Thursday, 30 October 2008

Brother's Keeper: Bama-Style

Continuing the analysis of Obama's "brother's keeper" concept.....I sat and pondered for a good long time the effect of "brother's keeper" in Bama.

When you drive into a dry county in are standing in the midst of a place where folks want to be your brother's keeper. They want to ensure your welfare and health, by removing any challenge to your morales.

If I were Obama, I'd consider this a good thing....most everyone else in the state considers it an act of stupidity or Baptists hard at work.

"Brother's keeper" also works when you talk to your cousin Larry, who is the chief of the county Democratic party and arranges for a clerk's job for your niece....who barely graduated from high school and can't really work beyond the 8th grade level. Larry may act real "keeper-friendly" but the truth of the matter is that money talks. So he'll make sure your dimwitted niece gets a job for the county.

"Brother's keeper" works great when Aunt June calls and wants you to contribute to a family legal fund to help your cousin who got arrested for meth manufacturing and drug sales. She wants to get a "real" attorney to defend your cousin and get him lesser time. You originally suggest he ought to get forty years in prison....then the Aunt gets all upset, and you end up giving her a check for $300.

"Brother's keeper" is the norm in Bama when Mama calls you to help fund the headstone for your uncle who beat his wife and kids weekly, spent thousands on weekend poker trips in Memphis, and died when he drunkenly drove his SUV off a bridge. His wife was going to spend just $1500 on the stone....and mama wants a $5k stone instead....with you contributing an entire paycheck for it.

"Brother's keeper" in Bama has alot of different meanings. We all trudge through this mess and then to keep "brother's keepers" at a arm's length. We'd rather not mess with folks in need at our front door or down at the church or at the local school. If they were good friends or good relatives....we'll offer help or assistance without any discussion.....but it ought to be coming from my heart and not demanded as part of some perceived order of life or mission.

I Am My Brother's Keeper

This is the Obama quote of 2008....and may well be his presidential platform from which he wins the election.

I have a quote from Eric Hoffer that right fits the situation:

"There is always a chance that he who sets himself up as his brother's keeper will end up by being his jail-keeper."

For some reason, I just don't buy into the brother's keeper attitude. I've seen too many cases where someone felt they were justified in being the brother's keeper, and nothing worked out.

I'll give three examples:

Here on Ramstein, we had a female Major who brought her nephew into the house. The 16-year old had huge emotional issues and this single AF officer felt that living in her house....would bring discipline and fix his problems. The mother was ready to kick the kid out of the house but got talked by her sister into sending the kid over to Germany. Around the eighth week of this episode....the kid burns down the major's house.....completely. She got the call at work. There wasn't much that anyone could tell the major except she was nuts for taking this kid in. Most of the information on this kid after the fact included bi-polar and drug activity. The kid got sent back to the states after the house burning and ended up with the county authorities in the sister's home area. That was the end of being this kid's keeper. The county found someone to dump the kid a keeper. I've been curious if he burned that residence as well.

In Tucson, I knew a older NCO....married with two kids. His mother at age 50 suddenly decided to ditch dad and come to live with junior. Junior really didn't intend for this being permanent. Four months later, it was well established that this was permanent. Mom required the best sheets ($100), the best steaks, and use of the family car. For this frugal guy and his was costing a minimum of $500 a month. After six months....junior went to dad.....then found out that dad was giving mom $1000 a month....and not a penny of that was coming to junior. He didn't want to ask for money but dad offered $250 a month as expense for covering cost of mom. About two months finds out about this arrangement and goes nuts....wanting the $250 to come straight to her. Junior doesn't argue. After another six months....the family is in crisis mood. Junior ends up volunteering for Korea as an assignment....which mom figured she could stay with the wife and kids....but no, they went to the wife's family's residence for that year. Mom ended up finally leaving then....only to dump herself onto some cousin. It was the only way of getting out of being his mom's keeper.

Finally....I knew a guy who took in his cousin for six weeks.....the guy just came out of alcohol rehab. Nothing went well for the six weeks and by the end....the cousin was boozing it up big-time. The guy told the cousin to leave.....he didn't want to be his keeper any longer.

When someone says they are responsible for being their brother's keeper....they really don't want to handle anything.....they just want to pay someone to be an associate "keeper" for them.

Obama's attitude looks good on paper or as a fantasy....but the simple truth is that most of us really don't want to be a keeper for anyone.

This is a sales pitch....and its a lousy effort to make people feel "fake Christian" know the type....the ones who really aren't Christian but they'd like you to think they are that way.

The brother's keeper'll roll over and over and over for the entire next four years. It'll be the nightly standard. Even the comedy guys will eventually talk about "keepers" as a joke. None of this is really serious in discussion....if it were, we'd all have problems. We don't want to manage our drunk sisters, our dope-headed cousin, our whacked out nut of a mother, our crazed uncle Joe from the Nam war, our bi-polar brother, or our constantly jealous aunt who can't say nothing nice about anyone.

We aren't good any fashion. We don't want to keep anyone when you get down to the bottom line. So, when Obama comes to your door and talks of "keepers"...think for a minute about what he is referring to....and the wisdom of this man. If he were a "keeper"....he quit within days....and I'm guessing he's never practiced a day of what he's preached.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Our Lousy Fate

A federal judge yesterday in Ohio determined that if you simply walked in and registered yourself to vote and gave only a park bench, or area under a bridge, or a tree, or even a poucho hung over a tree were safe to vote and no one could challenge you.

I sat there....pondering this event. In Bama.....there simply isn't a local who would accept such a mentality. Either you live somewhere or you don't. A bench doesn't count. Neither would a poucho or area under a bridge. I have a problem with this kind of acceptance. We might as accept mentally insane folks as well.

My answer? Thanks to Bush and the Democrats.....I can solve the problem....with a simple national ID card. And no, you won't pay a dime.

Since our dimwits have plenty of cash to flush across for folks.....we can afford this. Here is the deal.....we give each county sufficient systems to produce the IDs. As you fill out your taxes....the IRS folks send you back a voucher, and you go down and get your national ID. The card last five years, so you toss out the vouchers unless its your year to get a new ID.

Everything is tied you doing your taxes.....or at least sending in a form. If you aren't a don't pay taxes. So don't won't need a card.

Once you go down to the county office...we ask for the birth certificate and some picture ID.....drivers license or military ID or passport. You produce the required evidence, and the voucher....then you get a free ID. No charge. You only get the ID if you are 18 or over. You want to register to vote or show up at the poll to the ID. No birth certificate or you can't afford it.....fine, we give you another voucher to pay for the birth certificate.....compliments of any state. Again, those fine Democrats and Bush found lots of cash to hand out earlier in the year, and they'd like to hand out more now. Let them.

No complaints, no cost, and total simplicity. The vouchers? The county office turns them into a state IRS office and gets paid for each ID produced. Clerks producing false IDs or handing out without proper documentation? A five-year sentence for each ID.....with no deals for the DA to hand out.

Like alot of folks.....I'm tired of this game. Either we play it this way or we all go out and pretend to be bums in Ohio.....and register in twelve counties as homeless bums....and vote, vote, vote!

Just Busting Loose

Sen. Dianne Wilkerson of the Massachutes state a gal that we ought to admire. This week, at a little pub near the senate building....she met with a couple of guys and took a bribe($23k). After receipt of the funds....she piled them into her bra (see photo). The boys actually video-taped this whole thing and even released the video.

This brings up a topic that only a Bama guy would have. I've often noticed that women tend to have extra large bras....even if they can't really fill them. Naturally, I won't admit how I've come to this analysis....but I now suspect that they always kept bigger bras fill with senator Dianne did. Just my suspicion....that they are all walking around with $3k in twenties. Yep, just my thoughts on this topic.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Poll This!

FOX News political analyst Karl Rove said by his count, there have been 177 national polls conducted as of Oct. 24, compared with 55 at the same time in 2004.

So we’ve tripled the number of national polls…with polling organizations being created out of thin air. So I’m taking creative liberty to figure what polling groups might exist and how they reflect these important times.

