Monday, 29 April 2013

My Neighborhood

Sometimes, you get a glimpse of how bad DC has become and just kinda trying to avoid thinking about how bad things have become.

DC, for those who aren't aware of it....has this unusual situation with its fire department.  Basically, they are at total odds with the Mayor, the fire chief, and the city council.  It's so bad.....that there hasn't been a contract for them to operate under....since 2007.

The chief cause?  Well....years and years ago....the fire department was essentially made up of a bunch of white guys.  They came in....got the jobs....and stayed long-term.  When openings occurred, they traditionally went to another white guy.

So as the 1970s and 1980s came around....the DC political establishment went to a strong black base.  Face it.....the city has a majority population base of blacks and they vote black in every single election.

A couple of years ago.....the mayor went out and did his best to find a qualified ranking black somewhere in the nation, and brought him here to DC as the chief of the fire and rescue service.  From day one, there's a general feeling that he just isn't up to the job and is there more to lean on the hiring of more blacks for the fire department.

Last month, the fire department had a meeting, and a vote of 'no-confidence' occurred with the fire chief. It doesn't mean much....but it's one of those oddball things that will determine his next job offer and just how he can't fit into some other job.

So this week, the newest episode came up.  The mayor looked at the Boston episode, and has said that the DC fire department can't possibly react in a good manner to such an extreme emergency....if it were to happen in DC.  The logic?  Well....the boys had someone pull up the mapping of the every member of the fire department and figured out where they live.

A mere 28 percent of the fire department live in the DC area.  Sadly almost fifty percent live within the next 30 miles, and almost 30 percent live more than thirty miles away.  The hint here?  Close to eighty percent of the fire department are non-DC guys.  They live in Virginia or Maryland.  They pay taxes in those states, and are taking good jobs away from the DC crowd.

Mayor Gray is suggesting a definite weakness in DC....how they can't act or work to handle serious episodes.  The comical side of this....even if he had every single fireman show up in one hour.....he'd still have to call out to Maryland and Virginia fire resources, and within the same hour.....a thousand of their best men would be on the scene as well.  The mayor didn't mention that though.

DC is like some third-world banana republic....always working at an angle.....trying to rig things to fit into their tidy mess.

Watch That Next Step

I watched Stossel this weekend, on Fox News.  He had an episode on the coming medical changes.  Among them....the additional codes (around 100,000 new codes for doctor's to use).

So there's this one code: y92250.  This is the right code to indicate that you were walking around an art gallery, and happened to fall...injuring yourself in a minor or serious way.

A guy from Bama would examine this concept....falling at an art gallery.  He'd do some pondering.

First, from the entire state of Alabama, there just wouldn't be many guys falling down at a art gallery....mostly because we don't frequent such places much.  Tractor-pulls...maybe.  But not art galleries.

Second, from the entire state of Alabama, we'd be more likely to fall at a church, a bar-b-q stew event, a county fair, or on the steps of Wanda's trailer-home at the trailer-court.  Course, there's no codes for any of these events.

Third, you just have to wonder if there's thousands of folks falling over at art galleries and the Obama team just felt this ought to be noted in official terms.  But then you'd ask yourself.....what the heck made so many folks fall?  Slippery floors, fancy Chinese-floor-wax, lusty women catching some guys attention at the wrong moment, or perhaps some banana peels left on the floor (I saw that in a Three Stooges movie once).

Fourth, why would any idiot even admit to an injury at an art gallery?  If I had to go to a doctor and admit some stupid injury like this.....I'd say it was from the backyard, or taking a wrong step at the garden section at Wal-Mart, or maybe telling some story of chasing cows in some field.  Why would you admit you were injured in some art gallery?

So I come to this conclusion.  Some idiot on the Obama team fell many years ago while at some art gallery, and they felt (that one person out of 300 million), that it must be a common event and needs to be noted on computer records.

Course, as you gather statistics.....we might eventually come to realize that 16 people a year are injuries at public art galleries.  This would open up the expenditures book, and the federal government could give millions to fancy public art galleries, to help them fix their issues causing injury.  That's the only logical reason for this.  Would we spend $44 million a year to help prevent 16 people from future falls at art galleries?  Yeah....we are probably that stupid.

Sadly, this is the world we live in.

That Gun

It is a topic that the anti-gun crowd always jumps on and gets all hyper about.....to many semi-automatic weapons in America....too much access....too many mass shootings.  The weapon that usually gets them really peppy?  The AR-15.

I went and did some reasearch.  It is believed that around 2,446,294 AR-15s reside in America.  It's a rough number....coming from NICS statistics....based on sales and how many were exported and how many remained within the US.  The number?  Compliments of the Slate and an article from December 2012.

Roughly 2.5 million AR-15's within the US.  How many mass shootings could be attributed to the weapon over the past decade?  So far, I can only find three cases that seem to fit.  So this would mean that three owners....out of 2,446,294 owners.....did something stupid and morally wrong.

I have this thing about statistics.  You have to think about the vast nature of this.  If you had 2,446,294 owners of a Ford Mustang, and expected only three of them over a decade to have a car accident.....it just couldn't happen.  There would be dozens....if not several hundred....in an accident.

It's like handing fireworks over to 2,446,294 teenage boys and expecting only three of them to sustain injuries.  It just won't happen.  It'll be dozens of minimum injuries 

It's like having 2,446,294 people who buy a house, and only three of them go into bankruptcy and lose their house.  Statistically.....it just won't happen.  Hundreds, if not thousands, would normally go and lose their house.

The AR-15 is this odd weapon.  It attracts attention....for the wrong reasons.

Should we worry about the AR-15?  To be honest....there's probably a higher chance of you getting killed in a car accident with a Ford Mustang, than getting shot by a AR-15.

So the bottom line?  There's a bunch of folks that you probably don't need to worry much about....the owners of the AR-15.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Question of Citizenship

It's a simple story to tell, but it's difficult to imagine where this leads onto.

There's this big-named California Democratic Party member.....Bob Wieckowski.....who is pushing an interesting bill for the state legislature.  It would open up this concept of who can be on juries in California.  Up until now....in all fifty states.....you had to be a US citizen.  Bob's idea?  Non-US citizens on California juries.

So you sit there and imagine some scenarios.  You get into some trouble.....maybe assault from some bar where you accidentally clobbered the bouncer for saying something about your ethnic background.  You walk into court with a $2k a day fancy-pants lawyer.  About an hour into your case, you suddenly realize that two members of the jury picked for the case....aren't American citizens.  One gal is from Mexico City and been in the US for eleven years.  The other is a Chinese guy named Wong who has a working knowledge of English, but been in the country for less than six months.  You start shaking your head, and your lawyer is all negative about this.  You'd like for the judge to stop this case, but the dimwit has to obey state law and your whole case is questionable.

