I keep seeing articles and posts and newscasts telling me that blacks and whites in America are supposed to hate each other.
That may be true in downtown Minneapolis (I doubt it) but it’s not even remotely accurate in my South Carolina town.
At least twice a week I go to my local YMCA for pickup basketball games. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am white, 66 years old and one year removed from major brain surgery, but I just love to play basketball. Most of the guys I play with are in their twenties, a few high schoolers, a few middle aged, and I am the “old man”. I feel blessed to be able to compete well enough to be part of the group.
Our players are about half black and half white. If you believed the network news, you would think that when we pick teams for a game, it would be the angry black guys against the angry white guys. And that a black guy would never pass it to me, an old white guy. And that if a black dude gets knocked down, I would never stop to pick him up, or vice-versa. And that we couldn’t possibly laugh together, compliment each other, root for each other, and just generally have a great time sharing our love for basketball.
But it’s true.
At the store, in a restaurant, at a gig, in church, I see people of all colors and classes smiling and enjoying each others’ company. I see black families, white families, mixed-race families interacting with warmth and joy. Kids play together without even noticing skin pigment.
Racism, black or white, is just not tolerated in my town. And I suspect that my town is pretty typical of most American towns. Before you call me naive, I must admit that bigotry does exist, but that is mostly on the part of far-left idealogues, who insist on categorizing people by physical characteristics instead of judging character.
So what’s up with all these network and internet reports of out-of-control racial hostility in America? COULD IT BE THAT SOMEBODY IS TRYING TO MANIPULATE US FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES?
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
I said if you’re thinkin’ of being my baby It don’t matter if you’re black or white
I said if you’re thinkin’ of being my brother It don’t matter if you’re black or white
The price of oil futures fell to negative territory last week and remains anemic at around $17 per barrel today. We have such an oil glut that there is no place to put it any more.
Thanks to fracking, new oil exploration in other parts of the world, and OPEC’s erectile dysfunction, oil is no longer a scarce, expensive energy source. The world has enough oil to last for centuries.
Still, we have farmers planting, growing, and harvesting corn so we can add 10% ethanol to our gasoline. We turn our auto factories upside down and add thousands of dollars to the price of each car and truck to meet stricter EPA minimum gas mileage targets. We subsidize alternative “renewable” energy sources and devices despite having essentially solved carbon-based pollution.
Short-term, the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down the demand for oil. But that is temporary and doesn’t address the bigger issue. Let’s face it, oil is and will continue to be the best energy solution on earth for a long time to come.
So how does it make any sense to suppress the production and use of oil as an energy source? Two answers, the same ones that can be applied to every seemingly irrational political and cultural issue: money, and power.
Our kids still come home from school (when it is actually open) in tears from dire predictions about their world being destroyed by evil, smoke-belching big businesses and mom’s gas-guzzling SUV. Never mind that those end-of-the-world predictions never seems to come true.
Leftist politicians just can’t let go of the “global warming” hoax and the power it gives them over a frightened populace. They know their bubble could burst at any second. They have no choice but to continue promoting subsidies for windmills, solar panels, electric cars and so many other technologies that will NEVER be comparable to the common-sense fuel that God designed and made plentiful for our use: oil.
Instead of letting the free market determine how our acres of productive land are used, such as growing the foods needed for people and livestock, we are actually considering paying farmers because they have to plant corn which is no longer needed in light of low demand for gasoline. What the hell kind of logic is that?
Let’s tell our leaders that it’s time to end the ethanol requirement, and subsidies that prop up dumb alternative energy industries and the corruption that inevitably goes with them.
Tom Balek – Rockin’ on the Right Side
Mobil station where I stand This old gas pump in my hand My boss don’t like me, got a face like a weasel Oil on my hands and the smell of diesel
I guess there are all kinds of reasons for him to stay in bed instead of being out on the road campaigning. His home state is under a COVID-19 “shelter-in-place” order. Delaware governor John Carney has declared that his state will remain locked down until “the public health threat is eliminated.” That sounds kind of permanent.
