Saturday, December 31, 2022

Nobody likes Secretary Pete Buttigieg these days


(My new American Thinker post)

As I understand, the mission of the Department of Transportation is "to deliver the world’s leading transportation system, serving the American people and economy through the safe, efficient, sustainable, and equitable movement of people and goods."   The department is run by Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who was appointed by President Biden.  

Like many of you, I had a simple question about Pete Buttigieg or what experience does this man have in transportation matters?  My question was relevant given the supply chain issues related to COVID and other matters where a little knowledge might help.  The DoT website does not address his experience but we are reminded that he is the first "....openly gay person confirmed."  And he is married to a man and they are raising a couple of babies.  I guess that he is the first person confirmed to do that, too.

The secretary's problem is that there are serious issues on his plate and he has the "deer in the headlights" look.  Or maybe I should say "gay deer in the headlights" to avoid being called homophobic.

We heard today that the criticism is now coming from a Democrat.  Take a look:    

Progressives are taking aim at Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg over the Southwest airlines holiday travel fiasco that continues to cause mass delays and cancellations across the country, urging further scrutiny of the department’s practices. 

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a leading left-wing lawmaker on Capitol Hill, took to Twitter on Thursday to question the Transportation Department’s handling of the debacle that left travelers deserted and frenzied and administration officials scrambling.   

“Nearly six months ago Bernie Sanders and I called for Buttigieg to implement fines and penalties on airlines for cancelling flights. Why were these recommendations not followed?” the congressman tweeted. “This mess with Southwest could have been avoided. We need bold action.”

Khanna, who co-chaired Sanders’s 2020 presidential campaign, was referencing a recommendation that the Vermont senator put out in late June asking department officials to demand airlines compensate travelers for canceled or significantly delayed flights and cover their basic expenses like food and accommodations, which Khanna endorsed. 

Obviously, Southwest has a lot of problems.  I'm not sure what the secretary could have done to prevent this week's mess but he could have been more proactive.  We've had some airline issues for a while.  It seems that the secretary does nothing but go on TV to talk about how the administration's spending is helping you and me.  Not sure that those souls stranded in airports feel like anybody is helping them.

What happens to Buttigieg now? Nothing.  His results are awful but how can you fire the first openly gay man confirmed?  The party activists just care about checking the identity politics boxes.  Did I tell you about the press secretary?

P.S.  Check out my blog for posts, podcasts and videos.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Friday's podcast: Looking back at 2022.......Trump tax returns......The airlines and backlash....

Looking back at 2022....Trump tax returns....The airlines and backlash against 
Secretary of Transportation.....Happy # 87 Sandy Koufax....and other stories....

click to listen:

Friday's video: Looking back at 2022.......Trump tax returns......The airlines and backlash.....

Looking back at 2022.......Trump tax returns......The airlines and backlash against Secretary of Transportation.....Happy # 87 Sandy Koufax..........and other stories.........

 P.S.  Check out my blog for posts, podcasts and videos. If you like our posts, please look for ”Donate” on the right column of the blog page.

'Go woke go broke' is in the air


(My new American Thinker post)

Maybe "go woke go broke" is something that the "wokes" should take a look at.  How many more in-your-face messages do you need?

Last week, I read that 2022 was "an annus horribilis" for the people who make movies:     

Major studios, streamers, cable providers, and other media giants lost a combined $542 billion in market value in 2022, with left-wing studios the Walt Disney Co., Netflix, and Comcast accounting for the bulk of the bloodshed.

You don't need to speak Latin to know that losing that kind of money makes it "an annus horribilis.”  Maybe the next movie from Hollywood is "Salire de tecto," or Latin for bean counters jumping off the roof. It's tough to lose money but it's hard to feel sorry for a company that invested millions in a movie aimed at seven-year-olds focused on climate change or homosexuality.  Hard to get parents to spread a good word about that flick!  People had no trouble spreading the word and filling up the theaters to see Top Gun: Maverick, non-woke, pro-American, and a movie that portrays masculinity in a positive way.  Who knew that people would enjoy movies like that?

The other example is the NBA.  It went one on one against the NFL on Christmas Day and it wasn't pretty:   

On Christmas Day, the most-viewed NFL game of the day was the contest between the Miami Dolphins and Green Bay Packers, pulling in 25.92 million viewers, according to NFL analyst Ari Meirov. In comparison to the NBA’s highest-viewed game, which was between the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, it was a blowout with basketball only pulling in a little over six million viewers.

To be fair, the NFL games had post-season implications and the NBA was just another day on the schedule.  Nevertheless, a lot of fans like me are sick and tired of political messages rather than good basketball.  Where is Oscar Robertson when we really need him?

