Warm Southern Breeze

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Feds Investigate Giuliani

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 16, 2019

“Oh! What a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive!”

– from the play “Marmion,” Canto VI Stanza 17, by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), Scottish author & novelist

Rudy Giuliani (RIGHT) at the James J. Fox cigar bar in London, with Lev Parnas (lower LEFT) and, Igor Fruman (speaking on the phone), and a third, unnamed associate. (Obtained by ProPublica)

Yesterday, Friday, 15 November 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported around noon Eastern Time, that Federal prosecutors in Manhattan were investigating whether Rudy Giuliani – a former Federal Prosecutor who is Trump’s personal lawyer – stood to profit personally from a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) venture in Ukraine, which has been linked to corrupt oligarchs, and other corrupt officials, some of whom may have been, or may be yet, associated with the Ukrainian government – including two Naturalized American Citizens, Lev Parnas, and Igor Fruman.

Lev Parnas was born in Ukraine to Jewish parents who emigrated with him to the United States when he was aged three, while Igor Fruman was born in Belarus to Jewish parents, and later moved to Detroit.

Federal authorities arrested the two men October 9, 2019 at Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, D.C. as they both sought to leave the United States with one-way flight tickets on Lufthansa Airlines flight to Frankfurt, and charged them with illegally contributing to Trump’s election campaign. Deeming them flight risks, a Federal Judge in Northern Virginia set bail at $1 million each, and the pair are still in custody.

Lev Parnas (left) and Igor Fruman are shown after their arrest on Oct. 9 at Dulles International Airport, outside Washington, D.C.

The Federal indictment said Parnas acted “at least in part, at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials,” and though none were named, it was well known that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s primary critic in the Ukrainian government was Yuriy Lutsenko, who at the time was the Ukraine’s Prosecutor General and well-known to use the law as a weapon for his own personal political fights.

Federal Prosecutors indicted two other men, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin, along with Parnas and Fruman, and accused them of funneling money to state and federal candidates in exchange for potential influence, noting that the four men wanted to set up recreational marijuana businesses in Nevada and other states, and sought political help to obtain the necessary licenses.

NPR reported 23 October 2019 that, “a company called Global Energy Producers (GEP) gave $325,000 to America First Action, the superPAC supporting Trump.” GEP is a shell company created by Parnas and Fruman.

According to Trevor Potter, a Republican former Commissioner and Chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), General Counsel to the now-late Arizona U.S. Senator John McCain in his 2000, and 2008 presidential campaigns, who is now an investigator and founder of Campaign Legal Center (CLC), a non-partisan, non-profit legal advocacy group which monitors money and political campaigns, CLC found that the campaign contribution came from GEP which appeared to be a shell company, and as he described, was “a blank slate.”

As Potter recalled, “The company hadn’t existed. It had been formed literally a couple weeks before the contribution. It had no website, no history of political activity, so you’re thinking this is most likely a company created to make this contribution. You have to disclose on the FEC reports the true source of the money, who the contributor actually is.”

Establishing a shell company to donate political contributions is an illegal act under Federal law.

As CLC further investigated, they found that GEP – through Parnas and Fruman – had donated to then-Representative Pete Sessions, a Republican who represented Texas’ 32nd Congressional District. Sessions was defeated by Colin Allred, his Democratic challenger in the November 2018 election.

In his official capacity, then-Representative Sessions, who was Chairman of the House Rules Committee, wrote a letter in 2018 to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stating that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch should be fired, and accused her of expressing “disdain” for the President and administration.

In July 2018, CLC notified the FEC of possible campaign finance violations by Parnas and Fruman.

Interestingly, in a totally separate, and seemingly unrelated turn of events, Dale W. Perry, the American owner of a large energy company doing business in Ukraine, first got wind of Parnas and Fruman after they’d met with one of his former business partners in March 2019, and described an unusual plan.

Perry characterized Parnas and Fruman’s scheme saying, “What was so troubling was, it was basically the presentation of the intent to take the gas sector back to where it was during the Yanukovych regime.”

Viktor Yanukovych is the former Ukrainian President, who, as Perry said, was “a heck of a lot more corrupt,” was friendly with Russian president Vladimir Putin, in office 2010-2014, was removed from office by the Ukrainian parliament February 2014, went into self-imposed exile in southern Russia that same month, and in January 2019 was tried and convicted in absentia of treason by Ukrainian court after it was discovered he had written a letter to Putin March 1, 2014 asking him to use Russian army and police forces to restore order in Ukraine, which in turn, led to the Russian invasion of Crimea. He has been in exile since 2014.

Petro Poroshenko, considered a Ukrainian oligarch, succeeded Yanukovych, who in turn was defeated May 2019 by Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, and won with 73.22% of votes cast.

In May, as part of the celebration and acknowledgement of Zelenskiy’s election victory, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry traveled to Kiev, Ukraine to serve as the senior U.S. government representative at his inauguration. While there, in a private meeting with Zelenskiy, Perry pressed him to fire members of the Naftogaz advisory board. Those in attendance left with the impression that Perry wanted to replace the American representative, Amos Hochstein, a former Diplomat and Energy Representative who served in the Obama administration, with someone “reputable in Republican circles.”

Rick Perry, Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy – official portrait

During that same trip, a second meeting occurred at a Kyiv hotel, which included Ukrainian government officials and energy sector business individuals. At that meeting, Secretary Perry was explicitly clear that Trump wanted to Read the rest of this entry »

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The United States is Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 8, 2019

I considered naming this entry “It’s All Bad: Bridges, Schools, Roads, Dams, Aviation, Drinking Water, Energy, Inland Waterways, Ports, Schools, Wastewater, Solid Waste, Transit, Public Parks, Hazardous Waste, etc.,” but decided to change it.

Perhaps the initial title was some help to guide the reader in the direction the entry would go.

Eventually, it’ll cost you money… but it’s already doing that.

Read on to see how.

Bluntly, America’s Economic Infrastructure sucks, and blows gnarly chunks.

What’s “Economic Infrastructure”?

Glad you asked.

Broadly, “Economic Infrastructure” refers to several categories of physical improvements which facilitate civil society, providing it an opportunity to grow.

Sometimes also simply called “infrastructure,” the U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines 16 categories, or Critical Infrastructure Sectors, including (in alphabetical order):

1.) Chemical – converts various raw materials into over 70,000 different products essential to modern life, including Basic, Specialty, and Agricultural chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Consumer products

2.) Commercial Facilities – diverse sites that draw large crowds of people for shopping, business, entertainment, or lodging.

3.) Communications – provides a critical, enabling function and integral component of the U.S. economy, underlying the operations of all businesses, public safety organizations, and government via terrestrial, satellite, wireline and wireless transmission systems

4.) Critical Manufacturing – metals, machinery, transportation equipment, electrical, appliance, components

5.) Dams – dam projects, navigation locks, levees, hurricane barriers, mine tailings impoundments, and other similar water retention and/or control facilities.

6.) Defense Industrial Base – enables research, development, design, production, delivery, and maintenance of military weapons systems, subsystems, and components or parts to meet U.S. military requirements.

7.) Emergency Services – paid and volunteer at the federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial levels of government, including city police departments and fire stations, county sheriff’s offices, Department of Defense police and fire departments, and town public works departments, including private sector resources, such as industrial fire departments, private security organizations, and private emergency medical services providers

8.) Energy – provides an “enabling function” across all critical infrastructure sectors. More than 80% of the country’s energy infrastructure is owned by the private sector, supplying fuels to the transportation industry, electricity to households and businesses, and other sources of energy integral to growth and production across the nation.

9.) Financial Services – depository institutions, investment products providers, insurance companies, other credit and financing organizations, and providers of the critical financial utilities and services that support these functions, and allow customers to: Deposit funds and make payments to other parties, Provide credit and liquidity to customers, Invest funds for long and short periods, Transfer financial risks between customers

10.) Food and Agriculture – composed of an estimated 2.1 million farms, 935,000 restaurants, and more than 200,000 registered food manufacturing, processing, and storage facilities. This sector accounts for roughly one-fifth of the nation’s economic activity.

11.) Government Facilities – a wide variety of buildings, located in the United States and overseas, owned or leased by federal, state, local, and tribal governments. Many government facilities are open to the public for business activities, commercial transactions, or recreational activities while others not open to the public contain highly sensitive information, materials, processes, and equipment. These facilities include general-use office buildings and special-use military installations, embassies, courthouses, national laboratories, and structures that may house critical equipment, systems, networks, and functions. In addition to physical structures, the sector includes cyber elements that contribute to the protection of sector assets (e.g., access control systems and closed-circuit television systems) as well as individuals who perform essential functions or possess tactical, operational, or strategic knowledge.

12.) Healthcare and Public Health – protects all sectors of the economy from hazards such as terrorism, infectious disease outbreaks, and natural disasters. While healthcare tends to be delivered and managed locally, the public health component of the sector, focused primarily on population health, is managed across all levels of government: national, state, regional, local, tribal, and territorial.

13.) Information Technology – operated by a combination of entities — often owners and operators and their respective associations — that maintain and reconstitute the network, including the Internet, central to the nation’s security, economy, and public health and safety as businesses, governments, academia, and private citizens

14.) Nuclear Reactors Materials and Waste – provide electricity to millions of Americans, to the medical isotopes used to treat cancer patients.

15.) Transportation Systems – moves people and goods quickly, safely, and securely through the country and overseas. Includes Aviation, Highway and Motor Carrier, Maritime Transportation System, Mass Transit and Passenger Rail, Pipeline Systems, Freight Rail, Postal and Shipping.

