And life flows on, within you and without you…On turning 70

And life flows on, within you and without you…On turning 70

And still being a productive member of society.  Today is my 70th birthday, and I don’t feel a day over 69!  Today was a day much like any other.  Wake up at 5:10AM, dress, eat breakfast (after feeding the owner), leave for work and arrive at 6:00 on the dot.  Do my normal job, fend off dozens of emails, place some orders…  We have a “birthday meeting” in our department, and the birthday person gets their choice of sweets.  We had my favorite pineapple, and 2-bite cupcakes.  And nobody sang Happy Birthday.  Well, not until after work, when we went to a great local Chinese restaurant for Happy (birthday) Hour.  That was fun, and my boss, and her boss both came.

I simply can’t imagine being retired, and not earning my keep.  I love my work, and I learn something every day.  I help solve problems, and keep the company running.  It just feels great to be valued.  I don’t want to stop working, and have to live off others, even if I’ve earned it.  I like making my own decisions, and having something to get up for in the morning.  I’m on the Clint Eastwood Retirement Plan.  He is over 90, and still working at his trade, directing and starring in movies.  When he retires, maybe I’ll think about it.

Or, maybe I’ll continue on the Rabbi Daniel Lapin Retirement Program.  Don’t.

Want to join my Network on LinkedIn? No Mainland Chinese Citizens Accepted.

China.Is.A.Communist.Country.

I do not voluntarily deal with those who live in Communist, totalitarian, countries.  I refuse to buy a product of a Chinese company.  I won’t buy a Volvo car (Volvo is owned by Chinese company Geely).  I would not buy a Chinese-branded phone (Xiaomi or Oppo).  I currently have a long-term-care insurance policy from Genworth.  There is a Chinese company trying to buy them, and if they succeed, I will seriously consider dropping my policy that I have paid into for nearly 20 years.  I will never visit China, for any reason, no matter how beautiful it might be.  I am well aware of the total social control emerging in China, with facial-recognition systems deployed everywhere.  China denies its people access to the world-wide Internet; maintaining its Great Firewall of China. And no matter how strenuously the managers at Huawei deny that they would never use their Internet-backbone products to spy on another country, I know that to be a lie.  Any company in China is required to allow the Communist Party access to its products.

I don’t deal with countries who kidnap their people abroad and take them back to China to prison.  I don’t deal with countries who arrest booksellers.  I don’t deal with countries who murder their own people for speaking their minds.  No matter how economically prosperous China might seem, it is still a Communist country, with a state-planned economy.  China should never have been admitted to the World Trade Organization, and I advocate their immediate expulsion.  China has a world-domination agenda, and I believe they should be strenuously combated everywhere.

I only joined LinkedIn in the first place because I was constantly being hounded by out-of-work friends (even though my own company was not hiring).  And, funny thing, I get requests regularly from people all over the world wanting to “join my network”.  It’s nice to be thought of as having a valuable network, but I pay little attention to LinkedIn.  And I wish they had a “Refuse” button to go along with the “Accept” button.  But there is none, and I simply delete requests by those who I have no interest in knowing.  That includes every request from anyone in China.

Dispatches from the NW Loony Bin, AKA Seattle

Dispatches from the NW Loony Bin, AKA Seattle

Sometimes it seems like the residents of Seattle are completely detached from reality.  While those of us in the real world are hard at work at our jobs, Seattleites are rallying in the streets, protesting Chase Bank’s “Alleged Fossil-Fuel Investments“.  Please enlighten me.  Why, pray tell, would anyone give a rat’s ass whether a bank has fossil-fuel investments?  The said bank isn’t even headquartered in Seattle!  Maybe what they’re really protesting is the bankruptcy of the Seattle institution, Washington Mutual, in the 2008 financial crisis.  Chase bought WaMu out of bankruptcy, and the locals have never quite forgiven them for it.  But ANY institution with any kind of “fossil-fuel” ties gets protested around here.

And then, there’s the story of employees at Seattle’s second-largest employer, Amazon.com, who are irked by Amazon’s “growing ties to the oil industry“.  Just like with the Google employees’ protesting their employer’s work for the US Military, Amazon employees think it’s actually their business whether Amazon works with the oil industry!  These inmates seem to think they run the asylum.  I sure hope Amazon management lets them know that they do not, and it’s really none of their business who Amazon customers are.  They are just acting like the spoiled brats they are.

In the Dubious Distinction category, Seattle has made the list of the most drunken driving cities.  Maybe the drivers in Seattle get really tired of all the traffic congestion, due to city government’s efforts to get them out of their cars and into government transportation, so they just get drunk.

And, finally, in the Entitled Inmates Thinking They Own the Asylum category, residents of one of the “tiny house villages” for the homeless in Seattle locked out workers from the City government, and employees of the contractor who runs the Village.  These residents think they OWN the place, when they are really living there at the expense of the taxpayers of the city of Seattle.  Oh, I actually think the City Council forgets they are spending the taxpayers’ money, and not their own!

