IS THIS CHINA’S LAST STAND?

Labor day sales have begun, and shoppers are going wild. Shopping baskets are filled to the brim.  Today, I was at a clothing store where summer clothes were 70% off.  Last weekend, while shopping with my granddaughters, we found bathing suits at 80% off.  It’s the last giveaway of the season, and it’s never going to be this good again.  Is this China’s last stand at the mall?

Is this China's last stand at the mall?
This may be the last summer weekend that we can get bargains from China

When you get home, go through those piles of clothes you’ve purchased at end of season sales. Look at the labels.  Can you find one item that wasn’t made in China?  Only 2% of the clothing products we buy are made in the USA. But next year, it’s estimated the cost of garments made in China will increase about 25%, due to new tariffs.  Which really isn’t all that much.

We’re so accustomed to cheap clothes from China that we don’t want to think about how it’s affected the American labor force.  We know that many Chinese laborers  work sixteen hour days to produce those incredibly cheap clothes, but it doesn’t stop us from buying them.

What is going to happen now that we’re in a trade war?  Will more clothes be made in the USA, and how is that going to affect the price of our next pair of blue jeans?  Personally, I would be willing to pay a higher price for  garments made in our own country, but it probably won’t happen for another decade.  Clothing manufacturers  will probably turn to other third world countries where wages are low.

Sales this labor day will be full of bargains from China
Department stores are filled with shoppers buying bargain priced clothes made in China

Here are some other things that could  happen if clothing and shoes get too pricey:   We might reduce the size of our wardrobes.   People could  start sewing their own clothes again, which will help the fabric industry.  Sales at Goodwill Industry stores may increase, providing more jobs for the handicapped.  Garment manufacturers  might  decide to open factories in the USA, which would create more jobs in the USA.

And so, while I’m snapping up the bargains like everyone else, it won’t bother me to pay higher prices  next season, as long as it benefits the American worker.

And, if you didn’t get to the mall this weekend, don’t worry.  Labor Day Sales are still ahead.

 

 

Mourning A National Tragedy

We’re in shock this morning. Our hearts go out to the victims of the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, and the lives that have been changed forever. We’re mourning a national tragedy.

This is a national day of mourning
GRIEVING FOR THE VICTIMS OF THIS WEEKEND OF TRAGEDY

Why do these things happen? I don’t remember any mass shootings while  raising my children. Some  presidential candidates are now politicizing the shootings.  But forty years ago  we had Democrats and Republicans and Jim Crow Laws and the Vietnam War.  Mental illness was widely prevalent,  but  poorly understood or treated.  And there was very little gun control.

This is what we didn’t have: the internet.  There were no violent video games so readily available, desensitizing young men to violence.  No one had a Facebook account,  where people could brag and make other people envious. There was no Instagram or Twitter where you could publicly  shame or bully someone to the point of suicide.   Now, Instead of face to face relationships and real  conversations, everyone just texts.  We’ve almost forgotten  what it’s like to talk to a real live person.

Technology has changed our world and done wondrous things for our society.  But it’s also dehumanized us to the point where violence has become the norm.

DISAGREEING WITH LIKABLE CANDIDATES

After watching the Democratic debates, I find myself disagreeing with the three most likable candidates.

I really like Pete Buttigieg.  I think he has the perfect style befitting a president of the United States.  He’s cool, calm and collected.  He’s intelligent and articulate.  He appears to be kind, tactful and diplomatic. And, I’m proud he’s a fellow Hoosier.  But do I agree with his proposed policies?  Not so much.  Here are his policies I don’t like:   open borders, popular vote.  I like the idea of Medicare for all, but don’t think it’s  economically feasible right now.  Maybe later.

Mayor Pete came into the debate as a lightweight underdog, but came across as a classy intellectual
Mayor Pete came into the debate as a lightweight underdog; he came out as a classy intellectual

Obviously, an octogenarian’s opinion  such as mine will not be mainstream.  Most Democrats seem to like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, but they strike me as far too strident.  When Bernie starts shouting and waving his arms, I’m afraid he’s about to have a stroke.  Elizabeth is a fireball speaker, but somehow, I don’t trust her.   Even Canada doesn’t offer a free college education for all.  I can’t imagine how we would pay for that, or all the money that would be wasted on kids who don’t want a college degree so much as a free ride for four years.

Biden?  Way past his time.  And, I don’t like his touchy-feely-smelly style with women.  Kamilla Harris?  I don’t see a former prosecutor as presidential material. The way she attacked  Biden  during the  first debate may have been her break out moment, but I think it was mean spirited  and uncalled for.

