Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Iran and World of Warcraft

Somewhere in the midst of arguing with Iran.....the US sent out a message to the World of Warcraft folks.  Basically, it's an American game of sorts, and they told the CEO that they had to deny Iranians the right to play World of Warcraft.

You can imagine the State Department sitting around, and talking up all the punishments possible to dump on Iran.....and World of Warcraft comes up.

So we are denying the Iranians a chance to ride their magical ponies, or to buy digital swords, or to fight digital warriors from Austin, Texas, or to sit by digital pools of water with friends from upstate Michigan, or to shoot unicorns.

It's come down to this.....and our best way of handling Iran.....is to deny them World of Warcraft?  Something is wrong.....if you ask me.

Friday, 24 August 2012

The 30-Rock Comedy

If you have watched NBC over the last year.....you know that there is this Thursday night show called "30-Rock", which is supposed to be a peppy news segment and high-class news stuff that they couldn't put on at the 6PM thirty-minute segment.

Well....tonight....they are giving an entire hour of news coverage on the Mormons.  They figure that most Americans don't know much about Mormons....so they ought to tell the story.  They wanted to interview candidate Romney for the segment over his personal feelings for the Mormon Church....but Mitt turned them down.

To make sense out of this.....the news person....Miss Kate Snow....will come around and do this interview business with a Mormon gay, a Mormon lady who is described as a radical pro-woman agenda type, a Mormon mixed couple (that means interacial or black guy with a white gal situation), and a cast member of the Broadway musical show "The Book of Mormon", who happens to be a Mormon.

Are they interviewing any NCAA Mormon football coaches?  No.  Are they interviewing any Latino Mormons?  Apparently not.  Are they interviewing any Florida Mormon gator-wrestlers?  No.  Are they interviewing any Mormon farmers? Apparently not.  Are they interviewing any midget Mormons? No.  Are they interviewing any Mormon Mafia members?  No.  Are they going to interview any any radical left-wing fanatical Mormon anarchists?  No.  Will they interview any Mormon college cheerleaders?  Probably not.

Hmmmm.

A word of advice for NBC and 30-Rock newsy folks.....ever wondered why your numbers decline?  Ever wondered why folks don't take your journalism serious?  Ever sat around and thought about the dismal rating of your news episodes?  There must be a reason, but for the life of me.....I just can't guess it.

So, if you have some time tonight....whatever is on the History Channel or Animal Planet.....around the time of the 30-Rock show.....I'd probably watch Animal Planet or the History Channel.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

My Neighborhood

There's a nifty thing about living in the DC area....the Metro tends to shut down at midnight from Sunday to Thursday, and for Friday & Saturday....it's shut down at 3AM.

Well...the Washington Nationals (our baseball team which was formerly the Montreal Expos)....are in the position of perhaps go to the championship round.  There's around thirty games left in the season.....but folks here in the local area are getting excited.  They are also beginning to realize the implications.

The TV crowd kinda runs the game times once you get into the championships.  So they can dictate the game start locally at 9PM.  Normally, around two and half hours later.....it ends, and folks would get on the Metro and go home...just in time.

What if the game runs late?  Extra innings?  Maybe a rain-storm?  Come midnight....Metro would be shut down....unless somebody pays the Metro folks around $50k to run their operation on a later schedule (overtime and such).  The owner of the Nationals realizes the implications and has come back to the city now with some requests.

First, he's worried about this Metro deal and the problems with a game going past midnight.  So he wants the city of DC to pay the $50k....not him.  The city?  They have kept quiet on this.  They know there's millions that the city might take in with folks traveling in to watch the game.  But swearing to cough up potentially $100k for two night of extra train costs.....it's not that easy.

Second, the team wants more security.  The city would have to pay overtime for that.

Third, the team wants more emphasis on scalpers, so figure two dozen undercover guys running around. More overtime for that.

For the first time in seventy years....there might be baseball championship games in DC.  The sad truth is that it might turn into a huge mess.  You just can't tell.

Speeches and Such

So this is what we know. Some kid in Oklahoma did well in high school and earned the right as school valedictorian. She makes up a speech….which has this theme of a bunch of folks asking what she wants to do after school, and the answer is “how the hell do I know, I’ve changed my mind so many times”. Well….the school principal was upset with the word ‘hell’, so he told her to change it….to heck. He gave her the new speech, with ‘heck’ included…..and she gave the ‘hell’ speech instead. The principal got all upset about this and denied her the diploma at the conclusion of the event. Words spoken so far by the school indicate that she can come by and apologize to the school, and get her diploma. 

The 18-year old girl has responded…..nicely….that she just won’t do that.

I would said to the school….’the hell you say’, but it would have taken the event to an unnecessary level. Her dad is kinda proud of her and doesn’t see much to get excited about. She will go off in the fall to Southwestern Oklahoma State University…..to study up to be a marine biologist, without the diploma.

There are various ways to ponder upon this. Valedictorian speeches are usually worthless. I know that bend some folks out of shape, but it’s usually four minutes that don’t mean an awful lot. The use of ‘hell’? Well….in 1977….you just didn’t utter the word unless you were in church and in some discussion over where Uncle Micky was going upon his demise. It has some effect upon a speech if you use it, but a guy who utters it forty times a day…..loses most of the positive effect. The potential for a descriptive location? Well….after you’ve been to Birmingham a dozen times…..there’s not much else you can say.

My guess is that the next valedictorian at this school probably will just talk about unicorns, wheat, and cows….playing it mostly safe with words. I would imagine there is a list of seven hundred topics which are forbidden and the list is safely kept from public view or discussion. The sad thing here is that this kid could have graduated on Monday….gone off to Marine boot-camp on Tuesday….and heard the word ‘hell’ at least three hundred times by Friday night.

My final observation is that if you ever intend to travel through Oklahoma…..put a sticker up on the dash to remind yourself to keep your words and thoughts pure and clean. Those folks are the type that actually might pray for you if they know you were out-of-state. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

TV: Go On

From NBC....the new season has officially started.  I sat and watched Go On tonight.  I don't normally chat much on TV shows....because the vast majority are losers (remember The River?).  Go On is a tidy comedy that really isn't a pure comedy....it offers a bit of a dramatic curve about every five minutes.

I will admit that the other characters on the show do make it rise above what you'd expect, and there are an abundance of them.  So Mathew Perry isn't really carrying the show to a huge degree.

My advice?  If you have half-an-hour....sit and watch the show.  It ought to make it five years, but these days....it's hard to tell.  It is worth watching.

My Neighborhood

This actually happened up the street from my place....about six blocks away, here in Arlington, VA.  Around 3AM the other night....one guy walks into a 7-11, and intends to rob the place.  We don't have many robberies around Arlington....especially like this.  There's maybe one every three or four weeks for the whole country area.

About a minute into this robbery....a second guy (an associate of guy number one) enters the 7-11 with a fire cracker (maybe a Roman Candle-type situation), with a lit item.  My guess is that guy number one was supposed to have the money in his hands by this point and then guy number two would light the fire cracker in the store, and quickly exit.

Well....as the idiot entered with the firecracker and a lit item.....the firecracker is lit up and actually blows up in the hand of guy number two.

At this point, all hell has broke loose, and both guys get pretty peppy, and exit the store without any loot.   Cops have not found them, but I'm guessing the second guy has some injuries to his hand and it ain't pretty.

With my vast experience of fireworks in Bama....I'd offer up this advice.  It's best not to hold any firecracker and attempt to light it with the second hand.  Nothing good of this can come.

Our Sea of Galilee Guy

This is a story that you have to put some prospective into it before it becomes clear.  Some weeks ago...this Republican Representative from Kansas....Kevin Yoder....went off on a trip with other Republicans to the Promised Land.  Note, that's to mean Israel.  Somewhere in the midst of this trip....the "boys" end up around the Sea of Galilee, and likely had some beverages.  One thing led to another.  A bunch of guys jumped into the Sea of Galilee.  Kevin jumped in, without any clothing....in basic form of skinny dipping.

Word got out.  Some media folks noted the trip and this terrible skinny dippyness into the Sea of Galilee.  The House asked for an investigation....to get to some facts.  Everything is kinda confirmed....to include the fact that not one single federal dollar financed the trip.  It was all privately financed (note, there is a great shock to Rep Pelosi because it just isn't right that Representatives conduct private trips without any tax-payer efforts.  Congressman Yoder came back after all this mess and said he was sorry.

So I reviewed this mess, and pondered.

Around two thousand years ago....some guys named Mathew, Mark, and Luke had some rather hot days out on the coast of the Sea of Galilee, and likely jumped off in the water in the form of skinny dipping.  I'm pretty sure no one said much.  Days were hot and a guy needed some relief.  Heck, that Jesus kid in his youth....probably jumped off in the Sea of Galilee as well.

Should we be worried about this behavior?  Well....skinny dipping is conducted in all fifty states.  I might agree that no one skinny dips in the Disrict of Columbia....not unless you do the Potomac thing at 5AM on a Sunday when nobody is much around.  But in the other states, there's probably 300k Americans who skinny dip at least once a year.

Maybe there should be laws against it, but traditionally....no one cares.

So this Yoder kid isn't a corrupted individual in my book.  In fact, most folks from Kansas will think about this a while and come to agree that they all know forty or fifty folks who have skinny dipped in their life. The only difference here is that they all did it in Kansas.  Kevin Yoder did it in the Sea of Galilee. That's a status symbol to a degree, but it just ain't worth getting worried about.   In fact, if I was worried about something....it'd be jobs in America, and I'd just let this skinny dipping business just pass.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Something to Ponder Upon

Between 1936 and 2012, something happened.  And you sit and ponder.

