Stronger Together…

I have been struggling to figure out just what to say in my 500 words about Day 4 of the DNC convention. I think it comes down to that day’s theme “Stronger Together”. The other is that it put a face on Hillary that simply was not there before.

2016-07-29_19-45-24.pngTwenty years ago I wrote a book called It Takes a Village. A lot of people looked at the title and asked, what the heck do you mean by that? This is what I mean. None of us can raise a family, build a business, heal a community, or lift a country totally alone. America needs every one of us to lend our energy, our talents, our ambition to making our nation better and stronger. I believe that with all my heart. That’s why “Stronger Together” is not just a lesson from our history. It’s not just a slogan for our campaign. It’s a guiding principle for the country we’ve always been and the future we’re going to build. [Clinton]…

And more than ever before, Democrats translated that diversity into a story about America. Who would have thought that it would be the Democratic convention, not the Republican one, that was saturated in patriotism? And not the apologetic patriotism so many of us got used to hearing from them in the last couple of decades, the kind that says, “Hey, we love our country, too! Really!”

Source: Hillary Clinton finally found the message she was looking for

I think the words above say it pretty clearly. While the Republican candidate says that America is going down in flames and only he can save, the Democrats are celebrating our country’s strength and saying together we can fix the problems we have.


Personally I now have a better understanding of Hillary’s lifelong commitment to children and families. I have always known that she is a tough politician but her soft side was also new to me.  I liked her comment about how she has been all about “public service”, service all the way, public not as much.   She is a guarded person but with all the arrows thrown at her over the years by the GOP it is amazing to me that she is still on the world stage. A lessor woman, or man, would have faded from the limelight.

The difference between last week’s convention and this one is night/day. The choice has never been clearer. Perhaps the largest crowd of people ranting about how the CEOs have gotten 90% of the gains since the 2008 meltdown while the working guy/gal got a pittance of that are the very people wanting to put one of the One-Percenters in the White House. That totally makes no sense to me!!!    I have sympathy for the uneducated white guy. He has not gotten a break in years. I just pray that there are more of us who want to solve our current problems without taking the country down in flames in the process…


Managing Our Money…

If I am known for anything here at RJsCorner is it my contrarian view of many things. Managing my money is one of them.  I know there are many blogs out their that strongly advise us to seek out financial planners to manage our money.  Supposedly they take a percentage of our assets each year in order to invest our money where it will get the highest earnings. But the quotes above and many other places paint a different picture.

Very quietly, the way that many Americans invest their money is changing. And it’s changing in a way that could upend the way Wall Street does business….

Why is passive management increasingly popular? Because research has largely confirmed Bogle’s argument that the average investor is better off just riding the market. Most active managers don’t make more money for their clients compared to index funds once fees are accounted for. And a January report from S&P pointed out that even the managers who do beat the market can’t sustain the success for long.

Source: Why are Americans suddenly so passive when managing money?

I admit that for the seventeenth year of my retirement from the corporate world I have yet to use a financial planner.  One of the reasons is cited in the quote above. In the end none of them have been able to beat the market.  Index funds don’t even try and that is where a significant portion of my assets are. But a good portion of them also reside in Treasury bonds and other less risky things.  This strategy has paid off for me in that my 401k has increased in value year after year.  It is considerably higher than it was when I first left corporate America.

I don’t have any heirs so I don’t plan on leaving any of my estate to someone else, even if I believed in such a thing which I don’t.  I think all of us should make our own way in the world instead of depending on someone else to do it for us.  I would love to be able to spend my last dime on my deathbed but since that is not possible I will leave what I have left to an organization that will use it to promote the common good in our country.

To me depending on a financial planner for my future is not where I want to go.  If they know so much about it how come they are still going to a 9-5 job?🙂

But that is just my way of thinking…

Perpetual Utterance of Self-Applause

I love reading about the history of America and some of the best critiques come from outside our country. Two of my favorite quotes comes from the idea of the “Tyranny of the Majority”.  That is when the majority in our country tends to deny basic civil rights to various minority groups. Of course the most glaring one is slavery but there is also the murder of millions of native Americans during the conquest of their native lands.

The term “Tyranny of the Majority” was widely employed in mid-nineteenth-century America in conjunction with a series of moral questions (Sabbath, temperance, racial equality) that gave rise to organized minority groups in American political life.

Here are a couple of quotes about that:

The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.—Lord Acton  — The History of Freedom in Antiquity, 1877

The majority (party in America) lives in the perpetual utterance of self-applause; and there are certain truths which the Americans can only learn from strangers – Alexis De Tocqueville

“Perpetual utterance of self-applause” is one of my favorite De Tocqueville quotes. It says something about the general character of our citizenry I think even in the 1800s.  We just love applauding ourselves and thinking how great we are. We simply can do no wrong.

2016-07-28_15-19-07.pngSo many in the “perpetual utterance” crowd look into the past and dream that America will once again be what it was.  They look at life from a “white supremacy” point of view. They simply don’t see our blemishes.  Recognizing our faults and apologizing for them is the first step in reconciliation and true peace.  But whenever a leader tries to do that he is quickly admonished. Here is a little about that:

Apparently “acknowledging that America has been a force for good” in the world, as Obama did, is not enough. The man who leads the nation that is by almost any measure indisputably the most powerful on earth must go furtherto make a fool of himself and the country by defending an escapade from half-a-century ago that nearly everyone acknowledges was an embarrassing blunder. ..he must also robustly defend American exceptionalismand thus American moral superioritybefore foreign audiences, evidently because it’s the president’s duty to provoke anger and resentment, and thus opposition to our global leadership, around the world.

Source: “The Perpetual Utterance Of Self-Applause” – The Atlantic

Germany, in its search for reconciliation, now openly admits to the evil that Hitler  did to the world.  We in America on the other hand have never dared to look on our dark side.  Our perpetual utterance of self-applause is holding us back from being the great nation we could be and a true shining example for the world.

