Monday, 29 June 2009

Honduras in 60 Seconds

The whole thing on the Honduras President Manuel Zelaya episode? The bit that CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC couldn’t make simple in 60 seconds?

You are elected as President of Honduras....a great moment of your career. Frankly, it’s great because its a four-year tour and then after’s finished.

Honduras decided years ago that dictators staying on and on and on...simply didn’t work. So the Supreme Court, the military and the major political parties all came to write a simple constitutional paragraph. You get four years and then you exit.

Zelaya decided that at the near end of his four years....he’d toss the game into an interesting change....unlimited limit on presidential terms. If he had said that he was exiting and this change was for the next might have been a discussable item. But he intended to get the change up in front of the public, and then walk into the second term, and likely a third term.

So the Honduran Supreme Court said “no”, then the military said that they would act upon the wishes of the Supreme Court, and then Zelaya was escorted to the airport.
President Obama has said that he is very disappointed and wants Zelaya put back into his place....strangely enough, he won’t comment on getting term limits changed or this constitutional move by Zelaya. The media guys? They won’t even mention that the constitution is in full power within Honduras and that Zelaya was working on a separate agenda outside of established procedures.

The cherry on this cake? Zelaya had President Hugo Chavez from Venezuela...ship him the necessary ballots from Venezuela. They didn't even produce the ballots within their own country. Then Hillary (our Hillary)...came out to say things in Honduras were not in line with democratic principals. Naturally, she didn't say it was corrupt before the episode or after the episode. Luckily, she is a minor player as non-Czar in charge of the State Department.

In Bama, we had a similar constitutional rule written could only be governor two terms, and then you had to leave. In this case, Governor Wallace realized that it just wasn’t right changing the he had his wife run the third term and he was going to return for the fourth and fifth term. Pretty neat how you can do things right....if you plan ahead. Course, I’m guessing that Zelaya has a trophy wife, and she probably didn’t want to hand over power in four years back to him.

MJ: Final Word

My last blog on the topic of Michael Jackson. CNN International has probably put up over forty hours of MJ since X-hour, and I expect more this week. The German channels? Same way.

Simply some observations. This was the guy who hasn’t had a real hit album since 1991 (18 years, for you without math skills).

This was the guy who was brought into court over relationships with young gentlemen (less than fourteen years old). The cops wanted serious sex charges and the families of those involved eventually dropped everything because they were financially happy.

This was the guy who made a billion dollars in his life and spent $1.4 billion.
This was the guy who relied on the charity of others (expecting a payoff or payback in return) for the past two to three years because he was completely broke.

This was the guy who signed up for forty-odd concerts in the UK this year although his voice was not capable of delivering one concert, and his energy to even stand there and bounce around the stage for two or three events would have been questionable.

This is the guy who married a scientologist and later hired up a no-name British gal to bear two of his kids.

This is a guy who had to cut off every member of his family because they took massive amounts of money with no hopes of ever being able to pay him back.

I don’t get it, and I probably never will. By next weekend, this will be mostly over except the family fighting over tens of thousands of dollars.

How Global Warming, Cap & Trade, and Carbon Credits Add Up

So today, you stand in a 3-bedroom home with a monthly electrical bill of $120. It's been that way for a year or two....on average.

As a bill is passed and new requirements come up for your electrical company and how it's supposed to burn "cleanly" notice next month that the bill is now $139. The explanation here? There are new requirements and new hardware now on order to ensure that the electrical company meets the government requirements. Roughly $120 more a year, no big deal.

A year goes by, and Cap & Trade elements start the electrical has to assign a fee across the board to everyone because they aren't meeting their new goals. You now pay $146.

Another year goes by and because of new carbon trading rules and some changes in government now pay $157.

Another year goes by and you now pay $166 because of a curtailment on coal plants. The solar power concept and windmill are coming next the electrical company has to buy power from Texas.

Another year goes by and the windmills are being built at a record pace, with solar power being implemented as well. There is a $16 fee tossed into this you are now paying $182 electrical bill. Oh, and because solar and wind aren't delivering full power, you are still buying power from Texas and Nebraska.

Another year goes by and now several nuclear power plants have been directed to shut down because they don't meet the new spec's assigned to them. Oh, and the windmills are providing more than half of the anticipated power. So you are buying more power from Canada, Texas and Nebraska. Your bill? $194.

Another year goes by and because of new government rules....several coal plants are just plain shut down. More power is bought from western "dealers", who now are making a huge profit because they added a $6 a month fee onto each user buying their power. Your cost? $205.

So nine years have passed and because of new power rules by the government....your new bill is $229 a month. So you have $1200 coming out of your pocket now that didn't exist back nine years ago. It's money that simply went to electrical bills that were invented out of thin air.

You'd like to ask stupid questions but the political guys won't answer them. You'd like to ask the environmentalists questions but they refuse to answer. You'd like to just save on your consumption but you've done just about everything possible.

This is likely your a year or two.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

When You Lose Your Ethics

You won't hear about it via any major media group....but the big news dog of NBC....anchor Tom Brokaw....was already being considered for a White House appointment to the White House Fellows Commission....when he interviewed President Obama on the fifth of January of this year for the network. In fact, for months the network has known that he was leaving his position and taking the job....working for the White House. So last week, they finally let everyone quietly know that it was a done deal.

I read the piece...barely thirty lines...and quietly wondered if ethics were a big thing in NBC? I mean....a journalist is typical supposed to be openly neutral although we know the vast lot show their flag on a daily, if not hourly, basis.

In this case...he was likely in the front seat as early as the November election of last year. Its one thing when the White House calls up and offers you a job...effective immediately.....and when they offer a job but it's going to be eight months later when it might be announced?

So is Brokaw ethically challenged? I would imagine that he's lost and without a compass....and may have been so for years. I don't think he could explain in three brief minutes what the term of ethics means.

I hate suggesting this...but corrupt wannabe cops in Mississippi likely have more ethics than Tom Brokaw. Used car dealers might have more ethics than the management of the dinosaur media. I would even go as far to suggest that pimps in New Jersey...have more ethics than NBC leadership.

So I wish Tom well in his new occupation, and maybe they have a program in the White House where they actually teach you ethics.'d hope that....but that's probably a 2-minute mention at a staff meeting once a year.

Aristotle wrote a number of things on ethics and values which ought to be anchor to one's life...but I'm of the mind that Brokaw never read Aristotle.

The Cap and Trade Bill

I guessed wrong on the passage in the house. The Democrats had barely enough votes (a number of them voted "no"), but then they got a couple of Republican votes to barely get it through the house. What now?

The senate is a different playing field. Some analysts say that there are only 31 guaranteed "yes" votes presently, and that the White House will have to promise an awful lot to get the remaining twenty votes.

A short debate? This is the curious part....I think they will likely go eight to twelve hours. I believe most senators will likely deliver a 5-10 minute speech on his vote.

If special interest groups were to toss money over to senators to get a "no" is the time...with elections barely eighteen months away for thirty-odd senators.

So the scenario? I think that they might now get the 51 votes (with a cost to the White House of five to ten billion for the twenty votes, in terms of special interest funds or allocations).

But then several events are likely to be triggered. Lawsuits could be brough and drag this debate into the Supreme Court. You also could have a Republican house and senate control episode by 2012 and then they'd revisit this and attach a simple 1-year end to the bill unless they met and renewed it for a yearly thing. I'm mostly betting on this.

But there is a bigger discussion item here. The republic, as we know.....likely has come to an end this year. Between the stimulus bill and this climate bill....neither was read by a single senator or representative. The upcoming thousand-plus page medical insurance bill? It won't be read by a single member of the house or senate either.

When you have massive legislation like this.....and no one is bothering to read or comprehend it....then why even bother to meet? You could just as well sit back in your home state and cast votes from the distance. You don't even need debate because you don't know anything much about the bill to debate on. You have notes....but they were generated by your staff members who might not have read the document either. I would go as far to say that that no one within the District of Colombia....has read the entire document.

How can a guy stand in front of his own voters and then smile while he admits he passed something without reading it?

So I am of the mind that the in the year 2009....the Republic basically came to an end. It cannot function in such an environment. I expect at any point this the volumes of bills being passed that someone will toss in a 3-line item that requires clowns to wear size 22 shoes or be recognized as an official clown. Five years down the road....some kid doing research will come up on the bill passed and be recognized nationally as the "clown-guy" because he discovered how corrupted the whole bill business has become.

So, a brief moment of America, tonight.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Phase Two Starts

I spent a couple of hours the kid's graduation. After so many woeful years....he finally graduated. (He's the tall kid on the left with the tie, shocked he passed, no doubt).

It wasn't what you'd really expect. There were barely a dozen kids in his class. He was the only one to show up in tie and jacket (two kids showed up in a jacket but no tie, and one kid just showed up in shorts and tennis shoes).

He basically argued his way through the past four years of school. You could count the total number of hours of study....for an average year.....on one hand. He either got the message in school or it wasn't important.

