If you think you live in a s—hole and you don’t, does that make you a s—head?

David Blaska writes about his former boss:

Joe Btfsplk, meet Dave Zweifel.

Like Democrats statewide, the emeritus editor of Madison’s voice of progressivism is hell bent on defeating Scott Walker at all costs, even at the price of truth.

Give Dave Zweifel brownie points for creativity. Wisconsin has more Help Wanted signs than orange traffic cones in spring but somehow, Wisconsin is one of those bad places that Donald Trump recently denigrated. The Haiti of the Snowbelt. Why? Because Wisconsin’s economy is creating so many jobs that employers are scrambling for workers!

“When Wisconsin’s name comes up in news stories or is mentioned in a nationally recognized column, it often isn’t in a flattering context,” my old boss writes in the Sunday WI State Journal.

Wisconsin beats out other states to land Foxconn but my old boss can’t bring himself to mention its potential 13,000 jobs. Instead, he fixates on the 26 acres of wetlands that may be filled to accommodate the huge factory. Oh, the humanity!

Yes, “unemployment is down, taxes are flat and there are more jobs,” Dave grouses. (Sometimes the truth is too obvious even for …) But this good news is really bad news for our liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances.

“Wisconsin didn’t always need to advertise” for workers, Dave cavils. Humpf! Yes, Wisconsin is waging a $6 million ad campaign to lure workers to Wisconsin. (Come for the jobs, stay because your car won’t start.)

The Democrat(ic) party line reads that Wisconsin must advertise for workers because of:

  • Act 10!!!
  • Because No High-speed Rail (See: California, boondoggle).
  • Because criticizing “the Problem of Whiteness” is “denigrating higher education.”
  • Because women (supposedly) are dying in childbirth. (Dave writes “attacks on women’s health rights” but we think he means “abortion.”)
  • And those 26 acres!

“When Wisconsin’s name comes up in news stories or is mentioned in a nationally recognized column, it often isn’t in a flattering context.” Except, there it is, on the very same day as Dave’s trip to the outhouse: Wisconsin, on page one of the Sunday New York Times, in a most flattering context.

In Dane County, Wis., where the unemployment rate was just 2% in November, demand for workers has grown so intense that manufacturers are taking their recruiting a step further: hiring inmates at full wages to work in factories even while they serve their prison sentences.

[The inmate] got that chance in part because of Dane County’s red-hot labor market. Stoughton Trailers, a family-owned manufacturer that employs about 650 people at its plant in the county, has raised pay, offered referral bonuses and expanded its in-house training program. But it has still struggled to fill dozens of positions.

After his release, the inmate bought a car from his earnings while on work-release.

Now he is thinking bigger. Other jobs in the area pay higher wages, and his freedom has opened up more options. He has been talking to another local company, which is interested in training him to become an estimator — a salaried job that would pay more and offer room for advancement.

Those who abjure objective measurements in favor of partisan, political-campaign talking points, read no further. Yeah, Wisconsin roads ARE bad but we can’t help but think that some projects are needlessly expensive. (Doesn’t the Verona Road project seem over-engineered?) Which is why Walker replaced former DOT secretary Gottlieb with a new guy.

For a dispassionate measure, we turned to the recently released U.S. News and World Report listing of best states, 2018. The survey measures health care, education, crime, infrastructure, opportunity, economy, and government. Overall, the well regarded survey ranks Wisconsin as the 16th best state overall and second-best in the Midwest, behind Minnesota (#3) and Iowa (#6) but comfortable ahead of Indiana #22, Illinois #29, Michigan #33, and Ohio #35. Of those states, another survey listed Wisconsin as the second “greenest,” behind Minnesota. More here.

It’s a fair point that Walker is trying to sell Wisconsin using Madison as its star attraction while simultaneously bad-mouthing its mayor, now a challenger for governor. But the obverse is also true: Liberals are trying to badmouth Wisconsin. State policies are at least equally responsible for Madison’s success. To take one example, Madison bike paths are largely funded with state money. Even Monona Terrace has state money in it.

If state employees, K-12 teachers, and university professors were being ground down as much as Act 10 bitter-enders like Dave Zweifel pretend, wouldn’t Madison more closely resemble Port au Prince?

Dave Btfsplk, look on the bright side: We could be Illinois.

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How to put more money in people’s pockets

Facebook Friend Devin has compiled a list of companies, several of which have offices in Wisconsin, that have raised wages or otherwise invested in their employees since the announcement of the federal tax cuts late last year:

Wal-Mart – wages increased and bonuses paid

Southwest Airlines – Bonuses paid

CVS – increased hiring

FedEx- increased hiring

Aflac: $250 million boost in U.S. investments and increased 401(k) benefits, including one-time contribution of $500 to every employee’s retirement savings account.

American Savings Bank: $1,000 bonus to 1,150 employees, nearly the entire workforce, and increase of minimum wage from $12.21 an hour to $15.15.

Aquesta Financial Holdings: $1,000 bonus to all employees, increase in minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Associated Bank: $500 bonus to nearly all employees and increased minimum wage to $15 per hour, up from $10.

AT&T: $1,000 bonus to all 200,000 U.S. workers and $1 billion boost in U.S. investments.

Bank of America: $1,000 bonus for about 145,000 U.S. employees.

