Friday, 1 August 2008

NPR Wits

This week....the NPR half-wits....gave a 10-minute blurb each day on European health care, and explaining how things are so much better...well...if you are in Switzerland.

The reports for France and the UK....pretty dismal and likely didn't help make the NPR audience that happy. The report for the Netherlands? Well....it did carve up a point or two....where after-hours clinics were very popular....but then they failed to mention that the vast majority of Dutch live in a town....and not in a rural region.

Then came the Swiss report....which concerned the problem of a autistic kid and her parents worries. They painted a great land where they care for the kid, and when the parents are gone....the kid will still be covered and taken care of.

What they didn't mention from the Swiss report is that these special disability folks....get a status....and its not national health care that takes care of them for the rest of the life. At 18 in these sorts of cases.....the government confirms the disabled as unable to work....then covers them with a national revenue program (not health care so to speak, although its still part of the package). The other thing that the NPR person again didn't want to mention....is that Swiss folks live in tight villages....not in rural areas. Oh, and they kinda failed to mention that the Swiss really don't tolerate permanently unemployed folks....either you work....or you have problems. So everyone is contributing to the national revenue bucket.

NPR dishes this out about every six months....and tries a new sales routine each time. This time....the UK report actually was a bit negative and certainly showed that some features don't work in a national health care program. The case is never truly presented in the entire light....and you kinda have to ask questions later....to become fully informed.

A Crappy Credit Union

When a GI dies in Iraq or Afghanistan....the military cuts a check within twenty-four hours, and the nearest recruiter to the party whose supposed to get the check....is given the check. The normal procedure is for the party (either a Father or Mother or Wife) to go to the nearest bank and deposit it that day or the next.

There were two checks cut for the folks of Navy Hospitalsman Marc Retmier's folks....totalling $50,000. They went down to the Downey Savings and Loan in Hemet, California....to deposit the checks. It is common practice across America...that most banks process the checks that day, and in 99.999 percent of cases...the money is available by the next day. Its typically used to pay for funeral or burial costs.

The bank took the checks...and then put a ten-day hold on them. The mother stood there weeping and crying....explaining how she needed the money to arrange the funeral of her son. They didn't have any sympathy for her. An older gentleman who had been friends with the family came over....and was basically told to leave the Savings & Loan....or face the security guy.

A military officer then tried to convince the bank that this was federal funds, and that there was no need to wait. The bank declined. So the family has hired a lawyer and will be taking their bank into court. The fed's hinted that they are willing to examine the case. Rumor has it on the internet that the various congressional members of California are also willing to step in, if required.

Personally, I have zero trust in such a credit union...and would remove my money in this operation tomorrow morning. If you have money....walk in, and just tell them that this isn't right....and you will never allow them to hold money ever again. There is a point where stupidity labels your organization a failure....and these guys did everything possible to get that label. The negative publicity acquired here....worth $40 million. It'll take years to relabel your organization after this mess. I'd bring the entire staff into a seminar on a day off...and make them sit there for eight hours....and learn how to act in such a situation.

Glory Be!

This week....it all came out how the BAD BAD Chinese were going to prevent the reporters and foreign visitors from having full access to the internet. The firewalls were to be maximum, and the press got all upset.

Can you imagine this? Here a sports writer comes all the way from Houston....getting a big four-star hotel room....all the booze you could want....fancy meals....and they will be denied their "porn"? Yep....an entire two weeks there covering the stupid games for the local Houston paper, and absolutely no "porn"? You can't do that! Plenty of folks...reporters, real people, and even people who don't even know where the hell China is on the map....got damn upset.

It just ain't right....filtering out the "porn"....keeping a guy from stuff that he's used to....daily or even hourly.

So the Olympic folks got involved....because they urgently need to watch "porn" too....and then all hell broke loose. The Chinese sat in awe of the mighty pro-"porn" lobby that stood against them. So they throttled back the firewall, and will be allowing as much "porn" as anyone wants....for at the two weeks that are involved here. So as long as you are leaving as the Olympics end....you'll be ok....but a week later....your "porn" will be blocked again.

Man O man....thank goodness that the Chinese saw the wisdom in doing this....and let the "porn" go. It just ain't right....blocking guys and denying them what is free or what they have a subscription to. I'm glad that the Chinese big-wigs can understand this...and maybe....just maybe....they will get a bit of "porn"...and get some interest....and maybe become addicted like all them sports writers and Olympics visitors.

Only in the Bush Administration

So the dimwits of TSA and the Border Patrol came out today, and admitted that they now have authority to take your laptop, your IPOD, your cellphone, your CD player, your flash memory stick, etc....as you enter the country....and they can actually hold it for hours or days or weeks.

I stood there....thinking what idiot ever gave them such power....and then realized "Idiot Bush".

