Monday, August 22, 2016
Sticks and Stones
"Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me." according to The Phrase Finder, "is a stock response to verbal bullying in school playgrounds throughout the English-speaking world. It sounds a little antiquated these days and has no doubt been superseded by more streetwise comebacks. … The earliest citation of it that I can find is from an American periodical with a largely black audience, The Christian Recorder, March 1862: Remember the old adage, 'Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me'. True courage consists in doing what is right, despite the jeers and sneers of our companions."
The point here? This finger-pointing and name-calling has got to go. People who can't think for themselves pick up all the trash from others who spew hatred. A logical argument will always impress people, but regurgitating spiteful garbage spewed by some ultra-progressive pinhead shows lack of class and disrespect for others. (Gee, ol' Ted ... why don't you just blurt out your real feelings?)
Pray tell, who was the unbridled wit who first came up with the now oft-repeated "racist, sexist Islamophobe with a massive ego"? Recently, radio commentator Dennis Prager said the left is now calling all Republicans and Conservatives SIXHIRB. (That would be Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamapobic, Racist and Bigoted. We'll avoid conjecture about where the "massive ego" part originated.)
Presenting falsehoods as truth is an old progressive trick used to rile up ignorant folks who don't recognize it as sophistry. Saul Alinski's book 12 Rules for Radicals is a primer on this sophisticated and effective political technique. Another source for this progressive way of political slight-of-hand is found in the writings of Cloward and Piven who, in 1966, called for overloading the U.S. public welfare system in order to precipitate a crisis that would lead to a replacement of the welfare system with a national system of "a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty."
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov [Lenin], leader of the 1917 Russian Bolshevik Revolution, is said to have coined the saying "A lie told often enough becomes the truth." That historic quote is fully in play today and the perpetrators usually do so wearing a grin like the Cheshire Cat! What's so confounding to the casual observer is that the followers of oft-told fabrications blindly believe them to be based on proven facts! Those "facts" are more often than not based on the politically-charged observations of biased players beholden to the elite in one way or another.
For example, you constantly hear the assertion that "It's been proven that trickle-down economics doesn't work." In a December, 2011speech, President Obama said, "Here's the problem: It doesn't work. It has never worked." Well, President or not, he was wrong. Writer David Atkins DemocraticUnderground.com June 29, 2014: "Trickle-down economics is a proven failure." Atkins is also mistaken, a fraud.
Capitalism has always worked because the riches at the top have to "trickle down" to create new business opportunities - new factories, new jobs, new inventions and innovations - by providing the necessary investment capital. Without that very basic part of capitalism, there would be no growth in business and jobs because there would be no trickle to invest. [I want you to remember that statement "no trickle to invest."] Banks won't generally loan startup money for unproven ventures. In short, the folks with the money want to make more, so they invest in new ventures that they believe will create even more money, more growth, more opportunities, more jobs.
However, Federal intervention with higher taxes, interest manipulation and greater regulation has stifled investment, and today roughly 40% of private money sits invested (on- and off-shore) in precious metals and cash instead of the new ventures that create jobs and opportunities. This Federally-driven set of disincentives drives "outsourcing" and the rich have been taking their money elsewhere ... as Ford Motor Company and Carrier Air Conditioning moving to Mexico clearly demonstrates. As a direct result of these policies, the statement "It's been proven that trickle-down economics doesn't work" is still out there, a bold-faced lie, becoming more true every time it's uttered, just as Lenin said it would almost 100 years ago.
Now ... on to the next schtick or stone. A coupla weeks ago the buzz on conservative radio and TV was the un-mitigated bias against Donald Trump on the part of the MSN (the Mainstream Media.) The media has always tried to be fair when it comes to reporting political news. But this election cycle, it seems like the major news outlets - ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, WAPO, NYT, Huff PO, TIME, and huge swaths of Social Media - have been all in for Hillary Clinton.
The MSN has been ignoring the big headline stories about Clinton in favor of cherry-picking Trump's bones. Trump, who prefers to speak off-the-cuff, has been the target of MSN's noxious nit-picking, while Clinton's falters, foibles and outright fabrications have gone unreported. The clue to the MSN's bias is the incessant reporting of anything conforming to, as Dennis Prager noted, "SIXHIRB."
Over the last week, however, the unfettered support for Clinton faltered as Trump made major changes in his election team, put the teleprompter to work, and was finally cleared to be himself, delivering at least three block-buster policy speeches. Both Clinton and Obama failed to trek to Louisiana for up-close and personal views of the flood damage while Trump not only visited, but also brought an eighteen-wheeler with him, loaded with relief supplies. Meanwhile, more bad news surfaced for the Clinton Camp as information was released tying the former Secretary of State, the U.S. State Department, and the Clinton Foundation to "Pay to Play" allegations. The MSN was all over both Trump and Clinton by the end of the week.
It seems to me that "Fair and balanced" is becoming hard to make out these days on Fox News. Of course, Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly have been at each others' throats for a long time, and there's been a visible shift in news and commentary delivery toward the left since Roger Ailes' departure in July as Chairman and CEO. But then, there's Sean Hannity, who is unabashed in his admiration of "The Trumpster." And Lou Dobbs? Oh, for God's sake! Dobbs is so pro-Trump, it makes me sick! No doubt about it, Fox News is awfully hard to read these days. Has Fox become part of the MSM? ¿Quién Sabe?
