Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Tax Games

Across the river, into DC...they decided to have a tax on plastic bags that you get when buying groceries. It was set to a nickel on each bag that you took. They will tell you that they were going to use this $3 million a year...to clean up a local river, which may or may not be true. Along the way...a curious thing happened.

A quarter into this...half the money they were anticipating....is there, while the rest simply never arrived. Folks suddenly found compelling reasons to avoid the plastic bags. They used canvas bags and paper bags...and avoided the tax.

The folks who wrote these taxation rules....are rather shocked that folks adapted this quickly to less plastic. They actually figured it'd take a couple of years before they'd stop.

Whats funny about this...is that there are several communities that had been discussing this idea of plastic bag taxation and viewing it as a potential money-maker for the county or city. So I'm guessing they are going back and trying to figure the real gain if people shift that quickly away from plastic bags...to avoid the tax.

I thought about his for myself....because I use six bags a week typically, which would have totaled 30 cents. In a month.....$1.20. And in a year....less than $15. Me switch to canvas bags? I kinda doubt it. I would have gone to paper easily.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Mandating

I sat and pondered today over how mandated health insurance will pass via Supreme Court when questioned. I've watched "experts" over the past ten days claim that congress can do just about anything they want over commercial services and actually make you buy health insurance.

So I sat there and imagined standing by the Supreme Court guys....and asking some stupid questions...which really have nothing to do with health insurance.

In a week or month or year or decade...if congress stood up and said that we all had to buy travel insurance when we travel via air...would the same mandate work in that case? Could congress force us all to buy travel insurance?

Then I'd continue on....could congress mandate we buy rent guarantee insurance...to help us when we rent and the owners raise the prices? Did they have the power to mandate that?

So onward I went.

Mandated property insurance? Mandated pet insurance? Mandated home insurance? Mandated title insurance? Mandated landlord insurance? Mandated loan protection insurance? Mandated weather insurance? Mandated cattle insurance? Mandated crop insurance? Mandated crime or robbery insurance? Mandated earthquake insurance? Mandated medigap insurance?

Then I came to this funny area where I could actually envision coming up within a year or two...flood insurance. Imagine mandating that anyone in a flood plain area....had to buy flood insurance? Naturally, the folks in New Orleans would complain and want a lesser rate than the guys in Florida...so you'd grade the "have/have not" flood insurance rate....to be "FAIR".

Would the Supreme Court agree to mandated flood insurance and possibly some rigged up rates to help the poor of New Orleans?

I'm thinking that all nine members are going to sit there and pause over this. Basically...it opens up a can of worms about how much insurance you could mandate and how this would ever be fair or constitutional.

I sat and watched some "expert" try to explain away this mess in that we already have mandated car insurance in all fifty states....but the funny thing is that if you don't have a car...you don't have such insurance. The other funny thing is that this is rigged up via each and every state...so a guy in Bama pays $250 a year for truck insurance, while a guy in California pays $1200 a year for the same type insurance. The logic here would demand that we run health care the same way...so a guy in Bama pays $1500 a year, and a guy in California pays $5000 a year.

For some reason, I'm not buying into the experts argument on CNN. I'm suspecting that once you toss a bunch of insurance concepts toward the Supreme Court...they will all sit there and start to ponder where this starts and where it ends. And frankly...mandating some guy to buy flood insurance when there's been one flood in 85 years...just won't wash. The same argument could be used for healthcare....where a guy has been to the doctor once in thirty years.

Eighty-Eight Billion

At some point over the weekend...some couple here in Virginia....woke up and realized that their bank had credited their account by 88 billion dollars.

They reported it quickly...and then saw their account frozen for at least two or three days while the bank tried to figure out what happened.

I sat there....like most Bama guys would....contemplating my actions under such a situation.

Eighty-eight billion dollars.

The thing about that much money is that the bank would have figured problems within three days max. So the best hope is that you move in on day one...remove $200k through twelve to fifteen branches. If lucky, you might get a second full day with another $200k removed before they figure this whole problem out. So you pack up a bag...head for Grenada...with $400k for the rest of your life.

As you can see....I've put some time into thinking about this...not that I'd ever carry it out. But I'll sit patiently and wait for the eighty-eight billion to appear in my account. Then I'll make my decision.

Local Nut

Here's the deal. Here in Arlington...back around early December...there was this ad of sorts to work for the FBI. A couple of folks applied and one guy was hired. So he comes to work for this 29-year old gal and there's all this talk of their work for the CIA and various other government agencies. Our young guy had to sign paperwork for his security clearance (which had all that sensitive data such as addresses and social security).

So our young naive guy shows up and I'm guessing it's a small office arrangement...not in a government building...but he continues to believe things are legit.

After Christmas...our young naive guy is told by his boss that they are going overseas to Germany...on a classified mission. He visits his parents and tells them the great news of his future with the agency.

So his boss comes and takes him. A couple of days later...the boss calls the parents and tells them not to call the son because it's a sensitive and classified mission. A couple of days pass....and the son finally calls. They never left the US and he'd been ordered to stay in the hotel room with his boss.

The parents waited a day or two and then called the FBI. An investigation took off and finally this week....charges laid out for a local gal, Brenna Reilly.

I pondered over everything. Brenna is a ID thief...I'm guessing. She's likely got a fair amount of money squirreled away and I have my personal doubts that she will remain in the local area. The guy involved? I kinda feel sorry for him because he basically quit his good job....to work for some dimwit like this....thinking he was getting a real government job.

A Militia Game

I sat and watched this story unfold today....Christian Militia Arrested.

I paused a while after reading the story.....this involved a bunch of guys who proclaim they are Christians and they are preparing for a Christian battle royale of Biblical proportions.

I tried to conjure up this image of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John...armed with AK-47s....and working up their posse to serve Jesus. For some reason, I just couldn't think of something like this ever occurring.

Why is it that when you have militias....it's always a Christian or far-right wing or an extremist group? Why can't you have a liberal militia? Why can't you have a Catholic militia? Why can't you have a Islamic militia? Why can't you have a Jewish militia? Why can't you have a redneck Amazon gal militia? Why can't you have a systems engineer militia? Why can't you have a wussy guy militia? Why can't you have an environmentalist militia?

I realize I'm asking some questions that just don't make sense.

Here's the thing about these Christian guys who meet up and get this funny idea. It's always some major nut who is a potential candidate as a used car salesman who heads up the group. He talks up the coming war with the government, blacks, Latinos, cops, FBI, the CIA, the EU, the Canadians, Mexico, North Korea, or alien invaders.

So five or six really naive guys quickly become participants...and the deal is to build like a pyramid scheme...hoping to get a dozen more members who are equally naive. Naturally....being a Christian is important. If you are a atheist or Catholic...you can forget about an invitation.

Naturally...a militia scheme centers around guns. If you were just sitting and guzzling beer while discussing scripture...the militia idea just wouldn't work. And you have to have a moral enemy...otherwise...the scheme wouldn't work.

I'm guessing these guys arrested up in Ohio...are sitting there and wondering how exactly they screwed up and wondering if Grandma or Uncle Joe will bail them out. And Grandma is wondering if Jesus wrote any scripture approving of AK-47 usage.

A Stupid Argument

For those of us in Arlington...there's a brewing storm over public transportation costs. The Metro guys (hauling folks around DC, Arlington and the corner of Maryland)...are short on money by the end of the year....so somethings got to happen.

