Wednesday, November 29, 2017

How Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis Would Deal With Sexual Misconduct

No person in the media that engages in sexual misconduct, no person in the media that entertains proposals to engage in sexual misconduct, no person in the media that sits in a conference with a bunch of sexual miscreants and where the ways and means of sexual misconduct are discussed, and does not promptly tell his employer about it, will ever again work in the media.

Ditto for persons in elected and appointed offices of public trust.

Ditto for persons in higher education.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Giving Thanks

First and foremost, Donald J. Trump, NOT Hillary R. Clinton, is president.  That is reason alone to celebrate every day as Thanksgiving.

Trump appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, not an ideological clone of Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Sonia Sotomayor that Hillary Clinton would have appointed.  With luck, Trump will appoint two or three more Gorsuch-style justices, thus preserving and protecting the Constitution of the United States.

President Trump has halted, and begun to roll back, the federal regulatory steamroller that has suppressed initiative, entrepreneurship, economic freedom, and growth.  Seven more years of deregulation will liberate Americans for a generation.

President Trump may succeed in slashing tax rates and improve incentives for work, saving and investment.  Hillary Clinton would have raised tax rates to advance her socialist redistribution program.

The legacies of President Bush and Obama are defined by invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, the rise of ISIS, thousands of military and civilian deaths, hundreds of thousands of military and civilian wounded, over a million displaced persons, and trillions of dollars of wasted expenditure, leaving the Middle east and North Africa (MENA) worse off than before Bush took office.  President Trump has (so far) avoided the mistake of invading another MENA country and trying to replace it with a democracy, which failed in every case. 

On the domestic front, Bush presided over the greatest financial and economic crisis, known as the Great Recession, since the Great Depression.  Obama, for his part, presided over eight years of sub-standard growth. President Trump is presiding over stronger growth, lower unemployment, and a booming stock market.

Much remains to be done.  Seven more years of Trump, if he stays the course, will MAGA!

Happy Thanksgiving.

PS.  To those of you who supported other Republican presidential candidates or Hillary Clinton in 2016, or just plain don’t like Trump, may you enjoy this day of feasting before resuming your tweeting, blogging, writing, and speaking against Trump.  Resistance is futile.  You will be TRUMPED.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Guys and Dolls With 2017 Characteristics

I love Trump a bushel and a Pence
A bushel and a Pence  and a Gorsuch on the Bench
A Gorsuch on the Bench and a tax cut on the way
A tax cut on the way and we all can say Hooray

I love Trump, I love Trump

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Conserving Water With California Characteristics

The 2016-17 rainy season in California broke a five-year drought.  During those dry years, the state and local governments imposed a number of regulations to conserve water.  For example, new homes could not have lawns, watering outdoor plants was limited to specific hours of the day two days a week, and washing cars with running water was forbidden.  Some restrictions have been eased while others remain in place.  There are no guarantees when it comes to predicting annual rainfall in California.  Better to sustain conservation in case another multi-year drought materializes, especially since the state government shows little inclination to build dams or otherwise increase water storage facilities.

Restrictions on water use were also accompanied with incentives to conserve water.  Homeowners were offered rebates to tear outlawns and put in drought tolerant plans. In Palo Alto, for example, the current rebate is $2.00 per square foot for the first 1,000 square feet and $1.00 per square foot thereafter, up to the project cap per home.  The rebate requires a minimum of 50% plant coverage consisting of low water using plants from the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s Approved Plant List.

There are also rebates to switch from pop-up sprinklers to drip irrigation and irrigation equipment upgrades.

Several years ago, in the midst of the drought, the BTW (beautiful talented wife) and I were tired of dethatching, seeding, fertilizing, weeding, applying insecticides, mowing, watering, and repeating the cycle.  We were also tired of spending money in pursuit of golf greens in our front and back yards, which was impossible to achieve on a twice-weekly watering regimen.

We decided to go whole hog.  We ripped out the front and back lawns, covering the bare soil with tarps and redwood bark.  Instead of saving at least 50% on water consumption, we were going to save 100%, permanently.  (We left the irrigation system in place in case a future homeowner would like to install drought-tolerant landscape.)

I phoned the Santa Clara County Water Department to request the rebate based on the square footage of lawn we removed.  I asked the polite gentlemen who answered if he would take my request to the Water Board.  He did so, but the Board rejected my request.  Getting the rebate requires that 50% of the area be replaced with water-tolerant plants.  The county retains the right to reclaim the rebate if it discovers that a homeowner overplants or replaces approved plants with those not on the list.

I thought my request was reasonable.  Redwood bark is in widespread use as ground cover.  By not replanting, I would be maximizing water conservation compared with homeowners covering 50% of their former lawn area with drought tolerant plants that still need watering.

Oh well!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Currency Manipulation. Who Is Manipulating Whom?

During the presidential campaign, President Trump repeatedly accused China of manipulating its currency, devaluing the Yuan, to gain advantage in its trade with the United States.  Devaluing the Yuan makes Chinese goods cheaper in the U.S. and U.S. goods more costly in China.  This was, in Trump’s view, a source of the large trade deficit with China, and loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

On occasion he also accused the European Central Bank of devaluing the Euro to give Europe an advantage in trading with the U.S.

