The New House in Tucson

December 1st, 2016

Today we went through the new house to plan work to be done once it is ours.

house-front

Here is Jill walking out of the front door. The view shows the west side. The slope down to the street is our property.

house-view-west

This shows the view to the west. The hill down to the street is our property. Most of it is not useful except for privacy,

pool view

The pool will have to be drained and replastered. We will get a quote on adding a little water feature like a waterfall for the return. There is no heater but most pools here are warm enough by midsummer. If we were to add a spa we would add a heater. Not for a while.

Patio view

The patio is nice with a grass yard, rare in Tucson, for Juliet. The far wall has cracks and needs repair but we will probably move it to make the yard larger. The grass will stay the same but we may add another palo verde tree.

wall cracks.

This wall needs repair and I will get a quote for moving and rebuilding it. This area can be incorporated into the yard with a palo verde tree and some cactus. The grass area will stay the same.

house-kitchen

The Kitchen has formica counter tops that are in good shape and we will leave them alone. Some day, we will replace them. We will bring our own refrigerator and washer and dryer from California. The garage is large and has two recesses where we can put the washer and dryer. It will require some replumbing. The present washer and dryer are front loading and stacked in a small nook that can be converted to a closet.

The two bathrooms are 1970s era cabinets but that can wait until we have done the other work. There are popcorn ceilings which will be stripped and painted before we move in in January.

Bedroom

This is one bedroom and has the adobe wall painted.

Bedroom 2

The other bedroom has a sliding door going outside. That bathroom, Jill is already planning some remodeling. It has a nice walk-in closet and she wants to remodel a closet opposite.

I am very pleased with the location and view.

We are on the foothills with Oro Valley just to the west.

January can’t come fast enough.

Trump and Conflicts of Interest.

November 19th, 2016

Trump is organizing his administration but he is facing another crisis.

The Wall Street Journal is giving him painful and unwelcome but good advice.

He must liquidate the family business.

One reason 60 million voters elected Donald Trump is because he promised to change Washington’s culture of self-dealing, and if he wants to succeed he’s going to have to make a sacrifice and lead by example. Mr. Trump has so far indicated that he will keep his business empire but turn over management to his children, and therein lies political danger.

Mr. Trump has for decades run the Trump Organization and during the campaign said if he won the Presidency he’d turn over the keys to Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, all of whom are now serving on the Trump transition. A company spokesperson says the family business is “in the process of vetting various structures” and that the ultimate arrangement “will comply with all applicable rules and regulations.”

Some of Mr. Trump’s lawyers have called the plan a “blind trust,” which past Presidents have used to protect their assets from the appearance of conflicts-of-interest. But that set-up typically involves liquid assets like bonds and stocks, not buildings or a branding empire. Mr. Trump will know how any given decision will affect, say, the old post office property in Washington, D.C. that he’s leasing from the federal government (another conflict). By law blind trusts are overseen by an independent manager, not family members.

The Journal is correct. I don;t know how Trump is going to do this but he has to.

Dick Cheney divested himself of millions of dollars in assets but was still vilified by the left.

Halliburton’s business with the military has grown substantially since Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney took office. The company rose to seventh-largest military contractor in 2003 from 22nd-largest in 2000.

The contracts did not prove to be as profitable as executives had hoped, however, and accusations of political favoritism led to a public relations nightmare. On Thursday, Halliburton said it was considering selling its subsidiary that holds the contracts in Iraq.

Mr. Cheney’s financial disclosure statements from 2001, 2002 and 2003 show that since becoming vice president-elect, he has received $1,997,525 from the company: $1,451,398 in a bonus deferred from 1999, the rest in deferred salary. He also holds options to buy Halliburton stock.

Mr. Cheney’s critics concede that there is no concrete evidence that he has pulled any strings on Halliburton’s behalf. But he has refused to answer a request from Democrats in Congress that he provide an accounting of any communications he and his staff have had with Halliburton or actions they have taken on Halliburton contracts.

Trump will face this squared.

He needs to face the reality of Democrat dishonesty and do the prudent thing.

I have no idea how he will accomplish this.

Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, is already calling for hearings about all of this. Trump and his party don’t need to worry much about that given how favorable the 2018 map is, but as we just found out last week, anything can happen in politics. If a nasty recession hits next year and Democrats end up winning back the House or Senate, all of these conflicts will be explored at length in congressional inquiries in 2019.

Cummings is despicable but those are the people who will harass Trump and try to destroy his presidency. He must anticipate this.

