Oh, Its a Duzzie…

ISOA BannerIt’s time for a lighter post here so what could be better than an “On The Road Again” report. Last week I spent two days in northeastern Indiana particularly around the Ft. Wayne region. This was my first visit to the Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg Museum in the city of Auburn Indiana which is just north of Ft Wayne. The amount and quality of cars there is simply amazing!!

For this post I am concentrating on my favorite car there which is a 1931 Cord.  Since orange is my favorite color I guess I should not be surprised by my selection.  I also have to admit that I stuck a picture from their gallery into this collage.  In the coming weeks I will be showing you more of this fantastic place. I am a car guy so this is definitely my place to visit.  I wonder what took me so long to discover it 🙂

(click on any picture in the gallery below to see a larger slideshow)

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Why Do They Hate Us??

I thoroughly recognize that there are two very different sides to the USA. There is the philanthropist/caring side and then there is the gun-totting warrior side ready to strike at any moment because of a variety of fears.  Sadly the former seems to be mostly our face in the current age.

RedLetterChristians LogoThanks to my friends over at Red Letter Christians for the below quote on why so many hate us in the predominately Muslim part of the world. Since the quote is so long I will let it stand by itself for this post.

America invaded Iraq and started a war that even our most fervent nationalists now admit was a grave mistake. There are estimates that as many as 250,000 Iraqi non-combatant citizens have been killed and at least a half million people in that country have been seriously wounded and maimed for life. Even now our air attacks are leveling their cities and destroying many of their homes. Also, that war crippled the Iraqi economy and helped generate massive poverty. So why should we be surprised that there’s a lot of hatred towards America among many of the people of Iraq? What adds to our sadness is that so many heroic American soldiers have been killed, or have had their lives ruined, because of this horrific war.

In Afghanistan the suffering parallels that in Iraq. As we kill Taliban leaders with our drone attacks our leaders call “collateral damage” the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians. The destruction of the social fabric and infrastructure that has been caused by our warfare has created conditions that extremists have utilized to establish their programs of subjugating women, closing schools to girls and making oppressive poverty a normative reality. The majority of Muslims oppose these actions. So, Donald Trump is right when he says that there are millions of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan who regard America as “the Great Satan” and hate us. What he doesn’t acknowledge is that the warfare atrocities that America has committed in those countries has fed that hatred. For instance, that our military and the CIA are known to regularly torture Muslim prisoners only further inflames this animosity.

Then there’s America’s willingness to stand idly by while funding an Israeli military establishment that has leveled Palestinian homes in the West Bank of Palestine; taking the land from Palestinians who had lived on that land for generations and using it to build “illegal settlements” that the rest of the world calls illegal. This has fed hatred of America. Muslim Palestinians know America can stop the injustices they suffer, but does nothing, and they hate us for it.

Also, consider the reality that America has contributed to the destabilization of Muslim governments across Northern Africa and throughout the Middle East, creating societal vacuums in many places that have made room for local militias and extremists to take over. These radical Muslim militias in turn have ruled in tyrannical ways. And yes, there are non-combatant Muslims in these countries who once admired us and now hate America.

SOURCE:  Donald Trump Was Right – Red Letter Christians

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How Islam Is Different… Or Not…

I would guess that the moderate Islam theologians, if they really call themselves that, tire of saying that these almost weekly killings don’t represent them. It just doesn’t seem to have much conviction behind those words anymore. I know this guy who killed and injured more than 100  in the latest event probably is more a Muslim in words than in acts but he is the face of that religion for most of us.

The words below come from a Muslim scholar at the Brookings Institute who tries to point out that Islam is just the way it is and you can’t do much about it. I take exception with his words:

2016-06-13_08-24-09.pngI am a bit uncomfortable making this claim, especially now, with anti-Muslim bigotry on the rise. But Islamic exceptionalism is neither good nor bad. It just is, and we need to understand and respect that.

Two factors are worth emphasizing: First, the founding moment of Islam looms large. Unlike Jesus Christ, the Prophet Muhammad was a theologian, a preacher, a warrior and a politician, all at once. He was also the leader and builder of a new state, capturing, holding and governing new territory. Religious and political functions, at least for the believer, were no accident. They were meant to be intertwined in the leadership of one man.