Democratic Convention Day 3 

2016-07-28_08-09-20Day 3 at the Democratic convention was an “about time” moment when Democrats showed us just how unstable and reckless person Trump is. A lot of it came from the mouths of leaders in the Republican party. First off  I want to give you a crowd shot from last night. Can you see the difference between it and the ones I gave you of the Republican convention?🙂  If the GOP is going to try and salvage their party from its present condition it is going to take  more than old white men like me. Diversity is the crown jewell of our nation and its about time the GOP got on board with that crucial fact. If they don’t do it now I am afraid they never will…

Democrats are not merely going to paint Mr. Trump as extreme and unprepared, offensive and immature, a cheat and a fraud. They are going to attack him — carefully, and maybe indirectly — as mentally unfit. For Mr. Obama and other speakers, the idea was expressed in conventional form, as a concern about “temperament.” But it was Mr. Bloomberg, a billionaire known for directness and limitless self-confidence, who went on Wednesday where no Democrat did: He said Mr. Trump lacked the mental fitness for office. “Let’s elect a sane, competent person,” Mr. Bloomberg told the audience. It’s going to be one heck of a summer.

Source: Democratic Convention Day 3 Takeaways: America First – The New York Times

I can’t understand the “bump” that Trump got in the polls after his four days of hate and fear. The guy know no bounds or civility. I’m sure that is attractive to some of the bitter and spiteful among us but I still can’t believe that there are many of them around in this country.

I don’t have Mr. Trump on my tweet list but I’m sure he is spewing out his hatred to everyone who said an inconvenient word about him yesterday and that seems to be quite a crowd. The Democratic convention will end tonight and then it is on to 100 days of utter filth from Trump and his angry supporters.  I think I will be taking off a significant part of that time from blogging political things. I will try to let things settle,  meaning waiting for sanity to return to many, before I give much thought to this stuff again.

Unlike past conventions President Obama’s speech was not the highlight of the convention and that is how it should be.  He is passing the mantel on to another Democrat this fall. I hope Hillary can excite the electorate like Obama did during his first campaign.

I am typically not a worrier, it does no good to worry about something you can’t change. So, again I will continue to have faith that the vast majority of us realize that the country is not going down in a flaming death and we don’t need a person in the White House who will actually cause that to happen.

I have faith…

Back To The Good Old Days…

2016-07-27_08-07-15.pngIf you know me you are probably puzzled about the title of this post.  For the most part I believe that the “good old days” just weren’t that good, but there are a few exceptions.

Before I get to the crux of this post’s title I want to give you my other views of day 2 of the Democratic convention. One of the main thing that hit me was how all the networks seem to be viciously searching  for controversy. They cover very little of the actual proceedings.  That is very different than the good old days where you could actually listen to at least some of the speakers. Now they spend their time talking to the political pundits and searching for the sensational and telling you what you are supposed to think.

But there was a gem in the middle of this media dung hill. It is a place where no one is giving their “expert” opinion about this or that.  Instead it is about allowing the viewer to  form their own opinions and to view the proceedings and without commercials!  That place is called C-Span.  We used to view the conventions in the good old days as places to gather facts and views which maybe are not on our agenda.

I watched the calling of the roles for votes.  Yes, all the States give silly commentary about themselves before they announce their numbers but in a way that is what the convention is all about.  Of course I recognize when the spin machine is on, which is about all the time,  threading through that is part of the fun in the good old days.

So for the rest of this convention I will be watching it in low resolution on the C-Span channel.


Democratic Convention: Day 2

To me Day 2 of the convention was about the adoring spouse, Bill Clinton that is. Sometimes I forget just how good he is at “spinning a story”. Yeah, some think he rambles too much but I just think he likes to tell a good story and the story about his wife was a good one.  He talked of the good times and the bad and how Hillary was there for the family.

“My daughter had the best mother in the whole world,” he said tonight, adding that Hillary was “first and foremost” a mother, “our family’s designated worrier” who only worried about Bill’s parenting when he took a couple days off with Chelsea to watch all six “Police Academy” movies “back-to-back.” He described Hillary on her knees, lining Chelsea’s Stanford dorm room drawers with paper when their daughter moved to college, until Chelsea told them it was time to leave.

He never mentioned Donald Trump, the man he used to be friendly with and play golf with. He simply alluded to the way the Republican convention had tried to turn Hillary into a “cartoon” villainess. “Life in the real world is complicated and hard,” he said, and “a lot of people think it’s boring.”“One is real, the other is made up,” he said of the caricature of Hillary. “You nominated the real one.”

Source: Hillary Clinton’s Convention: Day 2 – The New York Times

I know Mr. Trump’s winning strategy is to put down his opponents with the most insulting and false accusations possible. He is good at that but I kind of think that those who bothered to watch Bill’s speech last night got a very different story which I hope sticks to many.  It is obvious to anyone who has watched her over the ages that Hillary is a very guarded person when it comes to a public persona.  She wants to be known for her intelligence and insight, not the softer side that she obviously has.  Giving us the softer side Bill helped make her a person and not at all as Trump portrays. Has she made some mistakes?  Sure she has, anyone who makes critical decisions or a regular basis is bound to do that.

Day 2 of the convention made it a little easier for me to press the Hillary button come this fall.  I didn’t really need help in deciding which button to push.  I would have voted for anybody but Trump, but I now feel easier that she is the person for the Oval Office.

I am saving part of my observations of this day’s convention for an afternoon’s post entitled “The Good Old Days”. It will be about the media’s coverage of this and last week’s events.  It will be about sensationalism. Tune in later for that.

It will certainly be interesting to see a president and a past president occupy the White House at the same time.. I hope Hillary takes some of Bill’s advice the same way as I’m sure he took her’s when he sat in the Oval Office…

‘Indiana Hates Mike Pence As Much As Indiana Jones Hates Snakes’

Since there is nothing much happening at the Democratic convention yet, I thought I would get out another Pence post.