In 1936, if you were unemployed....you were willing to board the rooftop of a freight train or hop a ride on a truck through three states, to find a job of any type.

In 1936, if you were a guy looking for a better position in life, you were willing to  pack up a knapsack with a tarp, a blanket, an extra pair of socks, a spoon and fork, and maybe a change of pants and shirt.  That was enough to travel and survive for an entire year.

In 1936, if someone asked you if you knew any carpentry skills....you said yes.  If they asked if you could flip burgers.....you said yes.  If they asked if you had laid concrete or asphalt before....you said yes.  If they asked if you'd loaded a boat before....you said yes.  If they asked if you knew bricklaying....you said yes.  The honest truth?  You didn't know nothing.  But it didn't matter.

In 1936, if a guy offered you a job to load four trucks with sixty pound bags of corn, by yourself....you said fine, and spent the whole day loading those four trucks by yourself.

In 1936, when evening came.....if you were lucky....your boss had a beef stew made up with mostly potatoes instead of beef, then offered up six pieces of bread and a piece of peach pie.  You sipped off a cup of water, with no ice.  For a brief while, you were in hog heaven.

In 1936, your only news source on the road was likely a day-old or week-old newspaper that you picked up from another guy on the road.  You might have been around at a bus station or a train station....and got a half hour of some radio show, but that was the only other news source of the day.

In 1936, Mel Ott, Joe DiMaggio, and 'Ducky' Medwick were absolute legends, without a drop of steroids in themselves.  A guy on the road would follow the games in and out, and by October were in joy over finding a radio where they could listen to the Yanks beating the Giants. (Note: "Ducky" was a St Louis Cardinal through the depression era, and later moved on to other teams.  When "Ducky" got picked up to run through Italy toward the end of WW II for USO shows....someone arranged for him to show up in Rome and he met up with the Pope.  "Ducky" was a guy who'd occasionally say something worth remembering....was asked by the Pope what he did in life.  "Ducky" professed that he too....had once been a Cardinal....like the Pope.  I doubt if the Pope got the joke, but it was probably one of those things that a guy from 1936 would make up as a joke).  

In 1936, if you made any real money on the road....you'd wire the money back to your wife or send it in an envelop.  If you did have an extra quarter left....you might have gone over to watch a movie.

In 1936, you lived out under the trees, accepted 40-degree weather as good sleeping weather, and quietly cursed the rain as it dripped down through your tarp.

In 1936, you pretty much accepted the fact that tomorrow had to be a better day.  In the end....by December of 1942, you could give up the life on the road.....to travel to strange and exotic locations in the Pacific and Europe, in the interest of saving somebody....somewhere.  So you slept out in the trenches in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944.  You landed on the sandy beaches on Iowa Jima.  You didn't ask questions when someone asked you land on the beaches of Normandy on the morning of the sixth of June.

Something happened between 1936 and 2012.  You just don't know what.  

The Odd Scenario

The morning after the election in November....there's this odd scenario which could play itself out.  If (it's a big IF)....the Republicans win the House majority, plus fifty or more Senate seats, and Mitt Romney is the winner.....then within seven days, I will predict that two members of the Supreme Court (Breyer and Ginsburg) will offer up their retirement papers.  This would be done in an effort to ensure the "right" picks for the court with the current Democratic Senator and President Obama.

There's a problem with this scenario....because the budget crisis and Sequestration are topic number one in the six weeks after the election.  There's really not any time to spend on approving the next two justices, if this were to fall into play.

My humble guess is that someone is sitting there at the White House and working on a list of twenty-five acceptable picks.  That's the one and only job for this individual.  There's probably a dinner or two arranged over the next sixty days where the President can sit down and talk to the top five candidates and get some feeling over their decision-making process.

The speed and success to make this happen in six weeks....for two justice positions?  I would imagine one of the picks will have some background issues that no one dug into or knew about.  It'll be a major problem to explain, and you can figure that pick gets tossed at the last minute.  Whether they can approve both in this remaining session....is simply a guess.

So settle back and wait for this massive amount of work for your Congressman or Senator.  Those poor guys might actually have to work all the way up to the 24th of December.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Just Observations

First, not that it makes much sense, but the White House came out and offered up $470 million for road and bridge repairs. Now, to be honest…..it’s leftover money from highway funds that states just didn’t take advantage of or such. The comical side of this is that it’s only $470 million. You can figure just twelve bridge projects and forty street projects of a small nature….will soak up the $470 million. It’s like offering some kids $2 for a bucket of candy, and they come back with six small pieces in their hand.  The $470 million sounds like a lot but if you figure bridge projects or two-mile road projects....it's gone in sixty seconds.

Second, there’s a weather service which has come out in the DC area and predicted a repeat of Snowmogeddon in the upcoming winter months. This is the local term for the blizzard of 2010 that occurred in the DC region. Within a period of three weeks, there was approximately four feet of snow to fall….and for roughly ten days….nothing in the DC area really moved or operated. The trigger for the alert? Well….they say the warmer-than-usual weather is a big indicator. There are guys probably in the planning stages of sneaking off to Atlantic City and just hiding out for seven days during the blizzard because of the number of people that will be ordered to stay home in the DC area (yet still get paid).

Third and final, the administration is trying awful hard to say that VP Joe Biden will be the next VP.  Time is going down the tubes to replace him....almost two weeks.  My humble opinion since summer of last year is that VP Joe would be let go and Hillary would resign as Secretary of State to run as VP.  In the past month, that "dream-ticket" appears to be lost in the twilight zone.  It'd help the President's race, but there's a number of folks who likely are turned off by the election and probably not feeling great about running.

Just Observations

First, it's a curious thing....the Israeli government came out and suggested that during this period of crisis with the Iranians...this ought to be a great time for President Obama to visit Israel. It might make some sense, but it's a curious thing....because in four years and various countries visited....President Obama has never been to Israel.  You'd almost think he had a personal reason not to visit, but it'd be best not to suggest that.  The odds of this happening before the election?  Zero.  The odds after the election?  I'd probably put this at ten percent.

Second, there's a odd report of a Russian submarine that ran a patrol around the Gulf of Mexico.  The Pentagon?  They mostly say nothing over the episode....never confirming or denying.  It's gotten enough press in Texas papers that some Republican Senator is now asking questions and wants a public explanation.  The odds of the event?  Fifty-fifty.  What would they do?  It's hard to say....there's almost no value to a patrol.  Six Russian KGB guys could fly into Mexico....rent a forty-foot fishing boat and gather all the intelligence you needed over four weeks, while getting a tan and enjoying some great fishing.   My humble guess is that Putin probably wanted to put a bit of 'pain' into President Obama before the election coming up.  It's hard to stand up in front of a bunch of Texans and explain why the Russians are off your coast and what you intend to do about it.  Oh, and if you noticed....the national press has said almost nothing....so you'd have to read Texas papers to discover this story.

Third, this Medicare discussion by Romney/Ryan?  Out of twenty subjects you could pick, which the President wouldn't expect....this is it.  If Ryan can come out with a simplistic discussion which senior citizens (especially in Florida) can understand....he steals votes from the heart of Obama's base.  The President now has to craft a very simplistic comeback to this whole comeback that makes sense.  Just a good speech now....won't work.  You can figure there are two million votes in the position of falling back over to Romney from this episode if it works....from nation-wide voting strictly over Medicare.

Fourth, you may have heard....Jay Leno's staff was cut down over the last day or two....twenty folks let go.  Jay even took a fair-sized pay cut to keep another twenty guys on the team.  The truth here?  Folks aren't watching Jay Leno as much as they did ten years ago.  NBC might have thought about this before bringing Jay back....but they probably weren't listening to logic.  My humble guess is that Jay Leno will stay around until spring of next year while they hunt down the next replacement for him.

Fifth, the Julian Assange episode in the UK continues.  Ecuador is patiently waiting this out and thinks that logic will eventually work in the end.  This asylum deal?  Usually, you demand asylum over trumped up charges or the potential for death if you are forced to return to your country.  In this case....Assange is fixed to stand trial in Sweden for some sexual charges against two Swedish women.  The worst that can come out of this case is two years (my humble belief) in a Swedish prison.....which is like a Motel-Six operation and not really a prison in the sense of the word.  So it's difficult for me to envision asylum. As for the next step?  I think the Swedes out to show up outside of the Ecuador embassy in London and offer Assange an asylum deal as well.....if he just comes over and does the court case....does the jail time....they'd offer up a chance for him to stay for the rest of his life in Sweden.  This would be the dream of ninety-nine percent of all guys, but I'm guessing that Julian will turn this deal down.  It'd make for great comic relief though.

Sixth, and final.....this happened across the river from me....in Montgomery County, Maryland.  A guy gets into a cab...arrive at a destination, and the passenger demands to rob the cab.  The cab driver refuses, and gets whacked on the head (don't know what the idiot used).  Cab driver is holding his ground.....so the idiot passenger now pulls out some flammable liquid....trying to douse the driver, but gets most all of the liquid on himself.  Thinking that the cab driver is soaked up....the idiot robber now lights a lighter, and the interior of the vehicle....and the robber....are now lit up.  The cab driver simply scoots out of the vehicle and watches the car go up in flames.  Course, the cops and fire department arrive within five minutes, but it's too late now.  The robber?  Dead.  It appears like that they may have some issues in ever identifying the body as well.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Economics of Mom and Pop

This is how things worked in the 1950s and 1960s. Mom and Pop opened up a store, and did well. They ran a profitable operation and employed a couple of folks. They paid local property taxes and local income taxes. The profit they made? They plowed into the local region. They bought a cabin up in the mountains. They bought a boat. They bought a second car, and a third car. They opened a second store. They bought a couple of houses and rented them out. They branched out and had various pieces and parts of their income which were taxed locally and by the state. The authorities made their money (city, county, and state), and the local area profited by the spread of the money.

