1 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
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Happy New Year

I woke up this morning to a new year, 2014, that didn't impress me as being any different that the old year, 2013, of yesterday. Patches and I went for our morning walk just like we have been doing almost every morning during that old year. I expect to be doing the same thing every morning during this New Year - I hope so anyway.

There is one thing new in our lives, we now have a neighbor next to us on the north side. They moved in yesterday afternoon and have two small wire haired rat dogs that bark at Patches every time they see her.

She then wants to answer back but has been very good in responding to a Heel Command. She comes to a heel - almost always - and promptly shuts up - almost always - which places the responsibility of controlling their dog(s) on the other dog owner. It has been the very best thing that I have managed to teach her so far.

I don't make New Year Resolutions but have made a decision to drop the daily weather reports from by postings. I started doing them so that I would have a record of what the weather was like east of the Rocky Mountains. I can now go back and refresh my memory with day by day data IF I should ever think about coming this way again. Soon I'll be returning to the dry air of the Rockies and the West where I belong; I don't think I will ever develop a sufferance for high humidity.

I finished another Tess Gerritsen book yesterday. It was a relatively short book by my standards at only 350 pages. She always writes a thriller that easily becomes a page turner so it does not take me long to read one of hers. I'll have a review posted in a day or two.

I then started a David Poyer book and was sure that I had read one of his before. I used the Search function that I have added to my web site and could not find where I had written about reading one of his. Went back through the past few months and found it on 23 November 2013. For reason(s) unknown the Search function can not find anything on my web site page for the month of November 2013. My guess is the Googlebot has not updated the searchable index for the Google Search engine for my web site since sometime after October 26th. A Search for Elizabeth George will find her on that date but a Search for Tami Hoag does not find her on the 31st.

That means when I wrote on 31 December 2013 about the DeMill books that I had read I left off Cathedral which I wrote about on 9 November 2013. I have submitted my web site address to Google requesting them to update their index and have also created an XML Sitemap that makes sure that Google knows about all the pages on my site. I think it is simply a timing issue however but maybe these steps will move Google to update their Search index.

2 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic

I was going to write about calendars yesterday but my posting was long enough so I'm doing it today. If you will think back to a little over a year ago there was a lot of interest in the Mayan Calendar predicting the End of the World on 21 December 2012. Didn't happen. The Mayan date yesterday was Long Count Date and the days just keep passing.

Or perhaps you want the Julian date. That would be 2456658.5 - Julian dates are simply a continuous count of days and fractions since noon Universal Time on January 1, 4713 BCE (on the Julian calendar). Perhaps you are looking at a Hebrew calendar, the date for yesterday would then be 29 Tevet 5774.

That is only three dates from three calendars out of about 50 that are currently used by someone in the world. There are also over a dozen that have become obsolete and another dozen that have been proposed.

The Mayan calendar began on 13 August 3114 BC, the Hebrew in about 3750 BC and the Chinese in 2637 BC. These start dates are conversion back dates expressed in the most commonly used calendar, the Gregorian, which was established on 24 February 1582. Just knowing all this makes me feel so much better about sometimes forgetting that it is Friday.

I also have wanted to comment on what I think of as RV 'wannabe' dissonance. When inconsistency (dissonance) is experienced, individuals largely become psychologically distressed. I read Comment after Comment in RV Travel blogs that are posted by RV 'wannabes' that say "When I sell my home.. bla, bla bla.

I feel sorry for these individuals for what they are going through. The main stream media keeps feeding their belief/hope that home sales are getting better yet the reality is their home is not selling. There was story after story during 2013 that real estate was recovering, home sale were improving yet the reality was that the inventory of homes on the market remained in a range of 4.3 to 5.2 months supply during that time.

What makes this even worse is that a large number of those wishing to sell their homes are priced out of the market unless they take a loss. Many of them are in homes that have first and second mortgages that exceed the market price that they can expect to receive. Serious psychological distress may be the kindest thing that the clinicians can name it - driving one crazy may be the more common phrase.

We were off to town again this morning. I had breakfast at Carmelita's Restaurant which is just a block south of Don Marcelino Restaurant where I stopped a couple weeks ago. Carmelita's is another hole in the wall kind of place but with a much better breakfast. I'll go back before I leave Del Rio.

Picked up groceries at H-E-B once again. Didn't start putting some of them in the pot until I did a holding tank dump first. I need to move Desperado over to the extreme edge of my space parking pad for the hose to reach the dump opening so doing it when I returned from town was a good idea. What was not such a good idea was doing it during a morning when a VERY cold wind was blowing. Got it done and added fresh water so I'm set for 10 days or so.

The groceries that then went into the pot followed a recipe except for the spices. Very simple and very quick. A small head of Napa cabbage (coarsely chopped), 5 small Granny Smith apples (diced into 8ths), about a cup of water and maybe a half cup of vinegar. Then layer 5 pork chops on top and bring to a boil for 10-15 minutes and into the Thermal Cooker for 6 hours of so. You can spice this as you like it, I use NO salt and added nothing. Will probably add some mustard on the side when I serve up some for 'linner'.

3 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: January 3, 1926

A very good article Everything Better Is Purchased At The Price Of Something Worse by Raúl Ilargi Meijer at The Automatic Earth on 1 January 2014 - recommended. The entire article is thought provoking and based upon the writings of Carl Gustav Jung which he quotes at the end of the article. I found this excerpt from that quote to be poignant for someone trying to live a simpler life through a Fulltime RV lifestyle.

Reforms by advances, that is, by new methods or gadgets, are of course impressive at first, but in the long run they are dubious and in any case dearly paid for. They by no means increase the contentment or happiness of people on the whole. Mostly, they are deceptive sweetenings of existence, like speedier communications, which unpleasantly accelerate the tempo of life and leave us with less time than ever before. Omnis festinatio ex parte diaboli est - all haste is of the devil, as the old masters used to say.
Reforms by retrogressions, on the other hand, are as a rule less expensive and in addition more lasting, for they return to the simpler, tried and tested ways of the past and make the sparsest use of newspapers, radio, television, and all supposedly timesaving innovations.
Want some indication of how the Executive Branch of our Federal Government works. I received an email response from President Obama yesterday to a comment that I sent him regarding the Government Slimdown of last October. The reply was a form letter that must have been sent out by the thousands, if not millions, but I just now got one.

leftpic On 7 July 2013 I wrote about Vanish that I had just finished and Harvest that I had read some years ago. Then on 26 August 2013 I started showing book covers upon my completion of The Mephisto Club and on 12 October 2013 I wrote about The Sinner. My copy of The Surgeon had a different cover than the one shown here, I think it was the cover on the first publication in 2001, what is shown is from a 2002 publishing. Gerritsen has written a lot of books so I have a good chance of finding another one and will be picking it up when I do.

A creepy cerebral serial killer vaguely reminiscent of Hannibal Lecter pursues a charismatic female doctor in this thoroughly satisfying if somewhat derivative thriller. Skillfully drawn surgical backdrops sizzling with ER intensity balance out the obligatory romantic intrigue and familiar plucky police professionals, attesting to Gerritsen's authentic medical expertise as a former physician. Dr. Catherine Cordell, the main character in this chilling tale, thought she had shot and killed her rapist and would-be murderer two years earlier in steamy Savannah, where he was a surgery intern at her hospital. Now, in Boston, as another hot summer begins, he appears to have miraculously returned and embarked once again on his grisly mission: he rapes women, then surgically removes their wombs. As two intrepid detectives Thomas Moore and Jane Rizzoli investigate, Cordell begins to doubt her own memories (or lack of) and discovers that not even her OR is safe. Gliding as smoothly as a scalpel in a confident surgeon's hand, this tale proves that Gerritsen (Harvest; Life Support; Bloodstream; Gravity), originally a romance writer, has morphed into a dependable suspense novelist whose growing popularity is keeping pace with her ever-finer writing skills. - Publishers Weekly

4 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic

Edward Snowden is currently charged in a criminal complaint with two violations of the Espionage Act involving unauthorized communication of classified information, and a charge of theft of government property.

In an editorial Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower by The Editorial Board on the Opinion Page of The New York Times they said the following in part (my underlining).

Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.
I rarely agree with anything that the NYT publishes but this editorial happens to be one of those times. I tend to agree with their use of the term clemency, forgiveness in judging or punishing, in the paragraph quoted above. However, there are also calls for Snowden to receive a pardon, a government executive forgiving a certain criminal offense. Both of these terms rest upon the person having been convicted of a crime. At this point in the Snowden saga that has not yet happened so to support clemency or a pardon presumes that he is guilty as charged in the criminal complaint.

In my opinion all charges against Mr. Snowden should be dropped. If President Obama can exercise selective enforcement of law involving immigration and ObamaCare then he certainly can decide NOT to charge Snowden with violations of the Espionage Act and rule by Executive Decree that his actions properly fall within the protection of a Whistle-Blower. When it comes to the law this president has been able to do what ever he wants to do so dropping the charges is the "right thing to do".

For the past couple of weeks I have been experimenting with a a new breakfast scramble. I had been using frozen home fries with tofu and various vegetables for some time and was looking for a change. I was also looking to reduce the calories that I was consuming by eating the potatoes but that was not the primary reason for the change. Some variety was the more compelling reason.

I tried barley first. It was acceptable but is hard to find in the stores that I usually use for my grocery shopping. Could not find any when I went shopping the time before last so I picked up some quinoa ("kee-NO-wah" or "KEEN-wah"). I may have the same problem finding more of it when I go shopping this next week.

I think I like the quinoa better but still am refining how I'll use it. I would always cook the potatoes first then add the tofu and vegetables. When using either the barley or the quinoa, since it has already been cooked, I now find that I should cook the vegetables first then add the tofu and grain. What kind of vegetables and how much has also become a trial and error process. The change is good and is opening up different breakfast possibilities.

5 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
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WHO’S LEFT TO BUY? is the title of a 4 January 2014 blog post on The Burning Platform. A very good question. The stock market analyst continue to promote an ever higher stock market with their buy recommendations. But who has any money to do so other than the 0.1% - but wait, they are selling. “Danger, Will Robinson!”

Here are the facts. The average equity exposure of investment managers is 99%. That is the highest equity exposure EVER. Do you think that represents extreme bullishness? Margin debt is the highest EVER. So you have investment managers that are so optimistic about the stock market that they have borrowed money against their existing all-in holdings and bought more stocks. The stock market is the highest EVER. Corporate profits are the highest EVER. Consumer debt is the highest EVER. The National Debt is the highest EVER. Until tomorrow. The percentage of people in the labor market is the lowest in 30 years. Real median household income is lower than it was in 1989.
From Billionaires Dumping Stocks, Economist Knows Why at NewsMax on 3 January 2014.
Warren Buffett, who has been a cheerleader for U.S. stocks for quite some time, is dumping shares at an alarming rate...
Fellow billionaire John Paulson, who made a fortune betting on the subprime mortgage meltdown, is clearing out of U.S. stocks too...
Finally, billionaire George Soros recently sold nearly all of his bank stocks,..
So why are these billionaires dumping their shares of U.S. companies?
Robert Wiedemer explains why Buffett, Paulson, and Soros could be dumping U.S. stocks: “Companies will be spending more money on borrowing costs than business expansion costs. That means lower profit margins, lower dividends, and less hiring. Plus, more layoffs.”
No investors, let alone billionaires, will want to own stocks with falling profit margins and shrinking dividends. So if that’s why Buffett, Paulson, and Soros are dumping stocks, they have decided to cash out early and leave Main Street investors holding the bag.
The Big News is all about the Polar Vortex. We had the wind part swirl in here this morning at about 5:00am. Received an email from the Park management warning of a light freeze tomorrow morning and the weather forecasters predicts that for the next two mornings. Cold and windy until Wednesday but not as cold as most of the country.

6 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
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Senator McCain is convinced that the voters in Arizona have absolutely no memory, he believes that he can say whatever is politically expedient and they will continue to vote him back into office. He has seen it work for Obama, why wouldn't he think this way.

He supported Obama's Iraq withdrawal plan, even through the presidential campaign in 2008. Now he wants you to believe that President Obama is responsible for the take over of Fallujah by Al Qaeda-affiliated fighters; the same fighters that McCain/Obama support in Syria. The man is a foreign policy dunce, perhaps even worse than the president.

His Iraq position leading up to the presidential campaign.
In a May 15, 2008 speech in Columbus, Ohio, McCain said:
By January 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom. The Iraq War has been won…. Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension. Violence still occurs, but it is spasmodic and much reduced…. The United States maintains a military presence there, but a much smaller one, and it does not play a direct combat role.
In a June 11, 2008 interview on NBC's Today Show, McCain was asked whether, in light of recent progress from the troop surge in Iraq, he had a clearer idea of when U.S. troops could begin withdrawing. He replied:
No, but that's not too important. What's important is casualties in Iraq. Americans are in South Korea. Americans are in Japan. American troops are in Germany. That's all fine. American casualties, and the ability to withdraw. We will be able to withdraw.... But the key to it is we don't want any more Americans in harm's way.
In a July 25, 2008 interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, McCain offers measured praise for the Obama-Maliki 16-month plan, even using the word "timetable" before catching himself:
BLITZER: Why do you think [Maliki] said that 16 months is basically a pretty good timetable?
MCCAIN: He said it's a pretty good timetable based on conditions on the ground. I think it's a pretty good timetable, as we should -- or horizons for withdrawal. But they have to be based on conditions on the ground. This success is very fragile. It's incredibly impressive, but very fragile. So we know, those of us who have been involved in it for many years, know that if we reverse this, by setting a date for withdrawal, all of the hard-won victory can be reversed.
We're not ready to do that. Too many brave young Americans and their families have sacrificed too much. But we will be out and the difference is we'll be out with victory and honor and not defeat. Sen. Obama has said there is a possibility under his plan we may have to go back. I guarantee you, after they withdraw under what we are doing, we'll never have to go back.
I think President Obama is committed to golfing in Hawaii and not available yet to give a speech on the latest from Iraq. But U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (who served in Vietnam) promised support for Iraq's government, but emphatically rejected any possibility that the U.S. would send troops back into the country, saying of the Baghdad government "this is their fight."

The two dogs that my neighbors have are a potential problem. When Patches and I stepped out of Desperado this morning it was still dark. Before I knew what was happening the smaller one of the two was in Patches's face and she was not happy about that. I heard a yip from the other dog but what ever Patches had given her was not enough because the dog wanted to come back for more. I ran it off so we could go on our walk without it following and causing even more problems.

I had a talk with the other dog owner around noon when I saw her outside with the dog off leash again. Told her that I could control Patches but could not control her dog if it was off leash and that there had been a problem. She didn't act like she was overly concerned. I told the girl that works part time in the Park office what had happened, told her to convey what I told her to the Park owner and that if it happened again I would want to move to another space.

7 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
For years I have read about the cold Arctic Air Mass that would sweep down into Canada and the United States during the winter and bring with it very low temperatures. Suddenly the lame stream media has discovered the Polar Vortex and has flooded the airwaves and newsprint with their newly found term.

It is not that this has never happened before but it didn't happen yesterday so it is Big News. From The Huffington Post there was this:
Temperature records will likely be broken during the short, yet forceful deep freeze that will begin in many places on Sunday and extend into early next week. That's thanks to a perfect combination of the jet stream, cold surface temperatures and the polar vortex — a counterclockwise-rotating pool of cold, dense air, said Ryan Maue, of Tallahassee, Fla., a meteorologist for Weather Bell... It's relatively uncommon to have such frigid air blanket so much of the U.S., maybe once a decade or every couple of decades, Maue said.
It was cold all day yesterday here in Del Rio with a morning overcast that helped keep it cold. This morning the official low was 26° (19 windchill) but I had frozen water pipes that did not thaw until 1:00pm when the temperature reached 42° but the windchill was just above freezing. Much better than a lot of the country; we have sunshine today and the forecast is for it to be in the low 70s by this weekend. However, I had my Wave heater on for most of the day yesterday and expect that it will be on for a good part of today.

That means that Patches and I fought over who got to sit up close to the heater with her winning the battle, I can not take the heat that she can. A lot of time on the couch by myself, she prefers the heater, with my book. Or online with blogs, both Daily and Monthly. We did get out for our walks but I was heavily bundled up and we went for shorter times.

8 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
Today was shopping day once again. That also means that I got to have a breakfast that was cooked by someone other than myself. Planned on having Heuvos Rancheros at Dona Elvira Mexican Restaurant but found out that they do not make them the traditional way with a corn tortilla under the eggs. Went with their Chorizo con Heuvos that I had the first time and found it to be better this time around.

