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Administrative Law Judge
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Associate Legal Counsel to Police Commissioner William Bratton

Friday, December 19, 2014

There are now athletic scholarships for video gamers. This is great news for you. Just look around you. Throughout the years you forgot to groom your child since age 4 to be good at a particular sport. Then your kid never grew up to be tall enough or quick enough or dedicated enough to excel at a particular sport to be considered for a scholarship but when you spent a couple of hundred bucks on a game in a box. Your kid played the games for hours every day till their thumbs were raw. BINGO you have a professional in your house. Go buy the kid more games this gift giving season.

They call it E-Sports. Don’t make fun of the name. We didn’t understand the necessity for e-mail either and now look how important that is. More important than your Post Office at times. I call it the revenge of the nerds finally getting some recognition in the sports world. In Chicago’s Robert Morris’s University they have America’s first scholarship team for Video Games. This time the large basketball players and the beefy football players are in the stands cheering on these much smaller guys with the quick eyes and swollen thumbs. The administration boasts that some of their recruited top players are rated in the .02% of all players in North America.

Yes, e-sports have arrived. Last year the Staples Center normally the home to the Las Angeles Lakers basketball team, was taken over by these nerds for the League of Legends World Championships. It was considered the video gaming super bowl. Inside teams from Korea and China did battle for a Million dollars to the winner. It was the beginning of e-sports. The League is growing rapidly with new members every day. They wanted to create a league to look more like a traditional sport. The on line games draw 4 times more viewers than the NHL. The goal is to make gaming the next official sport in America. Major League Gaming has a Sports Center set to broadcast its games. William Lee is like in any other sport the celebrity player that all followers of gaming know. He is idolized as one of the best players on earth. He looks quite ordinary, not like your traditional buff athlete.

Last summer the federal government started issuing athletic visas to gamers. The same kind of visas used to bring baseball players from the Dominican Republic to America’s pro teams. That makes playing video games a legitimate career path. Someone who is a really good player is making hundreds of thousands of dollars. Websites pay them just to practice. The military is recruiting them to man nuclear cites because they are updating to controller systems. When William logs into a game, more than 7 thousand fans immediately watch and follow him to learn a thing or two about his technique. Now kids will not have to drop out of school to follow this career path. They can get scholarships and degrees in gaming.

Collegiate sports it seems will be attracted to whatever is popular and most of all attracting fans thus money. They arranged $20,000 dollar scholarships to attract gamers and built the first e-sports arena in the country.  Parents are relieved that finally there is an avenue that their kids can take who are hooked on gaming to the point that they can   not do much else. South Korea is the place where the original games were held. This year 42,000 fans came to watch the video game finals.   I give credit to the geniuses who created the games who made them so very interesting and complicated to keep so many people intrigued in them. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

They are 60 years apart but get along like they are related or something. He is that gentleman jazz singer from the past, Tony Bennett and she is the flamboyant pop star, Lady Gaga. She is 28 and he is 88 and he asked her to do an album together of duets and she said yes and here we are dad and daughter finally listening to music together thanks to these two and they actually like making music together. They met at a charity event a few years ago. When he went to see one of her concerts, she climbed up a ladder to the balcony to They are 60 years apart but get along like they are related or something. He is that gentleman jazz singer from the past, Tony Bennett and she is the flamboyant pop star, Lady Gaga. She is 28 and he is 88 and he asked her to do an album together of duets and she said yes and here we are dad and daughter finally listening to music together thanks to these two and they actually like making music together. They met at a charity event a few years ago. When he went to see one of her concerts, she climbed up a ladder to the balcony to serenade him. Despite the years between them, their voices blend   together and they both live just a block apart in New York City along Central Park South.

They are both painters and art lovers. Both from Italian descent. Her name is Stephanie Germatta and he was born Anthony Beneditto. Their Italianness makes them somehow understand each other better. His father died when he was very young and his mother worked hard making dresses during the depression for a penny a dress. Tony felt the need to make more money for his family at a very young age. He grew up in Astoria, Queens. He was a singing waiter for many years. At first he performed under the name Joe Barry then one night he met Bob Hope who suggested he use some of his real name and called him Tony Bennett and he kept it. Tony says that Lady Gaga reminds him of his young mother at times with her flowing ambition.

Soon he was signed by Columbia Records and his first single was a hit . The song called Because Of You went to number one in 1951. He then went on to twenty number one hits in that decade. As he supports a younger Italian singer, Lady Gaga, an older Italian singer supported him. Frank Sinatra. In 1965 in a Life Magazine interview, Sinatra said, “For my money, Tony  Bennett is the best in the business. Tony said that that article changed his career and all of Frank’s fans started following him too. Tony sprinted onto this past summer’s I Tunes Festival is in his seventh decade of performing. He shared a few lessons about longevity with Lady Gaga. He believes that this album will show the world that she can always reinvent herself and appeal to a new audience.

Gaga’s rise was also swift. Her first two singles went to number one in 2009. Her last album called Artpop released last year failed to be another blockbuster. It is hard to continually sell 20 million albums as she did at the start of her career. After six years of working non stop, she is exhausted and wanted to stop with music last year. She broke down at the Youtube music awards last year in tears while she was singing. At that time she split with her partner and manager. Troy Carter had nurtured her career for seven years. She felt that she had somehow failed them. She felt abandoned as they moved on to  other new artists. Tony is helping her adjust to her new life.

