Mike Rowe: Why celebrities should shut up about politics

Mike Rowe

“I can’t think of a single celebrity whose political opinion I value.” (Mike Rowe)


Mike Rowe became famous as the fun and gregarious host of the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs and it’s that same personality and common sense attitude that still endears him to his fans.

Recently, Rowe was criticized for not using his fame and his platform to speak out on political issues, particularly for not speaking out against “anti-intellectualism” that his critic said was coming from the GOP. Rowe responded by unmasking the “logical fallacies” that the criticism was replete with and he did so in his indomitable style, revealing that his critic’s own biases were actually driving the criticism against Rowe.

Chuck Atkins sent this comment to Mike:

“One of the tenants of white nationalism is that college educated people are academic elitists. Comment? No? I’m not surprised. You never take a political stand because you don’t want to alienate anybody. It’s bad for business. I get it. But there is a current of anti intellectualism in this country – promoted by Republicans. Those people love you, and they think your initiative is their initiative. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is kickin our ass academically.”

Here’s Mike’s response:

Hi Chuck,

Since we’re being candid, allow me to say how much I dislike your post. Everything about it annoys me – your smug and snarky tone, your appalling grammar, your complete lack of evidence to support your claims, and of course, the overarching logical fallacy that informs your entire position. What really bugs me though, is the fact that you’re not entirely wrong. It’s true; I haven’t shared any political opinions this week, in part anyway, because doing so might very well be “bad for business.”

What can I say? I work for half-a-dozen different companies, none of whom pay me to share my political opinions. I run a non-partisan foundation, I’m about to launch a new show on Facebook, and I’m very aware that celebrities pay a price for opening their big fat gobs. Gilbert Gottfried, Kathy Griffin, Colin Kaepernick, Milo Yiannopoulos…even that guy from Google who just got himself fired for mouthing off. There’s no getting around it – the first amendment does not guarantee the freedom to speak without consequences. And really, that’s fine by me.

So no – I’m not going to share my personal feelings about Charlottesville, President Trump, or the current effort to remove thousands of statues of long dead soldiers from the public square. Not just because it’s “bad for business,” but because it’s annoying. I can’t think of a single celebrity whose political opinion I value, and I’m not going to assume the country feels any differently about mine. So, rather than blow myself up, or chime in with all the obvious observations about the cowardly scum in the pointy hats, I’m going to talk instead about my belief that comments like yours pose a far greater threat to the future of our country than the existence of a memorial to Thomas Jefferson, or a monument to George Washington. Ready? Let’s start with a closer look at your claims.

You say that White Nationalists believe that everyone who goes to college is an “academic elite.” You then say that Republicans promote “anti-intellectualism.” You offer no proof to support either claim, but it really doesn’t matter – your statements successfully connect two radically different organizations by alleging a shared belief. Thus, White Nationalists and The Republican Party suddenly have something in common – a contempt for higher education. Then, you make it personal. You say that Republicans “love” me because they believe that my initiative and “their” initiative are one and the same. But of course, “their” initiative is now the same initiative as White Nationalists.

Very clever. Without offering a shred of evidence, you’ve implied that Republicans who support mikeroweWORKS do so because they believe I share their disdain for all things “intellectual.” And poof – just like that, Republicans, White Nationalists, and mikeroweWORKS are suddenly conflated, and the next thing you know, I’m off on a press tour to disavow rumors of my troubling association with the Nazis!

Far-fetched? Far from it. That’s how logical fallacies work. A flaw in reasoning or a mistaken belief undermines the logic of a conclusion, often leading to real-world consequences. And right now, logical fallacies are not limited to the warped beliefs of morons with tiki torches, and other morons calling for “more dead cops.” Logical fallacies are everywhere.

As I type this, a Democrat on CNN is making an argument that says, “because Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, those Republicans now opposed to tearing down his memorial are “pro-slavery,” and therefore aligned with the modern day KKK.” That’s a logical fallacy.

Over on Fox, a Republican is arguing that “any Democrat who has not yet condemned the Senator from Missouri for publicly wishing that Donald Trump be assassinated, is guilty of wishing for the exact same thing.” That’s a logical fallacy.

Yesterday, on The Science Channel, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, a noted astronomer, tweeted that the ability of scientists to accurately predict the solar eclipse was proof that predictions of global warming were also accurate. That’s a logical fallacy.

Want to hear another one? Imagine something like this, unfolding over on MSNBC.

