Friday, September 15, 2017


Did anyone see
Any anarchists
Helping Houston?

They weren’t headed for south FL

WITH HOURS AND HOURS OF tv coverage of the Texas — and now Louisiana — flooding, did anyone see any of “antifa” black pajama uniforms rescuing anyone? In fact, did anyone see any “antifa” representation at all?

A week later, when Hurricane Irma hit Florida — all of it, the looters were out in force, but no one claiming, or even pretending to be, antifa was to be seen.

Admittedly, the tv showed no klansmen or nazis (“neo” or otherwise) or anyone with either white euphemists logos or Stars and Bars flags on shirts or jackets, just as no one saw any extreme left pennants among the rescuers — or rescued.

Gary Varvel

”Antifa” — another word for anarchists — is an American intifada with one goal: destroying democracy while falsely claiming to be democratic.

The anarchists intimidate anyone who dares think differently by shouting down opposing speakers and, when that fails to work, attacking opponents with whatever weapons are at hand.

Where were the police?

    In Charlottesville VA, the police failed to keep the “Save the Statues” protestors separate from the anarchists.

    In Berkeley, the police — based on numerous videos available on the internet — were never seen.

    Were the cops— local as well as federal — cowering and hiding?

Locally, the antifas apparently either bailed long before the storm hit, or hunkered down waiting for the storm to pass so they could stand in line for taxpayer-paid rations — rations delivered by the “fascist” government. Same with the handouts donated by other Floridians who were able to share what they had.

I didn’t see any antifas in the street offering assistance to ANYONE.

I didn’t see any black pajamas handing MREs or water down the line to those in need.

I didn’t see any antifa pennants waving over trucks or cars carrying supplies to anyone any place.

To my Edward Bear mind, the antifas are cowards — much akin to the KKK, which also had no presence supporting recovery in Florida. The antifas, the KKK, the nazis, and the rest of the left and right wing extremists missed a great PR opportunity. Local and national television captured HOURS of heroics on video; newspapers and magazines took thousands of photos.

People — at least in south Florida — were from all over the world; people who could have gone “home” and told their neighbor s how helpful the extremists were.

The antifas, the KKIK, the nazis, and similar creatures are brave when they outnumber their victims 100-to-1 (or more), but when it comes to actually working to help their fellow citizens, the extremists are not to be found.

Just as expected.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Mollycoddle criminals
But make soldiers suffer

I’m a great fan of cartoons. One of the first things I do in the morning (I’m retired) is view a selected view on I occasionally add a comic as a “one shot” addition to the regulars.

Today (September 13 2017) I opened La Cucaracha by Lalo Alcaraz.

Interesting cartoon, and interesting comments as well.

Cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz

It was the comments that got me thinking.

Americans, especially Americans who are leftists, liberals, seem to think it is wrong to house criminals in less than 5-star hotel accommodations, yet they are silent about soldiers living in worse conditions while protecting the leftists.

This “pity everyone but the soldier” mentality is nothing new.

At one point the U.S. government sent draftees (youngsters can look up military draft on the Internet) from Florida, southern California, and Hawaii to Alaska, Greenland, and other “icebox” areas. Complain? Surely, but complaints fell on deaf ears (located in warmer climes).

AT THE SAME TIME, the same government tried to relocate Cuban refugees to the upper midwestern states where there was lots of space to accommodate them. They were clustering in south Florida and New York City. In south Florida, signs went from Si Habla Espanol to We Speak English … and eventually even those signs disappeared.

The Cubans found liberal lawyers who took the issue to the courts; courts that ruled it would be inhumane to make the poor warm-weather refugees relocate to a cold climate. (New York City is OK, but Minnesota — now home to Muslims who want to institute shira law — is too cold?)

Why is it OK to send warm-weather Americans (and some non-American volunteers as well) to icebox areas, to live in what the courts determined were "inhumane” conditions, sometimes in tents, often eating MREs, but criminals in Arizona need 5-star quarters.

Anyone old enough to remember the Korean “policing action” knows it gets pretty cold in Korea and living in tents was no walk in the park. Most of the Americans who served in Korea did so under duress — few WANTED to go to Korea.

    Yes, I know it’s hot in parts of Arizona — I spent time in Phoenix in the summer — and I know living in a tent can be less than comfortable, especially in the rainy season and the tent leaks (been there, done that — and I didn’t commit a crime, not even a misdemeanor).

    I went from south Florida (average LOW temperature 60oF to San Antonio TX (average HIGH temperature 62oF) in January as a guest of our favorite uncle (Sam) and I got up at 5 a.m.. every morning for calisthenics outside on the hard earth. Before breakfast. (Had I joined the Navy instead of the Air Force I could have enjoyed the balmy weather of Great Lakes Naval Training Stationwhere the January high is 30oF. )

    The Navy eventually took over Orlando AFB and made it a training center for a few years, but closed it because it was “too hot” for the sailors-to-be. I was stationed at Orlando AFB and know it can get warm in Orlando — so why do tourists flock to the area’s theme parks in the heat of summer? — and I also know about hurricanes crossing the state via Orlando.

Prisons used to be places of punishment. Criminals “paid” for their crime by working while incarcerated. On the county level, there were road gangs — short sentence prisoners who used hand tools to maintain the roadways. Because chain gangs — prisoners chained together at the ankles — were determined to be either inhumane or unconstitutional or whatever, the only prisoners working outside the prison fence are “trustees,” short-timers.

If the weather is too hot or too cold or rainy or just about anything less than optimal, no outside work.

At the state level, prisoners worked inside the walls making things the state could sell — the prisoners got a small percentage — to help defray the cost of feeding, housing, clothing, educating, and providing health care to the inmates. (One of the few remaining jobs with “benefits.”)

However, prisoners cannot be required to work. They still get their meals, clothing, etc., but usually are confined to quarters — not “solitary confinement” — while other prisoners do their assigned jobs.

Of course a soldier, sailor, or airman also cannot be forced to work; he (or she) can spend time in jail or be released from the service with a BCD – Bad Conduct Discharge — a label that once stigmatized the bearer, now a badge of honor in leftists circles.

I am not suggesting that prisoners — in gaol for any reason — be mistreated, but I AM suggesting, most strongly, that the leftists/liberals want to mollycoddle prisoners while law abiding citizens serving the country are suffering what is considered to be inhumane treatment of criminals.

Undocumented aliens and illegal aliens. They are criminals.

The people who employ illegal aliens also are criminals and they should be severely punished. They are violating federal employment laws. They probably also are violating local and state laws. If there are no jobs, there is no advantage of illegal entry and risk of deportation.

As far as the children of illegal aliens brought to the states by parents, the U.S. must find a way to absorb the ones who have shown good citizenship and deport the ones — with their parents; we can’t break apart a family — to any place that will accept them. (Afraid to go back to their homeland? Allow them to relocate to a country of their choice assuming that country will accept them.)

The U.S. should put an end to “anchor baby” immigration. Unless the parents are here by invitation, e.g., Vietnamese who came here to escape the Viet Cong; set both the parents and the baby “anchor” adrift; again, let them relocate to any country that will accept them.

Bottom lines:

    Criminals do NOT deserve 5-star accommodations. If U.S. service men and women can survive in tents in extreme temperatures, so can criminals.

    Refugees need to be relocated as the needs of the country require. If U.S. service men and women can be sent to areas environmentally opposite of their place of residence, refugees also should be relocated as the needs of the government demand. (Spreading out ethnic groups helps integration into, and acceptance by, communities.)

    Illegal immigrants are criminals and should be incarcerated until deported to a county of their choice.

    People who employ illegals need to be penalized severely; jail time is appropriate for recidivists. State and federal employment laws should be strictly enforced.

    Anchor babies need to be set adrift, with both parents and children deported to a county of their choice.

I know, based on past experience with the left, that the foregoing will be classified as inhumane, racist, and other such foolishness. I would counter how can it be inhumane when we do the same thing to the men and women who serve the country; how can it be racist when race plays no part in the issue? An illegal is an illegal regardless of race, nationality, religion, or any other attribute.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Friday, September 8, 2017


I Hate Rumors

Tropical cyclone (Hurricane) Irma is bearing down on south Florida.

