Guest Column

Items of notes and interest from the web.

Most Recent Articles by Guest Column:

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.

Do we really want to know?

Feb 5, 2018 — Guest Column

There have been a number of articles recently relating to medical testing. The positive is the development of memory test to help indicate Alzheimer’s years earlier whereas the negative is the reluctance of men to have prostate cancer testing. However the question that many ask is do we want to know?

One of the initial concerns is that people may have to report their medical conditions to employers or medical insurers. In many countries female job applicants cannot be asked if they are pregnant or intend to start a family soon but if they have ‘genetic tests’ to look for possible disease indicators they often have to report these results.

Why the silence on the new anti-semitism?

Feb 2, 2018 — Guest Column

After the Holocaust which saw the systematic annihilation of six million Jews by Hitler’s Nazi’s the UN General Assembly unreservedly condemned all manifestations of religious and ethnic intolerance with a resolution that would remind future generations of this horror to prevent such events ever happening again. This turning point in history prompted the world to say “never again.”

Two completely different sets of rules in our country

Feb 1, 2018 — Guest Column

If you don’t believe there are two completely different sets of rules in our country, consider this:

There was barely a murmur from the press when President Obama, before his second term, whispered to Russian President Medvedev, that he would have more latitude after the election. Yet, when President elect Trump tries to defuse the damage done by Obama and the United Nations with Israel, the press applies a different set of standard. Seems in the media, Obama can do nothing wrong and Trump can do nothing right. As I said, two sets of rules.

Governors of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey suing the Federal Government over the allowable Fe

Feb 1, 2018 — Guest Column

It’s actually pretty funny if you think about it, the Governors of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey suing the Federal Government over the allowable Federal deduction for State taxes paid. I’m pretty sure there is no law that requires the federal government to write tax laws with individual states in mind. In fact, I’d bet money that to do so would be illegal.

What do those northeastern states get for those high taxes? Their roads and bridges are a disaster and their high schools all rank behind Florida according to a US News and World Report article.

Here’s the situation: in all 3 states the top 1% of earners cover 40% of the revenue. If those people relocate to, oh I don’t know, Florida or Texas where there is no state income tax, the northeast will be hurting.  On the flip side, middle class people in those states are probably going to benefit from the changes in the law.

For comparison, Florida has 2 million more residents than New York but only has half the budget of New York. One of the results of the tax overhaul just might be better state governance in some places. They may have no choice.

Our country is dealing with the long time failure of our government to do its job

Jan 31, 2018 — Guest Column

Our country is dealing with the long time failure of our government to do its job. We are faced with the results of an immigration policy that has been ignored for years. We have within our borders people who do not belong here, yet we recognize that many have been here for years, perhaps their entire lives, and only know this country.

Democrats have made those immigrants the focus of their campaign. Some believe it is a ploy to secure voters. Whatever the reason, their mission is causing a stalemate with Republicans who are eager to enforce our laws. It is also causing uncertainty and fear in the immigrant community.

The President has put forth a compromise. There is something for both sides to celebrate and something that amounts to a bitter pill for both sides.

If we, on either side, will not support this measure, then we are willing to accept the rancor, gridlock, and extrordinary amount of time, money and energy being spent on the issue. I believe it is time to “man up”, accept those who are here, build a wall and enforce our laws and move on. And I mean both sides. If you agree that this is the way and this is the time, send an email, letter or phone call to your Representatives and Senators to support President Trump’s compromise.

Misprinted tickets invite guests to Trump’s ‘State of the Uniom’ address

Jan 31, 2018 — Guest Column

Re: Misprinted tickets invite guests to Trump’s ‘State of the Uniom’ address

As the President said “It is a damn poor mind indeed which can’t think of at least two ways to spell any word.” (President Andrew Jackson).

Spelling is a dying art - mostly due to spellcheckers and a lack of ability by its users to spot obvious errors. The example of the moment, uniom rather than union, is more likely poor typing than spelling.

Does it really matter if we think Crocodile Dundee came from Austria rather than Australia? Not really, although since there are no crocodiles there Squirrel Dundee may have lacked some drama. However, if it was a matter of bombing runs, “Iraq or Iran?” may have caused some political tensions to rise.

Typing errors may excuse many concerns although the differences between the recovery is slow/low are significant. Perhaps the President or Resident in the White House needs to double check everything he sends out - this could be extended to his tweets as well.

As we peel away the layers of how this mistake occurred it may be like the onion - a source of many tears.

