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Gallup did a survey this summer. It asked people how much confidence they had in various institutions.

According to the survey, only 7 percent of Americans said they trusted Congress a great deal or quite a lot, compared with 29 percent who trusted the presidency.

Small business, on the other hand, came in second, with 62 percent of those surveyed considering it trustworthy. The only organization to score higher, not surprisingly, was the military.

While our politicians squabble, Main Street has endured. Some small-business owners, instead of laying people off, have cut their own salaries to keep their full complement of employees. Others have dipped into savings or taken out second mortgages to keep their doors open or to avoid cutting back employee hours.


Preparing for tumultuous times, or prepping, has come into its own. However, there's certain paradoxes involved with the practice.

“Charity ends where security begins.” - Episode of “The Rockford Files,” 1976. Empathy has always been the radioactive fly in the ointment when getting set up for a possible life in the post-apocalyptic age. The first thing a prepper needs to do would be to alienate as many people as possible. That way, when it's Mad Max time, he won't have to worry about all those un-preppered moochers formerly known as friends and family banging on his dead-bolted door.

As long as I'm getting my wisdom from old TV shows, there's an episode of the “Twilight Zone” depicting a man setting up a bomb shelter for his family only to have the entire neighborhood hone in on his security which then, of course, turns into a liability. That episode reminds me of people who brag about the arsenal they have accumulated. If I built Fortress Hasara, the last thing I would do is publicize it. “Hey, I got a bunch of valuable weapons and more ammo than I can count, in case anyone is interested.” Hmm, what does ATF stand for again?


This nation is going to the dogs but in a good way. From pet-friendly businesses to municipal dog-parks, the great canine awakening is upon us. With an estimated 80 million hounds, the U.S. has the largest dog population in the world, both in raw numbers and ratio to people. We are The Dog-Nation.

It’s been said that dogs prefer human companionship to their own species. I have to believe that there is no small number of humans as well who prefer their four-legged friends to the two-legged variety. A person with a dog, by association, is often seen as more trustworthy and accessible.

I am far more likely to be engaged by a stranger while walking my dog Max than walking by myself. Sometimes my name is relevant but Max’s name always is. His breed, age, and how he came into the family is also often asked. The wall of social separation comes down when a canine is a conduit for conversation.



Apparently, it's Scotland, the not-so-brave. Last week, the Scots had their big chance to vote for independence but punted instead. The theme of the anti-independence campaign was "Better Together." The concept didn't fly in America back in 1776 but King George III wasn't particularly good at marketing.

This opportunity for independence represented the “easy button” to revolution. No claymores to swing or evil English nobleman sending bands of marauders to pillage your village. A paper cut from a ballot was about the extent of the risk of bodily harm in this freedom quest. Even a pro-independence endorsement from Sir Sean Connery wasn't enough to persuade his fellow countrymen. I mean, who can say no to James Bond? Well, 55 percent of the Scottish voting population with a special inclusion for 16- and 17-year-olds, said no. Maybe independence isn't the greatest thing since sliced haggis, but the Scots may never know.


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