Most folks have indicated that a 40-cent raise or a few cuts on service...would be the acceptable deal for them. But things took a funny twist this week with a number of low wage earners saying that a rise in fares is unfair to them.

It's a funny thing. The uppity folks...those who make $75k or more....use the subway more than the buses (it's believed that around sixty percent of the riders are uppity folks). On the opposite side...it's believed that the majority of bus riders are regular wage earners (down below $50k). So the "busers" want their fair deal and to dump any increase onto the "trainers".

I sat and laughed over this suggestion.

I've riden the train into DC...and once you cross the river....pretty much everyone is low-wage earner. On the Arlington side....it might be upper class guys who ride the train but it's just true in DC.

The "busers" are hoping for a rate that stays about the same, and that the "trainers" end up with a sixty-cent increase deal to balance out the mess.

I'm going to avoid saying much....because I'm mostly a bus guy and I might come out ahead on this deal. Perhaps to help the case....I ought to dress in a lesser fashion and pretend to be on the gutter-side of life...to help the "busers" a bit.

Monday, 29 March 2010

You'll Love the 2013 Ford F-150

Imagine someone coming up to you....spending an hour on some TV news show....telling you about the Ford F-150 truck and it's fantastic changes....and expecting to make a pre-sell to you right now today.

How would you feel? A truck that is roughly three years in the future....and trying to be sold to you right now?

So today....White House advisers and Democratic political figures came out to let you know about the new health care bill...and to basically suggest that they will spend their free time for the next six months....saying great things to come in 2013....with this new package.

I stood there for five minutes today....watching Senator Charles Schumer explain this sales job would help people overcome their issues and return to the Democrats in November.

After five minutes....I turned the channel over to the History Channel....I couldn't take much more.

It's a plan that doesn't start for three years....has various impacts in 2700 pages that you can't be sure about....and some idiot is acting like a used car salesman on Meet the Press give me some pep talk. It didn't work.

The thing is...when someone comes up to sell you a 2013 Ford F-150...you can't be sure of anything. If gas is $5 a gallon....the truck won't sell. If the Ford truck division gets sold off to some Chinese company...the truck won't sell. If the truck changes engines and they all go to a turbo four-cylinder engine....the truck won't sell.

As for this summer? If this is the chief topic of discussion for Democrats for the remainder of the year....you'd best turn off the news and get into some Dog The Bounty Hunter episodes.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

The Tea Party

I've sat and watched this movement over the past year. I remember standing there and watching Rick Santelli of the Financial News Channel do his moment and suggest such a grassroots organization.

There are things that they've accomplished. The replacement of Ted Kennedy's seat would never have gone to a Republican in a thousand years....unless you had such a Tea Party group sitting out there. The questions thrown to the media over the past twelve months about the universal health care package...which made the vast number of new analysts look like idiots on TV....came from the Tea Party.

Their contribution to November's election? It will differ from state to state. I think southern Democrats are in for a rude awakening...with a vast number of independents shifting against them. I think some Tea Party efforts will be misguided ...as the pretenders come out (as in Nevada's senate election). I would suggest that some news analysts will be more focused on the Tea Party than the actual election itself.

A fad? Yeah.

The folks at Tea Party central....are mostly folks who've never associated with any political business before. They've learned basic organizing skills, communication points, and actually are willing to argue with a liberal, a news analyst, or a citizen on the street.

Who is losing right now over this movement? The news analysts. It becomes difficult to watch some interview on MSNBC when the "expert" is offering some political chat-chat without any substance.

The "expert" attack on the Tea Party? Stuff of a first-year college student, and little else. A vast amount of time and effort is put into analyzing the Tea Party....rather than issues. That ends up making you laugh over a 60-minute news show that pretends to say something important but can't.

At some point after the 2012 race....when the Republican Presidential candidate loses...I suspect that the bulk of the Tea Party members will become disenchanted. You will see some states where they thrive and simply morph into a stronger party, but the bulk of the movement is likely going to fold up and rest for four years at that point.

The Hard Life of a Bama Guy

Back a couple of months ago....there was this tiny news item that a new brothel was going to open up in Vegas...for women. I read the article and I kept thinking this was a radical idea. The deal was...recruit some guys....offer services....and make profit.

I didn't really follow much after that....and I don't think there was much public attention to this deal.

This past week...the brothel and it's story came to the next round. The first male prostitute hired....was let go...and here in....lies the Bama story.

This first male prostitute hired....was a guy from Bama. Yep....he was this muscular college dropout...from the Bama system. He also entertained a brief period as a porn actor in LA...before arriving in Vegas to be a professional prostitute.

The curious thing was the business activity around this guy for two months of work. He basically had ten customers.

I sat there and scratched my head. Over in northwest Bama....over a three-day weekend....a lucky guy might score with three to four ladies if he tried awful hard (course, this wouldn't involve any money).

I tried hard to imagine this guy....sitting around hour after hour...waiting for some gal to show up and pick him. The problem is that he might be like a typical guy from Bama...watching NASCAR, sipping beer, eating bar-b-q, and a two-day growth of beard on him. When the gal finally did show up...she was probably some California gal and just passed on the Bama guy because he looked "Bama".

Meanwhile...all these Bama women are looking at this entire story, and thinking...why the heck would you ever pay for a guy when you could get something for free? There are hundreds of thousands of studly Bama men...from eighteen to sixty-five...wearing cowboy boots, work boots, fishing boots, flip flops and tennis shoes...with a beer or a coffee cup in their hand, and ready to make a woman feel appreciated.

As for the career of our recently terminated male Bama prostitute? Well....I'm guessing he will make his way back to Bama. He'll end up with some lumber company delivering for local folks and end up marrying some gal named Carla whose dad runs a Catfish diner. It'll all be hush-hush about his former career until some reality show producer shows up and wants to revisit his old career....and Carla discovers why he's so knowledgeable about bedroom things.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

How Much Can You Take?

I watch the news alot. Yeah, probably more than the mortal man should. I've found over the past year or two...especially the last sixty days after moving to Arlington...that I have a limit on what I can take.

For example...Rush Limbaugh? I can take about twelve minutes max of Rush...before I hit the "next" button or mute button. I'm not exactly anti-Rush...but there's a limit to what I really care to hear or consume.

Larry King? I can take about eight minutes of Larry on average. There are some guests where the questions are 5-star in nature and I could take half-an-hour. This past week, I watched one interview and was ready to hit mute after three minutes of Larry.

Glen Beck? If it's a history lesson...maybe forty-five minutes. If it's some rant...60 seconds.

Rachel Madow of MSNBC? Five minutes...max. Her flip side version of things....sometimes is necessary....but then you get flip after flip after flip. By her vision, the whole Republican party is like some group of aliens who have invaded the Earth, and we need to fight them off. Plus, if the Republicans didn't exist...she'd basically have nothing to report...which is kinda sad for a news commentator to admit.

Keith Olbermann of MSNBC? I can typically take about fifteen minutes of Olbermann...on a good night. Out of an entire week....he actually can tell a neutral story five or six times...so you have to just be standing there at the right moment to catch it.

Chris Mathews of MSNBC? If he wouldn't interrupt people so often and just let them speak on their own instead of putting words in their mouth....he might be a 3-star journalist. Otherwise...I can take six minutes of Chris max....for the whole evening. Also, another thing...ever looked at the pictures they used for Chris in their advertisements? He looks like he's 40 years old. On camera....today, he looks like he's seventy.

