Log Cabin Chronicles

US Social Security Reform
Posted 2.18.19
FRANK BERNHEISEL

I worked for a salary for the 55 years of my career. Every month my employer deducted payroll taxes from my paycheck. (The current numbers are: 6.2 percent for Social Security and 1.45 percent for Medicare.) My employers paid taxes equal to the amounts withheld from my earnings. If I made more than the maximum taxable ($127,200 currently), there was no Social Security tax on the extra income. However, there is no maximum to the Medicare tax.

ABOUT THOSE MIGRANTS
Posted 1.5.19
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Illegal immigration into the United States ha,s been steadily declining since 2007 as shown in the chart from the Pew Research Center. In 2015 there were about 43.3 million foreign-born people living in the U.S. of whom about half are naturalized U.S. citizens. Only about one quarter of the foreign-born, 11.1 million are unauthorized migrants according to Pew Research Center, and 75 percent are here legally.

FRANCE ~ PARIS: DAY FIVE
Posted 11.25.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We woke up in our nice bed and breakfast in Concale to a pleasant, sunny day; and we were in Brittany -- Bretagne to the French and Breizh to the Bretons. Brittany is the western most region of France with a population of over 3 million. It forms a triangle poking out into the Atlantic; referred to as Finisterre or End of the Earth.

What about Autumn?
Posted 11.21.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Autumn 2018 is/was the time for the U.S. elections and the airwaves and print were filled with propaganda, lies, and some information. If you got caught up in this Party-generated game, you could have believed that this game defined Autumn. But, you did not have to get caught up in the game: handicapping winners and losers, collecting stats, predicting outcomes based on polls, etc., and buying into a party line.

FRANCE ~ PARIS: DAY FOUR
Posted 11.11.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The TGV was smooth and comfortable and at times reached 200 MPH; there was a speed display at the front of the car. The full trip of about 220 miles took us an hour and a half. Things were going great until the train station in Rennes, which was under serious reconstruction. This caused difficulty finding the Hertz office and subsequently finding the car. This took at least 45 minutes, and then we were off.

Does One Vote Matter?
Posted 11.7.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

On January 4, 2018, the race was decided by a coin toss and...

FRANCE ~ PARIS: DAY THREE
Posted 10.31.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

As I get older, I find that it is harder to remember things -- names are the worst. In doing my trip write-ups, I rely on photographs to remind me of where and when. On Day 2, I took the photo below at Notre-Dame; but it was on Jon's camera, so I lost the memory until a couple of days ago.

FRANCE ~ PARIS: DAY TWO
Posted 10.21.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We started the day with a nice breakfast buffet at Hotel du Parc. Then we set off on a beautiful sunny day to find the Metro station on Boulevard Raspail, and then to figure how use the Metro to get around in Paris. It was easy; the fare card machines were simple, and the maps and signs were clear.

Free Press Threatened
Posted 10.14.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The current news is full of stories about the possible murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent journalist who was seen entering -- but not exiting -- the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul last week. But Khashoggi is not alone.

FRANCE ~ PARIS: DAY ONE
Posted 10.11.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

It was early Sunday morning when Julie, Jonathan, Kathy and I disembarked at Aéroport de Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle and made our way to find a taxi. The airport seems to be continually under construction, based on our recent trips. As we neared the exit, wondering what to do, we spotted a Viking Tours booth. Given that we were going to take a Viking cruise later in this trip, I figured that they could help us. They did; the lead staff walked us to the taxi area and found a taxi large enough for the four of us plus four large suitcases. We loaded and were off to Paris.

How did this happen
Posted 9.24.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

As I've previously mentioned, I went to high school in Wiesbaden, Germany, arriving there in June 1948. The devastation was horrendous; piles of rubble where large apartments had been, smelled of the dead in the summer heat, and there were millions of Displaced Persons (DPs) in camps. This experience generated the question that I have studied all my life: How did these really smart, cultured and accomplished people go off the deep end and create this mess?

Need to Prevent Kavanaugh potential law damage
Posted 8.24.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

I am of the opinion the Bret Kavanaugh will be even less constrained by 'settled law' than Justice Scalia. My opinion was reinforced by the piece by Arthur Alschuler in this morning's Washington Post, about one ruling that Bret Kavanaugh made as a justice on the US Court of Appeals, which over turned 'settled law'.

Opposing Kavanaugh's appointment
Posted 8.15.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Packing the courts with people with known and narrow political biases is not in the interest of the United States, a country with a diverse population. The nomination of Judge Kavanaugh is an example of this packing and his vetting by the Federalist Society is an example of how the packing process works.

Political Drumbeats
Posted 7.25.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The July 18 Gallop poll, indicates that 22 percent of Americans say immigration is the country's most important problem. Immigration replaced "Government", which had been the top problem in polls since January 2017.

O Canada, O Deficit
Posted 6.15.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Saturday, June 9 President Trump declared: "If they retaliate, they're making a mistake."

Books, in a selfie way
Posted 5.4.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Our reading group has a couple of classics on our upcoming list to read: Utopia by Thomas More and Demosthenes, which is one of Plutarch's biographical sketches. Neither of these is in our library.

Make American Schools Great Again
Posted 4.28.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

My take on the learning of primary and secondary students is that we have been shorting the public school budgets for years.

Thoughts on Enlightenment
Posted 4.20.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Many of the ideas and accomplishments attributed to the Enlightenment were developed prior to the period we call the Enlightenment. Contributions were made during the Renaissance and within organizations throughout Europe, including the church. Human beings have worked on governance throughout history, and what we have is a continuum. As far as we know, because we rely on the written word, it started with the Greeks: Pythagoras, Plato, etc.

VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 15 ~ VISITING SLANO AND MOSTAR

Posted 4.12.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

La Perla's course from Korcula took her southeast along the Peljesac peninsula. The peninsula is over 40 miles long and the isthmus that joins it to the mainland is five miles wide. It is part of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, the southernmost part of Croatia. The county is broken in two by a 12-mile stretch of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which provides their only access to the sea.

The U.S. 2020 Census ~ Action is Needed
Posted 4.7.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The 2020 Census is fast approaching and is currently being given a test run in Rhode Island. At this late date, the Trump Administration and Congress have decided to play games with the decennial count of people in the U.S. required by the Constitution.

VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 14 ~ A DAY IN TINY KORCULA

Posted 3.26.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

The Bura wind was still blowing when La Perla got under way at about 6 AM. The Bura makes for sunny, cool days on the Adriatic Sea. Our destination was the town of Korcula, which shares its name with the island. We arrive in the port of Korcula about 10 AM to find one of the smallest villages we had visited. We had an our tour of the town, which only took maybe 15 minutes to walk around. However, the pace in Korcula was slower than any other towns we visited, so maybe 25 minutes.

VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 13 ~ A DAY AROUND HVAR

Posted 3.11.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

This morning we sailed from Split to the island of Hvar and the town of the same name -- a journey of about 40 miles. It is a very small town with about 3,500 inhabitants -- the island has about 4,700. The town of Hvar has a lovely, sheltered harbor, which was welcome because part of the "ride" over was pretty rough. A couple people complained of being seasick. Not surprising since the Bura wind was pretty strong until we got on the lee side of the island.

Withdraw sponsorship of pro-bank coddling bill
Posted 03.7.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

It is clear that the practices of banks and financial institutions were responsible for causing the Great Recession and despite the obvious malfeasance of the bankers in this, no one went to jail. Now, Senator Kaine, you propose to take away bank oversight. You claim that the small banks in Virginia need help but that does not appear to be true.

VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 12 ~ ON TO SPLIT

Posted 2.27.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

The Greeks established Solona, about two miles from Split, as a colony in the 2nd Century BCE. Salona became the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia because it sided with Julius Caesar in the civil war against Pompius and Crassus in 54 BCE. Salona was largely destroyed in the invasions of the Slavs in the seventh century CE, and the refugees from Salona settled inside Diocletian's Palace in what is now Split.

VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 11 ~ LEAVING OPATIJA

Posted 2.17.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

On part of the journey over the mountains, we passed near the birthplace of Nikola Tesla. His name had come up several times already during the trip because Croatia claims him. It took a look at Wikipedia to understand the claims about Tesla's nationality. It turns out he had Serbian parents. His father and both of his grandfathers were Serbian priests.

VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 10 ~ DOING THE ISTRIAN PENINSULA

Posted 2.8.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

Another lovely autumn day with sun and cool temperatures. We were picked up by the coach for a tour of the Istrain Peninsula, which is the largest peninsula in the Adriadic, and is triangular. The towns at the angles are: Savudrija, Opatija and Medulan, which is just south of Pula. This area is heavily influence by Italy, of which it was a part between the two World Wars. The highway signs have the town/city names in Croatian and Italian.

VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 9 ~ IN OPATIJA

Posted 1.31.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

Opatija, a small city of 12,000, is surrounded by beautiful woods of bay laurel. The city is located on a rocky and picturesque sea-coast and home to many resorts. In Roman times, the area was home to several patrician villas connected to the nearby town of Castrum Laureana, the modern Lovran.

VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 8 ~ FROM ZAGREB TO OPATIJA

Posted 1.27.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

The rain had stopped and we had a sunny, cool, and very windy day. The last stop before leaving Zagreb was Mirogoj, Zagreb's central cemetery. It is known as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe and was built by the famous linguist and leading person of the Croatian national reformation, or the Illyrian Movement, Ljudevit Gaj.

Secretary Zinke's first year in office
Posted 1.25.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

After improperly billing the government for personal travel expenses, Zinke received a Fitness Report in 1999 that blocked him from being promoted to a commanding officer position, or to the rank of captain.

VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 7 ~ OUTSKIRTS OF ZAGREB

Posted 1.22.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

I learned I didn't even know Marshall Tito's full name - - Josip Broz Tito. Today, he is loved by many, ignored by many, and unknown, apparently, to some of the younger people. The village of Kumrovec is now a museum - - the whole small village - - and it is being restored as it was in 1892 at Tito's birth.

Just do your job
Posted 1.21.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In the past, Speaker Ryan, you have said: "We will not duck the tough issues, we will lead ... we will not spend four years blaming others, we will take responsibility."

VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 6 ~ AND IN DOWNTOWN ZAGREB

Posted 1.16.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

We woke up to grey skies, cool temperatures, and wind in Zagreb. Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of Croatia, with 800,000 people. It has a history dating back Roman times; the Roman town of Andautonia was just southeast of Zagreb on the Sava River. We toured Zagreb by bus for about 20 minutes and then met our local tour guide.

VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 5 ~ ON TO ZAGREB

Posted 1.14.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

With five rivers in the town, there are lots of bridges.ŹOne bridge we did cross was the Zmajski Most or 'dragon' bridge, which has two dragons at each end of the bridge. The Ljubljana Dragon is symbol of the city and is depicted on the city coat of arms as well as the Dragon Bridge.

VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 4 ~ ON TO ZAGREB

Posted 1.10.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

Our first stop, on our tour of the city, was Republic Square, which is the largest square in Ljubljana and where on 26 June 1991, the independence of Slovenia was declared.Ź It is the location of the Academia Philharmonicorum from whose open windows we could hear the students practicing their scales.

VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 3 ~ VISIT TO LARGEST NORDIC SKI CENTRE

Posted 1.3.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

We visited the Planica Nordic Center, a very interesting place. It has one ski-flying hill, seven ski-jumping hills, and indoor cross-country skiing track in Planica, Slovenia. It is the largest Nordic Centre in the world.

VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 2 ~ DAY AROUND BLED

Posted 12.28.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

The next morning, we met Sasha and the others at 9 a.m. to go on a tour. Our first stop -- Bled Castle, which was first mentioned in writing in the year 1011.

VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA
Posted 12.18.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

In 2017, from October 19 through November 7, Kathy and I traveled in what used to be Yugoslavia. We traveled with my brother and sister-in-law (Dave and Mary) on a Vantage tour, which included a small boat cruise down the Dalmatian Coast. Yugoslavia, which was a federation of eight provinces, was formed as a kingdom after WWI with the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After WWII it became the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Marshal Tito.

That so-called tax reform stadium scam
Posted 12.12.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

What is in the American tax bill, that is the question. Some good news -- in the House bill there is a provision that ends the federal tax subsidy for private sports stadiums. Who would have guessed it!.

Fixing the American booze tax mess
Posted 12.7.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The U.S. tax reform bill introduced in Mitch McConnell's Senate in November includes deep cuts to federal excise taxes on alcohol producers. Does this have anything to do with Kentucky being a major producer of bourbon whisky?


Posted 11.25.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

I woke up about 4 AM, thinking about Thanksgiving. The American myth that I learned in grade school came to mind.

Back to Wiesbaden
Posted 11.18.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

On Sunday, November 5 we (Kathy, brother Dave, his wife, Mary, and I) had to change planes in Frankfurt, Germany on our way home from Croatia. We decided to stay a couple of days and visit Wiesbaden to see what had changed since my brother and I had lived there (1948 - 1951). Kathy and I had visited Wiesbaden briefly 15 years ago, but it had been 40 years for Dave.

Déjà vu all over again
Posted 10.16.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Last Friday -- that was Friday the 13th by the way -- President Trump announced he would not certify Iran's compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement, which imposes restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for economic sanctions relief. The President said: "We will see what happens with Iran. We're very unhappy with Iran. They have not treated us with the kind of respect that they should be treating."

Raindrops keep falling on my head
Posted 10.2.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The U.S. was just hit by two HUGE hurricanes. Minimizing the damage done by these storms depends on knowing where and when they are going to hit; that is weather forecasting. The Washington Post reported that the Gulfstream jet that collects high altitude data by flying through hurricanes aborted its flight through Maria.

CARBON TAX: STILL A GOOD IDEA
Posted 09.1.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

A carbon tax is a fee imposed on carbon-based fuels (coal, oil, gas, etc.). The purpose of a carbon tax is to reduce damage to the environment and eventually eliminate the use of fossil fuels.

Phoenix police oppression
Posted 08.26.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The cops stood on the their side of the street in full riot gear and gas masks with two barricades and a street between us, before they descended on the crowd. We were pushed, bullied, and assaulted without provocation or warning.

Great Republican Con Job
Posted 08.12.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Wake up America! You are being conned! President Trump, with the help of Congress and the media, is pulling the oldest trick in the book -- distract everyone with the threat of war with some other country. In this case, North Korea.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS US "RECOVERY"?
Posted 08.8.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The employment figures for July have arrived and the numbers exceeded expectations. Some 209,000 new jobs were created and the unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent. That brings the total to more than 1 million new jobs since President Trump took office, who proudly tweeted: Excellent Jobs Numbers just released -- and I have only just begun.

Let the US Congress get to work on real tax reform
Posted 07.29.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The next high priority item in the Republican governing agenda is Tax Reform. Given the RepublicanÕs track record on health care, I thought they could use some help on Tax Reform. First I thought, WE (As in "We the People" acting as stated in Article I, through the Congress) need some goals for Tax Reform: (1) raise revenue (2) simplify tax filings, (3) eliminate favorable treatments that some receive, (4) lower tax rates, and (5) make taxation more fair.

Dorothy leaves Kansas for Oz
Posted 06.11.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Sam Brownback has been a star of the Tea Party, both in Congress and since he was elected Governor of Kansas. In May 2012, he instituted a package of drastic tax cuts to produce what he predicted would be "a shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy."

