Saturday, 23 August 2008

Picture Say Enough, Bama!


A nifty poster they started using in Bama.

Bama and $25

I probably blog too much on Bama, but sometimes, it deserves a mention.

This week....those Bama folks in charge of the state-run healthcare program for state workers....decided that if you are too obese, then you will have to pay $25 a month for your policy....starting in 365 days. So you have a year to lose, or start paying.

First off....what you might not grasp out of this statement....the healthcare policy for state workers, is free. They don't pay a single penny for their healthcare policy.

Second.....the vast majority of state employees makes somewhere between $18k and $25k. I would even make the guess that almost fifty percent of the state's employees make this pay scale, so the free healthcare policy is worth every penny.

Third....as you might imagine....a number of Bama folks are deeply disturbed over this "threat" to their life. As one guy said....some folks come into this life big and they ain't going to get smaller. I might agree if I'd never tried to lose weight, but then I know otherwise. I'm the guy who lost 30 pounds in 30 days, and know precisely how to lose weight (but not know the secret of keeping it off).

Fourth....this comes on the heels of the change that came upon Bama smokers.....who now pay $24 a month for the privilege of smoking, while on Bama-run health care. Those folks are still upset, and this just makes twice as angry as before.

But here is the kicker. You really have to read into the whole mess to realize whats obese and whats not. The Bama board in charge of this mess did alot of research....and decided that anyone who who has a body mass index of 35 or higher....and NOT making progress....is obese. So lets make up an example here.....a person 5 feet 6 inches tall weighing 220 pounds, would have a BMI of 35.5. So he's barely .5 over the limit for being obese. He'd lose five pounds and thus avoid this entire game. But then you start thinking about this.....215 pounds and 5 foot 6 inches? Thats obese in most books....but thank God....in Bama....you're just fitting into the right Bama mold.

So a guy like me....six foot one inches tall and 244 lbs.....and I'd fall under the Bama obese bar....and not be obese....although my doctor would look you square in the Bama eye and say I've got obese problems (my doc is a AF veterinarian-type dude from Cape Cod).

Deep down, I'm feeling sorry for those state workers. They barely take home $1200 a month after taxes as it stands right now. These are pitiful times for a Bama state worker, who is lucky to have a decent job, with health care options for nothing, but have to lose twenty pounds to avoid losing $25 a month (on top of the $24 they pay to be smokers currently).

When you go look around at school bus drivers in the state....who all make minimum wage and just do it for the health care option, then farm the rest of their day.....it makes perfect sense. These guys barely bring home $200 a month for 2.5 hours of work a day, after you take out taxes and such. But they know they've got themselves completely covered for any hospital situation.

Second Life and Real LIfe


So this is what we know.

There is this gal from North Carolina.....by the name of Kimberly Jernigan....who is 33 years old. I hate putting women's age into a blog, but I felt it was necessary to show it wasn't a 18-year old kid. Kimberly got into Second Life, which is a digital world that you act out your fantasy life within a character of your choosing.

Kimberly came to meet this Delaware dude.....who is still kinda unnamed because he is a victim of sorts. The two played around in Second Life.....and things got heated in Second Life.....and they became a virtual couple. Of course, for those of you from Bama are asking now.....did they do any hanky panky or kinky stuff while in this digital relationship? Well....we really don't know. Nor should it be on our purest of minds to find out.

Several months ago....they finally met in person. I'm guessing that he was expecting a really hot babe (amazing how 52-year old guys think, you know), and Kimberly shows up.....a bit of a queenly sized gal and not quiet the Barbie that he might have played up to on Second Life. At this point.....she was playing Second Life for real and wanting to go for the real thing. And this guy....wanted to stay digital and in the fantasy world. He kinda wanted this relationship to end....which was the last thing on her mind.

So this week, Kimberly shows up in Delaware, to kidnap this digital lover. He apparently had moved (wise move), but she eventually figured out the new address and lay there in waiting with her pet dog. As he came home that night....walking into a darken room, suddenly a red light shown on his chest....like a laser pointer, and he ducked....quickly escaping and calling the cops.