16.) Water and Wastewater – Safe drinking water is a prerequisite for protecting public health and all human activity. Properly treated wastewater is vital for preventing disease and protecting the environment. Thus, ensuring the supply of drinking water and wastewater treatment and service is essential to modern life and the Nation’s economy.

Altogether, every item in those categories all facilitate commerce, private enterprise, are component parts of a local, and state economy, and as a whole, comprise the national economy. Some of the sectors, such as Food and Agriculture, and Communications, are almost wholly owned by private enterprise. In fact, the only publicly owned, i.e., governmentally-owned, are Government Facilities. There are perhaps a few others, but there are very few, and very far in-between.

Each sector is interconnected; there is not one sector which stands alone, self-sufficient and isolated. Some sectors are more interconnected than others, such as the Communications sector, while others, such as Dams, may not have as many connections. But each one is interdependent upon the others. What affects one, affects all others. It is like a line from the John Donne poem Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII, most often called “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” which states in pertinent part that, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

All of that brings us to our next point.

As it pertains to common use by all, Economic Infrastructure is considered by Engineers, Architects, Urban Planners, Politicians, and even Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders as being – at the most fundamental level – those faculties and facilities which enable and promote commerce, and improve the lives of residents.

Before going further, let me interrupt that train of thought to say this about socialism.

Properly defined, socialism is a condition in which the government controls the means and the method of production – such as with a government-owned factory. The former Soviet Union (now known as “Russia”) had many such government-owned factories.
The United States has NEVER had any such thing.
And, if one considered the coinage and currency in their pockets
– minted and printed by the United States Treasury Department on government-owned machines –
it is STILL not considered an example of socialism.

Why not?

The raw materials – the paper, ink, metals, and machines to make it – all came from the Private Sector via publicly bid contracts.

Continuing…

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) rates America’s Infrastructure a “D+.” https://www.InfrastructureReportCard.org/

The ASCE identifies some 16 very similar categories of capital improvements as being (in alphabetical order):
1.) Aviation
2.) Bridges
3.) Dams
4.) Drinking Water
5.) Energy
6.) Hazardous Waste
7.) Inland Waterways
8.) Levees
9.) Ports
10.) Public Parks
11.) Rail
12.) Roads
13.) Schools
14.) Solid Waste
15.) Transit
16.) Wastewater

About the report, they wrote in part that “Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publishes The Infrastructure Report Card, which grades the current state of national infrastructure categories on a scale of A through F. Since 1998, America’s infrastructure has earned persistent D averages, and the failure to close the investment gap with needed maintenance and improvements has continued. But the larger question at stake is the implication of D+ infrastructure on America’s economic future. The 2017 Infrastructure Report Card found the national grade for infrastructure remains at a “D+” — the same grade the United States received in 2013 — suggesting only incremental progress was made over the last four years toward restoring America’s infrastructure. ASCE evaluated 16 categories of infrastructure in the 2017 Report Card, with grades ranging from a “B” for Rail to a “D-” for Transit.

Consider also this: “The need for wastewater infrastructure exceeds $271 Billion.”

So… how does this affect you, and your family?

Check this out.

In 2016, the ASCE published a document titled “Failure to Act: Closing the Infrastructure Investment Gap for America’s Economic Future,” which stated in part the following:

“The cost of deteriorating infrastructure takes a toll on families’ disposable household income and impacts the quality and quantity of jobs in the U.S. economy. With deteriorating infrastructure, higher business costs will be incurred in terms of charges for services and efficiency, which will lead to higher costs incurred by households for goods and services due to the rising prices passed on by businesses.

“As a consequence, U.S. businesses will be more inefficient. As costs rise, business productivity falls, causing GDP to drop, cutting employment, and ultimately reducing personal income.

“From 2016 to 2025, each household will lose $3,400 each year in disposable income due to infrastructure deficiencies; and if not addressed, the loss will grow to an average of $5,100 annually from 2026 to 2040, resulting in cumulative losses up to almost $34,000 per household from 2016 to 2025 and almost $111,000 from 2016 to 2040 (all dollars in 2015 value).

“Over time, these impacts will also affect businesses’ ability to provide well-paying jobs, further reducing incomes. If this investment gap is not addressed throughout the nation’s infrastructure sectors by 2025, the economy is expected to lose almost $4 trillion in GDP, resulting in a loss of 2.5 million jobs in 2025.

“Moreover, workers who are employed will earn lower wages, and in the long term, many higher paying jobs in technology and other leading sectors will be replaced by jobs that fulfill needs brought on by the inefficiencies of deteriorating infrastructure.

“Closing each infrastructure investment gap is possible, and the economic consequences caused by these gaps are avoidable with investment.”

Does that hit home hard enough?

And yet, we’re almost there.

What about the roads in your town, city, state, and nationwide? Are they in pristine condition? I sincerely doubt it. Pothole-filled roads tear up your car, don’t they? That costs you money, and time, because you gotta’ find another way around the rotten roads so your car won’t be destroyed by traveling upon them. But, what if you can’t?

Business Insider magazine recently published a story headlined about America’s most dangerous bridges in all 50 states.
https://www.businessinsider.com/most-dangerous-bridges-america-2017-5

Reckon what it’d cost to fix ’em ALL? Not just to fill every pothole, or fix every cracked roadway, but to (if necessary) rebuild EVERY SINGLE SOLITARY road in the United States? And while you’re at it, expand and build more – and add to it coast-to-coast high-speed, mag-lev monorail trains. China, Germany, England, France, Japan, and other nations already have high-speed trains, and monorail trains are even in Disneyland.

WHY CAN’T WE BUILD A BETTER SYSTEM FOR EVERYONE TO USE?

Imagine what it’d be like to be able to Read the rest of this entry »

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Trump Makes a Non-Educator Secretary of Education, Then Reading Scores Drop. What’d you expect?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 1, 2019

Trump selects a billionairess (Betsy DeVos) to be the Secretary of Education – a woman who has:
• Only attended elite private schools her entire life, has
• Never stepped foot in a public school, and has
• Never even once been a teacher, teacher’s aide, or in any administrative capacity of any school whatsoever, and
• Doesn’t have an advanced degree, and her 1979 Bachelor of Arts undergraduate degree is in Business Economics from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Then, reading scores “suddenly” dropped.

What’d you expect?

Seriously.

At least she was honest about what she wants to do to you with her money.

“But DeVos understands political interests, and that money is the mother’s milk of politics.  And she does expect something in return.

“In a 1997 op-ed for RollCall, she wrote, “My family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican Party … I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence,” the piece reads. “Now, I simply concede the point. We expect to foster a conservative governing philosophy consisting of limited government and respect for traditional American virtues.  We expect a return on our investment; we expect a good and honest government.  Furthermore, we expect the Republican Party to use the money to promote these policies and, yes, to win elections.”

Of course, her only “solution” to the problem is to increase school vouchers which purposely drain public tax dollars AWAY from public schools to private schools.

Yeah, that’ll fix it.

Starve the monster.

––//––

Reading Scores on National Exam Decline in Half the States

The results of the test, which assesses a sample of fourth- and eighth-grade students, will inevitably prompt demands for policy change.

By Erica L. Green and Dana Goldstein
Oct. 30, 2019

WASHINGTON — America’s fourth and eighth graders are losing ground in their ability to read literature and academic texts, according to a rigorous national assessment released Wednesday that is likely to fuel concerns over student achievement after decades of tumult on the educational landscape.

Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, speaking at a press conference in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, 30 October 2019. Photo by Michael A. McCoy for The New York Times.

Two out of three children did not meet the standards for reading proficiency set by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a test administered by the National Center for Education Statistics, the research arm of the Education Department.

The dismal results reflected the performance of about 600,000 students in reading and math, whose scores made up what is called the “nation’s report card.” The average eighth-grade reading score declined in more than half of the states compared with 2017, the last time the test was given. The average score in fourth-grade reading declined in 17 states. Math scores remained relatively flat in most states.

Only 35 percent of fourth graders were proficient in reading in 2019, down from 37 percent in 2017; Read the rest of this entry »

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One word: Plastics.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 14, 2019

Film buffs may recall the 1967 classic motion picture which cast Dustin Hoffman as the central character/protagonist, and included vocal music by Paul Simon (performed by Simon and Garfunkel), and instrumental music by Dave Grusin.

Featuring enduring classic Simon and Garfunkel hits as “The Sound of Silence,” “Mrs. Robinson,” “Scarborough Fair,” the music may be the most enduring part of the film.

It was Dustin Hoffman’s first serious motion picture acting role, and became the foundation upon which he would later build his career, and later, achieve international stardom.

While two movies in which he was role cast were released that year – The Tiger Makes Out, and The Graduate – it was the latter for which he became most renown.

Based on the novel by Charles Webb, the screenplay was written by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham, and though described as a blended comedy, drama, romance genre film, its high-brow humor on a low-brow topic edges on the dryly sardonic-to-noir, while the drama is real.

And romance?

Well, it’s hardly romantic.

Read the July 19, 1968 critique of “The Graduate” by Jacob R. Brackman published The New Yorker, which essentially makes the same conclusion.

What else could be said for an early horny housewife MILF movie?

Because that theme – that “Ben Braddock” (played by Hoffman), a soon-to-be recent university graduate, is dating Elaine Robinson, a as-yet-ungraduated peer at an in-town university, and their relationship progresses to the point of marriage (for Elaine, but not for Ben), all while a steamy, purely sexual relationship is developed between Mrs. Robinson (played by Anne Bancroft) who first initiated overtures toward Ben, to which he later succumbed – is what drives the story along.

As his natural senior, Mrs. Robinson clearly takes unfair selfish advantage of Ben’s naiveté, and in that sense, demonstrates not merely manipulation, but abuse.

