THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 141

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 141

…My God, any morals this country has left will be flushed down the toilet if she gets in office…

In his role of back-seat-driver, Roy Crippen can only sit back and be a worrisome observer of situations he has minimal control over.

Take the United States’ inaction as it applies to the mounting evidence that the United Korean Peninsula is engaged in active sabotage against the World Coalition. That they can enlist the help of the ever-dangerous, sprawling Talibanistan, is even more infuriating to him and he discusses these and other issues with his new Press Secretary Francine Bouchette, “If I were president, I would have put an end to that nonsense a long time ago. We have allowed them to swallow South Korea whole and why, because we were afraid that they would use their nuclear weapons on some defenseless nation.”

“On the subject of president,” Francine ignores his long held worldviews and moves on to the now of things, “it seems there is a growing faction of Republicans who are touting you as the party’s nominee for 2032.”

“You are sounding like my Political Advisor, instead of Press Secretary.”

“Advisor, mouthpiece….what’s the difference? One of the reasons you hired me is because you did not have the time or interest in keeping track of the extraneous details.”

“And dealing with the media hoard… which you have lifted off my plate. I owe you my debt of gratitude for that, among other things, if you know what I mean?”

“Let us keep the “other things” out of this. Once this nation gets past this Space Colony malaise and things return to normal, it is going to need a Republican leader with a clear vision, not (current President) Sanchez’ V P Sylvia Freelove!”

“Are you telling me that Freelove is the Democratic frontrunner for ’32? My God, Image result for toilet flushing gifany morals this country has left will be flushed down the toilet if she gets in office.

“So if you do not want traditional marriage banned or the damned ACLU to become Attorneys General, you better start thinking about listening to the conversation.”

“I don’t have the money to make a run at the presidency? It takes big bucks to get to the White House.”

“If the world wants to restore the America of our great-grandfathers, the dollar$ will take care of itself.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Scrooge McDuck

Episode 141


page 133

TJeff and the Philly Gang – Independence Day

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United States of America

Independence Day

If you you liked “Hamilton”, you will be thrilled with “TJeff & the Gang”

The Declaration of Independence is the usual name of a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies,then at war with Great Britain, regarded themselves as thirteen newly independent sovereign states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. Instead they formed a new nation—the United States of America. John Adams was a leader in pushing for independence, which was unanimously approved on July 2. A committee of five had already drafted the formal declaration, to be ready when Congress voted on independence. The term “Declaration of Independence” is not used in the document itself.

Adams persuaded the committee to select Thomas Jefferson to compose the original draft of the document, which Congress would edit to produce the final version. The Declaration was ultimately a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The national birthday, Independence Day, is celebrated on July 4, although Adams wanted July 2.

After ratifying the text on July 4, Congress issued the Declaration of Independence in several forms. It was initially published as the printed Dunlap broadside that was widely distributed and read to the public. The source copy used for this printing has been lost, and may have been a copy in Thomas Jefferson’s hand. Jefferson’s original draft, complete with changes made by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, and Jefferson’s notes of changes made by Congress, are preserved at the Library of Congress. The best known version of the Declaration, a signed copy that is popularly regarded as the official document, is displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. This engrossed copy was ordered by Congress on July 19, and signed primarily on August 2.

The sources and interpretation of the Declaration have been the subject of much scholarly inquiry. The Declaration justified the independence of the United States by listing colonial grievances against King George III, and by asserting certain natural and legal rights, including a right of revolution. Having served its original purpose in announcing independence, references to the text of the Declaration were few for the next four score years. Abraham Lincoln made it the centerpiece of his rhetoric (as in the Gettysburg Address of 1863), and his policies. Since then, it has become a well-known statement on human rights, particularly its second sentence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This has been called “one of the best-known sentences in the English language”, containing “the most potent and consequential words in American history”. The passage came to represent a moral standard to which the United States should strive. This view was notably promoted by Abraham Lincoln, who considered the Declaration to be the foundation of his political philosophy, and argued that the Declaration is a statement of principles through which the United States Constitution should be interpreted.

It provided inspiration to numerous national declarations of independence throughout the world. Historian David Armitage, after examining the influence of the American “Declaration” on over 100 other declarations of independence, says:

The American Revolution was the first outbreak of the contagion of sovereignty that has swept the world in the centuries since 1776. Its influence spread first to the Low Countries and then to the Caribbean, Spanish America, the Balkans, West Africa, and Central Europe in the decades up to 1848…. Declarations of independence were among the primary symptoms of this contagion of sovereignty.