Anderson Cooper of CNN? He pleads and pleads for you to believe him...and looks really great in black t-shirts. As for time I can take from him? Eight to ten minutes max. He actually appears to be the least knowledgeable guy on TV today and he should just shift over to the Today Show (perfect match for his skills).

Matt Lauer of Today Show? Fifteen minutes max. There's the "Matt-angle" to every story and you sit there and laugh through the majority of stories that he tries to tell. As for actual news skills? He'd be the last guy you want on a live-action on-going emergency newscast.

Ed Schultz of MSNBC? I can actually sit and take around thirty minutes of Ed. I realize that he's half bogus on some stories and he's like a used car dealer....but he has that southern appeal. You'd like to have lunch with Ed...but I probably wouldn't buy a Buick from him.

O'Reilly of Fox? Yeah, I admit I can watch sixty minutes straight of O'Reilly. I realize that's he's a pain and very difficult on guests. But he also captures the moment and often puts you square in the middle of a story.

Neil Cavuto of Fox? I can take almost thirty minutes of Neil. He asks the questions and actually digs into the topic. I admit he might lean to the right but he's pretty much digging into the entire story so you have some key facts to think about beyond his sells job.

Greta of Fox? I can actually sit there and watch almost thirty minutes of Greta. At least she's appealing and gets to the point on stories. I realize she's a lawyer and she'd not a 4-star journalist....but at least she is trying.

Hannity of Fox? Five minutes is the most I can take for an entire evening. He's not a four-star journalist....and he's terrible at interviews. He is trying to sell you on every single topic he brings up and you sit there laughing at the discussion.

John King of CNN? Way beyond himself for an entire hour. He could do a good eight minute story....but he's just not the guy to host an entire hour-long show on news.

John Stossel of Fox Business? I can take sixteen hours straight of John. Generally...if I had to cross the US in a RV and had to pick three folks to ride with me....John would be one of them. He's telling the regular guy version of every story. There's not much vanilla or whipped cream on the story...just facts.

Dave Ramsey of Fox Business? Dave actually makes an entertaining show and I could sit there and listen to it for thirty minutes. The numbers always make sense.

G Gordon Liddy? I could probably take an entire hour of G Gordon. I admit...he is a nut at times. I admit he is a bit right wing. But he entertains you to the ninth degree. You just can't take his news as being absolute.

Shepard Smith of Fox? Shep in the thirty-minute range. He is a sales freak and shifts story a bit around....so you have to pay attention to what he says and what the facts are. Shep is a bit liberal but you have to appreciate his simple presentations and the way he unfolds an entire story.

A Class Act

I tried to make sense out of it...the Class Act. No one spoke about it over the past six months...and somewhere in the health care bill signed...it's sitting there. No one in the media has spoken up much about it and I suspect that people are waking up today and discovering this thing for the first time.

The Class Act is really known as the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act. Course, you would be scratching your head and wondering what that means. It's basically the government's long-term care program....which will be voluntary (at least until someone says otherwise).

In the old days...up until the day that the healthcare bill was passed...Medicare had a major deal in taking care of your long-term care requirements...meaning when you got bad enough and had to go to the old folks home. With the Class Act in full force....and vast money cut from Medicare....you now began to understand how the puzzle fits.

Gasping now?

So how much? Well....somewhere between $150 to $250 a month, roughly. It'll all depend on your age and salary. This will all add up to $109 billion a year within ten years....if everyone played along.

The neat thing (the only neat thing)...is that it doesn't start this year. The feds will come up and notify your boss and company...about the upcoming deduction.

You have a five-year vesting period....meaning that you won't be able to even claim the money until you've got at least five years of contributions. So you can already imagine this massive pot of money sitting there from 2011 on...until around 2016 when you could take money out. The amount you are limited to? $75 a day.

I sat and looked at this....thinking that it's voluntary right now but it wouldn't take that much to push it up one notch. How many guys will sign up? If you are 21...zero. I will readily predict that it won't be of interest to anyone except guys over the age of 45. How many folks want to put $150 a month into something like this? Well...if you started at eighteen....putting $250 a month into an investment fund...you'd have $400k easily by age sixty. If you were going to do something of a drastic nature...I'd go for the investment fund and forget this.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Ed's Words

I caught the clip of MSNBC host Ed Schultz...making a observation that talk-radio is ready for some kind of government movement toward running or controlling radio programming.

I think Ed was on some caffeine binge and just rattled off something that was bothering him. He'd like to take AM radio and it's talk-radio empire...and dissolve both.

From a historical moment...AM was dying out in the early 1980's and wasn't going to be a profitable enterprise except for rural areas of America. If you wanted music...you went to FM because of the better quality sound you got. AM survived the 1980s because of minor grow of talk-radio...and then boomed in the 1990s.

What Ed hopes for...is that the FCC will announce some "fairness" rules and thus put AM radio into a slow spiral of limited profit...thus inviting the government in to run the AM stations in each community.

Naturally, you'd be asking where this money to run AM stations will be coming from...and you will simply get this blank stare (it's your money, if you can't figure this out).

The positive side of this is that on-line garage radio-stations will start to pop up after this...and the "fairness" idea will actually create this wave of mom & pop stations that fill the void. If Rush Limbaugh wanted to broadcast under these circumstances...I'm guessing he would do it from his own garage.

So nothing changes...except we end up paying for a bunch of AM stations to run with a bunch of community activists trying to speak to the heartland except they can't say the right words to get any respect or attention.

My DC

There is an article today about DC...and it having one of five folks who live in poverty. For kids there...it's one in three who live in poverty.

I sat and pondered over this bit of "news". They wanted my sympathetic side to kick in and feel sorry for them....maybe offer some cash on the table for another program to fix things.

But then I started thinking.

I had to move up to the Arlington area for a new job...my first trip ever to the beltway. I’ve been here for roughly 100 days now.

Once you cross the river and arrive in DC...it’s like arriving in Paraguay. There’s the upscale government buildings area...some expensive townhouses and condo’s for the folks who work in the upscale gov’t buildings, and then you’ve got the “real Paraguay”.

I’m told by the local paper that six of every one hundred adults in the DC area are HIV-positive. I’m told by the local paper of the dozen or so areas in town not to be after dark. I’m told by the local paper about efforts to approve grass sales as a medical-usage product.

Once you arrive at a Metro station in DC...less than seven minutes from my Virginia station...you start to watch over your shoulder and question your security. At least five percent of the folks you meet on a Metro platform look like zombies and are likely doped up. The curious thing about the zombie feeling is that this is like 11AM in the morning.

The cheaper paying jobs? Well...they got all taken by the El Salvadorian guys who live in the area. They work the coffee shops, the pizza shops, the burger joints. They are happy about the $7 an hour in a major metropolitan area...even if it puts them in a poverty situation (it’s better living in poverty in America than living in poverty in El Salvador). But you have lots of the original locals who don’t get jobs now...because the El Salvadorian guys are here and taking the lower-class jobs.

Would I ever stay here permanently, in DC? No. You’d be a fool to move and live in DC the rest of your life. Read the police blotter and ask folks about their experiences with crime in the local area. Living across the river in Virginia...is relatively safe (at least in comparison).

The answer for DC? If I were the Federal government....arrange for a yearly purchase of tracts of DC land...buy it and bulldoze it. Push everyone out to Maryland or Virginia and recover the DC area as just a place of business or government operations.