Something happened in the 1980s….as franchise operations came in….competed heavily against Mom and Pop. Mom and pop did their best, but they downsized operations which weren’t as profitable. They closed up a shop or two.

The franchise operations? Well….they paid the sales tax and the property tax. The owners might have paid on their state income tax…..if they lived in the state. If they lived in another state….that income was never taxed.

The franchise profits? Well…..they got shifted back to franchise headquarters…..in Arkansas, or such. There…..the big headquarters went to the state and ensured that property taxes were minimal, and income taxes were low….by paying state senators and state representatives to “fix” things. The national tax on the franchise? Oh, they fixed that by wining and dining US Senators and Representatives.

The expenditure of profits by the Headquarters? That went to stockholders…..not to local communities or states where the money started out.

A logical thinking guy would sit there and eventually come to this conclusion: that local money left the local area, and never fell back into local benefits, local employment, or local growth.

Since the 1980s….this has been going on at an expanding rate. Mom and pop shops have mostly disappeared except in fairly rural areas of America. Franchise operations ended up like a timber operation….clearing out the forested area and leaving a fairly limited situation for local growth. Either you work for the franchise operation….or you work for a handful of mom and pop operations left.

There is no growth pattern that you can find in most major urban areas of the US. The anchor for the franchise direction? Basically, you end up with friendly political people who ensure zoning regulations are tough, and business permits are geared toward a significant amount of work and capital to get started. Banks aren’t willing to get involved offering capital to a new mom and pop opportunity like they did in the 1970s….course, in those days…..they were getting ten and fourteen percent back on loans…thus feeling pretty good about their future.

 In the end….Mom and Pop shops are dissolving left and right. Mom and Pop operations made the first 180 years of American history pretty profitable for the local folks. Their demise makes you wonder about the next 180 years.

The Downfall of GM

GM headed toward another stimulus deal?  Is it possible?

Rumor has it that they just can't turn around and make profit.  I went over and looked at they offer.

The Cruze?  No excitement....just a cheap-looking car.

The Volt?  The electric car with a history of issues.  Figure the charger-device at $700 and another $500 minimum for a real electrician to hook this up to your garage.  Is it all worth the money?

The Sonic?  Just a upgraded Cruze, and nothing much else.

The Malibu?  Well....it's about the only car they make....which I'd give four stars to.

The Impala?  Reports indicate it's pretty decent, but still a step behind the Malibu.

The new Camero?  Well....it's mostly all fiberglass.  I hate to admit it....but it looks like a kit car.

The Corvette?  It might be worth the money, but you need $50k just to buy a basic model.  Figure you'd need $70k for the right stuff and the taxes associated with the buy.

The Cadillac brand....still all four-star, but nobody under the age of forty will touch a Cadillac. Guys over fifty?  They buy and stay with them forever, but they tend to push their vehicle up to seven years before flipping to the next Cadillac purchase.

The Tahoe and Yukon?  Great vehicles....but they tend to all start at $50k.  If you did buy one.....you'd probably try to make it last twelve years before the next purchase.

The Colorado pick-up?  Great truck for $17k but after you toss on the options....it gets up to $24.  Simple enough and probably a decent farm vehicle.  Would a urban guy buy it?  No.

The Silverado pick-up?  Really great truck but it starts at $29k mostly, and you can figure $35k for the options.  It's the truck for a urban guy....not a rural guy.

The Sierra pick-up?  It's what all urban guys dream of....for $40k on a base model.  The thing is.....a guy would buy it and hope to make it last twelve years, because he really wants to get his investment out of it.

The four Buick models?  They all run between $22k and $32k .  They actually sell themselves and have a pretty good reputation.  But GM doesn't want to say much about Buick because they should have died off four years ago.

At the end of this mess.....you basically have a problem.  Buick and Cadillac ought to be surviving....with the Corvette and the Malibu.  After that.....nothing much from GM is worth discussing.

Note: I was not paid anything from Ford to make these comments.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

The Sequestration Episode

Some smart folks, associated with the George Mason University….sat down and looked at the looming sequestration episode to occur in January and its impact on the DC area.

For those who weren’t aware….sequestration was this default fix-all, cure-all, screw-all, recession-all solution that both parties invented. The curious end to sequestration involves the District of Columbia that folks haven’t thought much of.

DC doesn’t have any real industry or business operations. The US government is what makes jobs and growth in DC…..the rest simply survives off the cash flow, from coffee shops to the BMW dealerships in the area.

Well….according to the smart guys, if sequestration goes through…the effect on DC is simple. There would be looking at a loss of 65k federal jobs in the national capital area, and another 96k contractor jobs (these are the type that pay $70k or more per year).

The numbers presented via Stephen Fuller (the director of the Center for Analysis) (compliments of WTOP)……are $50 billion regional dollars lost. So you can take an area the size of Atlanta, and discuss a $50 billion loss and 170k unemployed folks being staged all within a short period of time. Then, you start to watch folks get real nervous.

In DC…..so far, nothing much except a general feeling that it’d best not happen. If you went into Atlanta and just said that 150k folks would be laid off in the upcoming January….things would be fairly hostile. The same would be true if you went into San Francisco and just said 100k folks who make over $50k a year…..wouldn’t be working in the new year.

My “ripple” assumption? I’d be taking a guess that 100k people….unassociated with the government or contracting…..would likely be temporarily let go or just plain terminated…on top of the 170k, so it’s really closer to 270k unemployed folks in DC.

The local airport? You can figure at least fifteen fewer flights a day from Ronald Reagan International, and probably the same number from Dulles. The local subway commuter crowd? I’d be guessing they could run ten percent fewer trains and buses. The coffee shops in the region? I’d be guessing at least forty percent of them could completely shut down. You can figure that pizza delivery, restaurant sales, and pub operations would all kinda feel financial pains….with some surviving and some dissolving by the summer of 2013.

Then you get into a housing crisis…..at least a thousand homes bound to flip over to the banks by October of 2013, and another three thousand by the summer of 2014. Folks would use their savings to keep some hope alive, but if the jobs didn’t come back….DC would be a dead zone for future employment. You’d be better off to just give up and move off to Dallas or St. Louis.

Sequestration was supposed to be this huge threat to force everyone to the table and find a budget answer. In the end, everyone from both parties saw it as a political tactic….thinking the other folks would give in and find a solution. They never did.

My humble guess? As warning notices go out in early November, the election will occur. The election results don’t really matter. I’d hope that the dimwits can figure a suspension to this deal and postpone the mess for 100 days….putting this off in March for a full solution. If they don’t do a decision by then? Well….forget the local Christmas purchasing power in DC for Thanksgiving week, and prepare for a massive recession. It’d be best to move stocks into bonds by this point and settle down for a long dry spell….until the next four-year election.

The worst of the scenario? A bunch of Congressmen and Senators would be standing there in January, with folks walking out the front door and still arguing over who had the best plan. They’d all probably jump up and offer grants to study the effect of unemployment in the national capital region, and some university professor would be guaranteed a job for two or three years while talking to 270k unemployed folks.

That Julian Dimwit

Ecuador finally stood up and issued out an asylum deal to the WikiLeaks guy….Julian Assange. This means Julian walks out of the embassy in London….boards a plane to Ecuador….and for the rest of his life….he kinda has to stay in three or four South American countries which have no extradition treaty with the UK or Sweden.

Well....if the UK agreed that it would allow safe passage out of England. And they just plain said today....they absolutely will not allow such passage.

It’s hard to imagine a lifestyle like this. You volunteer to put yourself in a third-world country….which has no real technology base. You have no real friends in Ecuador. You don’t have any reputation or knowledge of Ecuador. You have never even been to Ecuador. You can’t travel to any “real” country from this point on.

What happens now? I'm guessing that Julian will stay on in the Ecuadorian embassy for months and months, and months. I went back to read up on Julian. The guy never had a father in the house....he more or less was this intellectual kid whose mother continually told him not to trust the government. There are various episodes where he got into trouble, and then talked the authorities into letting him go. For all of this stupid and dumb stuff that he's done in life.....he's never spent a day in jail or prison.

In the south, we have this expression....."man-up".  It means when you've done something pretty stupid....you come to a point where you admit the screw-up....do months or years in jail and just go on in life.  Julian's answer is.....I just don't have to go to prison....there's always a plan "B" solution to avoid jail.

There’s something wrong with the logic of Julian Assange, if you ask me. If you’ve done something stupid…..as he apparently has…..just fess up and take the simple consequences. It’s not like you transported drugs via Turkey, or sneaked illegal’s across the US border, or ran a meth lab in Mobile.

Yeah, he just might end up living the rest of his life in some Ecuadoran-building in London.....watching British news each day, and accepting the fact that each phone call is monitored.  The cops know you want to sneak out and they've got six guys always waiting for this rainy evening when things might work out.  It's a pretty sad life.....if you ask me.

My Debate Questions

If I Had Ten Questions for the President’s Debate:

First, if you had three things to do and create a better jobs market for America….what would you do?

Second, if Congress wrote all this tax code, enabling a guy to make a million dollars but pay no taxes….how would you change it, or would you change it, or could you change it?

Third, if neither party can work out compromises in both the House and Senate….what’s the answer?

Fourth, is it Presidential to appear on nightly entertainment TV shows?

Fifth, are all Americans equal in creation?

