I understand the sentiment behind this post suggesting Amazon choose St. Louis for their second corporate HQ

A particularly compelling pick, according to my extremely nonscientific “what’s good for America” metric, might be St. Louis — a once-great metropolis fallen on hard times, the major urban center for a large spread of Trump country, the geographic center of the country and the historic bridge between East and West.

and I agree with the idea that it would be a good idea to get out of deep blue America and the mindset therein.

But why on earth would any company like Amazon decide to put itself in a city that is becoming riot cental and make it self a target for those from Mizzou to Ferguson in the Black Lives Matter mob who want to go after the system?

After the spasm of violence ended, a reporter for The Associated Press found at least half of the businesses on one side of the street with broken windows along a two block area.

Sam Thomas, who was helping his friend clean up the glass from the shattered windows of his business, OSO, a clothing and accessories boutique, said he understands why people are angry. The U.S. justice system is broken and needs to be fixed, he said.

“I’m not saying this is the right way to fix it,” he said of the damage.

Just as Mizzou and other colleges are discovering that people don’t want to invest tens of thousands of dollars to put their children in the middle of a social justice nightmare, no company with any sense will put itself in a city where the potential to be extorted or threatened with violence if they don’t play along with an agenda (even one endorsed by the owner) is present and no workforce will be all that anxious to head to the area when even the suburbs are being targeted:

Demonstrators shouted slogans such as “black lives matter” and “it is our duty to fight for our freedom” as they marched through West County Center mall in the city of Des Peres, west of St. Louis. A group also demonstrated at Chesterfield Mall in the suburbs and at a regional food festival.

Organizers took their grievances to the suburbs Saturday to spread the impact of the protests beyond predominantly black neighborhoods to those that are mainly white.

“I don’t think racism is going to change in America until people get uncomfortable,” said Kayla Reed of the St. Louis Action Council, a protest organizer.

Well Kayla your achievement is unlocked, your heckler’s veto will guarantee that the people at a company like Amazon will be too uncomfortable to move jobs an infastructure anywhere near you, particularly when there are other worthy alternatives that would meet the goals Mr. Douthat is suggesting.

Closing thought directed to the BLM rioters: While your attacks and riots will produce less jobs, less business less investment and consequently less of a chance for the young men in your community to overcome the disadvantages they have, you can be take comfort in the fact that your actions will definitely produce more votes for conservatives all around the nation in every level of government.

That’s our veto.


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By John Ruberry

“And it was inevitable that some of these people pushed back…”
Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles.

Could it be that the deep-blue residents of America’s second-most populous county, Cook County–Chicago is the county seat–have had enough?

Probably not, at least yet. But serious dissent may be bubbling as the effects of Cook County’s unpopular soda tax sink to the bottom of the glass.

Cook County Board President Toni “Taxwinkle” Preckwinkle, a former Chicago alderman who represented the University of Chicago area–the Obamas were among her constituents–touted that tax as a public health measure. The new tax covers not just soda but also many other sweetened beverages including those with corn syrup, such as diet sodas, some iced teas, and bottled sweetened Starbucks coffee–but not, for instance, cavity-causing Frappuccinos prepared at a Starbucks location by a barista. Even “free refills” are taxed now. But Preckwinkle, a hardened leftist, exposed her true colors by suing a retail association that delayed collection in a legal challenge of the tax for a month for $17 million of what she claims is lost revenue. That is how thug states such as Venezuela and Russia are run. Dissent will not be tolerated–enemies will be punished.

Preckwinkle defeated a Democratic incumbent in a 2010 primary election vowing to repeal an unpopular one-percent county sales tax. She phased it out, yes. But last year Preckwinkle brought it back.

And the soda tax was never about health. If it was, then why the lawsuit? Taxwinkle is a liar. Besides, federal law prevents taxing food stamp recipients–there are nearly 900,000 of them in Cook County–on their sweetened beverage purchases. Poor people consume larger amounts of sweetened beverages than wealthier folks and the health problems blamed on these drinks, such as diabetes and obesity, are more prevalent among the less wealthy.

The soda tax is a penny per ounce. That doesn’t seem like much, but the cost of a case of Diet Coke, as you seen in this Tweet, soars by 5o-percent after the Taxwinkle tax is figured in.

