Saturday, 28 February 2009

Zero Plus Zero Equals Zero, But More So

From the state of the union speech this week....we got various statements of wit, charm, intelligence and stupidity.

I watched the clip of the episode and sat through all the words.

There was this magic moment when the discussion turned to a math item....numbers....that I sat there and scratched my head. There was this glowing comment of "95 percent of the working households in America will receive a tax cut."

There are an awful lot of folks who file, and pay zero. And you simply can't get plus zero or bumped-up zero or zero-on-top-of-zero.

This is mathematically of a impossible nature.

IRS even admits this.

There were apparently over 138 million families filing income tax returns in 2006. The amazing thing is that 93 million of them actually paid any tax. We are talking about 45 million folks who paid nothing. Almost a third of these folks paid nothing and got nothing.

So, in the math sense.....you can't cut taxes on on 95 percent of the folks in America....if one third of them don't even pay taxes.....right?

Well....in an imaginary world where political figures with no common sense exist....maybe you can imagine everyone paying taxes, getting imaginary tax credits and thus getting imaginary money back. Zero taken from zero, would then equal zero.....and maybe its a plus-zero, which is even better.

I sat in a class in Bama once....eighth grade math....where someone was forced into going up to the board and writing a math problem. At the end.....they pronounced the answer as "plus-zero". The instructor sat there in disbelief and then asked if it was possible to get a "minus-zero". There was this long pause, and the girl responded yes, and then wiped the plus away and put in a minus. I had the impression that she thought he was giving a tip that she was slightly wrong and corrected her original answer.

He sat there for 30 seconds and asked it there there were any other answers.....I was near the back of the room naturally....and was the only one to hold up a hand....and said "Zero to the third-power". I think he and I were the only ones in the room grinning at that point in time. He then wasted 45 minutes talked about the value of zero. I doubt if the class learned anything that entire year on math.....except the value of zero.

Forty-Four Natural and Pure Bama Filters

For some guys....who have had BAD women experiences and BAD dates (note caps)....there is a necessity to build filters and weed out problems in life....namely, women. So to help those understand the magnificent forty-four natural and pure Bama filters....I will list them (please, this is a guy's listing as he looks for the "perfect" woman):

1. Must not have attended any NASCAR event ever or even watched it on TV.
2. Must have limited or no big interest in camping, unless this is RV-camping, which is is totally different.
3. Must not have any strong Baptist tendencies. You can call yourself a Baptist, but if you show any of the "strong-willed" stuff....you are filtered out.
4. Must not have any relatives currently in prison.
5. Must not be on any medication other than allergy pills.
6. Must generally have all of your teeth.
7. Must not be a hardcore left-wing liberal democrat.
8. Must open-minded enough to listen to NPR but not take it too serious.
9. Must remember all of the Bonanza characters.
10. Must not be of a cult (to include Catholics, Jehovahs, and Mormons).
11. Must be educated beyond high school but not have a Harvard or Yale degree. Must have a degree that is of some value (not English literature).
12. Must not be bi-polar.
13. Must drink your whiskey from a glass, but you can drink your beer from a can or bottle.
14. Must not have any real feelings for NCAA football....other than watching an occasional game on TV.
15. Must be capable of wearing a dress, although once or twice a year is sufficient.
16. Must not have problems with guys who drink coffee or tea a fair amount.
17. Must be willing to watch Fox news for 30 minutes a day.
18. Would be preferable that you don't listen to Rush Limbaugh more than fifteen minutes a day.
19. Would be preferable that you cook but no strange exotic dishes, no hot spicy dishes, and nothing that requires sitting on sofa pillows in the living room. Would be best not to have any recipes involving Tabasco.
20. Must be capable of taking sarcasm and dishing it out. In fact, a balance of 24-hours a day of sarcasm will get you extra bonus points.
21. Must not have any relatives in mental institutes.
22. Would be preferable that you could hang out with guitar or Bluegrass freaks.
23. Must be capable of reading newspapers.
24. Would be preferable that you not have strong beliefs in aliens, UFOs, bigfoot, abductions, Loch Nessie or Atlantis....although you could just mention one of these per week, it'd be acceptable.
25. Must be capable of being charming and witty...in fact....very witty would be bonus points.
26. Must not have bizarre and radical mood changes that swing every three hours.
27. Must not freak out if a purchase of a $1500 guitar was in order.
28. Must be adaptable to a Mazda Miata lifestyle.
29. Must be capable of watching Lost, Monk, Doctor House, and Battlestar Galacticia. Would be higher points if you've got all of the various years.
30. Must be capable of living around neighbors who are a bit...."unhinged" but safe.
31. Must not be from third-world cities....like Bogota, Lima, New Orleans, and Mexico City.
32. Can have a couple of tattoos in good taste but no tongue rings, lip rings, or exotic piercings of an unusual degree (must be explained in detail prior to first date).
33. Would be preferable if you were capable installing Microsoft packages.
34. Would be preferable if you could at least iron some clothing.
35. Can smoke filtered or unfiltered, but no cigars.
36. Must prefer a higher-grade of beer than Ole Milwaukee or Bud.
37. If you spend more than $2000 on clothing a year, it will require an sensible explanation.
38. Must not have any issues with pick-ups.
39. Would be preferable if dancing wasn't important....real unimportant.
40. Would be preferable if your relatives lived at least two states over.
41. Would be preferable if you had a sense of humor....in fact....must have sense of humor.
42. Would be preferable if you've read the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy at least once or twice.
43. Must be capable of understanding an engineer's state of mind.
44. Would be preferable if you didn't want to move to California....ever.

So, this is what a normal guy from Bama.....would use for a filter.....especially if they'd go through a few BAD dates and met a few women that were "unhinged". You have to understand, from an engineer's state of mind....filtering is necessary....otherwise, you get a bunch of things that are issues.

This topic comes up because I had to go off to a job interview in Stuttgart this week and sit in the car with my office-coworker, who we will refer to as Ms. New Orleans (NO, for short). I had to spend four hours in the car with the chatty Ms. NO. After I came back, I shot off an email to my brother on the entire job interview experience and description of the hotel....and then I mentioned just two or three lines of Ms. NO.

My brother's interest peaked up. He asked about the chatty Ms. NO. So I laid in forty lines. Yes, I described the witty and charming Ms. NO in Bama-detail. My brother, the engineer, was all peppy.....she sounds "hot" (that's Bama for she might actually pass the 44-filter test).

Then I squashed his hopes.....she was from New Orleans, thus violating the idea of being from a third-world city.....and she was a former or lite player of the Catholic religion (thus being in the cult group possibly). Sadly, this set my brother back a notch again.

So the positive is....the 44-filter concept holds strong and prevents BAD dates or the potential of meeting another nut.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Spiral of the Newspapers

For those who hadn't noticed....newspapers are failing all across America. Big-name newspapers in fact. This week....the Rocky Mounain News out of Colorado finally failed. They'd been up for sale....for a long time.

Today....the annual convention of newspaper editors was canceled. Basically, they admitted that this was mostly to save money....not wanting to admit that their previous habit of renting four or five $300 rooms and taking along a newspaper entourage was a bit costly. They also didn't want to admit that the booze tab for $1,000 was likely a bit hard to explain to the stockholders.

So they save money.

It's only the second time that American Society of Newspaper Editors haven't met in recent history. The last time a year was skipped? 1945.

Next year's episode.....in Washington....is still scheduled, but they might come and admit that they just can't afford it either.

The primary issue? Well....for me....they started to focus on topics that local folks just didn't see wisdom in. They refused to focus on local interest, local news, local crime, local political figures, local issues, local business.

Journalist wannabes, claiming a certificate from major university came onto these precious pages in the 1960s and said they were "capable". For forty years, they felt the heat, and simply kept going into a spiral.

TV, radio, and internet met the papers head-on. The wannabes of journalism....simply kept their format, avoided change, and discouraged the readers from being part of the solution.

How many will fail? I'm guessing dozens will go down, and in some cases....the one and only paper in a town...even towns of 50,000....will go bankrupt.

Wednesday Evening and Thusday Morning

What some of you may not know....I'm kinda on the hunt for a new job. I kinda have to leave my present job by October of this year. So for two months...I've been looking around. There was this potential job deal down at Stuttgart....new contract...bunch of contractors to be hired....so I thought I might get in on this deal.

As I came to discover by Tuesday....there is a one-day job-fair for this deal....Thursday morning. Based on schedules....I would have to leave Wednesday night....drive down with a co-worker.....stay at the Army-run Inn (which I won't tell you which one)....and do the interview bright and early on Thursday.

My associate, who I will leave unnamed....is one of those people who need to relieve their boredom when driving by talking....constantly....for one hour and 50 minutes. Yes, it did start to get on my nerves.....just slightly. I should add, I'm the opposite....I'd rather just look out the window for the whole trip and relax.