Thirteen Colonies
United States
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
History
Established May 10, 1775
Disbanded March 1, 1781
Preceded by First Continental Congress
Succeeded by 1st Confederation Congress
Seats Variable; ~60
Meeting place
1775–1777: Pennsylvania State House,Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1775–1781: Variable
Footnotes
Though there were about 50 members of the Congress at a given time, it was the states that had votes, so there were effectively only 13 seats.


TJeff and the Philly Gang

– Let Freedom Ring

Bipartisanship , It Does Exist – WIF Politics

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Bipartisan Votes –

The US Government

Isn’t So Divided

For the past few years the media has wanted to portray the American government as divided into Democrats and Republicans, a supposedly black and white dichotomy. The two parties supposedly can never be expected to cooperate, even though many will insist that the parties are functionally the same. This has predated the election of President Donald J. Trump, but his election has certainly supercharged how the conflict is framed.

Don’t you believe it. Many momentous bills have overwhelmingly passed the two chambers of Congress and have been signed by the president while barely attracting a blip of attention. Partisans on both sides of the party lines want to portray the situation with more conflict than there really is even while the majority of both parties cooperate away from the public eye.

10. Patient Right to Know Act

For years, pharmaceutical companies kept doctors and pharmacies from telling patients about more affordable medications through gag orders. The bill to stop these gag orders passed through the Senate with 98-2 votes on September 17, 2018. It was signed by President Trump on October 11.

As anyone with much experience dealing with contemporary healthcare costs knows, these are not trifling expenses. It’s estimated that doctors offering more affordable alternatives will save the public more than $135 million annually. Everyone is entitled to their opinions regarding how much regulation is necessary or productive, but this is a strong indication that there are bipartisan ways to deal with runaway healthcare expenses if we take the time to look for them.

9. VA Choice and Quality Employment Act

The Veterans Affairs office is one of the most heavily criticized services in the US government. With more than $180 billion in the annual budget, it’s one of the larger annual expenses. Yet few will argue that it’s not worth it, considering the sacrifices made by its ostensible beneficiaries. So it was that in 2017, an emergency allotment of six billion in funds was voted into law. The focus of the funding was to provide government-funded medical services to veterans.

A big part of the reason the effort didn’t become a larger news story was that it was signed on August 12, which meant that it was completely overshadowed in the public consciousness by the murder of Heather Hayer during the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Few bills would be able to compete with that in the news cycle.

8. Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act

The National Council on Aging reports that an estimated one in 10 people over the age of 60 has been a victim of elder abuse, and every year another five million suffer from it while roughly only one in every 14 actionable cases is reported. On October 18, 2017, this law was signed with the intention of greatly expanding the enforcement of laws that protect elders. The law required every state to designate an Elder Justice Coordinator that would serve the Bureau of Consumer Protection. It also requires the Department of Justice to make information regarding the investigations public.

Additionally, in what seems directly inspired by a plot in the critically-acclaimed AMC program Better Call Saul, there are increases for penalties regarding interstate fraud. Furthermore, interstate adult protective groups are allowed to operate. In total, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that enforcing this law will cost $21 million, which — if it has a significant impact on rates of elder abuse — seems like a real bargain.

7. Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act

As said earlier, the Department of Veterans Affairs is a very controversial organization. One of the controversies associated with it is that many veterans who should receive coverage or compensation are denied their services erroneously due to incompetent or corrupt decisions by staff members. On June 13, 2017, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to pass this law, which would increase fines and pension deductions for problem employees, and also stop them from receiving pay during the appeals process.

The inclusion of additional protections for whistleblowers was in large part inspired by the Wait List Scandal of 2014. It came to light that many veterans weren’t receiving medication and other benefits for as many as four months at a time, but that the delays weren’t being recorded or reported. Still, considering that there were a reported 49,000 vacancies in the Veterans Affairs offices at the time the bill was signed, a reluctance to fire employees for any reason is fairly understandable.

6. Western Oregon Tribal Fairness Act

Between the heated controversy over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline over Sioux land and what the famous American/Mexican border wall would mean in terms of dividing tribes such as the Tohono O’odham, Native American rights have been more prominent in the news in recent years. But there has been fairly recent good news for those tribes as well. On January 8, 2018, this bill was signed into law, even if it took most of the summer and all of Autumn of 2017 for it to make its way through Congress.

The law allocated 32,000 acres of federal land to three tribes in Oregon. Those were the Umpqua, Coos, and the Siuslaw. The US government does not have the best record when it comes to honoring land grants to tribes, but local leaders expressed that they were pleased with the arrangement.

5. Jobs for Our Heroes Act

As reported by Military Times in July 2018, more than 50% of US veterans have difficulty finding work after the end of their enlistments. There’s apparently not much that the US government feels they can do to change the minds of most employers, but there is one career field where it seems the government feels it can significantly expand employment opportunities for veterans. This bill, which was signed into law on January 8, 2018, has been intended to find veterans work as commercial drivers.

