Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Third District

It won't appear in your national news, your local newspaper, or anything much that you read.  Across the river from me....is Maryland, and there is a nifty congressional district that they've created.  The third district.

So you look at the map and find the dark areas, and then you start laughing at the twists and turns to make the third district exist.

Who is responsible for this?  The state legislature....which is run by the Democrats currently.  Once you start a district on paper....it has to continue to touch all parts of the region, which this does....with the exception of a coastal area to the south.

The media?  Well....it has been observed and mentioned in Maryland papers....to a minor degree.  The Washington Post came to mention the comical side of this district in today's paper.

The purpose of the twists?  Well...you get the right people voting in the right elections.  It's that simple.

US-Iran Nuclear Treaty

What does a US-Iran nuclear treaty change.....if it were to happen....let's say in the next two weeks?

Well...it gives the news guys almost an entire day of no election topic except this magnificent treaty that the administration was able to conclude and save the world from yet another war.  Kissenger can crawl out of the closet and give a dozen interviews.  All of the former Carter-era foreign policy experts will get at least an hour or two with the big news networks.  Hillary Clinton can probably find enough time in one afternoon to do sixteen interviews.

It helps the Obama administration on the foreign policy issue.  It helps people feel a perception that peace may have been found...in our time.

On the other side of this scale...it's basically a fake treaty of sorts for Iran and merely buys them another three years to keep working on what they have in the secret underground research facilities.  The Israeli folks will be disturbed over lack of any knowledge with the treaty being worked out.  And most foreign governments will be amused over what looks like a Chamberlain-moment (1938), where a treaty merely led to World War II.

The odds of such a treaty occurring?  A month ago....I would have said one-percent.  Today....probably a eighty-percent chance.

So as next week flows through.....expect somewhere around the last week of the month for this huge announcement of a treat with Iran.  Don't bother watching the news....just skip over to ESPN and watch the sports news.  There's not much you can grasp out of this....except it's stuff written on a piece of paper.

My Local Neighborhood

Here in Arlington, we have a couple of malls....one of them is the dying mall over at Ballston Common.  I call it dying because there's just no real business left in this place.  It has a multi-plex theater up on the top level, an ice-skating rink, and maybe sixty stores around the place, with a dozen places to eat.  The key to the mall is that it's got four levels.

Well...two days ago....this guy was up around the top level, and apparently dropped a Molotov cocktail down down into the food-court (the absolute bottom to the mall).  It starts a pretty minor fire but that was put out quickly, and it didn't hit anyone (there aren't that many folks who eat there anyway).

Cops got alerted.  They eventually find this guy (who I shall keep nameless).  What they can say is that he's an geeky engineer guy who has been unemployed for a couple of years.

So far, there's some charges mounting up.  There's even one federal charge....arson.  I'm guessing that he might be sent off for at least five years.

Explanation? None.  You get the impression that he was a nutcase....just waiting for the right time and right place.

So now, I need to worry about Molotov cocktails on top of the forty-four other things that could happen to me.

Bedford Falls and Pottersville

Normally, I wouldn't say anything....I'd just read the story and move on.  This bothered me.

Ken Burns....the guy who produces various documentaries for PBS....came out in the last day....to voice up support for President Obama and his campaign.  I don't fault any guy for taking any position.

What Ken wrote about though....was this vision from Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life", with Bedford Falls.  The alternate world that Jimmy Stewart fell into....was Pottersville.  If you remember....Bedford Falls got renamed because George Bailey wasn't there to protect the city.

America is headed to Pottersville....by Ken Burn's account....if you vote for Romney.

Once I read this comment of trying to use Bedford Falls in this context....it came to bother me.  So let's pause here to think over the wonderful Bedford Falls that could stay under the present administration.

They’d regulate businesses to the point that most would close down, and move off down the road to the next town.

Bedford Falls would have a crisis with the local banks because they might have money, but because of regulations...they really can’t loan money out unless you have outstanding collateral (zero risk is the hint here). 

Bedford Falls would be trying to lure energy companies to relocate into the town and provide set-up capital...only to find each company failing within a year and carving out the set-up capital as profit. 

Bedford Falls would tell you that 30 man-hours a week is the new full-time level (not forty hours). So you’d flip your employees over to 28-hour weeks to avoid any unnecessary new taxes that Bedford Falls created. 

Bedford Falls would have a problem in functioning beyond the mayor’s level. Out of the nine-man city council...the mayor just won’t talk to four members under any condition. So the mayor kinda runs the city by his orders. To be honest, Bedford Falls hasn’t had a real budget agreed upon by the full city council....in three years.

Bedford Falls has the highest pension level of any city in the state, but can’t possibly ever sustain that pension.  Folks ask stupid questions about this, but the city just says it can't fix it.

Bedford Falls has high priorities for the school and library in the city...to the point that it’s consuming a huge amount of the yearly revenue collected.

Bedford Falls has a great relationship with the union guys who run the garbage business, the sanitation business, and city operations.  They all see continual positive trends in cost, which the city always agrees upon.

Bedford Falls has empty houses, which the banks can’t get rid of, and they sit mostly empty.