The National Academy of Liberal Arts Pollers: O-95%, M-3%

The Coon-Hunters Association of Pollers: O-8%, M-92%

The Texas Chainsawer’s Association: O-13%, M-80%, Chuck Norris-7%

Former Atlanta Braves Association: O-32%, M-32%, Clipper Jones-36%

The Mountain Dew Polling Association: O-1%, M-1%, Coke-3%, Mountain Dew-94%, Pepsi-1%

The Fox News 18-Hours-Per-Day Viewers Association: O-.5%, M-98.5%, O’Reilly-1%

The Zombie Polling Group: O-1%, M-99%

Liberal Frog Hunters Association of Macon, Georgia: O-99%, M-1%

Free Baptists Polling Congregation: O-0%, M-100

The Methodist Association: O-99%, M-1%

CNN Correspondents Association: O-89%, M-1%, Unqualified to vote or think for themselves: 10%

Mexican Citizens Registered to Vote Association Without US Citizenship: O-89%, M-11%

German Citizens Registered to Vote Association Without US Citizenship: O-94%, M-6%

American Citizens Over 60 And Never Have Voted Ever Association: O-24%, M-76%

New York Residents Registered in NY, FL, and NJ: O-77%, M-22%

Florida Residents Registered in Three Counties or More: O-99%, M-1%

Milwaukee Imaginary People Poll: O-92%, M-6%, Mickey Mouse-2%

St Louis Dead and Registered Residents Poll: O-88%, M-12%

Big-butted Tennessee Women Married to Guys Named Larry Poll (50 women membership): O-49%, M-49%, Larry-2%

Memphis Dead Registered Residents Since 1966 Poll: O-89%, M-11%

Hollywood Stars with Four Rehabs or More Polling Association: O-88%, M-1%, Can’t Remember Enough to Vote-11%

Karl has a point, this polling agenda really hasn’t done much of anything, except make people think things which aren’t reality. And when you are stuck on fantasy…something’s wrong. The curious thing....up until the 1940s....polling really didn't exist. This only came about after WW II. Its curious how we as a nation survived without polling.

Monday, 27 October 2008

So Lets Imagine A Company....

So lets imagine a company that comes up on a Friday afternoon, and lets the employees know of the following changes for 2009:

- Add five days of leave to twenty already, then tosses out all federal holidays (all ten). If you want Xmas off...take regular leave....otherwise, work.

- Recreate sick leave....even though they agreed it was very unprofitable two years ago and chucked it. So if you have two years with the get five days. You can collect days and save them.

- Decrease 401k matching contributions from five percent, to three percent.

- Increase educational funding from $3.5k a year to $6k a year.

So you look at this...and the number of angry employees and ask why.

Then you add in the fact that the whole pay system has been shift around and you work for a particular division now....with new pay numbers. You look at the new employees who come and go now.....mostly without the company doesn't pay DODDs costs.

You realize that older employees want a decent 401K they leave because of this deal. As they leave, you hire mostly young 25-year old guys with no bachelors....but offer up the $6k a year for education allowance. The kid finishes his degree in two years.....which he doesn't care about 401K contributions anyway, so they save this money. The guy comes up and finds a new company and better job after two years.....but then because of the education allowance rules....he ends up paying back the cheap company $4k because he didn't stay a full year after each semester. So the company gets this money back.

With all of this profit, this division eventually sells itself next summer, to someone who thinks they are getting a really good deal. The interesting thing is that employee-wise....its a loser of a company. But the buyer doesn't grasp that part. He's looking at the numbers. Turn-over of 40 to 50 percent a year doesn't stand out.....its the money that matters.

So you stand there and look at this joke and wonder why they'd suddenly discuss "loyalty" with the company employees today....three days after the announcement of the 2009 changes.

Yes, it would be nice if this was an imaginary company. Thats the problem.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Ten Tips For a Big Newspaper to Survive

This comes from me...simply a reader....a vast reader....of newspapers. I don't own a newspaper....and probably would never be stupid enough to walk in and lay claim to one. After years of observation and the recent trend of newspaper failures....its obvious that something is going wrong. The dominant nature of papers died out in the 1960s as TV started to arrive in everyone's home. Count in the arrival of the internet in the 1990s....its pretty hard to see survival with the current roof that newspapers have over their heads.

So my ten bits of advice (geared toward papers in towns of 100,000 residents):

First. Don't take any side on any political debate. Simply be factual with what the political dimwits say and leave it at that. If you end up as a Democratic mouth-piece....your conservative readers will dump you. If you act like a Republican mouth-piece....your liberal friends will dump you. Stay out of the discussion of partisan politics. Election year? Just report what they say and stay neutral. Its real simple to do.

Second. Drop editorial pages. The bulk of editorials today are crap. Its fifteen lines of chatter that really don't explain the problem at hand or the fix. You simply take up space and give the high and mighty opinion of the editor or the owner of the paper. Its space wasted. The majority of folks who buy the paper.....don't even read the editorial.....ever.

Third. Put real reporters out on the street to cover the police department, crime, and city hall. That measly one page of local stuff you put out each day? It ought to be double. The Sunday local section? It ought to be four pages. The locals want real local news. They can't get that via CNN or Fox or Newsweek. Give them the local stuff.

Fourth. Local sports matter. Every single day ought to be an entire page of local sports from the high schools to the local college. Interviews, pictures, and statistics ought to be the norm.

Fifth. Every Sunday edition ought to have a half-page dedicated to local history, and another half-page loaded with images of the area from years past. Folks want to find out why Main Street ends here and Carter Avenue starts there. Get a local historian involved and dig up photos from the locals to share each Sunday.

Sixth. Pick out a local and ask ten silly questions. Put forth some humor on occasion which can be appreciated. Most communities have natural comedians....make use of them.

Seventh. If your paper is read by the 100,000 folks of that city....its read by another 100,000 folks who live outside of the town....and maybe in rural sections. They just might have interests in agriculture, gardening, and crops. Get yourself a real ag reporter on the staff...some kid from Auburn....and make use of him.

Eight. Don't let a single mayor, congressman, senator or judge sleep with you. The minute that you let them in the front door....they want preferred criticism. They want you to write love letters to them each month. They want nice coverage that makes them look like a $60 whore. Keep them at a distance and give them simple fair coverage. If they get caught in your reporters snare....give them ample warning that you will publish. If they attempt to buy you and say "no". Keep things simple.

Nine. Keep good reporters who do their job. Dump the ones who have no ethics. Buy lunch for the guys monthly and mentor them. Ask for the best and demand it.

Ten. You want local folks to buy the local paper and read the local news. Every reader matters. Once you hook them....they stay on the subscription for life. Once you irritate them....they never return. For each 100 readers you lose through stupidity or slanting news for a political party....its money out of your pocket. Why be that stupid?

Thats my two cents of advice. Will anyone of these guys listen? I doubt it. They used to be able to afford mistakes. With less banking credit and higher expectations by the credit organizations....I'm thinking something has to change.

Mass Movements: Continued (#2)

Eric Hoffer wrote True Believer in 1951. Through years of personal analysis....he came to envision how people shift masses into formation and create massive movements in society, government, and religion.

Eric wrote: A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business.

It was a curious moment of analysis. By shifting an entire group around and getting focused on other's problems or affairs....they were united.

If you go back to August and read an article by Robert Samuelson.....there is an interesting analysis goes hand in hand with Eric Hoffer's concept of mass movements: "clustered in communities of sameness, among people with similar ways of life, beliefs, and, in the end, politics. Republican fundamentalists congregate with other Republican fundamentalists. Liberal Democrats herd with other liberal Democrats. Environmentalists decamp to Portland, Ore. Child-centered Republican families move to the exurbs of Dallas and Minneapolis."

By 2000, there was a mass movement underway to shift a focus toward the conservative side of America. We needed to ensure the right judges got on the Supreme Court. We needed to ensure that our schools were doing the right thing. We needed to keep taxes in the right prospective. We needed to keep our military strong. Throughout that entire election year....both parties did alot to keep us focused on the problems of others. In the end....George Bush became president and kept the Eric Hoffer concept going for eight years.

What Eric never calculated about in the 1950s....was the power of the mainstream press and the continual slant that could go either way in a talk of news facts (which basically have dissolved away today).

Mass Movement is simple. I can start a story today....get it into the right points of the press, and push the Mass Movement in various directions. I can ensure a Alaskan governor gets great press on a Monday, and by Friday....dump her completely with stories of her $150k New York City wardrobe. I can wipe up a Mass Movement to question one candidate over his actual birth certificate, or question another about his patriotism.

We are mere feathers in the wind with the significant breeze of Mass Movement all around us.

Eric thought Mass Movement could take months or years to achieve some success. In today's environment, you can do it in a matter of 24 hours.

We stand here in 2008....with another Mass Movement in front of us. It doesn't matter which you pick....its a Mass Movement. One side will tell you of the problems with the Supreme Court, the liberal congress, the lack of security in America, and the impending tax doom that will come.

The other side will court us with sweet talk of universal healthcare for everyone, redistribution of tax revenue to help the working class, the end of the war, and "change" (a magical term that could mean anything).

We are left with some Mass Movement that we are now voting for....feeling good about this guy or that guy....hoping for a miracle to shift us out of this rut.