The NBA also has a China problem and it gets more hypocritical by the minute.  Speaking for me, I have no interest in the NBA these days. They lost me a couple of years ago and a lot of my sports buddies say the same thing.

So maybe the public has had it with woke.  Maybe the bean counters will mention that the next time they are talking about funding another woke movie.

P.S.  Check out my blog for posts, podcasts and videos.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Thursday's podcast: Texas 1845......Title 42 and where is The White House?.......People getting paid not to work.....GOP House and investigations....

Texas 1845......Title 42 and where is The White House?.......People getting paid not to work.....GOP House and investigations........Mary Tyler Moore (1936-2017)..........and other stories......

click to listen:

Thursday's video: Texas 1845..........People getting paid not to work.....GOP House and in...

Texas 1845......Title 42 and where is The White House?.......People getting paid not to work.....GOP House and investigations........Mary Tyler Moore (1936-2017)..........and other stories......

 P.S.  Check out my blog for posts, podcasts and videos. If you like our posts, please look for ”Donate” on the right column of the blog page.


From work from home to collect at home


(My new American Thinker post)

My late father had a very strong work ethic.  He came here with a wife and three kids and worked two jobs to take care of us.  Eventually, he got back to banking, his profession in Cuba, but he worked carrying luggage at a hotel for almost four years.  My father would be shocked to see people collecting money for doing nothing.

Why are so many people walking by those "help wanted" signs rather than inquiring about work?  The answer is government benefits, what a friend from Finland once called the "European disease" -- paying people for not working.

This is a horrible report but it's true.  Let's check the details:    

The labor force participation rate was 62.1% last month, notably lower than the 63.4% mark it was at before the coronavirus pandemic struck the United States in March 2020.   

There are numerous reasons that unemployed Americans aren't entering the workforce, including ongoing fears of COVID-19, disabilities such as "long COVID," and other care responsibilities. One factor that is contributing to the relatively low labor force participation rate is the combination of unemployment benefits and recently expanded Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies, according a new study by the nonprofit Committee to Unleash Prosperity. 

In 14 states, unemployment benefits and ACA subsidies for a family of four with two people not working amounts to an annualized equivalent of $80,000 a year in wages and benefits, the study found.    

Those benefits come out to over $100,000 in three states -- Washington, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. 

If you pay them to stay home then they will stay home, to paraphrase the famous baseball movie. I do find interesting that Massachusetts and New Jersey are losing population to red states. Maybe people are getting tired of paying taxes to support these benefits.  

How does paying people not to work help the economy or the business owners looking to fill jobs? It does not, but it does give many a reason to vote blue and others a reason to move to Texas, Florida, etc.    

P.S.  Check out my blog for posts, podcasts and videos.

Habana vs Almendares: A little “beisbol” in Cuba

It was a lot of fun hearing my late parents tell stories of Cuban baseball. My mother, born in Ciego de Avila, followed La Habana. My father, born in Sagua La Grande, followed Almendares. They spent many nights in their hometowns writing each other letters and listening to the games on radio. I guess that I inherited their passion for “beisbol.”

We remember an important anniversary in Cuban baseball: 

“On December 29, 1878, the first game is played between two teams of the first professional baseball league in Cuba, later known as the Cuban League. Representing the city of Havana, the Habana club faced off against their greatest rivals, a club from the neighboring suburb of Almendares. Habana, coached by Esteban Bellán, the first Cuban to play professional baseball in the United States, won that inaugural game 21-20.” 

The first game eventually turned into the very successful Almendares-Habana rivalry, the Cuban version of the Yankees-Red Sox feud. Eventually, they added teams in Marianao and Cienfuegos.  

It all started today in 1878!

P.S.  Check out my blog for posts, podcasts and videos. If you like our posts, please look for ”Donate” on the right column of the blog page.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Wednesday's podcast: Title 42 stays a bit longer, El Paso disaster is on Biden & Hollywood 2022

Wednesday's podcast:  

Title 42 stays a bit longer, El Paso disaster is on Biden & Hollywood 2022.....

click to listen:

Wednesday's video: Title 42 stays a bit longer, El Paso disaster is on Biden & Hollywood 2022

Wednesday's video: 
Title 42 stays a bit longer, El Paso disaster is on Biden & Hollywood 2022....

 P.S.  Check out my blog for posts, podcasts and videos. If you like our posts, please look for ”Donate” on the right column of the blog page.


It's going to be an active legislative session in Texas


(My new American Thinker post)

It's the last week of 2022, but Texas legislators are already proposing ideas.  The latest comes from GOP Texas House Representative Carl Tepper:  

Texas Republican Representative Carl Tepper has introduced a bill that seeks to forbid diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at all public universities in the Lonestar State.