Second, for Muslims the Quran is God’s direct and literal speech, more than merely the word of God. It is difficult to overstate the centrality of divine authorship. This does not mean Muslims are literalists; most are not. But it does mean the text cannot easily be dismissed as irrelevant.

via How Islam Is Different from Other Religions | TIME

Islamic exceptionalism is mainly in the eyes of the beholder it seems. I googled the term and couldn’t find any references but I think he means that to the followers it is the only true religion. Of course there are many in the Christian world who make the same claims. They say that every word in their bible comes directly from God. Many in the ‘flat bible’ arena take that to believe that they can base their faith in any of the words contained in it as each word is as important as the next.  Some make snake handling as a serious part of their worship, some take the belief that God intends all of his believers to be millionaires. They can pick and choose any words as all are equally important. Isn’t that what all the suicide martyrs are doing?

The arguments in the quote above are the main reasons why we have so much religious related violence in the world. Every believer thinks they are exceptional. No, it is not” just the way it is”.

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Diner/Gas Station from the Past…

ISOA BannerIn the old days, during my college years that is, State Road 52 was the main route between Indianapolis and Lafayette Indiana. I know I traveled it several times going back and forth to Purdue. Since gas mileage was so poor back then it had many gas stations and such along the route. I recently took a trip that included that section of highway and came across this past gas station/diner combination that has probably been abandoned for years now.

(click on any picture to see a larger slideshow)

I’m sure it was open during my college years but I don’t really particularly remember it. It looks like the diner survived until recently as the inside seems almost ready for the next meal. I have learned that if you are in a real search for America you must stay off the Interstate highways and travel via state roads. Too many people just treat their destinations as the overriding goal when they travel and forget, like life in general, that it should be more about the travel instead of just the destination.

In life the final destination for all of us is death so I can’t understand people racing through life to reach that destination. Stop and smell the roses, or at least get off the Interstates and enjoy our fabulous country…

 

Social Disorders..

2016-06-07_09-04-00.pngI admit that in some ways I am very different from the people around me. I can’t understand why so many people don’t  do the work to stay informed on the issues of today but instead just latch onto the latest screams.  This seems to be very prevalent in the “Trump” world of today.  Some people just seem to be so illogical in their thinking that it makes me crazy at times. Am I different than many in that regard?

When I recently saw a segment on Asperger Syndrome on the PBS Newshour. I quickly noticed that I have, and always had, some of the same of characteristics. Here is a little about this condition from Wiki:

Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Aspergers, is a developmental disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. As a milder autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it differs from other ASDs by relatively normal language and intelligence.  Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and unusual use of language are common. Symptoms usually begin before two years old and typically last for a person’s entire life…

In 2013, Asperger’s was estimated to affect 31 million people globally.  The syndrome is named after the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger who, in 1944, described children in his practice who lacked nonverbal communication, had limited understanding of others’ feelings, and were physically clumsy.  The modern conception of Asperger syndrome came into existence in 1981 and went through a period of popularization. It became a standardized diagnosis in the early 1990s.  Many questions and controversies remain about aspects of the disorder.  There is doubt about whether it is distinct from high-functioning autism (HFA).  Partly because of this, the percentage of people affected is not firmly established.

via Asperger syndrome – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aspergers: Different Levels of Severity

Aspergers can range from mild to severe. A person might have a few traits of Aspergers, or might have a large number of traits, and each of these traits can range from mild to severe. So, some people with Aspergers have only minor difficulties functioning in society while others need someone to help with most aspects of life.

Some people have all of the criteria for Aspergers that are quite severe and very noticeable …and some people might not get diagnosed until they are a teenager (or even later) because they were thought of as just being ‘shy’ or ‘eccentric’. Some people with Aspergers can’t get a job, can’t live on their own, can’t drive, can’t have a relationship and don’t have any friends …and some are married and have children, can drive and have a few friends (but still have the social problems and obsessive interests/routines that are part of Aspergers).

SOURCE: My Aspergers Child: Aspergers: Different Levels of Severity

I will be studying this condition in the coming weeks to understand it more thoroughly. From what I have read I can see that I have many symptoms that define this condition. It will be interesting to try and learn a little more about myself even at this late stage in my life. Never stop learning, even about yourself. You will be surprised what you can learn.