That’s bad enough.

But the RUMORS …

They are more dangerous than the storm.

All tourists must evacuate Florida. True or false?


Tourists were ordered to leave the Florida KEYS, and most did. A day later, residents of the keys were ordered to head for the mainland. Many did.

Everyone is ordered to evacuate St. Augustine

True or false.

Everyone was ordered out of St. Augustine in October 2016 as Hurricane Matthew approached. With Irma — as of September 7, no one has been told to evacuate St. Augustine. People living in coastal areas, low lying areas, and in mobile homes may be ordered to find shelter in a safer location, but if Irma goes up the center of the state, the folks in St. Augustine, and elsewhere on the mid-Florida Atlantic coast — other than those people on the barrier islands or close to the mainland shore — probably will be allowed to ride out the storm in situ. “Course that the type home construction will play a role in the go or stay decision.

People who live in stilt houses on the beach should not. Not a rumor; a fact.

I suspect these and similar rumors start when someone hears (or understands) only part of a weather person’s report and extrapolates as their imagine runs wild. I suspect that most tv weather reporters have (a) little or no experience with weather reporting and (b) have even less experience with local weather. There are exceptions, but as with the news readers (“anchors”), most are prone to believe what a “reporter” --
or computer model -- tells them; they lack “journalistic” experience to challenge a “reporter’s” facts.

Interestingly, having just watched interviews with tourists who are planning to ride out Irma in south Florida, people STILL tell me “All tourists have been ordered to evacuate Florida.” Not just the keys. Not just Dade County. “All” of Florida.

Are people so anxious about Irma that they refuse to deal in reality, even when it is before their eyes; even when they hear it with their own ears?

The people who accept these rumors as fact refuse to accept anything that contradicts the rumor.

Ask them the source of their “facts” and the answer is “”So-n-So, but I don’t know where So-n-So heard it.”

Some people innocently believe and pass on rumors. These people keep Snopes and other fact checkers in business. Unfortunately, these same innocents never bother to check with the fact checkers, preferring to go happily on their way, spreading false information.

As a young reporter, I was told to believe half of what I see and nothing of what I hear … until I confirm the information with at least one other sourcs, and ideally with several other sources. Big cities, small towns; makes no difference; never trust a rumor and look askance on people who repeat rumors as facts.

Chicken Little.

If interested, there are several good, and interesting, rumor sites on the Internet, including:

Copy-n-paste the URLs into a browser to read the related article.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Risk Management
Practitioners fail
“What if” challenge

Or maybe clients failed to listen, act

WHILE WAITING FOR TROPICAL STORM IRMA to come calling — right now no one can predict its path with any degree of accuracy — I spent a few minutes with one of my favorite sites: Advisen’s Front Page News (FPN).

Two articles caught my eye as examples of either

    (a) A practitioner who failed to play the “what if” game or
    (b) A client who failed to appreciate, and act on, the practitioner’s recommendations.
Based on my experience, I would put my money on (b).

Crisis Is Over at Texas Plant, but Chemical Safety Flaws Remain

CROSBY, Tex. — Residents have returned to their homes here in the shadow of the Arkema chemical plant now that the fires at the plant are out and the immediate safety hazard has passed.

Because of a gap in federal environmental laws long criticized by chemical safety experts, Arkema was not even required to address, in the emergency plans it submits to federal regulators, the risk posed by the volatile chemicals that overheated and set off fires several times last week, sending dense black smoke billowing over this town near Houston. Read entire article at (If Google snafus the URL, copy and paste it into a browser and delete everything up to “http://tiny…”)

The second paragraph of the story above is just one of a lengthy article, but it suggests that if the company HAD a risk manager the risk manager failed to see the hazard (and therefore failed to offer mitigation or avoidance measures) OR company management, understanding there apparently was no federal mandate with which it must comply, ignored the practitioner’s advice.

I wonder how the company’s insurer(s) will respond when they get a bill for all the damage caused by the failed coolers. A good insurance company might have been aware of the “gap in federal environmental laws long criticized by chemical safety experts” and if aware, were recommendations made to management? Often risk management practitioners are ignored, but insurance company suggestions can prove expensive if ignored.

I will concede that there was no history of inundating rains that could have prevented the air conditioners — necessary to keep chemicals from going “boom in the night” — from functioning. As with everything “risk management” there is a risk vs. mitigation/avoidance cost calculation.

THE SECOND article confirms that there are more risks in the HR department than “just” harassment claims and lost I-9s.

The following is excerpted from the Butler|Snow web site and is headed Handling workplace vigilantes

    Recently, an Oregon Home Depot worker claimed that he was fired for helping a customer pursue a man she claimed kidnapped her child. Home Depot ended up changing its mind and allowed him to keep his position. However, this brings to mind a couple of Tennessee cases in which employees claimed they were unlawfully fired for acting as “Good Samaritans.”

    In the case of Little v. Eastgate of Jackson, Jason Little was working as a store clerk when he saw a man assaulting a woman across the street. Little grabbed a baseball bat and confronted the assailant, causing the assailant to flee. He was a hero, right? That’s not what his employer thought. His employer fired him because he abandoned the store to become involved in an altercation that was “none of our business.”

    Makes this scrivener think of Kitty Genovese

    A few years later, a Tennessee federal district court considered the application of this reasoning in Miller v. Home Depot. In that case, Murfreesboro Home Depot manager Robert Miller ran out of the store’s front door after hearing a commotion. He saw a coworker telling a man with a crowbar and a wad of cash to give back the money. The man threw down the crowbar and ran. Miller chased after him and restrained him before the police arrived. He was a hero, right? That’s not what Home Depot thought. Home Depot wasn’t grateful that Miller had retrieved the stolen money and instead fired him for violating company policy against unauthorized apprehensions and detaining shoplifters.

    So what can be learned from all of this? There are good business reasons for discouraging employees from taking the law into their own hands. When that happens, things often don’t go as smoothly. For instance, what if the perpetrator in the one instance had a weapon? Miller’s actions could have caused a bad situation to become a lot worse.

    Nevertheless, employers should think twice before disciplining an employee who helps stop criminal activity. If the employee was helping rescue someone from the “imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm,” then Tennessee law prevents the employer from firing him.

As with most things, there are two sides to this coin.

As pointed out in the Butler|Snow article, on one hand, while many people would act to prevent an assault (such as kidnapping or assault), on the other the assailant might be armed and quite willing to injure or kill anyone who stood in the way, including the proverbial innocent bystander. (This is one reason why people with concealed carry permits do NOT start shooting in crowd situations.)

The point for management and HR is that policies that effect employees should be published and ALL personnel should read and understand both the policy and the consequences for violating the policy.

BUT, unless someone — HR, risk management practitioner — plays the “What If” game, the policy will be unwritten and subject to challenge in the courts. In Tennessee, the employee will win.

The complete Butler|Snow article may be read at

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Antifa or Intifada:
Next U.S. civil war
Between extremists

BETWEEN THE RIGHT WING extremists and the left wing extremists, America is heading for a second civil war.

Thinking Americans will be caught in the middle and may end up as “collateral damage.”

It won’t be Blue vs. Grey and there will be no honor on either side. Honor requires respect and, from what America has seen of late, the extremists have no respect for anyone who is not fully in their camp.

The Left will blame everything on President Trump; the Right will blame everything on ex-president Obama and Hillary Clinton, both of whom have encouraged the extreme Left’s antifa insurrection.

More than “anti-fascist,” these people behave like servants of an intifada; right down to the black pajamas and cowardly facemasks.

THESE LEFTIST EXTREMISTS are no better than the people they claim to hate — nazis, the klan, white extremists.

Ben Garrison,

The American intifada is a combined effort of Black Lives Matter (white lives don’t?), anti-Semites (including many liberal, self-hating Jews), BDS and other Israel haters (most who know nothing about the country or its people — including Christians, Muslims, and “others”), LGBT groups (who won’t accept Jews in their gay parades), several “professors,” and any foes of democratic government and free speech (other than their own).

Their banner is, or should be, as offensive to civilized Americans as nazi or kkk pennants.

The antifa are anarchists. Encouraged by political has-beens who cannot accept the people’s decision, they are determined to attack, and DO attack, anyone who may express an opinion different from theirs.

