Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Day


General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868

1. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from hishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.

2. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

3. Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.

By order of


Adjutant General

The preferred name for the holiday gradually changed from "Decoration Day" to "Memorial Day," which was first used in 1882. Memorial Day did not become the more common name until after World War II, and was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967. On June 28, 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May. The law took effect at the federal level in 1971. After some initial confusion and unwillingness to comply, all 50 states adopted Congress' change of date within a few years.

NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED, May 24, 2017 - Colin Powell: American Leadership — We Can’t Do It for Free

At our best, being a great nation has always meant a commitment to building a better, safer world — not just for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren. This has meant leading the world in advancing the cause of peace, responding when disease and disaster strike, lifting millions out of poverty and inspiring those yearning for freedom.

This calling is under threat.

The administration’s proposal, announced Tuesday, to slash approximately 30 percent from the State Department and foreign assistance budget signals an American retreat, leaving a vacuum that would make us far less safe and prosperous. While it may sound penny-wise, it is pound-foolish.

This proposal would bring resources for our civilian forces to a third of what we spent at the height of Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” years, as a percentage of the gross domestic product. It would be internationally irresponsible, distressing our friends, encouraging our enemies and undermining our own economic and national security interests.

The idea that putting Americans “first” requires a withdrawal from the world is simply wrongheaded, because a retreat would achieve exactly the opposite for our citizens. I learned that lesson the hard way when I became secretary of state after a decade of budget cuts that hollowed out our civilian foreign policy tools.

Many had assumed the Cold War’s end would allow us to retreat from the world, but cuts that may have looked logical at the time came back to haunt us as tensions rose in the Middle East, Africa, the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere. Confronting such challenges requires not just a military that is second to none, but also well-resourced, effective and empowered diplomats and aid workers.

Indeed, we’re strongest when the face of America isn’t only a soldier carrying a gun but also a diplomat negotiating peace, a Peace Corps volunteer bringing clean water to a village or a relief worker stepping off a cargo plane as floodwaters rise. While I am all for reviewing, reforming and strengthening the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development, proposals to zero out economic and development assistance in more than 35 countries would effectively lower our flag at our outposts around the world and make us far less safe.

Today, the world is witnessing some of the most significant humanitarian crises in living memory. With more than 65 million people displaced, there have never been more people fleeing war and instability since World War II. The famines engulfing families in South Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia put more than 20 million people at risk of starvation — further destabilizing regions already under threat from the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab.

Do we really want to slash the State Department and the U.S.A.I.D. at such a perilous moment? The American answer has always been no. Yet this budget proposal has forced us to ask what America’s role in the world is and what kind of nation we seek to be. The president’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, has described these cuts as “not a reflection of the president’s policies regarding an attitude toward State.” But how is a 32 percent cut to our civilian programs overseas anything but a clear expression of policy?

True, many in Congress have effectively declared the administration’s budget proposal “dead on arrival,” but they also acknowledge that it will set the tone for the coming budget debate. That’s the wrong conversation. Our diplomacy and development budget is not just about reducing spending and finding efficiencies. We need a frank conversation about what we stand for as that “shining city on a hill.” And that conversation begins by acknowledging that we can’t do it on the cheap.

Diplomacy and aid aren’t the only self-defeating cuts in the administration’s proposal. A call to all but eliminate two key export-promotion agencies — the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Trade and Development Agency — would harm thousands of American workers and actually add to the deficit. And any cuts to our economic development investments in Africa and elsewhere would undermine our ability to build new customer bases in the world’s fastest-growing markets.

With 95 percent of the world’s consumers outside our borders, it’s not “America first” to surrender the field to an ambitious China rapidly expanding its influence, building highways and railroads across Africa and Asia. China is far from slashing its development budget. Instead, it’s growing — by more than 780 percent in Africa alone since 2003.

Since the release of its initial budget request in March, the administration has started to demonstrate a more strategic foreign policy approach. This is welcome, but it will take far more than a strike against Syria, a harder line on Russia, increased pressure on North Korea and deeper engagement with China to steer American foreign policy. It also takes the resources to underwrite it.

