Saturday, 31 October 2009

My Bio Can

It is an amusing episode. Here in Germany, you end up with four required ways to dispose of paper, regular trash, plastic, and bio materials. So there is this revolving schedule every Friday of putting out one can or two. Thursday night, I put out the bio can for the truck to empty....Friday afternoon, it's gone.

So today, I wasted an hour walking around and looking over via the neighborhood. The can is marked on top and on the side....so it's strange that someone else grabbed it. It's nowhere to be found.

So I sat and thought about this. You have two choices with bio material. You can pay $70 a year and have a can which is picked up every two weeks. You toss leaves, left-over cooking items, and cut grass into the can. Or option two, you run a compost operation in your backyard and keep the items for your spring garden.

I contemplated my can and the fact that five houses are next to where the can was standing when the truck emptied it out. All five have trees and a garage. None of these guys have a bio can....all do the compost episode. Typically, fall leave collections amount to a pretty big effort.

I'm now guessing one of these five neighbors....have kidnapped my bio can....and in two weeks, it'll appear on the street....full of leaves. They save their $70 by doing a compost effort, but they are totally overwhelmed with fall leaves and tree limbs. So they've got this can in their garage and filling it.

Poor manners....in my imagination....but you can't walk up to a guy and accuse them of garbage can rustling.

How Glenn Beck Does It

For the past two months....I've probably watched an average of 45 minutes of clips per week of the Glenn Beck show. Call it the best of Beck or just what I'm interested in....I've come to analyze the show and the message.

First, without much doubt....he's drilling down into the pit and giving you an absolute map on the topics he discusses. As complicated as Time or Newsweek pretend to be....or those wonderful folks at NPR or CNN or MSNBC....Beck is taking complication, and dissolving it. A farmer in Iowa can grasp some subject in a simple 15-minute Beck clip that CNN will waste weeks and weeks trying to explain in five-minute bit segments here and there.

Second, there is this whiteboard attempt to lay the whole story out in simplicity. These boards, the pictures, the simplified graphics....nothing overwhelming....nothing involving a $80k work station and massive graphics.

Third, every single segment is designed for a soccer mom, a farmer, a fireman, or a flea market entrepreneur. It's for the common guy on the street.

Fourth, at the time slot it shows....you'd think the guy would do a lousy audience....but frankly, he's probably drawing more people to that time slot than Fox News ever imagined. The interesting thing is that it's folks from Iowa, Bama, and Texas....who are taking an hour off to listen to the guy. And if they can't listen....they tape it.

Fifth, Beck is making you ask questions. In most cases.....he's easily telling seventy-five to ninty percent of the whole story. Even if he only covers seventy-five percent of the story....you can locate the missing parts quickly and assemble what remains. For a NPR story.....if you are lucky....you get fifty percent of the real story....and may spend an hour or two trying to find what they intentionally missed. Same for Time, same for Newsweek......they all give you barely fifty percent of the story.

The problem for 2010....is that elections are staged and Beck just might have an influence on the heartland vote. A million switched votes? Yes, I'd readily predict that Beck will influence and switch a million votes that Obama or the Democrats took in November of 2008. In fact, I would wager that in six southern states....he will likely taken down a number of Democratic congressmen and toss at least two Democratic senators out of their race.

So, if the White House was ever serious in its judgment of Beck being a threat.....well....they'd best start right now in taking Beck down. But frankly, I think it's too late and Beck is likely to be a major problem for them to overcome.

Yes, all this madness about Rush being the threat....was just wasted hot-air. Beck is the guy to worry about.

Gitmo Observation

In case, you were wondering...yes, the Pentagon guys will offer up the H1N1/Swine Flu shot to all the Gitmo boys.

I thought this was awful kind to them. In fact, I came to realize that they actually have 4-star medical care....free of charge...and they didn't require 1,900 pages of text to provide it to the guys there. In fact, the guys don't pay taxes...didn't even ask free health care...and don't even know Nancy Pelosi.

Just an observation.

An End to the Saga of Honduras?

I sat amused yesterday....by reports from CNN and NPR over Honduras. Briefly, around five months ago, the political powers in Honduras decided that the President was becoming a major problem. He was in the last twelve months of his four-year appointment.....and wanted the constitution changed so he could run a second time (forbidden in Honduras).

So the President decided that he wanted the people to shift the constitution around and allow a guy to run as many times as he wanted. The problem though....was that only senators in Honduras were allowed to change the constitution....not a public vote. You'd meet one day and make a constitutional change vote.....if it passed, then you waited twelve months and made the same vote again....and if it passed a second time.....it was changed.

The President....Zelaya....decided this basically took him out of the running, so he wanted a public vote. The senate said no. The supreme court said no. And finally, Zelaya went out and published ballots to make this a possibility, with the military running the vote. Amusingly enough, the ballots were made in Venezuela....not Honduras. You might ask questions on why printers in Honduras weren't used but I think you know why.

So the military was ordered to hand out the ballots and the general refused. Things kinda fell apart quick....and the Supreme Court asked the military to just kick out the guy....rather than make a big mess out of a court situation.

At this point....every country in Latin America with a dictatorship....from Venezuela to Cuba....got all upset. Then President Obama came out and said this wasn't right, and Honduras basically stood alone.

It was a big mess....all triggered by Zelaya.

So the deal from Thursday? The one that CNN and NPR failed to grasp?

The current guy kinda steps to the side, and Zelaya is allowed to retake his office (there won't even be a swearing in, because he is the president, you know). Then the senate agrees to take up a vote to allow him to run a second time. Neatly packaged in this understanding is that the currently planned election in roughly five weeks....will take place no matter what. All charges against Zelaya will be dropped....even the corruption charges.

Zelaya's expectation is that the senate will vote and give him his option of running in the election....thus fixing this whole mess.

What NPR and CNN failed to tell you....is that they haven't modified any part of the constitution....there is still vote one, and a year later, vote two. Zelaya is standing there and even pretending to himself to think this two-step vote is dismantled and he got a sweetheart deal to make his dream happen.

I laughed through the NPR 2-minute update. They really didn't grasp any of this.

Honduras wouldn't have agreed to any of this....unless they were pretty sure of the senate vote. My guess....less than twenty-five percent will go for Zelaya's change in the constitution.

Most of these guys are in the heat of the campaign period and really don't want to settle on this guy again anyway.

So as the senate vote occurs.....and Zelaya realizes nothing changed....it'll be a remarkable moment. He wasted six months fighting this entire mess....got this entire deal to return....and basically gets five weeks more of being President, at best.

The other fools in the opera? The Latin American countries that all piled onto the anti-Honduras game? They are forced to play along now and most approve of the elected new President of Honduras in a few weeks. The US? Well....they will activate the cut-off funding and the special status of Honduras.....and pretend everything just got fixed.

It's a remarkable saga....of how things can fall apart, then fall together again....and then, just dissolve at the right moment.

Larry Langford


Outside of Bama....almost no one knows Larry. This week...Larry, the mayor (now former mayor) of Birmingham, finally got convicted. Sixty charges, which all passed the jury as guilty. These are bribe and corruption charges. No one is sure about the sentence yet....but most folks are thinking a minimum of twenty years....which he might be out by twelve if he is cooperative. I'm guessing Larry might even offer to turn over bits of knowledge that he knows....in hopes of getting eight years trimmed off his sentence.

So this blog isn't necessarily about Larry but how this game works.

There are two groups at work in life....the folks on the inside, and the players. Basically, you have a political figure or group of political figures....who know the system and rig up various expenditures or property deals. They know how things are going not just one year out....but even five to ten years out.

The second group....the players....are guys with money who can make various deals happen. They are gambling-minded folks. They will bring up a syndicate of ten guys.....each putting $100k to millions into a pot to make a deal happen. They have a "friendship" with the political figures and help with re-election efforts or rig up special real estate deals.

So I'm going to give you a deal in progress currently in Bama.....although I'm not going to tell you what town this is.

This is a town on a river....an old established town. There are two bridges crossing this river, to another well-established town. So with our original town.....at one end, there is a swamp of magnificent proportions.....well over 3,000 feet across.

At the edge of this swamp, on the city side, is an old dilapidated part of town....as poor as you can possibly be. There are probably two hundred homes in this region. The town can't extend any further in this direction.....because of the swamp. So for years, they've talked about building a bridge, but never had the capital.

Quietly.....various people have worked up deals to buy up the cornfields on the other side of this swamp. They lease the land to the previous farmers and get some cash off this, but the real owners are these guys in business suits....the players.

So along comes this political opportunity......stimulus funding. And someone had the design package drawn up and had been waiting. Someone within the city hall.

So the bridge will start construction soon. At some point, the mayor and council will agree that the street where this bridge empties out into.....must be completely bought up. So they will find at that point.....compliments of the syndicate who bought the cornfields.....that the same group likely owns the houses. They probably paid less than $40k per house. So the city will eventually work up a deal to buy these houses....compliments of the inside guy on the council or the mayor....for probably $65k each.

The syndicate makes money on this side of the swamp and the other side where the corn fields lay. By the time you figure in business establishments and upscale neighborhoods in the corn field.....tens of millions could be gained on this deal.

These relationships often help in various ways. Lets say that you are a poor mayor....barely making $150k a year, and there is this syndicate deal....costing $500k for each slot....over a four year period. The end result? Probably around $1 million payback for each slot. The mayor might have $200k of this $500k necessary, but he needs a loan. So the syndicate guys work up a 4 percent loan (as low as possible), and just loan it their "friend". The boys all wait the four years out till the big deal occurs....then the mayor pays back his loan with interest, and walks away with $400k profit out of this deal.