It’s Got To Change…

2016-06-07_08-02-26.pngI am definitely hoping, praying even, that the GOP is decisively rejected in the coming election. With Trump at the top of the ticket, and my faith in the sanity of most of us in the U.S. , I can see that very possibly happen.  If it happens it will finally turn the Supreme Court away from it radically conservative base and allow for fundamental change to happen.  The first thing that needs to change is not about gun control but instead about our elections process.

In 2012, Democratic candidates for Congress received more votes than Republican candidates. For the first time in 40 years, the party that received the most votes failed to take control of the House. The people did vote for candidates who believed in gun-control reforms. Obama had it backward: it’s the Republican mapmakers who gerrymandered our democracy so effectively after the GOP’s historic 2010 victory who have made it hard for the voters to affect elections. The strategy was dubbed REDMAP, for Redistricting Majority Project, and it was brilliant in its execution. With $30 million or less than the cost of some losing Senate races — smartly spent in the right districts in the right states — Republican strategists turned the House of Representatives red for a decade, and maybe longer.

SOURCE: The GOP screwed themselves: The brilliant gerrymander that gave Republicans the Congress — and created Donald Trump – Salon.com

Computers are great things that have advanced our society in numerous ways but that power is also used by the dark side.  It is used for elected officials to chose their voters and that is definitely not what the framers of our country intended. In previous posts on this topic I have showed you the utter stupidity of how congressional maps are drawn. With enough computing power now available making sure that your guy gets elected is almost a sure thing.  Majority rule is no longer valid when it comes to electing  so many of our federal office holders.

It seems the only way that will happen is to take gerrymandering to the Supreme Court and declare it unconstitutional, which it surely is. We need to either take the ability to set up congressional districts away from State governments or strictly regulate how they are determined at least for federal elections.  If we put some sense back into this process the will of the people will once again be accomplished.

Yes, there are simply too many guns in the hands of too many unstable people in this country and that must  change but the more damaging practice of rigging elections strikes at the bedrock of our democracy. It has got to end and end soon…

 

Church and State — Forever Separate…

2016-06-06_09-43-01.pngI will say up front here that I think the mixture of government and religion is a serious danger to all of us. Since there are so many different versions of religion today which one should control the lives of all of us. I adamantly say NONE OF THEM!!  This post will show you that both Islam and Christianity have that goal in at least some forms.

Islam–

I am a bit uncomfortable making this claim, especially now, with anti-Muslim bigotry on the rise. But Islamic exceptionalism is neither good nor bad. It just is, and we need to understand and respect that.

Two factors are worth emphasizing: First, the founding moment of Islam looms large. Unlike Jesus Christ, the Prophet Muhammad was a theologian, a preacher, a warrior and a politician, all at once. He was also the leader and builder of a new state, capturing, holding and governing new territory. Religious and political functions, at least for the believer, were no accident. They were meant to be intertwined in the leadership of one man.

Second, for Muslims the Quran is God’s direct and literal speech, more than merely the word of God. It is difficult to overstate the centrality of divine authorship. This does not mean Muslims are literalists; most are not. But it does mean the text cannot easily be dismissed as irrelevant.

SOURCE:  How Islam Is Different from Other Religions | TIME

Christian–

Dominionism fundamentally opposes America’s venerable tradition of church-state separation — in fact, dominionists deny the Founders ever intended that separation in the first place. According to Frederick Clarkson, senior fellow for religious liberty at the non-profit social justice think tank Political Research Associates, dominionists believe that Christians “have a biblical mandate to control all earthly institutions — including government — until the second coming of Jesus.” And that should worry all Texans — Christians and non-Christians alike…

Dominionism comes in “soft” and “hard” varieties. “Hard” dominionism (sometimes called Christian Reconstructionism), as Clarkson describes it, explicitly seeks to replace secular government, and the U.S. Constitution, with a system based on Old Testament law.

SOURCE:  The Fringe Theology That Could End Religious Freedom

To me both of these views sound pretty much the same. Mainly that “our” religion is the true one that should dominate the world and all its interactions.  God demands that everyone should be under Sharia Law. God demands that Dominionism should be the law of the land.

I have again come to the conclusion that our founding fathers were wise beyond their years in calling for a clear separation between the god we believe in verses how we govern ourselves as a population.  Apples and oranges are tasty but would a hybrid of both be better. I seriously doubt it, especially when it comes to church/state.