They are both similar in that they both had gotten so much so fast in their careers and are still learning how to now be happy. Tony taught her to never ever let anyone diminish who she is . Her quality will shine no matter who or what is around her. It is a lesson we should all learn about the importance of self-esteem at any level of life or success. Tony Bennett paints art every day/ Lady Gaga paints when she is sad. Buy their album and listen to it with your daughter this holiday. I can’t wait.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Now that the race for President should be stirring up, why don’t we just give the White House to the Clintons and let them battle out who will make the executive decision on just about anything? They are the most experienced man and woman on American politics. He already was President and she survived holding the high executive position of Secretary of State. Both served our country well internationally and domestically. Sex scandal aside, emotions aside from her, the budget was balanced and terrorism was under control and America was loved by other countries when they were living in the White House. We should not be worried about how old they both are. They are healthy and wisdom does take time.
Look at what happened in California. Governor Jerry Brown returned to office after many years and after Arnold left the state in a real mess. Jerry is now 76 and will not be considered a candidate for President despite his ability to govern well because of his age.  Should we have age discrimination? There is no discrimination in Congress or the House or Senate. Many guys die holding their important government jobs or finally retire close to 90 years old drooling and in wheelchairs. Why is ageism a acceptable prejudice in America? Maybe because all our presidents start the job looking vibrant and happy and young. Each year we see the smiles disappear and their hair turn white. Surely we can’t have someone start the job grumpy and old looking.

The fact remains that Jerry Brown took a broken state, California, and fixed it. He also did it in the 1970’s. Age is relative. Jane Fonda looks half her age. Pop stars look their age. A woman was 64 when she swam alone for no money or contest from Cuba to Florida. Lindsay Lohan is 28 and can’t walk from the limo to the bar in a straight line. Tony Bennett is 88 and Lady Gaga is using him to seem important singing his songs with his band. Where do people go for advice about the most important thing on earth? Money? They   go to see what 84 year old Warren Buffet is saying and doing with his vast wealth. We should be worshiping the wisdom we have here on earth. Besides, the Rolling Stones still rocks and Justin Bieber sucks.

Jerry Brown may be 76 but he runs 3 miles a day and he does yoga whereas the only exercise Chris Christy does is lifting the chicken leg to his mouth often. Four years ago CNN replaced 81 year old Larry King   with air bag Pierce and we all miss Larry and want him back.  Larry was not let go because he got worse at his job. He got let go simply because of his age. He does a web show and hasn’t stopped working. Eventually the girl with the dragon tattoo becomes the old lady with the ugly dragon. Life is all about being beautiful when you are young and wise when you are old. Deal with it. Our culture doesn’t respect the elderly. We venerate the young and let them rule everything making mistakes along the way. We are quick to fill the nursing homes with old people staring at walls till they die instead of seek answers to life’s problems through their grey wisdom filled eyes. They have been there and done everything a young person still has to do.

We should be called the generation of the ass. We worship and fondle and stare at what women can do with their ass especially if it is a pronounced one like Kim Kardashian’s ass displayed on magazine covers. Or Nicki Minaj   singing about asses. America is still a teenager of a country young and dumb. We need to seek and listen to the wisdom of our old and wise citizens even if their asses are saggy and limp. Ugh

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

All the protestors complaining about how bad white people are, they should take their racism away and think twice of how white people have enhanced their lives. This might already sound terribly racist but the fact remains that all over the world it seems the whiter the complexion of the people the safer, cleaner and more civilized the country is functioning whatever country you are visiting. It is upsetting because some dark countries really need so very much to even just control disease that can affect the entire world. It is upsetting to still see Haiti suffering from the devastating earthquake that occurred a while ago. Their corrupt government is not cleaning or fixing up that place fast enough. The beautiful thriving Dominican Republic is right next door and is a thriving economy.

Africa is one of the most beautiful paradises on earth filled with exotic animals and full of resources and gems. The people there are filled with disease, men are in gangs, women get raped and children sit in their waste in the dirt. This is unacceptable. The world’s worst diseases are coming from this area of the world. Aids and now Ebola to name the most recent. Liberia is the source of Ebola. More people have died from this disease than anywhere else. Where is the outrage from black people and all people over this outbreak? No one is giving credit to the thousands of educated Americans, mostly white Americans leading the response to eradicate the disease there. Soldiers, doctors, nurses and construction men are there building decent hospitals instead of a dirty pick up truck with a tarp on it the Liberians call an Ambulance. The patient treatment from Liberians is to isolate a person with Ebola alone in the field till they die. Where are the protestors fighting against the treatment of these people?

Liberia is located just above the equator and is part of the last remaining parts of the rain forest. Ebola thrives in tropical humid conditions. The International Medical Corp. is one of the groups working to make sanitary conditions in a very poor part of the world.   Now there are men hunting people with thermometers instead of guns trying to find anyone who may be wandering around spreading the disease. Checkpoints are set up with cleaning stations of highly chlorinated water. Ebola is different from other diseases in that it spread from larger areas of people with easy access to the big cities and airports being able to quickly spread the disease all over the world. A one disease hospital was recently built there to house only Ebola patients. American doctors from American universities are the bravest ones putting their highly trained and educated lives on the line for complete strangers who due to corruption have to live in the dirt.

Since they opened in mid- September there are more cleaning and bleaching areas of everything everywhere. They already treated more than 200 patients. Every room has a cleaning station for shoes and washing of hands. There are sections of areas where no one can enter without layers of protection. We can contain and be rid of this disease or we can be careless and spread immediately a disease that can possible destroy the human race. Where are the protestors protesting the carelessness of the African tribes to provide their people with sanitary conditions? When are black people going to take a global responsibility for their careless actions? In this country looting, civil disobedience and thugs are not to be tolerated of any race. Is it white people’s faults that disease and general inability to rise from the ashes of destruction seem to be a dark race problem all over the world? Anyone and everyone can at least keep their individual space clean and neat and should take care of their own children.