Naturally, all such relationships of that type are mostly kept secret and frowned upon in polite society, and this case is certainly no different, which provides the tension for the drama in the film. Only this one turns toward blackmail, and the farcically shallow, emotionally manipulative, dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship is only suggested, and is rarely fully displayed in the film – though there are moments – and again, demonstrates the vacuous depths of Mrs. Robinson’s emotional, psychosexual needs, and the treachery to which she goes to fulfill her unmet needs.

Moreover, the humor is frequently dead-panned, and is by no means slapstick. A 1968 review of the movie in The New Yorker described it as “European moviemaking done right in the heart of American movieville,” and I couldn’t agree more – which is not to say that the film (and book) are unworthy as art, or entertainment, for they are. But as a genre, “because American films straggle so far behind literature and European films in reflecting the actual quality of modern life, rudimentary negativism can easily be taken for truthfulness, and a decade-old vision can appear to be “ahead of its time.””

And so it is with “The Graduate.”

But the movie and its themes were not my intended target.

Instead, the subject I wanted to focus upon is Read the rest of this entry »

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Is the Banana Boat Sunk?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, August 17, 2019

You’re fixing to lose the bananas in your breakfast cereal.

And banana pudding will become only a sweet memory.

Grocery stores may no longer be selling bananas.

Why?

The global crop is dying, and will soon be dead.

Global as in worldwide.

Dead as in extinct.

Extinct as the Dodo bird.

Which, by the way, is thought to have become extinct c.1690 – a very long time ago. So naturally, there are no photographs of the Dodo bird, since the development of photography (yes, it’s a bad pun) was begun c.1826 with the image entitled “View from the Window at Le Gras,” which was made by Nicéphore Niépce, a French inventor in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, France.

A harmful soil fungus, for which there is no known remedy, has begun to affect banana crops worldwide. Found in Taiwan in the 1990’s, the fungus, which resides naturally in the soil, is a variant of Read the rest of this entry »

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“Paid for by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 15, 2019

Self dealing.

You’d think it was a crime, eh?

But, did you know that it is NOT illegal to shift campaign money into your private account?

Actually, directly, it is.

On their website, the Federal Election Commission states in part that, “Using campaign funds for personal use is prohibited.” (https://www.fec.gov/help-candidates-and-committees/making-disbursements/personal-use/)

They state further that, “Commission regulations provide a test, called the “irrespective test,” to differentiate legitimate campaign and officeholder expenses from personal expenses. Under the “irrespective test,” personal use is any use of funds in a campaign account of a candidate (or former candidate) to fulfill a commitment, obligation or expense of any person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign or responsibilities as a federal officeholder.”

But indirectly?

That’s a horse of an entirely different color.

In the white-collar criminal underground, that’s called “money laundering,” which is the practice of shifting money through legitimate business enterprises in order to make it appear as if the money was obtained legitimately.

And that is but one reason why the FBI encourages accounting majors in university to consider joining their service – because scouring the financial books of businesses and other entities takes a well-trained eye to discern criminal wrong-doing.

On June 16, 2015, Donald Trump stood in Trump Tower, New York City, and said, “I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.” (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/transcript-donald-trump-announces-his-presidential-candidacy/)

With that remark in part, he announced his candidacy to be the GOP’s nominee for President.

Of note, that was also when he’d made his now-infamous remark that, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably — probably — from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.”

But earlier – 5 years earlier, in fact – he’d said to Fortune magazine in April 3, 2000, that, “It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.” (https://fortune.com/2000/04/03/what-does-donald-trump-really-want/)

In December 2018, Forbes magazine reported that Read the rest of this entry »

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Automattic To Buy Tumbler from Verizon

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 12, 2019

It’s just fun.
Or money.
It’s the same thing, isn’t it?
Can you hear me now?

–//–

Verizon to Sell Tumblr to WordPress.com Owner

Carrier sheds blogging site for nominal amount as part of media unit revamp

Tumblr is a free service that hosts millions of blogs where users can upload photos, music and art, but it has been overshadowed by rival social-media sites.

By Sarah Krouse
Aug. 12, 2019 4:00 pm ET

Verizon Communications Inc. (stock symbol VZ) has agreed to sell its blogging website Tumblr to the owner of popular online-publishing tool WordPress.com, unloading for a nominal amount a site that once fetched a purchase price of more than $1 billion.

Automattic Inc. will buy Tumblr for an undisclosed sum and take on about 200 staffers, the companies said. Tumblr is a free service that hosts millions of blogs where users can upload photos, music and art, but it has been dwarfed by Facebook, Reddit and other services.

Verizon became Tumblr’s owner through the carrier’s 2017 acquisition of Yahoo (symbol AABA) as part of a bid to build a digital media and advertising business. The wireless carrier began seeking a buyer for Tumblr earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

It discussed a potential transaction with a handful of parties, people familiar with the matter said. The sale price isn’t material to Verizon, one of the people said.

Verizon is in the process of revamping its media group, which struggled to meet revenue targets in recent years. The business, home to legacy Yahoo and AOL web properties such as HuffPost, TechCrunch, feminist media brand Makers and celebrity-interview site Build, is increasingly focused on subscription and original content.

The Tumblr acquisition is the largest ever in terms of price and head count for Automattic, the company’s Chief Executive Matt Mullenweg said in an interview. The San Francisco company has a stable of brands focused on Read the rest of this entry »

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Could “Uncle Joe” Biden become POTUS?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 16, 2019

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I) official portrait

Joe Biden (D), official VP portrait

Much is being made about the impending Sanders v Biden match-up in the Democratic party for the 2020 General Election.

Detractors of the Democratic party say that Biden has a better possibility of being the party’s nominee because – as one Republican pundit wrote – “Biden, and others running for the Oval Office, are terrified that Hispanics and blacks – who reliably vote Democratic – might be swayed by rising wages or better job prospects, to vote for Trump.”

News writers, who are supposed to have (one hopes) some degree of objectivity, seem to have also fallen prey to the Biden 2020 siren song, and have written remarks like “Mr. Biden’s advantage with black voters not only helps him amass delegates ahead of the Democratic convention, but helps counter the widespread perception that he is a candidate running on a bygone appeal to the white working class.”

Recently, a Quinnipiac University Poll published May 15, 2019 found that in Pennsylvania, “former Vice President Joseph Biden is over the 50 percent mark in a matchup with President Donald Trump, leading 53 – 42 percent.” Quinnipiac University is “a private, coeducational university in Southern New England” with campuses “in Hamden and North Haven, Connecticut.”

Overall, the poll found that “Trump leads 90 – 7 percent among Pennsylvania Republicans. Biden leads 93 – 6 percent among Democrats and 51 – 37 percent among independent voters.”

Other top Democratic contenders matched up against Trump as follows:
• Senator Bernie Sanders (I) VT 50% – 43% Trump
• Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren 47 % – 44% Trump
• California Senator Kamala Harris 45% – 45% Trump
• South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg 45% – 44% Trump
• Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX-16) 44% – 46% Trump

In stark contrast to assertions by GOPers and other naysayers of the Democratic party that economic conditions are favoring the GOP and Trump’s re-election, Mary Snow, a Polling Analyst for the Quinnipiac University Poll said that “More than half of Pennsylvania voters say they are better off financially than they were in 2016. But the economy isn’t giving President Donald Trump an edge in an early read of the very key Keystone State.”

Other general detractors to the Democratic party note with some sense of disdain that Vermont’s Independent Senator Bernie Sanders has called himself a “democratic socialist,” and seek to add credence to their argument by noting that some national-level GOP elected officials and others have said that “If we can run a race against a person that’s an out-of-the-closet socialist and promoting socialist ideas, it’s a great contrast for us.”

Donald Trump

Yet the poll also found that among respondents, 53% said “it is more important for a presidential candidate to be a great leader” while 38% said “it is more important for a candidate to have great policy ideas.” And that sets up an immediate turn away from policy to personality – a veritable cult of personality.

In the modern sense, the term “cult of personality” refers to a scenario in which Read the rest of this entry »

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POTUS Obama: Sen. Warren is “absolutely wrong” on Trans-Pacific Partnership. But is she?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 2, 2019

Editor’s Note: This article was originally written 11 May 2015, though unpublished. The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), is/was a “free-trade” pact among the nations of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and United States signed on 4 February 2016, though it was NOT ratified, and thus, did NOT take effect. All 12 members nations signed the TPP 4 February 2016.

However, because it was NOT ratified by all signatories before 4 February 2018, it will become effective ONLY after ratification when at least 6 nations with a combined GDP of more than 85% of the GDP of all signatories have signed.

Further, because the United States withdrew from the TPP, it also significantly and adversely affected it. The TPP agreement will become active only after all signatories have ratified it within two years of signing.

—//—

President Obama recently criticized Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) for her clarion call warning of the potential damage the Trans-Pacific Partnership could do to United States’ economy.

Sen. Warren has said that “This is hardly a hypothetical possibility: We are already deep into negotiations with the European Union on a trade agreement and big banks on both sides of the Atlantic are gearing up to use that agreement to water down financial regulations.”

The President countered saying, “This is pure speculation. She and I both taught law school, and you know, one of the things you do as a law professor is you spin out hypotheticals. And this is all hypothetical, speculative.”

President Obama further dismissed her criticisms out of hand saying, she’s absolutely wrong,” about the concerns she and others have raised, and appeared to throw down the gauntlet for open, frank discussion of the still-secret trade pact which would include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.

The President gives the USTR broad power to keep secret information about the trade policies it advances and negotiates.

