Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Going on the Limb: 9-11.2

I'm likely going out on the limb.....but I'm prepared to forecast 9-11.2 (event number two) at present...in the not-to-likely future.

Timing is of not part of my forecast, but I'm likely to say it'll happen in 2009....for various reasons.

The event? My prediction is DC.....littered with car bombs....an easy choice for these Jihad dudes to drive in....set up and leave. To impress people with the 9-11.1 scale....I would guess dozens upon dozens of such situations in a short time frame.

What transpires after this is the beef of my blog.....the five after-events.

First, the blame of this episode will go just as far as the previous episode.....and the Homeland Security crowd will likely demand more powers and more control. If you ask the majority of these people right now today.....they will say they have sufficient power.....but after the event.....nothing will be enough in their mind. So the civil freedom crowd will be disgusted to no end over this event.

Second, whatever safety that Mrs Obama felt from day one.....is gone. She will question the safety of DC, and the effect on her kids. I would seriously doubt that she travels far without them on a typical day....from that point on. Every speech will be local.....unless she drags the kids along with her.

Third, between the economy and this event.....it'll prove to be a difficult time for the President. His speeches will have to be more "threat-like".....which he has trouble in getting across. I have problems in saying any defense cutbacks accomplished in such a period....which currently are forecasted. Any chance to getting neutral or pro-US Muslim feelings accomplished.....will be pretty much finished off.

Fourth, American feelings over safety will go into turbo-charge mood. It won't matter if its Muslims or Mexican gangs or just plain vanilla crime.....there will be a huge expectation over fixing our problems.....from the border to our streets. The number of cops go up....the amount of intelligence gathered within our borders will go up.....and the number of people on suspect lists will go up.

Fifth and final, someone will finally come and ask why we don't venture into Pakistan to hunt for bin Laden. Whatever remaining pressure is required.....will be pushed and achieved. It may end up being a nasty mess in the end.....but it was what should have been done in 2004.

It is a forecast that I would prefer not to make....but for various reasons....with events in Pakistan, India and across the globe....I think things are headed in a drastic direction.

NASCAR: Without GM?

Normally, as I drive home from work on the autobahn...my mind wanders...alot. At some point, it was like a meteor came and struck me in the midst of the drive. With all the crap going on with GM, Ford and Chrysler, and the President being the savior or killer (depending on your car affiliation)....things are about to get tossed into the twilight zone.

Suddenly, it hit me.....what of NASCAR? What if Ford is the only American-made real car left at the end of this mess? Could NASCAR continue on? Could we survive with only Fords on the NASCAR tracks?

Tears almost flowed at this point, as I suddenly had this vision of NASCAR disappearing overnight. What if there were no Chevy's or Pontiac's? What if Chargers were completely wiped out?

An entire generation of American could watch their hopes and dreams fall away......because the idiots at Chrysler and GM were too stupid to run their companies in the first place.

I paused over this dilemma. You just can't run NASCAR with Ford only. Could we bring in the Germans with their Audi's or the Japanese with their Toyotas? Its hard to envision something like this.

So here in the midst of our recession....with bankers and senators crying in DC over bailouts and bonuses.....we are likely at the next big problem...NASCAR. Will Katie Couric cover it? Will the FNC dudes speak out on this issue? Will Comedy Central give the right hype? Only time will tell.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Would You?

The question is....since the President has signed up to back warranty on GM and Chrysler cars.....would that drive to buy such a car or avoid such a car?

I sat and paused over this for a while this afternoon when I heard this.

Frankly....it bothers me that the US government is backing the warranty for any car. We are basically saying that if Chrysler made crappy transmissions....and they go under.....then the US tax payer gets stuck with the bill for Joe's broke transmission.

Then the question comes up....for how long? Could this event carry on for a year, two years or even three years? What if Chrysler goes into Chapter Eleven but continues to make two or three types of cars? And they reach a point where all they can do is pay for the employees and manufacture cars.....not repair them. What happens at that point?

I have a negative view of this deal. I don't think it helps the situation....but I sure wouldn't just hand GM and Chrysler $40 billion and anticipate that getting them too far in their current situation.

So for those of you with Chryslers.....I feel sorry for you....and wish you luck. But I'm pretty sure you are looking at a car that is worthless for trade-in right now....even if its just two years old.

Afghanistan and the New Plan

This was the week where the new American plan was laid out....to fix Afghanistan. Naturally, involves more troops, more government civilian administrators, more money, and more attention.....just in different ways.

I hate to cast a long shadow against this brand new scheme....which alot of people spent weeks and weeks preparing....but frankly, it won't work.

Add up the scenario: you have a country whose main cash flow is related to an illegal crop....and you can't replace it or dump it. You have a country which is land-locked and surrounded by Muslims in Pakistan and Muslim idiots in Iran. The chief way of running the country currently....is dependent upon warlords or neighborhood "bosses". The chief momentum of change? Its a bunch of western guys....either in uniforms or in Colombia-brand jungle wear (mind you...there ain't no jungles in Afghanistan).

You want corruption? Well....there's just enough in Afghanistan to exist....but little more. The public doesn't have cash to toss for corruption....so its basically a chicken or two....or a couple of Marlboro cigarettes.

For a kid? Your biggest dream at fourteen is just to marry some girl....any girl....get a scooter.....and have your own two-room hut. There isn't much else to wish on.

The chief threat for a country like this? That's the amusing thing....a minor-league, third-rate, bunch of Muslim enthusiastic dudes....looking for some promised land where you can either shame everyone into playing your game or beat the crap out of them to play the game.

The sect? Typically lead by some sixty or seventy year-old dude...whose biggest accomplishment in life is memorizing different parts of the Koran and then repeating with ease. Oh, and toss in the fact that they are very good at public speakings....in fact....better than some folks who utilize podiums and teleprompters. If you conducted an intelligence test with the chief Islamic dude of the group....he'd fail miserably at any kind of math discussion....and probably demonstrate limited common sense....but then being a sect chief doesn't mean too much.

I dislike casting a long shadow over this Afghanistan plan....but in this case....its a failure from this point on. The better choice? Put absolute momentum into finding Bin Laden and then leaving the entire region after his capture. Someone once said that we'd go to the ends of the Earth to find Bin Laden.....I suspect we are a thousand miles from the ends of the Earth....and have been for over six years.

Just my humble two cents of analysis.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Feeling Guilt

I thought this was kinda interesting. In my case, I ought to be in the elevated guilt area....but then I pay German taxes, so I end up feeling mostly elevated entitlement, well...if I had enough Jacky D's to kill the pain.

The Woes of the Kwame

Months ago...I thought the Kwame Kilparick story out of Detroit was finally finshed. He admitted guilt in his corruption episode, agreed to a $1 million fine, and did a couple of months in jail. In the past week...it's become apparent that the Kwame is not done yet.

Three weeks ago....after his prison term was done....Kwame got his life restarted. The plan? He's leaving for Texas and working as a salesman. But along the way...things have gotten a bit tangled up.

Kwame had the deal rigged up when signing up for the $1 million fine...that he'd pay $6k a month. I realize....as do you...that this kinda means 166 months of payments...a bit more than ten years of such payments. There are very people I know of....that would ask for such a payment plan. If they had millions stuck away...they would have pulled out half a million and paid the rest over a year or two. This guy wasn't that type....but then you have to wonder what type he really is?

A legal event occurred this week in Detroit....Kwame wants to pay $6 a month....not $6,000. At this rate....he would have to live well over 300 years....to pay the entire amount back.

When I originally read this....I started laughing. With anyone else....it would have been a joke. But with Kwame.....its actually expected.

Added to this legal episode going on to decrease it to $6 a month....Kwame's attorney.....Michael Alan Schwartz wants the judge assigned to the episode.....kicked off.

Based on whats been said....Kwame is working for a company called....Compuware...who pays the Kwame around $10,000 a month. $120k a year....for the services of Kwame? That's an amazing amount of salary.

So then you have to add up Kwame's expenses...which come before paying the fine back. Kwarme is paying $2,700 a month on rent. He pays $900 to lease a new Cadillac Escalade. When you count in food, power, gas, insurance, healthcare, clothing, kid's allowances, and such....his living cost comes to $9,994, which means he can only afford to pay Detroit back to a tune of $6 a month.

Based on comments on several forums where Detroit residents post comments...they are pretty irked about this guy's living style. In Detroit....he'd be in a $80k house and paying $800 a month on rent or such. A $120k salary? In Detroit....if you were lucky...you'd be making $35k and counting your blessings.

My suspicion is that Kwame will push this to the limit for six months. At some point....a new judge will be assigned the case, and he will lower the amount of the monthly amount to $3,000....then absolutely demand that Kwame start paying. Kwame will stall for a month...then find new legal proceedings against him and his paycheck. He'll finally agree to the $3k. The funny thing....it'll take well over 300 months to pay this back. Kwame will be 70 years old and still paying.

The Simple Story of Helga

There is this Austrian gal....who we will name Helga.