The shocking thing about Ebola is that one can be dead within days. In the sweltering heat, most people must wear suits of plastic that no one can even recognize each other. Their names must be printed on the head of their suits or you do not know who you are talking to. White Americans are there saving black people. American black people are wearing shirts condemning their own protective police   forces against American thugs.   Until white Americans went to Liberia there    wasn’t even a way set up for these people to detect the disease. The United States Army is currently building 17 treatment centers. There is still no cure and the virus is killing about 17% of people daily. Tracking down infected people is still a problem since people do not cooperate. When an infected person is found, every step they take is sprayed with bleach.. Death is a constant there.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

It is the season to put up Christmas lights on your home.  If you don’t want to do that,   then go see someone else who bothered to take the time to put lights on their home. It is the one time of the year where people want you to notice where they live and let you stare at their home for a while. In Dyker Heights, Brooklyn New York, people get serious about their holiday decorations. The people in this town spend thousands of dollars on decorations and plan for months because they are competitive and are into the holiday   spirit. Americans   love going out of their way at Christmastime. You can visit YouTube and see some of the displays set to Christmas songs.

If you can’t find a over the top house in your neighborhood to look at,  go to YouTube wearing your ugliest Christmas sweater and sip some eggnog while watching some videos.  There is a Taylor Swift   house  that is constantly blinking to her beat.  This year there are houses lit up to the Frozen track of songs that you wish would just let it go after a while. Or if you are an  80’s rocker you can head blink to Manheim Steamroller. This year alone consumers are expected to spend more than$6 Billion dollars on Christmas decorations and that is not including the electric bill. It is a way for people to express themselves and win. You can only spread that kind of message in your home and get away with it. But to find the real traditional fanatics with the vintage just light up figures, go to Brooklyn. You won’t get a headache from the flashing lights. Those lights stay on all night.

No one outdoes Lucy Spota in Brooklyn who began putting up plastic lit up  angels in1980 after her mother died. She is still adding to her collection until every inch of her property is covered in something festive.  The neighborhood is fairly wealthy so I am sure they will not be complaining about their electric bills. Tony Muia , is the founder of A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours that will take you to a number of extremely well lit homes in the area and tell you a little bit of personal history about the homes that motivated the owners to give is the holiday gift of a magical setting on their front lawn. He says, Rockefeller Center! Forget about it. Come to Brooklyn!

These places are living bright proof that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Monday night starts a new reality show called The Great  Christmas Light Fight which is a combination of Extreme Home Makeovers with a Christmas edition. There   are two   dozen families on this show competing for a $50,000 dollar prize. Michael Moloney is the host of the show.  It should be interesting to see how much work it takes to transform ordinary into extra-ordinary homes.   Sam Bilas has one of the largest homes in Brooklyn and he has transformed his home into a marvelous sight. He has over 300,000 lights on the home. Robert DeLauro’s home used to cost $1,000 a month in electric bills but since he switched to LED lights, he pays about $250 a month in bills. He still has the vintage decorations his dad made a generation ago.

Lucy Spota has an unusual request in her Last Will & Testament. Her wish is that no one will inherit the property unless they agree to decorate it for Christmas. Happy and Bright Holiday Everyone!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

It is the Holiday Season when we all buy gifts for people that are important to us. The problem by this time is that there are still people you want to buy stuff for but your cash has run out. Where could I possibly get cash quickly? How about the Lottery? 44 states have the lottery and they spend billions of dollars every year advertising us to take place in the game of chance that you will even win your dollar back. They do that because the Lottery is a massive moneymaker for them. The Lottery chances of you winning cash will probably make you homeless trying to even win your bets back.

Last year alone Lottery sales totaled about $68 Billion dollars. That is more money than Americans spent on movie tickets, music, Porn, the NFL, Major League Baseball and video games combined. That means that Americans spent more money on the Lottery than on America. It should be strange to us that the government is running a gigantic gambling business but we never think of it that way because the Lottery is being presented to us as if it is a charitable organization. In Tennessee the commercials say money for education opens a lot of doors, In Oregon they say 5 Billion dollars have gone to education, New York says a portion of every ticket aids a school child. With all that money every school child should be going to school with a limo service by now.

Those ads imply that anyone not playing the lottery is selfish and hates educating children. Over the years it has been determined that lower income families spend more money on Lottery tickets.  The Lottery is in the business of selling people hopes however the lottery is not an investment. The real chances of winning is one out of 161 Million. The Mega Millions chances are being struck by lightning while being eaten by a shark. The Lottery does have smaller games where the odds are a little bit better but even then it pays out a much lower percentage of its revenues. With ads that say, “Hey you never know” we are taught to ignore the odds.

Even when people do win big, things have a tendency to go sour fast. We have all heard of a tragic Lottery winner story where they blow through all their money or have all types of relationship problems all the time.  In Israel Lottery winners are actually photographed wearing masks to protect their identities. In the 1990’s one man from Gaza collected his prize by showing up to collect his winnings with a bag over his head.  Winning the Lottery can be such a curse that even in the Middle East it can mean a threat to your life if you win. So why play at all?

For some playing the Lottery can be very addictive and the states know that. They offer services to help problem gamblers. However if you Google Lottery intervention, other gambling sites pop up. Oregon who makes 80% revenue from Lottery gaming is going further offering video slots and poker machines everywhere in the state. Should they have Lottery wheels and tables too but not call themselves Vegas? State Lotteries were illegal until 1964. The reality is that in nearly 50 per cent of the states none of the money does trickle down to fund education. They do not put money in an envelope and deliver it to schools. It is like pissing in a swimming pool. The money spreads all around until maybe some of it will go into the filter. While the piss is flowing in, other water is flowing out till you don’t know where the piss is. Gross! Next tell me that every sip of whisky will educate a kid too.

