Really! A Building Falls In Miami

Can you imagine being asleep in your Miami co-op overlooking the ocean and having the building crash down on top of you? It’s like a horror movie that has come to life.

I didn’t realize Miami is located in a Third World country? Buildings just don’t just fall down on inhabitants in the US. Who’s responsible for this catastrophe? Will it impact the negotiations of the infrastructure deal currently being discussed in Congress?

I’ve heard the opinions of some experts, and it appears that the Miami co-op debacle occurred because of one of the following factors: negligence on the part of the original builders, negligence on the part of the current owners who are responsible for maintaining the building and/or the humidity and heat in Miami that seeped through concrete and caused steel beams to corrode. Terrorism, a bomb and an accident in the garage have pretty much been eliminated.

Humidity and heat seem like the most likely culprits, if you assume that Miami has had more than ample building codes for at least a half century. I admit, I have no clue whether this is true, but we’re going to find out. It should be noted that there have been numerous new residential high-rise buildings erected on Collins Avenue along Miami Beach during the last 50 years (the location of the current tragedy).

Building inspectors and structural engineers need to put their heads together to answer all of the questions about the recent tragedy and ensure that it doesn’t happen again in the future. If it is a systemic issue, the cause of the disaster could prospectively affect a number of buildings on the Collins Avenue strip. What are the costs of refurbishing these structures? Who is going to pay for structural changes that are mandated? The whole eco-system known as Miami Beach could be in jeopardy.

Ironically the geniuses in Washington are presently squabbling over an infrastructure program that will identify and repair our roads, bridges, etc. nationwide. Will the urgency of this legislation grow because of the Miami experience? Should we add all skyscrapers to the list of potentially dangerous places to work and reside? I do.

 Our country cannot effectively deal with a disaster such as a major bridge collapsing, killing thousands and crippling a major city. It could be 10 times worse than the 911 calamity, if a bridge falls in a populated area.


If I were president, I would review the maintenance records of every major building and large structure in the country. Every state, supported by the federal government, should be put on notice to inspect their infrastructure systems.

The ridiculous Kabuki dance starring our elected leaders is giving me little confidence. They need to stop bickering and enact the $1.4 trillion infrastructure bill and deal with human infrastructure issues later. Part of these funds may be needed to help the people impacted in the Miami situation. None of us wants to be in a building or on a bridge that collapses.

Biden Tries To Pull A Fast One

The liberal media is lauding a compromise deal in the Senate to provide $1.4 trillion to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. It is a legislative effort that has bipartisan support and is a long time in coming. It would address a plethora of programs to revitalize the nation’s crumbling system of roads, bridges, tunnels, rail and broadband.

It sounded great, and all the politicians seemed to be on board. But nothing is easy in Washington because of the deep-seeded venom that exists between Democrats and Republicans. So what is so wrong with all the liberal back-slapping over the past 48 hours?

After flaunting a great legislative breakthrough, the president effectively threw cold water on the deal. After all the hard work by senators, he said he would not sign the bill unless Congress approves an additional $4 trillion economic program that would fund healthcare, childcare, higher education access and climate change programs.

It was a brazen move to slam unaffordable entitlements down the throats of Americans. It actually looked like Biden was trying to pull a fast one on his opponents and the public. Republicans immediately called out the president and his sycophants in Congress.

The trillions in this proposed package would supposedly be funded by what else- a change in the tax code for the super rich and multinational corporations. The problem is that Republicans are not going to vote yea on the second half of the overall proposal. So Biden and the federal government have made no progress.

To make matters worse, Democrats are threatening to eliminate the filibuster in the Senate to facilitate their ultra radical agenda. This would enable passage of any law with a majority in the Senate. The problem is that two Democrats senators, Manchin and Sinema, have said they would not vote for costly economic programs without participation of Republicans. So, the legislation is doomed.

 The whole dog and pony show on Thursday was a farce. Nothing is going to happen unless Biden signs an infrastructure bill without getting his $4 trillion spending program approved.

The nasty rhetoric emanating from Democrats is going to result in a do-nothing congressional session. The Democrats are in a bind because they really don’t have a majority in the Senate without the aforementioned rogue Democratic senators. Note: Softball Politics has proposed Sen. Manchin change parties and vote with Republicans. Also, the senator would be in a position to possibly run for president.