Helga is a practical woman. Helga likely drinks a beer each evening with her meal. She dresses like an ordinary gal....nothing really special. She's likely vacationed a couple of times in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. She's likely a couple of pounds over her ideal weight. She probably takes cake over and visits Grandma once a week. She tidies up the house and sends the kids off the school each morning with a apple neatly tucked into their bags. She probably dresses up in the evening as "Nurse Nancy" to excite her husband Huns.

Helga works hard over at the local q-tip manufacture company Greiner Bio-One International AG. She's not exactly paid alot....and feels lucky to have made a decent pay situation for the past fifteen-odd years. She puts on a plain uniform garment each day and stacks up the cotton swabs they manufacture.

So all in all....you'd think of Helga as just an average gal. You'd really like to.

There is this problem though....the Germans had a 400k Euro reward on Helga's head. She was....one of the most vicious killers on the face this earth. Well....you would have liked to believe this.

You see....there was this little DNA problem. Fourteen-odd years ago....came the first murder, and the cops collected DNA there at the site....and there was a swab turned in.....which identified a set of DNA. A year or two later....another murder....another swab with connecting DNA at the site.

Last year.....a terrible murder of a police officer here in Germany in a parking garage......and the swab collected pointed to this same killer.

The cops by this point had started calling the murderer the "Phantom". Papers attached themselves to the story.....and everyone was excited. If you could just catch this individual....it would close around twenty potential murders.

So something came up this year with a dead guy who was unidentified. They collected DNA....and suddenly it matched the Phantom. For about a day....everyone was excited. But then they started questioning alot of things. They eventually looked at the q-tips. They were contaminated. Actually....as the company rightfully claims now....there are two tips of q-tips....one for ears and regular stuff.....and one for DNA collection. These that they sell...are for regular stuff.

So the cops are standing there.....looking like fools. They had all kinds of murders and crimes sitting there....tied to the Phantom....and now? Just a bunch of separate murders.

Then we have Helga....who is sitting there and probably wondering....if she had ever traveled and they had ever stopped her for any reason and required DNA collection....she would have been arrested and likely labeled a cold-blooded killer for several days until the whole episode was untangled.

It is a fascinating story.....worth making into a movie. There are murders, robberies, crimes, and police involved.....and one lady who quietly goes to work each day as the prime suspect.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

The Homeless in Obama-ville, CA

I've chatted over Sacramento's Tent City episode a little in the past week or two. So the newest update? Straight from the LA Times:

Tent City residents gather as the city of Ontario starts the process of sorting out who may stay and who must leave. The city issued wristbands – blue for Ontario residents, who may stay, orange for people who need to provide more documentation, and white for those who must leave. The aim is to reduce the number of people living there from over 400 to 170. Officials begin thinning out the encampment, saying the city can provide space only for those who once lived there and can prove it.

I sat there for a while reading over this. Rules in Tent City? Rules for the homeless? Is this a joke? Well....it is California....you know.

So basically....you have to prove you are from Ontario....to be homeless in Ontario....otherwise....you'll have to move on. Where to? Well...I'd go fifty feet beyond the city limit and camp out. Or you could just go to a city park and be a regular homeless guy there. Or you could register in the city.....as a real Ontario resident, and then be homeless.

From my period of living in an Air Force Tent City....I came to realize that each week involved new Tent City rules. There was the one rule which kinda surprised us one day.....we weren't supposed to relive ourselves anywhere in Tent City.....except the toilet facilities. We stood and discussed this rule...wondering why the heck it would come up.....and then realized that some guys would wake up in the night....preferring not to walk 400 feet to the toilet tent, and just pee there by the tent.

At some point, we had the rule about what could be hung on the interior of the tent.....like posters or such....which had to be in good taste, but then they wouldn't give us an absolutely complete list of good taste.

So I'm looking back at those poor saps in Sacramento and this entire game of color coating.....and the where you end up going next. I'm guessing that fifty lawyers are packed up and ready to do battle with the state....to guarantee your rights to camp just about anywhere in nature. The curious thing....is that this is only happening in California. That should make you pause and think about this.

Lost: Moral Judgement

As most of you know....I have this addiction to "Lost". I've considered it one of the best written shows of all time....and the characters cannot be beaten.

One of the primary factors of the show....is the moral decisions that have to be made. Of the one hundred-plus shows so far....there have over thirty five-star decision moments....where you had implications no matter what happened.

This past week....it was the first six-star decision moment of the show. If you've been watching it....several members of the "crew" have landed back in the early 1970s on the island.....and amongst them is Sayid confronting the young Ben. Ben at his present age....has turned into the most untrustworthy individual that you can possible imagine. Every ten steps forward....end up with twelves steps back.

There is this moment where Sayid realizes that he has to power to kill a 13-year old Ben.....who has never done anyone wrong (at least not yet).

This is a highly unusual moral position....you have a person of innocence....but you know they will eventually turn into something evil. It's like the scenario that you are in 1909 Austria and you've got a 16-year old Adolph Hitler in front of you. Do you kill him or not?

This episode of Lost has gone on in my mind for two days now....after watching it. I have to admit....I'd probably have done the same thing as Sayid.....and shoot the young Ben. The thing is....this may have been part of the history of Ben anyway.....you can't tell. And the sad thing is....if you take Ben down....is there something more sinister to replace Ben in the end? Thats what I'm thinking with this script. Ben was bad.....but we may find some replacement scenario where things are alot worse.

So on we go with Lost....and I suspect we'll have another 6-star moral moment in the next week or two.

Homeless in Hollywoodville

Over the past fifteen-odd days....out in the Sacramento area...the media came up and realized that a homeless tent city had erupted and it was like discovering a new breed of elephant. After a couple of days....international media came....then finally came NPR (they typically get to the big stories four days late, if you didn't notice).

The horror? Well....there are around 250-odd people camping out. Homeless.....without jobs. I tried my best to analyze a dozen stories over this....even reading one British version.....and I really couldn't find anything much else to say.

So....in the last three days....state and city officals began to realize the huge political pressure on them. Naturally, the answer comes quick. Move those damn folks out of tent city.

So the governor has rigged up this "mess"....folks in tent city over the next week or two.....need to move to the state fair grounds....about ten miles (more or less) away. I had four different newspapers tell me various distances.....one claiming it was over 100 miles away (which I'm pretty sure is totally wrong). There at the wonderfully enhanced fair grounds....are toilets, shower facilities, and potential security to protect those poor folks.

Naturally, this moving and support at the fair grounds for the 250-odd people comes at a cost. In Bama, you ask about this at the very end. To get them moved, supported, protected, fed, and whatever....until the end of July (the governor kinda spoke that)...it will cost $1 million.

$1 million.

Yep....you read that correctly.

So, you divide (this is Bama math, for those who aren't simple-minded)....and basically....each guy costs $4,000.

I sat there for a long time. Thats a fair amount of money to support one guy....living on the state fair grounds.....for roughly 100 days.

Naturally....some reporters have shown some brilliance and asked what happens after July? Well...the state and local guys just kinda stand there....trying hard not to grin or smile. They believe that the 250 will be incorporated into the regular homeless folks already in Sacramento. The regional director of homeless folks (yep, there is such a job)....says around 1,200 exist in the area....and this would just make sense in combining this group with the regular group.

There is a remaining issue though. The NPR interview guy went through the crowd, and by the end of the interview.....I got the impression that most of the 250.....don't care to move.....and don't see this as anything but a show. In fact, one guy was sick of the media showing up and it was obvious in this discussion of the affair....nothing positive came out of the past fiftteen days except for more chit-chat on the news programs.

People want to badly compare this against the homeless life of the 1930s. The problem is.....we are nowhere near that grim picture.

I'm guessing at some point....someone is going to write a script....produce a comedy....and make this homeless city episode into a 3-star movie. There's an Austrian-Governor, a bunch of Democrats and Republicans, some nerdy news geeks, a bunch of community organizers, and likely some Latino dudes who aren't really citizens but we don't want to discuss that part.

So stand back and enjoy the show......Hollywoodville.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The Connecticut Gal

Two days have passed now on our gal in Connecticut who got all fired up to talk to the husband who wanted a divorce....went over....changed the locks on the bedroom whilst he slept....and locked him in the room. Then she handcuffed him to her....and tried to settle his nonsense on getting divorced. I reported this a day ago....more or less.

As we learn today.....Helen has apparently been a bit difficult and been described by the husband as obsessive in nature. Helen is one of them gals who doesn't take no for an answer. She also shows handyman skills at changing locks and screwdrivers.

I'm thinking she will get lots of letters from gentlemen who need a charming and dedicated lady like this. And the handcuff thing? Well....you can overlook it.

Explaining Carbon Credits to a Bama Guy

Recently, carbon credits and global warming have come back up in the news. I sat down and looked through the mess....of figuring a way to explain this whole mess to regular people. The thing is....I wrote the blog on this....about two years ago. I made a rule that normally.....I didn't ever pull out an old blog and just repeat it....but then global warming and carbon credits just aren't that easy to explain and my old blog did a great job.

So, this is it. Mind you....this was built to take carbon credits and compare to roadkill credits....which most of you regular people....and folks from Bama could readily understand.