Sometime in two weeks....we'll be told by the media who won, or who should have won. They'll tell us of cheated moments or perceived threats to democracy. We'll have little men of knowledge or intelligence who show wonderfully colored red and blue displays of reality. The numbers, the numbers, the'll be a chorus like the musical Oklahoma....just fancier.

Eric Hoffer didn't really have a sense of humor....he was too busy thinking and pondering. If he were around today....he'd likely be laughing so hard that tears would fall.

We'll missing something. We wander into Mass Movements, and then wander out. We don't have a grasp of anything beyond what the "hot bullet" of the day is from your friendly CNN news team. We dance to tunes that come and go....but never remember the music. We want some perfect NFL game to come, where the good guys win and everyone talks of Vince Lombardi....but we accept some third-rate game with good graphics as a good substitute. We'd like to smoke a true Cuban cigar next year, walk into the clinic with a universal health card, and discover some magical "change"....but then wake up from the dream to find little of our dream in reality.

This is the America of my front porch....welcome to it.

My Village in the News

A small event occurred in the last couple of days in my village here in Germany (Mehlingen). It actually got the town mentioned in the regional press...and I'd speculate we get mentioned in the national news shortly.

We had some idiot father, who had lost his license for unknown reasons, who had a scooter out on the streets of the village last week. Legally....he's in trouble already....but the accident he pretty serious. He had the scooter out with his 6-year old son on the rear. The dad was drunk. At some point, he runs into a bunch of garbage cans and then hits some barrier or wall.

Dad is a bit injured but the kid is thrown from the bike with several injuries (of course, no helmet, or so we are told).

Dad gets up....drunk (cops measured 30 minutes later when they arrived.....he was around .06 the guy would be considered unfit for driving). He stood up and looked at the bike and the kid crying, then starts to stumble away. Apparently there were at least one or two witnesses to this accident and he knew they would call the cops.

He walks back to his house and just sits there. The kid is still back at the accident....with a couple of townsfolk tending him. Naturally, they call the cops. They the test.....and arrest him. I'm guessing the guy's wife didn't readily bail him out and he's still in jail today (Sunday).

Charges? Well....drunken driving and leaving an accident would normally just be total loss of a license and a heavy fine. The courts hate to jail anyone because its just wasting good jail space for real criminals. In this case....since the guy already had the license revoked and he left the kid there in the street.....I'm guessing he'll get two or three months of jail time. The judge might ask for the bike to be removed from the premises. The wife? Well.....if I were her.....I'd dispatch the guy with a handy frying pan, but this is Germany where things go differently.

Its a curious thing about alcoholics in Germany. I often hear Germans who want to chatter up about all of the alcohol abuse in the US, and all the drunks that we allow out on the streets of the US. After living here for fifteen years....I'll testify to the fact that just as many Germans drink excessively here.....while most drink and just walk back to their house in a total state of drunkenness....thus avoiding the car. Five or six stout German beers in two hours...and most guys are fairly wasted....toss in three shots of something special....and you've got a guy who spent $25 at the bar and is really "tanked".

The loser in this entire story? The kid. At six, he can't trust this dimwit father of his ever again. The guy wouldn't stay with him at the accident and immediately ran when he got scared. Thats the sad part about this story.

Mass Movements and How They Work

So begins an interesting topic series that I will blog on....Mass Movements and how they work.

The centerpiece? Eric Hoffer in the 1940s wrote a reasonably short piece called "The True Believer". It should never have been printed....Eric really wasn't that great of a writer....but someone saw material in the book that demanded absolute analysis...which is what Eric could do very well.

The book? ended being printed and even President Eisenhower required the inner members of his staff to read the book.

Hoffer does some fascinating analysis...looking at positive self-esteem and then turning it around...the consequence of lack of self-esteem. He centered this entire focus around Joe Stalin and Adolf Hitler. The analysis is simple....a fanatic who believes in his self-righteousness....really has self-hatred, self-doubt, and lots of insecurity. Hoffer's analysis leads to people who want to make up or compensate for what they have....using mass movements to achieve their status.

Hoffer is quiet fair about this....he could envision the efforts of Islam and Christianity using the same tactics.

A fanatic in any vision...could change and become a fanatic in another vision...from being a Nazi fanatic to a communist fanatic or a socialist fanatic.

The fascinating thing is that Hoffer laid out the tactics....making people feel woeful about their environment and needing it fixed (not taking the action themselves but needing a figure or authority to do that part). He envisioned a sales like approach to this mass a marketing need need key need a pitch that sells.

Hoffer didn't limit mass movements to non-democratic societies. He knew they could easily fixate themselves anywhere.....even in the US.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

At Least Living

About every six months, you come across a pretty sadly planned trip....and you just shake your head.

So up in Oregon, this couple got engaged....Britt Leis and his gal Leah Koehn. Britt wanted a special engagement period. So the two sold all their belongings and went to Ecuador, for a one-year walk-around get a life experience.

I've met folks like this before. Once in my period in Panama....I came across a young educated couple who wanted a life experience and were going to spend time in Panama to gain least till the $100k ran out that they started with. The two had no real plan and they really didn't grasp the amount of corruption in Panama or the trouble that you could run into. They had this idea of a jungle paradise...where everyone was friendly. Its just not that way in South America.

Yeah, its really romantic for one of these experiences. I can feel just ain't romance. Its called stupidity but then you can't teach common sense to some folks.

So Leah and Britt went to Ecuador. They blogged along the way. And about two weeks ago....on some beach area....they ran into some bad guys. Britt got knifed about eighteen times. Leah was beaten a bit and raped. Britt has had three surgeries in the last week, and in the last couple of put on medivac and sent to the states. It would appear that he will survive although I'm guessing he has severe damage done to him and may face years of health problems.

All in the name of a life experience. I can stand here and talk till I'm blue in the face....but these folks aren't going to listen. They want a peaceful, quiet place where natives come out and shake their hands.....folks offer up water for weary travelers....maybe even a home-cooked evening meal for someone whose been on the road all day. Its an imaginary place they dream of. They've seen it on National Geographic and think that this stuff exists everywhere and no one would ever bring harm to them.

In six months....another couple will come up with a similar story.....hopefully they live through the experience and can "escape" like this couple. Any fool who wants to wander around.....would be better suited and safer in Provo, Utah....than some beach in Ecuador. Thats the sad truth.

The Next Bailout?

Somewhere out in Wilson county, Tennessee, near Lebanon (the city, of course), is that magnificent effort to build Bible-Land or Bible Park USA or Six Flags over Jesus (depending on which of the locals or political figures you talk to).

This magnificent plan has kinda stumbled in recent weeks because of some chaos across the heartland involving Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Colombia business graduate experts and the American banking sector.

Thank God....literally.....that the developers have a Godly vision in their hands.....because they aren't stopping just because of a credit crunce. They are praying hard and think God will send a bail-out of some type.....and save their vision.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the area in question....its an area just off Interstate 40 in Lebanon. The Jesus boys say the theme park would include highlighting stories from the Old and New Testaments.

Some folks also suggest that there would be high-tech rides (the slamming Jesus dipper, the toss and tip Moses merry-go-round, and the Luke 300-foot slide.

The best numbers here....indicate that 1,800 jobs would be created and the local area would see around $43 million worth of paychecks. And to make those political figures just giggle like 18-year old school girls.....almost $7 million in yearly tax revenue.

Now, a smart fellow would think that bad economic times would be a terrible point to bring this stuff up. But these guys are pumping up the talk and chat.....and they've got the Jesus-vision to make this happen. You gotta market the Bible and Jesus the right've got to have the right fast food, the peppy sugar drinks, and lots of pro-Jesus junk to sell around the park. Heck....some folks might spend $40 on a new Bible or $80 on a oak-carved cross to mount in the living room.

I'm thinking that bail-out money ought to be allocated to these boys. Surely someone has got $40 million to help make this stuff happen. Heck, those folks in Birmingham spent $3.2 billion on a fancy sewer system that was forty percent overpriced. Surely someone has some cash to loan these Jesus-folks and their theme park.

Just Forgot?

Up in New York....the governor has his chief aide......a Colombia Law grad (similar to being a Harvard or Yale grad).....Charles O'Byrne who was likely very close to being fired or dismissed. The guy resigned. Apparently.....Charley just didn't pay any federal incomes taxes for 2001 through 2005.

The best we can say here.....this guy, who is quiet educated and that he suffered from depression and simply dropped opportunities to pay his taxes. Eventually, something must have occurred to remind him....but then it was a public item.

