Guest Column

Items of notes and interest from the web.

Most Recent Articles by Guest Column:

The Senate proposal to ease some of the Dodd-Frank rules will help stimulate the housing market,

Mar 23, 2018 — Guest Column

The Dodd-Frank Banking Law was designed and enacted after the 2008 boom and bust of the housing market. It was created to protect the public from continued taxpayer bailouts of failed banks. It greatly tightened regulations on the banking industry. All the current hoopla about loosening those regulations overlooks a critical point, that under Bill Clinton, banks were forced to make bad loans. The Clinton administration wanted more or most people to own homes. In order for that to happen, banks had to make subprime loans to people who had no money down, who had poor income to loan ratios, and who even had credit problems. Dumping all those people into the housing market resulted in drive-by appraisals, poorly assembled loan packages, credit default swaps and derivative speculation. The situation was exacerbated by the Greenspan policies that kept interest rates way too low. Dodd-Frank’s higher reserve requirements caused banks to hold more of the deposited money to meet those reserves so there was less money to lend and a real hesitation by banks to make even very good loans.

The Senate proposal to ease some of the Dodd-Frank rules will help stimulate the housing market, which in some places is so deficient that low and middle income earners cannot afford a rental much less to own a home. It will help community banks while still keeping a tight rein on the very large institutions. Dodd-Frank has some good points regarding banking practices which are only going to be effective if we remember how we got to the bursting of the bubble. If we have learned nothing else, let us remember that lending to people who have no ability to repay only hurts them and the lender.

It might be easier to believe some news stories if the hypocrisy wasn’t so blatant.

Mar 21, 2018 — Guest Column

It might be easier to believe some news stories if the hypocrisy wasn’t so blatant. Have you seen pictures of Al Gore’s 9 million dollar mansion which is reported to use nearly $3,000 worth of energy a month? Kind of hard to listen to him tell us to reduce our carbon footprint. Or how about Bernie Sanders showing up at an anti-gun event while being escorted by armed guards?

Facebook faces a drop in it’s book value

Mar 20, 2018 — Guest Column

The drop in stock market prices is now being attributed to Facebook’s value or lack of value.

Why is my retirement fund taking a drop because of facebook which is designed to keep you in contact with people you don’t know or don’t want to and show you ads for products you didn’t know you needed?

There should not have been a surprise that a company such as Data firm Cambridge Analytica was a user of Facebook that collected, collated and considered and potentially corrupted the political system.

It ‘s time to face the truth and turn Facebook off so that we can live our own lives and not an online one.

The breaking news that Vladimir Putin has won the election - again - should not surprise anyone or r

Mar 19, 2018 — Guest Column

The breaking news that Vladimir Putin has won the election - again - should not surprise anyone or really be a news item.

He has used a number of effective strategies that are not available to most politicians including jailing your opponents although declaring them ineligible does seem to occur in a number of countries.

For true leadership to occur it must be with the support of the people and not with rigged election - a number of African countries, not with a family tree - North Korea nor appealing to mainly the disenfranchised - the USA.

If readers have the time, they could count on their fingers the number of countries that have leaders that are freely elected with the support of the masses and that are making their county better. Don’t worry - you won’t run out of fingers.


Einstein’s long career filled with the pithy quotes of a skeptic!

Mar 16, 2018 — Guest Column

Einstein’s long career filled with the pithy quotes of a skeptic!
PRINCETON, New Jersey — Albert Einstein would almost certainly have been a global warming skeptic if he were alive today.   Many distinguished, contemporary scientists are skeptics too.

We are lucky that Einstein left a rich legacy of pithy quotes that reveal how he would probably relate to today’s cult of global warming alarmists.

Stephen Hawking

Mar 15, 2018 — Guest Column

Stephen Hawking was a great scientific that helped in our understanding of the Universe even if most people couldn’t understand his work. He was also a very successful author.

His work included Black Holes which may be symbolic as he did not wallow in a personal black hole when he became ill but rather fought it and showed that handicaps do not stop you.

His humor and wit was shown through his cameos on Big Bang Theory. A piece of trivia - he was the only person to appear on Star Trek as themselves.

A great role model for all.

Twisted Twitter

Mar 11, 2018 — Guest Column

Wikipedia gives ‘Bushism’ as linguistic errors in the public speaking of former George W. Bush and I wonder if there will be a ‘Trumpism’ in due time as I heard a similar error on the radio concerning President Trump.