Terminate this charade
Posted 05.20.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

President Trump has ordered a review of all National Monuments established since 1996, and you are responsible for this review. This review effort is a diversion of the Department's efforts and a waste of resources. The restricted budget of the Department of the Interior is insufficient to meet the maintenance needs of the parks and monuments. The deferred maintenance in 2015 was estimated to be $12 billion by GAO. A glaring example of the deferred maintenance is the Memorial Bridge, which alone needs $250 million in repairs.

The President's Tax Plan
Posted 05.14.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

President Trump has proposed a plan to overhaul the tax code. I think that this effort is timely. Overall, he proposes to reduce taxes. His plan for individuals proposes to eliminate targeted tax breaks that mainly benefit the wealthiest taxpayers and to repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax are good ideas, but insufficient.

Resist. Now.
Posted 03.20.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

As some of you know, I went to high school in Germany as US military dependant, arriving there in June of 1948. The damage from WWII was starkly evident -- think of the pictures of Syria you see, on steroids. I once visited a residential section of Hamburg that had been firebombed; nothing burnable was left and the bricks from the houses had exploded from the heat, resulting in a brick-red sea as far as one could see.

Coal Regulation Scuttled
Posted 03.06.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

President Trump has overturned the regulation that would prevent dumping of coal mining debris into nearby streams. He called it a "job-killing rule" before he signed the order to overturn it. Members of Congress from coal-mining states, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV stood around grinning.

Carbon Tax Redux
Posted 02.12.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

James A. Baker III, Secretary of State and White House Chief of Staff under President George H. W. Bush, has advocated a good idea: a Carbon Tax (See Link). He is supported by Hank Paulson, Treasury Secretary for former President George W. Bush; Greg Mankiw, who chaired Bush's Council of Economic Advisers; and Marty Feldstein, Chairman of President Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisors. Also in support are former Walmart chairman, Rob Walton; Thomas Stephenson, a partner at the venture capital firm Sequoia Capital; and Ted Halstead, founder of New America and the Climate Leadership Council.

Slime Politics
Posted 02.8.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Last year the Senate, under the leadership of Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, failed to do their job by denying President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, a hearing and a vote. One could even make the case that members of the majority party at that time violated their oath of office.

Travel Ban
Posted 02.3.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The travel ban sprung by the Trump Administration initially looked to me like the typical blunder of a bunch of newbies that are out of their depth. Of course, President Trump is playing to his base and throwing these kind of bones will allow him to avoid his real promises of saving coal miners and other middle Americans from destitution.

What Do We Do, Now?
Posted 01.23.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We, in the United States, have a government "of the People, by the People and for the People," which is aimed at helping the peoples of the nation and the world. We the People have just completed a very long process of choosing new leadership in both the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch of that government.

This past weekend, we installed that leadership in its offices. Come Monday morning and we discover -- similar to the discovery we make after a long weekend drunk -- we have made a horrendous mistake.

Winding down
Posted 01.06.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Viking Akun had cruised through the night on the Volga as it wandered through the Russian Plain, which is characterized by low hills and woods. We arrived in Yaroslavl just after breakfast about 8 a.m. . This city of about 600,000 was founded about 1000 CE on the banks of the Volga River on the site of a Viking village. The Volga turns south at this point. The Vikings used the river as their route to the Caspian Sea.

Thinking Huuugely in America
Posted 01.03.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Our President Elect, Donald Trump, has said that he is going to bring American manufacturing jobs back from overseas. I have argued that, while some jobs have gone overseas, the real problem is that jobs have disappeared due to new technology. The chart below, needless to say, supports my position.

Going North
Posted 12.23.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Viking Akun cruised north on the Moscow Canal through the newer parts of Moscow heading for the Volga River. All along this part of the route were new apartment buildings, cranes where apartments would be soon, green park areas and many recreational facilities, including amusement parks. What I read in the newspapers and magazines indicates that the Russian economy is in bad shape. However, that was not what I observed.

'Mad as Hell'
Posted 11.11.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

All of the talking heads in Washington and elsewhere are trying to explain why there is so much anger in the U.S. voting public. I think that Bill Clinton got it right in his 1992 campaign when he said: "it's the economy stupid."

The Kremlin
Posted 10.22.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

On our visits to Moscow city center we had been all around the Kremlin's red brick wall with its towers, and viewed it from all angles. As mentioned earlier, kremlin means fortress in Russian and many cities have kremlins. The area enclosed within the Kremlin wall in Moscow is over 68 acres and is almost in the form of a triangle. It includes five palaces, four cathedrals, and a number of office buildings.

Whither Democracy?
Posted 10.11.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We Americans pride ourselves on being exceptional and being the world's oldest democracy. In the last few years, we have not been setting an example for the rest of the world. Whatever happened to the shining city on the hill? In our domestic policies, we are disenfranchising voters, buying elections, and abandoning civility. These actions plus the dysfunction of our government causes the U.S. to lose its standing as a world leader. We see European countries like Poland and Hungary following the lead of Putin's Russia moving toward oligarchy.

A Day in Moscow
Posted 09.20.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We disembarked at the Moscow airport and walked to get our luggage, and meet our transportation. The airport could have been anywhere, except for the signs in Cyrillic. Fortunately, most signs had English subtitles.

The Trump - Putin Bromance
Posted 09.11.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

It appears as if we are getting used to Donald Trump's off-the-cuff statements describing Putin as a "strong leader" and saying that the United States gets "no respect" from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Never underestimate the power of a bad idea
Posted 08.21.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In our current American political campaign there has been a drumbeat about manufacturing and manufacturing jobs being shipped overseas; both Hillary and Donald have had much to say in their speeches. The implication is that nothing is manufactured in the U.S. of A. today. The result, so goes the political story, is that shipping of manufacturing jobs overseas has resulted in HUGE layoffs and unemployment.

American Democracy Betrayed
Posted 08.15.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The American philosophy and system of government was thus designed by the Founders, equally to prevent, the 'snob-rule' of a governing Elite and the 'mob-rule' of The Majority. This design was to preclude the existence in America of any governmental power capable of being misused so as to violate the individual's rights.

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: TOURNON TO AVIGNON
Posted 08.08.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Tournon dates from Celtic times and is built on a narrow level area along the river right up against granite hills. In the 11th century a wealthy family of nobles, the Counts of Tournon, built a fort/castle on the granite rock overlooking the Rhone Valley. The castle is above the fortification in the picture and contains a museum, open to the public.

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: IN ANCIENT VIENNE
Posted 07.22.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Vienne is a really old Roman town that predates Caesar's conquest of Gaul by 60 years and the Roman town sprawled onto both sides of the river. On our walking tour after the cathedral, we visited the Temple of Augustus and Livia, which was built during the reign of Emperor Augustus.

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: IN BEAUTIFUL LYON
Posted 07.14.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The region around Lyon is predominantly agricultural with tourism working up to second place. Cows are much in evidence and are used both for meat and milk, which is made into a number of well-known cheeses: Bleu d'Auvergne, Cantal, Fourme d'Ambert and Saint-Nectaire. Cheese and wine are all that is needed to make Lyon's reputation as a culinary capital.

More National Parks funding needed
Posted 07.13.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The inefficiency involved in having one federal agency apply to another for partial funding for a project that both the executive and legislative branches have long recognized as necessary, is appalling. Further, the grant will not complete this necessary job; estimated to cost $250 million. This situation will lead to further inefficiencies because of the effort required by the project team in the National Park Service to piece together the rest of the required funding.

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: LYON DAYS
Posted 06.21.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

After breakfast we went by coach north to the Beaujolais region, which produces one of France's most famous wines. The vineyards stretch for ten miles along the Saône River and up the rolling hills. Wine was first produced here by the Romans; and then through the Middle Ages, winemaking was done by the Benedictine monks. Our goal was the Chateau Ravatys (see below) for a tour of the vineyard and the cellar followed by a wine tasting.