There are two primary ways the bill works to expedite this process. For one, it makes training with heavy machinery during enlistment valid as meeting the requirements for operating heavy civilian vehicles. It also makes health certification provided by VA medical professionals valid for health checks related to civilian driving jobs. Such is the sort of legal red tape that leaves it no wonder that some veterans have trouble finding employment in civilian life.

4. Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act

For those unfamiliar with the term, an excise tax is a tax on a specific good or service. In the case of this law, which was signed on May 10, 2019, it would allow taxes collected on the sales of firearms to be used to buy the land for, and to maintain, shooting ranges, covering up to 90% of the expenses. As one of the bills sponsors, Rob Bishop from Utah, put it, gun ranges are becoming more necessary for proper gun safety training, “As this nation becomes more urbanized.”

Sounds like a bill that would have needed to be concocted by a Republican, right? Actually, no — one of the original sponsors of this bill was Representative Ron Kind. He’s a Democrat from Wisconsin’s Third District. Party lines are much less clearly delineated than it often seems.

3. Medicaid Services Investment and Accountability Act

For those who don’t know, Medicaid is a program where government on the state or federal level provides assistance to low income families in paying their medical bills. Recently, there seems considerable bipartisan interest in expanding it. For example, in the 2018 Midterm election three of the four states with ballot initiatives to increase funding for it passed it, even though the states in question (Idaho, Nebraska, Utah) generally vote conservative and thus would not usually support increasing funding for social programs.

So it was that on April 18, 2019 this bill to bolster Medicaid services was signed. The law increased penalties for companies that mis-classify their medications to receive more government reimbursement, specifically whether the drugs are “innovator” or “non-innovator.” It also provided more protections against medical bankruptcy for spouses, and parents with children who are suffering from conditions that require intensive treatment.

2. Water Infrastructure Improvement Act

Between calamities such as massive flooding in the Midwest in the spring of 2019 and ongoing lead-tainted water in communities nationwide such as Flint, Michigan, dealing with water has recently become a growing problem for the United States. Against this background, despite its un-glamorous nature, six cosponsors evenly divided between the parties attached themselves to this bill in December 2018. It was signed into law on January 14, 2019, a brisk process for any piece of legislation.

This act delegates to local municipalities plans for how to deal with storm water and wastewater. It establishes offices for an ombudsman to expedite the process for municipalities to meet full Environmental Protection Agency standards. There is also, under Section 5, an emphasis on the EPA being required to promote the implementation of natural (i.e. “green”) infrastructure process.

1. Natural Resources Management Act

Sometimes when an act is signed into law, it’s not so much a single bill as a bundle of them. When this act was signed into law on March 12, 2019, it was roughly 120 bills that ranged in focus from public land conservation to water management. Considering recent rumblings in the media that there would be drilling and mining in national park areas, it makes sense that the government would be inclined to demonstrate a commitment to environmental protection.

The most striking single aspect of the act was the setting aside of 1.3 million acres of land for federal protection, including from damage by dam construction. Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley alone had an extra 40,000 acres added, which in the former case makes a lot of sense considering the damage that national park suffered during the 2019 government shutdown. Hopefully we can look forward to more bipartisan environmental initiatives in the near future.


Bipartisanship , It Does Exist

WIF Politics

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #98

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #98

…Reports from ships in the vicinity tell us the storm moved straight west to Haiti, where it seems to have lost its punch…

“Is there anything we can do for those people?” asks President William McKinley of his acting Secretary of Agriculture, referring to the tropical system that had just roared over a newly ceded island of the West Indies, now under the jurisdiction of the United States.

“Not really, Mr. President,” replies Herbert Love, “but only because they have not rebuilt from last year’s hurricane. The good news is that, because of Baily Kelly and his discovery, there will not be the scores of deaths from anemia. Health conditions have improved exponentially.”

caribbean

“Puerto Rico has been long-suffering, Herb; Spanish tyranny, civil war, global war poverty, hurricanes, sickness… miseries of Biblical proportions. It is no wonder that New York is filling up with immigrants, refugees and the like. I believe I would swim all there to escape that island.”

“It’s like they are row of dominoes, standing on end. If they started with 100, 75 have already toppled,” Love relates.

          “You know how I enjoy dominoes. I guess I will have to prop up the 76th.” That is McKinley’s way of telling Herb do what he can do to help them. This is how policy is formulated, as simple as a seemingly casual conversation. “By the way, where is that storm headed? Is Florida in the path?”