Realizing some folks, especially from Ripley....just don't get it....I have spent many an hour trying to grasp Kyoto and carbon credits....it is difficult to explain simply....which makes me think it was intentional to avoid regular folks understanding it. So I....have taken this topic....and will now explain to the residents of Ripley. Knowing that none of this makes sense.....I have changed the entire topic...which will make sense. Instead of Kyoto and carbon credits....we will substitute Gadsden and roadkill credits (I know....it is a bit harsh....but lean on the spade a while and listen).

First....a bunch of folks around Bama (actually only 1,000)....came to a conclusion that there were simply too much roadkill in Bama. Didn't matter about how much....it was just too much.

So they started their statistical collections....county by county...all 67. Since they didn't invite the state police, the Baptists, the junior college folks or members of the Bama football team....it wasn't a pure scientific survey...if you know what I mean.

Friends of Roadkill, Friends of Raccoons, the Green Society, the Gorical Clan (head by Al), the Beavers of Baldwin County Society, and the Rattlesnake Foundation of Coosa County were the participants. They came to a grand meeting in Gadsden. It was held at the Motel Six complex there. It was a lively crowd...at least on Friday night when free booze was provided by the Gorical Clan. They talked and talked....and finally on Sunday afternoon....they came to an agreement.

The following weekend....they got a bunch of county commissionars from around the state to come in and discuss the matter. The governor thought it was a swell idea and the Lt Governor just gushed and grinned while the whole thing was being discussed. The interesting thing was...no political genius from the Bama senate or legislature....thought this was smart and all voted against any formal signing. So the day came for the real signing ceremony....where all the county commissioners signed on....but the governor was out of the state....at some bass tournament in New Orleans. The Lt Governor was around....but was having some horses shoed....and just did a interview saying how he thought this was fine. The Attorney General signed for the governor....but no one remembered keeping the signed paperwork after the ceremony in Gadsden.

So it was decided that each county had a problem with roadkill. Some counties had a real serious problem. And some counties barely had any issue whatsoever.

So each were assigned positive or negative roadkill credits. Ifing you were negative....you either improved your situation...or you bought enough positive roadkill credits from the other 66 counties to make up for your situation.

So Lauderdale came up...and sure enough....there were in the worst possible case. Minus 1,000 roadkill credits. Now.....you must realize this....Lauderdale has a big huge woods situation....lots of paved roads....and heavy traffic by folks going to the state-line where booze is allowed to be served. Hint: the Baptists may have rigged Lauderdale's numbers....but you can't prove it.

Now out in Marshall county...they had alot of lake and river acreage....and less paved roads. Strangely enough....they had a positive situation of 1100 roadkill credits. Further down in Greene county....poor as poor can be...they had alot less vehicles and less roads....so naturally....they had less roadkill....and a positive situation of 1300 roadkill credits....which was the best case in the state.

So Lauderdale's county commission met....and decided they needed to either have less roadkill (meaning less speed or less vehicles, in their mind)....or pay to buy positive roadkill credits. Since this being an open-market vehicle....on day-one....Marshall credits were going for $200 per credit so Lauderdale needed $200k to buy all them roadkill credits from Marshall....but they waited. As the weeks went by.....Marshall found more desperate people and sold at $300 per credit. Lauderdale finally ended up with Green county credits....paying down 50 percent now and 50 percent in six months.....at $250 a credit....so they paid total.....$250k.

So then the county commission had to figure how to spread this cost around....since they finally realized that they'd just attach it to the vehicle tax. That made things real simple for them.

So Greene county got this $250k....and they went out and started getting matching funds....and built more roads through the county. As time went by....the credits went up...to $500 a credit. Naturally....people just kept paying....why stop now.

The folks who collected data for the roadkill statistics.....naturally went back each year.....and found no real changes. Well....to be honest....they found that Greene county drastically climbed up on roadkill numbers after three years....but then they had a special graphical display which showed the change of geese migration and higher amounts of sunshine....which only occurred in Greene county apparently.....so the numbers didn't really change. Them Lauderdale folks were peeved about this....but fair is unfair....as they say in Gadsden. The Green folks talked passionately about roadkill and how it weren't right. Them furry animals deserve more of a chance in life. We are destroying our forrests and woodlands.

Eventually....religious groups like the Baptists got fully involved and preached about the furry creatures....telling us the gift of God and how we are responsible. They had prayer session on Wed night.....hoping some folks would more frequent that requirement.

Some politicians started running under the roadkill theme.....less roadkill....better nature. No one discussed lessening the roadkill credits.....those had to continue on. Meanwhile....the Governor moved on and a new Governor came in....and the first thing he said....this was the dumbest thing he ever heard of. Some folks started talking about the fact that this new governor hadn't signed the agreement....then some folks realized that all the signed papers were already turned in and weren't no need for more dimwits to sign a old form.

So finally one day.....a group of 400 Lauderdale hunters said to hell with this....bought 56,000 rounds of ammo....and killed every varmint in the entire county. It was referred to as the "great Shoals Saturday". They didn't talk much about the episode. The folks around the county kept their mouths shut....and waited.

Spring came....the roadkill folks came to collect data. Not a single bit of roadkill in Lauderdale over seven days. It was physically impossible. There were special county officials walking with the Green inspectors. The inspectors could not fix up fake numbers this time. Lauderdale was given a positive ranking of 4000 positive credits and proceeded to sell these for $500 per credit. $2 million came to the county.

The next year....another Saturday walk and every animal killed. Another $2 million came to the county.

By this point....Greene county folks were suspicious and found some Friends of Jesus is Green....and sent them up to check out Lauderdale. The Baptists tried to trip them up....but these folks were more Yankee than Bama.....and they discovered the entire episode.

By this point.....the folks in Montgomery came to realize that this was all a farce.....the credits didn't do nothing....and besides....Lauderdale was now cleared out of any animal life completely....which was never the intention of the whole episode. The real intention....if you didn't understand....was to take money from rich folks in Lauderdale....and send it to Greene county....where folks is poor as poor. So once this scheme was figured out...and had nothing to do with roadkill.....the whole thing went down the drain.

You'd be thinking this is all settled now....no more roadkill taxes....no more fees. But Lauderdale....having killed off all the local critters....now have hunters with nothing to hunt. So they mostly go hunt down in Greene county now....drink cheap beer and ribs there....and stay at a local Motel Six on highway 41. We's all good friends about this and them Greene county folks are friendly about sharing hunting critters.

So....when some fella comes around....talking carbon credits....sit there for a moment....and think about what you is buying and what you are getting in the end. Baptists would like to say one hand washes the other....but in the environmental world.....its more like taking $80 out of your billfold for some trashy trailer-park gal who sips bourbon from the bottle...who winks at you.....unbuttons the top three buttons...then just turns and walks away. If you stand there
long enough and think about it.....you really didn't get anything but eye candy. Maybe that makes you happy....but it ain't worth much in the real world.

So this is my best comparison of carbon credits to something you'd all understand. The truth? Its a scheme to part a guy from his money....and the richer you are.....the quicker this will work.

Capping and Trading

Someone in the past day or two....finally started asking questions about the structure of the President’s “cap-and-trade” carbon reduction scheme.

They finally realized that back in 2000 and 2001, while Barack Obama served as a board member for a Chicago-based charity; he came up and apparently helped to fund a brand new carbon trading exchange. The amusing thing is that its the same exchange that plays a key part in this entire plan in 2009.

Thanks to the Joyce Foundation....and community organizer Obama....almost $1.1 million in two separate grants that were utilized in developing and starting the Chicago Climate Exchange. And in case you wondered....this exchange does call itself "North America's only cap and trade system for all six greenhouse gases, with global affiliates and projects worldwide."

The amusing part of this entire deal....is that the President of the Joyce Foundation in 2000, where this Chicago Climate Exchange started.....was Paula DiPerna.

Guess where Paula is today? She is now executive vice president of the Chicago Climate Exchange, in charge of corporate recruitment and public policy, as well as president of CCX International.

Now....the next question you should ask....how much money are we talking here? The answer.....as best as the experts can figure....$2 trillion over eight years. Naturally, this is three times more than the originally projected cost, was given in a White House briefing to Senate staffers last week and reported by US News and World Report and the Washington Times.

The chances now of this scheme continuing forward? Well....since this bit of news has come out....it’ll naturally trigger some folks into asking stupid questions.
Adding to this....is the fact that 28 U.S. Senators, including West Virginia's Robert Byrd and Michigan's Carl Levin, both Democrats, who apparently have issues. Between the two of them....there promises to be a filibuster in Congress over the entire mess.

From the very beginning of discussion over ‘cap-and-trade’....you had to move forward with some organization playing the middleman.....which is where you need to focus your attention. The middleman is the one that rakes in the cost and arranges the numbers. The second factor....if you haven’t paid attention....is who arranges the data. Most of this data is not absolute....so you have to blend in various factors and come to an imaginary number....which is used to refloat the market each and every day. A true market in the carbon scheme....would then balance in a volcanic eruption when it occurs....and then rebalanced the numbers by tomorrow morning....but as you might imagine...this will never occur.


