Saturday, 20 September 2008

My 10 Cents

So a brief moment of reflection of the government handling of Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, and the AIG folks. Frankly, I don't remember Jefferson, Franklin or Washington ever discussing the idea of helping US private companies who got themselves into bankruptcy. They never bothered to write a single sentence into the constitution over this concept. Nor would they have bothered to involve the federal government into such a mess.

So now....even though the SEC audit guys gave very kind and great comments to all of these companies....to include the dimwits at Enron.....we the private tax contributors to the internal revenue of the nation....will bail these dimwits out. We will do this....even though they paid millions to the senate and house folks to write special codes to exempt them from various taxes. Something about this just doesn't make sense.

Frankly, I'd rather see a complete discussion over the incompetency of these organizations and their leadership....with some men labeled appropriately as utter fools at business...so they don't go out and get hired by some major company in Oregon next week and pretend that they understand business or finance. I'd like for the CEOs to be brought into a court and actually held as liable for their actions....maybe spending some months in jail....because they really aren't capable of running a major company.

Finally....I'd like to see the house and senate open up the tax code book and admit to what they've done over the past forty years. I'd like for the tax code book to be limited to 400 lines. If you want to add to the book....fine....remove some lines and then add your six lines. Let the book be published each year so the public can visually see what you did to help those poor rich folks with various companies.

My Month

September is my month, of the twelve, this is the month that I live for. Summer has ended. The heat is gone. The cool evenings return. Leaves are turning brown. And somewhere in your heartland, there is a county fair about to occur.

As a kid, this was one of the few great things that a kid in rural Bama could enjoy. There were two county fairs that my dad would get me pumped up for....the Lauderdale county fair in Bama, and the Lawrenceburg county fair in Tennessee. We usually went to both.

I could take five bucks and cram an entire afternoon of fun into that five dollar bill. By the time you'd wrapped up ten rides, ate three corn dogs, drink two sodas, and had a bag of popcorn....it was a wonderful feeling to just walk around and look at the images of people and the fair.

I could spend an entire day admiring the wonderful full color image of life at the fair. It was still warm enough on day trips that you could wear a T-shirt. But the evenings were different....you had a chill in the air and usually left by nine. You had kids fighting over bumper cars....you had old guys who were telling WW II stories....and you had a magic moment where one could pleasure themselves with a bit of cotton candy before returning home.

At some point, around a year before I left for the Air Force....I made a trip over to Lawrenceburg and must have had at least eight corndogs in one afternoon session. Today....if I get one corndog in a 3-year period.....I'm lucky. I haven't been to a real US county fair in almost fifteen years now (no, the German ones just don't match up). So I can smell the September air, and feel something different and exciting.

Carbon Penny Jar


What you won't read about in the media this week....the results are finally in from the attempt to sell carbon offset credits to Democratic National Convention attendees. The program was set up by the Democratic National Convention Host Committee through the Denver Convention and Visitors Bureau. Based on data collected and admitted.....and you have to remember that they started this program the week prior to the convention in hopes of collecting even more funding.....the boys were able to raise a total of $18.34 worth of Canary Tags, offsetting 0.9 tons of carbon emissions.

Yep.....$18.34 of carbon offset from donations at the convention.

So how do you get $18.34. Well....first Larry came along who is the copier repair guy and the cup was out front and he is green-friendly....so he tossed in 50 cents. Then the next day came Lester who works for ABC News....and Lester was a bit drunk from the night before and all the happenings....he thought this donation cup was for orphans in Brazil, and tossed in $1.

Then came Mort and Timmy....two Canadian albino guys who were supposed to take care of pastry at the convention....and they tossed in 50 cents each.

An entire day passed....before two hookers from St Paul, Minnesota showed up with fake press credentials....and they tossed in a $5 each.

As the convention went into full swing.....several guys would stop by and toss in a quarter each.

On the final day of the convention.....an operative for Karl Rove came by....and tossed in the final 34 cents....just to make a positive impression on the hot check at the stand.

As for the off-set? Well....it pretty helps for about seven seconds, if you are a town in Colorado. So it was a nice gesture of the pro-green Democratic party. I'm wondering if anyone really cares beyond that mention....or if we should just drop this discussion item?

Who Moves to Alaska?

Years ago, I had the brief privilege of knowing a guy who spent eight years in Alaska, for the Air Force. I asked him once several pointed questions about Alaska.

Who really lives there? He pointed out in rapid fashion....a bunch of nuts. As he had grasped over the first year there....no one really packs up in Idaho or Florida or New York....to move to Alaska. You have to be borderline crazy to come up with the idea....then even crazier to plan the move....and then absolute crazy to drive up and stay. So the people he bumped into....were of two varieties.....those who were born there and just accepted the punishment....and those who came to get the punishment.

I asked him....why "punishment"? His response was equally swift....nothing comes easily in Alaska. If you wanted a can of beans of one particular variety, from one particular company....and the local grocer had it as his one variety of beans....then great. Otherwise, you'd be going to Anchorage and then looking a bit. When it snowed.....it was a real snow, and it stayed a long while. You accepted that, and just got up each day to accept snow. You might have six to eight weeks of below freezing weather....and you learned to adapt to it and keep the car safe.

I asked him about the 22 hours of sunshine in the summer and 22 hours of darkness in the winter. He said....eventually....you have to adapt to it. But your hours of sleep start to shift. He'd find something to do in the evening hours....and stay busy until midnight before going to bed, and it was normal for him. In the winter....he'd be sitting there at 7PM, and just thinking that sleep was the only thing to do since the sun had been down for five hours already.