United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) said, “More than two months after receiving the proper security credentials, my staff is still barred from viewing the details of the proposals that USTR is advancing.”

A Senate bill – S. 3225 – which would require the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to disclose all its TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) documents to every member of Congress was introduced May 23, 2012 by Sen. Wyden, who is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness. In that capacity, his office is responsible for conducting oversight over the USTR and trade negotiations.

Speaking from the Senate floor, Sen. Wyden said the purpose of the bill was “to ensure that the laws and policies that govern the American people take into account the interests of all the American people, not just a privileged few. Congress passed legislation in 2002 to form the Congressional Oversight Group, or COG, to foster more USTR consultation with Congress. I was a senator in 2002. I voted for that law and I can tell you the intention of that law was to ensure that USTR consulted with more Members of Congress, not less.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Government Spending

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 24, 2019

About that “government spending” thing being a boost to the economy:

Yes, it’s true. We found that out early on, which was how our nation recovered from the Great Depression.

So… here’s the spending we need now (no, it’s not the “Green New Deal”) – INFRASTRUCTURE!!

Oh, and EVERY red cent that “we the people” spend through our government comes from the Private Sector.

Every material – raw or finished – and all manpower comes from the Private Sector; and only after public notices via competitive open (public) bidding.

Yeah. Think about that one for a while.

There is NO “government factory” in our nation. Never has been, never will be.

So, yeah… every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers rates the overall quality of American economic infrastructure “in the familiar form of a school report card—assigning letter grades based on the physical condition and needed investments for improvement.”

In 2017, American Economic Infrastructure’s quality was graded as Read the rest of this entry »

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Make America Great Again: A How-To Guide

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Jim Cooper, a Democrat, is the US Representative for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District.

Jim Cooper, who represents Tennessee’s 5th Congressional Distict, and is a Democrat, is also a Rhodes Scholar (economics & politics, Oriel College), and Harvard JD grad, after earning the BA in economics from UNC Chapel Hill.

He’s a fiscal conservative, and has long said that, because our government uses a cash accounting system (which is ILLEGAL for businesses to use), our government’s debt is very likely much larger than is estimated.

For that reason, he’s also long advocated changing the accounting method the United States government uses.

TN CD5 is essentially Davidson County (metro Nashville), and includes the adjoining Cheatham & Dickson counties to the WEST.

See:
https://www2.census.gov/geo/maps/cong_dist/cd113/cd_based/ST47/CD113_TN05.pdf

Oh… and as you might surmise, cutting taxes is NOT how to stimulate the economy. It is by government spending. Which is also why cutting taxes is a very bad idea, since it kills the goose that laid that golden egg. (This Internet thing came about by government spending, which has created an entirely new economy, and billionaires… and, it began as a DARPA research project. Just like GPS.)

As I continue to maintain,

our government is NOT “too big,”
it is MUCH TOO SMALL to be
either efficient,
or effective.

Think about what it’d be like going to a restaurant with a 100-seating capacity, finding it filled with patrons, and only one waiter and one cook. No one would get any service, and they’d be a fool to think otherwise.

That’s what has happened, and is continuing to happen to our government.

With very nearly 329,000,000 people, we are the THIRD LARGEST (most populous) nation on Earth – China ( 1,419,124,987) and India (1,365,986,094) are 1st & 2nd, respectively.

The GOP’s “starve the monster” approach to governance, i.e., kill/reduce/eliminate the source of the “monster’s food,” e.g., taxes, and you’re well on your way to a privatization scheme the likes of which neither our nation, nor the world has ever seen. Hopefully, that won’t happen. But, that’s what you get when Grover Norquist has said, “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”
– from an interview on NPR’s Morning Edition, May 25, 2001. Read the rest of this entry »

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The SCOTUS gets FUCT – but not FCUK – for a day.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, April 21, 2019

And based upon the outcome, we could get fuct for a lifetime.

Think about it…

Only 5ive people decide the fate of a nation with very nearly 329,000,000 people – which is the 3rd most populous nation on Earth.

5ive.

Just 5ive Justices, that is, who are appointed to life-time jobs – which, when first written, was NOT in the clause which states in Article III Section 1. that “The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.”

When the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) was formed by the Constitution in Article III, and after the first U.S. Census was taken in 1790, there were found to be 3,929,214 people in this land.

Fast forward 230 years.

In 2017, New York City’s estimated population was 8,622,698.
Los Angeles’ estimate was 3,999,759.

Chicago’s was 2,716,450.
Houston’s was 2,312,717.

Phoenix’ was 1,626,078.
Philadelphia was 1,580,863.
San Antonio was 1,511,946.

San Diego was 1,419,516.
Dallas was 1,341,075.
San Jose was 1,035,317.

So perhaps you’re beginning to get the point – and now you Read the rest of this entry »

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Narcotrafficking: The Last Truly Free Market

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, April 14, 2019

Think about it… a massive global industry and multi-cultural international enterprise with tens, hundreds of thousands or perhaps even millions of employees, producers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, and customers with ZERO Government regulation of any type, on anyone for any reason – no taxes, no regulatory oversight, nor requirements of any kind whatsoever, where a willing buyer and a willing seller meet each other.

And yet, the government seeks to eradicate it (even though their “efforts” have done exactly the opposite), by strengthening Read the rest of this entry »

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Data: Legalized Marijuana Does Not Increase Alcohol Sales

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, March 16, 2019

Good news for cannabis legalization advocates!

“In the three states with the longest history of legalized recreational marijuana sales – Colorado, Washington state and Oregon – there is no evidence that legalization has had any impact on spirits sales, nor is there any evidence that it has impacted total alcohol sales.”

That’s according to research conducted by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS).

In other words, cannabis legalization – neither recreational (nor medical) – has had no effect, either positive or negative, upon beverage alcohol sales in states were cannabis is legal, either for recreational, or medical purposes.

David M. Ozgo, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the Distilled Spirits Council analyzes market trends for DISCUS, and said in part that, “The data show there has been no impact on spirits sales from recreational marijuana legalization.”

David M. Ozgo, Senior VP and Chief Economist, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States

Mr. Ozgo also produces an annual spirituous beverage industry review, and provides tax and regulatory effect analyses, including Read the rest of this entry »

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Cohen In Constant Contact With Federal Investigation Attorneys

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, February 28, 2019

“I am in constant contact with the Southern District of New York regarding ongoing investigations.”

– Michael Cohen, former attorney and “fixer” for Donald J. Trump, under oath to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, February 27, 2019

 

That one sentence early in Mr. Cohen’s testimony before the committee is substantial, regardless of whether anything else he said is true, or not. There is no legitimate reason for him to make such a claim, especially if it was a lie.

Consider also the “Liar’s Paradox,” referring to knowing how to discern when a liar is telling the truth. Frankly, however, everyone – WITHOUT EXCEPTION – has lied at one time, or another; therefore, using the faulty “logic” used by Republicans, everyone is a liar… including them. Yet, they except themselves simply by ignoring that fact. So therefore, their hypocrisy is exposed.

Such exercises are part and parcel of logic and reasoning, which is also a branch of mathematics, and forms a foundation upon which philosophy and even the legal profession exists – particularly and especially in criminal trials. In other words, deduction is based upon a formula which can be expressed on paper.

But there are also behavioral (physical) clues exhibited by the liar, which may (though not always) include “body language” such as fidgeting, facial movements and gestures, including eye movement such as covering the mouth and/or looking away, intonation and inflection in their voice and tone of speech, observation of breathing patterns, use or avoidance of certain words, exaggeration of details, response to questions, repetition of certain words, sentences, or phrases (a type of stalling to increase time for crafting a lie), including a “mid-sentence jump” (changing the train of thought in the middle of expressing an idea), deflection (a conversational control tactic which changes the focus of the topic by not directly answering the question), and more.

Michael Cohen takes oath before his testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Wednesday, 27 February 2019.

The Southern District of New York refers to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, a Federal court which has been in existence in New York, NY, since 1789.

The Attorney’s Office writes this about their mission:

“The Office prosecutes cases involving violations of federal laws, and represents the interests of the United States government and its agencies in criminal and civil matters. The Office investigates and prosecutes a broad array of criminal conduct of every conceivable magnitude, even when the conduct arises in distant places.”

Reasonably and logically, no liar would lie about being “in constant contact with” a Federal Attorney’s Office, or a Federal Court, after an investigation has concluded.

The fact that Mr. Cohen made such a comment is telling, simply because Read the rest of this entry »

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Economic Infrastructure Strained By Severe Weather And Climate Change

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, February 10, 2019

Increasingly, there’s a political tie-in to almost every news story published these days. And frankly, I’d much rather write about other, more benign, or even pleasant topics. But, these matters affect us all, and our very lives and livelihoods are at stake. So, because these are pressing matters, I give heed to them, as I hope you do also.

Recently, NPR News published a story while our nation was in the throes of the “Polar Vortex,” which is the name now given to a severe “cold snap” which plunged much of the Midwest and East into literally Arctic temperatures. In fact, as we we’re told by numerous meteorologists and other weather / climate scientists and researchers, the Arctic was actually warmer than many places affected, most notably including Chicago, the Twin Cities (Minneapolis–Saint Paul), Iowa, Pennsylvania, and other states up through the area, with some locales suffering from temperatures which dipped down into the -23ºF range, or lower. Many Low Temperature records were surpassed, and when combined with Wind Chill Factors, temperatures feel like at least double that (-40ºF), and more.

A Minnesotan is extremely bundled up protecting every square inch of exposed skin while awaiting public transportation outdoors during extremely dangerous cold conditions which occurred during the 2019 Polar Vortex.