Still, Sleepy Joe could be doing media interviews from his home like other politicians do. Or he could go to Washington, DC where Congress is going to reconvene on Monday. Surely he could catch a reporter or a camera for a few minutes there.
And there are many states in various degrees of re-opening. All of them have residents who will vote in the November presidential election. Every state allows essential employees to go to work. Has anybody decided whether presidential candidates are “essential”?
Something is keeping Sleepy Joe from coming out of hibernation. Hmmm.
A quick Bing News search of Joe Biden shows that he has not been totally forgotten. Here are today’s top Sleepy Joe headlines:
Old Sleepy Joe doesn’t seem to have much to say about world affairs these days. Most headlines revolve around China. But Sleepy Joe avoids mentioning China – it reminds everybody of the $1.5 billion deal he steered to his son, Hunter from the Bank of China. C’mon, man.
Meanwhile, his adversary, Donald Trump, is not campaigning either. He doesn’t have to — he is on camera every day dealing with real presidential stuff, like the pandemic, the economy, national defense, etc.
And this week perennial loser Stacey Abrams is demanding that the Democrats make her Biden’s running mate. Like Sleepy Joe doesn’t have enough problems.
It’s okay, Sleepy Joe. Under the circumstances, you should probably just stay in bed. Have you tried a My Pillow?
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
Why get up? Why get up? How can I get up? Why should I get up? This whole world’s gone crazy, Think I’ve seen enough. I’m gonna sleep forever, why get up?
Ten years from now, what will Wikipedia say about the Coronavirus Crisis of 2020, when many of the most successful nations and their citizens will have been reduced, at least for a while, to second- or third-world status?
What will our grandchildren think of us, knowing that we chose to destroy our own companies, industries, family savings, careers – not to mention burying the kids in debt – in exchange for the possibility that a few already-medically-compromised senior citizens might extend their lives by another year or so? Will there be a chart comparing the lives actually saved from the virus to the lives destroyed by the imposition of martial law?
Probably not, because facts and numbers don’t matter any more. There was a time when issues were won by the person (or group or nation) who possessed the facts, or made the best case from a logical, numbers-based examination including historical honesty, instead of feelings and “nice-ness”. Now, group-think and political correctness rule. We no longer have to analyze facts, because the winner is always the one who gets the most “likes” from his friends.
Is there anything good that can come from this? My hope is that after this self-forced error has run its course, we will have learned a few things.
Maybe we will learn to be independent thinkers again, not so quick to trust the “experts”, the career politicians and the news media. We might even question the motives of decision-makers when they don’t seem to make common sense.
Maybe we will understand that in its current form our government reacts to any threat by throwing our money at it in a childish panic. After all, the only thing a government official can do is spend our money – unlike the private sector, which can actually create things of value and solve problems. Maybe we will be moved to change our government structure to prevent these harmful knee-jerk mistakes. Maybe we will be more pro-active and prepared for threats.
Certainly some marginal businesses and industries will perish. Certainly other new business opportunities will appear. Certainly some unscrupulous, powerful people will get richer (somebody please check out George Soros’ net worth before and after the man-made “crisis” of 2020). The businesses that survive will be leaner, stronger, and quicker than they were before.
We might finally realize that our education system is a shambles. Through the lock-down we proved that we can home-school our children, and they actually come out of school smarter than when they went in. We also showed that on-line learning is a more efficient model than exotic campuses full of imperious, overpaid, Marxist instructors.
And it’s possible, just possible, that the “one world” agenda of open borders and happy, smiling faces moving unfettered and unvetted across the globe will be proved inferior to smaller, self-governed and self-contained nations who defend their values and identity. And that there are considerations other than short-term profit in foreign trade and immigration decisions. We might learn to trust, but verify, the intentions of other nations.
One thing is already clear. The world is made up of “blamers” and “solvers”. God grant us the strength and smarts to choose wisely so we never have to go through this again.
