If you live under some weird illusion that the private sector is good and your government is bad.  Most likely – you have it wrong. Stop, think about how the private sector runs to the government every time they screw things up. Think about who funds the government – we do. Who bails out big banks, big insurance, big Wall Street, big private sector everything – we do. Who is getting short end of the straw?  We are.

Example:  “The Antares rocket supplied by contractor Orbital Sciences blew up moments after liftoff at NASA’s space launch facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, the space agency said:

“The explosion destroyed the rocket and spacecraft and immediately raised questions about the future of NASA’s reliance on private commercial ventures to carry vital payloads into space to supply and support the orbiting space station.”

This “private launch” cost us $200.000.000! It is the third such costly failure. How much
more of this nonsense should we allow before we wake up to the fact that we are being
used. PRIVATIZATION IS NOT WHAT HAS MADE THIS COUNTRY GREAT – WHAT HAS MADE AMERICA GREAT IS SOCIAL PROGRAMS THAT HAVE WORKED TO HELP BUILD A STRONG, WORKING MIDDLE CLASS, OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM, AND THE AMERICAN WORKER – ALL ARE IN JEOPARDY.

This is how the private sector works: (St. Louis Post Dispatch)  “The natural  speculation is that UnitedHealthCare is hiding behind the ACA to boost its profits. In a letter to UnitedHealthCare CEO Stephen Hemsley (2010-2013 total compensation: $212 million) last spring, Thomas L. Holloway, executive vice president of the Missouri Medical Association, suggested the company is “cherry-picking … targeting the sickest, most costly patients and summarily terminating the physicians.”

What is really sad is during the last 20 years, the United States has finally socialized risk, but
privatized profit.    Check out this link to read all about it:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-feige/socializing-risk-privatiz_b_129281.html

Let’s think about ourselves on election day:

VOTE FOR AMERICA – VOTE FOR OUR CHILDREN – VOTE FOR YOURSELF – BUT VOTE

Yes, let’s take back our Government – (key words – let'”US” and “OUR”) Aren’t you tired of the few profiting from OUR tax dollars. How about taking a moment to remember when we had the “Greatest Generation” and how there was a growing and prosperous middle class. There was government and there was private sector jobs. There was socialization where it was needed. No merger wars and huge monopolies without regulations. It worked so well – shared prosperity. Mostly gone now – but still time to take it back.

STOP THE PRIVATIZATION OF OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS – REELECT TOM TORLAKSON

GET CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS – YES ON PROP 45
NO ON PROP 46
REELECT DAVE JONES-ELECT ART MOORE.

But, above all, don’t squander one of our most precious rights, get out and vote.

The motorhome is currently parked at Mary’s home in Murphys, California. My current departure date is scheduled December 1st.

I began wearing reading glasses at age 52. So the slow degradation of my eyesight began before that time…lets say 25 years ago. All these years I thought all that was going on was something that just about everyone else in my age group was experiencing. I did not realize that in addition that colors were also losing their brilliance.

Most every day while here at Mary’s home in central California I take a one mile walk. My right eye had cataract surgery on October 9th…three weeks ago today. As I started out on yesterday’s walk I was taken back by the brilliantly blue sky and then some fall-colored leaves. I went back and got my camera and these are some of the things I see on my walk everyday with a brand new appreciation for COLOR!…

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It’s hard to imagine being anxious to get back into a surgery situation…but I’m ready!

What’s next? On November 6th we’ll return to Palo Alto for the surgery on my left eye. Once again we’ll spend the night in the Defenders Lodge, have an exam the next morning, then return to Mary’s Home.

Dr. Pershing indicates I should have no problem making my planned December 1st departure before it gets too cold here…providing there are no complications with the next surgery. I’m confident about her abilities and am looking forward to getting back on the road once again.

Online I read that the VA does about 50,000 cataract surgeries a year…about 1,000 a week. Also online I read that about 3,000,000 cataract surgeries are performed in the United States annually. Being an ex-engineer, I broke that down to 60,000 a week and 12,000 a day. Simply amazing!

You can read all about cataract surgery by clicking this Wikipedia link…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cataract_surgery

I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE PHOTOS.

Yesterday was a partly sunny day and 80 degrees. Forecast for today is sunny and 81 degrees.

Enjoying nice weather is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of California. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…

MU

Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures with low humidity most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein

2

On October 27, 2012, I created a two-minute video titled America The Beautiful. The music America The Beautiful is by Christopher W. French. The photos, which I randomly selected, are from the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia (not shown in that order)…are mine. Yup, That’s me standing in front of the Post Office in Luckenbach, Texas…Y’all!

Click this link to start the video. Make sure you have your speakers turned on and go to full screen asap.
http://youtu.be/FfZUzEB4rM8

If you would like to see my YouTube videos, click this link… http://www.youtube.com/user/JimJ1579/videos

There are more than 500 photo albums in my Picasa Web Albums File. To gain access, you simply have to click this link… https://picasaweb.google.com/jimjrver

If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…http://ramblinmanphotos.wordpress.com/

For more information about my books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2014

The Nobel Prize-winning economist, once one of the president’s most notable critics, on why Obama is a historic success

When it comes to Barack Obama, I’ve always been out of sync. Back in 2008, when many liberals were wildly enthusiastic about his candidacy and his press was strongly favorable, I was skeptical. I worried that he was naive, that his talk about transcending the political divide was a dangerous illusion given the unyielding extremism of the modern American right.

