Monday, January 16, 2017


Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair

      President Obama has been busy with his phone and pen since November 8th.  He expelled 35 Russians and signed an executive order placing sanctions against Russian for cyber attacks on the United States.  He also informed Congress that he would resettle 19 detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  Obama had vowed he would close the facility when he was elected and while he hasn’t been able to do that, but he has reduced the number of prisoners from a high of 700 during George W’s term to just 40 today.  President elect Trump has vowed to keep Guantanamo open and perhaps add more prisoners. “I want to make sure that if we have radical Islamic terrorists, we have a very safe place to keep them,” Trump said.  
     In December, Obama also commuted the sentences of 153 prisoners and pardoned 78, many serving sentences for non-violent drug related offences.  Over the last eight years, Obama has used clemency powers to shorten the sentences of over 1,000 offenders, which is more than all previous presidents combined.  President Obama has focused on trying to reform drug sentencing for non-violent offenders and has gotten some support in Congress on both sides of the aisle, but legislation died last year in committee.
     Also the POTUS set aside land in Utah and Nevada as national monuments, much of which leaders in those states said could be used for energy exploration.  In Utah, it was over 1.3 million acres and in Nevada over 300,000 acres.  The Utah Attorney General, Sean Reyes has vowed to sue the feds over the EO affecting his state.
      Obama also placed U.S. owned waters in the Arctic Ocean and Atlanta off limits for future oil and gas exploration.  He banned future mining claims in Yellowstone.  He has appointed hundreds of people to boards, and created the Council on Community Solutions, which is charged with strengthening partnerships with communities and the federal government.  “This administration has been dedicated to leaving the federal government better and more effective than we found it,” the POTUS said last month when he created the new council.
     No doubt a significant number of the above will be overturned when Donald Trump takes office, but the fact that President Obama felt compelled to sign a flurry of Executive Orders on his way out the White House door reveals a great deal. 
     First, Obama wants Trump to overturn his Executive Orders.  This wasn’t about policy- it was about politics.  He was positioning for the Democrat Party in the future.  If Trump overturns Obama’s EOs, then the talking points become what Trump opposes, not what he is doing.  Obama knows the liberal base needs energizing after the November defeat and the way to do it is to paint Trump and all Republicans as uncaring, anti-environment racists.  It is a risky strategy, but it is clearly the only hope the Ds have if they expect to do well in the mid terms in 2018.
     Second, Obama’s vow to make the transition smooth was a lie.  Normally Washington DC goes into a ‘holding pattern’ in a presidential election year.  Few major policy issues are taken up in an election year because Congress knows a new Congress and POTUS are being elected.  Protocol dictates wait until the new elected leadership is swore in before taking up the people’s business.  Obama breached that protocol big time.  Every POTUS have a few last minute pardons, but never in our nation’s history has a president unilaterally taken such action as Obama has- and clearly without consulting his successor.  Obama has done everything possible to make Trump’s first few months in office difficult and that is intentional.
     Third, we haven’t heard the last of Obama.  Most former POTUS give their successors space and stay out of the public eye, but in his ‘farewell’ speech he said he plans to remain engaged in policy after he leaves office.  Certainly that is his right and with Trump vowing to dismantle the Affordable Care Act- the ‘crown jewel’ of his eight
years in office, perhaps it is understandable, but this would be unprecedented in modern times. Former presidents normally don’t criticize the sitting POTUS, but expect that to change.
     In his farewell speech, President Obama said: “If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clip board, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.”  I have agreed with little this POTUS has done or said in the past eight years, but he is absolutely right about how change is accomplished- by hard work and persistence.  As George Allen said, “The world is run by those that show up.” Are you showing up?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Meryl Streep's boxoffice draw should suffer after remarks!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
Broad or Segmented Marketing
by Steve Fair