The folks who wrote the Constitution over two hundred years ago....couldn't have imagined a case where non-citizens were part of the judicial process.

What stops the state from bringing in non-citizen judges?  That would be the next logical step.  The California state police force made up of ten-percent non-US citizens?  The state prison system run by a manager who is a Russian citizen?

At some point, your line of questions will start to confuse things even more.    

Course, here's the sadder point.  These non-citizens might be more competent to ask stupid questions and have a higher expectation of what ought to be handed out as punishment.  And they might have actually watched two thousand hours of Matlock, Perry Mason, and Murder She Wrote while in their home country.

Heck, at some point, we might even learn that we had a non-citizen President in our midst and didn't even know it.

The Three Tsarnaevs

Not that I really care....but I've sat and watched commentary from the three Tsarnaev family members who all had reactions to the two young gentlemen in Boston.  It's a pretty wide split on their words and beliefs.

First, dad....all soaked-up in passion and disbelief.  He can't understand any of this, and just says over and over that neither son was into fanatic Islam.  I've seen enough to believe that he's convinced of this.  Commentary yesterday indicated that he's in a hospital or clinic right now with significant stomach pains. I'm guessing that he's got some bad case of an ulcer.

Then there's mom.  She comes across as a nutcase who is extremist in nature and I think the only true Muslim of the whole family.  Her interviews....her comments....all make him think that she knows more and probably encouraged the son to be religiously active with the jihad folks.  There's no sorrow in her voice or character....with the one son dead and the other permanently in prison.  You'd expect some tears and weeping....and you just aren't going to get that out of her.  That's the odd thing.

Finally, there's the uncle who lives here in Maryland.  I get the impression that he's the hardest working guy on the face of the Earth and has pretty high expectations out of his relatives to abide by civilization and it's rules.  Every time he speaks....he's pretty much hyping up the fact that he's living in the greatest place on Earth and could not be happier anywhere else.  His first public commentary over the two punks?  "Losers", and he emphasized that to the ninth degree.

So you are left with an oddball family.  Someone is going to eventually write a book on them....but I just can't see how you get to a "truth" with this family.  Something about all of this just doesn't fit.

Iceland's Prison Shift

One of the neat things about riding Iceland Air (my trip this past week)....is that you get to watch Icelandic movies and TV shows as part of their video program.  So I finally had a chance to watch three episodes of the Prison Shift....a comedy series.  I doubt if they made more than ten episodes of the series, and they usually run for about 23 minutes.

There are these three losers from Iceland, for varying reasons....have made it to an Icelandic prison.  One is a half-wit guy who seems to bumble his way from one episode to another, and has now found prison to be a wonderful life (no taxes, free food, comfortable bedroom, free laundry, free mail, etc).  The second guy (Daniel) is stressed out over just about everything and would be smoking weed five or six times a day if they offered it to him.  And finally, there's the communist....a character who ought to be some Latin American dictator, but instead runs the hallway in his section and wears a prison-guard-like uniform mostly because the management guys don't have a rule that really stops him from looking like them.

I admit....it's all in English sub-titles, but if you have the chance to get the DVD of the series....Prison Shift.....get it and enjoy some old fashioned humor....with a Icelandic slant on it.

An Observation or Two

After a week off....I returned from a trip to Germany.

Just some observations.  When you walk through immigration for the EU....either in Germany or Iceland....there's no stupid paperwork like you have in the US.

How long does it take to stand in line in Germany or Iceland?  I've never stood for more than fifteen minutes ever.  Today....it was almost an hour here at Dulles....with only four stations open for 500 US citizens to pass through.

The number of stupid questions that a German or Icelandic customs guy will ask?  None.  The number of stupid questions that a US border/customs guy will ask? Minimum of three.  Six months ago....I had a fresh new idiot question thrown at me....what airline did I fly?  I said Delta.....but it wasn't Delta.  They don't know, nor do they care.

The luggage cops?  Here in the US....I stood there for three minutes waiting in line with my bag and that stupid declaration form....to get out of the affected area.  In Germany?  There's rarely ever a customs guy there, and they've already done their home-work....picking you out from the various cameras.

Could we fire half the Customs guys in the US? Yes.  It wouldn't take that much effort to build a scanner box....that you step into....scans your fingerprints and the passport barcode.  It could even pose five stupid questions, and get answers to make the system happy.  We could let three thousand of these guys go and find other work.  Why won't they make the move?  I suspect that the Feds are hyper that computers would start replacing everyone

What do most Americans think after having run off to Europe?  That would be an interesting thing that Congress ought to ask.  But I suspect they don't want the answer.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

The Lessons of the Week

After you sit and review the stuff in Boston, you come away with some lessons.

First, it only take a little bit of brain-washing to get some kid who grew up in America to be all happy and gleeful over killing innocent men, women and children.  These two idiots weren't capable or rational enough at their youthful age to ask stupid questions or just things right away.

Second, the Boston cops have readily proven that there's not reason why you shouldn't have a AR-15 rifle or any assault rifle around, with magazines capable of holding thirty rounds.  You can't readily depend on the cops, and you can't speculate or guess when some Islam nutcase might pull up in your driveway.  Five to ten rounds....might not be enough, and you don't need to fumble around with a second magazine of ammo.

Third, digital cameras ought to be at every single sports event in America.....at least forty in every stadium.

Fourth, when some idiot mayor or police chief has said a nutcase is in your neighborhood, and then eight hours later....says it's ok to walk out and do regular stuff, but they haven't caught the guy yet.....common sense ought to dictate that they are fools.

Fifth and final, the sad truth is that you can't be safe anywhere.  You could be at some soccer game, a political rally, a circus, or even a church meeting.....and have some nut show up to cause harm.

Losers

Most of the Boston bombing episode is now done.  After fifteen different directions on the culprits....we had the right picture, and then the right names, and tonight.....have ended their path in life.

The best description of the two young men?  Losers.

They came to America in their youth, and we offered them opportunity.  They attended good schools.  They lived in comfort.  They had family support.  They avoided trouble as kids.  You could have written a decent book over both young men in thirty or forty years, and how they took advantage of life in America.

In this case, they had this anchor around their neck.....their religion, and it basically meant doom for themselves and innocent Americans who never even met them.

Their religion used them like pawns in some game.

Their religion treated them like losers, and told them every opportunity taken in life....was wasted....now you need to kill...maim...destroy, and prepare to die in some religious ritual where everything is wonderful in the next life.

Wannabe journalists will spend hours upon hours on TV for the next week trying to explain this.  But the honest truth?  Two young losers, who were taken by their religion, and used to destroy lives.  Nothing more.