My friends and co-workers–and yes, there are some liberal Democrats within that group–are furious about the soda tax, even the ones who don’t drink what most people here call “pop.” Yesterday one man told me, “I live just south of Lake County, I’m going to buy all my Coke there,” adding, “There is a big sign outside the Target there, ‘No county sugary drink tax here.'” And of course he won’t only buy soda there–he’ll probably buy most, maybe all of his groceries there. Why wait in two long check-out lines? Grocers on the wrong side of the county line not only will face lower sales, some may be forced to close down and of course lay off their employees. Oh, I forgot to tell that new Lake County shopper that he should top off his gas tank up there, as there is also a Cook County gasoline tax.

And there are so many other taxes Cook County residents, particularly Chicagoans, have to endure. In an example provided by the free market Illinois Policy Institute, the base price of a two liter bottle of pop is $2.49. But when the 67 county soda tax is added, on top of the nation’s highest 10.25 percent sales tax, and an additional 3 percent Chicago soda tax, the true cost of that soda jug is $3.49. And if you accept a bag, paper or plastic, when you buy that sugary drink in Chicago, there is an additional 7 cent per bag tax. Unless you are paying by food stamps, formally known as SNAP–the “N” stands for nutrition–with your Illinois Link card.

When was the last time you devoured a grocery bag?

Keeping track of all of these taxes are a nightmare for retailers. That extra cost of course is passed on to consumers.

Last month Illinois’ income tax rate was hiked by 32 percent. Illinoisans are burdened with among the highest property rates in the nation. Yet, Illinois, Cook County, and Chicago are functionally bankrupt, which exposes another left-wing lie–fiscal stability in Democratic-run sinkholes is always only just one more tax hike away.

Why does Crook County need the soda tax, and yes, the next tax, what ever that one is going to be? To pay for lavish but woefully-underfunded county worker pensions and the Cook County Health System.

Chicago is a sanctuary city and Cook is a sanctuary county–Cook County health facilities are often the health care provider of choice of the area’s large population of illegal immigrants. No, I’m not saying we should cut off care to illegals with health concerns, but as a Cook County taxpayer, it’s fair to know what that care costs me.

Liberalism is very expensive.

Blogger in downtown Chicago

Next year Taxwinkle will face voters. She’ll probably be reelected. Rebellions take time to build, after all, it took ten years from the passage of the Stamp Act until the first battle of the American Revolution to be fought.

How did Preckwinkle fare in her last election? She ran unopposed.

Shame on you, Cook County Republican Party.

Meanwhile Illinois, Cook County, and Chicago continue to lose residents.

Quietly, the rebellion has begun.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Many things about the presidency of Donald Trump defy the normal conventional wisdom concerning elected officials and politics. His relationship with the media, his public tweets, his extensive business dealings all over the world and of course his dynamic personality are all things that can and have thrown professional prognosticator for a loop when deciding exactly where he stands or what direction he will go on an issue.

A great practical example of this dynamic is the issue of online gambling.

To both the causal gambler who occasionally enjoys the occasional casino visit or likes a hand of online blackjack or the serious player who hopes to hone his poker skills online to become the next Scott Blumstein, the administration’s decision on online gambling might be of casual interest.

But for a professional pundit, congress watcher or lobbyist knowing where an administration is going directly affects their livelihood.

This would be an easier call in the old days with a regular pol.  In a normal situation one would expect that a pol who had heavy backing from supporters like Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate would reflexively oppose online gambling in deference to such a big donor who has made restricting it his cause with some success. Likewise as the winds of opinion begin to shift on sports betting you would expect to see a politician’s ear very close to the shifting ground to keep the various sports leagues, a large potential source of campaign revenue happy.

In such a situation the professional pundit, congress watcher, much like an experienced gambler, could confidently predict the chances of any such legislation passing and a lobbyist for either side of these issues would be able to inform their clients where an if their efforts should be concentrated to make their goals.

In a Trump administration it’s a little more tricky.

First of all there is President Trump’s own vast wealth and name recognition. The combination of millions of his own dollars available to invest in his campaign with a name and a persona that was already well known to the public not only is his dependency on individual big donors considerably smaller, but his relationships with such men, as they previously existed, means he approaches them as an equal rather than a supplicant. Furthermore he won his first election despite being outspent both in the primaries and in the general election

Second of all there is his own history and experience with the gaming industry. Starting with no experience but understanding that a casino with a hotel can produce more profit than even the grandest lodgings without one, he studied the industry when he was ready dived in making a name for himself in the industry even being named to the World Gaming Congress Hall of Fame. This gives him a perspective on the issue that most pols would not have.