Across America, this happens all the time. Each time a mall is built.....it is preplanned for a decade and several syndicates might be at work with different portions of this deal. These are people who aren't working for a lousy six to eight percent profit. They expect a minimum of fifty percent profit, and usually have hopes of one hundred percent profit or more.

So Larry....who was a player and a inside guy for his entire life....has finally screwed up and will spend time in jail. His buddies....the other insiders or players? Well....they are hard at work in Birmingham....on the next deal. Even in prison.....Larry might be part of the syndicate and helping to motivate some insider to help the syndicate in some fashion. Larry might actually get out of prison....wealthier than what he is today.

This is sad part about our world today.....and you can't stop it.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Seven Little Letters

The statistical possibility?

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denied at the White House Friday that he had intentionally sent a letter to state legislators containing a hostile, coded message.

Speaking with reporters after an appearance with Vice President Biden to tout a new report claiming the stimulus created or saved 1 million jobs, Schwarzenegger said it was purely an accident that his office had sent out a letter in which the first letters of each line combined to spell: "F-ck you."

"That was a total coincidence," he said, insisting: "It was one of those wild coincidences."

About one in forty-four billion (my numbers). This came compliments of Politico.

I paused over this. You can't arrange a seven-letter combination like this...without effort. It simply doesn't happen.

A wild coincidence? No.

My Urine Test

As part of my new employment deal...I have to take a urine drug test. So yesterday....just as I was walking out of the office for a dental appointment...."Bill" called....wanting to get me in for this drug test. I said sure...where and when. His deal....for me to drive down to Mannheim (45-minute drive) and meet at the food court of the BX there. I said sure. So this morning....I left for Mannheim at 0800.

I pulled into the BX parking lot at Ben Franklin village...and noted no cars in front of the BX, and maybe ten cars in front of the Popeye's Chicken shop to the side. So I walked over and found just one or two guys sitting there in Popeye's....sipping coffee but now matching Bill's description with the Bass Pro Shop hat.

So I pulled out my cellphone and called Bill. He answered and said I'd have to wait a minute....he had another guy in the Popeye's bathroom....doing a urine sample with him.

By this point, the Popeye's guys were eyeballing me....figuring I wanted some coffee, but I declined....saying I was waiting on some guy.

A minute or two passed....and some guy walked out. I entered the Popeye's bathroom.

Here was Bill....in the Bass Pro Shop hat. We chatted ever so slightly...he pulls out the sample cup and gives me the three instructions. I proceed to step up and "deliver".

We wrapped up this business...I signed a form...and thanked Bill for his assistance in this.

I stepped out, and another guy was lined up for his sample deal. Across the way....the Popeye's guys were eyeballing this. You can get a feel for their impression...a bunch gay guys showing up at Popeye's at 9AM.

I went over and got a paper...and left Mannheim as quickly as possible.

I hope these DC guys have a better urine testing site.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Caskets

So this was an interesting bit to Wal-Mart’s sales. Yesterday, coffin sales started up. The deal is....you browse online, and make the purchase (likely by credit card). They deliver it to your house within two to three days....I assume by Fedex or UPS. Once it’s delivered....no returns.

I laughed over this new concept. No returns....was necessary because some folks might use it for a day and then try to return it when they felt it didn’t meet their needs.

So you can imagine the situation. You can’t really buy this at death because it just won’t get there in time. So you are one of those prior-to-the-event buyers. You buy it and two days later....here is the Fedex guy in your driveway in Bama. He needs some help in unloading this three-hundred pound box.

You get your cousin Larry and neighbor Jimmy to come over and haul out this monster-sized cardboard box. You put it in the carport....and cut open the cardboard.

Larry, Jimmy, the Fedex guy, and you gaze at the new coffin. Jimmy will be the first guy to comment....”you sure it’s big enough”, and then you start to worry and measure the interior to make sure it’s the right fit.

Larry then suggests that he’d like to get one but with more fancy woodwork. The Fedex guy suggest cherry wood would have been more suitable.

At this point, Wanda (your wife) comes out....and asks “what the hell did you buy”, and then goes off on a tangent about wasting $1,500 of your money on some stupid coffin. She wants it out of the carport before neighbors see it.

So you and the boys haul it out to the garage and put over the bass boat. You pull out some fancy garbage bags and ensure no water getting into the wood and then tie it up to the rafters.

You and the boys all stand there drinking a beer and talking about the great idea of pre-buying your own coffin.

The sun sets that evening....and you all go back and turn on Andy Griffth and kinda forget about the box.

Weeks pass. Months pass. Years pass. Then one day.....you die down by Ben’s Bar-b-q Pit....from a massive heart attack triggered by the two pounds of pork and hot sauce you poured over the top.

They haul you down to county general hospital....pronouncing you dead.

Wanda drives down....cries up a storm....and then goes over to Carl’s Funeral Home....to make arrangements. Wanda doesn’t remember the coffin over the bass boat. She buys a brand new coffin for $2,200 with the Auburn war eagles symbol over the top.

Weeks pass. Months pass. Years pass. And one day....Wanda is cleaning out the garage and selling the old bass boat and sees this box up there....wondering what the hell it is. She has cousin Claude come over and discovers this old coffin that you bought.

Claude eyeballs it a while and finally says he can sell it at the flea market....so Wanda just says to get it the heck out of the garage. Claude puts it up on top of the cab of the truck and sells the box in less than five minutes, for $100. Some guy loads into the back of his Cadillac trunk, with about four feet of coffin showing. Sitting in the back seat was his faithful dog....”Teddy”.

Somewhere along the road to Demopolis, Bama....he swerves to miss a deer and hits an apple cider stand....and this massive fire erupts. The local cops arrive....and there in....lies the mystery of the burnt empty coffin, some funny bones that they eventually figure to be a dog, and a statewide investigation. The Cadillac guy swears up and down there never was a human body. But he can’t remember Claude’s name. Needless to say....it only spells trouble in the end.

So the morale of the story is....just pass on the Wal-Mart deal. Nothing good of this can come.

The Pelosi Deal

1990 pages? This is the Pelosi universal health care plan?

Basically, you must have a plan, period....no exceptions. This was what a number of senators wanted to avoid....in fear of the constitutional challenge that would come up. Some lawyers have said that forcing people to pick "A" or "B"....won't pass the Supreme Court.

Listening the words....expecting this to pass and be signed by the President by 11 November, and then everyone could evacuate and leave DC in mass.

I started to kinda shed a tear there....mostly while laughing. The package is such....that most southern Democrats will not vote for it. It is fairly different from the senate package....so getting the senators to buy along with this is mostly zero. I think Reid would have trouble getting 49 or more senators in this case.

Frankly, I think she killed the entire episode....on purpose. I believe she mostly fell on the biggest sword possible to make the extreme far left feel appreciated and she knows that the moderates and southern Democrats will just pass on this package.

Everyone is sitting there tonight.....planning their trip home within two weeks....and a nice long Christmas vacation. The President will be left to figure out some great topics or foreign visits....and how to max out on blame for Bush.....or someone.....for this mess.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Opt Analysis

I've spent a fair amount of time pondering the past couple of days over this new universal health care package of Senator Harry Reids....and the opt-out option. So I've come to three points of analysis.

First, if opt-out is so great an idea....why not opt-in? Make the whole dang thing a package and then offer it up to fifty states. Let everyone know that it'll cost x amount (I assume $1800) for each family to contribute to taxes to help the lesser folks afford the package. So let everyone know the entire deal and then have a state by state vote.

I'm guessing at best....once you know your cost....and folks discuss this....that barely five states pass the package. Another ten will make it close. And the remaining 35 will be a 8-point margin. At that point, if you are unhappy and want the package....just pack up and move to the right state.

Second, if the idea of opt-out is so keen....why not make every national law this way? All these laws created to control Alaska and its oil....by 49 other states.....why not allow Alaska to vote and opt-out of the control laws? If we are saying that opt-out is great and fair....why not across the board for every single law?

We could vote and opt-out of stupid laws that involve carbon credits or environmental requirements. We could opt-out of extra taxes to fund national public TV or radio. We could opt-out of Afghanistan or Iraq or keep our national guard back home.

So I'm guessing that this is the one and only time that opt-out will ever be brought up.

Finally, my third point of observation. In 1860, we had an opt-out deal going.....that somehow just didn't work. Alot of men died, because opt-out just wasn't going to be allowed. We've kind gone with this strategy of all-for-one and one-for-all ever since that point. For some reason....Harry's idea is rubbing me the wrong way. Either he is bluffing and half-joking over the suggestion.....or he wants a divided nation. Either way....we lose something.

As a guy from Bama and a dry county.....I'd sure like to try this opt-out deal on alcohol sales, but I'm guessing opt-out in Bama is something we'd best not bring up.

Just the NEA's Words

I saw this today....over at the National Review.

Basically, this was commentary from the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.....Rocco Landesman. His quote:

This is the first president that actually writes his own books since Teddy Roosevelt and arguably the first to write them really well since Lincoln. If you accept the premise, and I do, that the United States is the most powerful country in the world, then Barack Obama is the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar. That has to be good for American artists.

I sat there for a minute.....half-laughing....and then wondering if Rocco was just that naive?