Booker and Gabbard have that likability factor

Besides Buttigieg, I like the way Tulsi Gabbard says it like she sees it—but her plan to pull out of Afghanistan is worrisome.    Cory Booker  reminds me of a better looking Obama.  He’s got that spark, but his  minimum wage plan is myopic.  $15 an hour in my city would result in a much different  lifestyle than in The Big Apple.

After watching the Democratic debates on television, my top likability picks are Booker, Buttigieg and Gabbard.   But if I ever met them face to face, we’d have to agree to disagree.

WHAT IF YOU DON’T MOW YOUR GRASS?

Most people who live in a house with a yard mow their lawns..   But what about those who won’t?  in my city, lax code enforcement procedures actually encourage lazy property owners.  The officers are supposed  to patrol the city and find violations.   But in fact, they sit back and wait to receive a complaint before taking any action.  Shouldn’t they be more aggressive?   What if you don’t mow your grass.?

MANY CITIES IMPOSE STEEP FINES ON THOSE WHO DON’T MOW THEIR LAWNS

If you contact Code Enforcement here about someone’s overgrown lawn, the department will issue a citation which says they’ve received a complaint.    This creates a tense situation between neighbors.   Consequently, very few people will call to complain about their neighbor’s yard. Anyone driving around  our town will see numerous empty houses  and vacant lots with sky-high grass and weeds.  One housing developer, located directly across from a beautiful park, is allowed to let tall weeds proliferate on  acres of land.

Other towns have more pride in the appearance of their city.   This year, In  Dunedin Florida,  one man was fined $30,000 for not mowing his lawn

https://www.tampabay.com/pinellas/dunedin-fined-a-man-30000-for-tall-grass-now-the-city-has-foreclosed-on-his-home-20190508/

Many cities impose fines, liens, and even foreclosure on property owners who refuse to mow their grass.

https://www.lawnstarter.com/blog/landscaping/fines-liens-foreclosure-refuse-mow-lawn/

Along our street,  one  able bodied homeowner has been reported to Code Enforcement more than once for letting weeds and grass grow way beyond the allowed 8 inches.  Obviously, this  devalues all of the surrounding property.  You would think this individual would be on probation, or on a list of problem homeowners.  But apparently, the agency has no follow up procedures.  This homeowner continues to violate city codes –mowing only when he chooses– with no apparent  repercussions or penalties imposed.

If code enforcement officers  in this town can’t get up from their desks,  they should at least make it easier for those who complain.  Anyone should feel free to report a problem anonymously, without fearing reprisals from an angry neighbor.

You would think the Economic Development department might take a stand on lax code enforcement.  A city that takes no pride in its appearance isn’t appealing to new business.  In fact, our city has been steadily losing population for decades.

There are times when a homeowner is going through a bad time due to illness,   disability or family problems.  In this case, kindly neighbors might volunteer to help out with the yard work.  Most would be glad to do whatever it takes to maintain the appearance of their neighborhood.

Lax code enforcement is bad for the city,  bad for economic development,  and bad for homeowners who spend money and effort to maintain their property.

WHY DID RUSSIA DO IT, & HOW?

Now that we’ve endured endless hours of Mueller’s testimony before Congress,  we know for sure that Russia interfered in our election.  The question is: Why did Russia back Trump, and how ?  You have to dig pretty deep to find out.

why putin hated clinton
Putin hated Clinton for interfering in his 2011 election

Back in 2011 , when  Prime Minister Putin was running for President,  then Secretary of State Clinton interfered with his election bid against a guy named Medvedev.   It seems she bet on the wrong horse.  Putin won, and he’s held a grudge against Hillary ever since.  I think it’s important for Americans to understand why Putin didn’t want her to win. .    https://time.com/4422723/putin-russia-hillary-clinton/

Speaking from personal experience, I can remember many Facebook advertisements  slamming Clinton and supporting  Trump.  I saw them as spam.  I was annoyed when Facebook allowed  all of these unwanted posts on my page. Why aren’t they  now sharing some of the blame for what happened?  It was quite obvious that someone had it in for Clinton.  Are we supposed to believe Facebook executives  didn’t know the origin of these posts?

The media has led us to believe that Trump was doing something illegal by trying to establish a hotel in Moscow.  If that is true, what about the other 3,000  American companies that currently do business in Russia?  My former brother in law was with a big accounting firm that  had an office in Moscow over 30 years  ago. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2016/08/03/headline-halah-t/#6db933635f99

After listening to hours of tedious testimony by Mueller in the hearings this week, It seems to me that it was all much ado about nothing.  As FBI agent Peter Storzok said in his famous e mail, “ I’m afraid there’s no there , there.”