     Most business leaders who mass market a good or service to the public at large avoid controversy like the plaque.  They understand the goal of a business is to maximize profits and not the change the world.  They never talk politics or religion and do everything possible to not offend any potential customer. 
     There are generally two ways to go to market: (1) appeal to a broad customer base, who are not necessarily loyal or (2) appeal to a more segmented customer base, which is intensely loyal.  Most marketers choose the broad approach.
     Consumer product companies fear a boycott will not just damage their bottom line, but will permanently damage their brand.  In the early 1990s, Nike was having their shoes produced in third world countries using child labor.  When word got it, it hurt the company’s bottom line, but it also changed the way Nike went to market.  They not only changed where they made their product, but became activists to change their image.  Proctor and Gamble has spent millions to combat the rumor their man in the moon logo is a nod to the church of Satan.  The rumor has been around for twenty years and P&G leaders have went on daytime talk shows to deny the accusations and to urge consumers to not boycott their huge line-up of products in the soap aisle.    
     Some companies take a stand on an issue and it doesn’t appear to hurt their bottom line, even when they are boycotted.  Chick-fil-A is thriving despite CEO Dan Cathey’s very public opposition of gay marriage.  Oklahoma’s Hobby Lobby is still profitable despite the Green families’ refusal to provide certain forms of birth control to their employees and taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court.  In both of those cases, the leaders of those companies understood the risks involved in their taking a stand, but did it anyway out of religious conviction. 
     Meryl Streep took a stand on Sunday night at the Golden Globes.  The four time Academy Award winner said during her speech accepting the lifetime achievement award that Hollywood, foreigners and the press belong to the most vilified segments in American society.  Streep attacked President-elect Donald Trump and denounced him as a bully who disrespected and humiliated others.  Streep went over her allotted time, but they didn’t pull the plug because she was delivering the message for the vast majority of the Hollywood elite.  If Streep’s remarks were meant to re-position her brand from a mass to a niche(small/loyal) market, she may have been successful. Three observations:
     First, Streep has a right to her opinion.  Just because someone is a public figure doesn’t mean they give up that right. Streep has a constitutionally protected right to offend a significant amount of the movie going public-at least half of America’s voters- if she wants..  Those offended people pay the overpriced ticket prices and concessions to watch her movies and to keep her up in the manner in which she has become accustomed.    Unlike Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby, Streep’s stand doesn’t appear to be based on a deep rooted conviction, but rather on her disappointment with who won the election.  Taking a public stand has consequences and it remains to be seen if Streep will reap reward or retribution as a result of her remarks.   
     Second, people can and should vote with their dollars.  A boycott of Streep’s movies is being organized.  Brayden King of Kellogg’s Management & Organizations department did a study on boycotts and found that most boycotts are ineffective because organizers fail to get enough dedicated participants to boycott long enough to make a significant impact.  Streep is counting on the public having a short memory.  If she suffered a loss of income or damage to her reputation by taking a controversial stand, her candor would likely be tempered.    If those who bankrolled her movies looked at Streep as toxic and unprofitable, she might rethink her political commentary.    
     Third, Hollywood is fantasy-land.  Most people in the entertainment industry are liberal thinkers.  They live privileged lives and are out of touch with the average person.  When they talk about what is wrong in America, they are filtering it through the prism of swimming pools, movie stars, Champaign and caviar.    
     The fundamental reason Donald Trump won in traditional Democrat states was because America is unemployed and underemployed.  It’s about jobs!  Trump’s insulting bombastic style turns off most everybody, but the average American is willing to overlook it if he can make America great again.  As a rule of thumb, watch what Trump does- not what he says.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Obama's Foreign Policy has been a Joke!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair

     In seventeen days, Donald Trump is scheduled to be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States.  If you would have made that prediction in January 2016, most would have thought you were out of your mind.  Trump defied the conventional wisdom to win the primary and then won the general election by changing the electoral map for the first time in over thirty years.  To say Trump’s win was a surprise, would be an understatement.  Since November 8th, Trump has been busy filling his cabinet positions and it would be fair to say his picks have been pretty much the exact opposite of those President Obama appointed.  That probably means a lot of the governmental intrusion the Obama administration imposed will be walked back by Trump. One big decision Of Obamas that Trump will likely reverse if the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats in retaliation for hacking attacks on the Democrat National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.   
     On December 29th, President Obama told the Russians to get out of the country by January 1st.  Both the timing of the expulsion and its urgency were interpreted in Russia as last-minute petty revenge from the departing Obama team, on behalf of Obama’s former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.  Sean Spicer, the incoming White House communications director, suggested Sunday that President Obama’s imposing Russian sanctions related to email hacking was politically motivated, considering China recently did far worse without punishment. Obama defended the action.  “There is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections that we need to take action," the POTUS said. Four observations: 
    First, America has been interfering in other countries’ elections for over a century.  Administrations- Democrat and Republican- have been picking winners and losers throughout the globe for decades.  The most recent example was the Obama administration doing everything possible to defeat the Brexit election in the UK.  Perhaps the UK should send our diplomats home as punishment.
      Second, the Clintons have a lot of nerve to talk about foreign influence.  They have received millions of dollars in donations to the Clinton foundation from foreign governments, much of it while Hillary Clinton was the sitting Secretary of State.  Pay-to-Play has been alleged and Congress has vowed to investigate if access to Clinton when she was SOS was predicated on donating to the Clinton Foundation.
     Third, in 2015 China hacked 4 million government workers personal information.  They also hacked health insurance providers Anthem and Premera Blue Cross.  The Obama administration did nothing- no sanctions, no expulsion of diplomats, nothing, not even a statement on the hack.  Some believe it had something to do with Bill Clinton getting $750,000 for two speeches paid for by a business controlled by the Chinese government while Hillary was Secretary of State.  Where was President Obama’s outrage on hacking then?
     Fourth, the information the Russians hacked and released to the American people hasn’t been discounted as false.  That’s important.  Neither the Clintons nor the DNC have denied the accuracy of the WiKi Leaks emails.  If the Russians had not found it, would we have knowns the DNC was tilting the pinball machine in the primary to help Clinton?  Would we have known that President Obama knew that Clinton was using a private server?  Would we have known that Hillary wants completely open borders?  Would we have known that Hillary had ‘private’ and ‘public’ positions on issues that differed?  Where was the mainstream press?  Why didn’t they do their job and find out these inconsistencies? Why didn’t they do real reporting instead of sensationalizing every move that Trump made?  The answer is they were in the tank for Hillary.  Fact is the Russians did America a favor by finding the information and exposing the Clintons for the political hacks they are.
     The righteous indignation President Obama displayed by kicking out the Russians is inconsistent.  He has been a joke in how he has conducted his foreign policy.  Just last week, the Obama administration stabbed Israel in the back and this week it was Russia.  America has little respect in the world because of this inconsistency.
     Obama recently arrogantly said that he would have beaten Trump if he would have been on the ballot in November.  It’s a moot point because of the 22nd amendment(limits POTUS to eight years), but it is what is most likely a certainty is that much of what Obama has done in the past eight years will be undone in the next four years.       


Monday, December 26, 2016

Liberals Don't Tolerate Conservative Ideas!