How have China and Europe responded to these charges and threats of possible U.S. restrictions on imports from China and Europe?

On January 2, 2017, US$1= Yuan 6.95.  On August 29, the rate was US$1= Yuan 6.59.  That represents an appreciation, a revaluation, of the Yuan of 5.2%.

Similarly, on January 2, 2017, Euro 1=US$1.0465.  On August 29, the rate was Euro 1=U$1.2048.  That represents a revaluation of 15.1%.

Are China and Europe manipulating their currencies by appreciating them?  That makes no sense since a stronger currency would reduce exports from China and Europe to the U.S., unless they want to head off U.S. restrictions on their exports to the U.S

Or, is the U.S. manipulating the dollar by devaluing it, the flip side of Chinese and European appreciation, to gain an advantage trading with China and Europe to reduce U.S. trade deficits?  Are the Federal Reserve and the Treasury guilty of currency manipulation against China and Europe, and such other countries as Japan?   Are the Fed and Treasury conspiring with Trump to reduce trade deficits?

Who is manipulating whom?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Protecting Chinese Americans And Other Asian Americans From Charges of Racism, Slavery And White Privilege

Many Chinese-Americans have the surname Lee.  All of a sudden, thanks to ESPN and one of its football announcers named Robert Lee, any Asian with the first name Robert and last name Lee, spelled L-e-e, has become identified with the Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and thus a symbol and presumed supporter of racism, slavery and even White privilege, as strange as that may sound.

The Chinese language is divided into numerous dialect and sub-dialect groups.  Depending on which classification you select, there are as many as 11 major spoken dialects and numerous sub-dialects within each group.  Many of these are mutually unintelligible.  The written language, consisting of thousands of Chinese characters (ideographs), is largely the same in each dialect even though its pronunciation differs among dialects.

Take, for example, former Nationalist General Chiang Kai-shek.  That Romanization (spelling) reflects Cantonese pronunciation.  In Mandarin, his name is spelled Jiang Jieshi.

The spelling of Hong Kong’s former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa reflects his Shanghainese ancestry.  In Mandarin, his name is spelled Dong Jianhwa

Now to ESPN and Confederate General, slave owning Robert E. Lee. Singapore’s late leader Lee Kuan Yew’s name is spelled on the pronunciation of the Hakka dialect.  In standard Mandarin, the national language, his name is spelled Li Guangyao.  Every Chinese America whose first name is Robert and last name is spelled Lee should immediately change it to Li, current Mandarin spelling.

Ditto for any Korean American or other Asian American whose first name is Robert and last name is spelled Lee.

It is necessary to compile a list of one-syllable last names of prominent slave owning Confederates.  In so doing, every Asian American with the same spelling of his last name can change it, thereby avoiding DISCRIMINATION by those protesting discrimination, prejudice, and white privilege.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

President Trump Goes To War: Afghanistan Redux

In his maiden foreign policy speech of August 21, 2017, President Donald Trump sketched out his plan for “winning” the war in Afghanistan.  Trump also warned Pakistan that if it did not stop harboring terrorists, he would cut off several hundred million dollars in aid and attack Taliban sanctuaries inside Pakistan.  His plan marks a continuation of the war as fought under presidents Bush and Obama, but with changes in the rules of military activity favoring U.S. forces.

Trump’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan, staying as long as necessary to “win,” reversed his campaign pledge to withdraw.  As he put it, campaigning is one thing, but sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office facing reality is another.  (Why any voter would ever choose a candidate on the basis of his or her foreign/military policy proposals put forth during a campaign is a great mystery.)

In one bold move, Trump intensified the war on Islamic terrorism in Afghanistan and extended it to another Muslim country, Pakistan.  The tone and manner of his speech were very presidential.

Now we are entangled in an even greater war against Islamic radical terrorism, from Libya in the West to Pakistan in the East, with Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Russia in between, not to mention the boatloads of Arab and North African migrants, some terrorists among them, pouring into Europe by land and sea.

Moments after Trump’s speech, China’s Foreign Ministry announced China’s continued support for Pakistan.  President Xi Jinping has already pledged $48 billion in contracts for Pakistan as part of his  “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

Pakistan’s gross domestic product is around $300 billion.  Its government spends about $40 billion.  U.S. economic and military aid to Pakistan is less than one percent of its budget.  Threatening its cutoff will not frighten Pakistan.  China will likely make that up and more in additional aid to Pakistan.

What if Pakistan requests military assistance from China, including troops and equipment to be stationed inside Pakistan near the Afghanistan border?  U.S. military activity in Syria is constrained by the risk of hitting Russian troops or engaging Russian aircraft in combat.

Lots to think about.  Only time will tell if the results from Trump’s approach to Afghanistan will be any more successful than those of his two predecessors.  I’m from Missouri, the “show me” state.

PS.  Someone forgot to inform Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Trump twice proclaimed “we will win” in his speech.   At his briefing of August 22, 2017, Tillerson acknowledged that the U.S. might not win, but that neither would the Taliban.  The stalemate would force the Taliban to the negotiating table.