Until God comes down and forcefully, beyond any doubt, tells us who he/she really is we should keep our opinions to ourselves.  Believe what you want but don’t try to force me to believe it also…

As a side note, it doesn’t surprise me much that the Christian version of church/state originates in Texas as so much of this misguided stuff starts there it seems. If there is a movement to make Texas its own country let me know and I will sign up for it.  Texans belong in a world of their own…  and away from the rest of us 🙂

 

Thinking Of Us…

2016-06-04_09-40-43.png

I love this quote, it has so much truth in our lives. After our rebellious teenage years we start thinking about our place in life.  What will we become, what do others think about us. We want to make our mark on the world in our own unique ways but still very much want to belong.

Then when we turn forty and our mid-life crisis, to whatever degree, hits us we don’t really care as much of what others think of us.  We  become more attuned to getting what we want out of life than how we are perceived by others.

Then as we gain wisdom by age sixty we finally come to realize that for the most part those “others” haven’t really been thinking of us at all. Except, maybe for immediate family they haven’t been thinking about anyone but themselves.

Then when we turn seventy we realize all the time and effort we put into this whole process was pretty much wasted and so we just do what we want without regard for others who are pretty much doing the same thing might think of us.  We don’t care that we are not dressed in the latest styles, we wear what we deem comfortable. We finally do our own thing that we dreamed of doing fifty years before…

Playing a Part…

Vincennes Rendezvous-2There is nothing childish about make believe, it should stay with us our entire lives.  It makes us more aware of the diversity around us and in our history.  I found these two at the Vincennes Rendezvous walking the grounds.  I’m sure they both  had this event on their calendar with a big star next to it.  Playing the part of some of their heroes….

Party Over Principles… Again…

Even though I detest Mr. Ryan’s adoration of Ayn Rand I have come to gain some respect for him in recent months. He “seemed” to want to put partisan politics aside and find common ground with the other party for the good of the people. I admired him for standing on principle and not endorsing a megalomaniac for president. That respect came to a screeching halt yesterday but I kind of expected it all along.  It is hard for an Ayn Rand wolf to turn into a shepherd.

2016-06-03_07-53-44“It’s no secret that he and I have our differences,” Mr. Ryan said in the column he submitted to The Gazette in Janesville. “I won’t pretend otherwise. And when I feel the need to, I’ll continue to speak my mind. But the reality is, on the issues that make up our agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement.”…

Mr. Ryan criticized her in his column, writing: “A Clinton White House would mean four more years of liberal cronyism and a government more out for itself than the people it serves. Quite simply, she represents all that our agenda aims to fix.”

Ending weeks of reluctance to embrace his party’s presumptive nominee, Speaker Paul D. Ryan endorsed Donald J. Trump for president on Thursday in a modest but unequivocal backing of a candidate whose views Mr. Ryan has frequently condemned….

In a column in his hometown newspaper in Janesville, Wis., Mr. Ryan said that recent conversations with Mr. Trump had convinced him that the billionaire developer will help advance the conservative agenda that the speaker is trying to introduce….

“Speaker Ryan’s abject surrender makes it official,” he said in an email. “The GOP is Trump’s party now.”

SOURCE: Speaker Paul Ryan, After an Awkward Courtship, Endorses Donald Trump – The New York Times

Putting party over principles seems to be a unattainable task in the 21st century. The two parties in Washington simple hate each other for who they are, not just what they stand for.   It was interesting that the speaker chose is small town newspaper to give his endorsement.

Finding common ground is what our American democracy has been all about for its first two centuries. I kind of think that Mr. Ryan’s common ground with Hillary is actually stronger than with Trump but he just doesn’t have the guts to admit that fact.  Party over principles is his game and like most of the rest of them has always been so.  Beating the competition, perceived or real, is what it is all about in the American agenda now. Grievously common good seems to be long gone in our national politics.

I don’t know, maybe all this stuff with Trump is just a game he is playing but do I want a president who even plays those types of games.  Conniving, disrespect, ranting, and fear mongering are not the qualities I want in “my” president. I hope that is also the case for the large majority of the rest of us.  Winning the game should take a back seat to the common good as far as I am concerned.  Always has been for me and always will be…

Rendezvous – Vincennes

Vincennes Rendezvous.jpg

ISOA Banner   I had the pleasure of attending the Vincennes Indiana Rendezvous over the past weekend. I just love re-enactments with all the muskets blazing and this is an especially good one. All the vendors, food and otherwise, were selling things that were common for the period (early 1800s).