Weekly Opinion Editorial

by Steve Fair

     2016 is almost in the books and it has been an interesting year.  Most news organizations rank the presidential election and the ultimate election of Donald Trump as the #1 news story for the year.  Trump’s election has created unprecedented angst among many liberals.  When President Obama was elected in 2008, many conservatives mourned, but the grief being expressed by the left over the election of Trump has been unbelievable. 
     The liberal New York Times wrote in a recent editorial: “2016 will enter history as a pivot that revealed the depth of the fears, alienation and frustration of our times, abruptly upending many of our assumptions about the future.”  The doom and gloom the liberal left has expressed since November 8th has been unreal.  Liberals have exhibited little tolerance for conservatives.
      Many liberals preach tolerance, but fail to practice it.  The issue of intolerance for conservative ideas was recently addressed on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show.  Host, Joe Scarborough led a panel discussion on the lack of diversity of thought on most U.S. college campuses.    “You only have one out of ten professors that are Republicans or conservatives. You can’t understand the world if you don’t let it in behind your gates,” Scarborough said.   The panel was discussing an editorial in the New York Times written by Nicholas Kristof titled, “The Dangers of Echo Chambers on Campus.  Kristof, an admitted liberal, wrote about liberals: “We champion tolerance, except for conservatives and evangelical Christians. We want to be inclusive of people who don’t look like us — so long as they think like us.”  Kristof concludes that institutions of higher learning have become lazy by not presenting to students both sides of an issue.  They have failed to truly educate students on how the real world works and never present a conservative slant to any issue.  They have failed to develop critical thinking skills in modern students.  Most college campuses are nothing more than indoctrination centers, requiring students to simply regurgitate the liberal professor’s philosophy if they want to pass the course.     
     The fact is the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and that includes freedom to hold conservative or liberal values.  Conservatives have the same constitutionally protected right to express their opinion as a liberal.  Liberals have championed the right of what they consider the ‘oppressed,’ but then oppress those that differ with their viewpoint. 
     A great example of the intolerance of the so called tolerant was a CEO in New Mexico who wrote his business clients after the election of Donald Trump and told them that he wouldn’t do business with any who had voted for Donald Trump.  He wanted his clients to declare their Party affiliation and if any were Republican, he would cease doing business with them.  He said he had a ‘moral obligation’ to take a stand.  In his letter, he branded Trump a racist and fascist.  Liberals rushed to the CEO’s defense and applauded his moral conviction.  Ironically the same liberals said the baker who would not bake a cake for a gay wedding because of his religious conviction didn’t have the right to discriminate. Such blatant hypocrisy doesn’t escape even the clear thinking liberal.
     Most conservatives are confident enough in their worldview they welcome the open exchange of thought.  Many liberals agree.  While Senator Bernie Sanders is much too liberal for the vast majority of Americans, he is respected in the U.S. Senate for the way he expresses his argument and the respect he returns to those who disagree with him.   While asked what Republican in the Senate he considered to be his friend, Sanders citied Senator Jim Inhofe.  Two men could hardly be further apart on the issues, but they have learned to ‘agree to disagree’ in a spirit of respect.
     How does academia retool their system of education and encourage students develop critical thinking skills?  They could mandate the hiring of more conservatives or encourage the free exchange of ideas in the classroom.  Certainly that would a great first step, but until the leaders of higher education recognize and respect that people with conservative values are critical to providing a balanced education experience for students, it will be nothing more than lip service.
     Tolerance is defined as the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.  Hopefully in 2017, both liberals and conservatives will not just preach tolerance for another’s ideas and opinions, but practice it.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Oklahoma had a famous 'faithless' elector!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
By Steve Fair

     On Monday, seven Oklahomans met at the State Capitol and cast their vote for Donald Trump.  They had lunch with the Governor, signed their certification of vote, took a few photos and went on their way.  These seven loyal citizens faithfully performed the duty they made a pledge to do.  They were Oklahoma’s presidential electors.  In America, we don’t directly elect a president/vice president.  We do it through the Electoral College.  When you cast your vote on November 8th, you were not voting for Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson or Donald Trump.  You were voting for a slate of electors.  Each political Party selects Party loyalists as their electors.  They, in turn, are required by state law to vote for the person they swore to support- in this case, Donald Trump.  There is a penalty under Oklahoma law for violating the oath.  Those that violate that oath are called ‘faithless electors.’
     Oklahoma had a famous ‘faithless’ elector in 1960.  Henry D. Irwin, a West Point graduate and Phillip Petroleum engineer, who was married to Frank Phillips granddaughter, said he couldn’t stand Richard Nixon and would not cast his electoral vote for him.  Irwin tried to convince the other 218 Republican electors across the country to violate their oath and vote for Senator Harry F. Byrd, a conservative Democrat from Virginia.  Irwin didn’t get too far in his mission and ultimately wound up voting for Byrd and Senator Barry Goldwater for Vice President.    Irwin and Phillips ultimately got a divorce and he famously became the first man to draw alimony in New York State. 
     Before 1960, presidential electors in Oklahoma were chosen in the primary election and ran statewide like other candidates.  Henry Irwin was unopposed in the July 2016 elector election.  In that same election, Oklahoma voters approved, by a 56-44% margin, to amend the state constitution and allow political Parties to select their own slate of electors. 
     The processes in which presidential electors are selected vary by Party.  The Oklahoma Republican Party elects one elector at each of the five congressional district conventions every four years.  The remaining two electors are elected at the state GOP convention the same year.  Oklahoma has a total of seven electors- the total number of congressman, plus our two U.S. Senators.    All seven electors are often well-known grassroots activists who have spent years being involved in Republican Party politics.  They take their oath seriously and would never consider violating it.  They understand they are simply a representative of the people and no matter their personal opinion of the nominee will vote as they have pledged.   
     This year, four Washington state electors, all Democrats, who were pledged to Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine instead voted for Colin Powell and Faith Spotted Eagle.  Only one GOP elector, Texas elector   Suprun faces a fine if Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton decides to pursue charges.  Suprun, like Henry Irwin in 1960, just couldn’t bring himself to vote for the person he swore to vote for. In other words, Suprun’s word means nothing. 
     In the last couple of weeks, a group called Unite for America has been running television ads targeting the 307 Republican electors.  The group claims to be multi-partisan and the ads urged GOP electors to violate their oath, not vote for Trump and to ‘go down in the books as an American hero, who changed the course of history.’  They claim each elector has the ‘position, authority, and opportunity,’ to change their vote.  Martin Sheen, a militant Clinton supporter, is the first celebrity seen on the video.  The irony is this group claims to be for historic America values, which evidently includes lying and cheating to their way of thinking.  Presidential electors are not free agents, who can vote the way the want- they are legal representatives of the people and must vote the way they are bound.  To do otherwise is clearly a violation of ‘historic American values.’
     Only one state, New Mexico, makes it a felony to violate your oath and go rogue.  It is time for Oklahoma to consider increasing the penalty for faithless electors.  While Oklahoma’s 2016 electors were faithful to perform their duty as pledged, there are too many Supruns and Irwins who think they know better than millions of voters.  Increasing the penalty will not eliminate the possibility of an outlaw elector, but it might make them think long and hard about violating their oath if they faced jail time in addition to a hefty fine.