Based on a fair amount of survey with the two books written by the President....there is ample belief and proof that both were ghost-written by another writer. In fact, the puzzling thing about the original contract to write a book....was that Mr Obama spent a vast amount of time writing nothing.....and when finally faced with the prospective of having no real written material for what they contracted him to write....he then turns around and writes a totally different book, which ended up as a bio of sorts....from a youthful guy with no real past.

In fact, from what people have found....that they are sure over his writings.....he really writes more like a traditional lawyer of sorts.....and no real functionary writing ability beyond that.

Then Rocco suggests some magnificent ability to write? It kinda makes you wonder who makes up the NEA and if a bunch of guys from Bama just might be more artistic and better writers than the whole team over at the NEA.

Pilots, Laptops, and Minneapolis

The story deepens with the two pilots in Minneapolis, who missed landing. They now claim that they both had laptops out and were heavily involved in some type of reading activity via their laptop. The story barely sounds legitimate.

I pondered over this and started to consider the possibility that both are gamers and were heavily involved with World of Warcraft (my son’s passion of life). I could see both so heavily involved that they would miss the landing episode.

The funny thing here is that the airline has a policy on laptop use in the cabin, and it’s virtually a job-loss thing if you pull the laptop out unless in the performance of work. I’m guessing that neither will be able to prove this effort and both (in their mid-50s) are bound to be let go.

The positive here? Well…at least my original suggestion of something weird or kinky going on in the cockpit is out the window.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

My $32 Scenario

Senator Reid tossed in the magic “universal health care” package this week….with the opt-out deal for states to just say “NO”.

Basically, if you were a state and you felt….either through the legislative process or via the governor or some statewide vote…you figured this was a crappy deal…then by 2014, you could opt out of national universal health care.

I pondered over this and then started laughing.

It’s kinda like the Ramstein O’club Thanksgiving meal. You pay $32 for a meal. If you just eat one plate of turkey and stuffing, with an ice tea….then it’s $32. If you opted for the plate and some desert, it’s $32. If you opted for desert and coffee only….it’s $32. If you piled on the stuffing and turkey…and had four plates of the stuff….with all the deserts possible…it’s $32. If you had eight plates of turkey, dressing and nine helpings of desert...it's still $32. You could even pay $32 and just sit there sipping tea and gazing at some gorgeous beauty sitting across from you with a nice open blouse.

So the government is going to take their tax part of this deal and fund what’s required. If you were the one state of the fifty that turned it down…you simply are funding the other 49 in this effort and donating your tax help free of charge. Heck, twenty-five states could say no and thus fund the other twenty-five states entirely.

Now if Harry Reid was honest and fair…he’d say that if your state did turn down the deal…then each resident would get a $700 federal check instead….then things would start to become interesting. Would it make you more likely to say “no”? For a family of four….$2800 might be enough to say no and go on a big vacation somewhere.

For the senator….this ripples across his support. The lone Republican won’t agree to this. At least four Democratic senators won’t sign up for this.

So the question is…is Harry creating an impassable piece of legislation? On purpose? I might be asking a stupid question or two now. Could it be that Harry has come to the mind that this has become a bigger mess than what was acceptable?

The Water Game

So this is your introduction to the water game.

You have a small reservoir or a series of water-pump stations. You are a city council member amongst six peers. Your water management system….run by the town…makes enough money to cover the bills and the maintenance structure of the water treatment facility. You as the city….probably make less than $300k a year off this deal. The nifty thing is that every five years…there’s some $2 million upgrade required.

Your friend Joe comes by. Joe is a middle-man on an interesting deal. Joe wants to hook four council members up on this interesting scheme. You take the reservoir or water-pump stations and lease them to some company called “Aqua-Purity” (my imaginary name). They want to lease your whole water system…your pipes….and even the reservoir. They will pay you $500k a year and cover the entire infrastructure cost (that lousy $2 million every five years).

So you gaze at this deal….the only way that the company can pay the $500k a year and cover this infrastructure cost…is by pumping the yearly water bill to city residents up another thirty percent (minimum). The AP guys smile and agree but then hint that they could toss $100k into your reelection bid for next year. So you smile and agree.

So the four of you vote up this thirty-year lease deal. Naturally, little is mentioned in the paper, because they pay off the editor. Added to this….the mayor is paid off to avoid any discussion.

So the lease occurs….and the AP guys send out a kind notice advising of a ten percent increase in water bills. The second year….a fifteen percent increase. By the third year….they’ve got the bill up to forty percent increase. You four guys stand there and start asking stupid questions because you’ve got significant heat on you by the residents of the town.

A year or two passes, no changes. Then the AP guys announce another fifteen percent increase.

By the tenth year, you are now paying almost double for water…with almost no infrastructure improvements and pipes bursting every four weeks over the community. Just the mere mention of major repairs….and there’s a three-percent increase on cost…but no repairs ever get accomplished.

Everyone complains to the water commissioner but the lease is written pretty well….and he can’t argue with the folks. The thirty-year deal? Well….it pretty much locks the company in to make huge profits and no real costs involved.

So gaze around now….towns throughout America are doing this scheme almost weekly now. Chicago….is listed as having the scheme underway currently but the mayor will deny it completely. You may live in a community where the discussion is underway and the town council is really interested in a better pay-back than the current deal they have.

The only ones that can get screwed? You….the customer.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Bodily Fluids

So I'm a pause-and-wait position right now on new employment. Basically, the boys in DC say I'm the guy....but they need some bodily fluid to prove that I've stayed straight and pure (not partaking of that mary-j-u-wanna stuff or flash-and-relive-your-life pills).

So at some point this week, I expect the phone call where I'm supposed to show up somewhere in the Ramstein area and give up five fluid ounces of bodily fluids.

Over my entire military career....I probably had to do this over thirty times.

Over the first eight years.....I had a total of three donations. I was always thinking this was the normal rate and didn't think much of this bodily fluid testing.

Then, I got to Panama....and I ended with twelve tests over three years. The boys got serious there.

Then, I came to Tucson. Over the first year....I had three tests and didn't think much of the issue. But then in the second year....came eight tests over eight months. I eventually came to the First Sargent and commented that it wasn't statistical anymore. He made a phone call and the next month.....the consecutive monthly thing ended.

Over my final five years in uniform at Ramstein....I probably did it three times.

It's not a big deal....as long as the idiots run a honest program. They expect you to fill a certain square and are willing to pay you to be that kind of person....no big deal. At some point, years from now....I'll probably run off to Amsterdam and smoke up a storm with mary-j-u-wanna, and finally grasp what I've been missing all my life.

Alien Pondering

There is this forum area that I frequent...and this week...some topic came up about alien movies and perceived aliens. It was a long-winded discussion. Basically, we come down to three types of aliens.

The first is the one that has come to suck the living life out of you folks and destroy civilization.

The second is the one who is a liberal or environmental type...wanting to help the Earth proceed to being a very nice friendly liberal society.

The last one...is typically the alien group who accidentally landed on Earth and would like to get the hell out of here but some bunch of American military guys or evil CEO guys are trying to stop them from leaving.

I sat there for a while....and asked why is it...just three types of aliens?

Couldn't we have some right-wing type of aliens...like Rush or Beck?

Couldn't we have some aliens who are here merely to study folks from Bama and report back on a highly intelligence class of human beings?

Couldn't we have some aliens who caught episodes of Andy Griffith and want to personally observe some real friendly folks?

Couldn't we have aliens who visit to have fantastic fried chicken or hot-and-spicy chili?

Couldn't we have aliens who seek eternal knowledge and Baptist living...and just wanna find a good dry county somewhere?

Couldn't we have aliens who left some planet for a place with a lesser tax burden?

Couldn't we have aliens who just want to disrupt American elections and vote in multiple states?

Couldn't we have aliens who just want the secret recipe for Pabst Blue Ribbon...and then they will leave peacefully?

For some reason....we get stuck with just three kinds of aliens. It bothers me. I actually waste time pondering on this and thinking about other scenarios. This is time that I could better spend on pondering about unusual piercings on ladies, or the best way to mix a whiskey sour, or perhaps the real reason for the White House to isolate Fox News.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

A Five Star Conspiracy?

My brother, ever the engineer....has this theory....there are a bunch of pharmaceutical guys, insurance executives, health care industry bosses, and lobbyists....who are running this entire Republican versus Democrat universal health care episode.

I laughed over this...a conspiracy of a 5-star magnitude? I sat there pondering this...trying to imagine how this would work....and eventually came to this vision.

So a couple of guys go in and put down some money and talk up universal health care with candidate Obama. Later, they continue with President Obama. They've got the agenda (plan) written down....so he doesn't have to think much.

Then some guys go over to Pelosi and Reid....and make sure they get some money to support this idea....campaign funding of course.

Then the same guys go over to the Republicans and give them the copy of the plan that Obama has. So they know precisely what to attack.

Then the same guys go to NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN...to talk this up and get wannabe journalists onboard with the Obama agenda. Naturally, there are talking points so the wannabe journalists don't have to think much about any of this. The numbers in the talking points? All bogus, but don't worry...these guys didn't take math in college so they won't add anything up.

Then the same guys go to Fox, Rush and Beck....and lay out the same story, with a different twist. So neither Rush or the boys will ever really think too much over this but just run with the whole program.

Then the same guys fly over to Norway....talk a couple of dimwitted guys into tossing a Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama....for nothing...but it makes the pot stir better.

