A Minor Twist and Pow!

At this point there are four husky fellas pulling, banging, cutting away at my old kitchen countertops. One of them just retrieved a saws-all and is now busily buzzing away between the backsplash and the wall.  At first the job looked too easy, and I thought my god why am I paying such an exorbitant price for this project? Contractor Mark’s crew pulled the old countertops, and then paraded in with pieces of shiny new granite. Most cut so precisely they were perfect as is, and dropped into place without any adjustment.  Then, it began. Little things, like the stove and refrigerator, are in the way, the new sink doesn’t fit.  One of the men disappears, and I see a cloud of granite dust flying past my office window. Frank, the Master Craftsman, is sawing away at another slab to finish fitting the buffet. My front lawn scattered with old countertop pieces which now will no longer work even if I wanted to stop the job and have them put it all back together again. In other words, I have committed, and there is no backing out now.
My early appraisal of the job was the result of not knowing what this kind of job entails. Now, I am beginning to see that I don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to installing granite counter tops. Especially ones with multiple angles and notches to fit an architect’s dream of a house.
An aw shit moment occurs when the four men tilt the largest piece to slide the new sink under. Mark gives instructions for how to handle the piece, and in spite of his precautions it happens! One man pushes just a tad bit harder than the others. It was a minor twist, but the slab broke in three places. The crew turned deadly silent. I cannot imagine what went through Frank’s mind as he saw his masterpiece turn to crap in an instant
By the time, Mark’s crew finishes the job I’ll realize that I got my dollar’s worth. The kitchen is not functional until Frank makes a new piece, and the crew again gingerly man handles the three hundred pound piece of granite into place.

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China Wages War on the USA

Who knew what the unintended outcome would be when President Richard Nixon visited China in the nineteen seventies. Originally, he went there on a goodwill mission, and because China, with its population of over one billion, represented an enormous opportunity for trade. Nixon’s two legacies are his visit to China and the Watergate Scandal. U.S. businesses flocked to China after that visit. He opened the door for trade. The first unintended consequence of his successful trip became the export of every major U.S. manufacturing job. The U.S.A. went from being the manufacturing center of the world to the importers of U.S. designed products manufactured in China. The company I worked for was no different, although they did hold off until the end of the migration. Our first step into the Chinese market was through Singapore, and ultimately into China.

China is thirsty for jobs and they take anything we send them. Their people are hungry and work for minimal wages. Anything over a dollar a day was a big buck job for them. U.S. companies saw the labor cost as a distinct advantage. At home our people demanded ten, fifteen, twenty dollars an hour. Our workers saw that wage difference not as a way for an U.S. company to make a profit, but rather as a theft of their own livelihood. American workers were comfortable with high wage mundane jobs. They could not see the wisdom of re-educating themselves to become marketable in another industry. Those who did see the light did stay employed. The final outcome is that the U.S.A. still struggles with how to create jobs for its people.

The most recent unintended consequence of Nixon’s visit is what I call a Chinese invasion of the U.S. mainland. The amazing thing is that they have done it without a single military brigade, or firing a single shot. They did it with a bug.

EmeraldAshBorer2

The Emerald Ash Borer

Since 2002, when Naturalists discovered the Emerald Ash Borer in Michigan forests, the invasion is proceeding across the country. The borer count is fifteen states and spreading. The cost of the bug in dead tree removal will come to billions of dollars.  Estimates for the Ash tree population in the U.S.A.  hover at around two billion trees. The latest dead-tree count is in the hundreds of thousands, and there is no plan for how to stop the incursion. There are a few University mitigation methods, but they are costly and do not carry a high success rate.

140620-AshMapIMG

The reason for this high cost and mortality rate is because there are no known predators for the Emerald Ash Borer. No bird, no predator insect, no pathogen exists today.

So how did the Chinese pull off this highly successful invasion? One theory is that the bug entered the country via some ash boards used to stabilize loads on container ships. Once out of the wood in North America the borer went to town breeding and eating. Some say they also came inside wooden pallets which ship around the country. Whatever the reason, the borer is costing us a fortune in beautiful trees.

On my walk this morning, I counted the number of affected trees in a 500 foot stretch. We in Frankfort are proud of our old tree stands, and of the many neighborhoods with tree-lined streets. The neighborhood I live in now is twenty years old and the trees planted at that time are just beginning to give real shade and a lovely appearance. I counted nine affected ash trees in that 500 foot stretch.