Tom Balek- Rockin’ on the Right Side
Seems this world has got you down Your feelin’ bad vibrations frown Well, open your eyes girl, look at me I’m gonna show you how it ought to be
We’re gonna’ have a good thing Such a good thing baby
We all use the phrase “one in a million”. It was thought to originate from an individual’s chance of being struck by lightning, which is actually one in 1,222,000. Highly unlikely.
Statistics are generally accepted as truth, and they should be. Math is math. 1 plus 1 will always be two, no matter how you spin it. But statistics can be manipulated for advantage.
The lightning example is based on the annual number of individuals struck by lightning (270) in the United States divided by the population (330 million). Of those victims, only 27 die, so your chance of being killed by lightning is only one in 12 million. And where you live has an impact too. You are 30 times more likely to be hit by lightning in Montana than in California.
The COVID-19 pandemic engages us all in a game of numbers that is unprecedented. The news/entertainment media and elite globalists worldwide would have us believe they care deeply about every human life on the planet, but close scrutiny reveals their self-serving ambition. And all sides of the argument about whether we should be afraid or not, whether we should shut down the entire world economy or not, are based on numbers.
Here are some numbers (as of the date of this writing) for your consideration and perspective:
Choose your own projection for COVID-19 deaths this year. The New York Times is guessing somewhere between 200,000 and 1.7 million. Of course, these are the people who guaranteed that Hillary Clinton would be elected president in 2016. And it doesn’t pass the test of reasonableness when viewed in the context of year-to-date COVID-19 deaths.
The question remains, is the cure worse than the disease? How many lives will be economically destroyed by a prolonged “shutdown” of virtually all commerce in the US and around the world? And how many deaths would result from that?
If there is bad intent behind the pandemic and government-induced economic disaster, who would benefit? All government leaders and their chosen workers would continue to be paid and gain authority and control. Hedge fund investors (can you say George Soros?) would make a killing as markets plunge.
Whenever government makes decisions for the masses, winners and losers are chosen. Which side would you land on?
Anybody who really wants to avoid death from lightning could move to the North Pole, where lightning never strikes. And if we really wanted to prevent deaths from COVID-19, we would identify who is the most vulnerable and put them in iron-clad quarantine, leaving the rest of us to live full lives, mindful of the many risks we face.
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
It’s the end of the world as we know it It’s the end of the world as we know it It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine
I just returned from a bucket-list trip to Australia, during the height of the bush fire season, and found the bush was not the only thing burning. The left-leaning news media’s hair is ablaze as well.
TV news channels covered the fires 24/7 with only an occasional break to promote President Trump’s impeachment or to bash Aussie Prime Minister Scott Morrison for vacationing during the fire crisis. Government officials jostled for position in front of the cameras day and night next to the ubiquitous deaf interpreters signing feverishly (why weren’t they obsoleted with the advent of closed-captioning?).
Coverage of the brave firefighters and neighbors who gave their lives trying to save towns, farms and homes from the vicious fires, was absolutely in order. There are many heroes and much destruction. But the elite leftist globalists just could not pass up the opportunity to blast the “climate change” siren over the top.
The state of Victoria on the southeast corner of Australia was particularly hard hit, as was part of New South Wales south of Sydney. We traveled extensively through NSW and Queensland, the adjacent state to the north. While we saw some evidence of burned rural areas, we did not run into any live fires, large burnouts, or damage to buildings. The fire damage we saw actually looked pretty minimal – relatively small areas of grass and undergrowth burned, but with new green grass filling in; a few trees destroyed, but most only lightly charred at the bottoms with indications that the trees remained alive and healthy. And we saw abundant wildlife and birds.
While there was damage to animals, exaggeration was the order of the day in the news, with reports that “up to a billion animals have died“, conjuring up images of stacks of smoldering koalas and kangaroos. That number must include insects. We learned about some “koala hospitals” where people bring in the cute little critters who have been injured, but they care for dozens of animals, not thousands.
Driving through the small towns in the bush and talking to the locals was illustrative. One retired small business owner said, “This is nothing new, we have had drought in this area all my life.” He blamed “the government and the greenies” for policy changes over the last decade that prohibit preventative burning and the clearing of dead brush for the buildup of fuel that, once lit, is very hard to stay ahead of.
