Friday, 18 February 2011

The Ripple Effect

Quietly today....it was hinted that several states are now admitting their economic situation is such....that they may not run a primary vote in 2012.  It's a hint....nothing more.  The thought will provoke a number of folks to start thinking about implications and how money should be spent in the soon-to-come primary season.

Let's imagine that six states say no primary vote is possible and then swing to a caucus system like Iowa.  You meet on a Saturday....discuss things for three hours and then in your group....you vote.  Some guy at the state level takes up a tally from each county and then announces the vote.  In this case....you might not spend as much on TV ads and concentrate on key people in the community to sell your message.

For the Democrats....this sudden change wouldn't matter much...except for the senate and house situations.  For the Republicans....it'd create a massive shift in selling your candidate to certain states.  A guy like Huck might suddenly pick up more votes and shock the media because states were too broke to run a normal primary.

When the Bad Guys are Good Guys

I rarely write on Germany these days....it has to be a significant story to tell if I blog it.

In the last week....a couple of punks in Berlin got into one of the subway stations and started an assault. Their first guy....they beat pretty bad and he's in a coma right now.  Hard to say if he makes it or not.  The second guy they were going after....came up to a stranger in the subway station.

Typically, being a stranger in a subway station doesn't mean much.  And if you were the stranger watching these punks chase after the second guy....you might have backed off in terms of helping the second guy.

But this stranger didn't back off.  He didn't need to.  You see....he was a member of the Berlin Bandidos motorcycle gang.   He didn't move an inch.  There were others around him....witnesses as the newspapers describe these guys....who just stood by and were not going to do anything.

The Bandios guy?  He apparently parted his jacket enough to show the punks that he carried a weapon, and that by itself was enough to stop the brutal situation going on.

The cops now?  Well...this Bandios guy just walked off after the situation ended.  The cops would like to speak to him but so far....they haven't found him.  I'm guessing the weapon hinted by other witnesses will be a problem for the Bandios guy to talk much about.

In recent years, these youth attacks in major cities have been almost a monthly thing.  They pick a guy at random and just lay into him.  The Bandios guy was the only guy within a mile of this assault who was prepared to take down each punk as necessary.  The German cops may not like that suggestion....but it's way that things work in Germany, sadly.  And it just shows.....a bad guy might be your best friend....when its necessary.

A Parody for Madison

Live from our correspondent....Hammad Husan, in Cairo-Madison.

Hammad Husan: Hamza, it's tough out here.  The people have spoken and are attempting to take down this Hosni-Scott Walker governor-for-life individual.  Even though he has only been governor-for-life for about forty-five days....it feels like a century here in Cairo-Madison.

Hamza, I've been out all day with the true people of life here and gotten to know them well.  We had waffles early this morning.  By nine, we had slipped away from the protest and ate sprinkled donuts at Dorthy's donut shop on 3rd street.  Later at noon, we slipped away again and had some delicious chicken over at the Hooters on East Springs Drive.  Around two in the afternoon, we were offered a six-pack each from a union representative to help with our thirst.  And we ended the day with six shots of Jacky D's.  It was a fabulous day.

Hamza, we talked all day long to various protesters who are school teachers.  Every time I introduced myself....they asked where Egypt was and I happily provided a map to show Egypt.  Each remembered something on TV in the past week but forgot that we brought down the mighty Murbarak government.

Hamza, we expected more a big fight today, but luckily, the kind folks of Illinois offered sanctuary to the Wisconsin Democratic state senators in the form of a water-park resort.  Today, they are safe and enjoying the hospitality of Illinois and flying down water-slides.

Hamza, in closing....we, the people of Egypt must stand strong with our brothers in Cairo-Madison and help bring down the dictatorship of Scott Walker.  Only by standing against democratically elected representatives....can the teachers of Wisconsin win in the end.

The Discussion over Maturity

Some smart folks did a study off in Europe.....and they found that young folks in Spain now take six more years.....to reach adulthood or maturity....compared to their associates from twenty years prior.

I sat and pondered over this.  Obviously, some pretty intelligent folks conducted this and it makes me wonder what they used as maturity measurements.  To be a gifted engineer or scientist....you have to have a yard stick.  This is the one common theme of these fancy engineering schools.  Somehow....by the end....you remember this yardstick thing and use it in every study.  So what kind of yard stick exists for maturity?

Getting a job?  Buying a new car?  Drinking properly?  Owning a lawn mower?  Wearing clothing that actually fits or gives you a real look?  Eating something besides pizza?

Then I started to ponder....this study was aimed at folks in Spain.  What is the measurement of maturity for young folks in the US?  I know folks that I work with....at age thirty....who have yet to reach maturity.  In fact, for some....I don't think they will reach what I consider maturity until they are way past forty-five.