If I believe the number of “Dump Pence” signs in my area I can see that many in Indiana don’t care much for our governor and am glad he, like Sarah Palin before him, is headed to oblivion come the Trump defeat this November. Simply speaking he hooked his horse to the wrong political wagon.

“Indiana voters hate Pence as much as Indiana Jones hates snakes,” the comedian said during her opening monologue on “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” Monday night.

“Who is Mike Pence?” Bee asked during the segment. “If you’re a lady Hoosier, you may recognize him as the governor who inspected your reproductive organs every 30 days to make sure you weren’t using them …

“Congratulations Indiana! You just got rid of one of the worst governors you’ve ever had,” she said, while offering condolences to the Garden State.

“I’m sorry New Jersey, you were this close,” she said while holding her thumb and forefinger barely apart.

Source: Samantha Bee: ‘Indiana Hates Mike Pence As Much As Indiana Jones Hates Snakes’

I have never seen anything by Samantha Bee but the quotes above are funny in a crude way.

Unchallenged Claims….

The media had a lot to talk about last week in the RNC convention. Not so much so far with the Democrat side. Except for a very small (<5%) of the delegates there is just not much controversy.

But once the evening arrived, the Sanders dead-enders were subjected to an absolute blitzkrieg of unity. There was Sanders supporter Sarah Silverman doing a bit with Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) — and ad-libbing, “Can I just say to the Bernie or Bust people, you’re being ridiculous.” There was Michelle Obama, giving a speech so terrific and basking in such a tide of love from the audience that you almost expected her to ascend to the sky on a chariot made of pure light. Then came progressive hero Elizabeth Warren, and finally Sanders himself.

It didn’t solve the problem entirely — throughout the evening there were periodic moments when a few people would begin some chant or other in an attempt to distract from what was going on up on the stage, and Warren in particular had to speak over persistent chanting. But it soon became clear that it was just a small number of Sanders dead-enders — according to some accounts, it was coming entirely from the California delegation and may have been fewer than a dozen people — even if they were able to make an unusual amount of noise. When they began chanting over Rep. Keith Ellison during his introduction of Sanders in an apparent attempt to drown out his praise of the Vermont senator, it took on a surreal cast.

Source: Bernie Sanders’ devastating rebuke to ‘Bernie or Bust’

With not much to say about the Democrats yet, so this post is about something that came up on Sunday. Before the convention started I watched a CNN segment with Carl Bernstein, of the “Woodward and Bernstein” fame. He was screaming about how the media coverage of the current political campaigns is pitiful in that the press is not doing anything to counter ridiculous political claims by the candidates and their supporters. They allowed Trump and his backers to say anything and don’t bother to seek out the truthfulness of the claims! To him investigative reporting is dead in the U.S. media and I kind of agree.

The press/media serves a vital purpose in our democracy. We, the public, expect them to seek out truth in our political processes so that the voters can make informed decisions. Letting grandiose claims go without investigation is dangerous to our democracy.

I hear the political pundits say that political organizations don’t matter much anymore.  Instead it is social media that drives our political processes.  If that means that unfounded accusations and “facts” go without scrutiny then that is certainly a bad thing.  At least to this senior citizen…

About Brexit and the British.. And How We are NOT Like Them

2016-07-19_15-09-10.png241 years ago we were part of the Great British Empire. We were loyal, although complaining, citizens. Then we chose to go our own way and eventually after a four year rebellion got our way. We still have common bonds with GB but we are also markedly different. One of the major differences is that we are a nation of immigrants and Great Britain is a nation embedded in aristocracy.

We until recently have a classless nation. We don’t hold people in higher esteem just because of what name they have. America became known as the land of opportunity. A place where anyone with the right opportunities and drive could make their fortunes.  I say until recently because since the 1980s, I always like to put the blame on the Reagan administration, we simply did not allow massive fortunes to flow from one generation to another.  For the super-rich inheritance taxes were often 90% or more.

In the last one hundred years, but especially the last thirty, wealth began to flow  with very little taxes from one generation to another. That results in people like Paris Hilton getting massive fortunes from their great grand parents. That fact separates us into the “haves” and the “have nots”. Paris has never known what it is like not to get her every whim and wish fulfilled with no effort on her part.  Unlike Britain we don’t put perpetual titles on our gifted.

Getting to the point of this post, many people fear that since GB chose to exit the European union that it might be a signal that we will also do something radical such as electing and egomaniac narcissist anti-immigrant person as our president. Given that we are a nation of immigrant and the most part unprivileged  that is not likely.  Of course this election will test that theory to the max. It all depends on turnout. Presidential election turnouts have typically been in the mid-50% range. That is, only about half of us bother to show up at the polls.  We are perhaps the worst in established democracies in that regard.

It will soon come to a point that the majority of us in the U.S. will no longer be WASPs. Over 40% of us claim heritage of a different nature.  Whereas Britain is still very much entwined with a whites only society. It has been pretty well established that immigration was one of the primary reasons for the Brexit vote.  The well established citizens could see the “British way of life” changing too quickly for them and because they are still a significant majority they were able to say “no more immigrants”.

The ethnic diversity of the U.S. is unique in all of the world. It has allowed us to empathize with oppressed countries around the globe and as the plaque on the Statue of Liberty says  we don’t put a monetary or class requirement on those who want to come to join us.

Mixing Ice Cream With Horse Manure…

One of the things that finally drove me away from organized religion was the political side of it. Maybe the pastor was not the leader of this but he certainly didn’t try to contain it either. The politics of religion just poisoned me to it. So, when I came across the article from Red Letter Christians it got my immediate attention.

2016-07-24_08-00-44.pngAs my friend Tony Campolo likes to say, “Mixing Christianity up with a political party is like trying to mix ice-cream with horse manure. It doesn’t do much damage to the manure, but it sure messes up the ice-cream.”

Christianity becomes toxic when we lose track of Jesus….