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: PARIS DAYS
Posted 06.06.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Wine in hand, we all chose typical fare for petite déjeuner -- Croque Monsieur, soupe à l'oignon, and Quiche Lorraine -- while seated in the enclosed sidewalk café enjoying the passing scene. The bright yellow Lamborghini playing Grand Prix on the Avenue de Suffren was a hit.

Being part of The Process
Posted 04.26.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

After a search on the Senate website, I found no phone number for the Majority Leader of the Senate. So, I tried to call Senator Mitch McConnell at his office in the Russell Senate Office Building; his number is 202-224-2541. I got a robo-answer saying that his office was experiencing a large number of calls and please send an e-mail.

Who really gets punished in the IRS game?
Posted 04.12.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Fortunately, I did not have a question for the IRS because last year only 37 percent of those that called the IRS got through. If I had called and gotten through, my wait would have averaged 23 minutes. Snail mail is worse; the IRS backlog for letters waiting to be answered is currently over 900,000.

How many U.S. Supremes should America have?
Posted 03.13.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Additionally, Judge Posner points out, -- contrary to what Justice Roberts said -- that the justices bring their attitudes and suppositions, which they have derived from their upbringing, training, personal and career experience, religion and national origin.

In Washington, a debate of sorts
Posted 03.05.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Recently, I went to Capitol Hill to watch a debate entitled The Executive Branch VS. Congressional Prerogatives in National Security Decisions. This was sponsored by the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC). I had been invited by my friend Liz who is affiliated with AFPC.

Safe drinking water, toxic lead levels, and slashing safety spending
Posted 02.13.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The anti-regulation industry and the "government is the problem" folks have been attacking EPA for years. Adjusted for inflation, the $100 million annual budget of the EPA's drinking water office has fallen 15 percent since 2006, resulting in a more than 10 percent reduction of its staff.

Talking Dirty: U.S. Water And The EPA
Posted 01.31.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

So why didn't EPA solve this problem before so many people in Flint, Michigan, were exposed?

Tolerance resolution needed
Posted 01.02.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The New Year's resolution is a tradition in our democracy. Given some of the events and words spoken in 2015, I think a resolution for 2016, based on Tolerance, might be appropriate.

AMERICAN DESERT DAYS PART 3
Posted 12.30.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We were headed to the Pipe Spring National Monument almost two hours away in Arizona. This small facility, 40 acres, is administered by the Park Service and has a long history, which includes the Paiutes Indians, Spanish explorers, and Mormon pioneers.

How do you rate America?
Posted 12.20.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We Americans claim that we have the greatest democracy that the world has ever seen. We refer to the high principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. And we suggest that the rest of the world follow our lead.

AMERICAN DESERT DAYS PART 2
Posted 11.29.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Our itinerary said that this was "a dramatic flightseeing excursion" and it was. We flew over the Canyonlands National Park where the Colorado River doubles back on itself several times, as shown in the "Badlands." In a moment of geologic time the river will break through the low spot in the picture center and change course once more. We dodged the peaks of the Escalante and Henry Mountains, and had a great view of the Waterpocket Fold and other sandstone formations. Without oxygen our planes had a height limit of 10,000 feet and the mountains were over 11,000. The terrain was varied to say the least; changing every minute.

Refugee report from one German city
Posted 11.21.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Freiburg has taken in 5000 refugees in the last year, which amounts to 2 percent of our local population. This even though Freiburg has a housing shortage that is the worst in Germany, based on percent of income devoted to housing costs. We are getting an additional 150 refugees per week. But it is working out.

A country of migrants
Posted 11.19.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We are a country of migrants; everyone or their family came from somewhere else. Even the American Indians migrated, just earlier than the rest of us.

AMERICAN DESERT DAYS
Posted 11.09.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The train from Chicago, the California Zephyr, was a half hour late arriving in Grand Junction, CO. We missed the sunset, but the sky was clear with plenty of daylight. We located Rob and his black Suburban in front of the train station; and he took us to the Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab, Utah.

Night train to Hog Butcher
Posted 10.30.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Bernie, our faithful limo man, let us out right in front of Union Station to catch the 4:05 p.m. Capital Limited to Chicago. Cars and seats were assigned based on destination; this all took ten minutes, max. No TSA agents, no scanners, and no pat downs were endured

US Congressmen should live in Washington
Posted 10.28.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

It appears as if Paul Ryan is going to be Speaker of the House of Representatives. In his pronouncements about the speakership, I think that he exemplifies one of the things wrong with the Congress.

Raise the US gas tax
Posted 10.22.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The cost to improve our America's highways by making all investments with a positive benefit-cost ratio would have been $161.7 billion in FY 2014. This cost will grow to $184.2 billion in five (5) years. So far, Congress has done nothing.

Take Back America: Can you Trump this?
Posted 09.7.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In the U.S. we have many people enthusiastically supporting Donald Trump for president. The Donald claims that he will make America great again.

Illegals? Refugees? What's in a name?
Posted 09.1.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In the United States we do not seem to have any "refugees" or "migrants". We have "illegal immigrants" or "illegals", and too many of them, according to The Donald and other presidential candidates.

Bomb Iran?
Posted 08.15.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

According to the Washington Institute, Iran's current lead time to develop a nuclear bomb, Breakout Time, is three months (1). And it could be less. Also, Iran has developed the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile, which has a range of 1,200 miles, which is the distance from Tehran to Tel Aviv.

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: THE FINAL DAY
Posted 07.22.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Viking Pride got underway as we were eating breakfast on Day 6 of our trip. For a change of pace, I had my first Eggs Benedict of the trip; they were delicious.

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: AND ON TO NORMANDY
Posted 07.13.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Day five of our trip was the highlight for many of our fellow passengers; it was a full day excursion to the D-Day beaches of Normandy.When many Americans think of Normandy, D-Day is what comes to mind.

Inequality
Posted 06.17.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The federal government of the United States is projected to be a $3.9 trillion operation in fiscal year 2016. This makes the Executive Branch of federal government the largest organization in the world with almost three million civilian employees; uniformed military are not included. Not counted as employees are the 10.5 million contractor employees that, according to Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA.), work for the federal government.

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: AND ON TO ROUEN
Posted 06.04.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

One of the first treats was passing through the locks at Notre Dame de la Garenne. These river boats are designed to just fit into the locks; there was about a foot clearance on each side. The dam linked to the locks had seven weirs to control river flow; these are gates between the towers in the photo. One fed a hydro generation station but there were no above-ground high tension lines visible.

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: A RENDEZVOUS WTH MONET
Posted 05.27.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Monet paintings in the house were copies; the originals are in museums to keep them from being damaged. Monet's amazing collection of Japanese woodblock prints was still in the house and many had faded. We were told by our Paris guide, Thierry, to make sure we visited the kitchen of Monet's house; it was great.

From Paris in style and comfort, on a canal boat
Posted 05.22.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

On the internet it seems like everyone wants to sell Paris. We looked at hotels, tours, and packages. Then I received a special eight-day river cruse from Viking for a river cruise starting in Paris, right near the Tour d'Eiffel. Kathy and I signed up and left for Paris on May 2.

Working on the railroad
Posted 05.16.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Kathy and I were scheduled to go to New York from Washington for my granddaughter's, graduation. We had tickets on Amtrak Northeast Regional run at 8:10 on Saturday morning. Tuesday evening the Northeast Regional went off the rails and crashed. Eight people were killed. The railroad is closed and we've made other arrangements.

Musings on the Middle East
Posted 04.22.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The United States has been involved in the Middle East and North Africa for its entire history. Cast your mind back to high school history and you will remember the Barbary Pirates and the Barbary Coast Wars; one in 1801 and the other in 1815. These activities essentially led to the development of the U.S. Navy. (The Barbary Coast includes Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunisia.)