Sixth, which matters the most….good five-star fried chicken or the social values of a chicken franchise?

Seventh, do you have any real opinion on the designated hitter rule in baseball?

Eighth, if you had to go out and borrow another eight billion from China tomorrow…..to help finance US government operations….would you have any ill feelings?

Ninth, if you taxed the heck out of every American corporation and millionaire….like eighty-eight percent, and still didn’t have enough money to run the government…..who would you tax next?

Tenth and final, is blame a good way of connecting to people and helping to making make folks happy?

The Tulsa Comedy

This is how things unfolded.

The deputy police chief had determined that his department needed to attend a Muslim event at a Islamic center in the local area. It kinda got fixed up as a meet-and-greet deal to start with….which kinda included a 45-minute prayer service. The original message from the deputy police chief said it was all voluntary and twenty-five of the guys under him….ought to attend. Well….no one signed up.

So some time passes and the deputy police chief now says….it’s mandatory for a supervisor and two of the guys to go along and attend. The Captain in charge of operations makes this known, but still no volunteers. There’s a problem here also….in that the Captain is a devote Christian and just wasn’t going to be a part of this whole religious ceremony…..period.

So the Deputy Chief has docked the Captain’s pay for two weeks, got the Captain onto a graveyard shift, and noted enough to keep promotion out of reach for at least a year.

Things are now simmering a bit in Tulsa….where this occurred, and the court system will get invited into the mess. It’s hard to figure what the deputy chief’s whole plan in the begging was, and which political figure was pushing on to create some theater-like situation for a news episode.

You can imagine the Channel Nine news folks…..showing 60 seconds of some video clip…..a couple of cops in uniform…..all lined up…..shaking hands with various Islamic guys. Makes for a pretty nifty gimmick. I’m guessing no one on the city council wants to admit in public that they pushed the deputy police chief on this issue.

So they will have to promise this deputy police chief a fair amount to avoid telling the whole story in court. What the Captain wants….is back-pay and put back into his normal situation…..the graveyard shift cancelled, and promotion to be back on track. I suspect the judge involved…..really doesn’t want to open a can of worms here…..it’d make the political party involved look bad.

The end result? The deputy police chief just stands there and acts stupid, and gets promoted in a year for being a good asset to the city council. Whoever nominates the guy for the promotion….is likely the idiot connected to the Islamic episode. The Captain gets fixed up and most of the cops on the staff will laugh over this whole thing. It’s hard to imagine how you’d run a government operation and force folks to attend some religious deal that disagrees with you. But this is America, and anything is possible….even idiot city council guys who order deputy police chiefs to do stupid things.

If You Got to Go

The news came out today that US Army General William "Kip" Ward is under investigation.  General Bond is in charge of our Africa Command....based out of Stuttgart, Germany.  The deal?  Well....some folks have said that the General took some family folks along with him on some of these Africa trips, spent a heck of a lot of money on flights and hotels.

I lived out of Germany for a number of years and know the general travel costs of getting around.  Nothing.....that has to do with Africa travel.....is cheap.

Even if you were sitting in Frankfurt, Germany....which has the most flights out to Africa of any European airport.....it doesn't help that much.

Once you arrive at your destination.....then comes the various rental vehicles.  You figure the General travels with some entourage, so he needs at least five or six vehicles.  They'd have to all be SUVs, so you can figure $2k a day just spent on vehicles along.  Then comes gas prices at the country you are visiting.  Toss in the per diem of each place you are going to.....probably $125 minimum for each person per day.  Then there's the hotel issue.  If you want a hotel with security and a real restaurant.....then it'll run $300 a day for the room for each person.  Suddenly, a simple four-day trip out to one country in Africa is around $60k for the General and his entourage.

My humble guess is that a couple of guys will investigate and be rather shocked at the regular cost for anyone to move around Africa on twenty trips a year.  The General's job?  That's the interesting thing.  He was supposed to go out and be seen as a positive figure in US military authority within Africa.

What happens now?  I'm guessing the next couple of guys will write a couple of rules.  No more than six trips a year into Africa.  No real entourage other than three people.  In five or six years.....some Senator will comment that the head of the Africa Command never seems to travel or be seen, and note this as a serious problem.

Full circle.....you got it.

So I feel sorry for the General.  If you had to pick a place where travel costs are silly.....this is it.  And the US made it a big deal to be seen and heard in the region.    

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Just Observations

First, this story of Jesse Jackson Jr having been diagnosed now as Bipolar is an odd story.  Presently, Mr Jackson is still in the running for his district race, against a Republican who might....at best...pull in thirty percent of the vote in a normal election.  Every indicator shows that Mr Jackson will still continue to run.....probably win....and it's purely a question mark if he can physically stand in the House of the Representatives in 2013.  They have yet to get to some clear point on Meds....to make him stable and discharge him from the mental facility.  Even if he gets the right Meds....there's the question if he can stay clear of booze and stress, and continue working in DC.  If I were a betting man, I'd say that Jesse Jackson Jr does return to the House....manages to show up forty percent of the time....and retires after the 2014 period.

Second, a number of news media guys have tried to explain the terrible woes of Medicare, if that terrible young punk Ryan shows up as VP.  Curiously, none of them ever mention that $700 billion is scheduled to be yanked from Medicare anyway....via the new Health Care Law.  Somewhere within ten years....Medicare would falter and need a massive infusion of cash or reorganization.  Yet the news media folks pretend that it'll just continue on forever.

Third, another NCAA football episode is underway with Auburn University.  One of the young signees....Reuben Foster....had shown a number of signals that he'd sign with the University of Alabama, then at the very last minute....flipped over to Auburn.  To make it concrete....he kinda had a Auburn War Eagles emblem tattooed onto his arm (it's a sure sign of permanent intent, if you ask me).  Luckily, this only involves the "intent", and not some illegal transcript deal....like the other kid.  I'm guessing those University of Bama guys are upset about having this kid all but final-signed, and then things fall apart.  Life in Bama is very dependent on NCAA football, if you haven't figured that out.

Fourth and final, thirty-eight thousand GM-built police cruisers are being immediately recalled.  Something to do with the front-control arms of the car.  So far, no injuries reported, but at least two accidents.  Now, you would think that the GM guys would be awful thoughtful over the police cruisers because they would be driven at high speeds.  My humble guess is that they just never did test the cars at the right level of use.

CNNwood, Coming Soon

It's an odd report.  The New York Post is reporting that CNN has sent it's network team out to Hollywood.  They are apparently seeking reality show ideas and Hollywood types who'd be willing to appear fairly often.  No one is saying much about where this leads to. I'm taking a pretty good guess that the marginal profit margin has them thinking of taking their news section and gutting half of it.  You'd end up with eight to twelve hours a day.....of entertainment news.

How would this work?  Well....you'd have live-crews chasing around ambulances in Hollywood to cut over live to a report of some half-wit Hollywood player who got into a fight.  You'd have Hollywood drug and alcohol reports that somehow run for sixty minutes out of everyday.  You'd have French models, German soccer players, and Japanese TV stars that start to appear as "news" on a daily basis.

Some Hollywood character would come on and have a semi-reality show where they send four overweight and washed-up ex-stars out on a physical and mental rehab effort, for thirty days at a time.  You could have a reality show where five TV stars bring their pets and get training experience from Doctor Jimmy.

I'm guessing that Ted Turner is probably in great disagreement about this direction.  I'm also guessing that a fair number of CNN viewers will be hostile to seeing eight hours a day of real news being cut out.  The truth here is that they can only financially survive.....if they change into something else.  They can't possibly blend themselves into Fox News-like vehicle, and there's just not much left except letting Hollywood sleep with them on a nightly basis.  The positive here.....you get to keep filtering out various liberal causes when necessary and feeling good about the network surviving.

Will viewers stay?  Will viewers be attracted?  Well....that's another issue.  Most folks can stand about thirty to sixty minutes a day of Hollywood-type news.  It's fairly fake and to be honest.....you can only accept about half the stuff they say about Brittney Spears, the Kardishians, or Jennifer Lopez.  Could you handle more than an hour a day?  My humble guess is no.

This direction change will last two years and mark a major failure for CNN.  Where they go from that point.....it's only a guess.  Kinda of a sad way to fix your failures.....turning to Hollywood.

The Debate Situation

The three presidential campaign debates have now decided upon the moderators.  Jim Lehrer from PBS will run the first presidential debate.  The second debate is to be run by Candy Crowley, from CNN.  And Bob Schieffer will run the third debate.  Martha Raddatz, a ABC News expert on foreign affairs, will run the VP debate.

Most folks will agree that Jim Lehrer generally runs a pretty neutral operation.  The rest?  Well....it's never really neutral.  So I'm kinda wondering what the intended results might be.

First, CNN is leaning on marginal profits and a significant number of viewers have left the network.  A screw-up by Candy here and insulting the Republican candidate?  It'd probably take the last few viewers from the network.  My humble guess is that someone in the Romney campaign has figured the CNN failure here would take them totally out of picture.

Second, most folks will say that Bob Schieffer's attempts to slam Republican candidates over the past five years have been mostly failures.  If a guy just listens to Bob's questions....it's a two-star slam at best....maybe good in 1978 but it just doesn't work any longer.  As Bob tosses out these poor slams....I suspect that it'll be slammed out of the park.

Third and final, the VP debate?  As long as the entire debate can be kept to general questions on foreign affairs....VP Joe might slug out some singles, and keep the Ryan kid on the ropes.  I'm just hoping they don't mention Mongolia and VP Joe offers his wit and wisdom on those evil Mongols.  