By all estimates, it was one of the most severe such events in recorded history, and was also the cause of numerous deaths of people of all ages and sexes (21 at last count, not all who were homeless), due of course, to cold temperature extremes. Homeless shelters throughout the affected areas were literally accepting anyone and everyone, and numerous other organizations and agencies created emergency shelters for others to avoid the deadly conditions. Area residents were severely warned to avoid going outdoors at all costs, simply because inadequate dressing, or any exposed skin would certainly suffer frostbite, or worse.

But there was another, largely overlooked problem which was only given cursory attention. And that was the effects and strains the severe climatic conditions placed upon infrastructure, which is often called economic infrastructure.

Essentially, infrastructure describes a nation’s internal facilities that enable business activity, which are fundamental requirements for economic development, which is vital to improvements in a country’s standard of living, and consists of facilities, activities and services that assist to increase overall economic productivity at a national level.

Infrastructure has two broad component parts: 1.) Social Infrastructure, consisting of basic services such as education, training, including health, sanitation, potable water supply, housing, sewerage, etc., while; 2.) Physical Infrastructure directly supports economic production, and consists primarily of supporting the production and distribution of products and services including agriculture, industry, and trade, supports, and directly increases productivity.

An example of Physical Infrastructure would be the production of hydroelectric dams by the Tennessee Valley Authority, creation of electrical power, communication, and natural gas delivery grids, roads, waterways, airports and railways for transportation, and potable water and waste treatment plants and their related delivery mechanisms and systems.

All those components must not only be created and developed, but they must be continually maintained, and improved as necessary, to continue to provide services vital to the economy. And it is maintenance which proves frequently to be the Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Marijuana: Is there money in it?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 24, 2019

Is there money to be made LEGALLY in Alabama from marijuana?

The short answer is, “YES.” There is significant money to be made in Legalizing, Taxing, and Regulating Cannabis in Alabama for Adult Recreational (ARU), and Medical Use (MMJ).

Figures are now coming in from Massachusetts showing sales volumes, and taxes after that state legalized, taxed, and regulated marijuana for Adult Recreational Use, and Medical Use, and the figures are amazing.

Simply put, the Cost:Benefit ratio of keeping cannabis illegal is prohibitive to society at every level, federal, state, and local. There is NO reasonable, rational reason to continue cannabis prohibition. It costs more fiscally and socially to maintain than there is benefit derived from it being illegal. Taxpayers are no longer willing to foot the bill to so stridently harm their fellow citizens for responsible use of a substance that research shows is significantly less harmful than either alcohol, or tobacco, and which even the DEA has acknowledged has not killed anyone, nor has ever been a cause of addiction.

Today’s most recent story in the Boston Globe by Nearly $24 million spent on recreational marijuana sales in first two months.”

Customers crowd into Theory Wellness in Great Barrington on January 11, 2019, the opening day of its recreational marijuana sales.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Republicans Started The Idea Of Government Shutdowns

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, January 7, 2019

The “Blame Game” is a popular political football not only in our nation’s capitol, but across the nation in statehouses. The “polarization” oft described by news outlets and “fake news” is a direct result of practices used by Republicans, which began in large part with Newt Gingrich.

You know, the Newt Gingrich who was the Georgia Republican having an extra-marital affair while trying to impeach then-President Clinton for a sexual tryst with White House Intern, Monica Lewinsky. Yes, the same Newt Gingrich who divorced his first wife (Jacqueline “Jackie” May Battley, who was his high school geometry teacher) while she lay in hospital recovering from cancer surgery while he was campaigning in hopes of becoming the GOP’s presidential nominee.

That’d be the same Newt Gingrich who next married a Congressional aide (28-year old Marianne Ginther) with whom he was philandering while married to his first wife Jackie, and asked her to marry him before having divorced his first wife, and then married Marianne a mere six months after divorcing Jackie, who also asked her (Marianne) if she would be interested in having an “open marriage” in which he could have a mistress and a wife.

And yes, it’s the same Newt Gingrich who in the exact same pattern, did the exact same thing when he married his third wife (Callista Bisek) by carrying on a six-year adulterous relationship with her, whom was also a Congressional aide, and then later moved to divorce his second wife Marianne after learning she had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and the third wife whom Trump later named as Ambassador to the Holy See, as an ultimate insult, and slap in the face to the Pope, the Vatican, and all that the Church believes in, and stands for. It’d be like naming neo-Nazi/White Supremacist/Holocaust denier to be Ambassador to Israel, or an industrialist to be Secretary of the Interior, or a climate change denier to be administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Wait…

That Newt Gingrich.

The same Newt Gingrich who wrote the so-called “Contract with America” which was broken the first day Republicans took the oath of office following their win of the House and Senate – the first time since 1953 – even though they all signed vows that stated “If we break this Contract, throw us out.”

Yeah.

THAT Newt Gingrich.

Now, the Bully in Chief is blaming Democrats because he can’t get his way – which is BILLIONS MORE for a “concrete, rebar-reinforced wall,” which has since devolved into “steel slats,” or even less, a simple “barrier.” Notice how things are changing already? Next thing you know, it’ll be a row of concertina wire spooled across the 1954 miles of U.S./Mexico border.

Frankly, it’d probably be much cheaper, not only in the immediate term, but in the long term, as well. You see, one of the things that NO ONE – not even the Congressional Budget Office, nor the Government Accountability Office – has studied is “how much the upkeep of ‘the wall’ will cost American taxpayers.

But here’s an even more disconcerting thing: The ever-shifting comments of the Current White House Occupant on the matter, which have ranged from this comment from a campaign speech given Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at his Trump Tower office building in Manhattan:

“I would build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great great wall on our southern border, and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.”

To one of his highnesses more recent Twitter rants which was:

“Mexico is paying for the Wall through the new USMCA Trade Deal. Much of the Wall has already been fully renovated or built. We have done a lot of work. $5.6 Billion Dollars that House has approved is very little in comparison to the benefits of National Security. Quick payback!” January 2, 2019

Are you starting to see a pattern here?

Promises.

Lies.

Broken promises.

More lies.

Say anything to get elected, or if you prefer, to get into Lady Liberty’s & America’s pants. The net effect is the same.

Look, I’m no fan of either Gingrich or Trump as human beings, and I think that Trump is vastly out of his league in any government, much less at the Federal level, and as President. He’s told more brazen lies than almost anyone can remember, and has sown confusion in our nation, which is not only demoralizing domestically, but makes us look like buffoons in the eyes of our international allies, and enemies. But, to give credit where credit is due, I think Read the rest of this entry »

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Marijuana in Alabama: Show me the money!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, January 5, 2019

How Much Money Could Alabama Earn By Legalizing, Taxing, and Regulating Marijuana?

How much money could Alabama stand to realize if it Legalized, Taxed, and Regulated (LTR) cannabis for Adult Recreational Use (ARU), and Medical Use (MMJ)?

In order to make a reasonably accurate estimate, we need certain pieces of information from reliably accurate sources, such as:

1.) How many people would purchase it?

2.) How much tax would be placed upon it?

3.) How frequently would they purchase?

There are other questions, but let’s start by answering those three.

First, let’s determine how many people consume marijuana in the state – adults, of course.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), is an annual survey which first began in 1971 and is conducted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It’s conducted under the auspices of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Read the rest of this entry »

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Danger, Will Robinson… DANGER! Big Brother IS Watching -and- Listening!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 3, 2019

Feeling paranoid?

Not to worry.

You just think you are.

But it’s true.

YOU’RE BEING WATCHED.

-and-

Did you know?

Even the direction-finding app Waze is owned by Google.

The G will eat your babies.

The G has already eaten your lunch.

And G, you didn’t even know it.

The G is Google.

So, here’s the deal: You THINK you’re searching for something and the search will return UNBIASED results… right?

WRONG!

From Forbes, Mar 5, 2012, 12:34pm: “Google will track what you search for in its search engine facility and then use that intelligence to its advantage.”

But we can go back even further to see where “You’re not the customer; you’re the product.”

In 1973 the artists Richard Serra and Carlota Fay Schoolman broadcast a short video titled “Television Delivers People.” An anodyne soundtrack played while sentences in white text on a blue background slowly scrolled upward. The messages displayed thematically matched the saying under exploration. Emphases were added to the excerpt by Quote Investigator: 1

Commercial television delivers 20 million people a minute.
In commercial broadcasting
the viewer pays for the privilege of having himself sold.

It is the consumer who is consumed.
You are the product of t.v.
You are delivered to the advertiser who is the customer.
He consumes you.
The viewer is not responsible for programming——
You are the end product.

If you think that anything has changed, you’re WRONG AGAIN.

This time, it’s Google.

And not only is there online Google, there’s now the danger of Amazon’s Alexa listening device, which increasingly is being found to be not only INSECURE, but invasive.

Truly…

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING!

Look, I’m not now, nor have I ever been one to be conspiracy-minded, nor any kind of fear-monger. But THIS is not surreptitious, this is BLATANT! Echo/Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google’s Home Assistant are ALL privacy invaders! Those so-called “smart speakers” are ALWAYS LISTENING! They’re snoops! Blatant eavesdroppers! And the tragic irony is, folks freely give up their privacy to have that “shiny new thing.”

Okay, perhaps you don’t have that “shiny new thing,” and if you don’t, GOOD FOR YOU! But Read the rest of this entry »

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Ex-NYC Top Cop: Pot “Addictive”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 31, 2018

Bill Bratton, Ex-NYC Top Cop, Says Pot “Addictive”

Former New York City Police Commissioner William “Bill” Bratton appeared on a Sunday call-in interview on the radio show “The Cats Roundtable with John Catsimatidis” on WNYM 970 AM (Hackensack, NJ) recently, and was asked about his thoughts on the legalization of cannabis in New York State for Adult Recreational Use (ARU).

