Assassination

It has been only days now since the attempt to assassinate President Donald Trump. This on a bright, sunny day at a fair ground field in Butler, Pennsylvania. The attempt failed by millimeters when Trump turned his head ever so slightly to view a graph on a large video screen. The bullet grazed the right side of his head and wounded part of his right ear. Had he not turned that very small degree, the bullet would have shattered the right rear of his skull causing instant death. The course of the world would have changed.

As I write, the Republican National Convention has just ended. Donald Trump and J.D. Vance are now the official Republican nominees for President and Vice President of the United States of America.

We were watching on TV the rally at Butler. We saw everything. I literally could not write anything until now. The shock and resulting anxiety took over. We came within fractions of an inch of watching in real time the murder of Donald Trump.

And now there remains scores of questions about how this attempt on Trump’s life was allowed to happen. Clearly, the Secret Service had catastrophic failure. The agents immediately around Trump did their job in shielding Trump, then getting him off the stage and into a vehicle off to a hospital. But even with those actions, there were failures clearly evident to anyone.

The video shows the Secret Service is as victim to DEI (Diversity/Equity/Inclusion) as any federal agency. In particular, there were two female agents who, at best, were not qualified to be part of the immediate presidential protection unit. There was one who could not get her handgun back in to the holster. She, too, was clearly significantly overweight. There was a second that seemed more concerned about losing her sunglasses, but that is not the worst of it. She looked to be about 5’4” tall. There is no way she could shield Trump who is over 6’ tall. Anyone with brains would conclude body guards protecting anyone need to be at least as big and tall as the one being protected. In Trump’s case, this says men.

So, many, many questions are unanswered. Congress has said there will be an aggressive investigation of the whole assassination attempt incident. Those responsible for the inexcusable failure must be held accountable. This includes the Director of the Secret Service, Kimberly Cheatle; the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas; and even the President himself, President Joe Biden. And there can be no place for DEI when it comes to security protection the responsibility of the Secret Service. The stakes are simply too high.

Budget Shock

Indiana State Representative Mike Karickhoff does a good job of keeping his constituents informed about state government. He deserves our thanks. This week brought into my mailbox Karickhoff’s most recent update and with it a SHOCK!

There is a graphic that shows clearly where Indiana citizens tax dollars actually go. I have included it so you will see for yourselves.

For the fiscal year 2024-2025, Indiana will spend 47% of all tax dollars on K-12 education and another 10% on higher education. That means over half, 57%, of all tax dollars go to education of Indiana citizens, largely children.

The Indiana Department of Education reports 82% of third graders can read at grade level which means 18% (about 14,000 students) cannot. It also reports Indiana’s literacy rates have been declining for a decade, well before the pandemic. Somewhat similar performance occurs in math proficiency. All of this in spite of the fact it is reported the USA spends more per student on education than all other advanced countries of the world except for tiny country Luxembourg.

And according to the National Literacy Institute, on average 79% of US adults nationwide are literate in 2024. Further, it reports the US ranks 36th in literacy among countries. Something is amiss.

I have to wonder. My impression is that we are spending an inordinate amount of money and energy on school athletics and marching bands and not enough on academics. A good example is the multi-million dollar girls softball field at Kokomo High School. And take a look at the football stadium for KHS. It rivals many at the collegiate level. Then there is the marching band facility and even the architectural horns and whistles on any new building construction.

Too, I wonder about how many hours of classroom instruction per year take place in schools. I read that in Indiana 180 days of instruction in an academic year are required at minimum for elementary and secondary schools; that is less than half the days in a year. I see school buses leaving schools with students a little after 2:00 in the afternoon. Indiana requires a minimum of 5 hours per day for grades 1 through 5 and 6 hours for grades 7-12. These don’t count any recesses or lunch periods.

From past experience, I know that a significant percentage of students who sought admission to Indiana University Kokomo could not pass the English or the math proficiency requirement. Remediation courses were required.

Given the taxpayer funds spent on Indiana education from grade one through state supported university levels, maybe it is time to rethink a few things.

Change

My morning ritual is to get out of bed, half stumble down the hall to the kitchen, pour a cup of coffee, and head to my home office to check email. There are windows close by that give me a clear view of the outside world. I check out the weather, watch birds at the feeders and the squirrels trying unsuccessfully to rob the feeder seed.

I see, too, an old wood shelter on the golf course that has been there for as long as I can remember anything growing up including my first wood shaft golf clubs. That shelter causes me to think about how life must have been 100 years ago and my own memories growing up in this town.

I think about how things have changed over the years. I think about the wondrous scientific and technological innovations that have become a normal and expected part of our lives.

My earliest memories, though, are of Victory Gardens and Block Wardens and a father gone off to World War II. They are of milk being delivered to our home by a Med-O-Bloom Dairy horse-drawn milk wagon and of the fresh homemade butter, eggs, and vegetables coming directly to our door from local farmers. They are of times of racing home after school to gather by the radio to hear programs that stimulated imagination like “The Lone Ranger”, “ The Green Hornet”, “Inner Sanctum”, “The Shadow Knows”, and “Tennessee Jed”.