Are you worried about how Facebook and Google use data they collect about you?

Are you worried about how Facebook and Google use data they collect about you?

That will seem like elementary school, compared to the new tie-up between two financial-data providers.  Be afraid, be VERY afraid.  You voluntarily sign up for a Facebook account, and you make a conscious decision to use Google products, like internet search, Gmail, and YouTube.  You can decline to use Facebook, and there are alternate search engines (I only use DuckDuckGo now).

But you, as a consumer, have NO say in how your bank, credit union, or credit card companies report your intimate financial data to the Big Three Credit Bureaus.  In fact, I’d hazard a guess that most Americans don’t even know that there are three, or what their names are.  I’d also hazard a guess that most people paid very little attention to the huge data-breach at one of those credit bureaus a couple of years ago.  Unbeknownst to most of the victims whose financial data were stolen, Equifax mostly notified big financial institutions, and did not suffer much reputational damage.  I read the Wall Street Journal religiously, so I was able to follow the story closely.  I’ll bet you didn’t.

Every time you apply for any kind of credit, from a department store, to an oil company or credit card company; to a bank for a mortgage or auto loan; those companies pull your “credit report” from one or all three of the big credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian).  And do they ask you if you want them to pull your report?  Or do they tell you that your information is provided to the bureaus, and retrieved from them, without your knowledge or consent?  Of course they don’t.

Those three companies are the biggest repositories of data about you, that you have never heard of, and probably don’t pay much attention to.  Well, just recently, two companies, Equifax and Fair-Isaac (the company that invented the FICO score, which determines credit-worthiness), have teamed up to SELL CONSUMER DATA TO BANKS.  Yes, that is you that they are selling to banks.  And did they bother to ask you if you wanted them to sell you?  Nope.

Because you are not their customer.  You aren’t even the end user.  You are just the product.  Now, do you have any information about the security of all this data they are selling about you?  Are you aware of any protections they offer, for your valuable financial data?  Nope, because they don’t offer any.  In this age of constant exposure of you, your family, your friends, and your accounts on social media, most people don’t give any thought to the potential repercussions from cyber-thieves getting ahold of all this information about you.  After the big Equifax breach in 2017, the company offered free “credit-watch” services for awhile, but didn’t contact everyone whose data were stolen, and the worst effect they suffered was their CEO finally resigned, months later.  Personally, I am alarmed at the offhanded way these companies play fast and loose with your data, and make lots of money off of selling you to all their real customers.  Why should I have to go through all the conniptions to freeze my credit files, and all the effort to correct errors in a file I had NO say in at all?

So it might behoove you to get more informed about who has your data, and why.  Ask who determines your fitness to be granted credit, and how.  Ask what data your bank reports to the credit bureaus, and if you can see it.  Pull your own credit score from EACH of the big three at least once a year, and make them correct any errors you find.  Just keep your eyes open, and take care with your credit, because no one else will.

I believe Islam is Evil…

I believe Islam is Evil…

…but I find myself in sympathy with a particular group of Muslims, whose culture is facing extinction.  Over the last year, I have been reading in the Wall Street Journal about how China is closely observing all its people, placing cameras equipped with cutting-edge facial-recognition software, wherever the people are.  China is building a ubiquitous “social credit” system for ALL its people, where they are continually observed at every activity, work and play, and judged for worthiness.  Those deemed unworthy are denied jobs, the ability to travel, and other benefits of life.  This horrifies me.

But the group who has been feeling these effects the most are the Uighurs, a Muslim group that lives in Western China’s Xinjiang Province.  The Communist Han Chinese government deeply fears these Muslims, and thinks of them as terrorists.  So many Uighurs have been literally placed in concentration camps; removed from their homes and detained against their will.  Their mosques that haven’t been torn down, have been abandoned, and they are not permitted to communicate with friends or family outside (and even inside) China.  The malevolent Chinese Communists call these camps “vocational education centers“.  Ha!  Uighur neighborhoods are still and silent, and the people left there are afraid to worship, or venture very far from home.

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The Communist Chinese are pretty good at this sort of thing.  Remember the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s?  Where children turned in their parents to the authorities, and intellectuals were sent to collective farms in the countryside for “re-education”.  An entire generation of Chinese was subjected to stunted development.  And how about Tibet?  Since being conquered by China, it has become a shadow of its former self, its people subjugated, their culture denied.

All in all, the Chinese Uighurs have actually been pretty peaceful, and not nearly as bloodthirsty as their Arab co-religionists.  But the ChiComs can have NO hint of difference or rebellion inside their borders, so they ruthlessly destroy the millennium-old culture of its smaller ethnic groups.  Han Chinese move into and take over the homelands of the Uighur, leaving their cities nearly unrecognizable.