Picked up groceries at H-E-B and carried them back to my space at the Park. Then I immediately started on a pot of Pozole con Pollo. Nothing very complicated just over a pound of chicken breasts diced and browned off, a quart of chicken broth, a diced medium yellow onion, two cans of white hominy and a couple of cans of diced chile. I spiced it up with a packet of Sazón Goya, couple of tsp of menudo spice mix and three tsp of ground cayenne pepper.

I started making a green salad last week and got the ingredients for that again this week. So my 'linners' will be salad, roast beef-n-cheddar on a bun with some Pozole during these next 6 days.

Finished the latest novel, by David Poyer, that I have been reading. The back of the book jacket has this quote by Thomas Fleming author of The Officers' Wives: "A fascinating exploration of a piece of history that might have been."

I like historical fiction and was able to enjoy The Great War: American Front by Harry Turtledove which is an Alternate History novel. But I want my historical fiction to honor what is generally known to be historical fact with regard to time, place and the people that history remembers during that time and that place.

The alternate history of Turtledove takes place during a time after the historical personage has died so the 'what if' scenario worked for me. This Poyer novel did not because he presents a 'what if' scenario using historical characters during a time and place while they were alive. For me that is Historical Fantasy. I'll post an additional review in a day or two.

9 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
I went a little heavy with the cayenne in my Pozole yesterday. I think most people would be happy with just the two big tsp of menudo mix, it has chile powder in it, or one tsp of cayenne would make it hot. Those wanting it extra hot could add a second tsp of cayenne or you could make it like I said yesterday.

leftpic I do not recommend this book. I gave some of my reasons for not liking it in my posting of 8 January 2014. In that posting I explained why I thought the novel should be classed as Historical Fantasy. I was also put off by the author switching the "point of view", the place from which a writer listens in and watches, throughout the book. The author uses the third person for most of his story telling but when the action involves John F Kennedy he changes to the first person to give the reader the impression that JFK is telling the story.

This could be effective if what is being told in the first person were autobiographical but it is Historical Fantasy as well. JFK wrote two books during his life, Why England Slept and Profile of Courage neither of them were autobiographical so I am back to my preference for honoring historical time and place.

There was one glaring editing error also, I say glaring because if I can see it then there were probably many more that I did not detect. I know many authors are sloppy writers but that is what a good editor is for, to clean up his mess. That did not happen when this book went through the editing process. Perhaps the reprint was corrected but I was reading a paperback copy from the first printing which has the book cover as shown.

In the tradition of The Day of the Jackal and The Key to Rebecca, USA Today-bestselling author David Poyer crafts a tale of politics, assassination, ambition, statesmanship, sacrifice, and love, set against the background of a world at war.
It is the apocalyptic spring of 1945. A young Navy lieutenant, convalescing from action in the Pacific, is transferred to the President's personal staff. But 27-year-old John Fitzgerald Kennedy has another mission. His boss, Admiral Leahy, thinks enemy coded traffic points to an assassin in FDR's personal circle. Who is trying to kill Franklin D. Roosevelt? Why? And how? JFK and screen star and Roosevelt admirer Lauren Wolfe, "The most glamorous woman in the world," are suddenly the "detectives" as the clock ticks down to April 12, 1945, in Warm Springs, Georgia . . . where two ruthless men, one Russian, one German, and a shadowy and determined American traitor will attempt to alter the course of history.
Set against a vast sweep of stunningly re-created backgrounds -- a bombed and burning Berlin, coastal Virginia, the glitter of Palm Beach and Hollywood, the killing fields of Eastern Europe, wartime Washington and small-town Georgia -- THE ONLY THING TO FEAR brings the legendary figures of fifty years ago to fierce and passionate life.
Using hundreds of hours of on-site research, interviews, and declassified documents, a master storyteller re-weaves the tapestry of the final days of World War Two into a chillingly plausible portrait of what might really have happened . . . .and reimagines our country's greatest heroes in a way that is sure to provoke fascination . . . and controversy. - New York Times Book Review

10 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: January 10, 1926

The Bureau of Labor released their non-farm job numbers for December today that showed an increase of 74,000 jobs. This was the weakest month for job growth since January 2011 and came as a huge surprise to economists, who were expecting an addition of 193,000 jobs.

If you look at the Household Data for December the number of Employed increased by 143,000 establishing a two month trend. There were increases in April thru July then a decrease in August, an small increase in September, a huge decrease of 735,000 in October a huge increase of 818,000 in November and another increase in December.

The Unemployment Rate dropped to 6.7%, moving toward what the economist consider full employment. The number of Unemployed decreased by 490,000 but those unemployed did not find work, most of them were job dropouts. Job market dropouts could be doing other things, like retiring, enrolling in educational programs or taking care of relatives. But many have simply given up hope of finding work.

The Not in the Labor Force increased 525,000 which caused the Participation Rate to drop back to 62.8% which matched the October rate and the lowest since 1978. This also raised the total of Not in the Labor Force to 91,808,000 a new all time record.

The average earnings rose by another 2 cent to $24.17 an hour, while the average workweek lost 0.1 hours to 34.4 hours. That means that between the increase in the average hourly earnings and the lose in hours worked the average worker received $1.73/week less in December that in November - yet Consumer Confidence was up - go figure.

President Barack Obama has a 'fix' for this continued slow jobs growth however, yesterday he announced ways the federal government can help economically challenged communities through five new "Promise Zones" with the expectation of creating 20 in total.

It's part of his effort to focus on income inequality in the lead-up to his State of the Union address this month. The White House says tax incentives and grants can help communities tackle poverty, giving children better chances at success. Yes, Oh Yes we must 'invest' in these "Promise Zones" that the War on Poverty have created over the past 50 years. We must "do it for the children".

How the War on Poverty Was Lost an Opinion article by Robert Rector in The Wall Street Journal is as clear cut 'telling it like it is' article as I have read about the 'War'. A similar article could be written about how we have lost the War on Drugs. But both of those wars will continue to be fought because they provide so much money to those that are involved in the fight i.e. "Poverty Zones".
On Jan. 8, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson used his State of the Union address to announce an ambitious government undertaking. “This administration today, here and now,” he thundered, “declares unconditional war on poverty in America.”
Fifty years later, we’re losing that war. Fifteen percent of Americans still live in poverty, according to the official census poverty report for 2012, unchanged since the mid-1960s. Liberals argue that we aren’t spending enough money on poverty-fighting programs, but that’s not the problem. In reality, we’re losing the war on poverty because we have forgotten the original goal, as LBJ stated it half a century ago: “to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities.”
The federal government currently runs more than 80 means-tested welfare programs that provide cash, food, housing, medical care and targeted social services to poor and low-income Americans. Government spent $916 billion on these programs in 2012 alone, and roughly 100 million Americans received aid from at least one of them, at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient. (That figure doesn’t include Social Security or Medicare benefits.) Federal and state welfare spending, adjusted for inflation, is 16 times greater than it was in 1964. If converted to cash, current means-tested spending is five times the amount needed to eliminate all official poverty in the U.S.
LBJ promised that the war on poverty would be an “investment” that would “return its cost manifold to the entire economy.” But the country has invested $20.7 trillion in 2011 dollars over the past 50 years. What does America have to show for its investment?
11 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
We are having one of the best weather days that Del Rio has seen since I have been here. If it will hold until this afternoon I think Patches and I will do a long afternoon walk. The only thing that may cut that short will be Patches. She was carrying her left hind leg a bit yesterday afternoon so she may be having some hip dysplacia pains.

The treatment for my wrist pain seems to have worked. I can still feel some pain in it but nothing like what it was. I have pains in my shoulders all the time also but they are not bad enough that I need to take anything and will not unless they get bad again. Simply something I know that I am going to have to live with and expect to get worse as time goes by rather than better.

Had a problem with my computer shutting down unexpectedly yesterday and taking most of my blog posting with it. I got to write it again and while doing so let a pan of barley boil dry and burn on the bottom of the pan. Got out my all purpose cleaner, a jug of white vinegar, and poured in enough to cover the burned bottom then brought it to a boil. While it was cooling I poured a good portion of vinegar into my toilet.

When the pot was cooled down it cleaned up as nice as could be. I do see some stain in the metal bottom but all the burnt barley is gone. I then got the toilet cleaned up as well. An unplanned day of doing some domestic chores.