Finally added to this is the politics of the matter, according to a recent Washington Post report two allies that President Trump has clashed with in his first six months have made contrary moves. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to reexamine the rulings authorizing online gaming while Governor Christie on behalf of his state which has benefited from such gaming publicly urging the president to avoid such a ban. (It certainly doesn’t hurt the timing of Christie’s argument that Poker’s newest champion World Champion Scott Blumstein credits his experience in online casinos for his victory.)

For us amateurs this uncertainly of the President’s position is a source of mild amusement no different than playing a few dollars on the slots of an online casino, a bit of fun, maybe some profit but not life and death.

But for the political class seeking power and lobbyists with millions at stake for themselves and their clients, the inability to predict with certainty where President Trump stands on online gambling or any issue is a spin of the wheel that they wish they could avoid and is one of the reasons why they long for the days of business as usual.

You might have missed these two stories in all the Trump Tweet stuff but you might want to remind yourself what we’re fighting against before you jump off the wagon.

Cause:

Seattle’s minimum-wage law is boosting wages for a range of low-paid workers, but the law is causing those workers as a group to lose hours, and it’s also costing jobs, according to the latest study on the measure passed by the City Council in 2014.

The report, by members of the University of Washington team studying the law’s impacts for the city of Seattle, is being published Monday as a working paper by a nonprofit think tank, the National Bureau of Economic Research.

That law raises Seattle’s minimum wage gradually until it reaches $15 for all by 2021.

Well in the face of that bad news Seattle decided that there could be only one effect

When a University of Washington study came out this week showing Seattle’s minimum wage has cost 5,000 jobs and is hurting low income workers, city leaders attacked the messenger –- a team of respected economists at Washington’s premiere public university.

The researchers, led by Jacob Vigdor, were hired by the city in 2014 to study the effects of Seattle’s $15 wage experiment. The contract called for five years of research. City officials stopped funding the UW team when they didn’t like the results.

“The moment we saw it was based on flawed methodology and was going to be unreliable, the Vigdor study no longer speaks for City Hall,” said Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant. 

So they’ve decided to fund a new study, meet the boss professor Michael Reich:

Reich is currently co-chair of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Before earning his PhD in economics from Harvard, Reich was a founding member of the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE), a group seeking a “human-centered radical alternative to capitalism,” according to its website.

Reich has authored several studies on the effects of raising the minimum wage. They all concluded that increasing the minimum wage only helps low-skilled workers.

And I’m sure that Professor Reich will dutifully produces numbers that the leftists in Seattle will find acceptable but will not actually change the reality on the ground…

…unexpectedly.

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Olimometer 2.52

If you are not in the position to kick in we are happy to get your prayers.

It goes without saying that the recruitment sector is driven by demand. From one year to the next, there are patterns and changes regarding numbers of jobs and types of jobs available. As one job type becomes obsolete, new jobs appear, and technology has played a big part in these changes. Many traditional jobs are no longer required because the tasks that the role covered are now automated or dealt with in a different way. For example, customer service advisers have in parts been replaced by technology like online chat, and jobs that involved manual tasks processing bank transactions have also been affected by technology.

 

So, what this means is that there is more requirement for roles that support technology. Therefore, people with technology skills have a greater opportunity to capitalize on the fact that there is a shortage of people to fill all of the current jobs in the technology sector. Relevant skills are a must, and because technology is always adapting, it’s hard to keep up to date.

 

According to Forbes, the top paying tech jobs in 2017 are:

 

  1. Vice President Sales
  2. Senior Director of Engineering
  3. Senior Director of Product Development
  4. Regional Sales Director
  5. Vice President of Engineering
  6. Enterprise Sales Executive
  7. Vice President of Product Development
  8. Sales Director
  9. Vice President of Marketing
  10. Vice President of Business Development

 

While it is great to work a job with a big paycheck, it is even better to work a job you love and get paid well for it. If the jobs listed above sound redundant to you, there are loads more that pay well, and that are pretty cool.

 

One of the coolest jobs around has got to be developing video games. For many gamers, it is absolutely the ultimate, dream job. However, this sector is challenging to get into due to the competition surrounding it.