Its have a job making $178,500 job as the number one dude to the state governor.....and you forget your taxes. What adds to this interesting story is that he is a marathon runner of sorts, a former priest, and some of his articles that appear in public center around his dislike of the Catholic Church's leanings on homosexuality and celibacy. This is a guy who is running on a daily basis....both in the physical form and the mental form. He isn't accomplishing anything that makes himself comfortable or happy. And these all add up to trigger depression which just plain made him forget about taxes.

Jailtime? Nope, the guy is paying off the IRS guys and they are apparently happy about this. As long as they get their money in the goes on.

The Spiral in the Heartland

For those of you who rely on the big five for your daily's a piece which you haven't seen....or at least until next week. The largest municipal city bankruptcy in the history of America will likely occur in Bama in the next week or two. Yep, my own Birmingham.

Now, how would Birmingham get into this kind of mess? Well....its a curious thing. Those dudes came up in the 1990s, with Harvard leadership (note the university) in the form of Mayor Larry Langford. The county and the city got talked into a $3.2 billion sewer system. From what real sewer experts was quiet a bit more than what the city needed and the costs were pumped up way more than normal. Basically....Larry the Harvard Wonder...did exactly what you'd expect out of any grad...toss money into the wind and just wait for federal help. Its the Harvard way, you know.

This past week...the chief of the county commission said the county could make a $10 million payment on $120 million of obligation warrants if they had to.

They are basically working against a 31 October deadline pay off or restructure $120k of obligation warrants. This past week, the governor had to get involved and actually called up the Fed boys in DC...warning of the consequences and basically asking for BAILOUT (term used for Harvard welfare, for those of you in Bama).

The amusing thing that if they make this pay-off....then comes the next payment due in March of 2009...which just triggers round two. So this current episode really doesn't end if the Feds help a little just continues on.

The really curious part about this entire deal? There is an offer on the table to the banks and credit organizations of raising the rates that customers are perk up interest of the financial organizations. This rate increase (figured to be substantial) would make the banker's hearts start to when $60 tramp walks in the room in Wal-Mart evening wear.

The local reaction to the sewer rate increase? Well...this has kinda been avoided in discussions in a open forum and folks aren't sure just how much they might be talking about. The minute that folks figure it might be thirty percent, or even fifty percent....there will be a significant number of the minimum wage crowd who basically admit that they can't pay it. Folks cut off from city sewage? Well...its kinda strange and I doubt that they could do this. The courts would try to seize property or sue these folks but I doubt it makes much sense.

Here's the really good part. Across the entire state of the 1990s and the past ten years....lots of cites and counties did the sewage upgrade episode. Lots of them borrowed money and built a system that was way beyond their needs...and paid lots more than it was worth. There are towns of 20,000, 10,000 and even 2,000 residents....that have overextended themselves. They aren't $3.2 billion in debt...but they might be $1 billion or $500 million or even $100 million in debt. They all have the same issues...with banking loans and raising rates. They were all taken advantage of, manipulated by Harvard grads and sleazy bankers.

So in the heartland of Bama you flush, and flush, and flush...enjoy the monuments of society that your town has installed. You've got a first-rate sewer system and millions in debt. And your town might be going bankrupt, with a first class sewer system.

Friday, 24 October 2008

President Obama and the Death of Comedy on TV

Somewhere in January, will come the Obama presidency. It will come to pass in the next one hundred days after that.....that various comedy shows like Letterman, Leno, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will be knocked down. Without Bush or Clinton to use as humor sides....and with almost no degree of humor surrounding Obama....the four giants of TV are doomed.

I know Dave is standing there....thinking "no way". Humor will survive. The Letterman Show will continue on. But basically, we are chopping off thirty percent of the material that typically appears on the Letterman Show. Yes, are stuck with looking for new and fresh material....without the aid of Cheny, Bush, or Condi. In fact, you won't even get Karl Rove or anyone like Karl.

Mr. Leno? Well....your show is pretty much stomped for the first ten minutes of material. Luckily, you have Paris Hilton still breathing and maybe she will do some foolish things over the next four years. Even Brittney might screw up once or twice. Maybe Pee Wee Herman can come back and help you a bit.

Jon Stewart? Well....Ninety percent of your show was centered on stupid Republicans. And now? Its like having Moses, Einstein and Billy Graham standing in front of can't write a decent political joke. The Jon Stewart show will be the Titanic boat anchor....sinking as fast as possible to the bottom. I don't see his show surviving past September 2009. Jon will admit at the end....with a tear falling from his cheek....that Cheney was the master of comedy....and his one major source of material each week.

Then we come to Stephen Colbert. Strangely enough....I think Stephen might survive. By pulling out the screw-ups of the entire administration and using his pro-Republican act to explain how McCain would have "fixed" the problem....he might survive into 2010. If he can find that kink in the Obama armor....he might even be bigger than Jon, Letterman and Leno combined. But I doubt that.

Finally, I come to Rush Limbaugh. Basically....he can write a check for the largest yacht built in the free world and pay it off in three years. He will be swimming in profit from his daily shows. When congress comes around to run their new law which forces networks and shows to be "fair" via the FCC....Rush just smiles as he rides off to the satellite world and internet radio.

Its a strange world that we will inherit in 2009....with President Obama. Shows of humor and warmth....gone. We may have to bring in old shows of Jeopardy, Bonanza and Gilligans make up for the losses.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Dear Abby

Yesterday in the news...stood Dear Abby and probably the best column that I've seen in years:

Dear Abby:

I am in my 70s, on Social Security and in my second marriage. My wife, "Irene," is in her early 50s and holds a good job. She also holds the purse strings, and allows me $5 a week for coffee with my friends. I drive a little scooter, and Irene has given me a gas credit card so I can get around.

Last week, I told her that I need some underwear and asked her for her store credit card. She said she has a drawer full of nylon panties and that I should wear them instead. She said when they are worn out she will buy me some new men's underwear. She also said she didn't want to waste any money on me since the panties are still wearable.

What if someone finds out? Irene says that since I'm over 70 it doesn't matter. Do you think this is right?

So there I paused reading, this poor individual is screwed. His wife is an absolute bitch. She has to be totally upset that he wrote into Dear Abby to tell this story. Would I wear women's underwear? Well....even if it was XXL....I'd decline the offer. I'd go mow yards and then hustle over to Wal-Mart and buy the cheapest stuff they had. I'd advertise myself as a male gigolo to older neighborhood gals. I'd even walk dogs....just to have enough underwear money in my pocket.

What will happen to this guy? I'm betting his wife likely read the column and got furious.....then tossed his butt out into the street. Hours later, she realized her mistake....but then found the guy living with some hot 65-year old gal four houses down....who bought him lots of real underwear. Thats the way it is in Florida....dump a woman recruits the guy immediately.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

The Lahde Concept

I blogged yesterday over Andrew Lahde who bragged about the ease of making vast sums of money against the Harvard and Yale MBA crowd morons. As he correctly pointed out….all of the vast banking operations and insurance operations that failed over the past sixty days….were run by a club of fools who gain some kind of certificate via a fine MBA college and stood amongst the elite. The same crowd ran around the US government and bragged there of their abilities….yet allowed vast stupidly to run amongst us.

I think Andrew ought to coin this concept….because of the vast number of folks who got an automatic pass to be a big player in the world of finance or government or banking or companies….just by getting some dimwitted parents get you into the front door of a major university. The daughter of Hillary Clinton would be a candidate of such a concept….making almost six figures upon graduation from college and actually thinking she was capable of running a real operation. Across the US today….we can find 250,000 Lahde-fools who got into management and will screw up as much as they can before they get fired or promoted (note: either way, they go somewhere else).

The US Air Force runs with the same Lahde concept…if you graduate from the Air Force Academy….you automatically get a “pass”….and can quickly move up and be someone of various standing….thus screwing up organizations, operations, or continuity. They could walk in and quickly advocate “change”, when the change they suggest of no value and doesn’t save a penny of funding.

Six months ago, there was a massive shift of a function on Ramstein, with a carefully word phrase of “saving funding” within the shift. When the change was complete….someone of high standing (a general of course) tossed the magic term to the budget guys….”how much did I save?” It was an amusing moment….because the budget guy looked at the individual and said “nothing was saved”. This led to a group meeting later where the individual looked at the dimwits who advocated the change and they had to show some charts and claim man-hours were saved somewhere in the process. It wasn’t a significant quantity….nor did it make the whole change worth accomplishing. The change was based on selling change….and more change….and even more change….across to everyone. “Change is good” is a motto that these individuals use often, but with no meaning.