I am back to a degraded WIFI once again. It started slowing down yesterday and disconnected a couple of times. Today has been even worse and Verizon is not any better. I'm not a happy camper if I have poor Internet connections.

12 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
Yes, yesterday was the warmest day here since December 4th, a couple days after I arrived. Patches and I did get out for the longer afternoon walk. This was a 2.5 mile loop route along Las Brisas then Diego Loop to the dirt road that I found when we went out on 23 December (posted about it on 24 December 2013). From there it was back to US90 at the Junction with 79 Loop and home in the Park.

There is only one bad thing about the route; a couple of loose dogs on Diego Loop. A little ankle bitter was barking at us while a Goofy type dog was just trying to make friends with Patches. She was not so sure of his intentions and I didn't want to try and introduce her with the little dog causing problems.

We don't have nearly as nice a day today. There is some sun but also a rather stiff wind blowing that has kept if cool. We might get up into the low 70s today but not nearly the 78° that we saw yesterday and the forecast is for it to go back into the 50s and 60s.

I have a few thought about Bridgegate - are you surprised? My first thought was why does this merit national News? The answer of course is the Lame Stream Media did such a great job in getting Obama elected (twice) that they have become obsessed with the idea that they are now King/Queen Makers.

They have decided that Hillary should be Queen (it is her turn) and they were pushing for a Christie vs Hillary race. However, a funny thing happened on the way to the election - the polls started showing that Christie would win against Hillary.

They still want Christie as the Republican challenger but when this great opportunity arrived for them to discredit him it became a gift from the gods that control elections. Christie is a heavy weight version of McCain and Romney that the media was also very happy to have in the races against Obama. They think they can deal with him the same way they did the other two light weight contenders.

Speaking of McCain. Just before Bridgegate he announced in an interview that he favored Govs. Chris Christie (N.J.) and Bobby Jindal (La.) as candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. A great match in his view; a 'maverick Republican' i.e. RINO paired up with a conservative Republican. You remember how well that worked out in 2008 for the McCain and Palin ticket?

Meanwhile back in his home state of Arizona The Maricopa County Republican Committee, the state’s largest Republican group, formally censured Senator John McCain. There are a number of Whereas, Whereas ... followed by:
Whereas McCain has abandoned our core values and has been eerily silent against Liberals, yet publicly reprimands Conservatives in his own Party, therefore
BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that the Maricopa County Republican leadership censures Senator McCain for his continued disservice to our State and Nation, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that until he consistently champions our Party’s Platform and values, we, the Republican leadership in Arizona will no longer support, campaign for or endorse John McCain as our U.S. Senator.
Back in October, the good Senator announced his re-election plans during an interview on KFYI-AM in Phoenix: "I'm seriously giving that a lot of thought." When this was reported in The Huffington Post I sent him an email saying that if he did run again that it would be best that he change parties and run as a Democrat, that I did not think he could win re-election as a Republican. I don't think he will run, he is simply trying to make headlines during his last term.

13 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
I think my recent WIFI problems have been caused by Tengointernet making 'improvements' to their service. This morning when I turned on my laptop I had a sign in box pop up. I signed in with my address and password and that took me to their old Start Page that asked me for my address and password. I was then connected and have had good Internet all morning.

This didn't improve Verizon of course. It is still very slow and disconnects more often that I care for. It is an alternative to the WIFI however when that is not working.

I have not been doing much. I did finish another book and will have a review of that posted in a day or two. Started reading another one of course. Making progress on my Monthly blogs but not through them all yet. By the time I finish I will have to start over at the rate that I have been going.

For the past couple of months I have been having trouble with my wrist watch stopping. I can not remember when it was that I bought it but it has been over 10 years maybe over 15. I may be lucky and it might just need to be cleaned. I think I'll stop at a watch repair shop tomorrow and let them take a look. If it is going to cost as much to repair it as a get a new one then I'll most likely have a new watch.

14 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
It was going to town day! Tried a new restaurant this morning and found it to be well worth a repeat visit. Poncho's does not get very good reviews but they are mostly bad because of the service. I don't know if there have been changes made but I was not disappointed with the service that I received. The coffee cup was never more than 1/2 empty and the wait for my order was certainly not long - I ordered breakfast not some fast food order. I had their Huevos a la Mexicana with refried beans (some potatoes would have been nice) and tortillas.

Did my grocery shopping at H-E-B which has become so much easier now that I know where everything that I want is located. No longer the adventure that my first visit was, and always is at a new to me store, so it must be about time for me to move on.

I then stopped at a watch repair shop on the way home and left my watch. It is probably in need of a new battery and a good cleaning but I will find out next week when I pick it up or they send me an email that says it is not worth fixing.

The granting of amnesty for illegal immigrants in this country is going to be a contentious battle this year. The Democrats want to grant citizenship as soon as possible because they see all those illegals as cheap labor and another core support group especially if they can be made dependents of the Federal Government. The Republicans want to keep the illegals here because they offer a cheap source of labor but they don't want to give the Democrats another voting block.

What neither Party will talk about is they both want to keep the illegals here to prevent a civil war breaking out in Mexico and spreading across the border. Assume there are 12 million illegal Mexicans in the United States and that 60% of them are in the labor force that would be 7.2 million. The total labor force in Mexico is now about 50 million with an unemployment rate of 5%. If the 7.2 million that are currently working in the U.S. were to be dumped back into the Mexican economy the unemployment rate would jump to about 20%.

The Mexican government could not deal with this and you could expect to see a Mexico Spring on the order of the Arab Spring. There would be chaos in Mexico and that chaos would flow across our southern border faster than the illegal immigrants have been. There is also a huge group of dis-satisfied U. S. citizens that would join in such chaos in this country. We must keep the illegals to maintain some government stability in Mexico and other Latin America countries but no politician wants to make that argument.

15 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
My Thermal Cooker was put to use yesterday to make up a pot of stew for this next week. I'll be having salad, turkey-n-swiss on a bun and some stew for my 'linners'.

Nothing exotic about the stew. Simply stew beef, red potatoes, onion, carrots, corn and broccoli in a beef broth with a stew seasoning. The salad is also simple and the same as what I have been eating for the past couple of weeks. Romain hearts, mushrooms, red onion, Greek olives and palm hearts. I then dress it with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar just before eating it.

leftpic This is the first Robert Daley novel that I have read. It is what might be called Police Fiction if there is such a genre. Somewhat like a Joseph Wambaugh novel(s) that I read many years ago. Publishers Weekly says that Daley is on slightly unfamiliar ground when he brings to task an ambitious senator and assistant DA in the novel. I find this surprising, and disagree, since Robert Daley was a New York Deputy Police Commissioner during 1971 and 1972 I would assume that he is writing from some experience. Recommended and I'll be looking for more of his books.

This latest novel by the author of Prince of the City may end by focusing on the controversy over a green Deputy Commissioner who commits accidental homicide, but it is really about the fascinating distribution and realignment of power at the top of the nation's largest police force. Foreign correspondent Phil Keefe has been selected right-hand man to New York Police Commissioner Timothy J. Egan, a small, strong-minded former police academy instructor bent on reform of the department. Keefe is coached by a sergeant who has seen awful cruelties on the streets of New York. He is suspected by top brass who fear their power slipping into his hands. And he is resented by his girlfriend, an actress whom he leaves each night to visit the city's cops at work. He is in over his head, though, when police officials saddle him with a difficult hostage negotiation that results in the death of a distraught black trucker. Daley himself is on slightly unfamiliar ground when he brings to task an ambitious senator and assistant DA. And he sometimes pushes too far his recurring theme of the cop as society's martyr. But when Daley describes working cops, he makes clear the aggravation and ugliness of their jobs. And when he examines the methods by which major police officials quietly protect their careers and extend their grasp, he writes like a dazzling pre-glasnost Kremlinologist scrutinizing small changes in photos of Soviet leaders for revealing clues. - Publishers Weekly

There has been a big brouhaha over what the Israeli Defense Minister said about Secretary of State John Kerry, who served in Vietnam, and his attempts to negotiate a settlement between Israel and Palestine. I think the Defense Minister is correct in his assessment and applaud his honesty in making the statement.
“In reality, there have been no negotiations between us and the Palestinians for all these months – but rather between us and the Americans,” Moshe Ya’alon said in comments published in the pages of Yediot Aharonot. “The only thing that can 'save us' is for John Kerry to win a Nobel Prize and leave us in peace.”
Ya’alon added that Kerry, the latest U.S. diplomat to try to get the two sides to agree on a peace framework, is “acting out of misplaced obsession and messianic fervor,” and that the rumored draft document as “not worth the paper it is written on.”
Israel knows that the Obama Administration is not going to provide any security for them, maybe some money but no security. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu trusts President Obama about as far as he can throw him and likes him even less but he will grit his teeth and appear diplomatic.