Americans want their politics straight up, no entertainers, entertainment shows, sports figures or s

Jan 30, 2018 — Guest Column

The evidence is clear, Americans want their politics straight up, no entertainers, entertainment shows, sports figures or sporting events, no social commentary.

We go to, or watch on TV, concerts and games to be entertained, not preached at. And certainly, not to have someone else’s politics shoved down our throats.

Awards shows and NFL games have suffered ratings declines over just this issue.

We are weary of the constant barrage of black dresses, pink hats, and people kneeling. Enough already. There is a time and place for everything.

If you are trying to wear us down to change our minds, be careful of unintended consequences.

Winston Churchill a sexist?

Jan 29, 2018 — Guest Column

Dear Editor:

I was just reading some Winston Churchill quotes and came across the following: “A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.” Totally unacceptable - let’s unearth him, prop him up by the roadside, and have a #MeToo drive-by shooting!

To waste your life using an ambulance to kill others is one of the greatest acts of cowardice possi

Jan 28, 2018 — Guest Column

To give your life to save others is one of the bravest acts possible. To waste your life using an ambulance to kill others is one of the greatest acts of cowardice possible. No religion has a place in Heaven for you - you will go to Hell as a result of the Hell you have tried to create on earth.

Regardless of Cher’s personal feelings on appropriate dress

Jan 28, 2018 — Guest Column

In case you haven’t been following the inane and celebrity driven daily news and if you even remember Cher, you may not be aware of the latest set back for women’s rights and empowerment.  Cher tweeted out that Sarah Huckabee Sanders should be told not to dress like a “sister wife”, implying a dowdiness of Sanders wardrobe.

Regardless of Cher’s personal feelings on appropriate dress, which I find to be at odds with most women, publicly denigrating other women is uncalled for. Sanders is smart and well spoken while she does one of the hardest jobs on the planet. She, not Cher, is a wonderful example
to young women.

It is sad that these sorts of ill conceived comments are only causing the divide to deepen. How can we possibly have peace when there are mean spirited people, like Cher?

I am not certain Canadians understand the extent of the Government tyranny

Jan 25, 2018 — Guest Column

Dear Prime Minister,

If you have a moment you might be interested in seeing the clip on the facebook page.

While Mr Trump has his critics he knows he has a duty to protect the life of all US citizens including those in the womb and also to respect the worldview of pro-life Americans.You appear to believe in a totalitarian system of government. Rather than protect every Canadian’s life from fertilization you champion a non-existent right to abortion at the cost of the fundamental rights and freedoms in our Charter. Prime Minister only one in 5 pregnant women will resort to induced abortion and a majority of those would not do so if they were not abandoned or had the support they needed. Do you really support a system which kills over 100,000 Canadian children in the womb and places their mothers at risk?

Let the worlds of fiction and fun speak the unspoken truths

Jan 24, 2018 — Guest Column

The players of TV fiction were prominent at the recent Golden Globes telling of the world of harassment and abuse, previously perversely referred to as the casting couch. This was not new but only now were so many brave enough to speak up.

Sports players, many of the NFL’s best, spoke up against the number of people in their communities being killed and that all lives mattered. The reluctance to stand for the flag was concerning but it did get the message out there.

Soon there are two major events that will be seen worldwide, the Oscars in March and the Super Bowl early in February. Both show the best in their fields of endeavour and although the black arm band approach has been criticized the messages must get out there.

These are people that are loved, respected and looked up to and hero worship is wonderful for some but it also comes with an opportunity, and realistically a responsibility, to be a positive role model. The basis of real freedom is the opportunity to tell the truth even when not everyone wants to hear it.

If only the politicians would tell, hear and accept the truth. Let’s listen to what we should be hearing.

We have thankless NFL players “taking the knee” for causes that change with the wind

Jan 23, 2018 — Guest Column

We have thankless NFL players “taking the knee” for causes that change with the wind.  The NFL players, owners and Roger Goodell should get down on their hands and knees and thank more than 620,000 Union soldiers who were wounded, maimed and died in the American Civil War freeing the slaves.

Why aren’t the players protesting the entrenched Chicago politicians who have destroyed the lives of so many black families?  They should have been upset to see children murdered on the streets and in their homes by thugs.  Where are the tears of grief and the outrage for that abandonment?

Football fans, black, white, red, yellow and brown are not going to reward players who disrespect the American flag, the National Anthem and our Country’s honor.  The players were given a talent for throwing a ball, for goodness sake.  Throwing a ball has given them a life-style only dreamed of by mortals.

