Dave's Column

Dave Richards for June 27th

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for June 27th…………

 

 

 

 

 

--I was doing some writing for a trade paper this past weekend and while I was developing a point, I realized what the problem is with the world today.  Armed with this knowledge, I thought I’d share it with you.

 

 

 

  Selfishness.  That is the root of the problem.  I believe it is selfishness which is encouraged from several different directions and for selfish reasons which is slowing the progress of society as a whole and America in specific today.

 

 

 

  Look around you, my friend, and you see it every day.  MYVerizon, My Pillow, My Yahoo, My Cloud, even My UCSC (University of California at Santa Cruz).  Together with personal media devices which play everyone’s personal music preferences, it seems to me that people growing up today are actually pushed toward selfishness. 

 

 

 

  It goes further.  Playing organized sports where there is no score kept and everyone is a “winner”, and all get trophies just for showing up.  These are not the lessons which need to be taught for people to learn how to survive and conquer adversity.  These are the lessons we need to teach people to make them self-entitled coveters of anything new and shiny.  I think teaching THAT lesson is a big mistake for the future of humanity. 

 

 

 

  Everybody would like to stand out, be a leader, and be admired.  The hard truth is, unfortunately, that everybody cannot be those things.  Everybody has their own gifts and talents, and they should make the most of them through their lives, but only a few have that magnetic ‘stand-out’ personality, the ability to lead wisely, and the maturity to handle admiration without being affected by it. 

 

 

 

  And here’s where it all goes wrong, I think.  If you have a whole society trying to be leaders, unique individuals who don’t need to care what others think, then nobody is truly leading because nobody is following.  Does the term “Too Many Chiefs and Not Enough Indians” ring a bell?

 

 

 

  That is what I see happening now in our society, and I don’t think it is a healthy trend.  History has taught us what any society can do if they come together and pull in the same direction toward a common goal.  The United States during World War Two comes to mind immediately in this regard.  The people who remember the situation our country was in when that war started are mostly gone now, but history books remind us we were ill-prepared for even entering a war, let alone the idea of winning it.  However, in the face of true adversity, people, working together and bringing all their unique and incalculably valuable gifts to the same well-focused purpose made that happen. 

 

 

 

  Today, without leadership focusing us to work on any one purpose, we are free to work on any purpose which pleases us.  This is okay for a short time, but when we do this to the exclusion of helping (or even caring about) others, the fabric of society begins to weaken.  Over time it begins to tear and become useless.  I think that’s where we are today and we should do something about it.  Some are trying.  We need more people to try.

 

 

 

  The more I live, the more I see the truth in the idea that humans need adversity.  And when they don’t have it from natural causes like war, disease, or pestilence, then they must manufacture adversity.  This is why there is so much public hatred and hostility being displayed today.  A time-proven leadership technique is, if there isn’t enough adversity to galvanize the followers, invent some.  Sometimes a leader will make unpopular decisions to get the followers all united in their dislike of the leader.  But more often these days, the leader will demonize the opposition and get their followers hating the opposition to solidify their purpose.  This is what we see happening in partisan politics these days.

 

 

 

  The more I see this happening, the more I comfort myself with the knowledge that they wouldn’t be doing this if there were any true adversity in the world.  But then I reflect on the world situation and I question the validity of that idea.

 

 

 

  You see, there really is a tiny minority of militant Muslims who mean to harm the United States.  They know all they need to do is to do nothing for a while and let Americans start arguing amongst themselves again, taking the focus of most Americans away from a real danger and making themselves easy targets for the people who really do want to kill them.  I believe this is happening now, and instead of arguing amongst ourselves we should be making preparations for our defense.  Some people are trying to do this, but not enough of them. 

 

 

 

  One example of the few who are trying is President Trump and his so-called “Travel Ban”.  Look, I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not, several subordinate courts of learned people have said it is not.  But regardless of if that particular idea of addressing the situation is a good method or a bad one, SOMETHING should be done to remind Americans that there are many thousands of people in this world whose deeply-held beliefs are that Americans and our way of life must be erased from the planet.  Some way must be found to defend ourselves because those people are just waiting for their chance to act on their beliefs.    

 

 

 

  Just reading what I wrote there, I realize my words could be construed as “demonizing the opposition”.  But you know that’s not true.  You are not paranoid if they really ARE out to get you.  There should be a clear difference in the mind of any thinking person between focusing attention on members of an opposition political party who are “trying to eat your babies and kill your grandparents” and people who really are trying to kill YOU.

 

 

 

  Resist the urge to fall into the ‘Selfish Trap’, friend.  Teach your young ones that caring for others and working together are what humans are better at than any species on the planet.  Be civil in your discourse with others and tolerant in the exercise of your beliefs.  That’s not being selfish, that’s being a great person, worthy of being followed and admired.

 

 

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for June 20, 2017

 

 

Dave Richards for June 20th…………

 

 

 

 

 

--This week, it's all about 'clubs', folks............

 

 

  First, a reminder about our beloved Le Club Par-X.  The members of the Par-X Club have a long tradition of using their hall and kitchen to help individuals and other organizations to raise money for worthy causes.  Organizations we all support like Autumnfest and The Milk Fund have benefitted from the untold generosity of the members of Par-X who get up early on a Sunday morning and prepare a full breakfast complete with eggs any style, meat and beans which are so much favored by the locals that people come in droves to every Par-X breakfast.