So everyone is running off their scripts....kinda like a WWE wrestling match. And at the right moment...the entire momentum for national health care....fails. The efforts in congress drop off the side of the whole agenda. The President admits gross failure at making this happen. And whatever healthcare we have today....is the same healthcare we will have tomorrow and next week, and next month.

So in the end....nothing happens except we stay the same.

I stood back and reviewed by brother's conspiracy idea...and basically...I'm giving it a 60-40 chance of being true.

I sat pondering over this whole suggestion. If true...the only thing that could screw this up...is that Biden finally gets a moment of genius and realizes how scripted this is....spends an entire weekend drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, and writes an entirely new script....with a new brilliant universal health care agenda...that does everything for everyone, and cost $16 a week for every citizen in America (including removing unsightly tattoos).

Yep, it's always the guy with a Pabst that screws up good plans and conspiracies.

Honduras and its Woes

Sometimes....you simply have to grin over comments made by idiots to journalists.

This week...ousted president of Honduras....Manual Zelaya....indicate that not only was he tossed out on one coup d'etat....but after talks failed this past week to get him back in as President of Honduras....he considers this failure to amount to a second coup d'etat.

I sat and paused over this. I am a historian of sorts.

I cannot recall...in the history of man...a guy getting tossed out twice in one year....on two coup d'etats. If true....Zelaya holds the world record at this point.

You'd think...after one coup...that a guy would get smarter. You'd think...that after one coup....a guy would hedge his bets and insure no second mistake. But this is Honduras, and most folks there see this as entertainment. It's hard to find a better guy for coup d-etats than Zelaya.

The BBC guys carried most of the update. The curious thing in their report is that they hint that time is running out for Zelaya because of elections in about six weeks. Then they say....the political crisis could flare up.

I paused over this analysis. Once you vote in a new guy....all the cards are off the table and a whole new game starts up. Zelaya is completely out and just a washed coup d-'etat guy. Even the Obama administration is screwed because democracy puts up a newly elected guy....free of problems. I'm guessing the new Honduran President in January will fly up to DC and try to get himself invited to the White House....but fail. But the Fox News guys will interview him and give him ten minutes with Beck.

That's probably another to make the President very upset and announce another war with Fox.

Change is Good

So in the coming weeks....if this new job in DC actually falls into place....I'll have to pick up and finally move (I've been here in Germany since 1994). It'll be a drastic situation....adjusting to a new country.....crime....people speaking English.

I've never been to DC....ever. I've been told....live in the city....take the "Metro" to work. This means literally no car for the most part. This in itself....will be a challenge. I'm even thinking of no car for the year or two that I'm there....just riding the buses and trains around town.

A studio apartment? Yeah....I'm already in that frame of mind. Just the simple necessities of life....a TV....a shower....a ice-box....an internet connection....cable TV....and a bed.

Several things will change. I'll be forced into eating American food again. I'll have fine American shows to watch....to include Animal Planet, Fox News, and Andy Griffith nightly.

I'll likely have to blog a fair bit on life in DC....and a Bama guy's view of sin city.

I see this as a sabbatical of sorts. After twelve months....I'm probably feeling American again. Heck, I might even attend a WWE wrestling match or a Washington Nationals baseball game. I might even get robbed.

Change is good....I just repeating this over and over....like Dorthy did in that Kansas wizard movie.

Just a Suggestion

It's an interesting proposal by Cass Sunstein....a regulatory Czar under the President. Get rid of the sanctioning of marriage by the government.

What Cass suggests is that the idea of marriage become privatized. The states would only get involved in this business if the couple wanted a civil union contract.

This all centers around the idea here here in 2009 that marriage licensing isn't like it was in the far past....say fifty or one hundred years ago. He even went to the extent of noting that folks stay committed to organizations like country clubs and homeowner associations...without a license from the state or federal government.

Normally, I have little to agree with in this administration....but this idea isn't that weird.

The deal here is that we didn't really get into the license business or the state involvement....until the early to mid-1800s. This started because some guys were marrying up and then a year later....leaving....then marrying another gal. The government guys thought that if a license was involved....you could better track things like this. Adding to this mess....was the issue over property....so a license detailed the second partner and made deaths, wills, and property dispersal simpler.

So how would this work? Johnny Junior wants to marry Wanda. He contacts a local minister and they work up a ceremony (similar to what happened in the early 1800s). Once the minister marries them....they have a second option in terms of property and ownership...this civil union business. So you walk into a county office....both of you declare your property and come to a mutual agreement. Maybe you retain your business entirely....should the union ever split up. Maybe the wife agrees to a fifty-fifty ownership deal on the house. Maybe the wife gets full ownership of the house, if a split occurs. But you are basically ironing out this as part of the civil union. You could update this civil union every five years....if property changes occurred....and it'd just be a visit....$100....and a new civil union agreement.

The neat thing here....you could be gay and have a civil union. You could be two cousins....and have a civil union. You could be a 80-year old guy and a sixteen-year old teenage gal....and have a civil union. There's no limit.

The comeback from the public? Getting rid of marriage....no way. The Republicans? This is an idiot idea from a Czar. The media? It's pretty crazy and will never happen.

So basically.....here is the one idea of great thinking. It ends the whole gay marriage episode in all fifty states. It makes civil unions into a vehicle that you could use for a thousand different purposes. And it finally gets the government out of the marriage business....which it never should have been in....in the first place.

Course, it does open the door for some guy to marry Wanda....stay a year....and then run off to Texas to marry some gay guy....and then a year later run off to Nevada and marry Brittney Spears. These are fresh problems....which the media would really appreciate.

The White House and Afghanistan

There was a great graphic that I saw yesterday over the President and Afghanistan. Presently, there is a debate over whether the US should pump in more troops. The general would likely 40,000 more troops....to really take down the Taliban and the various bad guys in Afghanistan. Even 20,000 would make a pretty good difference.

So far, since this request came to the President well over 60 days ago....this entire mess has been under advisement.

So the graphic laid out the 20 people who are referred in some fashion as the "war council". They put up their pictures and had a brief line of "for" or "against".

I sat there laughing.

You have a guy who has zero international experience....zero military experience...and zero decision-making experience. So he needs people to tell him what to do....which would be understandable. But you can't allow twenty VIP advisers to be standing there and playing this game.

By the time you get to the last of the twenty.....then the first guy will ask for another twenty minutes of your time....because he thinks that some idiot from the state department briefed you wrong. Then the number two guy will call up and ask for another fifteen minutes because something happened this week in Pakistan which could affect everything.

So this becomes a merry-go-round of advisers shuffling in and out everyday for two weeks, and then repeating their episode.

You will never make a decision. But maybe, that's the whole game....just to keep this in some decision-making process and avoid any stupid mistake to one direction or the other.

Imagine yourself the CEO of the New York Yankees....with twenty people giving you advice in January over which new players to sign or avoid.

Imagine yourself the boss of some bar and grill....with twenty relatives or friends advising how to run the place.

Imagine yourself a university president with twenty folks telling you how things are screwed up and wanting you to make huge changes.

Logically, if you were President....you have three guys with military experience sit down and give you their personal vision of the request and issues. Then you'd give the state department one slot....one guy....not a Czar, Hillary, and three other dudes who claim some kind of Czar-like status. Finally, you'd let the CIA analyze this and give you one presentation. The VP might be there for each session...just to lesson. Then you sit down over a weekend....and make a decision.

In this case....you probably would arrive at a simple fix. Give the general 25,000 troops....but 8,000 of them are there for six months only. And another 8,000 are there for twelve months only. The remaining 9,000 extra troops are removed in approximately 20 months....period. You have one brief window to make something happen. If changes happen....great....if not....then the window will start to close in six months....and life goes on.

My guess is that another thirty days will be wasted on this decision....and no extra troops will deploy until March of 2010 at the earliest.

The only curious thing here....if this had been the healthcare or stimulus debate...there would have been a 12-day window of debate, and then turbo-blasters would have been turned on as everyone rushed to make things happen.

A National Emergency?

In 1918, as the flu epidemic went through America....never once did the Wilson administration consider this a national emergency. In fact, all of the governors in the US would have frowned on this and declared it a political agenda if he had.

So yesterday, a national emergency has been declared in the US over the H1-N1 Swine Flu episode.

Will it make much difference? I'm guessing in major cities with a poor population...there will be government funding released to provide ample nurse assistance and cover doctor's bills. Other than that? No...there might be some great moments where the President visits some hospital wards and shows sick people shaking his hand (heavily soaked in alcohol, of course).

This flu is going to run its course over the next eighteen months...and eventually come to a close. Fortunately for us....there's a guy out there discovering another flu...probably from chickens...and we'll get a run of that deal as well.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Ballon Boy

I really don't care to comment much on the balloon boy episode in Colorado. I knew from the start it was a joke....and yesterday....the wife finally stood up and admitted this. She's off the hook for most charges....by admitting. She'll be able to keep the kids and just live on. This father? Well....I'm thinking he's going to get a Fed charge or two....and get a minimum of eighteen months in prison.

The really bad part about this is some production company is standing there....writing the script from the first hour of the episode to now.....and will produce some NBC or ABC Wednesday night movie off this story. It's a zero story....that should simply get dumped now.

An Interesting Flight

So you are on a plane from San Diego to Minneapolis. You are a smart guy or gal. You have an agenda....folks waiting at the gate....some hottie at the Marriott Hotel waiting for you.....a speech to give early the next day.....and you know the plane is destined to land at a certain time.