For example, one law mandates that for each tree removed from a yard, even dead ones, nine new trees must be planted. If you have a small yard that won’t accommodate nine trees, or if you have a lot of dead trees, forget it.
Piers Akerman, a member of the NSW Rural Fire Service for six decades, wrote a scathing editorial in the Sydney Telegraph, saying the effect of “climate change” on bush fires is so small as to be immeasurable, blaming instead the government red tape that consumes much of the time and money that could be applied to managing fires. According to Akerman, “we’ve had at least 57 inquiries into bushfires since 1939 and each one has highlighted the need to reduce the amount of fuel that naturally accumulates in the bush. That’s a fact.”
Akerman continued, “We know that Aboriginals burned this country for a number of reasons. Farmers used to use fire to preserve their properties and livestock, too, until the bureaucrats and activists got in the way.”
I talked to another fire official from NSW who confirmed Akerman’s observations, and met an American fire official on our flight back to the USA who had been flown to Australia with a large group at taxpayer expense to “fight the fires”. She sure didn’t look or sound like she had been battling any deathly out-of-control blazes. My guess is she was ornamental at best.
The bush fires of 2019-2020 and the persistent drought conditions in Australia are not to be taken lightly. Lives and property have been lost to the frighteningly virulent fires.
Fortunately, it rained much of the time we were there, and the fire threat was greatly reduced. One small town in the Blue Mountains was very worried about the lake that is the source of their public water, but it healed from 9% capacity to 29% almost overnight, a two-year supply. Flooding replaced fires as the main concern in some areas, and we saw rivers and lakes looking pretty healthy. The worst of the extended drought appears to be over.
Closer to home, our own Bureau of Land Management has been following similar fire protocols, as California has learned. It is only a matter of time before the dead undergrowth in the beetle-killed forests of Montana explode into a deadly fire on a scale that could dwarf the Aussie bush fires.
Tom Balek, Rockin’ On the Right Side
I am the god of hell fire and I bring you: Fire, I’ll take you to burn. Fire, I’ll take you to learn. I’ll see you burn!
Seems like nobody is accountable for anything any more. Pundits and politicians throw accusations at each other all day, every day, claiming to have irrefutable proof of some dastardly crime but nothing ever seems to come from it. No perp walks, no convictions, no jail time. No accountability.
In a spirited debate at Politicon today, conservative pundit Sean Hannity went toe-to-toe with Clinton campaign heavyweight James Carville and seemed to be getting the upper hand. Hannity listed the crimes by Carville’s boss Hillary Clinton. Carville didn’t deny anything, but claimed that Trump would be impeached and lose the upcoming election. Hannity challenged Carville to name an impeachable crime. Carville couldn’t do it. But he topped Hannity by saying [paraphrased], “If the Republicans have all this proof of crimes by Democrats, why don’t they do anything about it? Why aren’t they in jail? You have the Department of Justice!” Boom.
Carville basically admitted that the Democrats have no fear of getting caught in criminal acts because the Republicans don’t have the guts to prosecute them. And he admitted that the Democrats will throw all kinds of baseless accusations at the Republicans because they know they will never have to prove them. No accountability.
In real life, unlike in political bizarro-world, there actually is accountability. I have twin 9-year old grandkids and I even require accountability from them.
They were in my office a couple years ago and discovered my stash of Bit O’ Honey candies. They politely asked if they could have a couple the first time and maybe the second. But then I noticed over time my stash was getting hit pretty hard. And it couldn’t be mice, because they are stored in a glass jar.
So I created an “inventory control” system, by which either of the twins could appropriate up to two Bit O’ Honeys any day without asking, but only if they sign and date each withdrawal on a count sheet and calculate the remaining inventory. Of course I have to account for any Bit O’ Honey withdrawals I make too, and so does Grammy. So the twins know if there are any discrepancies in the Bit O’ Honey inventory, Grandpa knows who is accountable!