And I wasn’t wrong. Obama was indeed naive: He faced scorched-earth Republican opposition from Day One, and it took him years to start dealing with that opposition realistically. Furthermore, he came perilously close to doing terrible things to the U.S. safety net in pursuit of a budget Grand Bargain; we were saved from significant cuts to Social Security and a rise in the Medicare age only by Republican greed, the GOP’s unwillingness to make even token concessions.

But now the shoe is on the other foot: Obama faces trash talk left, right and center – literally – and doesn’t deserve it. Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history. His health reform is imperfect but still a huge step forward – and it’s working better than anyone expected. Financial reform fell far short of what should have happened, but it’s much more effective than you’d think. Economic management has been half-crippled by Republican obstruction, but has nonetheless been much better than in other advanced countries. And environmental policy is starting to look like it could be a major legacy.

I’ll go through those achievements shortly. First, however, let’s take a moment to talk about the current wave of Obama-bashing. All Obama-bashing can be divided into three types. One, a constant of his time in office, is the onslaught from the right, which has never stopped portraying him as an Islamic atheist Marxist Kenyan. Nothing has changed on that front, and nothing will.

president obama

Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty

There’s a different story on the left, where you now find a significant number of critics decrying Obama as, to quote Cornel West, someone who ”posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit.” They’re outraged that Wall Street hasn’t been punished, that income inequality remains so high, that ”neoliberal” economic policies are still in place. All of this seems to rest on the belief that if only Obama had put his eloquence behind a radical economic agenda, he could somehow have gotten that agenda past all the political barriers that have con- strained even his much more modest efforts. It’s hard to take such claims seriously.

Finally, there’s the constant belittling of Obama from mainstream pundits and talking heads. Turn on cable news (although I wouldn’t advise it) and you’ll hear endless talk about a rudderless, stalled administration, maybe even about a failed presidency. Such talk is often buttressed by polls showing that Obama does, indeed, have an approval rating that is very low by historical standards.

But this bashing is misguided even in its own terms – and in any case, it’s focused on the wrong thing.

Yes, Obama has a low approval rating compared with earlier presidents. But there are a number of reasons to believe that presidential approval doesn’t mean the same thing that it used to: There is much more party-sorting (in which Republicans never, ever have a good word for a Democratic president, and vice versa), the public is negative on politicians in general, and so on. Obviously the midterm election hasn’t happened yet, but in a year when Republicans have a huge structural advantage – Democrats are defending a disproportionate number of Senate seats in deep-red states – most analyses suggest that control of the Senate is in doubt, with Democrats doing considerably better than they were supposed to. This isn’t what you’d expect to see if a failing president were dragging his party down.

More important, however, polls – or even elections – are not the measure of a president. High office shouldn’t be about putting points on the electoral scoreboard, it should be about changing the country for the better. Has Obama done that? Do his achievements look likely to endure? The answer to both questions is yes.

HEALTH CARE

When Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, an excited Joe Biden whispered audibly, ”This is a big fucking deal!” He was right.

Related Obamacare, RS issue 1207

Obamacare: It’s Working!

The enactment and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, has been a perils-of-Pauline experience. When an upset in the special election to replace Ted Kennedy cost Democrats their 60-vote Senate majority, health reform had to be rescued with fancy legislative footwork. Then it survived a Supreme Court challenge only thanks to a surprise display of conscience by John Roberts, who nonetheless opened a loophole that has allowed Republican-controlled states to deny coverage to millions of Americans. Then technical difficulties with the HealthCare.gov website seemed to threaten disaster. But here we are, most of the way through the first full year of reform’s implementation, and it’s working better than even the optimists expected.

We won’t have the full data on 2014 until next year’s census report, but multiple independent surveys show a sharp drop in the number of Americans without health insurance, probably around 10 million, a number certain to grow greatly over the next two years as more people realize that the program is available and penalties for failure to sign up increase.

It’s true that the Affordable Care Act will still leave millions of people in America uninsured. For one thing, it was never intended to cover undocumented immigrants, who are counted in standard measures of the uninsured. Furthermore, millions of low-income Americans will slip into the loophole Roberts created: They were supposed to be covered by a federally funded expansion of Medicaid, but some states are blocking that expansion out of sheer spite. Finally, unlike Social Security and Medicare, for which almost everyone is automatically eligible, Obamacare requires beneficiaries to prove their eligibility for Medicaid or choose and then pay for a subsidized private plan. Inevitably, some people will fall through the cracks.

Still, Obamacare means a huge improvement in the quality of life for tens of millions of Americans – not just better care, but greater financial security. And even those who were already insured have gained both security and freedom, because they now have a guarantee of coverage if they lose or change jobs.