 

There are also design based jobs that sit under the technology sector, such as designing online learning; gamification is an example of this. More and more businesses are looking to have their training conducted online to save the resources used for face-to-face training. Online learning is becoming massively popular and not just for businesses. People can learn pretty much anything online these days – from video tutorials on how to fix a leaking tap to practicing for your driving theory test. Check this site out to see how online learning is helping people to pass their theory test.

 

Technology is going to create many more jobs in the future, and if you are thinking of re-training or you’re picking a course to study, it may be worthwhile thinking about roles in the technology sector that appeal to you. Qualifications in a technology related subject are in high demand, and it could give you opportunities that you might not find in other sectors.

 

From web developing to cyber security, have a look at some of the great technology jobs that are currently available to see if your dream job is out there.

by baldilocks

Hot news flash, yes?

I don’t know. People accumulate money for reasons, with comfort being among them. But the implication in this Guardian piece is that there is something wrong with purchasing insulation against the Special Hell that is LAX.

The guiltiest pleasure at Los Angeles international airport’s (LAX) new private terminal for the mega-rich is not the plush, hushed privacy, or the beds with comforters, or the massages, or the coriander-scented soap, or the Willie Wonka-style array of chocolates and jelly beans, or the Napa Valley cabernet.

It is the iPad that sits on a counter at the entrance, with a typed little note: “Here is a glimpse of what you’re missing over at the main terminal right now.”

The screen shows travellers hauling bags through packed terminals, queuing in long lines, looking harassed and being swallowed into pushing, shoving paparazzi scrums – routine hazards for the 80 million people who pass through LAX each year.

“There they process thousands of people at a time, they’re barking. It’s loud. Here it’s very, very lovely,” said Gavin de Becker [yes], who runs the new terminal, called Private Suite.

He wasn’t wrong. The $22m facility, the first of its kind in the US, opens on Monday, giving the 1% a whole new way to separate themselves from everyone else’s reality. (…)

It is pricey. In addition to annual membership of $7,500, you pay $2,700 per domestic flight and $3,000 per international flight. The cost covers a group of up to four people. If you aren’t a member, you pay $3,500 for a domestic flight and $4,000 for international flight for a group of up to three people.

I don’t recall any barking, during the two round trips I made via LAX last year—to Nairobi and to Albuquerque in order to visit my various parental units. What I do recall about the Tom Bradley International Terminal, however, is that I couldn’t find one single electrical outlet except near the exit. After a ten-hour trip from Amsterdam—also with no access to electrical outlets—trying to use my Über app was a precarious business with nearly no juice on my phone.

I couldn’t care less about some phantom rich guy allegedly laughing at me. I do care about not being able to charge my  %^%*&$ phone in the huge feceshole that is the Bradley Terminal while trying to get home after 18 hours of air travel.

If in need of some Hunger Games-style schadenfreude check out the iPad showing the hoi polloi running gauntlets over at the main terminal.

Remember: the animosity that some have for the rich is cover for unacknowledged if thinly disguised covetousness and personal feelings of inadequacy.  This piece is designed to exacerbate that.

But, do the rich laugh at the poor? I’m sure some do, and that says a lot about the laughers’ personal feelings of inadequacy as well. I guess that there are things against which money is scant refuge. And Mr. de Becker seems intent on exploiting that. Capitalism–the worst economic system there is…except for all of the others.

Would I buy a spot in this bit of LAX purgatory if I had the means? You bet your ass I would. And I would have better things to do with my time than laugh at some poor black chick who can’t find an electrical outlet in the international terminal—like help the owners of the terminal install acknowledgement to the facts of the 21st century.

(Thanks to Liberty Blitzkrieg)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

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Abandoned plant in Harvey

By John Ruberry

Contained in my inbox this morning was an email from Crain’s Chicago Business touting an article by Dennis Rodkin, “Can Chicago’s Southland Be Rebuilt?” In short, “probably” is his answer. Mine is “no.”

Chicago’s Southland covers the city’s South Side and its southern suburbs, some definitions include the Southwest Side and the southwest suburbs. I grew up in Palos Heights, a southwest suburb, after spending my early childhood on Chicago’s Far South Side.