Bank of Hawaii: $1,000 bonus for 2,074 employees, or 95 percent of its workforce, and increase of minimum wage from $12 to $15.

BB&T Corp.: $1,200 bonus for almost three-fourths of associates, or 27,000 employees, and increase in minimum wage from $12 to $15.

Boeing: $300 million boost in investments to employee gift-match programs, workforce development, and workplace improvements.

Central Pacific Bank: $1,000 bonus to all 850 nonexecutive employees and increase in minimum wage from $12 to $15.25.

Comcast NBCUniversal: $1,000 bonus for more than 100,000 employees.

Deleware Supermarkets Inc.: $150 bonus to 1,000 nonmanagement employees and $150,000 in new investment in employee training and development programs.

Express Employment Prc: $2,000 bonus to all nonexecutive employees at Oklahoma City headquarters.

Fifth Third Bancorp: $1,000 bonus for all 13,500 employees and increase of minimum wage to $15 for nearly 3,000 workers.

First Hawaiian Bank: $1,500 bonus for all 2,264 employees and increase in minimum wage to $15.

First Horizon National Corp.: $1,000 bonus to employees who do not participate in company-sponsored bonus plans.

Kansas City Southern: $1,000 bonus to employees of subsidiaries in the U.S. and Mexico.

Melaleuca: $100 bonus for every year an employee has worked for the company—an average of $800 for each of 2,000 workers.

National Bank Holdings Corp.: $1,000 bonus to all noncommissioned associates who earn a base salary under $50,000.

Nelnet: $1,000 bonus for nearly all of 4,100 employees.

Nephron Parmaceuticals: wage increase of 5 percent for its 640 employees.

Nexus: wage increase of 5 percent and plans to hire 200 workers in 2018.

OceanFirst Bank: increase in minimum wage from $13.60 to $15, affecting at least 166 employees.

PNC Bank: $1,000 bonus to 47,500 employees and $1,500 increase to existing pension accounts.

Pinnacle Bank: $1,000 bonus for all full-time employees in Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri.

Pioneer Credit Recovery: $1,000 bonus to employees.

Rush Enterprises Inc.: $1,000 discretionary bonus to 6,600 U.S. employees.

Sinclair Broadcast: $1,000 bonus to nearly 9,000 employees.

SunTrust: increase of minimum wage to $15, $50 million increase in community grants, 1 percent 401(k) contribution for all employees.

Turning Point Brands, Inc.: $1,000 bonus to 107 employees.

Washington Federal, Inc.: wage increase of 5 percent for employees earning less than $100,000 per year and increased investments in technology infrastructure and community projects.

Wells Fargo: increase in minimum wage from $13.50 to $15, and higher charitable giving by about 40 percent, to $400 million.

Western Alliance: wage increase of 7.5 percent for the lowest-paid 50 percent of employees.

Whether you like this fact or not, that is directly to Trump’s and the Republican Congress’ credit. And …

More broadly, Mark J. Perry observes things for which politicians do not deserve credit:

I posted the charts above on Twitter last Sunday and that Tweet has already had more than 1,000 re-Tweets and hundreds of comments, e.g., here’s a typical one: “This is something to cheer you up, in stark contrast to the daily #media #coverage!” So to help get people even more cheered up, and to counteract the negative news in the media with some positive economic data and facts, here’s a re-post of my 2014 “Carpe Century” post:

Morgan Housel at The Motley Fool lists the 50 reasons we’re living through the greatest period in world history (free registration may be required), and here are 25 of my favorites:

1. U.S. life expectancy at birth was 39 years in 1800, 49 years in 1900, 68 years in 1950, and 79 years today. The average newborn today can expect to live an entire generation longer than his great-grandparents could.

2. In 1949, Popular Mechanics magazine made the bold prediction that someday a computer could weigh less than 1 ton. I wrote this sentence on an iPad that weighs 0.73 pounds.

3. The average American now retires at age 62. One hundred years ago, the average American died at age 51. Enjoy your golden years — your ancestors didn’t get any of them.

4. Despite a surge in airline travel, there were half as many fatal plane accidents in 2012 than there were in 1960, according to the Aviation Safety Network.

5. People worry that the U.S. economy will end up stagnant like Japan’s. Next time you hear that, remember that unemployment in Japan hasn’t been above 5.6% in the past 25 years, its government corruption ranking has consistently improved, incomes per capita adjusted for purchasing power have grown at a decent rate, and life expectancy has risen by nearly five years. I can think of worse scenarios.

6. Two percent of American homes had electricity in 1900. J.P Morgan (the man) was one of the first to install electricity in his home, and it required a private power plant on his property. Even by 1950, close to 30% of American homes didn’t have electricity. It wasn’t until the 1970s that virtually all homes were powered. Adjusted for wage growth, electricity cost more than 10 times as much in 1900 as it does today, according to professor Julian Simon.

7. According to the Federal Reserve, the number of lifetime years spent in leisure — retirement plus time off during your working years — rose from 11 years in 1870 to 35 years by 1990. Given the rise in life expectancy, it’s probably close to 40 years today. Which is amazing: The average American spends nearly half his life in leisure. If you had told this to the average American 100 years ago, that person would have considered you wealthy beyond imagination.