You watch your wristwatch. You know that typically about twenty minutes before landing time....the pilot gives the "Folks, we are in final approach. Rise up your seats. Give the trash over to the stewardess. We will be landing in twenty minutes".

Then you usually note four minutes from approach, the landing gear employs. And then you land.

But here this week.....around the time that the guys should have announced they were landing....they didn't. In fact, the pilot was 150 miles past Minneapolis....before they finally got the radio back on and played "dumb". This only occurred....when the stewardess came to beep them and ask if issues were existing.

I'm guessing some guy was sitting there.....watching his wristwatch....and gazing down to see this mass of lights below....knowing it was Minneapolis. It's kinda like that Twilight Zone episode with the guy on the wing. So you know something ain't right....you are still at 30,000 feet and nowhere near landing although it's damn time to land.

So naturally, you call up the stewardess and comment...."something ain't right". She is calming you....probably offering paper cup of water....not booze. Eight minutes later....you call her again...."something ain't right". She's starting to realize that you aren't an idiot. But she's hesitant to do anything. So finally, another eight minutes pass, and you state pretty loudly that "something ain't right". She's forced into calling the pilot now.

Basically, without any doubt....both idiots were asleep....and if this guy in the back hadn't asked stupid questions....they would have flown for another hour or so....and been deep in the heart of Canada, without enough fuel to return to American soil. Then it would have been a big mess as a bunch of folks without passports are walking onto Canadian soil.

Frankly, the pilot and co-pilot are finished. No airline is going to touch these guys. The curious thing is that before 9-11....the pilot door was always unlocked and a stewardess would wander in and drop off coffee...and check on the guys. This kept them honest. These days? Both guys could be engaged in some private and kinky weird act at 37,000 feet and not realize they were supposed to be landing.

Meanwhile....our Twilight Zone guy in the back....who kept asking stupid questions....is wondering if flying is safe and if maybe he ought to drive from San Diego to Minneapolis in the future.

You Make How Much?

So imagine this....sitting in a modern country...you pay your taxes each year....and the government stands up and say they want to publish...across the whole country...the official record of income for you, your neighbor, your minister, and just about everyone.

You'd like start to hyperventilate and then ask for a stiff drink.

Well...up in Norway, it's being published...the "skatteliste" (tax list). This is supposed to show transparency in the tax system.

So everyone gets published. Drunks, homeless folks, farmers, bartenders, hookers, political figures, doctors, and yes, even military guys.

There are a significant number of folks in Norway unhappy about this. Imagine yourself at the grocery store and buying some steaks...and the cashier says something about you not being able to afford stuff like this. Imagine yourself at the local bar, and the bartender tries to cut you off from the fourth beer because you really don't have the money to waste on this. Imagine yourself at the school to pick up the kids and some teacher is hostile because they know you clear $100k a year writing stupid books.

What these guys from Norway believe...is that this puts a CEO or executive in a very difficult position. When he stands up and starts talking about manpower cuts....they can pull out his salary numbers and ask why he makes $40 million a year and why he doesn't take a cut on that pay himself? Call it peer-review or peer-adjustment....but frankly, you can't escape being noticed or pointed out.

This is a social tool of sorts. It tends to force people to be more honest and to grasp what your society is making in terms of income. The sad part is that you start to know too much about your neighbor, your soon-to-be husband, your butcher, or your best friend.

The chances of this ever happening in the US? Zero, we've got one hundred senators who simply don't want you to know how much they clear via corrupt deals and handshakes.

Your Money

Today, Fox reports that the US government went out and paid $130,000 to 16 professors. Their job? To study the "truth and meaning" of life according to Aristotle.

I sat there thinking over this.....probably like Socrates would have done.

There are several problems with this. First, any idiot could study the truth and meaning of life according to Aristotle.....it doesn't have to be university professors. You could have paid me and 15 other guys $100 each and two cases of beer each....to proclaim the same "meaning". You could have saved yourself $125k.

There's the question here how you pick the 16 professors. I'm pretty sure.....they are all from upscale eastern universities or from California. They wouldn't dare pick 16 professors from Auburn, Georgia Tech or University of Alabama. That would be another problem.

Then there's the issue of this being the four hundredth "meaning" published on Aristotle. Have we really improved this "meaning" over the past thirty years? Lets be honest....Aristotle is Aristotle, and it's very likely that nothing has been improved for well over 1,500 years.

There's also a problem here in that the sixteen guys likely met at some resort in Bali....sipped good whiskey for an entire week while debating, then got on the plane and wrote eight hours of text while flying back to their lousy job at Ohio State to fulfill their obligation of some kind of script for their idiot government supporter.

Then you have to wonder why sixteen guys? Why not eight? Why not four? Could you have come to some meaning with just two guys at the Birmingham Marriott hotel? Couldn't we have paid them $500 each for a 3-day weekend, with plenty of ribs and some ice cold Pabst instead?

I think Aristotle would have been kindly upset over this. He was fairly simple in his analysis and thinking. To believe that you needed sixteen professors to hire up to the US government and take our tax money.....to announce a new "meaning".....makes no sense. Even Aristotle himself would have said that.

So finally, what would have Socrates said? Socrates probably have asked fifty or sixty questions to these professors....till they kicked him out of the meeting room. He would have gone down to the hotel bar....sipped some juicy fruity wine....and argued some more with some traveling salesman and an engineer from Berkley.....and then got tossed out of the hotel at 2AM for arguing too much with customers.

Greek philosophers were the lucky guys who came along when agriculture got smart and a guy could easily grow everything he needed and twenty hours of real work a week meant you had time to think about things. Nobody really worried about making money because you had your 'hut', your wine, and enough food to survive off. So they sat around and talked alot....kinda like guys at a flea market or barber shop.....and asked questions until they got them right. Then they made a couple of interesting simple observations. Someone wrote these down....and then they got passed down over 2,000 years. It was that simple. A bunch of guys just sitting around and BSing....coming to a simple analysis. Nothing has changed in 2,000 years.

So the government forked over $130,000.....to repeat what a bunch of guys at some tree stump said, and to just say it differently. That's the sad part of this story.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Something Different

Reports from Russia indicate that an ice-skating bear with a Russian circus apparently got upset....got on top of his trainer...and killed the guy.

A second guy was apparently injured as well.

Afterwards....cops arrived....sized up the situation....and shot the ice-skating bear dead.

I sat there for a while...contemplating this image...an ice-skating bear...which folks from Bama are typically unfamiliar with. We know about dancing bears....wrestling bears...and even tree-climbing bears...but we've never seen a ice-skating bear.

Might have been a might fine show....if the bear hadn't gotten all upset for some reason with the trainer.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Chief of Marginal

Every governmental agency has a mission. In the days of Strategic Air Command, they would tell you that “peace is our profession”. With the Coast Guard, they always tell you that they will everything possible to save you if your boat sinks. The FBI will you that they catch bad guys. The IRS will tell you that they collect revenue to make the government run.

This weekend….we learned that certain elements of the White House exist today….to marginalize Fox News. I kinda laughed when I saw this and thought maybe it said something.

What the White House kids did say….was that other networks need to stop “following Fox” and just marginalize the network. Basically….they want Keith Olbermann to never mention anything Fox says….and ABC to never bring up anything Fox reports as news….and CBC to just lay low over Fox reporting.

Yes, just pretend Fox doesn’t exist. Currently….for every time spot from noon until midnight….Fox is number one on the news listing. Now? I’m guessing that if the networks were this stupid….they will likely lose another fifteen percent of their audience within thirty days.

Adding to this mess….the White House chief of staff Rahm….even told CNN that President Obama himself….doesn’t want "the CNNs and the others in the world basically be led in following Fox."

National policy? Marginalize Fox? So when Fox says “X” and the viewers of ABC ask their ABC correspondent about “X”….the correspondent is supposed to deny “X” really happen or that “X” doesn’t exist? Is this the best that the White House can do?

I watched five brief minutes this weekend with Karl Rove. He led you to one brief moment of reality….once you start some marginal policy like this….you yourself are now marginal.

If I were Fox and no administration folks were volunteering for Sunday shows….I’d smile and say fine. I’d then have my interview with one real person (A Republican type)…..and an empty chair. I’ll ask stupid pointed questions and the Republican will answer, then I pose the questions to the empty chair and smile as I get no answer.

For a significant part of the US government to sit around and worry about some news organization…means a lot. Typically, it means you are losing your media campaign. You are facing too many questions that detract from your efforts.

So if you were ABC or CNN….what now? Do you want to marginalized? If you are losing viewers each month to Fox….what now? And if you were the administration guys in charge of marginalization…..do you really have much of a job or career? Chief of Marginalization?

I saw an awful lot of stupid stuff during the Clinton and Bush years….but this kinda takes the cake. My impression? The other guys will pretend for ten days to ignore Fox….and then notice loss of viewers….and then start to tell the White House that they’ve had enough of marginalization.

An Imaginary Law

This weekend….the White House started to let folks know that no matter what the law says….the feds won’t be arresting anyone who say they are doing medical marijuana.

I started laughing at that point. You can see this enormous moment of relief amongst tens of thousands of folks in Bama. If the Feds are involved in the investigation…..and they attest that they were smoking for medical reasons, then all charges are dumped. The curious thing here…..if you lined up all the arrests of the past two years that the Feds have run themselves….not the local cops or state police…..then I’d bet on less than 1,000 folks who actually were arrested and charged with marijuana usage under the fed rules.