Forget about recovering DC as a town for people to raise their kids and be happy with. It’s like living in New Orleans and being nine feet under sea level...at some point, you realize your stupidity and just leave, if you knew what was good for you.

In this case...I'm sure the political guys will solve this by putting more cash on the table for more programs that ensure a good ratio of zombies to Metro riders...and keep life going...as is.

Jointifornia

There is a full-up discussion underway...serious in nature because it just might pass...to allow recreational mary-j-u-wanna to be approved as "ok" in California.

I sat and pondered over this.

DC is big-time into this idea and hoping they can become the Amsterdam of America. I'm thinking that this measure will absolutely pass in California. Heck, they even attached a tax deal to this so they could make money out of the deal. The import guys and the illegal street sales folks? I'm guessing they are starting to worry a bit about this...their entire market could collapse. Heck, we might even have to give them stimulus money because of their sales failure.

The cops aren't saying much. But if you sit there and think about this...it works in their favor. There is still a rule out there about being high while driving. They administer the test, and if you fail...it's the same kind of ticket as if you were drunk. In Germany...you lose your license and play the fee game with the cops. So the cops would get a major ticket to hand out and lots of fees collected.

In my youth, I worked in an engineering section and drove dump trucks for the Air Force. We had a guy who smoked a joint everyday at lunch...a young airman. One day out in base housing...we were in the process of using a crane to dig up a pit of sand.

It was an oval pit...about forty feet in depth and thirty foot in diameter. We took a break. The crane operator finished up and was walking back to the rig. Me and the second driver were standing there and discussing things....not thinking much about the third driver...who could not be seen.

Some seven-year old kid walked up to the crane operator and told him not to climb up yet.....that the fourth member of our team had fallen into the pit.

We walked over and in the bottom of this sandy pit....was our buddy...kinda dazed but ok. The thing was that he had smoked a joint just 60 minutes prior...gazed over into the pit during the break and then fell into it.

The guy was lucky because if the crane operator had cranked up the machinery and dumped the scoop into the pit....it would have landed on the guy and killed him. The crane operator wanted the guy out of the area and removed from our team. After that day, I had this thing about doped-up guys being on a work detail. I was willing to take lots of bad attitude guys and even lazy guys....but a doper on the team invited danger if they didn't time their experience the right way.

At some point...maybe ten years from now...I fully expect some discrimination clause to be inserted...with age, religion, sex, gay, etc....and companies won't be allowed to discriminate against dopers. If you walk into your dentist office and smell a whiff of mary-j-u-wanna....you won't be able to just cancel and walk out the door. You'll have to sit there and take the doped up dentist. On the positive side...he might offer you a free joint.

My point of respect for folks who do mary-j-u-wanna...is that they do it at home...and ensure that the effects are worn off before they get into a car or operate machinery.

For some reason, in California, I don't see this working in a practical way. Imagine some teacher showing up for the first class of the day....doped up for an hour or two. Imagine your car mechanic doing your brake job right after lunch...when he had a joint. Imagine your accountant doing your taxes thirty minutes after she did a joint.

At some point, you basically toss up your hands and give up because folks have misused a trust.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Local News

We had one of those funny events occur yesterday here in the local area. Some guy....in a Jag...heading south on the interstate out of Arlington. Some Ford F550 Dump truck clipped the Jag.

The Jag guy got upset, and a second clipping occurred. So the Jag guy pulls a gun....fires a shot or two, and this chase starts up.

I was sitting there and trying to imagine how a chase between a Jag and Ford F550 would go....and I was at a loss.

So at that point...the two ran for around ten miles before the cops got both pulled over. The funny thing is that the Jag guy had his kid in the back seat, and around 13 shots were fired.

Cops talk of several charges and I'm thinking that the Jag guy will do at least a couple of weeks in county jail. Nothing said yet over the Ford F550 driver.

Call it road rage or whatever....but it's pretty stupid to end up doing jail time.

The Best of TV News

You can often tell when there's not much news to report...when you watch MSNBC, Fox or CNN. They start to analyze each other and try to report it as news.

I sat this morning and watched thirty minutes of MSNBC. They ran clips of Glenn Beck, and then brought in their Glenn Beck "analyst" to explain how Beck's history was wrong. This all centered around the comparison of evolutionary and revolutionary champions. On one side were were the Franklin, Madison & Jefferson crew and on the other side were the modern day progressive/socialist crew (the interior of the Obama administration as Beck would say).

I sat for five minutes waiting for some intelligent analysis...and this was mostly stuff you'd expect out of a first-year college student research paper.

You'd rather hear about actual news but then these guys run so much garbage these days...that you can't expect a lot.

One of these days...stations will eventually get around to analyzing each other...like channel nine's news crew looking at channel twelve's news crew. When this happens...we'll switch to Animal Planet and just give up.

Miss X

There are people who sit around and ponder this mythical moment around 40,000 years ago...when Homo Sapiens and Neanderthal existed in some environment. These guys sit and daydream over how the two groups mixed and maxed. Did they fight? Did they love? Did they just learn to avoid each other and not ask questions?

This week...we came to this discovery which thrills the smart guys alot. They've found a third group of human, in the midst of Russia....who existed at the same time of Neanderthal and Homo Sapiens.

It's actually a female DNA sample that came to be part of this discovery....so they've named the lady in question "X-woman".

An entire species....and different.

From Africa? Well...they want to believe it. But you have this hint of things to make you wonder....this bone they found...wasn't in Africa, it was in Russia...near the Altai Mountains (deep in the Siberian region....and closer to Asia).

Miss X? Did she mingle? Did she come up marry Slug the Neanderthal? Did she have an affair with Larry the Homo Sapien. Did she entice Slug to give up his stupid ways? Did she run off with Larry? Or did she just hang out with other dudes of her species? These are the questions that you'd really like to settle but can't.

More species? When you go and look at all of the animals on the face of the Earth....there's likely to be dozens of these groups out there. Some survived and intermingled. And the majority likely died out. There's a story here....but you just can't find the facts to tell it.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

If Only We Were Denmark

I sat and spent thirty minutes last night....listening to three separate news channels explain how wonderful it was to have all the kids now covered and no insurance company could hinder their needs....they had to accept them. I kept waiting for the explanation how this would economically work....and CNN, MSNBC, and ABC just couldn't do it.

So I sat and pondered. I am left with three observations on how so many kids could be added and this budget situation would fall into play.

First, imagine yourself in Bama....Sunday...July...and hot as heck. You've made up five gallons of ice tea and chopped up three lemons and sat the chairs up on the porch. Over the next four hours....in mid-90's heat....you have around six people come over and you share some wonderful ice tea.

You all sip a good bit of tea but with five gallons and six folks on a hot day...you've got plenty to share with guests.

So with this new "all kids of free" mentality....let's revisit the house in July with a fresh scenario. You move the chairs up to the front yard and near the highway. Instead of six folks visiting and the five gallons lasting four hours...it's gone in a matter of two hours...and you have to make more. So you brew up another five-gallon jug of tea. The question is....who pays for the second jug? The answer? You...and no one else. It was your decision to share....and no one else.

The second observation? I went to Crete last summer and had a fine vacation. At the very beginning...upon arrival...there is this moment of decision left to me....to toss all beverages into the deal and pay nothing for sodas, beer, wine or mixed drinks....for $120 for the entire week. I sat there...thinking. Seven days and $120. It was a simple decision.