Monday, December 12, 2016


Weekly Opinion Editorial

by Steve Fair

     Fake news has been in the news.  Speaking for the first time publically last week since her November 8th defeat Hillary Clinton said: “The spread of fake news, which has flooded social media over the past year is a trend that can have real world consequences. This is not about politics or partisanship. Lives are at risk, lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days to do their jobs, contribute to their communities.  It is a danger that must be addressed and addressed quickly."
     The former Secretary of State called for Congress to step up and pass legislation to stop ‘fake news.’  She also encouraged Tech companies like Facebook and Twitter to find ways to keep fake news from being propagated through social media.  
     First, what is ‘fake news?’  Did Clinton mean news that was not true or exaggerated?  Did she mean news that only presented one side while claiming to present equally both sides of an issue?    In the past, journalists have presented themselves as being ‘above the fray.’  They tried to be tough, but fair.  Those days are long gone.  Fox, CNN, ABC,CBS,NBC, MSNBC have multiple talking heads spouting their editorial/opinions disguised as news.  Some fully disclose they are expressing their opinion, but most do not.  The fact is no newsperson or journalist is without bias.  Every human being, including journalists, filter and process information through the prism of their life experiences, education, and values.  
     Second, Clinton has consistently used ‘fake news’ to further her political career.  Immediately after Clinton’s claim ‘fake news’ was a reason for her defeat, the conservative online ‘news’ outlet Breitbart posted a story with eight examples of Clinton making ‘fake news’ claims.  They include her claim the attack on Benghazi was because of a YouTube video, that when she landed in Bosnia in 1996 it was under sniper fire, that her grandmother was an immigrant, and that she never received or sent classified information on email server.  All of those claims were proven to be ‘fake,’ yet many so called ‘news’ organizations reported them as fact.  The Clintons have never been encumbered with the truth, so by exaggerating the truth, they must take some responsibility for the growth of ‘fake news.’ 
     Third, journalism has changed.  Fifty years ago, students of journalism were taught to equally present both sides of an argument.  They were told to keep their emotional attachment and opinions to themselves- as best they could- when reporting the news.  But that has changed.  Newspapers, broadcast media have little hard news because just presenting the facts and allowing the reader or viewer to make their own mind up is just too boring.  Modern journalism classes teach less about fairness and ethics and more about marketing your ideas.  Creative writing is the standard, not factual reporting.  Journalist fail to just report the story- they try to become part of the story.  They sensationalize and caricature facts to fit their values.  They ‘spin’ the story to fit their worldview.  To the unsuspecting reader, they believe they are getting a hard news story when in fact it is an opinion/editorial.  Journalism, as a profession, has only themselves to blame for the ‘fake news’ evolution.  There was a time the NY Times was the gold standard in reporting, but now they are nothing more than a public relations firm for liberal causes.  Conservatives flock to Fox News, Liberals to MSNBC and get fed what they want to hear, which is not just the facts, but spin- ‘fake news.’  The average American recognizes that and Donald Trump exposed the media.  In a recent poll, 77% of Americans- of all political persuasions-said they didn’t trust the media.  Sadly, there are few Jim Lehers left. 
     The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of the free press.  Liberty of the press is critical in a free society.   Congress should keep their mitts off.  The answer to stopping ‘fake news’ is (1) journalism cleaning up their act and get back to reporting the facts and letting the public make up their mind, (2) full disclosure by all ‘reporters’ when they are expressing their opinion, (3) the public being more engaged in their culture and refusing to be gullible when fed ‘fake news.’    
    In the interest of full disclosure, this column is my opinion and is not presented as a ‘balanced’ news story, so it is in effect, ‘fake news.”

