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Our Population Future

July 8, 2017

My good friend Joe Aaron is an economic futurist – someone who gets paid to explain trends and what the future will hold.

I asked him about the recent report that the United States fertility rate had hit a new low, since it features prominently in his  conclusion that the country is headed for real trouble if we, as a nation of immigrants, don’t change our policies.immigrants

I asked if the news changed his opinion. This is his response:

The short answer is no. It does not change my thinking on demographics here in the U.S. If you read between the lines, the article describes a part of our population, the Millennials, who are putting off having children and marriage. 

“The number one reason child birth is dropping in the civilized world today is economic. Young people can’t afford children anymore or are unwilling to make the financial sacrifices. It cost half a million to raise a kid and send them to college. That explains why 20% of our population decides to stay childless.

“The more educated you are, the less likely you are to have an unwanted pregnancy. Women can now get birth control with ease.

Finally, a woman with a good education can have a career and financial independence. If she decides she wants to have a baby she can. She no longer needs a man.

Where demographics are changing in the in the U.S. is at the state level. For example, Maine’s population is actually shrinking each year. Vermont is flat. New Hampshire’s population is flat. But they will both join Maine in the dying category this decade.

These three states have a medium age of 42, the highest in the country. The medium age for the U.S. is 37. This means they are an ageing society. This means their citizens are aging out of the work force. If this trend continues, and I have no doubt it will, in 15 years this will impact the state gov’t’s credit rating.

These three states have an unemployment rates below 3%. This is too low. It puts upward pressure on wages. This in turn puts pressure on a business to consider leaving the state.

If you are a technology company, where are you going to find employees with technology skills? Imagine a recession caused by a lack of workers. It is possible there.

The glass is half empty for small towns and rural area. The kids are all leaving for the bigger cities. It is a brain drain. Manufacturing plants will have jobs that go unfilled. Schools will close.

I find little to be happy about when it comes to our nation’s demographics. We better embrace immigration while people still want to come here.”

 

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CWAA: Can We All Agree™ – 9/16/17 edition

September 16, 2017

Can we all agree, Hurricanes Irma and Harvey might change the debate over climate change despite the absurd comments from the head of the EPA?

Can we all agree, there may be some  changes on details, but there will be an agreement soon on letting the Dreamers stay in the country?

Can we all agree, were it not for the GOP, the DACA issue would have been decided years ago, but now the Grand Old Party finds itself left out entirely?

Can we all agree, Mr. Trump has left the Republican party stunned by his willingness to work with the Democrats?

Can we all agree, Mr. Trump has left the Democrats stunned by his willingness to work with the Democrats?

Racism at Fenway Park in Boston.? (Boston Globe Photo)

Racism at Fenway Park in Boston.? (Boston Globe Photo)

Can we all agree, Mr. Trump may be a racist, white supremacist and sexist, but he has succeeded in bringing the issues to the surface so the country will have to deal with them?

Can we all agree, even the economic figures don’t lie about the structural gap between Black and White America?

Can we all agree, AG Jeff Sessions probably had the worst week of any DC politician – blindsided on DACArejected on Sanctuary cities and forced to relive his earlier humiliation at the hands of The President?

Can we all agree, the only folks who had a worse week might be the tech industry – battered by their own missteps and inability to control the internet monster they created?

Can we all agree, Mr. Trump’s continuing comments on the internal workings of other countries and failure to show sympathy for their problems, shows he has still has not grasped his role on the world stage?

Can we all agree, NASA gets criticized for the tremendous amount of money they spend, but when a ten-year triumph such as the Cassini mission comes to an end, we all marvel at what they can do?

Can we all agree, it’s nice to know that even the over-educated folks at Harvard are no better than the rest of us at dealing with ethical issues such as whether to invite Chelsea Manning to speak on campus?

Can we all agree, North Korea’s leader seems intent on provoking the rest of the world regardless of the impact on his own population?

Saturn's rings from the Cassini space probe. (NASA photo)

Saturn’s rings from the Cassini space probe. (NASA photo)

Can we all agree, Nobel price winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s leader, may have irreparably damaged her reputation by her treatment of the Rohingya population  she has forced to leave the country?

Can we all agree, the world will be watching Berkeley this week, as the University of California hosts a number of conservative speakers and the campus tries to deal with the expected protests? Calling it “Free Speech Week” was a rather obvious and successful attempt to annoy most area residents.

