While You Weren’t Looking The National Security Council Changed

Lost in all falderal about the refugee bans and protests at airports was an Executive Order, which reorganized the National Security Council (NSC). That reorganization excludes the Chairman of The Joint Chiefs (CJCS) from regular committee meetings and instead has him attend only when his/her expertise is needed. Moreover, it installs the controversial White House adviser Steve Bannon as a permanent member.

This is an especially worrisome development as the military members are specifically trained to develop estimates and play the role as the strongest advocate AGAINST their own position. The CJCS provides presidents and the national command authority apolitical continuity.

The second part of order is the ascension of Mr. Bannon as a permanent member. Mr. Bannon is a longtime rabble-rouser and purveyor of questionable journalistic products. He has been accused of catering to white nationalists at Breitbart News.

It is important to remember that during the campaign Mr. Trump was quick to remind that he “knows more than the generals.”

While council and committee assignments lack the visibility of protests at airports, it is in these bodies that policy and priority are determined. Assigning the right people matters. By adding Mr. Bannon and subtracting the CJCS president, Trump may be creating a body that lacks the gravitas needed for complex, dangerous decisions.

Touting a Hokum Mandate

For the past several days I’ve heard a dump truck full of hokum about a supposed “mandate” the Republicans think they’ve earned from the recent election.

I warn my Republican friends not to be counting too many chickens just yet. All data suggests any mandate is as illusory as the Clinton Blue Wall. It Just doesn’t exist.

I’m not saying they can’t build a mandate, but one doesn’t exist today.

Consider that a mandate implies an overwhelming moral authority. Consider that a mandate implies an obviousness; a huge victory.

That just didn’t happen. While Mr. Trump surely did win the electoral college (by a lot), most people did not vote for him; the senate Republicans lost seats; and the house of representatives Republicans lost seats as well.

So – to my mind – here is what the Republicans need to do; take a deep breath, step back, and see what can be done to truly serve America. And maybe, just maybe the imaginary mandate they are touting might become a reality.

However, hubris won’t cut it.

If we’ve learned anything during the Obama years, it is the American people will take an imaginary mandate and shove it down your throat within 24 months (consider the Obama first mid-terms). He crushed John McCain only for the Dems to get their heads handed to them.

So before Republicans get tendonitis from patting themselves too much on the back, they need to beware. Suffering Americans don’t have a whole lot of patience with illusory mandates; they want our elected leaders to get to work and not take victory laps.

I hope Mr. Trump does well. And maybe he can, but the Republicans who are water skiing in his wake need to be careful or they will end up being tossed on the rocks.

Pop TV’s Wolf Creek is Great

wolf-creek-tv-posterI have a guilty pleasure I need to confess.

Maybe I should start with a prayer, Naaaah it’s not fitting given the topic.

Anyway, I have a dog. Just throwing that out to set the stage, because the heroine of this guilt pleasure also has a dog. Her name is Eve and she is the protagonist in the bleak Outback thriller “Wolf Creek” on PopTV.

Set in Australia, an American young woman relentlessly hunts down the killer of her family; a serial killer named Mick Taylor. Eve is played by Australian actress Lucy Fry. She plays the role with both vulnerability and strength (a rare combination).

Mick Taylor is menacingly play by longtime Aussie TV staple John Jarret. He has a long list of credits and it is hard to believe he once hosted a lifestyle show on Australian TV

Anyway, the cast of characters populating the show is fairly unusual for the kind of slasher/revenge flick we’ve grown used to. Even so, the story moves so fast and the Outback so bleak there is something special about this production.

I think that is the power of the show. The characters are so unusual that you never get bored. There is the drug lord chasing Eve , not because she stole his money (she did), but because he thinks she would provide the perfect DNA for his future offspring. There is the cop who is obsessed with her because his wife is cheating on him; there is the soiled dove women from some kind of strip/non strip club where the women walk around suggestively, but never take their clothes; and finally there is the useless dog that never seems to be around when trouble erupts.

If you like your tension mixed with cornucopia of oddball characters, this is the show for you.



Why We Should Be Listening to Trump Supporters

I have long ago come to understand, no one is ever all right or all wrong. That’s kind of where I start with the Trump movement. He is as flawed a candidate as has ever been, but yet, he tapped into something that is real.

I think it’s the idea people believe no one cares about them and they have become little more than units of economic output working to line the pockets of the wealthy.

There is something to that. Trump voters have legitimate concerns; they see factories closing and it seems all the jobs that once led to a good middle class life are going overseas. They see a changing world-scape where America exceptionalism is global commonness.

They are not quite sure whose fault it is, but it is somebody’s. And they may be right that it is the political elite doing most of the damage, but as someone once said, “The messenger becomes the message.”

And because of all things Trump he probably won’t win, but we shun the message of his supporters at our own peril. They are on to something to here. There is a bubbling beneath the surface we all need to come to grips with if we want to move forward as a nation and an economic powerhouse.

Trump supporters are not outliers, they are educators.

DWDB and DOL Start With Partners


p1070440The Delaware Department of Labor (DOL), with its partner the Delaware Workforce Development Board (DWDB), held a Strategic Planning Retreat Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016 at the Delmarva Power Conference Center in Newark, Delaware. The crowd of more than 70 people, made up of DWDB board members, key partners across the breadth of state government, and non-governmental agencies worked on such weighty topics as identifying customer needs, a review of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)of 2014, and identifying strategic opportunities which could improve the state’s publicly funded workforce system to help employers and job seekers.

Delaware is doing the exact right thing bringing all these partners together, said Leo Miller, U.S DOL Regional Administrator.”

The planning retreat is part of a larger initiative by DOL and the DWDB to better develop the state’s workforce plan and take advantage of all the opportunities imbedded in the new law. The duo expects the new plan to be done by April 30, 2017.


The One That Got Away

Sunset along the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Friday burst down that slow moving tidal water as reds, purples, blues and a single rainbow bouncing off the clouds offered consolation; the only thing biting for me were mosquitos. My wife was having a record night pulling in one white perch after another.

In the Army they call it Early Evening Nautical Twilight (EENT) and it’s that time of evening just after the sunsets and your really can’t discern things to well; it’s neither dark nor light.

I stood there on the rocky bank of the canal just after the vibrant night show when a giant cargo ship riding high in the water slowly passed by. The running lights of the ship were bright enough to make me think it wasn’t as dark as it really was.

The huge wake left by the ship slammed the water against the rocks and the tip of my Shakespeare Ugly Stick bent and jigged. I thought it was just the water.

Then the rod bent almost in half and my spinning reel screamed; I set my drag to let the fish run.

I grabbed the rod from a crevice in the gray rocky bank. I set the hook and began reeling it in.  I pumped the handle as fast as I could so I could get ahead of the drag. At one point I thought I had gotten my 10-pound test line snagged on the bottom, but the fish had dived to the bottom and seemed to sit there. I gave my line a long slow hard pull and the fight started again.

I reeled; it ran. The fish and I went back and forth, I’d get him close and he’d pull away. My arms began to ache and the rod was bent so hard I was sure it would break. My wife had to pull her rod out of the way as the fish went/ right then left.

There was very little light, but after what seem like a quite a while I could just make out the enormous face of a hardhead catfish who tail fins were swooshing in the water making a tiny whirlpool.

Then I did something stupid.

I cranked my drag down, got greedy, and gave it one final heave and all resistance was over. The rod tip sprung straight up and all I could see is my empty line flutter in the wind as the lights coming from the Summit Bridge put a heartbreaking exclamation mark on my error.

The fish of a lifetime got away.