Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Jones Act should be repealed

I sent this message to my Senators, Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and to my Representative, Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio District 2):

"The Jones Act will saddle Puerto Rico with unnecessary rebuilding costs as materials will need to be shipped to the island. It should be repealed immediately for Puerto Rico and after a period of time (a year?) for the rest of the country. This protectionist act has outlived its usefulness. Thank you."

In case you're unfamiliar with the Jones Act, formally known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, here's a summary from Wikipedia: It "requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried on U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents." It is a protectionist act and, in my humble opinion, has no place in modern commerce.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Only science can predict an eclipse

On August 21, many in the United States will experience a partial or total solar eclipse. This forecast is brought to you purely by science and math. There is nothing in the Holy Bible, in Christianity or any other religion that has any power or ability to predict when an eclipse will happen.

If you're a science denier, I respectfully request that you not make any preparations for the eclipse and watch it as it happens. To do otherwise is a concession on your part that science does exist and plays a part in your life.

To those who like to pick and choose which science they follow and which they ignore: It doesn't work that way. Sure, science is messy and subject to politics but, ultimately, you have to accept the whole package or none of it.

Stupid headline of the day — July 27, 2017

And the stupid headline of the day goes to Gizmodo for this doozy: "Astronomers Capture Wild Intergalactic Gamma Ray Burst As It Happens."

Anyone who knows science knows that things that show up here on Earth didn't just happen. In this case, the event happened nine billion years ago. Think about that for a second and reread "As It Happens."

Second, you would expect that this observation occurred today, maybe yesterday. No, it happened over a year ago, on June 25, 2016. The thing that happened today is that Gizmodo found out about it and wet their pants over it.

Finally, and I'm grasping at straws here, it took them three minutes into the event to start recording it. What did they miss? They can only guess. They did get some exciting data four minutes into the event.

The story is a great story. It's the click-bait headline I object to. But the headline worked; enough people clicked on it that it showed up in my Google News Feed. Sadly, this is what journalism has become: It's all about how many clicks you get, some from real people and some from bots!

In writing this post, I spent some time on Gizmodo and it does have some good stories.

(I originally posted this on Facebook on July 27.)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Extraordinary rendition of Fethullan Gülen! Isn't that un-American as well as illegal?

Former CIA Director James Woolsey is claiming that Michael Flynn discussed the idea with Turkish officials of illegally kidnapping Fethullan Gülen and sending him to Turkey. Gülen holds a Green Card and the possibility of his extraordinary rendition to certain death in Turkey by our government appalls me.

A Flynn spokesperson said that Woolsey's claims were "false" and that "no such discussion occurred."

This was before Flynn was National Security Adviser and he was an undisclosed foreign agent of Turkey, who paid his company $530,000 in fees. Fortunately, Flynn no longer has a direct connection with the Trump Administration.

Are people legally in this country going to suddenly disappear with no trace? I certainly hope not!

Here are a three articles with more information.

● The Wall Street Journal (original article; subscription may be required): Ex-CIA Director: Mike Flynn and Turkish Officials Discussed Removal of Erdogan Foe From U.S.

● The Christian Science Monitor: Could the Trump administration send Fethullah Gülen back to Turkey?

● The Chicago Tribune: Ex-CIA Chief: Michael Flynn's firm discussed removing Turkish cleric from U.S.

Note: This post was also posted on my Facebook page.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Fathers can take care of kids, too

On Facebook, Sonya S. asks: "Wondering again this morning whose genius idea it was to make Mothers have to work full time while trying to manage children and all the issues, illnesses, and injuries that come with them."

There are dads at the playgrounds, too, these days. My wife and I discussed which one of us would stay home with the kid. In our case, my wife stayed home but it could have been the other way around. I determined to be fully involved with my son's upbringing and changed his first diaper. We took turns staying home with him when he was sick.

What I found, in running the numbers, is that, due to the marriage penalty, the second family income is taxed at a much higher rate. By the time you add up extra taxes, clothes, day care and transportation, it can actually reduce the family's income more when both parents work than it does for one to stay home. Although I understand that it has been reduced, the marriage penalty is worst if both parents earn above average salaries. In fact, we filed separately in some years to save tax (We paid less Federal tax but more Ohio tax. The net effect was in our favor by several hundred dollars.).

The comments above are based on two-parent families. I don't know if Sonya is married or not. Obviously, if there is just one parent, having one parent working and the other managing the kids isn't an option.

Edited March 26 to fix editing.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Why are so many celebrities dying?

Carrie Fisher died today. I thought she would recover from her medical problems and live many more years but, alas, she didn't. We still have four more days this year and I expect another celebrity will die before January 1, 2017.

Why are so many celebrities dying? Mathematically, it's simple: It's due to a reduction in life expectancy in the United States. Many people aren't making it to 60 years old any more, and celebrities are included in that. George Michael died recently at the age of 53 and Carrie had just turned 60 a couple of months ago. People are succumbing to cancer, heart disease, drugs (legal as well as illegal), suicide (some caused by repeated concussions) and gun violence.

I am especially appalled at the increase in drug overdoses. I feel that the pharmaceutical companies as well as the doctors are responsible for the increase in overdoses due to painkillers and are making big profits from this. The Charleston Gazette-Mail found that, over the last six years, pharmaceutical companies have shipped 433 pain pills for every man, woman and child in the state of West Virginia. That's a total of 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills.

Meanwhile, the people from an earlier era who are now in their 90s, such as Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99, are dying as well. Expect this combination of seemingly large numbers of young and old celebrities dying to continue until the average life expectancy in the United States begins to increase again.

Note: I donated to Wikipedia for the third year in a row during their recent fundraising campaign. They said that if everyone who uses Wikipedia donated just $5 per year, they would reach their goal. I gave a bit more than the average because I'm an above average kind of person!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Milestone yesterday: 100,000 page views

Yesterday, I celebrated 100,000 page views for this blog (according to Google). It was launched a bit over four years ago, October 12, 2012. Google is supposed to be filtering bots and scrapers so these should be real people viewing my posts.

My goals for next year is to add appropriate advertising and to begin archiving posts that are no longer relevant. By appropriate advertising, I want to avoid ads that say, "New Rule In Cincinnati Leaves Residents Furious." There is no such new rule. Clicking on the ad produces this heading and subheading: "Why Did No One Tell Drivers with No Tickets in 3 Years About This?" and "Recent studies indicate that drivers are paying too much for car insurance." If you don't know already that you can shop around for car insurance, you must be living in a cave. Of course, the company running the ad does not actually sell car insurance. They refer people to real car insurance companies, collecting fees in the process. I would prefer not having ads like this on my blog. We shall see.