A few mid-week musings

Since we are at mid-week, let me offer a few miscellaneous musings, mostly good with a few bad. Let me start with some good news:

A Federal appeals court in the Chicago area ruled that the LGBT community is protected under the 1964 Civil Rights amendment even though they were not specifically listed. The court case was around a community college professor who contended she was fired for being a Lesbian. The ruling was 8 to 3, but will of course be appealed to the district court in Indiana.

On what appears to be good news, but falls way short, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a repeal to the discriminatory HB2 law, yet left the most important piece of discrimination therein. They rolled back the change on the transgender bathroom issue, yet left in place the exclusion of the LGBT community from protected status for discrimination. Reviewing the above ruling in Chicago, it is apparent that feature is unconstitutional.

The electric car maker Tesla blew past expected deliveries this past week for their first quarter with over 25,400 cars. Tesla is on pace to deliver the high-end of their 45,000 to 50,000 first half of the year estimate. What is interesting the stock market is valuing the future for this company and its current market capitalization value is $48 Billion which is now higher than Ford at just under $45 Billion. Tesla is owned by Elon Musk who is leveraging his battery technology to aid in solar and wind energy storage, working on a key project to help Australia with an outage problem.

Reuters reported today that utility companies are not being influenced by our President’s fight to end the war on coal. With the exception of one of 31 companies, a two-thirds majority said it would not impact their plans to move to cheaper and cleaner natural gas and increasingly cheaper renewable energy sources. The other companies were silent. In a piece I read last year, we are passed the tipping point on renewable energy and it was postulated about utilities why would they invest in an expensive coal-fired plant that will be obsolete before it is completed?

On the bad side, I am increasingly concerned by Bashar al-Assad and his willingness to gas people. This man has a history of doing this and then lying to reporters and other leaders about it. It would be great to see the UN powers come together and say, we will help end this war in your country, but you must step down now or face charges of war crimes. While our former President did many good things, his handling of Syria was not one of them. He and Congress let the world down by not spanking this SOB for his last gassing of civilians. I am a peaceful person, but there are times when you must stand up to evil.

Then, there is North Korea who remains a threat as it is run by a petulant tyrant. China must join with the rest of the world in helping put a lid on this man’s chest beating. Otherwise, we leave it in the hands of our own mess maker. While I trust some of his military advisors in doing the right thing, I have little confidence in our leader solving this problem without some diplomatic help. What at least should scare North Korea is our President is a loose cannon, as it scares me.

Well, that is all for now. Have a great rest of your week.


Manic Monday

Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles defined Monday a little differently for us singing the following lyrics penned by Prince Rogers Nelson (the artist once again known as Prince).

“It’s just another manic Monday
I wish it was Sunday
‘Cause that’s my funday
My I don’t have to runday
It’s just another manic Monday”

With Hoffs’ singing echoing in your mind, here are few thoughts for the week on this “Manic Monday.”

– Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has had a manic few days, but it will only continue as ghosts come out of the past. I am still trying to come to grips with the severity of the issue, but I do know being tried in the press of “gotcha politics” won’t get us to the correct answer. Washington and its pundit followers rarely like to talk about real issues, so we will spend our time over who said what to whom and how. Even though her husband was one of the most effective Presidents we have had in the last fifty years, with his wandering eye and trysts, there is plenty of fodder for this election, so we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

– Speaking of manic, combining the Ferguson report which indicts a police force for extremely poor behavior to African-Americans in the community with the 50th anniversary remembrance of the Selma march, it shows how far we have still to go. The Ferguson report is offensive to many, including the many police officers who try to do their job in the right way, day-in and day-out. And, it is not restricted to Ferguson. On the flip side, I am rather amazed at the lack of attendance of members of the GOP leadership at the Selma and earlier 50th anniversary events remembering various civil rights milestones. This does a disservice to the bi-partisan support that LBJ needed and got from the GOP to get civil rights laws passed. It also shows how the current leaders  of the GOP are scared to show up, so as not to ostracize the extreme members of their party. Counting only House Whip Kevin McCarthy and former President George W. Bush, there were few sightings of others. This is poor form which I hope will be remedied for the next event. Maybe the party would rethink some of the voter suppressive state laws that have been ruled unconstitutional  and are in courts today.

– Then, there is more mania, when we consider the ruffled feathers of North Korea Kim Jong Un, who is declaring war on anyone who does anything that is offensive to his country and pride. While he seems justified to be upset with South Korea and the US doing drills together just south of his country, he does not realize that when you rattle your saber at people over time, you should not be surprised when they prepare for the worst. If I were him, he may want to look at South Korea’s flourishing economy and relationships with buyers and sellers around the globe and say maybe we should emulate that behavior rather than spending more money on weapons. When you make yourself an island, do not be surprised when people don’t come to visit.

