much of Trump’s behavior, but in my opinion, he still would be a better president that Mrs. Clinton.

I thought Harry S was a pretty good – and honest – president. I liked Ike. LBJ was progressive where it counted. Nixon made too major mistakes: he opened up trade with China – and now China owns the U.S. – and he stuck by his people even when they acted without his knowledge (Watergate). Most presidents would have quickly distanced themselves from the burglars.

It should be clear to both left and right that when it comes to who resides in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I base my choice on the person, not the party.

Based on Mrs. Clinton’s “terrible example for children” tv advertisement, she is NOT fit to take up residence in the White House.

Perhaps Trump also is unfit, but he is less “unfit” than Mrs. Clinton.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Opuscula

Blacks ignoring
Black Lives Matter?

SCOTT ADAMS, Dilbert's creator, offered some well-reasoned comments regarding SF 49s' player Colin Kaepernick who is insulting the nation by his antics during the national anthem in support of Black Lives Matter.

    (Buck Lidel, my "journalism" mentor of some 50 years ago would cringe at the word count of the leed paragraph; he always said "Keep the leed to 10 words or less." I blew it this time.)

My issue with Kaepernick and other "celebrities" who figuratively thumb their noses at national symbols is that their actions have zero impact on the people who indiscriminately are killing blacks. Children as well as adults.

These murderers - as we learn when the police finally apprehend them - mostly are blacks.



There is no doubt that there have been too many shootings by white cops of blacks; no argument there. But there are MANY more shootings of blacks by blacks than white cops shooting blacks Black Lives Matter seems to focus solely on the police, ignoring black-on-black murders.


The Miami (FL) Herald of March 12, 2016 included a headline that reads: Grim toll from decade of gunfire in Dade: 316 kids, teens killed.

The article’s writer, Charles Rabin, noted that:

  • Since the 2006 killing of Sherdavia Jenkins, 9, an average of 30 youths are killed annually
  • Most victims are in their late teens but the numbers include 18 children under the age of 12
  • Families of victims are frustrated by the lack of progress and chronic violence

(It's an article worth reading; it documents a continuing disregard of life in and around Dade County FL.)

These children, with rare exception, are murdered not by white cops - on whom "Black Lives Matter" anger seems focused - but by other blacks.

While the killing - deliberate or otherwise - makes the local news, unless the crime can be attributed to A white shooter, the death of another person does not cause even a passing mention in the media of other locales.

We don't see the likes of Al Sharpton strutting before cameras when a black kills a black, no matter the age of the victim or the killer.

We do hear politicians railing about gun control, but once the cameras and voice recorders stop rolling, we hear nothing about taking illegal guns off the street or arresting the purveyors of illegal guns; indeed, save for a few 5-second clips about memorials and funerals, the murder is just "history." (Not for the victim's kin, of course, who continue to suffer their loss.)

CAVEAT: I grew up in south Florida. I have a son who is a cop and I own a legally purchased handgun.

The Dade County school superintendent, Alberto M. Carvalho, has became a favorite of the media. Unfortunately for Carvalho - who heads the fourth largest school system in the nation - most of his appearances before the press have him bemoaning the loss of yet another student.

Dade County always has had black-on-black crime. Little was done about it then; little is being done about it now.

The difference is that now there are many black police and in a number of Dade County jurisdictions, the top cop is black.

So, the question remains: despite hand wringing, gnashing of teeth, and tears without number, WHY are children - mostly black children - murdered and no one, not police, not neighborhood leaders, not preachers, seems to be able to even reduce the amount of black-on-black murders?

I (sadly) realize times have changed.

While there was crime when I was going to school, most of my peers had respect for (or fear of) authority, be that parents, police, teachers, and the like. (I qualify that because when I was in junior high, Dade County, trying to ape New York City and Hollywood's presentation of it, had a handful of gangs. The difference was that any gang "warfare" rarely resulted in anything more serious than a cut and all combat was focused on the opposing gang; "zip" guns were not suitable for drive by shootings.

There ARE some things that can be done to reduce the number of murdered children.

  1. Eliminate automatic weapons.*
  2. Let parents do what is necessary to keep their children in line - from an early age, **
  3. The district attorneys and courts must stop reducing charges from felonies to low-level misdemeanors; end the slaps on the wrist and tisk-tisking.
  4. Make possession of a weapon during commission of a crime (e.g., a drive-by shooting) an automatic jail sentence; no option. ***
  5. Focus on prevention by increasing the "See Something, Say Something" and similar awareness programs.

    * My son the cop disagrees, noting that a cop is not always at hand when needed and we need to be armed as well as the criminal. It worked for the U.S. and the Soviet Union ("mutual destruction") but I don't think it will work for John Q. vs. the criminal. I also wonder how many times John (or Jane) Q. would get into a firefight with a criminal or gang of criminals.

    ** That does NOT mean abusing the child, but it DOES mean warming a bottom when needed, it means "snooping" in the child's room; what a parent doesn't know can end up hurting their child and maybe others as well. Hugs are a better option, but don't always yield the desired results. Permissivness is, I think, at the root of many problems.

    *** Yes, I know that jail is said to breed criminals; if they were not criminals they would not be in prison in the first place. The inmates may learn something new, but likely they would learn it on the outside anyway. At least in prison they can get (a) free room and board, (b) free medical care, and (c) free education - well, free to the incarcerated, not so the taxpayer.


Nothing anyone can do - not a school superintendent, not an out-of-town media seeking preacher, not a parent, no one - can totally eliminate crime, and certainly ill-focused programs such as Black Lives Matter won't end black-on-black crime.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Opuscula

No democracy
In United States

MANY PEOPLE, INCLUDING most U.S. citizens, think the U.S. is a democracy.

It is not.

The U.S. government IS, more or less, a representative government, but the electoral system for the White House is republican not democratic.

That has nothing to do with the Republican or Democrat (not Democratic) political parties.

THE DIFFERENCE

The current republican form of government elects electors to elect the president and, formerly, vice president.

A democratic form of government counts all votes and determines the winner by the total number of votes for the candidate.

There have been several elections in recent history in which the “defeated” candidate actually received more popular votes than the successful candidate. The successful candidate has more ELECTORIAL COLLEGE votes than the candidate with the most total votes.

The electoral college is a left over from the early days of the nation and is enshrined in the Constitution. Amendment 12 is the controlling amendment.


Electorial college electors by state

Back in Jefferson’s day, we lacked both means of nearly instant communication and computers to quickly calculate the actual votes. The communication problem has been, more or less, resolved; vote counting perhaps less so.

Also back in Jefferson’s day, a president of one party could be paired with a vice president of another party – with different political philosophies.

Another problem with the electoral college system is that the voter has less say on who is elected to office. Members of the electoral college can disregard the voters’ wishes and cast their ballot for a different candidate. This happened on a number of occasions before the country settled down to two primary parties often with very different views on how to run the country; the current presidential candidates are a case in point.

Inertia is the only remaining reason to maintain the electoral college; there is, to my Edward Bear mind, no reason why Americans cannot elect a president by popular vote. We do that for all lesser offices.

That, of course, does not automatically eliminate cheating; politicians can always find a way to pack a ballot box.

It’s time that Americans elected the president by direct, popular vote rather than going through Congress that, by its nature, skews the popular vote to match state populations.

Then the U.S. truly will be a democratic nation.