Daylight Savings Time…..A Convoluted History

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Have you ever read the history of daylight Savings Time?  What a convoluted mess!!!

time confusionDates have changed, different Presidents have enacted changes throughout time.  Today, some states are still debating its value and which time zone or zones they should follow.

Here is an example of the crazy nature of the beast.  In the 1960s The Committee for Time Uniformity discovered that along a 35 mile stretch of highway between Moundsville, WV and Steubenville, OH there were 7 time zone changes.  You can’t invent this stuff.

States that border the time zone changes have their challenges.  The NW corner of Indiana borders Chicago.  What is the most appropriate time zone?

Once upon a time drive in theaters dotted the landscape.  Daylight savings was not beneficial to their industry.  Ah, farmers could stay in the fields later.  Is that good?  Technology has changed and combines run throughout the night with no care for the clock.

Are we saving energy?  Really, delay sun rise only to delay sunset.  By my clock, there are only 24 hours in the day.  So, what exactly is the rationale?

I know this, I enjoy sitting on the back deck enjoying a late night adult beverage at 10 PM and not thinking it’s midnight.  I don’t like getting up in the dark and going to bed in the dark in the middle of winter.

If you want my opinion, I’ll take daylight savings!!

 

That’s the way I see it.

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Immigration…..A Right and Wrong Way

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It pains me greatly to hear the debate about immigration and illegal aliens
in the USA.  It pains me greatly at the thought that illegal aliens may b
e granted soimmigrationme form of amnesty.

About 4 years ago, I signed Form I-864, Affidavit for Support.  This is a necessary form allowing someone entrance into the USA. A necessary document for the immigrant to receive their “Green Card”.

By signing this agreement, I accepted the legal responsibility for financially supporting the immigrant if it becomes necessary.  Now the real message.  If I do not provide sufficient support, the immigrant can sue me.  If the immigrant receives any “means-tested public benefits”, I am responsible for the repayment, or the agency can sue me.

My personal obligation lasts about 10 years.

Here’s the rub.  Granting a waiver to illegal immigrants bypasses the Form I-864.  Bypasses financial obligation of a sponsor.  So, I followed the law and potentially place me and my family in financial peril.  By signing the Form I-864, the immigrant has greater legal recourse than I have.  Think about it, I can get sued by the immigrant or an agency that provided financial support.  I get nothing.

Why was I so foolish to sign this document? My daughter met and married a young man from another country. Shortly thereafter, they gave became parents. Unfortunately, my daughter did not have the financial history to be his sponsor into the USA.  After much consideration and prayer, I did what I thought was good best and right for my daughter and grandson.

I had a series of conversations with my son-in-law about the implications of this important step.  Youth and naiveté abounded.  In his (and her) eyes, it’s just a piece of paper.  A formality.  I reminded him that even upon a divorce, I still carried the financial responsibility.

Ah, the marriage didn’t last.  It crumbled quickly.  They never made it to their 3rd anniversary before the divorce was finalized.  He and I are still attached at the hip financially.  My obligation does not end with divorce.  No it lasts about 10 years.  I’m not at the midpoint yet.

I do things the right way.  I follow the immigration laws and I am at risk.  We have illegal aliens in all regions of the USA and consideration is being given to them and their families for some form as amnesty.  Will Uncle Sam waive my responsibility?  Don’t bank on it!!

I am not a heartless person. Yet, I am having a difficult time with this illegal alien thing.

That’s the way I see it.

Minimum Wage…Not What You Think

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There has been a lot of dialog about raising the minimum wage.  Statistics galore on the topic.  So exactly what is the minimum wage and who works for that amount?

The Federally mandated minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, unless it is moneysomething different.  What?  Something different?  Certain labor categories, those whose wages are supplemented by tips are lower.  The assumption is that tips will bridge the gap between the wage paid by the employer and minimum wage.  OK, if that’s what you say.  All that means is someone working at Joe’s Dinner gets paid the same as a waiter in the finest restaurant in Manhattan, and tips will cover the gap.  Well, it’s been reported that waiters in the finest restaurants can earn 6 figure incomes. That indeed is a far cry from minimum wage.I simply say, pay a fare wage and do away with tips.

I looked up a few statistics.  I welcome you to do the fact checking.  Here we go.

  • There were approximately 124.73 million full time workers in the USA in September 2016.
  • There were approximately 3.3 million employees earning minimum wage or below.
  • Currently 29 states plus Washington DC have minimum wages that exceed the Federal Wage.