The bill, introduced Dec. 13, seeks to ban “the funding, promotion, sponsorship or support of any office of diversity, equity and inclusion” as well as any “initiative or formulation of diversity, equity and inclusion beyond what is necessary to uphold the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment.”

The legislation, HB 1006, also seeks to mandate that all higher education institutions adopt a policy that “demonstrates a commitment to intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity.”

And it would establish that public universities “foster a diversity of viewpoints” and “maintain political, social, and cultural neutrality.”

The legislation comes in the wake of the opening of Texas Tech’s Black Cultural Center in September, Tepper told The College Fix.

“In the new center, portraits of distinguished black alumni are displayed on the walls,” Tepper said via email. “I believe that distinguished black alumni should be displayed all over campus, including the student union building and other colleges and dorms.”

“College students and alumni should be able to appreciate distinguished black alumni (or any distinguished alumni) anywhere on campus.”

“I was disappointed that there would be such a segregated thing today,” Tepper said. “I think it’s obvious that segregation and self-segregation are dividing America.”

Texas Tech University did not respond to request from The College Fix seeking comment.

We will wait for Texas Tech to respond.

I don't know Representative Tepper.  His district is in Lubbock, Texas, and he is a Texas Tech graduate, so that explains his interest in Texas Tech. According to his website, he is an Air Force veteran and lifelong Christian and conservative Republican.

I like Representative Tepper's proposal and it should be considered in other universities.  What we are seeing in universities today used to be called segregation and racism when Reverend Martin Luther King marched in the 1960s.   In other words, university life should bring people together rather than separate them by race or ethnic groups.

The Texas legislature will be looking at lots of issues next spring, from abortion to school choice to expanding the power grid due to our expanding population.  Nevertheless, I hope that Representative Tepper's get a full hearing.   

P.S.  Check out my blog for posts, podcasts and videos.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Tuesday's podcast: The week in review with Bill Katz the editor of Urgent Agenda

Guest:   Bill Katz the editor of Urgent Agenda...........The Twitter story gets more and more interesting......People leaving blue states and moving to red states......,,Border and a lack of presidential leadership..........and other stories......

click to listen:

Tuesday's video: Argentina after the World Cup.....Article 42 and the Biden administration....

Tuesday's video: 
Argentina after the World Cup.....Article 42 and the Biden administration....

 P.S.  Check out my blog for posts, podcasts and videos. If you like our posts, please look for ”Donate” on the right column of the blog page.


Looking for the economic 'goal'

Down in Argentina, the World Cup parties go on and on.  They can't get enough of Andres Cantor screaming "Argentina campeon del mundo" or world champion.  To be honest, Argentina won on penalty kicks, not a goal, but let's not get technical at a time like this.  Let's just hope that baseball never decides to end World Series extra-inning games with a home run derby.  That would be the end of civilization as we know it.

It's the nation's first Cup since 1986 so many people don't remember the last time that a team brought home a trophy.  The World Cup ride had another benefit:  forget about the economy and watch the games on TV.  And most of the locals did exactly that.

Now, the tournament is over and reality is hitting most people down there.  This is from Lucinda Elliott:  

Argentina’s triumph comes amid political turmoil and a battered economy. Inflation is expected to reach 100 per cent in the year to December. Poverty is high and inching higher. The local peso has collapsed against the US dollar on the widely used black market exchange rate, shattering people’s purchasing power.  

Politics isn’t much brighter. Vice-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was found guilty of corruption this month and the popularity of the leftwing president Alberto Fernández has fallen so far that he was advised not to travel to present the prize to team captain Lionel Messi.

Argentina’s success in the month-long World Cup championship has offered respite to the country of 46mn from years of economic underperformance and knocks to their national pride.

Superstar Lionel Messi, who walks on water these days, did not make it to the presidential palace for the customary photo with the president.  The team bus could not move through Buenos Aires because of the thousands on the streets.  I've heard some stories that Messi did not want to politicize the trophy but who knows for sure.  The current President Alberto Fernandez did not get his photo on the balcony with Messi.

The biggest challenges are 12% unemployment and 42% inflation.  The "freedom index" is the problem according to the Heritage Foundation survey:    

Argentina’s economic freedom score is 50.1, making its economy the 144th freest in the 2022 Index. Argentina is ranked 27th among 32 countries in the Americas region, and its overall score is below the regional and world averages.

Over the past five years, Argentina’s economy has been shrinking with the largest contraction coming in 2020. A five-year trend of expanding economic freedom has been broken. 