The cops eventually caught her. There was a brief struggle but the arrest was made, for burglary and attempted kidnapping. The gal will make bail and I'm pretty sure the case will end in a conviction, with the sentence being around three to four years. She'll be back on the street by the summer of 2012. For this guy....it really doesn't fix much except to know that she will eventually be out. He's got three years to eventually move again. If I were him, I'd move to Idaho and give up gaming (take up blogging, its pretty safe).

As for Kimberly, I'm guessing that prison might clear out any funny ideas in her mind on a digital marriage or affair. And she'd do much better to advertise on Yahoo personals for some hot 50-year old balding stud from Topeka who drinks Gin straight, shoots a 45 for target practice and drives a Ford 150 to his job at the potato chip factory.

And for those who might wonder.....yes, I did download Second Life....pick a character....and walk around for 45 minutes. To be blunt, I don't get the attraction. I didn't meet any hot babes, world dictators, or swap jokes with Elvis. After 45 minutes, I left and I've never returned. I'm not much of a gamer, and in the digital fantasy world.....I'd be a pretty lousy character.

Farming in Afghanistan


This week, some kindly folks in Afghanistan decided to let the public know that there might be some starvation episodes coming up shortly. Apparently, those Afghan farmers have decided that there is much more profit in making drugs, so they are abandoning traditional crops and growing illegal stuff. These "experts" felt that starvation is only a few months away.

Afghans aren't fools at life or farming. They've spent centuries dealing with agriculture and know the various dimensions. You grow what you can profit from. If you can grow a crop and make $10k off a few lousy acres in a year....thats better than spending an entire year growing corn on the same acreage and making $1k. The truth about agriculture, is that you grow what you can sell....at the most profit.

To be truthful here....it takes a fair amount of man-hours to handle the poppy crop, compared to the corn crop....but then you have plenty of time because there really isn't anything else to do and the profit involved is worth the effort.

So what happens here, if economic principals are invoked. The illegal poppy crop farmer makes his $10k and uses the money to buy food from some other farmer. If you don't have enough food within the country.....you import from a neighbor. You pay an inflated price for transporting the food there, but then thats an accepted thing. Maybe in the end, you actually have to spend half of the $10k that you made....on food, because of the cost involved....but thats the acceptable part of this deal. You still made a profit.

The US hostility over this? Well...here is the country that you have lots of GI's deployed to and they make lots of illegal drugs flowing into Europe and the US. This just ain't right. You sit there and tell the farmers that....you tell the local tribal leaders....and you tell the Afghan national government this as well. At the end of the day....they all made money off the poppys and don't give a damn about US opinion.

At some point, when we all come to realize that this whole game in Afghanistan hasn't really achieved anything, and that the Taliban is still running with its main players in Pakistan....and we may be there for decades....then we might see the little "exit light" and do what is necessary. I'm pretty sure poppys will be planted in the spring, and life will continue on for 2009. We aren't going to change much of anything on this drug traffic. Unless you want to offer up a fine American-developed program of paying farmers $10k to grow nothing.....then thats about the only way to fix this problem.

Hallmark and the "Way"


This week...those kindly folks at Hallmark Greeting Cards....decided that its finally time to have same-sex "happy marriage" cards. Hallmark says it was consumer requests and not political pressure. There are two states with potential gay-marriage opportunities and they had to make sure they laid claim to the cards before some other company rushed into the mess.

What does it do for Hallmark? Well....I'm guessing that a good 200,000 customers might quit them as a greeting card vendor, and look for wholesome American non-gay cards. And the rest of the folks really won't care.

To be sure....walk into Wal-mart and note that there really isn't much competition against Hallmark. They aren't making a killing but then they are making a day-to-day profit off simple cards. How many gay cards will they sell over the next twelve months? I'm only guessing but maybe 150,000, at least in the first year. For alot of Bama folks....who might walk in and see these cards....they'd likely scratch their head and wonder who exactly they know....that they might buy one of these cards for.

Its not a big deal....unless you really got big issues with greeting cards and gay folks matching up. And remember....you were already buy Satanist Halloween cards, so why skip out on this company?

Making the Air Force Clean and Pure

Over the past twenty years, I've watched almost daily as the Air Force attempts to make itself clean and pure.

They've made smoking a very evil habit with big negative labels attached.