What about the costs? Here, too, the news is better than anyone expected. In 2014, premiums on the insurance policies offered through the Obamacare exchanges were well below those originally projected by the Congressional Budget Office, and the available data indicates a mix of modest increases and actual reductions for 2015 – which is very good in a sector where premiums normally increase five percent or more each year. More broadly, overall health spending has slowed substantially, with the cost-control features of the ACA probably deserving some of the credit.

In other words, health reform is looking like a major policy success story. It’s a program that is coming in ahead of schedule – and below budget – costing less, and doing more to reduce overall health costs than even its supporters predicted.

 And some on the left were outraged, arguing that the program would do more to raise profits in the medical-industrial complex than it would to protect American families.

You can still argue that single-payer would have covered more people at lower cost – in fact, I would. But that option wasn’t on the table; only a system that appeased insurers and reassured the public that not too much would change was politically feasible. And it’s working reasonably well: Competition among insurers who can no longer deny insurance to those who need it most is turning out to be pretty effective. This isn’t the health care system you would have designed from scratch, or if you could ignore special-interest politics, but it’s doing the job.

And this big improvement in American society is almost surely here to stay. The conservative health care nightmare – the one that led Republicans to go all-out against Bill Clinton’s health plans in 1993 and Obamacare more recently – is that once health care for everyone, or almost everyone, has been put in place, it will be very hard to undo, because too many voters would have a stake in the system. That’s exactly what is happening. Republicans are still going through the motions of attacking Obamacare, but the passion is gone. They’re even offering mealymouthed assurances that people won’t lose their new benefits. By the time Obama leaves office, there will be tens of millions of Americans who have benefited directly from health reform – and that will make it almost impossible to reverse. Health reform has made America a different, better place.

FINANCIAL REFORM

Let’s be clear: The financial crisis should have been followed by a drastic crackdown on Wall Street abuses, and it wasn’t. No important figures have gone to jail; bad banks and other financial institutions, from Citigroup to Goldman, were bailed out with few strings attached; and there has been nothing like the wholesale restructuring and reining in of finance that took place in the 1930s. Obama bears a considerable part of the blame for this disappointing response. It was his Treasury secretary and his attorney general who chose to treat finance with kid gloves.

It’s easy, however, to take this disappointment too far. You often hear Dodd- Frank, the financial-reform bill that Obama signed into law in 2010, dismissed as toothless and meaningless. It isn’t. It may not prevent the next financial crisis, but there’s a good chance that it will at least make future crises less severe and easier to deal with.

Dodd-Frank is a complicated piece of legislation, but let me single out three really important sections.

First, the law gives a special council the ability to designate ”systemically important financial institutions” (SIFIs) – that is, institutions that could create a crisis if they were to fail – and place such institutions under extra scrutiny and regulation of things like the amount of capital they are required to maintain to cover possible losses.  During the 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney claimed that by announcing that some firms were SIFIs, the government was effectively guaranteeing that they would be bailed out, which he called ”the biggest kiss that’s been given to New York banks I’ve ever seen.”

But it’s easy to prove that this is nonsense: Just look at how institutions behave when they’re designated as SIFIs. Are they pleased, because they’re now guaranteed? Not a chance. Instead, they’re furious over the extra regulation, and in some cases fight bitterly to avoid being placed on the list. Right now, for example, MetLife is making an all-out effort to be kept off the SIFI list; this effort demonstrates that we’re talking about real regulation here, and that financial interests don’t like it.

Another key provision in Dodd-Frank is ”orderly liquidation authority,” which gives the government the legal right to seize complex financial institutions in a crisis. This is a bigger deal than you might think. We have a well-established procedure for seizing ordinary banks that get in trouble and putting them into receivership; in fact, it happens all the time. But what do you do when something like Citigroup is on the edge, and its failure might have devastating consequences? Back in 2009, Joseph Stiglitz and yours truly, among others, wanted to temporarily nationalize one or two major financial players, for the same reasons the FDIC takes over failing banks, to keep the institutions running but avoid bailing out stockholders and management.

A third piece of Dodd-Frank is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That’s Elizabeth Warren’s brainchild, an agency dedicated to protecting Americans against the predatory lending that has pushed so many into financial distress, and played an important role in the crisis. Warren’s idea was that such a stand-alone agency would more effectively protect the public than agencies that were supposed to protect consumers, but saw their main job as propping up banks. And by all accounts the new agency is in fact doing much more to crack down on predatory practices than anything we used to see.

There’s much more in the financial reform, there’s enough evidence even now to say that there’s a reason Wall Street – which used to give an approximately equal share of money to both parties but now overwhelmingly supports Republicans – tried so hard to kill financial reform, and is still trying to emasculate Dodd-Frank. This may not be the full overhaul of finance we should have had, and it’s not as major as health reform. But it’s a lot better than nothing.

THE ECONOMY

Barack Obama might not have been elected president without the 2008 financial crisis; he certainly wouldn’t have had the House majority and the brief filibuster-proof Senate majority that made health reform possible. So it’s very disappointing that six years into his presidency, the U.S. economy is still a long way from being fully recovered.