Today, the Defense Minister's office issued this statement in an attempt to smooth ruffled feathers and bruised egos: “The defense minister had no intention to cause any offense to the secretary, and he apologizes if the secretary was offended by words attributed to the minister.” I like the statement almost as much as the Minister's original comment; there was no intent to offend he simply was speaking the truth which is rare for a politician.

16 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
Not a very active day for Patches and I. I did finish reading all of my Monthly blogs. Now will start working on the March links for the Will Rogers weekly articles. Patches will continue to sleep on the couch until I disturb her so I can be on there with her and read my latest book.

We will do our two walks during the day but windy conditions for the past 3-4 days have kept those close to home. No long walks because of some pains in my left leg that I'm hoping will go away with less activity. I was concerned about Patches carrying her left leg and thought a little less distance might be good for her also.

Senior UK Defense Advisor: Obama Is Clueless About ‘What He Wants To Do In The World’ by Nico Hines for The Daily Beast written from an interview with Sir Hew Strachan makes what Gates had to say about President Obama seem tame. I'm not sure that the Lame Stream Media will give this much play but Strachan's book will garner a lot of attention in England.
Sir Hew Strachan, an advisor to the Chief of the Defense Staff, told The Daily Beast that the United States and Britain were guilty of total strategic failure in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Obama’s attempts to intervene on behalf of the Syrian rebels “has left them in a far worse position than they were before.”
The extraordinary critique by a leading advisor to the United States’ closest military ally comes days after Obama was undermined by the former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who questioned the President’s foreign policy decisions and claimed he was deeply suspicious of the military.
Strachan, a current member of the Chief of the Defense Staff’s Strategic Advisory Panel, cited the “crazy” handling of the Syrian crisis as the most egregious example of a fundamental collapse in military planning that began in the aftermath of 9/11. “If anything it’s gone backwards instead of forwards, Obama seems to be almost chronically incapable of doing this. Bush may have had totally fanciful political objectives in terms of trying to fight a global War on Terror, which was inherently astrategic, but at least he had a clear sense of what he wanted to do in the world. Obama has no sense of what he wants to do in the world,” he said.
The dithering over intervention against President Bashar al-Assad has empowered the Syrian ruler, undermined America’s military reputation and destabilized the Middle East, said Strachan. “What he’s done in talking about Red Lines in relation to Syria has actually devalued the deterrent effect of American military capability and it seems to me that creates an unstable situation, because if he were act it would surprise everybody,” he said. “I think the other issue is that in starting and stopping with Assad, he’s left those who might be his natural allies in Syria with nowhere to go. He’s increased the likelihood that if there is a change of regime in Syria that it will be an Islamic fundamentalist one.”
17 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: January 17, 1926

We have had a great week of weather with the only negative being some strong winds in the afternoon. The forecast for this next week looks like more of the same. We had some cold during the same time that the rest of the nation was freezing cold but overall it has been a good winter stop.

I finished another Tami Hoag book today and started another book. Took two of those that I finished recently to the Park exchange library hoping to make a good trade. I found one by Baldacci that was not on the shelf the last time I traded so picked that one up and one by an author that I have not read before. I now have almost a full library of unread books once more.

As I was coming and going from the Library I stopped to visit with a couple of fellows that were curious about my beard. We had a chat about that and other topics before I went in to make my trades. Then on my way out I saw a couple walking their pure white boxer and asked if I could meet him. We talked dogs and Fulltiming for a while. They have been Fulltimers now for two weeks so I was the old hand at it that could provide them with my vast experience - HA.

I was able to give them some suggestions of where they could walk their dog. They were also looking for someplace that they could turn theirs off leash and I told them about the ridge going toward Diego Loop. They had tried the hill to the northeast of the Park and found it to be the same very brushy problem that I did.

18 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
The only thing that I did different today was try to get a 2014 Google map started for the right side of this Home Page. Also set it up in the Map Archives. I only do this once a year so it is always a trial for me. Google made it even harder by 'improving' their maps but fortunately also offered the Classic version which is what my previous maps were made from.

I have lost WIFI completely today and Verizon is its usual very slow self. I may not be able to get the map project taken care of today. Not all that important but it is something that I would like to update before I move again. I had some additional laptop problems today and when I resolved those the WIFI came back. That didn't improve Verizon any however.

The other thing that I did was contact my cousin about visiting in February and asking if I can have some online purchases shipped to her. I have an Amazon Wish List with a few things on it that could wait until I got back to Pahrump except for a new GPS wrist unit. My Garmin Foretrex 201 has been ill for more than a year and is now showing signs of being terminal almost any day.

If what Gates wrote in his book is an accurate assessment then all of the deaths in Afghanistan after the 'Obama Surge' have been for his political gain. This is what Gates has said: "as I sat there, I thought: The president doesn't trust his commander, can't stand (Afghan President Hamid) Karzai, doesn't believe in his own strategy and doesn't consider the war to be his. "For him, it's all about getting out." This table shows the deaths for each year and the President that was responsible.

Total US Casualties Iraq & Afghanistan
Bush Obama
2001 12 -0-
2002 49 -0-
2003 534 -0-
2004 901 -0-
2005 945 -0-
2006 920 -0-
2007 1021 -0-
2008 469 -0-
2009 -0- 466
2010 -0- 559
2011 -0- 472
2012 -0- 311
2013 -0- 127

19 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
I tried to introduce Patches to the pure white boxer yesterday. I thought they were going to get along but after a few nose sniffs Patches barked at her and that was the end of any possible budding friendship. The owners said that their boxer didn't make friends with any dogs so it was not all Patches fault.

On 23 December 2013 I said that I was looking for is a general practice doctor in a Mexico border town, preferably Agua Prieta, that can do the same things for me that VA has been doing. Annual lab work, general health check up and prescribe my needed medicines. A high school classmate that still lives in Douglas has been trying to get me the name(s) and addresses of such doctor(s). Yesterday she sent me an email that told me there had been a big gun battle in Agua Prieta late Friday night, early Saturday morning, and the border crossing was locked down.

There was a youtube video by a Spanish speaking reporter available last night but I could not pick up enough from the first 5-6 minutes of it to know what had happened. Today I found this story by By Rebecca Taylor of KVOA-TV in Tucson. It does give me something more to think about regarding my doctor idea.
New details being released on a shoot-out in Agua Prieta, Sonora south the US/Mexico border where several fatalities occurred in two separate incidents.
According to the Cochise County Sheriff's Office all information received indicates that this is probably cartel related with massive amounts of munitions used to include automatic weapons, 50 caliber weapons, and hand grenades.
The Cochise County Sheriff's Office is reporting the death toll between 8-13 people, none of whom are listed as US Citizens.
As a proactive and precautionary measure, the Cochise County Sheriff's Office has placed personnel on a heightened state of alert which will allow for the deployment of additional personnel and the augmentation of existing personnel should it be determined that this violence may potentially spill over into the United States via Cochise County's international boundaries...
leftpic On 31 October 2013 I posted a review of Cry Wolf by Tami Hoag which said that she had "creates a pair of lovers who are so awful that they deserve each other" in this book. I wouldn't say that was quite the impression that I got in reading Still Waters. However I said in that review of Wolf, "It seems that her romantic mysteries have become more and more romantic and her character development delving deeper and deeper into their 'touchy feely' side". That is true of this novel also.
She moved the location of this one back to Minnesota where the first two of her books, Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust, that I read were located. Those two novels are from her Kovac/Liska Series, two characters that I enjoyed a lot and made me a Hoag fan. These past two novels have not been as satisfying.
I also read Kill The Messenger by her at some point but did not post a review. The background location for that novel was Los Angeles and not part of any series nor is Still Waters but I remember that I liked it as well as the Kovac/Liska books. None of them have that banter between characters and humor that the Kovac/Liska books had however.

