We’re number 1

We’re number 1

We love traveling. On a recent trip to Iceland we were greeted by our rental car agent at the Airport. She was picking up us and another couple of ladies that had reserved cars. Their rental office was located about 5 miles from the airport terminal. While process the rental agreement we were discussing our touristy plans. The agent mentioned that many Europeans have a problem with Americans. One of the ladies brought up the “ugly American” view, but the agent stated “No, that is not the problem”. When pressed she gave it considerable thought before her reply. “My best way to describe the issue is that we view Americans as naïve.”

What she meant by this is that most Americans do not realize that every other country has real value and that the US could “learn” from other countries. America is not the best at everything. Saying so does not make it so.

Making America great again is an attractive notion. I wonder if the road to greatness can be achieved by recapturing the glory days, or if we need to recognize that the world has changed and we need to better understand how to compete in the new environment?

When I was starting a career, my view was that the primary factor that made our country the best was the can-do attitude of our entrepreneurs and the work ethic of the work force. I remember swelling with pride in this assumed knowledge. I no longer feel this way. One measure of productivity is per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product). While have maintained a top 10 position among all countries for decades we are far from #1. There are several “so called” socialist countries with equivalent or higher productivity.

An unfortunate area where the US ranks number one is healthcare cost per capita. We currently are spending 16% of our GDP on healthcare and that rate has been increasing for decades. If you factor in just this one item and view net, per capita, GDP after healthcare expenditures we fall 6 positions.

I remember a time when we stood at the top of the heap in terms of standard of living. This factor is a combination of: Life expectancy at birth, infant mortality per 1,000 live births, mean years of schooling of adults, safety, expected years of schooling of adults & gross national income per capita. While we still rank in the top 10, we have been again passed by several “so called” socialist countries.

Are we willing to evaluate our performance and learn from others that are doing a better job? If we make it past that hurdle are we willing to make the changes leading to improvement? Is our rental car agent correct about Americans being naïve?

Recent Letter to the Editor – “News” stations

Recent letter to the Editor

OMG – you’ve got to be kidding
I read with horror Michael Reagan’s column as covered in the June 16th edition of the HDT. His claim that Fox News is number one is beyond ludicrous. Fox, MSNBC & CNN are more “Agenda” support systems for the politically inclined. Of these three Fox is arguably the worst. At least CNN & MSNBC frequently invite persons with an opposing viewpoints to debate the issues. Fox seldom does. Regardless, none of these stations are worth watching. While they do report events 90% of their airtime is spent in a combination of mindless speculation and agenda “spinning”. If you want unbiased news reporting you will need to view elsewhere.
It is obvious that both CNN & MSNBC salivate at the prospect of a Trump impeachment. It is equally obvious that Fox is the Trump “mothership”. My suspicion is that the loyal viewers of these programs (notice that I do not refer to them as news programs) do so to reinforce their established political leanings.
In the process these programs are doing extreme damage to the Republic and not because of the subject matter. What they are facilitating is the trend to increased polarization. If you are standing politically to the right then everyone to the left of center is an idiot and worse they are intent on destroying the American way of life. If you are standing to the left then everyone on the right is and idiot and worse the enemy of the disadvantaged.
The reality is that there are more folks not that far away from the “political center” on both sides. What our elected leaders and these three programs encourage is polarization and the more the better. We then focus on despising the other side rather than focusing on issues which both sides can support. Examples of these are: 1. The National Debt 2. The rising cost of and declining level of quality health care & 3. The out of control rising cost of advanced education.
Polarization is an effective political control mechanism that works to the advantage of both major parties. The are the shepherds and view us as malleable sheep. Baaaah Baaaah
Dave Fitton – Harrison

The real top 5 unexplained (just for fun, con’t)

#1 Sacsayhuaman, Cusco, Peru

For me this site is at the top, without hesitation.

The following is from:  www.ancientufo.org/2017/06/stunning-walls-sacsayhuaman/

“Near the city of Cuzco, more than 3500 meters above sea level, the Sacsayhuaman amazing walls first fascinated the Spanish conquistadores and still leave archaeologists puzzled.

It rests on an artificially leveled mountaintop, and consists of three outer lines of gargantuan walls, 1,500 ft long and 54 ft wide, surrounding a paved area containing a circular stone structure believed to be a solar calendar. The ruins also include a 500,000-gallon water reservoir, storage cisterns, ramps, citadels and underground chambers.

Although a substantial part of the walls has been removed over the ages (as much as 3 meters along their lengths according to archaeologists), what remains does so because it was too large to move. Funny isn’t it?”

I have personally explored this site on two separate occasions. There are thousands of large stones (one estimated at 300 tons) that have been assembled into a ‘fortress” without the use of mortar. All of the joints are so precise that not even a human hair can penetrate the seams! Some of the stones have a dozen or more angles and yet the adjacent stones fit the angles perfectly.

The site is located approximately 500 feet above the city of Cuzco at an elevation of over 11,000 feet. The slope from the city to the site is very steep, in some areas as much as 40 degrees. It has been determined that the quarry site is located on the other side of the valley at a distance of over 7 miles (as reported by a local guide.

While there is ample evidence that the Incas used the site as a defensive position against the invading Spanish, it is ludicrous to believe that they anything to do with the construction.

Who and when this construction was accomplished is a mystery. Similar construction can be viewed (albeit on a much smaller scale) both in the City and at Maccha Picchu. One of the stones in Cuzco has 32 angles! At Maccha Picchu there are three distinct types of construction. The oldest one, and the most sophisticated, that forms the foundation of the site is the same type as that at Sacsayhuaman. The next level is hardly comparable and presumably was added by the Incas. The last, and crudest, is a product of recent attempts at restoration.

The method of precise construction at Sacsayhuaman has yet to be replicated or explained. The method of transporting the huge stones to the site as well as lifting them into place is a complete mystery, as the proposed explanations (speculations) are ludicrous.