Make no mistake about it – the devastation wrought by the financial crisis was terrible.  Even in advanced countries, the median post-crisis decline in per- capita real GDP is seven percent. Recovery has been slow: It took almost six years for the United States to regain pre-crisis average income. But that was actually a bit faster than the historical average.

Or compare our performance with that of the European Union. Unemployment in America rose to a horrifying 10 percent in 2009, but it has come down sharply in the past few years. It’s true that some of the apparent improvement probably reflects discouraged workers dropping out, but there has been substantial real progress. Meanwhile, Europe has had barely any job recovery at all, and unemployment is still in double digits. Compared with our counterparts across the Atlantic, we haven’t done too badly.

Did Obama’s policies contribute to this less-awful performance? Yes, without question. You’d never know it listening to the talking heads, but there’s overwhelming consensus among economists that the Obama stimulus plan helped mitigate the worst of the slump. For example, when a panel of economic experts was asked whether the U.S. unemployment rate was lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been without the stimulus, 82 percent said yes, only two percent said no.

Still, couldn’t the U.S. economy have done a lot better? Of course. The original stimulus should have been both bigger and longer. And after Republicans won the House in 2010, U.S. policy took a sharp turn in the wrong direction. Not only did the stimulus fade out, but sequestration led to further steep cuts in federal spending, exactly the wrong thing to do in a still-depressed economy.

We can argue about how much Obama could have altered this literally depressing turn of events. He could have pushed for a larger, more extended stimulus, perhaps with provisions for extra aid that would have kicked in if unemployment stayed high. (This isn’t 20-20 hindsight, because a number of economists, myself included, pleaded for more aggressive measures from the beginning.) He arguably let Republicans blackmail him over the debt ceiling in 2011, leading to the sequester. But this is all kind of iffy.

The bottom line on Obama’s economic policy should be that what he did helped the economy, and that while enormous economic and human damage has taken place on his watch, the United States coped with the financial crisis better than most countries facing comparable crises have managed. He should have done more and better, but the narrative that portrays his policies as a simple failure is all wrong.

While America remains an incredibly unequal society, and we haven’t seen anything like the New Deal’s efforts to narrow income gaps, Obama has done more to limit inequality than he gets credit for. The rich are paying higher taxes, thanks to the partial expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the special taxes on high incomes that help pay for Obamacare; the Congressional Budget Office estimates the average tax rate of the top one percent at 33.6 percent in 2013, up from 28.1 percent in 2008. Meanwhile, the financial aid in Obamacare – expanded Medicaid, subsidies to help lower-income households pay insurance premiums – goes disproportionately to less-well-off Americans. When conservatives accuse Obama of redistributing income, they’re not completely wrong – and liberals should give him credit.

THE ENVIRONMENT

In 2009, it looked, briefly, as if we might be about to get real on the issue of climate change. A fairly comprehensive bill establishing a cap-and-trade system to limit greenhouse-gas emissions actually passed the House, and visions of global action danced like sugarplums in environmentalists’ heads. But the legislation stalled in the Senate, and Republican victory in the 2010 midterms put an end to that fantasy. Ever since, the only way forward has been through executive action based on existing legislation, which is a poor substitute for the new laws we need.

Related Former US Vice President Al Gore

The Turning Point: New Hope for the Climate

But as with financial reform, acknowledging the inadequacy of what has been done doesn’t mean that nothing has been achieved. Saying that Obama has been the best environmental president in a long time is actually faint praise, since George W. Bush was terrible and Bill Clinton didn’t get much done. Still, it’s true, and there’s reason to hope for a lot more over the next two years.

president obama

Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times

First of all, there has been much more progress on the use of renewable energy than most people realize. The share of U.S. energy provided by wind and solar has grown dramatically since Obama took office. True, it’s still only a small fraction of the total, and some of the growth in renewables reflects technological progress, especially in solar panels, that would have happened whoever was in office. But federal policies, including loan guarantees and tax credits, have played an important role.

Nor is it just about renewables; Obama has also taken big steps on energy conservation, especially via fuel-efficiency standards, that have flown, somewhat mysteriously, under the radar. And it’s not just cars. In 2011, the administration announced the first-ever fuel-efficiency standards for medium and heavy vehicles, and in February it announced that these standards would get even tougher for models sold after 2018. As a way to curb green house-gas emissions, these actions, taken together, are comparable in importance to proposed action on power plants.

Which brings us to the latest initiative. Because there’s no chance of getting climate-change legislation through Congress for the foreseeable future, Obama has turned to the EPA’s existing power to regulate pollution – power that the Supreme Court has affirmed extends to emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. And this past summer, the EPA announced proposed rules that would require a large reduction over time in such emissions from power plants. You might say that such plants are only a piece of the problem, but they’re a large piece – CO2 from coal-burning power plants is in fact a big part of the problem, so if the EPA goes through with anything like the proposed rule, it will be a major step. Again, not nearly enough, and we’ll have to do a lot more soon, or face civilization-threatening disaster. But what Obama has done is far from trivial.

