Monday, December 10, 2018

Everybody Hates the Little Drummer Boy

A columnist for the Washington Post recently picked The Little Drummer Boy as the worst Christmas song ever written. Everyone who I’ve discussed it with hates it. Isn’t there a way to keep it off our radios. Let’s spread the word that it’s Trumps favorite song. That way we could get it banned from stations that serve intelligent people, and all those people who operate with only a brain stem would think they had to listen to it.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Create a Great Christmas Album

I’ve created what I think is a great Christmas Album. Here are some of my suggestions which could form the base for your combination. I downloaded all of these from AAPL and all are special Christmas albums:  pentatonix (2 albums); The A Strings; Carpenters (2 albums); Gene Autry; Beach Boys; Michael Buble; Nat King Cole; Alan Jackson; I’ll Divo; Andrea Bocelli. You may not like some of my selections, but you might want to include some of them to get a well rounded collection.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Was Bush’s Funeral A Farewell to the Good America?

l watched the funeral of George Herbert Walker Bush today and found it uplifting. To think we once had a president who was honest, noble and brave. The comparison to Donald Trump was extreme and scary. The kind of Republican Bush represented has mostly disappeared. I voted for him despite my liberal leanings and there were other Republicans who still had integrity. I, of course, today, could never imagine voting for a GOP candidate in any election. Trump does horrible things and his party rushes to support him. I loved and admired John McCain, but he was the last of the Good Republicans. God bless America and please save us,Lord.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Zhong Yimou Once Again Captures The Brutality of Chinese History

Zhong Yimou is the best director at capturing the brutality and the devious character of Chinese courts (thrones) where a brother or relative of an Emperor can kill them and place themselves on the Dragon Throne. In China the length of any leaders rule depends on the skill of those who plot against him. In Shadow, his most recent film, the brutality of the killing and height of betrayal reach their zenith. You know his films will leave you with the feeling you spent some time in an abattoir. Over the years of watching his films you’ve come to expect unsavory experiences, but this has more blood and gore per celluloid frame than any other. There is a darkness like the paintings we have learned to identify with certain periods of Chinese history. I usually don’t recommend pictures that can gross you out. But just think how  Xi Jinping had to fight his way up to the premiership, while Donald Trump had everything handed to him. If you put the two of them in a locked room I have no question who would emerge alive. And it wouldn’t be the guy with the biggest mouth. See this movie and gain a little insight into the “Middle Kingdom.” We will end up shining their shoes.

Monday, November 26, 2018

How American Parents Help China Become Stronger

In order to be accepted into a good Chinese University you have to be proficient in calculus. I once worked at an American university where the math requirement could be satisfied by taking an advertising course. I once heard a professor say “our students don’t have the minds for math.” The only way we can do medical research in this country is to hire Chinese post docs to help. New York State recently tried to toughen up its high school curriculum, but the parents complained the kids didn’t have enough time to be kids. It was like they wanted their children to spend more time at the malt shop with Archie and Veronica. If this continues we will be our digging our own way to a second class power. We will have no one but ourselves to blame for our failure as a nation.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Most Important Book I’ve Read

You would think a guy with a PhD, who reads The NY Times and the Washington Post every day would know what the world was really like. Not True. In the book Factfulness by Hans Rosling I learned that my world view was trapped in  1965. So did Nobel Laureates and Captains of Industry. If you didn’t know that 88 percent of the worlds babies are immunized this book is for you. If you still think of the world as “us vs. them” with a large gap between us, then you must read this book, strongly recommended by Bill and Melinda Gates, two of ny heroes( in addition to John McCain).Please read this book.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Trump is Afraid to Visit Our Troops

Donald Trump is the only Modern American President who hasn’t traveled overseas to visit our troops. He got out of serving his country because he had bone spurs. People in the know say he’s afraid he might be killed. What is interesting is that the posse  comitatus act says that American  troops can’t operate within America’s borders. Despite that he was stopped from telling these troops they should use lethal force against the caravan moving toward our borders. People who stopped him from doing this allegedly are in danger of being fired. A coward who refused to serve wants to break American law to have our troops massacre people fleeing dangerous situations.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Where Did Facebook Think They Use Rubles: North Dakota?

In the impressive analysis of Facebook’s determination to put money over patriotism that the New York Times released yesterday I was surprised that being paid in rubles didn’t raise RED flags. Facebook,especially Sandberg, worked hard at looking the other way and trying to keep these Russian lies hidden.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Bone Spurs Are Worst When It Drizzles

When I tried to get in the Air Force in 1966 I flunked my physical because I had a chronic respiratory illness. Trump got out of serving his country because he had bone spurs (oh no). Today he didn’t show up to celebrate the American role in WWI because he worried there might be sprinkles. I guess bone spurs are worse when it drizzles. However, Macron, Merkel and all the other world leaders showed up at the American Cemetery to honor America’s ability to turn the tide in what was the most stupid war ever fought. While at first Americans had to fight under some British dopes, eventually General Pershng got control of his American troops who performed with great honor and bravery and ended the war. From Sergeant York to many others we had great heroes. Trump clearly didn’t give a crap about them.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Why I Love Syracuse

When I was in High School I sold hot dogs in Archbold Stadium as Ernie Davis ran for the Heisman Trophy. I already loved Syracuse before I gained admission. Once at Syracuse I was taken under the wing of Jim G. Carleton, the Vice President of student affairs, a man it was easy to admire. When the University of Oklahoma admitted a Black student, Jim was the only guy who’d bring him his meals. For four years he’d bring the meals and then sit down and talk with him when he finished eating. Jim was his link with decency as others pretended he wasn’t there. Jim taught me how much ethics mattered. When I went for my doctorate from the Maxwell School he was there for me. He eventually became Vice President at Nortwestern and continued to help me make the tough decisions over the phone. Syracuse has gone a long time without being ranked in th top 25 in football. But with Dino Barbers, Syracuse has found a coach with heart who represents the goodness of the school I love. Syracuse is first in my heart and I’m glad I stuck around long enough to watch it recover football greatness

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

All American Voters Aren’t Equal

America has sold the concept to the World that all Americans have the same right to vote. But, in truth, it depends on where you live that makes a difference. For example, while Hilary Clinton got more votes, Trump won the presidency because we have the electoral college, originally created because many Americans didn’ t  trust the people to directly elect the president. It’s a barrier which changes election results. The second impediment to voting is the ability for state legislators to change electoral districts to favor their party. It’s named after a man named Eldridge Gerry and is called gerrymandering. This means you may be put in a congressional district in which your party is in the minority and your candidate has no chance in winning a congressional seat. With right wing control of our Supreme Court there is little chance of either problem being fixed. So let’s stop telling the world everyone has the same right to vote in this country. To use the language in use when these frauds were created: That’s a lot of hokum.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Baldacci Reifies Trump’s World View

The word reification means to come up with an example of a theory. When I first started reading David Baldacci I thought that some of his plots were too far out. I loved reading his books but had to use the concept of “suspension of disbelief” in order to enter into the concept behind some of his plots. Since I loved reading them, I was quite willing to do this. Then Donald Trump became our President and I realized Trump was quite capable of instituting federal government behavior that would have been impossible under a rational, decent head of state.These absurd plots began to scare me because I could see Trump implementing them. Baldacci is a great writer, but now I can see some of his plots coming true.