“Good Evening, America, our top story tonight… Chuck Atkins is a racist! Why? Because he can’t spell. Just look at his grammar! In a recent post on Mike Rowe’s Facebook page, Mr. Atkins, while bemoaning America’s global academic standing, not only misspelled “elitist,” he used “tenants” when he meant “tenets.” He neglected to use a hyphen in “anti-intellectual,” and he misplaced several commas and apostrophes! But why is he a racist, you ask? Simple. Because everyone knows racists are ignorant. Chuck Atkins is clearly a poor speller. Poor spelling and grammar are signs of ignorance. Ergo – Chuck Atkins is a racist! Boom! The matter is settled!”

There’s not much we can do about the news, but here on Facebook, I think we can do better. This isn’t Twitter. We’re not limited to a few inflammatory sentences and a flurry of emojis. Take a moment, Chuck. Think. Make a rational argument. Otherwise, just link us to a cat video. People love those, and they’re almost never “bad for business.” (Unless of course, the cat gets hurt. People hate that.) Just don’t assume that people will care about your beliefs, if you’re not willing to back them up with some relevant facts and a rational conclusion. Here, for instance, are a few facts that matter to me, with respect to my foundation and the recurring charge of “fostering anti-intellectualism.”

mikeroweWORKS is a PR campaign for the skilled trades. For the last nine years, we’ve partnered with numerous trade schools, raised millions of dollars for work-ethic scholarships, and called attention to millions of jobs that don’t require a four-year degree. But that doesn’t mean we’re “anti-intellectual.” We’re not even “anti-college.” We simply reject the popular notion that a four-year degree is the best path for the most people. And we’re hardly alone.

Millions of reasonable people – Republicans and Democrats alike – are worried that our universities are doing a poor job of preparing students for the real world. They’re worried about activist professors, safe spaces, the rising cost of tuition, a growing contempt for history, and a simmering disregard of the first amendment. These people are concerned that our universities – once beacons of free speech – now pander to a relatively small percentage of students who can’t tolerate any political opinion that challenges their own. And they’re concerned – deeply concerned – that millions of good jobs are currently vacant that don’t require a four-year degree or any of the catastrophic debt that comes with it.

Again – these are not the concerns of “anti-intellectuals.” They are the concerns of people who care about the future of the country. I don’t know how many of these people are Republicans, but I can assure you that no one who actually supports my initiative is remotely confused about my feelings on education, because I’ve been crystal clear on that topic from the very beginning. To quote Thomas Jefferson (while I still can), “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free and live in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” On this point, my foundation does not equivocate.

In other words, Chuck, I have no idea what the White Nationalists think about my efforts, or the Republicans, the Democrats, the elitists, the Italians, the Presbyterians, the unions, or the self-proclaimed anti-intellectuals. And really, I couldn’t care less. My question is, why do you?


PS. Ok, I’ve just re-read this, (in a desperate search for typos) and I want to apologize for pointing out that you’re a lousy speller. This is probably not the time to trot out the Grammar Nazi, but your tenor and tone pissed me off, and I responded in my own snarky way. Sorry.

PPS. Maybe this is how political correctness begins? Maybe we start by correcting each other’s grammar, and then move on to the business of correcting everything else? Today a missing hyphen, tomorrow a missing monument. Or, maybe not.


[From an article published by THE LID]


NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  Wow! We are impressed!  Mike Rowe knows how to spell, how to write, and how to speak well.  (So few of the people who are trying to do all that really know how to do any of it.)




As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis




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Solar eclipse crossroads: Carbondale, Illinois will be a focus point of the next solar eclipse (in 2024) also

Next solar eclipse to appear in 2024

Interesting follow-up to the recent eclipse…and VERY interesting if you happen to live in Carbondale, Illinois!


As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis

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An amazing thought regarding the solar eclipse

The solar eclipse...

Were you part of the “show” on Monday when the sun was blotted out by our moon for a couple of minutes?  Millions of people all over the country participated by watching the eclipse!  Some of them even drove or flew long distances to see it from the better vantage points!

Here’s our amazing thought: Our sun is large enough to hold 1.3 million earths inside it.  (And our sun is a relatively small star compared to many in our own galaxy!)  Our moon is approximately 25% as big as the earth.


Size of sun and earth compared

Size of earth and moon compared

Earth and moon shown at correct scale for distance

So if the sun is so big, and the moon is so small, how in the world can our moon cover the sun during an eclipse?  Or we could ask the question this way: It must be true that the moon is in EXACTLY the right place to cover up the sun during an eclipse based on all the astronomical geometry which takes into account sizes of earth, moon, and sun, and their distance from each other…how did this precise placement happen?