My GPS should have gotten us near the post where the post hotel was located....but it didn't. We drove around for twenty minutes and eventually found the front gate. Then, we found the "inn". At 9PM, its run by "Uncle Larry" (my name for my host). Uncle Larry can type one letter at a time on the keyboard, and he's really not computer smart....so this fancy program that the Army runs....is a bit hectic for him.

My associate took almost twenty minutes to get registered. Then came my twenty minutes. I stood there and kindly waited. Finally, I got my card and proceeded to the room. As I entered....it was around 95 degrees....full blast with the radiator. I almost fell over. I opened the window and turn the radiator down to almost zero.

I turned on the TV to discover the sound was set for a guy who had absolute hearing trouble, and it had no remote control or ability to reset the sound. So I turned it off. Then I found the bathroom to be a work of art (for 1966). The bed? On a comfort FIRM level....this was easily push "20" on a scale of one to ten. I closed the window and felt better. So naturally, I barely slept.

Along about 1AM, I woke up and realized the temperature in the room was down to 60 degrees.
It was then that I discovered a major crack in the wall with a nice breeze from the outdoors. I turned the heat back on.....and by 0530, it was back to 90 degrees.

We had a cup of coffee compliments of the hotel in the morning and then "lost" ourselves finding the next post, where the interviews were to be.

On Patch Barracks....there is the chow hall and Burger King for places to eat breakfast. We ate at Burger King. To be honest, it was one of the worst meals I've had in a year. The amusing thing? The Burger King is in a former motor pool building. I just stood there laughing, and looking at the operation.

The interview was good on the first round, but then came the second round....it didn't go well.

So I doubt that I got anything out of the deal. I spent $59 for the hotel room....and wasted half a day of leave to do this stupid interview.

So its back to the grindstone, and putting out more resumes to GS jobs in the states. I've basically decided to give up on contracting jobs and settle for GS. In fact, this morning, my resume for a IT supervisor job in Billings, MT got moved to the second round and maybe this might be my golden chance to work for the Bureau of Land Management there.

Stressful....well...to a fair bit. I haven't played this game in a number of years, and with the economic downturn.....there is a bit of extra pressure there. I kinda like my present job, but to honest, I've been here way too long, and should move elsewhere.

So if you are ever in the Stuttgart area....in need of a post hotel....Uncle Larry is there. Sorry, I won't tell you which....but you'll know when you get there. Be kind, he is a nice old fella, as we'd say in Bama, and be patient. He will finish that Army form sooner, or later.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

FDR and Now

When the depression came in the 1930s....FDR came to meet the mess, and basically walked through it. There are a number of things that we can gaze upon and say in comparison today.

FDR had no foreign affairs episode in existence from day one of his period, until the late 1930s....when the Nazis began invading various neighbors.

FDR had no military presence outside of the US, unless you counted Panama or his vessels on the high seas.

FDR had no major military weapons establishment until the beginning of World War II. The biggest episode that he encountered with the military was the heavy discussion over airpower and the fight of the Army Air Corps over getting more funding to build planes.

FDR had one "national" newspaper (The New York Times), and then around thirty regional newspaper powerhouses. The majority were Democratic-leaners.

FDR had only a dozen national magzines, of which most had nothing to do with politics.

FDR had only radio stations to contend with....of which most barely had any evening new updates for the public. Most of their aim was simply entertainment.

FDR had to contend with almost no national think-tanks. If you counted true-blue lobbyists, then you probably had less than hundred in the entire nation. If you were discussing special interest groups.....it probably numbered less than a dozen (the Catholics were actually one) that he had to contend with.

FDR didn't have a single national newscaster or figure to go against him on a nightly basis.

This is how things were simplified in 1936.

So lets turn to 2010. There are at least 10,000 lobbyists out there. At least fifty senators and 150 representatives are seen via some network or news service on a daily basis. Micheal Savage, Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, Neal Boritz, and at least forty additional talk-show hosts are heard on a daily basis. There are US troops spread throughout the globe, with two major conflicts underway (Iraq and Afghanistan), with five or six potential conflicts always brewing. The drug war in Mexico could potentially destroy all stability in Mexico within twelve months.

You've got ex-Presidents like Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton who might say anything in public which might damage you a notch. You've got governors who have national appeal and could mount an attack on any program they desired. You've got talk-show hosts on the Today Show who are more noted than almost any political figure in Washington DC.

You've got got a huge segment of American society that is anti-union. You've got at least 200,000 people in California with $40k in credit card debt. You've got the city of Detroit which is corrupted to the core and cannot attract any newcomers. You've got over 200 think-tanks sponsored by various characters, with various agendas. You've got thousands of empty houses sitting in Phoenix from foreclosures. And you've got various foreign governments which would like to bring down the US government in some fashion.

What lessons can President Obama take from 1936 and FDR? None. This is the problem. Whatever worked in 1936 to keep the FDR administration on track....will not work in 2010.

So as you sit there tonight, sipping a coffee and wondering how this will all turn out.....be creative, because whatever worked before...means nothing.

Monday, 23 February 2009

130 of Your "Friends"

Can 130 people agree on anything in three hours? President Obama hopes so.

Obama invited 130 members of Congress, community leaders and administration officials to the White House Monday to tackle the nation's swelling budget deficit and the uncertain future of entitlement spending.

So, lets get this straight. Today, the Obama administration has allocated three hours...for a brainstorming session....with Eleven administration officials, 24 senators, 29 House members and 56 community, union, think tank and lobbying representatives. Over 130 dimwits....locked down in the White House...with President Obama....condensing a massive brain-drain into a simplistic listing of ideas.

Castey Cote quote: "All they can do is state the obvious out of this.Logistically, it's just going to have to be a nightmare."

It appears like they will attempt to have five five breakout groups but this basically means twenty guys talking and trying to get their ideas across.

The topics? Social Security, health care, tax reform, the budget process and procurement.

The odds of anything coming out 130 guys? Pretty much a zero. If you got an invite....you were crazy to attend.

This would be kinda like going to a Baptist convention with 130 folks and trying to come to a basic conclusion over the Bible. Basically, there can't be a consensus and the best you can hope for is free booze offered by the host.

If I were amongst the 130....I'd be hoping for free sub sandwiches with lots of ice tea.

So tonight, as you watch Katie Couric try to rattle off all 130 names....think of the terrible time that Katie had, in trying to arrange these in some order....just for you.

The Million Dollar College Coaches

There was this odd moment this weekend....at a sports news conference in Connecticut. The university basketball coach, Jim Calhoun, apparently got into a pretty heated discusson with a reporter....and I must admit...its a freelance guy, so its not worth alot to discuss. But the centerpiece of this argument....is the question that the reporter laid upon Jim...."why the coach of a public university was making $1.6 million in tough economic times?"

“Not a dime back,” Jim responded...half-joking.

The state, for those of who might care....is about $944 million in deficit for the current year....and they believe its almost $8 billion over the next two years.

The reporter didn't back down....which upset Jim a good bit more.

“My best advice to you is, shut up,” spoke Jim.

At this point, Jim was fairly upset....and says: “Quite frankly, we bring in $12 million to the university, nothing to do with state funds. We make $12 million a year for this university. Get some facts and come back and see me. … Don’t throw out salaries and other things".

In Bama, this discussion comes up a fair amount now. Those folks who are a bit wise about money and responsible for their taxes and financial situation in life....are disturbed.

The real point here is that no political figure in any state wants to chat on this topic. No state university president wants this in public discussion. No university sport director wants to dare make this into a public scene.

In Bama...we are legendary for signing idiots as football and basketball coaches....to long-term contracts (at least five years minimum). Then along about the end of the first season, we realize the guy really isn't the "right" guy. So we endure another season, and see losses mount up (football fans in Bama won't even accept a 8-5 season as good).

So now the idiots at the university jump (with the booster club members) and start a silent search for a replacement. They find the "winner", and then they start to discuss methods of the current guy leaving. Naturally, he wants a payoff. In most cases, he'll get 75 percent of the remaining three year's salary. We could be talking about $7 million....to get the guy to leave. Both major Bama universities do this on a frequent basis. Both in football and basketball.

Frankly, we are all disturbed by this attitude of just tossing $7 million away because he's not the "winner" we thought he was. This entire "professional sports" game that we have in college sports...is becoming a joke.

Oh, and did I mention all of the perks that the coach gets? These guys usually get a total refurbishment of their office (figure $100k), a free leased $40k SUV, a hefty housing allowance, coverage of moving costs (which could be $30k), hefty contributions into a university retirement fund, 5-star travel and hotel rooms, and 45 days of leave usually built into the system.

They may bring in lots of cash for the university sports program...but they are spending the majority of that income either on stadium costs, personnel in the department, travel, etc.

The only positive for Bama right now...we may have finally gotten a guy who might stay seven years and build a dynasty.

So Jim can be upset to some degree, but heck...we are talking about college sports here...and guys making more than the governor of the state.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

The Little Guy From Chicago

The CNBC business analyst...Rick Santelli....has set fire to the Obama Administration's stimulus and finance plans. As Rick finally stood up last week....in the midst of the Chicago trade floor.....he set the pace with the words of "having a tea party"......which was a pointed comment to the Boston Tea-Party of the 1770s period.

