Month: April 2017

Some of my thoughts on the problems with North Korea

Some of my thoughts on the problems with North Korea

The United States cannot right the world’s wrongs. For the most part (there are exceptions), we will have to step in when those wrongs influence other nations though.

So when North Korea threatens to attack South Korea or Japan, that is a problem. Especially when we agreed to protect both countries from attack by treaty. They exist in their present form because of the US. So when Obama, Bush, and Clinton do an ostrich in the sand to North Korea, that is a big problem.

It is the responsibility of the United States to protect both countries because we have a treaty that says that we will. As long as the Kim family is only cruel to their own people, then we can leave them alone. When the Kim family and the leading generals of North Korea threaten the safety of Japan and South Korea, then it is equivalent to threatening the US.

When Iran threatens the security of Saudi Arabia and Israel, then it is also our problem also. This is a fact of life by treaty as well as by historical commitment. You may not like Saudi Arabia and Israel, but until the policy of the US is to let them stand (or fall) by themselves, we are obligated to help them.

It is very important to understand that threatening war is not equivalent to deploying war. Every enemy of the US says that they will beat us in war, but they all know that they will get their ass kicked. Krushchev said it, Saddam Hussein said it, and the Kim family has said it.

Other countries do not want a war with us. Even Saddam Hussein didn’t want a war after all of his blustery talk and George W. Bush made a major mistake in Gulf War 2 by actually executing the war. If his State department (run by the very inexperienced Colin Powell) would have been as strong as his Defense department (run by the extremely experienced Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld) then he could have achieved 95% of the end outcome without firing a single shot. This was probably not true of Gulf War 1 that was executed by old man Bush (George H. W. Bush) but that conflict and Afghanistan showed the world that we will roll over any enemy and the average American will not even break a sweat. North Korea will likely inflict casualties (e.g. Seoul), but they will eventually lose any war with the US and the Kim family will all die and so will his generals.

We do have a historical problem though in that President Obama really screwed up in Libya. It was an internal conflict and he got involved. He should not have. Now we have sent a very confusing message – which internal conflicts do we pick? Our policies are a lot more straightforward when we say that we do not get involved in internal conflicts, but when they spill over and start to affect the international community we will have to act.

None of the issues in North Korea have gotten worse because of President Donald J. Trump. All of the issues were headed this way during Mr. Obama’s administration. The difference is that Donald Trump is willing to say, “STOP!” and Mr. Obama was simply saying, “Please China won’t you please curb your pet dog?” That approach (which was the same basic policy of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton) is the same thing that didn’t work with North Korea for decades. We need to say, “STOP!” and the generals under Kim need to understand that they will die if they proceed to threaten nukes against South Korea and Japan.

It is very likely that we need to be a bit more gracious. We need to give Kim and the Chinese an opportunity to save face. My suggestion is simple, “Stop developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and we promise that the US will not attack South Korea first. Do not stop all development and testing and we cannot commit that we will not be forced to attack you in order to proactively protect South Korea and Japan.”

Throughout all of this, Beijing needs to understand that they need to curb their dog.

Photo by DonkeyHotey

Southwest To End Overbooking on Flights By June

Southwest To End Overbooking on Flights By June


I really enjoy Southwest airlines service. It is not overly convenient for me as they have a limited presence in airports under an hour from me, but I have been known to drive 90-100 miles to use Southwest.

A little-known fact about Southwest is that if you have a high seating number within the C list, you are at risk of not getting a seat at all. If the flight is overbooked, then all of the seats will be full when you get to the plane and the gate agent won’t let you on to the plane.

I never fly Southwest without paying the slightly higher cost of Early Bird seating. This will typically get you place in line in the mid-to-high A list, or in a really popular flight, a low B number.

Southwest Airlines said it would end overselling of seats on its flights by the end of June, accelerating the move in the wake of the furor surrounding efforts to remove a United Airlines flier earlier this month.

Airlines typically sell more seats than an aircraft’s capacity because of no-shows, though Southwest’s focus on airport-to-airport flying means it is less exposed to delayed connecting passengers compared with carriers such as United Continental Holdings Inc. that operate big hubs.

Southwest typically oversells just one seat on a jet carrying 143 passengers and expects a “fairly small” revenue impact that would be counteracted by a drop in costs from lower compensation payments.

But Southwest required almost 15,000 passengers to give up their seats involuntarily last year—more than the combined total of United, American Airlines Group Inc., and Delta Air Lines Inc. Some 80% of the Southwest total was caused by overselling, with the balance to make way for airline crew, said executives on a quarterly earnings’ call Thursday.

Source: Southwest To End Overbooking on Flights By June

How do you spell whiskey?

How do you spell whiskey?

I know that everyone thinks I only worry about politics. Thankfully, that is simply not true.

Spelling lesson time:

whisky or whiskey?

I know… you thought you’d left spelling lessons behind when you left school! And you’re probably wondering why you should even give a hoot about how to spell the name of my second favorite spirit (yes, tequila is my favorite, but too many bars serve lousy tequila so I need a backup plan).

jameson photoWhy do you need to know how to spell the pride of the Irish isle?
Street cred. That’s why.

Oh, to be sure, the spelling’s not the most important thing about drinking whisky. After all, you don’t have to pass a spelling test before they let you buy a wee dram at the pub. But, as with so much in life, it’s the small things that count. They add up. God is in the details. Or is that the Devil? Either way, you’re covered.

Besides, the answer to “How do you spell whisk(e)y?” is really simple:

Both ways.

But, there is an important distinction between the two. You see, whisky (plural whiskies) shows that the product was made in either Scotland, Wales, Canada or Japan, whereas whiskey (plural whiskeys) shows that it was made in either blessed Ireland or in the greatest country ever: America.

This is the kind of interesting information that you can casually throw into conversation with your friends at the pub. They’ll think you’re a connoisseur. They’ll be impressed. I promise.

If they aren’t impressed then they will think you are a reincarnation of Cliff from Cheers. If you are too young to understand that joke then you need to binge watch Cheers.

As a bonus, here’s another whisky spelling trivia gem for you: Despite what I told you above, the official spelling in America is actually whisky. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms decreed it so in 1968. Some distilleries obeyed. Others clung to tradition. And in the whisky world, tradition is important. Much more important than the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. jameson photoWhich is why they had to give in and allow American distilleries to choose which spelling they wanted to use, and why you’ll see examples of both spellings on American labels.

In case you are interested, I have a particular fondness for Jameson, Tullamore Dew (often called Tully at many bars), Teeling, and Redbreast but I won’t turn down a Connemara or a Bushmills.

Photo by Wicked Little Cake Company