The Liberal intifada eventually, probably sooner rather than later, will have its shahids, martyrs. It made a martyr of Heather D. Heyer who was murdered when a right wing extremist from Ohio drove his car into a crowd of leftist protestors.

Sadly, the less militant liberals — I know there are some — refuse to listen to anything except their own words. If a middle-of-the-road person criticizes the intifada, the liberal, even a moderate liberal, quickly changes the subject. An email sent to a liberal acquaintance challenged him on the antifas’ attack in Berkeley CA. His reply was a tirade about Trump’s immigration policies. When previous immigration policies were pointed out in response — including those of Obama — they were ignored with more diatribe against the president.

The majority of the lengthy list of web sites below the horizontal line focus on just one recent incident in Berkeley CA. UC-Berkeley has, for decades, been a flash point for radicals, anarchists, and haters of many things.

URLs worth visiting

Two views of the “antifa” movement

    Who are the antifa? (Washington Post - "analysis")

    Unmasking the leftist Antifa movement (CNN)

Is it possible that ALL of the following are lying tools of the right?

Black-clad antifa members attack peaceful right-wing demonstrators in Berkeley (Washington Post)

Antifa anarchists attack peaceful right-wing Berkeley rally (Fox News)

Berkeley proves liberals are enabling Antifa violence (Washington Examiner)

ANTIFA Terrorists At It Again In Berkeley, CA 8/27/2017

Masked Anarchists Attack Pro-Trump Demonstrators in Berkeley (Slate)

Antifa anarchists attack peaceful right-wing Berkeley rally (Fox News)

Female Fox2 News Reporter Physically Attacked by Violent Antifa in Berkeley **UPDATE** Antifa Arrested (Gateway)

Scarborough Rips Berkeley College For Failing To Defend Free Speech (Daily Caller)

URLs above generated using, a free application.


PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.


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Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Fallacy of polls

A RECENT POLL by the ABC News/Washington Post determined that

    Nearly one in 10 Americans say it is “acceptable” to hold neo-Nazi or white supremacist views, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.

    The survey found that 13 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of respondents supporting President Donald Trump deemed neo-Nazi views as acceptable.

See for full article

The poll was conducted in English and Spanish via landline and cellphone calls from Aug. 16-20 a few days after the confrontation in Charlottesville.

Having been on the creation end of surveys for a number of years, I know full well that a well-thought out survey ALWAYS can produce whatever results the survey developer desires.

    The old “proof” was asking a person Are you still beating your spouse? No matter what the answer, one spouse is admitting that he/she beat the other spouse.

An easy trick is to preface the questions with If you were a (whatever), what would you do/think/say?

How about All *** are extremists and all extremists need to be separated from good people. Do you agree? Depending on who is being asked, change the three asterisks to whatever group to be disparaged.

It’s even simpler if the surveyors can pick the people to question.

If a surveyor asked a group of — say — Hillary Clinton supporters if they believe Donald Trump could do a good job in Washington, the response would be (almost) 100%, a resounding NO! Turn that around and ask a bunch of people wearing Make America Great Again shirts or hats: Should Hillary Clinton be investigated for her illegal server (or Benghazi)? and, again, almost 100% of the responses will be YES!.

Unless we can see the pollsters’ questions and the demographics of the people polled, it is highly unwise to put any stock in a poll’s results.

Some people think statistics can as easily be manipulated as polls. Since I am not a statistician, I can’t — won’t — offer an opinion.

I DO know polls and, as a pollster in my newspaper days, I can say without apology that I don’t trust polls even when they support my point of view.

‘Course I also don’t trust today’s media — print, digital, audio, or visual (tv).

There was a time when I thought most of what I read was accurate; at least if my byline was over the story. As an editor, I challenged my reporters on their facts — just as my editors had challenged me.

Those were the days when reporters had to attribute everything. Apparently — from what I see on the web today — that requirement has been long forgotten. No source? No matter. “An unnamed source said…” satisfies the editors. (Who is the “unnamed source?” The person one desk away.)


PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

In my opinion

Whatever happened
To honest, unbiased

WHEN I AS A YOUNGER man I worked for newspapers.

First in backshops (Orlando and Cocoa FL) as a stoneman, later as a reporter and editor (Ely NV, Gillette WY, Harrisburg PA, Peru IN, Red Bluff CA, Titusville FL, Trenton NJ).

In the latter I covered a variety of “beats,” including cops, courts, government, industry (n-power, transportation, banking, etc.), “society,” sports, and more.

I also wrote editorials.

I made every effort to keep my reporting editorial-free. No slants. No bias. As Jack Webb’s Joe Friday used to say, “Just the facts.”

When I worked in Red Bluff CA one of my “beats” was the courthouse.

A guy was arrested for a serious crime and the apprentice editor put the story on Page 1 above the fold under a 60-point headline. (60 points is slightly less than one inch.) The guy went to court and was found innocent. (Good reporters “translated” the courts “not guilty” to “innocent” to avoid the word “not” since that word frequently got “dropped;” failed to be printed/read.)

When the case was dismised, the same apprentice editor wanted to bury the story on an inside page.

Pillory a person above the fold on Page 1 and announce his innocence on page 6 under a 24-point head? Since I wrote both articles, I was satisfied with the accuracy, but I was outraged by the “play.” I complained to the real editor, a gentleman by the name of Lou Walther, and he agreed that the second article should get the same play as the first. And so it was.

I confess that on one occasion I let editorializing creep into a news article. The year was 1968 in Ely NV and I let my feelings about Vietnam get in the way of an otherwise straight news article. My readers let me know in no uncertain terms that I was out of line. They were right and I learned a lesson I remember to this day.

Most of the reporters and editors with whom I worked wrote without bias.

That didn’t mean they did HAVE a personal bias; most of us do. It meant that we controlled ourselves and confined our writing to the news.

There was, at least in Harrisburg PA, pressure from “on high” to treat some special interests with kid gloves. I tried to do a story about the local manager of a national charity. He was highly aggrieved when I asked him about his wages, so aggrieved that he called my boss’ boss and I was disabused of the idea that the readers should know how much the super-boss’ pal pulled out of the donations, The story died before being written.

In all the years I worked in editorial, that is the only time that I am aware of a story of mine being “spiked” before it was written.

When I worked the desk on metro dailies (Harrisburg PA, Trenton NJ) — usually as a copy editor — I remember challenging reporters’ facts and insisting that statements were attributed.

Reporters report the news, they don’t have the luxury of making the news; ergo, everything must have attribution. (If you read other blog entries on this site you will find that I still cite my sources. It is ingrained; a habit I hold dear.

Unless a source is well known, e.g., POTUS or a famous (or infamous) person, the attribution has to include why the person is considered quotable. Jo Smyth, manager of highway maintenance for XYZ county tells readers (now listeners) why Jo Smyth’s comment is worth reading/hearing.

    An aside: When I was about to start my first editorial gig (Peru IN) I asked a very senior reporter/rewrite man Buck Lidel (Cocoa FL) what I needed to know to succeed. “One: Spell a person’s name correctly. Two: Keep the leedcq (paragraph) to 10 words or less.” The 10 words-or-less applied to news copy, not features.

I covered many, many stories; each one was important to someone. Even obits and photo cutlines (captions) have importance to someone. (‘Course you can’t “clip” an obit of photo from tv “news.”)

There were stories I did not want to write, and there were stories that had me steaming at what I considered untruths from the person being interviewed, but — with the one exception in Ely NV — I kept my opinion to myself. MY readers were intelligent people who thought for themselves. Perhaps people who depend on tv “news” lack that ability.

I’m glad I’m out of the newspaper business. Now I can, and sometimes do, share my opinion, but I still try to attribute everything and let both of my readers make their own decisions.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Thursday, August 17, 2017


Dear AT(&)T, pop-ups
Force me to find
New internet provider

AT(&)T KEEPS ASKING ME how I like its internet service.

They ask using pop-ups that take over the screen I’m viewing — most often a news report.

The pop-ups are full screen; were they small corner pop-ups that could be easily be closed or opened in a new tab or window, I probably would not complain (as much).