Friday, December 12, 2014

We know that George Bush claimed he spoke to God and he answered. We also know that George did not allow any genetic experiments during his administration halting important possible discoveries in treating humans with reoccurring health problems. When Obama took office one of the first things he did was to allow genetic research to start up again.  Now there are few fields of medicine that are having a bigger impact on how we treat diseases than Genetics. The science of genetics have gotten so sophisticated that it can not only be used to treat serious illnesses but prevent thousands of them before pregnancy even begins. Diseases that have stopped families for generations like breast cancer being literally gone forever. Scientists can do that now by creating and testing embryos  in a lab then implanting into a mother’s womb only the ones that appear to be healthy.
This whole concept is loaded with controversy but those who are worried about passing on defective  and potentially dangerous genes see how this is an opportunity to breed out disease. The rapidly growing field is known as Reproductive Genetics. The technique is known as Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis or PGD. It is an embryo screening procedure that can identify deadly gene mutations and alter a child’s genetic destiny.   This procedure has been around for two decades used in detecting one disease, Cystic Fibrosis. Now with mapping the human genes,   it can be used to root out virtually any disease caused by a single defective gene. We are talking about horrors like Tay-sacks, Muscular Dystrophy, Sickle Cell Anemia, Hemophilia, Huntinton’s  Disease and even Alzheimer’s if it is a particular gene that causes a onset. Colon Cancer if they know which gene is that gene. Breast Cancer now done regularly.

There are only a hand full of labs in this country that provides this type of testing which is why three thousand couples turn to this type of testing each year. Adults who have had aggressive forms of cancer can now take steps to produce their next generation of family cancer free. You can tell a lot from one cell and that one cell has fertility clinics all over the country sending cell samples of people to Genesis Genetics just outside Detroit where a team of scientists will take over and break open the cell and reveal the genetic information, the DNA. They look to make sure the genes are strung in the right order to find defects in the genetic code. If mutations are found, new technology can isolate the problem areas. Here is where religious guilt kicks in. Is it ethical to destroy embryos that have faulty genes? It is still a difficult decision for many parents.

Are we playing God? In nature we naturally produce about half disease free children and the other half with genes carrying one or more defect or disease.  What gives them courage to destroy an embryo is the comfort to know that for instance that breast cancer will forever stop in that family after her generation. It is a disease free service for future generations.  The entire process costs about $16,000 dollars. It is a small price to pay for children’s health. Every human is a carrier for a disease but what matters is who we partner with to make the disease come forward. There is a company called Genepeeks that with just a saliva sample of both people in a couple that can create virtual possibilities of babies they can produce thereby letting the couple know in advance what type of child they could produce. The service is available for $2,000 for clients of even sperm banks or any source

The goal is to have available this type of testing to all people who wish to have a baby. Someday people will not use sex to reproduce. It is too risky and dangerous. The debate goes further that some people will abuse this technology to try to create the perfect race whatever the definition of that is. Right now this is good in that it will be preventing future generations from suffering with the common diseases that is plaguing our generation. It is good to not have Polio or Lepers around anymore. Genepeeks has the patent that includes the technology to determine other traits like eye color, hair color, and social intelligence. There are no real laws or rules in this country limiting what this type of technology can be used to look for.   


Thursday, December 11, 2014

We have a new country now after this past election where just about anyone who had a R next to their name meaning that a  Republican got a new job. It is a sad day for any liberal or Democrat. We elected the first black woman into Congress who is also a Mormon from Utah. It represents great progress for them since Mormons did not even accept women until the 1970;s. This is very progressive. Even the worst of the worst in their districts got re-elected. People like Michael Grim who has been known to be the most corrupt fundraiser in Congress got re-elected. He is from Staten Island who is going to jail, indicted for 20 counts of fraud also won.

Sam Brownback the Governor of Kansas got reelected despite all the problems he caused his state. He moved  $100 Million dollars planned for highways to fund other projects, reduced pensions and cut other agencies. Joni Ernst from Iowa won. She is Iowa’s first female Senator from the state whose campaign spokeswoman was arrested for DWI. All her campaign advertisements proudly boasted on how she used to castrate hogs on the farm. In her acceptance speech she said she will go to Washington and make them squeal. If she is planning to cut the balls off the Democrats, well good luck finding them. They have all been voted out
This year was the lowest voter turnout since 1942. It is as if Democratic voters just gave up. Meanwhile Republicans said they intend to disrupt all the causes Obama was trying to implement for the past  4 years like repealing health care, block amnesty and  continually investigating Obama. The oddest thing that happened in this election is that all the causes that liberals wanted won like minimum wage reform and gun control but then the people voted for the representatives who were going to block them.  We need truth in advertising in terms of commercials for candidates. The way people are elected just turns people off now. It is inconvenient to go to schools to vote when we can do everything else we need from our home or office now. Don’t tell us to simply vote yes on Proposition blah blah, we need to know more about who and what we want.

 The Governor of Kansas got reelected despite all the problems he caused his state. He moved  $100 Million dollars planned for highways to fund other projects, reduced pensions and cut other agencies. Joni Ernst from Iowa won. She is Iowa’s first female Senator from the state whose campaign spokeswoman was arrested for DWI. All her campaign advertisements proudly boasted on how she used to castrate hogs on the farm. In her speech she said she will go to Washington and make them squeal. If she is planning to cut the balls off the Democrats, well good luck finding them. They have all been voted out

Some believe the voting power should be based on most populated areas rather than largest land mass. Just in the Senate they represent acreage and not people. Rural people are benefiting from the laws being passed and there are not that many of them.  The 25 smallest states have only 16% per cent of the population but they have half the senators.   Politicians have become professional liars to most people and we are just not in the mood anymore yet if we don’t vote some quack will get in with their weird followers. The problem now is that we have billionaires making huge campaign contributions having a Congress working for them but not for ordinary people. We need to overturn this Citizen’s United Supreme Court Decision.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