In a neat and tidy memo from the DOD office of security to Pentagon members, the order was given......avoid using the term 'Long War' or 'Global War on Terror' [GWOT.]

The new term? 'Overseas Contingency Operation.'"

So “0C0”?

Yep. We can officially say that the war is over now....and we’ve moved on. The only problem I see with this...is that the conflict can probably erupt within the confines of the US borders....this making the word “0verseas” wrong or illogical. But then, we can use the next phrase or 0C0 version 2.1 or 0C0 version 2.5 if necessary.

Does the word game matter? The honest Bama truth? No. At the end of the day....you could call this anything you want....as long as you react and protect the nation. The sad thing is that a bunch of folks will climb onto this change.....quickly inserting it into their nomination packages, award packages, and organizational changes. And some crafty people will start using “0C0” as a regular term, except you might notice....these are not “O”’s as you’d expect...they are zero’s.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Not My Government

Somewhere in the midst of today...Financial wizard Geithner....one of our favorite dudes in the White House...came up in congress and said he wanted the president to have authority to seize not only banks...but insurance companies, investment firms, and just about anyone whose primary business circles around money.

I sat there for a long while thinking about this. Basically...the President would just issue an executive order...then grab onto a insurance company....or Vanguard....or some Credit Union in Nashville.

I sat and then read over the Constitution....a good ten minutes....probably for the 88th time in my life...scaning for magical powers that are granted to the President to do something like this. Frankly...there's nothing there. So there might be something where Congress just granted the guy invisible powers relative to this...but I kinda doubt it.

This is not exactly something that I'd like to hand some guy in terms of power. We start getting into a point where the government comes up....grabs something...and then tries to run it. I can't think of anything much that runs ok after that point.

If this is so logical...why not allow the guy to seize a NBA team, or some boat manufacture company in Red Bay.....or some Honky Tonk in Winslow? Could we give the guy the power to seize CNN or grab ahold of Victoria's Secret? Would we grant the President authority to grab onto Hustler magazine? How about Coke, Pepsi, or Dollywood? Could the President grab the secret receipe to Kentucky Fried Chicken if he felt it was necessary?

At some point....we need to gravitate back to a point and strongly consider this agenda. I don't have a problem if some court announced that some company was bankrupt and then gave access or control over to the executive branch to manage until some future point.....but for the President to have this authority up front? No....it just won't work.

Is there a reason behind my thinking? Well....to be honest....I really don't want some future Baptist President from the Bama lands...coming up into power....and grabbing ahold of beer companies in America. You can smell abuse a mile away on this issue....and this just wouldn't be right.

So you might want to say something to your dimwitted Senator tomorrow....to make sure he doesn't screw up and accidentally pull a "Dodd" and sign us up for President "Grabbiness Powers"....and screw up our lives even more.

Robert and Helen

There's a fascinating story today...concerning some Connecticut gal and her husband. I'm one of them fellas who often appreciate the effort of folks to hold a marriage together....in the best and worst of times. In Bama....we tend to regard a guy and his wife who make this effort as a 'wonder'.

Apparently....this gal....Helen Sun...actually in her mid-30's.....wanted to try and rework this marriage of theirs....with husband....Robert Drawbough. We don't know the actual circumstances of trouble here....and kinda wonder if this was a pretty severe breakup.

Helen apparently showed up at the place where the husband was....then she changed the locks to the bedroom door...whilst he was asleeping.

Then....Helen got out a fine pair of handcuffs....and got herself onto the bed....handcuffing herself to the husband. This was all pretty much an effort to talk to Robert...sensibly. Well...it started out this way.

Apparently....Helen and Robert have some pretty deep issues. And at some point, the light dicussion turned into a bit of heated talk. We aren't sure what he was saying or what she was referring to....but things got a bit testy.

Robert decided at some point....after being bit on the torso and arms...that this chat just weren't going to get much better...then discovered the damn door was all locked up, with no key.

Robert at this point....all heated up and sweating probably....tried to do some logical thinking but she was biting the hell out of him. So then he realized that he did have a cellphone with him...and proceeded to call the cops.

The cops actually could hear him screaming and begging for help.

They finally broke into the house....broke the door open and SAVED poor Robert...taking him to the hospital for various bite treatments.

Helen? Well...presently...the cops are going to charge her with with third-degree assault, disorderly conduct, reckless endangerment and unlawful restraint.

Based on what law I do know...she could be looking at a month in the local jail if the judge is fairly serious about this. I'm pretty sure that the boys at the hospital took plenty of pictures of Robert's butt and the bite marks. The reckless endangerment will like be the one that she can't get out of.

Now, I sat and pondered this mess here between Robert and Helen. Surely, there was something that Helen saw...that could possibly rekindle the passion between them...but apparently, Robert saw something otherwise.

Would a thing like this happen in Bama? That's the puzzling thing....no. As most of you Bama folks know....we gentlemen in Bama keep a fair sized arsenal of weapons in our bedroom...along with a baseball bat....boat paddle....set of wrenches....case of beer....a can of Liquid Wrench....a crowbar....and some tractor axel grease. Surely between all of those potential weapons....we'd defend ourselves from some Bama Helen before she tore into us terribly with her teeth. But...we'd likely give Helen nine or ten chances to wrestle this out of her system...ifing she wanted to...before we went to more drastic action.

As for what happens to Robert and Helen? Well...I'm thinking they ought to sign up for Jerry' Springer's show....or see if some boxing gloves would improve the relationship.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Battlestar End?

There are around five shows that I truly care about on TV. Battlestar Galacticia was one of them. Last week....came the final episode.

It was one of those that you could not have expected. I got this from clips and written commentary.....because its heck to watch US TV in Germany.

First, the folks had thought they had come to their intended target....Earth....and found a wasteland and destruction. Whatever had been there.....was long gone. It was destroyed long ago. Then came the Cylons, and what they perceived as the final battle. The humans won....but the ship was mostly destroyed and things were going downhill fast. Then Starbuck plugged in her dream location that she kept thinking about and they "jumped"....and then suddenly found themselves in a orbit around a planet that looked just like Earth. The Battlestar was dying....they had no real time....so they evacuated themselves to the surface and found the real Earth....but 200,000 years in the past.

Naturally, the bulk of the story ends here.....because you then realize that they are the ones who brought civilization to the Earth....and how we developed today. It is a shocker of sorts.

For me....this was a creative series from start to finish. The thing is....you just can't avoid looking at this scenario and wondering if this was the method that humans eventually came to this planet.

Its the wonder of things that goes through your mind. Maybe....maybe not. Things are strange in perception to our unknown history. We have to point to state the obvious....we merely guess.

I found this series to great in teaching leadership, judgement, ethics, and wisdom. They led you through a course in various aspects of human life. You have to make a decision based on what you know or don't know. Then you take the risk. I came to enjoy this show for the various risks that they displayed.

So its over....or so we think. The funny thing is....what happens to the human-like cylons that made it to the Earth? They don't die? Do they? And if not? Are they still on Earth today? That would be the curious part of this entire end....and they leave you hanging. I'm guessing that they do still exist....for story purposes.

Oh, and by the way....if you were curious about my favorite character....it is Number Six. Between Number Six and Seven of Nine......my heart breaks every time I have to make a choice over who'd I fall for....because I just can't make a decision like that.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Evil Executives

Yesterday, the Obama team announced that its going figure out a way for increased oversight of executive pay at all banks, Wall Street firms and 'other' companies...to settle this uneven and unfair method of compensation. At least, this is what the New York Times is reporting. The best part of this deal? Its all going to be discussed at the G-20 summit in about two weeks. This is their cornerstone....cleaning up America by taking on the evil executives.

I sat there for a while...looking over this hint of things to come. I pondered, and then it came to me.

First, this is an act which would have to be passed by the senate and house...and that means that a bunch of senators and representatives have to like this idea. At some point in this discussion....some fairly well-off executives are going to approach Senator Tubby, Senator Dimwit, and Senator Don...and kinda let them know that this $80k campaign donation that they gave every few years....is now settle back to $10k. The trips over to the Arizona 5-star resort....canceled. Senator Tubby is going to scratch his head and then realize that his friends are upset. He'll sink back into his chair and realize that this isn't as tidy as the President indicated.

Its very likely that the senate will kill off this idea...but if they don't....and if they really go full speed ahead...then prepare for the 'nuke'.

The 'nuke'? If you were a US company and under some stupid rules on compensation...why would you keep this a US company? Why not pack up and move to Canada? Why not move to Ireland? Why not move to some island in the Caribbean? It'll take a year or two...but I'm guessing that dozens of major companies that fall into the trap....will decide that being a US company just isn't worth the hassle.

At some point...Senator Tubby will then realize that no one from this company that he used to associate with...ever comes around. They party and socialize with a bunch of Ottawa political figures now. They get the $80k donations for campaign funds. And the taxes that the wealthy executives used to pay? Well...it goes to Canada now.

By fixing the problem...we really helped to fix the mess...by encouraging them to leave. In the long run....this does ensure that we never have an executive pay problem ever again....but then we don't have that many major US companies either.