We begin to see pastors talking more about their favorite candidate than their Savior. We begin to hear crowds chanting Trump or Hillary instead of Hosanna. We start to sing the praises of other names than the name above all names.

So I want to simply invite those of us who claim to be Christians to PAUSE. And to set our minds on Jesus.

When we lose our focus on Christ, we begin to talk a lot about stuff Jesus didn’t say much about, and we don’t talk much about the things Jesus had a whole lot to say about.

SOURCE:  Red, White & Blue People – Red Letter Christians

These are my feeling exactly!  Too much politics and hypocrisy, too little Jesus.

I am going to borrow a phrase from my previous pastor which he received from his son who was a pastor before him.  “Just give them Jesus”. The most stringent application of these words were probably from Thomas Jefferson’s Bible.  He spent years making a bible around just the words of Jesus. He ignored all the rules that Paul invented and even the miracles that Jesus supposedly performed as not being germane to Christianity.

I have a copy of the Jefferson Bible on my computer and find myself reading it on a regular basis. To me it gives me pure ice-cream. It is amazing that I have been unable to find any religious denomination that even comes close to concentrating on the purity of Jesus’ words. Too many seem to concentrate more on the rules of St. Paul than on the words of Jesus.  Too many invent totally unnecessary rules to live by that have nothing to do with Jesus’ words.

I am sad to say but I think there is just too much manure mixed with Christian ice-cream in too many places that take the mantel of Christianity.

Just Give Them Jesus.

Street Art…

I think I am developing another fascination in my life. I have had many of them as they come and go but this one seems to be particularly strong at this young stage of its life.  That fascination is street art, or commonly known as graffiti. I admit that I have not been exposed to very much of it so this is a new and unique thing for me.

It is only in the past few decades that street art has become a somewhat accepted art form. Most often it was something to be power washed off.  Just like any other art form there are degrees of acceptance and beauty. Some of it is down right vulgar and destructive but then there is also some that rivals the masters of the Renaissance for artistic talent.

When we visited NYC during our four year stay in New Jersey last last century🙂  I saw a lot of graffiti on old buildings and particularly rail cars and such. It was not until I visited Canada in 2011 that I appreciated the art form of the medium. While in Quebec we came across some shown in the pictures here. This was definitely not the defacing form and probably took months if not years to accomplish.  I just couldn’t get over the beauty of them then and still can’t even now. I did add one beautiful art form here that was not painted on the side of a building🙂

(As usual, click on any picture to see a larger version slideshow)

I am doing what I can to develop this passion, of course the usual collection of books have been ordered so that I can be more informed in this new arena.  Up till now about the only graffiti I know in any detail is the movie “American Graffiti” which chronicles my generation. I  also hope to become much more aware of it during my micro-RV trips in the future. It could even be a destination for some of the trips!

Its nice to be exposed to different things even in your old age. You are never to old to learn new, sometimes radically new things.  Wish me luck on this new endeavor and if you want to come along on the journey visit RJsCorner in the coming months to see what I discover….

Convention Report – A Wrap Up…

I am so relieved that the GOP conventions is finally over. Perhaps this will be their last one. Who knows?? As pointed by the quote below Mr. Trump sees a vastly different America than I do. But then again he probably sees EVERYTHING vastly different than I do.

Throughout this campaign, whenever he has talked about America, it’s only been to claim that the country is a bottomless pit of suffering and despair. The unemployment rate is over 40 percent! Crime is skyrocketing! Terrorists are everywhere! Illegal aliens are pouring over our borders like never before! We don’t make anything! We never win anymore! The whole world is laughing at us!…

And that’s what he served up Thursday night: a litany of horrors, painting a picture of the dark present which only he and he alone can deliver us from, all presented with over an hour of relentless, loud, sweaty shouting….

There were no interesting turns of phrase, no themes introduced and repeated, no rhythm, no emotional crescendo, and certainly nothing to suggest that its authors gave the barest thought to trying to persuade any voter who hasn’t already bought his “Trump That Bitch” t-shirt.

But it will be remembered nonetheless, for how well it captured Donald Trump’s personality and campaign. It was ugly and blunt and narcissistic and frightening, and if it had nothing but bad things to say about America? Well what could describe Donald Trump’s candidacy better than that?

Source: Donald Trump’s acceptance speech was both ghastly and absurd. How fitting.

The last four days have been very depressing, I can’t imagine what they would have been like if I hadn’t limited my exposure to a severe degree.  No, I don’t think we are on the verge of total destruction as he describes. Actually we are in infinitely better straits than we were eight years ago. No, not everything is perfect and some have been pretty much left behind in the prosperity but it is nothing that can’t be fixed without totally taking down the system.

At the end of these four days there is one thing that I gained and that is faith.

I have faith:

  • that the vast majority see Trump for what he is and will not buy into his false rants and accusations.
  • that all those he has been alienating  will turn up at the polls in November to officially register their dislike for him.
  • that we will not allow the hatred that permeate so many in that convention center  to result in us throwing away our underlying values and decency. Party over Principles is DEAD WRONG.
  • that most of us embrace our diversity as a nation as a good thing, not something to be shut down.
  • that we will overthrow the GOP propagated fear that surrounds us.

For these reasons I have vowed not to worry about the coming election. We will continue to live up to our dreams and principles despite a narcissist egomaniac who managed to hijack one of our political parties…. he will be gone soon enough…

Hate Personified….

The one glimmer of hope I found in the GOP convention just ended was the number of empty seats in the Cleveland arena. It seems that HATE is not a big selling point for many. But that is what was spewed out in large quantities during their four day travesty.

2016-07-21_10-49-32.pngBut then Lucifer messed with the program. Inexplicably, a charged-up Dr. Ben Carson, a vanquished Trump rival with a narrow range of vision, was given prime time real estate to pull out phrases that meant something only to a slab of the Republican base. He abandoned his prepared remarks. He implied that Hillary Clinton was in a league with the devil. Her hero, he said, was Saul Alinsky, dropping the name of an obscure socialist labor organizer as if he were Bono….