Can we all agree, we really should not be celebrating Sean Spicer who admitted that he spent the last 6 months lying to the American people at the behest of Donald Trump?

Can we all agree, Mr. Trump could care less what Rep. Tim Scott had to tell him about racism, he was more interested in a photo opportunity and making himself look good?

Can we all agree, in the same vein, Mr. Trump had no interest in what Jewish Rabbi’s wanted him to know, during their pre-holiday call on Friday?

Can we all agree, despite continuing objections from Republicans, we are slowly but surely moving toward a single-payer health care system?

Can we all agree, the deaths of nine elderly residents at a Florida nursing home in the aftermath of hurricane Irma, has now become a political football?

Can we all agree, most Americans will now think twice about using Kaspersky anti-virus software?

Can we all agree, Amazon has created public feeding frenzy by announcing  that they are seeking a home for a 50,000 employee regional headquarters?

Can we all agree, Education Secretary Betsy DeVoss may have unknowingly done something right in redrafting the rules on campus sexual assaults?

Can we all agree, Equifax’s reaction to their recent data breach has been nothing short of a train wreck?

Can we all agree, Hillary Clinton is entitled to her day in the sun to promote her book, but we all know what was wrong with her campaign?

Can we all agree, Steve Bannon’s interview on 60 Minutes made us all happy he was no longer in the white House?

Can we all agree it’s never too soon to talk about the midterm elections in 2018 or the possibilities for 2020?

Can we all agree the world went slightly batty this week with football teams giving away DNA test kits and a company releasing an anatomically correct life-size sex doll?

and finally:

Some good news stories out of Hurricane Irma.

 

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CWAA: Can We All Agree™ – 8/5/17 edition

August 5, 2017

Can we all agree, the August recess in Washington is really a much needed vacation for all of us?

Can we all agree, when a Republican Senate leaves town, but stays in session to prevent a Republican President from making any appointments, it’s not the Democrat’s fault?

Can we all agree, The President may soon be faced with signing a bill which effectively prevents him from firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller?

Can we all agree, Attorney General Jeff Sessions would have a much easier job if he didn’t have to waste time investigating leaks from the White House?

Can we all agree, it would be a disaster if the President fired his national security advisor, H. R. McMaster, since the Lt. General seems to be the only grownup in the White House?

This week's Newsweek cover

This week’s Newsweek cover

Can we all agree, it’s no surprise the President’s cabinet would be led by a pastor who doesn’t think women belong in politics?

Can we all agree, Newsweek Magazine may have reached a new level of political commentary with this week’s cover?

Can we all agree, until this week, when Mr. Mueller impanelled a grand jury in Washington, many of us suspected the investigation was going nowhere?

Can we all agree, John Kelley deserves credit for bringing some discipline to the White House – at least for one week?

Can we all agree, as the economy continues to improve, it’s clear Wall Street could care less about the Russian investigation?

Can we all agree, the NAACP’s travel advisory for Missouri, will deter travel by  more than just minorities or members of the LGBT community?

Can we all agree, The Pope is winning the PR battle with evangelical Christians?

Can we all agree, President Trump  probably thinks what happened in the Venezuela election is the same thing that happened last November when Hillary Clinton won the popular vote?

Can we all agree, the transcripts of the President’s conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia, just proves the public Trump and private Trump are interchangeable – and both are embarrassing?

Can we all agree, whether we like it or not, may not be on the horizon, even if researchers have been able to edit the DNA in cells?

Can we all agree, the proposed bill to limit immigration, runs counter to the bedrock principles our country was built on?

Can we all agree, presidential advisor Stephen Miller should be deported?

Can we all agree, the senators behind the immigration bill should either read Joe Aaron’s post on this blog, or listen to any of a dozen economists saying the same thing?

Can we all agree, Chelsea Clinton spoke for many of us when she defended the White House against charges that it was “a dump.’

Can we all agree, what Arizona Senator Jeff Flake says in his new book needed to be said, but it’s doubtful he’ll be a senator after the next election? But, you can count on seeing him in 2020.

Can we all agree, Millennials are welcome to the title of most populous generation – now they can get blamed for everything ?

Can we all agree, Donald Trump is once again playing to his base, which has dwindled to just 33%, by asking the attorney general to probe discrimination against whites in college admissions?

Can we all agree, When the President and Congress return from vacation it appears there may be a lot of bipartisan cooperation, although the President may not be included?