The Village of Frankfort’s plan is to cut down these trees and to replant them with saplings of different species that are resistant to the borer. So far, my street not seen the axe, but it will be near me sooner than I wish.

Coincidentally, I noticed a very tall and dead Cottonwood tree at the back of my property which will cross the roof of my house if it happens to fall over in the direction it is leaning. Most trees do fall that way. I had an Arborist confirm its status and give me an estimate for removal.  I’m still in sticker shock, the estimate is $1300.

Let us just say that it will cost $500 to remove each dead ash tree in America. The money spent is staggering. ($500 x 1 billion trees = $500 billion) That is a lot of money to clean up the devastation caused by a tiny bug.  Add to that the cost of buying and replacing the dead ash trees with new saplings and another 15o billion dollars gets added for a total of 650 billions dollars. And we are upset because the Iraq and Afghanistan wars cost us a trillion dollars. This one bug will cost us more than half of that.

What is sad is that the Chinese haven’t fired a single bullet, or lost a single soldier in this one-sided war. The Pentagon should learn from this. What kind of bug can we export to the mid-east to cost them a fortune to exterminate?

 

You Vill Pay Up and Love It

harbin_china

Imagine a terrible stink in your house. What would you do to get rid of it? If it were my house I would open the windows and turn on a fan to move the stinky air out. When I get into my car, which has sat in the hot sun, I always open the windows and the sun roof to get the hot air out. What do you do when there is pollution in the atmosphere of your town? You pray for a rain storm or a strong wind to blow the pollution away. What do you do if you are asthmatic? If you own your own home and have the money, you install a filter to clean the air in the house. What happens if you are asthmatic, have a very good air-filter and leave the windows open? You suffer because there is no filter available that will clean the air coming into your house fast enough to keep it pure.
Our president drinks the cool-aid provided him by the EPA and his Liberal clean air gurus that the way to clear the air in America is to eliminate coal-burning power plants by taxing them out of business. There is one huge fault in their logic: America is not a closed system like a house. Our boundaries do not keep people from crossing into our country nor do they keep dirty air from entering. There is no bubble surrounding America to keep our pure air contained.
North America is just a tiny fraction of the surface area of Planet Earth. The layer of air between Earth and the stratosphere moves constantly within the country, and the jet stream moves it out.
The brainless scientists who promote the carbon tax scheme to clean the air of America and the world are nothing more than charlatans who are anxious to reach into our pockets to steal money. Even if we eliminate coal-burning power plants over-night and convert our transportation to solar-powered cars, trucks, buses, trains, boats, and airplanes, our air will never be very pure. Why? Because the jet stream will move our pure air to another continent and dirty air from China or India will move in. We will be taxing our power plants unfairly to clear the air of the entire planet. In the mean time, countries like China and India, who are more worried about feeding billions of people, will continue to use dirty coal, and any other form of cheap energy to run their factories. Those factories will pollute the air (as we see in photos of China where people wear face masks to avoid breathing the foul air) while the jet stream moves their crappy air over the Pacific to North America. Our EPA will measure the dirty air and continue to blame it on our power plants and cars.
There is no EPA in China to regulate the socialist government into bankruptcy like we have in America. The citizens of China have no voice in the way things run, the government tells them how to run their lives. At this point, the people in China are happy to eat and improve their condition with food, electronics and cars, and are not concerned by the purity of their air. The government is more concerned with providing jobs to the hundreds of thousands of people coming to town for work than they are about regulating their industry. It will be decades before these undeveloped countries are ready for pure air, but our EPA will continue to harass us to get cleaner to compensate.
Be happy Liberals and cough up the money for all that clean energy you will buy to power your phones, cars, and air-conditioners.

Illinois, the Worst State in the USA

I received this letter from my Illinois State  Representative, Rene Kosel today. She explains why our state is in such dire straights. Businesses continue to leave the state, our schools are the worst, our largest city, Chicago, is a murder capital,  our tax is higher than most states, and yet our socialist Democrat Governor and legislators continue to spend-spend-spend. For all practical purposes, Illinois is a one party state. We have what Obama wants for the country; one party rule. When and where does it stop? It stops this November when we throw the bums out.