 

This Land Was Made For You And Me…

Happy Memorial Day and the official beginning of Summer.  While I take time to mourn all the dead as a result of the seemingly endless wars we get ourselves into, I mainly recognize today as a day of celebration for what makes the U.S. great.  One of those things is our innovation. It seems, at least until recently, that almost every “essential” thing in the world today was created, or successfully developed here. But I mainly celebrate our country in the frame of Woody Guthrie’s “This land was made for you and me”

Ours is a boastful nation, prone to ridiculous exaggeration of our own innovativeness. Too often, it’s empty wind. In a great many areas — like our disastr2016-05-30_08-13-32.pngously inefficient medical system, or our pathetic passenger rail — we’re still far behind where Europe was 50-80 years ago. Heck, we can’t even match Romania at internet speed — and that was developed here a mere generation back!

But national parks are unquestionably an American development. Pushed by American writers and activists, we established the first one in 1872: Yellowstone National Park. This served as a model around the world, from Australia to South Africa to Costa Rica. As Wallace Stegner once wrote, national parks might fairly be called “the best idea we ever had.”…

Yet compared to the rest of the government, these agencies are basically alright. The Park Service in particular is a model of competence and quality service, despite being slowly strangled by Republican austerity like everything else in the government. Go to a national park or monument, and I can predict with high confidence that you’ll have a good time. In a very real sense, it’s your land — and mine too. Get out there and enjoy it!

SOURCE:  Why the national park is the best idea America ever had

As mentioned in the quote above, our boasts are often empty wind as we have a lot to learn from the rest of the world in critical areas and yes a sore point for me personally is the dreadful implementation of our Internet system where often one monopoly provider rules for many regions (read mine with my erratic on-again-off-again 1 mbps speed).

But one thing we get right, which by the way is primarily due to a Republican president a century ago, is our National Park system.  I don’t know how many of the national parks I have been in (I will have to do a count someday) but I have never been disappointed in my trips.  I should also include many of the State Parks in this category too.

Yeah, the Republicans are strangling them with their austerity but they still manage to do things right.  (I don’t know what Mr. Trump’s stand is on national parks but it really doesn’t matter as he would likely change it tomorrow or the next day anyway.)

If you want to see what really makes America great everyone should put at least one park on their visit-list for this summer.  Go there by car but stay off the Interstate system and you will see America at its best.

This land was made for you and me…

Re-Purpose…??

Small Town.jpg

ISOA Banner  The above scene it all too common on main street in rural America. Buildings which once housed thriving small businesses are now abandoned to the ravages of time.  I wonder what it would take to re-purpose these sites to bring them back into use. It takes a creative person to figure that out but it is being done in some small towns…

New Super Battery? — Fast Track It…

2016-05-26_07-47-17.pngThe primary problem with 21st century power possibilities is how to store the energy during off-cycle periods. Batteries have come a long way since the lead-acid one found in most cars but still need a leap forward to fully accomplish renewable energy needs. This just might be that leap.

So far the new battery component has made it through three months of continuous charging and discharging without losing its ability to hold a charge, says Mya Le Thai, the doctoral candidate behind the innovation — that’s 200,000 cycles. (By comparison, iPhone batteries fade to about 80 percent of their original capacity after just 500 cycles, making hers at least 400 times better.) Thai says she’s getting impatient, but that the head of her lab won’t let her stop the experiment…

So is that it? Batteries we can finally forget about? Someday, but that’s probably not a someday soon. New technologies take years to make it from lab to market, and “the overwhelming majority of innovations don’t survive the process,” as Christopher Mims writes in The Wall Street Journal.

SOURCE: This new super battery can last 400 times as long as your iPhone

A battery that lasts more than 200,000 cycles and can last for months on one charge! That is the paradigm shift needed to bootstrap our solar energy foundation. The article goes into some detail about how that is accomplished but they are somewhat beyond me.  As cited in the last paragraph quote above they say “some day” they might be available. Why not fast track them. Let’s put a $ billion into government funding and then turn the results over to a regulated private industry.