8. Median household income adjusted for inflation was around $25,000 per year during the 1950s. It’s nearly double that amount today. We have false nostalgia about the prosperity of the 1950s because our definition of what counts as “middle class” has been inflated — see the 34% rise in the size of the median American home in just the past 25 years. If you dig into how the average “prosperous” American family lived in the 1950s, I think you’ll find a standard of living we’d call “poverty” today.

9. According to the Census Bureau, only one in 10 American homes had air conditioning in 1960. That rose to 49% in 1973, and 89% today — the 11% that don’t are mostly in cold climates. Simple improvements like this have changed our lives in immeasurable ways.

10. Almost no homes had a refrigerator in 1900, according to Frederick Lewis Allan’s The Big Change, let alone a car. Today they sell cars with refrigerators in them.

11. Adjusted for overall inflation, the cost of an average round-trip airline ticket fell 50% from 1978 to 2011, according to Airlines for America.

12. According to the Census Bureau, the average new home now has more bathrooms than occupants.

13. According to the Census Bureau, in 1900 there was one housing unit for every five Americans. Today, there’s one for every three. In 1910 the average home had 1.13 occupants per room. By 1997 it was down to 0.42 occupants per room.

14. Relative to hourly wages, the cost of an average new car has fallen by a factor of four since 1915, according to professor Julian Simon (5,000 hours of work at the average wage in 1915 vs. about 1,200 today).

15. Google Maps is free. If you think about this for a few moments, it’s really astounding. It’s probably the single most useful piece of software ever invented, and it’s free for anyone to use.

16. The average American work week has declined from 66 hours in 1850, to 51 hours in 1909, to 34.8 today, according to the Federal Reserve. Enjoy your weekend.

17. Incomes have grown so much faster than food prices that the average American household now spends less than half as much of its income on food as it did in the 1950s. Relative to wages, the price of food has declined more than 90% since the 19th century, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

18. As of March 2013, there were 8.99 million millionaire households in the U.S., according to the Spectrum Group. Put them together and they would make the largest city in the country, and the 18th largest city in the world, just behind Tokyo. We talk a lot about wealth concentration in the United States, but it’s not just the very top that has done well.

19. In 1900, 44% of all American jobs were in farming. Today, around 2% are. We’ve become so efficient at the basic need of feeding ourselves that nearly half the population can now work on other stuff.

20. U.S. oil production in September was the highest it’s been since 1989, and growth shows no sign of slowing. We produced 57% more oil in America in September 2013 than we did in September 2007. The International Energy Agency projects that America will be the world’s largest oil producer as soon as 2015.

21. The average American car got 13 miles per gallon in 1975, and more than 26 miles per gallon in 2013, according to the Energy Protection Agency. This has an effect identical to cutting the cost of gasoline in half.

22. Annual inflation in the United States hasn’t been above 10% since 1981 and has been below 5% in 77% of years over the past seven decades. When you consider all the hatred directed toward the Federal Reserve, this is astounding.

23. According to AT&T archives and the Dallas Fed, a three-minute phone call from New York to San Francisco cost $341 in 1915, and $12.66 in 1960, adjusted for inflation. Today, Republic Wireless offers unlimited talk, text, and data for $5 a month.

24. You need an annual income of $34,000 a year to be in the richest 1% of the world, according to World Bank economist Branko Milanovic’s 2010 book The Haves and the Have-Nots. To be in the top half of the globe you need to earn just $1,225 a year. For the top 20%, it’s $5,000 per year. Enter the top 10% with $12,000 a year. To be included in the top 0.1% requires an annual income of $70,000. America’s poorest are some of the world’s richest.

25. Only 4% of humans get to live in America. Odds are you’re one of them. We’ve got it made. Be thankful.

Diversity, except for this kind

This being Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which has become a celebration of diversity, Mike Rowe reportts on an example the kind of diversity liberals do not respect:

Mike Rowe has a habit of dismantling his critics. Perhaps it is his blue-collar demeanor and reputation that make him seem like an easy target. Yet people continue to push, like Rebecca Bright, who labeled Rowe an “anti-education, science doubting, ultra-right wing conservative.” If that wasn’t enough, she suggested he should be fired.

“I love the show How the Universe Works, but I’m lost on how the producers and the Science Channel can allow anti-education, science doubting, ultra-right wing conservative Mike Rowe to narrate the show,” Bright complained. “There are countless scientists that should be hired for that, or actors, if you must, that believe in education and science that would sound great narrating the show, example: Morgan Freeman. Cancel this fools [sic] contract and get any of your scientists so often on the show to narrate it.”

So Rowe responded.

“Well hi there, Rebecca. How’s it going?”

“First of all, I’m glad you like the show. “How the Universe Works” is a terrific documentary series that I’ve had the pleasure of narrating for the last six seasons. I thought this week’s premiere was especially good. It was called, “Are Black Holes Real?” If you didn’t see it, spoiler alert….no one knows!!!

“It’s true. The existence of Black Holes has never been proven. Some cosmologists are now convinced they don’t exist at all, and the race to prove their actuality has become pretty intense. Why? Because so much of what we think we know about the cosmos depends upon them. In other words, the most popular explanations as to how the universe actually works, are based upon the existence of a thing that no one has been able to prove.

