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One of my all-time favorite movies is Cool Hand Luke starring Paul Newman. The story begins with him walking down a dark street somewhere in the Southern part of the USA, breaking parking meters. He's caught. jailed and sent to a prison out in the country. The men are heavily guarded as they dig ditches. Luke runs away and is caught. The warden lectures the entire group of men, saying, "What we have here is a failure of communication." Luke must be punished severely, so he will be an example for the rest of the prisoners. He's put in a hole in the ground, with a gnte for air. He's barely alive when he is brought out of the hole. He says he won't run away again. The rest of the film is first rate, with great performances from all the actors. The music is stunning, as composed by Lalo Schifrin.

The failure of communication goes on everyday, in all professions, families, friends rod government. Especially in government. Our American system guarantees freedom for all ofus, the freedom to live as we wish, as long as we obey the basic rules of life. We must respect others, help those in need. offer a trial in court for those accused of criminal behavior, rehabilitation for those who need it, protection by law enforcement for everyone. We offer education _to all and a system of choices that allow people to succeed in life. All that is vital to a free nation.

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Americans have a long program of steps to elect a new President every four years, with two major parties competing. This last election was so long I thought it would never end. The candidates travel all over the country to meet and greet possible voters, raise money to coninue that process. TV and press media step in with coverage of conventions, debates, rallies and more. Everything matters; evef mistake, flub, falsehood, stumble are sent out for everyone to see and remember. It's a grueling process that should be changed in some areas. If it lasts so long, people do lose interest, while others become almost fanatical about their candidate and will come to blows if necessary. We need a shorter campaign season.

A woman could have been elected, a first for our country. That didn't happen so a lot of women have been energized to fight back, to get more women interested in running for public ofices and they're ready to protest until that happens. It's a daunting task but not impossible to achieve. I hope I live long mough to see that happen, because I think it's very important for young women to test and reach all the opportunities they can, as long as they are qualified.

Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton FBI Director James Corney decided just days before the fina election day to reopen an investigation of Clinton's email account. He now told Democratic senators that it was a difficult decisiort for him to make 11-days before the national election. It brought some sense of bad behavior or at least bad decision making on Clinton's part. He had no thought that this probe might affect the contest in any way. He stands by his decision The senators also questioned him about not fully investigating Donald Trump's possible contacts with Russia. All that doesn't matter anynore because the election is over. It surely will be analyzed for years to come. A failure to communicate clearly and fully has caused many problems in our political system.

Politicians do lie on a regular basis. Some get away with it for a longtime before they're even challenged. They just don't see themselves as fakes, liars or dishonorable. They don't have the honesty to self evaluate and conclude that they're not functioning "fair and square." We do have some politicians who do follow the rules and do represent their constituents well, year after year. They're the politicians that we need in office.

Our Mayor, Eric Garcetti wants the next summer Olympics to beheld here in L.A. He's been traveling all over meeting with Olympic officials. We've been very lucky here in L.A. pulling off two very successful Olympic Games. We even had a profit from the last evert we sponsored. No problems at all. l think that there are many pluses in our favor but it is disruptive to our everyday livesfor two weeks or more. Do the citizens even get to vote? Just wondering.

It seems that many customers were satisfied with the service they were getting from most airlines. That is until United Airlines really botched everything they stood for by dragging a passenger down an aisle on his back. It was a very ugly scene which was caught on camera by many passengers. The airline needed four seats for crew members who were headed to work elsewhere. None of the customers were wiling to give up their seats so one particular man was dragged down the aisle. What a horrible sight! When airlines overbook a flight they will offer money to anyone who will give up their seats. It was a very stupid blunder. First of all they should always leave at least a couple of seats for employees. But when there are four who need seats why not put them on another airplane? There should always be smaller jets available for just such occasions.

There's no need to drag customers off of planes. The CEO of the airline had to make a personal appearance at a congressional hearing in Washington. United is offering as much as$ I0,000 to anyone who gives up a seat. What will happen when people will still not give up a seat? I have a hunch this will change the airline's procedures and at other airlines as well. It's about time!

Here's an interesting item: University of California President Janet Napolitano was called to a joint legislative committee to explain why there was a huge sum of money, $175 MILLION DOLLARS. in excess funds while tuition rates continued to rise for students. She apologized. Oh, well, then it's all okay! She promised to implement the audit's recommendations. Oh well, that's great! She agreed that her office should keep clear budget plans and records, as the audit recommended. OH WELL JANET, STUFF HAPPENS! She claims that it was only $38 MILLION in funds! Well, that's BETTER JANET!! YOU'RE ALREADY MAKING PROGRESS JANET Here's some interesting facts: Before 1970 tuition for classes and registration fees were free. Afler 1970 tuition and registration fees were $450 per semester.

Today it costs $18,866 per year! The Board of Regents voted to increase in-state tuition by $336 next academic year. On March 8th students protested, preventing her comments being heard by other meeting participants. On live stream Napolitano's comments to UC Chairman Bruce Va11er could be heard loud and clear, "Let's go. We don't need to listen to this crap." The students stripped down to underwearor exercise clothing to figuratively give the shirts off their backs.

This information was provided by the UC newspaper, The Bottom Line and The Associated Press. One last fact: Janet Napolitano's base salary is $570,000 per year. P.S. THIS WHY TAXPAYERS GET ENRAGED!

Hang in there.

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"Remember: It's not a lie if you believe it." George Costanza Seinfeld

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APRIL 2017

Luckily I have two modes of transportation: a truck (2000) Ford Ranger and a 2009 Subaru Forester. I have carried everything in the truck; furniture, trees, mulch, a refrigerator, washer and dryer, a big heavy doghouse, heavy bags of cement, lumber and much more. It now has over 162, 000 miles on it and it still performs well. The Subaru is much prettier, sporty and it has lots of handy features. It still has just 26,000 miles on it. It has all kinds of fancy features so I tend to worry about it more. Right now it’s in the shop being fixed.