Christie had the audience cheering, over and over, “Lock her up, Lock her up.” His speech was mean, and over the top, and it violated the norms of politics, but his party knows that the only way their nominee can win is if millions of Americans who plan to vote for her decide instead that her conduct in office disqualifies her from being president. For what Republicans needed to do, it was effective. And many, many fewer people saw it than who might have.

Source: An unconventional disaster for Donald Trump

2016-07-21_10-51-11.pngI  have faith that hate is not the primary agenda for the mass who usually vote Republican. Yes, they have conservative principles that I might disagree with, some even strongly, but I am convinced that they are loving people who see hate as a vitriol destruction of their valued principles rather than a politically winning strategy. Most of them do NOT put their party above their principles.

I have hope that come November 5 Mr. Trump and his fellow hate-mongers will quickly slide into the losing annals of history and the “real” Republicans will then begin  to recapture their party. What we saw for the last four days has nothing to do with conservative principles. NOTHING…. I hope that is clear to many who usually vote Republican…

Now it is on the the Democratic convention next week. It will be interesting to compare it to what we just endured.  In my mind ANYTHING would be better…

What’s Wrong With These Pictures…


The pictures above are six different views of the floor of the 2016 GOP Convention. Can you figure out what is wrong with them? Go ahead and click on any of the pictures to see a large view; maybe that will help.

2016-07-20_10-25-11Let me give you a hint:

  • One-third of U.S. citizens are people of color.
  • How many of that population do you find in all these pictures?

I didn’t look at absolutely every face but I could only find one out the hundreds shown there.  Maybe that is a primary reason why the GOP is in the straits they are. The GOP, especially today’s version, is all about exclusion!  Keep them out; BUILD A WALL..   If Donald Trump is now the face of the GOP it seems likely that George W. Bush’s premonition that he will be the last Republican president will ring true in the coming years.  I just hope whatever replaces them is more inclusive and welcoming but in reality that is a very low bar.

I would love to have had another choice than Hillary. Although she is infinitely more qualified for the Oval Office than her opponent, in some ways they are very much alike.  Sadly it is definitely the lesser of two evils this time around… Hopefully things will become 20/20  for 2020.



This Country Is Bigger Than Any Two Parties.

The foundation of RJsCorner is based on the life and philosophy of Will Rogers. So, I think it is time to inject his wisdom into our current political scene. We need something to make sense of all the foolishness. (“foolishness” is the most polite word I could come up with.)  I have been around for many presidential campaigns but this one seems to take the cake for the most absurd. They just keep getting dirtier and dirtier. Here is Will quote..

Will Rogers 6“This country is a thousand times bigger than any two men in it, or any two parties in it. These big politicians are so serious about themselves and their parties.

This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it. That we have carried as much political bunk as we have and still survived shows we are a super-nation.

If by some divine act of Providence we could get rid of both parties and hired some good men, like any other big business does, why we would be sitting pretty.”

 Will Rogers, 1 November 1932

As Will says this country is a thousand times bigger than all the politicians combined.  I do agree that there is too much power in Washington DC but who can take charge of it if we push those yahoos out.  I also agree with Will that we need some “good” people  to do it. Some say Donald Trump since he is a political novice is the person to do that but I just can’t get my mind wrapped around that concept.

Donald Trump who has declared financial bankruptcy four time and abandoned marriages almost as many is not the person I want to represent our country. Simply speaking, he does not have the temperament to make critical decisions during these chaotic times!  That seems all too obvious to me when I see him irrationally ranting about so many things. A judge who can’t make decisions because he is of Mexican descent is an example. I can’t imagine what he would do if he is faced with a world wide crisis.

I do agree with Will that we need an outsider to bring some sanity back into our government but there are probably thousands of others who are infinitely more qualified to do that than Mr. Trump.  What does it take for a “good” man or woman to get control pf the current political  environment?

Mr. Trump is not the scariest person in my current thinking.  What really scares me are those citizens who think he is the answer to our problems. Have we as an electorate become so illiterate in decision making processes to fall for the hype of a carnival hawker con artist.  That is what really scares me about the presidential season.  I truly pray that my confidence in the rest of us being a thousand times bigger than the candidates proves true come November 5.

Convention Report — Republican’s Vitriol Hatred For Hillary…

I admit that I haven’t watched much of the GOP convention. I just don’t have the stomach for it I guess. But what I have seen and read is disgusting. The vitriol hatred for someone is not becoming of America. Of course you don’t have to like your party’s opponent in an campaign cycle but to spew pure hatred is almost evil in my mind.  Especially when you do it in the name of God!

We knew for days there were going to be heaping helpings of Hillary-hatred served up to the crowd at the Republican National Convention. After all, if there’s one thing that brings together establishment Republicans and tea partiers, supply-siders and neo-cons, values voters and Ayn Rand acolytes, it’s that they all hate Hillary Clinton. They don’t just think she has bad ideas on policy, or that she can’t match the limitless integrity and honesty of their nominee, or that she wouldn’t manage the federal government with sufficient dexterity. They hate her, in a deep and primal way that goes beyond anything logical or rational, much less anything having to do with issues or the challenges of the presidency….

The weird thing is, the person among them who hates Clinton the least may be Donald Trump himself. Before he started running for president, he called Clinton a friend and sang her praises to the media. But just as he intuited that the path to victory lay not in the purest expression of conservative ideology or the assemblage of concrete policy plans but in a campaign of angry white nationalism, he realized that loathing for Clinton was a powerful force just begging to be unleashed.And unleashed it most certainly is. The question now is how much farther it will go.

Source: Republican hatred of Hillary Clinton has taken a harrowing turn

My last sentence before the comment above is what perhaps stunned me the most. The hatred spewed by a South Carolina pastor toward Hillary was done in the name of Jesus!  Again and again during that abomination he told everyone to hate Hillary in the name of Jesus.   I wonder how many more people were turned away from the peace loving lessons of Jesus because of these words?