The feds typically are involved in big cases….tons of cocaine or marijuana….significant amounts of marijuana sales….and not routine single person usage.

So this curious statement by the White House….really makes them look good….even “cool” amongst the joint smokers of America. But the truth is….nothing really changed. Your local sheriff still has a big interest in your usage, and the state police are still arresting anyone for usage, period.

Meanwhile….the feds are letting folks know that even with laws on the books to catch and prosecute folks….they won’t react. Pretty neat….a law that won’t be enforced. This is even better than North Korea….where few laws exist but they prosecute you for non-existent laws.

Patience

So I waited, and waited, and waited, and waited.

Somewhere around 100 resumes had been sent out since the end of December 2008. Various chances came and went. So last night, it came...finally a job offer. DC, a GS job.

I sat and pondered over this. This was the interview where they asked what would I do with destructive people. It was a twelve second pause, and then I said I'd chat with them and try to get a feel for their reasoning. If I couldn't convince them of a change...they'd be leaving...not just out of my shop but out of the entire organization. I sat there after the interview and felt negative....thinking what the hell kind of office is this?

So I'm going into the pit.

My brother, ever the Bama-anchored one, suggested a philosophy that would be like a giant tsunami of sorts in the fight against destructive folks...the Andy Griffith philosophy. Andy would simply stand there and say: "Now, Ernest T., you just can't go throwing rocks through every window in town... yes, yes, I know you're able to, but I just can't let you".

I thought about this a while...and began to realize that I've been using an awful lot of Andy Griffith management techniques over the years. I just never realized this.

So in two months or so....when I finally arrive in DC...I'll pull out the Andy techniques and begin to fix problems.

To be honest, I've been waiting since 1999...to finally have responsibility. When I retired from the military, I was at my peak. For the past decade...as a contractor...I'm merely the observer and the guy they turn to in a hostile situation. I'm the guy who goes with the Captain to defend some Airman when the commander is all upset. I'm the guy who lays out plan "B". I'm the guy who mentors junior people because they don't have any real leadership.

So I see a book here...The Andy Management Book. I'm going to prove that Andy was always right.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Fifty Damn Days

It was an enormous announcement today...UK PM Gordon Brown announced that there is a coming "catastrophe" of floods, droughts and killer heatwaves within fifty days....unless world leaders agree a deal on climate change,.

Yes, fifty days that we have left to live.

I wanted to be the first to pass this to you folks in Bama. The words from Prime Minister Brown of the Uk...is that we are mostly going to suffer terribly from global warming in the coming days.

Gordon was even nice about this....indicating that there is no "plan B".

I sat there, for a good five minutes contemplating this announcement from Gordon. Frankly, I'm not used to someone telling there can't be a "plan B". I've never had a soul in the Air Force to ever tell me I couldn't have a "plan B". I've never known anyone from Bama to insist on no "plan B".

So that's it...fifty days left, and then the woeful days come. I'm thinking....what the hell...it's time to pull out the charge card and buy $50k of fireworks and fire off all of them in one evening. Maybe I'll buy a $100k car and arrange payments to start after the 50 days. Maybe I'll even go down and register as a Democrat. Well...maybe I'm taking this a bit too serious.

I'm pretty sure Gordon was pumped up on coffee and donuts when he said this....and he's not totally sure of anything.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Zero Income

I have a forum that I go over to....that covers discussions over the universal health care program. There are dozens of these now. I was reading through the cost factors. Several independent groups have figured the general cost rate to average for the first year...in 2013....around twelve percent of your salary (plus your boss will pay an equal amount).

The same independent analysts offer the opinion that it can't remain at twelve percent.....because of realization that the "experts" underestimated the true cost, and it'll have to rise to a likely fourteen percent by the end of 2014. They even suggested various question marks which still exist.....if the younger generation will be handed a higher percentage above the over 60 crowd. I sat and read an article today where it's suggested that the older crowd wouldn't be able to cover the twelve to fourteen percent deal and the political dimwits were fearful of upsetting them anymore they have already done.

Someone on the forum even offered the idea that by 2018....you'd likely pay around sixteen percent of your yearly income. This starts to become a significant amount of income.....and I offered a moment of wit on the forum where a guy would just quit working and let "the system" cover his butt.

A few hours later, someone on the forum came back and said that he'd already taken that step. In the spring of this year this guy gave up his sales job....sold his $250k house....and somewhere out to Iowa. He has forty acres, a couple of cattle, and a house with a couple of solar panels. At age forty with around $200k stuck in a trust....the guy is living strictly off the farm and shows zero income for the year.

The guy didn't go into details but I'm guessing the trust fund is well hidden and he probably draws less than $12k a year off this for general expenses. The curious thing...who will pay his health care costs? If you have zero income and the trust fund is well hidden....the state and government will be stuck. The taxpayers will have to pay for this guy.

I sat there and pondered this. If you were a middle class guy....pulling in $44k a year....and all the various taxes, government fees, social security and universal health care costs took out $22k of that....then you worked your butt off to get half of the paycheck? You toss in your housing cost, gasoline, and then food for the family....and there really isn't much left. So why work? This guy with the family and the farm....who has given up on producing income....just might be right. Thats the sad thing.

Suppose next year.....fifty thousand folks woke up and did the same thing? Suppose in 2011 that one hundred thousand simply gave up producing an income. The plain truth is that the government and all of these various agencies under it....can't function if five percent of the US population just said adios to work and returned to producing just enough food for themselves.

I can't imagine this being a brilliant idea or even recommending it.....but it's interesting that people have basically started to comprehend the costs of everything.

He Doesn't Remember What He Said

A while back in Venezuela...some folks were a bit worried over their status and ownership with golf courses in the country. There was a suggestion that they might become public property...owned by the government.

The President....Hugo Chavez....set up the local communal councils...and they came right up and agreed with no issues over the golf courses....agreeing that they provide a source of work and support tourism within the country.

Everyone at that point felt happy and satisifed.

So this week....President Huge Chavez came up and put golfing down as a threat. He described the game as lazy, bourgeois and the antithesis of his revolution.

Now, to be fair....he did have one thing right on this description....it is a lazy game and can't compare to real sports.

But beyond that....it's not the government's business to jump into sports and deem whats ok or not. Well...that mentality ended this past week. folks moved up to seize two of Venezuela's prime courses, at Caraballeda and Maracay.

Some folks think that the political bigwigs of the two regions decided that they could run the courses better than the professional management currently there. Some folks think it's merely an attempt to take property and keep things running...with profit going into someone else's pocket.

My guess is that the top manager of each course has packed up and leaving the country. Behind him...the assistant manager...probably a Venezuelan guy....is debating the situation and the local political guys desperately need him to stay...to make it still a competitive golf course. If this guy leaves...and the head chef...the head bartender...the head grounds guy...then this course is pretty much left to a third-rate manger or replacement to take charge.

The odds of them maintaining the profit level of the business? Zero. They've lost a minimum of ten percent of the income by this action....and probably more.

The one thing in life which is a certainty....is that the last folks on Earth you want to manage a business of any type...is a government official. If you are a business, and you have to report to some government guy or local community council or some political party...you can forget about profits, a strong customer base, and a future.

The curious thing and warning here....is that Chavez actually hinted in the beginning with the people he picked...that the courses would be free of government control. I would imagine every single course in the country is now considering their future and likely viewing a chance to just dump the course as quickly as possible for any buyer.

Step by step....month by month...Chavez is dismantling the country and private property. Eventually, he will come to the agricultural base....and insist on breaking up large-scale farms into 10-acre plots for all the poor people of the country...duplicating Zimbabwe. Then food will have to be imported...to feed the public.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

When Baptists Argue

It is a odd story which you won't find on Fox or CNN or in most newspapers. This week....the former president of the National Baptist Convention USA...stood up and started a lawsuit with his old denomination...over the election he lost.

The NBC USA group is a black denomination...and they had an election about a month ago....and the old President....Henry Lyons....got tossed out....4,108 votes to 924.

Henry says....at least in this lawsuit....the whole election was rigged. Yep....kinda like a 2000 GW versus Gore or 2004 GW versus John K election. So election fraud and improper vote-counting were rampant, so he says.

Henry kinda has a up and down problem within the NBC USA group....ten years ago...he was accused of abusing power and stealing church funds. Not alot came out of that accusation except a bunch of chit-chat from the pro-Henry and the anti-Henry crowd.

This lawsuit? Well....I'm guessing that the anti-Henry folks might be slightly worried...especially if Henry comes up with a couple of witnesses say tampering in the voting occurred. Maybe some votes here and some votes there....were shifted. It's hard to come up and cook up 2,000 vote shifts....to ensure a absolute win. And then you have to worry that anti-Henry folks will come up with witnesses to establish a number of the 924 votes of Henry's....were tampered votes.

It's a curious event...when religious folks sit and argue over internal elections. Typically, no one wins.

More Bears Than You Can Imagine

It was a devastating moment.

Al Gore had come to the heartland this past week.....to pump up folks over global warming. The fact that this was in Madison, WI.....and it was freezing cold even for October....should have been a sign....but Al didn't really notice it.

So here stood Irish filmmaker Phelim McAleer. He finally a chance to ask a question or two....about the polar bear population....and how how Al could honestly conclude that they are an endangered species.