Equal Justice Under American Law?
Posted 03.14.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

US General Petraeus is a smart and capable guy. But General Petraeus screwed up. And it looks like he will receive a slap on the wrist.

Alan Turing, and early computing
Posted 02.28.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In 1960 I graduated from George Washington University with a degree in Mathematical Statistics and went to work for the UNIVAC Division of Sperry Rand. I was immediately sent to classes to learn to program the company's scientific computers, Univac 1103 and Univac 1105. We learned binary machine language and assembly language to program these machines. We also learned the history of the programmable digital computers.

A US Government service, well run
Posted 02.03.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Living here in Washington DC we hear from Congress and others that the federal government is staffed with quot;bureaucratsquot; who are perpetrators of quot;waste, fraud and abuse.quot;. We hear that we should be quot;Running government like a businessquot; from such leaders as John Kasich, Rick Scott, and Nikki Haley.

An Obama war on coal?
Posted 01.13.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The coal-mining industry seems to be a tight little club where mines and staff are rotated around to confuse the opposition. Also, while mines get citations and fined, they just keep on operating. Recent data from MSHA indicates that the nine most delinquent mines owe fines of more than $1 million each and mines that don't pay their penalties have injury rates 50 percent higher than those that do.

What to do about [dirty] coal
Posted 12.24.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

"There's a War on Coal " was a rallying cry from Mich McConnell in his bid for re-election. However, there should be a war on coal because coal is dirty. Unfortunately, people in the industry will be out of a job if the coal mines and fired power plants are shut down.

U.S. Priority Number One: Pass A Budget
Posted 12.09.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In 1974 Congress passed The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act, which established the federal government's fiscal year as the 12-month period beginning on October 1 and ending on 30 September of the next year. We are now over two months into fiscal year 2015 and there is no Budget. Congress has not passed the Budget before October first since before 2000.

Picking losers, and winners
Posted 11.28.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In 2011 Solyndra, the solar panel manufacturer, went bankrupt. Normally this would not be big news, however Solyndra had received a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a $535 million loan and DOE would lose money. Needless to say, the anti-government types went ape.

ON TO DRESDEN
Posted 11.11.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Journey Continues: The Fontane had docked at night. In the morning we could see that we were right on the edge of the old city of Dresden, within easy walking distance to many attractions. After breakfast we did a coach and walking tour of the city with a local guide. Almost all the damage to the central city from the WWII bombing by the British and Americans had been rebuilt

FROM MAGDEBURG TO DRESDEN
Posted 10.28.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Journey Continues: On Sunday morning, the full touring group of 112 travelers set out in three coaches; we were informed that coaches are different from buses because they have a bathroom. The group came from America, Australia, England, and Scotland. We left the Hilton Berlin headed for the Viking ship, Fontane, in Magdeburg, which is almost 100 miles from Berlin.On the way to Magdeburg we stopped in Potsdam and toured the Schloss Sanssouci -- our first of many palaces -- which was built by Frederick the Great in about 1750.

Back to Berlin, and beyond
Posted 10.10.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

I was last in Berlin in December 1950 as an American military dependent high school senior from Wiesbaden to play football. It was one of those grey north German days with snow showers and a little over a year after the end of the Berlin Airlift. This past September I came as a tourist on a glorious fall day with blue sky and bright sunshine.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Where does the money go?
Posted 09.15.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

According to the U.S. Census, the median family income in 2012 was $51,371.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Dear President Obama
Posted 09.02.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

My, how things have changed since 2009. You came to the presidency with broad support as a president of peace, determined to get our military out of Iraq, to finish the war in Afghanistan, and resolve the country's domestic problems (there were several). Fast forward -- many on the home front are unhappy with you, or worse. Abroad, the situation is dire, which is why I write.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Watching China Watch
Posted 08.29.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Today's China Watch above-the-fold front-page story is about the 'Comfort Women' that were captured and forced to provide sex to the Japanese army during World War II. Estimates of the number of Comfort Women ranges between 100,000 and 400,000 and included women from Korea, China, the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, and elsewhere.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Reform taxes now
Posted 08.01.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Until 2007, the US economy grew pretty well each year with growth staying above four percent per year or so. The chart below shows clearly the impact of the Great Recession. As we have heard from our leaders and our wonderful media the growth since coming out of the Great Recession has not been that great -- the preliminary data for 2014 shows zero (0) growth. The House of Representatives needs pass a bill to change the tax system to stimulate growth.


Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

That religion test
Posted 07.18.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Recently, five justices of the Supreme Court held that for-profit corporations have a right to religious freedom that trumps individual religious freedom. Further, the Court held that the Greece, NY Town Council can begin its governmental sessions with sectarian Christian prayers overriding the religious freedom of the assembled citizens.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Conscience, Choices, and the US Constitution
Posted 07.05.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Supreme Court in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. threw out a lot of smoke. It elaborated on its opinion that corporations are persons so that now corporations have religious beliefs. Worse than that, corporations have religious rights. Also, that the religious beliefs and rights of corporations take precedence over the rights of employees.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Carbon taxes, and why
Posted 06.11.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

This [carbon] pollution is a negative externality -- that is, it is a cost imposed on the whole of society and not just the individual who consumes a certain product. For example, if you drive a car, the pollution generated in building and driving the car affects everyone, drivers and non-drivers alike.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

A brief note on Memorial Day
Posted 05.27.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Memorial Day in the US was created to honor the Civil War dead.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

See anyone you know?
Posted 05.05.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The U.S. Department of Education has released a list of fifty-five colleges and universities that are under Title IX investigation. The fifty-five higher education institutions are currently under review by the department's Office for Civil Rights for allegedly mishandling sexual assault and harassment on campus in violation of the gender equity law Title IX.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Guaranteed annual income and universal draft, for all
Posted 04.10.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In Switzerland, a group called Generation Basic Income has gathered more than the 100,000 signatures necessary to put a ballot initiative before the country's voters. If passed, the initiative would amend Switzerland's constitution to guarantee every citizen a yearly unconditional income.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Remember the old coat hanger days
Posted 04.01.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

According to the Supreme Court, abortions are legal in the United States and they should be available, safe, and infrequent. Both Justice Kennedy and I are old enough to remember when the only option was a coat hanger.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

A small price to pay for fairness
Posted 03.23.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

I just bought a new Dodge Caravan to replace the 1997 Caravan with 160,000 miles. The new one cost $22,000 including taxes, etc. The new Caravan was assembled in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. I purchased the Caravan though a dealer and talk about a big waste of time -- but I digress.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Bad Drugs Equals Health Problems
Posted 02.24.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Recently, I was reading the labels on the containers of the pills and other medicines that I take and have taken. Most of the vitamins, medicines (those with 'real' labels and not just the pharmacy label) say "distributed by" but not where they are made. The aspirin says "Made in Canada," and some of the supplements are labeled "Made in USA." None of the pharmaceuticals have origin labels. Is this a problem?
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Flooding oceans deep and stormy. And expensive.
Posted 02.07.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The waters are definitely rising -- in the 20th century the sea level rose about 20 centimeters or eight inches. Scientists say that this rise is a major factor in the damage done by storms like Katrina, Irene, Isaac, and Sandy.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

End NFL tax-exempt status
Posted 01.27.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Tax earmarks are essentially tax increases for everyone who doesn't receive the benefitÉin this case, working Americans are paying artificially high rates in order to subsidize special breaks for sports leagues. This is hardly fair.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Don't support Iran Sanctions
Posted 01.27.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

If Iran develops nuclear weapons, its neighbors will feel that they need them also. These would include Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. This proliferation would increase the likelihood of nuclear material and eventually weapons falling into the hands of terrorists. The negotiated resolution has the potential for a solution and deserves support.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