They are of times when children just old and tall enough to put a dime into the bus coin box could travel downtown to Kresge’s or Woolworth’s or Penney’s or to see the movie serials each week and be safe.

Everyone walked to school. No problem. It seemed the adults in our town looked after each other and any children around. Even the dogs and cats were friendly and free. Most folks did not lock their homes when going off to shop or work. I ask myself whether we have really made any progress in our quality of life here in these past, say, 70 years. Certainly, there is bigger and more of everything, but is it better?

Things were not all roses over those years, though. Racism and religious prejudice were pretty ingrained in our society in those days. Those were hurtful to people. My belief is we have come to a healthier place with these in mind and practice. By doing so, we have strengthened our town, state, and nation. There is strength in diversity among caring people.

We did some pretty stupid things, too: Things that we were told were wonderful and harmless at the time. I remember going to the dentist again and again to get a cavity filled. As a reward, the dentist would give me a gel-capsule filled with mercury. I loved holding that marvelous, liquid metal in my hands and using it to polish coins by rubbing the mercury and coins between my fingers. Today we would say, “Are you crazy?”

I remember going to Eby’s Shoe Store downtown to get new Buster Brown shoes. To check the fit, the store had a wonderful machine into which one would insert a foot with a new shoe on it, push a button, and see how the shoe fit. Gosh, you could see all the bones in your foot, too! The machine was an X-ray machine. I often have wondered what happened to Mr. Eby and the other employees of the shoe store.

I remember the hot summer days in our neighborhood. Sometimes, the bugs, particularly mosquitoes, were kind of bothersome, but there was a fix for that, too. The city would send around the truck to take care of the bugs. We looked forward to it. It was great fun to ride our bicycles in the cloud coming from the truck. The DDT smelled pretty good. We were told this miracle chemical had saved the world from malaria and from being overrun by insects. We believed it because the chemical companies said so.

We are now in a time when science and technology are moving much faster than then. It is important we learn from our past, take the best from the past, and move on. This means carefully examining change and innovation to be sure they lead in directions good for people and planet Earth. One huge lesson is not to be so quick to believe all that is new and claimed to be so wonderful, particularly if the message is coming from those who stand to make money or gain politically from whatever the message conveys. We have been fooled before. There are those who would and are trying to fool us now…. And will again and again.

Joe

The next few weeks or even days are going to be interesting to watch how Democrats deal with demented President Joe Biden as their candidate for President. They are already squirming. And Joe has taken the position he is not stepping aside.

The fact is, it is already too late in many states for a different name — or absent Joe, any name — to be on the ballot as a Democrat in November for the office of the presidency assuming Joe is still alive or is not declared incompetent by a court. Even removal from office under the 24th Amendment would not get the job done. And impeachment is certainly not going to happen in a Republican House nor would that even affect who is on the ballot in the fall. The Democrats are stuck with ole Joe unless he voluntarily or involuntarily steps aside, it seems.

Even if Joe did step aside or be removed, there are barriers. For example, all the funds sitting in the Biden campaign war chest would have to be returned to donors. They could not be simply transferred to a different candidate. This involves millions of dollars.

And how would a replacement for Joe be chosen if he does voluntarily or involuntarily step aside? It could not be by a vote of citizens in a primary election. Too late for that. It would have to be at the Democrat National Convention where delegates are locked into a vote on the first ballot for Joe Biden. The fight would then begin. The Democrat Party is not homogeneous. There are factions who would want their candidate to prevail. And who would that be? Gavin Newsom, Hillary Clinton, Michele Obama, Kamala Harris, or someone else. All seem to be pathetic. My guess is that Hillary Clinton would emerge. She has been seething ever since her defeat in 2016. Crooked Hillary.

The world saw what some are calling the walking cadaver in the debate on CNN. It is crystal clear Joe Biden is demented to the point of being dangerous as the “leader” of the free world. Before the CNN debate there were millions who were ignorant of how bad the situation really is. Those were the CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, NYT, WP and others who watched and/or read the liberal media only. Now they know. They saw with their own eyes and heard with their own ears. Shock hit them.

On top of all of about Biden, the US Supreme Court has ruled the J6 Congressional Committee was not legitimate. This likely will mean that most of those being held in prison resulting from J6 court actions will be freed. And the Court has yet to rule on the question of presidential immunity. The prediction is this will favor Trump and will blow away all or most of the politically motivated indictments he has had to deal with. And last, it is likely the Florida court will decide Special Counsel Jack Smith was not appointed legally. The case about Classified documents will disappear.

So, Democrats can mourn. They have tried to destroy our country in so many ways. The chickens are coming home to roost. The people have awakened.