I can see the day that our power grid will basically cease to exist. Where every home and business will have its own power source. Lets not wait for “someday”. Let’s move into the 21st century with a similar project as the moon landing of the 20th century.  We can’t wait…

Part of Americana…

Mail Pouch.jpg

ISOA Banner  Mail Pouch signs are part of Americana. They might be faded now but still show up on many rural buildings.  This one was recently found in the small town of Lyons in southern Indiana. But chewing tobacco is really a dirty messy habit.. 🙂

The Camping Season is Here…

Camping.jpg

I made my first camping trip for the year last week. I went to New Harmony Indiana and camped in Harmonie State Park. Only about 10% of the campground was filled.

A camping I will go, a camping I will go. Hi, Ho, the Merryo….

Privatize It….

The GOP solution to almost everything that is wrong with America is to privatize it. They simply don’t think that government has much of a place in today’s American society. Democrats on the other hand believe that in many cases government is the most effective solution.  One of those disputed areas is healthcare. Which one is right? Maybe the answer lies in trying both out and see which gives the best results?

2016-05-25_08-48-26.pngFor more than two years, the Veterans Affairs department has struggled to deal with a long-buried crisis in its service to veterans, a systemic and widespread fraud that concealed long wait times at its hospitals and clinics….

Five years later, however, whistleblowers produced evidence that dozens of veterans had died while being denied access to care at the Phoenix VA. Evidence emerged that the wait-list fraud was not localized to one VA center but was standard operating procedure in much of the country. VA executives earned bonuses while veterans languished in medical limbo — and some of them perished in it, too. Obama sacked Shinseki, the only Cabinet official to resign under pressure from the president, and appointed Robert McDonald to clean up the VA.

SOURCE:  Obama’s VA scandal is much bigger than a callous Disney analogy

The VA just seems to have been plagued with troubles for most of my life. They just can’t seem to figure out what needs to be done to fix it. On the other hand Medicare is for the most part praised for its effectiveness.  As usual the solution to the VA problems is split along party lines. Each is convinced that their solution would work the best.

So, let’s see which is better.  Right now Medicare provides 55 million people with healthcare coverage. The VA provides coverage for 23 million. Why don’t we privatize the VA?  Give them a voucher for going out and getting coverage on their own and then wait and see what the results are.   The Republicans want to privatize Medicare and put us seniors on our own so lets test it with our veteran population first.  If it works out there then there would be evidence that Medicare would also benefit from privatization. If not then maybe we can finally put the privatization mantra to rest.

But, I don’t think that will happen. My GOP friends are for the most part big backers of our military establishment. They seem to not be able to see a military expense that they can turn down. I really think they can see that government provided healthcare that if properly run is the true future foundation for our nation’s healthcare system as it is for the rest of the world but they just don’t want to admit.  Why else would they keep trying to fix the VA  to make is as effective as Medicare instead of just privatizing it.

As a test of who has the best solution let’s let the Republicans privatize the trouble prone VA and see what happens…..

 

Oh Texas, There You Go Again…

2016-05-24_07-55-55.pngAfter traveling through all fifty States I can’t help it, I have my most favorite States and my least favorite States.  Texas is in the latter category. In my mind Texas, at least the most vocal of Texans, are the epitome of bravado, arrogance,  and most sadly vengeance.

A textbook proposed to help teach the cultural history of Mexican-Americans in Texas public schools is under scrutiny by scholars, some of whom decry the effort as racist and not a reflection of serious academic study.

The textbook, titled Mexican American Heritage, describes Mexican-Americans as people who “adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society.”

The book also links Mexican-Americans to immigrants in the country illegally, saying illegal immigration has “caused a number of economic and security problems” in the U.S. that include “poverty, drugs, crime, non-assimilation, and exploitation”…

The Texas Board of Education’s members sanction textbooks for use statewide in a process that has for years been marred by ideological fights over lessons on subjects including evolution, climate change and the influence of biblical figures such as Moses on America’s Founding Fathers.

SOURCE:  Mexican-American history textbook proposed for Texas schools called ‘racist’ by scholars | | Dallas Morning News

I simply get tired of hearing how big Texas is.  I admit that Texas is a big desert State. Nothing seems to grow there but sagebrush. At one time it must have been lush to have made all the oil underground but that was eons ago.

There seem to be a lot of shows in the home flipping and custom auto variety on the air right now. From my observations I have deemed most of those from Texas as “lipstick on a pig”. They all just seem to cover up all the underlying problems with a coat of fresh paint and then try to sell it for a big profit.