Let’s stop wasting money on this investigation that means very  little to the average American.   Why doesn’t Congress focus their efforts on lowering prescription drug prices,  cleaning up the mess at the border, improving our crumbling infrastructure, and changing the way we grant student loans?

Get to work, guys.

THANK YOU, MRS. DOUBTFIRE

Last night, when we turned on the television, we realized there wasn’t much to watch.  We used to be news junkies.  But now, with all the Trump-boasting and spoiled-brat-liberal America bashing, we’re fed up with cable news, or anything coming out of Washington DC.    The  opening scene on the Hallmark channel  began with a car load of puppies, which didn’t seem very exciting.  In desperation, we turned to a channel featuring an old 90’s movie.  Just for a while, we were able to laugh and forget about the dismal state of politics in our nation.  Thank you, Mrs. Doubtfire.

The late nineties was the heyday of movies with female impersonators
FEMALE IMPERSONATORS ARE PROBABLY AN ENDANGERED SPECIES

I don’t think shows like  Mrs. Doubtfire, Tootsie, and La Cage are going to be doing any updated versions. Female impersonators are probably an  endangered species.  When the far left politicians run out of things to protest, they’re probably going to start in on  what they see as politically  incorrect comedians. . Remember when blackface was a show business staple?  I don’t imagine you will ever see Al Jolson singing Mammy ever again on television. And now, some feminists are starting in on drag queens.

https://www.feministcurrent.com/2014/04/25/why-has-drag-escaped-critique-from-feminists-and-the-lgbtq-community/

Female impersonators will soon be on the Hollywood blacklist.  It won’t be long before the liberal crowd takes on actors like Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman.  Robin won’t have to defend himself, but Dustin is still hanging around somewhere in California, I guess.  The late nineties were probably the beginning of the end for funny films where men dressed up like  ladies and everyone loved them–including women.

When I go about my business in the Heartland,  I encounter ordinary, polite, calm men and women.  They don’t seem particularly angry about anything.  Whether they are black, white, Asian, or Muslim, they don’t appear hostile or  worked up about what’s going on in the world.   They just want to get on with their lives. And I have to believe most of them are sick and tired of politicians and the news coming out of Washington DC

Thanks again, Mrs. Doubtfire., for an entertaining evening.

WHAT HAPPENED WHEN COLLEGE WAS CHEAP?

When I graduated from an all girls  high school in 1953, it cost $15 per semester hour to attend the local state teachers college.  If you lived at home, you could pay for that with baby sitting money. Strange as it may seem, only 10% of my class went on to college.  Why was that?  What happened in the old days when college was cheap?

college degrees are losing their luster
Free College May Not Make Much Difference to High School Graduates

Young women weren’t motivated to attend college in the hope of getting a better job.  In those days, most girls got engaged to be married before they were 20.  Why bother with college at all?  And for those of us who scrimped and saved and slogged our way through college, it didn’t really pay off.  A good secretary who learned to type and take shorthand in high school made as much as a teacher.

Girls who went on to college were accused of looking for an “MRS degree.”  It was assumed they were only interested in finding a  well educated husband, who could provide a better life than a truck driver. .  And it must have worked.  If you read the obituaries of octogenarians who were prominent in society, it often says they met their husbands while attending  such and such university.

Back then, most women  who  did graduate and entered the work force got married in a couple of years, had kids, moved to the suburbs, and became stay at home wives. Their hard earned college degree wasn’t nearly as helpful as reading Dr. Spock.

The birth control pill in 1960 marked the beginning of the women’s liberation  movement.  “Good” girls didn’t have to get married in order to enjoy sex.  And they didn’t have to have kids unless and until they were good and ready.  Employers began hiring women to fill traditional male occupations.,  and paying them better salaries.  Their college degrees paid off if they studied accounting, engineering, or  medicine.    As more and more women attended college, tuition and fees went up. That small teachers college  in my home town became a State University.  Enrollment multiplied five times  over the years.

Now, I see the pendulum swinging the other way.  A college degree is beginning to lose it’s luster.  Enrollment is declining. With salaries rising for skilled trade  jobs, and the $15 an hour wage looming on the horizon, it hardly seems worth it to pile up half a lifetime of student loan debt. https://livingwellafter80.com/why-some-bright-kids-drop-out-of-college/

And, let’s face it.  We’re heading toward socialism.  When health care and a college education are free, then there’s less incentive to spend four years of your life in a classroom when you could get a good  skilled trade job, buy a house, and start a family before you’re thirty.  As a matter of fact, waitresses and bartenders  now make more than many college grads.

I’m all for a free college  education as proposed by numerous presidential candidates.   Just don’t be surprised if a lot of young people aren’t interested in taking advantage of it.