By Friday, several mainstream journalists had attempted to take Rick down a notch....and they were mostly pushed back. Rick wasn't favoring the bank bail-out plan.....which many of these dimwits had failed to realized. Rick also was very critical of harming 92 percent of America who are doing their best to pay their morgage.

I'm pretty sure on Monday....that Rick will continue his stump. He's not done yet.

$1500 for a Year?


There is this couple, up in New Hampshire, who've decided to attempt and live off $1500 for an entire year.

The original story was over at Fox.

Over at Mahalo, they discuss how you can trim budgets, buy cheap, and stretch a dollar.

I've sat and pondered this for the last day or two. The idea of going for 365 days, on $1500, seems pretty difficult to me.

I'd have to adjust to alot less steak, alot more vegetables, and soups being a daily thing rather than a once-a-week thing. Cheap coffee would awful damn hard to sip. Course, the positives of daily homemade bread might be a pleasant thing.

Then I looked at the picture....realizing toilet paper fits into this $1500 deal....and it got me a bit nervous. I'm thinking rule number one in the bathroom....is to limit yourself to probably three sheets of toilet paper per setting. Thats the only way to avoid running out of paper before August. I'm probably a twelve to sixteen sheet guy, and there's no way I could adjust my situation.

Why are they doing this? To make a point. They might be right....that we are all wasting $4k a year on household expenses....maybe more. To be truthful....I could buy the awful cheap toilet paper, although I hate the feel of it. I could buy soup cans on the borderline of expiration. I could eat really cheap cookies that I hate. Maybe I could learn to use six sheets of toilet paper at a sitting.....maybe.

So I wish these folks luck, and hope they prove their experiment. With the depression in full swing, we may have to take some advice from them by the end of the year.

Eventually, It Will Happen

Up at Herbison Woods School....in DeWitt, Michigan....a couple of teens decided to take personal pictures of themselves (nude of course) and exchange with each (one boy and one girl). I should add...they are sixth graders. Apparently, the pictures then got passed out to friends, associates, and others. Adults eventually came upon the pictures, and naturally, the cops are involved now.

I would make a pretty good guess, that on a daily basis....there are 100,000 nude pictures now taken by kids under eighteen years old, and being passed around. Technology has come to our front door....and probably creates an unlimited number of problems.

The curious thing though....with so many shots being taken, and then passed around. People will eventually screw up on the email or the number they are sending the shot to....and you...an innocent male....one state over....get this picture of some lusty fourteen year old girl showing her assets. You stand there for about a minute...thinking "what the hell"....and then realize this is some screwup and you'd best delete the shot. Four days later, a cop shows up at your door....on a investigation. He wants your cellphone. You suddenly become the target of a local investigation into child porn. You kinda explain this....that this just accidentally showed up in your cellphone. They go through the process of "un-deleting" the image.

Over the next week, your name gets mentioned in the paper. Your lawyer says that he isn't qualified and you need a special "child-porn" lawyer who costs twice as much. Your boss is hinting that you might have to be let go.

So you stand there and realize that you are the innocent victim of this episode. Some girl passed her nude shot to a boyfriend, who punched up the number for his buddy....but missed it by one digit. So you got it.

We are all sitting in a potential mess now. Your son could be part of a class at school where some 14-year old girl decides to share her nude photo with the twelve boys in the class. The cops show up at your house to suggest child-porn charges against your 14-year old son. Or it could be your 14-year old daughter who gets a nude shot of her 15-year old boyfriend....and shares with five other girls. Then the cops find out, and charge the five friends with child-porn. The mess simply grows.

I'm thinking that we've invented laws that have gone way beyond the intended purpose. And technology is making this a bigger mess than what it should be. Eventually, we will all know some family that has this issue.....and ponder the safety and security of our own lives.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

The Stanford Effect

There have been several comments made over the failure of the Stanford Fund and what comes now. Alot of these people who put their money into the Stanford Fund...were regular people throughout the south. They had their $100k, their $200k, their $300k.....safely in what they perceived as a normal CD. It wasn't.

What I've noticed in various interviews over the past 72 hours...are mostly family members who are in their early 40s. I'm guessing a good portion have teenage kids around seventeen years old and were to graduate high school in June....with a intended path to a major university. I'm guessing there are family meetings underway.....discussing what happens if the family nest egg of $400k is completely gone.

What you will notice throughout the south....when Johnny Junior got ready to finish high school, and the family had money....they would send him off to Texas Tech or Duke or University of Florida. They wouldn't hesitate to pay the tuition or the yearly costs of $15k for the kid's car, gas, food, and expenses. We could be talking about $125k over four years....to get Johnny Junior through UCLA. The money that the family had in the Stanford Fund would have paid for it. Without the cash....Johnny can't go....and has to attend Alabama State or even some regional college.

What Mister Stanford has achieved....has destroyed a thousand likely dreams....and potentially....this could go up to 10,000 kids who aren't going on the path that they had been planning for the past three years.

So quietly tonight, across the heartland....there are dreams on the fireplace....burning away. I don't consider it the end of the world....and would tell any kid that attending Auburn or Alabama or Tennessee State isn't such a terrible shame. You might actually learn something....and under the watchful eye of dad who is only two or three hours away.

Katrina Lives!

Deep in the non-existent heart of the $780-odd billion stimulus package, that no one read....is a total absence of stimulus for Hurricane Katrina people.

I realize you are wiping away tears now....once you heard me say this.

No, there's not a single bridge, not a single school, not a single stop-light.....that was mentioned in the whole damn stimulus package that also had the word "Katrina" attached to it. Yes, it has to be specially connected and worded with "Katrina"....to mean something in New Orleans. Forget those idiots in Baton Rouge or Shreveport....they just don't get it.

So Obama spent not a dime on Hurricane Katrina on this deal. The rage just spills over now.

Apparently, Democrats were always on the pulpit.....telling people hourly about how President George W. Bush simply didn't care.

“I’m not saying there won’t be a need in the future, but right now the focus is not on more money, it’s on using what we have.” spoken by Senator Mary Landrieu, who happens to be a Democrat of course. She actually has criticized Democrats and Republicans alike over Katrina funding.

To be kinda honest, I checked the stimulus package. There is around $315 million spent on New Orleans. $20k is going for a hot-wash system for mass transit. I believe this is to use hot water and clean buses. I realize some of you Katrina folks don't see the relationship here with hot-wash, but damn, this might help clean up some things.

I also noted a $55k expenditure for a front-end alignment machine for the city motor pool. I'm guessing they were in pitiful front-end alignment....which would really screw up a nice car and nice tires. That might be Katrina-related....but maybe not.

I also noted 350 transit stands, which will cost around $2.8 million. I'm guessing you folks needed a cover, when waiting for the city bus to come by. This would be Katrina-related, although to be honest....ifing another hurricane came up....they'd likely blow the damn transit stands away.

I also noted around $2k for a paint shaker for the city streets department. Damn fine piece of equipment, which each city department ought to have. You don't want Larry Joe to be messing up his joints shaking up paint, now do you? Plus, remember....all those damn city paint lines disappeared when the flood waters came....so they need to repaint all of them pre-Katrina paint lines.

I'm thinking its awful pitiful to be a survivor of Katrina and still living in New Orleans. My advice for you folks.....start gazing over at Mobile and how it was destroyed in the 1960s via a hurricane. Folks really don't talk much about it.....and they certainly didn't get much money from the Feds to build anything. You might want to just give up on New Orleans and just move to Mobile....to get a new and fresh attitude on life.

And for you political folks writing up more bailout......I think a Katrina bailout and stimulus package is in order. I'd suggest $48k for each family, that will agree to leave the state of Louisiana and promise not to return for 33 years. Thats probably the best stimulus money that could ever be spent.

How Covers Lose Readers

I saw this cover last week, and its been on my mind for a number of days. "Obama's Vietnam".

For Newsweek, they needed a sharp stick to poke at the public....to recapture lost readers. They are in dismal shape...as is their sister organization...Time. Neither is making a profit...and they are totally prepared to say just about anything now....even to harm the new administration...to get readership up.

The truth? No one reads Newsweek. I'll pick up one copy a year now...and its mostly when I travel.

This pointed cover? It goes nowhere. They've basically lumped Afghanistan into their brand of salesmanship. I won't read the article because the cover says the entire story. The funny thing? After this comes out....Obama authorizes the build-up in Afghanistan with more US troops. So Newsweek had about 24 hours of real imaginary hype, and then fell back to the earth.

What I would suggest...for the next issue...come up with a Hurricane Katrina picture and label the cover "Obama's Katrina". Maybe after that issue...then have a picture of Gitmo....and label it "Obama's Gitmo". That would really help readership identify with a fine magazine like this.

Financially Insane

This is the term that I'm starting to apply to people who have lived way beyond their means.