The Social Security Entitlements
Posted 12.08.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Social Security is an entitlement. There is a contract between us and the federal government that as soon as we start to work (for most jobs) our employer will take part of our wages and put it in a federal trust for us. This is combined with the health care insurance premium into the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) tax.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

US Tax give-aways
Posted 11.23.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, families in the upper 10 percent were making more than $140,000 per year. That includes all the members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

That Twitter bump
Posted 11.12.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Twitter recenty had its initial public offering (IPO) of stock yesterday. It's stock was offered at $26 per share and jumped to $44.90 per share in what is called the bump. The folks on Wall Street cheered -- a huge success.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Letter to my two US senators from Virginia
Posted 11.05.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

These states made these choices for their own economic and political reasons. This underscores the fact that shutdowns of the federal government are both costly and damage the social fabric.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Obamacare website
Posted 10.28.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Republicans want an investigation into why Obamacare cannot be rolled out on time and they want to find out who is responsible. Are they proposing to give those they identify a House of Representatives medal?
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Sen. Mike Lee on Obamacare
Posted 10.11.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

He [Sen. Mike Lee} neglected to point out that THE PEOPLE reelected President Obama by a five million vote margin over Mitt Romney when the issue was the Affordable Care Act.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Dear Speaker Boehner
Posted 09.21.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

As the Speaker of the House, you may be wondering why I have taken the time to spell out what should be self-evident. The reason is -- the House of Representatives is not performing its functions. Some specifics:
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

I may have seen Russia from afar
Posted 09.08.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

It was Saturday morning and we were riding in a very nice dome car with a bar on the Alaskan Railroad going from Anchorage to Denali. I was enjoying the scenery along the Cook Inlet through the lens of an early morning Bloody Mary, when the train screeched to an unexpected stop in Wasilla.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Right to privacy? I don't think so.
Posted 08.05.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The U.S. Supreme Court based its [Roe vs. Wade] decision, on a right to privacy in turn based on the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. However, a whole bunch of folks on the right side of the political spectrum do not agree with this decision and are working hard to overturn it. Also, a whole bunch of folks in the South (there is some overlap here) do not agree with the 14th Amendment.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

This is Koched up
Posted 07.24.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Great Recession has caused some to lose their jobs and others to lose their homes. Not so the billionaire Koch brothers who constantly complain about the government's unfair burdens on the wealthy.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Edward Snowden: Patriot or Traitor
Posted 06.24.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

At age 29, I worked for Booz Allen as a computer expert on classified projects and had a top secret and a Q clearance. We, at Booz, were smart and arrogant; we could solve any problem. I see a different arrogance in Snowden -- a moral arrogance. His judgment overrides all others, and he will do what he wants no matter what the consequences. In fact, he said that he was willing to face the consequences of his actions. It appears to me that he planned something like this for a while and maneuvered his way in the system to accomplish it.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Gun control -- let's see some action
Posted 06.19.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

This week, seven killed and 26 wounded in Chicago. Recently, four killed in St. Louis, five in Santa Monica. And on and on...If Congress wonÕt do anything, we should give up, right?
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Your trash: What happens to it?
Posted 06.09.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Today, most cities and counties in the US and Canada have recycling programs. In 2010, Americans generated about 250 M tons of trash of which 29 M tons were burned for energy. About 65 M tons were recycled and used to manufacturer new products. Of the remainder, about 20 M tons, mostly yard waste, was composted and the remaining 55 percent disposed in landfills.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Tax-free in America
Posted 05.30.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We are going to hear a lot about the big scandal at the American IRS -- who knew what and when and yada, yada, yada. The Congress of the United States seems to think it is more fun to hold circus hearings that doing their jobs.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Oh, those Oklahoma senators
Posted 05.23.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The people of Oklahoma are known for being very conservative and adverse to big government and government spending. Nonetheless, in 2010 the federal government spent $38.5 billion in Oklahoma or $10,256 for each resident in the state (U.S. Census Bureau).
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Garbage Use: A No-brainer
Posted 05.13.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The U.S. generates 250 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) per year (EPA, 2010). This trash from residential and commercial waste generator and includes 35 million tons of yard waste and 34 million tons of food waste. It does not include industrial waste or construction and demolition waste.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

US gun control, or lack of, and the ATF Bureau
Posted 04.26.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) is part of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the federal law enforcement organization responsible for the investigation and prevention of federal offenses involving the use, manufacture, and possession of firearms and explosives. They also are responsible for illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products. The ATF also regulates via licensing the sale, possession, and transportation of firearms, ammunition, and explosives in interstate commerce.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Big Pharma, Big Profits
Posted 04.22.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

I was taking Lipitor and my doctor thought the change in the cholesterol numbers was good. This is the new medicine -- we do a test and look at the numbers, prescribe a pill and retest. Eureka, the numbers change.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

How about those so-called Obama phones?
Posted 04.12.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

I know that those who believe Fox News and some of the polemics zipping around the Internet will be in disbelief. After all, the source is that liberal rag, The Washington Post

A couple of key points, which may whet your appetite...
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Gay Marriage: The game is on
Posted 03.26.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We never got separation of church and state, right. The First Amendment says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." That was not clear to some and so Jefferson clarified it, when he described the First Amendment as erecting a "wall of separation between church and state." But we did not follow through and some of us have insisted in dragging religion into public institutions ever since.

The US Deficit
Posted 03.18.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Notice the Deficit has declined from the peak in 2009 and is projected to decline in the future. Could this be because of the Stimulus and the Tax Increase for the wealthy?

About those US Lawmakers' Workloads
Posted 02.22.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The salary of a Member of the US House of Representatives starts at $174,000 and goes up based upon seniority and assignments. Oh, and it is adjusted for cost of living annually. This works out to $$14,500 per month.

License all guns, and tax ammo, too
Posted 01.18.13
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In my opinion, there is no justification for normal citizens owning military type weapons, specifically assault rifles like the AR 15 with removable and large capacity magazines -- particularly when fully automatic conversion kits are available for sale from magazines or the Internet.

Tax guns, tax ammo
Posted 12.22.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

I propose one addition to LaPierre's proposal. Guns and ammunition should be taxed at the federal level to pay for these armed police and their support.

GOP Platform No. 2
Posted 12.18.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The record on immigration law is not pretty. The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed in 1882, and with revisions allowed the U.S. to suspend Chinese immigration, a ban that was intended to last 10 years. It was repealed in 1943. So much for honoring the contribution of those that built the railroads. The point is that enforcing bad laws is bad policy; and 'illegal' can just be a contrivance to play to someone's biases.

GOP Platform No. 1
Posted 11.24.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The pundits, even those on Fox News, are saying the Republicans must recognize reality and change. Maybe. The pundits say the Rs need to do better with women. Romney received only 44 percent of the women's vote and there are more women voters than men. The reason may have something to do with the Rs policies about women.

ITALY: The Grand Tour Part Three
Posted 11.14.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Adventure Concludes | Our second night in the Lake area was dark and stormy night, and it rained the next morning for the boat ride to the ) palace on Isola Bella Charles III of Spain built in the 17th century. The palace was amazing and proves the nothing exceeds like excess.

Italy: The Grand Tour Part Two
Posted 11.10.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Adventure Continues | Again, up early and bussed down the hill to the dock at St. Agnello to catch the ferry to Capri. The bus was left behind so we toured Isola de Capri by small boat and walked around the town of Capri. The town is up on the big rock reached by the funicular -- a balanced two-car cable system; as one goes up, the other goes down.

Italy: The Grand Tour No. One
Posted 11.09.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Adventure Begins | We flew from Washington to Rome, with a brief stopover at London/Heathrow to change airplanes. Our Grand Tour was executed by Trafalgar and offered fourteen optional excursions -- at extra cost, of course. We opted for all.

John Sununu disses Colin Powell
Posted 10.29.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

GOPer John Sununu, well known for talking when he should be listening, has said that Colin Powell expressed his support for President Obama because he is black. We should not be surprised.