Monday, December 5, 2016

Some Patronage, but overall Trump's picks are refreshing!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair

     President-elect Trump has announced several more appointment to his cabinet.  He has 662 major appointments to make(251 are in the State Department-primarily Ambassadorships) and as of now only 12 have been filled.  Here is a quick profile of Trump’s most recent nominees- most of which require Senate confirmation:
     Wilber Ross, 79, has been nominated for Secretary of Commerce. Ross is a billionaire banker from New York.  He and Trump have a long history and were in the casino business together. He has an MBA from Yale.  Ross has been married 3 times- his second wife was the former Lt. Governor of New York- and has two daughters. 
     James Mattis, 66, is a retired Marine Corps general, who served as the commander of the U.S. Central Command for 2 ½ years.  Mattis has been nominated for Secretary of Defense.  During his time as Commander of Central Command, Mattis and the Obama administration clashed frequently because he was perceived to be too eager for military confrontation with Iran for their taste.  He is considered to be an intellectual and is an avid reader.  His personal library has over 7,000 volumes.  Mattis is a life-long bachelor.  Because he has not been separated from the service for seven years, his nomination will require a waiver of the National Security Act of 1947.  If granted it would be the second time it was done.  The first was for General George Marshall.
     Betsy DeVos, 58, is a businesswoman and an education advocate from Michigan.  She has been very active in GOP grassroots politics in the state.  She served as Chair and National Committeewoman for the Michigan GOP.  She is married to Dick DeVos, the son of the founder of Amway.  They have 4 children.  She graduated from Calvin College.  DeVos’ brother founded Blackwater, the well-known private security firm.  She is a proponent of school choice and has advocated the use of school vouchers.
     Tom Price, 62, is Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary.  Price, a physician, is a 5 term Congressman from Georgia. He is the Chair of the House Budget Committee. Prior to being elected to Congress, he served in the Georgia state senate.  Price grew up in Michigan and went to college and medical school at the University of Michigan.  He did his orthopedic internship at Emory in Atlanta, practiced for 20 years and then taught at Emory.  He and his wife, a Georgia State Representative, have one son.  Price is the original sponsor of the Empowering Patients First Act, which is the GOP alternative to the Affordable Care Act.   The bill, among other things, creates and expands tax credits for purchasing health insurance, allows for some interstate health insurance markets, and reforms medical malpractice lawsuits   
     Ben Carson, 65, has been nominated for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.  Carson, who also grew up in Michigan, graduated from Yale and received his M.D. from the University of Michigan.  In 2013, Carson was the keynote speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast and was very critical of President Obama’s policies, with the president sitting just 10 feet away. His commons sense solutions to complex problems soon gained him a very loyal following among conservative Republicans. Carson was a frequent surrogate for Trump on the campaign trail. Carson and his wife Candy have been married for 45 years and have three sons.
      Elaine Chao, 63, is Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Transportation.  Chao served as Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush and Assistant Secretary of Transportation under George H.W. Bush.  She was the first Asian-American woman to be appointed to a presidential cabinet.  Chao, who is Taiwanese, was born in China and came to the U.S. when she was 8 years old.  Her dad runs a large shipping company.  Chao has been married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for 16 years.  She has an MBA from Harvard. 
     Steve Mnuchin, 54 has been designated Secretary of Treasury.  He was the finance chair for the Trump campaign (charged with raising money to run the operation).  He is a former partner at Goldman Sachs, as was his father, and a Yale graduate.  He is a Hollywood producer, financing such films as the X-Men franchise and Avatar.  He has been married twice and has three children.  He currently lives with actress Louise Linton in California.
     So far it appears Trump is being very deliberate in making his selections for the top jobs.  He appears to be surrounding himself with talented people who haven’t spent their life in politics.  How refreshing!