I'm guessing this will end up in a discussion with some University of Iowa folks eventually, and they will come to realize that there is a state-by-state maturity level.  Some kid in Iowa at 20 is five years more mature than some kid in California.  And at that point...the feds will realize that we need to equalize maturity around America in some fashion.....with a federal program (soon to be called the "Bring Maturity to America" Law).  For some odd reason....the logic will be that only money can bring maturity....along with the federal government.  We will all shake our heads....and wish we lived in a third-world country where you were fully mature by age sixteen.

Cairo to Madison

I've been watching events unfold in Wisconsin over the past four days.  Quiet amazing.  Kinda like Cairo in a way....reminds you of a third-world area.  Radical Islamists.......oh.....no.....radical teacher union supporters have converged as of yesterday onto the streets of Madison.

You get the impression that CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, and ABC have moved their Cairo crews over to Madison and are trying to interview people on the streets.  In one case....I thought the national media guy was actually wearing the same Middle Eastern garb while interviewing some teacher on the street.

The whole cause?  Well....not to brag like California, but Wisconsin is fairly near bankruptcy if current trends continue.  A couple of idiots from the Republican Party got wise on employee cost and benefits that have been handed out for years and years.  It adds up.  State employees barely pay anything on their health care package (a fairly decent deal compared to most states) and they pay nothing into their pension deal.  The state governor wants to dump the state rule on unions because he just can't continue this trend.

The response from the union folks?  Keep things like they are and just tax the rich more....especially industry.  To be honest, there really isn't much industry around Wisconsin.....compared to most states.  Industry and major companies in the state are monitoring this because higher taxes on them means they have to edge up their costs and frankly, in a declining financial period like we are.....it's a bad idea to trim on profits.  You generally end up losing customers to the competition.

Adding to this mess....the teachers ended up on Wednesday coming over to the state capital.....and in a few rare cases....bringing their students with them.  I'm not if Junior ok'ed this with dad or if he just thought he might score in Madison better with the babes they have there.  The teachers thought this would teach the kids something.  Most folks are kinda laughing over this report because they were paying teachers to teach.

Then we come to yesterday's chief event.  The state senate was going to take up this topic and finally vote on taking down union standings on contracts. But Wisconsin has this funny rule.  You have to have one member of the opposition party there.....to vote on anything, or you cancel the day's business.  So they had nineteen Republicans lined up but all of the fourteen Democratic senators from the state were missing.

Folks got worried at some point.  Where would fourteen Democrats be?  By the rules...if they are in the state....they are supposed to be at work.

So folks started looking for the fourteen.  No, they weren't in Michigan.  Nope, they weren't in Canada.  Nope, they weren't in North Dakota or South Dakota.  Then finally, they turned to the Best Western Clock Tower Resort in Rockford, Ill.  Yep...it appears that the Democratic senators from Wisconsin are lounging at the Clock Tower Resort.

I looked up the Clock Tower Resort.  Pretty nifty place.  It has Illinois's largest indoor water park.  They offer daily specials as part of the room deal....so you can put on the bathing trunks and slide all afternoon long on the water slide in the park.

Now the curious thing is if you check Trip Advisor.....the majority of comments fall into the "terrible" category.  For me personally....that's a pretty big signal to avoid this place.  I looked over these....bad housekeeping, negative feelings about renovation underway while staying, and then someone wrote "hotel towels were worse than hospital towels" (that's a stinker if you ask me).

So you have to feel sorry for this group of Winconsin state senators (Democrats of course).  They really didn't do any research on this and I'm guessing one of them remembers coming there a decade ago when the resort was in better shape.  They are likely sitting there at the bar in the resort....drinking Coffee Frappe, Watermelon Juleps, and Lemon Drop Martinis.  You can imagine this crew....talking Wisconsin state politics at the bar, and the locals of Illinois are all standing nearby and wondering if there's a convention at the resort with other important state legislature dudes or gals in attendance.

The sad thing here?  The local media out of Wisconsin actually figured out where the guys were....in less than eight hours.  That says alot.....that you could escape the state, and Channel four out of Madison could still track you down eventually.

The governor is mostly upset with the fourteen folks.....mostly because legislature is in session, and lounging at the Watch Tower resort just isn't cool.

At this point, comparing things to Egypt....I'd say the best plan ahead is to let the Wisconsin state National Guard folks take control of the government for six months and to allow free and independent elections.  The state politicians would be allowed to flee the state...preferably to Illinois.  And we could all hope that the state National Guard tanks could be kept in the Madison depot.....avoiding any show at all....mostly because half are broke and would have to be dragged around by tow trucks and the rest would require Sargent Duffy at the controls but he's still recovering from the Green Bay Super Bowl victory a few weeks ago.

The end where the fat lady sings?  Well....in this case.....just as Egypt quietens down.....we get something else to keep us peppy and avoid going back to real political chatter on CNN and Fox News.  That's a positive in my book.