NATIONAL SECURITY

So far, i’ve been talking about Obama’s positive achievements, which have been much bigger than his critics understand. I do, however, need to address one area that has left some early Obama supporters bitterly disappointed: his record on national security policy. Let’s face it – many of his original enthusiasts favored him so strongly over Hillary Clinton because she supported the Iraq War and he didn’t. They hoped he would hold the people who took us to war on false pretenses accountable, that he would transform American foreign policy, and that he would drastically curb the reach of the national security state.

Related

Obama Vs. The Hawks

None of that happened. Obama’s team, as far as we can tell, never even considered going after the deceptions that took us to Baghdad, perhaps because they believed that this would play very badly at a time of financial crisis. On overall foreign policy, Obama has been essentially a normal post-Vietnam president, reluctant to commit U.S. ground troops and eager to extract them from ongoing commitments, but quite willing to bomb people considered threatening to U.S. interests. And he has defended the prerogatives of the NSA and the surveillance state in general.

Could and should he have been different? The truth is that I have no special expertise here; as an ordinary concerned citizen, I worry about the precedent of allowing what amount to war crimes to go not just unpunished but uninvestigated, even while appreciating that a modern version of the 1970s Church committee hearings on CIA abuses might well have been a political disaster, and undermined the policy achievements I’ve tried to highlight. What I would say is that even if Obama is just an ordinary president on national security issues, that’s a huge improvement over what came before and what we would have had if John McCain or Mitt Romney had won. It’s hard to get excited about a policy of not going to war gratuitously, but it’s a big deal compared with the alternative.

SOCIAL CHANGE

In 2004, social issues, along with national security, were cudgels the right used to bludgeon liberals – I like to say that Bush won re-election by posing as America’s defender against gay married terrorists. Ten years later, and the scene is transformed: Democrats have turned these social issues – especially women’s rights – against Republicans; gay marriage has been widely legalized with approval or at least indifference from the wider public. We have, in a remarkably short stretch of time, become a notably more tolerant, open-minded nation.

As you can see, there’s a theme running through each of the areas of domestic policy I’ve covered. In each case, Obama delivered less than his supporters wanted, less than the country arguably deserved, but more than his current detractors acknowledge. The extent of his partial success ranges from the pretty good to the not-so-bad to the ugly. Health reform looks pretty good, especially in historical perspective – remember, even Social Security, in its original FDR version, only covered around half the workforce. Financial reform is, I’d argue, not so bad – it’s not the second coming of Glass-Steagall, but there’s a lot more protection against runaway finance than anyone except angry Wall Streeters seems to realize. Economic policy wasn’t enough to avoid a very ugly period of high unemployment, but Obama did at least mitigate the worst.

And as far as climate policy goes, there’s reason for hope, but we’ll have to see.

Am I damning with faint praise? Not at all. This is what a successful presidency looks like. No president gets to do everything his supporters expected him to. FDR left behind a reformed nation, but one in which the wealthy retained a lot of power and privilege. On the other side, for all his anti-government rhetoric, Reagan left the core institutions of the New Deal and the Great Society in place. I don’t care about the fact that Obama hasn’t lived up to the golden dreams of 2008, and I care even less about his approval rating. I do care that he has, when all is said and done, achieved a lot. That is, as Joe Biden didn’t quite say, a big deal.

I co-opted this from an interview of Krugman by Rolling Stones Magazine, and shortened it somewhat without changing meaning.

 

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/in-defense-of-obama-20141HYJS3RX8

Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

The motorhome is currently parked at Mary’s home in Murphys, California. My current departure date is scheduled for December 1st.

During this time I’ll be attending to my cataract surgery, cleaning, routine maintenance and minor repairs to the motorhome and Bronco in addition to assisting Mary with her activities. None of these items are particularly exciting to write about…so…instead I’ll be showing Picasa Web Albums from our 682 day, 2011-2013 circumnavigation of the United States. It was Mary’s second circumnavigation and the sixth for myself.

Unless we do something unusual, this Blog will feature a photo album from the circumnavigation and will change daily. So come back tomorrow.

To read about today’s photo album location, click this link…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Corvette_Museum

CLICK ON THE BELOW PHOTO. ONCE YOU ARRIVE AT THE PHOTO ALBUM, SIMPLY CLICK “SLIDESHOW” AND ENJOY!

National Corvette Museum, Bowling Green, Kentucky

I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE PHOTOS.

The cataract surgery of my right eye was conducted on October 9th. It appears to have been successful and my last exam on October 24th had it at 20/25, down from 20/200 prior to the surgery. Surgery on my left eye is now scheduled for November 6th.

Yesterday was a sunny day and 75 degrees. Forecast for today is sunny and 80 degrees.

Enjoying nice weather is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of California. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…

MU

Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures with low humidity most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein

2

On October 27, 2012, I created a two-minute video titled America The Beautiful. The music America The Beautiful is by Christopher W. French. The photos, which I randomly selected, are from the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia (not shown in that order)…are mine. Yup, That’s me standing in front of the Post Office in Luckenbach, Texas…Y’all!