William “Bill” Bratton, was NYC’s Police Commissioner 1994-96, 2014-16, and LAPD Chief 2002-2009

He said in part that, “At this particular time, I still strongly oppose it. I think there are too many unanswered questions. We still don’t have effective capabilities in law enforcement to deal with the issue of driving while impaired by the use of marijuana. It is as addictive as any other drug. We don’t really know the full effect of that drug on the development of children. I guarantee that about the same as alcohol is very available to young people, marijuana – particularly the way it’s being proposed in this state in terms of allowing people to grow it in their homes, as well as the widespread distribution of it – young people will be getting their hands on it. There’s the compounding feature of the smell of it. Nobody wants to live in a building, in an apartment building, a public housing project, on the streets, in the parks, with the pervasive smell, which you’ve already started to see an increase in the use of it on the streets. The enforcement lessons of… (unintelligible) There are too many unknowns. And, ah… ” etc.

Fortunately for you, dear reader, I’ve researched the matter, and can address just about all his questions.

He claimed that: Read the rest of this entry »

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Does This Trump-Caused Market Slump Foretell Recession?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Of course, the Stock Market is NOT the economy, but for many, it’s the easiest touchstone to consider approximating the economy. And because most Americans are NOT heavily invested in Wall Street, its performance only nominally and indirectly affects them.

However, for those traders whose livelihood depends upon its gains or losses, such as corporate and investment banks, and brokerage houses, speculators, derivatives traders, hedge and other type funds, and the like, it doesn’t portend well.

And then, Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, while vacationing in Mexico, decided to call on Sunday the CEOs of 6 of the largest banks in America (Brian Moynihan of Bank of America; Michael Corbat of Citi; David Solomon of Goldman Sachs; Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase; James Gorman of Morgan Stanley; and Tim Sloan of Wells Fargo), and then Twitterized it ex post facto. The media managers at Treasury decided to inform the public that… “The CEOs confirmed that they have ample liquidity available for lending to consumer, business markets, and all other market operations. He also confirmed that they have not experienced any clearance or margin issues, and that the markets continue to function properly.”

The Current White House Occupant is Mad at Mnuchin, and wants to fire Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell, ostensibly because Mnuchin told POS45 that Powell would be a good choice for Fed Chairman. That’s according to four anonymous people, who were described by Bloomberg News as being “four people familiar with the matter” and speak “on condition of anonymity.” Where I come from, and live, that’s called cowardice. It might be called something else in Trumpanzeeville.

In the days ahead, POS45 will Read the rest of this entry »

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A Guide To Increasing Company Value

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 19, 2018

Almost everyone who has worked in sales has heard the mantras “the customer is always right,” and “the customer is your most important person.”

And as anyone who has worked in healthcare can attest, neither of those statements are true.

For example, consider the patient who, arriving at the ED (Emergency Department) said to the physician, “My doc says my sugar is high so he gave me this medicine for diabetes.”

Naturally, the physician asked, “Do you take it?”

The patient replied saying, “No, ’cause I don’t have diabetes, just high sugar.”

And then, another Physician who explained to the patient’s mother her child’s diagnosis and therapeutic interventions saying, “She has a concussion, she needs to rest in bed in a quiet dark room until she is better.”

The mother then asked, “Can she go to the fair?”

Conventional wisdom often monikered as “common sense,” sometimes follows the pithy axiom that “common sense isn’t so common anymore.”

For years, I’ve maintained that the customer is NOT “always right,” nor are they the “most important person” in any business.

Instead, the most important person in any business are the employees.

Some CEOs have gotten a bad rap, often justifiably, because while seeking to return corporate profit and shareholder return, they’ve cut resources and employees. Like the abusive Pharaoh of the Exodus account in the Old Testament, they demand to “make more bricks with less hay.” Of course, we know how that story ended – not well.

So naturally, it delighted me to read some time ago that Sir Richard Branson, a renown entrepreneur and philanthropist, has similarly long held that thought and said, “Put your staff first, customers second, and shareholders third.”

In a 2014 interview with Inc. magazine, Sir Richard said, Read the rest of this entry »

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Ever Had A Bad Restaurant Experience? Here’s What You Can Do.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 7, 2018

Ever been to a busy restaurant?

Who hasn’t?

By “busy,” I mean one with many customers/patrons while you’re there. It could be any style restaurant, of course, such as a fast-food place, but more particularly, I mean to refer to restaurants that have wait staff.

In such a busy restaurant, the place will typically be crowded, practically all seats will be filled at every table, and if there’s a bar counter with chairs, it’ll be filled up too. And  on football game days, some restaurants are filled to capacity, often just as much as they’re filled on weekends year round.

It seems eating/dining out is a type of American pastime. It’s common to hear others say “go there, try that, try the new dish” at this, that or the other restaurant.

Doubtless, at some time or another, at any type of restaurant, we’ve experienced slow or poor service, and even poor quality of food in some of them. Even the well-known Waffle House chain restaurant can have moments when they’re overwhelmed with customers, thereby stressing the cook and wait staff.

So, think about how long it took you to be seated, then be waited upon, then to get your drinks, and then food, and how well (or not) your needs were attended do during the meal.

With any crowded restaurant, the large number of patrons can overwhelm the wait staff, and the kitchen staff. Yes, it can be frustrating, but you’re hungry and/or have made plans or reservations, so you don’t want go to another restaurant – and often won’t. After all, you’re already there. And it’s a hassle to do that. Right? So, you settle, suffer, and endure the poor service.

The source of the problem, and the primary matter to be addressed is inadequate staffing. What is a proper ratio of waitstaff to customers? And what is a proper ratio of kitchen staff to customers? How many chefs and line cooks does it take to support a given amount of tables during peak hours? How many bussers and host staff are needed? How many bartenders? An effective staffing ratio is the answer to those questions and others related to effective, efficient service in a full house restaurant.

In a restaurant that seats 100 people, it would be absurd to imagine that only 1 waitstaff could effectively meet the needs of all 100 patrons. Similarly, it’d be equally preposterous to think that only 1 cook could effectively or simultaneously prepare enough food for 100 patrons. That’s completely ignoring the number of Read the rest of this entry »

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How Has the GOP Improved Alabama Quality of Life?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, August 31, 2018

In almost every measure of the quality of life, Alabama comes up short. Seriously short. Or, to couch it in somewhat Biblical terms (which most Alabamians of any political or religious stripe would understand… and, which most any reasonably well-read person would as well), “You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.” ref: Daniel 5:27 (NIV)

This is not a Republican thing, per se, nor is it a Democratic thing. It is an ongoing statement of the poor quality of of almost EVERYTHING in Alabama. The root of most every problem plaguing Alabamians lies with the state’s 1901 Constitution which, among other things, FORBIDS local self-governance known as Home Rule – the basic principle upon which our democratic republic was founded – which is that EVERY person has a voice, a vote, and a say-so in how things are run from the grass-roots level, and that all are equal under the law, which is no discriminator of persons.

That is in large part why on almost every statewide ballot there are questions pertaining to counties or cities, and why the entire state must vote on what people in the opposite sides of the state do, and why they have a say-so in other towns and cities governance. Think of it as allowing your nosy neighbors a say in how you do things in your house.

Yeah, I know… weird, isn’t it? Maybe “stupid” would be another, better, or more accurate choice of words.

In Montgomery, when the part-time Legislature with full-time pay convenes (total compensation for legislators approximates $50,000/year), they are constitutionally required and mandated to legislate local matters, because the constitution literally FORBIDS local people from making local decisions.

The legislature is further hamstrung, and the people are thereby harmed, by the inordinately short period of time to which they are similarly constitutionally constrained to meet – 30 meeting days in a  105 calendar day period. Who could get ANYTHING done for 4.8 million people in such a short period of time? Seriously… WHO?

Consider public corruption as an example of how problematic the 1901 Alabama State Constitution truly is. Most recently, the GOP-dominated Legislature, Governor’s office, individual legislators (predominately GOP), and other ancillary agencies (Alabama State Troopers/Department of Public Safety, later known as ALEA, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, etc.) were involved in corruption scandals, the likes of which the state hasn’t seen in, like… FOREVER! Seriously. The extent and degree of severity of corruption which has recently plagued Alabama is unparalleled.

Once the GOP-dominated Legislature was in power, they promptly set about improving the practically toothless Ethics Laws which many of them promised to change, if elected. Ordinarily, that’d be a good thing. Mike Hubbard became Speaker of the House, and the state’s top executive branch offices – Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Auditor, State Treasurer, and Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries – were all filled by Republicans.

Now, here’s where the problems begin.

All THREE branches of government – the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial – were touched by serious corruption. As a natural consequence, the people’s business was impeded and damaged, which also wasted the taxpayers time, money and resources to investigate and prosecute.

But perhaps the MOST costly price paid was continued damage to the state’s already tarnished image in the public eye, nationally and internationally… as if it could get any worse.

Governor Robert Bentley was the subject of Federal and State investigations over whether he misused public funds, and violated campaign finance law to further his extra-marital involvement with a female aide. Corollary to that, he was also facing impeachment… the first ever Alabama governor to face such serious public scrutiny and reprisal.

The Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and other legislators were facing investigations and indictments by the Attorney General for possible violations of ethics laws, and other related laws. Named as witnesses were many well-known, high-powered big business lobbyists, and their clients.

The State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was facing a SECOND investigation in his second elected term over his refusal to obey and uphold Federal Law, and a Federal Judge’s court order to obey the law, which meant he could face public trial by the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission (his peers), and a SECOND possible expulsion from the bench.