The liberal media is lauding a compromise deal in the Senate to provide $1.4 trillion to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. It is a legislative effort that has bipartisan support and is a long time in coming. It would address a plethora of programs to revitalize the nation’s crumbling system of roads, bridges, tunnels, rail and broadband.

It sounded great, and all the politicians seem to be on board. But nothing is easy in Washington because of the deep-seeded venom that exists between Democrats and Republicans. So what is so wrong with all the liberal back-slapping over the past 48 hours?

After flaunting a great legislative breakthrough, the president effectively threw cold water on the deal. After all the hard work by senators, he said he would not sign the bill unless Congress approves an additional $4 trillion economic program that would fund healthcare, childcare, higher education access and climate change programs.

It was a brazen move to slam unaffordable entitlements down the throats of Americans. It actually looked like Biden was trying to pull a fast one on his opponents and the public. Republicans immediately called out the president and his sycophants in Congress.

The trillions in this proposed package would supposedly be funded by what else- a change in the tax code for the super rich and multinational corporations. The problem is that Republicans are not going to vote yea on the second half of the overall proposal. So Biden and the federal government have made no progress.

To make matters worse, Democrats are threatening to eliminate the filibuster in the Senate to facilitate their ultra radical agenda. This would enable passage of any law with a majority in the Senate. The problem is that two Democrats senators, Manchin and Sinema, have said they would not vote for costly economic programs without participation of Republicans. So, the legislation is doomed.

 The whole dog and pony show on Thursday was a farce. Nothing is going to happen unless Biden signs an infrastructure bill without getting his $4 trillion spending program approved.

The nasty rhetoric emanating from Democrats is going to result in a do-nothing congressional session. The Democrats are in a bind because they really don’t have a majority in the Senate without the aforementioned rogue Democratic senators. Note: Softball Politics has proposed Sen. Manchin change parties and vote with Republicans. Also, the senator would be in a position to possibly run for president.

Abortion and Joe Biden

The Catholic Church is once again proving that its existence is teetering on obscurity. An effort to deny Joe Biden Eucharist, thereby making it impossible for him to practice his religion, because he refuses to endorse the Church’s opposition to abortion is a travesty, and frankly medieval.

While thousands of young boys, seminarians and nuns have been and are being sexually assaulted under the care of Catholic priests, an angry and ultra conservative group of American clergy is denying our president his rights as a Catholic.

The president accepts the will of a majority of Americans and the Supreme Court to allow women freedom of choice even though he is personally against abortions, a courageous position. The Church hierarchy should spend more time rooting out predators in their midst rather than trying to stymie women’s rights.

In the meantime, Pope Francis has not been strong enough to keep his priestly conservative followers in line. He should put his foot down and acknowledge that abortion is often the right decision for women under a plethora of different scenarios.

Finally ending the controversy by negotiating a compromise with pro-lifers should be high on the pontiff’s agenda. I suggest he consider a compromise that includes ending abortions after a certain period of time, so we can finally put this nagging social issue behind us.

The pontiff still has a lot of work to do to end the sex scandal that has destroyed the reputation of the Church for hundreds of years. Related to this is the male domination of the Church and the inability of women to become priests.

Currently, priests must be celibate. By depriving them the opportunity to raise a family, the Church is making it difficult for these men to fulfill their personal needs and to be effective advisors for their followers. Why ask a priest for advice about marital issues or problems with offspring when they must not marry and may not have children?

No wonder there is a Catholic revolution in the US. The religion is outdated in countries with advanced technologies and missions to control overpopulation, disease and poverty. How can the Church denigrate efforts to make the world a healthier place by claiming abortion is a mortal sin?

The Pope has been ineffective because his priorities should be Catholicism per se, not global warming and meddling in the affairs of state around the world. His sect will be a dying breed if he does not take action to deter the unproductive and antiquated men who put him into office. As pontiff, he should disavow those that want to live in the 20th century and not consider the world as it exists today.  

