Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday musings

So I said last week that I would speculate a little about the candidates for the Republican Party nomination for the President of the Excited States of America this year, against the incumbent Democrat, Barack Obama.
The group has diminished this week to three possible contenders. They are Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. There are two others but they are considered non entities by most American political pundits.
I have to tell you that I am astounded as to how far this party has shifted from what was its' bedrock principals of sanctity of family, less government, speaking for the free enterprise system.
Why you ask?
The first candidate, Mr. Romney stresses how he is a man of the people yet in a quirk of American politics where it seems essential that you have to release your income tax returns to prove that you are fit to be President - did anyone ask John Kennedy or the war time President Roosevelt for theirs - he hesitates to do so and then when he releases a limited number, shows that he is legally using tax shelters offshore- his opponents disparage him for this! Now it is against Party beliefs to work within the law?
His main opponent, Mr. Gingrich is truly a marvel or morality. When former President Clinton was revealed to have "dealings" with Monica Lewinsky, he was at the forefront of the pack of political wolves howling at every media pulpit at how the country should not be run be someone so morally unfit to do so (Remember John and Bobby Kennedy and their affairs?). The so called paragon of virtue has been married three times. Had an affair with a woman while his first was diagnosed with cancer at the same time he was attacking Clinton! He seemed to have repeated the process when his second wife was diagnosed with MS- another wife soon emerged. Then at an all candidates debate he attacked a questioner for asking him about this saying that it has nothing to do with the Presidential Election and who should be President.
What a crock of bull twaddle!
The third candidate comes across as earnest and vanilla bland. Yet he has attracted a following. I think he embodies a lot of what the Party once stood for. Now the Party is so desperate to unseat Obama, that they have betrayed their core principals.
In the end, I think that the new few weeks will see only the first two remain in the race. The key will be when Santorum drops out, who will he endorse? I think either way Obama’s' strategists are going to be happy facing either one of the two. One is a rich Mormon (and yes religion is huge deal in American politics) who appears indecisive at times while the other is a three times married political hack who may turn off people from voting for him rather than voting against the opponent.
Interesting times indeed.
I read an interesting article this week about the state of the printing industry and since I once was employed (for way too long some might say) in it, it struck a chord. With the advent of digital printing, the need for traditional short run print products has almost vanished. Print on demand, where a company prints only as many items are needed is the new normal. This procedure eliminates the need for larger orders and the warehousing costs associated with it. The result is that more and more printers are not ordering traditional printing presses and the press manufacturing companies are hurting. One, called Man Roland is on the edge of financial ruin and another, Heidelberg has suffered losses for a couple of years. They are big employers in Germany and their presses are sold worldwide. I hope that they will be able to adapt to the new world and emerge leaner and stronger than before.
There are now 12 bodies recovered from the wrecked cruise ship off Italian shores. As details emerge, what a sad circus of horrors emerge. The captain apparently continued eating supper with a passenger after the accident occurred. It took an hour before the ship notified civilian authorities of the imminent sinking and in the interim crew member were telling passengers to return to their cabins because the problem was a faulty generator and had been fixed. Salvage of the vessel remains problematic as the ship rests on a narrow ledge 75 feet below surface that then slopes drastically down another incline to a 190 foot deep ledge and after that drops straight down to the ocean floor. Any movement at all could cause the ship to plunge to the bottom dooming any such efforts. If this happens the possibilities exists that the remaining fuel will leach out and contaminate the sea and shoreline with clean up costs being huge.
In Nigeria the bad news continues. First off there seems to be a developing story as to where 1 billion dollars of oil money has vanished from government coffers and no one knows where it went and who was responsible. Here in Canada we would be more skillful- we would put the money into wildly generous pension plans for our Members of Federal Government!
The news of another attack from the Boko Harem sect (loosely translated as "Western education is sinful) killing over 100 in northern Nigeria. Once again a case of religion being used as a cover for insanity and warmongering.
You notice how it has been quiet on the Russian Front lately? There was the unrest and turmoil after national elections and protests against Mr. Putin in many cities. Yet things seem strangely quiet now. Is this the calm before the storm? Is it the effect of a cold winter on people? Not too sure. Maybe some of my readers in Russia could drop me a line about this.
In Egypt, around 70% of the seats in the government elections were won by parties with Islamic backgrounds. One party is focused on the economy and improving the lot of the average Egyptian, while the other is more focused on returning to basic Islamic traditions, morals, code of dressing, traditional role of women (subservient to the male-why is that acceptable anyway?). However the army still has final say and we shall see how this plays out. In many cases in history, the military, once in power, is rarely willing to hand authority back to civilian hands.
Here in Canada we have an interesting story unfolding in federal politics. According to reports, the separatist party, Bloc Quebecois seems to have used funds from their tax payer funded operating budget to pay the salary of the administrative head of the party, a definite illegal no-no if this is the case. All three other parties are screaming at the top of their lungs about this and demanding that the money be repaid immediately. Hmmm, sure hope that this only has happened one time and not with other parties as well. I have to admit to a sense of satisfaction as to seeing the hypocrisy of the Bloc party exposed to daylight.
Also this week we saw a member of the Canadian forces arrested on charges of passing secrets to the Russians. Seems the Cold War never really went away but just went under the public radar instead. Of course the government said they expelled a number of Russian diplomats in retaliation while the Russian government said this was not true, that the diplomats were scheduled to come back to Russia anyway. Probably the truth in both versions.
OK, now to the mundane. Ever notice how differently women pack for travel then men?
My better half has a suitcase that you could stuff a hippo into. Hundreds of sets of socks and unmentionables. Shoes-plural you notice, sandals- plural you notice, jackets, tops, umbrellas, slacks, jeans, pants, short- walking and casual, box of makeup to mention a few of the items. Then there is my carryon bag, 1 pair of socks, unmentionables (wash every day as needed!) shirt and jeans. Wear your runners while you travel. Pack a laptop, camera and a couple of books and away we go! And I suppose I will be the one charged for the overweight bag! Gotta love the old axiom of if you travel, then travel light.
Went to the vet today as we are boarding our 18 year old cat there while on vacation. Our cat likes to eat both soft and hard cat food, so we thought we would see what if any food was included with the boarding fees (almost as high as a hotel by the way). Hard food is included so we thought that instead of buying a couple of cases of soft food (with his hyper thyroid he eats at least a tin a day) that maybe they could.
RIGHTTTTT......they were more than happy to do so at $2.35 a tin!
And that was with no promise that it would be food he would like. And yes, just for your information, we pay 65 cents per tin at the pet store! So off we went and picked up a couple of flats. As it is it will probably cost us about $600 to put the monster in the luxury accommodations while we are gone.
OK, now for my blog while we are in Argentina - we leave next Sunday (hooray!) I will be taking my tablet along and will be posting while there. I will have to figure out the time zones so that I can post at approximately the same time on Sunday as usual. So if it is somehow not there on Sunday, bear with me and check again over the next couple of days as it will eventually be there. 
Take care out there,

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