Can we all agree, the Chicago Cubs made a great PR move by giving Steve Bartman a World Series ring?

Can we all agree, it would appear the judicial system may be the only way to get the EPA to do its job?

Can we all agree, the best story of the week might be the judge who took the FAA to task for allowing the airlines to reduce the seat sizes and leg room?

Can we all agree, no one needed to be found guilty more than Martin Shkreli?

Can we all agree, the Attorney General, needs to do a better job of laying the groundwork for his case to force communities to back ICE activities?

and finally:

As I’ve said before we seem to have reached the beginning of the end for the internal combustion engine – even the GOP cannot turn back the forces of the free market.

 

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 4/30/17 edition

April 30, 2017

Can we all agree, inviting a murderer, such as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, to the White House is an endorsement of his actions, and is repulsive?

Can we all agree, after 100 days in office Donald Trump still thinks he’s on the campaign trail?

Can we all agree the enthusiasm of the crowds protesting Mr. Trump’s policies does not seem to be waning?

Can we all agree the White House correspondents’ dinner is irrelevant to most Americans, and that’s the way it should be?

Can we all agree it’s tough to figure out how Mr. Trump is consolidating power, since he hasn’t really accomplished anything in his first 100 days?

Can we all agree, of all the stories detailing Mr. Trump’s first 100 days, the most telling maybe be the listing of those who didn’t even make it past three months on the job?

It's already a spectacular year in my rose garden. This is Miami Moon and below is Memorial Day

It’s already a spectacular year in my rose garden. This is Miami Moon and below is Memorial Day

Can we all agree Kelly Anne Conway’s return to the airways to present an alternative view of the administration’s first 100 days was a disaster, like all her other appearances?

Can we all agree the EPA can spin it any way they want, but eliminating web pages of government data  is censorship?

Can we all agree the only branch of government that gotten less done in the last 100 days was Congress?DSC_0030

Can we all agree it’s nice to see one branch of government standing up to Mr. Trump, although the President clearly has no idea what really happened to his plan to cut off funds to sanctuary cities?

Can we all agree Mr. Trump just keeps embarrassing House Speaker Paul Ryan, by insisting they vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act, when they simply do not have the votes?

Honey Perfume

Honey Perfume

Can we all agree it’s tough to take the Republicans seriously when they spend 8 years of the Obama administration complaining about the deficit, but greet a plan to increase the deficit exponentially, with open arms?

Can we all agree, speaking of the tax plan, does anyone doubt the biggest beneficiary will be Mr, Trump and his businesses?

Can we all agree an avocado shortage is probably only worrisome to Californians?

Can we all agree tourists visiting California already  had sticker shock when they saw our gas prices, they will probably find another state to visit when our gas tax rises on November 1?

Can we all agree, when half of the ‘bad hombres’ deported by ICE, either had no record or only had traffic violations, it makes a mockery of the entire process?

Can we all agree The Pope is making a rather large statement by visiting Cairo and eschewing some significant security precautions? By the way did you see his Ted talk?

Can we all agree the economy’s rather tepid growth in January may not be Mr. Trump’s fault but it doesn’t exactly reflect confidence in his administration?

Can we all agree Mr. Trump’s latest interview certainly suggests he doesn’t like his job because it’s too hard?

Can we all agree it’s tough to judge where we stand with North Korea when their missile test fails while Mr. Trump insists we could still wind up in a major conflict?

Can we all agree, we’re all dying to know how much United Airlines paid to settle their dispute with the passenger dragged off one of their planes a few weeks ago? But it’s nice to know we can get $10,000 next time we’re bumped?

Can we all agree Mr. Trump’s methods for making major decisions, such as repealing NAFTA, are driving world leaders crazy?

Can we all agree the Democrats push to force a vote on releasing Mr. Trump’s taxes, again, sounds a lot like GOP efforts to repeal The ACA during the Obama administration?

Can we all agree Michael Flynn former NSA director, had no business being in any government job?

Can we all agree the most impactful decision of the week may be the FCC deciding that internet access should not be regulated as a utility?

Can we all agree the on-again, off-again Berkeley speech by conservative columnist Ann Coulter was really just a PR battle?

Can we all agree the US needs more national monuments not fewer? Here are some that you may want to visit pretty soon?

Can we all agree Mr. Trump can sign all the executive orders he wants to expand oil production, but as long as the price of a barrel of oil stays low no new wells will be drilled?