Good Billionaires

On Monday a person named Anand Giridharadas wrote a scathing New York Times op-Ed piece about “good and bad” billionaires. Actually, he considers all extremely wealthy Americans to be scalawags, who don’t give a damn about anything but accumulating wealth.

I enthusiastically want to express my disagreement with this man’s uninformed, and poorly researched perspectives. The Times should be more discerning about sensational essays that misstate the actions of others in an effort to appease the most radical left-wing elements in the country. The paper will never change its stripes.

Yeah, his concern is that many billionaires have increased their wealth over the past few years, while paying relatively minimal taxes to the government. [You guessed it. They don’t pay their “fair share of taxes!” Whatever the hell that means.]

The author spends little time explaining the nature of Warren Buffett’s wealth and the that of others in his stratosphere. It’s really pretty simple. Billionaire investors like Buffett have accumulated wealth on a pretax basis in the form of assets that will eventually be taxed when sold for a profit. They usually have relatively little current income. Someday the government will receive a large payment if the money is not given away to charity.

Also, Mr. G did not focus on the amount that Buffett has donated to charity. He pointed out that Buffet’s wealth “soared” by $24.3 billion from 2014 to 2018, but he paid only $23.7 million in taxes. However, it was not mentioned that Buffett gave $37 billion to charity since 2006. And he is the founder of the Giving Pledge and promised to give away 99% of his fortune before he dies. This year, Buffett is donating another $2.9 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the needy.

“The Giving Pledge is an effort to help address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to commit more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes either during their lifetime or in their will.”  As of 2020, 211 individuals signed the Pledge representing approximately $600 billion.

Buffet, Gates and Bezos really don’t need me to shield them from overzealous, ill-informed commentators. None of them have anything to be ashamed of. Since when is success a deadly sin? Why do people write things that are misleading and besmirch the reputations of the most generous people in the world? At least, this guy should have Googled Buffett to see that maybe Buffett is not rolling around in a pile of Benjamins. But rather, he’s trying to figure out how to give away his wealth before he dies.

Just so there is no misunderstanding, simplistically, when Buffett dies, the remaining money in his estate will be taxed at over 50%.

Progressives are revving up to try to enact a law that taxes the wealth of billionaires as opposed to their current income. They have every right to pursue such a strategy. I hope that before they embark on this unfair odyssey, they calculate and recognize how much billionaires donate on top of the actual tax payments they do make each year.

I Repeat, Manchin For President

Senator Joe Manchin III (D-WV) is the most powerful person in Washington. His support is critical to Joe Biden on several fronts. His potential value to Republicans could be astronomical. Note: This essay was inspired by a New York Times article on Manchin.

Softball politics recently suggested Manchin should consider changing parties giving Republicans control of the Senate, and then run for president as a Republican. This suggestion is becoming a more a viable option for the lawmaker with every passing day.

Currently, the Senate is evenly divided among Democrats and Republicans, 50 each. The former is in a control position because the vice president votes when senators are deadlocked. Manchin is one of the Democrats, but he has stated that he is against enacting certain legislative initiatives unless there is bipartisan support for them.

In particular, Manchin will not vote for a bill by Democrats to battle alleged voter suppression. These would include mandates for early voting, absentee ballots, voter ID’s, gerrymandering and such. Democrats say they want to make it easier for every American to vote, while Republicans want to ensure that elections are fair without a bias towards Democrats.

By not supporting the bill, the vote would be 51 Republicans against passage and 49 Democrats for passage. The bill would be defeated. Moreover, even if Manchin would vote for the bill, Republicans could filibuster which would necessitate 60 votes for passage.

Regarding the last issue, Manchin continues to be in favor of most Democratic initiatives, but not elimination of the filibuster. It is feasible that Democrats would attempt to eliminate the filibuster so lawmakers dealing with policy issues would no longer need 60 votes, but rather only a majority for passage.

At this time, the filibuster is no longer available to the opposition for Supreme Court justice confirmations, confirmations of judges on lower courts and cabinet selections by presidents. By eliminating the filibuster for all legislation, a party that controls the presidency, the Senate and the House would be able to pass all legislation with no recourse by the opposition. Note: Bills involving taxation and the like are also not subject to filibusters.

