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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Mr. President and Ms. Secretary, pick your battles carefully

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Associated Press reported last week that, "The Obama administration bluntly warned the world against gay and lesbian discrimination Tuesday, declaring that the U.S. will use foreign assistance and diplomacy to back its insistence that gay rights are equal to other basic human rights."

As if the US of A doesn't have enough troubles around the world, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, speaking in recognition of International Human Rights Day, delivered a landmark speech before the U.N. in Geneva last week. In essence, she and the President are declaring that we will judge other counties efforts by their policies on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights movement. More aid for some, less for those the administration does not agree with.

Are we in any position to preach to the world? Our federal law, the federal Defense of Marriage Act, has defined marriage as a heterosexual union for 15 years, and only six states grant same-sex marriage licenses. Regardless of your position on gay rights, you should be appalled that our leaders would pick this time to poke a sharp stick in yet another eye. Make that many eyes around the world, some of them our allies.

As I have said from time to time, a major failing of the present administration is trying to do too much, too fast. Of course this slight-of-hand action does solidify Obama with his liberal left while diverting attention from our many problems at home.

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there'd be a shortage of sand." (the late Milton Friedman, Nobel winning economist)

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Your young friends would be thrilled to receive a Christmas card from "Santa Claus." Put one or more cards (in a stamped envelope) in a larger envelope, and mail it to "Postmaster, 45 North Kringle, Santa Claus, IN, 47579-9998." The PO will open your envelope and re-mail the cards. There is no charge for "just a few," they tell me.

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Apparently there is a shortage of razors of all kinds these days, for many men rarely shave. And then there are those with a kind of circle of hair around their pie-hole, making the mouth look like a dart target. Women must like the look, right? Or is it only those with poor eyesight?

Are you old enough to have used single edge "safety" razors? The blades were of carbon steel until the 1960s, and those rusty pains-to-the-necks were a menace to the skin, only called safety in relation to what they had replaced. They became dull quickly and rusted even faster, but about 50 years ago stainless steel replaced carbon. The need for styptic pencils and toilet paper declined. Today it is rare to see a man with little white patches stuck to his face, glued on by his own blood.

The first safety razor was invented in the late 18th century by a Frenchman, who was inspired by a carpenter's joiner's plane.

Then in 1855, King Camp Gillette was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where his father was a tinkerer and a patent agent. The family moved to Chicago in 1859 but after the Great Fire destroyed their hardware supply business in 1871, they moved to New York City. KC Gillette became a traveling salesman, and by 1890, he had earned four patents.

Gillette visited metallurgists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology with an idea for a disposable blade, but they told him his idea was impossible. Six years later he connected with William Emery Nickerson (an MIT-trained inventor) and in 1901, Gillette and Nickerson formed the American Safety Razor Company (soon thereafter renamed for Gillette). Production of his double-edged, disposable safety razor attached to a re-usable razor handle began in 1903. The face(s) of the world was changed forever.

Although he was a "King," and made a fortune as a capitalist, Gillette had always been an opponent of capitalism. He wrote a number of books promoting a socialist utopia (The Human Drift 1894). He even presented plans for efficient, pollution-free cities contained in single gigantic, glass-domed, beehive-like communal complexes. Gillette's fortune was ruined by the stock market crash of 1929, patent battles, and corporate infighting, and he died a frustrated man in 1932.

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Heather and I took an AARP defensive driving class last month and having successfully passed it (I don't know how you could fail!) we will receive a discount on our car insurance. If you are over 50 years of age you might want to call 877-390-8806 to learn when the class will be offered in your area.

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Don Paulin, 2carpenterdon@gmail.com, 7557 30th Av, Norwalk, IA 50211 - 515-201-7236 -30-

By Don Paulin
Been There, Done That


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