The Governor accepted a plea deal to two lesser misdemeanors, resigned from office, repaid monies, performed community service, and promised to never again hold public office.

The Chief Justice was found guilty and removed from the bench – a SECOND time.

The Speaker of the House and other legislators were all found GUILTY of violating the very Ethics Laws they passed – which were all felony violations.

As well, over a dozen current legislators and others (high-powered attorneys, former legislators, lobbyists, business owners, etc.) are STILL being found GUILTY of, or pleading GUILTY to violating Federal and/or state law, including bribery, mail fraud, Medicare fraud, misuse of public office, and various other forms of abuse of public trust.

And then, there’s the sheriff from Etowah County, Todd Entrekin, who was found to have LEGALLY redirected funds which were to have been used for feeding inmates (three-quarters of a million dollars), to his own personal use, to, with his wife Karen, purchase a luxurious beachfront house on the Gulf Coast.

All but one of those identified are Republicans.

But again, this is not an “Us versus Them” or “Republican versus Democrat” problem. It’s a corruption problem, the predominate root of which lies with the 1901 Alabama State Constitution. Consequently, the entire state suffers.

Harvard University’s Center for Ethics researched Legal and Illegal corruption in all 50 states three branches of government, and found Alabama wanting by most measures.

Of course, it neither helps that Alabama has a continuous and ongoing history of voting for one party, or the other – so that there’s rarely if ever a mix of parties in power. It’s quite literally, a bipolar type of operation, which goes from one extreme, to the other.

Alabama has had SIX constitutions, and the one under which it now labors is not even the best of the five which preceded it.

The state’s present constitution – the 1901 Constitution – has well over 900 amendments. That one thing alone makes it the most bloated and inefficient of any such type of governing document in the entire world – hands down, bar none.

The Dictionary of Alabama says this about Alabama’s 1901 Constitutional Convention:
“Called primarily to establish White supremacy by disfranchising Blacks, the Constitutional Convention of 1901 continues to shape Alabama politics in the twenty-first century. The convention also concentrated power in the state legislature, decreased opportunities for Home Rule, and established voter requirements that even many White men could not meet, reducing the political influence of the state’s many poor Whites. The 155 delegates to the Alabama Constitutional Convention of 1901 codified Black disfranchisement and increased the political power of the state legislature at the expense of local government.”

So when combined with the fact that it STILL contains racist language, and provisions which have been Read the rest of this entry »

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American Academy of Family Physicians @AAFP Errs on Website Criticizing #Nurses @NCSBN

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, May 26, 2018

The American Association of Family Physicians website had a glaringly obvious spelling goof in their headline criticizing Board Certified Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.

In a strangely ironic, even cruel twist, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) authored a letter dated 10 May 2018 criticizing the efforts of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to encourage states to expand their Nursing Scope of Practice laws to more accurately reflect uniformity of standards, and allow professionally Board Certified Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN-BC) with ability, education, and training to practice to the fullest extent of their license for the benefit of patients and Public Health. News of the AAFP’s letter was published on their website 16 May.

However, since that news item’s publication, the website contained an obviously glaring spelling error, which negatively reflects upon the physicians’ professional organization, and has neither been noticed, nor corrected as of the date of publication of this entry – Saturday, 26 May 2018.

The ostensible purpose of the AAFP letter, which also carried the endorsement of 80+ professional physician organizations, was to Read the rest of this entry »

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Yes! Iron skillets are STILL Made in America!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 9, 2018

If you’re like me, you want to “do your part to support the home team,” and buy as many items Made in USA as you can possibly find. It just makes sense to support your friends and neighbors who are also entrepreneurs, skilled artisans and craftsmen.

Now please, don’t misunderstand, I have NEVER opposed Free Trade, but I have long opposed unfair trade… and poor quality products, even if they are Made in USA. And as far as I’ve seen, the quality of Lodge brand iron cookware is on par with cheap Chinese imports. And that is not saying very much at all – or rather, it says volumes.

I enjoy cooking, and am primarily self-taught. And I have learned by trial-and-error, that thin, cheap, often aluminum cookware is inferior, and more often than not, burns food… even when it’s used to simply warm a canned food item, such as green beans, or corn. And the reason why, is that it’s thin!

Multiplied by today’s “flat top” cooking surfaces, that’s a marriage made exclusively in Hell. The reason why, is that unlike flame stoves which can be adjusted for intensity, and even the older “coiled eye” resistor heating elements, flat top/smooth surface cook tops use a very messed up and faulty process. Here’s what typically happens.

Turn on the “burner” and watch what happens. Even at LOW temperatures, the element underneath the smooth surface comes on at 100% intensity, and then quickly goes out. That process is repeated at every “temperature” setting, with the only difference being between “temperatures” is the length of time at which the element stays on. For example, at the “HIGH” setting, the heating/cooking element is on constantly, while on the “MEDIUM” setting, the heating/cooking element cycles on-and-off less frequently than if it were on “LOW.” Essentially, the “temperature” adjustment knob is a timer, rather than a rheostat.

What’s a rheostat?

Glad you asked!

Without going into too much detail, think of a rheostat as a Read the rest of this entry »

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America Is Under Attack

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, March 28, 2018

FaceBook criticism is nothing new. In fact, there’s an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to it, which began, interestingly enough, in 2007 – a mere two years after the company, under CEO Mark Zuckerberg, settled a lawsuit with brothers Cameron, and Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra claiming that he had stolen the idea for the company, which at the time was valued at US$10 Billion. It’s now worth more than 40 times that.

FaceBook’s IPO was May 21, 2012, opened selling at $26.21 per share, and now trades around the $150 mark. The last time it was near that price was June 12, 2017, while the highest it’s ever been was $190.28 on January 29, this year. So this momentary decline is a mere hiccough, or passing fancy of algorithmic computer-based trading, from which humans are largely excluded. FaceBook’s market capitalization, aka 
“market cap” is very nearly $450 billion, which is the total dollar market value of a company’s outstanding shares.

Less than a year later, in 2013, FaceBook was resoundingly publicly criticized for not having protections in place to guard against online stalking, child sexual predators, and bullies after loosening restrictions on Read the rest of this entry »

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Remington Files Bankruptcy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, March 26, 2018

Remington Outdoor Company, formerly known as Remington Arms Company, LLC, is America’s oldest firearms manufacturer, and privately-owned by Cerberus Capital Management, announced February 12, 2018, that they intended to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection later this year. Cerberus will relinquish ownership once restructuring is completed. Their filing was done today, March 26, 2018.

Remington’s plan will allow them to reduce debt by $700 million of their $950 million debt, contribute $145 million of new capital into their subsidiaries, and $100 million in creditor-funded money as a debtor-in-possession term loan. Planning for the bankruptcy had been announced late 2017.

The company’s unaudited returns dated February 12, 2018, show net revenue of Read the rest of this entry »

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That Big Clear Rock On Your Left Ring Finger… Is An Ostentatious, Useless Piece Of Crap.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, January 22, 2018

“A kiss on the hand may be quite continental, but diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” sang late starlet Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

But since when did diamonds become valuable?

And how did clear pieces of carbon, nothing more than mere coal, a dirty fossil fuel, come to symbolize – of all things – “love”?

They’re certainly not rare (though for a brief time, they were), and in fact, they are significantly more abundant than gold – though you likely wouldn’t be aware of it, per se – and because diamonds are the hardest substance known to science, it’s not uncommon to find diamond abrasives in any hardware store, or construction site. They’re even on fingernail files. But since when did you ever see a golden saw, or golden fingernail file?

But first, some  supply-and-demand “backstory” mixed with market manipulation and eventual monopoly… and then back again.

In 1870, gigantic diamond mines were discovered near Read the rest of this entry »

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Welcome The F-35 Lightning II To Alabama!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, December 21, 2017

I’ve just heard/read the news that the 187th Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field in Montgomery has been chosen to get a fleet of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Mission jet aircraft.

That’s the $1.45 TRILLION-dollar TOTAL LIFETIME OPERATION COST of operations, cost-overrun, over-budget, faulty, so-called “do-everything” aircraft which can’t do an aerial “dogfight,” and the money already spent upon it ($350Billion) could have LITERALLY purchased a “McMansion-priced home” ($600K – over 2x the average price of the average US house), for EVERY SINGLE HOMELESS person in our nationand– had plenty of money left over.

It’s part and parcel of what late, former WWII Supreme Allied Commander, former-two term Republican POTUS Dwight David Eisenhower called the “military industrial complex” in his Farewell Address the evening of January 17, 1961, as a two-term Republican, under whose leadership our nation grew like “gangbusters,” our infrastructure expanded phenomenally and exponentially, and under who the Personal Income Tax Rates upon the VERY WEALTHIEST of Americans was 90%+, with Corporate Income Tax Rates 40+%.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter

“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Alabama Can’t Have Nice Things, Including Internet Service

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, December 21, 2017

Why Can’t Alabama Have Nice Things?
-or-
Why FCC’s Net Neutrality Repeal Could Be Good For Alabama’s Economy

Already, following quickly on the heels of GOP FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s (a former corporate lawyer for Verizon) Net Neutrality repeal, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) such as Comcast, Cox Communications, and Frontier Communications have announced increased costs starting January. see: https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2017/12/19/comcast-cox-frontier-net-neutrality/

<sarcasm>I suppose the “savings” regular families get from the GOP’s Tax Scam bill will offset any additional costs.</sarcasm>

Now, here’s the (easy to understand) “deal”:

Those firms want to increase sales, and by extension, increase profits. Not merely margins. In order to do that, one must TRULY compete on a “level playing field.”