It is likely that any number of Democratic initiatives dealing with immigration, voting rights, treaties, entitlements, redistribution of wealth, forgiveness of student loans, commerce, union rights, civil rights and so on would be very difficult to pass unless the filibuster is eliminated. Manchin is the key to this drama.

Metaphysically, Manchin’s heart is in the right place. He longs for the days when senators debated and passed legislation without the venom mistrust that exists in Congress at this time. Members would orate and disagree and have a cocktail after legislative sessions ended. No more.

Washington is partisan and members are power hungry. Manchin is risking his career trying to bring comity back to Capitol Hill. If he is successful, he should be rewarded. And the only way he can be successful is if he changes parties and forces all lawmakers to work together. Think about Manchin. He really does have all the chips and could very well be our next president.

***MANCHIN FOR PRESIDENT***

Senator Joe Manchin III (D-WV) is the most powerful person in Washington. His support is critical to Joe Biden on several fronts. His potential value to Republicans could be astronomical. Note: This essay was inspired by a New York Times article on Manchin.

Softball politics recently suggested Manchin should consider changing parties giving Republicans control of the Senate, and then run for president as a Republican. This suggestion is becoming a more a viable option for the lawmaker with every passing day.

Currently, the Senate is evenly divided among Democrats and Republicans, 50 each. The former is in a control position because the vice president votes when senators are deadlocked. Manchin is one of the Democrats, but he has stated that he is against enacting certain legislative initiatives unless there is bipartisan support for them.

In particular, Manchin will not vote for a bill by Democrats to battle alleged voter suppression. These would include mandates for early voting, absentee ballots, voter ID’s, gerrymandering and such. Democrats say they want to make it easier for every American to vote, while Republicans want to ensure that elections are fair without a bias towards Democrats.

By not supporting the bill, the vote would be 51 Republicans against passage and 49 Democrats for passage. The bill would be defeated. Moreover, even if Manchin would vote for the bill, Republicans could filibuster which would necessitate 60 votes for passage.

Regarding the last issue, Manchin continues to be in favor of most Democratic initiatives, but not elimination of the filibuster. It is feasible that Democrats would attempt to eliminate the filibuster so lawmakers dealing with policy issues would no longer need 60 votes, but rather only a majority for passage.

At this time, the filibuster is no longer available to the opposition for Supreme Court justice confirmations, confirmations of judges on lower courts and cabinet selections by presidents. By eliminating the filibuster for all legislation, a party that controls the presidency, the Senate and the House would be able to pass all legislation with no recourse by the opposition. Note: Bills involving taxation and the like are also not subject to filibusters.

It is likely that any number of Democratic initiatives dealing with immigration, voting rights, treaties, entitlements, redistribution of wealth, forgiveness of student loans, commerce, union rights, civil rights and so on would be very difficult to pass unless the filibuster is eliminated. Manchin is the key to this drama.

Metaphysically, Manchin’s heart is in the right place. He longs for the days when senators debated and passed legislation without the venom mistrust that exists in Congress at this time. Members would orate and disagree and have a cocktail after legislative sessions ended. No more.

Washington is partisan and members are power hungry. Manchin is risking his career trying to bring comity back to Capitol Hill. If he is successful, he should be rewarded. And the only way he can be successful is if he changes parties and forces all lawmakers to work together. Think about Manchin. He really does have all the chips and could very well be our next president.

***MANCHIN FOR PRESIDENT***

Senator Joe Manchin III (D-WV) is the most powerful person in Washington. His support is critical to Joe Biden on several fronts. His potential value to Republicans could be astronomical. Note: This essay was inspired by a New York Times article on Manchin.

Softball politics recently suggested Manchin should consider changing parties giving Republicans control of the Senate, and then run for president as a Republican. This suggestion is becoming a more a viable option for the lawmaker with every passing day.

Currently, the Senate is evenly divided among Democrats and Republicans, 50 each. The former is in a control position because the vice president votes when senators are deadlocked. Manchin is one of the Democrats, but he has stated that he is against enacting certain legislative initiatives unless there is bipartisan support for them.

In particular, Manchin will not vote for a bill by Democrats to battle alleged voter suppression. These would include mandates for early voting, absentee ballots, voter ID’s, gerrymandering and such. Democrats say they want to make it easier for every American to vote, while Republicans want to ensure that elections are fair without a bias towards Democrats.

