Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Cab Thoughts 4/6/16

Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field.~Dwight Eisenhower
Costco sold 465,000 vehicles through partnerships with auto dealers in 2015, a 16.8% increase from the previous year. That's not far behind the No. 1 auto retailer in the US, AutoNation, which sold 533,000 vehicles in 2014.

According to legend, Ireland's mythical hunter-warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill was imbued with universal wisdom after inadvertently eating the Salmon of Knowledge. This boundless knowledge ultimately led Fionn to become leader of the Fianna, the famed heroes of Irish myth. The Salmon of Knowledge.

For the first time ever, middle class Americans now make up a minority of the population. But back in 1971, 61% of all Americans lived in middle class households. According to the Pew Research Center, the median income of middle class households declined by 4% from 2000 to 2014. The Pew Research Center has also found that median wealth for middle class households dropped by an astonishing 28% between 2001 and 2013. 
Who is....Ed Mezvinsky?
In 1889 the famous female outlaw Belle Starr was murdered. Born Myra Belle Shirley on a small farm near Carthage, Missouri, in 1848, she received an education in the classics and became a competent pianist but at the end of the Civil War with her family's life destroyed she moved to Texas, met Cole Younger, had a baby, married the outlaw Jim Reed and then went through a number of dramatic and criminal paramours (Sam Starr, Jim July) as they robbed and rustled and shot their way through the Mid-West. She was ambushed and shot twice in the back with a shotgun by unknown assailants. A decline from her classic expectations. Bad company.

Chelsea Clinton's father-in-law is Ed Mezvinsky. He is a felon.
In the waning days of Clinton's presidency, federal prosecutors and the FBI were bearing down on former Rep. Ed Mezvinsky (D-Iowa), who had fallen for a series of Ponzi schemes and pulled in nearly $10 million money from other investors to cover his losses.
Mezvinsky would not be formally indicted until March of 2001, but records released last week by the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock and obtained by POLITICO show Mezvinsky and his then-wife - ex-Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (D-Pa.) - pleaded with the former president for a presidential pardon to head off the looming federal case.
Chelsea would later marry the son but in the '90s the Clintons were close with them all.
One of his victims was his mother-in-law.
There was no pardon but by his indictment Clinton was out of office. He certainly was free with pardons while in office. Can you pardon pre-emptively?This article came across the news. "The Phillies have traded left-handed pitcher Jesse Biddle to the Pittsburgh Pirates."  Interesting until this: "Biddle is expected to miss the entire 2016 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last October."

Golden oldie: 

Theodore Roosevelt, while President, railed against the "Nature Fakers," who, he said, were filling the country's books and periodicals with starry-eyed tales of the outdoors. These "yellow journalists of the woods" anthropomorphized animals recklessly, mistook fables for facts, and trusted "irresponsible guides," wrote Roosevelt in the popular general interest periodical Everybody's Magazine. "Much remains to be told about the wolf and the bear, the lynx and the fisher, the moose and the caribou," he continued. "But he is not a student of nature at all. whose imagination is used not to interpret facts, but to invent them."
According to historian James Perrin Warren, this was "the first and only time in American history the president acted as a literary and cultural critic."

Called "re-entrants," dolphins once lived on land and looked and behaved something like a small wolf but with five hoof-like toes on each foot instead claws. Some dolphins still have hair on their heads and the Amazon River dolphin has hair on its beak. Dolphins also have remnant finger bones in their flippers, a forearm, wrists, and a few remnant leg bones deep inside their bodies.

Stress alters the neurochemical makeup of the body, which can affect the maturation and release of the human egg. Stress can also cause the fallopian tubes and uterus to spasm, which can affect implantation. Stress in men can affect sperm count and motility and can cause erectile dysfunction. In fact, stress may account for 30% of all infertility problems.

"The most warlike of commanders and those who have accomplished most by a union of daring and cunning, have been one-eyed men, Philippus, Antigonus, Annibal, and the subject of this Life-Sertorius." Thus spake Plutarch in his Life of Sertorius. Other one eyed leaders? Briggs adds: "To this list of cylopsian colonels can be added Nelson, who gave us that most useful of phrases "turning a blind eye", World War II's Archibald Wavell, who dared outshine Churchill and who paid the price, Moscow's tenacious defender and ruiner of Napoleon Marshal Kutuzov, defender of the heretical Jon Hus (the forerunner of the protesting Martin Luther) the Czech Jan Zizka, who in death and by his own order was turned into a drum so that his followers would ever follow his beat, Admiral Don Blas de Lezo, Spain's greatest naval hero (it would have been Alonso Pérez de Guzmán if not for a spot of unfortunate weather), who beat back the Brits at Columbia. Even Odin, the chief Norse God, had unocular vision: the loss of his eye was voluntary; he exchanged exterior for interior vision."