After several readings–I want to make sure I’m right before pointing fingers–I was surprised, but not shocked, to learn that three words were missing from Rodkin’s piece: Corruption, cronyism, and graft. While Illinois is a very dishonest state, and Chicago and Cook County are the epicenter of  its dishonesty, Chicago’s Southland is the rottenest apple in this foul orchard. Five of the last six sitting or former Chicago aldermen convicted of crimes were South Siders. The two most recent Chicago City Council indictments are for Ald. Willie Cochran, whose predecessor went to prison for bribery, and former alderman Edward Vrdolyak, who has already served time in the House with Many Doors. Do you want to guess what part of the city they are from?

Vacant Far South Side home

South of Chicago is Harvey. While surprisingly light on convictions, Harvey is considered the most corrupt town in Illinois, which is saying a lot. For years the Daily Southtown, among its front web page tabs such as “Weather” and “Sports,” there was another, “Harvey.” Next to Harvey is Markham. Earlier this month voters foolishly elected a convicted felon as its mayor. The Cook County state’s attorney office is suing to prevent the mayor-elect from taking office. Nearby is Dolton. Four years ago its village president told CBS Chicago, “Over the past few weeks we’ve heard reports of ghost payrolling, vehicles being purchased without authorization, unauthorized overtime and the unauthorized use of village gas.”

Cochran was indicted last year

Illinois’ second congressional district covers much of the Southland. In 1995 its representative, Mel Reynolds, was found guilty of crimes centered around a sexual relationship with an underage campaign volunteer. He was later convicted of a slew of financial crimes. His successor was Jesse Jackson Jr, who, along with his wife, a South Side Chicago alderman, went to prison for spending campaign cash on personal items.

The most notorious Chicago Southlander is Michael Madigan of the Southwest Side. Illinois’ financial situation has descended to the point that it is functionally bankrupt. Because of generous public-sector pension commitments, which were never properly funded, Illinois is over $200 billion in debt, despite a balanced budget requirement in the state constitution.

Yes, Chicago’s Southland is majority black. Which means African Americans are being robbed the most by these so-called public servants who see government not as a higher calling, but as an opportunity to dishonestly enrich themselves and their cronies.

Much of the Southland is blighted. But there is still plenty of money to be made there, but for the most part, only if you are a crook and if you know the right people. Or if you pay off the right people. Or if you hire that politician’s brother-in-law to remodel your office so you can get that zoning variance passed.

Rodkin does touch on the soaring property tax rates in the south suburbs. But he misses the point. As people leave the Southland–and yes, they are leaving–there are fewer people left to pay the bar bill for these corrupt-and-drunk-with-power politicians in Illinois’ Corruption Corridor.

Public graft is expensive.

Oh, 600 words or so into this piece, and I didn’t even, until now, mention the region’s problems with rampant violence.

Every politician I mentioned so far is a Democrat, except for Vrdolyak, is once was chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.

Blogger in Harvey

In related news, last week the 14 year corruption sentence of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who is not from Chicago’s Southland, was upheld by a US Appeals Court. That’s bad news for course for Blago, but good news for law-abiding Illinoisans–yes, we do exist. If Chicago’s Southland–and the rest of the state–has any hope of receiving honest government, long sentences such as the one Blagojevich was given just might be the cure. Fear of a long stay in a federal prison might scare some scoundrels straight–or better yet, frighten dishonest people away from a career in government.

But at least in the short term, I predict things will get even worse in Chicago’s Southland–and in the rest of Illinois.

John Ruberry, a lifelong Illinoisan, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Wendy’s recent announcement that it’s installing 1,000 self-service kiosks in its restaurants is a huge counter-salvo against the Fight for $15 and its effort to push through an unreasonable national minimum wage.

Most mainstream economists believe paying America’s youngest and least-skilled workers at least $15 an hour will kill countless jobs, especially for those least able to lose them. But the progressives behind the push, seemingly ignorant about how the economy actually works, claim the wage hike would have few ill effects.

But the Wendy’s plan, plus similar automation ideas being considered by other fast-food chains, puts the lie to that contention. When you force employers to pay workers more than they’re worth, the result is fewer people have jobs.

The battle over the minimum began at the turn of the 20th Century, the dawn of the original Progressive Era . There is, however, a huge difference with how the leftists of yesteryear approached the issue. The original Progressives backed a minimum wage precisely because it would throw people out of work.