Mr. Trump’s best option is to liquidate his stake in the company. Richard Painter and Norman Eisen, ethics lawyers for George W. Bush and President Obama, respectively, have laid out a plan, which involves a leveraged buyout or an initial public offering.

Mr. Trump could put the cash proceeds in a true blind trust. The Trump children can keep the assets in their name, and he can transfer more to them as long as he pays a hefty gift tax. Finally, Mr. Trump should stipulate that he and his children will have no communication about family business matters.

He needs to have someone working on this.

President Trump

November 9th, 2016

I never thought, except in a few moments of fantasy, that I would be able to say that.

I have been interested in Trump as a phenomenon all year.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Wilson conceded that “Trump is still a very powerful force right now” because he appeals to part of the of the conservative base that Wilson said was activated by his “nativist” message. Wilson insisted that the donor class “can’t just sit back on the sidelines and say, ‘oh well, don’t worry, this will all work itself out.’”
“They’re still going to have to go out and put a bullet in Donald Trump,” Wilson said. “And that’s a fact.”

Wilson is an alleged GOP consultant. Trump may be fatal to many GOP consultants as they were not only mistaken but disloyal to the team they were supposed to belong to.

What happened? Richard Fernandez has a theory.

Hillary’s real enemy was Obama’s real record of failure added to her own. Low-wage growth, a disastrous foreign policy, a catastrophic Obamacare, and numerous scandals to name a few weighed down on her like an anvil heavier than any insult that Donald Trump could lay upon her.

It’s important for progressives to realize this, for they are even now casting about for something to blame. Paul Krugman tweeted: “I truly thought I knew my country better than it turns out I did. I have warned that we could become a failed state, but didn’t realize …” Realize what? That the electorate wouldn’t notice the last administration’s debacles?

A lot of this can be laid on Obama. He has been a disastrous president. I thought he would be all along.

In February 2008, I posted this.

Jones had served in the Illinois Legislature for three decades. He represented a district on the Chicago South Side not far from Obama’s. He became Obama’s ­kingmaker.

Several months before Obama announced his U.S. Senate bid, Jones called his old friend Cliff Kelley, a former Chicago alderman who now hosts the city’s most popular black call-in radio ­program.

I called Kelley last week and he recollected the private conversation as follows:

“He said, ‘Cliff, I’m gonna make me a U.S. Senator.’”

“Oh, you are? Who might that be?”

“Barack Obama.”

Obama had no record of accomplishment. Jones put his name on bills he had had nothing to do with.

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Game Theory examples.

October 25th, 2016

Stephen den Beste died this week.

he was an early blogger but has been in poor health recently and stopped blogging the past year.

On Islamist terrorism:

The nations and the peoples within the zone of our enemy’s culture are complete failures. Their economies are disasters. They make no contribution to the advance of science or engineering. They make no contribution to art or culture. They have no important diplomatic power. They are not respected. Most of their people are impoverished and miserable and filled with resentment, and those who are not impoverished are living a lie. They hate us.

They hate us because our culture is everything theirs is not. Our culture is vibrant and fecund; our economies are successful. Our achievements are magnificent. Our engineering and science are advancing at breathtaking speed. Our people are fat and happy (relatively speaking). We are influential, we are powerful, we are wealthy. “We” are the western democracies, but in particular “we” are the United States, which is the most successful of the western democracies by a long margin. America is the most successful nation in the history of the world, economically and technologically and militarily and even culturally.

Sadly, our own culture seems to be under attack from within.

His blog post on Game Theory and The Prisoner’s Dilemma is excellent.

The Prisoner’s Dilemma is a classic of Game Theory

It has been endlessly analyzed but Den Beste’s is about the best I know.

There’s been a lot of analysis of this, and it turns out that honesty isn’t the best policy. One guy decided to run a computer tournament; people were permitted to create algorithms in a synthetic language which would have the ability to keep track of previous exchanges and make a decision on each new exchange whether to be honest or to cheat. He challenged them to see who could come up with the one which did the best in a long series of matches against various opponents. It turned out that the best anyone could find, and the best anyone has ever found, was known as “Tit-for-tat”.

On the first round, it plays fair. On each successive round, it does to the other guy what he did the last time.

When Tit-for-tat plays against itself, it plays fair for the entire game and maximizes output. When it plays against anyone who tosses in some cheating, it punishes it by cheating back and reduces the other guys unfair winnings.

No-one has ever found a way of defeating it.