“As I’m sure you know, it’s OK to make assumptions based on theories. In fact, it’s critical to progress. But it’s easy these days to confuse theory with fact. Thanks to countless movies and television shows that feature Black Holes as a plot device, and many documentaries that bring them to life with gorgeous CGI effects and dramatic music, a lot of people are under the assumption that Black Holes are every bit as real as the Sun and the Moon. Well, maybe they are, and maybe they aren’t. We just don’t know. That’s why I enjoyed this week’s show so much. It acknowledged the reasons we should question the existence of something that many assume to be “settled science.” It invited us to doubt.

“Oftentimes, on programs like these, I’m asked to re-record a passage that’s suddenly rendered inaccurate by the advent of new information. Sometimes, over the course of just a few days. That’s how fast the information changes. Last year for instance, on an episode called “Galaxies,” the original script – carefully vetted by the best minds in physics – claimed there were approximately one hundred billion galaxies in the known universe. A hundred billion! (Not a typo.) I couldn’t believe it when I read it. I mean, the Milky Way alone has something like 400 billion stars! Andromeda has a trillion! How many stars must there be in a universe, with a hundred billion galaxies? Mind-boggling, right?

“Well, a few weeks later, the best minds in physics came together again, and determined that the total number of galaxies in the universe was NOT in fact, a hundred billion. They were off. Not by a few thousand, or a few million, or few billion, or even a few hundred billion. The were off by two trillion. That’s right…TWO TRILLION!! But here’s the point, Rebecca – when I narrate this program, it doesn’t matter if I’m correct or incorrect – I always sound the same. And guess what? So do the experts.

“When I wrote about this discrepancy, people became upset. They thought I was making fun of science. They thought I was suggesting that because physicists were off by one trillion, nine hundred billion galaxies, all science was suddenly suspect, and no claims could be trusted. In general, people like you accused me of “doubting science.” Which is a curious accusation, since science without doubt isn’t science at all.

“This is an important point. If I said I was skeptical that a supernatural being put us here on Earth, you’d be justified in calling me a “doubter of religion.” But if I said I was skeptical that manmade global warming was going to melt the icecaps, that doesn’t make me a “doubter of science.” Once upon a time, the best minds in science told us the Sun revolved around the Earth. They also told us the Earth was flat, and that a really bad fever could be cured by blood-letting. Happily, those beliefs were questioned by skeptical minds, and we moved forward. Science is a wonderful thing, and a critical thing. But without doubt, science doesn’t advance. Without skepticism, we have no reason to challenge the status quo. Anyway, enough pontificating. Let’s consider for a moment, your very best efforts to have me fired.

“You’ve called me an “ultra-right wing conservative,” who is both “anti-education,” and “science-doubting.” Interestingly, you offer no proof. Odd, for a lover of science. So I challenge you to do so now. Please provide some evidence that I am in fact the person you’ve described. And by evidence, I don’t mean a sentence taken out of context, or a meme that appeared in your newsfeed, or a photo of me standing next to a politician or a talk-show host you don’t like. I mean actual proof of what you claim I am.

“Also, please bear in mind that questioning the cost of a college degree does not make me “anti-education.” Questioning the existence of dark-matter does not make me a “dark-matter denier.” And questioning the wisdom of a universal $15 minimum wage doesn’t make me an “ultra-right wing conservative.” As for Morgan Freeman, I agree. He’s a terrific narrator, and a worthy replacement. But remember, Morgan played God on the big screen. Twice. Moreover, he has publicly claimed to be a “believer.” (gasp!) Should this disqualify him from narrating a series that contradicts the Bible at every turn? If not, why not?

“Anyway, Rebecca, my beef with your post comes down to this – if you go to my boss and ask her to fire me because you can’t stand the sound of my voice, I get it. Narrators with unpleasant voices should probably look for other work anyway, and if enough people share your view, no hard feelings – I’ll make room for Morgan. But if you’re trying to get me fired simply because you don’t like my worldview, well then, I’m going to fight back. Partly because I like my job, and partly because you’re wrong about your assumptions, but mostly because your tactics typify a toxic blend of laziness and group-think that are all too common today – a hot mess of hashtags and intolerance that deepen the chasm currently dividing our country.

“Re-read your own post, and think about your actual position. You’ve publicly asked a network to fire the narrator of a hit show because you might not share his personal beliefs. Don’t you think that’s kind of…extraordinary? Not only are you unwilling to engage with someone you disagree with – you can’t even enjoy a show you claim to love if you suspect the narrator might not share your view of the world! Do you know how insular that makes you sound? How fragile?

“I just visited your page, and read your own description of you. It was revealing. It says, “I stand my ground. I fear no one & nothing. I have & will fight for what’s right.”

“Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t think the ground you’re standing on is worth defending. If you truly fear “no one & nothing,” it’s not because you’re brave; it’s because you’re unwilling to expose yourself to ideas that frighten you. And while I can see that you like to fight for what you think is “right” (in this case, getting people fired that you disagree with,) one could easily say the same thing about any other misguided, garden-variety bully.

“In other words, Rebecca, I don’t think you give a damn about science. If I’m wrong, prove it. Take a step back and be skeptical about your own assumptions. Take a moment to doubt your own words, and ask yourself – as any good scientist would – if you’ve got your head up a black hole.

That lack of respect for intellectual diversity or viewpoint diversity is not King’s fault. It is the fault of some of those who consider themselves to be King’s followers, perhaps. It is more the fault of those who worship earthly authority, perhaps in order to get that authority themselves.

 

The quotable King

My favorite Martin Luther King quotes, some of which you may not read or hear on Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.

