This from Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., about the ongoing Trump-Russian investigation: “What did the President know and when did his son-in-law tell him?” French President Emmanuel Macron, when asked if there was a Plan B, now that President Trump has withdrawn from the Paris accords: “There is no Plan B, because there is no Planet B.” You may want to check with your mole in the company’s accounting section and see what the boss is making. Roughly 50 years ago, the typical CEO made just 20 times what an employee did. Today the typical CEO receives 347 times the average salary of an American worker, as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics: $37,362.
The reason we are discussing these unrelated items is that I have been going through my various well-filed records (mostly shoe boxes) and have come up with factoids that don’t really fit in with anything else, but are too good to toss. Let’s turn to the press, our favorite villains. From the politically correct absurdities: The Denver Post had a policy of referring to gays as homosexuals, so when it ran a story Oct. 19, 1994, on the Smithsonian’s exhibit of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the headline read: “Atomic bombers criticize Enola homosexual exhibit.” Another example: The Fresno Bee ran this correction: “An item in Thursday’s Nation Digest about the Massachusetts budget ‘back in the African-American.’ The item should have read: ‘back in the black.’”
Online job database CareerCast has released its annual job rankings list on the 200 worst jobs in America this year. After weighing a number of factors ranging from environment, salary, and growth outlook to several stress factors, CareerCast rated “newspaper reporting” as the very worst job in America, again. Annual media salary: $36,360. Growth: down 9 percent. Another branch of the media, “broadcaster,” was the next worst job. Those callings were even worse than the following: logger, enlisted military and pest control worker. The best job? Statistician, followed by medical services manager and operations research manager. Yawn. I bet they never get beat up by a Montana congressman. One final, sort of, press item: New York City residents like to think of themselves as world-travelled sophisticates. Actually, they are the most provincial of all Americans. Cover of the Nov. 4, 2012, New York Times Magazine: “Off the rails — For a true picture of the U.S. economy, ride the train from New York to Washington and take a good, hard look out the window.” Right, eastern elitists. Look no farther.
There has been a lot of discussion about NATO and other nations not carrying their backpacks while letting the U.S. taxpayers pick up the cost for defense. Here’s one example for the Hall of Shame. In a discussion last year about the cost of U.S. Marines being stationed in Darwin, the Australians came in with a data-heavy presentation asserting that the Marines eat more than typical Australian soldiers, and therefore strain sewage systems more. The Aussies argued that the Americans should pay more of the costs of improving sewer lines on military bases. “The proposal stunned even the lead Australian negotiators, who quickly dropped it, according to American defense officials.” Can you believe that? Yes, you can.
Now a little bit of Texas, some from Copano Bay Press: When Sam Houston joined the U.S. Army in 1813, Sam’s mother, Elizabeth Houston, called Sam to her side and handed him a musket, saying, “never disgrace it; for remember I had rather all my sons should fill one honorable grave, than one of them should turn his back to save his life.” She told him to always remember, “While the door to my cottage is open to brave men, it is eternally shut against cowards.” She placed a small gold band on his finger with a one-word inscription: “Honor.” Today, cast into the inside of every official Sam Houston State University class ring, is the word “Honor.” Moving on, it is not widely known, but Gen. Douglas MacArthur went to high school in San Antonio, at the West Texas Military Academy, today the Texas Military Institute. Needless to say, MacArthur was the class valedictorian.
“De bobus longicornibus quad ille non cognovit, inutile est aliis cognoscere.” (What he don’t know about longhorn cattle ain’t worth knowing.) — The Latin citation by which J. Frank Dobie was presented to the assembled senate of Cambridge University in 1944. Dobie also taught at UT until he was fired for being too liberal. My favorite quote of his, which should be carved into the capitol rotunda: “When I get ready to explain homemade fascism in America, I can take my example from the state capitol of Texas.”
“Texas is the only state to enter the U.S. by treaty (known as the Constitution of 1845 by the Republic of Texas to enter the Union) instead of by annexation. This allows the Texas Flag to fly at the same height as the U.S. Flag. No other state flag can do so.” Wrong. This myth has been floating around for years. Texas tried to enter the U.S. by treaty, which needs a two-thirds majority in the Senate, Constitution’s Treaty Clause (Article II, Section 2). But Texas had slaves and the north didn’t want another slave state, so we entered by annexation, an end-run: the Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States, Approved March 1, 1845. And, no, the annexation resolution does not allow Texas to leave the Union anytime we wish. Tried that once, and it didn’t work. Have you ever heard of Appomattox?
Hurricane season has officially begun: the Red Cross tossed out the first doughnut. You’ve seen those signs along our major highways: “Evacuation Route” in case of hurricanes hitting the Houston area. Well now, TxDOT has a new evacuation map. Cajuns are to take I-10 east to Louisiana. Tejanos are to take I-10 west to San Antonio and Yankees are to take Loop 610.
Ashby has more items at firstname.lastname@example.org