Just something to think about.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

The Only Things I Can Teach You

Behind everything that I represent or portray....I'm accidentally a mentor. Its not like I asked for the 'profession' or went to some university to gain 'mentordom' (don't worry, its a non-existent word). Its some freak act of nature which my dad passed onto me as a kid, and I simply keep passing it today.

I sat down several years ago and finally grasped this mentor thing. I didn't see this as much of a big deal. Some people did.

So I'm going to offer up ten things that you need to know in life....just my ten things as I see them.

First, it never hurts to stand back and look at everything going on....the problems, the chaos, the troubles, the woes, the madness, the dimness, and ponder the big picture. For some reason, our chief priority in a chaotic moment...is to jump up and start doing a bunch of things....without a lot of thinking. I would strongly suggest to pause over the situation and consider implications. Sometimes...doing nothing...is better than doing a thousand things.

Second, the nation and the world survived a heck of a long time without internet, modern technology, and schedules. If something fails once in a while.....I wouldn't really get to upset....life goes on. You don't need to fall apart when your flight gets canceled or an ice storm kills your power.

Third, in the midst of a moment with a terminal guy....who is fairly shaken by their turn of events in their life...just standing there and listening is more powerful than uttering all your talk on cancer research, positive thinking, or where the best hospitals are located. Quietly listening.....because they really want to tell you something....and they don't want vast responses back.

Fourth, we used to barely know the name of the guy who was the governor, the President, and the guy who runs Jeopardy....and that was enough. We now know the names of around 35 different senators, six members of the cabinet, and twenty-odd represenatives....plus maybe even the mayor of our local town. But ask yourself this...has this really improved anything? Sometimes....knowing more....means knowing little in the end.

Fifth, did it ever really matter over the politics of your favorite movie star, your favorite pop-star, your local minister, or the neighbor? A whole bunch of folks want to tell us something now....which really doesn't fix or improve anything. Then they want to encourage us to get 'political'...as though they know best. The truth is....we just might be ok with going back to the way it was in 1966.

Sixth, you could spend $6k on a magnificent vacation to China for ten days and get a vast experience beyond your imagination. You could also spend $600 camping in Minnesota for ten days, grilling steak and frying fish on alternate days, and still have an experience that was vastly beyond your imagination.

Seventh, some people have a natural tendency to argue. Let them get just a teaspoon's amount of argument....before you smile and readily agree with them just to get off the hook.

Eighth, sometimes....a sense of humor....is worth more than a million dollars. And if you can slyly use that humor in spoonfuls....its worth two million dollars.

Ninth, acceptance of a miserable situation...means that you really didn't consider any alternate scenarios. If you have alot of patience and enjoy being miserable....by all means...continue on. If not....then simply conceive a different scenario....a different solution....a different life.

Tenth, gains in life are simply not measured. Maybe its a mile or a foot or thousand miles....a gain is a gain....and should always be appreciated.

My ten cents of mentoring.

The DVD Dimwits

Yesterday, it was finally put out in the UK. Yes, those DVD's that President Obama gave Gordon Brown....are region one DVD's. For those of you from Ripley and Boise....this means that they only play in the US. So Prime Minister Gordon Brown....sitting at Number Ten Downing Street, London, England.....can't play the damn DVD's that President Obama presented as a gift last week. I hinted of this possibility....but I kept thinking....these people have to be smart and have bought these in the UK...right? Wrong.

So the value of the DVD's? About as much as a pair of socks?

Could Gordon sell the DVD's? Then it suddenly came to me. The greatest E-Bay gimmick of all time.....a set of DVD's presented by the president of the United States....to Gordon Brown....as a gift from one world leader to another. The value? I'm thinking well over $10k. Yes....the greatest moment in E-Bay history.

So, Gordon....this is what you must do....declare this a charity situation and then open an account called "Gordie_B_Hot_Stuff" and then put the collection up, with an offically signed document from your pen....with a picture of yourself in a tweed jacket of course.....and then put it up for auction. The money....keep $60 for yourself and buy the wife a new purse....and give the rest to the "Orphans of London" society. I'm betting $10k minimum on the sale.

Now, turning back to the Obama crew in DC. You've been made into fools. You let the boss down bigtime. You haven't traveled overseas much and it shows greatly. You have no taste and no class.....so you need a new employee in the White House....just to pick the right gifts. Region one and region two? Get some information and figure this out. Don't act stupid. If you don't the answer.....ask the telepromter....but get the scoop on the stuff you buy.

Friday, 20 March 2009

I Don't Know This Guy

The role of the president of the United States....is not to be a cult figure.

The role of the president of the United States....is not to be a comedian.

The role of the president of the United States....is not to identify with people or have them identify with you.

The role of the president of the United States...is not to be witty or charming or debonair.

The role of the president of the United States....is not to chat or talk over your position in life.

I sat and watched this clip of President Obama visiting Jay Leno, and felt uncomfortable. It was not what you’d expect out of Ronald Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt, Bill Clinton or LBJ. This was some kind of character that you’d think of....when watching Family Man, “Lost”, or Doctor Phil. It was not the legendary position of president of the United States. It was something less.

The joke with bowling? It went bad, but you had to expect it. I suspect it was written by someone on the show and they thought it’d come off ok.....it didn’t. It made him more of a fool.

The idea of visiting some nightly talk show? Zero value unless you want to sell yourself. You end up trying to make yourself come across as just another regular guy. You aren’t. This isn’t that kind of job.

What do I expect? I would hope this is the last visit to a comedy show. If not....I’d prepare for the public to take you as being just another character....and probably not respect you for your situation. This would be an anchor to drag you quickly down.

Enemy Non-Combatants?

Members of Gitmo were once referred to as “Enemy Combatants”.

This past week…without saying a lot….the guys who were members of Gitmo…got a totally new name but everything else was left intact. The new reference? "Individuals captured in connection with armed conflicts and counter terrorism operations," or "members of enemy forces," or "persons who [the President] determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, and persons who harbored those responsible for the September 11 attacks.”

Yes, a mouthful….if you were of a Bama persuasion. But to truthful…there really isn’t much that you can all bothered about. You are basically the same guy that you were a week ago…sitting in some tropic prison of sorts….enjoying less than friendly company because of something that you might have done.

A Toast to the Number Four Network?

Number four in the news groups? CNN.

All the way through the past week....CNN trailed not only Fox News and MSNBC but also its own sister network, Headline News.

They are drawing fewer viewers...so why?

I think they have expended most of their magic and the majority of Americans don't find any gusto in their message. And the interesting thing....fewer viewers....means lesser advertising....and therefore lesser profits. They are finding reality to be difficult.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Only a Curious Thing

This week, we learned an interesting thing. Even though he didn't say anything about it weeks ago...which you would expect....President Obama signed a deal to write some kind of kid's book....then got a $500k advance on the entire project....just fie days prior to taking office.

How did we learn this? The terms of the book deal were written into in a Senate financial disclosure report.....filed this week and probably accidentally found by some goofball with little else to do but read such boring reports.

The curious thing? The first time that they advanced him money to write a particular type of book....he couldn't write it. He ended up writing a biography of sorts....which wasn't what the book company wanted. Based on the speech used in both books that he's 'written'....its strictly speculated that he didn't write either. So, in this case...we can only assume that he's found his ghost writer somewhere, and is writing some book on how wonderful the White House is....and how we can all be part of some village.

Why would you not admit this contract? That's the last part of this curiosity. Transparency....would be something that you'd expect. If this were Clinton or Bush...there would be questions. Today? No one much in the media is saying a word.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

A Damn Fine Script

Today, when we needed another fifty pounds of stupidity from Washington....we got it. This coming from our good friend....Senator for Life and Full-time Dimwit Christopher Dodd, who happens to be the awesome chairman of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

His comment over the AIG episode? "This is another outrageous example of executives -- including those whose decisions were responsible for the problems that caused AIG's collapse -- enriching themselves at the expense of taxpayers."

Chris decided to inform CNN that he’s now considering an unusual approach for forcing a fix onto the whole bonus problem with AIG.....TAX the money back into federal hands. "One idea we're kind of thinking about is a tax provision," Chris spoke. "We have a right to tax. You could write a tax provision that's narrowly crafted only to the people receiving bonuses. That's a way maybe to deal with it."

I sat there for a while...looking over all these comments...from Chris, the White House, the Today Show....and after a while...I came to realize that this is mostly 'scripted'. Yes, its like a "Lost" episode....with the players saying the right things at the right time.

First, consider this...the AIG deal for bonuses, was written into the contract twelve months ago. We know this today. Its absolute fact. AIG management knew this, and the dimwit congressmen who did the big "we-want-to-save-you" bailout knew this.

We also know today that ole Chris Dodd actually wrote mighty fine paragraph into the AIG bailout paragraph...giving an exception for the $180 million bonus.

Heres the thing...the guys who would get the bonus...were known a year ago. The amount....known a year ago. The distribution plan...known a year ago. In this case, Chris or one of his staff members knew of this entire deal.

So the script?

The AIG organization is stuck...they already signed the contract and must pay the money. The treasury guys and congress team doing the AIG deal...knew precisely this. So an arrangement was made. Chris wrote his exception into the rules....and the guys involved...thought they were safe. So weeks have passed and here we are. So we move into phase two.