If you love Italy please love Italian designer clothes because the Italian fashion industry is the only ones coming up with the money to save and restore Italy.  We all should be proud to know that civilization even existed and lasted so long ago when the buildings of Italy was constructed and with the craftsmanship to last generations. It is estimated that Italy is home to 2/3rds the world’s treasures. Right now the country is too poor to keep its historic ruins , churches and monuments from crumbling down to dust from all the 20thcentury chemicals they must try to stand up too. Italy is very much in debt. Taxes go unpaid. Corruption in politics is everywhere. Someone needs to save Italy.!
The government is offering nothing to save the countries treasures, a much more respected part of Italy is stepping up to the plate. The fashion Industry. The greatest survivor of the ancient world, The Colosseum  that fit 50 thousand people in Rome, built by the hands of slaves in just ten years and was finished so long ago that it was just 50 years after the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ . Yes built in Biblical times. The people with the most power sat at the bottom and the slaves and women, the people with the least power sat at the top of the arena.  This was done because the men were afraid that their slaves would kill them and that their women would go off with a Gladiator.
Watch the recent film called The Gladiator starring Russell Crow to see the historical accuracy the filmmakers took in the making of the film. In one part you see a lion rise up from a trap door in the ground. The excavators have only recently uncovered the basements of the structure to reveal places where there were wooden elevators propelled by ropes and pulleys raised to the main floor. They found hallways, dungeons for slaves and cages for animals. Currently 6 Million tourists visit Rome and it’s architectural treasures each year.

They receive only 5% percent of the money they need to control crowds and maintain the building. To prevent further ruin, a benefactor is spending $35 Million dollars to restore the place . He is Diego Della Valle a leather bag designer called Tod’s.  Who would spend so much of their own money to restore history? He would. His shoes and handbags are stitched by hand and his restoration is also being done by hand and tiny brushes to remove centuries of dirt off the structure. The Colosseum is made of limestone so only purified water, no chemicals and elbow grease is being used in the restoration process. The arches are going from murky brown to creamy white making the structure look almost new.

Others have followed in his footsteps and are restoring other places. The Fende Fashion House donated $3.5 Million dollars to restore the plumbing for the Trevi Mountains. Elsewhere in Rome, the Bulgari  Jewelry giant is paying to clean and repair The Spanish Steps.  In Venice the 400 year old bridge over the Rialto Canal will be cleaned and strengthened thanks to $7 Million dollars from Renzp Rosso creator of Diesel Jeans. Without the generosity of these generous Billionaires, Italy would just be another European country ravaged by unemployment, corruption and widespread tax evasion. Thank You Italian Fashion

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The head of the FBI says that the internet is the most dangerous parking lot imaginable now. Looking at how effective places like Facebook can attract large mobs of people to assemble at just about anywhere representing numbers for any cause or ISIS using their internet postings as recruiting devices for their cause or Apple and Google possibly being the most powerful information sources and vehicles on earth, What the hell is going on and are we safe anywhere?
Now on line you can get mugged in ways you never saw coming. All kinds of commerce and billing and transfers of your hard earned money is on line lately. Most of us never even get to hold the money we earn in our hands. Our paychecks now go directly into paying bills and if you are lucky there is some money being transferred into savings accounts. Recently large banks like JP Morgan  Chase was looted for weeks by computer criminals who stole personal information from 83 Million customers. So, we have political mobs, information snooping, terrorism and even government surveillance into our lives. What can we do to protect ourselves besides nothing?

The new FBI boss, James Comey who has had the job for one year,  tells us not to trust people in power. That is why the founding fathers divided power among three branches to set interest against interest.  Congress is the only group that even knows what the FBI is up to in the surveillance department of Americans. Technically the FBI can not read your e-mails or listen to your phone calls without a court order to a Federal judge showing probable cause that you are a terrorist, an agent of a foreign power or a serious criminal of some sort and get permission for a limited time to accept that communication. That is the legal way the government can pry into our lives. There are so many illegal ways prying is being done from Target credit cards to bank accounts. How do we keep up with these criminals?

Our next threat  can be Apple and Google of all things. In technology the cutting edge cuts in both ways. Apple and Google have the power to up end the rule of law. Until now a judge could order those companies to unlock a criminal suspect’s phone but their new software make it impossible to crack a code set by the user. Comey said the notion that a company would make devices that would make them above the law is a disgrace. Now with a new device, you cannot open a phone with a court order to find evidence or even clues to a crime. Let’s give tools to the bad guys stupid Apple and Google.
America is spending money to try still to get one step ahead of the cyber world criminal. There is a  cyber crime headquarters called CyWatch that pulls in information from the CIA, NSA and others. Often suspects are overseas. In cyberspace, where do you put the handcuffs? Thieves are operating in houses across the world with access to our information.  Russia, China and other countries are not going to just give these criminals to us. In the age of  terrorism, terrorism can have the most immediate horrific impact on innocent citizens. The budget on terrorism for the FBI has doubled. They even have a reference library on new home made bombs. War can come in many ways now without a country or uniform.

Monday, December 8, 2014

I suppose one of the easiest ways to understand some of our immigration issues is to see the Documentary that was made recently called Food Chains because the crush to the American border from Mexico is all about the jobs workers want to pick our abundant food supply here in America. They risk their lives in inadequate rafts to cross the ocean from Cuba to be restaurant workers I our resorts and clubs. There are few restraints on our northern borders from Canada. Those people do not want the worst jobs in our country and are not willing to risk anything to come here.

Eva Longoria is the executive producer of the documentary. This video compares the migrant worker to slavery. They say even now that there are people chained and beaten in the food fields. People are doing work and not being paid, people who are being sexually abused and women who are being raped now in this decade. Why do they want to be here? Eva also produced her first documentary on Child Abuse, this her second documentary is about the food chain, how a tomato gets from the field to your salad. The United States has a history of wanting cheap labor. Weather it was the railroads or mining or energy fields, slaves were  the Chinese , Africans and now Central Americans.