There is an answer, a good answer.  But there is only ONE good answer.

Here it is:  “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?  Tell Me, if you have understanding.  Who set its measurements, since you know?”  …”God stretches out the north over empty space, and hangs the earth on nothing.   …He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters, at the boundary of light and darkness.”  (from the Book of Job)

“Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?  Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?  It is God who sits above the circle of the earth, …who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.”  (from the Book of Isaiah)

“Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth’: and it was so.  And God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.  And God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.”  (from Genesis ch. 1)

If you think this planet “just happened” to come into existence along with all the rest of the universe, then the above explanation is, of course, unacceptable.  But when astronomers and astrophysicists are coming to a belief in a Creator God because they have absolutely NO OTHER WAY to explain what they see in the universe, we would like to suggest to you that you consider the only plausible explanation of why a tiny body like the moon in is exactly the right place to obscure a huge body like the sun.

That’s the way God did it!

Our God is a God of precision, of great orderliness.  Consider the DNA in our cells…in the cells of all living things.  Is that just a random result of time and biochemistry?  Absolutely not.  It took a God of great precision (and a great desire to be seen by you in Monday’s eclipse) to put the moon exactly where He put it, and to put all that incredible DNA in your cells!


The solar eclipse

As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis




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The markets will line up for you today’s rare commodities. Probably the rarest is TRUTH.

Truth is an extremely rare commodity.

In this age of fake news, dishonest and lying politicians who

refuse to put country above personal gain, and corporations

focused only on the bottom line rather than principles, you

must insist on TRUTH in all your dealings. But first you

must FIND the truth. There is a source of truth which

has stood the test of time. One source. Only one.

We can easily help you verify the above statement.

When you have questions, we have answers.  We’d like to show you that God is real, Jesus is who He claimed to be, and the Holy Spirit can become the most indispensable source of knowledge and strength you will ever encounter in your entire earthly life.

We hope you have an inquiring, honest mind.  (Honest of mind does not mean we won’t welcome skeptics and doubters. We most certainly will, and always have.)

Remember, though…because God is real, hell is real too.

There is still time to choose your eternity…but not a lot of time.


As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis

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This letter from an elderly woman to a good friend is one you will never forget

We don’t know the original author of this letter, but her message is powerful even in its anonymity.


“Dear Bertha,

I’m reading more and dusting less. I’m sitting in the yard and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden.

I’m spending more time with my family and friends and less time working. 

Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure. I’m trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them. 

I’m not ‘saving’ anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the first Amaryllis blossom.

I wear my good blazer to the market. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries.

I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties, but wearing it for clerks in the hardware store and tellers at the bank.

‘Someday’ and ‘one of these days’ are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.

I’m not sure what others would’ve done had they known they wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow that we all take for granted. I think they would have called family members and a few close friends. They might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think they would have gone out for a Chinese dinner or for whatever their favorite food was. I’m guessing; I’ll never know.

It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew my hours were limited. Angry because I hadn’t written certain letters that I intended to write one of these days. Angry and sorry, that I didn’t tell my husband and parents often enough how much I truly love them.

I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives.

And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift.

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.”


[From an article published on LIFTABLE.COM]


NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  If you want to make this “party” even MORE THAN we hoped for,  just get to know the Lord of the party, who is also the Life of the party. His name is Jesus.




As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis





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“We’ve always known the surest sign of a crisis to be when our public officials announce there’s nothing to worry about”

How much actual money do you think
there is in the United States?

Every year in America trillions of dollars change hands. Or so it seems. People buy milk, pay babysitters. They pay their mortgages and their taxes.

But here’s the thing: There are only $1.5 trillion worth of actual dollars – physical money – in the entire world.

And most of those dollars are not in the United States. Estimates have some 50 percent to 75 percent of our dollars in overseas bank accounts or held by foreign governments.

A lot of what is left back here in the states is called “dead money.”  It’s stuffed in mattresses and safe-deposit boxes.  In fact, the amount of U.S. dollars being hoarded this way – that is to say the amount of dead money – is now at an all-time high.

So how many dollars does that leave actually circulating here in the U.S.?  Hard to say, but there might be as few as $375 billion…

And while that might seem like a lot of money, consider that a single U.S. company – Walmart – takes in nearly twice that amount in annual revenue, and our government spends 14 times that amount in just a year…

So if there are only 375 billion physical U.S. dollars in this country…what are people spending?

They are spending credit.