– Finally, mania abounds in the Middle East, but at least the fight is being taken to ISIS by several countries, including the US. I have said before, the brutality of ISIS toward Muslims and others has been a tipping point. It helped other Muslims see who the real enemy is. Some have noted it is akin to Christians fighting back against the KKK for hijacking  their religion for evil causes. While ISIS continues to bait westerners to join the fight with ground troops, the consolidated effort is doing more than pushing back on them. I also read where progress is being made against Boko Haram who has aligned itself with ISIS. One thing is for certain. A sure-fire way to slow down recruiting of disenfranchised young people is to show ISIS’ fallibility which is being revealed more and more. People want to join a winner and the more losing ISIS does, the harder it will be for them to be a draw. Yet, as they are cornered more, it is imperative that leaders are more egalitarian and inclusive to ameliorate the causes of disenfranchisement. They need to put on the clothes of Nelson Mandela who showed by example how to govern different people.

I hope everyone’s week is less manic. And, now that I have a few cups of coffee in me, I am ready to go. It just another manic Monday…..

Random Musings on a Rainy Friday

“Let it Rain” sang Eric Clapton, as that is precisely what it is doing. At least it is not snow and ice, as we have had more than enough of the solid precipitation. A few random musings on this rainy Friday are in order.

Obama nominates some questionable ambassadors. This disappointed me as he was supposed to be above recommending ambassador posts to some big donors. For someone who tends to get shortchanged on the good things he has done balanced by some of the bad things that have happened, you would think the President would not do something so foolish as to appoint some ambassadors who were not qualified and could not answer some basic questions. The fact that others have done this before is no excuse. In tennis, this would be called an “unforced error.”

Bill Nye has two debates with people with some interesting views. Bill Nye the Science Guy had not just one, but two debates the past ten days. First, he debated with Ken Ham about Creationism and the age of the world. Second, he debated Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, who is Vice Chairperson of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, about climate change. Tennessee is home to the new Creationism museum which has among other things dinosaurs walking with people in exhibits. I am sorry but the Creationist debate was put to bed about 100 years ago and for people to believe the world is only 6,000 years old flies in the face of a mountain of data. I am not saying someone cannot believe in God, but the authors of the bible who were men, had lesser understanding of science than is known today.

As for Rep. Blackburn, she holds to the conviction that climate change is unproven science and said Nye was just an actor and engineer. It is time for the GOP to join the rest of the world and stop listening to their funders in the fossil fuel industry. Why am I picking on them? The industry hired a Public Relations firm around the time of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” whose sole purpose was to convince people global warming was a hoax. They did a good job, as the goal was to create enough doubt to continue fossil fuel retrieval at an even faster pace. If this was a sporting event, it would be a route 96 to 4. 96% of scientists, including the actor, believe climate change is real and man-influenced. The data is overwhelming.

But, let me put these two issues together for simplicity. If the GOP cannot recognize that climate change is real and is harming our planet right now or continue to let people in their party equivocate Creationism with science even passing laws to teach it as such, then they cannot be trusted with any problems of the day. I left the GOP for its stance on climate change in 2006 and that was eight years ago. Stop being the dinosaurs who show up with people in your Creationism museum.

Ukraine. You cannot kill your own people. If you do then you are a tyrant. A peace accord was reached today. Let’s hope the parties honor this and get to a better place. The Ukraine leadership has to decide which direction they want to go, forward toward freer markets and governance or backward toward more iron fisted rule, as that is what Putin wants them to do. Putin says he has no dog in this fight, but you cannot stir things up like he did, and then step back and say you had no role. The people seem to want the former and are willing to die for it.

Iran. The discussion between Iran and other countries to limit their nuclear development to electrical power uses show promising signs. I know these conversations are unsettling to some, but making progress through conversations about mutual needs, is far better than the alternative. I know there is an element of “trust but verify” needed in the discussions, but I see this as promising.

Syria. I was hopeful these conversations would have more success. The fact that there have been two sets of meetings following the chemical arms disarmament is good. Yet, for this decimated country to survive, two things need to happen, one of which is quite difficult, while the other is needed but harms an ego. The extremists in the rebel ranks need to be dealt with. They are capitalizing on the rebellion and have made it much worse. That is the hard part. The easier part is Assad must go. His ego is getting in the way. This country cannot continue with any trust in leadership with this individual in charge. It is that simple.

North Korea. Moving from one dictator to another, the United Nations has completed a report which says the North Korean regime has committed crimes against humanity. The conclusion is not a surprise, except the fact that is now in a formal public document. On the good side, a reunion of some separated families between South Korea and North Korea was allowed to happen, but only for a brief meeting. It is sad that there is not freer travel, but the first sentence above tells us why. If people were allowed to leave, they would likely not come back. It should be noted these meetings were on North Korean soil.

US Businesses are clamoring for immigration reform. This morning I read a piece that said businesses are pleading for immigration reform, as the states are doing Congress’ job in their absence of action. As a result, multi-state employers are having to deal with the various changes in immigration laws on a state by state business. The innovators have been crying for change as well as it is harder for them to recruit and keep talented immigrants and foreigners. The key problem is innovation is portable, so manufacturing will develop wherever the innovators land. Congress needs to decide if wants to govern or run for office. Unfortunately, their actions are toward the latter.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Thanks for reading my random musings. I look forward to your thoughts and opinions.