Thank God you were able to achieve your dreams.  Now, do something for others who are crying out to you for help and keep politics out of it.

Deport alien criminals. Stop chain migration

Jan 23, 2018 — Guest Column

I just don’t get why it is so difficult. Secure the border, enforce immigration laws starting today. Deport alien criminals. Stop chain migration. Protect the so called Dreamers. With that we would then be a nation with borders and laws.

Children and young people deserve our thoughtful consideration of their future. But they absolutely must not be used as pawns to bring in anyone else. Those people should follow the process that all good immigrants before them have followed. And future DACA members should be prevented.

Democrats need to remember that we have granted amnesty in the past with the assurance that it would never happen again. And here we are. Let’s get it right this time so we can move on to other pressing problems. This should be an easy one, only when there are ulterior motives does it become complicated.

Pilate also washed his hands

Jan 23, 2018 — Guest Column

President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was the right thing to do and a predictable and appropriate response to former President Barack Obama’s benighted decision to engineer the U.N. Security Council resolution to declare Judaism’s holiest places in Jerusalem to be occupied territory and a “flagrant violation under international law. Obama’s decision was done out of personal revenge against P.M. Netanyahu and totally nothing to do with long-standing American policy. This was a decision striking right at the very heart of Israel. There is a good argument to be made that Obama made peace in the middle east more difficult and Trump made it more possible.

Virtually everyone in the international community agrees that Israel has a legitimate claim to these and other areas of Jerusalem. Obama’s resolution would make criminals out of Israeli’s who have a perfect right to access Jewish holy sites. Trump was simply acknowledging what everyone in Israel already knows. Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state and moving the American embassy there was the right thing to do and helped restore an appropriate balance in the U.N. and this has been a long-standing American tradition.

Regrettably, Canada was one of 35 countries that abstained from the voting. This is strangely reminiscent of the cowardly Pilate, governor of Judaea who “took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person”. Thousands of Hebrew inscriptions throughout Israel, numerous archaeological finds, and the Bible itself proves beyond any dispute that Israel’s roots run very deep in this their land. It is nothing short of outrageous to rule that Jews are not allowed access to their historic holy sites. The fact that the U.N. sees things differently changes nothing and certainly will not change the mind of the One Who made the covenant with Abraham 4000 years ago.

Let the best lead the rest.

Jan 23, 2018 — Guest Column

The US Senate has passed a short-term funding bill that will put a stop to the government shutdown or at least until February 8th. It was always likely to be resolved or put on hold within a few days but what does this really mean on the global scale?

It’s an easy throw away quip to say that no governmnent may actually be an improvement over the Trump led government but how much difference will it make to the unemployed, the refugees and the hundreds of thousands who face deportation? Our political futures are too big a concern to give to the petty politicians we seem to have in most countries.

This ‘minor’ political catastrophe has value in the light it shines on politicians who should be the best we have. Other countries should not be gloating about their own performances as the events may be different but the characters are the same.

Let the best lead the rest.

Florida Power and Light is no longer seeking a rate increase to cover hurricane losses

Jan 18, 2018 — Guest Column

Florida Power and Light is no longer seeking a rate increase to cover hurricane losses. Why? Because the new tax plan
will save them enough money that a rate increase won’t be necessary. As a result, the average homeowner, Democrats
and Republicans,  will be spared the approximately $4 a month increase and businesses large and small will likely be spared even more pain.

Unlike those “crumbs”( Nancy Pelosi’s words not mine) that other businesses shared with their employees, the FPL will benefit every resident.

What will you do with your savings? I’m thinking crumb cake.

Nancy Pelosi has no idea how the average American lives

Jan 13, 2018 — Guest Column

We always knew that Nancy Pelosi has no idea how the average American lives. In her protected, coddled, wealthy world she doesn’t have to worry about paying her bills, finding money to repair her car, getting access to healthcare, or funding any of the myriad of little drains on the pocketbook.

But, being the nice people that we are, we had no idea just how little she knows or cares.  We need to set the record straight. We need to thank those companies who issued bonuses following the passage of the rewrite of the tax code. We need to let our Senators and Representatives know that it does matter. It matters very much.

Very few Americans look on $1000 as crumbs. That $1000 could be a new set of tires, cleaning and checks at the dentist, clothes, plumbing repairs, soccer gear, a road trip. $1000 is 2.5% of $40,000. So for someone in that income range, it represents more than the 2%  cost of living increase Social Security recipients got in 2017 or will get in 2018.

By calling the bonuses handed out by companies “crumbs” she marginalized all hardworking Americans. That makes me angry.