As economic historian Thomas C. Leonard explains in Illiberal Reformers (Princeton University Press, 2016), the Progs were a new breed on the national landscape at the end of the 19th Century. Devout believers in science as a cure for every ill, Progressives were convinced the only way America could survive and thrive was if all aspects of society were run by experts — namely themselves.

One of the Progressives’ main concerns was racial purity. They feared that Americans of Anglo-Saxon stock were threatened by hordes of inferior creatures, primarily racial minorities and immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. They concluded that an efficient way to protect the native-born was to drive the undesirables — whom they called “unemployables” — out of the workforce.

The “experts” believed the government had to intervene to prevent white workers’ pay from plummeting to unsustainable levels. They thought blacks and immigrants would accept lower living standards than white men, so they would accept lower wages. The ensuing “race to the bottom” would cut white men out of the job market and leave them unable to raise families.

To that end, the Progressives sought a national minimum wage — or, as they called it even back then, a “living wage” — to make labor so expensive that employers would hire only highly competent workers (i.e., white men).

(The Progressives also wanted women out of the workplace. Not only did they hold jobs that men could do, but the Progs also wanted females at home, breeding and caring for their families for the betterment of the race.)

So what would the “unemployables” do if they were prevented from working? Under the Progs’ plan, some — imbeciles, drunkards, criminals and the disabled — would be institutionalized, while others would be placed in “labor colonies,” a euphemism for work camps. It’s not a stretch to imagine that such places could eventually become concentration camps.

By 1919, fifteen states had minimum wage laws, but the Progressives never got the federal law they wanted. Acts were passed, but the Supreme Court struck them down as unconstitutional because they interfered with employers and workers’ right to enter into free and willing contracts.

Not until Franklin Roosevelt’s administration did Congress approve a law, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, that survived judicial review.

When it comes to the Progressive Era, historians are unfailingly generous in telling how it improved American life by creating better working conditions, establishing food and drug regulations, and reforming the political system. Many also credit the movement for women gaining the right to vote even though most Progressives opposed the idea.

But the dark side of Progressivism is buried and rarely comes to light in the history books. Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism is an excellent antidote that is both enlightening and entertaining. Now we can add Thomas C. Leonard’s Illiberal Reformers to the must-read list for exposing the anti-humanity ideals that formed the core of the Progressive machine.

 

By John Ruberry

“So listen, there’s still a little bit of it to go,” the host of NPR’s witty Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Peter Sagal said as he opened his New Year’s Eve show, “but all the pundits and the pollsters have already called it: 2016 will go down as the worst year ever.” Which led moderator Bill Kurtis, the longtime journalist and Chicago news anchor to reply, “Sure, 1346 had the plague, but at least Black Death was a cool name.”

I’m here to explain, at least for me and people who visit Da Tech Guy and my own blog, Marathon Pundit, that 2016 was a darn good year, and absolutely a better one than 1346.

Defying the “pundits and pollsters,” but perhaps not the same ones Sagal was talking about yesterday, Donald J. Trump was elected president–he’ll be sworn into office in nineteen days. Although not as historic as being the first African-American elected to America’s highest office, Trump will be the first president who was not a prior public office holder or a general. That’s yuge.

Like Bob Dylan in 1964 keeping his love for the Beatles to himself and not, initially, telling his folk-music pals, I secretly hopped on the Trump Train in the autumn of 2015, but I was a vocal passenger well before the Iowa Caucuses. Like Sean Hannity, I saw Trump’s, yes, historic candidacy as the last chance to save America from collectivism and socialism, mediocrity, malaise, globalism, cronyism; and in what would have sealed the unpleasant deal, a runaway leftist Supreme Court. I am not an aberration, there are tens-of-millions of Americans who look at the rise of Trump in a similar manner.

A Hillary Clinton victory could have possibly hobbled America as much as the 19th century Opium Wars did to China. A large and populous nation does not necessarily mean that it will be a prosperous and powerful one, as India and Indonesia show us. And Russia is not prosperous.

I look at Trump’s win as the best news of the decade. But even as blogs and new media continue to prosper–my blog’s readership soared last year–the old guard media, which is dominated by leftists, for the most part despises Trump. Their bad news needs to be your bad news.