Sec. of Ag-001       If the Department of Agriculture were an umbrella, the Weather Bureau is an agency under it and one of great interest to a farm owner such as Herb Love. “Reports from ships in the vicinity tell us the storm moved straight west to Haiti, where it seems to have lost its punch. The lowest barometric readings are drifting into the Gulf of Mexico, where it looks that it has stalled and likely to break up.”

“I hope so.” He moves for a peek at his presidential calendar. “By this time next year, September 6th, I want Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Bahamas to return to want they were meant to be: tropical paradises.” He speaks of 1901. “I think I will pay the islands a visit after the Pan-American Exposition. I have not used the Presidential Yacht since my first year in office. We’ll need a long vacation by then, with the election and all.”

Planning so far in advance is common among heads of state. Whether or not made plans change is a matter of fate.


Alpha Omega M.D

#1 Song of 1900

Episode #98


page 90

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #80

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #80

…It is not every day you get a wire from the President of the United States of America…

After successfully navigating through the murky waters of the Spanish-American War, a one hundred day semi-global skirmish that establishes his country as an imperialistic power, President William McKinley has set his sights on reelection. The war has produced, as they usually do, heroes and the Republican Party chooses the most celebrated hero, Teddy Roosevelt as his Vice-presidential partner, rather than incumbent Garret Hobart. Roosevelt had previously ridden his San Juan Hill popularity to the New York governor’s mansion. Sound reputation and national prosperity virtually assures them victory in November.

But this is August and some smaller issues need to be dealt with. It is Herbert Love who may add yet another title to his already crowded business card; because of a telegram he receives.

It reads:

Mayor Herbert Love

Quincy City Hall

Quincy, Florida, U.S.A.

 

President William McKinley

Washington D.C., U.S.A.

Dear Mr. Love;

My staff and I have been admiring reports of your diverse approach to your agricultural enterprises. This is the sort of expertise a president looks for when he selects his Secretary of Agriculture.

As you likely know, James Wilson has been and will be my secretary of this department, but he has succumbed to dreadful plague while he was in San Francisco. And considering the boll weevil crisis we face, among other issues, such as the total pasteurization of the nation’s milk supply, I feel we need a steady stream of quality leadership for our nation’s farming families.

We feel that you are that man and hope you will be stirred to serve your country and offer  this position in my administration. Your title would be Under-secretary of Agriculture, the first such, but with all the amenities that Mr. Wilson enjoys. Of course I would want you stay on for my second term, God willing.

Please call me at the attached secure telephone line, at your earliest convenience.

  Your President,

 William McKinley

It is not every day you get a wire from the President of the United States of America.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #80


page 73

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #39

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #39

…Willy Campbell has made yet another trip to the rail depot in Midway, this fourth day of October 1896…

Willy Campbell has made yet another trip to the rail depot in Midway, this fourth day of October 1896, one of many in a wagon that could use a rest. He hopes to accommodate that soon, but is perceptively nervous despite encouragement to the contrary. No matter how justified the venture, he has the raw feeling of betrayal in his gut; inexplicable loyalty to the only life he and his family have ever known.

“You slip under this here canvas, Master Haley.” Campbell takes the first step for future generations. “And you best not be movin’, seein’ we’ll both be workin’ in chains, should’st we be caught.”

“Don’t you worry now, Willy. We have been planning for this day for months,” he assures. “We’ve done this before and we will do it again, if we have to.”

“I don’t know what Master Love sees in a nigger family like mine.”

“Stop using that word!”

Willy thinks back to figure out just what he said was wrong.

“You are not a nig___.” He cannot say that guttural term, it repulses him so. “And there is no reason to call me, Herb Love, Master, or anyone for that matter.”

“Don’t mean nothin’ to me, but if it pleases you, yessir I won’t no more. Now hush and stay still.” Quite literally, the only “Love” he has ever tasted began with that peach of a man, Herbert, who treated him like he was a real human being, instead of a rented mule.

The dutiful team of horses turns back toward home, merely looking forward to their reward of oats or an apple maybe or fresh hay at the very least. Back at the stable, where the sun is setting, black and white horses eat together.

Where have humans gone wrong?


Alpha Omega M.D.

Campbell Home-001

Episode #39


page 37

American Oddities – WIF Fun Facts

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Facts About

America

That Make

No Sense

to Foreigners

America. It’s one of the biggest countries on Earth, both in terms of population and sheer size. It’s the planet dominating superpower; the heaviest hitter where culture is concerned; a place known by nearly every single human on the planet… and, to all but the 4-5% of humanity who live there, it makes absolutely no gosh darn sense.