After a messy and very public divorce from her magnate husband, Elizabeth Stuart is persuaded by her old college chum to move from Atlanta to Still Creek, Minn. When car trouble strikes, Elizabeth hoofs it to a construction site--and finds the developer, Jarrold Jarvis, in his car with his throat cut. Sheriff Dane Jantzen figures the deed was done by a transient: Jarrold's wallet was stolen and his glove compartment rifled. Elizabeth, who now owns the local newspaper, suspects most everyone in town: Jarvis had kept a secret list of names of people who owed him money. Dane and Elizabeth start off their eventual romance by treating each other like dirt--exchanging what passes for snappy repartee. Dane insists on escorting Elizabeth to a press conference because "I want to know where your mouth is." She retorts, "it won't be kissing your ass." The characters are no more agreeable than the plot is focused on finding the murderer. Perhaps that's why the effect of Hoag's ( Lucky's Lady ) story is less "still" than static. - Publishers Weekly

20 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
It was time to go to town again this morning and I had an email from John, that I met in Hondo, that he was in town. We met at IHOP and had breakfast as well as over an hour of conversation. He came to Del Rio to meet up with some old friends that were in town doing a hotel/motel trip across the country. They are all taking part in the local MLK celebration that is happening this morning in 'downtown' Del Rio.

John will not be continuing west to Douglas/Agua Prieta this year but will be turning back toward Florida. He summers in upper Minnesota and winters in Hondo, where he has a SKP lot, plus trips to Arizona or Florida.

When I left him I went to H-E-B for my groceries and then stopped to pick up my watch. It was not ready. Needs a new main spring which will be a few days getting here. Will try again on Saturday which is a day early for my trip to town but the repair shop is closed on Sunday. I might have enough food on hand to last through Sunday, if so then I'll put off the trip until next Monday.

I had a brief conversation with the Park owner yesterday. He has received complaints from deer hunters that have a deer stand (blind) on the far side of the hill that is north of the Park. They saw the fellow with the white boxer 2-3 days ago and complained. He asked me if I had been on the hill and I told him that I had but it had been over a week ago. The point of the conversation - we can NOT walk on the hill or the area to the north of the Park.

That is not a big issue but it does eliminate one of the alternative for walks around here. There are not many so removing one is not good. I like the Park and the winter weather has been good enough but I'll probably never 'winter over' here again.The lack of many walking alternatives being one of the reasons why.

This is from the Washington Examiner and provides a fine example of the open mindedness and tolerance of others that the liberals in this country possess. It starts at the top with President Obama and permeates all levels of the culture in this country. Governor Cuomo likes moderate Republicans which tells me that there is not a dimes worth of difference between them and a Democrat.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo believes that pro-life activists along with anti-gay activists, and supporters of the Second Amendment, are not welcome in his state.
During a radio interview on Friday, Cuomo pointed out that Republicans were in the midst of a schism, where conservatives worked against moderate Republicans.
"Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves," he said. "Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are."
21 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
I had another visit with John yesterday afternoon. He stopped by at my space here in the Park on his way to a camp on Lake Amistad. We talked for about and hour and I did a show and tell of the Park. Giving him the pro and con from my point of view knowing that everyone has different likes and requirements.

The only thing that I did today that might be considered productive was to get the 'stuff' on my Amazon Wish List ordered. These things will be shipped to my cousin where I'll pick them up in February. I also added a pair of shoes to my Wish List today while I was thinking about them. I'll place that order just before I leave for Pahrump and have them waiting for me there at The UPS Store.

Since Obama’s reelection in November 2012, his administration has been rocked by "controversies/scandals' including revelations of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups and the Department of Justice’s wide-sweeping seizure of Associated Press journalists’ phone records plus Benghazi from just before the election. Then, the president’s signature law, the Affordable Care Act, rolled out with a website rife with system failures and reports of millions receiving cancellation notices from health insurance companies — which Obama said they could keep, Period.

However, in the face of those 'controversies/scandals' the President said the following in an interview with The New Yorker; “There’s no doubt that there’s some folks1 who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President”. That is the reason that he gave the interviewer for his falling job approval numbers although he is now at 46% approval in the Gallop Poll. What he was doing was playing the race card as his defense for all the scandals.

If you look at only the Gallop Poll Approval numbers the decline is not that much. He won the 2012 election with 51% of the votes and had an approval rating of 48-50% depending on which poll you looked at. He didn't have anything to say at that time about folks not liking him because he was black.

1The President is employing dog-whistle politics here. Dog-whistle politics is political messaging employing coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup. The subgroups in this instance being his far left hard core supporters and his black voting block.

22 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
My excitement for the day was the time devoted to doing my laundry. While I was doing that I also spent some time deciding on a trade from the Park library for the Hoag book that I had finished. The pickings are getting very slim but I did find a book by an author that I thought I had read before which should be as good as the one I traded away.

I also started preparing 3x5 cards for my multi-day trip between here and southeastern Arizona. I don't have a firm plan for how long I will stay at each stop along the way but probably no more than 1 or 2 days. I am not doing a straight pedal to the metal run via the Interstate to get there but doing my usual wandering around mode of travel from point 'A' to point 'B'.

I can/will not post the pictures here but I do commend Putin vs. Obama: Pictorial Comparisons that appeared on 14 January 2014 at The People's Cube. The pictorial comparisons with added captions are so true that you can not help but laugh. Well, that might not be correct - you can keep from laughing if you are a hard core Obama supporter. However, even those folks can not help but get a laugh from some of the 'stuff' on the web site. What a treasure trove to lighten the day. Example: There will be no cracking of jokes in front of Michelle about Barack going to South Africa "just to grab a Danish."

There is also the income inequity policy of President Obama that I want to comment on. You remember when he said that "math is hard" and how he has demonstrated that on many occasions? Well, he has formulated another math problem that is going to be very hard with this income gap/inequity campaign. It is a mathematical fact that there is almost nothing that he can do that will fix it.

Although Keillor of A Prairie Home Companion said of Lake Woebegon "... and all the children are above average" it can not be true of any group. If you have an average then there are always going to be those above or below that average, unless everyone is identical. Does the President think he is capable of compelling everyone in the United States to have an identical income? How might he do that? - pun intended.

An interesting factoid came to my attention. In 1985, there were more than 18,000 banks in the United States. Today, there are only 6,891 left. I quit a very remunerative bank job on 31 March 1990 and never looked back. One of the very few times in my life where I was the windshield and my employer was the bug as I got out before they went bankrupt.

23 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
All the great weather that I have been having disappeared during the night. Woke up to an overcast, gloomy and windy day. It has also become colder as the day has gone by with the highest temperature for the day occurring at midnight last night. The 10 day forecast is very undecided with some clear sunny days with high temperatures near 80 and others that will be like today with a chance of rain.

That put me on the couch to finish the Lescroart novel that I have been reading and to begin reading another. I also went back to Google Maps and picked a different route to get me to southeastern Arizona. Didn't change all of it but changed one of the stops which changed the route for two days travel. I may change it again but think I am now satisfied.

I also made a pot of lentil, barley and Cajun Sausage soup to go with my 'linners' during this return of winter weather. I call it soup but it is very thick so maybe it is a stew.

24 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: January 24, 1926

I have not read about this last onset of cold weather being another Polar Vortex. The Northeast was hit with what the media is calling a blizzard and Chicago recorded temperatures lower than the South Pole. Yet, it is only being reported as a cold snap with a cold front dropping as far south as Texas and other southern states. No Vortex. The locals here would probably call this another Blue Norther with temperatures dropping throughout the day yesterday. Cold today, windchill still below freezing at noon but the forecast is for a warm day tomorrow.