The Lahde concept says a lot. Folks are financing fantastic college experiences for their kids….sending them states away….to get a certificate of some value which leads onto a real position of importance in life. Imagine going off to Harvard or Yale or Princeton….to entertain yourself for four to six years…..merely to get a position in life which has no practical value beyond the paper its written on. You could have accomplished the same thing at South Alabama State….for a quarter of the value….and even tossed in lots of pocket money for the kid to spend each weekend.

It didn’t take a genius or group of geniuses to arrange the creation of the mess for the bailout. It took Harvard, Princeton and Yale graduates. That really says a lot.

The Lahde concept ought to be written up in a book. Every company that hires….ought to bring in the top ten candidates for a job….and immediately cut out the college name on the guy’s resume. They ought to actually ask stupid and smart finance or business questions to test the guy….because obviously Harvard isn’t teaching them smart finance. Yale isn’t teaching smart business operations. And Princeton isn’t teaching smart banking. And if a tiny community college in western Kentucky can teach the same principals or logic…producing a much smarter finance manager….why hire the Harvard dimwit?

So that’s my two cents of analysis for today….why hire any of these guys? Find the Lahde guys and hire them by the dozens. They seek out and find the Harvard dimwits….and counter them with “shorts” and “longs”….betting in the world of business. Losers are losers….no matter how fancy their certificate is.

Where do 1.4 Million Folks Go?

According to some media research organization....all three of the evening dimwits that do nightly news....ABC, NBC and CBS....have lost viewers. For the past week or so...CBS and Katie Couric lost a half a million viewers, down to 5.9 million viewers. The ABC crowd lost half a million...and is down to 7.6 million now. Finally....NBC lost 400,000 viewers and sits at around 7.8 million.


This should be the number one question that they asked...along with the three networks. No, they didn't ask the question. Even Drudge where the report sits for public consumption....there are no questions asked about this.

Here we are in election season...and none should have lost any viewers. Altogether...they lost almost 1.4 million viewers. Do viewers fall off the face of the earth? No. Thats the curious thing.

I'm making only an educated guess...but I think a number of folks are just turned off about the attitude and the slant on the news in this election season. If none of the big three gained viewers...its obvious that they aren't making viewers satisfied. This was the suggested problem with keeping Katie Couric around for the election period...most analysts felt she had nothing to sell...while the network felt she was the seasoned pro who would carry them through. Obviously, they were wrong...and they are missing something very serious in their nightly news.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

My Kind of Guy

This week....Andrew Lahde decided to retire. Andrew is 37 years old. Andrew is a unique kind of guy....he preys off dumbasses, dimwits and idiots. Andrew build up a a $80 million dollar LA operation called Lahde Capital Management. It was a hedge fund.....and his specialty was simply betting against subprime mortgages. He knew the actual score...and he couldn't be beat.

He sent out his resignation letter: "The low-hanging fruit, ie idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking," he wrote. "These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government."

Andrew wasn't finished....he continued on: "All of this behavior supporting the aristocracy only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America."

Andrew's fund....became one of the top funds in America....returned 866% last year. How? He bet against the entire home loan industry. He knew they would collapse.

With his adios to the real world....he announced his intention to move on and appeal for the legalization of mary-j-u-wanna. He was happy...real happy.

Basically...Andrew is correct. All of these idiots throughout the banking sector did everything....and were all graduates of Harvard or Yale. They ran the companies. They knew their business...or so pretended to know. A guy who graduated from Pima Community College with a 2-year degree in accounting....probably knew more about banking than half the guys who worked in AIG or any of these banks that failed. The truth is....Andrew knew precisely what they were...dimwits...and took them to the cleaners. What a guy....I'd like to meet him.

Our Guys

In the past few months....the US Army has started to understand just how many of its folks are addicted to plain old painkillers. This past week....they prosecuted Specialist Jeremy Thompson and an associate. The two would spend hours in the barracks.....mixing, crushing and snorting painkillers prescribed by Army doctors. Then they'd sit there and just tare stare at the Discovery Channel "in a haze".

I sat there for a minute....pondering this....realizing that I'd also been one of those watching the Discovery Channel in a haze....although without any drugs or alcohol. It was just a natural effect of watching something so boring....that I'd usually forget about what I watched.

Most folks seem to think around twenty percent of the young Army guys out there....are on some type of prescribed painkiller. Alot of these guys had serious orthopedic injuries from training and war, so painkillers from the Army were normally prescribed.

The drug of choice: Percocet. A normal prescription was thirty pills a month....these guys were doing 200-plus pills. The curious thing here....if you have watched Doctor House regularly....thats the pill of choice for the good doctor on the show....who also has become addicted.

Its a curious episode that we've put our Army guys in....we demanded they be fit and totally prepared for war.....and they end up injured like some quarterback in the NFL. They push on...addicted to painkillers....and we end up with guys who get kicked out and dumped back on the streets of the US. Somethings wrong here.

Redneck America

This is what we know. Democratic Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania....spoke out and said that some folks (his constituents) in the western part of Pennsylvania.....are "rednecks". He also said that this entire area was "really redneck" if you went back ten years ago. He meant all this to indicate that a number of his folks in that region are racist in nature....and might have trouble voting for a black guy. This comment today was supposed to clear up least John thought that it would clear matters up.

Being from Bama...and having heard "redneck" so often.....I simply sat there and laughed. For some idiot political hack to run around tossing "redneck" around....classifying this region as "light redneck" and that region as "heavy redneck" about as dim as you can get. John's a democrat who often gets elected by these folks, and I'm guessing that they don't care if they get insulted or not. In Bama....this insult wouldn't be allowed to stand. This guy would be let off the hook and dismissed from DC. These western Pennsylvania folks probably will re-elect the fool.

If I were to keep John's logic....then I'd have "light redneck", "turbo redneck", "heavyweight redneck", "XXL redneck", and "westcoast redneck" as terms I'd use for various communities in the US. I'd even have to classify some congressmen as "merely stupid", "foolishly stupid", "dimwitted stupid", and "XXL stupid". John would fit the XXL category...I'm thinking.

Monday, 20 October 2008

A Difficult Wife

Madonna went as far as banning TV's in the house and newspapers. There's a list of reasons running around that Guy Ritchie has....and why this guy was so miserable with living with Madonna. I read over the list (its on at least thirty different sites).

It appears that Guy's entire life was dictated and run by Madonna. He was left virtually nothing....even the food he ate or the lifestyle. Madonna ran through $1000 jars of various cremes and oils....then slept in some kinda plastic outfit to halt the aging process. I'm guessing Guy just sat there....wanting to laugh.....and he really couldn't.

Madonna was freaked out on coffee and particular type of java. She had the same freaking feeling with blueberries.....having those flown in from Canada, and they had to be organic in nature. We aren't talking about a monthly thing....we are talking about a daily thing.

Madonna apparently had a huge dislike of any type of processed meat....extending this into all corners of the house. If you were a friend of Guy....that might be the one and only occasion that meat might be brought in for guests.

Fresh milk? Oh my.....Madonna apparently can't stand anything to do with cows. Even if Guy wanted tea with was basically forbidden.

Sugar in the house? Nope, not an ounce. Maddona apparently banned sugar entirely. Course, then you'd wonder how'd an individual ate biscuits, ice cream or cakes....but then you didn't have to....thanks to Madonna. Even cheese, cream, salt and preservatives were forbidden.

Guy could rely upon Madonna to spend two entire hours a day.....six days a week....working out.

TV's and newspapers? Banned by Madonna.

All of this....tossed with Madonna obsessed with being desired by millions and still appreciated as a rock legend.....which is spiraling downward every month now. At age fifty....she's basically finished. She couldn't stand that.

As for Alex Rodriguez, the boy-toy of New York that Madonna is going to turn to? Well....Alex is going to suddenly find that full-time lifestyle times of Madonna is fairly miserable. The chanage of diet? The switch to vegetarian meals and no dairy items? Alex will find his physical abilities challenged.....and by June of 2009....he will under performing for the Yankees....with questions over his future. By July of next year.....he leaves the relationship.

The boy-toys of Madonna? Watch them as they come and go over the next five years. She's become miserable over life at age 50, and making life for those around her just as miserable.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

So this weekend, I rented the last Indiana Jones movie, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I hadn't watched it when it came to the theaters.

About twenty minutes into the movie....I was questioning myself over having picked this selection. The script died somewhere after fifteen minutes and I was thinking this was a fairly dim movie. An hour into the movie....nothing had improved.

As I wrapped up this 120-minute movie...I just sat there laughing. It was a terrible waste of talent to bring these folks together and stick them to this script. The story went nowhere.

I have to be fairly honest. I considered the first Jones movie to be a classic....with the second being fairly awful and barely a 2-star movie. The third movie survived primarily because of the plot and one of the better scripts done in years. I'm hoping this is the end of the Indiana Jones line, and just it go. I can't see it improving.