Monday, 13 August 2012

My Monday

For the first time in thirty-five years....I called in sick today....but to be honest....I wasn't really sick.  Call it a wellness day or just a off-day.....but I took the day off.  I spent the morning and afternoon watching two movies: The Campaign, and Dark Knight Rises.

So a movie review on The Campaign.  It's a comic piece going for about ninety minutes.  The first forty-five minutes are pretty interesting and worth watching....almost every dynamic of southern politics is actually played out.....Jesus, NASCAR and hunting.  The last fifteen minutes?  I'd give it one-star.  If you have nothing much to do on an afternoon....with no high expectations....go watch The Campaign.  Oh, and I should tell you....the Republican guy wins.

Next to the Batman movie.....Dark Knight Rises.  It's around 160 minutes, so you'd best hit the bathroom on the way in....because once it starts, you really don't want to leave for three minutes.  It is that kind of movie, with twists and turns.

There are three observations I will make about Dark Knight Rises.  First....you come to realize the bad guys really do seem to try to explain they aren't bad, and that they really are working for the interests of the "people".  It's never clear what people, but you keep getting this hints that the people at the bottom of the classes really need some level playing field.

Second, by the end of the movie, you come to realize that the people at the bottom of the classes....were simply pawns in a bigger game.  They were used, over and over.  When it was time.....this evil Brain character just tossed everyone under the bus, with no real hurt feelings over that.

Third, there is this scene where Gotham City has been taken over by Bain's revolution, and all the houses of the rich folks have been absorbed by the regular people of the city.  So this gal makes a comment: “This was once somebody’s house, but now it’s everyone's house!”  The house is trashed and completely gutted of anything livable.  No one will ever live in that house again.  It was a lesson in Soviet Marxism.....on a scale of one to ten.....a pure ten.

Worth watching?  Yeah, by one thousand percent.  You don't want to skip out of the last twenty minutes of the movie.  Oh, and that Robin character.....well....there's this slight hint of him in the next feature....if they do one.

Stuff That Doesn't Matter

Not that it really matters, but the homicide death toll in Chicago....as of a week ago....was at 311 for this year.  They are on track to beat the 2011 homicide number of 411 people killed in Chicago...by at least one hundred. One would think that CBS would end each evening news episode....with a update and a mention of the guy or gal who got whacked today.  But they haven't started that.

The JFK Story

If you've ever flown out of JFK Airport.....in New York City....you'd realize that part of the airport is connected to the local river and bay.  Ever since 9-11, the JFK security folks have put millions into securing up the airport.  So they felt pretty comfortable things until a couple of days ago.

It seems that some guy was on a jet ski out in the bay.....with his buddies....when the jet ski stalled.  No one saw him lagging behind.  He sat there for a while, and then started swimming toward the only land that he was close to.  This happened to be JFK Airport.

So he swims up....gets onto dry land but there's nothing much there except the lights of the airport.  He starts walking.

There's this eight-foot security fence, which he climbs over.  There's this intrusion system which is supposed to pick up on movement, but never does.  The guy walks on....crossing two runways....which never cause any attention.  Finally, he gets up to one of the terminals, and enters the building.

Naturally, this comes to the attention of security finally, and they get pretty upset.  How dare some guy just beat a $100 million dollar security system?

The thing is....he'll actually face some kind of charges, maybe even federal.....but he's demonstrated that it doesn't even take a smart guy to defeat all of their security.

Plan "B"?  Well....they might electrify the fence, I'm sure that would produce some shocking results.  They might turn loose fifty cobra snakes out in the area near the fence.  They could go out and spend $300 million more on fancy upgraded security.  They might even hire roving guards, who only sleep seven hours of the eight on-duty hours.

The guy who beat all their security?  For a few brief weeks, he'll be on the TV talk-show circuit....referred to as the New York City "James Bond", and probably get some invitations to fancy parties with Lady GaGa in attendance.

The thing is.....this would be a perfect script for a Steinfeld show.  Cosmo Kramer would have done the same thing.  My script?  Kramer lands and crosses over into JFK.  He evades various security details, crosses the runway....sips coffee with six different security guys.....helps load some luggage for the Delta  crew.....puts on a pilot's outfit and spends an entire afternoon drinking free cocktails at the bar in the airport, and finally rescues some French nuns from a burning terminal.  He shows back at Jerry's place and just barely mentions that he ran out of gas with his jet ski, and just falls asleep after that.

The Fakeness of Life

So, this is what we know.....Auburn's freshman Jovon Robinson, who is bound and determined to be it's best freshman running back in the history of the school.....is in trouble.  He can't come out with the team or practice until this little problem is solved.  The issue?  Well....there appears to be a fake high school transcript....which some high school counselor has confessed to making.

Naturally, the NCAA will need at least two months to complete this, and you can figure that Jovon will not play a single game for the school.

It's hard to figure out how Jovon might fix this....maybe by dropping out of college and going back to the high school....to repeat the last year?  He'd still be eligible to play for his old high school team yet again, and likely lead them to a state championship.  Well....maybe.

This fake transcript business?  This is an interesting topic.  Just about anyone can make a fake high school transcript and a fake college transcript.  You could fail all the way through college "A" on the first year, transfer out to some second college, and show a faked-up transcript....to enter the new college.  When you screwed up after a year or two at college two.....you fake up that transcript, and head off to college three.

You want a master's degree from a fancy college.....just fake up a bad grade situation and you go onto Harvard or Yale for another degree.

The odds of them catching you?  Unless you really don't put much effort into this.....I'd be thinking it's a ninety-percent chance of getting accepted.

So I'm looking at Jovon.  It's a sad woeful tale.  The kid probably isn't rocket scientist material, but for four brief years....he could marginally get by at Auburn, and maybe get signed by the Detroit Lions to play two or three seasons, and just be happy that the good Lord gave him that brief period of luck.  As for the education involved?  Well.....we've had a bunch of idiots graduate from college, and it didn't really matter....some went onto being CEO's of failed banks and companies.....and some went onto being President or some CNN news analyst.  Life is about as fair and fake as you can get.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

My Local Neighborhood

This is not a story that will be really discussed in the national press very much.  It's an incident that occurred locally here in DC....going back 2005.

"Joe" (my name for the guy)....was dating this gal, and she came up one day to say she'd been tested for HIV, and was identified with the disease.  Joe was worried, and went to be tested.  They actually took two tests of Joe.

The results come back....which are negative, but things get switched around in the paperwork process.....and in the end....some guy at the clinic calls up Joe and tells that he has HIV.

The clinic involved monitored Joe and offered up some mental health help....but they never tested Joe again.

As you can imagine....Joe got depressed.  Joe started to use drugs.  Joe drank excessively.  Joe quit his job.  Joe ended up twice in some suicidal prevention episode.  It's safe to say that Joe was bad off.  Joe might have actually killed himself at any moment.

At some point, Joe got accepted into a treatment program.  At some point, they decided to do another blood test.  It was an odd thing....no HIV noted.  Joe took another test.  Nothing.  So someone apparently started looking at the records down the line, and found that someone had screwed up with the first test deal.

Joe was pretty angry and wanted to sue.  Joe got a lawyer.  For some reason, the Superior Judge in the DC area just didn't buy into 'pain and suffering'.  This case lingered around because no DC judge was really willing to let Joe get his hands onto the hospital.

In 2009, things started to turn around.  His lawyer finally found a judge that would allow the case to go forward.  The clinic involved finally agreed to a $20 million settlement.  I'm guessing Joe's lawyer will get close to a third of this....but Joe ends up with some revengeful for mess that was dumped into his lap.

So you sit there and wonder about this whole mess.  One screw-up.  No secondary round of tests.  A guy giving up on his life but in apparent good health.

This is the kind of movie that ought to be made...because it says alot about the issues and the potential errors of one person creating.  I doubt that it can ever be made into a movie.

As for Joe?  I'm guessing he will pack up and leave DC.  He'll move to somewhere where he can forget about these negative moments.  As for the clinic?  Well....you'd hope that they will fix up their issues.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Why CNN is a Failure

CNN New episode today on VP choice of Ryan, Candy Crowley: "...that this might be, looks a little bit like some sort of ticket death wish. That, oh, my gosh, do we really want to talk about these thing? Is this where we want to go when the economy is so bad? We could have stayed on that."

Ticket death wish?  

Respectable analysis?  

A news episode or some unpaid political commercial? 

 At the end of the day, the CNN leadership is standing there and wondering why no one wants to watch their coverage.  They wonder why they can't make any profits.  They wonder why people just won't give them any credit.  And all they simply need to do is view their show for twenty minutes, and it'd give them all the answers.  

The PIck of Ryan as VP?

Based on commentary here tonight.....Romney will make his VP pick around 9AM tomorrow (Saturday), and Paul Ryan will be the pick.

My observations?  The entire election is now cast over the economy and government spending, period....end of story.  If I were the President, I'd shift my campaign over and try to find the economic formula for fixing things over the next four years.  Spending bucks on a failed Bush economy policy campaign....just won't be a smart idea.

As for finding some terrible thing about Paul Ryan?  Well....he might like his cinnamon sticks buttered, drive a pick-up, and use Old Spice for a cologne.  He might talk up the Green Bay Packers too much, mention Vince Lombardi in a campaign speech, and be a terrible dancer.   He will admit in public that he had to work in college, and his job was for Oscar Myer.....yeah, he was the driver for the weiner-mobile.  I'm guessing that the Obama team is sitting there in a fit of rage....because he just doesn't fit the Palin-model they had to mess with four years ago.