Tax cuts and class warfare
Posted 07.14.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Republicans, both in public office and wannabes, are calling for the tax cuts from the Bush administration to be made permanent. (They are due to expire on December 31, 2012.) President Obama has proposed that the tax cuts be renewed for incomes of $250,000 or less, which the Republicans are calling class warfare.

US student loan rates
Posted 06.27.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

On July 1, the US student loan program interest rates are scheduled to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Why?

Masters of the Universe
Posted 06.09.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Recently on the financial news -- and also for at least the last year -- I heard that the Masters of the Universe have been sitting on two trillion dollars, $2,000,000,000,000, because of uncertainty.

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go
Posted 04.30.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

This could be applied to the men and women in the U.S. House of Representatives. How else to explain Congress' decision to give itself a seven-day recess in honor of Presidents Day. Or a two-week break for Easter and Passover, which was followed two weeks later by a second two-week break.

ALEC: The corporate go-to "guy"
Posted 03.28.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

One of the contributing factor to the death of Trayvon Martin was the Florida "Stand Your Ground" law. One might think that the law was just the brainchild on a rightwing nut case legislator. One would be wrong; the law is the product of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Santorum? Bring him on!
Posted 03.22.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

I for one am really happy the Rick Santorum is in the Republican primary races and collecting enough wins to stay in longer. In fact, I would like to see him win the Republican nomination.

Current US transportation bill a waste
Posted 03.14.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

I think that funding the US transportation bill for only two years is a gigantic waste of time, effort, and money. Also, the amount of money being discussed in inadequate.

Virginia Attorney General abuses his power
Posted 03.05.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

I view your demand of the University of Virginia as an abuse of the power of the office of the Attorney General. This was done not in any pursuit of the public interest but because you personally believe that the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report are, to quote you, "unreliable, unverifiable and doctored."

Churches should comply or lose tax exemptions
Posted 02.06.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

b>In the US there are approximately 5000 hospitals of which 629 or 13 percent are Catholic. When the metric is beds or admissions, the percentages are over 15 percent. These institutions employ over 640,000 people.

Free tax ride for charitable institutions?
Posted 01.31.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

I was listening to C-SPAN radio while shaving the other morning and the discussion was about Mitt Romney's tax return, the President's speech, and the deficit. A man named Charles called in and pointed out that Mitt had deducted $7 million for charitable contributions for 2010 and 2011. Of this, $3.1 million went to the Mormon Church. Charles made the statement that allowing this tax deduction for Romney made him (Charles) pay more taxes and effectively forced him to support the Mormon Church.

Build the pipeline, but...
Posted 01.21.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Now Exxon Mobil, which owns the pipeline, says that they are going to bury the pipeline deeper where it crosses the river so it won't rupture again. So why wasn't it buried deeply in the first place?

Economic Growth?
Posted 01.11.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Could this be the light at the end of the tunnel?

Tipped Off
Posted 01.01.12
FRANK BERNHEISEL

On December 20, the Wall Street Journal ran the following article, "Inside Capitol, Investor Access Yields Rich Tips". From my point of view, the following paragraphs from the article are indicative of how corrupt the links between members of Congress and the financial community are.

Your lobbyists at work
Posted 12.16.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

This year, 12,792 professionals lobbied for influence in the American capital, according to First Street Research Group in an analysis that tracks lobbyists. There are, by law, 435 voting members of the House of Representatives and 100 Senators. That computes to 24 lobbyists for every elected representative of the people.

For two cents each, that's why
Posted 11.22.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

This ship is the Emma Maersk, built in Denmark in 2006. She and her seven sister ships are the longest container ships constructed and the longest ships in service. She is 1,302 feet long and has one of the largest internal combustion engines built. developing 109,000 HP.

About the fetus/person issue
Posted 11.12.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The people of Mississippi -- those who voted -- rejected the ballot measure that would define a legal person as existing from the moment of conception.

Two cheers for bipartisanship
Posted 10.23.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

So the Obama Administration is blameless, right? No! The Obama Administration failed to do the due diligence that any venture capitalist needs to do before investing in a project.

US War on Drugs a failure
Posted 09.26.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Let's be clear, the 'War on DrugsÕ -- started in 1971 by President Nixon -- has failed. ItÕs time for a new approach.

Is General Electric a US corporation?
Posted 08.02.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Is GE an American company? Does it benefit from being incorporated in Schenectady, New York, and having its headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut?

MEET US REP. ERIC CANTOR OR, THE BEST GOVERNMENT MONEY CAN BUY
Posted 07.22.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Cantor owns up to $15,000 in the fund, which is called the ProShares Trust Ultrashort 20 Plus Year Treasury ETF. Cantor, who leads the House GOP's debt ceiling negotiations, would see his ETF rise dramatically in value if Republicans allow the country to default on its debt. And as Salon notes, Cantor recently broke off negotiations over raising the debt ceiling.

Who do US Congressmen serve?
Posted 07.14.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

As the old saying goes: a man cannot serve two masters.

On killing Medicare in the US
Posted 07.03.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Dominating the US air waves, we have Paul Ryan who says that the way to save money and eliminate the federal government debt is to kill Medicare and turn us work over to private insurance companies. ItÕs a joke, right?

Farm Subsidies
Posted 06.24.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Recently, the US House of Representatives passed the agriculture appropriations bill. This bill includes a bunch of subsidies for farmers and agribusiness. These subsidies, partially listed below (thanks to the Cato Institute for those) add up to between $14 and $23 billion every year. These are in addition to the $6 billion a year ethanol subsidy, which has pushed the price of corn to over $7 per bushel, increasing the cost of food.

Moodys: Conflict of Interest
Posted 06.09.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Moody's and the other rating "agencies" get paid by the people, like Goldman Sachs, who issued the bonds. Could there be a conflict here?

American Farce
Posted 06.02.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

What is wrong with a little farce? Everyone gets to laugh, right? Wrong!

Arab Democracy
Posted 05.19.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

There are no Arab democracies. Every Arab state is run by a monarch or a dictator and dissent is forcefully suppressed. Lebanon is no exception.

Fort Sumter Re-fired
Posted 04.18.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The plan is bold! It is serious! It took courage! It re-frames the debate! The ball is in Obama's court! Very wonky! It is a game-changer! Did I mention it is serious? The math demands it! We need to have shared sacrifice! This puts us on the right course! It's serious and bold!

Fort Sumter Re-fired
Posted 04.13.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

On April 12, 1861, 150 years ago, the men of honor standing on their principles, fired the shots and started the bloodiest war in American history. These were the gentlemen of South Carolina who seemed to have a penchant for secession. They had gone in that direction in 1832 during the nullification crisis but were out maneuvered by Andrew Jackson.

All the nutcases come out to run for President
Posted 03.30.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The US is a free country and as we come up to the presidential election -- it is only 19 months away -- we are proving it, every day. We do this by encouraging every nutcase in America to run for president.

Fill 'er up!
Posted 03.04.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Earlier this week I filled up my car with gas: fourteen gallons at $3.359 for a total of $47.03. The price of oil in New York on March 2 was $101 per barrel. In 2008, which was a recession year, Exxon Mobile and Shell made profits of $45 billion and $26 billion respectively. And, as far as I can tell, Exxon paid no federal tax in 2009.

Geothermal Energy Usage Report
Posted 01.15.11
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We have had a geothermal heating and cooling system working in our home here in northern Virgina since August, 2009 and we saw a drop in total annual energy use of thirty-one percent in 2010 over 2009.

Let Bush's tax cuts lapse
Posted 11.10.10
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The tax cuts apply only to those people with income and, for the most part, income well above the national average. Extending the tax cuts will do nothing for the millions of Americans who are trying to find employment or are faced with imminent unemployment.