Friday, November 2, 2018

AAPL’s phones are too expensive

As AAPL’s phone price heads towards the stratosphere, the #1 AAPL analyst says the phones are too expensive. Tony Sacconaghi of Bernstein’s says the phones aren’t going to sell at present prices. Tim Cook doesn’t worry about the prices because, after all, who is this guy anyway? The bottom under the arrogant company’s stock dropped 14% today because I guess Tim Cook believes AAPL can charge any price they want and shouldn’t worry about what they charge simply because they’re AAPL. Sales figures don’t support this assumption. The people who run AAPL better wake up before the only person who can afford it is Donald Trump, and he doesn’t know how to use it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Anti-Semitism is the Most Unchristian Act

As we discover that the Pittsburgh synagogue killings were the worst in American history, it is time to look at the vicious racist tone of our President and his fellow Republicans. There are times when our country has been more at peace with a leader who respected his fellow Americans, no matter their color or religion. Many of our presidents have been real Christians who’ve understood that Jesus was about love and compassion. When we get political outliers (Woodrow Wilson hated blacks with a ferocity that was really over the top) or Donald Trump who uses hatred as a political philosophy, only terrible trouble follows. I pray that all my Jewish friends will survive Trump’s presidency. It is very scary to see how a country can change in ways you never wanted or expected.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Trump is the Antichrist

Trump once made a comment about Norman Vincent Peale and it seems he had attended Marble Collegiate Church in New York. Before Dr. Peale had moved to New York, he was the pastor of Syracuse’s University Methodist Church and my grandfather, Rich Dean Whitney, was his lay leader. After my father died when I was six, every week Dr. Peale would send us copies of his sermons. My mother would put them in the bathroom where I had the choice of reading them or the ingredient label on Old Dutch Cleanser. Given the years I spent with Dr. Peale I learned a lot about his views. I don’t remember reading that hating Blacks was good for getting into heaven. The White Pentecostals hate Blacks and follow Trump. Throughout history there have appeared Antichrists who’ve hidden their tail and three forked staff under their clothing. The White Pentecostals have given Trump free rein on morals and he has used this. It’s very scary that this man is forgiven by these haters. He’ll get rid of abortion and they’ll approve of anything he does. Our problem is this lying slimeball was made our President because he leads them in their hatred. I find it interesting that the Editor of the Christian Century (who created th word “Pentecostal”) informed them they no longer deserved this appellation after they came out for Trump. I have some news to break to these people: Jesus, my strength and my redeemer is about love, not hatred.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Death of Jamal Kashoggi

For decades America has done special favors for a country mired in the 8th Century. In the wake of 9/11 the US put the Bin Laden family on a special jet to get them out of the US. Over and over the American government has kissed the robes of the Saudi Arabian arisstocracy. Now it seems 15 saudis went into the Saudi embassy in Turkey where they killed and then dismembered Jamal Kashoggi, a reporter for the Washington Post. Today America can produce all the gasoline it needs, there’s no reason to fear Saudi Arabia cutting off its oil, we can frack our way to energy independence. The Turks know what went on. Get them to tell us. Take away Trump’s son in laws’ travel vouchers. We can relate to countries that live in our century,  Not counties that get away with draconian laws from th 8th century

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Hey Yellowhair, the Fed is Independent

Almost all presidents have realized the Federal Reserve was created as an independent body. They never would have spoken out against the bank. Trump, however, has described the bank as “Out of Control.” The market is falling like a rock because Trump threw tariffs on everyone so he could look good when the country came to an agreement with them. He has disrupted free trade and a lot of folks are scared things are going to end badly. I used to go to China and had wonderful, heartwarming experiences. Chinese tell me now is not a good time when we have such a dangerous president. A couple of months ago, I moved all my money(that was not in bonds) into prime money markets paying interest of 2.16. Sounds unimpressive right now, unless you look at the DOW or NASDAQ. The dope with yellow hair is looking for a scapegoat. Try acting like a President for a change.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Trump:The Man In The High Tower

While Amazon runs The Man In The High Tower with its glorification of Nazis and Shabu Shabu, we have Trump acknowledging to the UN who his hero’s are. He gets along really well with Kim Jung UN and Putin the Poisoner. Maybe he’s hoping he’ll get to run part of the Ukraine after Vladamir the Impaler gets done with acquiring it. It seems Trump gets upset when he can’t run a country any way he likes. Think of all the Kavanaughs who’ve been trained by right wing enthusiasts to be Trump’s enforcers. “Can you hurry up and tap that keg, Judgie?” 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Where Did Lindsay Graham’s conscience Go?

Graham went after the testimony of Mrs Ford, the courageous woman who came forward to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Cavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when she 15 years old. If you recall, John McCain, my hero, used to have Graham as his wingman. After McCain went off to Valhalla, Graham, who was worried he’d have tough opponents in 2020, decided to stick his nose so far up Trump’s ass that he’d be safe.
Now that he’s shown his true colors, I would be surprised if McCain was saving a place in Heaven. McCain was a true hero. Graham is a slimy opportunist.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

America Debuts International Comedian

Donald Trump looked like Donald Duck yesterday as he filled the United Nations with laughter as his boastful comments on having one of the most successful administrations in American history had UN delegates rolling in the aisles. Most of his comments showed him to be narcissistic and tone deaf.
In America so many of us are worried he’s going to destroy America or start a nuclear war that he doesn’t touch our funnybone anymore. As he told Germany they were headed down the tubes, the Germans had a great laugh. All the countries we saved with the Marshall Plan no longer have to feel grateful because the world has moved on. America is no longer the bulwark of democracy. Now we are a world class joke.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Trump or Cosby: Who’s Worse

I have to set everyday and read about the horrible things that have to happen to Good Blacks in this country. Every day I hear more disturbing stories that I thought stopped happening in the 60s.
I was lucky to have great Black friends while I was teaching. Now I live in a white neighborhood near UCLA and because of disability am more isolated. (I know I can’ say Happy Kwanzaa anymore because it just makes Black people look at me funny.) Today, Bill Cosby, a scumbag predator got sentenced to 3-10 years. I listened to Trump’s comments on that bus and it sounded disgusting except to the white evangelicals who Jesus no longer listens to anyway. I’m a Christian who goes to UCC Church where everyone is welcome, so that will allow the evangelicals to write me off. Trump’s comments about women could have been made by Cosby. Unfortunately Trump is white so he will never have to pay. I despise Cosby, but I feel the same way about our President.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Do the Republicans Care about America?