A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable … Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. … I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values — that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.

Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control.

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.

The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.

Of s—holes

Three of my right-thinking Facebook Friends have the correct, though dissimilar, perspectives that don’t sink into virtue-signaling about the latest effort by Donald Trump to get the media to report four-letter words (assuming he said what is claimed he said).

First, Gary Probst:

Ya know, I’ve been trying very hard to stay out of this whole s-hole thing but I just can’t. When people blindly defend Trump’s every action, it is quite disgusting. I’m sorry if you want to unfriend me, but truth is truth and light is light. I prefer to speak truth and light.

Now, we’ll never know for sure if Trump said this or if its Durbin lying again. We won’t. Nobody will play it straight and be honest with us. This is politics, after all.

However, Trump’s mouth has been much more than just “plain speaking”. It has been rude, crude and vile—-quite a few times. When you act badly, people are going to find it much easier to believe it when accused a second time.

To shows photos of Haiti after an earthquake or hurricane and then say, “look, it IS a s-hole country” is just downright wrong and borderline despicable. The government there may be S— but are the people?? If you believe that, consider what Jesus would say. Would he agree? Would you agree with Jesus or Trump, or are they one and the same to you?

I never liked Trump but I appreciate the economic benefits he has helped to create. I have given him credit, when earned. However, do not think for one minute this man is anything like Reagan. I met Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan loved people. He had a warm and open heart. He believed in elevating people and expecting the best from them. Ronald Reagan, even in a secluded place, would never have said something of that nature. Do you truly believe Donald Trump would not?

Harry Truman was “plain spoken”. Reagan was “plain spoken”. Abe Lincoln was “plain spoken”. LBJ and Trump—vile in their profanity and attitudes. If Hillary Clinton had said this, we’d be all over her and refuting her. She has, in fact, degraded others in this fashion and conservatives have called her out on it. That’s good. That’s proper.

However, only a few decades have passed since people from places like Ireland and Italy were considered to have come from S-hole nations. Watch “Gangs of New York”. The Butcher was a real character in Five Points. The movie was based on truth.

So, when you allow the attitude that any nation is a S-hole nation, you are calling the people of that nation such. Really?

There are cultures I have spoken up against. I’m not impressed with the voodoo and satanic worship that goes on in Haiti. However, its not everybody there and much is based upon ignorance and centuries of suffering. I am not a fan of Islam, after actually taking the time to read their holy book. Yet, not all people in places like Iran are S–people. Again,, they are victims of ignorance, suffering and oppression.

When you rush to the defense of somebody of Trump’s ilk, you may want to think about what Jesus of Nazareth would have said or be saying, right now. WWJD? In his time, the Romans considered his land a S—hole nation, too.

Well … Truman apparently used that N-word considerably often as well, though Truman desegregated the military when it didn’t necessarily benefit his party. Johnson got the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed and crowed that it would have blacks (and he didn’t use that word) voting Democratic for 200 years.

Next, Rick Esenberg:

Writing at American Greatness, Roger Kimball argues that Trump’s s***hole comments state a truth that our public sanctimony refuses to acknowledge. Some countries are awful places, America has no obligation to accept anyone and evertyone that wants to escape them and that immigrants from these countries – because of the ways in which these countries are broken – are less likely to do well here. He’s got a point. But while I’m all for exploring the limits of sanctimony, there is usually some reason that we’ve become sanctimonious. We don’t want to be indifferent to the problems of the rest of the world and we don’t want to slip into making easy judgments about others based on their race and nationality. And we want a President who takes care not to do these things. Words matter. Clarity and care in thinking matter. The “Trump is a racist threat to people of color” reaction to this is overblown and occasionally bordering on hysteria. But Trump did screw up. Again. And these screw-ups matter. He needs to understand that the first thing that comes to his mind often needs to be rethought. The Trumo administration has done some great things. The economy is booming, ISIS is in tatters and much (although not all) of the worst things that the Obama administration did are being reversed. We might actually be about to do something sensible about immigration. Yet his approval ratings are horrible. There’s a reason for that.

Finally, Michael Smith:

Let me state for the record that I am neither shocked or offended by a President – any President – who uses a profane word or phrase during a meeting. It’s done – I’ve done it – it may not be civil or appropriate but it happens. What also happens is that the same words are rarely used with the greater population of the office or company.

It is not unusual for a member of the meeting, one opposed to the discussion or decision, to continue to shop his or her grievances to the general population in search of sympathy and/or support.

Now, if Trump rolled such a phrase or word during a televised meeting with world leaders or at the SOTU address, that would be concerning to me.

Aside from the “hair on fire” reactions of the Democrats, their enablers in media and the NeverTrump factions, I’m nonplussed (can you actually be “plussed”?) and pretty sanguine about the whole deal. To the leaders of the UN, Mexico, the African states, the Middle Eastern regimes and Haiti, my responses to you all are:

1. Well? What part of “shithole” is wrong?
2. Why aren’t you upset your people are fleeing your country?
3. Have you ever asked yourself why refugees come FROM your country?
4. Fix your own damn problems before you start criticizing America – Americans aren’t flooding your shores and begging for asylum in your countries.

From a deeper perspective, the sum total of this ridiculous affray is the confirmation that Democrats believe every other people are better than Americans, and that American are the only humans on earth who should be criticized. Their words (and actions) clearly indicate a preference for any non-citizen over any citizen and they would never go the the lengths to protect an American citizen of any race, creed or color the way they do citizens of other countries.