It was a decent ending report card....although nothing to write home and brag about.

So it's now off to apprenticeship for three years....and continue pretending that he studies....and hope that he picks up knowledge by doing things day in and day out. I'd like to toss in a lecture on Socrates and Thomas Jefferson....but it just isn't worth discussing.

Germans are in a flux over school organizations. They basically admit that whats going on today....just isn't working....but they can't find the "fix". Since the kid is out of school now....I can admit publicly that most of the teachers aren't capable leaders and most lack any real authority in the classroom. The vast number of punks after age 10 need something that the current crew can't provide. I'm forever told how German schools tower over American schools....and I quietly sit and look at the dimwit telling me this. I've seen the efforts of German schools....and frankly, I wouldn't go brag too loud.

So I can close this chapter of the book. The kid has an apprentice job....and starts getting paid by the end of August. At least the allowance business ends.

The Woes of Electrical Cars

The government went out and did a survey...a significant one. They studied the entire idea of electrical cars, their relationship to greenhouse emissions, and charging. So they came back said something that I would have expected. Electric cars don't DECREASE greenhouse gas emissions. You end up having to charge the cars...and there is where a coal-fired electrical plant starts to become a necessity....which is a evil thing for greenhouse emissions (so I'm told).

Somewhere in the process of running a battery have to plug it in and charge. The study came to the mind that we'd increase a huge amount of the power requirements throughout the US.

I sat and watched a German news documentary last year. Some guy took a battery car into a neighborhood, and then tested folks to see if they'd let him plug his charger cable into their house power.....claiming he was "dead" on power. As he told them....he need around 90 minutes of power to recharge. Over half readily did it. This wasn't a rural area....this was in a nice neighborhood....upscale homes. So they readily plugged the car in but never once asked themselves how much juice he would have cost them. After the test, he went and explained this to everyone. Most had no concept of power and it's relationship to cost. We could easily admit that he probably only cost them a $1 for that 90 minutes of juice. But still, it's a cost factor.

If I were living in a retirement community....this battery car concept might be great. I doubt that I'd really travel enough to worry about constantly charging the thing. But in real community....where three charges a day might be necessary? You can figure $5 a day on charges eventually (with all the taxes and fees involved)....and more issues with the environmental guys over building more plants. I have doubts that this thing will go public-wide.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Only at JFK

Allow me to introduce this story in a slightly different way.

When you fly into New go into JFK typically. As you walk out of the start to think that you might be in a third-world airport. This doesn't compare to Frankfurt, Atlanta, or Miami. It doesn't compare to Houston or Paris or Munich. I stood in awe of the minor-league look of the airport.

Eventually you end up at the baggage area and then you see the payphones. There are only a dozen hotels near the airport....all places that you'd rather not stay. Then you see this one phone that arrange hotels in town. You call. They cite a price, and want your credit card....verbally. Then you start to look around, and twelve people are within ten feet of you and all seem to be listening. You twist and turn....upping a syllable here and twisting to give another number. Everyone looks criminal.

Then you walk out the door and find this magnificent area where shuttles, buses and taxis stand....and no real organization. You start to pick one but then the guy looks "nuts", then you keep thinking there ought to be a safe way of doing this.

So, now that I've introduced the madness of JFK.....lets tell what happened this week.

These five French tourists arrived at JFK. They were typical French....dressed French....speaking French....and acting French.

There at the Air France terminal....they were led like I was....through the the luggage area. Then they went to the taxi, bus and shuttle area. There.....they were "lured" to a van....which strangely enough.....isn't licensed to provide taxi service. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says this.

Here, at some magic cop sees that the taxi dude is bogus.

The cop approaches.....with the Frenchies in the van.....the cop tries to reach inside the van. He wants to take the keys.....but then....the driver hits the gas and off they go.

Naturally, this is kinda like a Three Stooges episode. The port cops give chase.

Now the bogus van races through New York streets.....almost seven miles.....through two boroughs....and then, it crashes into a Post Office in Brooklyn. You can imagine the Frenchies in the rear....crying....screaming.....all in French.

One lady......Paris resident Esther-Ethy Mamane, and her mama, Claudie, came all the way to New York for a religious seminar.

Claudie eventually said at the end:"We are happy to be here; we love New York and New Yorkers. We never lost faith. And at any time we never thought it would end badly for us."

This was a story built for a movie. Cops chasing a couple of nuts in a van, who have two French tourist females who've come to Gotham City for a Jesus-conference. At the end, some New Jersey cop and some New York mafia guy save the French damsels from certain death.....and get a key to the city. I can see this story unfolding, with some JFK baggage guy who tells of the woes of arriving at JFK.

Black Friday

Two associates packed up and left today.

The first, my office co-worker....who’d I had known for two years. We came to be a good team and she was knew the budget business up one side and down the other. I was told originally as she arrived....that she was lacking humor. For me, that was a sign of a serious office environment. As the months went by, I found that she had a very dry sense of humor and our office was the place where most people wanted to hang out and have a cup of coffee. I came to enjoy this period and she will be sorely missed.

Second, from the shop next door.....Ms NO is finally leaving. Yes, the legendary Miss New Orleans (NO), who said that she was accepting one job, then didn’t....then accepted another job, but didn’t....then accepted another job, but didn’t.....finally accepted a job and is leaving.

In the world of cynic and sarcastic behavior.....there are few who are my match. In the past twenty years....I’ve only met three who could sit in my shadow and I respected as sarcastic co-workers or friends. She was one of the three.

If I were to define Ms me....she was Jack from “Lost”. She was prepared to go from plan A to plan B to plan C.....and then draft up a new plan on the spot. She knew the big plan and could envision how the things were to be. Yes, she was a bit sarcastic and cynical. Yes, she was chatty. Yes, it was maddening to be in a car with her for 90 minutes. Yes, she did dress like a bit weird. Yes, she could be difficult. And yes, she was a bit argumentative. But you can’t have chicken gumbo, without a bit of Louisiana Hot Sauce....and that she was (no, she wasn’t spicy). She simply added life to the moment. Finally, she was the only one amongst my peers who was into “Lost” and we could discuss details and scenarios to the ninth degree.

So my mighty circle has lessened slightly.

Micheal Jackson

I have heard some folks today equating this moment of his demise to when they heard Princess Di pass away. I probably haven’t placed him in such a category.

In the late 80’s....for a eight-year period....I would have placed him as the “king of rock”. He had produced the videos and made album after album. Then you could see this phase occurring....he was spending tons of money, producing little to nothing, and living mostly a soap-opera lifestyle. As one business analyst had said....the guy had all the hot property and yearly income rolling in....and could have lived in great comfort for the rest of his life. But he didn’t.

This is the guy who allowed the entire family to scrap off bits and pieces of his empire....then the point where he realized what they were doing. But then, he had business associates who came to do the same thing....until he realized what they were doing. At some point, he was a massive marginal point where he could not make the money that he needed to live his lifestyle, yet continued on.
Then came the smart guys who went after his few money-making empires left....and loaned him money to get to the money-makers.

About five years ago, you could tell that his entire empire was lost. He couldn’t sell anything worth discussing or bring in more capital. The only place where he had a huge following was the UK. This fall, there was supposed to be this grand tour starting up with a bunch of dates in the UK....where he hoped to recoup his life and make enough to survive on.

What money might still be left? Whatever does tied to the kids....and likely to be taken by the authority who maintains the kids until they are 18. I doubt that anything will be left of the account by that point. The empire will have spent itself into nothing.

So I don’t have great words of praise. He had so much talent and capital.....then lost it all.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Just a Humble Analysis

The ABC episode for President Obama's universal health care package?

I pulled out about twenty-five minutes of clips....about 50 percent ABC info sales and 50 percent Obama sales.

Frankly, after watching the whole thing....I kept wondering what exactly did they tell you that really explained the entire package. From the clips....there just wasn't anything new.

I feel like a guy in need of a new truck whose gone to the Ford lot, walked around a F-150, but never got the spec's from the sales guy or cranked the car or driven it around the block. The image looks good, but I have no idea what the real charge is or how much is bogus from the sales guy. In fact, it was like a game with ABC....trying to tell you the least amount of information and then making you think you'd read an entire book.

The ABC sales job? The journalists involved in this project can probably get signed with QVC and start selling six-inch fishing worms via the internet. Acting in the interest of the public? If they were.....then they have lost the compass bearing and haven't seen the public in years. Were they truthful? I don't think they were worried about some doped up hippy chick....they just grinned and kept chatting.

Based on numbers.....ABC kinda gambled and lost on a massive crowd watching it. They will likely admit that they didn't do this for the numbers.....but when you really capture a dismal number of the viewing audience....then you have to ask why. This "why" is what the gang really can't grasp.

So with such a big effort by the President, and a lousy sales job.....have we come to the end of the "magic flute song"?

If I were ABC, I wouldn't invite the President back for a couple of months....and hope he regains his magic touch.