 See, despite its cultural clout, America still seems deeply weird to foreigners. And we don’t just mean people who come from repressive kingdoms and tin-pot dictatorships. Europeans, people from Southeast Asia, Australians and Brits all find yuge chunks of life in the good ol’ US-of-A beyond comprehension. If you were born stateside, the following might not seem super crazy to you. But trust us, every single foreigner is reading this with their jaw dangling open and their eyeballs popping out.

10. US Toddlers Shoot One Person a Week

Americans sure love guns. The US has the highest rate of gun-ownership on planet Earth, and the least-restrictive gun laws (only Switzerland comes close). That’s all thanks to the 2nd Amendment, which has been the subject of near-constant debate since being written.

But it’s not the sheer number of guns in America that really astounds foreigners. It’s the crazy things that leads to. Things like US toddlers shooting one person a week.

There’s literally no other country on Earth you could write that sentence about. Even countries that are swimming in guns, like Serbia, Norway, and Switzerland, don’t have toddlers blowing one another away. To be fair, they have tiny populations, but, to be even fairer, c’mon buddy. US toddlers have shot on average one person a week (including themselves) for the past two years. Even war zones don’t have numbers like that.

More bizarre still, America keeps on arming its toddlers. In 2016, Iowa made it legal for babies to handle loaded guns. That’s right. The guys in the Hawkeye State elected to arm the very babies that are trying to shoot them. How’s that for hubris?

9. Bestiality is Still Legal in 9 US States (but premarital sex is outlawed)

Despite this being 2017, plenty of US States still have sex laws on the books that are… unenlightened, to say the least. And by that, we mean they were seemingly written by two guys named Festus and Bubba while necking with their pet hog Clancy.

Incredible as it may seem, there are nearly ten US States where it is still legal to have sexual intercourse with animals. We say ‘nearly’ ten, because one’s the District of Columbia (not a state, kids!). The other nine are Hawaii, Kentucky, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming. In addition, plenty of states still only consider bestiality a misdemeanor.

This would be odd enough if the US was a spectacularly licentious place, but it’s not. In addition to allowing you to marry your best-est sow, four states still outlaw either premarital or extramarital sex, or co-habiting with your partner prior to marriage. While the laws are effectively never enforced, the fact they’re still on the statute books attests to America’s unique mix of religious piety and deep-seated desire to mimic the guys from Deliverance.

8. The Highest Paid Public Employee in 39 States is a Sports Coach

Go to any other country in the Western world – Canada, Germany, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, wherever – and the highest-paid public employee will be someone working in a selfless capacity. They’ll be the guys and gals running universities, or public hospitals, or the local council. America, though, laughs in the face of such devotion to the public good. Instead of rewarding headmasters or doctors or teachers, the highest public pay package in 39 states goes to sports coaches. Specifically, guys coaching football or men’s basketball.

We’re not talking comparatively small sums, either. The salaries involved would be enviable in the private sector. University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban, for example, rakes in over $7 million, plus bonuses, likely making him one of the highest-paid public employees not living in a corrupt dictatorship. For those from outside the states, this seems less extravagant, and more like an absolute inability to get priorities right.

Only Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New York, Nevada, New Hampshire, Vermont and both Dakotas refuse to award their highest public pay packet to a football or men’s basketball coach. Interestingly, both Hawaii and Vermont, as you’ll remember from a second ago, still technically allow bestiality. We’re really not sure what to make of that.

7. Over Half of All Americans Don’t Hold a Valid Passport

In 2014, polling company YouGov revealed only 8% of Britons had never left their country of birth to travel abroad. While this is maybe not all that super-impressive (Britain is tiny and France is close), it puts the US to shame. The same poll found only 50% of Americans would admit to ever having left the country. That’s nearly 160 million people who have never been to Canada or Mexico, let alone Europe or Asia.

For people who were born in Europe, that’s almost like saying you’ve never seen a glass of water. The idea of not going abroad from time to time is alien. In places like Germany, over 90% of the population hold a valid passport, and you better believe they use it.

But that’s Europe, we hear you cry, it’s a small continent with, like, a bazillion countries. Well, first, we’re pretty sure you’re exaggerating there, bud. Secondly, look at Australia, a country nearly as big as the US, and more cut-off from the rest of the world. According to official data, one third of the population goes abroad every single year. That compares to 50% of Americans over their entire lifetimes. Clearly, the US is a travel-averse country.

6. 30% of Americans Prefer Saving Money to Vital Medical Treatment

Compared to other developed nations, healthcare in the US is expensive. You can blame that on too much Obamacare, or not enough of it, but the fact remains that public systems, private systems, and public-private systems elsewhere in the world all deliver better service at lower cost. This alone can seem staggering to foreigners. Then there’s the American attitude to health. Faced with a serious illness or injury, around 30 percent of Americans would rather walk it off than pay for treatment.

