Saturday, 10 October 2015

How Congress (and the Senate) Should Work

I admit....I'm not a rocket scientist, minister, journalist, zoo keeper, car mechanic, leprosy expert, doctor, cowboy or ergonomic-chair engineer.  But I'm willing to go out on the limb and prescribe the ten things that ought to happen IF you wanted to fix Congress (and the Senate).

1.  The Speaker ought to be a non-representative....not elected by any state.  It's a full-time job and you can pretend all you want....but representing your state and performing the Speaker a sixty-plus hour a job and needs to be a guy with no debt to the Republican National Committee or any special agenda group.

2.  The Senate needs to be set free.  They need to have nothing to do with the budget or taxation standards of the nation.  The Senate should be around to confirm judges, approve treaties, agree on Presidential cabinet members, and attend funerals for dead VIPs.  I think the Senate should meet for twelve weeks starting in January, another four weeks in August, and maybe a week in October. Senators should not be allowed to travel overseas or beyond the US border except for funerals or vacations with their spouse.

3.  The House ought to require a simple majority for any budget or taxation issue....fifty-percent plus one.

4.  Senate and House members should be limited to six appearances a year on any TV network, period.

5.  Any House or Senate member who misses more than ten-percent of the roll-call votes each year....should have ten-percent of his salary deducted for the next year.

6.  If elected and sent to the need to walk in on day one and take a forty-question test on your home state.  Simple the capital, the governor, the state bird, etc.  If you don't get 75-percent or better on the get sent home for a week and get a retest next week.  If you don't pass on the fifth time.....Congress notifies the state that you are some dimwit and they need to replace you.

7.  Each state legislature ought to have the authority to meet and recall their guy for a period of thirty days....if they disagree with his behavior or voting pattern.

8.  Any Representative who is accused of fraudulent behavior or corruption would be subject to a 45-day suspension and a full-time judge would be sitting and ready to go with a full-time prosecutor to determine if you are a person with no respect for the law.

9.  All House members would be limited to five staff members.  All Senators would be limited to three staff members.

10.  Jeans and leisure wear would be authorized to wear on Fridays....but no t-shirts or tube-tops.

The KiKai?

This week's auto show in Tokyo will feature a Toyota demonstration vehicle....the Kikai.

It's a three-person car with hot-rod-like features.

Potential to become a sales item?  No one says much.  No price.  No discussion.  Just something to make people ask questions.

The thing is....if you keep looking at the Kikai and think a kit-car situation.....people might have a passion for it.  Imagine you order this crate from Japan for $12,000 in parts.  It arrives and gets pushed into your garage.  You spend two years assembling it, and then you throw the tag on it and start to drive it.

I think Toyota ought to think in a different make a hobby car with features that you could select and just have thrown into the crate.   Toss in a laptop tab with all the directions and videos to help you assemble it.  Don't even offer tires with it....just the rims and have the guy go and select his own preference for tires.

The Bogus Nazi Story

After this community college shooting in Oregon.....I watched for the hundredth time.....another big mention over the Nazi effort for gun control and how they disarmed the general public in Germany.  Frankly, I'm tired of the bogus story and how no historians ever stand up to correct the story.  The pro-gun guys always like to slam down the anti-gun guys by linking the Nazis to controlling guns.  It's all bogus.

At the closure of WW I.....defeat occurred and German troops in mass droves...packed and went home.  They went by rail, by horse and wagon, or just walked home.  There was no real thought to the soldier and his weapons.  So, virtually all of the German army participants walked home with their guns.

As the defeat had transformed the nation into a very weak democratic structure (no Kaiser).....over the next two or three years, there's one continual worry or threat.  Everyone views Russia and they now sit in Germany to worry about communist revolution coming to the fatherland.  Naturally, all these troops sitting back in their hometown.....with a big issue.

So, there's one massive push to establish gun control in Germany in the early 1920s (a dozen years before Hitler and the Nazis).

Basically, while no numbers or real statistics exist.....the general belief by those who've reviewed the that this first original effort to control guns in Germany was a failure.

Roughly six years go by and the same democratic structure....still unaffected by Hitler or the Nazis....come back for a second chance to try more gun control because there's still massive fear of a communist revolution.  This episode might have been considered mildly effective at best.