So they tagged me. I felt great. I was dreaming of the mixed drinks and wine....and the hot afternoons on the beach, and the evening moments where you sat at the bar and just chilled.

So I immediately walked up and ordered a Whiskey Sour. The Russian gal made up a 8-ounce plastic cup and tossed in three ice cubes. I took a good long sip...and then started think...where was the alcohol? It was lightly sour but not the alcohol content I expected.

Three minutes later, I finished my drink and ordered a second. Over forty-five minutes....I had five of these drinks. I never felt a single bit of alcohol in my system. I watched her pour a shot each time of whiskey into the cup....but I'm guessing it had to be watered down.

So that night, I switched to beer. It was cheap beer with a three percent alcohol rate. I had three cups over an hour....and never felt any buzz.

For the second hour, I switched to red wine. After three cups in sixty minutes...I finally started to get a buzz.

When you sit there and think about this great idea of tossing everything into a pot....there is always an element of money involved. If you wanted real drinks...you need to pay for it.

In this case....you can't add these kids to the mix...unless you factored in more money. You can imagine already where the premiums will be by December of this year....likely twenty percent higher than they are today...as a minimum.

My last observation is that neither the media or the political figures grasp that medical procedures are a business activity. They are still trying to envision this as a plain medical situation. That concept ended in the 1960s.

Our expectation now is huge. We don't want mistakes by hospitals or doctors. We want to live to 85. We want freedom from pain and suffering. All of this expectation...factors into money. You can't escape that.

Every kid you throw into the system...every drug addict....every alcoholic....every nut who needs a full-time institution...all equals money. Yes, the system works great in Denmark...because there are no real drug addicts, booze is taxed way beyond your imagination, and tobacco tax makes smoking something you just can't afford. Oh, and you can't drive over fifty on country roads.

So we are now stuck in a system....with no full way of grasping the future.

No Prophet is Accepted in His Own Country

I watched Lost last night. I will readily admit....no TV series...for written script or story...can touch Lost. Last night...deep into the final season....we finally came to an episode dedicated entirely to Ricard Alpert (the character who never aged and we knew he'd been on the island for well over 100 years).

There are a thousand mysteries still left in the story, but last night gave you an enormous compass for explaining the entirely story from the very beginning...which you never understood before.

Lost....with all its complex story twists and turns...is absolutely a religious story in depth and creativity. At some point Richard is judged for death in civilization and a Bible of his is opened in his presence....to Luke 4:24. The line: "And he said, Verily I say unto you, 'No prophet is accepted in his own country."

You had to sit there and think about the intended role of Richard Alpert for the next 100-odd years and how he fell into this role of a prophet.

By the end of the show....you came to fell that Jacob was always "God" in nature, and that lil Smokey was the "Devil" in nature. The Devil wanted his escape from the island, and God wanted to contain him so he could wreck havoc on the world.

The Lost crew? They were brought to the island as candidates in a fashion...with some living and some dead now. You are left with six. My suspicion now is that the six will fill the void of Jacob. Their mission was never to protect the island....it was to ensure the world survived on without massive havoc from Lil Smokey (aka the Devil).

What remains? We have the element of the "father, son, and Holy Ghost". Richard Alpert will fill the father-role, and Jacob as the Holy Ghost.....and the guy locked in the sub is likely the son-figure.....although we don't even know who the heck he is.

The six? The devil so far has convinced three of them to side with him. He needs all six to convert and he can be cut loose from his boundary. I'm thinking he's got a rough time with Jack and with Hurley. Neither man has anything left to desire. Jack may be threaten with Kate's death...to entice him....but Hurley has nothing that he will give into.

So I'm left with the best written script of all time and it's maddening to think I have seven episodes left to finish up this story.

Just a Little Bit of Cosmic Rays

The woes of Toyota have been spelled out over the past hundred days....and no one has yet come to a real conclusion as to the real problem.

This week...a wild idea got thrown on the table about this computer braking and acceleration problem.

Someone has suggested and the smart guys are seriously reviewing this idea....of space radiation causing errors in computer systems on cars.

The curious thing is that the protection around the various components on vehicles...wasn't exactly a major concern or such....at least until now.

So a blast here or a blast there....and suddenly...you've got no control over the acceleration. We didn't have this problem before because folks didn't incorporate computers into the control of the vehicle....just the monitoring.

My guess is that it'll take a year to prove this...and probably another dozen accidents....before someone wakes up and says there's a major issue here. By that point....Toyota will be forced to buy back every single one of the affected "computerized" cars. Then someone will ask if this affects aircraft, and we get into some serious thinking about what risks we are taking on a daily basis.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

A Doctors Strike

Amongst all the news of today...there is an interesting bit from Germany which relates to the structure of the health care package that they run there.

Several thousand doctors at Germany state-run city or county hospitals....started a simple one-day strike. The hope is a payraise will come out of this.

Currently, there are around 55,000 doctors who fall into this category and could be participating in some fashion.

Their request? They basically want a five percent pay increase....and more compensation for being on call.

Now, there are several ways of viewing this. Currently...German doctors are among the top state-run medical doctors on the wage scale. Note, I didn't mention the private physician wage scale because those guys make a fair amount more than the state-run hospital doctors.

Another side of this coin is the nurse situation....and they are just as bitter about their compensation.

Then you have the episode of 2005, where 5,000 doctors eventually left the country that year....for various other countries. By the time that the authorities figured out the actual number and got real serious about a pay raise.....the damage had been done.

The key to Germany's entire health care package....is tough control over wages. Once you expand that wage....you start to mess with the percentage rate that you take from folks....and they get all upset about that.

At this point in our game....you just might want to start paying attention to the mess in other countries and how they adjust or fix their problems.

Monday, 22 March 2010

The Next Round

After all of the ups and downs of yesterday with the heath care bill and its passage....there is a little story which really hasn't gone too far with any of the networks.

Based on the way we have the bill business set up in America....because of differences between the House and Senate version...there is this movement of the bill back to the Senate and the eventual passage there.

People don't worry much about this because Harry Reid has gone to the new "51 is enough" scheme and it could the scheme to make this work.

However, there is this little extra issue....dealing with the Parliamentarian. The Parliamentarian was never mentioned in high school civics or even college civics. He basically decides what's legal and what's not. He's not a Republican or a Democrat....he's more a college professor and keeps the laws as clean as possible.

In this case....the Republicans are of the idea that they might be able to add something to this bill...and with the current Parliamentarian...he would force the bill back to the House for yet another passage. I'm not of the mind that this would be possible with only only forty-one Republicans....but there's always this weird chance that something might happen.

Some people think that Reid has another trick left to play....in bringing the VP back to the Senate and have him out rule the Parliamentarian. If this were to happen, it might be an unusual event that no Parliamentarian has seen in a hundred years.

So as we continue toward this conclusion....you have to wonder if there is ever an end to the mess.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

WI-FI

From my hometown in Bama (which shall go nameless)...WI-FI has arrived. Free WI-FI...I should say.

It's a curious thing. Most everyone has 56k type speed and thats more than enough for email and some browsing. You can't run video. You can't download tons of p0rn. You can't download songs. You can't watch a ballgame. But there's lots of other stuff that you can do.

The WI-FI area is mostly around the general store and gas station....so you have to bring your laptop down and browse while there. My best guess....in a whole week...you might have twelve guys who show up...and half will be teenagers who simply want a private chance to do things not observed by mom or dad.