This past summer, on German TV...I sat and watched this reality show. The show has this guy who is an absolute expert on financial affairs. They bring him in and introduce him to a family in dire straits. The family gets a month of service from him...visiting two or three times each week to educate and help them out of a mess. He revolves around a couple of families but you only see one case per week.

So he came to this family. The guy was mid-30s, and the wife was early 30's. They had a kid. He married this gal about five years ago. From day one, she had this purpose in life of building her own house (it had to be new). Three years ago, he settled into this scheme to buy property and build. By the time he was done....he had a total debt issue of $300k. The house was about 95 percent done, but he'd basically ran out of money and couldn't do the last bit of finishing. The house was livable...no doubt. But things weren't working for them.

You see, as the expert came to figure out. This guy barely brought in $3000 a month after taxes. The wife had quit working when she had the kid, and had zero interest in going back to work. The guy had barely $60k to put down on the property and house when he started. Normally....a bank probably wouldn't have touched him with that type of debt on his back. But there are numerous credit groups now in existence in Germany....so they have two deals. One is "nice"....they get you to buy a hefty insurance requirement for fifteen years, and they loan you a massive amount of money at a decent interest rate. The second is a seven percent interest rate....way above the norm. This guy got into the second deal.

So as the financial expert laid out the issues with the bank, then he came to the car payment, the lifestyle situation, and finally it was apparent.....they were $400 in the hole each month. They were literally borrowing money from the bank to cover food, fuel, or electricity.

The financial expert tried to understand why it had to be a "new house" and not just rent for another ten years to build up a down payment....but the logic wasn't there. Then he tried to understand why they couldn't buy a fixer-upper, and do what they could each year....but the logic was not there. Then he tried to understand the need for the wife not to return to work, but the logic was not there. The husband was too far into debt....to ever get out. The relatives of both were already hit with requests before and helped them in the early stages dig deeper into debt.

So by the end of this one-hour show, it was apparent. This guy would never climb out and never be able to recover. He would have to declare bankruptcy. The wife was furious..."how could you do something this stupid?"

I just sat there. My German is lousy, but the visual effect overwhelmed me. This freak of nature....who was financially insane....had demanded the husband accompany her to this pit, and now she just couldn't accept her part of the responsibility. The outcome? They kinda left things there.....there was no exit that you could see except bankruptcy.

I'm guessing the couple lives in a two-bedroom apartment now. The wife is miserable. The husband likely drinks. And she likely tells him the woes of how things came to be each evening. The chances of her leaving? Zero. This guy is stuck with an idiot each day who can't grasp financial insanity.

Club Gitmo

Total shock. Gitmo, is humane. The Obama inspection team now gives a "stamp of approval" to the whole Gitmo operation. The Pentagon report actually does say that the institution does meet Geneva Convention rules....if we were going to treat the dues as Geneva Convention prisoners....but we aren't.

To be honest, the Pentagon report even went one step further....it made a couple of suggestions. They said the boys there...didn't have enough recreation. So they recommended that the more dangerous and less compliant dudes...get something new and fresh to do. I'm guessing this might might mean some playground equipment, a couple of cigars each week, maybe baseballs (but no bats) given out.

The kindly folks even suggested that maybe the prisoners would be better off if the government allowed prisoners to gather in groups of three or more. That idea might not sell well to the guards....I'm just guessing.

For the pro-Obama folks, and the New York Times....this is dismal stuff. They all expected the place to be shutdown shortly after President Obama took office....it hasn't. The earliest it might be shut down is January of 2010. But to be honest....a growing number of folks think that a second, third, and even forth "Obama Club" will come along and find reasons to keep the Gitmo operation going.

The European human watch dudes? I'm guessing they are fairly upset about this whole thing, but what can they say in public now....to disagree with President Obama?

And the boys in Gitmo? If they ever came to realize how bad things might be at the "Max" in Colorado....where they might be sent....they would beg with mercy to stay right at Gitmo.

The truth is....the best thing that could happen....is simply a review of people and their actions. Probably over half of the Gitmo population has zero value for intelligence, and they can't be pinned over some crime. These cases need to simply be presented to a neutral source, and a quick decision made. This group could leave tomorrow, and rejoin the war on America within days. The rest? If there is some crime...then bring charges and do a court-scene....and come to a final outcome. This is the action that should be done. Instead....we've basically got everything stuck in second gear, and not moving.


The Stanford Fund

For around a week, I've been watching this colossal fraud episode with the Stanford Fund unfold. Its interested like the Madoff Fund collapse in New York.

Yesterday, I was watching clips of people who were at the various Stanford Fund institutions (several in the south)....and then came this lady up. She was visibly upset and it was barely a 60-second interview with her. She had come in the interest of the family to try to remove the money, but it was basically too late. She wasn't ultra-rich, at least my opinion. As she quickly laid it out....the family fortune....was all tied up in these CD's.....drawing good money for the past couple of years. Now? She was fairly emotional about....it might be gone. How much? They didn't put that on the air....I'm guessing in the $150k to $200k range.

The thing is....these salesmen with Stanford were looking for upper middle-class folks....those with $60k a year coming in and they had a nest egg of $100k to $500k built up. They enticed them with the word "CD"....with everyone thinking it was safe. The interest rates were anywhere from two to three percent more than a bank would normally offer.

My brother brought up this topic last night. Out at the local bank where my dad lives....they had a regional sales guy show up and wanted to chat with my dad a couple of years ago over his CD options. There were the regular CD's which he'd always invested in, and then there were these special CD's. My dad sat there, and asked if they were FDIC-insured? No...but there are these great rates as the come-back. My dad said his interest wasn't there....so he turned them down flat. How many of the local guys there in this Bama town had switched their money over? This would be a curious question now.

Madoff screwed mostly rich folks. He wouldn't have cared about farmer Joe who had $100k in his account. This Stanford guy said he'd take the working class. The feds have served papers on Stanford but basically allowed him to wander freely around America. I suspect that these middle-class folks are not as polite or nice about their losses. At some point, someone will likely try to take Stanford out. Not to suggest a trend here....but as each one of these guys get whacked...its going to pump up society that they "deserved" their end. Based on the fact that the feds won't arrest them or put them into jail....I think the fed policy to just "wink" and let the guys get shot. Lets face facts....Madoff and Stanford both sponsored alot of political figures in America. There are senators, representatives, and presidents...who relied upon their kindness. Its best we not know the whole story.

So somewhere in Bama tonight....I suspect there is a farmer sitting there....who had $350k invested in the Stanford Fund....and mostly weeping away that he got taken. He's got nothing but the farm left, and he's sixty years old. His life is screwed....because the feds wouldn't control the game. Thanks to the SEC.

Friday, 20 February 2009

16 September 1787


Reporting from Philadelphia today....talk amongst the Constitutional Convention crowd is that the quickly written constitutional document is simply too big and long for them to consume. Word on the street indicates that not a single member of the convention has actually read the document, except for perhaps the squirrelly Republican-wannabe Thomas Jefferson.

Several major news outlets say today that intense pressure is being put on the anti-constitution crowd. They readily admit that some things in the document are ok, but they just can't vote for the complete document...primarily because they are worried that some things in the unread document might trigger trouble later.

Unidentified sources say that the Constitution will pass through tomorrow, and find trouble in each state....but likely will eventually pass. Everyone admits it'd be nice to read the entire document.....but there just isn't time to waste on this. Considering the fact that tomorrow is 17 September 1787 and a Monday...everyone wants to rush in....sign the unread document....and then rush home (remember, it take two to fourteen days for most to return to their respective states).

Note, this is how things would have worked in 1787, if stimulus logic existed then.

Stimulus Let-Down

There's an excellent parody over at CAP today.....which got me to laughing about a minute into it:

President-elect Barack Obama continued to show he means business with regard to the economy when he announced this morning that he is providing jobs in his administration to all 400,000 unemployed Michigan residents. The announcement comes as Michigan is poised to be the first state with a double-digit unemployment rate.

"Drastic measures are needed, and drastic measures are needed now," Obama said during a speech broadcast on closed-circuit televisions at Michigan's unemployment offices. "And by drastic, I mean adjective, extremely severe or intensive, radical in nature, from the Greek word drastikos."

Obama's plan creates Cabinet-level posts for every Michigan resident who filed a jobless claim during the month of December, aligning each worker with a job that matches his or her skill level. Newly created positions include Secretary Of The Morning Paper, Facebook Status Update Administrator, and Chief Hot Food Tester. Economists say it is a bold initiative.

"What he's saying to Michigan and pretty much the rest of the country is that Uncle Barack will take care of you," said laid-off University of Michigan economist and newly-appointed Warming Up The Car Secretary George Helms. "And no need to worry, because Uncle Jintao will take care of him."

Additionally, Obama's latest economic stimulus plan also includes a guarantee to every appointee of being able to play at least one inning in his administration's summer softball outing, as well as an expanded dollar value menu at McDonald's and the desgination of a new number to represent the size of the national debt, obamillion.