 This… simply doesn’t happen elsewhere. Norway has the second most-expensive healthcare in the world, and pretty much no-one there avoids necessary treatment. Japan has an insurance-based, private system with payments often covered by employers, just like the US, and people don’t skip out on medical care. To find other people choosing money over hospitalization, you have to leave the developed world behind and start poking around in poorer countries where wages are low and healthcare unaffordable.

We’re not trying to rag on American healthcare here. America has some of the best doctors and hospitals going. But the idea that you’d choose money over health (or that you’d have to choose)? To non-Americans, that’s insane.

5. 7 States Have Custody Rights for Rapists

OK, let’s turn to some really, really dark stuff now. There exists a certain subsection of guys who like to rape women. Occasionally, this results in their victims getting pregnant. Depending on where they live and their religious convictions, the women may then decide to carry the baby to term. Now, here’s where it gets creepy. In around 7 states, it’s perfectly legal for the rapist-father to sue for custody of his newborn child.

Imagine that for a second. You’ve been violently assaulted, gone through the hell of guilt and self-recrimination, been courageous enough to bring the resulting baby into the world… and now you’re forced to watch as the D-bag who hurt you decides he wants to be a father to your son/daughter. Well, if you live in Alabama, Mississippi, Maryland, New Mexico, North Dakota, Wyoming or Minnesota, that can totally happen.

In addition, there are 20 more states where it might be legal. In Indiana, for example, you can only block the rapist from seeking custody if you remember to do so within 3 months of your baby being born. This is some seriously dark stuff, and we guarantee that if you mention it to anyone from elsewhere in the developed world, their jaws will drop so low they hit the ground. Sure, some Middle East states may have even-worse laws, but that’s not really a benchmark to aspire to.

4. America Has More Self-Identified Patriots than Anywhere Else on Earth

In July 2016, Gallup released the results of their yearly patriotism poll. They found 52% of Americans call themselves “extremely patriotic”, the lowest level in polling history. The news triggered a slew of introspective articles by American writers, wondering what had gone wrong. For those reading elsewhere in the world, it felt like stepping through the looking glass. 52% is such a good score it leaves other countries eating the USA’s dust.

Such levels of patriotism simply don’t exist in the rest of the developed world. In a similar survey by YouGov, only 13% of Brits thought their country was “the best in the world.” That was the highest score in the EU. Germany and France got only 5% each. The second and third highest-ranking countries globally, India and Australia, scored 34% and 36%. But the US? The US busted through the 40% mark, with an additional 32% claiming America was at the very least “better than most other countries.”

For the majority of foreigners, the idea of showing US-levels of patriotism is simply alien. You will never see a flag in every yard in any other country on Earth. But that’s the US public for you: optimistic to a tee. Even if they’re unhappy with their current government, folks still believe that the idea of America itself is worth believing in.

3. Americans are More Likely to Get Bitten by Other Americans than Rats

The stereotype is that Americans likes three things: football, fast food, and violence (often all at once). It’s true that America’s murder rate is crazy-high. It’s also true that the national sport is getting drunk and starting bar-fights. But surely it’s not as bad as all that?

Well, we hate to break it to you, but this arresting statistic says otherwise. If you live in America, you are more likely to be bitten by another American than you are by a rat.

To be clear, this isn’t because US rats are particularly docile or rare on the ground. Cities like New York are completely infested, and people get bitten all the freakin’ time. There are over 40,000 rat bites recorded in America each year. The only trouble is, there are at least 45,000 human bites recorded right alongside them.

Again, this is a freaky fact for Americans, too. But, also again, it’s just something that doesn’t happen in most other countries. Sure, drunks in Britain like to hit each other, and Italian soccer hooligans are violent as heck, but biting enough people to outstrip rats? It’s something we can’t imagine happening anywhere else.

2. Americans Take ‘Fast Food’ Extremely Literally

The US is the birthplace of fast food. It’s the nation that brought the world the drive-thru, perfected the snack, and coined the phrase “lunch is for wimps.” Foreigners know all this intellectually. But confront them with a statistic like the following, and it’ll still blow their minds. Americans, you see, are the 3rd fastest eaters on Earth. On an average day, Americans spend only 74 minutes eating, nearly the lowest in the world.

That’s only slightly over 20 minutes each for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and far less if you include time put aside for eating snacks. If you live in the USA, this probably doesn’t seem so weird to you (the working lunch is an American specialty), but if you live elsewhere… man, you’re probably wondering how the heck they do it. In France, the average eating time is 135 minutes a day. In Turkey, it’s 162 minutes. Even in Japan, where people work far longer hours than in the US, they still manage to put aside 117 minutes a day for chow. The only other countries to spend as little time eating are Canada (72 minutes) and Mexico (under 70 minutes).