Now let’s analyze two different and even more simplistic approaches; we’ll call them “saint” and “sinner”. The saint plays fair every single round, irrespective of what the other guy does. The sinner always cheats.

When a saint plays against another saint, or against tit-for-tat, the result is optimum but more important is that everyone gets the same result. When a sinner plays against another sinner, or against tit-for-tat, everyone cheats and the result is still even, though less than optimal.

But when a sinner plays against a saint, the sinner wins and the saint loses.

Which brings me back to the point of all this: Is there anything I would rule out in war? Nothing I’d care to admit to my enemies, because ruling out anything is a “saint” tactic. The Tit-for-tat tactic is to be prepared to do anything, but not to do so spontaneously. In other words, if the other guy threatens to use poison gas, you make sure you have some of your own and let him know that you’ll retaliate with it. That means that he has nothing to win by using it, and he won’t. (A war is a sequence game and not a single transaction because each day is a new exchange. If you gassed my guys yesterday, I can gas yours today.)

Unfortunately, this logic has been abandoned by the Ruling Class, which thinks it is more important to signal its virtue than to defend the country.

What if Trump loses ?

October 18th, 2016

The election news is starting to suggest to me that Trump may well lose the election to Hillary. What would that mean?

Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt person to get this close to the presidency since Aaron Burr.

he blamed Hamilton for besmirching him as a candidate, and, eager to defend his honor, challenged Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton accepted, and the face-off took place on the morning of July 11, 1804; it ended when Burr shot Hamilton to death. Though the public cried murder, Burr was let off, and after laying low for a while, he was able to complete his vice-presidential term.

What then?

In 1807, Burr was brought to trial on charges of conspiracy and high misdemeanor, for leading a military charge against Spanish territory and for trying to separate territories from the United States. Chief Justice John Marshall acquitted Burr on the treason charge and eventually revoked his misdemeanor indictment, but the conspiracy scandal left Burr’s political career in ruins.

Final Years

Burr spent the four years following his trial traveling throughout Europe, attempting unsuccessfully to garner support for revolutionizing Mexico and freeing the Spanish colonies.

Burr was a traitor after having his ambitions thwarted.

We all know Hillary’s story. She was a student radical at Wellesley and her senior thesis was on Saul Alinsky.

The thesis was sympathetic to Alinsky’s critiques of government antipoverty programs, but criticized Alinsky’s methods as largely ineffective, all the while describing Alinsky’s personality as appealing.[4] The thesis sought to fit Alinsky into a line of American social activists, including Eugene V. Debs, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Walt Whitman. Written in formal academic language, the thesis concluded that “[Alinsky’s] power/conflict model is rendered inapplicable by existing social conflicts” and that Alinsky’s model had not expanded nationally due to “the anachronistic nature of small autonomous conflict.”

Her sympathies are clear. What will she be like as president if she wins?

We know she is dishonest by most definitions of the term.

She evaded the law on security when she accepted the position of Secretary of State. Her security detail at State, rebelled at her ignoring security rules, and her personal abusive style. The latter was well known from her time in the White House as First Lady.

During her interview, the agent said Clinton treated agents rudely and with contempt, and was so unpleasant that senior agents typically avoided being on her security detail.

“[Redacted] explained that CLINTON’s treatment of DS agents on her protective detail was so contemptuous that many of them sought reassignment or employment elsewhere,” the interview summary says. “Prior to CLINTON’s tenure, being an agent on the Secretary of State’s protective detail was seen as an honor and privilege reserved for senior agents. However, by the end of CLINTON’s tenure, it was staffed largely with new agents because it was difficult to find senior agents willing to work for her.”

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Trump’s new scandal.

October 7th, 2016

The New York Times and the Democrats have a new Trump story to peddle.

The crude comments are a huge scandal to the new Puritans of the left.

The explosive revelation of his coarse remarks, on the eve of a crucial debate on Sunday against Hillary Clinton, represented a new low for a campaign that had already redefined the standards of political discourse to fit Mr. Trump’s penchant for insults, mocking, threats and demagogic insinuations. A three-minute video clearly capturing Mr. Trump’s voice, and obtained by The Washington Post, ricocheted across social media and cable television and instantly became one of the most powerful weapons yet for Democrats to persuade undecided female voters and others to back Mrs. Clinton.

The Washington Post seems to be the source.

This is the weekend before the second debate and there is obviously a script running here. The recording was made 11 years ago when Trump was unmarried although he married Melania in 2005. I am unaware of any credible allegations of sexual harassment or rape against Trump, although there has been a lawsuit filed and rejected by a 13 year old. alleging rape.

