Cheaters Never Prosper?

Cheating, bribery, payoff’s to “fixers”.

Thank goodness, for the first time in two years they’re not reporting about Trump.

No, it’s the uber wealthy and some celebrities.  Seems they were/are stacking the deck for their offspring so as to secure their individual fiefdoms and further their legacies. I’m not sure this is news.

It’s no secret that cheating in school is commonplace. Some suggest that between sixty and eighty percent of college students cheat routinely or have cheated. Just Google “term paper” and see how many term paper mills or subject matter experts offer their “service”.  Nor is it cloistered information that with enough influence (money) no university door is closed. Whether it be a legacy admission, mega-donation to an institution, or outright payoffs the system is rigged.

I’m not saying that deserving students don’t somehow manage to beat an otherwise rigged system, I’m just saying that the “helped” candidates are allowed to “win” with a perhaps a limited skill set that otherwise wouldn’t them get passed their first interview.

Since the baby-boom it seems that we have dumbed-down every aspect of education and at the same time exponentially increased the level of education (onpaper) required by school systems to “teach”.

Subjects once taught in High School now may not be in the training syllabus until college.

Grade inflation to is problematic. It establishes a false narrative that elevates average to superior and superior to incomparable.  No one, not even Hawking could achieve 101%

I’m not suggesting that anyone without credentials should be in the classroom however, there is also no reason why we in some cases insist that a teacher enter a masters program, or require multiple disciplines to teach primary school.  It under utilizes their skill set and unduly inflates their salary.

I venture a guess that a third grader in 1950 could probably read and write as well or perhaps better than a third grader in 2019. The point being that to teach at that grade level in 1950 many teachers only had a HighSchool Diploma and a Teaching Certificate. Digressing.

Raging against this machine may be late in coming but calls for a much broader look into University and College systems and revisiting everything from federal and private funding to education standards and methods of evaluating the student.

The current paradigm of entrance examinations, evaluation of past academic performance and probability of future success may need an overhaul but more importantly re-introducing honesty is the first step to leveling the field of academics.

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What! Only $5.7B?

Our local ABC affiliate (a Sinclair Broadcasting property) offered quite a simplistic quantification of how much $5.7 billion would cost each American. The amount was $17 and change. His math is unquestionable. He simply divided $5.7billion by the total population of the U.S. If it were as simple as that I would say, no worries, however that’s not the bottom line.

The Trump frequently mentions the $5.7billion. He avoids mentioning the additional $7 or $8 billion for the required additional agents, electronics, vehicles, processing facilities and transportation costs in the first year.

The reporter also indicated that it was ONLY $5.7billion and a drop in the bucket when compared to the entire Federal Budget. True compared to the “operating funds” required to run a nation the Wall Money hardly moves the needle. But, consider what the total of approximately $13 billion will buy.

Building the Wall (that Mexico will pay for)

approximately  equals:

430,000 Scholarships of $30,000.00

170,000 Moderately Priced Homes

200,000 Fully Loaded  Mercedes-Benz GLE

1,000,000 Economy cars

Completely Pay for Hurricane Micheal Damage

sadly, pay for two weeks of the war in Iraq at it’s height.

So when someone attaches the word “only” to the cost of the Wall I have to ask.


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Happy Holiday…or not?

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka, Fröhliche Weihnachten, and perhaps another dozen or so greetings and wishes of peace and merriment at the winter solstice.  Some of us would argue that if you don’t say Merry Christmas that you are somehow not celebrating or conveying the meaning of this time of the year.  For the christian world it is the birth of Christ, for a practicing Druid it’s the end and the beginning of a new life.  So, why are we so offended by Happy Holiday.  

Holiday:  as per the Online Etymology Dictionary

holiday (n.) 1500s, earlier haliday (c. 1200), from Old English haligdæg “holy day, consecrated day, religious anniversary; Sabbath,” from halig “holy”

A Holiday is supposed to be a day or days of no work, contemplation, renewal and reflection.  Or is some circles it’s and extended “vacation”.  So why so upset when someone wishes you “Happy Holiday”  If it’s the commerce of “Christmas” that has your feathers ruffled then save your money and don’t buy gifts.  If it’s because non Christians also celebrate Christmas then perhaps you should not be so selfish.  If you think you are putting Christ back in Christmas simply by saying “IT” then you have missed the mark.  If one claims Christianity their actions alone will announce to others their faith.  No symbol, no prayer, no holiday  will be their hallmark.  As the hymn proclaims “Know that we are Christians by our song”.  

The idea that everyone should be “Christ in Christmas” compliant can also be somewhat of a misguided philosophy given that only about 1/3 of the population at large consider themselves Christian.  Not to be mistaken with a belief in God.  Most of us believe in Intelligent Design beginning with the Big Bang.  eg: God.  So I ask you.  Please don’t look at me like I’m a dolt or neanderthal because I extend to you a truly heartfelt Happy Holiday.


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Over 18, TTS May be a Problem

Between 49% and 56% of all Americans over 18 suffer from TTS!