Last night was supposed to be about “Making America Great Again” but in reality it was nothing but a HATE fest. I hear that even George W. Bush made the statement that he wonders if he will be the last Republican president.  Hatred as seen on that convention stage does nothing but taint the soul. Given how things are going with the GOP maybe we all should pray that Bush’s thoughts become reality…



Neurodiversity …


Neurodiversity is a new term for me. It basically means accepting people for the special talents and characteristics that they have instead of trying to make everyone the same.  I came across this idea when investigating Asperberger’s Syndrome recently.  Although I was familiar with the term Autism, of which Asperberger’s is part, I didn’t appreciate that it covers a very wide spectrum. Here is a little bit about that:

Autistic people, for instance, have prodigious memories for facts, are often highly intelligent in ways that don’t register on verbal IQ tests, and are capable of focusing for long periods on tasks that take advantage of their natural gift for detecting flaws in visual patterns. By autistic standards, the “normal” human brain is easily distractible, is obsessively social, and suffers from a deficit of attention to detail….

One way to understand neurodiversity is to remember that just because a PC is not running Windows doesn’t mean that it’s broken. Not all the features of atypical human operating systems are bugs. We owe many of the wonders of modern life to innovators who were brilliant in non-neurotypical ways…

Neurodiversity is also gaining traction in special education, where experts are learning that helping students make the most of their native strengths and special interests, rather than focusing on trying to correct their deficits or normalize their behavior, is a more effective method of educating young people with atypical minds so they can make meaningful contributions to society. “We don’t pathologize a calla lily by saying it has a ‘petal deficit disorder,’” writes Thomas Armstrong, author of a new book called Neurodiversity in the Classroom. “Similarly, we ought not to pathologize children who have different kinds of brains and different ways of thinking and learning.

SOURCE:  Neurodiversity Rewires Conventional Thinking About Brains | WIRED

I got interested in this topic after reading an article about Asperger’s Syndrome and saw how closely it described much of my life.  Thanks to some comments on my previous post on the subject I was pointed to several interesting articles about Aspergers. I took the AP Quiz and discovered I am pretty equally split between  neurodiverse (read Autism) and neurotypical (read like everyone else).  I will soon be putting out another post about that test and the findings, but not here.

Neurodiversity is about celebrating our differences instead of trying to stifle them.  Of course I recognize that any human characteristic if taken to the extreme is harmful. It can cause life to be difficult if not impossible to live independently.  Neurodiversity is not about the extremes but about the differences in each of us.

When I saw so many of my basic thoughts, actions, and beliefs as being identified with Aspergers it kind of shocked me. Do I have autism? That thought stuck to my mind but upon further thought I realized that is what makes me different from others and therefore is not really a bad thing. Each of us need to contribute what we can to society and the world.  If we are all the same  we would have a very shallow existence.  No artists, no innovators, no one to guide us to a better world.

In the coming weeks and months I will have much more to say about this topic… But for now lets celebrate our neurodiversity in the same we we celebrate our ethnic diversity… at least some of us do…


Fear On Steroids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thanks to Walt Handelsam for summing up the perspective of the convention currently taking place in Cleveland Ohio.

For the last couple of decades fear has always taken center stage in the GOP philosophy and it is certainly THE primary topic so far for this latest GOP convention. It doesn’t matter that viewing our times from an historical perspective show these times to be rather peaceful. Yes, there are the isolated events that a couple of decades ago would never have gotten national attention. 24/7 news is constantly searching out the “blood events” as they know that what sells soap for their advertisers.

We all understand the reality of our own eventual mortality, even if we try not to think about it too much. But if you tuned into the first night of the Republican National Convention on Monday evening, you were reassured that your demise is right around the corner. Your children, too, are probably going to be murdered some time soon, as is everyone else you love and the very country in which we live. Though the official theme of the evening was “Making America Safe Again,” it might better have been called “We’re All Gonna Die — Trump ’16!”…

But it seems that using calm and measured restraint while considering the state of the world is, well, for wimps. True strength is to be found in abject panic and fear-mongering, in the insistence that everything is spiraling out of control and the only thing that can save us is the wisdom and firm hand of a man who, when asked whom he consults for advice on foreign policy, says, “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” This man may not know what the nuclear triad is, but he did bring the world Trump Steaks. I feel safer already.

Source: The GOP’s unbridled convention fear-mongering

I am not trying to downplay the seriousness of today’s problems. I will admit that ISIS and those who are causing havoc in the name of ISIS is very troublesome on the world stage but in reality it dwarfs in relationship to the number killed each year by our obsession with guns.  ISIS certainly needs to be addressed strongly but it is really not much of a threat to our daily lives here in the U.S.  It seems in my lifetime we have been in a perpetual war with one ideology or another so nothing is new there.

I know it is a shallow thought but I want to cite FDR’s famous words “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”.  When he said those words we were in much more dire straits than we are now. The Republican party has latched onto fear as a way to prevent  the deterioration of their party. They think if they can convince enough people to be irrationally fearful they can maintain their stranglehold on power.  They are clinging to anything that will prevent their downfall, especially given their current choice for president.

I suspect that the remainder of this convention will also be about fear and exclusion. But since Donald Trump is an extreme narcissist much of it will also be about him I’m sure.  I wonder what the atmosphere will be like next week for the other party’s get together??