So as 1932 rolls around and there's still this massive fear from the general public and the political apparatus of Germany.....the Nationalist Socialists are brought into power (37-percent of the vote, if you were curious.....meaning that almost 63-percent voted against the party).

The Nazis did enact one or two measures that are gun-control situations....mostly to require gunsmiths to keep records of repair and serial numbers of the guns inspected or fixed.  They didn't have to do much because the Democratic apparatus had already put major measures into effect.

If you stood back and looked at matters.....Germans feared the most out of the communist revolution coming and how guns might play a role in a successful revolution.  Americans might agree.....runs do add to the success rate of a revolution.....if in the hands of the 'good'.  This might bring up a totally separate topic for discussion.....but it's the simple truth of the matter.

Friday, 9 October 2015

The Vegetarian Story

There was this British survey of vegetarians, and a shocker.

What they generally say is that around one-third of British vegetarians admit that when they get drunk (at the pub or at home).....they eat meat.

You can imagine the shock as Nigel wakes up with a hangover in his living room.  He's a confirmed vegetarian....for a decade or more.  He had a few drinks too many last night.  He doesn't remember much after the pub.  And there on the floor of the this big pizza box.....there's two slices left.....and it's loaded with pork, beef, and chicken.  Nigel looks at the remains and realizes that he consumed a large pizza last night.....with meat products.

After a while, Nigel will start to get depressed and question himself.  This was the great 'walk' of his life.....his theme.....his quest to be different and pure.  He and the crowd that he hung around.....were dedicated vegetarians.  He starts to question his culture and diet.

Nigel will call his friend Monty and confess what he did.  Monty.....ever the stoic vegetarian listens to the story.  With silence and a long pause after Nigel has completed his story.....Monty confesses that he too.....has failed at pure vegetarianism.  He gets drunk two or three times a week and ends up with McDonalds burger wrappers on the floor the next morning.....maybe five or six wrappers.  Together, they weep over their confessions.

It becomes a burden that neither can really they meet that evening at a local pub and talk over their pains and suffering....while sipping a stout ale.  Three hours will pass and the two vegetarians have consumed a fair amount of ale, and are fairly drunk.  They wobble out....fall down a couple of times....and make their way to the local pizza shop where they order the meat-lovers XXL pizza.  This becomes a routine......week after week....every Friday night....the two vegetarians gather, confess their sins, consume a vast amount of ale, and eat a meat-lovers pizza.

Across all of the UK, it's the same story.  Across Europe, it's the same story.  Across the US, it's probably the same story. hindering society from being pure vegetarian.   Who would have guessed?

The House Speaker "Opera"

In a real opera (99-percent of people have never been to one) doesn't really end until the fat lady gets up at the end and does her piece, and then you can finally go home.

With the House of Representatives episode.....John Boehner.....and the angry Tea Party crowd....we've yet to see the fat lady sing.

What was supposed to happen?  Current Speaker Boehner was graciously going to leave the spot, and had his number one pick McCarthy assume the post with a simple vote.  With the best guess in place....McCarthy thought that he had enough Republican votes to assume the office.

McCarthy discovered that probably around thirty to forty percent of all Republicans felt that McCarthy would be Boehner II.  They were already unhappy with the last six years of Boehner, so why settle for another guy of the same variety.

Some people up until yesterday morning felt that enough votes could be found from the Tea Party-like Representatives, and it'd just slide by.  Well.....there was an edit of a Wikipedia note done, and someone noted that McCarthy had been having an affair (actually noted a year ago apparently by National Enquirer) with some other gal in the House.  Oddly, there's this mechanism with Wikepedia which notes your IP address as the edit is pressed into reality.

Someone read the update there....looked at the IP address and asked where it came from.  Well....Homeland Security.

Yeah.....some guy or gal at Homeland Security.....on their office PC....wrote the Wikipedia piece.  You can imagine how hostile and angry McCarthy is presently, along with some other folks asking stupid questions.  This promises to get interesting.

So, we are saying adios to the idea of McCarthy being the House Speaker.  Next up?  Some people think that Boehner is working on Paul Ryan and hoping he'll step up to the plate.  My guess is that Paul really doesn't want the heartache and might be looking at a senate run in the near future.

