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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 5/14/16 edition

May 14, 2016

Can we all agree that waiting in security lines for over an hour to get on a plane is n0t the payoff we expected for improved security when we travel?

Waiting in line in Minneapolis (Star Tribune Photo)

Waiting in line in Minneapolis (Star Tribune Photo)

Can we all agree that opponents of the death penalty may have found an unlikely ally in Pfizer?

Can we all agree that George Zimmerman has carved out a new definition of insensitivity by deciding to auction the gun he used to kill Trayvon Martin? And that’s the kindest thing I could say.

Can we all agree, speaking of insensitivity, it’s hard to figure out what a Belgium beer company was thinking when they decided to replace the name on their beer cans with ‘America?’

Can we all agree the Obama Administration’s decree on bathroom use has made an isolated problem into a national issue?

Can we all agree we finally found someone nasty enough for Donald Trump to disavow – his  former Butler ?

Can we all agree Donald Trump’s reaction to calls for release of his tax return makes even his supporters squirm?

Can we all agree, it’s nice to know the GOP’s Stop-Trump movement is still in the game?

Can we all agree that new revelations about how Donald Trump handles himself with women is not exactly a surprise?

Can we all agree the Russian government’s reaction to the Olympic doping scandal, just adds credibility to the charges?

Can we all agree the GOP’s ‘victory’ over the Affordable Care Act, issued by a Republican judge, will be short-lived since the Supreme Court has already ruled on the issue?

Can we all agree the Catholic Church’s decision to study the possibility of female Deacons, does not mean it will happen, but it adds to Pope Francis’ legacy of change?

Can we all agree that reading about the political turmoil in Brazil is starting too get very boring?

Can we all agree that Speaker Paul Ryan’s meeting with Donald Trump was all form and no substance?

Can we all agree that if Mr. Trump is elected President he will have at least one foreign leader who will welcome a visit – the new President of the Philippines? He appears to be Trump 2.0.

Can we all agree that Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s social media attacks on Mr. Trump may not win her a VP job with the Clinton campaign, but it’s sure fun to watch?

Can we all agree it’s about time an American President visited Hiroshima?

Can we all agree that the tactics Uber and Lyft are using to avoid improved background checks on their drivers are leaving a bad taste with many consumers?

Steph Curry: NBA MVP (USA Today photo)

Steph Curry: NBA MVP (USA Today photo)

Can we all agree it’s good to know that our representative in Washington can’t agree on fighting Zika, or helping Puerto Rico, or any of a host of other problems, but they can agree that the bison should be the national mammal? As a true orange and blue Bucknell bison I am just so proud.

Can we all agree that Commencement season is destroying the concept of free speech, as campus after campus cancels an invitation, because some group raises an objection?

and finally:

Can we all agree Steph Curry’s shimmy may be a bit of unnecessary celebration, but he certainly deserves to be the first unanimous MVP of any major sport?

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Coming to America

September 24, 2015

Filed under: observations,Sharing economy — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 9:47 am

Took my car to be serviced this week, so I used BART to get back and forth to the dealership. I just needed a short ride from my home to the station and back. I used a cab inon e direction and Lyft in the other.

The result was two distinct views of America.

Note to self: It’s no longer good to ask a cab driver, “How’s business?” – my standard line, rather than just sitting in silence.

The cab driver, who was Indian and spoke with a typical accent, launched into what was probably a frequently repeated refrain about Uber and Lyft.

“Those drivers don’t make any money,” he told me. “After paying for their cars and insurance and gas they lose money, every day they drive.” he continued.

I asked how long he had been driving and he proudly said, 23 years, although he wasn’t sure how much longer he could continue. “Business used to be good, but now, sometimes I make less than $100 in a day,” he told me.

I asked if he had tried driving for one of the new competitors. “Why, I wouldn’t make any money.” Then he added, “The government will have to do something.”

My driver back to retrieve my car turned out to be a young Afghan immigrant who was a translator for the Army near Kabul. He’s been in the US for two years and has been driving his 1-year-old Prius for several ride-sharing services since last December.

He was able to come here with his wife and two children, but left his brother and mother behind. It took him five years to get a visa and he realizes how lucky he is, pointing out that another 10,000 translators may never be granted permission, despite assurances from the US government that they have priority status.

“They have stopped issuing any more visas,” he told me. “And since the Syrian refugee crises, the whole system has stopped.” He admitted that the rest of his family lives in fear because the Taliban know that he worked for the US Army, but, he says, his mother and brother probably will never get out. He speaks with them regularly via cellphone.

Despite that, he says that he is doing very well. His wife is taking English classes and he is studying to get his GED, although he has an IT degree from school in Afghanistan.

“I need to have something to show people. I have nothing from my home.” he says.

While he speaks with an accent, his English is near perfect and it was clear that getting a GED was just a formality. When he first came to this country he worked for a Fremont company testing file servers.

“They paid me $15/hour, but the job was boring, so I tried driving on my days off and found I could make $300/day in 6 hours, – so I quit.” he says. “Now I drive 4 hours a day and study and if I need extra money, I can work on the weekend and make $600 a day.”

Is it any wonder  so many people want to come to the US.


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