Let’s look at some facts: when Roosevelt was dealing with the Nazis and Japan, everyone assumed one of two isolationists would get the Republican nomination, either Taft or Dewey. Instead after a bunch of failed chances, the nomination went to Wendell Willkie, who luckily was more liberal than Roosevelt and supported the War effort and we found out about the Holocaust where the Nazis killed six million Jews.
After the war Joseph R Mcarthy practically shut the Capital down with made up stories about communists in the State Department without providing a list of any one guilty individual. This Senator is enshrined in the Republican hall of fame for his drunk ramblings and stupid comments.
We had some good presidents (although inept) for a while, until Donald Trump took over the Presidency and everyone but John McCain rolled over and were afraid to criticize him. He’s being investigated for selling America out to the Russians to the cheers of White Pentecostals. So that’s the record folks. One might wonder why they never went the way of the Whigs.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Joy of Being Irish

My father died when I was six and my mother did her best to make sure we had as little to do with my father’s family as possible. My father’s brother was his best friend and he wanted to help bring me up, but I wasn’t allowed to see him. Everything in my mom’s family concerned being Mayflower descendants.
At the same time I would go with friends to the Irish Clubs in Syracuse and I’d love singing about “Molly Malone” and “I’ll take you back Kathleen.” I would have given anything to feel equal to all my Irish friends.
One day I recently swabbed my mouth and sent it in to a DNA testing service. I was on pins and needles waiting for the results. It turns out I was 26 percent Irish. Not only that but my father’s family told me my great grandmother was born in the Emerald Isle. If I wanted I could go and drink some Bushmills and Guinness at the Rose of Killarney or the Syracuse bar on Tipperary Hill where the Green light is on the top of the traffic light. I can also leave this world understanding why those songs bring tears to my eyes.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

What we should expect of America’s legislators

Reading American history is a daunting proposition. You start with the Declaration of Independence written by a slaveholder, Thomas Jefferson. Then you move on to a constitution which never mentions God and in which Negro slaves are counted as a percentage of a person in order to decide how many representatives a state is allowed. It is a wholesale abomination. Next we spend 100 years taking land away from Native Americans and killing as many as possible.
So one day we wake up with Trump as President and almost all the Republicans trying to prove how racist they are. I got a PhD with a concentration in American Studies only to discover we’d made a pig a president who appealed to the  basest feelings of Americans who hated Obama, black people and American immigrants. I should have remembered what I’d read and raised my head out of the sand.There are a lot of people who hate everyone who isn’t white and Christian like they are. I’m a Mayflower descendant ( Elder William Brewster) and a Christian who has looked and not really seen the evil men represented by Trump (whose original name was Drumpf and who refused to rent to Blacks)
It’s now time to see the evil rampant in the Republicans and their leader and attempt to take the country back from those who only know Jesus a a convenient weapon.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Jill Lepore, a great writer,writes a great, one volume American history

Jill Lepore, a Harvard Professor, and New Yorker writer has written a wonderful one volume American history. As a man whose father died when I was six when he caught my polio and died (he had osteomyelitis) an open sore on the leg from those who got it before penicillin came along to close it up) I lived for years on social security. Without it I wouldn’t have survived. Somehow I ended up with a PhD and became a college professor
The sadness I feel in reading this beautiful book is that while 90 percent of my Syracuse students could read it, 90 percent f the students I taught at Cal State would be completely lost in this tome.
Having great writers and professors does little good if an undergraduate degree has become a joke.
The degradation of the college experience hides behind the few outstanding scholars we produce.Students in Shanghai are so far above the level of our students that it’s clear the American century was over even before we made a pig our president. I love this book, it’s too bad I don’t know a lot of Americans smart enough to read it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The liar in chief Trump drags down America’s image into the dirt

The liar in chief Trump drags down America’s image in the world
It will soon be necessary to rebuild our country. It may take ten years to undo everything trump has ruined by being a climate denier. The evil he has done has cast a pall over the presidency. We never thought an evil man would bring us down so far, so fast.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Jon McCain and the antichrist

Throughout history there are examples of the Antichrist. Jim Jones made his followers drink poisoned kool. Donald Trump has used white haters among the evangelicals to secure his.
John McCain has always spoken truth to power and one of the few Republicans who have stood up to Trump. McCain is the only republican I would have voted for. He stood up for what was good in America despite Trump’s efforts to destroy us. He was a war hero, who, after he was released from a Vietnamese prison, never could raise his hands above his neck. He never let his pain prevent him from being a man with exceptional honor. With his death, we have lost a hero and I have lost someone I could always trust. If you’re watching from above I can’t  tell you how much I miss you and how much so many others feel the sames

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Evil People Who Are Called Congressman

My friends who are humanists, and people like me who try to live Christian lives, are appalled at what the house has done to Obama care.

It isn't just that so many poor people will be left without healthcare. It isn't just that all the states that expanded Medicaid to deal with more low income individuals will lose financial support.

No, all those things are bad, but I just noticed they've taken away support for special education.

That means if you have a child who has autism, tough luck. If you have a child with a twisted spine, get over it.

This bill is the product of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. It's fascinating how many evil people are called Congressman.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

America: Run By The Rich, for the Rich

America's new slogan should read: run by the rich, for the rich. After winning power by tricking white voters from the countryside, Trump showed just who he cared about in yesterday's announcement about tax cuts. When he stated that he was going to drop the tax on corporations to 15% he didn't acknowledge that rich people have already incorporated themselves to take care of of this new classification.

Trump has put more billionaires and multimillionaires into his cabinet than anyone in history. They all will love this new tax plan because it benefits them. If there  already weren't already hundreds of different ways in which they can cheat the system, Trump helped by  providing some more.

This tax plan will put more rich people on top, while leaving the poor further away from any tax equity. The alarming distance between the rich and the middle class in this country is destroying America. Instead of providing the help that white rural voters wanted, he's made things much worse.

My family's been here since 1620, but apart from the time when John D Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan controlled a large part of the money, this is the worst of times.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

United and American Don't Care About Their Passengers

As you may have heard, United airlines forcibly removed a passenger from a plane because they had overbooked the flight. The anger towards United has cursed through the Internet and the stock is falling. Because the passenger was Chinese, Beijing is very angry and many Chinese-Americans are cutting up their United cards.

But this could just as easily happened on an American flight. Because the National Institute of Health was paying for my wife to lecture on Alzheimer's at a conference at the Max Planck Institute she had to fly on an American flag carrier. I bought a ticket and accompanied her to Europe. American stranded us in Berlin. Then they stranded us at Heathrow and I was threatened with arrest as I managed to get my wife and I on a US bound plane. American couldn't care less.

I'm disabled and in a few weeks I'll be flying to Syracuse to see my brother who's ill. My only choices are United and American. I need to have a wheelchair waiting where the Sky Caps meet passengers so I can be loaded on the plane. United and American don't care. Maybe they will have the wheelchair there or maybe they won't. Wish me luck.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Fatherhood and the Presidency

Fatherhood has an impact on the presidency. Barack Obama was a good man, and there is not been a stain on his eight years in office. He was also a great father who helped produce two  fine young women.

Donald Trump doesn't have the same integrity. He lies easily and is surrounded by a lot of suspect individuals. But he, too ,is proud of being a parent. Because of this, when he saw the "dead babies" he was infuriated that anyone could do something like this.

The low point of Obama's administration was after he had drawn a line in the sand, and after Assad had used poison gas on ordinary people, he wiggled out of the situation.

When people, like Trump, are used to taking action they respond quickly to horrendous acts.

When someone comes out of academia and they see something bad, they form a committee.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Why weren't Chairman Xi's Comments Translated Into English

When the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party come to visit America he's usually greeted at the White House. Afterwards, both he and the president speak outside and translations are provided for the chairman's comments.

