If you have grandchildren, one great event, which will never be forgotten is a few hours fishing. Several weeks ago, while in Florida, five of my grandchildren joined my son, Ken, and me on a fishing “expedition.” His son, Jack (6), along with four grandchildren who live in Florida, Owen (10), Neil (8), Erica (8) and Sabrina (6), went out on Sea Magic Too for a fun experience.
Before getting into the details about the “expedition” take a look with me at some statistics relating to pleasure fishing in the United States. First, over 40 million people in our country regularly fish for pleasure. They spend over $45 billion each year to purchase fishing gear, bait, rods, reels, and other gear used while fishing. Next, there are over 13 million pleasure boats in the United States with most of the vessels used for fun fishing.
In some ways the political chatter about immigration issues is more prominent than our economy or the failure to provide employment opportunities for those who want a job. Some 26 states are in the midst of litigations with the United States Attorney General over whether immigration should be enforced at the Federal or State level. The two hottest contests are in Alabama and Arizona. The issue will probably come to the Supreme Court sometime next year – around the same time as health care mandates.
In the meantime, there is another very interesting dimension to people having a desire to come to the United States. Take a look at some of the current statistics.
One of the saddest parts of the economic downturn over the past three years is the number of families who have lost their homes. Most homes have been lost because the owners have been unable to make mortgage payments!
New York State Comptroller issued a statement last year entitled, “Long Island Hit Hard by Foreclosures.” He, properly, placed a great deal of the blame on “subprime mortgage lending practices …” Mr. DiNapoli went on to say that Suffolk and Nassau Counties had the second and third highest foreclosure rates during the first quarter of 2011.
President Obama has indicated that all combat troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of this year. What does the withdrawal mean for Iraq and the region?
First of all, it is important to understand the history of our modern day involvement in Iraq. Our direct involvement started well over 50 years. It was under the Eisenhower Administration when the United States took out Iran’s democratically elected leader. He was replaced with a friend of the United States, the Shah of Iran. Then, in 1980, the U.S. Embassy was seized, and the Shah was overthrown. Next, as President Reagan was sworn into office, the prisoners from our Embassy were released in 1981.
While there have been many news stories about the debt crisis in Europe and here in the United States, it occurred to me that the details are hard to figure out. The reasons are simple. The details are never covered.
Now, take a look with me at the national and local government debt in the United States, and the debt of nations around the globe.
As I examined statistics, it is clear that we are way behind China, Korea, Japan, Australia, Netherlands and even Canada, our neighbor to the North. While the statistics are probably not perfect, they are a close reading of where we stand in the world. In terms of reading, mathematics and science the number one educational ranking, in the world, is China. Korea is also far ahead of the United States in all of those categories. Canada is sixth in reading; eighth in science; and 31st in math. The United States ranks 25th in math; 12th in reading; and 20th in science. Astounding — but these rankings should be a wakeup call!
When I first wrote my book about the Panama Canal, Global Passage, one major book publishing company took a hard look at my book and came back to me with a comment that the book needs a strong “hook.” It did not matter that I had laid out the history of the Canal, my direct involvement as a board member and chairman, and a full explanation of the current Canal expansion effort in Panama. Something was needed to get the book more media attention.
It is amazing how different encounters can resonate after many years. The passing of Al Davis, clearly a football icon, reminded me and my friends of Al Davis’ days at Adelphi University in Garden City.
Al Davis graduated from Syracuse University, and his first job, after college, was to coach the freshman team at Adelphi. In addition, he was the line coach for the varsity, as well. That is when I first met Al Davis, and I will never forget those days.
It is not unusual for me to get emails from readers, particularly when the column is somewhat controversial or hits the positive or negative nerve of a reader. And the comments come from around the world. It has been amazing to me how the Internet has so much of an impact on our lives.
Over the last few years, I have heard from people in Australia about my columns dealing with China and from Chinese people in Shanghai about charitable giving. Depending on the subject, people from all over the United States respond to various columns. Some may have lived on Long Island and visit the Anton website www.Antonnews.com while others visit my website www.BobMcMillan.net where there is a direct link to each week’s column. In addition, many emails come from people who are using the computer for research with the subject matter bringing one of my columns to their attention.
The recent decision by Saudi King Abdullah to allow women to vote in Saudi Arabia’s 2015 national election caused me to reflect back to an earlier period in my life. Back in the 1980s, I was an executive with a large cosmetic company, which was doing business in Saudi Arabia. At that time, the company’s women managers could not drive a car while carrying on business.
As I researched the issue for this piece, I found that the ban on women driving automobiles in Saudi Arabia still exists because of Sharia law. In fact there was a recent conviction of a woman for driving a car and her sentence was ten lashes with a whip! But, the King of Saudi Arabia has stopped the lashing. We will have to see what next takes place. And the law goes beyond driving automobiles. While lifting the ban on voting and running for office is a step forward, take a look at other impacts of Sharia Law on women in Saudi Arabia.
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