On Medicare Spending
Posted 010.25.10
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The huge budget deficits that the [US] faces in coming decades are, above all, because of Medicare. The program will have to cover growing numbers of baby boomers while health costs are likely to keep going up.

Yes, the rich are getting richer
Posted 09.10.10
FRANK BERNHEISEL

"...Income inequality is actually declining in Latin America even as it continues to increase in the United States. Economically speaking, the richest nation on earth is starting to resemble a banana republic."

Remembering what we Americans just celebrated ~ July 4, 1776
Posted 07.06.10
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The introduction above is followed by a list of 18 grievances against George III. One of which was that George III would not allow immigration reform. The more things change...

Pass a carbon tax
Posted 06.24.10
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The carbon tax should take effect immediately and initially produce a 50 cent per gallon increase in the price of gasoline and diesel fuel. Then the carbon tax should ramp up over ten years to result in $7 a gallon gasoline in today's dollars.

Judging the judges
Posted 06.07.10
FRANK BERNHEISEL

There are 33 states in the U.S. that elect state judges. Youse got a problem wit dat? Yes, a few. For one thing, the opportunity for corruption is high.

FUN STUFF IN WASHINGTON
Posted 05.31.10
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Of course the big news is in the Gulf of Mexico and Afghanistan but we should not let the fun little stories pass us by.

Bad Viginia Litigation
Posted 03.30.10
FRANK BERNHEISEL

I would like to register my outrage at the law suit that the Commonwealth of Virginia has initiated...

Health care e-mails to my senators
Posted 03.11.10
FRANK BERNHEISEL

It has been sixty years since Harry Truman tried to get universal health care passed in the United States. That is long enough and the issues are clear; letÕs get a significant improvement in health care done, now.

The Republican health care bill
Posted 02.10.10
FRANK BERNHEISEL

As I mope around the house nursing my cold (eye, nose, and throat infections -- hooray for modern antibiotics and walk-in clinics, even though you pay out of pocket and out of program) I am musing on health care. Yes, America has really good and maybe the best health care, if you can afford it.

Americans, don't be distracted
Posted 01.25.10
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The people of Massachusetts elected Scott Brown to fill the vacant seat in the U.S. Senate and you would think that there had been a cataclysm and that everything that had been done in the last full year -- where health care was debated, discussed and dissected -- was negated and the President Obama was dead meat.
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

Pass the US health care reform bill
Posted 12.20.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Why is the US health care bill 2000 pages long? Because that is the way we do legislation in the U. S. of A. Specifically, Congress does not choose to enact legislation that lays down principles, guidelines, and criteria. They try to spell things out in detail to make sure that those faceless bureaucrats in Washington to not run amuck and do something rational.
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

US health care already rationed
Posted 08.26.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In the U.S. of A., we have a long history of rationing health care. The reason triage came into the English language in 1918 is because the casualties of WWI were so high they swamped the medical facilities. It is the same in every war and disaster.

It also occurs in local emergency rooms, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

Health care? Do something!
Posted 07.24.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Coming to work, GOP Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia was on CSPAN radio talking about health care and how President Obama did not say much yesterday in his press conference on health care. He went on about how Americans will not give up their sacred right to choose their own doctor, etc.
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

Our home geothermal heating-cooling project
Posted 07.12.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Kathy and I are having our house converted to geothermal heating and cooling. The way this works is that a heat transfer fluid, similar to the antifreeze/water fluid in a car, is pumped down the wells and either picks up heat or deposits heat -- depending on whether it is heating or cooling.
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

The vision not yet fulfilled
Posted 07.12.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Despite the fact that this is a terrific country to live in and the land of opportunity, it is not yet the land of equalopportunity.ŹA child born to family in Mississippi has twice the chance of dying before reaching one year, as one born in Minnesota. If life is one of those unalienable Rights, for which our government was instituted to secure, why the gap between our statement of our vision and our performance?
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

Mister President, bring on the Carbon Tax
Posted 07.12.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We need to have a new energy policy in the United States. The cap and trade approach plus subsidies for industry of the Waxman-Markey bill is not the solution. W-M is too complicated, too expensive, and hobbled by picking favorites. Also, it includes a big give-away to coal.
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

Mister President, bring on the Carbon Tax
Posted 07.12.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We need to have a new energy policy in the United States. The cap and trade approach plus subsidies for industry of the Waxman-Markey bill is not the solution. W-M is too complicated, too expensive, and hobbled by picking favorites. Also, it includes a big give-away to coal.
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

Did Pelosi know?
Posted 07.12.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL
Everybody knew and stayed silent. Nobody did anything because nobody cared. The American people did not care; they were busy watching Jack Bauer on "24" save the US by torturing bad guys. It was OK, it was right there on TV.
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

Junk the Junkers
Posted 07.12.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL
I think that the United States needs some new thinking about the auto industry and the economy. Despite all the talk, I hear no new ideas.Germany for example, has a program to take older cars, junkers, off the road.
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

There ought to be a (new) law
Posted 07.12.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL
I suggest that we pass a law that says that no executive of any publicly traded company can earn more than three times the salary of the President of the United States. Can anyone make the case that their job is harder?
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

Picking It Up
Posted 07.12.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL
Martin Luther King day, a national holiday celebrated in all fifty states is becoming recognized as a day for community service. In that spirit, Kathy and I started on our morning walk with two plastic grocery bags each, in which to store litter picked up along the bike path.
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

What's the logic here?
Posted 07.12.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL
Let me see if I have this right -- The Senate Republicans want guys on the assembly line making less than $60,000 per year to agree to wage cuts before the government will loan the companies they work for some $14 billion.
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

Whither Detroit: To bail or not to bail, that is the question
Posted 07.12.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL
Everyone seems to be down on the American car industry. The industry is to blame for making cars that no one wants to buy, etc. etc. Until last spring, everyone seemed to want large pickups and SUVs (categorized as Light Trucks). Yes, I know about the Prius, which sold about 45,000 units in the first quarter of 2008. However, light trucks sold 7.8 million units during that time. The first quarter also saw sales of five million domestic and 2.4 million imported automobiles.
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

Election 2008
Posted 07.12.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL
Kathy and I arrived at our polling place. There were already about 30 people in line ahead of us. As we waited for the polls to open at 6 a.m., about 100 more people arrived. The crowd was very unusual at our polling place -- usually we arrive about 6 and there are maybe five people waiting.
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

So, how do we save on energy costs?
Posted 07.12.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL
Here is the problem: George Bush and Company took Iraq's oil off the world market just at the time that demand was rising. (Law: when demand rises and supply does not, prices do.) To make matters worse, they introduced a lot of uncertainty into the market. (Law: uncertainty in market equals risk and risk equals rising prices.) So, what is the solution for the US of A?
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

Follow the (lobbying) money
Posted 07.12.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL
It's probably just a coincidence that since George Bush became President, lobbying expenditures have almost doubled from $1.5 billion to $2.8 billion last year.
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

Energy use Š the moral equivalent of war?
Posted 07.12.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL
Per person in the US of A, we each use the equivalent of 64 barrels of oil each year or 114,000 kilowatt hours (KWHr) of electricity. Swedes and Germans use a lot less energy per person -- 44 and 32 barrels, respectively.
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

You gotta love it
Posted 07.12.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL
Well, we have the politicians and the Federal Reserve worrying about a recession and lots of people are defaulting on their loans, and Bear Stearns and Bank of America are going to the Arab states for money to prop up their finances and some of the loan companies are going bankrupt.
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

About this warPosted 07.12.09
FRANK BERNHEISEL
We have at least twelve candidates trying to be the next President and not one, except Ron Paul, is saying anything definite about the war. It must be the good news. However, the situation reminds me of Nixon campaigning to be president in 1968; he had a plan to end the war in Vietnam. The Vietnam war ran on until 1975.
Frank Bernheisel writes from the Washington DC region.

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