Democrats are most assuredly the “Party of the People” – as long as “the people” are from another country.

Presty the DJ for Jan. 15

Today in 1967 was not a good day for fans of artistic freedom or the First Amendment, though the First Amendment applies to government against citizens and not the media against individuals.

Before their appearance on CBS-TV’s Ed Sullivan Shew, the Rolling Stones were compelled to change “Let’s Spend the Night Together …”

… to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together”:

The number one British album today in 1977 was ABBA’s “Arrival” …

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Jan. 15”

Presty the DJ for Jan. 13

The number one single today in 1960 topped the charts for the second time:

It’s not a secret that the number one album today in 1973 was Carly Simon’s “No Secrets”:

Today in 1973, Eric Clapton performed in concert for the first time in several years at the Rainbow Theatre in London:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Jan. 13”

Another reason I will probably burn in Hell

This has been going around social media for a while:

The images here of Holly Butcher don’t convey what’s happening inside her body. Ewing’s Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, is killing her. At 27, Butcher was facing the end of her life. Before she died, Butcher wrote a letter explaining what she was experiencing. When she died last week, her parents published her letter.

“It’s a strange thing to realize and accept your mortality at 26 years young. It’s just one of those things you ignore. The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming; Until the unexpected happens. I always imagined myself growing old, wrinkled and grey- most likely caused by the beautiful family (lots of kiddies) I planned on building with the love of my life. I want that so bad it hurts.

“That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.

“I’m 27 now. I don’t want to go. I love my life. I am happy.. I owe that to my loved ones. But the control is out of my hands.

“I haven’t started this ‘note before I die’ so that death is feared – I like the fact that we are mostly ignorant to its inevitability … Except when I want to talk about it and it is treated like a ‘taboo’ topic that will never happen to any of us … That’s been a bit tough. I just want people to stop worrying so much about the small, meaningless stresses in life and try to remember that we all have the same fate after it all so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bullshit.

“I have dropped lots of my thoughts below as I have had a lot of time to ponder life these last few months. Of course it’s the middle of the night when these random things pop in my head most!

“Those times you are whinging about ridiculous things (something I have noticed so much these past few months), just think about someone who is really facing a problem. Be grateful for your minor issue and get over it. It’s okay to acknowledge that something is annoying but try not to carry on about it and negatively effect other people’s days.

“Once you do that, get out there and take a freaking big breath of that fresh Aussie air deep in your lungs, look at how blue the sky is and how green the trees are; It is so beautiful. Think how lucky you are to be able to do just that – breathe.

“You might have got caught in bad traffic today, or had a bad sleep because your beautiful babies kept you awake, or your hairdresser cut your hair too short. Your new fake nails might have got a chip, your boobs are too small, or you have cellulite on your arse and your belly is wobbling.

“Let all that shit go.. I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go. It is all SO insignificant when you look at life as a whole. I’m watching my body waste away right before my eyes with nothing I can do about it and all I wish for now is that I could have just one more Birthday or Christmas with my family, or just one more day with my partner and dog. Just one more.

“I hear people complaining about how terrible work is or about how hard it is to exercise – Be grateful you are physically able to. Work and exercise may seem like such trivial things … until your body doesn’t allow you to do either of them.

“I tried to live a healthy life, in fact, that was probably my major passion. Appreciate your good health and functioning body- even if it isn’t your ideal size. Look after it and embrace how amazing it is. Move it and nourish it with fresh food. Don’t obsess over it.

“Remember there are more aspects to good health than the physical body.. work just as hard on finding your mental, emotional and spiritual happiness too. That way you might realise just how insignificant and unimportant having this stupidly portrayed perfect social media body really is.. While on this topic, delete any account that pops up on your news feeds that gives you any sense of feeling shit about yourself. Friend or not.. Be ruthless for your own well-being.

“Be grateful for each day you don’t have pain and even the days where you are unwell with man flu, a sore back or a sprained ankle, accept it is shit but be thankful it isn’t life threatening and will go away.

“Whinge less, people! .. And help each other more.

“Give, give, give. It is true that you gain more happiness doing things for others than doing them for yourself. I wish I did this more. Since I have been sick, I have met the most incredibly giving and kind people and been the receiver of the most thoughtful and loving words and support from my family, friends and strangers; More than I could I ever give in return. I will never forget this and will be forever grateful to all of these people.

“It is a weird thing having money to spend at the end.. when you’re dying. It’s not a time you go out and buy material things that you usually would, like a new dress. It makes you think how silly it is that we think it is worth spending so much money on new clothes and ‘things’ in our lives.

“Buy your friend something kind instead of another dress, beauty product or jewellery for that next wedding. 1. No-one cares if you wear the same thing twice 2. It feels good. Take them out for a meal, or better yet, cook them a meal. Shout their coffee. Give/ buy them a plant, a massage or a candle and tell them you love them when you give it to them.

“Value other people’s time. Don’t keep them waiting because you are shit at being on time. Get ready earlier if you are one of those people and appreciate that your friends want to share their time with you, not sit by themselves, waiting on a mate. You will gain respect too! Amen sister.