This is probably to do with both the American hard work ethic and fast food culture, which prioritizes productivity over relaxation. The same can be seen in a related statistic on cooking times. Nowhere else on Earth do people spend as little time cooking each day as in America.

1. Government Departments Have Official Advice for Reporting Elvis Sightings

One of the things foreigners know about the US is that it’s full of wackos seeing wacko things. There’s a reason The X-Files was so popular 20 years ago. But it’s one thing to hear about guys filming shaky footage of Bigfoot on their cell phone. It’s another entirely to hear that actual US government departments have official advice for reporting Elvis sightings.

Here, for example, is a link to the Federal government’s official website for copyright. Hover your mouse over the link. See that it ends .gov? It’s impossible for anyone not representing a government entity to register a .gov address. This site is legit. It’s part of the Federal government, and paid for by taxpayers’ money. And it includes official advice on how to copyright your sighting of Elvis.

 This isn’t a joke section put up by some lighthearted bureaucrat indulging a whim. It’s completely, mind-bogglingly serious. Which means the government was getting deluged with enough requests about Elvis sightings that they went to the trouble to post official advice about it. OK, say it with me now, altogether: only in America.

American Oddities

wif-fun-facts-001

– WIF Fun Facts

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 184

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 184

…The hard working people of the Midwest will be spared a case of the dreaded Dianetics, which should not be confused with Diuretics…

The Chicago Stadium holds over 21,000 people, for events like these that do not require a wooden court, skating ice, or rodeo dirt. Political conventions and circuses also take advantage of its cavernous interior. Truman was not nominated there, but Democrat F.D.R. was. Economically ill-timed Herbert Hoover and ‘don’t count your chickens before they hatch’ Thomas Dewey were Republican conventioneers. And rumor has it that idyllic Roy Rodgers lassoed to Dale Evans into matrimony, wowing the crowd with his six-shooter… how can a girl resist?

And isn’t it a crying shame, that the very run of Billy Graham Crusades takes the dates once promised to the departed Langston Richard Cannon and his Spiritual Engineering gaggle. The hard working people of the Midwest will be spared a case of the dreaded Dianetics, which should not be confused with Diuretics, though they have similar results in different parts of the body, 2 feet apart.

One thing for sure, the many thousands seeking charismatic attention will not be causing much of a ruckus on their own. Neither would the weather on Saturday March 10th, with a warm front pushing the thermometer near 60 degrees, though the penalty paid comes in the form of a foggy drizzle. But signs of an early spring are a gift from God, having paid the price of a usually harsh upper Midwest winter.

The stage is set for another attempt at causing revival. Actual revivals are normally born of prohibitionist personalities, because it is easier to guilt a person into becoming a believer, if you can point out their debauched behavior. Graham, however, has found more upbeat ways to bring his audience closer to their God, like convincing a life-long scientist to profess his belief that, in his field of expertise, he readily accepts the parameters of a divine Creation over the speculation of random Evolution.

Alongside Willard Libby will be a 500 person choir, a full orchestra (both recruit locally) Youth for Christ International speaker Charles Templeton and popular baritone George Beverly Shea.

Footnote: More than a few of the people attending each evening mention President Truman’s radio address touting Billy Graham as the reason they came out.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 156

Code Name = US President

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Presidential Code Names

Given by

the Secret Service

The United States Secret Service was founded in 1865 and its initial mission was to combat the growth in counterfeit currency. Soon their mission expanded to protection of the Presidents and Vice Presidents and their families, and with its expansion the agency became more sophisticated. In order to better protect the President, Secret Service agents created code-names for the commander in chief. Over the years, Secret Service agents have created some memorable nicknames. Here are some of our favorite code-names given to US Presidents…

10. Richard Nixon

The 37th President of the United States, Richard Milhous Nixon is probably best remembered for his dishonesty. Before the Watergate scandal, Nixon had won re-election in one of the biggest landslides in US history. Nixon was able to re-engage with China and presided over the Apollo 11 moon landing. Despite his seemingly firm hold on American politics, his fear of a mid-term defeat led to the Watergate scandal and his eventual resignation. During the scandal, Nixon went to extreme lengths to end the investigation, which is ironic given his code name: “Searchlight.”

He was far from a light in the darkness, and if only he had lived up to his nickname it might have saved him his presidency.

9. Jimmy Carter

Probably one of the most honest men to ever grace the Oval Office, Jimmy Carter’s code-name couldn’t have been more fitting. He was graced with the nickname “Deacon.” The Georgia native was a champion of civil rights and desegregation and, despite being a dark-horse candidate, emerged from the democratic party to win the 1976 presidential nomination. With the country looking to move forward from Watergate, Carter defeated incumbent Gerald Ford and became 39th President of the United States. A fiercely religious man, Carter claimed that he was inspired by a sermon in which he was asked, if it was a crime to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Only serving as a one-term president, Carter has dedicated himself to helping those in need, living up to his nickname and helping many in the process.

8. Gerald Ford

After Richard Nixon’s resignation, Gerald Ford was sworn in as the 38th President of the United States. His short time as commander in chief was also met with controversy. With the public clamoring for charges to be brought against the disgraced Nixon, Ford instead granted him a “full, free, and absolute pardon.” The irony of his nickname must have not been lost on him. Ford was given the code-name “Passkey.”

And although Ford might have believed he had the ability to give a pass to his friend, the voters certainly did not. Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford by more than fifty electoral votes and won with the largest percentage of the popular vote of any non-incumbent since Dwight Eisenhower.

7. George H.W. Bush

The Secret Service seemingly have an uncanny ability to choose code-names that, ironically or not, reflect a substantial truth about the commander in chief. George H.W. Bush’s code-name was no exception. The code-name of “Timberwolf” is fitting because of his place as the patriarch of a political dynasty.

Bush may be one of the most decorated government officials, serving as a Vice President, Director of Central Intelligence, and as a one term President. His sons would follow in his footsteps. Jeb Bush was governor of Florida and, of course, George W. Bush would win two terms, a feat even his father couldn’t manage

6. John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy’s presidency will always be met with wonder and disappointment. His assassination has led to a mystical view of his time in office, with some even making comparisons to the legend of King Arthur. In an interview after her husband’s death, Jackie Kennedy described her husband’s White House as “a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot. […] There will be great Presidents again, but there’ll never be another Camelot again. […] It will never be that way again.”

Many have suggested that Jackie Kennedy created the idea to elevate her husband’s presidency, but it turns out the Secret Service had felt the same way. Agents had given JFK the nickname of “Lancer,” inspired by the knight Lancelot, who was a part of King Arthur’s Round Table.

5. Ronald Reagan

For an actor, what better role to play than that of President of the United States? The 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, was first the president of the Screen Actors Guild. He soon realized he had bigger aspirations and served as Governor of California before making the leap to the highest office in the land. Many thought Reagan didn’t have a chance to defeat incumbent Jimmy Carter, but as the Iran hostage crisis unfolded and oil prices continued to skyrocket, Reagan won a resounding victory.

Once in office, Service Service agents found a fitting code-name for the former actor: “Rawhide.” The Western film star who appeared in movies like Law and OrderThe Last Outpost, and Santa Fe Trail must have felt right at home with the code-name.

4. Bill Clinton

One of the most charismatic men to ever become president, Bill Clinton came from humble beginnings but used his intellect and people skills to rise to extraordinary heights. He was nicknamed “Eagle,” as a result of his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America.

Like Nixon, Bill Clinton is most known for the scandal that occurred during his time in office. But don’t let Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress completely blind you for some of the positives that took place during his time in office, like the federal surplus he left this successor George W. Bush with.

3. Donald Trump

The boss. The Donald. There’s more than few nicknames for the 45th President of the United States who’s not bad at dolling them out as well. From “Little Marco” to “Lyin Ted,” Donald Trump certainly knows how to brand. No matter what else you think of the man, it’s impossible to deny he knows how to sell the Trump name.

Building an image of wealth and power using licensing and a reality television show, there’s nothing Donald Trump does better than create powerful brands. His code-name from the secret service suggests that he was at it again. Trump’s code-name is “Mogul” and it’s hard not to imagine that he had something to do with it.

2. George W. Bush

As mentioned earlier, the mission of secret service agents is to protect the President and Vice President along with their families. Naturally, when George H.W. Bush was president, his son received a secret service detail. His nickname wasn’t so flattering…

Known for his drinking and partying, the secret service donned George W. Bush the code- name “Tumbler.” A born-again Christian, when George W. Bush would win the presidency, he was graced with a different (and much less embarrassing) code-name: “Trailblazer.”

1. Barack Obama

One of the most fitting nicknames, at least at the time, was assigned to our 44th President, Barack Obama. His code-name was “Renegade.” Defined as a person who deserts and betrays an organization, country, or set of principles, Barack Obama certainly seemed like he was destined to move away from the mainstream democratic party and forge his own, much more progressive identity.

History would certainly prove otherwise. Nonetheless, Obama certainly has made history, passing healthcare reform, bringing us out of a recession, and notably ending the Iraq War. It’s certainly a presidency that was more accomplished than many, but to a lot of people, he didn’t fully live up to his code-name.


Code Name =

US President