Friday, 19 April 2013

American Logic


Simply Observations

This half-an-hour rant of the President's words on the failed gun bill episode, on Tuesday afternoon.....was theater politics at best.  I would suspect that he upset a few Democrats along the way, and frankly.....the speech will be remembered for being a "rant" more than significant words.  Amazingly, he didn't work up a national address the week before to put more pressure on the Senators....but maybe he just didn't think it was worth it.

If you are a resident, and have a fertilizer factory within a mile of your house.....you might be concerned about your chances of survival if it blows up.  How many Americans fall into this category?  Don't know.  This Texas episode with the factory blowing up.....might shift people around to ask more questions.

The word is out....one of my favorite all-time shows....Dexter....will produce it's final season.  How it all comes to an end....will be a curious episode.

Finally, it's an odd but direct comment....the Chrysler CEO....came out and said that governments are wrong to see battery-operated cars as the ultimate solution to economy and pollution issues.  He stressed that governments ought to be plain-neutral on where technology ought to be heading and stand to the side.  Chrysler might have accidentally found themselves a five-star CEO....stranger things have happened.

The Ricin-Nut

The feds have come to pick up the nutcase who did the ricin-in-the-letter routine to the President and Senator Wicker of Mississippi.

Based on comments....I'd consider this guy to be a four-star nut-job, but not nuts enough to put into a mental institute 

Paul Kevin Curtis.

His chief thing in life which he is noted for?   An Elvis impersonator.  Oh, and his numerous letters to various DC political figures.  Apparently, the cops in DC even had him in a database, and it didn't take more than twenty-four hours to figure out it was this guy.

His occupation?  At one point, he was a clean-up guy at a local morgue in Mississippi.  He tells some folks that he once found an entire bag of body parts (head included), at the morgue.

Later, he was convinced that the cops were watching him, and possibly video taping his every move.  He blamed his house burning down....on other folks.  He blames his car explosion.....on other folks.  He even blamed his bankruptcy....on other folks.

At some point, Curtis even tells folks that he is on the front-lines  of some secret war in America.

In Mississippi....as it would in Bama....folks take note of such talk, and generally identify you as a harmless nutcase.  The sad thing.....he could have bought a pistol or rifle....while still being this crazy....but didn't need it because he had the ricin-poison instead.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

An Air Force Story

There was an air show planned out in Ohio this summer.  The Air Force had called off its participation....because of the sequestration, but the planner guys for this town's air show wanted to have a big four-star episode.  It's hard to figure out how you'd do a magnificent show....without the Air Force planes being there.

Well.....so the boys met and discussed things, and realized that a B-29 bomber would be at the show.  The B-29, for those of you who are history buffs......is the plane that was used to drop nukes over Japan.

So suddenly, this nifty idea came from the planning team.  They'd have the B-29 launch, and actually come down to a decent altitude  and then .....at the right moment over the show area....drop a bomb-like device....probably a fifty-gallon barrel of water.  Then with the sun starting to set, and the bomb impacting on the ground in front of the crowd.....this fireworks show would start up.....with a nuke-like cloud.

Now, there should have been several folks at the meeting who just immediately would say....this is real stupid.  But apparently, these were all former Air Force guys, and nothing was going to stop them (you know the tune).

So word got out, and some Japaneses folks are real upset.  And then some local folks got all upset.

So the B-29 flight is cancelled completely.  The fireworks show, gone now.  And folks have quiet down now about the whole show.

This is how screwed up things in life occur.  A couple of guys....thinking up a stupid idea....no one stopping them, and then everything goes into the toilet days later as the plan comes to light.

When Being Handsome is Illegal

Occasionally, you find these oddball stories that the news media won't really cover, and it just gets lost in a mountain of news stuff.

So here is the basic story.  Three guys, on a trip into Saudi Arabia  from Emirates (one of those little kingdoms around the edge of Saudi Arabia)....went to a Saudi festival.

Now, I can't say how Saudi festivals go....but I'm guessing there are rides, cotton candy, magic mirrors, and all the normal trappings of a county fair.

The protection of the festival goes to the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices....basically a bunch of old guys with wooden sticks and they decide what's civil or correct behavior.    For Bama folks, this is kinda like a bunch of Baptist deacons, on a caffeine surge, and walking around the county fair with walking canes to whack folks.

The Commission guys come up on the three dudes from the Emirates.  You can only imagine this scene.  Basically, the Commission guys determine that the three Emirates guys....are just too handsome to hang around the festive event.  They had fear that Saudi women would fall all over themselves, and walk across that mythical line of purity.

The Commission guys then kicked the three Emirates dudes out of the caravel.  Escorted to the front gate, and just plain kicked out.  All because of their fine looks and manly appearance.

So I looked over this, and pondered a while.  It is a sad thing....when you are too handsome to hang around a county fair or festival.  When a guy has reached this stage and life, and is told that he just can't be seen in public because he looks like a combination of Porter Wagoner, Brett Favre, Johnny Cash, and Paul Newman.....it really cuts down your off-duty hours.  All you can do is mow grass, tend to your fence-mending, shop at Piggly Wiggly, and discuss car transmissions with your engineer buddies.

Life can be that unfair.....too handsome to do anything but avoid public attention.  Women would toss away their discipline, deny any knowledge of NCAA football, admit they vote Republican occasionally, drink beer from the bottle, and even admit that they could do some bass fishing if necessary.  All in the interest of your fair looks.

These Commission guys must know something.  Think God that they don't operate in Bama.  As for the three Emirates guys?  My advice is not to give up.  If you got the looks of Porter Wagoner, I wouldn't step down a notch.

Just Observations

This dimwit who did the recording job on Senator McConnell's re-election strategy?  Well....it's an interesting thing.....that none of the big media guys will comment on.  This guy was inside the White House....at a special meeting with officials connected to the President....just days before he put his audio tape out to the public.  Connections?  Well.....there just aren't that many folks who get an invitation to the White House.  He was invited, and likely felt pretty special.  If this had been a reverse situation with political hacks attending a Bush White House meeting....with Karl Rove....it'd be on CNN, ABC, and the rest.  Today?  Nothing.  This is why the major news organizations amount to nothing much today.

The immigration bill coming out in the Senate in the next forty-eight hours?  It's a total of 844 pages.  Even if you started reading now....it'd take two full days (at least forty-eight hours) to read the whole thing.  The odds of any Senator reading the entire thing?  Zero.  That's democracy at work....voting on something that you can't possibly read.