Al stood there for a second and basically said: "So you don't believe that polar bears are endangered?"

Phelim kinda answered as gently and as sincere as he possibly could: "Not if their numbers are increasing".

With that, the boys of Madison cut the power to the Irish dude's mic. You can't have fundamental debate....when Al is talking. If you were a scientist....with actual credentials or actual training as such....you are stuck....you have to allow debate.

But Al can't risk debate. It renders his vision as incomplete and without concrete evidence.

Just Observations

Sometimes, I ponder a good bit over a week.

Just an observation, but if you asked a senator about a $250 million tax fee increase....he's all happy and indicates that it's really not that much. Then you turn to a guy in Red Bay, Bama and say you intend to take $200 more a year in taxes from him....and suddenly it's a ton of money and he's not happy. Whats the difference between $250 million and $200? Thats the thing....either way, it ought to be alot of money.

Just an observation, typically, folks don't care who owns a NFL team....just that they win. This week, we learned that the owner shouldn't be Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or any other guy that might be right-wing. Course, if the team is a loser.....that's ok, apparently.

Just an observation, but it seems like every third journalist in America wants to compare someone to the Nazis. This would actually be ok if the journalist had a history background, but typically....they can't describe the 1932 Nazi party in any detail or what they stood for. They can always mention Hitler but the ten guys behind Hitler are rarely if ever mentioned by these brilliant journalists.

Just an observation, if you were the White House team....and your biggest concern was image and fighting Fox News.....would you really want to admit that in public? I mean....typically....you have real business to attend to....and not press fighting or press manipulation.....right?

Just an observation, but this Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Phoenix, who is always in the news catching illegal aliens......have you ever heard anything about the catching any bank robbers or car thieves? I mean.....in ten years of news on the guy.....it seems like he's a one-topic law enforcement guy....or is regular law enforcement just never reported in the Phoenix news?

Just an observation....but after a week of false Rush Limbaugh quotes on CNN and MSNBC....over his NFL football team purchasing attempt.....if you were a journalists on CNN and used bogus quotes....wouldn't you be worried? I mean....a lawsuit could erupt, and you might end up having to say a bunch of nice things about Rush....to avoid paying the guy and your own defense lawyer $300k.

Just an observation....but after five days of straight positive news in Honduras over great talks underway and the old President being allowed to return....you had to expect things to fold up. Yesterday, the old President suspended everything....saying that nothing much was being offered. Really? The guy violated the national consitution and anticipates a free pass? I don't get it.

Just an observation....but some hints in the universal health care debate noted that enforced wellness and pre-treatment will become an issue. What does it mean? Well....if you weigh 275 pounds, you are a candidate sooner or later for diabetes. So naturally.....government pressure will be extended to you to lose weight. Should we expect otherwise? The amusing thing is that every part of life is going to be debated over the next ten years....from smoking to drinking. We all thought free health care was neat....until the drinking habits got challenged.

Just an observation....but this big uproar with Jon and Kate? Am I missing something over this reality show soap opera in the US? Do I really care? If Jon walked into my house today....would I even recognize the guy? Seems like their fifteen minutes of fame.....has gone turbo.....and they are working on five years of fame...more or less.

The Ballon Crap

I rarely pay attention to stupid stories in the US. I did however....view this entire balloon boy story from this week.

So, here's the thing....this father is financially pushed and stressed.....and just how does he come up with the money for this stupid balloon? It wasn't a cheap deal and I can't imagine a guy pulling out this cash and doing something like this. Add onto the fact that if a kid weighed 60 pounds.....I doubt seriously that this sized balloon would have ever taken off from the ground.

So frankly, this entire episode is bogus. I won't write an entire pondering or 50 different points of analysis....it's worthless. The story is bogus.

Just Our Marginal Analysts

So in the past week....someone finally came up to the CIA folks and asked how the 2007 report they issued on Iran....saying that they weren't a real nuclear threat can exist? Naturally, the CIA guys stood there.....grinning ear from ear....and acting goofy.

A pause here, to review what history exists on this. In 2007, with the White House in full speed ahead mood on Iran.....the CIA guys had this trend line.....nuclear weapons and missiles on a trend. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, they wrote a report that said that it would be years before Iran ever became a threat and the US should step back from it's high intensity episode.

This basically took the whole Bush administration down a step and was a shocker. The CIA stood around and was awful proud of their report.

So in the past two months....we've learned that Iran had various programs going on and their entire nuclear and missile development stage is way more advanced that publicly advertised. The President even made a big speech on this.

This week, we learned via the Wall Street Journal (the biggest damn paper in America now)....that CIA likely knew in 2007 that all of these current programs were going on. There is strong belief that certain officers in the CIA wanted to knock the administration's stance and correct matters. The boys sat there....and basically wrote a bogus report.

I write occasionally about the marginal analysis out of the CIA. They tend to be guys with attitudes and perceptions. Sometimes, they actually get things right.....but the rest of the time....it's a marginal analysis.

So imagine the chief of the CIA now standing there....with the same analysts this week.....and asking them how they can correct the 2007 report on Iran. The boys are grinning at each other....and avoiding any real commentary. The boss can see through their entire game. He knows whatever 2009 report comes out of this.....will have issues.....will be different....but likely miss the boat again. He can't really fire them....he can't really move them to another department....and he can't get them to retire. He's stuck with these dimwits.

And back in Iran? They are sitting there and wondering just how stupid the CIA really is. They probably even go over to the local CIA spy and ask him if he's really passing data back to the agency on schedule...if he's been sick or just missing out on great data. They probably are starting to think that they could get away with just about anything....if it wasn't for those dang French or Israel spy guys.

Thank You, In Advance

There was an interesting commentary this week from some forum I was reading....about how President Obama would write the acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize. It actually would be a very difficult task.

The award, even by the judges own words....is about actions yet to come. Imagine sitting there and writing a speech....thanking the judges for an award for things yet to come.

In roughly nine months.....there aren't any four-star successes to currently base the award on. The dismissal of the missile defense shield in Europe.....actually came and went....then the same US government announces that Iran has more nuclear activity than folks dreamed of.

When it came time to discuss the nuclear activity....rather than solid steps...it was mostly chit-chat and UN speeches.

Peace in the Middle East? Hasn't happened and probably won't happen during the next eight years (maybe until hell freezes over).

North Korea? Lets not even discuss that matter...it's mostly a joke.

So it's a hard speech. You want to indicate you have many miles to go.....a great mission in front of you....and walking a thin line. It's a speech about the future....NOT the past. Maybe that sells in Norway....I don't know. In the US.....it'd be a speech that you'd kinda like to make and then quickly forget. I'm guessing that this won't be in the President's top ten favorite speeches.

Justice of the Peace Problem

In Louisiana, they still run the justice of the peace program....mostly to marry folks. This past week, a justice of the peace popped up in a marriage situation with a white gal and a black dude. The minute the JOP realized the situation, he declined to be the JOP to marry them. His logic? He has seen these marriages come and go....the majority end in divorce. He didn't care to participate in a marriage deal that had huge chances of a divorce.

Naturally, this is a huge deal and most folks are demand the JOP step down.....even the governor (a Republican) has voiced concerns over the JOP's attitude.

I pondered over this for a while and offer the following observation.

Basically, in 2009....the odds of any marriage surviving twenty years....is pretty much less than fifty percent. It doesn't matter if you are white and black, Latino and Asian, gay guy and gay guy, Russian hooker and rich dumb white guy, or even two Democrats (male and female). You can pick any scenario....it doesn't matter.

I've seen black and white relationships and marriages. Typically....ninety percent are black guys and white gals. In the military, you probably see more than in regional situations. I'd say the divorce rate is virtually the same in this scenario. The curious thing is that when you can find a black gal that marries a white guy....it's a virtually locked-in marriage and I have yet to find a divorce situation. It probably exists.....but it's a fairly rare thing.

I can understand the JOP's attitude and hating to create a quick marriage where two folks will be divorced in five years. I worked with some young lady who decided that her 3-month relationship with some black guy was "it", and she married him. The trip back to her hometown the next month....became a huge problem. Her dad simply couldn't accept this situation, and she had several insults tossed by high school friends (she was just four years out of high school). The marriage lasted about twelve months....and she would hint that it was always more pressure than she could conceive.

In the end....if I were a JOP....I'd just marry folks left and right. If they were that stupid....they are over 18 and deserve a screw-up or two, to learn from. It's not my case to pronounce my own law on things.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Jefferson versus the Nobel Logic

Amongst all the chit-chat over the Nobel Peace Prize episode...two legal scholars jumped up this week and said it might be unconstitutional for President Obama to accept the Nobel Peace Prize...noting if Congress gave their approval, then it'd all be fine.

Course, this draws out a mess of arguing amongst legal pretenders, White House dimwits, and journalists without much news to report. The deal from the Constitution is that it does forbid the President from taking things from Kings, Queens, princes, Lords, and kinda limits what you could get as a gift from another government.

The thing is...the Nobel Foundation...is a private group of dudes and they don't truly fit into any Constitutional argument.

I'm guessing Jefferson never envisioned something like this...a bunch of Norwegian guys having any kind of big-name award to hand some President. And he probably never envisioned some US President packing up a suitcase and traveling off to Norway to wine and dine with a bunch of Norwegian elite folks. If he had....he might have pulled out the pen to write one more paragraph....and we might have some funny rule over Nobel prizes.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

A $250 Non-Necessity

So this is the deal….every year….the social security guys give out a raise….that goes hand in hand with inflation. Sometimes, it’s one percent. Sometimes, it’s two percent. Sometimes, it’s three percent. Well…this year…inflation was negative growth…first time since 1975.