But, let’s consider another thought, that being of service. There are, even now, many areas in our nation WITHOUT ISP, or options. It’s VERY “close to home.”

For example, I can drive 30-45 minutes and be in a VERY remote area… which, until this point, had NO ISP, save for satellite service. At my urging, relatives, whose example I am referencing, began to collaborate with their neighbors to get ISP to “lay line” to their, and others’ residences.

They (area residents) were already paying for a service (satellite ISP) which quality was poor, unreliable, and costly. The “wire line” ISP (falsely) claimed that to extend service to that area (even though it was already nearby – at the road), would not be “profitable.” I demurred, urged and encouraged them ALL THE MORE to Read the rest of this entry »

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Follow The Money: Paul Manafort, Donald Trump & Michael Flynn

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 6, 2017

By now, you’ve likely heard, or read about Paul Manafort’s bail being revoked.

Manfort, of course, was briefly then-candidate Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign Manager, and has been arrested by the FBI as part of former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s (b.1944) ongoing investigation into illegal activity by foreign nations in the United States, some of which may have been related to the General Election of 2016.

Manfort (b.1949) is a Georgetown University School of Law-educated attorney, and among other activities, has made his money lobbying for, and advising the national political campaigns of such presidential candidates as Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Robert “Bob” Dole.

Manafort has also advised political campaigns in totalitarian dictatorial regimes, and has lobbied for, advised, and represented some highly unsavory international criminal characters including Read the rest of this entry »

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All Work Has Dignity -and- The Laborer Is Worthy Of Their Hire

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 23, 2017

A long-time & dear friend recently shared this thought: “If you’re going to say something about people lacking career aspirations, make sure you’ve created opportunities for advancement and not merely encouraged people to work from Engineer II to Engineer III.”

My thoughts follow:

While I am in an ethnographic & demographic majority, I am simultaneously in an educational & professional minority. However, for as long as I can remember, I have NEVER ceased advocating for educational attainment, either through Vocational Education – and that word, “vocation,” is one we have improperly derided, though it has ALWAYS had greatly esteemed meaning. So let us instead, use the OUTSTANDING and more descriptive term “Trades.”

Now… I have NEVER ceased advocating for educational attainment, INCLUDING Trades!

ALL work has dignity! And “the laborer is worthy of their hire.” And that is PRECISELY what those who purport to promote employment do NOT do by deriding & belittling Read the rest of this entry »

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Extending Battery Life in iOS 11

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 19, 2017

In Apple’s iOS 11 {as 11.0.3 (15A432)}, shortened battery life/power has been a source of continual complaint form many.

Part of the reason why, is that in iOS 11, the Bluetooth & Wi-Fi features can NOT be turned OFF from the “swipe” menu, which is accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

Instead, what that “switch” does, is to Read the rest of this entry »

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Build The Wall

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Seems an Alabama company (Caddell Construction, in Montgomery) is vying for POS45’s attention by being one of six “finalists” in the surreality show now called “The President,” which has built a “life-sized sample” segment along the US-Mexico border.

Why don’t the idiots build one around Alabama?

Which reminds me of a story:

On one of their patrols, two GIs in the Middle East happened upon a device halfway buried in the sand, which they thought was an IED. After determining it was not, one of them picked it up and dusted it off, whereupon a cloud of smoke began to billow from it.

Scared, he threw it down, and they began to run from it.

Just as soon they thought they’d safely distanced themselves from it, they turned around and then saw a genie appear from within the cloud of smoke.

They hesitated reaching for their rifles because the genie appeared unarmed. After all, a muscular man wearing a turban, no shirt, and a billowy pair of pants could hardly be a menace… right?

Suddenly, the genie spoke, and in a authoritative voice said, Read the rest of this entry »

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Cuss…tomer Service, With A Smile!😄

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 28, 2017

You gotta’ feel for the folks on the other end of the phone in corporate Customer Care / Customer Service for various companies. Sometimes, they catch Hell. Seriously, they do.

Folks may sometimes call up mad as a hornet, irritated – for whatever reason – and then proceed to “take it out” on whoever answers the phone.

It’s a DIFFICULT job, to be certain, but someone’s gotta’ do it.

So… hat’s OFF to those unsung heroes of business enterprise!

Now, let’s get real… real hard, and really real.

Most folks, I would presume, don’t walk around with a chip on their shoulder. They’re not constantly engaging or berating themselves with conflicting internal dialogue, or hearing voices in their head. In other words, not only are they sane, they’re moderately happy, satisfied with life, and things in general. While there are occasions in which they become dissatisfied, angry, or upset, those very same sane people communicate, and collaborate with others to make others aware of problems, so that solutions and corrections to them may be made.

Of course, few would suppose that Read the rest of this entry »

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Deep Dish Pizza: A How-To Guide

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 25, 2017

Who doesn‘t like pizza?

Why, it’s practically unAmerican to not like pizza! Have you ever made your own pizza at home? Ever wanted to make a Deep Dish Pizza at home? Good news – you can! And I’ll share images and a recipe which will help get you started.

This may come as a complete surprise to some, but pizza is BIG BUSINESS in the United States.

Top 50 Pizza Chains’ Annual Sales by State (Click to enlarge)

And as Marketplace Host and Senior Editor Kai Ryssdal says, “but first, let’s do the numbers…”

According to CHD Expert, a foodservice industry marketing trends & data organization, at the end of September 2016, there were 76,723 pizza restaurants in operation in the United States.

In their 2016 Pizza Consumer Trend Report, foodservice industry researcher Technomic found that 41% of consumers polled say they eat pizza once a week, a 55% increase from the 26% reported only 2 years ago.

And a 2016 Morgan Stanley report found that pizza delivery is a $30 billion industry, but could be be worth over $210 billion — which is the total amount Americans currently spent on off-premise dining. And of that $30 billion figure, over 1/3 – $11 billion – are delivery orders which are placed online, and nearly 2/3 of those online orders are… pizza.

So with impressive data like that, it should come as no surprise that a Harris Poll found that Americans’ No. 1 favorite comfort food is pizza, which also had twice as many votes as any other dish… including chocolate.

Now, for a recipe, and the how-to.

There are many seemingly innumerable styles of pizza, which vary with stuffed crusts, in shape, size, ingredients, and any other number of variations in pizza, and fortunately, this one will be simple enough to make at home.

We’re going to make the entire thing, including the crust.

A highly flavored #homemade #pizza dough crust - hWhat you’ll need is Read the rest of this entry »

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Will That Be Cash, Pizza, Praise, Or Nothing?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 24, 2017

Decades ago, Dale Carnegie expounded on the power of praise in his classic book How to Win Friends and Influence People.

In it, he wrote in part that, “…there is one longing – almost as deep, almost as imperious, as the desire for food or sleep – which is seldom gratified. It is what Dewey calls Read the rest of this entry »

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German Grocer Aldi To Heat Up U.S. Competition

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 12, 2017

German Discount Grocer Aldi Sets U.S. Expansion Plan

Aldi says it will open nearly 900 stores, invest $5 billion over five years

Aldi says it will open 900 stores and invest $5 billion over five years. Photo by Anthony Devlin/Zuma Press

By Heather Haddon
June 11, 2017 9:00 p.m. ET

Competition in the U.S. grocery sector is about to get more fierce.

Discount grocery chain Aldi is expected to unveil on Monday plans to invest $5 billion to open nearly 900 stores and remodel hundreds more in the U.S.

The expansion, over the next five years, puts the German grocer on track to becoming the third-largest food retailer in the U.S. by store count, behind the larger Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co., and a growing threat to traditional food retailers.

Aldi said it is expected to have a total of 2,500 locations across the U.S. by 2022. Its plan comes as another German discounter, Lidl, is set to open its first 10 stores in the U.S. on Thursday as part of a multiyear expansion.

Executives at Wal-Mart and Kroger have been preparing for the growth of the discounters for years. Wal-Mart has been sprucing up its stores and slashing prices on some products in select markets, while Kroger continues to drive down costs to compete.

But the discounters could have a big impact on the U.S. grocery market as they did in Europe. Their market share there has steadily grown while traditional supermarkets have seen theirs fall.

Deep discount chains in the U.S. are expected to grow by up to 10% a year through 2020, five times the rate of traditional grocers, according to a recent report by consulting firm Bain & Co.

“It should absolutely be more than scary to traditional grocers and retailers,” said Mikey Vu, a partner in Bain’s retail practice.

Many shoppers in the U.S. are unfamiliar with Aldi. The chain has been in the U.S. since Read the rest of this entry »

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Beat the Heat with Buttermilk Popsicles?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 12, 2017

A good and longtime friend shared recently about making buttermilk popsicles at home with family, using a recipe presumably which came from Steel City Pops, a trendy nouveau foodery in Birmingham, AL. And giving credit where credit is due, Alabama has some mighty fine eateries, and an amazing wealth in it’s diversity of food. As evidence of that fact, Chef Frank Stitt, owner of Birmingham restaurants Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega Restaurant, and Chez Fonfon has been on the James Beard Foundation Award‘s radar for quite some time, and most recently, NPR recognized the excellent oysters produced by Murder Point Oysters using farming methods in that Bayou La Batre, Alabama Gulf Coast town, which were also feted by Chef Emeril Lagasse. Alabama food is a literal treasure of gastronomic proportion. And it’s not just limited to the holiest of holies… barbecue.
(👉Get your Alabama Barbecue Trail app here!👈😋)

Now, I confess an aversion to buttermilk except in cooking. And the reason, of course, is that I’ve tried it. And not just once. In fact, I recollect as a youth visiting with relatives in Read the rest of this entry »

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