Because Trump always spends his weekends at one of his golf properties (costing America a fortune) these talks took place at his Florida golf course.

Trump said what he thought about the dialogue. Xi, speaking softly in Mandarin, made his comments. Trump, who hopefully had a translator, said he agreed with Xi's comments.

My Mandarin is bu tai hao. I can't give you the translation from putonghua into English. Nobody translated it. You still can't find a translation on the Internet. Something smells to high heaven.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

People in Boxes vs. Sociopaths

Many people put themselves in boxes. For example, evangelicals may think of themselves as Christians, but may only care about whites who think like they do. The head of the Christian Century, an important publication, had created the word evangelical to describe certain Christians. After this group went overwhelmingly for Trump and his racist message, this distinguished theologian said they no longer deserve that designation.

In addition to those who put them themselves in boxes and only care about others in their box, there are the truly dangerous people.

These are people like Donald Trump and El Chapo, and other drug kingpins, who are incapable of compassion for anyone that is not in their family. Because they can't empathize with others they are more dangerous than those in boxes. Under no conditions would they ever understand what others are feeling. Therefore they are incapable of changing, or growing. Putin is like this, so of course he'd want an American president who was as soulless as he was.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Uber: The Dark, Falling Star

Uber, the ride hailing company, seems to look more like a loser every day.

It isn't just that its CEO, Trevor Kalanick, was first on Trump's Team and then was not, or that a viral video taken of him by an Uber driver made him look like a clod. No, it isn't just that his idea of successful public relations is to place his foot where the sun don't shine. It's the company itself.

I left the doctor's office the other day and checked my Uber options. I could either choose a four dollar ridesharing opportunity or order a $20 car. I chose the ridesharing and learned a lot about how certain Uber drivers feel about the company.

My driver said he had always been and Uber x driver, the kind or transportation I usually choose. He had been told he now drove an Uber pool car and the reason there were no Uber x's available is because they all had been put into the ridesharing program

He said he'd heard many good things  about Lyft and would soon be joining them. While he said he at first made money, being forced into ridesharing cut his income in half. He had no respect for  Uber and wanted out.

The ride wasn't bad because I got to have a conversation in Chinese with one of my fellow passengers.

I'm going to have procedure done in an operating room very soon. In order to get home I will call a yellow cab.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Sacagawea and the Teachers' Union

I was hungry for a peanut butter cup so I stopped at Bronco Krakowski's candy store next  to the high school. I pulled out some change to pay for it and realized I had a Sakagawea dollar among my other coins.

"Just give me that other quarter," Bronco said.

"It's not a quarter it's a Sacagawea dollar," I said.

"Don't be a sack of shita," Bronco said." Just give it to me."

I pulled out a dollar bill and handed that to Bronco.

"Why'd you do that? Bronco asked.

"The Sacagawea dollar was created to honor the Native American woman who helped guide Lewis and Clark on their expedition to see the Louisiana purchase."

"You mean they made a dollar after some Indian?"

"Yeah without her and her ability to get along with various Native American tribes, Lewis and Clark might never have made it."

"Sounds like a lot of bull shit. Are you talking about the Lewis and Clark that appeared at Trump's party?"

"Didn't you study American history in high school?"

"Nah. The teachers union was always having special meetings or trying to get rid of the principal, so we played dodgeball.

"Why didn't they like the principal?"

"She wouldn't bow down to the head of the teachers union, so they were trying to get her fired," Bronco said.

"So you didn't learn a lot in high school?"

"No. But I got really good at dodgeball."

Saturday, March 11, 2017

South Korea is Not a Democracy

South Korea is not, and probably has never been, a democracy.  Prior to the 20th century Koreans would take their wares to an island off the coast and trade with foreigners. Back then, Korea was  considered the little brother of China. It was a strange situation in which the Korean ambassador to China could go anywhere in China. However the Chinese ambassador to Korea, a hermit kingdom, would go through the streets with the windows closed on his jiao zi.

Korea had always been run by the yang ban, the aristocracy that controlled 86% of the land in Korea. Japan took over Korea in the early part of the 20th century. The local power was in the hands of the yang ban, who cooperated with the Japanese. The richest yang ban was placed by Hirohito in the Japanese House of Lords. He committed suicide at the end of World War II.

The only patriot fighting the Japanese was Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of North Korea's present dictator. Americans were frightened of communism of any type. The House un-American Activities Committee was running a pre-Joe McCarthy witch-hunt in America. Americans decided that the yang ban, who had been working with the Japanese, could be counted on not to be communist. Syngman Rhee, who had been living in the United States during the war, was brought in to be a front man for the yang ban. They had no interest in freedom or democracy but the Americans considered them safe.

But the power of the yangban didn't last forever. Large corporations like Samsung were called Chaebol and the ruling family members were also called Chaebol. Slowly but surely they began to decide what happened in South Korea. In fact, one chaebol showed his power by divorcing Korea's most popular actress and never allowing her to see her children. There was a brutality to their power which also accompanied bribes of government officials to create the South Korea we see today. At the moment the president has been thrown out and the head of Samsung indicted for bribing her. Money and social position decide everything in Korea, where chaebol act like Marie Antoinette or George III.

Since America created this fictitious democracy they have much to answer for. There are a lot of things in the world more frightening than communism. One of those things is a country that pretends to be a democracy, but where the rich control everything.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bye Bye American Dream

"Bye, Bye The American Dream. All you are now is a Republican scheme"

The American Dream was real for me. My father died of polio when I was seven. My mother and her three sons lived on Social Security which back then even paid for college. I always had a job and  a scholarship. I ended up with a PhD and an assistant professorship at Syracuse University.

That was the old story. I follow the lives of my students and it doesn't happen today. The 1% get all the money, and the rest are crawling around for petty change. America stopped being a country with upward mobility. It's much more real in Canada and parts of Europe. And the powers that be in this country don't care.

If you inherit all your money like Trump then people like my students don't even register in your world. You fill your cabinet with billionaires and take away the protections created for poor Americans who needed to be aware if they're being cheated.

I could've ended up pumping gas in Sandy Creek New York. Instead I got to be a university vice president. It's a nice story, but it couldn't happen today. Rich people run our country to reward themselves. America was once a great place to which people wanted to immigrate. Now the number one country people dream of moving to is New Zealand. Chinese believe they or their children won't get shot if they move to New Zealand. They have no such expectation about America.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Trump Tweets His Staffers and the Russians Were Trading Dolls

Donald Trump today tweeted about  why so many of his staff were in touch with the Russians during the 2016 election campaign. "They were trading Russian dolls. I think there called Matryoshka dolls. The reason nobody's been coming out with that information is Republicans don't want to look like sissies. But you know these styles, the ones that have all the other little dolls inside them,  are really fascinating. I know Jeff Sessions really likes lime green ones."

Trump went on, saying: "you know the Russians always have the best ones so it's pretty normal to go to them to pick up something special."

While not everybody was buying this explanation, the speaker of the house, Paul Ryan, says this explains everything. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was jumping  for joy when he heard the news. Republicans decided there was no need to hold these bothersome committee meetings, now that Trump had come clean.