They are not unobtrusive.

OVER THE YEARS I have reduced my dependency on Ma Bell. I took my cell phone business to another carrier and I took my home phone (landline) to a cell-phone provider via a ZTE WF7211 that converts cell service to work with landline phones (both hard wired and cordless). The only thing I lost by dumping AT(&)T was facsimile transfer. I rarely have need to send or receive a fax, and even if I do need to send/receive a fax, there are low-cost options for one-time transmissions.

There ARE other internet providers I can use.

Comcast’s Xfinity promises me faster download time for about the same price I am paying AT(&)T. The only “got’cha” with Comcast is that it wants me to rent a modem/router combo. I had a cable internet provider in Virginia and I bought my own modem/router. Comcast, when I checked, told me my cable device was too old to work with current Comcast gear.

I don’t want — nor intend — to rent a modem/router; I’ll buy my own. An Xfinity compatible modem/router at a local store is on sale for $60. That’s less than I would pay to rent a modem from Comcast.

The house in which I reside is fully cabled, so getting service into the home office is a no brainer.

There is another option: satellite dish. HughesNet2 This is a great option for anyone who can’t get other service, but I wonder: What about inclement weather?

Apparently weather is not a concern for others. My neighborhood has more satellite dishes for tv reception than Carter had Little Liver Pills3.

As long as internet providers are franchised, there is little hope for real, same type, competition. Things were supposed to open up, but that never happened.

For all that, there ARE alternatives to AT(&)T. The telco’s pop-ups are driving me to investigate those alternatives.


    (also see



PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Don’t ALL lives matter?
Bringing thinking liberals
And conservatives together

A ‘WHITE LIVES MATTER” rally at Texas A&M1 was cancelled due to fears of violence.

My initial reaction was: “Don’t white lives matter, too?”

Then I read the related article and discovered who was sponsoring the rally and I understood why the school and local authorities pushed back. The sponsors were white supremistsf

I BELIEVE IN FREEDOM OF SPEECH, but I don’t believe in freedom of HATE speech, or speech that inflames or incites people to hurt other people or to damage property.

It makes no difference if the speaker is liberal or conservative, black, white, or “other, male, female, or “other,” or any religion under the sun — or lack thereof. Speeches promoting hate, speeches encouraging one person to attack another person for any reason is not protected by the Constitution or its Amendments. The courts got it right this time.

Political mud-slinging is nothing new in America; it goes back to colonial times.

Disagreements between this group and that also are nothing new in America, Our ancestors fought wars over those disagreements … and thousands of patriots on both sides of the dispute gave their lives for their beliefs.

But do we need another civil war?

And if there IS another civil war, how many innocent bystanders will be considered “collateral damage”?

I have an email acquaintance who is a thinking liberal. The word “thinking” is a critical attribute since my experience with many liberals is that they know they are right and they won’t consider — or even hear — another’s opinion. I have another liberal email acquaintance, an educated woman, who rather than consider an opinion that differs from hers politely asked me to keep my emails to myself — at least when the subject concerns opinions that might offend her sensibilities. I suspect she is, at heart, an ostrich; I doubt she (wo)mans a picket or protest line.

My thinking liberal correspondent, replying to an email from this scrivener, doubted we’d have a civil war between liberals and conservatives. Rather he thinks the war — and unless something is done to mitigate rancor, it is on the horizon — will be between extremists on the left and on the right.

Liberals, he opined, are (present tense) arming themselves. Think about it: liberals are arming themselves. To my Edward Bear mind, “liberal” equates to “gun control” that, in truth, means banning firearms.

Many conservatives already are armed, but, contrary to many liberals’ belief, an armed conservative does not automatically mean an NRA membership or membership in a white supremist, neo-nazi, KKK, or other “hate our neighbor” organization. Lest we forget, there are black hate groups2, too, including Black Panthers, Nation of Islam, New Black Panther Party, Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, and not a few anti-white black preachers in churches such as the Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ3.

Perhaps — it seems far fetched, but perhaps — if liberals arm themselves, not only can thinking liberals and thoughtful conservatives find common ground, that common ground could be at a firing range — firing at targets, not each other. Imagine.

I didn’t come up with the idea; it sprang from my thinking liberal’s correspondence.

Extremists are forcing both thinking liberals and thoughtful conservatives to join forces to save the nation.

Web resources


    PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Failure to maintain
Employee paperwork
Can prove expensive

ONCE AGAIN, HUMAN RESOURCES (a/k/a Personnel) is identified as a major financial risk for all organizations.

Everyone should already know about the I-9 form1 required by U.S. Customs & Immigration Services, and the penalties the government can access if there are undocumented (e.g., sans I-9 forms) employees. (Never mind that it is all too easy to create phony documents to “prove” a person is eligible to work in the U.S.)

Now, employers need to assure all employee records are maintained

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) won sanctions against JBS USA LLC2 for its “failure to preserve and produce records.”

According to Seyfarth Shaw LLP, a law practice, An employer’s likelihood of defeating a workplace class action is often dependent on its ability maintain and preserve thorough employment records. Here, the employer’s failure to preserve records that ultimately could have helped establish an affirmative defense resulted in the Court limiting the employer from using certain types of evidence in its defense of the litigation. This sanction should serve as a cautionary tale for employers in regards to complying with the written discovery process, as employers are best-positioned to defeat workplace class actions when they have as many defenses as possible in their arsenal.

While this instance is one of production vs. religious practices, the core issue is documentation.

Lack of documentation in the JBS US case led to unspecified (in the Seyfarth Shaw document) sanctions against the meat packing company.

Documentation also needs top be maintained if an organization (of any type) has business interruption insurance.

In order to successfully file a claim, the organization must produce detailed records showing past activities on which it is seeking reimbursement.

No documentation equals no reimbursement. (Check the policy’s terms and conditions carefully.)

If Google messes up the links above, copy and paste the links below into your browser of choice.



PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Monday, August 14, 2017


Place time limit
On filing complaint
Of criminal actions

I LIKE ADVISEN Front Page News (FPN). It lands in my email five days-a-week, and it almost always has something thought provoking for an enterprise risk management practitioner, even though Advisen FPN is targeted to the insurance industry.

Today’s edition (Monday, August 14, 2017) caused me to think about harassment — sexual and otherwise — including bullying and hazing in schools and on the job and all the claims finding their way into the media and into courts.

It should be clear to everyone, albeit probably not the perpetrators, that harassment in any form at any venue is illegal.

    I am against laws prohibiting harassment against this group or that, and laws that protect this group or that. There should be one (1) law that prohibits and protects all people of all groups without exception. Harassment is illegal. Discrimination is illegal. Specifying this group or that waters down the law — if it’s illegal to discriminate against women, then it is equally illegal to discriminate against men (yes, men often are victims of discrimination), infirm, seniors, etc. and et al. If it is illegal to harass a person at work, it equally is illegal to harass (bully) a person at school.

We all know that discrimination and harassment exist, and most would agree that the perpetrators should pay a price for their actions.

However, the victims of the attacks have some “due diligence” obligations.

There is a “statute of limitations” for most crimes. That’s fine and, unless you are a victim of the crime, the limitation probably seems legitimate.

I believe there should be a statute of limitations on reporting the crime.

For example, if a person is raped, unless that person is incapacitated or held captive, the crime should be reported promptly — within 24 hours. The same with harassment and discrimination.

By failing to report the crime within a reasonable time — that does not mean 20 years after the crime allegedly took place — the violated person loses the right to make a complaint.

    This does NOT apply to a child whose parents or guardian failed to report a crime; a child must be allowed to file a complaint within a reasonable time once reaching adulthood — say by age 25.

The courts are seeing too many claims of sexual misconduct dating back 15, 20, or more years ago, claims that are only now being lodged. The Bill Cosby accusations are but one example.

I am NOT suggesting criminals should escape punishment. All I am suggesting that there should be a statute of limitations on REPORTING a crime. Promptly reporting gives law enforcement a far better chance of apprehending the culprit.

Common sense forces most reasonable people to look askance on complaints filed 20 years after the fact (again, with the caveat that the statute of limitations for crimes against minors is a much longer).