The main crux of this post is about whether a company can remain innovative as it ages. I want to use Sears and Amazon as study points. Being a U.S. history buff I can’t help but draw a parallel between Sears in the early 20th century and Amazon a hundred years later.  Here with the help of Wiki here is a little history of Sears:

2016-07-17_15-51-55.png Farmers did business in small rural towns. Before the Sears catalog, farmers typically bought supplies (often at high prices and on credit) from local general stores with narrow selections of goods.   Prices were negotiated, and depended on the storekeeper’s estimate of a customer’s creditworthiness. Sears took advantage of this by publishing catalogs offering customers a wider selection of products at clearly stated prices. The business grew quickly. The first Sears catalog was published in 1888.   By 1895, the company was producing a 532-page catalog. Sales were greater than $400,000 in 1893 and more than $750,000 two years later. …

In 1993, Sears terminated its famous general merchandise catalog because of sinking sales and profits…

Source: Sears – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The parallels between Amazon and Sears startups are quite striking.  Jeff Bezos started the company in 1995 with the idea to sell books on-line. It quickly grew in both sales and product offerings so that today it is by far the number one retailer on-line.

2016-07-17_15-53-10.pngAccording to recent industry figures, Amazon is the leading e-retailer in the United States with more than 107 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 net sales. The majority of the company’s revenues are generated through the sale of electronics and other products, followed by media and other activities. As of the fourth quarter of 2015, the e-retailer reported more than 304 million active customer accounts worldwide. Due to Amazon’s global scope and reach, it is also considered one of the most valuable brands worldwide.

Source: Amazon – Statistics & Facts | Statista

One of the striking things about Amazon beside their explosive product line is the speed at which they deliver their products. For $79/year you can get unlimited 2 day delivery at no cost.  I must admit I am a major customer who places orders probably 30+ times a year for the last several years.

Because it wasn’t available on-line I recently ordered a drawer unit for my micro-RV remodel from Sears.  I was told that it would take 2 – 3 weeks for delivery. In Amazon time which is now the norm for me that is an outrageously long. Somewhere along the line Sears just lost their innovative edge. The Sears store in Bloomington just closed down so now I have to travel about 50 miles to pick up my cabinet.  It is either that or pay $70 to have it delivered!

I find it ironic that just as Sears was terminating their catalog sales a young Jeff Bezos was planning on starting one on-line.  For 2015 Sears revenue decreased by $6.1 billion to $25 billion while Amazon revenues were $107 billion.   I wonder what would have happened in 1993 if Sears had decided to aggressively take their catalog on-line instead of abandoning it?  I am personally convinced that on-line sales is the wave of the future.  Why do I need to get in the car, drive to a store, and lug my purchases home when all I have to do instead is just click a few buttons and in two days it appears on my doorstep.

Dreaming About “Lion King”

DW BannerI have been dreaming about  my April Disney World trip lately. One of the most spectacular shows was “Lion King”. With this post I am giving you a flavor of it. It is a massive production and well worth one of your “magic passes” if you ever go there.

(as usual click on any of the pics above to see a larger slideshow)

Someday You Will Have Been All Of These…..

For this lazy Sunday afternoon I wanted to bring back a post from over three years ago here at RJsCorner.  It seems to be even more dreadfully needed today than it was then….

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.  —  George Washington Carver

G.W. CarverI call the quote here an inspiring definition of successful. Putting yourself in others shoes so to speak is how we most often relate to others circumstances. As Mr. Carver said many of us are at sometime in our lives included in these categories and that is a good thing. It keeps us grounded in our lives compared to those around us.

  • Tender with the Young
  • Compassionate with the Aged
  • Sympathetic with the Striving
  • Tolerant with the Weak and the Strong

The word tolerant in the last item in this list originally seemed to be misplaced to me. But when we take the dictionary definition of the word to mean “showing respect for the rights or opinions or practices of others”. It falls into line with the others on the list.

If only our politicians in Washington took this list seriously there would be less squabbling among them and more compassion for those who elect them.

Take My Governor…. Please

Ok, I admit that there are probably a lot of you who don’t get the above quote. It is a play off of Henney Youngman’s famous quote “Take my wife… please”. You had to be around in the 1950s and 60 to remember “take my wife”.  This isn’t really the topic of today’s post but I wanted to start it out with a little humor.  The funny kind, not he weird kind that will come. Here is a quote from Wiki:

Youngman’s wife, Sadie Cohen, was often the butt of his jokes (“My wife said to me, ‘For our anniversary I want to go somewhere I’ve never been before.’ I said, ‘Try the kitchen!'”, or “my wife’s cooking is fit for a king. (gesturing as if feeding an invisible dog) Here King, here King!” Also, “Last night my wife said the weather outside was fit for neither man nor beast, so we both stayed home.”) but in reality the two were very close, with Sadie often accompanying her husband on his tours. Youngman remained married for over sixty years until his wife’s death in 1987, after a prolonged illness.

Source: Henny Youngman – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ok, now on to the weird humor. I don’t know if you have heard or not that Donald Trump picked the governor of my State as his running mate.  I know he wasn’t Trump’s first choice, or even tenth I imagine, be he did announce it yesterday.   I th2016-07-16_11-16-55.pngink he really wanted to make one of his kid’s VP but couldn’t decide which one.  I don’t know what Mr. Trump had in mind with this pick but I sure am glad to hear that Pence won’t be governor of Indiana come next year.

But then again he was probably going to lose anyway but this is more of a sure deal. Mr Pence is not particularly  liked, even by many conservatives. He was no better than even in the polls against his rival and when a Republican isn’t several points ahead in Indiana it doesn’t look good for him.  If you remember Pence at all it will probably be his stands against minorities, especially homosexuals.  If he has trouble winning in a very conservative State how is he going to help Trump?

The Trump/Pence ticket acronym is a good one T/P.  There are already many jokes about it. “TP– put it in the toilet where it belongs” is the best one so far. I’m sure with  Pence being on the ticket it shores up the ultra-conservative vote but that seems already a sure thing for Trump. After the media get down with Pence there probably won’t be an independent, let alone a Democrat that will vote for him.   Since the only minorities that the GOP even likes is their own party this choice just doesn’t make sense to me.  But that is actually a good thing.  I just can’t stomach the idea of Trump with his finger on the nuclear button or even in the Oval Office… Yeh for Tp,  couldn’t live without it….