The announcer misread ‘a Trump from President Twitter’ even though there may be some truth in this expression as he has appeared to pull a ‘Trump’ card from his pack with accepting the proposed talks with North Korea and announced it on Twitter. Some in the media have suggested that the President overuses Twitter as an ‘official’ means of communication and that not all of the tweets have met with approval.

What we need is clear communication of a clear message.


Freeing the accused?

Mar 8, 2018 — Guest Column

There has been concern when Malka Leifer, a Melbourne principal accused of child abuse was released from custody to home arrest on the word of a Religious leader. Putting aside the question of guilt or innocence till it is resolved in court it is still important that she face court. The issue in this case is that she left Australia 10 years ago when she was to face trial and has avoided court for the 10 years on various medical issues,  and the worry is that she will still avoid facing her accusers.

With the number of events that have come to light recently it is important that no accused escapes their trial and that they have an opportunity to prove their innocence or face the consequences of their actions.

There is no reason to encourage or facilitate illegal workers

Mar 7, 2018 — Guest Column

On the subject of immigration, I feel like we are having a ridiculous argument. For example, there are jobs that we need immigrants to fill. But they do not have to be illegal. They can come in on work visas, be tracked, and go home when the work is done or their visa expires. This allows the work to be done, it keeps prices in the moderate range and it allows for keeping or bringing back jobs to our shores. All the systems are in place. There is no reason to encourage or facilitate illegal workers.

The same basic premise works on the subject of securing our borders. Doing so does not make us anti-immigration, it makes us pro-national security. We welcome those who enter through our lawful channels, if those channels are not adequate, revise them.

Finally, on the rights of illegals. They have the rights to humane, fair treatment as we would hope all human beings enjoy. They do not have the right to our welfare, education, or vote. Those are things afforded to citizens. Otherwise we are not a country.

None of these are difficult concepts nor are they illogical.

Gun Debate

Mar 5, 2018 — Guest Column

A logical solution to the gun debate would be this: Put desired outcomes into the bill along with an expiration date. If the desired outcomes are not met ie: 50% (or 25%) reduction in gun deaths, the bill would sunset and we would go back to business as usual. That is the only way to satisfy both sides and to determine who is right on the issue. The time needs to be long enough to actually gather statistics and those statistics should be adjusted to reflect other influences such as changes in school security, reduction of gang members and the like. Further, the study should be done by an impartial 3rd party, not the government.

Let it go?

Mar 2, 2018 — Guest Column

Do we ‘Count our cents and the dollars will take care of themselves’ -  take care of the small stuff or as in the song ‘Let it go’ - only worry about the big stuff?

A trivial, petty incident provoked thought on the matter - ‘that’ hamburger joint had run out of 5 cent coins so they couldn’t give me all my change and seemed initially surprised and then annoyed that I actually wanted my change. The coin was irrelevant but I thought if it was their fault then they should be the ones ‘short changed’. As I waited there quietly at the front of the quickly building queue they found the needed coin.

Hopeful lies or Hope full of lies

Mar 1, 2018 — Guest Column

It was once ‘lies, dammed lies and statistics’ when it should be ‘the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’ but this was before the time of fake news.

It is sad to see that the retiring White House communications director, Hope Hicks has admitted thst she was at times required to tell white lies. There are no such things as lies of any color - a lie is a lie. There may be times when answers cannot be supplied for a number of reasons but this should be stated.

The Pinocchios in government must have trouble keeping themselves balanced with the length of their extended wooden noses.

Ban Junk Food

Feb 28, 2018 — Guest Column

The latest suggestion to ban food junk at supermarket checkouts is excellent but what will parents bribe their little darlings with - a fresh health orange just isn’t as attractive to a four year old.

Preventing government data failures

Feb 20, 2018 — Guest Column

Preventing government data failures
A primary reason governments exist is to protect their citizens from dangerous threats – foreign, domestic and natural. People can play important roles in this arena, but most lack the resources, funds, legal authority or political power to act on their own.

In recent years, government roles have become even more dominant and pervasive. On environmental or other grounds, federal, state and even local bodies have steadily taken responsibilities from the private sector, and even prohibited citizens from taking steps to protect their lives and property, such as constructing seawalls to block storm surges or thinning out trees to prevent catastrophic wildfires.

U-Haul statistics, of Americans leaving blue states in favor of red states

Feb 19, 2018 — Guest Column

There is a very enlightening article in the American Thinker regarding the trend, based on U-Haul statistics, of Americans leaving blue states in favor of red states. This may explain the rabid insistence on maximized immigration, legal and illegal. The states that are losing citizens are the same ones that encourage illegals with benefits, sanctuary and the American right to vote. There is a strong argument to be made that these are not actions made out of compassion but actions made out of desperation to retain their blue state status.