They are career politicians who believe it is their responsibility to waste our tax dollars just like Obama. Even the Republicans act like Democrats. They couldn’t make the ballot as a democrat so they changed to become Republicans.   They should all be hanging by the neck in a row leading up the Capital steps.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

215px-Seal_of_Illinois.svg

Dear Friends,

The Democrats are at it again, yesterday the Illinois House of Representatives voted on nearly 80 different appropriation bills for the 2015 budget, a budget that will overspend by nearly $3 billion. Every single Republican in the House, and even several Democrats, voted against this unconstitutional budget.

However, despite bi-partisan opposition to this terrible budget the Democrats were able to narrowly pass all the appropriation bills and move an unbalanced budget to the Senate.

In total, the House Democrats have passed a budget that spends $37.3 billion. Illinois is only expected to bring in $34.49 billion in tax revenue for the year. The budget that the Democrats rammed through the House yesterday overspends by at least $2.8 billion; it could very well go higher.

This is an unbalanced budget and the Democrats are banking on the ‘temporary’ 2011 income tax increase becoming permanent. There are also lump sum appropriations throughout this budget, they are basically handing the Governor piles of cash and allowing him to decide where these taxpayer dollars go. Do we really want to give Governor Quinn another political slush fund?

The income tax increase of January 2011 is set to expire on January 1, 2015. If the income tax increase is not extended or made permanent, personal income tax rates would decrease to 3.75% (still above the 3% prior to 2011) and the corporate tax rate would decrease from 7% to 5.25% (5% prior to 2011 increase).

The Illinois Constitution clearly states that no budget can exceed projected revenues for the year. Without action on the income tax issue, the 2015 budget passed by House Democrats today would exceed revenues by at least $2.8 billion. This is a clear violation of the Illinois Constitution and just poor policy for our state.

Yours in Service,

Renée Kosel

State Representative – District 37

Treason or Impeachment, Which Ever Comes First

imagesRecently, I read a headline that claimed Eric Holder Attorney General of the USA is working with banks to deny firearms manufacturers  of loans. Here is an e-mail I received today from a friend. This message is from a business man who makes firearms and he confirms that Bank of America has terminated his business. I thought the Attorney General and the President swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States. We the People must impeach and imprison both of these so-called leaders for Treason. They are deliberately and openly violating their oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution.

****************************************************************

> >”From the Owners of McMillan Mfg in Phoenix , Arizona
>
> McMillan Mfg in Phoenix , Arizona , was contacted by Bank of America and informed that they will no longer be allowed to use their services ( Bank of America ) because they are in the firearms business and support the second amendment.
>
> McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, McMillan Firearms Manufacturing, McMillan Group International have been collectively banking with Bank of America for 12 years.
>
> Today Mr. Ray Fox, Senior Vice President, Market Manager, Business Banking, Global Commercial Banking (Bank of America) came to my office.
>
> He scheduled the meeting as an “account analysis” meeting in order to evaluate the two lines of credit we have with them.
>
> He spent 5 minutes talking about how McMillan has changed in the last 5 years and has become more of a firearms manufacturer than a supplier of accessories.
>
> At this point I interrupted him and asked “Can I possibly save you some time so that you don’t waste your breath? What you are going to tell me is that because we are in the firearms manufacturing business you no longer want my business.”
>
> “That is correct”, he says.
>
> I replied “That is okay, we will move our accounts as soon as possible. We can find a 2nd Amendment friendly bank that will be glad to have our business. You won’t mind if I tell the NRA, SCI and everyone I know that Bank of America is not firearms-industry friendly?”
>
> “You have to do what you must”, he said.
>
> “So you are telling me this is a politically motivated decision, is that right?
>
> Mr. Fox confirmed that it was.
>
> At which point I told him that the meeting was over and there was nothing left for him to say.
>
> I think it is important for all Americans who believe in and support our 2nd amendment “right to keep and bear arms” should know when a business does not support these rights.
>
> What you do with that knowledge is up to you. When I don’t agree with a business’ political position, I cannot, in good conscience support them.
>
> We will soon no longer be accepting Bank of America credit cards as payment for our products.
>
> I am fine with you re-posting it. . . . . . . . Thank for your support.
>
> Kelly D. McMillan
> Director of Operations
> McMillan Group International, LLC
> 623-582-9635<tel:623-582-9635>
> 1638 W Knudsen Dr
> Phoenix , Arizona  85027
> McMillan Integrity-Global Vision”
>
>
> I urge all of my friends to do the same! If I could only get everybody to stand up for the Constitution of The United States we might not have this problem! By the way, Bank of America is a supporter of Obama.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SNOPES has this e-mail shown as Undetermined. It is my opinion that they will never admit to any wrong doing by the Administration as True.

