Guest Column

Items of notes and interest from the web.

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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.

A California, Democratic Legislator, has introduced the “Journalist Protection Act”

Feb 9, 2018 — Guest Column

A California, Democratic Legislator, has introduced the “Journalist Protection Act”. It would make it a federal crime to “intentionally cause bodily injury to a journalist affecting interstate or foreign commerce in the course of reporting or in a manner designed to intimidate him or her from news gathering for a media organization”. Is that not the most convoluted of statements? Simple English please, how is the word affect being used here? And should a journalist be affecting interstate or foreign commerce?

First of all it is already a crime to intentionally injure another person, it doesn’t need to be a federal issue. Second, can we definite “media organization” please. This is far too broad and could protect paparazzi and Playboy (we read it for the articles) along with arguably slanted mainstream news outlets. Is there no responsibility on the news gatherers to behave professionally, respectfully and honestly? I am unaware of incidents in this country of serious physical attacks on journalists. By introducing this bill, the implication is that the danger is out there. Where’s the proof?  This is a ploy to plant the idea that journalists are in danger.

I would say no such bill should ever be considered especially when there is absolute proof of media bias. Many esteemed organizations have cited the intense amount of negative press received by Pres. Trump, far more than any recent predecessors. People see it and are fed up. So, the idea of introducing protective measures is both unwarranted and undeserved.

Trudeau’s Speech in Edmonton

Feb 5, 2018 — Guest Column

For the most part Trudeau actually said very little about anything. No comprehensive plan for doing anything to help Canadians on any stage. And he didn’t answer the one question that every Canadian wanted answered, though it was a two part question on the same topic.

On Omar Khadr the prime minister blathered on about violating the Charter Rights of Canadian citizens, but if you really listened to what he said the only Canadians he seemed interested in were Muslim-Canadians. There are hundreds of Canadians in jails around the world where we have given criminal information from CSIS and the RCMP. In some cases there have been serious human rights abuses against our Canadian citizens. Even if they come back to Canada they have no means necessary to make a claim against the government for the torture they have endured.

Why? Because the answer Trudeau didn’t give is that our Charter Rights are not applicable outside of the Canadian border, thus his giving the money to Khadr and to the other Muslim suspected terrorists was obstruction of justice. Trudeau wouldn’t give an award had you or I been tortured outside of Canada, regardless of whether CSIS or the RCMP had given information to country that incarcerated Canadians.

Amtrak accidents

Feb 5, 2018 — Guest Column

I guess if we could figure out how to keep vehicles off railroad tracks when a train is coming and how to keep trains traveling at the posted speeds, the numbers might improve. But 2 Amtrak accidents in one week should, at a minimum, cause some serious concern. Both were the results of vehicles on the tracks. Obviously, we have a malfunction at the junction. Do we need the barriers to be further away from the tracks? Do they need to be stronger? Perhaps double sets on each side, or triple? The assumption being that a driver would get the point after 2 or 3? Is the problem speed? Is it safe to have large vehicles speeding across the paths of autos and trucks? Has our need for speed put a lot of people in danger?

These accidents are costly in life, limb and dollars. This is not rocket science. It is train science. We are only a few years from the 200th anniversary of the first train. Surely there are some statistics available that might point to the root problem. With that solutions could be devised.

I can’t help but wonder how our government run rail system stacks up against other countries and private systems.

Emotional support Gorilla

Feb 5, 2018 — Guest Column

Can I take my emotional support Gorilla on a plane or train? I feel much safer as nobody picks on the little guy who has a pet Gorilla.

The recent refusal of an airline to allow a peacock as an emotional support animal has highlighted the use of animals to aid humans.

The use of support animals, especially guide dogs and now seizure dogs is almost universally accepted and they are welcome by both public acceptance and the law. The few cafe owners that used to try to ban guide dogs on the grounds of hygiene found that this was both illegal and improper.

The use of emotional support animals seems to be a more recent occurance and is not so clear cut. To be considered the person has to have a disability that is certified by a medical authority. There seems to be no precise list of what animals are acceptable although snakes on a plane is more likely to only be in the films on the plane. There are people who won’t or can’t fly on planes for any number of reasons and it may be a time where the comfort of the many outweigh that of the individual.

In the old days emotional support was provided by valium and sleeping tables which might still be the best option as toilet training a gorilla is quite difficult.