Finally, I'm guessing that VP Joe is sitting there and thinking about the one and only debate that he has to do with Paul Ryan.  VP Joe, in his peak years of the 1980s....was a pretty good debate enthusiast.  Can he compete against the young punk of Paul Ryan?  Maybe, all it takes is one slip, and the punk scores.  Two slips?  The debate is mostly over.

I'm guessing both Romney and Ryan will produce their medical records for public viewing in the next ten days.....which will put the media in a tight spot.  No, there's not going to be a public viewing of President Obama's medical records, if you were curious.

Overall, it's not a bad pick, and it's going to make an interesting election.

Friday, 10 August 2012

A Barney To Protect Us

I had an associate come by my office yesterday….he’s Indian….real Bombay Indian….but not Sikh. He’s of the Hindu group, which is a ‘cousin’ of the Sikhs.

They kinda held a deacon’s meeting Wednesday night, which expanded out to include most of the men of the temple/church. The topic? That shooting from the weekend. By the time things came to an end with the discussion…..it was on the future agenda to make a decision about posting a guard and maybe taking more protective measures.

I offered some advice in this case…..that most churches in urban areas already take this type of measure, and there’s nothing wrong with that attitude. My suggestion was to find eight competent men and just have a listing of rules…..one guy is the armed guard and brings his own weapon into the church. Swap the guy out each week, and maybe take the eight guys out to some range to make sure they shoot forty rounds and feel good about it.

I asked if they would allow women as the ‘armed’ guards, and that kinda got a laugh from my Indian associate. Based on the comments, Indian women aren’t trusted to the degree of handling pistols or such.

So this all brings up this interesting topic….armed guys in church. Having lived in a rural atmosphere for my youth…..I can say that most rural folks handle a rifle or shotgun on a monthly basis. But pistols? Well…..I’m guessing most folks will admit that the last time they shot a pistol was 1998 when they bought the pistol, and they haven’t shot it since then.

Folks then to have disagreements in church. It’s not much to get worried about, but guys will argue over so-and-so taking their ex-wife out on a date, or some woman accusing another woman of hustling in on her husband, or some young guy getting upset about comments spoken about his car.

To be honest, just allowing one guy to tote a weapon in church would be acceptable, but letting everyone tote weapons….just might not be wise. Ministers? Well….Baptist ministers get animated at times, and I’d be afraid of a minister hitting his side once too often, and setting the pistol from safe to full fire, and firing a round into his foot. A bunch of cussing would then following…..disturbing folks that the minister did know those seven words not to repeat in mixed company.

Who do you deputize? Well…forget the Deacons. They are mostly guys in their sixties and prone to falling asleep. I’d toss out any guy who has dreams of becoming a policeman one day. I’d also toss out the guy who routinely does security guard work. I’d probably toss out the guy who drinks a good bit on Saturday night, and I probably wouldn’t want a guy who gets up upset about NCAA football. The truth is….there’s probably only two folks I’d probably trust and they'd be Nam Vets.

We’ve come to an unusual point in life. You need to think in a fashion that you simply aren’t used to. When you leave home in the morning…..stopping to fuel up, pick up coffee and donuts, wander around the office building for eight hours, then stop by Wendys for burgers going home, and stop by the drug store for foot-powder…..the odds are…..you met one crazy nut on medication during the day.

The odds of that one person on Meds going off their Meds for a week, and threatening you? Well….you just don’t know.

It could happen at the coffee shop. It could be the bosses secretary. It could be the gal at the gas station. It could be that blue tie you wore when walking into Wendys. Yep, things have changed. It’s best not to ask a lot of questions, and just devote six seconds of every minute to a 360-degree observation, and have some means of protection on you.

So here's the thing, don't be shocked to have some Barney Fife-character at your church.....armed up in the next month, with a pistol and one bullet.  He'll be the guy who practices fast draw situations outside the front door of the church, and listens into cop calls on his hidden radio set within the fancy suit he wears.  He'll eventually screw up and drop his gun.  It'll go off, scaring the "Jesus" out of the church, and everyone will hightail it out the side door to the woods and hide out for four hours....meanwhile Lester, the old guy on the back bench sleeps through the whole thing, and wakes up to a empty church...wondering if this is a Twilight Zone episode.  

Life ought to be simple.....but things have changed.

The License Story

From the Commonwealth of Virginia, in 1780….there were zero regulations over farmers. I know this is shocking, but it’s a fact.

From the Commonwealth of Virginia, in 1900….there were probably a total of five pages of regulations. You had a few rules over treatment of cattle or horses. If you sold anything, it was typically done by bushel. These were all regulations that you can grasp and understand.

This week…..out in Paris, Virginia….we had a funny episode. A gal, Ms Martha Boneta, who owns Libery Farms….got threaten with $5k in fines.

Now, you’d ask what the heck? Well….she was selling produce and crafts and throwing unlicensed events….which included a birthday party for her best friend’s child. Licensed events? For farmers? Well….this apparently has to do with parties, wine teastings, food tastings, craft workshops, and pumpkin carving. Yeah, pumpkin carving.

Now, Martha had done up a license in 2011….but this only allowed her to run a regular retail agricultural shop. The boys down at the local county office decided that they had to push the regulations a bit, and parties weren’t in this new license. A guy would look at this and start shaking his head. You’d need a license for this, and this, and that….and pretty soon….everyone is monitoring you licensed up for, and if you slipped over the line…..you’d be in trouble if some neighbor felt like reporting you to the county license board.

In 1780….a guy like George Washington…..didn’t have any stupid licenses. George would have been the first to admit that he made his own personal brand of cider and distilled a fair amount of whiskey. George also engaged in various agricultural projects that likely would likely today to fall within the 300-odd pages that county and state agricultural folks have to regulate farmers. George would have been a bit upset and I doubt if the local zoning board would be happy with George’s attitude.

What happens out in Paris, Virginia now? Well….the farmers say that they’d like to personally met up with the zoning board and talk over what they see as a problem. The issue now would be these media guys who show up and start asking the zoning board stupid questions. Zoning boards used to be this dead zone where you could pay up some guy to really make pain and discomfort for your neighbors or competition. I’m guessing the zoning boards guys are thinking long and hard over having a open meeting or closed meeting. One good tactic is to find a place where there’s only twenty chairs (if you zoner-guys were thinking on this…..it only works one time usually).

Guys like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson….would have laughed over this. Some guy telling you that you might have to do a permit for pumpkin carving? Or maybe you were going to invite twelve guys to bring over their best horses and have a personal judgement over who had the best looking horse…..but then discover that you need a permit for such a meeting of horses? How about a permit for a farmer to demonstrate a fancy apple press that he bought from Sweden, and sixty people show up…..another permit? There’s something sad going on in Virginia…..regulation beyond common sense.

Just Dust in the Wind

Just a humble opinion.  This latest arrest of Randy Travis....the second for 2012....kinda lays out a life in spiral.

Here's a guy who could write a tune about some weepy girlfriend who was all upset over her boyfriend trucker and his misbehaving ways.  He could belt out some tune that was a Bapist hym decades before but he'd rebuilt it into a modern day country-and-western tune.  He had immense talent.

Today, he's a guy with no future, and likely not to be among us in the future.  Kinda reminds you of a washed-up NBA player who isn't wanted by anyone and just drinks his remaining years down the tube.

The sad thing is that he had talent, but just couldn't focus on it. He's simply dust in the wind now.

A Moment about Isolation

Somewhere, about 500 miles east of Moscow, in the middle of nowhere, in some village.....the cops came to figure out that a cult existed with around 70 folks.  It appears that the Grand Mullah or whatever he wanted to refer to himself as.....had advised everyone about a decade ago to go "underground", so the entire group had been in this underground-like shelter for the past ten years.  Some of the kids....twenty-seven of them....had never seen sunlight.

Naturally, a guy from Bama would ask how you'd survive without any incoming food.  Well....that's the funny thing about the Mullah's rules, there were always a couple of trusted guys (we'd call them deacons probably), who had permission to leave the underground shelter, buy stuff, and return.

The Mullah guy had gone on and on about staying within the group and staying safe while in this underground bunker.  Course, no one ever asked why.

The cops finally decided enough was enough.  Social laws were pulled out.  The kids have been carted off to the local social office, and I'm guessing they won't be returning.  The adults?  Well....I'm guessing they will be medically checked out, and some local cop will try to talk some sense into them before releasing them.  Yeah, they might just go back to the bunker.

Usually, when a religious group resorts to isolation of its members....it's a pretty good indication that they are way out there and the only way to keep the few members they have.....is to isolate them and keep them "pure".  It's hard to imagine going underground for months or years, but I guess if you believe in something bad enough....it's all acceptable in the end.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Just Observations

First, there's talk in France that the President there is working on a plan to put a 75-percent tax on anyone who makes more than $1.24 million dollars a year within France.  Naturally, just mere talk got a bunch of folks to call up their accountants and ask for the facts.  Course, there's nothing on the books today....it's mere talk, to make the middle-class and poverty-class of France happy.  Even with the best of figures....the belief is that you'd be talking about 30k residents who fell into this category.  Would they be willing to move?  I'm guessing that 5k French people would end up leaving and becoming residents of Spain, England, Luxembourg, or Germany.  The French government would be willing to chase them away, while in this comical game of taxation.

Second, there's this movie coming out in December....just after the election, called Zero Dark Thirty.  It's about the hunt for Ossama bin Laden.  It's supposed to have all the inside information and really make Americans happy and peppy over the hunt for bin Laden, and hopefully vote for President Barak Obama.  Based on commentary, this movie was kinda rushed....so you might find some errors in the production....things that were wrong or filmed in the wrong way.  The curious thing is that most folks all thought that it'd be released the week before the election.....and it won't be that way.  Worth watching?  Maybe.