I still think that Islam is Evil, but what the Chinese are doing to their Muslim minority is purely criminal, and Evil in itself.  Many in the modern world think of China as the world’s biggest market for exports, or as an exotic vacation destination.  Knowing what I do about how China treats its own people, I would never, ever go to China, for any reason.  They should not get any Western tourist dollars, which just help perpetuate the evil.  They certainly won’t be getting any of my dollars.

A Trip to Southern California, First of Two Posts

A Trip to Southern California, First of Two Posts

This week, we went to Southern California for a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar, the subject of which was Politics and Principles.  The venue was a nice Hilton Hotel  near the John Wayne Orange County Airport.  Over two days, we had a President’s Club reception, a nice dinner, with remarks by Dr. Larry Arnn, the President of the college, and an excellent lecture by Andrew Roberts, on The Importance of Churchill for Today.  He brought, and signed, copies of his book on Churchill.  Which weighs about 5 pounds!  I bought one, and from just the first few pages it is going to be a joy to read.

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The second day, there were talks by Peter Schweitzer, who spoke on the corruption of America’s political elite (which we are all familiar with already); Dr. Arnn, who discussed American Principles and Public Policy;

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Christopher Bedford, on Trump and the Media;

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And Dr. Shelby Steele, who discussed the current state of race relations in America.  I know of him through his excellent writing in the Wall Street Journal, and I was excited to hear him speak.

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I was very lucky, because on Saturday as we were just packing to leave, I actually met Dr. Steele in the hotel corridor, so I got a chance to exchange a few words with the man, who is very gracious.

The Hillsdale program ended Thursday at 3:00PM, so we had the rest of the day free.  We headed over to the nearby South Coast Plaza Mall, which is any shopper’s dream.  Inside the main court, we saw their wonderful Chinese New Year display.  They did the Year of the Pig proud!

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That’s a pretty happy pig, sitting on all that gold!  But you really have to look up to get a real feel for the holiday.

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The epitome of Festive!

On Friday, we headed up to Santa Monica, to meet a Ricochet friend of ours.  Ray really wanted to see Venice Beach and its Canals, and our friend offered to take us on a stroll, and then out for lunch.  It was a bit later than we planned, but we had a nice walk.  Just in case you are not familiar, the “canals” of Venice, California, are narrower, and much shallower than the real Venice!  But one of the canals is named The Grand, and people whose houses back up to the canal milk it for all it’s worth.

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That’s their house number on the left!  Very creative painting on their wall.

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Very pretty, but that water is about two feet deep.  No danger of drowning if you fall in.

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We figured that the owner of this yard was a modernist type of artist.  Both the tree with the crows, and the legs above, are in the same big yard.

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When was the last time you saw a dinghy with a figurehead?

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This is definitely Southern California!  Ripe lemons!

Of course, when we were done and back to the car on the main road, what should we see across the street?

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Yep, the homeless encampment.  It was like we’d never left home.

 

 

Is This New York Abortion Law Evil?

Or, as Ben Shapiro puts it,

New York Governor Cuomo wants to ban the Death Penalty…Except for Unborn Children; go ahead and kill those.

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Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the most comprehensive abortion law in the United States.  This new law, passed by the now-100%-Democrat controlled Legislature, allows termination of a pregnancy up to the moment of birth.  Yes, that is correct, New York now allows a full-term BABY to be murdered if the mother and her doctor deem her health in danger.  Various “news” outlets describe this as “updating” New York abortion laws, and “adding strong legal protections” for “abortion rights”.

The above-mentioned Governor of New York is nominally a Catholic.  As I remember it, the Catholic Church forbids contraception, and defines abortion as murder.  And the Catholic Bishops have reacted to this new law that is celebrated by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Bishops call for Cuomo to be excommunicated.

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Look at that tag line on the podium.  No Time to Wait.  And the title of the new law is the “Reproductive Health Act”.  However, one thing the act ignores is the fact that the pregnant woman is not the only individual affected by abortion.  What about the child?  Well, this new law in New York deems that child disposable.    The statistics show that, in New York, more black babies are aborted than are born.  Does this indicate discrimination against minorities?  Nope, the Progressives in New York are perfectly fine with it, since Abortion is their Holy Sacrament.

And what about the Abortion Doctors?  Doesn’t the Hippocratic Oath say “First Do No Harm”?  I guess that in New York, the Culture of Death rules even the medical profession.    This list was taken off a Web Site called “safest abortion”, by a medical group, NY OB-GYN Associates.

  • Teenagers do not need their parent’s permission to have an abortion.
  • There are no waiting periods
  • No need for state approval
  • Patients can perform their abortion in their doctor’s office.
  • New York State Medicaid covers abortion for women with a low income.

Although, there are some pro-life doctors who have spoken out against this destructive (literally!) new law.  But it appears that they are in the minority.

It is a crying shame, what Feminism hath wrought in the United States, and around the world.  Human beings are reduced to the status of afterthoughts, permitted to be done away with, even if they can sustain life if allowed to be born.  I never had children myself, but this new law makes me very sad.  I weep for the babies who will not be allowed to live, and contribute to the tapestry that is Humanity.