Can we all agree that Wells Fargo shareholders should be ashamed of themselves for re-elcting the board of directors that failed to stop the abuses at the bank?

Can we all agree that Ivanka Trump’s new foundation sounds a lot like the Clinton Foundation?

Can we all agree, now that the final cabinet member has been approved, Mr. Trump has another long list of appointees to make before his government can really be effective in a meaningful way?

Can we all agree Rex Tillerson may be the most ineffective Secretary of State most American have ever seen?

Can we all agree, it appears the State Department didn’t think anyone would notice a promotional piece for Mr. Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort on the official government website.

Can we all agree Mr. Trump’s latest attempt to curry favor with the nation’s Jewish population is just another cynical act?

Can we all agree there’s no reason Bill O’Reilly can’t tell us ‘what really happened’ at Fox News ?

Can we all agree we’re all still a bit nervous about the upcoming French presidential vote, given what happened here?

Can we all agree the best commentary on Mr. Obama’s return to the world stage might be this short piece by columnist Andy Borowitz?

and finally:

Can we all agree this might be the best home plate slide in baseball history.

and:

While I liked ‘Silence of the Lambs,’ my favorite Jonathan Demme film will always be ‘Something Wild.’

If humans were indeed established on this continent 130,000 years ago, it’s nice to see they had the good sense to settle in SanDiego where the weather is nice year-round.

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 12/10/16 edition

December 10, 2016

Can we all agree the question is not whether the Russians tried to influence our election, but rather, what  Donald Trump promised them in exchange?

Can we all agree investigating the Russians may the first time the President and GOP have agreed on anything in 8 years?

Can we all agree any country who thinks it’s OK to force athletes to take illegal drugs, just to win Olympic medals is capable of most anything?

Can we all agree that starting January 20th, the White House will  be a satellite office of Goldman Sachs?

John Glenn and his wife, Anna

John Glenn and his wife, Anna

Can we all agree that we want to believe there is a connection between people who voted for Trump and the rates of drug and alcohol addiction, especially since heroin deaths have now surpassed gun deaths in the US?

Can we all agree we’re thankful we’re not in the middle of an impeachment controversy like South Korea? Oh wait, that will start January 21st, 2017.

Can we all agree Sen. John Glenn, who died this week, was a true American hero but his wife’s story is remarkable?

Can we all agree no-one should be allowed talk on their phone while flying…period? It was a bad idea when it was proposed 2 years ago, and it’s a bad idea now.

Can we all agree we have no reason to believe Mr. Trump has sold all his stock?

Can we all agree that each new cabinet pick by  Mr. Tump is like the old radio show “Can You Top This?”  We will have an EPA chief who denies climate change, a Homeland Security chief who believes in fake news,  a pro-wrestling billionaire to run the Small Business Administration, a housing chief  who doesn’t understand why people need public assistance, and a labor secretary who opposes raising the minimum wage and thinks it’s fine to use sex to sell hamburgers? And that’s just this week’s picks.

Can we all agree, it might be good that our average life expectancy has decreased? Who really wants to be around to see the impact of Trump’s 4-years of chaos.

Can we all agree, it’s nice to know that at least the Pope understands the value of real news – even if large segments of the US apparently don’t?

Can we all agree it’s great Mr. Trump will continue to be executive producer of his TV show? Maybe he’ll forget that he’s President.

Can we all agree it’s good to know Mr. Trump will take office with the lowest approval rating in the last 30 years?

Can we all agree that Mr. Trump does not understand how he damages the office, when he picks a twitter fight with an individual or rants about an issuelike a new Air Force One –  without all the facts?

Can we all agree GOP leaders, especially House Speaker Paul Ryan need to grow some backbone, and start speaking out, about Mr. Trump’s actions?

Can we all agree that, like everyone else, Al Gore, swallowed Mr. Trump’s bogus promises hook-line and sinker?

Can we all agree that among the real losers in our preoccupation with Mr. Trump are the people of Aleppo, Syria, who are being forced to flee their homes and no-one seems to care – except John Kerry?

Can we all agree the departing GOP Governor of North Carolina showed us all how not to concede an election?

Can we all agree we are not surprised there is waste in the Pentagon budget, but it’s incredible h0w much it costs to cover it up?

Can we all agree it’s pretty surprising that the Oakland building where 36 people died last weekend had never been inspected by the City?

