I disagree with Hightower.

What you will find here is: a centrist's view of current events;
a collection of thoughts, arguments, and observations
that I have found appealing and/or amusing over the years;
and, if you choose, your civil contributions which will make it into a conversation.

He not busy bein' born, is busy dyin'. - Bob Dylan

Please refer to participants only by their designated identities.

suggestion for US citizens: When a form asks for your race, write in: -- American

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Union Dues

SCOTUS is poised to rule on whether public sector unions can collect fees from workers who aren't union members.  The argument for is that that the union negotiates the contract for all workers (specifically home health care workers in Illinois), so they all should share in the cost of that work.

Services received should be paid for sounds reasonable to me. Collecting of dues from no union members may not technically be forced closed shopbut it is close.

I think the real question the non union works and the courts need to address is whether all workers in a particular industry or business represented by unions MUST fall under the collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the Union.

Should not all workers have the option to operate as a free agent and negotiate their own contract (if that is their choice)?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Being Offended

A number of years ago the term “honkey” was coined and intentionally used to be insulting to Caucasians.  It did not achieve its intended goal because “white” people simply did not accept the insult.

So what really makes something offensive?
1.   The intent of the user or
2.  How it is perceived by the target (person or group) of the word or phrase or
3.  (and I am not being cute here) How it is perceived by one person on another person’s  behalf

I think most people would agree that calling someone from Poland a "Pollack” is unacceptable but do I also have to stop using the word “gypped”?  The list goes on.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


I just spent some time in Italy and spoke with a man who said he was from Kurdistan.

I said that I didn't know that the Kurds had acquired a country and he said:

"We're working on it."

Friday, June 20, 2014


I have been doing a little research on the proposed “Paycheck Fairness Act” and it underlying supporting legislation the “Equal Pay Act of 1963”.  The “Equal Pay Act” allows (and the Paycheck Fairness Act would leave unchanged) seniority as an affirmative defense for paying unequal wages.

I am totally in support of equal pay for equal work but, all things being equal, paying one person more that another simply because they have been there longer doesn’t seem equitable (fair?) to me.  Why is no one attacking that?   


It seems that the “Redskins” trademark is far from an isolated incident of censorship by the US Patent and Trademark office.  See this article http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/20/upshot/redskins-isnt-the-only-name-the-patent-office-has-blocked.html?hpw&rref=&_r=0

I must admit that that I was totally unaware that patent office personnel, who no one elected, had this power of discretion (censorship?).

Does this scare anyone other than me?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Obama to sign LGBT order

Obama has asked for a document to be drawn up for his signature that would forbid federal contractors from discriminating against someone because of their sexual orientation. See the article here. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/06/16/obama-to-sign-order-extending-lgbt-protections/  
Fine!  I agree with the sentiment and I have no problem with that ….except:
1.       I have been in the workforce since 1968.  I have been union, non-union, hourly, salaried non exempt, salaried exempt, supervisor, manager, personnel manager, CIO, CFO, and owner.  In all those years and positions:
a.       I have never seen or been aware of a single instance of discrimination based on sexual preference.
b.      I have never been asked my sexual orientation.
c.       I have never seen an instance where someone else was asked their sexual orientation.
d.      I have never been aware of a colleague having made any personnel decisions based on sexual orientation or a perceived sexual orientation.
e.      As personnel manager (for a group of 60 employees for 4 years) I never had a single instance where an employee claimed discrimination based on sexual orientation.  (And believe me I have heard every other type of discrimination claim imaginable).
2.       Is signing an executive order on protecting the LGBT community from something that possibly exists only on the most extreme margins really a Presidential priority over:
a.       Iraq?
b.      Veteran’s care at VA hospitals?
c.       Syria?
d.      Ukraine?
e.      The weakest economic recovery from a recession in US history?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Dealing with Terrorists 2

The original was on June 3, 2014  As I noted there later I had misread a crucial word.

The Obama administration has just traded 5 midlevel Al Queda correction Taliban people from Gitmo for one american soldier captured in Afghanistan.

I am opposed to trading terrorists for hostages taken by terrorists.

Three things:

A)  1st  Obviously we have just encouraged the terrorists to take more hostages.
      2nd  The Taliban is a much more "normal" military and therefore it would be more acceptable to trade prisoners with them.

B)  Is this Obama's plan to close the Gitmo Prison Camp?  Once he has traded them all off it will be easy.      This remains untouched.
C)  It seems to me that I recall the left arguing that terrorists should be treated like any other criminal.  Soooo .... .
As is one this is modified, but not by as much.  They weren't civilian prisoners true, but the Mafia parallel is still an interesting question for those who advocate treating terrorists like common criminals.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Merriam Webster's Definition of Bigotry


 noun \ˈbi-gə-trē\
: bigoted acts or beliefs
plural big·ot·ries

Full Definition of BIGOTRY

:  the state of mind of a bigot
:  acts or beliefs characteristic of a bigot

Examples of BIGOTRY

bigotry prevented her from even considering the counterarguments>

First Known Use of BIGOTRY


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

The trade of 5 Guantanamo prisoners for Sgt. Bergdahl has become so politicized that I am not sure it is possible to have a meaningful discussion, but we can try.  I would like to know some of the opinions of YA readers regarding the merits of the trade (excluding the vehement political reaction to the trade).  Specifically:

1.      Considering the way the trade was conducted was it legal?
      2.      Discounting the imbalance of the trade (5 for 1) was it OK to trade these particular
      3.      Should the trade have been made?

My answers are no, no and no. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dealing with terrorists

 I had misread Taliban as Al Queda.

There were no comments and so I feel free to review this.


I will return to it later.

Monday, June 2, 2014


The article at this URL http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-deadliest-hurricanes-have-female-names-study-20140602-story.html  titled “Why hurricanes with female names may be more deadly” was published by Science Now” (of the Los Angeles Times).  It is an excellent example of why claiming it is science does not make it so.