Posthumous: adjective: Happening after someone's death, but relating to something done earlier. For example, a book published after the death of the author, a child born after the death of the father, an award given after the death of a person.
From Latin posthumus, alteration of postumus, superlative of posterus (coming after). The word literally means "subsequent" but since it was often used in contexts relating to someone's death, people began associating the word with humus (earth) or humare (to bury) and amended the spelling. Earliest documented use: 1608. USAGE: "President Aquino has authorized the posthumous conferment of Medal of Valor to two SAF commandos who died during the Mamasapano mission." Pres. Aquino to Confer Posthumously Medal of Valor; Asia News Monitor (Bangkok, Thailand); Jan 26, 2016.

The bigger a planet gets, the thicker its atmosphere becomes, as it accumulates more and more gaseous elements in a process known as "core accretion." This is thought to be why rocky planets like Earth and Mars can only reach a certain size before they become a gas giant, like Jupiter or Saturn. Ice giants seem to be a kind of in-between: their atmospheres are thick and made mostly of the same stuff as gas giants, but they're nowhere near as big.

For those of you not stimulated to read about Jan Zizka and turning his skin into a drum, here a summary. He was the leader of Bohemia's Hussite Revolution - the first of the religious wars during the Protestant Reformation.
About a hundred years before Luther, there was a lot of questioning going on about the Catholic Church. Indulgences always came up because of the distinction it created between the rich and the poor. One such reformer was Jan Hus, a Czech priest. Hus thought the Catholic Church needed to be reformed: First, the Church services should be read in Czech instead of Latin. Second, everyone should be able to take wine with communion, not just priests. Third, the only way to be absolved for your sins should be to make peace with God through Confession; rich people should not be able to give the Church money in exchange for absolution of their sins. Hus was rewarded for his outspokenness and forward thinking by being burned at the stake. Trouble followed--including the wonderfully named The First Defenestration of Prague. Eventually the Holy Roman Emperor attacked and was opposed by Zizka, something of a dangerous man who had been through a number of wars and did a lot of very warlike things including inventing a war wagon called a "Tabor." Zizka was successful throughout his campaigns and, for a time, liberated Bohemia. 
Zizka died of the plague at Přibyslav on October 11, 1424 on the Moravian frontier. According to chronicler Piccolomini, Žižka's dying wish was to have his skin used to make drums so that he might continue to lead his troops even after death. Žižka was so well regarded that when he died, his soldiers called themselves the Orphans (sirotci) because they felt like they had lost their father. His enemies said that "The one whom no mortal hand could destroy was extinguished by the finger of God".
It should be remembered his soldiers were irregulars--farmers and religious devotees--not men with any warrior background so his success is all the more astonishing.
Poland's state archives released documents it says show Lech Walesa had been a paid informant of communist-era secret police in the 1970s, before leading the Solidarity movement that helped end communism in Europe.
In 2008 just as the subprime crisis was coming to a head, Americans had $12.68 trillion in debt outstanding, of which housing debt made up $10 trillion, or 79% of the total. In the fourth quarter of 2015, there was $12.12 trillion in total debt, and housing's share had dwindled to 72%, or $8.74 trillion.
One of the biggest contributors to the decline in mortgage debt is that Americans aren't taking equity out of their homes at nearly the same rate as in the prior decade. Cash-out refinances and home equity lines of credit rose at a rate of more than $300 billion every year from 2003-2007. In 2015, such debt grew only by $30 billion.
James Alfred Wight, better-known as veterinarian-novelist James Herriot, went to the Yorkshire Dales in 1940 as a twenty-three-year-old graduate of Glasgow Veterinary College, joining the practice of Donald Sinclair. Thirty years later, Wight would turn Sinclair into Siegfried Farnon, the tweedy, eccentric and ebullient character who would anchor the Herriot books. Over 60 million books were sold.

AAAAAAaaaannnnnnddddddd.........a chart (from 2006) on the percentage of immigrants admitted vs. native population:

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