In reality, many of the minimum wage employees are students (college and High School) working part time jobs. Check for yourself.

I invite you to make whatever political and social assumptions you wish about the above numbers.

Now for some other interesting “Minimum Wage” facts.

  • Movie Extra per SAG requirements $18.50/hr.
  • NFL Rookie $420,000/year
  • NBA Rookie (2014-2015 season) $507,336/year
  • MLB Rookie (2017) $535,000/year
  • NHL Player $650,000/year
  • US Senator $174,000/year
  • Associate Justice SCOTUS $213,900/year (Lifetime appointment)
  • POTUS $400,000/year (supplemented by allowances)

 

The conclusion I draw from these salaries/wages is the fact that we have a select group of people that are way overpaid, and a much larger group of people that are underpaid.  What do you think?

That’s the way I see it.

Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough

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I’ve been doing a little reading, thinking, and planning. See, I own a small business, it’s doing good, but I want it to do better.  Who wouldn’t?

I stumbled upon an interesting piece of information, built upon it, and am now in the process of initiating positive change.

Here is a fun fact.

The top five flavors of ice cream, according to International Ice Cream Association are:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Butter Pecan
  • Strawberry
  • Neapolitan

The amazing fact is the difference between 1st and 2nd place.  Vanilla received 29% of the first place votes.  Second place chocolate had 8.9%.  That’s 20 points difference between first and second.  Wow, that’s a huge gap.

I harkened back to my youth and looked up some information about Avis Rent a Car. Back in the early 1960s Avis produced an ad campaign with the tag line “When you are only No. 2, you try harder, or else”.  Signs, buttons, etc. carried the words, “We try Harder”.

Fun facts, in 1963, Hertz the No.1 Company had 61% of the market and Avis had 29%.  Wow, what a huge gap between the two companies. By 1963 the gap was closed to 49% to 36%, Avis was still No. 2.  This is still a sizable gap, but not as large.

So, where am I going with this?

In business don’t allow yourself to be fooled.  Don’t pat yourself on the back because you are second.  There is a large difference between being No.1 and No.2.  Being No. 2, is good, but not good enough.

I said that I owned a small business, AC Trash Hauling & More.  We have a nice website.  It’s effective, after all people visit it.  It generates work. With this new found information about the difference between 1st and 2nd, I did a web search.  I looked up “Trash Hauling Company Noblesville Indiana.”  I discovered that there were only 137,000 hits on that search.  Fortunately, I ranked 4th.  What about that poor soul at 137,000.  They are lost and will never be found.

I came to the understanding that Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough.  You see, on the search I conducted there were a whole bunch of GOOD hits.  Good isn’t Good Enough.  With the power of search engines a potential customer can find a whole lot of GOOD companies.  If I were to move down that list only a few notches, I may never be noticed.  I’m still a GOOD company.

Where does all this lead to?  The answer is simple.  Regardless of who we are, or what we do, we must strive for excellence.  We must strive to be great.  Being good will only get you lost in the crowd.  We must change our attitude, “Good Enough Is NOT Good Enough”. Avis had it right, try harder.

That’s the way I see it.

The Question

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We are about one week into the presidency of Donald Trump. The news outlets are abuzz with questions, speculation, and a plethora of the Woulda, Coulda, Shouldas detailing a better way, a better solution.  Social media outlets are bursting at the seams with “better” solutions’ than those being proposed by the current administration.

Everyone has their opinion.

I was reading “The Book of Virtues”, written by former Secretary of Education William Bennett and found this excellent poem.

The Question

-Author Unknown

Were the whole world good as you – not an atom better –
    Were it just as pure and true,
    Just as strong in faith and works;
    Just as free from crafty quirks;
    All extortion, all deceit;
    Schemes its neighbors to defeat;
    Schemes its neighbors to defraud;
    Schemes some culprit to applaud –
Would this world be better?
 
If the whole world followed you – followed to the letter-
    Would it be a nobler world,
    All deceit and falsehood hurled
    From it altogether;
    Malice, selfishness, and lust,
    Banished from beneath the crust,
    Covering human hearts from view
    Tell me, if it followed you,
Would the world be better?

With this poem in mind, I now challenge you about your criticism  not only of President Trump, The Congress, but of all the decisions made that you find unpopular.  I challenge you to think hard before you cast that first stone!!
That’s the way I see it.