My daughter at the old
M*A*S*H set

The old year of course will forever be remembered as the year of so many celebrity deaths, which included Leonard Nimoy, B.B. King, Ben E. King, Dick Van Patten, Omar Sharif, Yogi Berra, and in one last cruel harvest by the Grim Reaper, a beloved actor from the television show MASH, Wayne Rogers, passed away on New Year’s Eve.

Wait…wait…don’t tell me! Yes, those are deaths from 2015. Celebrities die every year. Trust me, they really do.

Okay, second verse almost as same as the first: In 2016 the celebrity departures included David Bowie, Prince, Florence Henderson, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and in one last cruel harvest by the Grim Reaper, a beloved actor from the television show MASH, William Christopher, passed away on New Year’s Eve.

[Editorial note: The WordPress blogging platform does not like words with asterisks within them.]

Admittedly, some of these celebs are a bit different from the Class of 2015. Although enigmatic, Bowie, Prince and Michael meticulously cultivated their public images, they became familiar presences on MTV; so people, even if they weren’t fans, believed they “knew” these performers, and their 1980s videos enjoy eternal life on VH1 and on YouTube.

Fisher played Princess Leia in Star Wars, which was arguably the most influential movie, both artistically and in the business-sense, since The Jazz Singer. If you haven’t seen Star Wars, then you probably haven’t seen many films. Florence Henderson’s TV show, The Brady Bunch, was not a first-run success, but it achieved legendary status on the re-run circuit. Like Bowie’s “Modern Love” video on MTV, sometimes you need to watch something every day instead of once-a-week for it to be properly digested.

Oh, I mentioned earlier that Dick Van Patten of Eight Is Enough died in 2015. And few cared because I’m pretty sure you have to buy DVDs of his show to watch it.

As members of the Greatest Generation and the Silent Generation pass on, there are proportionately more self-absorbed people remaining, those of course being the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Snowflake Generation, many of whom view every event, whether it is a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, an election, and of course, a celebrity death, as being about themselves. When Ish Kabibble, a kind of proto-Jerry Lewis, died in 1994, my parents didn’t take it as a personal loss.

John “Lee” Ruberry of
the Magnificent Seven

Here is some more good news from 2016: Third quarter growth in the United States was a robust 3.5 percent, perhaps because the end of the Obama era was in sight. And since Trump’s win, the stock market has been soaring, clearly many people, smart ones, are confident that 2017 will be a year of strong economic growth.

Now if we can only convince the self-absorbed ones to stop thinking about themselves so much, then 2017 will certainly be a great year.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

From Trump’s Twitter feed

By John Ruberry

For as long as I can remember the words “Merry Christmas” have been pushed away from public life, in the both the political and business world. I get it. No one wants to offend people who aren’t Christian, or those few Christians, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who shun Christmas.

However, 83 percent of Americans are Christian, and for many of them Christmas is their favorite time of the year. And I know some secular progressives who set up Christmas trees in their home.

When  President-elect Donald Trump on the later stops of his ‘thank you’ tour replaced his ‘USA’ lectern logo with a ‘Merry Christmas’ one, it got my attention.

And Trump’s Christmas spirit didn’t end there

“We’re gonna start saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” Trump said at a Michigan ‘thank you’ rally. “How about all those department stores, they have the bells and they have the red walls and they have the snow, but they don’t have ‘Merry Christmas. I think they’re gonna start putting up ‘Merry Christmas.'”

About ten years ago the ‘War on Christmas’ compelled Christians who wished to say ‘Merry Christmas’ at their workplace to bite their tongues, including those working extended Christmas shifts at retail stores to accommodate Christmas shoppers. Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, one of the defenders in the ‘War on Christmas,’ declares the conflict all but over, as increasingly more retail outlets use the word ‘Christmas” in their holiday advertisements. On Christmas Eve I was greeted with a hearty “Merry Christmas” when I walked into the local Walmart–and when I left.

Meanwhile, the outgoing president’s final Christmas card, oops, I mean holiday card, oh wait, make that a seasonal card, features the first family and a sprig of holly. Nothing else.

I’ll be shocked if Donald Trump’s first presidential Christmas card isn’t much different, even though his oldest daughter is a convert to Judaism.

Howard Kurtz ended today’s always excellent Fox News’ Media Watch program with “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.” Yes, like a rare planetary alignment, Christmas Eve and the first day of Hanukkah share the came spot on the calendar.

And from me to you, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

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