Thursday, 23 April 2009

Why Society is Screwed Up

So here was Levi Johnston...ex-guy of Gov Palin's daughter...talking with CNN's Larry King on the air...when Larry asked about "passion".

KING: Where -- was -- did sex occur in their house?

If this had been me....I would have sat there for about a minute...looking at Larry....and then said: "You know Larry...it was everything...everywhere. We were doing it on the couch...the kitchen table....the coffee table...the washer...the dryer...and inside the doghouse in the backyard. We smeared peanut butter over bodies, sat in a tub of vinegar, and even did it while watching teletubbies. We listened to opera music and did it wearing pirate outfits. We did it in the tub with four gallons of pickle juice mixed with the water. It was hot, Larry....really hot.

At that point, Larry's mouth would have been wide open, and he would have asked: was this Italian vinegar or California vinegar?

I have a problem when idiot commentators do something like this. Paul Harvey wouldn't have done this. Edward R Murrow wouldn't have done this. This is pretty low journalism...and worthless. Do I really care where the kid did it? Do I care how he did it?

Just another day in America.

A Grade of Newspapers

The mark of a profitable paper is whether it’s covering news or playing with journalist tools as though the readers were 8-year old kids. Papers who play games….are typically the ones in serious financial jeopardy today and likely to go under.

This past week, there was the tea-party events in almost every community of the US. Some were big and some were small.

It’s a curious thing….there were literally dozens of papers on the day-after, which mentioned little to nothing. They might have mentioned some article from the AP on a episode in Charlotte or Atlanta or Kansas City….but nothing on local events.
So for your benefit, I offer up the following scorecard.

If your paper offered any news at all….even just ten lines….on the local tea-party event….give them five points.

If your paper offered a 30-line piece and actually did one interview….on the local tea-party event….give them ten points.

If your paper offered 30 lines and a picture, even if on page 8 of the local news section….give them fifteen points.

If your paper only mentioned some tea-party event, at a town more than 300 miles away….subtract fifteen points from the standing.

If your paper mentioned nothing on the tea-party events, then subtract thirty points from the standing.

If the best that your paper could do…was write a editorial…mostly negative…over the tea-party event, then subtract fifty points from the standing.

This kinda gives you an idea of how bad financially they are currently.

The problem here is not only modern age folks who simply don’t read papers….but conservative readers who have basically given up on the local paper. If fifty percent of the potential readers won’t read the paper because of its political slant, then they’ve given up profitably, and cannot survive long-term. They will eventually be sold out, at a loss or go bankrupt.

Yes, Canada is not Mexico

"Yes, Canada is not Mexico, it doesn't have a drug war going on, it didn't have 6,000 homicides that were drug-related last year. Nonetheless, to the extent that terrorists have come into our country or suspected or known terrorists have entered our country across a border, it's been across the Canadian border. There are real issues there."

So spoke Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who immediately riled Canadian officials, when suggesting that the Sept. 11 hijackers entered the United States through Canada.

This was kinda shocking because the 9/11 Commission determined they came to the United States from overseas (NOT Canada). On the plus side, its a positive that Napolitano never read the 9/11 Commission report, and we may have to assign a dozen guys to reread the document and brief the Homeland Security folks on the results (written over five years ago).

The sad thing is that this prompted a huge backlash up in the tundra world of Canada....with various Canadanians asking if this were true....and then being force-fed information by the Canadian TV network CTV the absolute facts. Once finished....all the Canadians sat down....opened up a beer and kinda wondered why they weren’t told this before....before turning on pro-hockey.

By this point....Napolitano came up and stressed that Canada is a "close ally."
She didn’t compare them to England or Cuba or China....but still they were awful dang close.

All of this came up....because folks are trying to discuss the drug war episode and why the Mexican and Canadian borders are different. Most Americans can’t understand why issues exist on one side but not the other.

So tonight....across the big land of Canada....we've got a bunch of pissed-off Canadians. The only way to settle this? Let them win the Stanley Cup....maybe that will be enough.

Just Atwisting in the Wind

The Obama administration is finding that it must turn to military personnel to fill hundreds of posts in Afghanistan that had been intended for civilian experts, senior officials said Wednesday.

Last month, we all noted this great announcement by Secretary Hillary and President Obama….a vast new strategy in Afghanistan. The promise? “A dramatic increase in our civilian effort” in Afghanistan, including “agricultural specialists and educators, engineers and lawyers.”