They can do this without a court-order. They do this simply because they have a suspicion. They can do this simply because you were uncooperative at the check-out point. How many businessmen are going to play this game? Well....after a hundred of these guys get upset....a class-action lawsuit will start up. I'm guessing that merely taking a couple hundred IPODs will be enough to upset a mass of folks.

Are they getting anything? No....thats the humorous part about this. A guy can stick a download program up on the internet in France or China or Pakistan....and get the important data to Jihad Joe in San Angelo, Texas....within fifteen seconds. How dopey are the border patrol guys and the TSA dudes? Very much so.....and at least fifteen years behind the times. I'm assuming that they really don't have that many smart guys around to check hard drives on the laptops....so they have to be shipped to some central point in St Louis or Baltimore....and then a bunch of 20-year old tech-college grad's will check your laptop for them.

Should you be carrying a laptop around through airports now? Well....I'd say its pretty much at your risk. If you get the laptop back from the dopes, and its broke....who pays? Well....that'll be a 12-month episode.

But then I got to thinking. You drag your old broke laptop along for a trip. You come back through and it doesn't work for booting up to satisfy their momentary check. They make the decision to grab it, and hold it for two to three weeks while checking it. Eventually...when you get it back.....you explain to them that its now broke, and you want them to replace it for you. They argue, but in the end....via their own system, and their incompetence.....they are forced into buying you a new $1500 laptop for the old broke one you dragged off for the trip. After about three years of this, some in the GAO suddenly adds up this $42 million that the idiots have paid out for broke laptops, and starts asking stupid questions. Congress will get fired up and demand that they stop grabbing the laptops because they are breaking so many. Meanwhile, you bought 16 broke laptops over the last year or two, and took one for each business trip....getting a new one for each trip.

Thanks to the Bush fools....you actually got ahead of the dimwits.

The Saudi Religious Police and Dogs


The Saudi Religious Police, who are different from the national police, in that they monitor your personal behavior and can whip you on the street if they desire, have decided that pets are to be banned....at least from public display on the street or malls.

So this is whats happened there. Guys are absolutely desperate to meet women in malls and shops....even with the burkas on.....so the guys are engaging in pet-use.....pretending to walk a dog, and then meet a woman in a harmless event.

The religious police finally figured out this ploy.....which I admit...is mighty keen. So they want this cotton picking stuff to stop immediately.

But the route here involves everyone....even the innocent. So you can't walk a cat or dog......no matter who you are....in public. And the religious police think....that this is going to be easy to enforce.

So with my Bama sense of logic....I came to this vision....of this innocent Saudi dude....walking down the mall area....with his trusty buddy...."Larry" the Pit bull. Here would approach the Saudi religious police....all three of them. They'd make a comment or two on the guy and try to manhandle him. "Larry" would be very disturbed by this image of his innocent master....being tossed around. And then...."Larry" would tear up the three idiots in a matter of five minutes. None of the three would walk away. Help from the public? Well....NO. No one will come to their rescue, and most will stand to watch the three get eaten up. "Larry" won't stop till the three don't stand anymore.

Now, this is not a pretty picture, and I realize some of you are dog-lovers. But you know....a faithful dog....isn't going to let some fool hurt their master. I'm thinking all across Saudi Arabia tonight....a bunch of folks are asking how to get a dog like "Larry".....and make sure he's trained to attack on call when necessary. The kingdom might have to request a copy of 747's fly out of Dallas next week....loaded with 3,000 "Larrys"....to help settle some urgent problems there.

I have little patience for these religious police. I think they mostly go around looking for trouble.....and if they ever find the wrong type of trouble....they might regret their mission in life. Its a pitiful profession for a religious guy to fall into.

And finally....it is sure is pretty innovated of them Saudi guys....playing innocent with pets while women get all woozy all the dog and then the guy. Maybe us Bama guys can learn something from this.....and be Cassanovas....with beagles or border collies.

Mighty FEMA versus Chicago?

Amongst the 99-odd emergency's that FEMA must save us from....was the 1999 and 2000 snowfall episodes of Chicago O'Hare Aiport. Chicago basically asked for the Feds to cover them, and sprinkle $6 million as government disaster relief. FEMA apparently decided at some later date....that this emergency just didn't qualify, and if they started allowing this....then snowfall in every city in America would be qualified as a national emergency, thus inviting FEMA to save them. So a court case has been brewing and in full swing right now. FEMA thinks they might win, but if so....Chicago has to cough up $6 million, which might be an interesting tax to pass down onto regular folks.

This is how incompetent that FEMA and the Nation has become. Most folks now sit around....dreaming up enough significant wording....to get their local state some kind of FEMA help....whether its a real emergency or not.

I sat there, wondering how America survived up until the 1960s....without federal help. I pondered and wondered over just how far this FEMA imaginary sword and shield will cover every single emergency left to occur in this century. If this is to continue....then I'd bring back the troops....give up on national defense.....and just make all our military guys and equipment part of FEMA....and try to save America 365 days a year from some emergency.