Can we all agree West Virginia coal minors will be the first to test Mr. Trump’s ability to keep his promises when they face losing their health benefits in April, now that a short-term spending package was approved?

Can we all agree its heartening to know there are some heavy hitters who realize our gun laws need to be changed?

Can we all agree that blue collar workers who supported Mr. Trump and hospital administrators who objected to government regulation, will be the hardest hit when the GOP tries to repeal the Affordable Care Act?

Can we all agree the South Carolina jury’s failure to convict a police office of murder, just proves that it’s impossible for black Americans to get justice in some parts of the country?

Can we all agree, it’s tough to take any solace from the fact that a right-wing candidate was defeated in Austria? The results in Italy have more to do with internal politics than a right wing uprising.

Donald Trump and Alec Baldwin. Which is which?

Donald Trump and Alec Baldwin. Which is which?

Can we all agree Mr. Trump has made Saturday Night Live ‘must see TV’ once again?

Can we all agree it’s hard to believe the Pentagon really wants to have our fighter planes made in India?

Can we all agree that, despite all the explanations, it’s doubtful Mr. Trump knew what he was doing when he called the president of Taiwan?

and finally:

If you’re not depressed enough about the future of the environment, pity the soon-to-be extinct giraffe or take a look at how big banks are helping to destroy the planet.

or

Take a look at this week’s good read to mark the day that still ‘lives in infamy’ for many people.

plus:

Read the story of co-joined twins who were separated by doctors at Stanford Medical Center.

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 11/19/16 edition

November 19, 2016

Happy anniversary to my lovely wife.

Can we all agree the actors at ‘Hamilton’ who lectured VP-Elect Mike Pence at last night’s performance, spoke for many of us?

Can we all agree Donald Trump will be asking for a lot of apologies over the next 4 years, if he can’t take the criticism?

Can we all agree, the only reason Mr. Trump settled his fraud case was because, even he realized that a president-elect testifying would be an embarrassment?

Can we all agree that the least Paul Ryan can do, as he campaigns to eliminate medicare, would be to tell the truth?

President Obama says his last good-byes.

President Obama says his last good-byes.

Can we all agree that the GOP will have no excuses if the economy tanks over the next four years?

Can we all agree that the cabinet appointments Mr. Trump has announced do nothing to quell the fears of most Democrats?

Can we all agree Mr. Trump’s meeting with Mitt Romney, is just for show?

Can we all agree that Mr. Trump’s election has already made the racist segment of the population more aggressive?

Can we all agree that using the WWII Japanese internment as a rationale for ‘registering’ Muslims is just offensive?

Can we all agree, no one is shocked that Mr. Trump sees no problem in putting relatives is key positions or allowing his family to profit from his position?

Can we all agree, it won’t be long before Mr. Trump gets in serious trouble with his twitter account?

Can we all agree, the press and GOP are working overtime to avoid labeling Steve Bannon what he is – a racist? Using the term alt-right or noting that he didn’t write the pieces on Brietbart – he just published them – just masks his real intention.

Can we all agree this pretty much sums up what Hillary is thinking?

Can we all agree Mr. Trump loves to see headlines noting that no-one knows what he is going to do?

Can we all agree Mr. Obama is trying to put on a brave face as he attempts to make sure his entire legacy will not be undone?

Can we all agree it’s not the first Supreme Court appointment that will be important, but the next three? – which Mr. Trump may make.

Can we all agree, the Democrats might be on to something, by trying to work with Trump, since it’s a good bet the divided GOP probably will not agree on much?

Can we all agree the Democrats need new leadership in the House?

Can we all agree Mr. Trump does not have a clue about how to conduct a cohesive foreign policy? – or a cohesive national policy, for that matter.t11-15-16-0001

Can we all agree that Mr. Putin probably can’t contain his enthusiasm now that Mr. Trump has been elected? Over the next four years he will retake Ukraine and the Baltic states.

Can we all agree the number of lobbyists in the Trump administration may break all records?

Can we all agree Mr. Trump’s appearance on 60 Minutes did little to clarify anything?

But enough about Trump.

Can we all agree United Airlines has reached new depths with their latest proposal for budget airfares?

Can we all agree that fakes news will always be a problem on the internet – that’s why they invented editors?

Can we all agree the Chinese bird that looks like Mr. Trump is pretty funny?

Can we all agree that cell phone apps are playing a major role in the increase in traffic fatalities?

Can we all agree it’s about time we had a museum of women’s history?