I wish Hillary had been raised to be accountable. She would never have deleted 30,000 or more emails, and smashed her cell phones, after they had been subpoenaed by the FBI. The media and the FBI aren’t being held accountable for letting Hillary get away with it. And the DOJ isn’t being held accountable for letting the FBI get away with letting Hillary get away with it. And the President isn’t being held accountable for letting the DOJ get away with letting the FBI get away with letting Hillary get away with it.
Just between you and me, a little grandfatherly advice – never trust a Democrat with your Bit O’ Honeys!
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
Sugar, ah honey honey! You are my candy girl, And you’ve got me wanting you!
So I’m surfing through the neighborhood social media, and yet another thread is filling up about a locally owned bar/restaurant that has failed shortly after opening.
It saddened me for a number of reasons. I have been a small business owner, and I know the financial risk and hard work that a family takes on when opening a new venture, and how heartbreaking it must be to fail. This club was one that employed local musicians, which also hits home with me. A small business closure impacts many people – employees, vendors, neighbors and customers.
The bar/restaurant business is a tough gig. If the owner (or an extraordinary manager) is not on the premises at all times, profit seems to bleed out of the windows and doors. Bartenders “take care” of their friends, or pocket cash before it gets to the till. Finding and training good servers and cooks takes a lot of time and effort. The bad ones either don’t show up or kill your business when they do, and too often the good ones are lured away by a competitor for a few more bucks.
Stick with me, I’ll get to the entitlement part in a minute.
Some business owners shouldn’t be. While they may have a great talent and passion for a particular product or service, if they don’t understand the important basics of business – accounting, cash flow, managing employees, marketing and market differentiation, inventory control – they are unlikely to survive. Making the best cheesesteak sandwich in the world is one thing; making a profit is another.
Every day in the neighborhood social media, which is a pretty good indicator of the attitudes of the proletariat, I see a lot of whining about businesses, especially restaurants. “Why doesn’t somebody open a [insert name] restaurant here?” “I went to the new local bar but I didn’t like their nachos.” “The new sushi place is too expensive.” “I have to drive to the city to get a gourmet dinner.” Many of the folks in my neighborhood seem to think life owes them a world-class restaurant, on the corner of their block, that charges McDonald’s prices, pays its employees $50 an hour, and contributes to their favorite local charity.
The ability for customers to review businesses online is empowering. And dangerous. It feeds the expanding sense of entitlement that we see every day, fueled by the “free everything” political platform of the Democrats.
It’s getting harder every day to operate a small business. It’s do-able, but not for the faint-of-heart or one lacking serious business chops. Because of social media, all it takes is a couple of one-time correctable flubs, a dishonest customer or competitor, or a disgruntled employee to do serious damage to a business. Add to that high taxes and insensitive government decisions such as lengthy street closings for repairs and arbitrary zoning decisions. As a result, locally-owned businesses disappear as we see signs for the same national brands popping up in every neighborhood.
All we Americans are entitled to is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.Despite the empty promises of Democrats, we are not entitled to total happiness and security. We are not entitled to free health care, free college, forgiveness of debt or guaranteed wages.
Supply and demand works. Many of my neighbors are all about demand, and never stop to consider how supply happens.
Stop whining, people.
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
You made me promises promises Knowing I’d believe Promises promises You knew you’d never keep
A common-sense principle of business is that managers must have the authority to hire and fire at will. After all, the very reason for a business to exist is to generate a profit for the owners and investors. So managers will compete for the best employees to maximize returns, just as they compete for customers by trying to provide the best product or service at the best price. The companies who hire and retain the best people will thrive, while the others will fade away.
HR (human resources) departments are poison to profit.
A product of the civil rights movement in 1965, the federal government created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to eliminate hiring discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color or national origin. Every company that does business with the federal government and has 50 or more employees must implement and document an “affirmative action program”.
The EEO/AAP was, and is, a typical big government solution to a problem that should be solved by free market supply and demand. It established rigid quotas based on race, which was then expanded to protect women and the disabled. Soon every minority group, including the evolving alphabet-soup of genders, was lawyering up.