As for the health care package? The senate is the killer on this whole episode. I don't think that thy have a majority currently. In fact, I would suggest barely 44 senators (that includes four Republicans) support the President's plan in any fashion. What Reid cannot afford to bring it up and then wake up to realize that he couldn't get 51 votes. If it doesn't make it in 2009....then it's basically finished for at least twenty-four months.

Wisdom for the Day

"Cease to hope and you cease to fear."

- Hecato

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Yep, Wrong Was I

Here I go and defend the South Carolina governor....and then the dope stands up and admits that he did go for the erotic benefits of Argentina....not the exotic parts.

So that's kinda the end of governor duties for this dimwit.

The amusing part of this is that a guy had to go to Argentina to get a hot, busty, lusty gal.....when you had plenty over in Nashville or Birmingham. Heck, you could have accepted trailer park trash and found some gal who knew how to clean fish, vaccinate cattle, perform brake jobs and lived over in Mobile.

But no, he had to probably go and get all hot over some carnival queen out of some hot lusty Latin country. I sure hope that the other southern governors don't get creative ideas and all start running off to Argentina.

"We Wipe You Out"

Today, one of our lesser, very fact....almost non-existent threat countries....decided to let us know that they intend to wipe us out.

North Korea released the announcement, and it's a pretty exciting announcement.

I was almost prepared to open up a can of Mountain Dew that I kept for blessed events (I'm trying to cut back drastically on Dew) honor the threat made.

There are so few countries that have been told directly that they were to be wiped out. Its a nice threat....certainly one that the US has never really used. In fact, we don't really make threats...we merely lay down how you can avoid a problem....and if you can't avoid the problem....we have an establish military that can take care of business. Talk to us...isn't much unless you really mean it.

So out there in the far off regions of North Korea....a couple of guys named "Joe"....are standing around their house....mostly in the dark because there's no electricity....and wondering how they can possibly wipe anyone out if the power is off for sixteen hours of the day? After a while...because there's no booze to drink and no CNN to watch....they all go back home and just lay there....waiting for the sun to arise in the morning.

For some reason, I don't have any belief in this threat. And for anyone who's kinda short anyway....don't worry about threats until they come to your front door.

A Serious Reflection of being Governor

Once upon a time in America, especially between 1920 and 1940, if you were a governor of any real state (Penn, New York, Illinois, and New Jersey), around June time packed a bag or two and left. You might have told the wife of your travel plans...but her job was to stay in the state capital. Your schedule? You went to Montana to went to Miami to drink gin and lounge with sat in a cabana in Havana playing poker with a dozen mafia guys while making election plans for the fall.

This was life in America. The media didn't really notice because they knew you were out of town and this was the period of quiet in every state capital for six to eight weeks. No one in the entire state cared.

The best part....if a flood or tornado or volcanic eruption occurred....then the guy who was in charge of the cops or the fire department or the emergency services department....did their damn job. You didn't hire or promote losers into these positions.

So today, a mess of folks are terribly upset (mostly media folks and democrats) down in South Carolina. The governor up and disappeared. Folks got all worried and worked up. Naturally, they demanded answers. The final answer given by the staff and the wife to some degree....was that Governor Mark Sanford was in the Appalachian Mountains....hiking.

This answer lasted about eighteen hours.....then Sanford answered the truth. He had gone off to Argentina for an exotic vacation. I remember talking to some guy once who spent ten days there, and later claimed it was kinda like driving through the redneck portion of South Carolina. In this case....I don't see what the heck the governor got out of this trip....other than fine Argentine steaks and lots of beverages.

So folks, mostly democrats are terribly upset. What if there had been a earthquake or tornado or hurricane or walrus attack or UFO arrival or Pepsi truck overturn or church fire or peanut butter catastrophic event or bear attack or meteor event or volcanic eruption or Jesus arrival or sandstorm or anthrax attack or Jihad attack or train crash or piano factory fire or failed newspaper or just a phone call from President Obama to ask what's a fine color?

You know....after a start to laugh.

If governors had the responsibility of carrying the nuke button box....I guess we'd demand more. In this case....I'm thinking that every time that a governor leaves the state, gets dental surgery or is drunk....he needs to sign over the governor's power to Uncle Joe who is the pretender Vice Governor. Maybe after a while, we might even notice that both the governor and Uncle Joe are both drunk and we've got nobody in charge. Then what?

The Culture of Hay and Hauling

Summer has arrived, and hay season is in full swing.

As a kid in Bama, I hated hay season with a passion. There was a set procedure to all of this. You typically did this two weeks prior to the 4th of July or two weeks after...depending on the weather. It had to be dry for three or four days prior to cutting. This all occurred with a average temperature of 94 degrees. And the grand parade of hay hauling started after the bailer finished up his business around 11AM.

It is a hot, sweaty and nasty affair. Some guy drives the truck or tractor....and two guys stand on the back. You toss thirty bales onboard and do it in a fashion so they don't fall off easily (after a couple of these really don't want anything to fall off).

After a haul, you will have sweated out two pounds of water and then sip five glasses of ice cold water to cool off. The boss (my dad), never believed in Gatoraid or such. It had to be ice water. So you ran through six to eight of these vehicles in an afternoon, returning each time to a barn which had a hot tin roof and just barely extended shade or any relief from the temperature.

By 7Pm, you were finished, and you feasted on chicken or steak. You took a shower and washed off all the sweat and pollen. And by nine, you were laying there tired and fell asleep with no effort.

The funny thing....a year after I leave the dad started to arrange the round bales....which meant the end of neat tidy small bales. One guy could move thirty of the big round bales in an afternoon with no effort.

Some guys in Bama area stuck on the 1950s idea of small square bales today....and still do it with five young punk kids who they pay $6 an hour to round up the bales.

It was miserable work and I can think of a thousand things that I'd prefer to do....more so than hay hauling.

So when I see these pictures of hay hauling in full swing....I sit there for five minutes contemplating this past of mine. It was never safe work. Everything involved machinerly of some type....moving machinerly. There was always the possibility of snakes appearing out of nowhere. There was the possiblity of loading an entire truck....way higher than safe.....and then having it fall apart at the wrong place.

Simply another hot summer in the Bama land.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Common Sense Tuesday

So lets get these stories right.....

The White House press secretary now says that the “U.S. doesn't want to become 'political football' during bloody Iran crackdown”. I heartedly agree. In fact, I believe it’s left to the leader of the free world….French President Nicolas Sarkozy to say something and mean it. Note how I said that….”leader of the free world”. I’ve bestowed that title upon the only guy who has guts to say something.

The president has this swell deal worked out with drug companies to save $80 billion over ten years. Huge episode. So, it sounds so good that he workd this out....maybe he could talk to McDonalds and get a $40 billion savings over ten years with burgers too? Maybe a chat with Pepsi to get a $25 billion savings there over ten years? Maybe a septic tank replacement savings of $1 billion over ten years? I mean, if this is all possible....just sitting down and chatting with guys....why not spread this around?

Then I came to ask a Bama question....if you were giving up $80 billion in savings.....this means a $80 billion loss in profits. Naturally, its a pretty dismal thing when you volunteer to take a hit like this. I looked over at drug company stocks today....they are pretty much average. Logic dictates that if you give up profits....then stocks drop like a rock. That didn't happen. Is there a funny smell in the air? Do you smell that? If stock owners aren't worried and stock companies aren't worried.....about losing a massive amount of profit....that can only mean that they didn't lose anything. Think about the never get nothing for free.

Minneapolis is paying $ get people to drink tap water? When banks are failing, GM is dying, and the unmployment situation is so dire.....they toss $200k to get folks to drink tap water? If you had just put up beer would have recovered a bit of your investment via tax revenue....but tap water?

The Thing About a Good Deal

My brother got into a light discussion yesterday over the coming car cash bonus. It’s a $4,500 deal where you take your old car and trade it in....although the car dealer must crush the old car....rather than resale it.

For my brother, this was a difficult decision....he was of a diesel Volkswagen mind, and had an appropriate vehicle to trade in....his old truck. As much as he dreamed of this could tell that this wasn’t a easy situation. A guy becomes stuck on a truck and even if the truck is only worth $1, still feel bad about trading it in.

Then my dad got into this mess....he has the old farm truck which probably hasn’t been on a paved surface in ten years, and is likely over twenty years old. It’s value? Probably less than $100. Strangely enough....the only one initially against the deal was the border collie who considered that truck as one half her property (note: not her picture above).

The more this discussion went....the less attractive it became.

I sat and thought about the offer....course, I have nothing to offer and don’t live in the US anyway. I spent ten minutes in the BX new car sales area at lunch....and viewed twenty Chrysler, Ford and GM products (except trucks). I came to the decision that they didn’t have anything that I felt good about.....they were all crap.