Finally, some science people have gone out and done this survey, with shocking results.  Just a taste of beer....makes you want to have more.  One taste, and the body reacts.....giving you a desire for more.  Now I have to go back to those various Baptist ministers I heard as a kid....in the dry-county atmosphere....and think about how right they were.  Course, I can say this.....just standing near the counter of a Dunkin-Donuts establishment ...intending to get a coffee only....and seeing those beautiful delicious glazed donuts....force me into buying a couple (never one).  I think scientist ought to review the power of donuts as well.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Immigration Reform Spiral

For the last two weeks....immigration reform has been discussed and hyped up by every major news organization.  The 'gang of eight' episode is it....all tied into one basket....do or die.

Well....there's this little piece that came out in the last day or two....to explain how the proposed reform would work.

There are these little triggers to must start....in order for any of the mechanism in ten years to occur, and you, the illegal, get your American citizenship.

First, Homeland security has just six months to create, fund, and start a real border security plan.  If they fail....the whole mess stops right there.  You can imagine the boys over at Homeland Security....sitting there and drinking coffee, and just not willing to be pushed around on some lousy mandated six-month schedule.

Second, Homeland Security must fund the border fence construction, with a six-month window to develop and implement this.  The odds?  Less than fifty percent.  Course, they will plan and implement forty-four different bridge projects with no real urgency.

Third, Homeland Security must somehow, by a miracle perhaps....achieve a one-hundred percent awareness and ninety percent success in high-risk areas of the border area.  They are given five years to achieve this.  The odds....I'd give less than twenty percent chance of a success rate here.

Fourth?  A universal E-verify program must be implemented within the next ten years.  This means it actually has to work.  A work-visa program also has to be in place within the same period.

My humble opinion is that this whole reform thing by the 'gang of eight' is mostly bogus, and just for show.  It trips out the President's summer agenda and leaves the rest of 2013 for mostly budget talks.  As for you illegal folks?  Don't bet too much on any success with this.  Mostly because of Homeland Security.....the success of this mess is really screwed up.

To fix this?  Well....if it's like my roof.....I'd hire a couple of illegals to run Homeland Security, and get things fixed up the right way.  But that would upset some folks.

The Car Thing

America is a land of regulation.  We've been that way....since the Constitution was written.  Sometimes....it's a positive thing.  Most of the time, it's an issue of a burden, which outlives itself.

There's this little regulation that we wrote back in 1968.  Nothing is clear about 'why' it was necessary.  The regulation basically states that when you construct a car in America....the light switch can only go from low-beam to high-beam or vice-versa.....period.  Maybe in 1968, there was someone out there with fancy ideas of a medium-beam or ultra-high beam....you just don't know.

So, today....Audi is standing there and asking that the regulation be tossed out.  The reason?  They've been messing around with LED bulbs, putting a number of them into the light assembly.  They've put sensors into the car....to actually see ahead.  The sensor will pick up oncoming vehicles, note the light situation, and adjust without any hand movement or foot movement.  The nifty thing?  The light sensor might adjust enough so that a very low beam is now extended out....not affecting on-coming traffic, but giving you a plus-up on just what you see on the road.

But Audi can't deliver this bold new concept to America, unless some idiots change the regulation.

A guy from Bama would be curious about this.  So naturally....he'd ask questions.  Well....this option only comes with the A8, which runs at a minimum of $72k, and the option itself?  It will run around $3k, if it's approved by the US government.

Would you pay for a fancy sensor and light assembly....say $3k?  Would you be willing to part with $72k to get a car with just about everything you dreamed of?

That's the problem.

My humble guess is that maybe a dozen folks throughout the whole state of Alabama might be willing to go and buy such a car.  Most guys would quickly figure up the relationship here....you could buy four Ford F-150's for that amount, or three Mazda MX-5s.  It's not something that would draw you to spend that kind of money.  Course, the other side of this is that it'd be a car that you'd keep for ten years, and likely still be worth $10k at the ten-year point.  But then you wouldn't want to spoil the backseat with bait and tackle, your hunting dog, or such.

The plus-side?  There would be a hundred folks to make their way over to your house, and ask you to demonstrate your light assembly.  Folks would rig up cars to approach on a driveway, and watch in amazement from their lawn chairs as the light switched from high to low on it's own.  You might eventually earn a nickname in the local town...."Audi" Jones.

Stranger things in life have occurred in Bama.

The Boston Bomb Guy?

At the beginning of the episode in Boston.....with the curious note of some Saudi college student being detained....I had a belief that this might all lead to him and was just one Muslim guy.  In the last couple of hours, you can sense that the FBI isn't getting any connection out of this guy, and nothing in house leads onto more clues.  His involvement?  Probably just an innocent bystander.

So who did it?

Possibly North Korean agents?  Well....it wouldn't be difficult for a couple of guys to pick up the materials....manufacture the bombs in the back of a rental van, and place them at the right spots.

Possibly some nutcase 16-year old kid?  Everything used could have been bought for less than a thousand bucks.  There's probably 100k teenage kids who would have been smart enough to do it in the US.

Possibly some Latino drug gang?  There's not much to gain except the feds on your tail.  If there's no profit, why bother?

Possibly the Aryan Brotherhood guys....just demonstrating their abilities?  It wouldn't surprise me, but they would have left some calling card to show their involvement.

In the end, I think you are looking for one guy.  He's bought three pressure cookers from some Wal-Mart or Dollar-General Store.  He's probably a guy with an agenda but always talking up the fairness of life.  He's smart.....maybe a year or two of college.  He might even have a tour in the Army within his background.  The key thing?  He's made a mistake or two.  Some photo is going to pin him with a back-pack and by this weekend....the nation will be searching for him.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

My Neighborhood

Across the river, into DC....you occasionally come across some nifty methods of corruption.  So today, there's a fascinating item.

The Mayor of DC....has this concept that he's been tossing around, and finally got a budget for it.  The city, with all it's ills of kids just not graduating....is going to spend around $1.5 million on a space station simulator for the DC public school system.  It has all these almost realistic space station consoles, wiz-bang communications equipment, and some control room equipment to look real 'spacey'.

Kids would enter into this space station....take directions from their science teacher....and accomplish some actions over a tour-hour period...with a few experiments along the way.

How does this work?

Well....you start by finding a fancy consulting company that offers to provide the hardware, the software, and the teacher's manuals.  There's no bidding process, so basically....whatever they say....is the magic number you pay.  Interestingly enough....it's a nice round $1.5 million.  It's hard to imagine how evenly this comes out.

A smart consultant will ensure numbers look good, but there's enough built into the estimate and delivery....that someone within the city structure will walk away with some cash.  I can't imagine the amount in this case, but it wouldn't shock me if several folks on the city council got $5k each to nod on approval, and the mayor probably did most of the talking and probably got double or triple that amount.