Someone noted yesterday that to be don't necessarily have to be elected already as a House member.  The House can go crazy and pick a non-House member....some guy off the street....some retired Senator.....or even go and ask Newt Gringrich to come back and sit in the chair.  The rules are written to allow that.  Has it ever been occupied by a non-House member?  No.  The odds of Newt being asked to come back?  This got brought up yesterday.  Newt even commented that he can't see how it'd ever occur, but didn't say no.  House numbers?  I'd wager that forty-percent of the Republicans would readily agree on Newt.  The Republican national committee?  No way that they'd accept Newt into the scenario.

What you've got is a very angry and hostile group of Republicans who aren't pretending they are Republican.....they actually see themselves in the light of Reagan.  Then you have roughly forty-percent of the House, who are products of the Republican national headquarters and simply wearing a veil to pretend on their status as a Republican.  They aren't Republican or Democrat....they simply honor lobbyists and special agendas.  I'm guessing that there are Democrats in the same veil of representation....they don't honor their party structure or the district they serve.....they honor lobbyists and agenda.

This is why people want Donald Trump. This is why Bernie Sanders has gained onto Hillary.  This is why Doc Carson is charming the public.  No one believes the DC structure anymore.

The 'fat lady'?  I don't think we are anywhere near the point of picking a new House speaker, and it might come to be a shock that we see people accept the idea of a non-House member serving out the next sixteen months as the Speaker.  As much as it sounds crazy.....bringing back Newt isn't that crazy.  Maybe he is the 'fat lady'.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Rule of the Grammar Queens

There's this company.....Grammarly....which has a unique business angle.  They say or claim that they (as a private company) are the world's authority and leading automated proofreader.

In essence, they are a grammar-checker company, and someone (hard to imagine it not being English literature freaks or CEO) check the grammar of folks across the spectrum.

So, they say they've covered the 19 folks running for President and found that enthusiasts for Republicans make more grammatical screw-ups than enthusiasts for Democrats. Republican enthusiasts also use fewer unique words.....a key method that tells stories over your 'intelligence'.  And finally, there is this claim that Trump enthusiasts are the worst of the worst on grammar usage.

It's hard to imagine that 'grammar queens' have turned a business idea like this into something that actually pays a profit.

The idea that someone walks around and notes grammar usage of folks?  I've been around a number of folks who carried a listing of a thousand words to always throw into evaluations.....sparking them a bit and making a guy look 'special'.  After a while, I came to a lot of Air Force people....that the words on an evaluation were pretty bogus and made the guy look often fabricated or phony.

What Grammar issues for the Hillary folks?  Well....they didn't say.  It might have been interesting to hear what the Obama grammar situation is for his folks, or if Al Gore enthusiasts were 'rocket-scientists'.   But they left that out of the whole story.

I'm guessing if you brought up this type of measurement with George Washington.....he probably would have started laughing, and noted the bulk of American residents were barely able to read and you'd best not worrying them over their position in life or their political status, or their usage of pseudo verbiage to attract attention.

On the Subject of Sirens

One of the hundred-odd things that an American would notice after a couple of months in that Germans have retained the old air-raid-like sirens, and they use them on a semi frequent basis (calling up the volunteer fire department or running tests).

I'd take a guess that in my village of four-thousand people.....throughout an entire year.....the siren goes off at least twenty times.  Once or twice a year.....there's a test of the system at noon (always advertised a month ahead of time).  The rest are all recalling guys for the fire department.

Two Hessen cities, because of a large flow of refugees.....have opted to halt the air raid sirens for the time being.

The logic?  The bureaucrats say that the Syrians have been through a lot and it's just not right to run the air-raid'd just get them all frustrated and disturbed.

Oddly, ever since the night that they brought refugees into my village and they ran the air-raid siren to get the volunteer fire department to come out and organize things (at 3AM).....the local air-raid siren in my village has been quiet.  No emergencies.  I'm kinda of the opinion that they may have switched it off intentionally because of some reaction that morning with the refugees arriving.

It is something left over from WW II.  Germans who lived through the 1941-1945 era.....all remember the siren, and remember the drill that was involved.....going to a local cellar and hoping that the bombs didn't hit their house.

You would think that as the war ended.....the last thing on Earth that any of these people wanted to hear....would be the air-raid siren.  Oddly.....they kept that feature around.