Click this link to start the video. Make sure you have your speakers turned on and go to full screen asap.
http://youtu.be/FfZUzEB4rM8

If you would like to see my YouTube videos, click this link… http://www.youtube.com/user/JimJ1579/videos

There are more than 500 photo albums in my Picasa Web Albums File. To gain access, you simply have to click this link… https://picasaweb.google.com/jimjrver

If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…http://ramblinmanphotos.wordpress.com/

For more information about my books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2014

Clarksville, Tennessee

October 28, 2014

The motorhome is currently parked at Mary’s home in Murphys, California. My current departure date is scheduled for December 1st.

During this time I’ll be attending to my cataract surgery, cleaning, routine maintenance and minor repairs to the motorhome and Bronco in addition to assisting Mary with her activities. None of these items are particularly exciting to write about…so…instead I’ll be showing Picasa Web Albums from our 682 day, 2011-2013 circumnavigation of the United States. It was Mary’s second circumnavigation and the sixth for myself.

Unless we do something unusual, this Blog will feature a photo album from the circumnavigation and will change daily. So come back tomorrow.

To read about today’s photo album location, click this link…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarksville,_Tennessee

CLICK ON THE BELOW PHOTO. ONCE YOU ARRIVE AT THE PHOTO ALBUM, SIMPLY CLICK “SLIDESHOW” AND ENJOY!

Clarksville, Tennessee

I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE PHOTOS.

Yesterday was a partly sunny day and 69 degrees. Forecast for today is partly sunny and 75 degrees.

Enjoying nice weather is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of California. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…

MU

Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures with low humidity most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein

2

On October 27, 2012, I created a two-minute video titled America The Beautiful. The music America The Beautiful is by Christopher W. French. The photos, which I randomly selected, are from the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia (not shown in that order)…are mine. Yup, That’s me standing in front of the Post Office in Luckenbach, Texas…Y’all!

Click this link to start the video. Make sure you have your speakers turned on and go to full screen asap.
http://youtu.be/FfZUzEB4rM8

If you would like to see my YouTube videos, click this link… http://www.youtube.com/user/JimJ1579/videos

There are more than 500 photo albums in my Picasa Web Albums File. To gain access, you simply have to click this link… https://picasaweb.google.com/jimjrver

If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…http://ramblinmanphotos.wordpress.com/

For more information about my books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2014

RE-BLOGGING, Whistleblower.

October 27, 2014

Guest Blog


I’m grateful for the whistleblowers who have provided us with transparency and exposed illegal practices by employers or by the government. California, New Jersey, and New York have friendly whistleblower laws.  I read where some states have made it against the law to report abuses in their states, but I couldn’t find it on the net-yet.

Whistleblower Who Exposed White House Tampering with Climate Science Dies

By Paul Thacker

Rick Piltz passed away last Saturday. He spent decades working in the federal government and state government in Texas, and was a prominent whistleblower during the Bush administration. He later founded Climate Science Watch.

I first met Rick Piltz after reading a 2005 New York Times story exposing a concerted effort by the Bush White House to down play links between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. The story was a blockbuster and featured leaked documents with the actual handwritten edits of White House officials. I eventually figured out the leaker was Rick Piltz.

I was working for a science journal and called to ask if he would do a Q&A with us. At that time, I was beginning to realize that the White House was trying to bury and deny scientific evidence that harmed corporate products or was at cross purposes to Republican party ideology. This effort extended to EPA chemical regulations and FDA approval of birth control. That’s why I wanted to interview Piltz. I wanted the view of a veteran government expert to explain to scientists how scientific policy really happens. Not the theory, but the actual practice.

We met at a bar close to the White House in the late afternoon. I wanted a casual discussion in a relaxed environment so I could get him to be as honest as possible. I figured hanging out at a bar over a couple of beers would be best. This was his first time speaking up since he had left the government.

Piltz was nervous and stressed during the interview. He had just left a secure job, because he could no longer take what was happening in the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the federal group created to help the nation address global warming. He didn’t know what he was going to do next in his career.

The main White House perpetrator, he told me, was Philip Cooney, a former employee at the American Petroleum Institute, who the White House had hired to coordinate the nation’s reports on climate change. Within days of the New York Times article, Cooney resigned from the White House and was then hired by Exxon Mobil, a company that had a long track record of disseminating disinformation on climate change.

During our talk, Piltz made it clear that the White House was doing everything possible to create confusion on climate change. “With all these arcane debates about climate models and cost–benefit economic models, the general public can’t get their arms around climate change,” he said. What the administration didn’t want was for people to start learning about what was going to happen in their communities: how climate change was going to affect grain farmers in the Midwest, people living on the Gulf Coast, and New Yorkers dealing with a subway system that could get flooded by storm surge.

When you stop discussing arcane scientific algorithms, he said, you create a national discussion. “[Y]ou start talking about real things that affect people.”