The neat thing about this....there's always add-on's.  You get some more updated software.  There's an update to the kid's manuals.  Then there's an update to the experiments.  So the $1.5 million will flip over in two years and another $750k will be necessary for consultant fees and costs.  Fee's off that?  Yeah, there will be another cut of money for someone else in the government later.

It's interesting how so many kids graduated from school in the 1970s and 1980s....without any fancy science gear and went on to pretty productive lives.  The odds of any DC kid being a NASA engineer later in life?  Maybe two kids of twenty thousand, that's my humble guess.  But it's a great way to flush $1.5 million.


Sunday Night

I sat on Sunday night, and watched an odd program on CNN...."Parts Unknown" with Anthony Bourdain.  CNN has decided to shuffle up its programming, and this is one of the replacement episodes.

Bourdain went off to Burma, and walked around noting culture and food.  Not that I'd ever be one to eat Burmise food....but after twenty minutes, I had to admit it was kinda interesting.

It was National Geographic....without all that modern science or climate change crap that they dump out these days.

Would I watch it again?  Probably so.  The numbers folks indicate that a fair amount of people actually shifted from Fox News over to Parts Unknown.  Maybe CNN can change (I'm not betting on it though).

Simply Observations

The Boston bombs?  News sources say there were a total of seven planted, of which two went off.  It doesn't appear to be fancy work.  Based on comments....it appears to all be materials that you could pick up and design yourself.  This continued comment of a Saudi national (student on a visa)?  Don't know....cops won't say anything about this kid.  Cops apparently did act fast on apprehending the Saudi, which makes you wonder if someone had noted something and already reported him.

There's some comments out there that the 'gang of eight' immigration bill is a couple votes shy of sixty.  They got at least four Republicans lined up to vote for it.  But apparently there are a couple of Democrats lined up to vote against it.  Go figure.

That fancy drone medal that the Air Force fixed up and had approval over?  Well....it got cancelled over the weekend. Not much comment by the Air Force.  The problem was that they had it ranked in order over the Bronze Star folks, and that irked a bunch of former Army and Marine personnel.  The end of the mess?  I'm guessing that the Air Force will sit tight for a year, and then try to bring back the medal....at a lesser standing.  The truth is that they need something to hand out....that doesn't fit for regular medals.

Fake charities set up within hours for the Boston Marathon bomb episode?  Yep, it only took around three hours for someone to put at least one on-line, and start attracting cash to their operation.  Kind of funny how the internet world opens up a vast new method of scamming folks.

Finally, "Lumpy" Rutherford passed on this past weekend. Lumpy was the big kid on Leave it to Beaver.  He generally had something to say....on every single matter.  I'm guessing this was a guy who walked around the rest of his life pretty satisfied over a minor character on a TV show, and probably used some of his TV quotes on a daily basis.

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Hot-Dog Guy

One of the dozen-or-so restaurants in Tucson, Arizona that I got addicted to....in my years there....was the Wienershnitzel hot-dog place.

For a five-star hot-dog, with extra relish and some fine chilli over it....this was the place to go.

Over the weekend....John Galardi died.  It wouldn't really matter much because no one much has ever heard his name.  He's the guy that developed the idea of Wienershnitzel hot dog stands, and pushed them out over twenty-odd states.

No, there are none in Bama.  The closest that you might find is in Louisiana.

The thing about this idea....it's not brilliant or such.  This is simply a guy who noted that great hot-dogs cost more than average hot-dogs.  People are willing to pay more....and travel further, just to find the right mix.
 
Oh, and the corn dogs?   It's the only place in America that makes real state-fair type corn dogs.   Note, they are loaded with fat and sodium, but go great with spicy mustard.

An Awful Rocky Uneven Deep Pit of a Trail

When this immigration bill appears this week from the 'gang of eight'....it's going to lead to some various comments and ill feelings....from all sides.

What I thought was funny....going over the Sunday commentary of the 1,500-page bill....was that no one would get any kind of chance for citizenship....for ten years as a minimum.  A number of things had to happen.  If you wanted into the path....you had to stand up and admit you were already in the country back at the end of 2011.  This means any fancy ideas from idiots to rush in now....gets them nowhere.

What would an illegal get?  Just a piece of paper allowing you to work here....legally....paying US taxes, and social security.....and totally ineligible for Obama-care or welfare.  You can finally show some card to the boss and demand minimum wage....which he either pays or tells you to move on while he hires another new fresh illegal (the likely result in fifty percent of all cases today).

For those who've been around for ten to twenty years....it might not be such a bad idea.  They've had patience, and they've been quietly working.  The vast majority....probably over ninety percent....have been law-abiding people.

If you tried to say it was a trail or pathway to citizenship....this would be an awful long and torturous path.  It'd be like telling a guy to drive from Mobile to Chicago......via Nebraska.  A guy with patience.....might be willing to drive all the way to Nebraska....to make this trip successful.  A lesser man, with no patience....would just laugh and say no way.  

Saturday, 13 April 2013

When You Need a Hegan-kid

You can lay out the scene.

Teacher has opened up class....fourth grade kids.  Just about anything the teacher says....is considered gospel.

So homework is dispensed one day.  The take-home project?  The project is a written piece where the student describes that he is willing to give up some of his or her Constitutional Rights, to gain a safer or more secure situation in life.  It was part of the teacher's civics class.

Most parents, upon finding something like this....would ask some stupid questions.  So the first parent to stumble across this....in Florida....asked for the intention of the class....the curriculum.    Now this starts to become interesting.  The idea was to get kids to prioritize which rights they were willing put emphasize on, and which they could just toss if necessary.

Where did this come from?  Well...likely from the framers of the Constitution back in the 1770s period, where they put a numerical value on each right, and once you hit 66 on a numerical value....you were maxed out on rights.  If you were looking for such stupidity.....it doesn't exist and none of the framers would have done such a thing unless they'd been in a drunken stupor.

The school board?  Well....they eventually came back this week to explain their logic....that kids needed to broaden their horizons.

I'm only guessing here, but if someone can corner the school board and ask them point-blank questions....it might get interesting   Would they be willing to give up their Constitutional Right to vanilla ice cream?  Would they be willing to give up their Constitutional Right to gaze upon tube-topped women?  Would they be willing to give up their Constitutional Right to red ink pens?  Would they be willing to give up their Constitutional Right to have fries with the burger?  One or two of the board folks might have a laugh at that point.

But let's make this even more interesting.....asking them to list the Bill of Rights.  There's only ten to it.  It ought to be easy to recite.  I'm betting they don't get past five rights.