Hammer Time

I missed this story from early September.....apparently.....some woman up around the Chicago area decided it was time to hit her husband in the head with hammer....primarily because she felt he was a alien. Gabrielle Graffia....who we will merely say is in her early 50s....ended up arrested by the cops and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon for trying to hit husband Ronald with a hammer. Luckily in the midst of this episode...the cops arrived to find them both out in front of the house.....wrestling. The cops tried to get a motive out of Gabrielle but she was absolutely convinced that her husband was a alien and wanted to kill her. The cops did search the house....and ended up finding evidence of prescribed drugs.....which Gabrielle did admit she was taking them for a mental illness.

Over the years, I've known a number of women who believed their husbands were aliens....although none ever discussed alien plans of murdering them. None of them ever used a hammer on the husband, although I suspect that half would have enjoyed using a hammer for a whack or two.....just for the heck of it.

I'm guessing Gabrielle's husband...Ronald....will be really nice about charges and eventually drop them. I'm also guessing that all the hammers in the house will be locked up and tightly controlled. But don't worry.....Gabrielle is smart gal....she'll new weapons in the future, and eventually come to the conclusion that Ronald is a alien again....and have to whack on him.

Bama Voters, Growing Day by Day

As most of you know....I am from Bama....and I am into statistics.

This week....came an unusual event in six Bama counties. They have actually registered more folks on their voting rolls....than they have of people of voting age. At least this is what the U.S. Census Bureau estimates. I don't usually argue with these folks because they are the head bean counters.

Now, I am of the type that would analyze and ponder this event. It is possible that several thousand dead folks are on the rolls of the six counties. Its possible that some folks moved from one county to another....and simply signed up at the new you'd expect.

The curious thing here....are the spoken words by the Bama Secretary of State (Beth Chapman)...who said: "I can't say it's impossible that 100 percent of adults in five or six counties are registered to vote. But it is improbable."

What happens if all of these folks do vote? I'm predicting a pretty hefty schedule for the county prosecutor in each case for 2009. Lots of folks will find themselves in court to explain double-voting or false registrations. Jail will be likely outcome for some folks. And for you dead folks voting in Bama....I'm thinking something is wrong here.

Universal This and Unverisal That

I've blogged a bit this week on universal health care. With the Hawaii episode developing the termination of child universal health becomes major topic again. Most folks who are anti-universal health care will smile at the episode in Hawaii because things occurred just like analysts predicted....the middle class dumped their previously held deals with health care and instead jumped right into the state-rigged deal. The guys who organized this Hawaii program never anticipated that this would happen...figuring instead that only the poor would climb into the cheap state program.

I'm not much of a supporter of the universal health care program. I've seen it at work in Germany and realize the various problems associated with it, the real costs, and the huge amount of discipline thats required on doctors, nurses, hospitals and drug companies. Selling universal health care is practically impossible unless you just ram it down people's throats....namely doctors, nurses, hospitals and drug companies. Savings for the middle-class? In the end....I doubt that any middle-class guy ever saves a penny....and likely has to contribute more so that the lower-class can have the precious program.

I sat and pondered this entire concept of universal health care....and then came to some interesting thoughts.

If universal health care makes sense, why not universal vet care for your pets? If you own a pet, you pay $75 a year for each one and you get free vet care for your dog, cat or mouse? Every pet would be covered and poor folks wouldn't worry about their dog and his worms problem.

If universal health care makes sense, why not universal car repair? If you own a car, you pay $788 a year for each car and you get free maintenance at your local mechanics shop. You get a special card and when issues drive in and get free care. Need a new transmission....don't worry....universal car care will protect you.

If universal health care makes sense, why not universal septic tank repair? If you own a house with a septic tank, you pay $88 a year for free septic tank coverage. You got pull out your septic card and call the local guy, and he digs up the tank....replaces it....and leaves smiling because the bill is taken care by the government.

If universal health care makes sense, why not universal lawn care? You pay $185 a year which would provide a lawn specialist to mow your lawn every week.

If universal health care makes sense, why not universal plumbing care? You pay $850 a year which would provide free care for all your plumbing in the house. This would ensure poor folks get the same kind of care as everyone else.

If universal health care makes sense, why not universal massage service? You pay $59 a month which would provide two visits to the local massage therapist. Rich people and poor people would qualify. Everyone would get a boost in their morale.

If universal health care makes sense, why not universal congressional support? You pay $88 a month for the same service and support that rich people get when they run up and demand congressional folks write up special laws to exempt them from taxes.

If universal health care makes sense, why not universal newspapers? You pay $22 a month to get a newspaper on your lawn....and help all of those poor folks get a newspaper on their lawn as well.

If universal health care makes sense, why not universal fast food? You pay $80 a month to get a ration of Wendys or Burger King burgers....and poor people would also get their ration.

In the were earning $48k a year.....and the total amount you see at the end of the year in your $2k. The rest went to universal something, taxes, and social security. At least everyone would be happy....especially the folks who stayed home and never worked.

Saturday, 18 October 2008


Just something to ponder, but we are on track now to build the fewest houses since 1945. There are thousands of houses in Florida, Phoenix, Vegas and the entire state of California, that sit empty. Apartment rentals appear from other sources to be at a fairly significant high. Folks can't afford houses, they can't show good credit, and they can't make the payments. This might make you ponder how things will develop over the next two or three years.

The fix? Think about this for a minute. Only your congress can save giving out cheap easy loans and blessing folks with bad they can buy houses and trigger a construction boom. This is exactly how we got into the current mess of today.

Prepare for a repeat of this boom and 2018....compliments of our congress.

Adios Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has begun a major effort to cut electricity use, requiring the state's 11 utilities to not only stop power usage from rising, but to cut it starting in 2011. In an effort of extreme foolishness....legislation was passed in Pennsylvania and the governor (Ed Rendell) even signed it....that now requires the utilities to cut annual electricity usage by at least 1 percent by May 31, 2011. This is to be apparently based on based on usage estimates made by state regulators (your friendly state folks). They did agree that they could take into account such strange events....such as a an unusual hot summer or a unusual cold winter. Plus they even included the possibility that a new company might appear out of thin air in the great state.....and demand electricity as well (don't count on it).

In the midst of this legislation....there is up to $20 million in penalties for failure to meet the benchmarks for electricity usage cuts.

Sonny Popowsky (state utility consumer advocate) spoke "That certainly should get the companies to look at what's been going on around the country and adopt some of the more successful programs,"

So my passion in life is to analyze and provide the next step or the next stumble....allow me a minute to ponder the impact of this law. If I lived on meager wages or a set retirement income....and 2012 rolled around....then some letter came to my house to say that I hadn't met the annual one percent cut and I was being assessed a fee tacked onto my yearly cost of $150....I would start to get upset. Thats $150 less in my pocket and $150 in the revenue pocket of the state.

Next year....because I didn't meet that one-percent jumped a notch to $225 a year for the annual fee of "failure".

By 2014 and the third consecutive year of failure to meet the expected one-percent'd likely be up to around $290 for my yearly extra fee (my figure of estimate, remember...these guys aren't even hinting what a typical little guy will be assessed at this point....its all state big-numbers).

By 2015, I'd be thinking very much about moving out of the state. This would be ample encouragement.

But lets go to the middle-class situation....where Joe "The Plumber" owns a nice enterprise that has eight employees and a nice showroom to demonstrate potential bathrooms or showers that Joe could install. The electrical cuts don't come in 2012.....and because this is a business....the yearly fee would likely rate up near $1000 for such a small business like this. Its not a major amount for Joe....but still, it will increase. By 2014....and Joe's failure to cut that one percent off any yearly's likely up to $2000 a year in fees. What does Joe do? Joe passes this cost off to his customers and they pay it for him.

So that little guy who was thinking that he was only assessed $290 a year in additional costs? You can figure that after all of these little businesses and operations get finished....its a total yearly add-on of $750 that you will contribute to the state government via yourself and your purchases.

Just your friendly government at work. And for those of you from Pennsylvania.....I'll pray for you tonight.....and if you are interested in moving to Bama.....we'll welcome you with open arms.

Two Cents on Universal Health Care

I blogged a brief comment or two on health care and the Hawaii "experiment" in universal child health care, which spiral out of control.

When the dimwits show up to talk on CNN....its all rigged up in bit-sized portions to feed the typical dead-head CNN viewer. So let me offer up the way that universal health care works:

First, you have to remove the "arrangement" that doctors, insurers and hospitals have over profit. There is a magic profit number across every single health care policy today. Until you remove that can't move to the first step. some point...the federal government will have to step in and control medical technology, the quality offered at hospitals and hospital construction. No one in the health industry wants that control. But to make universal pricing must be involved.