I’m guessing that some guys will talk about this.....maybe even visit the dealer once or twice....then come back to the old pick-up and just say ‘no’. This might be one of the few times that redistribution of wealth just doesn’t work. The guys who might really get into this.....are the same guys who are making $22k a year at Pizza Hut and can’t afford a $500 a month car payment anyway.

So the debate is on in my brother's mind....the diesel car would be swell....but a guy has to have a truck, and then if you do the trade....where do you pick up a decent truck....which turns this into a pile of thinking worthy of a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Adding to his momentarily thought of getting a Volkswagen diesel pick up on hot lusty hippy chicks. The only problem is....they don't sell it in the US. Well....and a second problem of all hippy chicks being over 45 years old now and living above the Tennessee line.

So resting at home right now and feeling better about the dad's truck the border collie....who suspected that common sense would override stupid irrational thoughts.

Now Czar Councils?

Apparently, the White House will be announcing the formation of a White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers today. Supposed to be run by Larry Summers, who happens to be the president’s economic adviser although most folks claim he doesn’t have much contact with the president these days and is mostly around because his natural good looks and charm.

I sat for a while thinking about’s basically a Czar council. It was bad enough when we just had Czars appointed, but now Czar councils? And what exactly will do they do that congress itself cannot do? My hope is that they set up meetings in Flint, MI at the Marriott and help increase the bar business around Flint. Toss in some hookers, some corruption, and then you got a dandy council.

Iran in Turmoil

Today, the Revolutionary Guards of Iran warned that they just won’t tolerate any more revolution activity on the streets of Tehran or any other Iranian city.
I paused over this quote, and kinda’s ok to be revolutionary but only if you were in first and then established. Any revolution after that point just doesn’t matter. You have to be part of revolution version 1.0....and not some later 2.0 or 3.0 effort.

What eventually happens? Well, the boss of each little Revolutionary Guards team believes his guys will fire when ordered. At some point, as we learned during the Russian revolution....some guys eventually ask if it’s ok to shoot citizens of the country. It kinda violates ethics and such. Then they turn and shoot the boss of the team.

There is some magical point where everything starts to fall apart and the snowball starts to roll down the hill. It’s basically a period of eight hours, when some group of guards refuse to carry out their order and then people start calling other folks and reporting who is doing what and where. Once you have armed guards siding with riot’s a pretty quick slide to the graceful or ungraceful coup that occurs.

What have the Revolutionary Guards done to quicken this pace? Well, they arrested the daughter of a former big-wig of the Islamic Mullah team....who isn’t really saying he approves of the current mess. Adding to this curious mess is the fact that the grand Mullah who has been passing judgment left and right....apparently got moved with his family to a more secure place near the airport. Typically, if you were in a Latin American country and moved near the’s a sign of things expected to unravel quickly and you need to leave country in the future.

Here is the comical thing about this event....if things do unravel and more central political players arrive in Iran, then the entire mid-east peace plan has to be entirely rewritten and various players are left out in some mess with no support (physical, emotional or financial). The US might suddenly find itself with no enemy in the region, and then be left with South Korea, Ossama Bin Ladin, and a bunch of narco guys in Mexico as the only serious threat for America.

How To Ruin a Good Welcome

Yesterday, out of the London Times…was a fascinating story which I will lay out in typical Bama fashion. The original article was written by Jeremy Page and Rehmat Mehsud.

My version:

There amongst the woes and sorrows of Pakistan….there came the day when men of great religious passion and devotion arrived. These were the Taliban. They arrived in February when the snow and wind tend to make life difficult and miserable already. These men of religion were welcomed by the locals because they stood and proclaimed their fight against the terrible foreigners residing in Afghanistan.

So days and weeks went by. Some of the locals came to find brotherhood and solidarity with their new Taliban friends….who were men of religious passion and devotion. Some even joined them.

Strangely enough….the locals began to voice opposition to the Taliban and their ways. There was no respect over the elders of the region. There were various criminal elements to most of what they were involved in. Then, there was an issue with disrespect for local customs….which was the defining moment of when a visitor is no longer welcomed.

So about three weeks ago….some elders finally came out and said enough…..the visitors needed to leave. There were approximately five villages that they had started to occupy and solidify their operations. Within just a day or two after that….a suicide attack on a local mosque killed 39 locals. There was no doubt over who did it.

What occurred next was likely the straw to break the camel’s back. The Taliban came to the elders and then casually mentioned that the women who’d become widows from the suicide attack….ought to be given to the Taliban men. I can imagine them standing there and citing some kind of Muslim tradition…which was kinda invented because it just didn’t fit into the Muslim religion that most of the locals had learned about. You can kinda imagine the general attitude of the elders at this point.

There was a light pause here….probably for an hour, I would assume or guess….and then the elders called for any able-bodied guy from thirty surrounding villages….to get their weapons and come what we what we in Alabama refer to as a “gentlemen’s posse”.

The curious thing….over a thousand local gentlemen came out with guns ablazing.

Right off the bat….the local Taliban boss was shot dead. Then they burnt the houses down a couple of houses where the Taliban were defending their selves. Some reports indicate that they were still busy in the last couple of days with what remained….maybe around 150 Taliban members in one final village.

Naturally, the ‘gentlemen’s posse’ doesn’t have much intention of taking prisoners. It’s pretty much an all-or-nothing cleansing. When you have a bed of cockroaches….you do the job right.

The locals don’t have much good to say by the whole experience. Most of the locals even point out that if the Taliban had stuck to just performing religious education peacefully, they would have been welcomed for years and treated as part of the community. This was never their intention….they were “gangsters, looters and plunderers.”

I sat and read the story twice. It’s a fascinating event. Almost every single Taliban arrival in a fresh new community has resulted in a “dump” on the local elders or leadership, and then movement toward their brand of community….not the one that has been there for a hundred years or a thousand. What was accepted as normal, is now immoral…at least in the eyes of the Taliban.

This really isn’t an Islamic revolution or radical Islamic front….it’s a forceful change on what local’s considered normal. There is an absolute lack of respect.
Every process of the Taliban’s “house-warming” involves immediate change to the local’s lifestyle, and interrupting the customs of the local community. You can go across Lebanon, Iraq, and every location on the face of the Earth over the past ten years. It’s the same scenario. In a very short period of time, you do everything possible to make yourself disliked.

In this case….you cross the magic line of being accepted and then being treated as an absolute threat to the community. The curious thing….is that this wasn’t the Pakistan government who reacted or the US Marines….this was simply a local group agenda of smart farmers who respected their elders and had their centuries-old customs.

So this was the tale of 150 days and how a bunch of guys screwed up big-time, and then lost their lives while pretending to be wannabe gangsters for Islam. Today, they are dead gangsters.

Tourism and Grant Money

There is an argument brewing in my hometown (the big city of Florence, Bama)....over the tourist bureau.

The boys apparently have a lease deal with the local hotel operation at the Marriott, which runs out in a year or so. The boys aren't of the mind to stay at the Marriott....even though there is parking, easy access, and it's simple to find.

Instead, they want to move to another area of town....the centralized Sweetwater district, which is basically dead. Apparently, its very near the depot area of Sweetwater. They think that a grant or two would puff up the Sweetwater area.....maybe a few bars and pubs.....and then it'd catch on as a "hot area" of Florence to hang out. They also think they can readily sell the historicness of downtown Florence as a reason to come and stay downtown.

Frankly, I started laughing. Lesser parking. More difficult to find. And access might be a question mark. As for the's absolutely true. You can draw a one-mile circle in the midst of Florence and literally nothing has been modernized in forty years. Somewhere around and action left downtown and moved to the outskirts of Florence.

There is some historic nature to this town and maybe in the longrun, it becomes like the pyramid concept of Egypt, where old stuff draws people to spend money and come. I would be shocked but then it just might occur.

The amusing thing behind all of that it's always US federal or Alabama state government grant money that triggers an event.

Monday, 22 June 2009

When You Forget History, You Repeat It

I read alot of science-related articles. Today, I came across a science article that really trips itself over history....and then suggests something about global warming and climate control. It's an article written by David Deming:

Over the past several years we have learned that small groups of people can engage in mass suicide. In 1978, 918 members of the Peoples’ Temple led by Jim Jones perished after drinking poisoned koolaid. In 1997, 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult died after drugging themselves and tieing plastic bags around their heads. Unfortunately, history also demonstrates that it is possible for an entire civilization to commit suicide by intentionally destroying the means of its subsistence.

In the early nineteenth century, the British colonized Southeast Africa. The native Xhosa resisted, but suffered repeated and humiliating defeats at the hands of British military forces. The Xhosa lost their independence and their native land became an English colony. The British adopted a policy of westernizing the Xhosa. They were to be converted to Christianity, and their native culture and religion was to be wiped out. Under the stress of being confronted by a superior and irresistible technology, the Xhosa developed feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. In this climate, a prophet appeared.