If this is all about prioritizing things....then lets go one better.  You have three choices: (1) go borrow $80k to get a degree in French literature, (2) charge $50k on your credit card and make $1,000 monthly payments just to stay stable, or (3) stay in your dad's basement for the rest of your life while he gives you $40 a week pocket money and you drink from his private stock of buttermilk and beer.  Which makes more sense?  The right answer?  None of them.

The right answer for the teacher's project?  None of the rights are up to give you a safer world.  And a counter question to the teacher.....how will they protect you from an unsafe world?  I don't think they'd like to answer that.

All you need in today's school world....is one smart-ass kid (from the age I grew up....this Hegan-kid).  The teacher would sit there and pose some stupidity, and the Hegan would just raise his hand and ask if this was true or bogus.  By the time this kid was 14, they should have just handed him a graduation slip and let him out the back door.....he just wasn't in the same league and the teachers were looking more and more like idiots.  Florida is in need of a few Hegans.  I'm pretty sure he would have pulled out his own personal copy of the Constitution and noted for the teacher that these just weren't prioritized.

Sadly, I just can't make this stuff up.

This Rainwater Tax Episode

So here is the episode.  The EPA came out and said it was all terrible in the water run-off that went into the Chesapeake Bay from Maryland.  This was destroying the bay.  So the contraption that was worked out to the total agreement of the EPA (a federal device, remember)....was that Maryland would create a state rainwater tax.

So the way this works.....you own a house, and it has either seepage plus or run-off minus.  You add up the roof, then the driveway, the garage, and the various solid areas.  How much is the tax?  Well....in this case, it works backwards.  The political folks added up what it'd take to make the EPA happy, and roughly $15 billion was the number.  So the ten biggest counties in Maryland are supposed to figure out the square footage, and then deliver a bill for you to pay.

How would you avoid the tax?  Well....you could start by ripping up your driveway and just making it dirt.  Never mind the $12k that you paid for asphalt back fifteen years ago.  You could yank up the concrete patio on the rear of the house.  You could arrange rainwater barrels to catch all the water off your roof (like the Germans do).

Course, Maryland would still have to collect the $15 billion, so they'd have to double-up the tax within a year or two after you make your advantages known.

The other side of the episode?  Well....parking lots for malls, casinos, and office buildings will be the biggest contributor to the $15 billion fund.  So they will all have to insert more costs into their operations.    Cheaper goods in Virginia?  Yes.  Cheaper gas in Virginia?  Yes.  Cheaper tennis shoes at the malls in Virginia?  Yes.

After a while, folks will figure out the cost angle and mostly shop out of state.  The $15 billion tag?  It'll just become more diversified.  Eventually....the paving industry in Maryland will complain that they have little if any business.

All of this....because the EPA was upset about how rainwater rain into the bay.  Living in a civilized world cost a lot.  You might eventually agree that moving to a uncivilized state....like West Virginia....might be a wise financial idea.  

Friday, 12 April 2013

What Paul Harvey Would Have Said About Gun Laws

Occasionally, I will pick up my 'Paul Harvey-pen', and write a piece that only he would visualize and speak.  Today is one of those days.

In the beginning, God made the law, and it was very simple.  Thy shalt not kill.

There wasn't a 60-Senator majority required.  There wasn't a necessity for a President to criss-cross the nation in a jet to speak up about that law.  Journalists didn't appear nightly to speak for it or against it.  Morning Joe didn't observe any statistics for the soccer moms to help in explaining the law.  Fox News didn't take God on as this being too meddlesome into life or liberty.  And TV advertisements weren't necessary with kids, grandmothers, or cartoon figures talking up God's law.

Mankind went on....doing its business....and occasionally killing folks.

So then came state governments who conjured up punishments for killing....to hopefully put fear of severe punishment as enough to fix this problem of killing folks.  There were degrees of murder now.  You could have accidentally killed a person and been punished in a very limited way.  You could have committed murder while in a jealous rage, and perhaps gotten a lesser punishment.  Democrats and Republicans talked up the situations, and provided the laws....each differently....state by state.  Trial lawyers were happy because it gave them various angles to defend their clients....guys who murdered people.

Mankind went on.....doing its business....and occasionally killing folks.

So the federal government came into play.  More interpretations of murder came along.  If you disliked blacks and killed a black....that turned out to be worse than regular murder.  If you came to dislike or hate gays, and killed a gay....that was way worse than regular plain murder.  Again, these Senators came into play.....making this all an effort to write things to lessen murder.

Mankind went on.....doing its business....and occasionally killing folks.

Then the government came along and declared that if you were a woman who was mistreated by your husband, and you came to shoot him one day....stone cold dead, then your punishment was a lot less than regular plain murder.  We even wrote up laws that the President could kill folks, even Americans, who got off into the Jihad business, and that was pretty acceptable.

Mankind went on.....doing its business....and still occasionally killing folks.

Here we are today.  We are writing the best and most finely tuned laws to ensure fewer killings.  Strangely enough, out of three hundred million Americans.....at least two hundred-ninety-nine million, nine-hundred-ninety-five thousand folks are capable of carrying out the first law handed down by God each year.

So we basically write law after law....to effect roughly five thousand Americans each year.  There are probably over one hundred thousand pages of American law to cover various killings and shootings each year, and even one brief paragraph out of the Bible.....and it's still not really enough to change things.

Mankind, especially five thousand Americans per year........will continue doing their business....and occasionally killing folks.  Even God couldn't write a tougher or more direct law to change that.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Newest Invention

I sat and read the article about five times.  And I've come to ponder a good bit over it.

The story?  This Iranian inventor has this concept.  The idea is a device, which takes readings from your body, then with complex algorithms ...predicts five to eight years into the future....of this individual.  It will predict the future life of the person you are testing.

The engineer developing this?  An Iranian guy, who runs the state operation Center for Strategic Inventions.  He does claim to have around 180-odd inventions or patents to his name.

So I pondered over this.  Basically, it's probably like a lie-detector and you ask around fifty questions.  At the end of this, you can say that the person is aggressive and will get ahead in life (or so they believe). Or it will determine that they are an idle-type, and not likely to amount to much.  Losers or winners....the machine would likely give you some determination of what category you fit into.

An actual predictor of the future?  Well.....you have to think sit and think.  He is telling you the future.  It just may not be as extensive as you think.  It won't tell you that your wife will spend all your money, or that your company will go bankrupt, or that your next car (a Chrysler) will be a loser.  It just looks at your personality and marks you as a winner or loser.

A Nobel Prize for the guy?  Hardly.....in Bama, we have around 10,000 folks who can talk with you for an hour and then make the same winner/loser prediction, and there's hardly any algorithims running in their estimations.