What Piltz said nine years ago has come into sharper focus. The year after Piltz went public, hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and devastated New Orleans. Some scientists say it was made more powerful by climate change. In a moment of recent irony, the Secretary of Energy visited Houston, Texas, to warn locals that the city’s petroleum infrastructure—including the Ship Channel and refineries—are vulnerable to climate change. The politics have also evolved. Corn growers in Iowa are worried now that global warming will harm agriculture and formed a political action committee to oppose a politician who denies climate change. Piltz was even right about hurricanes affecting Manhattan subways, something that I thought was absurd at the time. After hurricane Sandy wracked New York City, Lloyds of London stated that the storm surge from sea level rise caused 30 percent of the economic loss. That’s $8 billion in New York alone.

Piltz later founded Climate Science Watch, a program with the Government Accountability Project. He didn’t want another government job, he told me, because he was tired of working for other people and moving their agenda forward. It was time for him to go it alone.

Exposing how the White House was manipulating government reports on climate change spurred congressional investigations and coverage by 60 Minutes and several documentaries. The issue of scientific integrity became so acute that one of President Obama’s first directives after he was elected concerned restoring integrity to the scientific process.

Unlike many in the environmental community, Piltz did not quickly jump on the Obama bandwagon. He knew that the problems dealing with scientific integrity was ingrained in both parties, and he never yielded from criticizing the new President.

Created in part by financially conflicted think tanks and their academic compatriots, a new meme has emerged: scientists who speak out are no longer scientists; they are “activists.” The point is to discredit a scientist who does not sit quietly on the sidelines, publishing research in academic journals that most citizens will never read. Nowhere is this more rampant than in climate science, an area where experts with incredible math skills find their research torn apart by attorneys who probably couldn’t pass a course in differential equations at a local community college.

I honestly have no clue what this term “activist” means. If my doctor, for instance, tells me to eat better or risk cardiovascular disease, I would listen and try and make dietary changes. I wouldn’t think that, by giving medical advice, my doctor was a crusader against cattle ranchers and the potato chip companies.

Piltz spent decades in science policy and had a clear understanding of how science can get distorted, buried and misused if it inconveniences people in power.

“Scientists see politics as beneath them,” he said. “So they don’t learn how to engage policy makers. You can’t just drop some journal article over the transom and hope for the best.”

The danger for scientific experts isn’t just in speaking up. The danger is also remaining silent.

Rick wasn’t afraid to speak up. He will be missed.

The motorhome is currently parked at Mary’s home in Murphys, California. My current departure date is scheduled for December 1st.

During this time I’ll be attending to my cataract surgery, cleaning, routine maintenance and minor repairs to the motorhome and Bronco in addition to assisting Mary with her activities. None of these items are particularly exciting to write about…so…instead I’ll be showing Picasa Web Albums from our 682 day, 2011-2013 circumnavigation of the United States. It was Mary’s second circumnavigation and the sixth for myself.

Unless we do something unusual, this Blog will feature a photo album from the circumnavigation and will change daily. So come back tomorrow.

To read about today’s photo album location, click this link…http://customshousemuseum.org/about

CLICK ON THE BELOW PHOTO. ONCE YOU ARRIVE AT THE PHOTO ALBUM, SIMPLY CLICK “SLIDESHOW” AND ENJOY!

Custom House Museum and Cultural Center, Clarksville, Tennessee

I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE PHOTOS.

Yesterday was a partly sunny day and 67 degrees. Forecast for today is partly sunny and 69 degrees.

Enjoying nice weather is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of California. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…

MU

Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures with low humidity most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein

2

On October 27, 2012, I created a two-minute video titled America The Beautiful. The music America The Beautiful is by Christopher W. French. The photos, which I randomly selected, are from the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia (not shown in that order)…are mine. Yup, That’s me standing in front of the Post Office in Luckenbach, Texas…Y’all!

Click this link to start the video. Make sure you have your speakers turned on and go to full screen asap.
http://youtu.be/FfZUzEB4rM8

If you would like to see my YouTube videos, click this link… http://www.youtube.com/user/JimJ1579/videos

There are more than 500 photo albums in my Picasa Web Albums File. To gain access, you simply have to click this link… https://picasaweb.google.com/jimjrver

If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…http://ramblinmanphotos.wordpress.com/

For more information about my books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2014

THIS ARTICLE IS REPRINTED FROM FORBES MAGAZINE,  A CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINE WHOSE EDITORS AND WRITERS KNOW THE MONEY GAME.

“Charter School Gravy Train Runs Express To Fat City”
By  Addison Wiggin
“Too bad the kids in charter schools don’t learn any better than those in plain-vanilla public schools. Stanford University crunched test data from 26 states. About a quarter of charters delivered better reading scores, but more than half produced no improvement, and 19% had worse results. In math, 29% of the charters delivered better math scores, while 40% showed no difference, and 31% fared worse.”

PLEASE – JUST READ THIS BEFORE YOUR VOTE

http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2013/09/10/charter-school-gravy-train-runs-express-to-fat-city/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/09/17/is-the-charter-school-gravy-train-running-express-to-fat-city/

“In Florida, the for-profit school industry flooded legislative candidates with $1.8 million in donations last year.”

Nor does the evidence show that charters spend taxpayers’ money more efficiently. Researchers from Michigan State and the University of Utah studied charters in Michigan, finding they spent $774 more per student on administration, and $1,140 less on instruction.