They took beer or booze consumption at the NCO clubs and basically turned it into a non-profitable operation where no one comes to drink a beer on Friday afternoons.

They took the prices of smokes at the Commissary and increased. The same with beer and alcohol happened when the Class Six stores were wiped out and the BX system took charge of their sales on base.

They made it almost illegal to have a tattoo unless its on a part of the body that is not visible.

They made adultery an absolute sin, and actually a court-martial event now. The same with the use of hookers. You can end up with a federal charge and a felon now....for hiring a hooker.

The list goes on and on....as they tried to make it pure and clean. So, I'd like to take them to the next level.

First, I'd like to mandate a absolute glass of buttermilk everyday. No choices, you show up at the NCO club and get your free glass of twelve ounces of pure buttermilk. Its good for your soul and will make you pure of heart.

Second, I'd like to mandate your off-duty clothing style and put plaid pants back into production. It was pure and holy in the 1960s and AF gentlemen should be wearing these while off-duty....preferably with a white or blue golf shirt.

Third, Air Force personnel should drive American-made cars only. We need to dictate this and make it a standing order....either GM, Chevey or Ford....and nothing else. Stay pure with a Ford....thats my slogan.

Fourth, a mandatory Bible on every desk in the Air Force. We need scripture daily and even hourly. Supply should carry the King James version for officers and the American standard version for enlisted. For those with devilish sects....mandatory reading of the Bible required to help purify your situation and bring into our fold.

Fifth, an inspirational picture of George Bush in every office. The Russians did this with Stalin, Gorby and Putin....and it'd be a mighty fine effort if we did the same thing.

Sixth, outlaw Ho-Ho's, twinkies, and pop-tarts at the commissary and BX. They are unpure and bring you down.

Seventh, promotion tests to include Bible scripture verse identification, the words to "God Bless America", and a hand-written essay on why you love America.

Eight, a mandatory IQ test after four years in the Air Force for everyone, officer and enlisted. Those who score above 110....we let go....because you shouldn't have really smart folks around who might try to bring harm or non-change to the Air Force. We need average or lesser-than-average folks....who accept our methods and ideas.

Ninth, make Hanes underwear for men and women as absolute requirements, no discussion required. We should all wear the same type underwear....preferably jockey shorts.

Tenth, start a tradition of bonfires at each unit on Friday night, after the sun sets. Have a Air Force chant and a 30-minute ceremony developed. The bonfire should include at least thirty logs and a five-gallon can of gas to start the fire up immediately. The bonfire chief will be a masked individual chosen at random by the members of the unit in secret ballots. At the end of the ceremony...everyone will swear to stay clean and pure for the next seven days.

I think my ideas are a bit radical and it may be hard for some folks to adjust....fine...they can leave or retire. In the end.....the emphasis here is to have a clean and pure force. America is good, the Air Force is pure. And life is perfect. Yeah....thats the plan.

Ethics & Life in the 10th Grade?

I have a radical proposal to make....to drop high school tenth grade history/civics/social studies/etc.

I realize you might be having a heart attack or fit here, but hear me out.

I'd like to make the entire hour that you have in the tenth grade.....the ethics and life hour. I'm basically admitting that we've got a 700,000 high school graduates a year....entering life....and they are absolutely without any moral compass or grasp to understand decision making. So I want to waste their entire hour....five days a week....on real life skills instead. And I really don't want the history teacher teaching this class. We need an individual who is going to actually teach real ethics in life.

So there would be various topics covered: (1) if you as the guy get a girl pregnant, then what?, (2) if you as the gal get pregnant, then what?, (3) if the cops arrest you for drug usage and you get five years in prison, then what?, (4) if carrying a gun or knife around at the mall causes you to kill someone by accident, then what?, (5) if you drink in a faulty fashion and kill an entire family, then what?, (6) if you marry at 16, then what?, (7) if you sign up for five credit cards at 18, then what?, (8) if you argue constantly with a boyfriend or girlfriend, then what?, and so on.

I am probably going to upset some folks, but truthfully....whatever we are doing now....ISN'T working. And we really need something radical to occur. And that entire year of civics or history? Is it going to make a life-change? Is it going to fix America? I'm thinking we are looking at education in some fashion which doesn't help us as a nation. So I'm becoming a bit radical in thinking.