Third.....drug prices are going to have to be set by the federal government. The idea that a company can charge what they want....won't work. The potential for waivers to be handed out by congress in this type of situation.....almost 100 percent. But there has to be a set price across the entire US for a drug....with a fair profit set for the pharmacy folks and the maker of the drug.

Fourth. No "pre-existing conditions" allowed in a universal plan. Everyone is accepted.

Fifth. Wellness matters somewhere in this food chain. Obese folks and smokers are issues. You have to eliminate them or "punish" them in some fashion. Same for alcoholics and heavy drug users.

Sixth and final. A national health card and data base will have to exist. If someone walks in to get pain killers at one doctor's place and then an hour later shows up at another place for more pain'll bankrupt the system.

So thats my two cents on universal health care. It won't work in me. I've seen it at work in Germany, and it barely works here. Doctors, nurses and hospital owners appreciate it less and less. Doctors leave Germany every year. Nurses complain about the significant pay difference between working here in Germany and the US.

"Change the World"

Up in New Hampshire this week, Senator Obama arrived and delivered a major speech. It was a curious speech, with an amusing theme.

"I want you to believe," spoke Senator Obama. "Not so much believe just in me but believe in yourselves. Believe in the future. Believe in the future we can build together. I'm confident together we can't fail." And then he said "We will win this election and, you and I together, we're going to change the country and change the world."

The central theme of his entire campaign effort....has been change. Everyone appears to be overdosing on this concept and want dramatic change. They aren't really talking about how this change works, or how it will pass congress, or even how people will eventually perceive change when they were huge supporters of it.

Folks in Hawaii were demanding change several years ago. The governor, a Democrat, Linda Lingel delivered. Hawaii was the first state to offer universal child health care. It was an impressive deal. It was a very low set rate and every kid in the state was to be covered. This week, Governor Lingel announced the end of the universal child health care program. Apparently, they designed the program for the lesser income folks and few middle class folks would have been involved (they already had full up health care via their company or their business). Well....change in this case didn't work. Everyone started dropping their health care....including the middle class. The state ran up a huge debt. So this week.....universal child health care, a change in life, ended in order of the governor.

I'm guessing as Obama wins the presidency....he will find a vast number of doors open to change. But in four years, after the reality of change hits folks.....he isn't quiet the same candidate as before.

What remained from this New Hampshire stop and the great speech given.....was a comment or two by a lone McCain supporter who came up to observe Obama face-to-face. "McCain has lost," said Deborah Barnhart, 48, who supports the old senator from Arizona. "He's lost because the Messiah has spoken and we're going to change the world. That's all people want to hear after eight years of Bush. Obama thinks he's won. Everyone here thinks he's won."

So prepare. Change is coming. Change will take ahold of your life, your spirit, your taxes, your house, your neighbors, your radio station, your future. After a while....change might be the last thing on earth that you care to hear from any candidate.

Friday, 17 October 2008

The Madonna Spiral

From what appears in the press over the Madonna divorce episode with Mr Ritchie...I will offer the following observations.

Madonna appears to have found her public appeal and audience trends to be sorrowful over the past couple of years. She is a faded rock star now. At some point this year....she decided that staying in London wasn't going to fix this problem. So she wanted to move out to New York City....on a permanent basis (not this two weeks every two months routine). She wanted Mr Ritchie to pay for this....out of his stash. The interesting aspect to this episode, is that Mr Ritchie declined.

No one speaks much about her millions but I'm guessing she has alot less in cash than she did five years ago. I'm also guessing that she needed him to pull out the money to reestablish her in New York City as a trendy person....meaning $1 million in pocket money per month. Mr Ritchie isn't that type of guy. He might freely spend $20k a week....but it appears that he has a limit on spending.

So she intends to strike out on her own.....using up the money she has restart the career that is stalled. At some point by the end of 2009.....I'm guessing she will end up on stage and trying to make some kinda new career deal with a broadway show. Her real career? I'm of the thinking that she's virtually finished as a routine and regular rock star. She's the new "Cher" and she better get used to it.

Adding to the break-up.....she got into this mental attitude that she needed to adopt another kid....out of Africa. For Mr Ritchie....this was some amusing mental attitude that was shaping into a weird fantasy. She thinks of this as saving someone and influencing the world.....and as Mr Ritchie rightly has no impact and doesn't fix anything for anyone. Its another Madonna day in the Madonna universe.

My prediction is that she ends up married to Alex Rodriguez by the end of 2009. This sap ends up sponsoring her trendy spending habits and probably makes it through 2012 before he figures out that this gal (55 then) is a high-cost, high-maintenance pig. She probably will bring him close to bankruptcy although the guy is pulling in $20 million a year. Her singing career....pretty much limited to NY City and Europe.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Joe the Plumber Speaks

Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher decided to talk today. For a plumber, he held a pretty tidy and professional news conference. Up in Holland, Ohio, folks might be thinking "The Plumber" might be wiser than they thought.

I watched the clips of Joe speaking. The news guy tried to trip Joe up...there for a minute. Then Joe Micky Mantle with a grin, and began swinging away.

The more Joe spoke...the more he connected with real people. As much as the Katie Courics or Today Show freaks would like to dump on Joe and end this Joe "The Plumber"'s not working.

Joe's sin? Joe believes in the American dream.

If you work earn your dream. This commentary that Obama casually threw around....wanting to tax more and just hand out the money to the people below you....isn't likely to sell to the millions of Joe's out there. Across the heartland, these guys put out their own sweat and would readily be willing to share with their family and friends. The idea of redistributing their money to someone outside of that circle...won't sell.

I''m guessing Joe has a legion of friends who are busy viewing his clip and grasping the significance of Joe's American dream. His friends....have the same dream.

An Unusual Day

Our Comm NCO's in the office got a call today....the Air Force has decided to go to a six-month at station and six-months deployed schedule. Its a pretty bitter pill for them to accept. The current plan was to deploy for four to six months....then get fifteen months off before the next deployment. That was fair, at least in their minds.

So this new deal has a slight I sat there doing the math. You get notified you are deploying in 90 days. You spend the next month doing the shooting qualifications, getting the shots, and preparing your personal affairs. Then, if deploying to Iraq or got to a 45-day combat class in the states. Then you actually deploy for 179 days or six months.

You return after six months (your new cycle starts that day) get a week of in-processing....then two weeks of free time, and then you could take thirty days of leave.

Add up the days that you can actually work at the normal duty station for our organization....and its less than twelve weeks a year. If you count in PT time, PFE schools, special training....then you probably get down to eight weeks of real work you can do for us in a year. Why bother even coming to work?

I didn't say nothing negative to these guys....its their deal, not mine. But if they were ever looking for a reason to vote Obama....the Air Force gave it to them. I'm guessing half the guys with this deal will decide to get out of the Air Force in two to three years. They won't stay in. Their only hope is to have the war end. I'm glad I retired ten years ago.

The New Military Concept

Apparently, in the pits of the Pentagon....some fool has put this fantastic idea of building a rocket that would shuttle a dozen-odd troops through space to a critical place where they'd fight someone within two hours of warning. These guys are so serious, that they held a two-day conference to discuss the idea. Naturally, alot of officers attended.

The best that folks can that a dozen fully armed "Grunts" would be onboard, with alot of weapons, ammo, and probably enough supplies to get by for two days. Somewhere in the midst of this...I'm guessing that the Air Force is standing there and thinking "pilot". Someone has to control this vehicle....and Army guys can't do it. This is the logic of the Air Force, if you didn't grasp that.

I'm guessing at some point....the Air Force will demand that their guy is the 13th guy onboard, and that only he can fly the vehicle. The Army will smile.....and say they can agree to this, but first there have to be test vehicles built. The Army will build the first shuttle and put Private Snuffy as test subject number one and Skippy the Chimp as test subject number two. What they won't tell the Air that Skippy is a trained chimp and is being trained to fly the shuttle.

At some point, after the tests are complete.....the Army will let the Air Force know that they actually flew the test vehicles with Skippy the Chimp as the pilot, with no problems. Now, the Air Force will be really screwed.....because the Army has already proven that Chimps can be pilots and the Air Force concept of a REAL pilot is dead on this project. You can imagine the happy Chimpy smile that Skippy will have when they let him know that the Air Force is off the project and now....Skippy is a full-time pilot for the program.

Thats how things work in the real world.....we'll all replaced at some point, and in this case....Skippy the Chimp is quiet adequate.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

The Air Force and Its Priorities

Years ago, it was common to have a slogan in the Air Force. We went through various ones....SAC's favorite was "Peace is our profession". For a long time, we had "Fly, Fight, Win!" Today.....we basically have: Reorg, steal property, and dog & pony shows".