Dragged down by a huge decline in fiscal health, Argentina has recorded a 0.3-point overall loss of economic freedom since 2017 and has fallen to the very bottom of the “Mostly Unfree” category. 

Property rights, fiscal health, and monetary freedom are particularly weak.

How can South America’s second-largest country be such a mess?  Argentina has vast agricultural and mineral resources, a romantic dance called the tango plus a highly educated population.  What's going on?  A friend once told me that Argentina does have an educated population but he is not sure what they learned in school.  I don't know the answer, but Argentina is a lot better at scoring goals than running an economy.  Just ask the old timers on the streets who remember the 1978 and 1986 celebrations.

Maybe they can play another Cup next month.  

P.S.  Check out my blog for posts, podcasts and videos.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Monday's podcast: The situation in El Paso and other border issues with George Rodriguez

Guest: George Rodriguez, South Texas conservative
.....A look at the US-Mexico border chaos......and other stories......

click to listen:

Monday's video: The situation in El Paso and other border issues with George Rodriguez

Monday's video: 
The situation in El Paso and other border issues with George Rodriguez......

 P.S.  Check out my blog for posts, podcasts and videos. If you like our posts, please look for ”Donate” on the right column of the blog page.


El Paso used to be so beautiful at Christmas

 (My new American Thinker post)

Not long ago, a business trip to El Paso and Juarez on the other side was a lot of fun.  First, the people are great.  Second, the restaurants offered a variety of food and December gave you a taste of Christmas decorations highlighting the mixed border culture.

Not this year.  El Paso is now all about the border crisis.  This is from the Texas Tribune:   

The emergency declaration that allows El Paso to protect migrants by taking them off the streets and putting them in temporary shelters was extended for 30 days during a special City Council meeting Friday night.


For the past six months, El Paso has been the epicenter of a migrant influx that does not appear to be letting up and may get worse if Title 42 is lifted next week.

Title 42 is a COVID-19 public health order initiated by President Trump in 2020 and expanded by President Biden that allowed border agents to immediately expel many migrants without an opportunity to request asylum. The Supreme Court is reviewing a federal judge’s ruling from November that the program must end.

My friends in El Paso are saying enough is enough.  It's a mixed message.  On one hand, they sympathize with the arrivals, especially the ones from Venezuela.  Some are helping with a smile and charity.  On the other hand, they don't think that their city can take this anymore.  I had a friend tell me in Spanish something about not having the space for all the arrivals.  He added that it was more sensible when they stayed in Mexico or President Trump's order canceled in 2021.

So what's next?  It depends who you ask. The White House keeps putting off presenting a program to do anything. The people that I spoke with in El Paso want the matter resolved immediately.

Last, but not least, we've had three days of frigid temperatures with wind chill factors that remind me of living in Wisconsin.  The cold weather is complicating things all over.  It's like a perfect storm:  below-freezing temperatures and a rise in migrant crossings at the Texas-Mexico border.  

People are screaming for help in El Paso and longing for those days of yesteryear when they celebrated their bilingual "Christmas-Navidad" with family and cheer.  "No se puede" in 2022!   

P.S.  Check out my blog for posts, podcasts and videos.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas from 30 million Texans

 (My new American Thinker post)

You don't need a newspaper story to confirm that Texas is growing.  Just look around and see the growth, the new homes and office buildings.  Nevertheless, we did learn this week that there are 30 millions of us in Texas.  This is from the Texas Tribune:   

Fueled by migration to the state from other parts of the country, Texas crossed a new population threshold this year: It is now home to 30 million people.

New estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau put the state’s population as of July 1 at 30,029,572 following years of steady growth. This makes Texas the only state, other than California, with a population of more than 30 million.

Here we come, California!  

And there is more:    

Texas’ population increased by 470,708 people since July 2021, the largest gain in the nation. Texas regularly holds that top spot on the bureau’s annual population updates. Roughly half of that growth came from net domestic migration -- the number of people coming to Texas from other states -- while the other half was split almost evenly between net international migration and natural increase, which is the difference between births and deaths.

Cheers for Texas.  The rapid growth does have its concerns, from traffic jams and constant construction on the highways.  It's difficult to get around despite all the new toll roads and HOV lanes.

Last, but not least, wonder what Santa thinks of having more deliveries in Texas.  Maybe he will add that George Strait tune to his playlist about Christmas time in Texas:    

When Santa Claus slips over the border

It'll sound a little different when he sings

'Cause he'll hear those twin fiddle's playin'

Christmas songs with a touch of western swing

There may not be snow in San Antonio

But it's a Texas Christmas to me

Merry Christmas everybody from 30 million of us in the Lone Star State.

P.S.  Check out my blog for posts, podcasts and videos.

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