Farm workers and agriculture is still stuck in this slavery mode of the past. Workers are being paid a penny a pound for potatoes they pick up out of the farm field. The worker picks 4,000 pounds a day. Their day’s wage is $40.  Hispanics work like ants and seem to have the strength of giants. Call me racists but the work ethic of people of this type work damn hard and most importantly are willing to do so. Why would we give a single Hispanic a problem in wanting to work in this country. We should be giving every single person work visas not higher stronger walls to keep them out.

The documentary is about one state, Florida and one harvest. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers have introduced the Fair Foods Program which is a program that asks consumers and corporations to pay a penny more per pound so that these farm workers can have a livable wage. It would instantly double their wages from 40 to $80 dollars per day earned. It would cost shoppers practically nothing. Why isn’t our tax money supporting programs of this kind? We all can afford 44 cents per year donation. Important progress has been made by getting the fast food chains to sign on to the program.  Wendy’s hasn’t signed on for some reason.

Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Walmart has signed on to participate. They have realized that this is not a immigration issue. It is a human rights issue. And what about what we are eating. Everyone is now professing that they are something free when it comes to their food.  There are people  who profess to be Gluten free, lactose free, soy free and GMO’s not going to eat it!!! (Genetically Modified Organisms) With all these issues going on, how can I eat an ethical tomato in my salad? Whole Foods are at least coming out with a Fair Food label for their products that are part of the program. We need the Food and Drug Administration to be involved in this effort. Congress as usual does nothing but push higher walls and more police patrols at our borders. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

There is no fantasy about this football. It sounds like straight gambling to me. Each year millions of people draft their own teams and play a thing called Fantasy Football by telling their players touchdowns and  yards  to determine a league’s winners but recently new fanatics have found a way to assemble teams and total up the results all on the same day and do so again , and again, day after day. It is called Daily Fantasy and what these guys are doing now is nothing more than straight up gambling. If  they start regulating it, people will go to jail.

On a Saturday night in Vegas the stakes are high. A million bucks could be riding on the outcome of one night of baseball games. The Fantasy sports players have turned little bar bets into serious business. One of them is Corey Albertson who calls himself a Professional Fantasy Sports player. Since when do we have a title like that? This guy made over $200,000 playing Fantasy sports last year. This year he expects to double those earnings. He doesn’t play the chalkboard version in your neighborhood bar with teams drafted in the start of the year with $100 bucks on the line at the end of the season. No , he plays daily fantasy sports.

This guy drafts new teams every day. He has tens of thousands of dollars on the line every night.  In drafting his fantasy teams he spends hours each day studying his homemade algorithms that track thousands of up to the minute statistics and player projections. He has no remorse about having more information than other betters. There is not just players now that have an advantage, the sites that administer the games online collect a 10% of each dollar wager. One of the leading sites is called FanDuel based in New York City. This site was founded in 2009 as a 4 person start up. Now they took in $14 Million dollars in revenue last year alone.   They expect to take in over $40 Million dollars this year. Next year they expect to hand out a Billion dollars in prize money. So far, it is all legal money.

Another site, Boston based DraftKings, advertise getting rich quick by betting on sports. This is all in a country where sports gambling is illegal almost everywhere. Fantasy Sports are legal because of a loophole in the law which considers them not a game of chance like gambling but rather games of skill.   Really? Since when is sitting on your ass picking a winner a skill? That loophole is why these two sites are worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  The founders of the sites say they can prove that what they do is skill predominant.

Let’s discuss it . Gambling is assessing a set of probabilities, then putting money at risk, then waiting for the outcome of an event that you do not control. It sounds exactly like Fantasy Football to me. They insist that what they do is different. They claim to be able to show that the high skilled player will win  predominantly, he will beat another player almost 90% of the time.  That is the difference. Their bets are based on knowledge and statistics. They want to be considered more like stock traders rather than gamblers.

I say when you add the big money element, you have gotten into gambling. University of Illinois Law Professor John Kent is one of the nation’s experts on internet gambling, he says the loophole was left there in the law for the neighborhood guys to have some fun in the bar with small bets. No one expected with the invention of the internet it would grow into a Billion dollar event after every game each night. Now we are in the middle of an explosion of sports betting  where kids with a cell phone and a credit card can log into one of these sites and be involved in this where no one knows or cares how old the kid is. This is wrong.

Now the major teams are following the money and getting involved with advertising of Fantasy betting. We need to control gambling in this country. Congress is doing nothing.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

They are legally robbing Cancer patients charging a lot of money for no reason for their necessary long term medication. Throw the drug company lobbyists out of Washington. Protest that! Cancer is so common in that it has touched almost every family in this country yet no one is stopping the pharmaceutical companies from robbing us. More than 1 out of 3 of us will be diagnosed with some form of it in our lifetime. Cancer is still alive and well in this country that has spent billons of dollars supposedly trying to cure the disease.

The shock and anxiety of getting a diagnose is followed up with a second jolt of the high price of what few lifesaving drugs we have to battle the Cancer monster. The price of the drugs is so high that a growing number of patients can’t afford their co-pay, the percentage of the drug they have to pay from their own pocket. We can not cut the few dollars we earn each week into any more categories. Our dollars are already spent on a variety of other essential bills and taxes. We are in a situation now where a Cancer diagnosis is the leading cause for personal bankruptcy.