STOP! DO NOT VOTE FOR SCHOOL PRIVATIZATION!!

Dear Friends -

Why would any person in their right mind vote for school vouchers and the corporate take over of our schools by Wall Street bankers? History is rapidly showing us that charter schools are harming our children by taking our education tax dollars and giving them to a small group of greedy “investors.” So by voting for Marshal Tuck, you are indeed voting to give our children’s education financing to billionaire investment bankers and hedge fund operators.

For months now I have been trying to tell you the truth – but I am worried that you do not want to take time to learn what is true. So please, take five minutes, read the very conservative Forbes Magazine article that tells it like it is. THEN VOTE FOR TOM TORLAKSON and help him continue to help our students.

Yes, education in California has sucked for 30 years now – we just let it go. It is our fault, California has dropped to 35th in per student spending. Spending is easy to determine, whereas performance can be influenced by many different factors and factions. Our children in California do not rate good, but not bad either. By looking at several different rating organizations, we rank in the “30’s” out of 51. Or as one rating group put it, we get a C+. I can remember when I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, we were said to be number 1.

The good news is – we are again getting better.

The motorhome is currently parked at Mary’s home in Murphys, California. My current departure date is scheduled December 1st.

Six years ago today, Mary and I met for the first time in person in Tracy, California. We had met online six days earlier…but this was our first face-to-face meeting. Mary was at home in Murphys, California and my motorhome was parked in Thousand Trails RV Resort at Morgan Hill…about 160 miles away. We decided to meet at a half-way point which turned out to be Tracy. Our meeting place was at the Golden Corral Buffet Restaurant.

Two days ago while returning from my cataract surgery exam at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto, we had to travel right though Tracy and decided to have lunch at the Golden Corral. The waitress took our photo after we completed eating. Here we are…the still happy couple…

DSC05617 (Copy)

It’s been a very fun and interesting six years…with hopefully many more to come.

Speaking of the VA Hospital in Pal Alto, in previous blogs I’ve mentioned how big and modern it is, taking care of 85,000 enrolled veterans. To help find your way around the complex they give out a 12 page, 8.5×11, guide brochure…

DSC03827

Opening the cover page provides this view…

DSC03828

You can read all about this place by clicking this link…http://www.paloalto.va.gov/about/index.asp

A 102.5 million addition was commenced this month.

I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with the VA Medical care system. Other then my cataract surgery, fortunately my only other use of the facilities has been for my routine annual physicals. Thank you VA, for all of your kind and professional care you provide to us veterans!

I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE PHOTOS.

Yesterday was a cloudy day with showers and 68 degrees. Forecast for today is partly sunny and 66 degrees.

Enjoying nice weather is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of California. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…

MU

Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures with low humidity most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein

2

On October 27, 2012, I created a two-minute video titled America The Beautiful. The music America The Beautiful is by Christopher W. French. The photos, which I randomly selected, are from the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia (not shown in that order)…are mine. Yup, That’s me standing in front of the Post Office in Luckenbach, Texas…Y’all!

Click this link to start the video. Make sure you have your speakers turned on and go to full screen asap.
http://youtu.be/FfZUzEB4rM8

If you would like to see my YouTube videos, click this link… http://www.youtube.com/user/JimJ1579/videos

There are more than 500 photo albums in my Picasa Web Albums File. To gain access, you simply have to click this link… https://picasaweb.google.com/jimjrver

If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…http://ramblinmanphotos.wordpress.com/

For more information about my books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2014

GETTING THERE.

October 25, 2014

DSC05614 (Copy)

Thursday, we went to the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital for Jim’s post-op exam on his right eye and a pre-op exam and scheduling for his left eye surgery. It was our third 141 mile trip (one-way) to the hospital and we finally figured the best way of getting there. With the hospital’s cooperation we were able to leave at 9:30 and miss the horrendous morning traffic, spend the night, get up for early appointments, and leave mid-day and avoid the end of day work traffic. What a difference that made.

I managed to get in about 3 hours of reading and tootled around the hospital and took pictures of artwork and talked to people. We met Bobby Brown, the “muffler man”, again, and spent the dinner hour with him. He is a very interesting guy; chock full of life’s stories.

DSC05573 (Copy)

Artwork and collections take away the antiseptic appearance of the hospital. This boot quilt pattern is always a fun one to do.

DSC05597 (Copy)

Children’s bonnets from an Asian country, colorful and bright and cheerful. Much needed elements in a hospital.

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Small musical instruments.

DSC05596 (Copy)

In one office, I talked to a worker who collects little mouse objects.

DSC05595 (Copy)

They were really cute. Working people spend most of their day on the job. Personalizing workspace is an accepted practice everywhere you go these days. I hail that practice.

On the way home, we stopped at the Golden Corral Restaurant in Tracy where Jim and I met six years ago. The food got better since our first visit, I’m glad to report.

Back to Murphys and my endless tasks. I’ve been talking about going to Australia and today, I’m going to seriously look at some tours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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