Federal Judge Ronnie Abrams has ordered a December status conference hearing after a woman, who calls herself “Jane Doe,” filed a lawsuit claiming that Trump raped her when she was 13 years old in the 1990s. This is the third attempt the plaintiff has made in filing this particular lawsuit. Last Friday, she filed an amended complaint, with a new “witness” named “Joan Doe.” The plaintiff and witnesses in the case are using pseudonyms, they say, to protect their identities.

Ronnie Abrams was appointed by Barack Obama in 2011.

The plaintiff’s allegation seems to be that she was raped in a setting where Jeffrey Epstein of “Lolita Express” and Bill Clinton fame were present.

I think this is probably a setup by the DNC since the alleged rape occurred in the 1990s and the lawsuit has been previously dismissed.

I think there is a permissive atmosphere where wealthy and popular personalities, like Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton, can be helpful to women in a career. After all, Hillary Clinton owes her career to her husband Bill. She may think she has done it on her own but Bill is a much better politician than she is and that has been obvious since the “Hillarycare” debacle in 1994. I don’t mean to imply that women politicians need men. After all Margaret Thatcher did it on her own with only support from her husband in a personal, non-political way.

We will hear a lot about this story for the next two days and it will be important for Trump to deflate this particular balloon next Sunday. Maybe Hillary will her child actress ask him a question about it.

I assume he anticipated this campaign of vilification but even Trump might be distressed at the levels of hate, especially from Republicans.

Why we are losing America.

October 7th, 2016

norman_rockwell-homecoming_marine-1945

This painting, of a young Marine just home from the war, shows us how much we have lost. I remember when the guys were coming home from the war. My parents had parties for them. My father had enlisted in the Navy in World War I even though he was only 15.

albin-1918

He looks older but was only 15 and, after the war ended a few months later, admitted his age and came home. He had no intention of being a peacetime sailor.

Saloon

Here is one of the parties after the war. Our house had a basement party room with a fireplace (that smoked) and a full bar plus a juke box and, at one time, a penny slot machine that I wish I had now. Sid White, sitting in the front, was a B 17 crewman who was shot down and spent several years in a POW camp.

Standing at the far right is my uncle Tom and his wife Mavis. He had spent the war in Europe. Standing to the left of Sid is Bud Gonya who was a Seabee in the Pacific. He is wearing a vest over a white shirt. My father is standing behind the bar directly behind Sid. Next to him is Chuck Quinn, a neighbor and friend of Bud Kerrison, my cousin who is to the right of them. Bud is behind Mavis and was a B 17 bombardier in North Africa. Next to Bud and perhaps sitting on his lap is Pat Neary who would marry a friend of Bud’s from the North African campaign named Frank Flanagan. Sitting next to Sid with her arms on his shoulders is Ellen Smith who would marry him. Her brother Jimmy was in the POW camp with Sid.

Most of these girls were friends of Bud’s sisters Ruth and Marian and quite a few of them married friends of Bud from the war. I was only 7 years old at the time and had a lot of fun meeting and getting to know these people.

There has been criticism of this “Greatest Generation” who probably spoiled their children, “The Baby Boomers” who have gone to destroy their parents’ world. I think this group had grown up in the Depression and gave considerable credit to the government, credit we now believe to have been excessive. On the other hand, Roosevelt had done a credible job of running the war.

Everyone was happy it was over and the country had a period of prosperity that continued until the 1965 Johnson Administration set off an inflationary spiral that has brought us down, perhaps forever. The 1960s also introduced the violent and anarchic Baby Boomers who wrecked the social institutions over the next 40 years.

Rockwell would not recognize the country we have become.

Are We Lucky Enough ?

October 1st, 2016

Another good insight from Richard Fernandez.

Otto von Bismarck said, There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America.

Is it true? I think we may find out, especially if Hillary Clinton, in spite of all her crimes and corruption, is elected President.

Shimon Peres said, I said, “America will win no matter what you do.”

“Why?” he asked.

“Because they are lucky, and you are not.”

Is that true ? I wonder.

The last eight years have been one unending liberal search for the Great Man of history, the belief that “history can be largely explained by the impact of ‘great men’, or heroes … who, due to either their personal charisma, intelligence, wisdom, or political skill utilized their power in a way that had a decisive historical impact.”