Fracking Explained

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Like many people my knowledge of the term “fracking” left me wondering. Therefore, I really appreciated this short video which shows and explains the process that is revolutionizing the energy industry in America. I urge readers to watch this short educational film. It will open your eyes as it did mine.

http://www.emeraldoil.com/williston-basin

Deep Seated Impressions

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TRAINS

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PLANES

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MORE PLANES

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AUTOMOBILES

 

A few years ago a movie called Trains, Planes, and Automobiles came out and caused me to laugh my butt off. I just finished reading a book titled “Fly Boys” by James Bradley. The story is about World War Two with Japan in the Pacific. I learned a lot reading this account. First, the history of Japan and its Emperor worship which eventually evolved into their samurai military. I learned that we won the war not with the atomic bomb, but by an endless assault of incendiary bombs on cities built of wooden buildings. We burned the Japs to death. The atomic bombs were just a more efficient method.

During my early years, I read daily news accounts of battles, defeats, and victories. On my paper route, I noticed flags hanging in windows with gold stars on them. I grew up during World War Two. I watched my parents become somber when FDR declared war after the Pearl Harbor attack. I saw families in our neighborhood mourn the loss of their sons. It had an effect on my psyche. I learned to hate the Japanese as well as the Germans, and Italians, but I had a special hatred for Japan. This hatred grew as I grew.

As a young adult when it came time to enter the business world this conflict grew. As an engineer and product designer I favored US made products over those of the inferior Japanese made ones. My Christianity continued to work on me and as my thoughts about heaven and the teachings of Jesus to love my neighbor as myself began to take root my hatred began to dissolve, slowly. By 1969, I opened my mind to Japanese made products and bought a Toyota Corolla. It only served to bolster my attitude about Jap-Crap. My kids were old enough to chastise me about my use of words and that also affected me. I tried like heck to transfer my hatred to them, but they were smarter than me and resisted. The Corolla and I lasted but two years together. It was the worst car I ever owned.

The years passed and my war against Japanese products waged. I preached American made to anyone who would listen. My friends bought Japanese made Toyotas, Hondas, and Datsuns.  I lost the war when my three kids all bought Japanese made cars and loved them, but I kept telling myself that the price I paid for a good UAW made American car was worth it in patriotic pride. In 2006, I finally succumbed to the Japanese automakers. That came after studying their manufacturing methods and their zest for never-ending quality control. America finally woke up to the fact that Japanese manufacturing methods and quality systems were superior. American manufacturers were in catch-up mode. Our employers all scurried looking for the magic bullet that would allow them to compete. I came to believe in the Japanese system, not because it was Japanese but because it was American. They were smart enough to hire Joe Duran an American quality guru who couldn’t find an audience in America. The Japanese studied his system, and then embraced it. They implemented practices until it hurt, but it paid off. The result is a revolution in auto-making that has changed the world. They have won that war.

In 2006, I bought a Toyota Avalon which I so dearly have named the Death Star. It is the finest car I have ever owned. Then came “Flyboys.” Reading a history of the war with Japan in the detail in which author James Bradley tells has reawakened the deep-seated hatred within my heart. The atrocities committed by the Japanese during the war are hard to understand, but author Bradley explains the Japanese warrior psyche in detail and makes an attempt to rationalize their behavior. What is harder to take are the counter-atrocities we committed to beat them. Our methods were the best we could come up with. They were not pretty, but necessary. Japan’s determination was to take over China and the Pacific to expand their empire. They needed room to grow. Their population in the late nineteen thirties peaked at sixty million, and they lived on an island the size of California. Today, California has sixty-four million people and I think it is over populated.

Hopefully, this reawakened hatred will be short-lived as the memory of this narrative wears off. So, what does this have to do with my opening sentence, “A few years ago a movie called Trains, Planes, and Automobiles came out and caused me to laugh my butt off”? The answer is “nothing,” but my fascination with trains, planes and automobiles developed during this time frame. I grew up on a street one block away from a Nickel Plate RR line and I listened to and watched thousands of trains pass by carrying war materials. Airplanes of every type flew over head daily on the way to training fields and to missions in the Pacific, and automobile development stopped causing people to keep the cars they had, or to buy used 1930’s vintage models. To this day I love WWII airplanes, nineteen thirties hot rods, and steam engines.

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