Since 1973 it is estimated that 55 million babies have been killed in the name of women’s choice and health and what the President now claims to be children’s safety. He can not believe that the aborted fetal tissue is a child if he make the statement that he did in celebrating those 55 million abortions over the past 41 years. This is what he said in a Statement by the President on Roe v. Wade Anniversary released to the press on 22 January 2014. (My underlining)
Today, as we reflect on the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, we recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health.
We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom.
And we resolve to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and continue to build safe and healthy communities for all our children, because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams.
Malcolm Muggeridge had a totally different view and perhaps was prophetic when he said that Western Man decided to abolish himself. The developed economies, Western Man plus Japan, have reached that point now with fertility rates that are below replacement level. If they do not increase in coming years then Western Man will achieve his goal of self abolishment.
So the final conclusion would surely be that whereas other civilizations have been brought down by attacks of barbarians from without, ours had the unique distinction of training its own destroyers at its own educational institutions, and then providing them with facilities for propagating their destructive ideology far and wide, all at the public expense. Thus did Western Man decide to abolish himself, creating his own boredom out of his own affluence, his own vulnerability out of his own strength, his own impotence out of his own erotomania, himself blowing the trumpet that brought the walls of his own city tumbling down, and having convinced himself that he was too numerous, labored with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer. Until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keeled over–a weary, battered old brontosaurus–and became extinct.
25 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
Went to town and had Huevos con Chorizo at Carmelita's Restaurant. I won't say this is the best place in Del Rio that I have had a Mexican breakfast but it is in the top 2. Then stopped at H-E-B for groceries and found where their gas station is located. The signs are out on the corner where US90 turns east but the station is almost a block to the west and I had never seen it when going into the store. I'll fill up with gas there or Wal*Mart next week in preparation for leaving town.

Then went to the watch repair shop. I was certain that he told me he was closed on Sunday but open on Saturday. I waited until 9:30 then went and looked inside and could not see anyone moving around. I'll have to try again next Friday. I miss not having my watch but have been able to live without it.

I intended on dumping my holding tanks when I got back from town this morning. However, when I checked the shower floor late yesterday afternoon I could see that the gray water tank needed to be dumped NOW. I took care of that chore yesterday plus added fresh water so with only a week remaining before I leave here I think I am ready for the road.

I did some correction work on my web site today. Just found that on 19 January 2014 I had posted the Review for Robert Daley a second time in error when I intended to post the one for the Tami Hoag book that I had read. I went back and corrected that screw-up on this home page as well as the Archived page.

26 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
Are you smarter than a 5th grader? How about an 8th grader? The Christian Science Monitor has a quiz 1912 eighth grade exam: Could you make it to high school in 1912? that includes 37 questions from the exam. I scored 81% which I think would have moved me up into high school but there were no spelling questions so if I were to take the full exam I'm not so sure. The average Monitor reader that took the quiz scored 58% which I don't think would have been a high enough mark to move on with their education. Students were allowed to fail back in 1912.

On 12 January I posted about Senator McCain being censured by the Maricopa County Republican Committee. Yesterday the Arizona Republican Party formally censured Sen. John McCain, citing a voting record they say is insufficiently conservative. This is a censure at the State level which leaves the RINO Senator with very little Party support if he decides to run in 2016. I do not believe he will do so, I think he will finish his current term and fade to a footnote in American history.

Crazy weather here in Del Rio. Last Friday the high temperature was 47° with a forecast of 83 for today (which I think could happen) then drop back to 43 on Tuesday and 47 on Wednesday. As I move west the forecast is for 50s and 60s with near freezing nights depending on elevation of my camp. Have hitch itch, I'm ready.

leftpic On 3 December 2013 I posted the review of a Lescroart novel and the list of his that I had read. I have now added one more: Hard Evidence, Nothing But The Truth, The First Law, The Second Chair and today The Hearing. This is another very good courtroom drama that includes Lt. Glitsky, a character that I come to like a lot. Publishers Weekly made a serious error in their review shown below by calling the hearing a grand jury hearing. In fact the story hinges on avoiding the grand jury and having the hearing in front of a judge. I'm always looking for more of his books when I trade - recommended.

Another satisfying, character-driven legal thriller will be happily embraced by new and longtime fans of master plot-weaver Lescroart (The 13th Juror; etc.). Former San Francisco cop and current defense attorney Dismas Hardy's latest assignment pits him against his rival, D.A. Sharron Pratt, whose popularity in the polls is slipping. Although averse to murder cases, Hardy tries to help an acquaintance by defending heroin addict Cole Burgess, who is accused of murdering Assistant D.A. Elaine Wager, the popular daughter of a deceased female senator. What Hardy doesn't know (nor does anyone else) is that Wager's father is Hardy's best friend, Lt. Abe Glitsky of SFPD homicide. Abe overreacts by sweating Dismas's client into a coerced confession; under media pressure for her New Age approach to criminal justice, Pratt arms for re-election by calling for the death penalty, handling the grand jury hearing along with her chief assistant and sometime lover, Gabriel Torrey. Meanwhile, Dismas's mentor, brilliant defense attorney David Freeman, chances across evidence that may link a city official to Dash Logan, an ambulance-chasing lawyer known for his scams. Abe, suspended for leaking Cole's confession, begins to doubt Coles's guilt and decides to take on the D.A. in order to track down the real killer. Lescroart brilliantly sets scenes in the hearing phase that allow credible leeway for courtroom pyrotechnics later on. The richness and diversity of the large cast neither slows the pace nor confuses the narrative, as even minor characters take on memorable presence and depth. Readers will savor the mounting tension and the many twists and turns along the way to the surprise ending. - Publishers Weekly

27 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
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A gentle breeze this nice warm morning became strong winds by the afternoon with the temperature dropping from its high at midnight once again. It is blowing in the cold front (Blue Norther) that we will have for the next couple of days. From a high of 87° yesterday to an expected high of 52° tomorrow with a freezing low.

My neighbors to the north of me left this morning. I didn't talk to them recently but they were to be here a month but they have been here only about three weeks. They told me they were meeting their son here and would do some fishing and I saw a boat for a couple of weeks. It has been gone for over a week now so with the bad weather coming in perhaps they are seeking warmer climes.

I have become a big fan of The People's Cube since I found it only a few days ago. A Glorious way to prevent mall and school shootings! by Colonel 7.62 on 27 January 2014 is just a sample of what the masthead proclaims to be the goal of the site - We Cure Weak Liberalism With Strong Communism.
Comrades! Much evil has been done by the NRA and gun toting non persons who seek to undermine the power and authority of The Party(TM). Indeed, reactionary scum have shot up malls and schools, in clear defiance of posted signs and laws prohibiting murder and weapon possession. The solution of course is simple, and will enhance state security.
All persons shopping at a mall must undergo a strict background check, be issued a shopping license, and demonstrate good cause for entering a mall. Unlicensed persons will be refused entry to a mall, which will reduce crime, as only licensed shoppers will be inside the mall. Children will be taken out of schools, and placed in high security education camps, where only authorized persons will be permitted entry and access to The Children(TM). Parents who cannot secure a visitation permit will not be allowed access to their children until after they graduate.
These common sense safety measures are needed to end all mall and school shootings across America. After all, if it saves just one life, it's worth it.
The President's speech tomorrow will call for more jobs as have all of his State of the Union speeches. But it will also kick off the battle over illegal immigration. I have very little doubt that he will get the amnesty that he wants and he can add that to his legacy along with ObamaCare. The jobs issue is a completely different problem; the slow growth in jobs is due to a slow growing economy which is due to policies that the President will not reverse. So he should just say - live with it - the Federal Government does not create jobs!
In Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Obama is expected to discuss the plight of American workers. At the same time, he is pushing Republicans to pass an immigration plan making the problem worse by increasing the flow of immigrant workers to compete against unemployed Americans and those struggling to get by in low-wage jobs...The president's own economic adviser, Gene Sperling, recently noted that there are three unemployed people for every job available.
So what is the president's proposal? With three job seekers for every open job, he proposes doubling the number of guest workers entering every year, granting immediate work permits to millions of illegal immigrants, and tripling the number of new immigrants granted permanent residency over the next decade.
Today, the U.S. admits 1 million immigrants a year. The plan supported by the president and Senate Democrats would increase that to 3 million a year...From 2000 to 2013, a period of record immigration, the number of U.S.-born Americans with jobs declined by 1.3 million while the number of immigrants with jobs increased 5.3 million. On net, all employment gains went to immigrant workers.
28 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
This has been another frustrating day trying to stay on the Internet. WIFI will not stay connected and Verizon is extremely slow and also disconnects. Not happy; hope that I can post what little I end up writing for today.

I was able to get the Will Rogers weekly article links ready for March but it took me forever to then have them saved on my website. Lost a connection twice and it took forever to finally save when it did.

I had much better luck on the couch reading. Patches even left her place in front of the heater to join me. Had that heater on almost all day; the temperature got stuck at 34° with a 25° windchill from 9:00 to noon and stayed cold all afternoon. Freeze warning for tonight.