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017


Dear TR, Petty
Tyrant unafraid
Of the Big Stick

THOSE OF US OLD ENOUGH to have read history in school know the story of Theo. (Teddy) Roosevelt and his Great White Fleet. (Lest anyone be offended, the ships were painted white; ergo “The Great White Fleet.” See

Battleship USS Maine

Teddy — “TR” — sent the battle group around the globe to impress other’s with America’s naval might. The journey lasted a little more than a year. This was long before air power, Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) and nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, America’s military might failed to discourage Austria-Hungary from decaling war against Serbia (July 28, 1914) and Germany following by declaring war against Russia (August 1, 1914), France (August 3, 1914), and Belgium (August 4, 1914) to start World War 1, the “war to end war.” (See

A BIT MORE THAN A CENTURY LATER, Kim Jung-on, South Korea’s dictator, following in his father’s footsteps, is starving his people in order to develop ICBMs that, armed with mini-nuclear warheads, threaten the U.S. and its interests (e.g., Guam).

In the so-called “Cold War” era, when the U.S. and the then Soviet Union threatened “mutual destruction” on each other — and not a few countries in the way — both government’s leadership knew it was better to pick up a “red phone” connecting D.C. to the Kremlin than to push the red button that could destroy much of mankind. Sanity prevailed.

Now, dealing with North Korea’s megalomaniac Kim, sanity has become a thing of the past. Unfortunately for Kim, he is not dealing with a weak Obama but a man who insists on “putting America first.” Fortunately, so far — and inspite of of Kim’s missile tests and photo ops with a sphere said to be a mini-nuclear bomb, the only war is a war of words.

    While Varvel’s cartoon portrays Trump and Kim and as two little boys in a sandbox, it pays to remember that words too frequently turn into unacceptable actions, e.g., war.

The problem for the U.S. is China.

During the UN’s Korean “policing action” — not a “war,” understand, although thousands of Americans died — Gen. Douglas MacArthur wanted to invade China which was providing troops and materials to the North Koreans. The then Soviet Union ostensibly controlled North Korea.

President Harry S Truman, not prepared for World War 3, told MacArthur to cancel invasion plans. MacArthur insisted on going ahead and Truman recalled, and fired, MacArthur. Right decision? Wrong decision? Either way, Americans were tired of war. (The U.S. has been in some level of combat almost consistently since the end of World War 2, regardless of political party in power.)

China has, since World War 2, developed a modern military force on land, sea, and air. It has a global presence. Moreover, the U.S. is indebted to China; it holds billions of dollars of U.S. IOUs.

China is North Korea’s backer — possibly it’s only political friend.

If the U.S. attacks North Korea in a preventive strike — surely justified based on Kim’s rhetoric and actions— even if as surgically precise as Israel’s attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the question is: “How will China react?”

Unlike the Soviet era, and now the Russian Federation era, Kim’s actions, and the inaction of the Chinese to reign him in, indicate that a threat of “mutual destruction” a non-issue.

Realistically, what can the U.S. do to temper Kim’s bellicose behavior? Sanctions are in place — with UN (including China) support — but what impact will they have on Kim. By most accounts, his people already are starving. Kim, on the other hand, looks well fed and clothed. Sanctions? They only will hurt his people.

Will China really join in the sanctions? Time will tell.

Will the UN-approved sanctions be observed by other nations and the EU? Even before Obama backed off sanctions on Iran, some EU countries already were trading with the ayatollah. North Korea, not surprisingly, was trading nuclear information with Iran as if sanctions did not exist.

    Who is crazier: the ayatollah or Kim? They both are cut from the same cloth?

President Trump’s blustering may — or may not — be appropriate. Certainly it is not “presidential” in the eyes of the leftists in the U.S. and around the world. But how else could Trump respond to Kim?

A pre-emptive strike?

Or be like Franklin D. Roosevelt (TR’s cousin) and ignore the threat until Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and thousands of American’s died, or behave, as Trump’s predecessor did with Iran, and pretend it will all go away?

With Kim, the U.S. is “between a rock and a hard place.” No action is not an option; sanctions don’t directly impact Kim so they are of little value.

China holds the answer. It has it within its power to prevent a disaster for not just North Korea and the U.S. but the world — nuclear fall-out respects no borders.

Trump’s blustering may only be for show while diplomatic language is used with China’s leadership.

If the links fail to work, see to learn how to find/access them. It's a Google problem.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017


A boy, a wolf,
And fake news:
No one believes

THERE HAS BEEN SO MUCH ‘FAKE NEWS” since a non-politico ran for office that now almost everyone who thinks suspects ALL news of being “fake news.”

It brings to mind Aesop’s ”The Boy Who Cried Wolf” story. Lest you have forgotten a bored shepherd boy several times cried “Wolf !” when no wolf was present. When a wolf DID appear and he cried “Wolf !,” no one believed him.

The purveyors of fake news and the boy who cried wolf are now in the same situation: who will believe them?

There always has been “yellow journalism,” but the term started with New York papers owned by Wm. Randolph Hearst and Jos. Pulitzer II. (A level-headed background can be read at The Hearst-Pulitzer wars were well before the “supermarket tabloids” of today although some well-known media outlets are keeping the Hearst-Pulitzer tradition alive and well.

The Public Domain Review agrees that “fake news” is as old as history.

    It is perhaps not so surprising to hear that the problem of “fake news” — media outlets adopting sensationalism to the point of fantasy — is nothing new. Although, as Robert Darnton explained in the NYRB recently, the peddling of public lies for political gain (or simply financial profit) can be found in most periods of history dating back to antiquity, it is in the late 19th-century phenomenon of “Yellow Journalism” that it first seems to reach the widespread outcry and fever pitch of scandal familiar today.

Uncle Sam's dream of conquest and carnage - caused by reading the Jingo newspapers by Udo Keppler Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA (ppmsca 28959 //

There WAS a time in America when the major outlets were more or less trusted. Those days are long gone, ancient history.

Back in the day of two newspapers in every big city, readers had a choice: right leaning editorials or left leaning editorials. Reporters — and I once was one — were instructed that to keep their jobs, they reported facts, not fiction or wishful thinking. (That does not mean reporters lacked political feelings, they simply kept them on the editorial page.)

Apparently — I am not in a newsroom to state this as fact — today, reporters are told to pitch their copy to the right or left, depending on the advertising manager’s whim — what sells advertisements — since ad sales are what pays for the media, be it print or video. (Anyone still remember radio — the tv sans picture?)

Editorial cartoons used to be topical. Today most are political. Even the comics are political. To find an artist whose editorial cartoons are either topical or balanced is difficult — Gary Varvel of the Indianapolis Star is one of the few.

To find a balanced daily newspaper, news magazine, or tv “news” is almost an exercise in futility. Perhaps home town shoppers are the best bet for unbiased local news.

The only thing left for anyone wanting “balanced” news is to take to the Internet and read both the media on the left and the media on the right. In the District, readers need to look at both the Times and the Post — as well as Politico. Rabbi Ishmael ben Elisha once opined that if two sources fail to agree, find a third source; it surely will agree with one or the other.

There used to be (1956-1963) a tv show called “Who Do You Trust.” In 2017, the answer, sadly, is “no one,” certainly not the media.

If the links fail to work, see to learn how to find/access them. It's a Google problem.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Monday, August 7, 2017


Whirlpool µwave

I DON’T NORMALLY write product reviews on the blog. (An exception was my experience with Consumer Cellular and the ZTE conversion box.)

This exercise is about Whirlpool’s WMH31017F* over the range microwave.

The new unit replaced a Whirlpool 1.6 cu foot over the range microwave manufactured in 1998 (!) that finally gave out nearly 17 years after date of manufacturer.

Installation was DIY — the “Y” meaning “son-in-law.”

There were two (2) reasons I opted for the Whirlpool.

One: The unit manufactured in August 1998 lasted until August 2017. That in itself is a great recommendation.

Two: Price. BestBuy had the unit listed for $209, but then when it came time to commit, the price dropped another $50, making it almost the lowest-price unit. (I compared many; put everything on a sortable spreadsheet, and asked the spouse what she thought.)

BestBuy had the box delivered by UPS in short order — it arrived before the expected date.