What is TTS? Who is afflicted? What are the symptoms? Can it be prevented? Is there a cure?

Toxic Trump Syndrome (TTS) is a psycho-neuro disorder which effects mood, sleep, language, ability to reason and in some instances, uncontrollable nausea.

Manic mood swings associated with TTS are often so deep as to cause otherwise healthy individuals to exhibit manic behavior, depression, fear and anger.

Sleeplessness associated TTS is often accompanied by hellish nightmares, night sweats, bed-wetting, muscle aches, tremor, cramping and thrashing.

Language skills are diminished, limiting conversation to the vocabulary of a ten year old with interleaved expletives. Speech is limited to incoherent ramblings and child-like playground speak. Also manifested is the inability to share more 240 characters (48 words) at a time.

The inability to reason not only affects those diagnosed with TTS but the population at large. TTS causes daily if not hourly miss-direction, lack of focus, wasted energy, unreasonable fear, and dislike if not hatred for fellow citizens. Is there a Fox in the hen house?

There is currently no effective prophylactic for TTS.

Relief from TTS may take time. It may take between two and six years before a cure will be ready for human trials but hope looms. Some relief from TTS can be found in reading credible news sources, not believing everything one sees or hears on electronic media including T.V., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. etc. Believe what you see, what you know to be true, what is verifiable by multiple sources and include overseas media. The Japan Times, BBC, or Der Spiegel may provide a better picture to how TTS effects you. Listen, Learn, Think.


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Fact or Fiction

As a Cadet Lt. at New York Military Academy, DJT was assigned as a squad leader for a two week bivouac. After a week encamped in rural Virginia provisions were running low and it appeared they would not have sufficient rations to complete the bivouac period. This would have meant failure, not only for DJT but the entire squad. The young Cadet Lt. set out alone to find and acquire provisions for his troops. A day in the woods brought DJT back to his encampment. Gathering his men he announced he had both good news and bad news. “First the bad news” he reported “all I have found to eat are cow-pies, now for the good news, THERE ARE PLENTY OF THEM”

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Stoneman Douglas High School, Bellwether or Flash in the Pan?

Will the demonstrations, marches and outcry for safety and gun control weather the dozen or two months until many of the student activists are eligible to vote?
Will it be the beginning of a new political era that defines itself with pragmatic, empathetic and reachable goals or be overwhelmed by big money and big politics? Will the judicial, constitutional and legislative hostage taking by the NRA prevail?

Politics as usual took a backseat during the elections of 2016. Will politics again see a new paradigm in 2020? Over the next two years roughly 7.5 million high school students will be eligible to vote. Those filled with the fever of positive change have the potential to swing elections across the country. Their collective kinetic energy can be a tsunami of positive change.

Former Senator Rick Santorum suggests that these students time would be better spent learning CPR or perhaps learning how to duck and cover whilst providing first aid. Senator Marco Rubio offers milquetoast solutions and no indication that he makes decisions independent of gun lobby influence.

Some conservatives and the NRA would have you believe the nonsense that recent protests are being organized and funded by anonymous billionaires. They believe the students are incapable of the intelligent problem solving, organizing or the dedication to execute such important actions. These marches and protests are from the grass roots and threaten the establishment.

Lobbyist and politicians are forced to take notice. Conservative and liberal partisans alike will not be able to soft soap responses to the questions raised by these students. It is no longer just a kitchen table discussion. It’s a front and center issue that if not acted on by current legislatures then undoubtedly the next general election will prove the durability and resolve of those “kids”.


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Trade War…Will You Win?

Consumers, Middle Class lose in Trade War

Trade war skirmishers and pawns are the only long term causalities in trade battles. The implementation of restrictive tariffs benefit few and hurt many. Approximately 200,000 jobs were lost due to similar tariffs imposed by G.W.Bush in 2002.

Big business, big government, big investors, and big speculators never lose in a trade war. The middle class consumer is the only loser. We are the skirmishers and pawns of war in every aspect. When prices go up, those on restrictive budgets feel even the slightest increase in price. By some statistics 40% of households live payday to payday with little or no buffer for inflation or emergencies. Any uptick in price is a down tick in quality of life. Abandoning economic policy, disregarding or disestablishing trade pacts and holding to a policy that only tends to fan the flames of inflation.

Restrictive tariffs on imports will not rebuild heavy industry. The glory days of manufacturing may once again return but it takes years of long term investment and yes, even some losses or slow growth.
It takes years to build a modern steel plant and huge investments in skilled education and training to fill positions in automated manufacturing.

Yes, it would be wonderful if everything from automobiles to zippers were manufactured in the U.S. but, its not probable with our current employable cadre’, and even less probable due to a lack of investment both public and private in “Made in America”. We have spawned to many MBA’s and not enough welders, to many lawyers and not enough machinists, to many accountants and doctors and stock brokers and real estate agents and a hundred more jobs that don’t actually make anything. However, all of those non-manufacturing jobs rely on products, equipment and equipage to sell more and more snake oil to the biggest consumer fueled economy on the planet.

All to often we forget that we live in a global economy. Airbus assembles in Alabama, Motorola assembles in China, Chevy in Canada and Mexico, Ford from Australia to Zimbabwe. Trying to obviate and eliminate trade imbalance with punitive actions will only hurt consumers at home and alienate trading partners.

And please, don’t confuse flipping off our trading partners as patriotism.

We have seen nearly nine years of steady, albeit slow, growth and nearly zero inflation. As we, as a nation move forward, caution and fiscal wisdom should rule the day, not short sighted or often inflammatory measures that alienate trading partners and reduce the domestic spending power of the average consumer.


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Disorder affects 60% of Americans

Some research points to a new and troubling disorder… (POTUS)

University of Ido’no researchers have identified a new and troubling syndrome now prevalent in approximately sixty(60) percent of the general population across the United States. POst Traumatic Undefined Syndrom (POTUS) Has been linked to high blood pressure, mood disorders including depression and lethargy, increased alcohol consumption and premature aging.

The exact causation is still unknown however some researchers indicate the manic approach to international and domestic politics, public ridicule of government, bombastic unfounded accusations, exaggeration, self praise, sophomoric ramblings and outright lies may be contributing factors.

(POTUS) is often manifested by lack of energy, reluctance to get out of bed and shutting off from family and friends. Unnatural fear of going outside due to the looming threat of Nuclear Fallout or invasion by Russian operatives with military grade nerve agents or polonium syrettes. The constant feeling of dread, and an unfeeling and unresponsive administration are also exacerbating factors.

Perhaps too that administration “Accomplishments” are predominately done by reducing or eliminating safety factors for the environment, banking system, economy, international trade, treaties with allied and non-allied nations (keeping in mind that treaties are supposed to be durable over generations, not administrations) and dare one say, Healthcare.

Never knowing which side of his mouth President Trump will speak from causes his allies and detractors both to reel in surprise every time he lets his fingers do the talkin’. Since taking office Mr. Trump, has in the same voice both praised and condemned. He has been manipulated by special interests that he himself cautioned congress not to fear or pander to, and even lent credence to known hate groups. Additionally, vindictive firings of long-term dedicated public servants has no place in government, especially from the Capitol.

With research continuing, (POTUS) continues to plague many Americans. A cure may not be ready until late 2020 however clinical trials are underway in hopes of finding an early cure.

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Thou Shalt Love Thy Neighbors Pet? …or not

Pets are wonderful companions, house mates, hunters, guards and yes even the object of our affections. My question is, if they are so important to us then why aren’t we better stewards of our charges. I currently don’t own a dog or a cat but I am still treated with their “gifts”.

Like today as I was working in my yard and found an attachment to the bottom of my shoe in the form of feces, dog one would assume, by the aroma which wafted through the air. Later I was treated to some partially hidden cat leavings in my flower beds. But how did I find them. Whilst digging with my hands and spreading mulch. Yes it’s as smooth as hand lotion, just a tiny bit more aromatic.

I don’t believe in harming domestic animals(that is of course unless they are cows, chickens, rabbits, pigs etc) nor do I condone cruelty to animals just to satisfy some warped sense of superiority.

I would however like the people who “love” their animals, respect the boundaries of those of us that choose to live without the feces, urine, digging, chewing and climbing of those loveable creatures.

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The Trump post-presidency would be ….??

It’s no surprise that the President of the United States is the most powerful person on the planet. It is also no surprise that many former presidents have been prolific working to bring about positive change and raising the social and moral conscience of the people they once served as president. Like retired athletes and solider’s some help provide homes for the poor, and encourage the wealthy to benevolence. There also those who continue to pad their respective accounts as “talking heads” and continue to enhance their respective areas of influence. They revel in the spotlight. Hyper-egos that require daily feeding, hyper-egos that suck the air out of a room and leave little else, hyper-egos that pale by comparison to that of Donald Trump.

With rare exception, presidents are on the most part are full of themselves. On a world stage the “Leader of the Free World” must reflect confidence, worldly presence and intellectual and physical strength but by the same token must know that humility, compassion and empathy are just as important. (how to be a nice guy without being a punk) There is no room for unlimited power in the hands of a bully.

That is how I view Mr. Trump. He’s like a WWE evil star that all the fans love to hate. They purchase his memorabilia and buy into the shallow words that confuse leadership with oligarchy, or physical power with strength of character. Last November the electorate choose Mr. Trump, he has become the most powerful person on the planet. That comes with the office but, what about his post presidency? He will still wear the crown.

The next president will take a back seat to “The Donald” as he will leave with the same sphere of influence he entered the office with, but enhanced with all the political open doors, national secrets, global political access, and endorsement desirability that no other post-presidency has ever enjoyed. The question is, will Mr. Trump use his omnipotence for the betterment of the Republic? Perhaps go quietly into the night, or fearfully, rage against the dying of the light and attempt to govern beyond the office?

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