Faced with a mountain of reporting requirements and legal complications, businesses responded by creating and staffing HR departments, a phenomenon that may have done more damage to the economy than any other factor since the depression.
While a manager or owner will make every effort to find the most talented, qualified, and industrious people to fill positions, and reward them well with promotions and compensation, HR departments exist only to meet “diversity” requirements. The result is companies are staffed with many unqualified, unmotivated, and sometimes underpaid minorities (often H1B visa holders) who know they can’t be fired. The “Peter Principle” (individuals are promoted beyond their level of competence) is rampant in many large organizations.
Managers who try to hire or promote talented non-minority employees are stymied by HR. Add the influence of union protection (i.e. government employees), and performance predictably suffers.
Despite 53 years of EEO/AAP and all kinds of other identity-driven programs, liberal politicians still pander for votes by screaming “RAAAAACIST!” at common-sense conservative opponents, who know that for-profit businesses will hire and promote the best people regardless of minority status, which encourages all workers to improve their performance (not their pigmentation or gender) and compete for the best jobs. And that propels the economy and raises standards of living for everybody.
You got me runnin’ goin’ out of my mind You got me thinkin’ that I’m wastin’ my time (Don’t bring me down, no no no no no) I’ll tell you once more before I get off the floor (Don’t bring me down)
A few years ago, before we left our home state of Montana to move to the sunny South, we decided to make one last visit to Glacier National Park.
“Glacier” as Big Sky natives lovingly call it, is the best Montana has to offer. Yellowstone is nice, but touristy and crowded – I look for Yogi and Boo Boo behind every tree, and it seems the feds have something annoyingly “governmental” pounded into every rock. While Glacier has become more commercialized and politically correct than it was in the good old days, it still is somewhat pristine and remains one of the most beautiful spots in the Rocky Mountains.
We visited Glacier in late June, before all the snow was gone for the summer, but after the Going to the Sun Road was opened up, which was early that year (as of today, 6/20/19, half of the road is still not plowed out). We did not want to miss that spectacular drive from West Glacier to St. Mary on what might be our last visit to Glacier.
We arrived at the St. Mary Lodge and did the tour through the grand old main lodge building, enjoying the history of the place and the high mountain ambience.
George Bird Grinnell, a New Yorker, naturalist and western conservationist, pushed for a national park designation which was signed by President Taft in 1910. Glacier National Park was first “civilized” as part of the westward push of the Great Northern Railway across the northern United States and much of the infrastructure was funded, engineered and built by the railroad under James Hill, who saw a tourism profit opportunity . Most of that privately built infrastructure, including hotels and lodges, trails, tracks, tunnels and roads remains in use today and has held up remarkably well.
And this is key. It was not government influence and “protection” of natural resources that made Glacier National Park and other treasures of the American West great; rather, it was private entrepreneurial drive and inspiration.
After hanging out at the lodge for a while, we decided to hike the Grinnell Glacier Trail that goes past Swiftcurrent Lake and provides a good view of Salamander Glacier. We could not help but notice the grizzly bear warning signs, and having grown up in bear country south of Glacier, I took them seriously. With so many tourists around it was more likely we would see black bear rather than big grizzers. And we actually did see several black bear.
At the trailhead near the lodge there was a big sign explaining how, because of man-caused Global Warming, the glaciers, including Grinnell, were melting fast and would likely be gone by the year 2020. I admit, as native Montanans, we were temporarily taken aback by this “official” government proclamation, until my conservative skepticism kicked back in. This same propaganda was all over the lodge in brochure racks and informational displays. In 2012 National Geographic produced this work of fiction, (note the obligatory slow, sad PBS victim-style piano music):
Last week it was revealed that the National Park Service was quietly removing all the Global Warming propaganda at Glacier National Park because it has become evident that the glaciers have been growing for some time. Oops. Another embarrassing example of leftists abusing science for political leverage.
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
See people rocking — Hear people chanting — Feeling hot hot hot Keep up this spirit — Come on let’s do it — Feeling hot hot hot