In April of 1856, a fifteen-year-old girl named Nongqawuse heard a voice telling her that the Xhosa must kill all their cattle, stop cultivating their fields, and destroy their stores of grain and food. The voice insisted that the Xhosa must also get rid of their hoes, cooking pots, and every utensil necessary for the maintenance of life. Once these things were accomplished, a new day would magically dawn. Everything necessary for life would spring spontaneously from the earth. The dead would be resurrected. The blind would see and the old would have their youth restored. New food and livestock would appear in abundance, spontaneously sprouting from the earth. The British would be swept into the sea, and the Xhosa would be restored to their former glory. What was promised was nothing less than the establishment of paradise on earth.

Nongqawuse told this story to her guardian and uncle, Mhlakaza. At first, the uncle was skeptical. But he became a believer after accompanying his niece to the spot where she heard the voices. Although Mhlakaza heard nothing, he became convinced that Nongqawuse was hearing the voice of her dead father, and that the instructions must be obeyed. Mhlakaza became the chief prophet and leader of the cattle-killing movement.

News of the prophecy spread rapidly, and within a few weeks the Xhosa king, Sarhili, became a convert. He ordered the Xhosa to slaughter their cattle and, in a symbolic act, killed his favorite ox. As the hysteria widened, other Xhosa began to have visions. Some saw shadows of the resurrected dead arising from the sea, standing in rushes on the river bank, or even floating in the air. Everywhere that people looked, they found evidence to support what they desperately wanted to be true.

The believers began their work in earnest. Vast amounts of grain were taken out of storage and scattered on the ground to rot. Cattle were killed so quickly and on such an immense scale that vultures could not entirely devour the rotting flesh. The ultimate number of cattle that the Xhosa slaughtered was 400,000. After killing their livestock, the Xhosa built new, larger kraals to hold the marvelous new beasts that they anticipated would rise out of the earth. The impetus of the movement became irresistible.

The resurrection of the dead was predicted to occur on the full moon of June, 1856. Nothing happened. The chief prophet of the cattle-killing movement, Mhlakaza, moved the date to the full moon of August. But again the prophecy was not fulfilled.

The cattle-killing movement now began to enter a final, deadly phase, which its own internal logic dictated as inevitable. The failure of the prophecies was blamed on the fact that the cattle-killing had not been completed. Most believers had retained a few cattle, chiefly consisting of milk cows that provided an immediate and continuous food supply. Worse yet, there was a minority community of skeptical non-believers who refused to kill their livestock.

The fall planting season came and went. Believers threw their spades into the rivers and did not sow a single seed in the ground. By December of 1856, the Xhosa began to feel the pangs of hunger. They scoured the fields and woods for berries and roots, and attempted to eat bark stripped from trees. Mhlakaza set a new date of December 11 for the fulfillment of the prophecy. When the anticipated event did not occur, unbelievers were blamed.

The resurrection was rescheduled yet again for February 16, 1857, but the believers were again disappointed. Even this late, the average believer still had three or four head of livestock alive. The repeated failure of the prophecies could only mean that the Xhosa had failed to fulfill the necessary requirement of killing every last head of cattle. Now, they finally began to complete the killing process. Not only cattle were slaughtered, but also chickens and goats. Any viable means of sustenance had to be destroyed. Any cattle that might have escaped earlier killing were now slaughtered for food.

Serious famine began in late spring of 1857. All the food was gone. The starving population broke into stables and ate horse food. They gathered bones that had lay bleaching in the sun for years and tried to make soup. They ate grass. Maddened by hunger, some resorted to cannibalism. Weakened by starvation, family members often had to lay and watch dogs devour the corpses of their spouses and children. Those who did not die directly from hunger fell prey to disease. To the end, true believers never renounced their faith. They simply starved to death, blaming the failure of the prophecy on the doubts of non-believers.

By the end of 1858, the Xhosa population had dropped from 105,000 to 26,000. Forty to fifty-thousand people starved to death, and the rest migrated. With Xhosa civilization destroyed, the land was cleared for white settlement. The British found that those Xhosa who survived proved to be docile and useful servants. What the British Empire had been unable to accomplish in more than fifty years of aggressive colonialism, the Xhosa did to themselves in less than two years.

By the end of this article.....I sat there for several minutes....pondering the implications of what was done. These were honest people with enormous faith. These were people with absolute beliefs. These were people who died because they couldn't grasp when they were being led astray by fools. In the end...we may find climate control to be something of a death chant.

Ramstein and the Tickets

It was an interesting Friday last week. I work at Ramstein, and park over at the BX parking I've been doing since 1994.

Sometime around the middle of the day....the security cops came through the parking lot. They came to visit each and every car. So they gave out two things. First....if your door was unlocked on the car, you got a ticket. Second....if anything of value was shown on the car-seat or in full got a "warning".

The emphasis of this is that they've had a huge trend for four years going on. People are getting robbed at a significant rate off-base. They publish these stories weekly in the base paper. There must be at least a dozen car episodes where various things are stolen. In the vast majority of cases, the cops know that the folks are leaving their doors unlocked. So the wing commander appears to have taken the action to make people fearful on base....and maybe they will take that habit home as they leave the front gate.

I typically lock my car all the I didn't get a ticket. As for valuables on the seat....I started laughing. There might be a newspaper or two, a bag of cookies, a umbrella, a empty can of Mountain Dew, my aluminum baseball bat (for educating problem people), a map, a bag of peanuts, five or six Tic-Tac containers (some full, some empty), a flat-head screwdriver, a car-wash token, some cough drops, and some alcohol disinfectant. I was expecting a warning note that I have valuables....but they insulted me and just skipped my car....thinking I had nothing of value.

I'm guessing around a dozen guys got tickets, and at least fifty folks got letters of warning about valuables in the car. The only thing I was curious about....two hundred feet away....safely within the compound area is the VIP parking area. I was kinda wondering if the cops walked through that parking lot. I have doubts.

So it's a new and fresh week....with potential tickets.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Czar Me A River

I saw a neat list (I like lists).....of all the Czars in America. Naturally, we aren't talking about royal Czars....but government Czars.

1. Herb Allison-TARP Czar

2. Alan Bersin-Border Czar

3. Dennis Blair-Intelligence Czar

4. John Brennan-Terrorism Czar

5. Carol Browner-Energy Czar

6. Adolfo Carrion, Jr-Urban Affairs Czar

7. Ashton Carter-Weapons Czar

8. Aneesh Chopra-Technology Czar

9. Jeffrey Crowley-AIDS Czar

10. Cameron Davis-Great Lakes Czar

11. Nancy-Ann DeParle-Health Czar

12. Earl Devaney-Stimulus Accountability Czar

13. Joshua DuBois-Faith-based Czar

14. Kenneth Feinberg-Pay Czar

15. Danny Fried-Guantanamo Closure Czar

16. J. Scott Gration-Sudan Czar

17. Richard Holbrooke-Afghanistan Czar

18. John Holdren-Science Czar

19. Van Jones Green-Jobs Czar

20. Gil Kerlikowske-Drug Czar

21. Vivek Kundra-Information Czar

22. George Mitchell-Mideast Peace Czar

23. Ed Montgomery-Car Czar

24. Dennis Ross-Mideast Policy Czar

25. Gary Samore-WMD Czar

26. Todd Stern-Climate Czar

27. Cass Sunstein-Regulatory Czar

28. Paul Volcker-Economic Czar

There are a couple of amusing bits around these Czars. For example....most people agree that Paul Volcker isn't being utilized for anything important and basically just shows up when the president has questions. He looks good in a suit and has a degree via Harvard (thats where all the Wall Street idiots came from who triggered our spiral today). I think the president mostly keeps Paul Volcker on the payroll because no one else would hire him today at the rate he thinks he deserves.

Richard Holbrooke is really doing the job that a junior associate would do in the state department but then they would report to Hillary, and the President doesn't want her handling "big-jobs".