The price of a new drug to you is well over $100,000 per year and you need it for long term recovery. The average patient needs about 5 different drugs. Now we are talking $500 grand to live. This is crazy. What the hell is in those pills to make them be worth so much money? Or is it the drug company lobbyists in Washing getting the wink and go ahead from Congress to charge whatever they please? They are capitalizing on a person’s fear and anxiety over their own death. It does cost money to produce these life saving drugs but expert doctors believe that the price of them is just to12 when the FDA approved Zaltrap, for treating advanced Colon Cancer, doctors compared the new drug to Avastin, a drug that does the same thing that was already being used on patients. Both drugs proved to do the same thing of improving survival by about 2 months of life. It is like choosing between Coke or Pepsi in that they are both Cola’s. Zaltron costs about $11 thousand more dollars per month than Avastin.

Dr. Peter Bach, from  Sloan Kettering Memorial Cancer Center is an expert on Cancer drug prices. He compared the both drugs and what was never done before rejected the new drug because it costs twice the price for giving people just months more to live. A patient should not have to pay 2 thousand dollars out of pocket more for Zaltron. The New York Times reported that Congress passed laws to allow pharmaceutical companies to charge whatever they wanted for the drugs they produce.  When  the hell did American citizens give the go ahead for this practice? Throw the Congressional paid off bums out from Congress. It is bad enough that they manage to constantly get re-elected for their jobs year after year.

Medicare has to charge whatever the drug company charges. Also the single biggest source of income for private practice oncologist is the commission they make from cancer drugs. That is why your drugs cost so much. The doctors are buying drugs from the pharmaceutical companies wholesale and sell them retail to their patients. Your neighborhood drug dealer isn’t probably getting a better deal on his corner deals. The markup for Medicare patients guaranteed by law is 6%. Where is commerce in all this guaranteed money for them out of our already empty sickly pockets?

This is why you can not watch the nightly news or any show on TV without being bombarded with countless expensive commercials tell you to recommend costly drugs to your doctor because the drug company can charge whatever they feel like and the doctor gets more of a kick back on the more expensive drug. It makes you wish all medical professionals rot in hell for not putting sick people needs first and their profits last.  So either come up with the money, cancer patient,  or die. The bastard drug companies made Gleevec that is the most successful cancer drug making people live longer. They tripled the price despite its success and widespread use.  Drugs in this country cost more than in other countries because we do not negotiate prices. Take your sick sorry ass to Canada where you might be able to afford to live.

Friday, December 5, 2014

I like her voice. I would probably fight over a parking space with her never knowing her talent and unique voice by looking at her.  It takes me back to the days we always heard Nat King Cole on the radio and loved his smooth voice too. I never knew he was a black man not that that would have made a difference.  Back then we knew musicians for their musicianship not for any looks or gossip around them. I guess I am going way back. Now we know all kinds of personal stuff about artists that their craft is almost set aside to the gossip around them. Most stars thrive on the attention because once the paparazzi goes away, they are no longer a star. Madeline Peyroux is old school. She could care less about fame or fortune.

She has the smoky voice of a old black performer and not long ago she was an American in Paris singing on the streets for money. Now she performs on stage for blues fans around the world. Listen to her music and you will hear echo’s of women from another era. She can sound like Patsy Cline, Bessie Smith, Bob Dylan or  Edith Piaf but then there is the legend she is most compared too, Billy Holiday.  Like all the Frank Sinatra want a bees, she is not Billy. She is Madeline singing new songs just right. Her latest recording is a tribute to the red Ray Charles Album that was released 50 years ago. Her voice has just the right amount of sadness to make you want to notice her.

Madeline grew up in Georgia, the daughter of a college professor who struggled with depression and booze. When she was 11 her parents divorced and her mother was offered a job in Paris. All of a sudden she was an American in Paris. What was a wonderful new start for her Mom was a nightmare for Madeline who missed her school and friends and her country. Her Mom still lives in Paris. Madeline grew up in her teen years to be rebellious, dropped out of school, took drugs and booze.  She found happiness playing her guitar on the streets of Paris playing her guitar being homeless. She ran away from boarding schools too.
At age 15 she traveled to where the blues was. The music. Street musicians became her new family who pushed her to develop into a fine guitarist and stylist. Her Mother thought that music for Madeline was just teenage rebellion. One night of many nights she heard a young girl’s voice singing in a club Georgia On My Mind and thought the voice sounded great. When she realized it was Madeline she respected her little girl in a different way she used to think of her. A record company executive offered Madeline a record deal. Ever the contrarion she said no for a few years until she realized that she can only sing and play best in life. She had no other career.

It didn’t take long for critics to find her and since then she has released half a dozen albums. Now she spends much of her time on tour. Being the reluctant not flamboyant star, she retreats to a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Now she spends most of her time in her house and not on the streets. She loved her freedom and loves her freedom now to not have to do anything she doesn’t want to do.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I hate all people who obviously do wrong things and get away with it. The way the  too rich Football Commissioner who pays no taxes gave a football player only a 2 day suspension for punching a woman in the face making her unconscious in an elevator and dragging her on the floor and leaving her there like trash. That was wrong. The player is looking to go back to work like nothing happened.  The woman is now his wife and for some reason is blaming herself for the assault. This is wrong. I think the player’s  $35 Million dollar salary has a lot to do with it and that is wrong too. No one should be paid that much money if they do not wish to be a role model to young America. Now boys are being taught it is ok to assault women and girls are being taught that it is ok to get beaten and dragged like trash. Marry the guy. It is all wrong.

I also hate that there are still race riots in America in this era. Most people are of mixed race genealogy now anyway. Should we be rioting over the shade color of our faces? This is wrong. Police brutality is wrong too but we need to respect our officers. When they say put down the gun as in the Ferguson story or you are about to be arrested as in the New York story, you need to obey or risk that an officer will use force and even shoot you. Resisting police is wrong rioters.

What America needs is a vacation so we can all relax and cool down.  Taking some down time makes us better at our jobs. Labor Day was made a National Holiday 120 years ago and people work even harder on that day too with special sales incentives to get you out there to spend money. The average American leaves 4 vacation days unused each year. According to Expedia, in the past year collectively, Americans chose not to take 5 Million available days off from work. The most common reason was to accumulate days for possible future trips. Other reasons were that they cannot afford a vacation, or that work is their life.  This is wrong.

