Piece of My Mind

Worth remembering…


… So pumps the ole’ calliope.


Sadly, there will be a new saint among their number.  We lost a grand and wonderful mother this past weekend. We will miss her, but she will add to Heaven’s great complement. Of that, there is no doubt!

Louise John Brooks (Carrie Louise Murrell) died Friday, November 11th in Cincinnati. She was born December 20, 1920 in Taylorsville, Kentucky but moved to Erlanger as a child. She was the daughter of Grover and Eddie Mae Murrell and was preceded in death by four brothers and sisters:  Martha Whimpey, Virgil Murrell, Hattie Funderburk and Grover “Red” Murrell, Jr.

Louise was widow to Philip Preston (Pres) Brooks (2002-2015) and Arthur Victor John (1948-1984). She is survived by all of Mr. Brooks’ children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, who all loved her dearly.

Louise graduated Lloyd Memorial High School in 1939, and attended the University of Cincinnati after the Second World War. During and after the war, Louise built a career as an administrative and executive assistant, working for various firms including Gibson Greeting, General Motors, and First National Bank (US Bank), capped off by 25 years at Central Trust (PNC).

In retirement, Louise was active in many charitable and volunteer causes. She volunteered at the St. Francis – St. John hospital (Mercy Queen City Medical Center) in guest reception. She spent more than 20 years as volunteer at Cincinnati Music Hall, eventually serving as supervisor of volunteers for Music Hall and Memorial Hall, serving The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, May Festival, Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Ballet. She was a founder and early board member of the Lloyd Memorial High School Alumni Association and remained active with the Alumni until her death.

Louise enjoyed family and friends, adopting many friends as family. She also had a passion for travel, visiting all 50 states and numerous foreign countries. Her favorite form of travel, however, was by steamboat, having made more than 20 trips on the Delta Queen and numerous trips on the Mississippi Queen and other paddlewheel steamers.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Lloyd Memorial High School Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, 450 Bartlett Avenue, Erlanger KY 41018-1685.


Nov 9


Just as I was glad Scotland stayed in union with England and Wales, I am for BREXIT! This great nation that has been such a power for good in the world needs to reclaim its destiny.  These two perspectives seem right:

Famed professor Clayton Christensen hits upon a major problem with an increasingly secular, expert driven society. When individuals lose their moral underpinnings, they can no longer be cooperative in the social contract. Then the authoritarians take control and the whole ball of wax melts away. Christensen is profoundly right…

Professor Deirdre McCloskey is at it again. In Saturday’s Wall Street Journal she laid out the reason wealth and progress took off at the end of the 18th Century and hasn’t looked back. (Despite significant and ongoing effort to strangle the baby.) In summary:

The answer, in a word, is “liberty.” Liberated people, it turns out, are ingenious. Slaves, serfs, subordinated women, people frozen in a hierarchy of lords or bureaucrats are not. By certain accidents of European politics, having nothing to do with deep European virtue, more and more Europeans were liberated. From Luther’s reformation through the Dutch revolt against Spain after 1568 and England’s turmoil in the Civil War of the 1640s, down to the American and French revolutions, Europeans came to believe that common people should be liberated to have a go. You might call it: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

To use another big concept, what came—slowly, imperfectly—was equality. It was not an equality of outcome, which might be labeled “French” in honor of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Piketty. It was, so to speak, “Scottish,” in honor of David Hume and Adam Smith: equality before the law and equality of social dignity. It made people bold to pursue betterments on their own account. It was, as Smith put it, “allowing every man to pursue his own interest his own way, upon the liberal plan of equality, liberty and justice.”

A full read is absolutely worth the time. The essay is a set up for McCloskey’s new book. But it builds on themes she has laid out before.

When the answer is so straightforward you have to wonder why so many politicians, academics, elites, and even “business leaders”, seem so desperate to put the genie back in the bottle?

May 4

Great little conversation here that explains a lot about how we got to yesterday’s election result …


A good piece on the perils of “organic” and “non-GMO” food religion. Sad too when someone ends up confronting the truth by endangering their own children! Read on…

My Kids Don’t Eat Organic [anymore]. Here’s Why.



Apr 4

Reds are underway with the Phillies. Welcome home the boys of summer!

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What do you have when two tenths of the country’s population are able to dictate hundreds of millions of dollars of regulatory compliance cost on that country’s food industry?

Poor strategic leadership.

Articles like this one and this one have been cropping up over the last few weeks as the nation’s consumer food companies face compliance with GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) labeling requirements going into effect in Vermont this summer.

If you’ve stopped by here before, you know what I think of the thoughtless and immoral anti-GMO racket.

But what strikes me as particularly appalling in this case is not the fact that GMO labeling is mindless. Rather it is the ease with which major American corporations are practically laying over and taking it.

Yes, the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association sued, lost, and may get relief on appeal on restraint of trade grounds. And yes, the GMA got behind GOP senators who tried to pass some kind of bill to override Vermont. But that, predictably, failed. Now all the industry spokesperson “talking points” sound like “OK, we’ll do it.”

Who is advising senior managers in these organizations to go-along to get-along? How can they lay down after just one law suit?

The wiser strategy would have been (and still is) to force Vermont to prove its case. It might have taken some pain and treasure. And it would have likely required numerous individual company lawsuits (which would be a lot stronger than an industry association demonstration effort, since the suits would represent the interests of truly damaged parties … shareholders!)

An all-out effort would have more likely produced an injunction on restraint of trade grounds. More importantly, it would have eventually resulted in a finding of fact in court demonstrating that Vermont’s basis for action was unfounded.

The key point stands out in the WSJ article:

Though Vermont’s a tiny market for global powerhouses like Mars, it is having an outsize effect on the industry with the nation’s first GMO labeling mandate. Food makers say it would be too complex and expensive to create a separate distribution network for the 626,000-person state.

EXACTLY!  But in addition to the restraint of trade and interstate commerce issues, you also have a potential “existential” problem for many food producers who now have to “guess” if they are or are not GMO-free.

I say “guess” because there is no rigorous standard to determine GMO status … or at least no standard that can’t be challenged by anti-GMO Jacobins.

While many will say it’s just a costly inconvenience for big food companies, no compliance effort will really mitigate risk … let alone improve or save lives. The problem doesn’t go away, it just gets pushed down the street a block or two.

And then what about the little guy? You know the one that makes the “organic”, “fair-trade”, “non-GMO”, “gluten free” foodstuffs that those same Jacobins love to eat?

Conceivably, if someone determines that their can of organic green beans was fertilized by manure from a cow that ate GMO corn, they could be toast! Their organic green bean brand will be pilloried as Franken-food. They will be called a liar and a cheat. Protesters will show up on their doorstep. Their livelihood will be ruined.

A more courageous, all-out effort to fight Vermont would have sent a clear message to other states eyeing GMO labeling and could have saved everyone from this continuing anti-GMO nonsense.

Who knows, it might even have given Chipotle the cover needed to nurse itself back to health?