I sat and looked over the list and I have some potential future Czar jobs that I'd like to suggest:

  • Reality TV Czar (to give Paris Hilton a real job)
  • Cattle and Livestock Czar (to ensure everyone has a cow, somehow, someway)
  • News Control Czar (to make sure the right news gets reported)
  • Pumpkin Czar (to help inflate the pricing scheme of pumkins America-wide)
  • Baseball Czar (to dump Barry Bond's records)
  • Wrestling Czar (to bring back old fashion wrestling)
  • NASCAR Czar (to enhance and destroy the sport)
  • Hurricane Czar (to do something that the FEMA non-Czar can't do)
  • Hurricane Katrina Czar (to report weekly to the President on New Orleans)
  • Las Vegas Czar (Mike Tyson's future job)
  • Hollywood Czar (to get the government into Hollywood's business finally)
  • NCAA Football Czar (to bring on the final sixteen tournament idea)
  • Census Czar (to make sure the numbers add up "right")
  • Bluegrass Czar (to take the power away from Kentucky and establish it in New Jersey)
  • Baywatch Czar (to somehow bring back the series)
  • Luxembourg Czar (to educate everyone on where Luxembourg is located)
  • King of Tonga Czar (to better improve relations with the King)
  • Beer Czar (to find better ways of misery and improve beer consumption across America)
  • Donut Czar (to get Dunkins into all fifty states)
  • Victoria's Secret Czar (to get women to dress provocatively, even in trailers)
  • Alien Czar (just in case an alien UFO does arrive, to be based out of Mobile, Bama)
  • Bigfoot Czar (to improve relations with all Bigfoot's and build on a healthcare program for them)
  • Texas Czar (to counter Republican governor efforts there)
  • Nancy Pelosi Czar (to make sure she speaks for the White House)
  • Lube Czar (to make sure more oil changes occur nation-wide, with free vouchers for poor folks)
  • Grill Czar (Permanently given to George Foreman)

No, I don't take any of this serious....thats the sad part of this blog. After a while, you begin to realize that you have a bunch of guys to blame problems onto when your policy doesn't work. So you bring in a new Czar and pretend its a new start. It's bogus management. It's how GM ran its operation into the ground.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

How Things Go in Iran

It was a pretty nifty week in Iran. Elections ended....and Amma-dang-ding-dong won the election. The curious thing is that the vast public in Iran stood there shaking their heads because they didn't vote for the guy, and they were kinda curious how the dude could have won.

So the spiritual leader of Iran....well....we might as well say the supreme leader of Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. At first, he said this was a done deal and was smiles. Then two days later, when all the demonstrations started....then he shifted and said a recount could be done to prove things. Then in the last day or so....he's said that things are kinda done and this revolution on the streets of Iran needs to stop.

The Iran media....who sleeps in bed with Ali and Amma-dang-ding-dong.....has publized various articles which proclaim things are peaceful and the election is basically over (the streets are full of tens of thousands). They even said that classes at the nation's top university were in full swing (they aren't....students aren't attending any classes). They are working hard on various creative and non-truthful articles.

It's neat when a spirtual leader helps to run the election business. We need this type of comfort in the US after so many of our elections. The problem is....once you had an ounce or two of spirtual've pretty much had enough, and then you have to get back to the real world. I'm suspecting that significant number of people in Iran have had all the religious comfort they can take....and are about to educate some folks on reality.

Its hard to forecast how this will end. I suspect that the loser of the election will be put on a plane and forced out of the country eventually (maybe we could learn from this). I also suspect that 1,000 Iranians will disappear off the streets this week permanently. No one will know where they went, and one day a mass grave will be found with the thousand. The curious thing is that a spirtual leader is the trigger of such events....and you have to doubt his true devotion to anything religious.

Gimme Your Password

It was an amusing story that popped up yesterday concerning the city of Bozeman, Montana.

So you want a job with the city? Fine.....Just cough up your username and passwords for the social-networking sites that you participate in.

This means a variety of sites....Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo, Google,YouTube, right-wing or left-wing organizations, etc.

They say its necessary in order to preserve the integrity of the employees of the city. I kinda scratched my head. Even for a top secret clearance from the Air don't even have to list membership in any forums or chat areas. So the city of Boozeman thinks this is important? I'm kinda curious over what they've gained while doing this.

If I were applying for such a job....I'd just smile and say I'm not a member of any organization. The odds of them ever being smart enough to figure things out are pretty much zero. Of course, you could readily claim that you don't own any memberships but your wife owns them and never, ever, gives you the passwords. You could also give them the memberships and then a bogus password.

I knew of a guy once...whose wife demanded the password to every account he had. For days, he just laughed it off and then she kinda leveled the boom on the guy....either divorce or hand over the passwords. So he went went wiped various accounts clean and gave her the passwords....then opened new accounts under a different name. The wife was all happy and felt in power, and he still had private accounts.

I started thinking about this issue, and the fact that most of us....twenty years ago....had one pin number for the ATM machine. I can remember in 1993 getting my first password for a Air Force account, and it could be a simple six-number sequence. I can remember when the security guy showed up last year and we drifted into number-letter-special character "hell" with a network that I commonly use on was a work-of-art with 16 various elements. Am I able to remember it? Maybe once a week, I might actually be able to recite the whole 16 element.

In the case of Boozeman, I'm wondering who the blessed disciple is....the guy who gets the passwords. And how does he protect them? Does he log on and check things out. I'm thinking he reports to his boss that he does but I doubt if he's ever reviewed a single page in the whole period of employment.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Septic Tank Leaks and North Korea

For several years….a puny country with no real GNP, no real culture, no real technology development, no real movie stars, no real political corruption, no real banking sector corruption, no real French wine, no real humor, no real Newsweek or Time to tell you old news a week late, and no real news network….has been a thorn in the side of the US, Japan, South Korea, and even Canada (they won’t admit it but they pretty are affected too).

For a guy from Bama, this is kinda like an ever-so-slow septic tank leak. You sit there and can barely smell it, but you know it’s there.

The problem with this entire scenario is that no one takes North Korea serious anymore at anything. You can’t even hold a negotiation with a group of these guys because they can’t sign nothing because the beloved leader is not there and he or his number two players could cancel anything that sounds agreeable.

So this is where things are going. We will proceed up to the 4th of July weekend, when a missile will likely be launched toward Hawaii but intentionally fall well short of it. In fact, we are likely going to treat this missile as a target and ‘zap’ it before it gets even half-way.

North Korea will accuse us of war-crimes and likely attempt another launch immediately after that….with the same result.

Then to show some kind of result, another missile or two will likely be aimed at anyone (other than China or Russia), just to show they are to be treated as reliable threats.

So this will play back and forth, with another missile eventually fired at Hawaii within a month or two of that first one. It’s kinda like being pulled over for doing 53 in a 55-mph zone in the midst of some speed-trap area in Bama….and being lectured that you were fairly close to 55 and need to be careful.

For the US, this means countless millions spent on defending against a real non-existent threat. You have GI’s on watch….ton’s of technology being wasted on non-threats….and then you get stuck with Wolf Blitzer and the CNN I’m-a-expert analyst explaining why this missile did this and why that missile did that. Eventually, you hit the mute button and imagine yourself in Gulfport sipping beer on a hot afternoon.

This could almost be a weekly 1-hour series done each week where a bunch of guys pretend it’s a reality show and show off each other’s missiles.

Bloody Yes, Finally

According to the latest and greatest UK Climate Impacts Report…..British summers will appear like those nations in the Mediterranean….like Spain. And the winters….warm in nature and severe rain.

In the midst of this….the office in charge of this type of thing kinda admitted that they run 400 different computer models. Then they kinda admitted that they run three types of scenarios….low, medium and high….and all having something to do with carbon emissions.

Environmentalists are shrieking over this announcement, and the media is basically weeping over themselves.

The funny thing….is that most Brits are sitting there and smiling from ear to ear. As miserable as it gets in the UK….with constant misty rain in the spring and fall…..and cool summers….they hate the current weather situation. If you came up and offered a Brit any scenario where 90 degree summers might be the norm….they would hug and kiss you.

So my advice to the environmentalists and the national climate impact folks….you might want to avoid advertising this scenario, because if they have any say over the matter…it’d be bloody fine to be in such a hot place.

Why I Dislike My Job

Yesterday, there was the reminder of why I have come to dislike my job so much. The “boys” who have a special conference room upstairs, complete with a state-of-the-art video-teleconferencing system….went out on their own about eighteen months ago and bought a fancy world clock.

You’ve likely seen this type….it’s four foot long and has four clocks built into the huge mechanism….all running on four strategic areas of the world…..digitally. When you walk in the room and sit down in the audience area or the VIP-table area, you can’t miss seeing this giant clock assembly.

So interestingly enough….the general has come to grasp that the clock (all four) are two minutes behind his watch….which he claims is absolutely correct. The general is unhappy, and wants the wall clock “fixed”….mostly meaning to add two minutes. The boys, who bought the apparatus and happily smile through all these events….suddenly realized that it had to be fixed and the little IR-gadget controller remote….isn’t anywhere in the room. No one remembers anything about this remote control or where it might have been placed.

Naturally, they whined to our boss (we are a different organization but we are the system’s guru’s)….and they need help.

We looked at the mess and voiced the idea that we didn’t buy this….we didn’t install this….and we aren’t responsible for this. That worked initially, then someone poked our leadership again….and we went back into a reactionary phase, but then eventually said “no” again.

Meanwhile, I pulled up the company and model, then found the online manual….146 damn pages of information on this masterpiece of a clock. Basically, if you have the remote…it’s a one minute episode to add two minutes. Without the remote….it could take three hours to read enough of the 146 pages and then determine how we might trick the clock into advancing. Naturally, there was likely a146-page manual with the clock when it arrived, has since been thrown away (my guess).

This is the ongoing saga of the Air Force today. No one maintains continuity and no one cares. They spend tons of money on gadgets and then toss manuals, remotes, special keys, and various support devices into storage rooms where they eventually get tossed into a dumpster. I would bet that this occurs almost every two weeks within my work-group. Sometimes we save the day, and sometimes we just stand back to watch a mess develop.