Sen. John Mc Cain wasn't buying it. "Real guys don't play with dolls. These Dolls don't fit together."

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Reality of Politics

In my life I'd been a reporter for UPI covering presidential candidates. But it was in my role as vice president for state University that I got to see politics as it may frequently operate. At our university we had the support of a Democratic congressman who was the chairman of a very powerful House committee. He was a pleasant man who at one time had been the youngest mayor in the United States. He'd been lieutenant governor of California and a polished politician. Unfortunately, although he was still chair of a powerful House committee, he had Alzheimer's.

His wife was very brilliant and she moved through his congressional area in a Rolls making sure his constituents were taken care of. She was the ultimate boss of the entire operation. I liked her and believe she had the best interests of his constituency at heart.

I once spent some time with the Congressman in his Washington office. Everybody was keeping  an eye on me because they didn't want me to talk him into something for the University that might not be in their best interest. We were sitting there and he was talking about the high point of his life when he had been a motorcycle courier for the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. He was well spoken  and I enjoyed listening. All of a sudden his Chief of Staff walked over and said "Look you've gotta go down on the floor and vote like I told you to. Remember how I told you to vote?"

After that incident, I I've always wondered how often that occurs in our democracy. A couple of years later they took the committee chairmanship away from him. He was still in Congress but everyone made sure he was not causing any trouble. Since Avalon, the island off California, was in his district they kept him there with folks knowing t they should take care of him. One day he somehow got on the ferry to the mainland and they had to hunt all over until they found him.

American politics frequently involves situations of which we have no knowledge. I frequently question what I'm told  unless it's in the New York Times.

Monday, February 20, 2017

John McCain: Our Greatest American Hero

John McCain is the greatest American hero alive today. Although I've questioned his belief that every war of ours was right or even functional, I've never questioned his personal gallantry and high standards.

When he left the prison (or cage) where he'd been tortured  in Vietnam he could not raise his hands higher than his shoulders and still cannot comb his own hair. He could've been freed from captivity a long time before, but he knew the Vietcong would be doing it because his father was in command of a Navy fleet. So he had more beatings and lived in ghastly conditions because he did not want to be used in a political way against his country.

There were many times he spoke out in the Senate where others of his colleagues were silent. He is doing that today.

He knows that Trump is a potential dictator who would like to diminish the press and bend the federal judiciary to his will. McCain suspects there was Trump complicity in Russia's attempts to destroy our election process. He speaks truth to power, with only his wing man, Sen. Lindsey Graham, at his side. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are cowering before Trump because they believe more in holding onto political power than standing up for America.

I thank God that John McCain is there speaking up about the ghastly mistakes Trump has made. Let's see if he and our judiciary can prevent our being turned in to a banana Republic.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

James Garner: The Cherokee We All Wanted to Be

I grew up in Onondaga County in upstate New York. Back then people would call Native Americans "chief" because we had a reservation for the Onondaga Indians. It disgusted me, but I never knew just how much I admired an actor with Cherokee blood. When I was young most guys wished they were James Garner.

From the time we first saw him as Bret Maverick, and even while we suffered through his movies with Doris Day, he was probably the coolest guy on the big or the small screen. He made acting look effortless. His likability factor was really high. Even in the movie where he had to tell Sally Fields he was 60 years old, he was my hero.

I think it's both hilarious and horrible that we abused the Native Americans who lived  on the Onondaga reservation, while we all longed to be a man with Cherokee blood.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Will Trump Become Il Duce (Mussolini) or just Turkey's Erdogan

The question we need to ask is whether Trump will end up like Ill Duce (Mussolini) or Turkey's Erdogan?

Ruth Ben-Giat has studied fascism from her position as Professor of History and Italian studies at NYU. She recently outlined on CNN what you can expect from authoritarian individuals like Donald Trump.

1. Because he's the kind of leader who cultivates a special bond with some of his followers, he can be expected to adapt the presidency to fit his needs.

2. He sees the fact that he lies and acts aggressively towards the press as a good thing, something to be lauded. When he refused to let Jim Acosta of CNN ask a question, and said "fake news," he acted very proud of what he'd done. Because Erdogan has jailed thousands of journalists, he praised Trump for putting Jim Acosta "in his place." We have to hope that Trump will not move to criminalize the media.

3. Beginning with the judge who was to hear the Trump University case, Trump is not afraid to belittle members of the judiciary who get in his way. Judge Gonzalo Curiel will not be the last judge to face Trump's wrath. Faith in our judiciary is a prime component of the formula that has made America "really great" over more than 200 years.

If the Republicans let Trump turn America into a Banana Republic, America will no longer be the leader of the free world or the place to which people want to immigrate. Denigrating representative John Lewis, a hero of the civil rights movement, means he doesn't understand the country he's supposed to run and the heroism it takes to preserve it. It will take all of us to stand up to his brazen lies in his attempts to weaken our democracy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Rolling Odor of Corruption

The rolling odor of corruption has begun to fill the office of the presidency before Trump even takes his place as our new leader. If you read the 35 pages on Buzz Feed you find them easy to believe. What is the difference between the comments made by Trump to Billy Bush on the bus and the story about our new president's indulging his perversions in Moscow. Is it really hard to believe that for five years Putin was creating Trump to help bring down our democracy?

When they asked  Trump voters if they believed everything he said or felt he was innocent of the perversions implied in his soliloquy on how women will let him do anything, they said no, they didn't necessarily like what he did; they just wanted a change.

And so now every day there is a new national obscenity. The American people decided they didn't care if they elected someone who represented decency or strength of character. Like some hissy fit, they just wanted a change.

Now we may have the real Manchurian Candidate in our White House because no one thought an election was a serious thing. No one believed that a blowhard could be Putin's agent.

Monday, November 28, 2016

If you think Americans Can't Compete Now, You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

H1b visas are the vehicles by which Silicon Valley obtains the workers they need to create products and services for the Internet. We don't know for sure whether Trump will drastically cut them back or not. But the reality is that if he does, there won't be Americans to replace these foreign workers.

The white people who put Trump into office certainly can't replace these foreign workers and neither can their children. The teachers unions have done their best to dumb down K-12 in America. People can graduate from high school without being able to do algebra. Then they can go to a university that is unexceptional where they can fulfill their math requirement by taking an advertising class. (this is not a joke. I can send you there.)

America has done its best to destroy its school system. Our universities, with their grade inflation, never test their students to see if they can compete with these foreign visa holders. People have decided it's better not to know how useless the skills are that these students have.  This way they can blindly complain that they're being left out of America's future.

What passes for higher education in America is what used to constitute a high school education 40 years ago. If you haven't been a teacher, you have no idea how bad things are.

On this planet the students who test best go to school  in the Shanghai school district. They are better than any students in the world. And if you're looking for students to compete against them, you should look at Singapore and Korea. Americans don't even rank among the top 10 in any discipline tested.