Comic Stupidity

I'm a comic book fan....going all the way back to the late 1960s.  Yesterday, news finally came out....DC Comics is about to introduce a new hero....Transwoman.  Yep, a transexual type situation.   The introduction.  Transwoman is explaining all her (or his) problems/woes to Batgirl (in civilian clothing).  You can sense....there's going to be some physical element here, but it's best not to suggest such thing until you see it in the comic panels.

Did we need a transwoman character?  Well....it probably makes someone happy, and starts to getting folks all peppy and hot over comic story-lines.  Could Transwoman eventually meet up with the Flash?  Might they have some kind of momentary relationship?  Could Batman and Robin eventually compete for Transwoman, before discovering that he's really a she, or vice-versa.

There's always some angle, to get more readers to pick up on the comics.  But this time....I think they went overboard.  Perhaps later in the year, we will finally hear about Wonder Woman and the real purpose of that magic lasso (some kind of bondage gear).

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Eight-Year Loan

I was looking at business news last night and came up on the newest concept....a 97-month car loan.  Eight years of a loan.  I just shook my head.

It creates an interesting scenario.  There are these $50k cars that guys dream about and desire....but readily admit that they just don't have the money to buy those kinds of cars.  But with a eight-year loan?  Well....that changes everything.  The banks are awful happy about this latest concept.

The car dealers and car makers?  Well....they aren't as happy.  This means a guy is kinda locked down and won't be browsing for anything.....for the next eight years.  It'd be acceptable if one guy out of twenty went this direction for a eight-year loan, but you can't have ten guys out of twenty doing this....it'd destroy the dealers and their current strategy.

Years ago....I watched a junior airman buy a $28k Mustang, fully loaded with every single extra that you could imagine.  I sat and asked him how he could afford this.....this was in the late 1990s.  He was lucky in that he had his dad give him $10k for the down payment.  He could make that work easily.

A $50k car with a eight-year loan?  You could go and talk to the Audi dealer and suddenly buy some hyped up Audi TT.  Or you could walk into the Porsche dealership and suddenly talk Boxster.  With the Boxster, you'd have a high-quality car with performance standards that you'd sit and plan out an eight-year life to the Porsche, and probably still get $8k at the end of the eight-year loan.  Fully loaded?  It's round $64k (not counting state sales tax).

Smart idea?  I see one major problem.  If you screw up and buy a Chrysler vehicle that has some obvious negatives that you find to bother you over six weeks....it's hard to imagine how you survive for eight years with this type of "bond" that you've entered into with with the bank.  I am reminded of that Smart Car I owned for 2.5 years and how I dreamed of dumping it almost daily after twelve months.  So my advice is simply.....if you ever wanted that dream vehicle that was in the $50k range, and could put down $10k on the down payment.....now is the time to talk to the Porsche dealer.  Don't dream of anything less.

Just Observations

There's a county school down in Florida.....Deland High School....where the locals got into a finance issue, and kinda let their janitor staff go.  The idea was that they would transition over to private contracts, instead of actual employees of the school.  Well....it's a funny thing.  This hiring of private folks hasn't started, and apparently won't start until this fall.  The present old folks working there (employees of the school)?  They've been taking tons of sick leave.  This past week, the health inspectors for the county came out.  They wrote the school up for fifty-odd violations.  If it'd been a restaurant or bar....they probably would have closed the operation down.  To get by, the county is shifting some resources around and trying to clean up the violation issues.  I sat there pondering....here a parent does all this effort to have a clean respectable place for their kids, and sends them off to school....where it's the most unsanitary place on this earth.  Something doesn't add up on this deal.

The Air Force came out and said their finance issues because of sequestration are so bad....that around sixteen flying squadrons will be stepping down and not flying until October.  What this means is that a bunch of pilots will be sitting around and mostly idle.  Having spent all those years in the Air Force.....I can imagine the scene.  Captain Joe and Captain Cal sit at the squadron desks....discussing bear hunting techniques for eight hours out of the day.  Occasionally, Lt Col Marty comes around, and discusses his best choice of bait for trout.  Major Dunn comes through and recites Shakespeare lines.  And Lt Jack actually brings his car into the squadron warehouse and rebuilds the engine with the help of Sarge and his five helpers.  Everyone will be playing softball and volleyball.  Golf tournaments will occur daily.  Everyone will sit in amazement at the free time they have.

Finally, Kentucky Senator McConnell.....says that someone bugged his election strategy meeting from months ago.  They are ll worked up that a secret recording was made.  The odds?  Probably a hundred percent chance.  All of these handheld devices can now easily fit in a suit pocket and record an hour of chat.  The answer for future strategy meetings for the Republicans?  I'd suggest the meeting members all enter a room with no clothing and just a pad and pencil.  You can imagine six Republicans....male and female.....all sitting around in the nude and discussing voting strategy.  It's the only way to protect the secrecy required.  

A Little Knife Story

Shortly before noon today....all heck broke loose at Lone Star University.  The best that we can say is that some nut got loose with an exacto knife, and wounded around fourteen, perhaps even fifteen folks.

The attacker?  Don't know much about the guy.  Cops are still investigation mode ten hours later.

The threat of an exacto knife?  Years ago, I had to work in a briefing shop and we did graphics work. Every couple of months, we'd buy a box of exacto knives and kept them around the office.  There are a thousand and one ways to cut yourself....if you aren't careful.

Should we worry about exacto knives?  The fact that fourteen folks are wounded might play into this.  It is a mass knifing....if there was a FBI database for such.....but I seriously doubt that they'd collect such statistics.  Should we hustle Senators out to limit the sale of exacto knives?  Goodness, that's about as stupid as writing eight hundred pages of anti-gun legislation....which doesn't do much of anything.  The number of exacto knives out there in public hands?  Probably enough for every single American to have three each.

What's the jest of all of this?  Simply that we've got crazies in America, and you need to tote a baseball bat, a billy-club, a sock of quarters, or a Walther PPK pistol in our jacket.  When the crazies present themselves in a threatening fashion....put them six feet under.  If their relatives couldn't put them in a safe place, and if the government wouldn't do their job to put them under control.....then it's a job for each citizen.  It's the sad truth over this.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

My Neighborhood

Up here in the local region, we have this gal who went to a flea-market and bought an old painting, that had a nifty frame.  She was going to toss the picture, but noted that it had a Renoir signature on it, and asked someone to appraise it.  It's an original Renoir, and valued at $75k.  The lady bought it for $7.  It's a great story.  But it's mostly bogus.

Here in...lies the story.

This painting had been in a museum over in Baltimore until the late 1950s....then came up missing.  Stolen.  No leads.  An insurance company would eventually pay-off the owner.

