Here’s a short version of a very long, complicated, and dangerous story. At the end of WWII a civil war broke out in China between the communist forces of Mao Tse-tung and the established forces of Chiang Kai-shek. Chiang wasn’t a good buy but he wasn’t a communist so we supported him. The eventual winner of this conflict was the communist dictator, Mao Tse-tung.
In order to save himself and what remained of his army, Chiang Kai-shek left mainland China and occupied the island of what we know as Taiwan, which had been a province of China. The mainland Chinese government still insists that Taiwan belongs to them.
In this dispute over Taiwan the US sided with Chiang and offered military and economic assistance. For may years the US officially considered the nation of China to be Taiwan and literally ignored the presence of the mainland. We used our power to seat Taiwan in the UN’s China seat. If you looked at a world map showing only those nations the US recognized, the entire mainland of China might have been colored blue, as if it were just ocean.
Right after Thanksgiving we were watching the HBO nightly program, VICE News. One segment was to visit and film a family during their traditional Thanksgiving sit down dinner. It was a father, mother, couple of sons and their families.
Things began peaceful enough with the carving of the turkey and a toast to the present and future. Almost instantly something was said about the recent election and the father admitted he had voted for Trump. One of the sons went off like a pound of C-4 explosive and all out verbal abuse set in that on a couple of occasions came close to physical conflict between the son and his father.
TOBACCO: 870 billion is the number of cigarettes manufactured by Philip Morris annually. The company has invested $3 billion into tobacco vaporizers, already available in some overseas markets, and plans to have the product in 20 markets this year. BTW, PM has announced it may be planning on exiting the cigarette business.
Not that there is any less but, back in the early days of the Obama administration there was lots of controversy regarding America’s health care system. In trying to sort through all the claims and myths about how other nations approached it I read a book by a researcher who had been hired by some institution to visit certain countries and evaluate their systems.
I don’t recall many details but I do remember that Canada and Taiwan were near the top of the best ten list. Some of the other countries he investigated were Germany, England, France, and the US. At no surprise the US ranked at the bottom of the list. Not because of poor health services and facilities but because it was too expensive for too many Americans.
Today I had lunch with two of my closest high school friends. All three of us are seventy-four years old, in pretty good health, and can mentally hold our own. The main differences between today and back then is we are all more gnarly and we move slower. Anyway, when we were saying goodbye one of us suggested we have lunch again, “before one of us dies!” For whatever reason the following story I wrote in 2004 came to mind so I decided to republish it. Enjoy!
A Few Thoughts On Heaven and Hell
Published June, 2004
As of this month, I am officially an old person. I recently turned age 62, filed for Social Security and within days should receive my first Social Security check. So, now that I’m old I’ve decided to spend a little time thinking about heaven and hell: since that’s what old people seem to do a lot.
We all know about the heaven and hell of the Bible but there are lots of others, especially hells, of a more worldly nature. For example, General William Tecumseh Sherman once uttered something about war being hell while General George Patton felt that war glorified the best in humanity.
Following the great recession of 2008 the congress passed a stimulus bill that was supposed to focus on “shovel ready” infrastructure projects. In my opinion it was not as successful as it could have been because it didn’t authorize enough spending and it didn’t demand that every penny spent be spent with American contractors using American labor, American made equipment, and American made supplies.
Another major problem with big government spending programs has always been keeping them from becoming financial boondoggles and money trees for big corporations.
WASHINGTON BAD: Jeff Pence, the dude Trump is appointing to be the next US Attorney General is not a pot friendly person. He has said in public that, “good people don’t use marijuana.” Well in the state of Washington pot sales in the 2nd quarter of 2016 reached $212 million compared to $249 million for alcohol sales.
20 COUNTRIES: President elect Donald Trump has business interests in at least 20 different countries. These businesses could present conflicts of interest for the president and pose potential security threats.
FiveThirtyEight doesn’t just do political stats. It’s owned by ESPN and is in the sports prediction business as well as politics. Here’s what they’ve got to say about the future of the Buckeyes.
In what may be the biggest college football rivalry game of the year, No. 2 Ohio State beat No. 3 Michigan in double overtime, 30 to 27. Last week, Ohio State had a 61 percent chance of making the College Football Playoff and Michigan had a 37 percent shot, according to FiveThirtyEight’s college football predictions. Ohio is now a 90 percent chance of making the playoff, and Michigan’s chances are down to 2 percent. I went to William & Mary, not exactly a big time football school, but as I understand it the College Football Playoff is a recent innovation that decides who gets to eventually lose to Alabama on national television.
Hope they do better with OSU than they did with Hillary!
I’ve read a lot about the election and why the Democrats lost. Of all the suggestions the one that concerns me the most is the idea that the party no longer represents the working classes. I’ve known for a long time that both parties are heavily reliant on big business and the wealthy for their money and owed a debt for that support. I wrote it off by believing the GOP simply had richer and more powerful supporters so it somehow balanced out.
Given that millions of Democrats supported Bernie Sanders and his revolutionary ideas, including running without corporate and PAC money, coupled with the out-and-out rejection of so many working people, I’ve got to question just who the Democrats do support today? I’ve also got to question if I can continue associating with the Democrats.
A meme is a, “humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users,” that in today’s Internet world is almost impossible to avoid.
Memes are what substitutes for independent thought and the ability to openly express one’s thoughts. Memes are those never-ending pictures that show up on social media and frequently inaccurately express some political statement or make a false historical claim.
If you have twenty-five Facebook friends at least one of them does little other than post memes on their account page. They almost never write or express anything that came from their own thoughts and creativity.
Al Gore and Mark Zuckerberg gave us all the means to communicate with each other but failed to give us the communicative ability to do so. Recognizing that, Richard Dawkins gave us the meme. Dawkins was an evolutionary biologists and probably realized many of humankind had evolved as far as they were going to go and needed a lift. Thus the meme.
Eddie Montgomery is always asking me whatever became of the stories I put together about Greenfield’s hot rod history? The answer is, they still exists but they’re just harder to find.
Digging around in various former websites I finally came across the link to the collection. Some of these I wrote but the majority were submitted by other locals with an interest in street rods and cars in general.
I don’t know how much is still valid but if you got any age on you you’ll probably get a memory scratched with these stories and photos.
A few days ago I wrote a piece about the future of coal in WV and mentioned the community of Welch, WV, the county seat of McDowell County. I know just a little about Welch because of once having some amateur radio friends in the area and by selling the local school system a bunch of computers back in the early 1990s.
The assistant superintendent of schools told me that Welch was one of the most economically depressed areas of WV and a large percentage of the residents were on some sort of welfare or relief. There was so much welfare money coming into the county that K-Mart built a brand new store on the edge of town to keep the money from going to Walmart in neighboring Bluefield and Princeton.
$100,000: That’s the expected cost to NYC each time Trump goes home for a visit. Since he plans to go home every weekend it becomes major dollars. Plus, each visit means a significant gridlock as his motor brigade travels to and from airports. Maybe this is why he only carried 10% of the city’s vote.