My Son-In-Law, hereafter SIL, is an industrial engineer (resume upon request) who volunteered — yes, actually volunteered — to help his po’ old father-in-law swap out the over the range microwaves.

I checked with Whirlpool before buying the WMH31017F* unit: is the mounting (on the wall above the range) the same as the old machine? It was not. That put Whirlpool closer to other units in its price range, in particular GE/Hotpoint. I think the Whirlpool has a better overall consumer rating.

ANYWAY, SIL got the old unit dismounted. It had a mounting about the size of the back of the old unit. That, too, came out.

The new unit is both deeper and higher than the old unit. I wasn’t concerned with deeper and I didn’t give enough consideration to height. It caused extra work in the end.

The kitchen has a tile splash guard that rises perhaps 18” above the kitchen countertop. The previous unit’s base was 18.10 inches about the countertop.

Once we read the installation instructions and used — as directed — the templates that came with the new unit, SIL had to drill holes in the ceramic tiles for the new support.

We also had to find something to put behind the new unit near the top of the back of the unit. A piece of the shipping cardboard sufficed to make the wall as “thick” as the tiles-on-the-wall.

SIL put wall anchors into each hole and secured the mounting.

We then put the WMH31017F* on the mounting and secured it with two screws though the cabinet about the unit. Naturally the new unit’s holes were different than the removed unit’s.

    Lesson learned. The two receptacles for the two (2) screws in the top are held in place by two “wings” that spread over the microwave’s top. One was not secured well (poor QA/QC) and it fell into the unit. SIL had to remove maybe a dozen screws before he could get under the unit's skin and remove the screw receptacle. He succeeded, we made certain the wings were fully spread, then SIL reinstalled all the previously removed screws. Fortunately we have both battery and AC drills.

We lifted the unit onto the mounting and discovered that the mounting needed more securing screws. The unit was put on a kitchen island and SIL added more securing screws to the mount.

Once more onto the mounting. The Spouse threaded the power cord through the same hole used by the old unit, making certain the cord didn’t get crimped.

This time was “charm.” The unit was flush to the back; the securing screws from the top went in and were tightened, and the new microwave plugged in.

Rating the INSTALLLATION documentation and templates: Very good.

HOWEVER the User Guide left a lot to be desired.

The Guide several times refers to “the vent grill at the top of the microwave oven.” There is no indication where the “vent grill” is located and here is no indication which two (2) screws must be removed to

    a. Change the charcoal filter
    b. Change the cavity light bulb
A graphic would be appreciated. Why should I need a step ladder to change a filter or bulb. Filter replacement is recommended every 6 months; with that frequency, it should be more easily accessible.

    Fortunately, there is a good video showing how to change the filter. There is another good video that shows how to replace both the cavity bulb and the under-the-unit bulb.

A magnetic screwdriver is recommended. In one of the videos, the tech cautions not to over-tighten the two (2) screws securing the vent grill cover.

The User Guide also is silent about the “Add 30 sec” and “Hold 3 sec” buttons on the control panel.

As a former writer of both commercial and mil-spec documentation I would give the User Guide maybe a C minus; it never would pass muster on the mil-spec side.

Would I recommend the Whirlpool WMH31017F*? Based on my experience with Whirlpool — range and microwave — I think it’s probably as good any; the range works to spec and I trust the microwave also will work to spec. The only question is “for how long.”

If the links fail to work, see to learn how to find/access them. It's a Google problem.

* WMH31017F* where “*” represents the unit’s color, e.g., W=white, S=Stainless, B=black

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Thursday, August 3, 2017


POTUS’ mistake:
English a barrier
To immigration?


This scrivener lives in south Florida where Spanish seems to be the primary language. There are merchants in Dade County (Miami) who only do business in Spanish.

In retail and in all customer-facing positions, including civil service jobs, a command of Spanish is a basic requirement, even if English Is not.

This scrivener has a second language. I went overseas to learn it, working half-a-day to pay for the half-day lessons. I later worked in the country and learned a lot more. (My adult daughter did the same thing. We both returned with spouses and children.)

This scrivener’s mother-in-law, whom I love dearly, speaks very little of the local language; she’s lived in a “language ghetto” since she arrived in country. We barely can communicate (but we manage).

Finally, a quick check of the Internet for ”Free ESL classes in south Florida” turns up dozens of FREE English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. (Substitute “south Florida” for your area.)

Bottom line: Unless a person comes to America at age 90 and has a learning disability, there is no reason a potential immigrant cannot learn basic, “survival skills” English.

But does a potential immigrant absolutely need English to immigrate?

I don’t think so.

Knowing a few words in English beyond “please,” “thank you” and “where’s the bathroom” should be enough to get started.

It takes about five years to go from immigrant to citizen in the U.S. and that certainly is sufficient time to the citizen-to-be to learn rudimentary English; survival level English, enough to shop at a supermarket, to read road signs (that are in many cases international pictographs), to ask — and comprehend — directions, be they for driving from place to place or to perform a job.

For once I agree with the liberals. I don’t think a potential immigrant should be turned away simply because he or she does not speak English. LEARNING English should be a requisite for all immigrants (with very limited exceptions).

Learning English, as thousands of immigrants learned over the years, is the key to becoming “an American.” They worked a job — usually with others who spoke their native language — and learned English when not working.

English IS a difficult language. It’s structure is “strange” when compared to other languages. Most languages I know about put the subject first and the modifiers after, e.g., House. White, Big, while English would be Big White House. Rearranging a sentence’s structure sometimes still gives me pause.

There is a trade-off of sorts. English does away with gender. “You” is neutral, as are most nouns. (I still like “hostess” and “actress”; “host” and “actor” for the distaff side seems strange. I gave up “mailman” for “letter carrier” and “policeman” for “cop” (except for the one I call “son”).

My personal bottom line is that I think POTUS made a mistake with his “immigrants must know English” requirement. From what I have seen, read, and heard from Mr. Trump, the gentleman hardly has a command of the language on a par with Hubert Horatio Humphrey Jr. or Wm. F. Buckley Jr. — providing two opposing — but civil — political points of view.

What about, I have to ask, the person who lacks any opportunity to learn any English before coming to America’s shores? There are countries that learning English can be a severe handicap — sorry, that’s not “PC,” acceptable terminology is presented by the National Disability Authority, a private organization. Seeking out an English teacher in North Korea may not be a wise thing to do. Listening to Voice of America or BBC on shortwave radio and listening to pop music — the way many people learned their first English words — may not be an option.

In my opinion, survival level English should be a requisite for citizenship and it should be a requisite for a driver’s license (despite internationalization of road signs some still require English comprehension), but the lack of English should NOT be a barrier to immigration.

Mr. President, you blew this call.

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PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Monday, July 31, 2017


Phone company pop-up
Sends user looking
For alternative provider

THANKS TO FRANCHISE laws that prevent open competition, in my area there are basically three options to access the internet:

    1.   Telephone company
    2.   Cable company
    3.   Satellite dish

While in theory there is competition and in theory that should mean competitive pricing, in truth any claim of competition is a farce.

My Internet service is via the telephone company, an 800 pound gorilla.

To be fair, the service is, for the most part, reliable and it “pretty much” provides the service for which I pay.

My problem with the service is the all-too-frequent pop-up questionnaire that takes over the Internet site I am viewing.

If the questionnaire was small and offered a way to close it when it popped up, I probably would not complain. I might even honestly complete the questionnaire.

But it is not small; it fills the monitor’s screen and substitutes itself for the material I called up.

It’s a virus that my Avast anti-virus program apparently has no power to block. (Avast does a fine job blocking most invaders.)

What the questionnaire HAS accomplished is that I am now looking at alternatives, even those that cost as much as the phone company, even if the alternative only matches the phone company’s speed and promised reliability.

I had another phone company’s service when I lived elsewhere. No pop-up questionnaires. I had a cable company’s service in yet another location (I was a consultant), and again, no pop-ups.

I admit I don’t like the 800 pound gorilla, mostly because I feel it runs roughshod on its customers. Raise the rates? The government falls in line and, consumer be damned, the rates are raised. (This is one benefit for utility franchisers.)