So naturally, the government feels awful damn sorry and woeful over this lack of a pay raise for you folks over 65. So, in typical stimulus fashion….they are now chatting over a January $250 one-time check to be issued….which you can rush out and plan a trip to some casino, buy a new flat TV (the cheaper 32” type), buy a case of Jacky D’s on sale, or spend five days at some Orlando 2-star resort hotel.

The curious thing is that there was zero growth….in fact, negative growth. So there should have zero added onto the yearly payment, and no $250 payment. Instead, you have the mindset that we have to pay these kindly folks something…anything….to make things right.

What happens if next year’s growth is negative? Well…same deal….another $250 check for these retirees. And 2011? Same thing….could be another $250 check. The logic here is that you shouldn’t pay anything and just do things by the book, and save the nation $500 million or more. But we aren’t that ethical or capable….are we?

So my advice…when you get the $250 check….go over to the butcher and order up $250 of beef steak…at a discount….and make the beef ranchers of America happy. Every two weeks, you could enjoy a fine steak with a baked potato for most of the year. The money would stay in America and you’d actually enjoy the $250 over a lengthy period of time.

And if this isn’t your cup of tea….then get yourself a new set of tires made in the Philippines.

Some People

My associate came over today. His girlfriend is in the medical profession…a contractor of sorts. Apparently, the government had a position up in the UK….and found this person to hire (a GS hire from the states). So they did the contract, arranged for shipping for the gal’s baggage, and flew her over. She in processed on Monday. On Friday morning, she came into the office and announced she couldn’t take this anymore and was going to leave over the weekend. She stayed less than seven days in country.

The amusing thing is that her household goods had yet to arrive, and the government won’t pay to immediately ship it back.

She never gave an explanation…just that she couldn’t take UK living and had to go.
It’s a funny thing about military people….we are all forced into moving to undesirable or unusual places. We just accept it. From the states….folks who never spent time in the military….I’d imagine that fifty percent couldn’t take living overseas….in any civilized or uncivilized location.

If you came up to me….and offered me a job in Honduras for twelve months for the right pay….I’d go. I wouldn’t make a big deal about surroundings or environment….but that’s more due to military training than anything else.

The Non-Profit Charity-Mafia

It was an interesting NPR news episode today....US aid to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The boys who all run the charity-mafia-non-profit aid programs are highly disturbed. Basically, they believe the State Department and the administration are cutting them out their special deal. There were several serious complaints as the boys cried to the NPR journalists.

First, apparently that evil Czar of the region, Holbrook.....has been pushing take the chunk of money that America flushes toward Pakistan for aid....and just hand to the Pakistani government to run via their own programs. Naturally, this is really terrible because it cuts out the funding bucket that these non-profit charity-mafia organizations were taking their cash from.

Second, they were upset that the State Department hasn’t appointed a chief of aid....which naturally...would disperse the cash the way that the non-profit charity-mafia organizations desired. Their fondest hopes? That the government would just take their suggestions for the guy to appoint and make sure the “right” guy got appointed. For some reason....Holbrook and the boys are delaying this appointment....maybe until hell freezes over.

Then, the boys were upset that the aid-for-the world mentality wasn’t getting them the status like the Pentagon guys. They believe that aid ought to have the same level as the war business. This discussion went on for a minute or two as they made a passionate appeal for real recognition.

The problem here is that since the 1950s when aid first started up....nothing in the uncivilized world has really improved. Billions upon billions have been flushed into every region of the world, and you can’t show any significant improvement.

In the original vision....the idea was to take US grown corn, wheat, beans, and rice....and buy via a government program, which would increase the value to farmers. More competition....more money. In the 1950s, it was simple.

You bought 10,000 tons of corn. You put it into standard bags with a US flag on it and stamped it “made-in-America”. You got US freighters to deliver it to various countries. You had trucks pick up the 500 bags of 80-lb of corn. Then you drove to the middle of nowhere and offered up a bag of 80 pounds of corn to Joe....free of charge. Joe was happy...and this provided some level of extra food for a month or two. It was free, so naturally, no one turned it down.

The program grew. In the 1970s, it became an organizational thing. Various charity groups began to hire up some college educated guys and turn this into a massive program.

By the 1990s, the charity-mafia groups began to sleep and drink with congressmen and senators....plus the Administration folks.....to get more money and funding. They grew to a higher class of non-profit charity-mafia. Naturally, if you asked them....they would always say there is plenty of work but they can’t cite a end point....which is the curious thing.

Before the 1950s....you survived or you died. These charities came around and started pumping you up with pictures of half-starved folks. Naturally, they didn’t have the heart to tell you the entire story or to really think through a plan to make these people flourish on their own.

Holbrook in this case is correct....if you gave the money to the local government and said just make the program work correctly....they’d do a better job than the non-profit charity-mafia crowd. But then, there is this corruption factor....you can’t be sure of anything over the money. Then you turn back to the non-profit charity-mafia folks, and you start to laugh over their management and salary structure.

The amazing thing is that some folks have spent their entire lives involved in the charity-mafia, and they don’t have much else to show for their resume. If they were unemployed, then what? You’d have to find them work and there just isn’t anything that matches up to something like this.

So much for non-profit charity-mafia operations.....

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

An Observation

I saw this today:

The Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, N.C. will celebrate Halloween by burning Bibles that aren’t the King James Version, as well as music and books and anything else Pastor Marc Grizzard says is a satanic influence.

Among the authors whose books Grizzard plans to burn are well known ministers Rick Warren and Billy Graham because he says they have occasionally used Bibles other than the King James Version, which is the sole biblical source he considers infallible.

According to the church’s Web site, members will also burn “Satan's music such as country, rap, rock, pop, heavy metal, western, soft and easy, southern gospel, contemporary Christian, jazz, soul (and) oldies.

“We will also be burning Satan's popular books written by heretics like Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, John McArthur, James Dobson, Charles Swindoll, John Piper, Chuck Colson, Tony Evans, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swagart, Mark Driskol, Franklin Graham, Bill Bright, Tim Lahaye, Paula White, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Joyce Myers, Brian McLaren, Robert Schuller, Mother Teresa, The Pope, Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Donald Miller, Shane Claiborne, Brennan Manning (and) William Young.

During the book burning, according to the Web site, barbecued chicken fried chicken and “all the sides” will be served.

After a while, I stepped away from the story. There are two observations here. First, dang, he has a point, if it ain't King James....it's ain't the truth. Second though.....and of a very serious nature...I felt barbecued chicken is the work of the devil and you should only be serving ribs or steak. Either way....I doubt that I'll be hanging out much with these guys.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

A Great Quote

Someone finally got to Steve Wynn....Vegas casino operator and ultra businessman....and asked him about the government helping to make jobs happen, and he said:

Government has never increased the standard of living of one single human being in civilization's history. For some reason that simple truth has evaded everybody. The only thing that creates an increased standard of living is giving someone a job, the demand for their labor -- whether it's you and I, Chris, or anybody else. The people that are paying the price for this juggernaut of federal spending are the middle class and the working class of America.

It was a tremendous moment of wisdom. He is correct....no government has ever increased a standard of living.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Just Be Like CNN

Its a puzzling quote, straight from Fox News:

"What I think is fair to say about FOX -- and certainly it's the way we view it -- is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party," said Anita Dunn, White House communications director, on CNN. "They take their talking points, put them on the air; take their opposition research, put them on the air. And that's fine. But let's not pretend they're a news network the way CNN is."

Apparently, the White House, which ought to be just focusing on national business...is fairly worried that Fox News is corrupting the public more than the White House can corrupt the public.

I paused over the comment. It was a long moment of pondering. The folks at the White House came to some analysis that CNN is the end-all, be-all, report-all type news network that folks ought to be like. I started laughing.

Back in the 1980s....the CNN crowd might have been a half-way decent news network. Somewhere in the late 1990s....they started to lose their prospective and just became some kind of agenda network. They couldn't tell an entire story....they always stopped at the half-way point.

Things get better. If you ran a news network.....would you rather run your network like MSNBC or CNN....which both currently run marginally profitable networks.....or would you prefer to run a network like Fox which has the top journalists and the viewers to pay them?

Bluntly, a lesson came and went to the newspapers of America.....the vast number of the top fifty papers are either unprofitable or marginally profitable papers. They have deep debt situations with various banks. They were business operations....first and foremost. They should have reviewed their salary structure and stayed within the lines. They should have reviewed their positions on news....and stayed neutral.....to keep the subscription situation stable. They failed.

As you look at MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NBC and CNN....they all are business operations....and failing miserably at the business side. Ask the CBS crowd how they feel about the salary of their 3rd rate Katie Couric? Ask the White House how long a news network can operate, if it's a business failure.....you might see a funny look on their face.

We used to have people working in the White House.....conducting national business. Today, it appears that we have folks whose soul job is to pump up public opinion. Funny.....the Bush crowd tried their best to conduct their national business job and had major issues with public opinion. Today.....same story....except an entire campaign front exists.....trying to counter Fox....and they just can't figure out why the public isn't buying their side of the story.

Some advice here.....anyone who wants to copy CNN.....you might want to ask about profit margins and why people aren't watching them. It might surprise you.