The new administration will be getting rid of any national standards for education in America in the name of state's rights (a perennial  Republican weapon to prevent our country from aspiring to produce world-class students)

30 years from now there will be more angry white people. These people never think they should demand hard work and studious effort from their school districts and their children. The quality of the high school football team is their most important concern. In 30 years we will be creating even less than we do now. There are only so many jobs that require an ability to use a forklift and box cutters. The boxes will all be covered with Hanzi (Chinese characters) anyway.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The greatest heroes in American history

The greatest example of the dysfunctionality of discrimination was seen in how Japanese-Americans were treated during the Second World War. Earl Warren, Governor of California, sent the Japanese in California to prison camps in deserted pockets of the Western US. At first the Hawaiians (Hawaii was not yet a state) talked about putting Hawaiians of Japanese ancestry into such camps.

Instead they allowed men of Japanese ancestry to form the 442nd regimental combat team (also called the 442 infantry Regiment).. These men went to Europe with a force close to 4000 men. In battle after battle they showed themselves to be the bravest group of American soldiers in history.

Because of the horrific battle conditions in which they fought,  the original 4000 had to be replaced 2.5 times. The members of that unit eventually  involved 14,000 men, who earned a total of 9486 purple hearts.

The unit had eight presidential citations (with five of them earned in one month). This group, which was known as the Nisei Regiment, had among them 21 recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, our nation's highest decoration.

Their bravery is hard to believe. I remember seeing Sen. Daniel  Inouye from Hawaii who only had half an arm because of his service in this Regiment. As I watched the Watergate hearings, I listened  to how Nixon's men tried to get support for their embattled chief. One of the conspirators said of the pronunciation  of Sen. Inouye  name, "ain't no way" he would ever be compromised.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Do You Have to Be Educated to Be a Good American?

No matter what everyone is saying these days, having a good education doesn't make you a better American. When George Washington realized his Continental Army didn't know left from right he put hay in 1 foot and straw in the other. Therefore, when his men marched you heard the cry "hay foot, straw foot."

These probably were the most committed men to the American democracy we ever had. They survived the winter at Valley Forge and beat the strongest army on earth at that time. Apart from Audie Murphy and Sgt. York they were probably the finest men we ever send into battle.

So we need to be careful in an election year where the whites without a college degree are considered in Trump's pocket. Decency and openness have always been the hallmarks of good Americans. In this coming election, you can't assume a guy with a high school education can't discern if someone's a  blowhard and a liar.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Amazon Changed My Life

This is a day I never thought would come. I only own 20% of the hardback and paperback books I used to keep in my home. I've saved all my reference works, including the 20 volume Oxford English dictionary.

However, when I got disabled, I bought a stand for my iPad and read all my books on its screen. This would have, once, been unthinkable. I bought a paperback at Costco months ago and haven't read it. Instead I go to Book Bub and buy books for $.99.

You have to understand that books made me who I am. With serious ADHD, the only break I got from the runaway train inside me was when I was caught up in a narrative. It was always my desire to own more and more books so I could show off my love for them.

Amazon changed all that. I have so many books saved in the cloud that sometimes it surprises me.

The next time I move, I'll have even less books with a spine or stitching. Amazon changed my life.

When people come into my home in the future, they'll have no idea how much I celebrated reading as one of the best things in my life. I don't love books less, but my concepts of how to keep them has morphed into a new reality.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Saving Speaker Ryan

The plot of "Saving Private Ryan" revolves around the concept of the Gold Star mother. Private Ryan's mother already had three gold stars in her window. She had one son in combat who was still alive. It was the job of Tom Hanks and his men to extricate him from combat and send him home to his mother.

Ghazala Kahn lost her son, Army Captain Humayan Khan, when he died in Iraq while saving other members of his unit from a bomb attack.

She was silent when her husband, Khizr, asked Donald Trump if he had ever read the American Constitution. She later wrote that when she sees a picture of her son it disturbs her so greatly that she can't  speak because she gets so upset. A large photo of her son was displayed in the background at the Democratic National Convention when her husband spoke.

Trump implied she wasn't allowed to speak, which was some kind of  snarky allusion to Muslim women, a group Donald Trump, as in most things, doesn't know shit about.

Khizr Kahn had asked the speaker of the house, Paul Ryan, to make a statement of how wrong Trump's comments were. He also asked for comments from the Senate majority leader.

Paul Ryan is silent. He has allowed his party's candidate to make fun of a Gold Star mother. She, and her son, made the ultimate sacrifice. Trump, who seems to possess no empathy for other human beings, showed himself to be a narcissistic sociopath who only cares for Donald Trump.

In the end, speaker Ryan seems to be a career driven politician with no spine. When someone attacks a Gold Star mother, good people have to stand up and be counted. I'm sure there will never be a movie about Paul Ryan's integrity. His silence guarantees the demise of his treasured career.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Trump is a Traitor

Donald Trump is a traitor. When he called on Russia to hack into the former Secretary of State's emails he finally stepped over the line.

He admires Putin. He recently said that if the Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia) didn't cough up more money he was not going to defend them.

If Trump became president this would be an open invitation for Putin to invade and seize  back the three countries that finally were released from control by Moscow after the Cold War was concluded.

This is heartless. This is cruel. This is the heinous mouth of a traitor to my country.

God bless America.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Jake Tapper, 24/7 news and the end of Democracy

There seems to be a big question whether a democracy can survive multiple 24/7 news channels. I remember when Walter Cronkite had 15 minutes to give us national news. He talked about important things, concepts all citizens needed to know.

Now we have constant crises on television. Many of the issues involved  make us further question our politicians and their plans. Thomas Jefferson once said that if he had to choose between having a government and having newspapers, he would choose newspapers. I'm a big fan of Thomas Jefferson, but that was  bull shit.

For example, having covered presidential candidates for UPI, I think that Jake Tapper is an excellent reporter. He drives my wife crazy. Like many other highly educated women (she has an MD, PhD) she's a Hillary supporter. She can't stand the look on Jake Tapper's face. My theory is that he hasn't smiled since he found out Santa was bogus. Whether he's capable of of smiling, I'm not sure.

But his network, knowing it had bad numbers, let Trump spew lies, accusations and venom without seriously fact checking them. If this is supposed to be the contrast to Fox, I'm not seeing it.

Every moment the 24/7 machine gets fed, making us wonder if we've awakened in a nightmare.

For those who love John Kennedy, how would you have liked to know which woman he was humping on which day? Do you think his presidency could survive that. If you liked Bobby, would you wanted to know all about Marilyn Monroe.

You need to know if a candidate is a traitor, or lies about his real beliefs towards his fellow man. You need to know what his tax returns say. You don't need to know where all her moles are.

The Russians are having great fun releasing emails about the Democratic National Committee. Trump's campaign manager worked for the pro-Russian Ukrainian president who was driven into exile in Russia.

The Russians don't have a free press so they don't have to worry about maintaining a democracy. Putin is an autocrat admired by Trump who says he would not go to the defense of the Baltic states unless they paid more money.

I feel I'm living in a democracy that can't handle all these lies in a nervous electorate hooked on the speed of 24/7. Someday, like the face of big brother, we'll soon see above us the angry visage of Jake Tapper, telling us all what losers we are.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Pope Francis and Tim Kaine for a Better World

Although I attend a Protestant church, I've stated before that Pope Francis is my shepherd. He represents the best Christian values. He is a man of great integrity who's making a great difference in this world.

Today, I watched as the lay version of Pope Francis was introduced as the presumptive vice presidential candidate for the Democratic Party. There are many who use one word to describe Sen. Tim Kane, and that word is "integrity."