Liberals thought they had it in Obama 2008. They think they have it in the historic First Woman, Hillary in 2016. They may even think they have it in Kerry. Steve Clemons of the Atlantic asked America’s top diplomat in the context of his diplomatic record: what exactly is the “John Kerry secret sauce?” And Kerry patiently explained that it was coming to an agreement with rival negotiators. “You have to figure out whether you can find in the adversaries a meeting of the minds on any of the interests and/or values.”

This, I assume, is why they think negotiation can solve all differences.

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Jim Kilroy died today at 94.

September 30th, 2016

kialoa-v-by-ingrid-abery

Jim Kilroy spent 40 years sailing his maxi-boats and setting records.

At 66, Kilroy’s wavy hair is snow white, but he is tall, lean, energetic and well established in style through 32 years of campaigning the Kialoas. At Long Beach, an onlooker was startled to see the 79-foot aluminum sloop leave the dock without him.

Later, on the 45-foot tender, Kilroy explained: “I never take over the boat until the sails are up. Allan takes the boat out and Allan takes the boat in.”

Allan is Allan Pryor, a New Zealander whose job it is to take care of Kilroy’s boat, wherever in the world it is.

“It’s Allan’s boat when we’re not racing,” Kilroy said.

His New Zealand crews were famous in ocean racing for many years. I was in a bar in Mazatlan in 1976, the first time I heard the Kilroy crew chant for good competitors. No, it wasn’t for me but I was there and heard it.

I knew him casually in sailing. Once, when he was building one of his yachts, he sailed in the Ensenada Race with Alan Puckett, who was the president of Hughes Aircraft Company and who owned Blackbird, an Ericson 46.

The Ericson 46 was not an easy boat to sail, especially if the wind was up, but Kilroy would rather crew for someone else than stay on the beach. Puckett, himself, was a well known sailor in an era when none of us were professionals.

Allen was an avid yacht racer and cruising sailor. Over the years, he raced on 4 boats of his own, including a Lapworth 36 “Alsuna,” a Cal 40 “Alsuna 2,” an Ericson 46 “Blackbird” and finally a Farr 55 “Amazing Grace.” When he was not skippering his own boats, he was also a highly sought-after master navigator, in the days when a sextant, compass, wristwatch, and paper charts were primary, and sometimes only, equipment used. When the first portable personal computers became available, Puckett was one of the first to develop software to assist in navigation and sailing performance analysis.

Vale, Jim Kilroy and Alan Puckett. Smooth seas and fair winds.

Does Hillary Clinton have Parkinson’s Disease?

September 18th, 2016

The Hillary collpase last Sunday has prompted a lot of speculation on her condition. Early on I was inclined to blame her neurological condition on her history of concussion and cerebral vein thrombosis.

That seemed logical, given her history. However, it does not explain her quick recovery. It also has nothing to do with pneumonia.

This video has now convinced me that she has Parkinson’s Disease, and it is fairly advanced. In the video, the physician mentions Apomorphine, which is not morphine but an alpha adrenergic drug used in Parkinson’s Disease.

Currently, apomorphine is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

What use does it have in Parkinson’s? It is used for “Non-motor symptoms.”

What does that mean ? Parkinson’s Disease is characterized by a serious of motor disabilities.

The cardinal symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are resting tremor, slowness of movement (bradykinesia) and rigidity. Many people also experience balance problems (postural instability). These symptoms, which often appear gradually and with increasing severity over time, are usually what first bring patients to a neurologist for help. Typically, symptoms begin on one side of the body and migrate over time to the other side.

These symptoms are typically controlled with Dopamine like drugs, such as L-Dopa. There are other symptoms less easily controlled.

For example, in advanced cases, difficulty swallowing can cause Parkinson’s patients to aspirate food into the lungs, leading to pneumonia or other pulmonary conditions. Loss of balance can cause falls that result in serious injuries or death. The seriousness of these incidents depends greatly on the patient’s age, overall health and disease stage.

Hmmmm.

There are also side effects of L Dopa.

L-DOPA therapy is further complicated by the development of movement disorders called dyskinesias after 5 – 10 years of use in most cases.

Dyskinesias are movement disorders in which neurological discoordination results in uncontrollable, involuntary movements. This discoordination can also affect the autonomic nervous system, resulting in, for example, respiratory irregularities (Rice 2002). Dyskinesia is the result of L-DOPA-induced synaptic dysfunction and inappropriate signaling between areas of the brain that normally coordinate movement, namely the motor cortex and the striatum (Jenner 2008).

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