When this was announced, I was thinking….good goodness….these people have grasped the big picture and really want to fix issues in Afghanistan.

So today, we learn that between the big boys at the Pentagon and in the White House….well….all these billets that were supposedly going to be civilian in nature….will likely be filled by military personnel (meaning reservists for you folks in Red Bay and Demopolis)….and by contractors.

Shocked? Shocking? Well…no. First, there never was a clear plan that was laid out by Secretary Clinton or President Obama on this “fix-Aghanistan” episode.

The amusing thing here…..the military has absolute rules on how to force its personnel to go to places they don’t like. Its simple and direct….you go or you get discharged in a very hostile fashion. Civilian employees within DOD face a pretty stiff situation because they sign documents guaranteeing they will deploy when called upon. And as for us contractors….buddy, we go for the money. You offer up $200k and tell a guy to deploy to Kabul for twelve months….live in a modular trailer….and do a job……then we haul ass to the Kabul for the money.

The other part to this entire story is the great areas of expertise that Secretary Hillary wanted to expand on: lawyers, educators, agriculture experts, engineers, and civic people. So there are folks in the reserves that might into this category….and a handful of normal contractors that fit….but the rest?

So I’m expecting an ad to appear in Red Bay any day….government contractor company looking for five young dudes with a Auburn ag degree….willing to travel exotic lands and train farmers, for $120k a year…..tax-free of course. A couple of guys will show up, sign up….and discover their new buddies in Kabul have a better deal for $180k, and then find more guys with the $200k deal.

Meanwhile, back in DC….safe and sound….a bunch of state department dudes stand around, sipping coffee and thanking Ms Clinton for saving their butt, then going negative on the efforts in Afghanistan because they just don’t meet the expectations that they have.

Something smells funny here….but it’s the smell you have around a barn in Bama, and you know what that smell is.

Our Boys Hard at Work over Torture

The quote of the week (by President Obama after the various interrogation and torture memo’s have been released to the news media: "There's a host of very complicated issues involved there. As a general deal, I think we should be looking forward and not backward. I do worry about this getting so politicized that we cannot function effectively, and it hampers our ability to carry out critical national security operations."

Yes....perhaps now, after releasing it....you do worry about functioning effectively or it hampering our security operations. Obviously, this was not a key element of discussion prior to the release....meaning that it was mostly political gain that hoped for.

Then the White House added.....”that any congressional accounting of what took place should be done "in a bipartisan fashion outside of the typical hearing process that can sometimes break down ... entirely along party lines." Here I started laughing. If it was bipartisan efforts....you would have had a bipartisan team involved in the discussion of releasing the memos.....obviously, this was not ever a goal. So don’t bother wasting breath on the concept of bipartisan thinking.

Adding to the wild episode is today’s news that Miss Condi personally gave the orders in 2002 to do the waterboarding, as national security adviser. For the Obama team to drag Miss Condi out of the shadows and engage her on the media screen….I’m thinking this is a vast mistake. She can quickly sum up a situation and tear apart your political agenda if you aren’t careful.

The CNN folks wanted you to know that 38 percent of the public favors a criminal investigation of torture claims, and then they tell you that 24 percent of the public favor a noncriminal investigation.

It’s a curious episode. If the Attorney General comes out and says he wants to proceed on charges...then President Bush can merely say he approved their actions and then suddenly the Attorney General is pushed into the corner. He can’t readily prosecute a ex-president because of the status they have as executive of the US government. The Senate could take up this matter, and probably dream up an impeachment process or more, but then no one has ever done this. And at best, you might only find ten Senators who would be willing to proceed into some dark shadowy event like this.

So this entire event, is for political glory at best. They can waste four weeks chatting about this on various TV shows, and then act surprised when the Attorney General says its really not practical or in their best interest. Several media folks will go into a tailspin....wondering why nothing can occur....and waste your time over fifteen minutes chatting like mad monkeys on the serious jeopardy of such a decision. You’ll watch it for three minutes before flipping the channel over to Channel Nine News.

A Change for the President

Last year…which was an election year anyway….Senator Obama then….led up a charge to pass a law allowing black farmers to seek new discrimination claims against the Agriculture Department. The claims involve literally thousands of black farmers who have sued US Department of Agriculture. The claim here? They were denied for years government loans and other assistance that routinely went to whites.