However, critics desperate to find a chink in the armor of the Barack brigade say that reducing Michigan's unemployment rate to zero will then result in massive layoffs at the dozens of unemployment offices throughout the state. It's what some Republican lawmakers are calling the "Madoff approach" to fixing the economy.

"What's he going to do next, offer positions to every yahoo who loses out for the New York Jets head coaching job?" said Sen. Mike Bishop, who by his own admission is considering leaving his post in the Michigan state Senate for a new appointment as Obama's Secretary Of Finding The Remote.

Obama's advisors admit that the president-elect can't possibly hire every unemployed person in the country, so they are tailoring plans to states on an individual basis. Next week, Obama is expected to announce an economic recovery plan for South Carolina that involves a free iTunes download with the purchase of every Jonas Brothers song.

"Not only does it provide economic assistance to the Jonas Brothers and every South Carolina resident whether employed or unemployed, but it's also a mini bailout for Apple," said one advisor. "And after that whole Macworld let-down, they really need it."

I sat there for a good while....thinking damn....I need to move to Detroit. I actually pulled out my flask of Jacky D's....taking five or six chugs. I was already contemplating this move. I'd need more ammo for my pistol. I'd need a shotgun for the house. I'd probably have to accept a massive amount of change in my life. Then I came to realize it was all a parody....and I gulped even more Jacky D's.

Senator for Life Entitlements

There is discussion today....over Senator Ted Kennedy. Apparently, it is now strongly portrayed that Ted is dying....with only weeks to go. The belief is....that once Ted dies.....his wife, Vicki, is appointed by the governor. Several news sources in Boston are already committing on this.

I sat there and kinda laughed. Its like a 1700s-style British empire. The family controls the seat and the position....thus it must be a Kennedy in its place. Nothing else is accepted.

The Boston news sources aren't exactly positive or negative about this story....they are simply reporting what they are being told by Democratic operatives.

What may transpire? I'm thinking the governor will announce a 30-day period of morning after Ted's death and avoid any discussion on the topic. I'm thinking the public.....the longer that this goes on....will be less likely to support Vicki. The chances of Vicki winning a re-election? Zero at this point, again based on commentary in Boston news points. Vicki simply isn't Ted and doesn't draw votes like Ted.

This automatic appointment of some senator's wife....is something out of the 1700s.....and really doesn't fit into today's atmosphere.

How the Depression will Feel

So this is my portrait of the coming depression....utilizing Huntsville, Alabama as my focus point.

When you walk into the airport, which used to have 24 flights a day come and go....you'll notice fewer people standing around and then look at the screen. There'll a total of 11 flights per day. Eight will run to Atlanta, with one each to DC, Dallas, and Chicago. In the past when you could talk to the travel agent and get a reservation in twelve days for a certain trip you want....now you discover that you can't leave on Friday like you want....the plane will dump you in Atlanta for six hours before your connection....and you have to stay two extra days to find an opening for your return.

The 6PM local news on the four local stations? They used to have mostly car franchises financing the commercials for the news program.....six to eight 30 second Chevy or Ford or Honda or Nissan commercials. Now there's one car commercial max on each station for the news. The pricier commercials are now gone. The big video displays throughout the program? Gone. The old guy is still there but the two other folks are gone and these 22-year old kids are the assistants. Saturday news is completely gone, and Sunday night news only occurs for the 10PM slot.

Thirty percent of the restaurants in Huntsville have closed over 2009 and 2010. The pricier places are completely shut down. Half of the fast food establishments at the mall are gone.

The upscale hotels in Huntsville are begging for customers, going down to $45 a night throughout the week to attract folks.

People used to chat and talk about going to the casino over in Mississippi. No one goes much now.

Half the furniture shops in town are now closed.

Robberies have increased by 200 percent, with armed assault up by 100 percent. Folks don't go out after 9PM, and most everyone now carries a pistol in the car.

Churches that deep into bank loans for their construction...suddenly find that they can't make the payments. One or two mega churches in Huntsville fail.

People stop buy expensive non-seasonal fruit and vegetables. Wal-Mart is the number one place to buy your grocieres.

The hooker trade is failing fast. Guys don't have the money, and if they do....they are thinking twice about how they spend it.

This is my vision of just small-town Bama, and how things would go. As you start to focus across America....it gets no better. Most everyone by the end of 2010....will be affected in some fashion.

"Mad" Chimp Cartoon

This week, a cartoon appeared in the New York Post. It came after the stimulus package, and after the shooting of the "mad" chimp in Connecticut. The Post was accused of being racist at one point, then by animal lovers as being inhuman in using the "mad" chimp. The Post was accused of alot of things. I sat and pondered over the cartoon.

At first, I laughed. They had attached the writing of the stimulus package to an ape, when no one in the Senate or House would dare admit in public that they had written the stimulus bill. Then the longer I sat and thought about the cartoon....the madder I got. The Post was basically saying that it would take a simple ape to write this stimulus package....and this made me furious.

An ape would have written a simple 30 line stimulus package....detailing a tax credit for banana operations, and probably a stimulus plan to build giant ape zoo areas....and nothing more. No ape would have been crazy enough to write 1,000 pages of crap.

So that's my feeling. The only folks that the Post insulted....were the apes....suggesting they'd be foolish enough to write Pelosi crap.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Change

Perhaps an odd analysis....but here we are....almost four weeks into the new administration.....and basically all of the ills that existed with George Bush....continue on. We have a president with a 65-percent approval rating....yet on the other side of the platform.....almost 65-percent of the country says the nation is going in the wrong direction.

We still have the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. We still have Gitmo. We still have the war on terrorism in full effect. Most everything that you could have dumped onto George Bush.....still exists. In fact, we can add the current depression, and stimulus "hell" onto the mess.

There's hardly a minute of video of Iraq or Afghanistan nightly on the top three network news programs. Gitmo? It might get mentioned once or twice a week on CNN....but its very rare.

Its curious how things "change", and yet....they really didn't "change". And as time goes by....I expect less and less change.

Stage Action

Most of the news shops didn't have any photos of the Obama event over the stimulus bill being signed. I couldn't really understand this....so I went back for a video clip of the event....and then kinda understood.

What you see is a guy by himself on some stage....with just VP Biden with him....and not a single Senator or Representative. There are no real people or "Joe the Barber" types there. Nothing.

I probably spent a good fifteen minutes just staring at this picture....which I took off Skynews (my second favorite British site). Most of the other players simply avoided the photo because it speaks volumes.

You would have expected a White House signing on Friday....but they thought they could stretch this out...and make it into some secondary event. After looking at the picture....I'm thinking this is a pretty lame atmosphere. The president looked silly and pretty much by himself. This turned the whole stimulus episode into some minor event in the end. The humorous part of this....still today....not one single member of the Senate or House or even the White House....has still read the bill.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The $75 Billion Foreclosure Bridge

The new discussion now....after we've signed the $780-odd billion stimulus package....is the $75 billion home and foreclosure package. I'm thinking this will go to the fast track as well....because the banks, the car companies, and the states are coming up fast....and you just can't sit and discuss this matter....well....unless you were asking some really good questions.

The problem here, is that a bunch of folks bought houses at prices that were way out of the norm. They accepted the risk and paid way too much, on an interest rate that was silly. Two miles away from this guy....is another guy who bought a house that was a good bit less in cost.....because that was really what he could afford. We are helping the idiot who overpaid, and punishing the smart guy who stayed within his limits.

By tossing out the $75 billion, we are basically crossing a bridge and burning it as soon as possible. Looking at the situation, why should I even pretend to stay smart and buy what I can afford? I'm thinking big and stupid from now on.....because President Obama will save my butt later when its proven I was stupid for buying a $350k house.

I realize some of you were in that category of the $350k house and you felt pressure to buy it. But I also felt pressure, and only bought what I could readily afford, with a fairly decent down payment. I continually asked how the bank could be this stupid.....and today, I fully understand.

So in four weeks, I expect the Obama team crossing another bridge, and burning it as quickly as possible. It'll be a nice burn....with smoke for miles. It'll be a complete burn....with nothing left to observe the next day except burnt embers. It'll even be mentioned in the press for a day or two....and then off to the next bridge to burn.

The Mega Church in a Tiny Town

In my home town in Bama....which I will leave unnamed....there's been a Baptist fallout. As my brother tells the story....this small Baptists church....around 150-200 members total....is currently in total chaos.

A couple of months ago, some folks came up and wanted to build a new church building. There are two buildings on the property. The first was built around 1940 and is all brick....with zero insulation and serves as just a classroom building and social center. I should say that it has no toilet as well.....apparently in the 1940s....there were still outdoor toilets.

The second building was built around 1964....and was your state-of-the art building at that time (AC, real toilets, and big enough for 300 people).

Apparently, with around $150k in the church bank account, there's been this discussion around a dozen members of building a whole new building (after tearing down the old 1940's building). The idea is to build a whole new church, with a giant kid's center (for the kids under five). The cost? $1 million.

Yep.....a church with 200 members, and they'd build a church for $1 million?