I eliminated the phone company’s residential telephone service, replacing it with Consumer Cellular’s ZTE cellular-to-home phone converter. This accomplished two things, one good and one not so good:

    1.   I drastically lowered my monthly phone bill.
    2.   I lost my fax capability. (ZTE does not accommodate facsimile transmissions.)

Even with two cell phones and a former landline cordless phone arrangement connected to the ZTE device, the total bill is less than the bill for the same service from the phone company.

The 800 pound gorilla offers me a “reward” for taking time to respond to the pop-up questionnaire. The “rewards” are things I never would buy and certainly do not want.

It is patiently obvious to this scrivener that the phone company’s questionnaire software developer failed to write code that states “If this computer was queried within the last n days, do not query again..” Two days in a row I suffered the interruption of the phone company’s invasive questionnaire.

The only way I know to end the phone company’s unwanted invasions is to cancel all business with the company.

Inertia kept me with the phone company until now, but the questionnaire is forcing me to get off my posterior and re-examine my options.

If the links fail to work, see to learn how to find/access them. It's a Google problem.

PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Thursday, July 27, 2017


Concealed weapons
And “no carry” zones
Do they make sense?

THE OTHER DAY I attended an interesting 2 ½ hour seminar on Florida concealed carry laws. The seminal, given by U.S. Law Shield, was sponsored by the Nexus Shooting in Davie FL.

The seminar was free to Nexus members.

WHILE MOST OF THE information should be known to most people with concealed carry permits, one thing did get my attention.

An attorney contracted by U.S. Law Shield raised the issue of use of a concealed weapon in a “no carry zone.”

In Florida, there are a number of places where weapons are prohibited, including:

Any place of nuisance as defined in s. FS 823.05;
Any police, sheriff, or highway patrol station;
Any detention facility, prison, or jail;
Any courthouse;
Any courtroom, except that nothing in this section would preclude a judge from carrying a concealed weapon or determining who will carry a concealed weapon in his or her courtroom;
Any polling place;
Any meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special district;
Any meeting of the Legislature or a committee thereof;
Any school, college, or professional athletic event not related to firearms;
Any elementary or secondary school facility or administration building;
Any career center;
Any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, which portion of the establishment is primarily devoted to such purpose;
Any college or university facility unless the licensee is a registered student, employee, or faculty member of such college or university and the weapon is a stun gun or nonlethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes and the weapon does not fire a dart or projectile;
The inside of the passenger terminal and sterile area* of any airport, provided that no person shall be prohibited from carrying any legal firearm into the terminal, which firearm is encased for shipment for purposes of checking such firearm as baggage to be lawfully transported on any aircraft; or
Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law.

* The sterile area refers to portions of an airport defined in the airport security program that provides passengers access to boarding aircraft and to which the access generally is controlled by TSA, an aircraft operator, or a foreign air carrier; in other words, past TSA check points.

(The Florida House and Senate have bills (SB 908/HB 803) to consider that would permit holders of concealed carry licenses to in places they currently are prohibited with a few exceptions, e.g., where prohibited by federal law.)

Why allow concealed carry in airports, schools, hospitals, and other places?

Consider is a person with a concealed carry permit had been at

and allowed to have a legally carried weapon and if the person was able to SAFELY (without endangering others) neutralize the assailant how many lives might have been saved and how many injured would not have suffered wounds.

Even with the law banning weapons in the places cited above, a person with a carry permit might have dared to break the law to save lives. Would the person be arrested for carrying in a prohibited area? Probably. Would the person spend time in jail? Possibly.

One thing the U.S. Law Shield presenters made very clear — perhaps to encourage membership — was that if a person shoots another person, even in what is clearly a self defense situation the shooter is going to be arrested.

(My experience in Florida — and I have lived here most of my life — is that if a person is arrested in an obviously self-defense situation, the prosecutor normally does not pursue charges.CAVEAT: Florida is NOT New York or Illinois or California so what is probable in Florida may not be probable in any other state.

Was the course worth my time. Yes.

Did I learn anything new? Yes.

Would I recommend the course? Yes.

Would I BELIEVE everything I was told? No; I’d do my own research.

If the links fail to work, see to learn how to find/access them. It's a Google problem.


PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Mining company pays
Price for accommodating
Two workers but not third

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) took Consol Energy, Inc. to court claiming discrimination against an employee who feared a hand scanner would place the “Mark of the Beast” on him.

The EEOC won initially and on appeal to the Court Of Appeals For The Fourth Circuit.

ACCORDING TO Employment Law Lookout, the EEOC claimed the West Virginia mining company failed to accommodate a worker’s request to use an alternative method to clock in and out.

The employee offered two alternate options, neither of which the company found acceptable. The company offered on option the employee rejected.

AT THE SAME TIME, the company DID accommodate two employees who had injured hands and were not physically able to place their hand on the scanner; it allowed them to key in their personnel numbers using a keypad attached to the system.

The Lesson

The lesson for Enterprise Risk Management practitioners and the organizations for which they work is simple: If an employee objects to a specific practice (e.g., hand scanners for checking in and logging out) yet provides options for others that would be acceptable to the offended employee , the company best find a way to offer the reluctant employee the same option(s).

Thinking about HR

As I was developing a risk list for a shipping company I wandered into the HR area. I asked the HR manager if he could identify any risks to the operation.

“The neighbors,” he said. Why neighbors? Turns out this company’s neighbor was a national insurance company with a great many retired military on its payroll. When the military is in disfavor, people picket such places — sometimes the picketing leads to violence than can spread to my then client.

Besides, picketing ties up traffic to and from my client’s facility.

That’s all, I asked. Yes, the HR manager answered.

About this his “assistant” walked in. The “assistant” was a lady with substantially more experience than the HR manager.

“What about I-9s,” she innocently asked the HR manager.

I-9s are the “proof of eligibility to work in the U.S.” forms; forms that any number of federal agencies can swoop down and demand to see.

Failure to have an I-9 for every employee — president to intern — can prove costly. How costly? According to , as of August 1, 2016
First offender fines ranged between $375 and $3,200 per individual; now they will extend from $539 to $4,313.
Repeat offender fines were previously between $4,300 and $16,000; they may now be anywhere from $6,469 to $21,563.

Just like Disk Martin of Laugh-in fame, I had to admit until then, "I didn't know that." (See 1:57 of linked video for sample.)

Good practitioners always are learning.

If the links fail to work, see to learn how to find/access them. It's a Google problem.


PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Sunday, July 23, 2017


Taurus warranty
Not worth paper
Used to print it

Repeated appeals ignored by Customer Support

I OWN A TAURUS M605 5-shot “snubbie.” It’s strictly a self-defense weapon, accurate to about 15 feet.

The 605 fires both .38 and .357 magnum cartridges. (NB). I bought mine second hand — now I know why.

Made in Brasil for Miami FL-based Taurus USA, the M605 has a less than 2-inch barrel and has a five-chamber cylinder. As a self-defense weapon, it should be a good choice, especially when loaded with .357 magnum rounds.

My first born, a police detective, took me to his favorite range when I visited him on Florida’s west coast. I shot about 30 rounds of .38 LRN (range) ammunition. Then, because I wanted him to experience a fast round, I loaded in 5 rounds of Liberty Civil Defense .357 magnum, 50 grain Copper, Monolithic, Hollow-Point. (Liberty’s words.) I fired four shots and he fired the fifth.

When I tried to extract the fired Liberty cartridge cases they wouldn’t budge. We tried to push them out with the snubbie’s extractor rod; no luck.

We waited about 5 minutes. The cases cooled and, apparently, “shrunk” back to their original diameter. We managed to extract the cases.

I complained to Taurus USA in Miami on

    June 17
    June 25
    and July 4.

I tried contacting Taurus USA Customer Support via snail mail (June 17) and via the company web site (June 25 and July 4).

Same result each time: No response. Not by snail mail, not by email.

On July 9th I took my son-in-law to a local range. I fired 20 rounds of .38 LRN and 30 rounds of .357 magnum 158 grain JSP. When I tried to fire the 31st round of .357 magnum the gun’s cylinder locked and the gun would not fire.

A gun that will not fire, or one from which fired cartridge cases cannot be extracted, is useless.