Can we all agree we’d be surprised if Mr. Zimmerman did accept his Nobel prize in person?

Can we all agree $850,000 is a small price to pay for the Ten Commandments?

Can we all agree the more research is done, the clearer the connection becomes between fracking and earthquakes?

and finally:

Can we all agree Steven Hawking is being optimistic when he says we have 1,000 years to find a new planet to colonize?

 

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 6 -11-16 edition

June 11, 2016

Filed under: Can we all agree — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — admin @ 8:05 am

Can we all agree the real Presidential campaign finally began this week, maybe even last night?

Can we all agree Bernie Sanders’ biggest contribution may be the policy debate he allowed the Democrats to showcase while the GOP compared ‘hand sizes.’

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Can we all agree that Hillary Clinton may have had the best week any politician has ever had in Washington – winning enough delegates to secure the nomination and then accepting endorsements from the President, Vice President and a major opponent?

Can we all agree that Donald Trump had the kind of week that might end the campaigns of other politicians, but his enormous ego manages to keep him afloat. despite his own words?

Can we all agree that, in opposing the release of his video deposition, Mr. Trump has made the world even more eager to see the recording?

Can we all agree the longer Mitt Romney and his supporters hold out some hope of derailing Trump, the more pundits are convinced the Republican party is headed for a November disaster?

Can we all agree that finding someone to run as Mr. Trump’s VP will be a challenge?

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Can we all agree that words cannot express the emotions that well up when another young life is senselessly ended by someone with a gun?

Can we all agree the outrage over the short prison term assessed to a former Stanford athlete would have died down quickly if his father had not published a tone-deaf defense?

Can we all agree the Gawker bankruptcy filing might actually help to tone down the non-news gossip sites which do a disservice to journalists everywhere?

Can we all agree that the political news has overshadowed a major change in the Afghan war strategy?

Can we all agree that Governor Gerry Brown’s decision to seek health insurance for undocumented immigrants. might have been a bigger deal if he weren’t in California?

Can we all agree that the outpouring of emotion for Muhammad Ali may  have been unprecedented for someone who was not a politician?

Can we all agree that Baby Boomers are increasingly gripped by fear as the icons of our youth succumb to life’s final act?

Can we all agree the NRA will surely challenge a Federal Court ruling that carrying a concealed weapon in California is not guaranteed by the Constitution?

Can we all agree the voting results in California should shine a light on the uphill road the GOP is facing as population trends accelerate?

Can we all agree that new revelations about the defense team’s conduct in the OJ Simpson murder trial are not surprising anyone?

Can we all agree the debate over the fate of a gorilla, shot dead at the Cincinnati Zoo, raises fundamental questions about how humans treat the world around us?

Can we all agree that the fate of homeowners in Connecticut resonates with every American who believed homeownership was the key to a happy retirement?

Can we all agree that the producers of the new documentary “A Time to Choose,” probably wish it hadn’t taken two years to make their project a reality, as they watched climate events overtake some parts of their film?

Can we all agree it’s a little difficult to get upset at the Chinese for buzzing a US plane spying on them?

Can we all agree that we are surprised at the upsurge of Chinese crossing the Mexican border to get to the United States?

Meryl Street as Donald Trump (AP photo)

Meryl Street as Donald Trump (AP photo)

Can we all agree, it’s tough to believe a world class tennis player was suspended for two years, because she forgot to check her email?

and finally:

Can we all agree that the highlight of the week has to be Meryl Steep’s impersonation of Donald Trump?

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 4/16/16 edition

April 16, 2016

Filed under: Can we all agree — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — admin @ 7:27 am

Can we all agree that Pope Francis has, once again, shown that his actions speak much louder than anything he could possibly say to the nations of Western Europe?

Can we all agree Bernie Sanders’ sarcasm did not play well at this week’s Democratic debate with Hillary Clinton?

Can we all agree that while the Warriors 73-win NBA record is more impressive, Kobe Bryant’s final game was better TV?

Kobe Bryant (USA Today photo)

Kobe Bryant (USA Today photo)

Can we all agree that while most Americans have no idea why Tax Day was moved to Monday, we’ll take the extra weekend?

Can we all agree that Brazil has picked the wrong time to devolve into political chaos?

Can we all agree that the proposed desert concert including Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Neil Young and Roger Waters  would be a site to behold? Average age of attendees might be over 60, but it would be a great time.