So they laid this out about two weeks ago at a church meeting. Funny thing....the majority of church members weren't happy about this and wouldn't commit. Apparently, part of this deal is that they need a loan of $700k and they need actual real people to sign up and be responsible. We could be talking about you signing a document....promising $10k over ten years....beyond your normal $100 a month that you might already be putting into the pot.

So around two weeks passed, and they had a Sunday service and basically...the pro-build group came out and said this was a done-deal....more or less....pushing it through to the folks sitting there. There wasn't going to be a "no" accepted here. So folks walked out....and they indicate they are finished with this Baptist church.

How many? That's the curious thing. It'll be Sunday before the smoke clears. Out of two hundred members....I'm betting that fifty don't show up.

The amusing thing here....is that they could have come out and suggested $40k for repairs and new bathrooms....plus a add-on on the rear of the church....some 1000 square foot kid's play area attached to the church....and spent around $80k on that. Folks would have been happy to pass the hat and each would have tossed in a thousand over six months to cover this cost. This would have been achievable.

My bets? Someone in the midst of this mess has a relative or in-law who is in the construction business. I'm also betting someone moved into the area in the last two years from some mega church....and they talked up big about how wonderful a mega church is.

As I warned my brother....these Baptists are devious folks. They will likely be coming around to recruit new members. As I warned him that they may be coming to his house with some young Baptist gal to entice him to join up. He'll need a dang good excuse....like he's joined up with some radical Thai religious group with candles, incense, rice cakes, hot rocks, sniffing mint and eating raw fish involved. The Baptists will be a bit frazzled and then leave in a hurry.

The thing that gets me....a million for a building that you might spend two hours a week in. My common sense just can't buy this deal.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Just a Solemn Moment Please

A review is underway over images being made of American military personnel being brought back from Iraq via Dover. Under the Bush administration....pictures and images were strictly forbidden. The shot you see here....was one of the last shots taken before rules were put into effect.

Most people expect pictures to be allowed after this review. There are mixed feelings on both sides of this issue.

Throughout World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam....no one really said alot about pictures taken or how they were used. Most news organizations were under a concept of "good taste" and would never use a picture in a manner that would be ill-suited for the image. Somewhere along the past decade.....people have begun taking images, and using them for various campaigns....some having nothing to do with respecting the men in the coffins. Some even go to the extent of making it a pro-war or anti-war comment out of the image.

I'm probably old-school on this business. When you have a GI who has returned in a coffin....I would expect full respect of the man, his life, his contributions, and his coffin. I would expect nothing less than that. To shame him or his life....gains nothing for you or your agenda.

The primary disrespect that I have witnessed....is CNN's act of having a reporter speaking while the background video ran to the side of the reporter....with various comments that had nothing to do with the man, or the respect that he is owed. I would expect a quiet solemn moment there with the news analyst or reporter....and not a single comment about the number of dead today in Iraq or Bush's Iraq policy.

The problem here is that you don't have real journalists around anymore....these are mostly journalist-wannabes, with no primary character or respect for anything beyond the network they work for.

So in a month, I expect the change to be announced....with photos and video now allowed. A day or two after that....there will be CNN...with one quick shot....to report that they now have permission to shoot video at Dover, and then they will leave. There might be an occasional team to show up, but I seriously doubt that anyone now wants to show anything about the war...since its not Bush in charge. So we'll forget this event and it'll be forgotten history in a year or two.

The Burning Bush

There was a great cartoon over at Candorville today....one of my more favorite cartoons. The cartoonist took President Obama and replaced him with the "burning bush"....thus making him "holy" and untouchable.

I spent a minute or two looking at it, and have to admit that it really does hit on the nerve of things going on in DC over the past month. You feel like some folks are walking around with some religious experience going on....acting like the "burning bush" was actually talking to them and making life better.

Whatever the "burning bush" says...is holy and not to be argued with. Moses was wise enough to know the Lord's words and to find purpose in them. CNN? I really doubt that they can function as "Moses" in this case, and their wisdom? Alot less than Moses....that much is clear.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Red Shirt, Blue Blazer, and Khaki Pants?


Last year, for two or three weeks, I commented several times via my blog on Clayton County, Georgia.

The school district, if you remember.....has lost its accreditation....based primarily on the incompetence of the school board, and the school director for the county. At that point, it was the only school district in America with no accreditation.....which means if you did happen to finish in June....it really didn't mean much because no college was going to touch you. There was reportedly a second school district in the state of Georgia which was coming very close, but has apparently not crossed the line yet.

Today, we learn that the school board has decided, and funded.....uniforms for the school bus drivers. There is a long pause here....because I know you are about to gulp hard on that coffee.

Apparently, they've bought up uniforms....described as: khaki pants, blue blazers and red shirts. Apparently, NO ties....at least not yet....and I'm guessing dress shoes are mandatory.

This is the same district....which is laying workers off due to budget shortfalls.

Cost? $75,000.

Reason? Well....they say that this will prevent prevent school bus hijackings.

I sat there for a long while....looking through Google news and Yahoo....trying to find a school bus hijacking that I could profile and list as an example. So far, I haven't found one.

You may ask here....does the county have a history of school bus hijackings? Well....I thought maybe there was one or two....but no....no one has ever hijacked a bus in the history of Georgia.

I sat and pondered over my upbringing in Bama. I went to the ninth grade at Anderson Junior High....and had bus driver the entire time....Reeder. Reeder was a Baptist fellow...very kind-hearted...with a country-style sense of humor. Reeder was also our school janitor. From day one, until the last day I ever rode Reeder's bus....he wore overalls. In nine years, I never saw the guy wear anything else. He always wore a button down shirt and short work boots.

To be kinda honest....I can't imagine any bus driver wearing anything else other than a pair of overalls.

To also be honest....if any idiot had ever attempted to hijack the bus....between the thirty-odd farm kids onboard...the idiot would have been torn up and hurt pretty bad by the time we got finished with him. Reeder would have been given the leftovers and probably said a verse or two from the New Testament, before whoomping the guy with the tire iron by the seat.

So I'm looking over at Clayton county. I'm wondering...where did you buy the uniforms? Tell us the name of the local company, and let us take a guess....they have relatives on the school board, right? I'm willing to put up $500 of personal betting money, that the uniform guy is local and a relative.

The cost of buying all of these folks overalls? Probably $22k, but hey....some of these modern folks are plain anti-overall, so you can't make them wear something like this.

So my suggestion now....for those of you in Clayton county.....all you guys need to buy up red shirts, blue blazers, and Khaki pants. Everyone should start walking around like this. Pretty soon...if there were any hijackers out there....they'd all be scared that all you folks were bus drivers. And just a short note of suggestion....for the same price.....you could have bought each bus driver a $129 Chinese pistol with thirty rounds of ammo AND a holster. That would have been probably a safer route to protect the kids than the blue blazer and red shirt.

Thank God....I don't live in Clayton county.

Car Czar No More

Sadly, we must report that a "Car Czar" position will not exist within the Obama administration. I had high hopes, and had my resume ready to send in...especially since I have no tax trouble...but the President said no.

So now, the plan is to several senior administration officials, to oversee the government-forced restructuring of the car industry.

Amusingly enough.....Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers....will oversee this government group...not the President himself or his chief of staff. This is different from the census episode where thats important enough for President Obama and the Chief of Staff to personally manage....but the car issues aren't? I guess I got that right...or wrong, depending on how you want to look at the situation.

The quote here from the White House.....the President "wants to make sure that we're getting the expertise and input of agencies across the government."

I paused here. I can't think of alot of events where I'd really trust the judgment or character of government officials. And I'd double that for car industry improvements.

What they may end up doing...is screwing up Ford, GM and Chrysler so much...that you will automatically walk into a Honda, Nissan, VW, or Mercedes dealership....and ask for one of their cars. If I were Ford...I'd make damn sure that no government official was involved in my fortune or misfortune.

As for the union guys....they can pretty much dictate whatever they desire....because there is zero chance of either of the three going under. The government will likely step in and force changes to dictate that. The sad part for you folk with stock in the three.....you're screwed. I'd sell the stock, take the loss, and just claim it as a tax deduction. Buy Honda....if you really care.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Blago Version 2.0

In case you didn't notice it...even after Senator Burris said that everything with his episode was clear and honest...now two days ago, he admits that the brother of Blago called him and asked for a $10k payoff to get the senator position.

Senator Burris even goes to the extent of admitting in a document released Saturday that Blago's brother asked him for this, via a campaign fundraising effort before the governor named Burris as Illinois' junior senator.

The amusing thing is that Burris's testimony in January didn't ever reveal this episode.

Naturally....there at the state level....the ranking Republican State Representative...Jim Durkin, who sat on the Blago impeachment committee, said that there's going to be an outside investigation into whether Burris perjured himself.

Adding to this mess....is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who offered up his comment that Democrats in Washington who only consented to seat Burris on the condition that there were no "pay to play" promises exchanged.