And then there's my wife. Oh, puh-leeze! Every time President Obama or Hillary Clinton comes on TV, there she is screaming at the top of her lungs. I'm glad there are no rocks in our house or the TV would be complete trash! She's come up with a thing that may rival Dennis Prager's "SIXHIRB." She shouts "MFPOSSOB!" (Sorry, troops. You're gonna have to figure that one out for yourself!)
Sticks and stones ... but sometimes they sure can make your blood boil, eh?
Improvise - Adapt - Overcome. Semper Fi.
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June 20, 2016
Summer, Hot dogs and Thunderstorms
Summer arrived officially this morning ... June 20th at 6:34am EST - to be exact. That would be 4:34am MST (our time here in the Mountain West.) The Summer Solstice, as it's called, brings with it some of the great questions of our time, what with vacationing, camping, picnics and all.
Why are there ten hot-dogs in a package and only eight buns? Well, the hot-dog part is pretty simple and it goes back to the beginning of commercial hot-dog manufacturing and sales. Each hot-dog weighs one-tenth of a pound. You get ten dogs in a one-pound package. Makes it easy for everyone.
Jumbo hot-dogs come eight per one-pound package. But that's not why buns come eight to a package. That's a whole 'nuther story!
Bakers have always favored multiples that will make up a dozen. The pans that buns are baked in come in sizes that can handle 4, 6, 8 or 12 units. Most bakers settled on eight as the magic number for hot-dog buns. Actually, there are areas of the country where packages of ten hot-dog buns are available. They don't out-sell the eight-packs, though. And, of course, Hamburger buns come in packages of eight, just like hot dog buns.
Another Summer subject:
In early 2013 the NOAA Weather Service (NWS) generously declared that the Arizona Monsoon Season begins on June 15th and ends September 30th. So, how come they call our summer rains the Monsoon?
I recall vacationing in central Arizona back in the late 40s and early 50's in late July or early August. My folks would load up the Chevy Woody (station wagon - precursor to the SUV) and traipse across California and Arizona to visit relatives at Cottonwood and Mayer, and old friends at the Orme Ranch and on the Hopi Reservation. Those were the days when you strapped a canvas drinking water bag in front of the car's radiator and you drove with all the windows open to keep the heat at a minimum.
We always ran into the summer rains. Back then they weren't called Chubascos or Monsoons or Haboobs. It was usually, "Look at the size of those raindrops!" or, "Wow, that's a good one!" They were just the summer storms that made the creeks and washes come down. Sooner or later, we'd have to roll up the windows to avoid getting wet.
One summer we drove through a sandstorm in the Mojave desert. It was a dilly! The car had to have a new paint job and windshield. A Phoenix weatherman came up with a new word for it some years back. Now, we call a sandstorm Haboob.
In the late 60s, Tucson TV weatherman Michael Goodrich brought with him the Chubasco. That's what they call summer squalls with thunder and rain along Baja California and in Central and South America. The name is not Mexican, but rather originated from the Portuguese-speaking natives of Brazil. Some time later, a still-wet-behind-the-ears Phoenix NOAA weathercaster brought us the Monsoon. Nobody remembers his name.
Sometime in the mid 70s or early 80s, the the NWS began to call the water rushing down the washes and creek beds Flash Floods. Since the days of the Great Migration to the Southwest, summer TV and Radio has been peppered with PSAs warning about the dangers of Flash Floods. In 1995, after decades of waffling on the issue, Arizona's Legislature passed ARS 28-910, the "Stupid Motorist Law", making it a crime to attempt to cross a flooded crossing, creek or ford which was barricaded. Any person "driving a vehicle into any area that is temporarily covered by a rise in water level, including groundwater or overflow of water, may be liable for expenses of any emergency response," it says.
I don't recall flash floods - that's not what they called them back in the day. One summer we were at the T-Anchor ranch visiting Uncle Charlie and Aunt Verde. Just after we were bedded down for the night a huge storm blew in with a terrifying load of thunder and lightning and torrents of rain. The next morning after breakfast Uncle Charlie said we'd have to wait an hour or two before going on our way. He said, "The creek came down last night so you'll have to wait a while." So, we got to ride horse-back and went out to see the water still rushing by, all brown and rumbly with dirt and rocks. There was no mention of flash flood. Just "The creek came down." In Tucson many years later, "The Rillito just came down" was a good reason to go stand on the banks of the normally dry Rillito River and gawk at its dangerous growling splendor.
Call them what you will - Chubascos, Monsoons, Haboobs - the NWS has, for the most part, dropped those fancy words from official forcasts. Now they're just Thunderstorms.
Did you ever notice the special smell of summer thunderstorms? Could it be the dust washing out of the air? Or the scent of newly wetted Mesquite bushes? Is there some sort of chemistry in the air involving Ozone? I don't know. Who cares? It's really of no consequence in the overall picture of Life, The Universe and Everything. It's just Summer in the Southwest.
Improvise - Adapt - Overcome. Semper Fi.