Here, everyone has a scripted response when learning that the bonus is about to be paid out. Neatly and tidily, Chris is now ready to write a new tax code....designed strictly for the $180-million guys. They can collect the money...but he'll just arrange for the tax to handle recovery of it. So the company stays clean and tidy with the contract....and the boys are totally screwed by the US government...nice and legal.

Along the way...everyone appears correct and happy to take the bonus away...making their rounds on the Today Show and MSNBC. Heck, at this point, Chris looks dopey but he's been accused of being dopey for two decades...so whats new?

Pretty neat...a tidy script...a bunch of idiots in the senate and house....and then some rich executives who made too much money. You couldn't ask for a better script unless some orphan girl appeared out of thin air, or some dwarf became president.

Just Another Idiot Republican

Its fascinating sometimes to watch Republicans who shoot themselves in the foot with stupid comments. Yesterday, we had Iowa Senator Charles Grassley suggest that AIG executives should take a Japanese approach toward accepting responsibility for the collapse of the insurance giant by resigning or killing themselves. "I suggest, you know, obviously, maybe they ought to be removed," Charlie said. "But I would suggest the first thing that would make me feel a little bit better toward them if they'd follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, I'm sorry, and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide”.

Actually, I half-way agree with this...but wonder if some senators wouldn’t mind also imitating the Japanese and just do the right thing when they’ve screwed up. Instead, we end up getting them on Sunday afternoon chat shows or on some radio station out of Iowa...spouting some stupid comments....or meeting with special friends to fix up laws to improve the status of the friend’s tax situation or company.

The Japanese have a special feeling about failure and shame. US Senators? They have no fear of failure....having done so on a daily and weekly basis for years. And they certainly have no shame in their efforts.

So as much as they’d like to really slam AIG....having been the chief supporters of saving AIG....but never writing any rules into their “SAVE AIG” plan.....then you have to wonder if they ever even asked themselves if bonuses would come up during the next twelve months. And then you can ask Charlie now....when will bonuses be acceptable....and you will get some fourteen line blast that has no rhyme or reason....but sounds good on the screen.

This sadly....is American democracy....where shame and stupidity go hand-in-hand.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Along the Border

What most of you may have missed about a month ago…..was a military-style attack in Mexico….at the police station in Zihuatanejo. Few if any major US news sources mentioned the attack. The positive news of the episode is that only four people were injured….the negative is that military grenades were used in this attack. The escalation in Mexico is obvious.

It’s a trend….part of the drug war in Mexico. The traffickers are in the midst of an arms race….moving toward military-style weapons. You can figure that hand grenades, grenade launchers, armor-piercing munitions and antitank rockets are very close at hand.

Weapons merchants in Central America are seeing a brisk business at this rate….and will clean up financially.

What should we expect within two years? The military-style weapons will eventually move to the border region and be used there….and even across the border on US soil. At that point, the public in the region will be asking questions of state leaders and the local police. Both will admit that this is way beyond their abilities.

We are looking at the eventual deployment of US troops to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and California….probably in the 20,000 range….waging combat on the streets and roads of America. It’s something that we really can’t contemplate or visualize.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

The Ten Things Left

People always have this list.....the twenty things they want to do in life.....the fifty places they want to visit....the ten accomplishments they want....etc.

I walked and pondered over this idea today. I had an hour to waste....walking a circle around my village....my weekly long walk.

I'm fifty, and done alot of things in my life. To be truthful.....I've probably only done half the things I dreamed about at age 20....and I have to admit that I didn't have a big long list of things to start with.

So whats left?

1. I'd like to drive a circle around the US.....starting on the east coast, heading northward to Seattle, down to San Diego, an then back to Charleston to end the drive. I've drawn this map a hundred times, and figure I'd need fourteen years to make this possible. Why? For the hell of it....and not much else. The odds of doing this....probably up near eighty percent....at least I'm still hoping.

2. I'd like to be drafted into a job at a school with a dozen punk 'losers'....and be tasked to teach them. There are problems in this....I'm not a certified teacher and thus a major speedbump exists here. My method of teaching....might violate a dozen normal standards. The odds of this happening? Less than five percent.

3. I'd like to take a year off and write three books. I already have the stories, the characters and chapters in my mind. I just haven't found the time to ever start on such an effort. The odds of me doing this? Maybe forty percent....at best.

4. I'd like to go and spend ten days....alone...in New York City. I'd probably write a 200 page book of my ten days in Gotham. I have that love-hate-fear of New York City.....which likely makes this possibility less than twenty percent of ever happening.

5. I'd like to be a character on "Lost". I'm not picky....I'd even be willing to be Uncle Gus, who was on the flight but got separated from group one and group two....and I've been sitting around the island for weeks....just grilling fish and playing with the wild polar bear I found on the island....who I named "Ben".

6. I'd like to be a ambassador for the US government....preferably to Tonga. I realize that I'd probably have to donate $200k for someone's re-election campaign...and I really don't have $200k to donate.....but I've had this as a dream fantasy.

7. I'd like to take a slow freighter....from Europe, to Hong Kong, and back. Nothing fancy....just a regular freighter of sorts.

8. I'd like to go and spend an entire month touring Scotland. Call it a drive or just a tour....but I'd like to see it from the prospective of a just a guy from Bama.

9. I'd like to learn a musical instrument....like a banjo or guitar. I probably have no talent, but I've always had this yearning to be able to play something.

10. I'd like to find a simple porch....in a simple town....and listen to small-town woes.

That's my list.....and I doubt that more than two or three ever happen. One can hope though.

Just An Observation

I sat yesterday and watched over numerous comments concerning the Jon Stewart confrontation with the financial wizard Cramer.

While it was an interesting one-sided confrontation.....with Cramer losing....it was the aftermath where the media wizards ran to tell everyone that the 'experts' on the financial news channels and shows....mislead everyone. They showed clips....gave evidence.....and proudly proclaimed what was somewhat true. I made a couple of blogs about this two years ago....that the financial experts really weren't experts.

But after this spectator event, and the aftermath....I kinda wondered if the financial experts were alone. What about the media and newsmen? Were they just as incompetent? Haven't they mislead people with facts and stories which were bogus?

So when does Jon Stewart take them on? Well....hell might freeze before this happens. And the big worry I have....Jon might actually decide to take on political figures next.....which would destroy democracy as we know. Course, this might not be such a bad thing.

Just Thinking

It kinda bothers me. Some smart guys sat down over the past seven years and did some human research. This past week...they announced their results. After looking over 2,000 guys and gals....ages 18 to 60, and this is what they think....old age starts at 27. Yep...no kidding.

These guys tossed visual puzzles, recall words and story details and spot patterns in letters and symbols....at these folks. Top performance age? 22 years old. At that point...thinking-wise....you have peaked.

I should add....this is the University of Virginia...not some bogus organization like the National Idiots Academy or such.

Throughout most of these tests....memory started to decline from the average age of 37.

I sat and pondered over this. I'm fifty....which means that I've lost alot of my genius and brilliance....and remember....being from Bama, I only had "x" amount to start with. So this is pretty sad and tragic news. Then I started thinking...these guys who did the testing...likely went to average folks....who all drink booze, whiskey, beer and wine. Being a natural Bama-ite...and all those years in a dry county...I was able to avoid booze-destruction of my brain cells. I'm actually in a better position than these guys tested.

Then I started to think this testing garbage. For some reason, I've noticed that most folks over thirty years....really hate tests anyway. They don't want to tax themselves or push themselves. So when some idiot did come up and announce a test...I'm guessing that they didn't pay much attention....thus inviting wrong answers and a bad score.

So I came to this opinion that maybe all of this testing business might be null and void. The idea of peaking out at 27...might be totally wrong. Added to this...I then realized that Einstein's best years....were all after the age of fifty. Socrates's best thinking? All after the age of fifty.

So I feel better now....although I taxed my brain a heck of a lot....and need a shot of Jacky D's to relax now.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

The Long Road to Sacramento

To be kinda honest....I once lived in Tent City. Yes. Perhaps I should feel shame...or something terrible...but I lived in Incirlik's Tent City in Turkey....for around 120 days. It was military Tent City...but still...it was Tent City.

Here in recent days...Sacramento's "Tent City" has kinda popped up. In fact...its gotten so much popular notice....that its on YOUTUBE and noted nation-wide. I should even add...it's even getting international notice.

The thing about Sacramento's Tent City....is that its basically a sprawling campground...with only a population of 100 to 200 homeless men and women.

Amusingly enough....even "Inside Edition" has decided to feature Sacramento's Tent City.

So you'd sit there and think...wow....Tent City getting noticed. Pretty neat. My 120 days in Incirlik's Tent City didn't really get noticed by anyone. Between the toilet that was 300 feet away....the cockroaches...the mice....the scorpions...the dust....I just kinda sat there in a daze mostly.

Here in this episode? Apparently some city leaders are starting to shake their heads over this Tent City.