The final piece to this story? I had the VTC folks standing there watching clock tick yesterday….while online and “chatting” with me. I hit the world clock site with the US Naval Observatory….and then checked the precise time. The funny thing….was that time was time was two minutes ahead of the clock on my Microsoft machine, which is pre-set (I have no ability to control my Air Force computer in terms of time….it’s set to a mandatory pattern).

So I’m sitting there wondering….atomic time is “X”, my CPU time is “Y”, my general’s watch is “Z”, and this damn $1000 fancy clock on the wall is “Q”. And I’m thinking….does any of this mean that the world is out of sync? Are we in a Lost-episode? Are we suffering from some type of time warp? Did I miss something? Do you understand now why I’m having issues enjoying my work?

Universal Transmission Insurance

I have paused and pondered over this entire discussion on universal health care insurance, and have come to a vastly creative idea....universal transmission insurance. I realize some of you are puzzled, but allow me to explain.

Frankly, a bunch of us have gone against the trend and bought automatics in our life...instead of stick-shifts (the clutch mentality). It's ok as long as the car runs, but when transmissions finally requires a rebuild...often up to $2k. Some of us can afford this....but frankly, it's very difficult.

So my a nationally funded mandatory transmission insurance. We would put a 2-cent tax on top of the current fuel tax, and allow this to fall into a special pot. Then when we have issues....we'd take the car to a government transmission shop, and have the transmission reworked.

All transmission specialists would be government employees and highly paid, of course.

The entire service would be "free" and permanently guaranteed, compliments of the US government.

Of course, I would limit this to US citizens, and probably put a limit on car age of twenty years, but I think this is a swell idea.

Naturally, I am against Universal Clutch Repair Insurance, and think those guys should pay for their own issues.

I also have this idea about universal wart removal insurance. Oh, then I was thinking about universal septic tank insurance, universal chainsaw insurance, universal divorce insurance, universal dead dog under the porch insurance, and universal sunk-boat-on-the-river insurance.

The Underwear Town

Ok, so I'll start off with saying....this ain't in's in Florida. So many of you accuse Bama of having stupid laws....but we have a neighbor who outdid us this time.

Down in Brooksville, the city council met and then a revised dress code for employees. Why, was never explained. So this revision says that if you work for Brooksville....and you are an employee....then you must have "strict personal hygiene."

This involves six things which are written out completely: (1) the use of deodorant, (2) "the observable lack of undergarments and exposed undergarments" as "unacceptable attire," (3) no clothing with foul language, (4) no "sexually provocative" garments, (5) no halter tops and (6) no piercings anywhere except the ears.

So at the bottom of a description of what happens if you get warned and you repeat the problem....repeat offenders can be fired.

This all got passed by the city council 4-1. Mayor Joe Bernadini couldn't vote for this deal....saying "the underwear edict takes away freedom of choice."

I sat there for several minutes thinking about this. I'm a underwear guy, and won't be convinced to go to the dark side. I spent over thirty years associated with the Air Force....who never said a word ever about underwear (lot of other stuff, but not underwear). If you have to go this far in making a city rule....something is wrong...real wrong.

Naturally, this "sexually provocative" garments thing interests me. I was wondering what I could wear to fall into this place....and thinking leather pants might be enough to get me into trouble. I got the feeling that folks in this town really don't want any hot lusty stuff. Must be a pretty boring place.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Minor League Executive Skills

There was a episode everyone started figuring out the whole deal with the firing of the inspector general of AmeriCorps.

Some senators finally woke up and apparently decided that the White House had to explain the logic in this quick and decisive firing.

So today, we get a very response about this firing of Gerald Walpin. The bottom line? The White House describes Gerald as "confused" and "disoriented".
There are seven indicators given with this announcement:

• Removed after unanimous request from the AmeriCorps board of directors
• At May, 20, 2009, board meeting Walpin "was confused, disoriented and unable to answer questions and exhibited behavior that led the board to question his capacity to serve."
• The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California complained about Walpin's conduct to the IG oversight board and alleged he withheld exculpatory evidence.
• Walpin had "been absent from the Corporation's headquarters, insisting upon working from his home in New York over the objection" of the board.
• He "exhibited a lack of candor in providing material information to decision makers."
• He "engaged in other troubling and inappropriate conduct."
• He "had become unduly disruptive to agency operations, impairing his effectiveness."

I sat and read over the seven indicators. I’ve worked within the US government circle for thirty and have seen some folks fired who had emotional issues or breakdowns. So I came home and then watched Mr. Walpin talk with Mr. Beck on Fox. After about 60 seconds....I came to realize that Mr. Walpin doesn't have an emotional problem....or a judgment problem....or a "troubling" issue.

So I've turned back around to the White House. Frankly, you gentlemen are about to open up a hornets nest in the house and senate. "Impairing effectiveness"?

Let me explain what happens now...since you guys aren't that bright. The senate and house are going to actually call a meeting and invite Mr. Walpin and you guys out. You guys will refuse and cite that you have to right to fire Bush firing the attorneys. The problem is....IG's are not like that deal.

The house and senate will be asking for a probe. Naturally, this means an independent counsel. No matter who you pick....they will be in this spot until 2016 (if the administration makes it this far), and will likely agree that the White House was "foolish" in triggering this termination. Then someone will start asking questions about the Czars and their expenditures of money. Frankly, unless congress authorized them to do so....they really don't have any pots of money. So they are open targets.

Finally, we come to the reason of this? To protect some third rate political figure who is a mayor of a city in California...under investigation by the IG...and this dimwit happens to be a retired NBA player and personal friend of President Obama. Frankly, it's a weak executive skill demonstrated you'd expect in Bolivia or Panama.

Rembrandt versus Van Gogh

I spent several hours of this trip to Amsterdam....touring two dedicated to Van Gogh and the other to Rembrandt.

To be honest, a guy from Bama will have almost no introduction in his life to either, and is lucky to even be introduced to art, period.

I remember at some point in the seventh grade....where European history was mentioned....Rembrandt was brought up for a brief moment....for some comparison of culture. I kinda sat there.....a kid from Bama.....wondering what they meant by culture, but never asked.

So as time passed and I became a more learned individual....I came to recognize Van Gogh and Rembrandt.....masters of art.

So I made this trip to Amsterdam to properly introduce myself to both gentlemen. It's tough, because I have this Bama slant on life, woes, sorrows, and history.

So allow me to introduce you to both masters.

Rembrandt is the early 1600s dude, who we could refer to as "Mr. Polaroid". What he drew....was a honest to life picture of who he was facing. It was life-like. It was the ugliness and beauty of the individual.

Rembrandt was a guy who wanted to show his he bought what you'd consider a mansion today....not a palace.....and played out his role as a painter and a art collector. He made money off commissions and did a fair run of money-making. He spent a fair amount on knickknacks and artifacts. His collection....probably worth a fair amount of money at the time.

Rembrandt was like your Uncle Joe....a guy who made a bunch of money early and life, then came to a point where he made nothing. He didn't have a business sense to the whole game and probably would have been in a better situation in life if he'd just had a business manager arranging the other side of art for him.

So by the last few years of his life....he'd lost the house and ended up as a washed-up artist with no true sustaining art business. The art collection that he'd picked up over the years....simply taken as property for the lenders, and I'd doubt that they fully comprehended the full value of what Rembrandt had collected over the years.

Rembrandt ended up famous years later....and his works are worth billions today.

So the Van Gogh dude? It's a Bama opera tragedy. Here is a 16-year old kid with a worthly job art dealer....and a likely career in front of him. In 1870, he would have been 17 years old and heading toward a fair success in life....with absolutely nothing having to do with art production, but it's sales. Then, like some Bama kid stepping into a Baptist revival.....he got "religion" and fell apart.

Van Gogh became obcesed with religion. It was a dramatic turn of events....and literally dragged him away from a simple business career apprenticeship. It was a massive handcuff upon his mental state and stability.

So like a kid from Bama, he traveled off and tried to be a minister of the faith. He would have been the best version of Jimmy Swaggart alive at that time. The problem was....he couldn't sell the religion like he wanted to practice it. No one bought off on his version.

In his mid-twenties....Van Gogh's dad was almost of the mind to put the kid into a mental institute. His frame of mind...was slipping.

At some point around this period, Van Gogh finally picked up a brush and actually started to paint. It was probably more to just relax and get his mind off various thoughts.

From this point 1890....there are a dozen periods of mental change. None really improved much of anything. He painted on, and on, and on. There are 2,000 works by Van Gogh by 1890.

At age 37, in 1890....Van Gogh walked into a field and shot himself with a pistol. His brother, who helpd to manage his affairs....died six months later. It was Theo's (the brother) wife who inheriented the entire art collection and then over the next 35 years to market Van Gogh, and then her son took on the empire.