“This year, our family agreed to do no presents and despite the tree looking rather sad and empty (I nearly cracked Christmas Eve!), it was so nice because people didn’t have the pressure of shopping and the effort went into writing a nice card for each other. Plus imagine my family trying to buy me a present knowing they would probably end up with it themselves.. strange! It might seem lame but those cards mean more to me than any impulse purchase could. Mind you, it was also easier to do in our house because we had no little kiddies there. Anyway, moral of the story- presents are not needed for a meaningful Christmas. Moving on.

“Use your money on experiences.. Or at least don’t miss out on experiences because you spent all your money on material shit.

“Put in the effort to do that day trip to the beach you keep putting off. Dip your feet in the water and dig your toes in the sand. Wet your face with salt water.

“Get amongst nature.

“Try just enjoying and being in moments rather than capturing them through the screen of your phone. Life isn’t meant to be lived through a screen nor is it about getting the perfect photo.. enjoy the bloody moment, people! Stop trying to capture it for everyone else.

“Random rhetorical question. Are those several hours you spend doing your hair and make up each day or to go out for one night really worth it? I’ve never understood this about females 🤔.

“Get up early sometimes and listen to the birds while you watch the beautiful colours the sun makes as it rises.

“Listen to music.. really listen. Music is therapy. Old is best.

“Cuddle your dog. Far out, I will miss that.

“Talk to your friends. Put down your phone. Are they doing okay?

“Travel if it’s your desire, don’t if it’s not.

“Work to live, don’t live to work.

“Seriously, do what makes your heart feel happy.

“Eat the cake. Zero guilt.

“Say no to things you really don’t want to do.

“Don’t feel pressured to do what other people might think is a fulfilling life.. you might want a mediocre life and that is so okay.

“Tell your loved ones you love them every time you get the chance and love them with everything you have.

“Also, remember if something is making you miserable, you do have the power to change it – in work or love or whatever it may be. Have the guts to change. You don’t know how much time you’ve got on this earth so don’t waste it being miserable. I know that is said all the time but it couldn’t be more true.

“Anyway, that’s just this one young gals life advice. Take it or leave it, I don’t mind!

“Oh and one last thing, if you can, do a good deed for humanity (and myself) and start regularly donating blood. It will make you feel good with the added bonus of saving lives. I feel like it is something that is so overlooked considering every donation can save 3 lives! That is a massive impact each person can have and the process really is so simple.

“Blood donation (more bags than I could keep up with counting) helped keep me alive for an extra year – a year I will be forever grateful that I got to spend it here on Earth with my family, friends and dog. A year I had some of the greatest times of my life.

“…’Til we meet again.

“Hol”

I have never, thankfully, faced a life-threatening illness. (Unless my 1983 appendicitis would have failed to have been diagnosed, my appendix would have burst, and no one would have done anything about it.) It’s undeniably tragic to die before you have had a chance to live, and it’s even more tragic to be the parents of someone who dies that young. (Long-time readers know I had an older brother who died before I was born.)

Perhaps because of my apparent lifelong effort to interject “yeah, but” into everything, I have to disagree with a lot of this. (Why do I feel compelled to rebut something a terminally-ill young woman wrote? Because I’m that way, I guess, the explanation why, in addition to being a journalists, for the headline.) For instance:

“Those times you are whinging about ridiculous things (something I have noticed so much these past few months) …” (I assume the G in “whinging” is silent) is a variation on the title of the Richard Carlson self-help book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and It’s All Small Stuff. That phrase is comparable to sports statistics, which, if you think about it, show what did happen, but do not show what is going to happen. Perhaps bad traffic or something else that delays you makes you late for something. Being late is a sign of disrespect for whoever or whatever you’re going to see, and is a bad example. As someone whose irritation level with things has grown as I age, I observe that maybe tomorrow, or later today, some irritant is a small thing, but you don’t know that at the time, do you?

She did, however, note: “Value other people’s time. Don’t keep them waiting because you are shit at being on time. Get ready earlier if you are one of those people and appreciate that your friends want to share their time with you, not sit by themselves, waiting on a mate.” Perhaps the terminally ill value time more than those who are merely irritated by someone else wasting our time.

Here’s another example specific to my line of work: If someone’s name is misspelled in something one writes, that indicates at least sloppiness on your part, not caring about the quality of your work, or not believing that person is important enough for you to get his or her name right. (Or perhaps a combination of all three.) Someone not happy about your misspelling his or her name will be even less happy with your advice to not sweat the stuff, like his or her own name.

I suppose that flies in the face of her suggestion we “Work to live, don’t live to work.” But as I’ve written here before about how and why Americans take less vacation time than those in other countries, we are on this earth to work, and to serve others by our work. (That’s in several places in the Old and New Testaments; she may not have been religious.) My advice, as you know, is to never love your job, because your job does not love you back, which is not synonymous with doing a lame job with your work, the minimum to get regularly paid.

My two favorite quotes from Vince Lombardi (other than the all-purpose “What the hell’s going on out there?”) are:

  • “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while… you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time.”
  • “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

A lot of what’s wrong with this country (outside of politics) is the result of what a college basketball coach acquaintance of mine calls “settling” — in his case for a lower-percentage shot instead of working harder for a better shot, and elsewhere, I think, doing the minimum necessary (something I have been occasionally accused of, and not without reason sometimes) instead of doing something as well as you can. (And, as I learned from my music experiences, doing something well whether or not anyone notices.) We disrespect those around us — those paying us to work, our coworkers and our customers — by doing shoddy work.