I asked him about the drinking habits of Alaskans. No one really wants to admit it but as he says....everyone consumes a vast amount of booze and beer. He knew people who were spending $400 a month on booze at the local bar and at home.

It would be curious now to bring up the governor and all of this political stuff now, and see what my associate would say on this today....its been a good ten years since I saw him. He had around five years left to go in the Air Force, and his big plan....was to return to Alaska eventually. He couldn't see himself surviving in a normal house in America. This addiction that he had to Alaska....was a bit difficult to understand at that time. The more I find out about Alaska today.....I'll admit that I quietly fantasize about moving there....at least once a week now.

The Bottom Line on Firings in Alaska

So this is the clean-up of the mess that the media simply cannot comprehend....the Sarah Palin connection to the two dimwits in Alaska and their firings.

First, the brother-in-law. This is the wonderful human being that tasered his ten-year old step-son in a "training" capacity. This is the cop who drove his squad car around....while drunk. This is the guy who used his wife's hunting permit to shoot a moose. As the divorce swung into gear, this is the gear who made a few threatening phone calls....probably while drunk.

So as you stand back....the questions are: Would you fire a state trooper or town cop, who used his wife's hunting permit illegally (and knew it)? Would you fire a state trooper or towncop for driving the local squad car around town while drunk? Would you fire a state trooper or towncop for tasering any kid, and then saying it was a training effort?

So lets move onto the guy who would have fired the dope, but didn't want to. Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, who is fired currently....or until the smoke clears....had a trip planned to DC in a effort there in July to get more money (your federal tax dollars) for investigating and prosecuting sexual assault cases in Alaska. With a state budget that is busting at the seems with fresh oil money rolling in monthly....he just couldn't get his appropriate funding.

At some point in July.....John Katz, the governor's special counsel came up with two minor problems with this big trip to DC. First, the governor hadn't agreed the money should be sought. I'm guessing that she was probably wondering how the cash would have been spent once it arrived.....perhaps going for new furniture in the public safety office or maybe a new paved parking lot, or maybe even some nice new Spanish tile floors. Second.....this entire run to DC was out of the normal timing sequence with the rest of the state government appropriations requests. It was really mentioned but Governor Palin and Senator Ted "the guilty" Stevens. Senator Ted is in deep water and probably will be serving time somewhere....and the Governor wasn't helping him a bit. But somehow, the state public safety dude felt that this was a fine time for the trip.

At some point, the travel authorization document did get signed and approved for this dimwit to meet with the other senator in Washington......Senator Lisa Murkowski.

The amusing thing is that the travel document was fairly detailed.....seek funding for the anti-sexual-violence program. The trip turned into a bit more of a effort with lots of funding agendas....which the public safety dimwit was seeking.

What you see here....if you ever studied Bama politics....is a clear game. You'll a little guy in the whole business and want to get elected to governor in four to eight years. You work with the big dimwits in Washington to get funding for just about any kind of program possible. As they come in....even if its for repaving a city hall parking lot somewhere.....you show up and claim credit for the federal funds. Then in four to eight years....as you run for governor.....you remind everyone that you were the one who got the funds.

The only problem here is that Governor Palin ran her own ship and agenda. Things are organized and you ask for the money that you need, with a detailed list and make this as simple as possible for the senators in Washington to write the right legislation.

Would I have fired the brother-in-law or this state Public Safety director? Yep.....after a full explanation....I would have signed my name to the document. Would you? I'm betting that after a long check-out of these two dimwits.....you would have done the same thing.

Should the media continue on with this game and use this episode against Palin? Yes....I think they should....because the more you understand....the more you support the governor and the less you'd be liking these two dimwits. They may not grasp this.....but the media isn't helping Obama in this case at all....they are hindering his efforts greatly. So go for it....make us think "Alaska" for the next sixty days. What we see....is the same attitude that we would have had if under the same circumstance.

When a Church is Not a Church

Startling, absolutely startling. The Church for Spirtual Humanism in Penn finally had to shut down. To be honest....the cops helped to shut the church down. Apparently, there was this couple, John and Kim Ondrik, who built up this wonderful church. John apparently is a reverend and may be allowed to continue a very tightly controlled service....but otherwise, this place just ain't going to reopen.

A number of folks from the North Huntingdon Township say that this was really a "Swinger's Palace." Even the local commissioner, Richard Gray, agreed that it's been an open secret that a swingers club has operated out of the two-story house since the 1970s, but they finally have the evidence to shut it down.

I sat and paused at this moment....a brothel openly known in the community since the 1970s, and only now....folks could find enough evidence? Even in Bama....I can't use that kind of excuse.

The amusing thing here...is that the commissioner said the dispute is not about church business or lusty affairs.....its all about a residentially zoned area where you cannot conduct business. This makes perfect sense. Apparently, as part of this church service, you had to pay a mandatory fee....which puzzled me....as a former Baptist attendee. Normally, you are going to pay something.....it just won't be called a "fee".

Some folks do admit that the private church did require a donation.

There's even a law professor that thinks the couple may have a case to fight in court...."You have a right to run a church in a residential area not because of your free exercise rights under the Constitution, but simply because churches are not primarily commercial," said Bruce Ledewitz, a law professor at Duquesne University.

Apparently, if you check the web site while it was up.....its down currently....couples were charged an admission of $50 while single men had to pay $75. Single women could attend free of charge.

I sat and pondered this activity....thinking....those Baptist guys ought to work up a deal like this. It would triple up attendance and make Sunday mornings much more interesting. But those kids would have to stay home and watch Doctor Who and Star Trek....while the parents would be busy praying or doing whatever in the new environment.