If I had been Burris, I would have kept my mouth shut and just forgotten about that phone call. In this case, he might actually be asked to step down, and we go through an entire new event to find another dude in Illinois who isn't tainted by corruption.

Good Boy!


Shocking as it may be....Air Force bigwigs and officials announced last week that the old Air Force Good Conduct Medal, tossed out three years ago because it was said to be unnecessary, has been reactivated. In fact, the bigwigs decided to make the medal retroactive, so if you were a good boy for the last three years....you'd naturally get full credit for it.

Good boy!

For those not in the circle of Air Forceism....this was a medal that came out of the 1950s and basically got awarded each three years that you stayed out of trouble. Yes, stayed out of trouble. It was the milk bone biscuit on the nose of the dog. If you were disciplined and nice....you got the "bone".

For those who went wayward, got into drunk brawls, cursed their supervisors, continually were written up for serious matters, and were just plain losers....you didn't get the "bone".

To be kinda honest, the most amusing part of this deal....it was worth zero points on promotion. Yep, it was a medal you got, but it had no value.

Three years ago....the leadership stood up and said that everyone in the Air Force was expected to be good....and thusly, there was no need for such a medal. Folks were a bit shocked....no one had been asked for their opinion. This was change number 1,926 of a lotta changes since 1990....that had no real people involved in the decision. So quietly in backrooms and NCO clubs over the past three years....people whined about the termination of the Good Conduct medal....and this week....it was brought back to life.

So now, we are back onto the dog biscuit routine....you'd best be a good boy and act very disciplined, or you won't get your "bone". And for you guys who are bad boys....don't worry.....this medal will likely be remodeled in a year or two and referred to as the "Almost Good Conduct" medal....because too many of you are being bad.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

This Winter of our Hardship


“This winter of our hardship.”

This was the week that President tossed out the phrase, which a multitude of media moths took to the air and got all peppy about. They all think its the quote of the year.

I sat there for a while....pondering.

Why is it a "winter" of our hardship? Why not a "fall" or "summer" or "spring"? Don't they fit just as well? Are we stuck on winter being awful and then this matches up well with "hardship"?

Are we stuck in 2012, with the phrase of "This is the summer of our dreams?"

All of this is simply too Steinbeckish in nature...almost out of "Grapes of Wreath" or "Sea of Cortez".

Do any of these guys really know what it feels like during the winter of our hardship? They need a dose of Bama winter and its damn hardships.

Have any of them ever dug up a septic tank in March?

Have any of them ever gotten up at midnight to help a neighbor pull a calf?

Have any of them ever had two flat tires in one afternoon?

Have any of them ever had a mother-in-law call and announce she was coming over and staying three months?

Have any of them ever had a cousin call and ask for bail money because they assaulted some guy at a bar two counties over?

Have any of them ever had their electrical lines go down in a ice storm, and had the power company smile as they said it'd be twelve days before power would go back up?

Have any of them had a drunk neighbor show up and they wanted to confess to twenty-two different crimes?

Have any of them ever had Johnny Junior call to let you know that his transmission went out near Birmingham (actually in a strip joint), and they need you to drive at midnight down to help them with the vehicle?

I kinda doubt that the President, CBS, the media, and any of the Sunday talkshow hosts really know much about "winter" and "hardship"...and if they did....it won't match up in comparison to our own "winters".

Another night in the heartland.

A Census Explanation

About two weeks ago, the President announced that he would move the Census Bureau from the Commerce Department....over to the White House, under the Chief of Staff.....to personally supervise the census of 2010. The announcement came with the explanation that several black groups felt the new Republican Secretary of Commerce could not be trusted. They were worried about the anticipated events of the 2010 census. Naturally, no one has said a word since Thursday night when Senator Gregg said adios to the position. Some folks think they might reverse the movement of the Census Bureau....but most think nothing will change.

For the last ten days, I've sat and pondered this entire event and the excuse given by the White House.

Several states anticipate a shift in the population....and they will lose representation in congress. States mentioned as losing a representative each? Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are typically mentioned when this topic comes up. The gainers? Texas, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah and Arizona.

How happy are the folks from the losing states? Not that happy. But the census is absolute in its details....or it was up until this episode with the White House running it.

So I looked over this mess and wondered the key reason why the black groups were disturbed over the census, and then came to an interesting scenario.

In this case, I'll use the New Orleans area of Louisiana. I don't have the ready facts to drive one hundred percent, but things will be apparent in a minute or two.

Lets say there are three districts around New Orleans.

District one has one million residents (2000 number). The district had a split of:
- 48 percent black (98 percent Democrat vote typically)
- 40 percent white (45 percent Democrat, 55 percent Republican)
- Remainder of 12 percent were various ethnic groups (voting 40 percent Democrat, 50 percent Republican, and 10 percent Independent)
- Naturally, the Democrat representative was black and always won.

So we come to the 2010 census with District one, and discover a big problem:
- 35 percent black (alot of folks didn't return to this district after the Hurricane), (98 percent Democrat vote typically)
- 40 percent White (35 percent Democrat, 65 percent Republican).
- 20 percent Asian (now they've got political clout), (20 percent Democrat, 80 percent Republican)
- 5 percent Latino (70 percent Democrat, 30 percent Republican)
- The Asians now have clout and likely will have their guy as the winner, denying a black representative for the state, and the nation.

Now we go next door with District 2 and the 2000 census We encounter the same numbers. Both districts were developed to maximize on black Democratic vote. In both cases, the black population didn't return, so the political clout left the area. In this case, it might well be still a majority of Democrats, but more prone to vote for a white representative.

The third district? This was further away from damage...fewer people left, and it was mostly middle-class folks in this region. The blacks that didn't return to district one or two...found new housing developments here in this area, and a better chance of jobs. This area gained on the black population and now amounts to 39 percent black. Its enough to ensure a sure Democratic vote, but its typically going to be a white guy running in this region.

So here were three districts in 2000 with a solid Democrat base, and two black representatives. Today....there's likely a Asian Rep from one district and two white Democratic Representatives from the remaining district.

So you apply this scene to metro areas in the losing states....which were always Democrat winners...and in a number of cases...black Representatives. If people left the inner city, and moved out to nicer neighborhoods....then the old district won't be the same number and it'll be harder to rig the election to go Democrat.

So far, there are no media groups readily discussing this whole affair. What we have....is a whole generation of people....who have given up on the inner city and are trying to find a way out of their "mess". The power brokers really don't want this type of development to screw up their method of getting the vote.

The actual populations of Memphis, New Orleans, Detroit and some other major urban areas....with major black representation? I'm going to bet that if they do an actual hands-on census....each will be 10 percent less than the Census Bureau thought they were. What they will find is that the missing ten percent....likely went to the next district over in most cases....looking for better living conditions.

Maybe one day...perhaps at the end of 2010 when the Census is in hot debate....the media might actually stand up and explain my scenario, and let people get an idea of why this is all important to some folks.

Obama Blackberry to Be Cracked?

Off of several news sites today....the commentary that Obama's Blackberry will be cracked sooner or later....is mostly what I said two weeks ago. I even described the exact scenario that they are talking about....going after the address at the sender's location....friends of Obama....to get inside Obama's system.

The odds of this happening? I will stand now....and predict by the end of June....he will be cracked. The Secret Service will be furious and the media will ask lots of stupid questions about how such a thing could happen.....with all of the dimwits on CNN suddenly wondering if their Blackberry's could be cracked too? Ha......as if the KGB hadn't already cracked theirs or the Chinese secret services.

Blackberry? They have nothing to worry about....these people are so addictive that this whole mess will simply slide over and all of the idiots will continue to be cracked month after month. Every comment that Obama makes via his Blackberry....will eventually end up in some open forum where we are chatting and wondering about who the hell "Doris" is, and why he wanted to meet her.....or why he kept using the word "understanding" when dealing with some guy back in the Illinois senate who has connections and bribe money ready to send.

Just another day in America.

A Thousand Pages

Typically, when someone writes a thousand pages of something...its either bound for the recycling bin or its bound for a Nobel Prize in Literature. In the case of the stimulus package....its hard to classify this one....it might be worthy fiction, except we know its not fiction.

To the best of our knowledge....and not one single representative or senator has emerged to argue this....NOT one single guy or gal read the thing....yet they voted on it. This is the incredible part of this entire episode. I could have inserted language into it which would have required Alabama counties to report all roadkill to a Bama state office of roadkill....funded of course by the stimulus package. They'd naturally be federal roadkill officials.....with big SUVs running the roads of Bama....and probably killing a dozen critters a week by themselves.

Its neat how this is all done on Friday....which gives everyone a chance to take the weekend off....drink lots of free booze provided by their lobbyists....grin at the escort gals that the lobbyists provided....and golf all day Saturday at a private club deal arranged by the lobbyists. Somewhere in the midst of news....we even found out that the lobbyists got a full and complete copy of the stimulus package....before the congressmen and senators. Minor deal though....because even those idiots can read a thousand pages.