For some reason....with all this Oprah-like attention....there is now a hot debate going on....in Sacramento.....over whether the campground be 'legal' and then if they should provide basic services.....like portable bathrooms and water. Somewhere in the midst of this mess...the city and county are trying to figure out how to avoid a class-action lawsuit over their treatment of homeless folks.

I would pull out the constitution if anyone cared....just to show them that they really don't have rights to city-paid services....like bathrooms or water or roofs. For some apparent reason....Jefferson never wrote those into the document. Course, a homeless advocate would say that Jefferson was never homeless. True...he would have gone and pitched a tent....caught a rabbit....found some way of survival and then proceeded on.

The episode becomes like some TV show....where facts and data are dumped....whether true or not. Some media folks are now saying well over 1,200 homeless folks exist at the Sacramento camp....but the locals kinda laugh...they are still mostly at 200....and its not really increasing much....least not yet.

Then you've got a couple of folks....probably international media....who are reporting this camp as a "refugee camp". I started laughing about that comment. The same guys are hinting that these are mostly formerly middle-class people who have been hit by the recession. Again, the local settle that matter by saying a few are formerly middle-class...the majority are not.

The truth is that the camp has now become some kinda zoo where media members come and go...to get some great shots and interview a few people to describe the great '2009 depression'.

As some of the homeless authorities now admit....this media attention has now stressed out the homeless.....and started to effect "the morale and dignity of the homeless people themselves".

The advocates are super-positive over this episode....with folks dropping off lots of stuff. But then...the act of taking the homeless guy up to a job opportunity or getting them hired on with McDonalds or Wendys....doesn't come to the mind of the homeless advocates.

I've often seen this attitude on TV....where you have a sheep herder (homeless advocate), who desperately wants to keep his herd in line and stabilized (the homeless folks). The idea of the flock moving on...getting regular lives....is the least of the priorities.

You would think...that you'd take the guy in....get them shaved and cleaned up....dressed in a decent set of clothing....and then write up a good little resume and then get some decent interviews out of the way...and hired with someone...anyone...would be a top priority. Instead...the advocates usually keep wanting to talk to the guy....give them soup and water....and arrange for long-term homelessness.

So somewhere out in California tonight....around 200 folks sit in Sacramento....sipping some free coffee from the advocates. They are listening to good homelessness chat, posing for pictures with some reporter from Paris or some journalist from New York City...and then counting the stars before they nod off to sleep. Something's not right here....but who am I tell a bunch of smart people that?

So from a guy who spent 120 days in a Tent City to another guy sitting in Samramento's Tent City....if you want to stay and enjoy the freedoms and wonder of Tent City life....then go for it. But if you really would like to move on and get a better deal...then don't accept the deal. Use every chance to get a job and rebuild. Don't settle for permanent homelessness.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Just a Moment of Reality

So today...as I kinda figured would happen sooner or later....someone finally sat down and discussed this recent report of child homelessness. There were fantastic numbers utilized for the public report about five days ago. They believed that almost 1.5 million American children (one in fifty)....were experiencing homelessness in 2005-06.

The amusing thing that we learned today? The folks doing this fantastic study....did not use the federal definition of homelessness.

Almost every single news source...went with the original story. It was so sad and so tragic. The bait and the hook were employed however.

At the time...I kept sitting there and wondering...did they count in those kids who are staying with Mom...at Grandma's house...because of family issues or lack of money? This fabious number of one in fifty would work then...but you can't consider this group of kid's as homeless...especially if Grandma or Grandpa are protecting them.

So rather than using a simple definition of homelessness...already established and accepted by the experts....by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development....this Massachusetts-based organization used a standard adopted by the Department of Education that includes children who are "doubled up."

You can guess what doubled-up means....its housing with Grandma. Its pretending to be homeless...even when Grandpa's got you completely covered.

How big a difference? 1,170,000 children. So bluntly, we are back to a realistic number of 350,000...out of 350 million.

I'm not proud of the 350k number. I don't like it. But it infuriates me that a bunch of dimwits sought to overwhelm the public with bogus information...pretending to be "right", when they weren't. Its called 'cherry-picking'...the environmentalists do this all the time.

In this case...they desperately wanted to call Grandpa's house...as unacceptable. They wanted the extended family unit to be worthless and not acceptable. They wanted people to find 'wrong' with moving back in with the the relatives. They sought something that was not ethically right. This is what bothers me most.

All across America tonight...there are parents with their kids...who've moved back in with the Grandpa. He has extended his roof, his protection, his warmth, and everything of value...to his kin. He wants little in exchange. He is taking them in....because its the right thing to do. He wants these close relatives in a place where they are comforted and taken care of. Sadly, this is a southern trait...which I suspect these Massachusetts folks don't really grasp or want to have any part of. Southerners have this passion for protecting their kin...down to the last breathe, if necessary.

So there in the evening hours...you are going to sit and pause over the concept of homelessness and how some folks tried to devise their mighty numbers. You will think about some woman in Ripley...sitting there in the kitchen and sipping coffee...while her father plays with the grandkids. Her husband is late from the Piggly Wiggly job that he took last month...and he's got the $1100 check for the month...which helps in rebuilding their lives...but it'll be months before they are prepared for the next step. She knows the wings of the mighty old house are protecting her. Any fool that might dream of this as being homelessness...is mostly a fool. She's living in paradise....she will gladly admit so.

The State of NPR

As most of you know....I'm a love/hate NPR enthusiast. There are various things about NPR that really tick me off, and makes me want to give it up. There are other elements....that I will praise and give them five stars. I'd really like to see them out from under the government and actually performing like a legit network. The problem is....they would go bankrupt in less than a year.

This week.....Ellen McDonnell....NPR's director of morning programming....sent a office memo out....that hard times had finally hit. As of 1 April....NPR is canceling all newspaper subscriptions.

The curious thing I find about this....this network has serious issues with salaries that are way beyond what you'd consider for a government agency. The top five salaries at NPR?

1. Managing Editor Barbara Rehm, $383,139.
2. All Things Considered host Robert Siegel [pictured], $350,288.
3. Morning Edition host Renee Montagne, $332,160.
4. Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, $331,242.
5. NPR afternoon programming director Richard L. Harris, $190,267.

What the boys are discovering...is that the charity operations have curtailed their yearly donations drastically. So the government funding side of the house is now carrying the weight....and it really wasn't intended to have a significant number of $100k employees.

Could NPR survive with a bunch of guys making $60k to $80k? Well...in Washington? No. That's part of the problem with NPR and its Washington/New York production effort. If I were the organizational boss...I'd smile at everyone and announce the movement to Louisville, Kentucky in six months...either pack and move with us...taking a fifty percent pay cut if you make more than $100k a year....or find other employment.

I think as 2009 continues on...we will find more and more little cuts for the NPR staff. It'll eventually be difficult to keep their prospective and they will realize that they are working for a government charity unit with no potential.

Cramer versis Stewart

So if you watched the Comedy Central show last night...."The Daily Show".....you got a dose of Jon Stewart versus Jim Cramer.

So folks will say that Cramer got what he deserved. So will say that Stewart is trying hard to pretend to be a real journalist when he's a comedian. I pondered the comments and watched the clip....barely eight minutes.

The truth is that the Financial news sector is mostly bogus. About half of the information they hand out....is factual and within reason. The other half? Its mostly without fact or reason. If in the midst of an interview with an idiot CEO....none of the news sector folks will ask tough questions or make pointed judgments. That will never happen.

The serious nature of Jon Stewart? This is what I often wonder about. This is the one guy who could probably come on every night.....and as bold as Will Rogers.....set reality in America into its place. Does he do it? No. About once in an entire 30-minute show.....he'll show that rare moment of Will Rogers. He could willingly take on both the Republicans and Democrats.....but generally....that just won't happen.

The act on Cramer? To be honest....Cramer isn't the guy to take strong defenses. He's not a 4-star debate artist. What Jon Stewart accomplished looked decent.....but in measurements....its a six on a scale of ten. He took on a decent argument and then tossed the guy around for seven minutes. I can't say too much to pat Jon on the back.

So I'm waiting. I'm waiting for Jon to come out of the shadows and take on just about everyone....from the Saudis, to Barney Frank......from the New York Times to Warren Buffet.....from the Limbaugh crowd to Nancy Pelosi.

Comedy Central and the Daily Show? They have built his skills up and made him a decent artist at what he does. But when you have the brush of Picaso, why would you paint a half-ass drawing? So I'm waiting....and I may have to wait a long damn time....but I've got patience, and know that Jon's going to come out of the shadows and darkness sooner or later. It'll be worth the wait.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Just a Polar Bear Moment

Polar bears....for those who aren't paying attention or listening to the environmental group WWF....are about to die off.....or at least thats what they insist. Today.....there was this statement by the WWF folks....."No sea ice equates no polar bears. It's really that simple."

Geoff York, who is a WWF polar bear expert, spoke these sad words. Well....sad words if true. It'd be something else if they were totally wrong in nature.

Geoff was speaking over in Norway.....prior to the big eeting where representatives of several countries bordering the Arctic are supposed to meet and how to safeguard the bear. The WWF policy, for those who haven't grasped it....is that these Arctic countries have a special obligation to surge up efforts to reduce the evil emissions of greenhouse gases.