The truck is not pretty at all, with a lot of dings all around. The bumpers have been hit, squeezed between two moving cars, so the sporty car behind me got real messed up. Years ago the truck needed a new transmission, so my son and a friend took the bad one out and went to a place that sold refurbished transmissions. That was a big job but it got done and the truck ran as good as new. The Ranger has had a productive and so far, safe life. I’ll miss it when I have to give it up, to that great parking lot in the sky. The Subaru is fussier and apparently it likes to go to the dealer for care now and then.

I was thinking about how the vehicles affect my life and I was thinking that cars and trucks, no matter the model or the age are a bit like children. Some people even name their vehicles. Some parents might like one kid more than another. Some kids are high maintenance, so they need more guidance, more attention sometimes. Some kids are always getting hurt, so they hade to be taken to the emergency room to be checked out. Some kids need more handling, more incentives to perform well, even for minor tasks. They’re fussy, unpredictable. When they won’t go, they just won’t go.

The ebb and flow of life take us in different directions for different circumstances. I’m more concerned about my children’s physical health. I spent a lot of time in emergency rooms, or taking the kids to the doctor and dentist for routine care when they were all young. Now I don’t worry as much. Their physical health is up to them now. It’s their job to take care of themselves. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately at Kaiser, where I go for my health needs. Kaiser is persistent in getting their clients extra good care. I feel extremely lucky to be getting such attention but it is time consuming.

For his own reasons President Trump decided to tackle the nation’s health care. He wanted to get rid of “Obamacare” and establish his own plan. Lots of people took to the streets to protest the loss of their current health care plans. It was all hurry, hurry to get it done. Ultimately Trump couldn’t get the support he needed so he had to back off. He had promised “We’re going to have a much better health care plan at much less cost.” It seems to me that President Trump is in a big hurry all the time. The pushes his staff to get things in motion and doesn’t seem to get a good sense of what is needed to change programs, how to explain his plans well and how to get the support he needs from his colleagues in Washington and the people in the rest of the USA. He’s not explaining his vision well at all. He comes off as impulsive, with grand plans but no patience with the small details that need to be addressed.

People are reacting to Trump’s ideas. People have been gathering to protest the possible loss of the health plans they already have. There are plenty of things that need fixing in the U.S. such as highways, bridges, dams, hospitals and schools. The issue of illegal immigrants in the U.S. is another hot topic. The wall that the President wants to build is already a contentious topic. Some say we should do it, others are totally against a wall that they say won’t work anyway. It seems that they will be cussing & discussing a lot in Washington to get things in order. Who will prevail? How much input will the average citizen have in all these schemes?

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As usual, life is plus and minus. Macy’s is going to close 68 stores and 10,000 jobs will be lost. Sears is also having a hard time attracting customers so it will be selling its Craftsman brand of tools plus Kenmore and Die Hard. The once very popular stores aren’t bringing in enough customers so they plan to close 150 unprofitable stores. Lots of employees will lose their jobs. I read in the newspaper today that Radio Shack will be closing 552 of its stores, including 75 stores in California. Many Sears and Macy stores serve as anchor stores in many shopping malls. Malls in general are not as popular as they once were. People shop in many different ways; online, from catalogs, smaller local stores and even swap meets and yard sales.

Good news: California has added 22,900 employees in jobs in February. In the last year over 315,000 jobs have been filled. Car sales in the U.S. were outstanding, with more than 17.55 million vehicles sold in 2016. Nissan sold more than 1.5 million, Subaru sold 615,132, and Honda sold 1.6 million vehicles. Ford trucks were very popular with 820, 799 trucks sold. Trucks and SUVs made up 63% of sales in the U.S. One last thing: owners of some cars are slow in getting their air bags repaired. Hondas and Acura owners were told to bring their cars in because the airbags had a 50% chance of erupting in a crash. Hard to believe, but many are still dragging their feet to get that important fix taken care of.

Everyone complains about the wretched condition of our freeways and roads in California. Our Governor Brown wants a new tax hike, an excise tax on gasoline to fix everything out there. The state seems to have money for a lot of things such as a big payroll for the politicians, their staffs, offices, cars, gasoline, travel and anything else they “need” to get their “work” done. There’s a $130-billion backlog of needed repairs. Well, we saw the big dam up North get ready to collapse, houses and buildings floating down the streets. We know that there is a lot that needs to be fixed in the state, but why does all the cost have to be paid by added taxes? Have they ever established an emergency fund for anything? California has become a real hard place to live in, work or plan for the future. What in the world are we leaving for our kids?

Our President seems to be in a big hurry all the time. He seems restless, going to Florida to his home (and hotel) every chance he gets. Maybe he’s bored hanging around the White House despite the fact that his daughter and her husband have close, frequent contact as his advisors His daughter has an office in the White House as well as access to classified material. How did that happen? The President likes to play golf and relax, even eats in the dining room with his very rich guests. Another thing he misses is the roar of the crowd so he is still appearing at rallies for his fans. He likes the attention, the adulation. These outings are not always peaceful, because people get carried away when those who don’t like Trump show up. Is this any way to run a country? Don’t people have better things to do? As Rodney King asked a long time ago, “Can’t we all get along? Apparently not right now.

One last thing: I got a refund check from the IRS for $16.11. I’m excited.

 

Hang in there.

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“You cannot judge a man’s life by the success of a moment, by the victory of an hour, or even by the results of a year. You must view his life as a whole.” (1896)

William Jennings Bryan
Lawyer and politician March 1860-1925

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