NFL Players Protest

From the very beginning, I never understood why NFL players protested during the national anthem. Let me clarify, I completely understand why players would protest in general. There are very serious social and safety issues that are routinely ignored by the public (with no practical solutions ever actually implemented).  Professional athletes, and all public figures, have an unique opportunity (perhaps an obligation) to use their platform to advocate for issues that concern them. When those issues are valid (based in reality), it makes their actions all the more important. So I believe and support the NFL players raising awareness of issues facing their community. But why during the anthem. Yes, it got a lot of attention, but the end goal was social change, not attention for attention's sake. The entire conversation has been co-opted by the media, and others, as a general battle of freedom of speech against being unpatriotic. Although those are interesting topics, they are missing…

Peace in Korea? It could happen, but why?

Why did North Korea build up its nuclear capacity, only to start peace talks when their arsenal is finally adequate. What is the end-goal?

1) They want to ensure that no country will invade North Korea. The threat of a nuclear strike is enough to scare almost any country, particularly the US and our allies. Prior to this point, North Korea was able to threaten destruction of Seoul, with conventional weapons, as a deterrent. However, now those conventional weapons are largely unnecessary.  If this is their goal (to 100% avoid invasion), I don't see why North Korea would ever remove their nuclear capacity.  But maybe they don't have to. 

2) What if North Korea wants the removal of sanctions. I think the world would accept a deal to remove sanctions in return for complete removal of their nuclear weapons and programs. But the nuclear weapons were what caused the sanctions in the first place (not the government's treatment of their people).  It is possible that the sanctions h…

Big-Tent or Hard-Core

As I look towards the mid-term elections, I see a fundamental choice the Democratic Party has to make (although it seems like they already made it).

I currently believe that there is a significant number of Trump voters that are not happy with how things are going (this could be said for almost any President after a year in office).  For those voters who are dissatisfied, they really only have one other choice, the Democrats. However, as they look at the Democratic platform, the see a party that is moving further to the left. These voters would probably support a Bill Clinton Democrat, but not a Chuck Schumer one. 

(When I was in Texas, I saw a map of the United States, and over New York and California was a cutout that read "Not America", yet here are the Democrats shoving stereotypical representations of these states as their leaders).

Choice 1: The Democrats could try to create a big tent. Snap up all those votes, but sacrifice some agenda items. They could say "We h…

Super PACS

I don't understand why democratic mega-donors don't create Super PACS to split Republican voters.  Basically, they should be running and supporting "alternative" Republican candidates for every election.  In the Alabama Senate race they should be running ads to support every possible Republican white-in candidate.  They should create a functional political party that is pro-conservative values, but anti-corporate greed.  And another party that is just the opposite.  Super PACS are terrible for democracy and terrible for this county, but if they are allowed to exist, the Democrats should use them wisely.

Why can't somebody just be fired when they deserve it

“I got a bet,” he continued. “I bet by the time you’re 21, someone’s going to put a bullet right through your head, O.K.? And it might be me, the one that does it.”

That was a high school science teacher, caught on videotape, threatening a student.  There is no ambiguity here.  There are dozens of witnesses.  Yet, the teacher is currently on "paid administrative leave".  What is the problem here; if the video is confirmed (which should take about 15 minutes after asking the students in the room) this person should be fired immediately.  He should be barred from teaching in any public school for 10 years, and the teacher's union should applaud that decision.  I will never, ever understand why teachers' union depend those who represent the very worst of teachers. 

There might be instances of "gray areas", but this is not one of them. A teacher is literally suggesting that he might mu…

Turn off the lights

It might have taken a long time, but my father eventually succeeded in impacting a message in my brain to turn of the lights, especially at night or when I'm leaving the house.  Every night, there is a voice in my head that demands that I turn off the lights.  Every morning, before I leave for work, I go around the house and turn off all the lights that were left on.  Deep inside my subconscious, there is a little voice that is worried about this. 

However, it is worth worrying about?  I know have LED light bulbs in almost every sockets.  Where there was once a 100 watt bulb, now there is a 13 watt bulb.  Say I have 30 bulbs in my house, at an average of 13 watts (although it is probably less because a lot of the bulbs are smaller candelabra style at only 6 watts).  That 390 watts.  If I run the lights 24 hours a day, it would total $410/year (according to this online calculator).  Say that I am vigilant and only run the lights 4 hours/day, that would cost $68/year.  To leave my li…

Republicans and why they don't want to succeed

If you are a Republican in Congress and you have been running on a platform of dismantling Obamacare, reducing taxes, and deregulating business; what will you run on if you actually achieve those things.  However, if you come really close to those goals, but don't actually pass meaningful legislation, you can continue to run on that same platform forever.  You can continue to blame the democrats and maintain an urgency to get more seats in Congress to actually pass the laws they "wanted" the entire time.

Mueller Investigation

What I found most compelling about the first indictments from the Mueller special investigation was that it revolved around various types of financial fraud.  Although, I am reluctant to believe that Trump actively and personally colluded with the Russians (and not because the Russians didn't try), I would definitely believe that Trump committed a variety of financial crimes over the past 40 years (tax evasion, lying on paperwork, and potentially money laundering). There have been some pretty well known instances of Trump using very sketchy financial tactics, including keeping multiple sets of books, and vastly complicated ownership structures.  The Trump Organization is very large, but is privately held and therefore they are no external stock owners to review financial records.  According to Trump's FEC disclosure form, it lists him as a director or president of 515 different LLCs.  I think it is mostly legitimate for the Mueller to investigate if Russian money went to Trump…