He is clearly someone deeply influenced by attending a Jesuit high school in Kansas City. He took a year off from Harvard Law school to run a technical school founded by Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. He said he saw that the richest people in Honduras had everything while the rest of the citizenry had nothing.

After graduating from law school he worked to protect the civil rights of Americans from all races and backgrounds. His dedication to the disenfranchised and forgotten Americans is exemplary.

He is a strong Catholic who attends a primarily black church in Richmond. His wife is the Secretary of Education for Virginia. He has three children, one of whom is a Marine in active service.

He represents everything I look for in an American. His Christianity and value system is strong and deep. He gets things done, the same way Pope Francis, who once served an inner-city in South America, makes  things happen.

The presence of Donald Trump as a candidate for the presidency had me despairing for my country. Today I feel rejuvenated and ready to help continue in an America that is not the basket case that requires the dictatorship of ill duce Trump.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

On Chinese Televison the Japanese will Always Be the Little Evil Killers

America spent four years fighting in World War II. After the war ended, war movies were big hits in the US. But eventually, just like westerns, they were out of vogue. Douglas MacArthur quickly smoothed over relations with the Japanese because we believed we needed partners in the war against communism. But we weren't crazy. Truman offered Taiwan to Mao if China would stay out of the Korean War.

Because Stalin never sent the supplies he'd promised to the North Koreans, North Korean forces were losing ground every day. When MacArthur thought about crossing the Yalu River, the Chinese, who didn't want a united Korea on its border, crossed the Yalu and invaded North Korea.

China, unlike the US, fought the Japanese from 1931 until 1945. At the end of the war China was a devastated country facing a Civil War.

Perhaps this brings into context a large number of anti-Japanese war movies on Chinese television. These films both show the Japanese as very evil and the government of Chiang Kai-Sheck not far behind in corruption and violence.

In America, if you speak Chinese, you can watch these war television serials from morning to night. As I've said before the most beautiful woman in the show is always the communist spy within the Kuomintang (Chung Kai-Sheck's sleazy organization).

As an American, we find it hard to imagine the anti-Japanese war is still being fought on Chinese television. But then, they fought the Japanese 3 1/2 times longer than we did, and the war was fought in China.

While it's true that Beijing will use anti-Japanese hatred to remove attention from something internal causing problems, the Chinese people love these serials. Until those shows stop appearing on Chinese TV, the Japanese will always be the enemy.

Given the Bataan death March and the brutal Japanese prison camps, I'm always surprised that we have agreed to go to war on behalf of the Japanese. I guess all that matters is they aren't Commies.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Republicans Try To Destroy Our Faith in the FBI

Over the years, the Republican Party has been wrong on everything from the League of Nations to Social Security. They let Joseph R McCarthy lie about communists  in government and led us into war with Iraq.

It seems that all those mistakes weren't enough. Today they tried to destroy the reputation of the FBI.   Its director,  James Comey, said he didn't think Hillary Clinton should be prosecuted, but provided plenty of sound bites that can be used against Hillary in this year's presidential election.

Comey, the highly principled director of the FBI, laid out why Hillary Clinton hadn't done anything that met the standard for prosecution. He then made a lot of comments about the dumb things she did do.

Since he's a lifetime Republican what did the Republicans do today? They attacked him in numerous ways and called into question the confidence we have in the Federal Bureau of of investigation.

This is why Congress has an 11% approval rating.

It seems that Republicans will not be happy until none of us trust our government. What they been working at is insidious and disgusting. I'm proud to be an American. My family has been in this country for 396 years. (Think about what happened in 1620 if this confuses you)

While the spirit behind the Declaration of Independence was that of John Locke, the logic underlying the Constitution was that of Thomas Hobbes. The Constitution was designed with the checks and balances which would make it difficult for any dictator to take over our country.

Unfortunately, the Republican Party is using the Constitution to gridlock the nation, make sure our infrastructure is not repaired and foster distrust in our system of government. Today they turned on James Comey, a man of great integrity and one of their own. It was sickening to watch. Maybe they won't  be content until we all give up on the concept of democracy.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Google Stole My Novel

In 2010, before I was disabled, I wrote a novel called "Tommy Babcock, A WWII Thriller." I obtained a copyright and gave Amazon the right to sell my book. Today Google fusiontables DataSource is givimg the book away free in pdf form.

I can no longer type on a computer, so I dictate blogs. It seems really sleazy that Google would do this to a disabled guy. I'm not going to write any more books. I could, perhaps, dictate another book, but the editing would require the use of my hands.

Amazon told me to get a lawyer. I don't think I want to spend the money, especially in a book that is six years old.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Chinese Immigrants for Trump

I've had some disturbing conversations with some of my Chinese friends lately. They tell me they're going to vote for Trump, and I can't seem to talk them out of it.

They waited in line in China to get visas to come to America. They are the kind of people who work really hard at difficult jobs. They love being Americans.

They see Latinos coming to America without visas and staying forever.

Since the idea of their voting for Trump bothers me greatly, I try to explain how Trump would've been the kind of guy to tell the "no tikkie, no washie" jokes about Chinese-Americans. I try to explain that the old America he seems to want to return to, was a place where Chinese were treated badly.

But they see  they had to follow the rules to immigrate here, but Latinos don't. Stories are spread about Latinos who are illegal receiving Obama care. Of course it's not true. But they believe it.

All of a sudden, I'm worried. I understand now how demagogues work.

No, I'm not worried. I'm scared.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Unemployed Coal Miners Can Repair our Disintegrating Infrastructure

There is an urgent need for something to be done for the unemployed coal miners. While white men without a college education tend to vote Republican, the Republicans work on deals for the 1%. They are for free trade, only want jobs that are created in the private sector and  are oblivious to the needs of many of their supporters.

Let's look at Wyoming. Every day more coal miners are losing jobs as Wyoming seeks to become the largest wind farm in the world. We know there aren't enough jobs in the wind farm business in Wyoming to employ these people. Many of the windmills are being built out of state.

And while Yellowstone National Park is mostly in Montana, the national parks brought into existence by the Rockefellers cover the Northwest of Wyoming.

All across the nation our infrastructure is crumbling. National parks are just part of the America that is disintegrating. During the depression, Franklin Roosevelt sent large number of unemployed men across the country to rebuild America. Republicans are making sure that this won't happen again.

We need to deal with our national problem. When you go to China, you see these magnificent cities that are so much more impressive than ours. They have a superhighway system in which the signs are in English. Coming back to Los Angeles from Shanghai is like returning to the Third World. Help the coal miners. Help all the others that have been put out of work because of our treaties. If only the Republicans really cared about the people who vote for them. If they did, there would be an army of Americans making our country strong again. Provide good honest work for men and women who make up the backbone of our country. Don't lie to them, get their votes and then fix fancy deals for the 1%. I don't understand how you men and women can look at yourself in the mirror and not feel like a giant fraud.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The End of Apple in China?

Today we learned that a Chinese court ruled that Apple was in violation of a local Chinese patent and could be prevented from selling iPhones in China. Apple has appealed the decision, but this move has been talked about on Chinese social media for at least a month.