Third, it's not a story that will appear on CNN, ABC, or CBS, or in the New York Times.....but the government is now going after folks who get social security checks, who have kids they co-signed college loans for and the kid failed to make his payments on the college loan.  Imagine Karl standing up fifteen years ago and borrowing $45k.  Karl got a job and made payments for roughly ten years, but still owed $10k when he got unemployed.  Karl came back and lived in dad's basement.....drinking his beer....eating his food....and just thinking that the co-signed loan was just another thing that he'd toss on the bankruptcy plate he was building.  Well....a co-signed loan is different.  So dad wakes up and there's the note from Social Security.....$190 deducted form this month's $1290 check.  Explanation?  You were stupid enough to co-sign, so you will pay the remainder of the $10k until you die.  Pretty sad event for an old guy to face.....the kid's screw-up and nature to borrow money at fault here.  The answer?  Get Karl out working somewhere and make the kid start paying on his loan again.

Fourth and final.....everyone thought CNN had hit rock-bottom on people watching....back in June.  Well....from last week, CNN has hit a new low on viewers.  This week?  It might even be lower.  CNN is fairly worried about the mess but obviously, they can't compete in the new market with the gameplan they currently have in place.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The General Problem

Rumor has it.....that Mitt is about to pick General Petraeus as his VP.  How much validity would I put into such a report?  Maybe fifty percent.

What the press does say...is that Mitt apparently met with the General in the past week....up in New Hampshire...quietly.

I'm guessing that the Secret Service detail  reported back to their bosses at the White House, and someone kinda hinted that the General met with Mitt.  The President probably stood there for sixty seconds....thinking it was a joke, and then realized it wasn't a joke.  You can imagine the flurry of meetings that then took place.

What if?

The truth?  Mitt could scare the whole campaign team of President Obama now....triggering hours and hours of speculation....with talk from one coast to the other.  Folks would want immediate polling data....what would the General do to the entire election.  At least $500k would be wasted on a dynamic poll to show results in the dozen close-call states.

My humble guess?  I don't think the General wants the job.  He's got a government job already and pretty happy where he is.  What advantage exists here?  If Mitt were to win.....the general would have to stay around for eight years, but he'd be virtually guaranteed to win in 2024 as the Republican candidate.  Would he want to stick around for sixteen years?  You just don't know.

As for the odds here?  If the General did jump into the race....I'd say Mitt picks up five points in a matter of two weeks.  The debates?  The General would tear up VP Joe.....and give Mitt another two or three points.  In the end...I'd give Mitt a 56 percent win over the President's 43 percent.  Without the General?  I think it's closer to 50-50.

Army Vet

For the last day or two....I've followed this shooting episode up in the Milwaukee area.  It was a moment of interest when they came out and said this guy was a Army vet.....but then you start to piece together his history, and I questioned the Army vet status.

This guy came into the US Army in the early 1990s, and spent roughly five years in the military before leaving.  The Army has made a hinted comment that he had some "issues" and leaves it at that.  He was out at least two years before 9-11.  So you add up the numbers and he barely spent five years in, and he's been out at least fifteen years.

Army vet?  Well.....if you use that measurement, then some kid who comes into the Army and spends six days in boot-camp before getting kicked out.....does something stupid twenty years later, and he gets mentioned as a Army vet.....for those lousy six day of boot-camp.  It's not a real status thing.

For this guy?  I'm guessing for the five years that he was in....he probably had a problem with minorities and likely got himself into a few stupid arguments.  I'd also make a bet that he had personality issues and was likely a bit of a nut.

As for the Sikhs?  If you had to pick some ethnic group to move into your neighborhood....these guys would be in my top three choices.  It's hard to find a unfriendly Sikh.    They respect other cultures.  They are fairly resourceful.  And you won't find any episodes where some Sikh has targeted an American.

In the end here, you had another nut, who probably should have been locked up in some mental facility.  Oh, and he was a Army vet.......a long, long, long time ago.

Democracy in America

Out in Tennessee, we've got this odd political episode unfolding.  They have a senatorial election coming up.  They had the Democratic primary, and this unknown character....Mark Clayton wins.  The state Democratic Party of Tennessee wakes up, and then admits that this Clayton guy.....is not one of them.

As days go by, the Democratic Party even goes to the extent of saying that the only way that Clayton won on the primary.....was by having his name first on the list of candidates of the ballot.

This kinda brings up this odd suggestion that if you have a race where no one is really known.....that the mass bulk of the population hasn't seen any of the candidates on TV or read anything in the newspapers.....then they go to the first candidate on the list and just automatically vote for the guy.

Twenty years ago.....I would have laughed at this suggestion. Today?  I'm of the belief that this is possible.  If your name is Adam Adams.....you just might have a better chance of winning an election than Tom Winslow.

Which brings me to the concept of democracy.  When the Greeks sat down and invented this democracy idea....they really couldn't speak to an election where a voter admits he doesn't know either candidate.  There has to be some odd coin-flip which eventually occurs and you pick the guy you will cast your vote for.  I'm sure the Greeks would be shocked over this simplicity and comment on the forty-four ways that a voter should take note of his vote and always be careful with the use of the vote.  Frankly, I don't believe the Greeks would last a minute in 2012 if you brought up the American version of voting.

So if you were thinking about some run for state senator or county commission....and your name was Marty Owens....statistically, things just aren't in your favor.  Just something to consider.

Monday, 6 August 2012

The Thing About Tuition

There's an excellent article over at the Montgomery Adviser....over tuition costs in Bama.

Back in 2000, you could attend the University of Auburn, and the tuition costs ran around $3,154 for the year.  Today?  They won't even pay for half a year.  The total tuition costs now sits at $9,446.

Course, most folks from forty-seven other states (my humble guess) would be all happy because that's less than they have to pay.

The thing is....if you look ahead at 2020....just eight years away....the tuition cost for Auburn will likely hit  $18k a year.  For most folks, that's a fair amount of money....just one single year of college.  That amounts to buying a new pick-up or a hefty down payment on a new property.

I'm of the mind that something is going to occur over the next eight years, and turn a four-year college dream into a lesser desired episode....at least within the state of Alabama.  The idea of some kid talking his parents into putting out close to $120k in total costs....just won't work in these rural surroundings.  The kid taking on half of that in loans?  You'd have to be an idiot of a bank loan officer to sign some kid up for such a loan and expect him to fully pay it back.  The US government handing out low-rate loans?  They'd have to be idiots to loan out anything more than $30k maximum.

The real question here....where does the money really go?  If you have 100 students attending, and their total tuition input is around $994k....that's a heck of a lot of money.  Ten thousand students?  That's $99 million.  Wiki says there are around 25k students at Auburn, so you have to figure almost $250 million rolling into the university each year.

I can only imagine that most professors get a leased BMW, a gold watch, and vacation on a Kenyan safari each year.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Damned Dam

A long, long time ago....when men were still men....around 1906 to be precise....a group of folks in central California came up after the San Francisco earthquake and fire....and asked for permission to dam up this valley in the far distance.  The valley?  Hetch Hetchy.  Not a catchy name, I know.

In those days....there were environmentalists, so this turned into an odd fight.  For seven years....back and forth, this went.  Finally, the local guys found enough support in Congress and the Senate and achieved a vote.  The dam was finally built and operational in 1923.  As you can imagine....it was a pretty fierce fight for the region to win.  The volume here?  675k cubic yards.  Yeah, it's a pretty good bit of water behind that dam.

Now, the positive over the years was that San Francisco had just about all the fresh water they needed.  It was enough to keep over two million people happy.

In the last couple of years....this odd relationship popped up.....some Republicans and some environmentalists.  They've got this ballot going up in November with folks in San Francisco.  Basically, if a majority votes in favor of this.....the dam comes down.  An entire glacier valley will suddenly appear, where a lake stands today.

Course, this would make you ask....where exactly San Francisco would get it's water, and no one is really sure about that question.  The amusing thing is that Nancy Pelosi and a host of local Democrats have come out against the destruction of the dam.  You can imagine this odd crowd of Republicans and environmentalists working together.

The rent that the city pays for the water they get?  Thirty thousand dollars....ever since 1913.  It's never been increased....ever.  Even now, most folks question the logic in this, and it ought to be into the hundreds of millions, if you asked most economic experts.  What does this relate to most households in the bay area?  Well....imagine having a new water bill that runs an extra $2k per year.  Which pocket would you find that extra $2k?  Don't know.

Some folks generally think as a minimum....the city ought to pay some extra...maybe not the extra $2k a year, but certainly a quarter of that.

What you have to worry about in a ballot effort.....is that some folks will just walk in and do something crazy.  If they vote for the dismantling of the dam....it might happen somewhere down the line....maybe a decade or so.  The folks in the bay area would have to come to a plan B, and force themselves to cough up billions.  Obviously, they'd want the US federal government to also cough up billions.  And the new fresh water?  Where would it come from?  Well....you just might have to lay in a eight-foot pipeline all the way to Canada....to find that much free water.

The curious thing out of this whole mess is that you'd have a whole new national park available, and thousands of folks would drive out each week, on freshly paved asphalt, and stop at fancy rest-stops along the road.


The Reid Thing

For the past week, I've watched this Harry Reid accusation against Romney.  It finally occurred to me that there is this one strange connection between the two....both are Mormons.

About five years ago....I worked with a Mormon guy, and we had a number of chats over the Mormon system.

The Mormons have a pretty long list of stringent rules.  One of them says that you must donate ten percent of your income to the church, period....before taxes, social security, etc.  I asked if there were waivers....like you were heavily in debt?  No....no waivers.  You pay, or you get kicked out.