As you can see, for the past 30 or so years, the amount of credit has been growing exponentially.

That’s why, although wages have been falling since the 1970s…

…And although the value of all the wealth produced in America put together has actually fallen since Reagan was president (according to our calculations)…

…America still appears to be getting richer and richer.

Everything runs on credit. Even the food on your table.


Our wealth is not real. It’s credit, stored on a bunch of Wall Street computers.  All of it can disappear in the blink of an eye, because it’s not real money.


First the farmer gets a loan from the bank to buy his farm.  Then he uses credit to buy supplies, fuel, fertilizer, seed…everything.  After the crops are grown, the wholesaler – who got a loan to build his warehouse and processing center – uses credit to buy the raw food from the farmer so he can process and package it.

Then a trucker – who got an auto loan to buy his truck – uses credit to buy fuel so he can haul the food to a retailer.  The retailer needs credit to keep the lights on, the shelves stocked, and the stores open.  Each part of this chain can afford to take on that debt…because they know that eventually the consumer will buy that food…most likely using a credit card.

If the one crucial piece of that chain – credit – stops working… suddenly suburbs and cities are cut off from their food supplies… businesses can’t run…they can’t meet payroll…

Our wealth is not real. It’s credit, stored on a bunch of Wall Street computers.

All of it can disappear within the blink of an eye. Because it’s not real money. The real money required to back it up…does not exist.

It only takes 3 unpaid creditors to legally force a single US company in bankruptcy, whether they want to or not.

How much more does it take to initiate a crisis on a national scale?

We are very likely about to find out.  As famed economist Herbert Stein once said: “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”


How can there be so little money in America,
when we have so much wealth?


What about our billion-dollar tech companies…or our big brands like Coca Cola…or new technology like driverless cars…or all that oil wealth in our shale deposits…?

Let’s look a little closer.

It is so rare for Amazon to make a profit that it makes headlines when that happens.

In Tesla’s entire existence, it has had just two profitable quarters.  Meanwhile, Uber – a company “valued” at $66 billion – lost $3 billion in 2016.

And as for our oil wealth…58 oil companies went bankrupt in 2016 alone. And our great Barnett shale deposit in Texas – “the granddaddy of shale plays” – is now owned by the French (who ironically don’t allow fracking in their country, but are happy to do it here).

And what of our big brand companies? Well, are you aware of how they operate?

Take Ford. Now on the surface Ford appears to be an amazingly successful – and profitable – company.  But when you look closely you see that they are actually not purely a car manufacturer.  A big chunk of their business comes from loaning people the money to buy their cars.  

Guess how many of those auto loans went bad during the first half of 2016 alone: $449 million worth. That’s up 34%.  Do you know how high the default rate for 2007 subprime mortgages was right before the financial crisis? 8.05%. That’s it.

But here’s the most shocking part…let’s take Ford’s auto financing business out of the picture entirely.  Where do you think the money to build factories…buy parts…pay their employees…and keep the lights on is coming from?

It sure isn’t coming from their cash flow. Last time I checked they had a cash surplus of $1.9 billion.  Want to know how much short term debt (and other liabilities) they’re on the hook for?

$46 billion last time I checked. And short term debt is the kind you need to pay back within a year.  So months from now, Ford is going to try to roll over huge amounts of debt which they cannot possibly pay off with only 1.9 billion in cash on hand.

Here’s why all that debt is about to become a huge problem: Lenders are pulling out of the market because credit growth has finally turned negative.

That likely explains why…for the first time in 35 years…people are suddenly dumping bonds…causing yields (which have been falling for three decades) to suddenly break.

Who will lend to Ford, then?  More than that, who will lend to the hundreds of other companies doing the exact same thing? Coke, Chevron, Campbell’s, Kellogg’s, Harley Davidson, General Motors (which just closed five factories)…

Maybe Warren Buffett bails one or two of them out…but even he can’t save them all.  And it certainly won’t be the Fed…or the government (over $20 trillion in debt after Obama spent his way out of the ’08 crisis).

The money to save our system simply isn’t there. It was spent by previous administrations to save themselves.

Today, we are out there twisting in the wind totally on our own.


[From an article published by BONNER AND PARTNERS]




As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis

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Sanctuary cities, power politics, and a lesson from Chicago

“The rule of law is always compromised by power politics.”

Before Chicago’s mayor feuded with Attorney General Jeff Sessions over federal immigration policy, before sanctuary city politics and long before Donald Trump became president, a man they didn’t know was standing on a street corner in Chicago.