America is great when we’re the country that the world admires, a beacon of hope and a principled people who are generous, fair and caring. That’s the American way. If we’re still that nation, then we must continue to devote this small but strategic 1 percent of our federal budget to this mission.

Throughout my career, I learned plenty about war on the battlefield, but I learned even more about the importance of finding peace. And that is what the State Department and U.S.A.I.D. do: prevent the wars that we can avoid, so that we fight only the ones we must. For our service members and citizens, it’s an investment we must make.

Colin Powell was the secretary of state from 2001 to 2005.

HOLIDAY TRAVEL - Prices at the pump are going up this Memorial Day weekend after a month of decline, according to AAA.

Why this matters: If you're driving for the long holiday weekend, it'll cost you more. Longer term, higher gasoline prices drives up Americans' interest in -- and mostly disdain for -- Washington's energy policies. However, with the OPEC production deal, domestic gasoline prices are unlikely to rise substantially any time soon.

No matter how you count them, the numbers are going up.

National average gasoline prices are $2.39 this week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, three cents more than a week ago.

More than 34 million Americans are planning to take a road trip this weekend, which is 800,000 more than last year, AAA says. That increase is helping increase gas prices.
The biggest increases over the last week were found in Ohio (a dime higher), Michigan (nine cents), and California (eight cents).

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Cher (71) Beverly Hills, CA.; Jim Lehrer (83) Dallas, TX.; Ray Skelton …a true gentle man.

ENDANGERED SPECIES - For years banks and brokers stocked their annual recruiting classes with new hires who shared at least one thing in common: They’d played college sports. In New York and Chicago, trading floors teemed with former football and lacrosse stars, as well as veterans of college hockey, wrestling, tennis and crew teams. Ex-jocks have a stomach for risk-taking, the theory went, and the ideal temperament to win clients’ trust and business. The industry started to shift away from athletes to Ph.D.s in the 1990s as derivatives grew in number and complexity. More recently, the rise of electronic trading and quantitative investing has called for many more recruits with math or computer-programming skills. Still, some say Wall Street may rue the day ex-jocks and others with similar skills are cast aside.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – A personal note this week as we come to a close of the 2016-2017 academic year. I would like to congratulate the 73 undergraduate and 71 graduate students I have had the pleasure to work with these last few years on their graduation this weekend. These fine students represent fifteen countries, they range in age from 21 – 61, the majority work, manage families, manage companies, and still find time to excel in the classroom.  This teacher has learned just as much from them as they have learned from me. They get it. Many of us do not get it.

Be bold, be courageous, be your best. Much success!

STUDENT LOANS COULD MOVE FROM ED TO TREASURY - The Trump administration is considering moving responsibility for overseeing more than $1 trillion in student debt from the Education Department to the Treasury Department, a switch that would radically change the system that helps 43 million students finance higher education.

A shift in handling federal student aid is being weighed as the Trump administration and Ms. DeVos consider overhauling the Department of Education. Mr. Trump's proposed budget for 2018 slashes funding for the department by nearly 50 percent. Moving one of its core functions to Treasury would significantly diminish the agency's power. It could also alter the mission of the student loan program.

POTUS 2018 BUDGET – Very unlikely it will pass the Congress, but here it is:

FORD MOTOR -- Ford Motor Chief Executive Mark Fields is leaving the company, and will be replaced by the head of its Ford Smart Mobility LLC subsidiary, James P. Hackett, the company announced on Monday ... The shakeup is a result of Executive Chairman Bill Ford and the rest of the board losing confidence in Fields' leadership ... Fields replaced Alan Mulally in mid-2014, but lacked his predecessor's ability to rally employees around a common mission or to make critical decisions about the company's strategy. ... Directors were increasingly alarmed by the deterioration in Ford's business, despite hefty profits from its flagship F-series pickup truck line.

Why Ford is making this huge strategy shift

AUTO INDUSTRY IN TROUBLE - For years, America's auto industry has been a bright spot in the global economy. Since early 2009 employment in auto manufacturing has increased by two-thirds. Monthly sales of cars and lorries have nearly doubled ... In 2015 and 2016, GM and Ford reported record profits, fueled by surging demand for lorries and sport-utility vehicles.