It'd be nice to require each guy to stand and listen to the document be read in open form within the house or senate....and then pass. Then would have required an entire week, and probably put most to sleep.

You can sit and challenge your senator or congressman on this whole thing. The Republican guys are standing there and admitting that this has zero value, yet haven't read much of anything. The Democrat guys are admitting that there is much in here....but they haven't read it all. Yet, they voted? Something is not right here.

Had you bought a property with a 100-page transfer document involved.....you would have read the thing and likely paid a lawyer to help as well. Had you made a loan with a bank and had a 15-page document....you would have read the whole thing before signing. Yet in this case....giving away $800-odd billion....required nothing much. This is the part that I don't get.

I'm just a regular guy....fairly educated....and with a fair amount of common sense. I can't find any logic which would have directed me to stamp my name and signature onto this....without reading the document. I have certain words to describe these folks who voted and signed off on this...but they are mostly words of foolishness. The sad thing....its really my money that they gave away. And I probably won't get a penny of that back.

Mexico Equals Somalia?

In recent days, there's been a national topic tossed around about how Mexico might be on the verge of total collapse. There are actually national agencies and think-tanks now going over the implications and what might transpire within the US border. Its for most people to a total collapse of Mexico....so I pondered over this and came to a decent scenario which might convince you of this possibility.

In my scenario....over a 100-day period....a dozen police chiefs and two hundred Mexican policemen are killed by narco-enthusiasts. The drug gangs are desperately trying to establish absolute control. Two state governors are killed within this period. At least four hundred civilians are left on the street dead. Then, the calm before the storm.....a week or two where the President of Mexico promises action.

In some public setting.....a drug gang attacks the President of Mexico and kills him. The number two man steps up and promises immediate action, but after about two weeks of nothing much.....some military generals in Mexico now believe that the new temporary President is working for the drug gangs. The generals meet and discuss the matter. Hours later....the dozen generals are arrested for treason. The national police engage on each of these generals.

Hours pass, and then battalions of Mexican army personnel show up at each police station to claim their general, or promise to storm the building. The cops all escape and the generals are freed.

At this point, President Obama convenes the NSC and considers the implications. Ten thousand US Army personnel are put on alert and placed near two major points along the border. At least 100 thousand more Army personnel are alerted and are on stand-by.

A hundred days have passed. The government of Mexico is in total chaos. Most of the established and rich families are moving their wives and kids out of Mexico....to Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, and the US. At least fifteen thousand people per day are exiting Mexico.

By this point, the national media and newspapers are taken over by the National Police, who are taking orders by the temporary President. The drug gangs are continuing their war on the northern front....killing any government official that exists in a state near the US border.

At the 130 day point, its believed now that 500,000 Mexicans have left the country, and now the rush is on. 100,000 people appear at the transit point of El Paso each day to beg entry. President Obama has to rig up a temporary entry program with visas. Over a ten-day period....almost two million Mexicans cross the US border and are being herded into Army-run camps along the border. Tempers flare as they thought they'd be allowed more freedom and less military control.

The Mexican generals now declare war on the temporary president of Mexico and the National Police. The US quietly provides intelligence personnel and helps to identify the gangs involved in the entire operation. At least four hundred people per day are killed during this 30-day period of open warfare. In the end, the Mexican president escapes to Venezuela. The Mexican generals now appoint a 3-man commission to run the country for twelve months. The majority of drug gangs have been captured or killed.

Across the border in the US....drug prices have escalated significantly....doubling over a 100-day period. With the whole border tightly controlled now.....nothing is getting across. As the Mexican generals take charge.....the drug spiral continues on....with thousands of Americans in desperation over where to get their next "hit".

At best estimates.....110,000 Mexicans were killed in this six-month long period. The Mexicans in the US camps? They just don't trust the situation and want to be allowed to stay. President Obama and crew are in a bad situation with no method of making anyone happy. These people are eventually forced across the border, with very harsh criticism for the Obama team from American Latinos. This translates into lost votes for the next election and nightly commentary via the Spanish radio stations across America. The Fairness Doctrine is now discussed and applied quickly to Spanish radio stations. To the amusement of all....Rush Limbaugh and the conservatives of America stand by the Spanish stations.

The scenario I portray is likely one of a dozen or so....that is realistic in nature and simplifies the whole process of whole things fall apart. Can we stop it? No....this part I am sure of....we have no method of fixing or improving the situation. It is a spiral that will occur....sooner or later.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Single in Dismal Times

There is this problem in existence today.....with conservative singles. Someone made the comment to me the other day, and I've paused over it for several days....thinking.

Since this election....with a good 55-odd percent of the public taking a strong position on the Democratic side of the house.....there is this smaller group of 45-odd percent. And with politics all charged up, there is this festering problem with singles from the conservative side between the age of 25 and 35. Basically, we've gotten so charged up that now, these folks can't possibly date a liberal....under any circumstance.

It used to be that folks had "filters".....they were looking for a datable guy or gal who was lightly this, or this religion, or this race, or this hobby type, or this height, or this kinda smoker, or that kinda drinker, or this kinda socializer. Now, we have to mix in politics too?

My brother is the worst "filter" maker in the world for socializing with ladies or women or trailer trash or hostile gals. He probably has 44 different "filters". Being from Bama, you'd think that a guy would just say a gal who drinks whiskey from a glass, votes Democrat and Republican on occasion, and likes catfish would be enough....but he's gone to the far extreme, and even added a political filter.

In his mind, you need to lean to the right, but not talk so far to the right that you might be McCain-crazy, then you need to be anti-liberal but willing to listen to NPR for just a little bit of slanted news, then you need to be a fairly intelligent gal who can comprehend a use-car salesman's speech.

His 44 different "filter" processes tend to make a permanent gal possibility less than three percent. Toss in the fact that you can't have an interest in NCAA football....no camping interest....no crazy relatives.....no arts and crafts fanatics....no snake pet lovers.....no dry county enthusiasts.....no cigar smoking gals......no radical Baptists......no trailer trash gals.....educated but no PhD types.....and must have a slight liking of blue grass or folks music....it makes it damn hard to see this "filter" working.

So across America....thousands and thousands of single gals and guys....are really having a difficult time. Those liberal opposite types just won't work in their mind. How can a gal marry a dimwit guy who voted for Biden and Obama? How can a guy marry up with a gal who's hugging her Pelosi doll? It just won't work.

I'm of a fearing nature....thinking that we might be in for a dark and dismal time for you single folks. You may have to move out to Ireland or Russia....to find the right partner.

Senator Gregg

Yesterday, Senator Gregg finally said enough....and turned down the Secretary of Commerce position. Ten days ago....this was pretty much a done deal.....and then the Census Bureau move to the White House....probably unsettled him.

I don't think he ever expected the White House to become unhinged and so quickly take the Census Bureau out of the Commerce Department. It barely took three days....and it was a done deal. Most everyone, except the media, was surprised. The media....acted like there was no problem....which was the real shocker of this deal.

So the longer that Senator Gregg sat there and thought about this "slap"....the insult of suggesting that he couldn't be fair in terms of the census but he could run the commerce department.....the amused he got (my thinking). So yesterday, he finally said enough was enough.

So the President standing there now with a huge problem which has to be explained on the weekend talk shows. This was the 4-star slap that Senator Gregg gave them....because the media can't ignore this episode now.

So here are the three options. First, they could appoint a democrat and hand the Census Bureau back to the Commerce department. I'm thinking....this won't happen, because it really makes the White House look like idiots. Second, they will just pick some loser of a Democratic guy to be the Commerce Secretary and just pretend everything is ok with the Census Bureau under the White House Chief of Staff. This makes them look foolish because they already said the the chief complaint that started this.....was that a Republican was controlling the Census Bureau. Finally, my solution....move the Chief of Staff over to the Commerce Department....and let him run things like he wanted. It means a new Chief of Staff has to be found, but obviously, this was what Rahm wanted in the first place.

If you had to suggest a really big and stupid to mistake to make in the first month....this was the big one. They really didn't seem to get the whole jest of the problem and kept thinking that they could play with a deck of cards that was corrupted. So they are back to step one.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Batwoman - A Lesbian?

Apparently, its been decided by DC Comics, that the new Batwoman angle....will be that she's gay.

Yep, I sat and read that and came to a long, long pause.

A lesbian Batwoman? Could it be? Could we accept such?

Then it occurred to me....that there is plenty of room here for change.

So I've been thinking....the Flash.....in my mind....ought to be a real authentic redneck, from Bama. Hawkman, ought to be a leather-tights kinda guy into bondage. Robin? He ought to be a homeless kid who Batman raised up and becomes a liberal comic hero. Green Arrow, ought to be a Rush Limbaugh-true conservative.

I was even sitting there and thinking.....man, that Catwoman gal and Batwoman....could meet up at some party in civilian clothing....and get all lezbian-like.....then discover they were archenemies. This would turn into a fine love-hate-love story. Maybe even have that Batman dude wander in and sweep both of them off their feet. Well....at least in a fantasy world, it might happen.