I surveyed all the comment spoken so far.....prior to the big meeting. The puzzling thing that I found....was no one mentioning what the polar bears would do when things changed. The anticipated mindset is that the polar bears would all sink into the waters and disappear forever.

I kinda wondered about this. Since we know that the Arctic region has melted and iced up over and over.....they should have all died. Its funny....they haven't.

I'm guessing that the wise folks who claim they are polar bear experts....haven't really tested polar bears that much. The mere suggestion that polar bears are survivors....might disturb some folks....especially the WWF folks. I'm guessing that they have a pretty fair agenda in place and big plans. Naturally, what comes and goes with the polar bears....is secondary....and maybe thats the reason why folks kinda smile when WWF appears.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

The End of Marriages, As We Know It

Proposition 8 opponents received permission Tuesday from the California Secretary of State's office to begin collecting petition signatures toward a repeal of the state's same-sex marriage ban.

The initiative would side step the issue of same-sex marriage by making all couples eligible for marriage benefits regardless of their sexual orientation. If approved, the initiative would strike the word "marriage" from all state laws and replace it with the term "domestic partnership."

The measure would also repeal Proposition 8, California's constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

In the past forty-eight hours....things have heated up in California. A measure has been drawn up and submitted to the State Attorney General (Jerry Brown)...which challenges the validity of Proposition 8. If the proponents of the measure (Kaelan Housewright and Ali Shams) gathers 695k singatures....then it goes to a state vote.

The read of the summary?

Basically....substitute domestic partnership for marriage in California law. Yep...no more marriages...just civil unions for everyone.

Its the shotgun blast scheme...if we can't have marriage...then no one can.

The amusing part of this initiative would be that "marriage" gets replaced throughout state law with the term "domestic partnership". It would apply to all couples...regardless of sexual orientation

I sat there laughing over the scheme. Its basically putting this entire Proposition Eight mess into turbo-power. From this point on....its a us-versus-them situation.

Anyone that wanted to be "really married" in California....would have to drive across the border into Oregon, Arizona or Nevada....to get the right kind of marriage. How much would this matter? I'm going to make a simple guess here....six out of ten couples will likely come to this state of mind. Why get married in California....if you aren't married?

Will they get the 695k signatures? Yes. I have no doubt. But the necessary votes to carry it in an election? Thats too hard to judge. I think the state mentality is reaching a point where the public is tired of the debate on either direction. There is no end to this debate....it simply goes to the next level.

How many folks in California are pro-gay? In actuality...I'd take a guess of 33 percent. How many are anti-gay? Around 33 percent. The remaining 33 percent really are passers in the night, and would shift their judgment five times a day.

So the nuke has been dropped...and marriage is likely coming to an end.

How To Lose $50 Million in One Year

The San Fransisco Chronicle has admitted now that they lost around $50 million last year. And they also see few if any options in surviving this year. They need someone to buy them out....but its very unlikely.

So how would you lose $50 million? You could just give away every single paper you print for the year....with no income from the customer.....but then you'd likely lose $100 million. So that would only take care of half of the problem.

Without alot of data, which they really don't want to share....we are left to wonder and speculate.

So my vision of how this works. You have a city new department with an editor, an assistant, and twenty reporters, and three photographers.

The editor? You are likely paying a yearly salary of $340k a year. Toss in $80k for various benefits, the leased car, and the company credit card to buy meals for big-wigs in the city. The assistant is likely making $240k, with another $50k in various benefits. The senior reporter? He's likely making around $220-250k. Half of the rest of the team is making $120-180k. The three photographers? The senior guy is likely pulling in $100k, and the other two around $75k. No one from this entire group makes less than $40k a year in San Fransisco.

Then go to the advertising group....same story. The printing group? Same story. The state and national news team? Same story.

Every year, you toss out a three to six percent pay raise, and people stayed. The guy might have started out in 1988 with $28k....but he's moved up every single year. Do the math....five percent a year....is a pretty hefty deal after thirty years.

Toss in the medical coverage, the 401K deal, and trips to conventions. Then you toss in the special wine & dine deals where you spent $70k on some dinner deal for 100 guests downtown.

So the newspaper has been working real hard to burden itself with loans from the bank, and employees who were twice as expensive as they could truly pay.

Somewhere along the way....TV and the lean of the paper got to be too much....and some folks just quit their subscription. Life became simple. They went to USA Today for plain vanilla news.

The chance of surviving? I think less than twenty percent. This is the concept that almost all of these papers used.....hiring 'experts' and then giving out six percent pay raises on a continual basis. After twenty years.....you simply can't keep up the act. The paper squeezed itself into a bad situation.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Stimulus Two?

So the major networks finally came up hinting today....via Rep Pelosi...that stimulus package number two will have to be worked up within weeks....well....they didn't say weeks, but we are leaning pretty strongly toward this.

I sat and predicted this in mid-January.

In fact...I'll predict this new stimulus package passes by mid May. And by November? Yes, the third stimulus package of the year? The effect? Nothing. Don't get any hopes up.

My bet? By November....every police department in America will have new cop cars. Every city paint shop in America will have a new paint shaker ($2k). Three hundred new bridges will have been built.....but not a single old bridge will have been torn down in relation to this fantastic bridge formula we are devising.

We'd be better off if we tied these stimulus packages toward forcing people to feel comfortable to spend money. You could easily tie a coupon deal into buying a US-made car (including Nissans and Hondas) with a $1000 federal coupon. But then we'd have to admit that stimulus ought to be handled totally different.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Just Another Gift Moment

I hate returning to the Gordon Brown gift episode....but I came to realize something about this stupid video DVD gift episode. All of the DVDs that you buy in the US or in BX's in Europe....are of one category. They run off the typical DVD player that you buy in the US. Amusingly enough....all of the DVDs that you buy in the UK, France or any other European country....runs a slightly different format, and requires a totally different DVD player.

The production companies did this on purpose....to ensure that sales stayed in their region and limited people.

So the idiots in the White House....likely bought the US-only DVD collection....which does Gordon Brown no good. He has to be standing there....at Number Ten Downing Street.....half laughing. He's tossed the DVDs into the waste bin and wondering what idiot of the Obama team planned this episode.

A Joke, Within a Joke

I sat there laughing from a video news clip I saw this weekend. Here was the impressive meeting between Hillary and the Russian representative while at some conference in Europe. Hillary's folks had worked up some gift deal...and they had their own state department translator involved....I had assumed. So here is the "talk":

HILLARY: I wanted to present you, represents what President Obama and Vice President Biden and I have been saying, and that is, we...want...to...'reset'...our...relationship. (camera shutters clicking) So we'll do it together. (witch cackle)

LAVROV: Thank you very much. (camera shutters clicking)

HILLARY: You're very welcome! We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?

LAVROV: You got it wrong.

HILLARY: I've gotten it wrong? (laughter)

LAVROV: It should be "perezagruzka."

HILLARY: Ahhhhhhhh!

LAVROV: And this is says "peregruzka," means "overcharge."

HILLARY: (witch cackle) Well, won't let you do that to us, I promise! Yuk, yuk, yuk, yuh!

LAVROV: Okay. Thank you very much. (camera shutters clicking)

HILLARY: Thank you so much.

LAVROV: It's very kind of you. It will be on my desk.

I played this three times....to hear this exchange....and you could just see this poor lady crashing with the joke being lost entirely. Was Hillary set up? Yeah.....you don't make an error like that unless you have the worst translation department. But then....maybe the idiots just used BabelFish and did a online translation....rather than getting the real person to do this for you.

What's Putin thinking right now? He has to be laughing and rolling on the floor. Whatever he might have thought about the administration....just got flushed once or twice....and he can pretty much regard them as just 3rd rate players when compared to his own staff. He doesn't make mistakes like this. He fires people on the spot, if they allowed such a goof to occur.

The One

For about two weeks...I've been waiting for the comment...and then finally got it...via the most unlikely individual...Rev Jeremiah Wright.

"Barack's name ain't Jesus. Barack ain't gonna improve your child's reading score. There are things we've got to do on our own," he said.

Since November, there have been countless people...including media types....who've acted like the second coming is in progress. I thought after a week or two...it'd be realized how stupid people were acting...but it carried on.

The gravity involved....to elevate someone to this point...is enormous. You have to have people with no mind, no reality, and no perception...to jump to this kind of conclusion. They smile when they say little cute things on TV....as though they feel some kinda glow....but you can't see nothing and often wonder if they are doped up or sitting on a thumb-tack.

Last year, this topic came up when Obama visited Berlin and made the grand speech. Some people pulled out the old copies of Hitler's speeches and showed the women just falling over themselves. I sat there....wondering how exactly you'd fall into this state of mind. It didn't make any sense.

In six months...nothing much has changed. I think the same people are still in a trance. Its curious that Rev Wright is the one who is making this analysis now. To some degree...he used Obama and his talents to bulk up the Chicago religious image and the church there....but as things have shifted now....I'm thinking that the Rev realizes that he got pretty much used up in this deal....making an image for Obama.

So changes? No....don't count on it. People will be stuck for a long time.