Sadly most of the school books used throughout the nation come from Texas companies. I don’t know why that is? As cited in the article above they often try to put a “Texas” slant on them. Mexicans  come to our country wanting to destroy our society and bring drugs and crime with them. But then again that does sound a lot like one of our presidential candidates doesn’t it? I suspect he won’t have any problems winning Texas in the fall elections.

Anything that differs from their biblical interpretation of creation is flat out wrong to them. Climate change is also wrong because the Bible doesn’t mention it. To them, contrary to the facts, all the founding fathers were Baptist style Christians. Just don’t try to confuse Texans with facts…

Texas, along with Florida, execute more people annually than the other 48 States combined. They  seem to be a society founded around vengeance.  I mourn all the innocent people who have been executed by the Texas rush to judgement.

Now I am sure that there are many very nice people in Texas that don’t fit my view of that State but I just don’t personally know of them. Many in Texas often rant about how they should be a separate country; sometimes I kind of wish they were…

Trump’s favorite foreign leader

2016-05-21_08-13-02.pngVladimir Putin is a thug. On this, I suspect, most people outside his country’s borders would agree. In recent years, Russia’s new czar has started a new Cold War, invaded and annexed Crimea, ignited a civil war in Ukraine, and propped up a genocidal dictator in Syria. At home, journalists and opposition leaders who’ve dared to criticize Putin have been beaten, jailed, shot, and poisoned. Now we’ve learned the lying dictator even rigged the Olympic Games in Sochi, turbocharging his athletes with steroids and substituting clean urine for their tainted samples. In a great irony, Putin has exploited the West’s tradition of free speech by funding a TV network, RT — formerly called Russia Today — here and in Europe, spewing out a steady stream of pro-Russian, anti-American propaganda. On RT, there’s just one American political leader who is routinely praised; his election, Putin’s stooges say, may lead to “improved relations between the U.S. and Russia.” Guess who?

The admiration goes both ways. Donald Trump has called Putin “a strong leader” and says it’s “an honor” to receive his praise.

SOURCE: Trump’s favorite foreign leader

The location for the above picture was not mentioned in the article but it does get your attention. 🙂 This post will be my weekly rant against the insanity of many of my fellow citizens.  I know well less than 10% of the eligible voters have voted for Mr. Trump but even that number greatly disappoints me. Yes, I agree that our government process and even our capitalist system is in need of a very serious shakeup but Trump is simply not the answer.  He is so uninformed about so much that he could seriously damage the U.S. and even the world as a whole if he ever managed to occupy the Oval Office.

Why can’t these Trump backers realize that?  I try not to look down on people as that is just not my nature but these folks are so ignorant of the world today that it leads me to be skeptical about humanity. They just don’t seem to understand the damage he could do.  They don’t seem to realize that our whole way of life could disappear in a very short period of time if grossly bad decisions are made.  When it comes to a Trump/Clinton election I admit that I  am not enthusiastic about either but I am scared of one of them.

I don’t know, maybe I am just listening to too many of the pundits who seem to be on a 24/7 concentration on Mr. Trump. Maybe I would be better off just turning off all those yahoos who seem to think that he even has a chance to rule the world? Maybe I need to have confidence that when the other 90% of us go to the polling place in November that very few of us will be pushing the Trump button.  Worrying about “woulda/shoulda/coulda” is just a waste of my precious time. But it is hard to ignore the constant drumbeat around this megalomaniac narcissist person.

Old Time Gas Stations…

Gas Station - Vincennes.jpg2016-05-21_10-05-15

At one time these buildings were the standard for gas stations. Some of have been re-purposed but many, like the one here recently photographed in Vincennes Indiana will soon disappear..

Facades

New Harmony Facade.jpg

One of my recently discovered passions is to document the facades of small town America before they crumble into the dust of history.  This one was found on the main street of New Harmony Indiana on a trip there this week.  I have always been fascinated about facades but this discovery will cause me to start collecting them from my archives and adding more on my frequent road trips around the Midwest.

Taking Jackson Off The $20 Bill..

2016-04-21_09-02-18.pngI have said here before that I simply not a fan of Andrew Jackson. He was not my kind of president. So when I heard that they are going to take him off the $20 bill my reaction was almost a sigh of relief or maybe a pleasant suprise.