Bedford Falls would like to fix it's budget situation, but it generally means raising property taxes on the wealthy folks of the town.  As the mayor says....you need to pay your fair share.  After two or three rises in the property tax over a couple of years....the wealthy saddle up and leave town.  The houses get flipped over....all losing money in the process.  No one in the mayor's office can explain why property values are sinking.

Yeah, Bedford Falls might have been a neat place to live years ago...but this modern-age Bedford Falls is Detroit, and it’s crumbling around the edges of society. End of story.

Ken Burns had one great four-star series back around twenty years ago.  Since then, there's one three-star series with baseball.  Otherwise, he hasn't done much of anything else worth talking about.  PBS keeps him active and I'd take a guess that they'd fund just about any documentary that he'd want to produce.  For Ken to pick up Bedford Falls and twist it around....well....he might want to think about America today, and just forget about Bedford Falls.  It was imaginary to start with, and it's still imaginary today.

Against the Law Now

This week....some folks down in Louisiana discussed the idea of a law against folks appearing in public....in pajamas.

The parish?  Caddo....Shreveport territory.  Having been stationed in the local area before....I can say this for the locals.  They tend to be fairly nice, courteous, and give folks an ample amount of space....yet be a bit on the conservative side.

Based on commentary, you can tell that some folks have been talking to the county commission members, and it's a major topic.  So they discussed it, and voted 8-3 to ban public wear of pajamas.

The general feeling in that area is that you could be just about anywhere....Piggly Wiggly, 7-11, some gas station, or even a bar-b-q shack, and there would be someone in pajamas.  In a public setting....it just doesn't work.

On the other side of this....one commissioner voted against it because he felt the government can't solve the problem.  Course, you could say the same thing about cutting the budget, taxes, consumption of alcohol, crime, murder, meth, or packs of wild dogs in your community.  The government probably can't solve any of those problems either.

My gut feeling is that someone will want to test the system now and get arrested in pajamas.  No one has mentioned the fine, but I'd take a guess of it being near $100.  Some fancy-pants lawyer will take the case, and fight this off to the Supreme Court.  All nine of the Supremes will privately say that this is the most stupid case they ever took on, and yet....they will have to take it into consideration.

For you folks who have to parade around at Piggly Wiggly in pajamas....my humble words are simple.  You look like you just fell out of bed, and accidentally forgot to change clothing.  Even jogging pants would look better.  I know you can buy a fancy pair of pajamas at the Dollar General store for $7, but it's meant for home use.  I would be agreeable if you mowed your grass in pajamas....as long as you stayed on your private property.  But don't go public at the Dixie Queen, or Mandy's Muffler Shop with pajamas.

The sad thing here....is that political folks actually had to waste time on this topic.  Heck, they could have outlawed dogs riding in the back of a truck.


This Little Guy

We are days away from the election, and whatever results come out of this.  There is this odd factor that you have to consider.

The little guy in America....really doesn't care for words spoken over MEDICARE....either it works or it doesn't work.

The little guy in America....doesn't care about Romney paying taxes or not.....he just wishes he didn't have to pay so much in taxes himself.

The little guy in America....doesn't care about the President's energy policy....he just wants cheap fuel and natural gas.

The little guy in America....doesn't care about debates....mostly because even a fool could stand up and talk for three hours and look like John Wayne but be totally bogus.

The little guy in America....doesn't care what Hollywood stars say about their political hopes....mostly because he knows they live in some fantasy-land and usually doped up or flipped-out on something.

The little guy in America....doesn't care about the Chevy Volt....mostly because it's a Chevy and Dad was a Ford-guy, and said never to buy a Chevy, period.

The little guy in America....mostly watches his local 5AM news....leaves home at 6AM to be at work at 7AM (driving 52 miles)....and might see some real news on Sunday morning.  He doesn't care what happens in Brazil, France, Greece, or Tonga.

The little guy in America....owns a gun or two, and if some idiots are about to bust down his door....he won't waste time calling the cops or worrying about the pursuit of life and liberty by dimwits at the door.

The little guy in America....doesn't know where North Korea is on the map, and frankly doesn't care if they threaten all out attack on America.  He knows that the US can press one button and dump forty nukes on the country in nine minutes....ceasing any issue.

The little guy in America....shops at Wal-Mart, Piggly Wiggly, and the Dollar Store.  If you tried to sell a $16 plain pair of underwear to him....he'd just laugh and ask why you didn't shop and buy the five-bagger of underwear at Wal-Mart for $7.99.

The little guy in America.... reminisces about watching Barney Miller, and how Dietrich was as brilliant as Einstein, then he's brought back to 2012 and realizes the vast number of idiots around the nation.

The little guy in America....has a priority system: (1) mow grass on Saturday, (2) take Monty to the vet for deworming, and somewhere around number 399, there's fact-checking CNN's fact-checking folks.

The little guy in America....doesn't much care about TSA games at the airport.  So he's drawn a circle and limits himself to 500 miles and a drive to the destination.

The little guy in America....trusts his barber....more than his Senator.

The little guy in America....hasn't read 2,300 pages of text since he graduated from high school forty years ago, but he finds it odd that his Representative voted for the Obama health-care bill without having read a single page.

The little guy is voting in a few days, and the truth is....he might not have watched a single negative TV ad, and just base his vote on the price of gas down at the 7-11 shop.  It could be that simple in the end.