I also had better luck when I started filing my 2013 Income Taxes using the Free Turbo Tax software available on line. I 'knew' that I was not going to owe anything and I may not file at all but wanted to confirm what I 'knew'. Only had a couple Internet failures along the way but I didn't loose any data.

It is being reported that President Obama will unilaterally increase the minimum wage for workers under new federal contracts to $10.10 an hour, from $7.25, in an effort to build momentum for a minimum wage hike for all Americans.

The executive order, which had been pushed by progressive Democratic lawmakers, applies to all contractors performing services for the federal government. The Lame Stream Media then goes on to parrot the talking points of the Administration by saying that this would affect more than 2 million employees.

I can not believe this to be true. There is current law in effect plus who knows how many regulations that require minimum wages for federal contract workers that I don't believe would allow for a minimum or $7.50/hour. The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA) requires payment of prevailing wages to laborers and mechanics employed on federal and federally assisted construction projects then there are other laws covering many other categories of workers.

I think this is political theater by the President. He can say that he is doing something about income inequity when in the real world he has done nothing. He can get on his Bully Pulpit and beat the Republicans (actually the Tea Party) up about their failure to act and have forced him to do so because 'it is the right thing to do'. There is also the possibility that his Executive Order will attempt to expand the definition of who is a Federal Contractor. I think this will soon be a court case, first filing maybe next week.

29 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
The cold weather has kept me in front of the heater for the past couple of days. I turned on my water facuets everytime I got up during the night and that kept me from freezing up like I did the last time we had a hard freeze. It was close however, when I got up at 6:30 the water lines were nearly frozen so I ran water just in time.

From what I have read in the forecasts for the areas that I'll be traveling in I have a couple of overnights that could be down in similar freezing ranges. I am going to look for a wrench when I go to town on Friday that I can use to drain the lines. I should have done it long ago but have been able to avoid hard freezes for the past couple of years.

leftpic On 7 July 2013 I wrote about reading a Greg Iles book that I had read before but did not included the title. I am reasonably sure that the title was The Quiet Game and I have also read Turning Angel but can not find where I may have written about it. This is the one that I just finished which I did not like as well as what I remember of the previous two. I found the villain in this one hard to believe in. That will not keep me from looking for another one of his and I do recommend Mortal Fear.

Yet another serial killer stalks the Internet, this one courtesy of the talented Iles (Black Cross; Spandau Phoenix). When futures trader Harper Cole, who moonlights as the systems operator of an erotic online services called EROS, contacts the New Orleans police with information about the murder of celebrated author-and EROS subscriber-Karin Wheat, he immediately becomes the prime suspect in six other murders of EROS subscribers across the country. Also on the FBI's short list is Cole's eccentric friend and EROS colleague Miles Turner, who has dubbed the killer "Brahma." When Cole learns that the man he thought was Brahma was killed a year ago and that his online identity was stolen, a tense cat-and-mouse game commences. Professional hunters, like FBI psychiatric profiler Arthur Lenz, have the online tables turned on them time and again by an insanely brilliant murderer, and it's up to Cole to render justice. His digging leads to an exciting payoff when he goes online and poses as a potential victim, using as bait a secret that endangers the mother of his child, as well as his wife. While Cole's obsession over this guilty secret makes him less than likable at times, a nailbiting climax erases any doubts about his character-and any lingering questioning about the storytelling abilities of Iles, who here uses rich first-person narration and clever plotting to tell a sizzler of a thriller. - Publishers Weekly

30 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
I had a surprise this morning when I stepped on the flush pedal of my toilet and it went all the way to the floor. The second surprise was the continuous flow of water that was flushing the toilet. I stopped that by shutting off the water pump and the later went out and shut off just the water line to the toilet. Something else to get fixed in a week or so when I get to Sierra Vista; the A/C control board(?) and now the toilet.

I did not watch the President's State of the Union speech on Tuesday but did read through the text today. I have selected some of his hyperbole for comment.

"An entrepreneur flipped on the lights in her tech startup, and did her part to add to the more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years." This is most likely the summation of the Bureau of Labor original monthly 'jobs' numbers with no corrections for subsequent adjustments. If you look at the Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey from the BLS you will find that the Seasonable Adjusted increase from year end 2008 to year end 2013 was about 1.25 million.

The President did not mention these two other 'jobs' related numbers but I think they are equally important. From that same Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey for the same period the Not in Labor Force increase by almost 11.5 million and the Unemployed went down by a little over 900 thousand while the population increased by 11.75 million. I don't find these numbers to be indicative of a strong jobs market during President Obama's Reign.

" Our deficits – cut by more than half." The largest deficit this country ever experienced, prior to President Obama, was in the last fiscal year of President Bush's second term when it was $459 Billion. President Obama had 4 years of deficits that were each over One Trillion dollars and he now claims that he has cut them by more than half by posting a 2013 fiscal year deficit of $680 Billion. The interest on the total Federal Debt was $416 Billion in fiscal year 2013 or almost as much as the highest deficit that former President Bush incurred.

"That’s why, tomorrow, I will direct the Treasury to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings: MyRA... Offer every American access to an automatic IRA on the job, so they can save at work just like everyone in this chamber can." I'm not sure what he is talking about with regard to an automatic IRA; not sure he knows what he is talking about. Anyone can now open a IRA and most employers offer direct deposit to a bank account which can have automatic transfers to an IRA. The MyRA is a totally different kettle of fish altogether. This is an attempt to replace the Federal Reserves QE3 federal bond buying reduction with individuals buying the debt. Nothing that could not be done today by individuals buying Savings Bonds. In my opinion, it is Smoke & Mirrors or a Dog & Pony Show to distract the public from the actions of the Federal Reserve.

I'll have some more comments about his speech tomorrow.

31 January
Broke Mill RV Park
Del Rio, TX
no pic
Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: January 31, 1926

A nice warm morning, compared to the past couple of days, but very low cloud cover. We finished our walk and headed for town again. By the time I came out of the restaurant after having breakfast the low clouds were a light/moderate mist.

Breakfast was at Poncho's which is the other Mexican restaurant here in Del Rio that I put in the top 2. If you go on line and look for reviews there are comments about the slow service but I have had excellent service. I also like the interior decorations and the food is very good.

Then went to H-E-B for my last grocery trip here in Del Rio and perhaps my last trip to a H-E-B for a long time. They are only in Texas and I have no plans on being back in Texas anytime soon. But, what are plans?

I had to wait for the watch repair shop to open again but this time he did open as the sign on the door claimed he would. However, the price of the main spring was about twice what he had estimated so he did not order it. If he had and had installed it I would not have been very happy but I would have paid for it and have a working watch now. As it is I'll be looking for a shop in Sierra Vista where I can get it fixed or buy a new watch.

"Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can’t be outsourced...That’s why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities, and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air." Yes, the President has been successful in shutting down coal burning power plants. He is winning the War Against Coal. During his Reign the total electric power produced by burning coal has been reduced by 471,758 million kilowatt hours and solar has added 3,463 million kilowatt hours (burning wood in the United States generates more than solar). He also went on at some length about natural gas which has added 342,913 million kilowatt hours. He has done all this as he promised he would, in 2008 he said he would bankrupt coal power plants, and has increased the average cost of electricity from 12.4 cents/kilowatt hour to 13.1 cents while doing so.

"As Commander-in-Chief, I have used force when needed to protect the American people, and I will never hesitate to do so as long as I hold this office. But I will not send our troops into harm’s way unless it’s truly necessary; nor will I allow our sons and daughters to be mired in open-ended conflicts." This must now be his defense against any criticism of his actions with regard to the deaths in Benghazi. It was not 'needed' or 'truly necessary' to send troops into harm's way to protect the United States Ambassador to Libya.

"And with the Afghan war ending, this needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay – because we counter terrorism not just through intelligence and military action, but by remaining true to our Constitutional ideals, and setting an example for the rest of the world." He threw a bone to the rabid anti-war and anti-Guantanamo left but I don't see any change until 2015 at the earliest.

"American diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria’s chemical weapons are being eliminated, and we will continue to work with the international community to usher in the future the Syrian people deserve – a future free of dictatorship, terror and fear." No, no, no - Syria's chemical weapons are being eliminated (maybe) because of President Putin. President Obama can attempt to make a silk purse out of his Middle East foreign policy sows ear but I'm not buying it nor are any others - except for his low information supporters.