The chief three professions of today's Air Force all have a central theme and represent the best (or the worst, if you like) of our profession.

First, there is reorg. On a typical day in the Air Force....we have around 2,000 individuals spread out and working on the next reorganization of the Air Force headquarters, the major commands, the base level, or even at the squadron level. Its a tough act serious but you really know that half of the reogranziations under discussion today and in various forms of achievement....are not going to be adapted. The other half? They will be adapted and then within twelve to twenty-four resolved (typically meaning replaced because of failure). Most of the 2,000 folks are officers, although we give a significant amount of this reorg work to senior NCOs.

Reorg'ing is a fairly complex talent. You typically want to rename, renumber and steal bodies. The 44th Systems Support Squadron could easily be turned into the 419th Cyber Warfare Squadron (notice how we worked warfare into the name). One of the curious parts about that somehow at the end....even though you started with 88 people....and you still have 88 people....then you come up with increased computer requirements and additional real estate requirements.

So now we move onto the second major area and mission.....stealing property. Typically on any given day on most bases....there are three to four guys walking around and measuring room space for various reorganizations. This effort usually involves the magic number of 120 square feet per individual....although we tend to violate that number whenever possible.

Stealing space is difficult because once people understand your mission....they tend to fight and argue over your tactic. The amusing thing is that in the significant amount of data involved....for some reason....the planners who perform property steals tend to ask for areas that require massive electrical circuits, yet there are none. Or they need a place that has significant AC coverage, and it has none. Or they need a warehouse area, which they settle for strictly for an office environment.

One of the curious results of property steals is that most of the folks who tend to sit in the new property.....are very dissatisfied with the results and this helps to push the "UNORGANIZATION" efforts that occur a year or two later. In one case, I watched a unit steal a property....settle it with old and crappy furniture for the new occupants. Twelve months later when they were finally going to get new furniture....a new reorg was announced and the whole area vacated shortly after that point.

Finally, the third element of the Air Force and pony shows. Basically, a number of units exist with a secondary purpose of just being a show place. If you work in such an atmosphere.....everything is kept tidy and organized 24-hours a hopes of a tour taking place. There are no pizza boxes out on the desks or trash cans half full. The "judges" who walk through will pause and attempt to ask nice or polite or professional questions....which the pony trainers or dog trainers are usually there to answer them....thus leaving you (the dog or pony) to do your actual real job.

Years ago, there might have been a dozen of such units in the entire Air Force. Today....I'd bet on hundreds of them. Dog and pony shows tend to subtract from the mission but have added value in getting more people to support your "sell". We now have professional dog and pony trainers. They could sell used cars for a living if you asked them. They could probably sell septic tanks if you asked them to.

So out there the hallways of the Air assured. We're doing the best we can and protecting the nation as best as we can. Somehow, someway....we'll get through this era, and one day.....we'll just fly, fight, win again. And maybe....just maybe....peace will be our profession....and SAC will be there to save us all.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Joe and Whats Left of America

My previous blog told a pretty sorrowful story. Joe, a 66-year old dude....sitting in jail because of dead grass. You can read the blog below and get the beginning of the story. This is the end of the story....and you'll wipe away a tear by the end.

There is this former Marine....(once a Marine, always a Marine)....Andy Law....who was eating breakfast with his girlfriend, Mary....when she pulled out the paper and showed him the "Joe" story. She made Andy read it.

Andy got up......"This is not right" was spoken, and then he got right down to business. He is by the word of association....a Marine....tough as a bastard and able to make up for what can't be done by mere mortals. Andy has a handyman business, which is collapsing because of the current chaos in Florida housing and markets. Before it collapse though, he's got something to fix....namely Joe's problem.

As he walked out the door....with his girlfriend looking at him.....Andy simply said "I'm going to help," and he closed the door.

Joe's wife is Pat. Joe had been married to Pat for over 20 years. It would be a correct statement to say that Pat was a bit fiery and with a slight temper.

Pat opened the door to her home after a very persistent find this old Marine....Andy....standing there.

Andy hustled up a plan. Andy found a guy to let him borrow a machine to remove the old grass. Andy found a company or two who donated sod. Andy found help. Andy found Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano (who also read the story) and with the efforts of others....they laid sod. Andy found the guy who would fix the sprinkler. Folks started stopping by and dropping off checks.

Somewhere in the midst of this.....a neighbor wept because she felt faith in humanity restored.

As the sun started to set.....the yard was done. As folks prepared to leave.....a sudden dark cloud appeared and honest-to-God rain fell upon this new sod....the kind of water that makes grass happy and green. When the rain finally stopped....a rainbow stretched over the yard.

Joe got his court hearing on Sunday morning, arranged by Mariano, Pasco Sheriff Bob White and others. He got released, although fines are still required to be paid.

All the way home....Joe hadn't been told about the work that had been done at his home or friendly strangers. When they finally got to the home and he grasped what had been done in his absence.....he wept. This is the old America that Joe grew up with and knew as a kid. Its the America that helps when helps when its necessary.

This is the moment of inspiration when you need to say: "I've got a problem, and I need your help". Joe got it.....a thousand times over.

So out there somewhere tonight is this former Marine....Andy. His girlfriend is kinda lucky. She's got something that alot of women don't have, and will never feel. This is a guy who picks up problems and fixes them....without being asked. Rainbows follow Andy where ever he might go.

Joe, A Tough Old Bastard

This is the first of two blogs. The jail in Land O'Lakes, Florida is a pretty special place. They keep drug dealers, robbers, rapists, killers, spaced out punks and old guys with dead yard grass.

There is a pause here....because I know you read the last one twice over.....dead yard grass.

Joe Prudente is the guy doing dead yard grass time in the city jail of Land O'Lakes. Its a pretty tough town....where you can get jail over dead grass....and not the type you smoke.

His real crime....Joe apparently disobeyed a court order that he sod the lawn at his Beacon Woods home. You see, Joe wasn't even offered a deal or bail.

Joe is 66 and must remain in the County jail in Land O'Lakes until required sod work is completed. Even the local circuit judge agreed.

His daughter was kinda upset: "He's in prison for God knows how long because we can't afford to sod the lawn."

Joe apparently owns a home in a tough deed restricted community....has been since 1998. Some guys wrote up a rule that require homeowners to keep their lawns covered with grass.

The local Beacon Woods Civic Association took Joe into court when he just wouldn't install new sod on his dying lawn. It was dying because his sprinklers broke. The boys in the association had already sent letters telling him to resod his front and back yards by certain dates.

Somewhere in the midst of this.....Joe has serious case of Americana financial hardship....similar to what all of these other fools have throughout the US.....his brilliant tactic in the late 1990s.....buying into the adjustable rate mortgage deal....recently caused his monthly rate to go up another extra $600 a month. Somewhere along the way....the bank Wachovia repossessed his Toyota Scion. His daughter and her two young children, in financial bad times as well....had to move in with him his wife.

Joe is treading water. He is trying to keep the house....which might be the only real thing that he has left, and live off his retirement check and social security.

Adding to all this personal trouble....because of the dead grass episode....the local court awarded the association $795 in fees, which included a $645 attorney's fees and a $150 fee for "an expert witness." So thats another $1500 out of Joe's pocket. Rather than help him....his "friends" in the association want to screw him as much as possible.

The sorrowful folks over at Beacon Woods association....expressed "regret" (cough, cough, cough). Joe shouldn't be in jail, but as they end up saying in the end of their little was his own doing. Green sod or jail....its the Beacon Woods way.

"It's a sad situation, but in the end, I have to say he brought it upon himself." said board president Bob Ryan.

Joe's family is fairly upset by this entire game and the legal play displayed. They've kinda hinted that its amazing that a community survives with this concept of restrictions and legal power.

So the Land O'Lakes is housing a fairly tough desperado....who won't be taken down. They've got the best guards in Florida guarding this guy....feeding him practically $8 worth of food per day and marching out to a yard for a couple of hours of exercise. The jail is a fairly packed place....originally built for 782 dudes....the population is up to 1,132.....of which we can't say how many are Bacon "Bits" Woods association violators. It might be might be 50.

The thing that matters that folks in Land O'Lakes are tough bastards. And the top tough bastard....Joe Prudente. Joe is a survivor.

So a salute to a tough old bastard. Joe can share a ice tea on my porch any day of the week. You folks from the Bacon "Bits" Woods need to keep your distance from my porch. You wouldn't survive long in my kind of stay in the restricted area and enjoy the green grass....while it is green.