Can we all agree, the thought of getting a refund from a hospital is pretty remarkable?

Can we all agree that the resignation of the University of California provost is just the first domino to fall in the wake of sexual harassment investigations going on at the school?

Can we all agree, the George Lucas Museum has become a public relations nightmare for both cities where it was supposed to be built?

Can we all agree North Korea’s attempts to develop a missile capable of hitting the US would be pretty funny, if they weren’t talking about a nuclear warhead?

Can we all agree that Microsoft’s lawsuit, asking the government to allow them to notify people whose phone records are being sought, seems pretty reasonable?

Can we all agree that Donald Trump’s speech on Joe Paterno was  this week’s political highlight? Although the fact that his own children will not be able to vote for him was an honorable mention.

Can we all agree that UC Davis’s attempts to scrub mentions of their pepper spray incident from the internet, reveals a real disagreement about priorities?

Can we all agree that Russian jets buzzing US warships makes no sense no matter how you view it?

Can we all agree that Justin Trudeau continues to be a great example of leadership?

Can we all agree the Chicago Police Department appears to have some serious issues to confront?

Can we all agree the spread of the Zika virus creates a true dilemma for any woman who wants to have a baby?

Can we all agree that we were all surprised this week by two court decisions – one  giving the so called affluenza teen a two-year prison term and another granting a pardon to Manson family member Lesley Van Houten?

Can we all agree, speaking of justice, that California politicians gave the legal system a huge black eye by paroling a prominent politician’s son?

Can we all agree we never knew banks had living wills and that they might endanger the economy?

Can we all agree that Donald Trump will have to win the GOP nomination on the first ballot or his bid will end in Cleveland?

Can we all agree, no-one is surprised to find out the government just paid someone to hack into an iPhone? We would all love to know what they paid.

Can we all agree that the GOP’s activist government style seems to create a headline every day. This week was Kentucky and Tennessee.

Can we all agree Florida Governor Rick Scott would have been better off ignoring a heckler rather than taking out an attack ad to respond?imrs.php

Can we all agree that no-one seems to believe Paul Ryan when he says he would not accept the GOP nomination for President?

Can we all agree that with the new forever stamps, most people never noticed the cost of sending a first class letter dropped by 2 cents? Of course, no one under 30 even sends a real letter anyway.

Can we all agree that John Kerry’s visit to the Hiroshima memorial will do little to dampen the GOP criticism of the President when he visits, as expected, later this year?

Can we all agree we are happy to know the wild tiger population is on the rise?

And finally:

Can we all agree it’s nice that chip technology on credit cards has made them safer, but it has done nothing to speed up the checkout line at the local supermarket?

 

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 12/12/15 Edition

December 12, 2015

Can we all agree that for at least a couple of generations, Frank Sinatra’s 100 birthday, today, is worth celebrating?

Can we all agree that anything coming out of the current climate change conference, is just talk until nations actually do something concrete?

Can we all agree that even before the predicted El Nino, California is getting good news as weekly rains drench northern parts of the state and bring snow to the Sierra’s? We even had hail that piled up like snow in my back yard.

'Snow' in my Bay Area back yard this week

‘Snow’ in my Bay Area back yard this week

Can we all agree that the GOP is now reaping what they sowed by encouraging Donald Trump’s outrage at the establishment? Reaction has been overwhelmingly negative both in the US and abroad but it has only embolden him and his supporters.

Can we all agree that Donald Trump is just giving voice to fringe elements who are now considered mainstream?

Can we all agree that given his actual support, Mr. Trump has little chance of fulfilling his promise to take his postponed trip to Israel ‘after he is elected.’

Can we all agree that we envy the reception Syrian refugees are getting in Canada? And wonder if it will ever happen in this country – as it should.

Can we ll agree that last night’s apparent arson at a California mosque will probably not be the last?

Can we all agree that the rhetoric employed by the GOP is not far from the kind of arguments heard during the McCarthy era?

Can we all agree that it’s a bit surprising to learn the shooters in San Bernardino were ‘radicalized’ years ago, but somehow no-one knew it?

Can we all agree that the charges against an Oklahoma police officer for sexually assaulting 24 black women should have engendered the same outrage as the murder of black men?

Can we all agree that it’s not surprising that military students at the Citadel think it’s acceptable to portray KKK members in school skits, since they continue to display the Confederate flag in their chapel?

Can we all agree that when a sitting Supreme Court justice suggests that a segment of the population does not deserve to attend top-flight universities he should not be sitting on the bench?