She wrote something half-correct in telling us “Don’t feel pressured to do what other people might think is a fulfilling life.. you might want a mediocre life and that is so okay.” The half that is correct is the first part, to make decisions on what is best for you and not based on what someone thinks you should do. (If I didn’t feel that was wise advice I wouldn’t be writing this and risking the condemnation of those who think I’m heartless.)

With my present employment I have become known for a lot of coverage of police and courts. One reason is that I think people should know who the bad people in their neighborhood are. I guess I might be engaging in public shaming as well, though it’s questionable if that works anymore. If someone wants to screw up his or her own life, fine, but that person doesn’t have the right to screw up someone else’s life, regardless of the so-called root causes of that criminal’s lawlessness.

The writer didn’t appear to be writing about the scourge of the 21st century, taking offense at everything, especially third-party insult (for instance, being offended at American Indian-derived sports team nicknames when you’re not one) or hypersensitive outrage at so-called ______ privilege. To borrow from the author’s language, that just shows you’re a hypersensitive humorless asshole who can’t figure out what is actually important in life.

One tragedy of the writer’s tragic death is that she never got to experience the most humbling and maddening experience of a lifetime — parenting. I cannot imagine someone with a large ego being a parent, because it is the most ego-deflating experience possible in life. There is nothing that can make you feel more personally inadequate as having to apologize to your child when you overreact to something he or she did, or when you don’t do something you told your child you were going to do.

Had she been a parent, she would have probably not included this advice to “Say no to things you really don’t want to do.” That list for parents could include changing diapers that could turn your house into an EPA Superfund site, cleaning up other messes your child made but can’t clean up, going to parent–teacher conferences where you may not hear good news about your child’s schoolwork, not alibiing for your child when he or she does something he or she shouldn’t have done or didn’t do what he or she should have done, or other activiies that would not ordinarily rank high on your list of things you’d like to do, except because they involve your child you have to do them. (When you are a parent you gain insight into the vast numbers of things your parents did for you for which you probably didn’t thank them. My advice: Don’t wait until Mother’s Day or Father’s Day to thank them.)

This observation is sadly ironic: “I tried to live a healthy life, in fact, that was probably my major passion.” It sounds flip to note that life is unfair, and yet life is unfair. I assume she didn’t go around making other people’s lives worse, unlike some of the people I get to write about in my profession who are alive when she is not. This doesn’t mean to eat dessert first, or eat nothing but desserts, but you should eat desserts you like. In the past week there have been deaths of a nine-day-old baby and a two-week-old baby, and recently a 17-year-old high school student died in a pickup truck crash. To quote the late Harry Caray, who certainly followed his own advice until his own advice degraded his own health, “Live it up, boys, it’s later than you think.”

It’s nice that she apparently got to spend the last year of her life basically doing whatever she wanted. That is not probably the reality for most people with terminal diseases. The same can be said for her advice to “remember if something is making you miserable, you do have the power to change it – in work or love or whatever it may be. Have the guts to change. You don’t know how much time you’ve got on this earth so don’t waste it being miserable. I know that is said all the time but it couldn’t be more true.” Maybe it couldn’t be more true, but it’s not as easy as that sounds, as the mother of a mentally-ill 26-year-old daughter pointed out in the comments. Parents don’t get to walk away from their children.

The piece of advice that probably should be engraved on my gravestone except that there’s no way it would fit comes from my one-size-fits-all graduation speech. To quote from myself:

You may be sick of where you are right now, ready to get out of school; you may think to yourself that, if I could only get out into the work world, or if I could get a higher educational degree, then my life will really begin. And then you may find your first job out of school is not only not what you really had in mind upon graduation, but that this job of yours is clearly beneath you, and you may think to yourself, if I could only find a better job than this, then my life will really begin. Or you may be dissatisfied with your social life, and you may think to yourself, if I could only meet a special someone, then my life will really begin. Or you may not really like where you live, and you may think to yourself, if I could find a bigger and better house, then my life will really begin.

I hope you can see where this point is going. Your life is what is happening while you’re waiting for your idealized life to begin. There’s nothing wrong with self-improvement, with looking to better your circumstances. But ultimately your circumstances should not define who you are or how you feel about yourself or your life. And if you’re determining your overall level of contentment based on your job, or your status, or how much stuff you have, I predict that you will have an ultimately unfulfilling life.

She wrote a lot about appreciating what you have. I admit to being terrible at that. In my four-month experience of doctor’s offices, surgery and hobbling around trying not to fall on my surgery-mangled foot, I could at least see, in every doctor’s office waiting room, people who were obviously worse off than myself.

The ugly truth is that we should probably abandon seeking happiness, even though the pursuit of happiness is one of our inalienable rights endowed by our Creator. It’s not clear that God really intends for us to be happy, but it certainly seems true that doing things just because you think they make you happy probably isn’t going to make you happy. I suppose if I ever actually did get a Corvette, one of which I have wanted as long as I could remember, I’d love it until it stopped working, needed expensive parts, was drivable only during nice weather, or whatever reality intervened in my dream of Corvette ownership.

At least she did admit, “Anyway, that’s just this one young gals life advice. Take it or leave it.” I would write that too, but as an opinionmonger I expect readers to follow my own wise counsel, except that I’m unlikely to know whether or not you do.