Is the local cop involved? Well...the answer is more than likely yes. I'm guessing that he hopes one single person each month downloads some p0rn and he can go after them with a search warrant.

When the feds sit around and talk about this WI-FI dream of bringing high speed access to all Americans....they likely mean folks in my old hometown. It'll be curious who runs this and who manages it...via a security standpoint. If the local cop has his way...he'll get a listing each week of folks in violation of something and can tackle them.

The last curious thing about this....is that you can still walk around and find hundreds of folks in the area who don't get into this computer business...even folks under the age of thirty. People are still living their lives in simplicity and don't require connectivity to someone or something.

Pause and Think

The vote will occur today in DC over the health bill with the House of Representatives. If I were a betting man, I'd bet it passes...just barely. But let's pause and look beyond the Senator battle that will come next and the states taking this to the Supreme Court. There is this little problem of November and what it might bring.

Let's say that people remember all of this, and the Senate shifts to 51 Republicans and the House has a majority of a dozen Republicans over the Democrats. There is this other little thing that will occur that most folks don't talk about...the local and state elections in November.

Let's say the shift goes down into the state houses of Texas and another twenty odd states. 2011 is a rather odd year. Census results are released and states then get their representative tally's shifted around. We know five states are likely to lose one or two representatives each. Texas may gain two...maybe even three new representatives. States like Michigan will lose a representative.

Various state houses are going to put themselves into a Republican-led situation...and the redrawing of the boundaries...are going to be settled in favor of the Republican party.

If you had to pick a time, and a place to run through a minefield....this was not it.

So when 2012 comes up and new representatives are chosen from the states involved in growth within census growth...they will end up being Republican. So the brief period between November 2010 and November 2012...will be just as charged up as it is today. Nothing changes.

So as the Republicans run through November and you'd like to think this is just a temporary thing...November of 2012 for the House and Senate look pretty much like Republican-win years as well. And as President Obama wins in 2012 (which I fully expect)...it'll be a long and hard period from then to 2016. We will all tire of politics from either party....and start to hate the networks that carry it twenty-four hours a day.

Weapons of Mass Suffering

I sat and read through a number of international stories this morning....and came to this one item from India. Apparently, Indian scientists have developed this new hand grenade, for crowd control.

They've take a Indian chili pepper...the bhut jolokia...and put the elements of it....into a grenade. Once it explodes....it gets into your nose and eyes....and you are serious trouble.

Being interested in this science stuff....I read up on this. I used to think that the Louisiana folks had the hottest pepper around. But I was wrong. Normally....the Mexican red savina is considered the hottest 'normal' pepper out there. Somehow, scientists have developed the ability to measure heat within a pepper. So the red savina is up at 577,000 on the Scoville heat unit scale. That is considered damn hot.

But this bhut jolokia? It's at 1,001,304 on the Scoville scale. That's twice as hot as the red savina.

Now, for you folks who have tasted a regular jalapeno...relax, you barely get above 10,000.

So this might make you want to think about this. Imagine a hand grenade like this and in the hands of some weird folks or some crazy protesters. What the Indians have developed is a weapon that needs to be brought under control. There ought to be a national conference of chili-lovers who seek to protect the world via chili disarmament.

My guess is that hundreds of folks are calling India presently and trying to pre-order their grenades. This will turn into serious business, eventually.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Circus

I had bold plans today....to go into DC and see the historic Chinese warriors....Terra Cotta exhibit. I arrived to discover....that you had to reserve your tickets and everything was sold out for the entire weekend. I sat there scratching my head. It was $12 and I just wanted a "Bama-look".....twenty minutes.....and I would have been out of the Circus-like atmosphere. So onward I went....to plan "B".

I walked out and stood there at the Farragut Square area, and then I could hear the ambulance siren. Down the street came cop cars and running red light after red light. Then they made the turn in front of me, with a big black Lincoln Town-car behind them and Secret Service behind that dude. Yes, it was VP Biden. Joe, himself.

He turned in front of me and headed on down the street.

I paused here and thought about this great job as VP. You get up....sip free coffee and donuts. You climb into a Lincoln with a police escort, and run red-lights. You get to some meeting and act like you know something.....but the truth is that you know absolutely nothing. You sit back in the office, sip free booze and meet with other dimwits. Eventually go to bed in a house, with no rent or mortgage tied to it. Man, what a life.

So onward I went.

I came down to the back of the White House where some buses had dumped off some poor high school kids from New York City. The guys were in dress suits which barely fit and they looked like fancy dud's that you'd pick up at Army Surplus. The young ladies were mostly dressed as slutty as possibly. I stood there for five minutes watching this part of the circus.....then moved on.

Then I came to the anti-war folks. There were at least 500 gathered there and talking to media folks. I counted five media folks and I think most must have been given free meal coupons to interview these guys.

I stood and then watched at least a dozen Indian folks....you know....from Bombay.....who were actually getting their pictures taken in front of the White House. They were damn proud and I would have liked to ask their story, but kept moving.

Onward I went.

I walked all the way down to the Capital building....where the Tea Party crowd was gathered. It must have been 4,000 in number.....and you could see another 4,000 in the distance...marching up toward the building. I stood there and listened to some poorly written script for thirty minutes. Some Representative ran out and did a 2-minute speech. I'm guessing someone offered him some meal coupons for some speech time.

I lost interest after a while, and onward I marched.

Then I came to the pink ladies....mostly the anti-war types.....and listened to their chants for ten minutes.

I felt hunger pains and then sat down at Harry's. It's a nice little spot....kinda looking like the 1960's style restaurant you'd expect. $12 for a buffet deal that tasted three hours old. The biscuit wasn't eatable and the coffee was 1-star at best. The one thing that Harry's does have...which is ok....is a bathroom.

So onward I marched....to the National Art Gallery, and looked over the Dutch "Ice-Age" exhibit for thirty minutes. I acted as socialized, culture-like, and as knowledgeable as possible. I don't think any of the folks knew I was from Bama.

At that point, I knew I had my fill.....drink the last of my bottle of water.....and went to the Metro. There I found the first of four escalators that weren't working (it's a DC thing.....they build them but can't maintain them). So I went down a 200-ft escalator by foot.

I'm sitting here now....drinking some ice-cold orange juice and resting my feet.

It's spring-like weather....almost 72 degrees and perfect for a circus in DC. It's entertaining in a way.....you'd like to think democracy and the republic feeling could kinda make you proud to be living in DC.....but at the end of a long walk....you mostly sit and laugh. Franklin and Jefferson would have asked for some beer and likely telling jokes to each other all afternoon if they'd watched this mess underway.

So onward I march.

Life in the Big City

I walked out of the Pentagon this afternoon...walked three minutes....and caught the Metro. Sixteen minutes later, I got out and walked three hundred feet and bought a ticket to watch a movie. I stepped in and sat down, and the movie started four minutes later.

Going from your office to the seat at the theater....in less than thirty minutes. Never worrying about parking. Never waiting for red lights. Never pausing for some idiot driver.

There is this element of living in metro life that I'm coming to appreciate.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Tax Woes

Some folks in the IRS sat down and did the statistics. Almost 100,000 civilian federal employees owe them (the IRS) almost a billion dollars ($962 million)...by way of back taxes.

Some senators and congressmen got into this mess and can't understand how or why.

Having come into this federal employee game in the past three months....allow me to offer some insight into this "game".