Guns are not bad, guns in the hands of mentally ill, criminals, terrorists and gangsters are bad.

Feb 17, 2018 — Guest Column

Guns are not bad, guns in the hands of mentally ill, criminals, terrorists and gangsters are bad. While gun bans might provide a false sense of security, the fact remains that all of the above have access to weapons, or can build them.

Could we all agree that isolation in society is preventing people from speaking out when there are warning signs? Could we agree that mental illness is at the root of most of the shootings? Could we all agree that perhaps school need to be hardened targets not soft targets?  There are things we can agree on, if we will only stop being so “my way or the highway” about it.

Both sides are passionate. Both sides have some legitimate arguments. Even though I firmly believe that you cannot prevent people from getting weapons if they want them, even though I believe that political correctness prevents people from identifying potential shooters, and even though I think in all of the cases, someone dropped the ball, I also believe we have to take a step forward. That step being to find common ground.

This latest shooting was done by a person who had no right or permission to be on campus. Could that meeting of the minds be a commitment to securing our schools? Who can disagree with that?

Same people clamoring for gun control are against all the common sense steps to address drugs

Feb 16, 2018 — Guest Column

They are more sensational and more publicized, but are shooting deaths any more tragic, or common than drug related deaths? Actually, no, they are not.

In 2016 ( from CDC statistics) there were 38,000 gun related deaths, including suicides with 11 states accounting for nearly 50% of the deaths. In the same period there were 64,000 -known-drug deaths. I’m not suggesting either statistic is acceptable, just putting things in context.

What I am saying is that the same people who are clamoring for gun control are against all the common sense steps to address the drug related deaths.
Drugs are trafficked by gangs and moved into the country primarily through the southern border. Both of these can and should be addressed. Probably gun deaths would go down with the removal of gangs and illegal criminals.

We can analyze and study the effects of social media, electronics, broken families, bullying, and mental illness, and we should. But there are some things that can be done here and now. Harden our schools and secure our borders. Then remove gangs and illegal felons from our streets

Losing a child is something every parent worries about every moment of the child’s life. And losing a child to a shooting is no more or less painful than losing them to drugs.

Teacher shortage?

Feb 16, 2018 — Guest Column

Why is there a shortage of teachers?  The answer is the same as for nurses and police - they can’t do their jobs. It’s not a criticism of their ability or effort but rather the administrative tasks that stop them from doing their actual job.

The often reported shortage of capable, experienced teachers is exacerbated by the number of young teachers who start with great enthusiasm but leave disillusioned within five years. Teachers want to teach, for which they have been studying for at least four years, but they are stuck with doing administrivia and repetitive professional development in order to stay registered.

What can be done to remedy this - at a resonable cost and in a reasonable time? More money is always a positive although most people don’t enter the profession for the financial rewards but for what they can do for their students. Respect for teachers has declined but it can’t be addressed by governments but rather by individual teachers who earn it.

Perhaps the only significant change at the moment is to recognise that teachers teach and administrators administer and never the twain should meet in one person.

It’s weather, not climate change, Governor Brown

Feb 14, 2018 — Guest Column

It's weather, not climate change, Governor Brown
2017 featured incredibly intense, damaging wildfires in California: first the Wine Country fires of October, and later the massive Thomas Fire in December. Each destroyed hundreds of homes, the latter in many of the affluent suburbs and enclaves northwest of Los Angeles and Hollywood.

The Thomas Fire is the largest in modern California history, with over 1000 structures destroyed. The fires and subsequent mudslides killed over 60 people and left many others severely burned or injured.

High visibility Olympic uniforms

Feb 12, 2018 — Guest Column

Watching the Winter Olympics I wondered where the Occupational Health and Safety officials were. The impacts on knees and backs with the moguls and the numerous potential dangers with the luge and jumps are too serious to ignore, or are they?

In the modern world children are often overly protected from injury by playing ‘safe’ versions of sports and from ‘losing’ by having no scores being kept or having runners up ribbons.

Sport at any level, backyard or Olympic does come with risks of potential injuries and unfortunately even deaths but the benefits outweigh the risks. Some of the benefits include fitness, team building, self-confidence and an understanding that effort in rewarded, sometimes with a win although hopefully always with satisfaction that the best possible effort has been put in.

Maybe the competitor’s uniforms could include high visibility fluorescent bands in their countries colours just in case that helps when they crash.