So naturally, being from Bama....I asked how they would know what your percentage amount was.  My associate grinned for a moment, and explained it in a simple fashion.  You have a meeting once a year with your bishop, and you present evidence of your income.  It might be a tax form, or various forms from your company or accountant.  The bishop would note all this info on a Mormon form, and then come to the magical amount you owed.  You'd send it by electronic or check means.

You sit and think about this.  The bishop has this form with your name, income data, and probably even your social security number.  How much security is involved in this form business?  You don't know.  Do the forms go to the central office in Salt Lake City?  You don't know.

I'm guessing Harry Reid went out two weeks ago for a Mormon conference in Utah, and met up with a guy or two....who are friendly toward the Democrats.  They pulled out Mitt's paperwork for ten years (which is odd that Harry would continually quote "ten") and everything would fall into place.

You have private and personal info....that the church simply didn't keep private.  Mitt knows that the church has screwed up and done something to harm his election chances.  I'm guessing that a number of upper-class Mormons are beginning to grasp that the Bishop and the church just aren't going to be helpful in controlling financial data.

My humble guess is that some big-wigs in the Mormon Church are meeting up this weekend, and realizing the impact of what some guy did....releasing personal financial data to Senator Harry Reid.  I'm also guessing that a minimum of a hundred millionaires in the Mormon Church have given notice that they won't play by these rules anymore because the church can't protect their personal data.

Rich folks quitting the church?  That would be the next thing I'd worry about if this whole story gets out and proven true.  You can imagine a country that relies on 300-odd millionaires for its functionality and income.....then suddenly, they walk out the front door.  The Mormon Church would have to step back and cut massively along the lines of whatever they use their income for.

I'm thinking....come Monday and Tuesday....some bishop is coming to visit Harry and tell him to shut up. If Harry pushes it....the church loses in a massive way.  As for Mitt?  I'd just keep talking.  Harry can't produce the info, and if he does....the Mormon Church will dissolve into a minor-league operation.

Bama in the News

Yesterday....out in the neighborhoods of suburban Huntsville....the cops got called out to a house.

Over the past couple of days....there was this gal who had been acting strangely.  At some point, she'd taken some saltine crackers and walked out to some tree in the yard.....dropping the saltines, and then poured kool-aid over the top of them.  A ceremony?  Well....you tend to think that.  Folks in Bama don't normally do things like this.

After that episode....this older gal (55 years old) introduced herself as an "incubus from Egypt".  Course, folks in Bama don't tend to meet many folks from Egypt.  I would imagine that they kinda stood there for a minute or so.....wondering if they ought to welcome this Egyptian over to the front porch and offer up cookies and ice tea.

Now, the thing about the introduction is this term of "incubus".  If you pulled out the old history book....you find that a incubus was actually a lewd male demon who was supposed to take possession of normal regular mortal women.  Yeah, a myth of sorts.  It was the Egyptian method of associating slutty or lusty women with some demon deal.....to explain things around the neighborhood.

Naturally, you'd come to realize the meaning, and that'd dissolve away any chance of you inviting the Egyptian gal to your front door or the front porch.

Somewhere on Saturday....a relative of this gal had called up the cops and tried to make them understand that this woman had stopped taking her medication.  My guess is that she'd stopped well over a week ago.  Some cops were sent over, and noted this woman walking around with a pistol.  They kindly asked her to put the gun down, but she turned to walk toward them with the gun....in a threatening manner.  So they shot and killed her.

The police department put the guys on paid leave until this is sorted out, but my hunch is that four weeks from now....they will agree that there was nothing much they could have done.

Neighbors will sit there for years.....repeating this story....in amazement that someone was that bad off and had a gun around.  Then they will discuss this incubus story, with various theories that she was actually possessed and should have had a Catholic cleansing or Baptist intervention deal.  I imagine that relatives will just say that she ought to have been in a permanent facility, under a controlled environment.

I know that folks will say that Bama has an unfair share of crazy folks.  Sometimes, I will agree but then put it in the better context that we have a large significant number of eccentric folks, who generally aren't dangerous.  To be honest here....life in Bama is a bit more interesting with the eccentric folks.  I kinda doubt that you'd find any enthusiasm to lock them away because they tend to make life a bit more entertaining.

So, if you are sitting around on the porch, and the local gal next door comes up to note something about incubus.....it'd be best to keep your distance.  This demon business just goes up a notch or two in the direction beyond just being plain eccentric.  Just some humble advice.

November Worst Case Scenario

The November election has this one scenario which promises to really drag things down....if it occurs.

Let's say that President Obama wins the election by an Electoral College edge of 70 votes.  The President can walk back into the White House in January and feel pretty positive.

But let's say that 53 Republicans come out and win in the Senate, and a simple majority of five-plus Republicans win in the House.

You end up with a Senate that can't really accomplish anything unless a couple of Democrats cross the line....which they won't.

So we start January of 2013, with a pretty lousy situation.  The President is stuck with no real budget fix, and simply moves forward with nothing much on the plate except signing treaties and making speeches.  The whole of 2013 is worthless, and by the summer of 2014....we are back into a four-star election frenzy....where the Senate gets shifted around to a fifty-fifty mix, and House that might be one-vote plus-up for the Democrats.

So we move onto 2015 and 2016....with mostly a President of almost no accomplishments, and a health care program that most Americans now say is failed but they can't really say what the fix ought to be.

You end up with a marginal four-year period that no one can say much about for historical purposes....except the economy was locked into neutral and not moving in any direction.

That is the worst case scenario.....sadly.

A Summer Bar-B-Q Memory

About ten years ago....I went on a summer vacation to Denmark....a two week trip which I kind of planned to some degree, but the amount of charcoal lighter and charcoal that I brought along....were not enough.

So I went downtown to the local village, and searched through the Danish options for charcoal lighter.  Frankly, there's not much to chose from, and it was a clear plastic container, like the one you see in this picture.

I came back to the vacation house, which had a nice grill out back, and laid out the charcoals.  Then I doused the charcoal with what a typical American would spray.  It was average....at least in my humble opinion.

It took forever for the fire to catch onto the charcoals, which I found kinda strange.

Then, it burned.  And burned. And burned. And burned. And burned. And burned.

Ten minutes into this....it was still a rich hot fire burning away, and I was kinda wondering when it would die off.

So it kept burning.  By twelve minutes, the charcoals were a ash-like color.  By fifteen minutes, I was trying to spray a little water over them but even that would not put out the fire.

To make a long story short.....by twenty minutes....my fire was dead, and the charcoals had nothing much left for heat.  The intensity of the fire and the harsh nature of this combustible substance....made wonder what the heck was in this.

So I emptied the grill, laid out another thirty charcoals, and used maybe half-a-shot of this jet-fuel-like substance.  The fire did finally go out around nine minutes and these charcoals were burning awful hot.  The steak cooked up well.

From this container that I acquired....it probably lasted me eighteen months. I never used more than half-a-shot of this stuff, and always wondered what the heck they put into the stuff.

Of all the bar-b-q's I've ever done....this was the weirdest and most unusual.  A guy in Bama could have poured the whole bottle over a tree stump, and I guarantee the fire would have kept going for twenty-four hours and likely burned the tree stump to a crisp.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Two Thousand Years of Chick-Fil-A

Over the past week, I've sat and watched this Chick-Fil-A episode unfold.  It's probably true that the CEO walked into an interview and carried it to a personal level.  The problem is....the company was built from the ground up....with Christian values.  They don't open on Sundays.....their friendliness is genuine.....their business model is simplified with nothing truly fancy.

Chick-Fil-A has attracted attention, and people with strong values that lean against Christians.

My advice?

In the beginning.....if you were a Christian....there were folks against you.  It didn't matter how nice you acted or how quietly you kept your philosophic nature.....you attracted negative attention.

People came to challenge you on the streets....in some villages....in front of crowds.....and you targeted.

Some folks dragged you out to a Coliseum-event, turned the lions and tigers loose on you.....and just watched for the entertainment value.

Some folks who pursued a Christian life....found themselves on the run, eventually cornered, and then tied up on crosses as examples to other Christians.

Along the way, some Christians misused their philosophy and brought harm to those around themselves. They probably weren't true Christians, but the harm had been done.

Here we are today.  Some guy has tried to build and run a business along Christian values.  Guys like Donald Trump could never bring themselves to that level and would argue that it has no place in a business environment.  Somehow, Chick-Fil-A has survived, and made itself into a profitable enterprise.  They could have been bigger or better....without the Christianity involved....but they made both a public and private decision over this.  It is what it is.

Your best tactic in a hostile environment like this?  Stand and get "stoned" via the media or the hostile crowds.  As they hit you on one side....you turn to the other cheek.

When they scream at you....ask the good Lord to forgive them....they know not what they do.

When they drive up and perform some lewd act at the window or yell at you.....just say a silent prayer for them.....they really do need it.

When some wannabe journalist does his two-minute rant on how terrible your company is.....forgive him....he doesn't really have a job or much of a life to talk about.

Life will go on for Chick-Fil-A....mostly because of the nature that tomorrow will come and better times are always ahead.  Some guys back about two thousand years ago felt they could take down Christianity.....they more or less guessed wrong.  They aren't around to be interviewed on the Today Show, but you can look around the world and attest to the fact that these Christian guys have kinda survived a bunch of bad things.  You'd almost say that someone is looking over them....although you'd hate to think that God gets down into the weeds and among other things......fixes up some mighty fine fried chicken.

In the end, you need to forgive a bunch of folks.  That takes a bit of effort, I know.