Can we all agree that the demise of “No Child Left Behind” came about 12 years late?

Can we all agree that Rham Emanuel, mayor of Chicago is in big trouble? Even the President senses it.

The USS Zumwalt - the Navy's newest ship

The USS Zumwalt – the Navy’s newest ship

Can we all agree that the Navy’s newest destroyer looks like a modern version of the civil war’s USS Monitor?

Can we all agree that the man who attacked the Planned Parenthood Center in Colorado as a “warrior for the babies” is just another example of a fringe element encouraged by misguided politicians?

Can we all agree that despite what the GOP would have us believe, there seems to be some progress in the battle against ISIS?

Can we all agree that while there was nothing wrong with the President’s address last Sunday night, there was nothing memorable or particularly comforting. His policies will be judged by results not speeches.

Can we all agree that we might have made some progress this week in the war against assault weapons when the Supreme Court allowed a local assault weapons ban to stand?

Can we all agree that drug company owner Martin Shkrelis may be the most vilified businessman  in the United states?

Can we all agree that we were shocked when Fox News actually suspended an on-air personality for crossing the line in criticizing the President? Who knew they even had a line establishing a standard?

Can we all agree that unless we start to do something about climate change we may all be facing the same kind of red alert imposed in China this week?

Can we all agree that proposals to arm students with guns are not the kind of solutions we need to solve our weapons problem? Just ask the woman who tried to shoot a shoplifter in Michigan.

An finally, can we all agree that it was good to hear that President Jimmy Carter’s cancer seems to be losing it’s battle with modern medicine?

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Kensington in the Spotlight

February 22, 2015

Filed under: Health,Kensington,Management,observations,Politics — Tags: , — admin @ 10:00 am

Recently, I’ve had a few calls from friends around the country asking bluntly, “What the heck is going on in Kensington?”

For those of you who missed it, our little town has been the subject of some notoriety since it was revealed that an off-duty police officer ( and three other colleagues) drove to Reno, NV (about 3 hours) for a weekend of fun and promptly lost his gun, badge, handcuffs, and ammunition to a prostitute.kensington-ca-kensington-village-sign-welcome-to-kensington

Journalistically, the best part of the story was how the gun was recovered the next day, when the woman’s pimp apparently shot himself during a dispute when he was attempting to pawn the items.

Our local police chief “investigated” the matter for 8 months but only suspended the officer when the story became public. As you might expect, the community was a bit upset at the chief’s delay. Over 250 folks turned out for a police board meeting on the issue.

He’s now our former chief, although the suspended officer is still on the force.

Kensington is a small upper-middle class community in the East Bay hills. Our major claim to fame, until now, was that Daniel Ellsberg lived here. Over 70% of the population have, not only college degrees, but advanced degrees. The community is off the beaten track, and most of us like it that way. There are no major roads that would lead anyone to come here, unless you were on the way to your home, and most of the time when you tell someone you live in Kensington the reaction is “where’s that?”

chief

Chief Greg Harman in happier times

Plus, we pay a yearly assessment, so that we can have a police department of 10, dedicated to patrolling our streets to protect us from the rest of the world. We also have an excellent elementary school which makes this a great place to raise a family.

The spotlight that has been shining on us over the last few weeks, has been very uncomfortable.

I have no new information to reveal about what will happen next and most of you probably don’t want to know about the politics of a small, wealthy community in the Bay Area, but there are some things to note.

First, the chief and the 5-member police board to which he reports, have screwed up big time. The chief, who also acts as general manager, will no longer be serving us, and for the second time in ten years, we are looking for a new commander.

Second, a large part of the problem is based in the combination role the police chief is asked to fill. Police Chief and General Manager is just an untenable combination, which the board is finally looking into changing.

Third, a small group of dissidents is using the incident to further their own, long-standing goal of ousting the three majority board members. Additionally, they want us to combine our police force with the neighboring town of El Cerrito, which may make sense financially, but not from a public safety perspective.

This story will continue to play out over the next year. Hopefully out of the national or state-wide spotlight. My hunch is we’ll have a recall election, which will fail, and we will separate the two top posts in town, and then there will be a ballot initiative to combine our police force with our neighbor, which will also fail.

The whole battle will be quite acrimonious, and make for lots of local hand wringing, but in the end, everyone will go back to ignoring the our little town and we can all get on with our lives.

 

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