Alternative Facts..True or False

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Oh Baby, I’m headed for trouble with this post!!

Alternative Facts, that’s an interesting moniker.  It sure has been getting a lot of air time (print media as well) the past couple of days. Some wordsmith, aka spin-doctor was working overtime to craft that little gem.

Now allow me to run down a slippery slope about that phrase.  First let me establish my ground rules and my understanding.  Remember these are MY ground rules.

Facts are rather interesting. In some cases people refer to “Hard Facts”.  I believe these to be immutable and undeniable pieces of information.  Things we collectively deem as “The Truth”.

Fact, George Washington was the 1st President of the United States of America.  Do I have any takers to dispute this information, this truth?

Fact.  The Wright Brothers were the first in powered flight. For many that is deemed the truth, thus a FACT.  There is other information that may dispute this common knowledge. Ask a Brasilian (no spell checking please, I prefer to use the native spelling of the word) and the response will be Santo Dumont.  Which of these two answers is FACT? Which of these two responses in the TRUTH?

Ah, the water gets a bit murky.

Try this little social experiment.

Put two people in a room.  Give them a couple of minutes to look around the room and then leave and write down in as much detail as possible everything that they saw.

Don’t be surprised when the lists differ.  Does it mean that one is FACT while the other is Fiction (read  A Lie)? No, it only means that one person saw different things, perhaps from a different perspective than his counterpart.  Both lists represent the TRUTH, as witnessed by the author.

Wait a minute, two different lists, and both the truth?  Are these then Alternative Facts?  Oh the water indeed is getting murky!!!

It is imperative that you understand and accept my position. I am not saying that either side, pro-Trump or anti-Trump, is right or wrong in their assessment about the size of the audience at the Inauguration.  I am suggesting that we are dealing in numbers that cannot be verified. I am suggesting that each group is using a different metric to measure (guess) the exact amount. I am openly stating that people are arguing about the number of Angels that can dance on the head of a pin. I am stating that indeed there are “Alternative Facts” in this matter (the number of people witnessing the inauguration).

Don’t misunderstand my statement. I am not a proponent of “Alternative Facts”.  It is not a phrase I would use or support globally.  In my humble opinion two different camps are trying to justify their position with imperfect and truly unmeasurable/unverifiable data.

Who gives a rat’s ass about the number of people who attended the inauguration?  There are far more important issues facing our nation.

That’s the way I see it.

Patriots’ Day…A Movie Worth Seeing

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A movie critic I am not.  Produce a movie, entertain me, take my mind off of my daily routine for an hour or so, I’m happy.  You see, I don’t try to over analyze plot development and all the other BS a real movie critic likes to analyze. Me; was I entertained?

Last week my wife and I saw “Patriots Day”, Mark Wahlberg’s depiction of the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon.  Don’t ask me if it’s worthy of awards or special acclaim. I’m not qualified to give an answer. I do now this, Mark Wahlberg understands his home town and its pride!!

Did the movie capture the essence of the story? Indeed it did, while judiciously using a little bit of poetic and journalistic license.  Did the movie capture the spirit of Boston and neighboring communities? Absolutely!!patriots-day

Patriots’ Day, April 19th, commemorates the Battle at Lexington and Concord during our Revolutionary War. It is the infamous day when “The Shot Heard Around The World” was fired. April 19th starting the Revolutionary War. Today it is a state holiday in Massachusetts, it is also the traditional date of the running of the Boston Marathon.

In 2013 two brothers of foreign descent thought that bombing of the Boston Marathon was an appropriate way to make a political statement. In fact, it was act of terrorism against our great nation.  It was a 21st Century version of “The Shot Heard Around The World”. How interesting that these two brothers picked PATRIOTS’ DAY to terrorize their adopted community. They did not realize the closeness of the bond between Boston and the neighboring communities. Bad choice boys, wrong day, and wrong city.

I enjoyed the movie.  It brought back memories of my youth, fond memories.  It brought back memories of hiking the Isaac Davis Trail as a Boy Scout.  It brought back memories of listening to the Boston Red Sox playing a double header on Patriots Day. It was a day when fans could attend the first game, hustle a few blocks away to see the finish of the Boston Marathon and then make it back to Fenway for game 2.

The movie also brought back pain and agony. It brought back memories of other acts of terrorism, especially the February 26, 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and again the complete destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

boston-strongThank you Mark Wahlberg for making the movie.  You restored my pride to be an American and you reminded me of my home in a small town in Massachusetts, a place I left in 1978 to chase the American Dream. That dream is still alive in spite of the divisions in our communities as we enter a new era with a new president.