Despite how things work in the rest of the world, we have to look at Chinese tradition, going back to the Han dynasty, to see how China deals with advisers and companies that are outside the Middle Kingdom.

Jonathan Spence, in writing his book, "To Change China," takes us back to the Han Dynasty to show how China operates. It was important for the Emperor to understand astronomy in order to make predictions. A group of Jesuits went to China, and spent three years in seclusion with Chinese teachers learning the language. They then offered their considerable knowledge of the heavens to the Han Emperor.

For quite a while, they contributed their knowledge of astronomy to help the Emperor. Finally, they asked the Emperor for permission to proselytize for Catholicism in China. The Emperor replied by thanking them for their help. Thus ended the collaboration between the Jesuits and the Han Dynasty.

This is a pattern which has continued throughout Chinese history. Individuals or companies will go to China with the hopes of becoming part of the Chinese system. They always are thanked and sent away, once China has become able to use the information themselves.

General Electric has been building an airplane for China. I wonder what will happen when the plane is completed, the military has taken all that knowledge, and China can build their own passenger planes. We will have to see how that ends. As for Apple, they made some money selling iPhones in China. It will provide a good experience for Tim Cook in learning how little he understood China.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Chinese Have More Fun With Their TVs Than We Do

I hate to break the news, especially to the millennial's, but Chinese have a lot more fun with their television's than we do. Imagine, if you can, streaming a television show that has its own  embedded Twitter line running across the top of the screen. In Mandarin it's called Tan Mu and it provides a running commentary on the TV show you are streaming from a Chinese site that is like Hulu or Netflix.

Many of the Chinese shows are about the Chinese Communists and the Kuomintang, who are allegedly fighting the Japanese. In fact, we know that Jiang Jia Shi (Chiang Kai Shek) was a corrupt official who was kept in office by Shanghai  gangsters. That's why, in movies like this, you look for the most beautiful actress, because she is the communist spy hidden in the structure of the Kuomintang.

In a recent episode, another communist spy refused to have an affair with this beautiful woman because he was concerned about her safety. Across the top of the screen you had men offering to take her off the guys hands. "If he doesn't want her, I'd like to help out."

Another guy complained that the women on the show had faces that were too long. "I want round faced women," he said.

When the show gets slow all sorts of people complain about it. "This is terrible. I'm falling asleep here."

The other night as it grew late, one women complained, "where is everybody? This  is  really boring."

A man who follow the show is called  a zai nan (guys who don't leave their house, but watch TV all day). So they've introduced a social aspect to watching television. You can complain about the stars, the story line, the slowness of the plot, etc.

 Imagine when Alias had lost its plot line. You could comment on the ineptitude of the producers who hadn't bothered to know where the plot was going, and hadn't planned how it would end. We could have saved Sydney Briscoe from flowing down the TV drain.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Professors and Sick Students

UCLA is in the news today because yesterday a former student shot a professor, a man noted for his kindness and concern about his students. What is even more  senseless is that this professor allegedly moved heaven and earth to help this student completed his PhD.

Unfortunately, this is not as bizarre as it appears to be. I once had a student from Guam who was equally unsettling, but thankfully, not armed.

This student, who was of mixed race, must have had a difficult time growing up on Guam. This of course is only my supposition, since you can't ask a student, "how did you get so crazy?"

A couple of years after he'd been my student this man came into my office and asked me to stop getting him fired from his jobs.

I remembered him but had no idea how  he'd been faring the last two or three years. Apparently he hadn't been successful in the real world.

I tried reasoning with him and explained that I hadn't been following his career, but he did not believe it.

Every once in a while, in the next year or two,  he would stop by at the University and beg me to stop controlling his life.

This guy really attributed powers to me I didn't possess. One day he stopped coming in and I never saw him again. Thankfully, he never became a Republican or joined the NRA. Of course, that's just my wishful supposition.

Monday, May 30, 2016

How Mandarin Helps understand Hawaiian

While I was in Hawaii recently, I realized that a language concept from Mandarin helps you understand what to answer when a Hawaiian says "Mahalo"

when a Chinese speaker says "Xie,Xie" there is no phrase for you're welcome. You say "mei wen ti" which means no problem.

When a Hawaiian says"Mahalo" (thank you), you say "a ole pilikia" which means no problem. There is no phrase for you're welcome in Hawaiin.

If you are praised in Chinese you don't say thank you. You will surprise Mandarin speakers by saying "na li, na li" which is a nice way to deny the truth of what is being said. They will say "I thought you Americans always said thank you." It is a large cultural difference, that comes out of the sense of humility Chinese try to show when being praised.

At the Polynesian cultural Center they say that Polynesians originated in China and were the progenitors of everyone from the Maori to the Tahitians (the last immigrants to Hawaii from Polynesia came from Tahiti). Whether this has anything to do or not with these linguistic concepts; I'm unwilling to even take a stab. I'm just a" houle" or a "bai ren." Both phrases mean "white guy," and I think that looking at all the mistakes whites have made about people from other cultures, I'm going to close this blog.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

What is Tim Cook smoking?

Owning Apple stock is like being flushed down a toilet connected to a storm drain that flows from the Santa Monica Mountains into Santa Monica Bay. It is an endless unpleasant experience. You know the stock cannot go to zero because somewhere in the world someone will want the latest iPhone.

However when Tim Cook said this was just the beginning of the iPhone, I hurried over to the wastebasket to toss my cookies. What is he smoking?

I have some ideas for what that statement might mean. In the future,

will it make its own banana bread?

Pick a successful stock portfolio (hopefully, without Apple in it)?

Arrange a date for you with Monica Bellucci?

Well, those were just ideas off the top of my head. I'm sure Tim Cook has something great up his sleeve. Of course it won't be on the seven, because they'll stretch improvements with little meaning until we get to iPhone 17.

Apple never invested in research and development. People often said Steve Jobs was their research and development. Well guess what, he's dead and all those years of noninvestment are showing. He not only didn't leave anything to charity, he didn't leave anything to Apple either.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Tony Bennett, the Man Who Sings to all Generations

This blog is about Tony Bennett. Some of you may be thinking of his album with Lady Gaga, or his duets with  k. d. lang, I however I'm thinking of the Tony Bennett who's been in my life since the 1950s.

First off, I want to apologize for my entire generation. We took his song," Lady of Spain," and changed the lyrics. We sang  "Lady of Spain I adore you. Pull down your pants I'll explore you."

At that point, we were into rock 'n roll, and we perceived Tony was singing to our parents generation. Ah, what fools we.

He then sang,  "I left my heart in San Francisco," and so many loved that song. I met many people, when I was living in Germany, who would say the words to the song and say San Francisco was the one place they wanted to visit, out of all cities.

He always said, "I'm not about creating big songs, I'm about creating great albums."

One of his albums had this beautiful song called "When Joanna loved me." Every once in a while I think about that song and the feelings it evokes. The song  went," When Joanna loved me, every  town was Paris, every day was Sunday, every month was May." To me this song  encapsulates what true love is all about. Now Tony Bennett speaks to a new audience, in the same way he spoke to my parents in the last days of the Great American Songbook.

Carry on Mr. Bennett, for  you sing for the ages.