The thing about this lawsuit….the government stood up and settled in 1999….almost a $1 billion in damages were involved….with 16,000 farmers. But then, thousands of other farmers woke up and realized that they should have been in on this deal. So they now want to challenge the government and get their “bail-out” money.

Personally, after reading four or five articles on this…..I’d say that these guys are entitled to something. If you want to involve cash, then fine. I’d be of the mind to offer tax credits which you could redeem each year to a certain amount, until you’ve used up all these credits. That would work just as well.

The issue now? The president and the administration want these major budget-busting lawsuits just to disappear. As John Boyd, head of the National Black Farmers Association puts it…."You can't blame it on the Bush administration anymore. I can't figure out for the life of me why the president wouldn't want to implement a bill that he fought for as a U.S. senator."

At the heart of the current matter….is this legislation that candidate for president Senator Obama put up….to reopen the case because thousands of farmers missed the deadlines for participating.

I’m guessing that the White House crew suddenly woke up and grasped the total cost (well over $1 billion and likely going past $2 billion). Frankly, it’s a pretty fair amount of money….which would go to a bunch of farmers. Its rare these days that farmers really matter to anyone. My advice to the administration….offer up a tax credit deal for half of the money they are owed and pay out the rest over a two-year period. Then advertise this as a great deal for the nation.

Otherwise….it’ll just be another item to use against the administration in 2012 as they run again.

Healthcare and What You Don't Hear

As we inch closer to national healthcare, you might want to note what you aren’t hearing from the senators, the representatives, the President, and the media. There are four key ingredients to making national healthcare work, and none of these players are talking about these much at all:

1. Hospitals, clinics, and doctors have to agree to a set cost formula that is very restrictive in terms of growth or profit. Gaze over at France, Germany and the UK….and you will realize that this is the primary ingredient for national programs to work. A national board in Germany reviews the set costs and approves how much can be paid. Will this be a part of the US solution? So far, you haven’t heard a word about this….have you?

2. Drug companies have to agree to a set cost….nation-wide, and then doctors and hospitals must agree to utilize generic drugs whenever possible (meaning 70 percent of the normal cost of a real identified drug). You haven’t heard any of the power players mention this….have you?

3. Procedures will be limited. This means that the newest and greatest procedures dreamed up….may not be available until the cost level reaches an appropriate level. Ask anyone in the UK or Canada about this deal…..they know from practice that you might have to leave the country and travel to the US or other regions to get some special operation. Did you notice no political figure or media kingpin talking on this topic?

4. Everyone will have to pay into the pot a percentage of what they make. This typically means roughly six to eight percent, with the employer covering a similar amount. Go to Germany and check it out….even if you make $1800 a month….you still contribute that 6.75 percent to the pot of money. So turn around and admit to the guys who work 40 hours a week at some restaurant and pull in $2k a month….that $130 will roughly be pulled from their check automatically and the employer will forced to find another $130 himself to donate (meaning zero raises for the next two or three years while he adjusts to life in this situation). Currently, this guy has $130 in his hand, with no health insurance. He’ll have to figure out how to rebudget his life with a $130 less, and probably a number of deductibles spread out in this entire scheme. Again, did you hear your senator, representative or favorite TV news dimwit mention these? Did you hear the president talking about this one?

So here we are….moving ever so close to national healthcare, and they haven’t said a word about the four key things of national healthcare. This is kinda like a Bama dude walking into a huge cave with 50,000 rabid bats and wondering if there is anything he should think about prior to the walk in the cave.

The key thing you should ask these guys to make sure they actually know what they are talking about? Ask them: “Will everyone pay a percentage of their pay?”. The minute they suggest that poor people can’t afford to pay, so the nation will have to pay for them….it means that you are no longer on a six to seven percent deal….and having to discuss a nine percent deal instead. Oh, and remember….rich people will still have private doctors and get the best healthcare in the nation….you can’t stop this part. So in ten years…as people complain that their rich neighbor is getting better healthcare and they want the President to fix this….the only way is to mandate everyone become a loser in America (a neat title for life in 2020 America).

So in ten years….when you are mostly broke and wondering how the healthcare program is so screwed up….ask yourself why you never asked stupid questions for the political figures to answer.