Dennis McCann, an insurance broker, was about to cross North Kedzie Boulevard and have dinner with a friend.

“He was going to meet a friend, a client, Jose Gonzalez, owner of El Cid, a restaurant there,” McCann’s brother Brian told me Tuesday. “They were close. My brother just wanted to cross the street and see his friend.”

It was June 8, 2011, and Rahm Emanuel had just been elected a few weeks before on the charms of his former boss, then-President Barack Obama. Jeff Sessions was a senator from Alabama. President Donald Trump was just a rich guy on reality TV.

Most likely there was nothing on McCann’s mind about illegal immigration and whether Americans have the right to control their own borders — issues that would later propel Trump to the presidency.

What was Dennis McCann thinking about? “He was probably thinking the same stuff you and I would think about when we cross the street and a friend is waiting,” said his brother, “like what to order, what to drink.”

So Dennis McCann began crossing the street.

And he was hit by a speeding car.

All that was left on the street were his sandals.  And the rest of Dennis McCann was being dragged hundreds of feet down Kedzie.

“I heard the impact, saw this man go up into the sky and land on the windshield,” witness Alberto Aceves told the Tribune at the time, describing how Dennis McCann fell off the hood to roll under the speeding car. “I pull up to the passenger side screaming at him. ‘Stop! The guy’s under your car.'”

The driver finally stopped the car, got out and tried to run, but was arrested by police.

Saul Chavez, then 35, a Mexican immigrant here illegally, had been drinking heavily. The Cook County sheriff’s office said Chavez had a blood alcohol content of 0.29 percent, more than three times the legal limit. Chavez had just completed probation after a drunken driving conviction two years before.

Chavez was charged with a felony — aggravated DUI — and was given a $250,000 bond. Two days after McCann was killed, federal officials filed an immigration detainer, believing Chavez was living in the U.S. illegally. The form requested that Cook County notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement if Chavez was scheduled to be released.

Sanctuary cities and power politics

But as Chavez sat in jail, Chicago Democrats on the Cook County Board were playing immigration politics. Led by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, and catering to the Latino vote, they worked out a new policy:  The Cook County Board decided that federal detainer requests would be ignored, and those suspected of being in the country illegally and in jail on criminal charges could make bond without fear of deportation.

Chavez did make bond. Cook County did not notify immigration officials. And within days, what happened?  Chavez fled. He disappeared back into Mexico, where he remains out of reach of the short arms of Chicago’s law.

“I’ve talked to the feds recently,” said Brian McCann. “They know where he is. Chavez is in Mexico. There is a Mexican warrant out for him. But it hasn’t been served.”

McCann was quiet for a moment.

“What justice did my brother get? Chicago Democrats got to pander to the Hispanic vote and ignore the rule of law. And the mayor now gets a campaign issue. And my brother? Nothing.”

I first wrote about this case years ago, and called Brian McCann on Tuesday to write about it again, to remind people that politics isn’t the only thing at stake here. Lives are at stake. And confidence in the rule of law is also at stake. Without confidence in the rule of law, a republic collapses into mob rule.

Sessions is threatening to withhold federal law enforcement grants if Emanuel continues with Chicago’s sanctuary city policy. Emanuel filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, demanding the federal funds.

“Chicago will not be blackmailed into changing our values, and we are and will remain a welcoming city,” Emanuel said.

Our Chicago values?

Hearing the mayor talk, you almost forget that he was stridently opposed to illegal immigration not long ago. And under Presidents Bill Clinton and Obama, he demanded repeated and high-profile federal immigration raids and deportations and crackdowns at workplaces across America.

But now he’s Mayor Zorro.

What’s amusing is that some are so blinded by their hatred of Trump, and so oblivious to how Chicago politics really work, that they’re actually applauding Emanuel for standing up to alleged Trump bullying.

Rahm must smirk at such useful idiocy. It all plays into his hands. He’s hurt himself with African-Americans, so he drops his sanctuary city card again and again, cozying up to Latinos as he seeks re-election.

“Under Clinton and Obama, Rahm was against all this,” said Brian McCann. “Now he’s a sanctuary cities proponent. The rule of law is always compromised by power politics. That’s all this is: power politics for Rahm and Preckwinkle. And public safety be damned.”

Big-city Democrats step over people like Dennis McCann, because the Dennis McCanns are in their way. Mentioning the Dennis McCanns runs counter to approved power-politics narratives, and they become the forgotten.

And you wonder why Trump won the election?


[From an article by John Kass, written for The Chicago Tribune]




As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis




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