In the old days...you could be a GS-12/13 and take home a fair salary. You knew your limits, your credit, and your future goals. You lived typically within your dreams.

Somewhere over the past twenty years...people have extended themselves. But they did this because the salary levels for government employees....kept moving in a upward scale every single year.

So guys started to cut corners. They cut the amount that they pushed toward the IRS to hold. They started to look for special credits...which happened to get denied when the IRS finally dug deep enough two years later. So $6k here, and $3k there....eventually turned into $9k. Then they kept fighting these cases with lawyers who convinced them they could fight...and then eventually lost.

At this point...you start to double up. Guys who pulled $110k in salary year...and they screwed up badly to owe $20k or $40k.

How many of these federal workers are at the lowly GS-7 level? Few if any...I'm willing to bet. These are hefty guys who really guessed wrong on their tax issues and got deeply into debt.

As for the escape? Well...they could rig up a simple pay plan and cough up $12k a year easily....thus avoiding their 401K contribution for the year. The problem is that they really don't want to take such a drastic action.

Congress is likely going to settle this problem and just start taking their money....without much discussion. Life was pretty simple when the pay scales were all relative and kept to a reasonable growth situation. Today...it's challenging a guy to live beyond his means.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

When Tom and Jerry Rules

They added up total viewership on the cable TV options. Of course, USA came in number one on viewers, and then Fox News.

Somewhere down the line...around number twenty-six....was MSNBC, and around number thirty-two was CNN News.

Ahead of CNN News....was the Cartoon Channel.

I paused here and sat to ponder over this fact.

I will admit, I am pro-Cartoon Channel. In fact....given a choice of CNN or the Cartoon Channel....it'd be a tough choice over which to watch....unless Johnny Bravo or Dexter was on. Naturally with those cartoons....I'd pick the Cartoon Channel every single time.

For the CNN management staff...this is a tough thing to view. When some guy comes up and says he deserves a 8 percent pay raise....then you have to smile at him and suggest that some cartoon figure is drawing better numbers than he is. The same is true for some 5-star international news correspondent....who finds out that she's got half the numbers of the Cartoon Channel at the time of day that she runs her show.

It's bad when your best competition is a cartoon....and you can't overwhelm them.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Space and Onto the Final Frontier

Over the past two decades...my newly adopted county...Arlington county of Virginia....got to realize it had tons of cash and lots of people to tax...so they grew spending habits at a significant rate.

Now with recession at the front door....a number of issues are popping up. They've decided that the Arlington planetarium...has to now be targeted in school budget talks. It is an absolute horror....to a bunch of folks around here.

This 40-year old panetarium is actually owned by the county...and has steady cost more money from the school budget. Last year, some folks were chatting about a $500k check for modernizing the facility and upgrading it. That money is non-existent now.

So what's left is the $250k in staff and operations budget. Something on that is going to have to be whacked. Since you can't cut heat or electricity much...I'm guessing that one employee is going to go...but that was the one topic from the local paper today that never was mentioned.

Across the state of Bama today....from the sixty-seven counties...there's not a single one with a planetarium. You can find a couple of colleges with one....but not at the high school level.

So this brings me to ponder this question...am I better off in Arlington or better off in Bama?

It's a difficult question.

First...out of the 4600 high school students there...I'm guessing at best...maybe thirty of them are getting something out of a planetarium in their home county. From the middle school? Probably less than fifty.

Second, so $250k a year goes out to help around eighty kids who might have an interest.

Third....it's true that I knew barely anything of the solar system other than the names of the planets when I graduated from a high school in 1977. Is it important that 99 kids of a hundred are properly introduced and given 300 bits of knowledge from a planetarium "knowledge base"? I have doubts. In the end....a vast number of kids are putting this data on the 'forget' list and aiming to repopulate that area with knowledge over Lady Gaga or the Boston Celtics game tonight.

Fourth and final....after these four thousand-plus kids are given this planetarium introduction...then what? Two might be destined for a space-related job in ten years....but the rest will end up working at Wal-Mart, a bank, the Marines, or ComCast Cable. Was anything of a lasting effect gained?

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Process-Orientation Republic

There is a new discussion underway today...about a new method of passing the health care package. It's a funny worded game...where you don't have to vote for something bad but you can vote for something good (that's the way that the CNN guy explained it to me).

So this would help fix up these poor Democratic guys who just can't vote for the bad bill...but they could vote for a good bill...well, maybe.

I sat and pondered over this...as a guy from Bama can only do.

I had this vision.

Typically...you need 50 percent plus one vote...to end the discussion and make something a law. It suddenly came to me...a method of sorts where 49 percent plus one vote would be enough to pass something. I would naturally write up this change in a 2,800 page document...and hide it on page 1,842 (in case, you were looking for it...and I'd always refer to it as the "1842 vote").

Course, as things go....after a year or two...I'd have to put it up via evolution...and fix it to pass a bill with 45 percent and one vote. Naturally, I'd hide this in another 2,800 page document.

As times go by....I'd have to eventually help some political folks again....by fixing up another bill to pass all bills with only 35 percent and one vote. You kinda know how I would pass it.

You of course, can guess my end point....one percent and one vote....would allow a bill to pass via congress. It would be "process-orientated". Key words....you know.

Here's the neat thing about one percent and one vote. We'd only need four guys actually sitting in Washington...and everyone else could actually be kept back in their home state. We could actually run the US government...with four representatives and two senators. Forget about democracy....we'll going for process-orientation. It's a fine way...and even Thomas Jefferson would have been amazed at the simpleness of it.

((Yes, I realize that Jefferson would have chased me around the Potomac with a baseball bat)).

Sports Legends from My County

My local town newspaper....which shall go unnamed on both counts (the paper, and the town)....had a article written up on the county sports hall of fame.

We had ten folks from the county....from the past one hundred years...who got wrote up and up into the county fame deal. I read through them, and there were actually two guys that I knew something about.

The first guy...who shall go unnamed....was a 4-star basketball player for my old high school back around 1945. He was impressive and probably one of the ten best basketball players of the county from all time. At the end of his high school period....he had an invitation from the University of Kentucky...a scholarship opportunity...offered to him.

As the article wrote this up...the guy made the decision not to attend, and that was the end of his basketball career.

It was a nice way to write it....but it left you puzzled...unless you knew some other pieces to the story. My old high school basketball coach and English teacher...grew up in this community at the same time. He graduated a year or two before this...went off to the war....and fought in the Pacific.

He brought up this basketball legend on two or three occasions....and the curious ending to the legend...came when he went up to visit Adolph Rupp (the coach of Kentucky at the time). The local legend in question...drove up and this face-to-face meeting did not go well. The coach wasn't fully confident, and the legend likely felt himself way beyond his grassroots.

So the local basketball legend stayed home and simply lived a normal life.

The second story was a legend that was stretched a bit. Across from my local area...about five miles over...was another town. Here was another basketball legend. His big deal....which always got passed around for decades...is that he would practice after school...and then have to walk home if he couldn't find a ride.

This walk? The legend always claimed it was twelve to fourteen miles. It even got written into the paper this way. If it had been twelve miles....he would have attended another school entirely.

You have to grasp the geography of the county. There are around seven schools displaced throughout the county...with four on one side, and three on the other. None are more than six miles from another. The most this guy would have ever walked....is maybe six miles...and that's pushing it.

We need legends...to mark the passage of time. It's just that sometimes...we have to stretch stories a bit...to make them unbelievable.