There are too many teenaged idiots walking around....who claim to be brilliant, but really manage to screw up their lives and the lives of others. There are too many parents standing there with a 18-year old punk who has royally screwed up....now the cops are involved, or some judge, or some girl's parents who he was dating. We aren't exactly teaching things to fix the problem....we simply let the problems slide on.

So thats my suggestion of the week.

The 500-lb Guerrilla at the Poker Table

The Air Force needs a new tanker. For those who aren't in the know....they tried three years ago to fix up a bid and then the winner got announced....Boeing. Funny thing....the deal suddenly came apart when everyone realized that the AF leadership involved, who picked the winner.....were sleeping in bed with Boeing. So people went to prison and the whole deal was tossed into the dumpster.

So time has passed and we've healed.....sorta.

Then came the recent deal with Northrop/EADS (a US company working with the French dudes) competition against Boeing, and Northrop won. Eventually, enough political pressure was mounted and this deal was squashed. This was the eventual winner being Northrop, with Mobile being the Holy Grail for several weeks as the likely manufacture point. Then things fell apart.

So we are on the 3rd bid round now. Its an amusing episode yesterday....where Boeing said the short bid period is unacceptable and they want a minimum of six months to study the proposal and basically design an entirely different kind of plane.

So if this was allowed....several things would occur. First, this is a design on paper, with no real honest to God testing at this point. For a AF leader....this is a questionable situation because you have to hope that their design is honest and good. If the plane has major issues.....it'll ground your fleet. You can see and feel the plane today.....then you can actually see results and feel comfortable that it actually performs. So this has to worry the AF a good bit.

Second, we are basically wasting another six months....possibly even more....if they can't meet that deadline. In this case, you can't be sure of anything. They could extend this another six months later....chatting about testing....which would make this a 2010 decision at best.

Third, we enter January 2009, with potentially a Democratic congress and a Democratic president.....so for Boeing who may have more support amongst the Democrats....this is the best period to have this mess decided. Play for time and hope for a better judge.

Fourth, the Northrop & EADS crowd are purely upset and angry. They are ready today to offer up their bid and get going. To wait potentially.....a minimum of six months....just doesn't make much business sense.

So this is my suggestion. Northrop should wait a month, and then go up to say that the plane they were going to utilize for this tanker bid.....just won't do....and they want to design an entirely different plane....which will take them twelve months to properly design and "test". Otherwise, they will simply drop out of the bid.

In this high-stakes poker match....you must have competition...otherwise, you will pay much more than you anticipate. I'm thinking of a poker game where you really out-play the other dimwit at the table. There is no rule that says you can't drop your candidate aircraft and start again from scratch....so why not?

Eventually.....maybe by 2015, we might have a tanker.....but I have my doubts. The KC-135 might be around another twenty years.

Squaw & Squaw

So I pronounce you.....squaw and squaw.

Out in southern Oregon this week, on a tribal reservation.....near Coquille....there was this lesbian couple. They had been a couple since 2001....when one of them was 14 and the other sixteen.

Some Indian historians (at least two)....say that there is a long tradition of tribes allowing same-sex couple to marry. This apparently goes way past the colonial period....where the Brits began to arrive and let the Indians know that this was pretty upsetting to them, and apparently the Indians stopped doing it right away (yeah, right, this sure makes sense). Well....this is what these historians are saying.

Apparently there will be a simple ceremony at the "Plank House" where such events occur, and the two intend to invite around 150 guests to it.

Are they both Indians? No. One is and the other isn't. Apparently the tribe can authorize this....although they can't make #2 an official Indian or such, but they can extend the benefits of the tribe to #2.

The odds of the same-sex history of the Indians actually being true? This might be debatable. I'm guessing Sitting Bull had the same problem....a bunch of gay dudes in the tribe and he had to accommodate these guys....to have an agreeable happy tribe. Whats interesting here....historically....Indians also had extra women that they captured and included as part of their entourage. So they had their wife, their other woman, and maybe even a third woman...in the same tent. My question would be....what comes next? Acceptance of multiple marriage partners?