Some fear a bosses view of someone who takes time off. When discussing employees who do take all their time off, 15% of their bosses regarded them as being less dedicated.  15% as being less productive and 10% as being less likely to being promoted. This is wrong. Sitting alone at the Thanksgiving table, the one day the entire year Americans traditionally spend dinner time together, the stupid stores have to sell their crap at dinner time on Thanksgiving. This is wrong.

If you could all go on vacation you can give your boss the lousy T Shirt but also say that you got renewed drive and a feeling for refreshed company loyalty because you were able to go on vacation with no regrets. It is time to rethink the American work ethic. According to the Center for American Policy, the United States is the only advanced economy that does not require employers to require paid vacation time. Almost a quarter of Americans receive no paid holidays and most of those folks are low wage workers as small business employees. Everybody needs a break especially the folks who find the ring that got lost down the drain or the person who makes your favorite coffee.


Workers in the European Union are legally guaranteed at least 20 paid vacation days per year. In Japan they get at least 10 days. Before you dismiss vacations as a waste of time, consider that if we used all our time off, our economy would benefit from $160 Billion dollars in sales and would support 1.2 Million jobs. America needs a breath of fresh air so we can all get along better. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Are you ready to be transported to a very different place that not many people see? A place where you can have the freedom to see it all without crowds or complications? Then visit Iceland this spring. This summer is the 40th Anniversary of the completion of Iceland’s Route 1. It is better known as the ring road. If you like to drive and explore different terrain’s and exotic places, you will like a vacation in Iceland. The road is a 828 mile loop that encompasses the country. You could drive full circle around the country in a day.

In the summer you would still have plenty of sunlight left over since the sun doesn’t set till close to midnight and it never gets completely dark. What a magical place! You really need about a week to take in all the natural wonders since Route 1 is one of the most scenic drives in the world. Just off the highway there are roaring waterfalls, lava fields, sunny seaside cliffs, eerie glacial lagoons, bubbling steamy geyser earth that makes Iceland feel like another planet. Just stop the car and wander off to get a closer look. There are no big touristy centers to distract you.

In the 1960’s Apollo astronauts trained for lunar landings in the rocky terrain. Recently Iceland has been the backdrop for many fantasy movies. The recent movie called Oblivion and Prometheus was shot in Iceland. The country is featured prominently in the series called Game of Throne. Route 1, the Ring Road as it is known is just 2 lanes of blacktop but is full of adventure.  The actual town and cities are very hard to pronounce but are clean, friendly and modern. Places like Grundarhverfi, Kirkjubaejarklaustur, Djupivogur and Reykjahlio are the cities names.

Iceland only has about 300 thousand people in it. Over 60% of them live in the greater Reykjavik area. Once you get out of the capitol the most grid lock you would find is sheep in the road. Just enough down time to steal a kiss from your favorite companion before the road clears up. It is easy to loose track of time there since every side road looks like it needs to be explored. You can walk behind the waterfalls, see the icebergs floating by, walk into the hot springs and never believe that all you did was drive around in a very large circle. Explore life while you still feel like living.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Save the elephants! We  all like elephants and we think they might like us too. Let’s hunt down the stupid people who are stalking and hunting and killing elephants for their ivory tusks. Even the most drastic efforts by conservationists  are not stopping the vast killings. In Northern Kenya, Africa there are teams of armed men who search the land for the enemy, the teams of armed men who are killing the elephant. There is more poaching of the wild beasts during the gift of the bright full moon. It is a deadly business that must be brought under control.

Africa is the world’s paradise full of exotic animals and precious gems but yet the people live in the mud instead of homes and feel the need to kill their precious animals just to have some money to survive with. Dozens of Rangers have been killed in Africa battling  poachers in the last few years. Every night they go to a high point in the rocky  terrain and sit there all night looking for any sign of movement . Night vision goggles help see the elephants so they can be shot dead.

The African elephant  is the largest animal to walk the earth. They are majestic creatures that share many characteristics with humans. They have strong family units and maternal bonds. They are intelligent and if allowed, can live a very long life. They have terrific memories too. Also like us they grieve and appear to morn their dead. They are displaying a lot of grief lately. Some 25 thousand elephants per year are now being lost to poachers in Africa. It is the worst it has ever been in the past 20 years and getting worse.

In the past the typical poacher was a solitary local. Now there are armies of people set out to kill. They have sophisticated equipment and are able to kill in far greater numbers than that single poacher who just wanted to feed his family. This is a business of killing now. In one episode in 2012 an estimated 300 elephants were shot dead in Cameroon right inside a National Park. Hey aren’t animals supposed to be safe from gun toting idiots in National Parks?

China and the far east in general are fueling this carnage since 90% of the ivory is sent there in return for cash. Despite the laws banning the harvest and sale of ivory, it remains a powerful status symbol in China where it is used commonly to create artworks, and religious icons.  The economic boom there has tripled the price of ivory in just the past 4 years. The gunman will receive about $2,500 for every elephant with tusks he kills. That represents several years wages from that one elephant. Why are people willing to kill something so big just for a tooth? And then just let it’s massive body rot in the sun spreading disease.

I say increase tourism and let the local people protect the elephants and not poach them for a living. The world needs to know that living elephants can be more valuable than dead ones. Changing attitudes takes education and time. Time that is not on the elephants side. From a high of 1.3 Million elephants alive in the 1970’s poaching has reduced the population to critical levels in the 1990’s . The numbers are plummeting again and now there are only about 500 thousand elephants left in the world. If poaching doesn’t stop, elephants can be extinct in our lifetime.