It is a curious opera....Van Gogh with no real talent of painting known until his late 20's, then coming out over ten years with 2,000 works of art by age 37....dead. He never saw a penny of the profits or the attention dumped upon his works. Statistically, he had to draw or paint almost turn out an average of 200 works per year.

The Van Gogh style? Compared to Rembrandt....Van Gogh was a barn-painter....he painted with passion and in quick long strokes. Rembrandt tended to paint strictly people....Van Gogh painted just about anything he saw.....from a wheat field, to a house.

For a boy from Bama....who has traveled afar....I still have no culture, and likely never will. I have an appreciation of what people have done in a moment of creativity and passion. The funny thing is that I tend to see wheat field in the same fashion as Van Gogh.....and I could stand in front of a field for hours....just admiring the rich colors and the waving stalks.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Bulldozer Idea

Frankly, I thought it was a moment of brilliance.

The administration's idea.....for all of these rust-belt cities which are dying and full of trashed up homes and dead to tear down the affected areas and plant trees. Yes, reforest an generation of urban America.

There fifty cities in this group...mentioned by the White House...which includes Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Memphis.

Naturally, there are different feelings within the cities over this. If you have a entire block of fifty homes....and forty-four are empty or dead.....that leaves six homes standing which folks actually own. So do you destroy the forty-four and then leave the six in the midst of some mini-forest? Can the locals accept this?

After ten years.....will the city attempt to come back in....cut down the trees and then "give" away the property to homestead-minded folks? Its a curious thing that the political folks involved will not discuss the future options on this plan.

Course, I have two items in my analysis which makes sense. First, you need work-crews to do this kind of work....and it's not really technical in nature. with fifty cities involved....I'd be guessing at least twenty thousand personnel involved in this effort, for at least ten years. A guy who has been unemployed in Detoit....could finally get a long-term job with another 300 guys....and just spend the days tearing down homes and planting trees.

The second item of analysis....BUY CAT stock. Yes, to accomplish all of will need bulldozers....lots of bulldozers. I'd be guessing at least three hundred bulldozers spread out amongst fifty cities in America. You will need the biggest bulldozers possible and they will need lots of maintenance and parts. Caterpillar will make hundreds of millions off this government sale and the continued support of the bulldozers.

Naturally, I won't comment if I own CAT can only speculate on that part.

A Climate Change Hymn

There was a story today….of how harsh things are in the job environment and students about to graduate from college.

Apparently, divinity schools are seeing a 10 percent or higher growth on applicants for the fall semester….which is pretty unusual.

I thought this was pretty unusual. The last thing on my mind….if I were about to graduate from college….is to return and then go for some divinity degree. How could you possibly turn an investment of four years and $60k to $100k….into some idea of a divinity degree?

Some folks are apparently speaking out on this idea…and their enthusiasm is circling around new issues which they’d like to focus into the divinity world….chiefly… warming.

I paused when I read this comment…thinking that maybe I was missing something….but no….divinity and global warming apparently are matching up. The comment in one article went to the concept of “spiritual approach toward community service”.

One student who is heading in this direction….came with a unique thought…… the main focus to slowing climate change was thought to be technological or economic, but the student felt that it ought to be spiritual. His future? Jump onto some "environmental ministry" after graduating from divinity school.

It was bad enough when we were all focused on Moses, the Bible, and Eden….but now global warming in the midst of some sermon?

Does hellfire and brimstone cause global warming….would you even care if it did?

I’m thinking some divinity folks will find a short career in this business. So we will have to stand and wait…for the Tammy Faye of Global Warming to arrive….for the Jimmy Swaggart of Climate Change to arrive…..and for the Pope of Environmentalism to stand and deliver.

Something is tugging at my sleeve….and telling me that my emotional shield is going to be high and in position for years to come when a religious-climate changer comes calling at the front porch.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Just a Letterman Moment

There's a great news item off Fox News..."Could Feud with Palin Boost Letterman?"

I sat and read it three or four times...then I asked myself....does this mean that Letterman was dead in his career prior to his "Palin-boost"?

If I were mainstream media....I'd be careful what I wrote. In this case....after the Palin-boost passes....then what? Is Letterman finished on evening TV in general? Or did the Palin-boost save his meager career? Do other loser TV show hosts need a survive? What if Palin goes away.....can Letterman and the losers survive?

Just some comments from a porch, far....far....far....away.

David Letterman and Bad Taste

I waited about a week, to respond to the David Letterman episode and Governor Palin of Alaska.

The "joke" that Letterman tossed out....wasn't that funny...and was borderline to being pretty bad taste.

Most folks.....whose jobs in life is just to be a media target.....deserve whatever comedians toss at them. This is a pretty wild group....from the beauty queen from California to Paris Hilton, from Hulk Hogan to Pamela Sue Anderson. The thing is...Palin's daughter isn't a media magnet, never was and never will be.

So I've decided that the best you can do is in this to devise some Dave Letterman jokes....which are pitiful and bad....but deserving. So here’s my David Letterman joke: David Letterman visits the doctor for a checkup, and after some tests, the doctor comes in with a grave look on his face.

Doctor: Well, I have some bad news and some really bad news.

David Letterman: Well, give me the really bad news first.

Doctor: You have cancer, and only 6 months to live.

David Letterman: And the bad news?

Doctor: You have Alzheimer’s disease.

David Letterman: That’s great. I was afraid I had cancer!

I would suggest that the time has come to tell some really bad David Letterman jokes....which we can readily steal from various joke databases...and the emphasis to tell some jokes which just aren’t that funny...and see who gets the “worst” one.

My feeling is that Dave will say anything about Alzheimer patients is in bad taste....but if so...where did he draw this line and how does that line come to exist?

The Billions and Billions and Billions

After coming back off this Amsterdam trip...I came to note this mega announcement on government savings....which will translate into $950-odd billion...give or take a billion or two. It's funny I never really counted into the billions...until this year.

This of course, all relates to the government funding of universal healthcare, for America.

Somewhere in this announcement....was this neat mention of how $313 billion in savings would come from cutting or reducing the growth of payments to hospitals, medical equipment manufacturers and laboratories....then a bunch of talk was tossed around about how they'd find another $75 billion in drug savings...but so far no one knows how.

Somehow, over ten years...this would all add up (especially if you sip a good bit whiskey when thinking about numbers like this).

So you basically have to admit that each and every year, you....the government....were sponsoring public clinics throughout America with hardware, x-ray machines, lab equipment, q-tips, birth-control pills,wheel-chairs, etc.

So we'd basically terminate these programs and then hope entire deal is fairly done and they still get q-tips, lab equipment and x-ray machines....some how....some way.

My guess is that once you cancel these programs...then the whole health department that exists within the federal level....might as well come to an end too. Course, Senator Snuffy and Senator Tubby are both sitting there, and will quickly write some damn good legislation to help fund these various programs...while the President pretends that he really cut them. In the end, we'll just toss the old money and the new money into one pot and admit that 1.8 trillion dollars now exist and we don't know how such a silly thing could happen.

As for the $75 billion in drug cost cutting....I'm guessing that someone may eventually come up and admit that of all the drugs developed since 1985...forty-five percent do basically the same thing as stuff made before 1985.

If you wanted to make this drug cost discussion interesting....tell the meth guys that they could actually get the real recipe for alot of drugs....and start manufacturing clone drugs of the real stuff...and become national heroes by selling $100 drug doses for $20, and they'd still make $5 profit off each sale (illegally and without tax of course).

For some reason, if this was this easy to find $950-odd billion...couldn't we have done the stimulus package in the same fashion?

Just my suggestion, but we could lay off congress and the senate for five months out of the year, and not miss too much. I'd like to start saving with this idea.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Blitz Cameras in Leiden

Everyone that lives in Europe is used to speed cameras. They tend to be absolute. When the ticket arrives in the is the speed and the picture...and the payment situation. You rarely get out of it. In Germany.....most are mobile situations. Here in Kaiserslautern where I live, there are four permanent speed cameras. We all know the locations and avoid speeding around these sections of town.

This past week, as I toured Amsterdam and stayed up at Leiden.....I arrived with my GPS running full-power. I have the option available to show speed cameras and warn you ahead of time. From a minute or two outside of Leiden....I began to look at this huge image over the next mile or was a blacken area covering the entire town. I brought the GPS picture down to just things within 1,500 feet of the car.

Block after block.....these speed cameras were just about everywhere. I hadn't experienced this on the previous visit to Leiden.

Within a town of 120k people, I would imagine that they have at least 300 cameras within the town. It's a curious strategy. You basically give up on cops and then start to pull in revenue while running this simple but direct program. I noticed that there just aren't any speeders in town. How many cops did they cut? Maybe five or six....I'm guessing of course.

Over two days.....I didn't see any accidents...which is a bit unusual when you consider the population of the town. Maybe the cameras improve safety.....but I won't admit to such.

So if visiting Europe...and in the Netherlands region with a rental car....ask for the GPS option. It might help save you a hundred bucks on speeding tickets.