By not supporting the bill, the vote would be 51 Republicans against passage and 49 Democrats for passage. The bill would be defeated. Moreover, even if Manchin would vote for the bill, Republicans could filibuster which would necessitate 60 votes for passage.

Regarding the last issue, Manchin continues to be in favor of most Democratic initiatives, but not elimination of the filibuster. It is feasible that Democrats would attempt to eliminate the filibuster so lawmakers dealing with policy issues would no longer need 60 votes, but rather only a majority for passage.

At this time, the filibuster is no longer available to the opposition for Supreme Court justice confirmations, confirmations of judges on lower courts and cabinet selections by presidents. By eliminating the filibuster for all legislation, a party that controls the presidency, the Senate and the House would be able to pass all legislation with no recourse by the opposition. Note: Bills involving taxation and the like are also not subject to filibusters.

It is likely that any number of Democratic initiatives dealing with immigration, voting rights, treaties, entitlements, redistribution of wealth, forgiveness of student loans, commerce, union rights, civil rights and so on would be very difficult to pass unless the filibuster is eliminated. Manchin is the key to this drama.

Metaphysically, Manchin’s heart is in the right place. He longs for the days when senators debated and passed legislation without the venom mistrust that exists in Congress at this time. Members would orate and disagree and have a cocktail after legislative sessions ended. No more.

Washington is partisan and members are power hungry. Manchin is risking his career trying to bring comity back to Capitol Hill. If he is successful, he should be rewarded. And the only way he can be successful is if he changes parties and forces all lawmakers to work together. Think about Manchin. He really does have all the chips and could very well be our next president.

A Great Commencement!

Last week we celebrated a child’s graduation from business school. It was a very emotional and enjoyable experience.

The celebration was online, which was a bit of a disappointment. Essentially, a photo of each graduate appeared on screen and names were read. I feel that the extraordinary cost of said education is so great that parents deserve to sit among thousands of others in the scorching heat for three hours and watch the dean hand their children a diploma. It was not to be because of the damn COVID pandemic. I hope and pray that future graduates and their parents are not deprived of this momentous experience.

I prepared myself to hear ubiquitous ranting by ultra-liberal administrators, deans and selected students. Given what has taken place recently, I expected a full-fledged attack about how America is no longer as great as it was because of income inequality, too many affluent people, too many poor people, overzealous police activities, racism, nativism and support of Israel. I must apologize to the university, the administration and the students because this was not what took place.

The principal speaker, a CEO of one of the largest companies in the world, spoke about his career and the responsibility of all businesses to be diverse, fair with employees, concerned with the environment and to speak up against injustice when it arises anywhere in the world. I thought the presentation was appropriate, balanced and inspirational.

Speeches were also made by the President of the University and Dean of the College. Both were informative for the graduates and parents. Of course, they encouraged the graduates to “make something happen,” a common theme throughout the day. The quid pro quo for all this education should be a vow by graduates to strive for greatness in an area they are passionate about. Entrepreneurship and social consciousness were themes of all the presenters.

The student speakers were outstanding orators. One gave a lecture in Latin. Maybe two or three people knew what he was saying, but fortunately, subtitles were provided. The young man could have been addressing Julius Caesar and the Senators in Roman. I wondered how long it took him to memorize and hone his presentation.

The most eloquent speech was offered to us by a Shakespearean connoisseur who could, and probably has, played a major role in one or more of the Bard’s plays.

The event was noteworthy for what did not take place. There was very little bitterness and resentment. There was practically no bashing of one political group or another. Significant issues were gently and tastefully touched upon as one would expect in a bastion of liberal thought and achievement.

I award the graduation ceremony an A plus. I didn’t perspire or feel uncomfortable in the heat, but I thoroughly enjoyed the encouragement for the graduates to be great and make a real contribution to society.

The spirit and attitude of the speech-givers and the recipient students was a welcomed divergence from the destructive politicization of societal issues taking place every day in our nation’s capital and around the country. I hope that a number of graduates someday take the place of self-centered political hacks that today represent us in Congress and other parts of the government. My optimism has been restored to an extent.