The Problem Man

If you had a problem....any problem....can you think of any reason why the best guys to fix your problem would be a Representative from Congress or a Senator?

I sat and pondered this today....with words from a major newspaper announcing that Senator Chris Dodd is writing up a bill to save our banking system.

It's a funny thing....here was Chris Dodd for the past four years as the chief of the Senate banking committee...watching the slipping and sliding of the bank system through all of last year. And now....he's the guy to fix the problems?

Something about this...doesn't make much sense.

The complexity of Dodd's bill? I sat and tried to analyze it via 100-line newspaper article. After a minute...I put it down. You start to get the impression that some special lobbyist guy wrote the thing for Dodd....either to help banks or to kill the banks. It's hard to decide which. In the end....I suspect that since Dodd sat and watched the boat sink last year....he's probably not capable of fixing any real banking problem, and this is a joke.

The Way It Goes

Usually....folks play by some rules....and life goes on.

Then you have some cases...where rules got tossed, and you get screwed.

So, there was this AF NCO....Jene Newsome....who quietly played out her situation as a lesbian....and eventually quietly married her partner. The partner ended up in trouble...and the cops came to serve papers and possibly arrest the partner. This all played out at Ellsworth AFB, North Dakota....a base outside of Rapid City.

The city cops decide to search the house....come upon a marriage license between the partner and Jene....and then make the decision to turn it over to the base.

The base took the document...processed Jene via the gay rules...and discharged her back in January.

There's alot you can ask about this. Why did the cops turn the seized document over to the base? Is it standard procedure to take evidence seized and just hand it to the Air Force? What written rules by the city of Rapid City exist over private documents taken and who might eventually get control of the documents?

I wrote out a blog about three months ago over this trend of third parties who get into the "don't ask & don't tell" policy. It's one of the weakest part of the policy. You have jealous lovers, jealous friends, or wannabe cops who determine their rules as they slide by each day.

In this case...I'd like to see some kind of "justice"...but I doubt that this is possible. The problem is that we all try to play by the rules...in our own way. Sometimes....it's just not enough.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Jihad Jane and Continued Saga

If you noticed in the past two days....another American gal came up to be named as Jihad Jane number two. She was found in Ireland.....awaiting a mission to kill the Swedish cartoonist as well.

Personally, I've come to a point where I'd like to meet this Swedish cartoonist....but that's another blog by itself.

As for Jihad Jane number two? The gal that CNN analysts will spend hour after hour gazing over. The gal that various think-tank experts will give their peppy words over? Well.....she's given this magic cover of being "educated" now.....in nurse's school....which makes all the Homeland Security guys "scared".

Please take note.....she's bi-polar.

Yes, bi-polar.

So any wisdom or peppy words that you want to utter....have to be given a moment of thinking before you go much further.

Let's consider what the Muslim guys have recruited so far.....one gal who quit school at 16 and married some 31-year old guy....and was barely able to manage her life....let along the idea of getting a passport and traveling to some strange and exotic country. The other gal is a bi-polar nurse candidate....who might have been short on meds when she got convinced the jihad life was simple and pure.

Think about the two recruits here.

If this is the best you can do.....recruit a woman with a marginal thinking ability and another woman who is bi-polar.....maybe your organization has some fundamental issues?

And this is getting hour after hour of coverage on CNN and Fox News? Something is wrong here....but you can guess what it is. But here's what I'm starting to think. If this is the best strategy that that Muslims have.....are the rest of the regular recruits the same way? Half-wits and bi-polar guys?

Not that I'm suggesting a weakness in the way this jihad game is played.....but if you recruit these kind of folks....what does this say about your organization?

I kinda rest my case.

Welcome to the Party

First, came the Tea Party. It was really a bunch of guys who were on the conservative side...and a bit hostile and angry over both Republicans and Democrats. There are tens of thousands of hard core members today....and probably another three or four million Americans who at least listen to the comments and have some belief in what the Tea Party believes.

This week....came the announcement of the Coffee Party. This is mostly middle-of-road Democrats who are a bit upset (not hostile) with where the Democrats stand today and where they might be in November. MSNBC and CNN have both tried to give a pump-up to the Coffee Party and they hint of tens of thousands. My best guess is that they probably have around twenty thousand folks across the country who are active currently and trying to recruit.

What I found mostly amusing was the lack of topics that the CNN guy could get out of one Coffee Party interview member....and they simply talked about growth, but no substance.

So I sat and pondered.

If both the Coffee Party and Tea Party can exist.....why not more?

So here are my list of suggested parties:

- The Mountain Dew Party. Mostly peppy 18-22 year old folks in the high point of life while attending community college or some university. They'd like cheaper education, more state parks, open-beer can driving, and no sales tax on anything.

- The Pabst Blue Ribbon Party. Mostly guys from Bama, who just want wet counties across the heartland of Bama. They meet at state parks....talk about bass fishing mostly....and always tell their wife that they are with the union or church guys when attending.

- The 420 Party. Mostly folks who just want mary-j-u-wanna legal....anywhere...anytime. It's safe to say what happens when five of these folks meet for a party meeting. We don't want to say anymore.

- The Methodist Party. To be honest, you gotta be a Methodist to be into this political party. The church will dictate the agenda.....you just bring cake, pie and coffee to the party meeting.

- The Beef Party. Primary....they are pro-beef and anti-vegetarian in nature. They meet mostly at bar-b-q functions.....discuss a good sauce for ribs or steak.....and talk down on the vegetarian agenda.

- The NCAA Party. This group is primarily made up of men....ages 18 to 65....who want a open play-off system for NCAA football. Strangely enough....there are very few folks from Alabama, Texas, Florida or Nebraska within this group. But there are lots of folks from Utah, Idaho, and Oregon.

- The Birth Certificate Party. A small radical group who simply wants everyone to produce their birth certificate for every single job or elected post they run for.

- The Swingers Party. Well.....we could explain their political agenda....but it'd cause confusion and chaos for you Baptist members.

- The Springbreak Party. These are all college students who want absolute rebellion allowed for seven days in April and May. They'd also like for beer to be tax-free during this period, and all police to be on forced leave during this period.

- The Pro-CNN Party. These are mostly CNN enthusiasts who want Fox News hosts and analysts forced to carry unfair and unbalanced news casts.....like everyone else. Only then....will everything be fair and balanced....you know.

- The Larry King Party. Five folks from West Palm Beach who think that life would be simpler if all news hosts just asked simple and dumb questions of guests.

- The Tube Top Party. The "TT" Party primarily works an agenda beneficial and supportive of southern women with style, grace, and boobs. They'd like for CNN to encourage more tube tops amongst its hosts, and they'd like for female congressional women to show more in their attire. Men support the "TT" Party, but also feel it might go into a spiral sooner or later.

- Finally....the "Bring-Them-Home" Party. They just want to make every senator and congressman spend 245 days a year in their home district. This would naturally limit the boys to 120 days of productive work a year.....and force them to leave the capital and come back to the state for vast extended periods. At some point.....these members would actually be able to remember the state capital and carry on a conversation that keyed in onto the top twenty topics of their state or district. Sadly, CNN, Fox, and MSNBC really dislike this party....and won't ever mention their agenda in public....for obvious reason.

So there.....we just might be in a season of discontent and turmoil. We might be finally at the end of the tunnel....where anger forces unthinkable changes. Or, we might be back at step one....where we can't be sure of nothing. It's hard to say.