 

 

 

  Well now, the Par-X will have an event this Friday evening to raise money to keep their hall in top condition so they can continue to help others.  It’s a chowder and clam cake supper and the chef will be none other than Mickey G. operating out of his famous mobile clam shack.  Your choice of red or white chowder and those yummy clam cakes will be available to eat there at the Par-X or take home with you.  And the proceeds help a swell group of people who always help others when asked.  I hope you’ll remember to join me this Friday and be there to help these fine people help themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

--Also, this weekend is the weekend for the largest event in the U.S. for home amateur radio enthusiasts, called HAMs.  It called “Field Day”.  This weekend amateurs will set up temporary transmitting and receiving stations in fields and open areas all around the country as they invite the licensed and non-licensed alike to come out “open house style” and see what the hobby is all about. 

 

 

 

  Our local HAM club, the Blackstone Valley Amateur Radio Club, will be set up on the grounds of the former Chopmist Hill Inn on Chopmist Hill Road in Scituate, now home of the Scituate Senior Center.   If you go, you’ll see examples of the original social media, HAM radio, and if you want you’ll get the chance to ‘key-up’ and talk to others on a special radio set up for guests-only. 

 

 

 

  Amateur radio operators are an important part of our nation’s plan for safety in the event of natural or man-made disasters because, unlike the Internet, which is vulnerable to attacks and downed lines, individual amateur radio operators continue to operate in the worst of conditions. And they relay vital information in times of true need. 

 

 

 

  Check them out at the Field Day Event at the Scituate Senior Center, on Route 102, just south of the intersection with Route 6.  I think you’ll be impressed.  And what you see just might spark your own interest, or the interest of a young person you bring along.

 

 

 

 

 

--I think we all have things which bother us disproportionately.  These are the little things which don’t seem to bother others, but which “push OUR buttons”.  One of them for me is these so-called “loyalty clubs” which are all the rage right now. 

 

 

 

  I don’t like people I don’t know compiling and using my personal information and buying habits and using them to ‘market’ me.  We’ve all heard about the grandma and grandpa who are bombarded with ads for baby formula and other items for newborns simply because they once bought a box of disposable diapers for a young family member and used their ‘store club’ key chain card. 

 

 

 

  What is maddening to me is that people by and large are willing to sell this information about themselves to large corporations to use with no controls and for literally pennies, sometimes.  I take a different view.  Oh, I know that nobody lives anonymously anymore.  In the 21st Century it is not only possible but indeed likely that a stranger can know things about me that I am not aware of myself.  But to simply give corporations information they can use to ‘market’ you is completely avoidable in my mind.  At least it should be.  Unfortunately there is a financial penalty today for choosing to keep your privacy, and I think this is wrong.

 

 

 

  You see, the way I look at it is the whole concept is a dishonest manipulation of customers for profit.  If a store can afford to sell me a pound of grapes for $2.69, then they should just sell it to me and everyone for $2.69.  They should not mark-up the same pound of grapes to $2.99 a pound simply because a customer didn’t join their store club and give them permission to track their private buying habits and probably also share the data for cash with other companies for profit.   

 

 

 

  The dishonesty of this system is obvious to me.  Under disguise of being a customer’s ‘friend’ and caring so much about their ‘friend’ that they will sell items to them for less, the stores keep the prices where they want them for their ‘friends’ but then take the opportunity to jack up the prices to gouge everyone who’s not a ‘friend’.  I have a deep-seated problem with that, and I refuse to participate.  Let’s face it, no store can sell at a loss, not even to a ‘friend’.

 

 

 

  Our Rhode Island General Assembly is busy every year passing laws for special interests.  How about they pass a law to stop this method of price gouging and information mining?  I say there should be one fair price for everyone!

 

 

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

--30—                                                   

 

                                                                                                              

 

Dave Richards for June 13, 2017

Dave Richards for June 13th…………

 

--Well, after a spring which has had (after two days of summer-like weather) the coolest and rainiest run of weather most of us can recall, we have finally been given our first official mini heat-wave.  Three or more consecutive days over 90 degrees, and today is number three.  Tonight a weather front will pass through and starting tomorrow we are back to late spring weather again, with highs in the 70s.  Good. 

  I look at weather in the summertime the same as I do in Winter.  Mix it up, I say.  I can more easily take the brutal cold of a New England winter if it only lasts for a few days at a time and then goes above freezing for a few days before returning back to the deep-freeze.  And I suppose that’s what bothered all those people I heard complaining about the raw, rainy weather recently.  It just kept up day after day without change. 

  But now that we have more summerlike weather conditions, some of the old summertime downside has returned as well.  A few nights ago, at about 1:30 in the morning, there I was snoozing happily with the bedroom window  open, enjoying the nice fresh air in my slumber, when my rest was abruptly interrupted by the smell of skunk discharge.  Ugh!  I closed the windows as soon as I could.  Sunday evening the folks in my neighborhood decided to top off a hot day with fireworks, and lots of them, too. 

  I don’t begrudge them their fun, but it is disturbing over so many hours without stop and so many weeks before the holiday.  I remember thinking when they made some fireworks legal a few years ago that we would no longer be hearing simple ‘salute’-type fireworks, but much more of the stuff which hasn’t been made legal yet, and that’s just what I am seeing.  I thought the sky rockets which flew up above the tree tops and then exploded were still prohibited from people’s back yards.  I just hope nobody gets hurt, that’s my real concern. 

  I remember as a young boy it hadn’t been very many years since the personal purchase of fireworks had been made illegal by the Rhode Island Legislature.  There were some people I knew who still had some they’d bought before they were outlawed and, well, “waste-not, want-not”, right?  But I do remember being told of people who lost fingers and eyesight and such because they weren’t careful enough, and that fireworks needed to be respected in the same manner we respect guns.  Still, back then we were only poking a hole in the base of an empty vegetable can to stick the fuse of the firecracker out through it and then placing a slightly larger empty tin can on top of that one.  When the fuse hit the business end of the firecracker the explosion launched the top tin can way up into the air.  I’m seeing far more dangerous incendiary fun taking place today.  Let’s all be very careful out there.

 

--What a wonderful time I had at the 2017 Woonsocket High School Graduation Ceremonies last Friday!   I was especially delighted that it took place outdoors at Barry Memorial Field.  The forecast early in the week was exemplary, but by Wednesday and Thursday thunderstorms were predicted.  However, by Friday morning all references to thunderstorms were removed from the forecast and the chance of a shower reduced to only 20 percent. 

  I saw Woonsocket Superintendent of Schools Dr. Patrick McGee overseeing the setup early Friday morning at Barry Field and he was beaming as brightly as the sun at the prospect of an outdoor ceremony.  He had never counted it out in his heart, not even when the forecast looked threatening.  He was like a man whose faith was being rewarded.  But not without one more test of that faith. 

  Twenty minutes before the ceremony that afternoon the skies opened up with a passing thundershower scattering the thousands of early-arrivers to wherever they could find shelter.  A surprising number of people had brought umbrellas with them and shared the protection they afforded with those nearby.  In about five minutes, the rain was over and the skies remained dry for the rest of the day.  I considered it good, strong leadership on the part of the Superintendent.  We’re lucky to have such a wise man running our district.

 

--261 young people received their diplomas that day.  I heard several comments about the years when we had twice that many graduates in a class and questions about why the number was “so small”.  The truth, as I see it, is that far fewer babies are being born these days compared to twenty or thirty years ago.  In fact, a news release this past weekend supported my theory.  The Mormons announced that their numbers are barely holding steady this year due to the very facts I stated.  Fewer babies are being born and people are often waiting until later in life to even begin having families.  So much for the “population explosion” we heard so much about back in the 60s and 70s.

  I’ll close this week with a quote.  “No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”  I know we’re supposed to attribute quotes to their authors when we use them in print, but the author of this one is either long dead, or, if the Desiderata truly is a hoax as some claim, the author doesn’t wish to be credited.  So I’ll break protocol and decline.  Have a nice week.

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

Thanks for reading!

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Dave Richards for June 6, 2017............

--Sometimes I sit here at the beginning of another week and I wonder what I could comment on.  Weeks like this one, however, I wonder what I won’t comment on.  Where to I begin?

--It was announced last week that Mr. Scott Pelley has been replaced as the anchor of The CBS Evening News broadcast.  Good.  I’ve mentioned in these pages before I thought there was a better way to accomplish what he was trying to do by ridiculing the apparent chaos in Trump Administration.  News anchors on other networks found a better way to do this without the open ridicule element.  They simply reported the facts as they saw them and let the viewers realize for themselves how crazy it all was.  I believe this is a better method because I believe that newscasts are supposed to be primarily informational as opposed to confrontational. 

  When it began, I supposed it was Mr. Pelley’s idea to improve the ratings of his broadcast which was at that time rated third out of three.  I imagined that the top brass at CBS agreed to the gamble.  I either imagined wrongly, or the brass saw it wasn’t working and withdrew their support.  Regardless of which, they made a change.  Good.  So Mr. Pelley leaves the broadcast with fewer viewers than it had when he started and with the broadcast still rated third out of three, but now a lower third. 

  Scott Pelley still has a job at CBS as a contributing reporter on 60 Minutes.  Good.  Everybody should have a job.  And I do believe that Scott Pelley is better cast on a magazine show which editorializes and slants the news for entertainment value instead of on a nightly news broadcast which shouldn’t do those things.  Remember, on 60 Minutes all you really need to do to get ratings is to make someone cry on camera.  Go for it, Scott.

--I read a radio industry editorial last weekend which stated, “Sean Hannity’s Struggle is OUR Struggle”.  To that I say ‘Rubbish!’.  You may know that Mr. Hannity is the latest nationally syndicated talk show host to get in public trouble.  I’m sorry it happened to him, I don’t wish bad luck on any person.  But let me just say that I believe anyone who does a radio talk show should care more for the opinions of the listeners than for his/her own opinion.  Also, that anyone who serves themselves at the expense of others will always lose in the end.  It’s in all the history books, over and over again.  Read it for yourself.

--One last thought before I go.  We were talking yesterday morning on our Coffee An’ program with General Manager of The Call and The Times, Paul Palange about the current rash of terrorist attacks and other conflicts in the world today.  The president of our country took the occasion of the London Bridge attack to sound the claxon for his travel ban against people trying to enter the United States from places where terrorists come from.  The Prime Minister of Great Britain called upon the governments of all democratic countries to band together to control information on the Internet which aids terrorists in recruiting and their other foul deeds.  Both are controversial ideas, and I’m sure both people are doing what they think is right.  But…….

  I have an idea which is far less controversial than theirs and far easier to implement.  And it’s not even my idea.  When things get crazy like this I always think of my dear old friend, the late Salty Brine.  For all the many years Salty was on the air he would sign off each broadcast on radio or TV with “Brush your Teeth and Say your Prayers!”.  And, while this was a show-biz friendly thing to say, and could be dismissed as just another catch-phrase, if you took the time to think about what those words truly meant you can see that Salty put a lot of wisdom into them. 

  The way he explained it was “you should take responsibility for yourself and the things you can do something about, and what you cannot do something about should be placed by you into the hands of your God.”  No suggestion was made as to which manifestation of God he was referring to, leaving the choice of Deity completely to the individual. 

  I can’t imagine a simpler or wiser thing to say at any time, but most especially when people have cause for concern in their lives, as they do today.  So I recommend we remember Salty’s saying at times when we just don’t know whom to trust.  Trust in yourself.  Trust in your God.  Set an example of self-respect and positivity for others every day.  It’s a simple recipe for a good life, well-lived.  And I say if everyone did this the world would be a better place for everyone to live.

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

Thanks for reading!

--30—  

Dave Richards for May 30th............

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for May 30th…………

 

 

 

 

 

--As the years go by, the way we see some things changes.  Memorial Day is seen today as the beginning of summertime, even though it was originally set aside to care for the graves of fallen veterans.  And something which comes in hundreds of colors, is the reason automobile tires are always black. 

 

 

 

  It is true, the meaning of the Memorial Day holiday is somewhat askew, but we do still honor fallen veterans today.  But did you know that rubber automobile tires weren’t always black?  I was looking the other day at some photos of old classic cars.  Several excited my curiosity.  Those old cars from the early 20th Century were sporting gleaming white rubber tires.  As I thought about that, I considered how difficult it would have been to keep those tires clean, especially back in a day when only a small percentage of roads were paved with asphalt.  So I decided to look it up and I learned that white is the natural color of cured rubber and that making them black was considered a major improvement, but not for the reason you may think.

 

 

 

  Tires are black because today’s tire manufacturers add carbon black to the mixture when they are made.  But they didn’t do it so their tires wouldn’t always look dirty.  They did it because the carbon black also made the rubber tires last longer, it slowed down wear.  Now the connection to something which comes in hundreds of colors……..

 

 

 

  The Goodrich Company was a major supplier of rubber tires in the early 20th Century.  The company which supplied Goodrich with the carbon black material was Binney & Smith, the creators of Crayola Crayons.  I found that very interesting.  Now on to this week’s rant………….

 

 

 

--I heard a news story yesterday regarding automobile traffic in Cumberland which made me shake my head.  The claim is that a significant problem is being caused in town by parents driving their children to school instead of sending them on a School Bus.  This pushed my button.  Why?  Because I believe we are seeing one of the many “unintended consequences” resulting from the trend to over-protect children over the last generation or so. 

 

 

 

  Anyone of sufficient years will tell you that, as much as it sounds like an argument waiting to happen, the truth is that it IS possible to over-protect our children and delay their education in the needed survival skills of life.  We’ve been watching it happen for years so that now it seems the DCYF will come and take your kids away if you do not accompany them to the bus stop in the morning.  Then, when they’re on the bus there are always two people in charge, one driving and another who can watch the kids.  Later, there’s a full-blown police presence INSIDE the school, complete with a sworn officer of the law.  No wonder today’s kids are quite comfortable with Google tracking everything they read, say, or look up on the Internet!

 

 

 

  The way I see it, now that you have conditioned the parents to get up and bring the kids to the bus stop, it’s just a small adjustment needed to take them the rest of the way to school.  It’s totally logical.  But our roads were not developed to handle this traffic.  How will we solve this?  I predict the current problems will give rise to further ‘home-schooling’.  And further home-schooling will cause an increased inability of future generations to learn how to live and get along with other people. 

 

 

 

  I think developing inter-personal skills is vital for society itself.  And, I think delaying the teaching of those skills is a cruel way to raise children.  Oh, you can bemoan the harshness of life all you want, but to quote a former president of the United States who would have celebrated his 100th birthday last weekend, “Life isn’t fair.”  And I think you’d better teach your children this lesson as soon as they are able to understand it.  And then teach them how to deal with it in a way which moves their lives forward in a positive direction.  If you do this, you’ll be giving your children a most valuable education in survival itself.

 

 

 

  In the early 1970’s there was a popular song recorded by Johnny Cash called “A Boy Named Sue”.  It was the story of a man who was given a girl’s name at birth by a father who knew he wouldn’t be there to teach the boy how to defend himself in the world.  Despite the humorous theme of the song, there was a small bit of wisdom in the idea behind it. 

 

 

 

  About the best we can hope for as parents is that our children survive their mistakes.  I think the better we prepare them for that, the better parents we are.  A gentle, wholesome discipline is what is called for, NOT over-protection. 

 

 

 

 

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for May 23rd

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for May 23rd…………

 

 

 

 

 

--Ya know, I think that if the latest proposal for a new ballpark for the Pawtucket Red Sox was totally paid for by the owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox there would still be organized opposition.  I believe that if The Lord Jesus Christ himself came to Rhode Island today he would be demonized by the negative people of our State who are so steeped in the mind-set of destroying anything they can in order to feel some small sense of control in their lives that they don’t even think of what they’re doing or saying or how it appears to reasonable people.  They just attack mindlessly, and without examining the facts.

 

 

 

  One such group in this case, unfortunately, is the Rhode Island Republican Party.  I was surprised at this because, although both political parties on the national level have lost their minds and attack anything the other side is or supports like mad dogs, I had not seen it done here in our State.  However, before I’d could even read the official press release about the new stadium proposal, my inbox was tagged with a “Three Strikes for the Paw Sox” press release from the Rhode Island Republicans.  I had initially hoped it came from out-of-state sources, but I have no evidence it didn’t come from Rhode Islanders.  To bad.

 

 

 

  To my regular readers I apologize for repeating myself, but for the sake of new readers I will say that the reason I do not personally support either of the two major political parties is that although they both are comprised of some fine, intelligent and hard-working people, when they are in a group they turn into a mindless, vicious, negative, and destructive mob, both parties do.  The term “bi-partisan” hasn’t been valid in political discourse since the Oldsmobile.

 

 

 

  I have said before the only thing this kind of immature and careless behavior can produce is mutual self-destruction, as each side baits the other into more and more self-destructive behavior.  The end-result is never victory for either side, but only an un-ending feud which does no one any good.  Shame on both parties.  Shame and disgrace.  I advise all to avoid party politics until the parties both grow up and act in accord with their members’ individual values and worth.

 

 

 

  Back to the Paw Sox stadium proposal.  My point is there should be a lively debate on the facts of this issue.  I’ve read the opponents’ venomous comments.  I am not persuaded in any debate by attacks which are not based in fact, but are instead based in rabble-rousing and fanning the flames of emotion because when emotions reign, reason is impossible and when you’re talking about millions of dollars, reason is imperative. 

 

 

 

  I have also heard the presentation explained rationally by the proponents.  What they say makes sense to me, but one side does not a debate make.  I seek more information before I choose a side to support.  I think we all should.

 

 

 

  To sum up, if the opposition will only offer emotional rhetoric and the proponents are offering reasoned logic, then debate itself is poorly served.  But I think we need a calm and logical debate to make big money decisions. 

 

 

 

  I call upon opponents to come to the debate table with logic and reason and to present their position without painting the other side as evil.  If you believe you are in the right, I say fight fairly for your convictions with the facts as you see them and win or lose the debate as mature men and women with intellect and integrity.  If you don’t, what choice would I or others like me have but to choose to support the people acting like respectable grown-ups instead of with the ones acting like crying kids calling the other side liars and claiming “they started it!”?  Not much of a choice, I say.

 

 

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

--30—                                                   

 

                                                                                                              

 

Dave Richards for May 16th.........

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for May 16th…………

 

 

 

 

 

--With Mother’s Day behind us and so many family celebrations taking place at this time of year, there’s plenty of positive energy floating around. I think we could get by without me throwing roses this week.  In this edition, I think I’ll take a hard look at a current news story and tell you what I really think.

 

 

 

--I have an opinion.  It’s just an opinion, and I’m not even very happy with it myself, but I just can’t seem to persuade myself it is wrong.  The news that tax collections into the coffers of the State of Rhode Island General Fund are not only down, but down to the tune of $100 million is, to me, the result of something which is a bigger story. 

 

 

 

  Some in our government are surprised by the shortfall.  Some are not so much surprised as they are dismayed.  Some, like our governor, are looking for a scapegoat.  She blames our new president.  But as much as I disapprove of Mr. Trump’s work myself, I can’t help but see the governor’s words as anything more than political rhetoric.  The kind of destructive political rhetoric which nullifies the user’s words pointless and corrodes their reputations of intelligence and honesty.

 

 

 

  Getting back to my opinion.  I have long held the opinion that our economy in Rhode Island, and even our entire country, is not as good as we are being told it is by government officials.  Having that opinion as I have for such a long time, I’m sure you can understand that when something like a ‘surprise’ shortfall of $100 million comes along, to me it means one of two things happened.  Either somebody in the budget office mistakenly over-estimated revenue, or…………..the suppositions of how good the economy would be were, shall we say, “overly optimistic”.

 

 

 

  One economic barometer officials use to “prove” the economy is as good as they want it to be is the stock market, and the way the stock market seems to be going up most of the time.  I say it’s an illusion.  The stock market will go up forever.  Not every day, of course, but over time.  It goes up as surely as the progressive jackpot goes up on slot machines in the casinos.  But just like a slot machine, if you are playing and have more than you started with, you haven’t really ‘won’ yet.  You see, you never really win until you cash out.  Similarly, if your stocks are up, you don’t have the money to spend until you sell the stocks.  But if everybody sold their stocks so they really would have their money to spend………the stock market would surely crash.  So, I conclude, the stock market gains are not a sign of a good economy. 

 

 

 

  The other economic barometer officials use to claim “all is well” is the unemployment rate.  I have never been persuaded that the unemployment figures delivered dutifully each month by our DLT are derived by a system which does not favor a ‘politically friendly methodology’ with a blind eye to the reality of people who are not employed enough to support the kind of revenue upon which the state’s budget was founded. 

 

 

 

  To put it simply, if someone is not drawing unemployment benefits, that person is not counted as unemployed.  And these days, there are no extensions of unemployment benefits in effect, so in less than a year’s time all benefits for an unemployed worker are exhausted.  The way I understand things, that means our unemployment rate, the way they calculate it now, cannot fail to improve every month as people, still without jobs, are counted as working.

 

 

 

  It follows, then, that when state budget revenue projections are calculated using the false unemployment numbers being reported, those revenue projections will wrong.

 

 

 

  Is it a crime to falsely report better-than-reality figures?  Probably not.  It’s been going on for years and nobody is in jail yet for doing it.  But the real ‘crime’ I see here is the way they use this game to get away with deficit spending.  And the real ‘crime’ of it all is that when we deficit-spend we are in debt and then we truly cannot afford to do the things we need to do.  This causes us to continue to juggle and lie and deficit-spend on into the future in an exercise resembling a Ponzi scheme.  And you know what happens then.

 

 

 

  I’ve been going over the amendments to her budget the governor is recommending.  She’s now going to close down and sell some group homes for special needs people to raise cash.  Some other people getting benefits now will lose those benefits.  Also, vendors who sell goods and services to the state will now be forced to “kick-back” one percent of their well-earned payments for goods and services back to the state in the form of an “administrative fee”.

 

 

 

  These are troubling times, my friend.  When you want to spend more money than you have and you justify it by lying about how much money you will earn………well………if it were you or me…….we’d be in big trouble. 

 

 

 

  We’ve got work to do to clear up this mess.  Hard work.  And we need serious people to do it, not people who will blame a president who is not a member of their political party simply because your party people will like you better if you do.  We need people who don’t give up to get along.  We need a state government which is not so steeped in situational ethics that even they don’t know the truth from the lies.

 

 

 

  I had a friend years ago who was a retired priest.  He’d pop off from time to time with comments that were unexpected, but they really made you think.  About government corruption he’d say, “We need another flood.”, referring to Noah.  I’d like to think there’s a better way, but considering what I’ve just written………maybe Father was right.  It’s hard to argue with his logic.

 

 

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

--30—                                                   

 

                                                                                                              

 

Dave Richards Column in The Call for May 9th, 2017

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for May 9th…………

 

 

 

 

 

--This week we check the newswire.  There’s plenty here to comment on. 

 

 

 

  We used to laugh at the “tweets” and other quoted quips of President Trump.  What I can’t believe is some of these presidential comments are starting to make sense.  I won’t say that I agree with them, but they do seem to make sense.

 

 

 

  Like when President Trump exclaimed in frustration that perhaps what the country needed was a complete government shut down this fall.  Of course, Trump opponents jumped upon him for what they called a totally irresponsible and dangerous comment.  But there is logic and reason in his words, even though I would agree they are completely ‘non-‘presidential’.

 

 

 

  Folks, I can tell you from personal knowledge that the only thing more destructive to the federal government than a total shut down is the repeated threats of a shut down.  I have seen it first hand on four occasions.  It takes a full week to shut the government down and another week to put it back on course.  In the process, good people who work for the government are distracted from their regular tasks for half a month and suffer needlessly from the stress of possibly not being able to pay their bills on time.  All because some rich and selfish members of congress decide to play a power game of financial ‘chicken’ against each other with reckless disregard for the consequences, which are paid by others.

 

 

 

  The way I take President Trump’s comment is that he knows what we all know.  So long as there are no consequences for the perpetrators, these threatened shutdowns will continue to be used to bully and cajole political adversaries all the while weakening the federal government.  Mr. Trump knows that once the bluff has been called and the shutdown takes place, the perpetrators will be unmasked and dealt with, similar to when a blackmail victim does not give in to the blackmailer, but calls the blackmailer’s bluff.  The blackmailer then has no further power.  There is real logic to this line of thinking.

 

 

 

  And then there is the president’s comments regarding Australian healthcare.  In a ‘tweet’ over the weekend, Mr. Trump said, “Of course Australia’s healthcare system is better than ours……….Everybody’s is.”

 

 

 

  And “of course” detractors have jumped all over him for saying this.  “How dare he?!”  But let’s think about this for a moment.  Without agreeing or disagreeing that Obamacare, which is still in place mind you, is the best or the worst of systems, you have to first understand that Mr. Trump thinks it is the worst.  Accepting this, what else would you expect him to think?  Now, you may agree with me that even if he thinks it, we wouldn’t expect our president to actually say those words in public, but……….that’s our president.  And he did tell us during the campaign that he would not go along with the games played in Washington.   Again, I’m not agreeing or disagreeing, I’m just saying it makes sense.

 

 

 

--A new Lundberg survey indicates retail gas prices are going down.  This, just before they traditionally go up for the summer months.  Does this make sense?  I think it does.  People still haven’t made plans for their summer trips because of the economy which still is not a good as we are being told it is.  Lowering the prices now may spur more consumption in the months ahead when prices will be higher than they are now.  I hate sounding suspicious, but when you’re dealing with this many dollars, honest people are hard to find.  The thing to keep in mind is that gas costs 14 cents per gallon more this year than it did last year at this time.

 

 

 

--Here’s a curious story, and I’m wondering why I haven’t seen it before.  The DeKalb County, Georgia sheriff, Jeffrey Mann, was arrested and booked into the Atlanta City Jail.  Last year, Mann was elected to a full term after finishing the unexpired term of Thomas Brown, who left office under criminal charges.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.  According to what I’m reading on the wire, every DeKalb County Sheriff elected to a full term since 1965 has faced criminal charges.  Unbelievable!  Seems to me they should be having a lot of trouble finding applicants for a job that for the past 50 years has destroyed the lives of everyone who has taken it.  Totally unbelievable!

 

 

 

--Pope Francis has a problem with calling the bomb dubbed the “Mother of All Bombs” by that name.  He thinks it is at the very least ‘inappropriate’ to name a bomb, a taker of life, after a mother, a giver of life.  Makes sense to me.  And, by the way, Happy Mother’s Day this Sunday.  If she’s around, remember to at least phone mom and tell her you love her.  If she has passed on, do it in your prayers.  I think she’ll hear you.

 

 

 

 

 

--Lastly, if my mom read the next story I would get a lecture about how irresponsible it is for anyone to drop any bomb.  On October 9, 1943, Allied Bombers dropped more than 260,000 bombs on the city of Hanover, Germany during World War Two.  This past weekend, after more than 50 years, the 50,000 residents of that now peaceful city were evacuated because 13 of those bombs have been discovered, unexploded.  They are calling it the second largest bomb cleanup since the end of hostilities, slightly less than the cleanup required last Christmas Day in the German town of Augsburg.  Unbelievable.     

 

 

 

 

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

--30—                                                   

 

                                                                                                              

 

Dave Richards Column in The Call for May 2, 2017

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for May 2nd…………

 

 

 

--I’ll start this week with a tip of the hat to Roger Laliberte.  This Thursday at the Twin River Event Center Roger will be among the radio greats to be inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame.  It’s about time Roger is recognized for his complete dedication to Francophiles and Francophones throughout the Blackstone Valley. 

 

 

 

  I met Roger Laliberte when I was a young man starting out in broadcasting.  We became good friends in short order.  And even though we no longer work together, I couldn’t be more delighted to see him honored in this way. 

 

 

 

 

 

  Toutes nos fe’licitations, Roger!

 

 

 

 

 

--We’ve all heard for years about treaties between governments.  Sometimes they are treaties ending the hostilities of war, sometimes pledging mutual defense of each other, and sometimes it’s a treaty outlining an agreement regarding trade.  In the 1990s, two treaties came into existence.  In Europe, the European Union (E.U.), and on this continent the North American Free Trade Agreement or (N.A.F.T.A). 

 

 

 

  Any agreement has an “upside” and a “downside”.  Those who push to establish them promote the advantages of the “upside” only.  This is natural.   After they are established, the disadvantages of the “downside”, often become apparent.  They say treaties are in this way not unlike a marriage.  And, indeed, the similarities of treaties to marriage are even more striking when you examine the case of Brexit.

 

 

 

  “Brexit” is the term used for the exit of Britain from the European Union, which they have elected to do.  The remaining 27 countries of the E.U. are describing it as a ‘divorce’ in their various native tongues.  The similarity goes even further.  The financial settlement they are demanding of Britain to allow her to leave is being called “alimony”.

 

 

 

  Naturally, it is in everyone else’s interest to make it difficult for a disenchanted member to simply leave the group.  In the case of Brexit, Britain has offered many of millions to the E.U..  When they finished laughing, the remaining E.U. members suggested a figure in the tens of billions of Euros would be more like it.  Now that’s what I call making it ‘difficult’!

 

 

 

  NAFTA is an agreement among and between the three countries on the North American Continent.  The United States, Mexico, and Canada have all agreed to remove tariffs, quotas, and other trade barriers between each other.  During negotiations, proponents said it would lead to trade and prosperity for all three and give them a more commanding standing in trade matters between their members and other non-NAFTA countries.  I remember at the time it was being debated there was much fear that failing to band together would put the countries on this continent at a distinct and dangerous disadvantage with the countries of the European Union. 

 

 

 

  When emotional arguments such as fear are used to make trade agreements look good, it is a clear sign that someone is getting desperate to pass it.  This is not the way to make mutually beneficial treaties.  Indeed, shortly after NAFTA was in full effect, many thousands of U.S. jobs were sent south of the border and the Mexican economy benefited greatly.  The U.S. economy improved slightly because after the initial investment the companies which sent their manufacturing operations to Mexico profited, again at the expense of U.S. workers.  Canada has seen insignificant benefit from the agreement.

 

 

 

  This past weekend, President Trump came right out and said he wanted the U.S. to leave NAFTA.  The president makes these kinds of statements, we have seen, with some regularity and also with apparent disregard for diplomatic protocols or for caring about what anyone else may think of it.  Since I was personally not a supporter of NAFTA when it started, you might expect me to be happy to hear the president talk this way, but you would be wrong.

 

 

 

  Yes, I’d love to see NAFTA not exist, but remember the costs being demanded of Britain in its exit from the E.U..  Is it possible leaving NAFTA could cost us more than leaving it is worth?  Canada probably wouldn’t care if the whole thing went away.  There were few tariffs between the U.S. and Canada before NAFTA.  Mexico and Canada were never big trade partners, either.  So there would likely not be much difference to the Canadians if they or we weren’t a part of NAFTA.  But Mexico would be another matter, and this is where I think our trouble would originate.

 

 

 

  Mexico benefited most from the NAFTA agreements.  Mexico would certainly be the one most hurt if the deal broke up.  Mexico, despite its present employment and relative prosperity has a huge problem with organized criminal gangs.  It wouldn’t take much imagination to expect that if the Mexican economy were severely damaged, the only ones to benefit will be the criminal gangs.  At the very least a poor economy would impair the ability of the Mexican government to fight organized crime.

 

 

 

  So NAFTA has one member who doesn’t care, one member who wants out, and one member who’ll be hurt.  Not a good position for any agreement to be in.

 

 

 

  Examining all these facts, plus the knowledge that a desperate Mexico could nationalize all those factories we built down there, and can drive the criminal gangs northward over the border into the United States if it wanted to, we are left with a distinct feeling of apprehension that the cost of the U.S. leaving NAFTA may be far higher than we wish to pay.  It leaves me clinging to the hope that our president will “go slow” in this direction.  Unfortunately for my hopes, “going slow” is not our new president’s long suit.  I do hope he learns, though.  Rather quickly.

 

 

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

--30—                                                   

 

                                                                                                              

 

Dave's Woonsocket Call Blog for May 2, 2017

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for May 2nd…………

 

 

 

--I’ll start this week with a tip of the hat to Roger Laliberte.  This Thursday at the Twin River Event Center Roger will be among the radio greats to be inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame.  It’s about time Roger is recognized for his complete dedication to Francophiles and Francophones throughout the Blackstone Valley. 

 

 

 

  I met Roger Laliberte when I was a young man starting out in broadcasting.  We became good friends in short order.  And even though we no longer work together, I couldn’t be more delighted to see him honored in this way. 

 

 

 

 

 

  Toutes nos fe’licitations, Roger!

 

 

 

 

 

--We’ve all heard for years about treaties between governments.  Sometimes they are treaties ending the hostilities of war, sometimes pledging mutual defense of each other, and sometimes it’s a treaty outlining an agreement regarding trade.  In the 1990s, two treaties came into existence.  In Europe, the European Union (E.U.), and on this continent the North American Free Trade Agreement or (N.A.F.T.A). 

 

 

 

  Any agreement has an “upside” and a “downside”.  Those who push to establish them promote the advantages of the “upside” only.  This is natural.   After they are established, the disadvantages of the “downside”, often become apparent.  They say treaties are in this way not unlike a marriage.  And, indeed, the similarities of treaties to marriage are even more striking when you examine the case of Brexit.

 

 

 

  “Brexit” is the term used for the exit of Britain from the European Union, which they have elected to do.  The remaining 27 countries of the E.U. are describing it as a ‘divorce’ in their various native tongues.  The similarity goes even further.  The financial settlement they are demanding of Britain to allow her to leave is being called “alimony”.

 

 

 

  Naturally, it is in everyone else’s interest to make it difficult for a disenchanted member to simply leave the group.  In the case of Brexit, Britain has offered many of millions to the E.U..  When they finished laughing, the remaining E.U. members suggested a figure in the tens of billions of Euros would be more like it.  Now that’s what I call making it ‘difficult’!

 

 

 

  NAFTA is an agreement among and between the three countries on the North American Continent.  The United States, Mexico, and Canada have all agreed to remove tariffs, quotas, and other trade barriers between each other.  During negotiations, proponents said it would lead to trade and prosperity for all three and give them a more commanding standing in trade matters between their members and other non-NAFTA countries.  I remember at the time it was being debated there was much fear that failing to band together would put the countries on this continent at a distinct and dangerous disadvantage with the countries of the European Union. 

 

 

 

  When emotional arguments such as fear are used to make trade agreements look good, it is a clear sign that someone is getting desperate to pass it.  This is not the way to make mutually beneficial treaties.  Indeed, shortly after NAFTA was in full effect, many thousands of U.S. jobs were sent south of the border and the Mexican economy benefited greatly.  The U.S. economy improved slightly because after the initial investment the companies which sent their manufacturing operations to Mexico profited, again at the expense of U.S. workers.  Canada has seen insignificant benefit from the agreement.

 

 

 

  This past weekend, President Trump came right out and said he wanted the U.S. to leave NAFTA.  The president makes these kinds of statements, we have seen, with some regularity and also with apparent disregard for diplomatic protocols or for caring about what anyone else may think of it.  Since I was personally not a supporter of NAFTA when it started, you might expect me to be happy to hear the president talk this way, but you would be wrong.

 

 

 

  Yes, I’d love to see NAFTA not exist, but remember the costs being demanded of Britain in its exit from the E.U..  Is it possible leaving NAFTA could cost us more than leaving it is worth?  Canada probably wouldn’t care if the whole thing went away.  There were few tariffs between the U.S. and Canada before NAFTA.  Mexico and Canada were never big trade partners, either.  So there would likely not be much difference to the Canadians if they or we weren’t a part of NAFTA.  But Mexico would be another matter, and this is where I think our trouble would originate.

 

 

 

  Mexico benefited most from the NAFTA agreements.  Mexico would certainly be the one most hurt if the deal broke up.  Mexico, despite its present employment and relative prosperity has a huge problem with organized criminal gangs.  It wouldn’t take much imagination to expect that if the Mexican economy were severely damaged, the only ones to benefit will be the criminal gangs.  At the very least a poor economy would impair the ability of the Mexican government to fight organized crime.

 

 

 

  So NAFTA has one member who doesn’t care, one member who wants out, and one member who’ll be hurt.  Not a good position for any agreement to be in.

 

 

 

  Examining all these facts, plus the knowledge that a desperate Mexico could nationalize all those factories we built down there, and can drive the criminal gangs northward over the border into the United States if it wanted to, we are left with a distinct feeling of apprehension that the cost of the U.S. leaving NAFTA may be far higher than we wish to pay.  It leaves me clinging to the hope that our president will “go slow” in this direction.  Unfortunately for my hopes, “going slow” is not our new president’s long suit.  I do hope he learns, though.  Rather quickly.

 

 

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

--30—                                                   

 

                                                                                                              

 

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