However, there are growing signs that America's car market is running out of gas. In April sales of new cars and lorries fell for the fourth straight month. ... Facing swelling inventories, carmakers have slashed prices and increased incentives for dealers. But these measures have eaten into their profits.

CORD CUTTERS - Cord-cutters are ditching their cable packages at the fastest rate ever.

The latest Magid Broadcast Study finds that 9% of TV subscribers aged 16-64 are extremely likely to cancel service in the next year, up from 5.7% in the prior year.

Why it matters: The trend reflects consumers' preferences to ditch bundled cable packages for more affordable, niche bundled services that can be accessed on TV box tops or on mobile. For consumers, there are more bundled packages than ever, all popping up around similar price ranges. YouTube TV and Hulu TV launched within the past two months, joining the likes of SlingTV and DirectTV Now — all at a roughly $40 monthly price point — a bargain considering the average American pays $92 monthly for cable.

BATTLE ROYALE -- Putin and Merkel: A Rivalry of History, Distrust and Power. Ms. Merkel, 62, is now the undisputed leader of Europe, weary but resolute, the stolid defender of an embattled European Union and of Western liberal values. Mr. Putin, 64, is now the equivalent of a modern Russian czar, who wants to fracture Europe and the liberal Western order. He has outlasted George W. Bush and Barack Obama in America, and Tony Blair, David Cameron, Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy in Europe. ... Now Europe's fate is on the line, with coming elections in the Netherlands, France, possibly Italy and in Germany, where Ms. Merkel is seeking a fourth term as chancellor. If not on any ballot, Mr. Putin is a shadow figure in every race, inspiring angry European populists who embrace his nationalistic ethos, while Russia is also suspected of meddling through cyberhacking and spreading disinformation. Toppling Ms. Merkel would mean Mr. Putin had bested his last rival.

WEEKEND READ - National Geographic cover story, "Why We Lie ... scheming and dishonesty are part of what makes us human," by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee:

"Our capacity for dishonesty is as fundamental to us as our need to trust others, which ironically makes us terrible at detecting lies. Being deceitful is woven into our very fabric, so much so that it would be truthful to say that to lie is human."

"Researchers speculate that lying as a behavior arose not long after the emergence of language. The ability to manipulate others without using physical force likely conferred an advantage in the competition for resources and mates, akin to the evolution of deceptive strategies in the animal kingdom, such as camouflage."

Why it matters: "Our proclivity for deceiving others, and our vulnerability to being deceived, are especially consequential in the age of social media. Our ability as a society to separate truth from lies is under unprecedented threat."

REALLY? – A baby born in the U.S. in 2016 can expect to live 79 years on average. But depending on which county a child is born in, life expectancy can vary by two decades, ranging from a low of 67 years in Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota, to a high of 87 years in Summit County, Colorado.


As we approach the Stanley Cup Finals, it is that time of year to announce our Rink Rats National Hockey League awards for this past season.

Most Valuable Player – Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

Outstanding Rookie – Austin Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs

Outstanding Goaltender – Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets

Outstanding Defenseman – Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

Outstanding Coach – Mike Babcock, Toronto Maple Leafs

Biggest Surprise of the Season – Toronto Maple Leafs

Biggest Disappointment of the Season – Dallas Stars



MLB Game of the Week (May 27) – Chicago Cubs (25-21) visit Los Angeles Dodgers (28-20), Dodgers win 5 – 4.

GS 4 CLE 2

Season to Date (39 - 17)

DRIVING THE DAY - President Trump meets with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and takes part in the G7 meeting in Taormina, Italy ... Second estimate of Q1 GDP at 8:30 a.m. expected to be revised up to 0.9 percent from 0.7 percent ... Univ. Michigan Consumer Sentiment at 10:00 a.m. expected to rise to 97.5 from 97.0.

Next Blog: Jack Ass of the Month, Words of the Month, Dear Rink Rats.

We will be off next week, see you on June 5, Adios

Claremont, California

May 26, 2017


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