Replacing Andrew Jackson instead was the most oft-cited alternative: He was a plantation owner, a slave trader, and, as the seventh president of the United States, he forced the relocation and death of thousands of Native Americans. So axing him in favor of a more progressive and inclusive vision for America’s currency seemed uniquely appropriate.

But if you’re an economics nerd, there’s yet another reason why striking Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill has a certain poetic resonance: Namely, the man hated paper money.

SOURCE: Here’s the nerdiest reason for cheering Andrew Jackson’s removal from the $20 bill

The Native American part of my heritage could not understand why so many Democrats praise Jackson. My local Democratic party, even as small as it is, has an annual Jefferson/Jackson Day dinner. I know he is in the wrong party but I kind of put Trump into the same flavor as Jackson.  Jackson too was very a opinionated narcissist who simply didn’t care much for people different from him.

It is a shame that women have not at least until recently had much influence in our governmental process other than to be the guiding, or sometime misguiding, wife.  Abigail Adams and Dolly Madison were part of that group. I adamantly hope a woman becomes president before my time is done, but I would rather it be someone besides Hillary. Someone who has a passion, other than that of just having the power.

I think I will go out and celebrate with the first non-Jackson $20 bill I get….

Fatalism – The Ugliest Word..

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Fatalism is responsible for so much that is ugly in our world. To many fate has locked us into a path in our lives that is unchangeable. To them you simply can’t change fate. I don’t know a lot about it but I think India has a caste system that is steeped in fatalism. That is, they believe that you are doomed to remain in a particular level of society in which you are born.  If you were born into the serf class you will be there for the rest of your life.  This concept is known as social stratification but to me it is just plain fatalism.  England and many other European countries up until the last half-century also follow this mentality to one degree or another.

Another word that has the potential for ugliness is the word “Tradition”. It is sometimes used to justify doing the same thing over and over again simply because that is the way it has been done in the past.

I know we can’t simply get rid of the ugly words in our languages but we can at least try to prevent them from being applicable to our current times.  Yeah, I am a dreamer in that regard…

 

Party Over Principles…

I am a daily reader of The Week website. It gives me a totally different view of the world than many others around today.  If you really want to stay informed about what is going on in the world you need to read/watch a variety of sources. Even Fox News is part of my read/watch list, but I must admit that I hold my nose when see things with that moniker attached.

Getting back to the topic of this post I loved the cover of the latest paper copy of the week. It says it all about endorsing Donald Trump for president. It seems, but maybe the other shoe will soon drop, that the two dominant leaders of the GOP have decided to get in bed with Mr. Trump.

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That says a lot about that brand of politics. Gone is the conservative agenda to be replaced by something completely different. Abandoning all the rhetoric about abortion and such. Both these guys seem to say that a President Trump is MUCH better than a President Hillary. Putting party above principle seems to be the path chosen by too many in both political parties right now.  I don’t know about you but “anything” in my mind would be better than a President Trump. But then again we did survive eight years of Reagan and Baby Bush so I imagine, or maybe just pray, that we would survive a Trump presidency.

We need a paradigm shift in our search for our primary energy resource but maybe even more importantly we all need one in the way we govern ourselves and how we drive our economy.  How that happens I have no idea.

Keeping with the print copies of news sources I just got the weekly Time Magazine paper copy with the title “CAPITALISM – The Markets are choking our economy”  That will be an interesting read that I’m sure will produce a few posts in the near future.

I know this post is a mishmash of thoughts but that is just how I feel lately…. Maybe that is a symptom of the Trump syndrome,  I don’t know… I guess I will have to consult my spokesman about that…

Rust Belt

Pittsburgh

ISOA BannerRust Belt is a appropriate term used to describe the once thriving mill towns of the Midwest. As Wikipedia says:

The Rust Belt is a term for the region straddling the upper Northeastern United States, the Great Lakes, and the Midwest States, referring to economic decline, population loss, and urban decay due to the shrinking of its once powerful industrial sector…

Pittsburgh is perhaps the epitome of that term.  During my youth and beyond they were simply know as the “Steel Town”. They like many others in the area are gradually becoming a more diverse economy but Pittsburgh in particular still maintains it gritty persona… The picture taken here was from the Monongahela Incline above the city.

 

 

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