How To Exclude…

I guess Mr. Gingrich is still trying to be the VP choice for the egomaniac  candidate. His words below are a total affront to the basic meaning of America.  It is equivalent to the witch hunts or at least the McCarthy years and taunts me as the primary dark side of politics and religion.  But before I get to that lets look at Gingrich’s statement:

2016-07-15_08-01-35“Every person here who is of a Muslim background” should be tested to determine whether he or she believes in Shariah, a legal code based on the Quran and other Islamic scriptures.Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich introduces Donald Trump during a rally at the Sharonville Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 6. Getty Images

If they do, he said, they should be deported — even if they’re U.S. citizens. Gingrich added that anyone who simply visits any website “favoring ISIS or al Qaeda or other terrorist groups” should be guilty of a felony, “and they should go to jail.

“The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned Gingrich’s call to “test” Muslims in the U.S. as well as the truck attack.

“When former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggests that American Muslims be subjected to an Inquisition-style religious test and then expelled from their homes and nation, he plays into the hands of terror recruiters and betrays the American values he purports to uphold,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said.

Source: Newt Gingrich Wants Tests for All U.S. Muslims After Nice Attack – NBC News

There are just too many politicians going as deep into the gutter of politics as possible today!  I wonder if Mr Gingrich would settle for making Muslims wear large cloth patches on their clothing so that everyone would know they are Muslims.  Maybe that is good enough for the “cafeteria Muslims”? What upsets me even more than his words is the lack of words against his thoughts by the rest of us.  This guy has gone completely off the rails so to speak!

Looking at this from a higher level brings out my disgust for the very concept of exclusion. It is happening far too often now in both politics and religion. America is the land of immigrants and Christianity is about inclusion. To turn both on their heads is shameful to say the least.

I know fear is a powerful emotion but it is just grabbing far to many of us in both realms. The current thoughts that drive exclusion are:

  • We need to only allow those who think, look, and behave like us in our midst….
  • Anyone who questions any of our personal principles must be avoided at all costs….
  • Our safety is much more important than our principles…

Too many in our religious circles have tunnel vision when it comes to what they they allow to challenge their fixed beliefs.  They want to exclude anyone who doesn’t tow the line.  They fear that if they allow differences of opinion that they will fall down a slippery slope into oblivian. Take out the word “religious” above and put in the the “political” and the same thing applies.

Jesus, if he was about nothing else, was about inclusion. The founding fathers of our nation were also about inclusion. To twist their words for a personal agenda is both dangerous to us as a society and deadly to our basic principles.

Letters To The Editor…

I occasionally write a letter to the editor of our small town newspaper. They allow me to put my two cents into the topic at hand. But since our town is so small I am often reluctant to chime in on some sensitive issues for fear of being labeled by my neighbors.  Anonymity is not an option in small town living.

When I ran across this “letter to the editor” from Buffalo NY it got my attention.  To me the author spells out the relationship between government and religion  as concisely as possible:

2016-07-12_15-39-41.pngLike the Bible, the writings of the nation’s Founding Fathers can be cherry-picked to lend credence to otherwise specious arguments. While some of the founders saw value in religious (albeit Christian) practice, the main thrust of the First Amendment of the Constitution is actually freedom from religion. Surely, the Constitution writers remembered that many of their ancestors came to these shores to escape the prosecution brought on by that dark side of all religion: its inability to tolerate disagreement.

Indeed, they did not rely upon religion to restrain vice and wickedness. To cite Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”: Governments are formed in reaction to the inability of moral virtue to govern the world. “Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness: the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices.”


I discovered the massive cherry picking that goes on in most religious circles in order to justify their particular flavor of religion but I hadn’t thought of it also applying to how we view our founding documents. But the right to bear arms found in the 2nd amendment is a glaring example of cherry picking.  Almost all gun rights advocates ignore the first words of that amendment and concentrate totally not the last ones. They ignore the reason to have guns and therefore try to make it a blanket statement that everyone should have guns.

Yes, I discovered years ago that the freedom of religion amendment was mainly about freedom “from” religion as pointed out in the quote above.  Believe what you want just don’t try to force those beliefs on me in the name of the State.  That is my mantra via my proudly displayed “Coexist” decals on all my vehicles.

I love the last quote from Tom Paine’s “Common Sense” articles. That is a new twist for me.  Negatively restraining our vices, that’s a good one…

The Gem of Southern Illinois…

This morning I put out a post of the cons for my recent trip into southern Illinois so this afternoon I wanted to give you a gem to counterbalance it. That gem is Giant City Lodge.

Before I do that I want to give you a little background on my habits during my uRV trips. I usually stay the night at a State park at during the trip. Part of my ritual is to get up early as I usually do and find a local restaurant that serves breakfast.  I do have a Coleman stove in the uRV but it is yet to be used. The microwave is primarily for heating up Big Mac and such that I buy  as carry-out for dinner. Camping just doesn’t include cooking and washing dishes if you ask me.

So as I was sitting at the campsite I got out the brochure about the Mississippi River routes in Southern Illinois that brought me to this place and found one of the highlights was the Giant City Lodge. I thought it was kind of strange to have a state park lodge as a highlight so I thought I would try it as that is the park where I was camping.

The next morning when I pulled up to the front of the lodge it was nice but not much different from most of them.  But when I got inside I found something completely different. I have been to many national park lodges and this one could compete with almost any of them for its beauty.

It was built by the CCC during the Roosevelt years of the 1930s.  I don’t know how long it took to build or how many people worked on it but it must have been quite a crew.  I happened to get their just as they were opening for the morning so except for one other elderly gentleman I had the dining room to myself. It was a very peaceful meal looking out the massive windows onto the beautiful courtyard.  Now without further ado here are some pictures for our enjoyment:


(Click on any of the pictures above to go to a larger slideshow view)

I want to close the post out with a little about the title of the park. While driving up to the park I never did see a Giant City, just a few small towns?  I guess the original inhabitants had some grandiose plans that just didn’t attract enough potential people to live out.  :)


%d bloggers like this: