Thursday, November 20, 2014

SAFETY TRUMPS PRIVACY...(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED DECEMBER 2013)

A recent round-table discussion centered on why security at schools should not include metal detectors and other signs of collective safety.

The argument focused on the deterioration in the quality of schooling which would occur if the schools began to feel more like fortresses rather than educational institutions.

The debate concerned the intrusion of tighter security into the freedom of our schools, which should not be imposed by criminal elements.  The logic went that if the additional security measures were enacted the bad guys had basically won the day.

You could argue and discuss this for a long time but at the end our schools still remain vulnerable.  This last incident in Colorado could very easily have resulted in  many, many more deaths.  We were just lucky.  We might even make the claim that the increased security since Columbine substantially saved a number more lives.

I wonder if the D.C. Federal Judge would have so smugly undermined the constitutionality of the anti-crime terrorists surveillance if "his kid" was blown away by a mad person because security failed to trump our over expectations of what it means to be a free society.

Without safety , the Constitution will lose its value.


METAL DETECTORS NO, BUT KNIVES OKAY..(TODAY'S HEADLINES) ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JANUARY 2013

As they woke in the morning they turned off the house alarm and said good morning to Fido, then proceeded to breakfast.  On the way to work they pass either the superintendent, a doorman, a guard or a concierge or may open twenty different locking systems before proceeding out the door of their building.  There probably will be a cop on the corner or the next corner and they might pass a sheriff on the road and in smaller cities many often pass the police station.

Arriving at the office there is a bank branch in the lobby with a guard standing out in front. Security cameras are everywhere including the red lights on the road and the elevators in their office building and parking garage.  As it is Christmas time they may go to the local shopping center where signs immediately greet them "Patrolling Security".  The next day they may leave for vacation at the bus terminal or airport and security is extensive.  Everywhere the hypothetical person turns there is one form of advanced security or another. Everywhere but...

THEN THEY WENT TO THEIR CHILDREN'S SCHOOL.  THERE WERE FIFTY DIFFERENT WAYS TO ENTER THE SCHOOL, THERE WERE NO PANIC BUTTONS IN THE CLASSROOMS AND NONE IN THE HALLWAYS.  ANY ADULT COULD HAVE ENTERED, THERE WERE NO METAL DETECTORS, THERE WAS NEXT TO NOTHING KEEPING THE CHILDREN SAFE FROM INTRUDERS OR HARM. THERE WAS NO SECURITY...

Back in the day, schools were considered sacred ground.  The horror of that no longer being true.  Can you imagine the "horror" of using our children in political brinkmanship on the matter of guns? What type of security is required at schools is not only about guns but about many other issues.

Can you imagine the stupidity of President Obamas' proposal that you can have a ten bullet gun but not an automatic weapon.  I suppose that would allow a crazy person to sneak into the school with 5 handguns but not an automatic weapon.  What will this really accomplish?

Friday, November 14, 2014

OBAMA NEEDS A FREUDIAN ANALYST...

Since our President seems unable to effectively gain the respect of Putin, he's busy directing his manliness towards battles with the Congress.

Wouldn't it be better if he projected an agenda aimed at working together to improve the American experience?

Friday, October 31, 2014

THERE'S A LOT OF GOOD THINGS GOING ON...(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 6/8/12)

Watch the news, pick up a magazine especially newspapers, watch the TV and immerse yourself in the "everythings wrong" philosophy.

The democratic process, with its unbelievable capacity for openness and sharing of thoughts, seems to thrive on conflict. This conflict results in a vibrant Nation that lurches forward with small and gigantic steps.

All around us the pundits of doom sell negativism.

The reality is anything but. The enormous strides made by democracy and capitalism in the last few decades are incomprehensible. Almost every country has seen the standard of living of its people rise. There is no longer a significant chance of slipping back into extreme socialism and communism. All about us the engine of American and World creativity is blossoming into a whole new era that is only at its beginning.

Cars are changing, jet planes are making huge strides, biotechnology is still alive and well. The immensity of the Internet and all the companies that are continually being spawned is almost too much to grasp. Old industrial America is stabilizing. Revolution in America is not realistic for many years, if ever.

Markets get ahead of themselves, competition for profits is intense and there is a continuum of winners and losers in most spheres of life. The government in all its confusion functions. There is an awareness that so many major components of our democracy need revitalization. So all is not lost.

The market doubled too quickly from its lows. No one I know bet the house on 1 1/2% 10 year government bonds. Most observers are focused on everything but the real picture.

The real picture is our ingenuity. The fact is that most people go to work everyday and most enjoy their jobs.

The deficits will not sink the ship (although they should be brought down). Europe will not sink. Greece will still be there and so will Spain. And Russia, with all its recalcitrance will not do anything stupid. So seek your opportunity, use common sense, pay attention to what you are doing and praise the fact that everyday there is opportunity.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

OBAMA - IT'S FINALLY TIME TO SAY IT...

There seems to be so many negative headlines lately, Ebola, ISIS, Russia/Ukraine, Hong Kong Riots, Stock Market volatility, Destructive corporate policies, Secret Service scandals, Veterans Administration, IRS, Obamacare website fiasco and on and on.  All of these situations can be traced back to President Obama if only because he is the CEO of the nation.

His lack of action, his wrong actions, his inability to select experienced leaders, his inability to retain qualified leaders, his passivity, and his basic lack of experience is obvious.

He was elected on the premise of change. The reality is he has changed little for the better.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

GOLD BUBBLE ("WHEN INTEREST RATES RISE, GOLD WILL CRASH") ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2010

A friend of mine bought a home for $300,000 ten years ago. By 2007, the price of similar homes in their neighborhood had tripled in value.
During the period when the price of housing was rising so rapidly, banks were criticized for collecting deposits in one impoverished area of the country and lending it out in other more prosperous regions. The quality of the loans was not a factor, the equitable distribution of loans seemed more important. People all over the country were ecstatic over their increase of wealth through home ownership.
The government, in spite of everything, had created Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac and everything possible to increase home ownership. Practically no one was telling homeowners to liquidate their homes. Construction of homes was booming, millions of people were employed in the sector and no one dared to stop this lucrative bubble.
When the house I mentioned above was purchased in 1999, it would have taken approximately 1000 ounces of gold to pay for the home. Today, it would take only 250 ounces of gold to buy the same $300,000 house. Housing prices have “crashed” and gold has soared. In effect, gold has gone from $350 per ounce in 1999 to $1300 per ounce today.
Gold is basically a useless commodity. The price is a “bubble” that may sustain itself forever and ever, but it is a bubble. You can’t eat gold, it’s hard to carry, it earns you no money and its industrial uses are limited. Again, no one dares to tell people to sell their gold even though you can now buy it in vending machines. No one dares to tell the mining industry to stop the production of gold, for fear of destroying yet another industry that is responsible for the economic livelihood in many struggling countries.
Keynes said that in the end investing is nothing more than a game of musical chairs and that when the music stops; we don’t want to be the ones without a chair. old. When interest rates rise, gold will crash.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

LANCE ARMSTRONG AND THE WHISTLE BLOWER- A NATION OF "SNITCHERS"(ORIGINALLY POSTED 1/2013)

I am seventy five years old.  I was a young boy during WWII.  It was commonplace to be exposed to stories about the Germans in which children were rewarded to come forward to snitch on their parents or family.  These young children were following the Nazi propaganda line.

Many adults looked in dismay as a country rewarded children for being whistle blowers.  It was considered an abominable breach of most American's ethics.

Now in America we reward, with substantial gifts, those who help our Justice Department and SEC prosecutors capture and then punish who are often their friends and colleagues.  Our sense of justice is to tell people if you whistle blow, you can get rich and if necessary go into the witness protection program.

As Americans we have actually come to accept this as an appropriate approach to the pursuit of crimes.

I have great difficulty understanding how we abhor the actions of the children of Germany, but find little ability to speak about whether we want such behavior in our own country.