While I never intend to be in a gun fight and need to fire round after round, I would like to be able to shoot as much as I want at the range. (My shooting beyond 15 feet needs much improvement, and the only way to get that improvement is to spend time on the range.)

On July 10th I contacted Taurus USA Customer Support once again via snail mail, with a response deadline of July 21st — plenty of time for my letter to travel the few miles to Miami, be read, an answer composed, and the reply returned via snail mail. (Customer Support also has my email.)

    This is posted at 11 p.m. on July 22; still no ressponse from Taurus.

I discovered that Taurus USA has a bad — and getting worse — reputation when it comes to Customer Support.

The complaints range from no response to customer communications to unconscionably long delays in repairing and returning a Taurus firearm. There are, to be fair, a few people satisfied with Taurus USA’s Customer Support.

There is a lot to be said for Taurus USA products; sadly, there is too much to be said about Taurus USA’s absolute lack of customer support.

Would I buy another Taurus product? Not a chance. The product may be good, but without support, it is not worth my money.

Recapping contact attempts

DateContact MethodResponse
July 17Snail mailNone
June 25Web siteNone
July 4Web siteNone
July 9Snail mailNone

If the links fail to work, see to learn how to find/access them. It's a Google problem.

NB: “Bullets” are the small bit of material at the end of a cartridge. See the illustration (and article) at I learned this when I ordered bullets on line. I should have known better; I’ve been shooting guns since I was 6 years old. “Pistols” generally are one of the following: revolver, semi-automatic/automatic, and Derringer. Semi-autos and many rifles and some shotguns have magazines which feed cartridges to the weapon’s chamber. Clips feed cartridges to magazines.

LRN=Lead Round Nose bullet type
JSP=Jacketed Soft Point
JHP=Jacketed Hollow Point


PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Simple plan
To replace

FIXING “OBAMACARE” (the Affordable Care Act Congress passed without reading) should be bi-partisan and include the people who USE the program, but not insurance companies, medical professionals, hospitals and clinics, and “ethical” pharmaceuticals. (I’ll explain shortly.)

First of all, scrap everything that has transpired since President Trump took office,

While Obamacare was passed for a Democratic president when the Democrats controlled Congress, look at the push back by the people forced to use the program.


It probably seems a novel idea to many in Congress, but ASK THE USERS what they like and what they don’t like about Obamacare. Use the franking privilege, use the internet, and send the office staffs to hold town meetings.

Send out a letter to every adult in the Congressional district with a two-column questionnaire:

What's good about ACAWhat's bad about ACA

Explain that “ACA” is “Obamacare” but do nothing to influence the thinking of the person filling out the questionnaire. “We want your opinion. Please take time to answer the questions and mail the questionnaire back, postage paid, when complete. Thank you.

    Having been in the “quiz” business I know that how a question is worded can pre-determine what the answer almost always will be. Are you still beating your spouse?

Take the same two-column questionnaire to the town hall meetings. Have an amanuensis record what the people at the meeting say, preferably in large letters on a white board or chalk board. (The ideal is to use a “smart” board that can capture the input to a computer or copy machine.)

    Just to give the constituents a “warm and fuzzy” feeling that their voices were heard, ask the local media to disseminate the results of the meeting. A notation that “n” comments were for ABA and “n” comments were against will not suffice; the recorded comments must be listed. Beside the “warm, fuzzy,” it will help keep the congressperson honest when a vote comes to the floor.

State by State

After a reasonable opinion-gathering period — say two months — have each state’s senators and representatives meet to compare notes and create a new, albeit similar table.

What's good about ACA%What's bad about ACA%

Look at the negative comments — for example requiring everyone to pay for pregnancy coverage; is it fair to the add additional cost to an octogenarian man’s coverage? It might be — the octogenarian also pays school taxes and he’s long past his school days.

Now the senators and representatives will know what their constituents consider the good and the bad about the ACA.

How does it compare to the “Romney plan?”

According to Wikipedia: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts passed a health care reform law in 2006 with the aim of providing health insurance to nearly all of its residents. The law mandated that nearly every resident of Massachusetts obtain a minimum level of insurance coverage, provided free health care insurance for residents earning less than 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL) and mandated employers with more than 10 "full-time" employees to provide healthcare insurance.

The senators and representatives from the other 49 states should send delegates to a meeting of Massachusetts senators and representatives to find out what they discovered from their constituents about the Massachusetts plan — a/k/a the Romneycare Plan — before the Massachusetts’ plan was massaged to conform to Obamacare.

Now, compare notes

Now that the politicians have input from the majority of their constituents, let them put all the acquired comments into a single and simple document — perhaps using a format such as the second table in this effort — so all politicians from all states can review the input. An outsider -- perhaps the Government Printing Office (GPO) could assemble the data since it has no direct interest in the plan's contents.

With the voters’ input in front of them, they should be able to reach an agreement on what the voters want. I suspect it will not be “clear cut,” and compromises will be necessary, but in the end, all parties and independents should be satisfied that they have met most constituent expectations.

This no longer is a “conservative” vs. “liberal” politician combat. It is the result of taking the matter to the citizens.

Disseminate the results of the joint senate and house exercise.

Bring in the lobbyists

Until this point, no one has asked the lobbyists from the healthcare, insurance, and “ethical” pharmaceuticals. (“Ethical” pharmaceuticals are prescription drugs vs. OTC (over-the-counter) medications. The word “ethical” may or may not apply to all such pharmaceutical companies; its use is solely to differentiate one from the other.)

Over the years I have found lobbyists — vendor representatives — to be a wealth of information, especially when they are competitors. That may not be the case with Washington (and state capital) lobbyists, but their insight should be sought. There is no rule that states their advice must be followed.

Build a plan

Even with all the inter-party meeting, disagreement is inevitable, but — hopefully, and assuming all parties are open-minded — compromises in line with constituents’ expectations can be reached. Extremists from all sides need to be banished from these compromise sessions; there is too much far left and far right in Congress now and the pendulum needs to swing in a small arc near the center.

Once a plan has been formulated, make it available to “the world.” Put it online so that the general public can read the entire plan, not just what a biased (liberal or conservative) media wants the public to know. Politicians in Congress should be prepared to send simplified — albeit honest — “Reader’s Digest” versions of the bi-partisan bill to their constituents … with reference to the complete bill’s location and availability.

One of the primary complaints with the Obama bill was the way it was presented to Congress: “Here is a 2,000-plus page bill; read it overnight and vote tomorrow” (or words to that effect). President Trump, to his credit, is demanding transparency. Unfortunately, it is abundantly transparent that there is zero bi-partisan cooperation on developing a replacement program.

If there are parts of the plan constituents might find objectionable — again, let’s use pregnancy coverage for an octogenarian male — the plan should offer a reasonable explanation that the octogenarian can understand, if not appreciate.

    When American was “young,” we used to take care of one another. Communities pulled together to raise barns, to care for the sick, and to provide loans for newcomers to get on their (financial) feet. We seem to have lost the feeling of “community” somewhere along the way that may account for the octogenarian male objecting to paying for pregnancy coverage. Then again, perhaps not.

Bottom line

If the liberal and conservative extremists will honor the will of the majority — once again, the “silent” majority” — rather than encouraging their followers to riot and commit mayhem against their own neighbors, then America can have affordable health care for all individuals.

Even the former president acknowledges that his plan can be improved upon. (Why he failed to improve upon the plan while he was in office is beyond my ken.)

President Trump promised to replace the ACA with a better plan; the ACA cannot be cancelled sans a replacement plan; that was the president’s promise.

Getting a replacement plan is the problem, and the problem is caused by political division and a total disregard of the citizens who will be blessed — or cursed — with the plan.

If Congress — and the president — really want Americans to support the plan, Congress (and its employees) and the president must be insured by the plan. Anything less and Americans will know the new plan is a farce as was the old plan.

Replacing ACA should have been simple

If the GOP had gone about the task differently, and had the Democrats been willing to work with the GOP, and had all Congresspeople had their constituents in mind, a replacement plan could already be on its way to implementation.

Congress must start with their citizen constituents. It failed us by ignoring us.

It’s time to start over.

If the links fail to work, see to learn how to find/access them. It's a Google problem.


PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.


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