This may not be a movie for everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

God Bless America.

 

That’s the way I see it.

A Peaceful Transfer of Power…..Not By All

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January 20, 2017 marked what I believe to be the 45th time (fact check me if you must)when the USA had a peaceful and orderly transfer of power. The transfer includes series of events loaded with history and tradition, performed with great pomp and2017-inauguration circumstance. The administering of the Oath of Office is conducted in public and broadcast around the world by untold number of media outlets. It is a worldwide symbol depicting the strength of our nation.

I was one of hundreds of thousands of people that watched this event unfold on TV.  The view was better, my living room was less crowded, and I saved a lot of time and money by staying home. Sadly about 50 of our elected officials decided to stay
home as well.  They were engaged in a silent protest against President Donald Trump. We all have the right to our opinions, have the right to protest, and yes have the right to skip the inauguration.

While the official ceremony was taking place, a group of protesters were uniting elsewhere in Washington DC and in other locations around the nation. Not satisfied with a peaceful rally, violence prevailed resulting in about 200 people being arrested in inauguration-riotsWashington DC.  The value of the damage caused has yet to be determined.

The same worldwide audience that witnessed the orderly and peaceful transfer of power witnessed the rioting, looting, and social unrest. The few people, comparatively speaking, that opted for violence are not representative of the majority of our nation.  They however received too much press coverage for their actions. (That’s the way I see it)

I am left with unanswered questions?

  • What did the violence prove?
  • Is violence the change they care to see in our society?
  • Did our elected officials prove anything by boycotting the inauguration?
  • Did anyone think that their actions would force a change in our election process?

The USA is a great nation, one that I hope becomes greater and stronger.  We are blessed to have the ability to speak our minds, guaranteed by our Constitution. However that does not mean that we are entitled to take actions that hurt and harm others, to cause physical damage to the property of otherswhile exercising our freedom of speech and our freedom to assemble.

I am not against debate, social discourse, protests, and boycotts.  I think they can be very healthy, can be a great vehicle to initiate change. I am against violence and wanton destruction of property. As a matter of fact, as I am writing these words, thousands of women (men too) are congregating in Washington DC for a women’s rally.  I laud them for all of their efforts, concerns, hopes, and dreams.  I also hope that their efforts reap fruit.

I am deeply saddened by the politicians who showed disrespect for the presidency (too bad your candidate didn’t win). It is also sad to think that some people think that violence is a solution to any problem.

That’s the way I see it.

American Politics Is Alive, But Probably Not Well

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Once again I am compelled to pen a few words about our current political environment.  I’ve never seen such divisiveness in my life.  Just a touch of context, while I may not remember him, Eisenhower was the President in my youth.

The divisiveness is present on all forms of Social Media, at times reducing it to a form of Anti-Social Media. It’s present in the newspapers, with news reporters that deliver the hard news as well as the soft news folks on the “magazine” type shows (“Today” as an example).  The “Talking Heads” on cable TV rant about THEIR opinions, and yes the man on the street joins the fray as well.

I praise all of you for having an opinion and for expressing it.  It is proof that American politics is alive, maybe not well, but alive.

What I find disturbing is the people that exercise their “POWER” by De-Friending someone on Social Media.  Sarcastic and demeaning comments tossed about like confetti at a celebration.  I find it upsetting that people politicize most everything.

I recently posted on Facebook that after much prayer and consideration that I have decided not to attend the inauguration of Donald Trump.  Some of the feedback was comical yet other was spiteful.  The spite wasn’t directed at me, it was against both the Republican and the Democratic Parties.  It was fear and concern about the oncoming train at the end of the tunnel, however no one is certain that the train has even left the station.

Our forefathers created a government with checks and balances. A government that prevents any one individual to have excessive power. One that allows you and I a role in the process.  Let the process work, at least let the train start its mighty engine before you scream foul.  Allow our elected officials the opportunity to perform the duty they were elected to do.

No one has to like everything that takes place in Washington.  No “side” is ever going to be 100% happy, if “side” is defined by political party.  Who are you fighting for, your “SIDE” or for what is good, best, and right for our nation?

We, that is all of us, have an opportunity to help make our great nation STRONGER.  It won’t happen if we continue to draw the battle lines, this time not between the North and the South, but between US and Them.

That’s the way I see it.