Things were believable about the gal's flea-market story except one thing.  Her mom was a big-name art instructor, and painter.  She was very famous for making fake Renoir copies.  This gal who bought the Renoir has continually said she's no expert in art.....but that story just isn't panning out well.

So the FBI is into the mess.  My humble guess is that mom picked up the picture one evening and walked out the front door of the building, and simply kept it in a private office of hers for the decades that followed.  Both mom and daughter can probably use the cash from the sale.  But the insurance company claims that they should now be the rightful owners of the art piece.

Just Observations

Margaret Thatcher passed on yesterday.  There's a lot that people could say, but I'll make it simple.  In British politics....you cannot rise to the top unless you are able to debate, on your feet, at a moment's notice.  When you step into the House of Commons, and take your position opposite the Liberal Party....you have to note the situation, draw immediate details, work with only minimum notes, and expect your opponent to give you no weakness.  In American politics, out of the top 500 politicians....there's maybe three or four that might be able to survive for one or two of these meetings.  The 'Iron Lady' did it for over ten years.  Clever?  Oh my.  Grasping of details?  Without doubt.  I always sat and wondered how her husband was able to function in a house like this....unless he was just as clever and "charming".  When you write up the list of the fifty most important characters from 1900 to 2000....she ends up on that list, in pretty fair company.

It's an odd thing....this Senate immigrtion bill that is making its way to a completion and likely to be passed by the Senate....is near 1,500 pages.  Who has read the whole thing?  I imagine no one.  The number of bogus details tossed into it?  You just don't know.  The House willing to accept it?  I don't see that happening.  If it was 150 pages, with some simplicity to it....maybe.  A Senate failure? Without doubt.

Not that it's important, but a judge has admitted in public that the court episode for Ossama bin Laden's brother-in-law....the guy held now in a New York City jail.....might be affected by the sequestration.  The defense attorneys.....paid for by the US government....will be on furlough.  So the suggestion made is that they are off for a number of days and can't prepare for the court case.  The intended date to start?  Well....the judge is now willing to look over this mess and maybe move the date back a month or two.  In some ways, the operation of the US government is now becoming a comedy of sorts.

Finally, the state of California is working up some medical rules for folks within the state.  The rule of note?  If you are a married male couple and have tried for a year to have a kid, but failed....then there'd be a special pot of money reserved for you within health insurance funds.  The same would go for a lesbian couples, who tried for a year to have a kid and failed.  The available money would be for fertility purposes as they move into phase two.  A guy from Bama would ask if any scientists were on the panel to write the rules, but that would be too much to ask....I guess.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Things That Kinda Bother Me

Once in a while, I'll gather up these dozen-odd things that kinda bother me, and toss them over onto a blog.

This name "Redskins" debate.  Up here in the DC region....an abundance of folks are upset about the use of Redskins.  It bothers them.  The football team used to be losers.  In the last year or two....suddenly, they've gathered up the right players and actually are a contender.  You'd think that folks would worry more about the season, but lately, it's this name....Redskins.  They believe it's terrible that you slander the Indians in such a way.  Do they know any Indians?  Well.....no.  They just know it's a bad thing.  Would the owner rename the team?  Not for a billion dollars.  He knows that this is all pretty much a fake argument, that will consume the court system and probably get all the way to the Supreme Court one day.  Personally, I think it's pretty stupid to argue about this.  But folks have little to worry about apparently.

The word is out that private neighborhoods and communities....are signing up private security folks in significant numbers....because the regular police is being cut (budget issues).  No one is saying much except they think they need it.  The truth is that it's a practice that cost less than regular cops, and if you catch the private security goofing off....you fire him (something you can't do to a regular cop).  It bothers me that this is a better solution than with hiring more cops. But the regular cops have made such a mess of the budget and hiring side....this is the only solution.

The cops have finished up and finally published a list of everything they found in the Newton house that the Lanza family lived in.  There were still 1,600 rounds of ammo there (unused).  The kid didn't even take that.  Another two rifles were there (he didn't have a reason to use them apparently).  At least nine knives were noted, along with a seven-foot long spear, and a couple of Japanese Samurai swords.  The anti-gun folks apparently didn't have much fear of the spear, the swords  or the extra knives.  I can imagine the whole episode at the school.....if he'd take the Samurai swords instead, and slaughtered the same number of folks.  We'd have a massive rush to halt the sale of fancy Japanese swords and Presidential comments made over the terrible threat of Samurai Swords.  Well....you'd think that. Wouldn't you?

I've gotten to a point where I just barely can watch the Sunday Talk Show episodes.  It just seems like a bunch of wannabe idiots show up....talk up some slant on politics, and half of what they say....doesn't amount to much.  It's like having minor league baseball coaches on and discussing the art of chewing tobacco.  After a while, there just isn't much else to say.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

News is Not News

This week....MSNBC came out with a segment and brought in this five-year old kid for an interview. Usually....most Americans don't care what a four-year old says....except it's always cute.  The chief question....came down to gay marriage, and if the four-year old would support it.  I watched a part of the interview.  It's almost comical because you can see that the kid was "trained".  The journalist?  That's the mom of the kid.

It's like you go to your twelve-year old kid and ask if Mom's apple pie is good, and the kid will grin and say yes because they mostly don't want to upset Mom that it's really about the same as store-bought apple pie.

Respect from viewers over the use of your own kid for such an interview?  It's hard to say if MSNBC viewers even noticed that the kid was four, or was the kid of the actual journalist.

This all brings me around to the topic of what is or isn't news anymore.

We are at a production stage where you just need to produce something, and call it news.  It could be true, mostly true, partially true, barely true, or fake bogus news.  Southpark did an episode like this....where the kids get to a point where they realize folks are tired of the regular true news, and then start to drift off into half-true or mostly false news.

Personal opinion questions from a young kid?  Do you like bran muffins or blueberry muffins?  Is Barney fake?  Which is better, the Jetsons or Fred Flintstone?  Are fish sticks five star?

After a while, you just shake your head and wonder if something terrible has happened to American society, and we are generating fourteen thousand hours a week of international, national, state, and local news for consumption?  Are you getting anything of value out of 60 Minutes anymore?  When was the last time that you really thought that 60 Minutes did five-star analysis and investigation?

The bottom line?  After a while, you will eventually reach a point where thirty minutes of Mayberry antics with Barney and Floyd....are better than an hour with some MSNBC host and their segment on news.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Just Observations

The University of Colorado mental health doc came out and admitted that she was extremely threatened and intimidated by this Aurora shooter nut who attended the university.  What'd she do?  Nothing much. How many students attend universities around America....take meds....see mental health doctors monthly....and are probable killers?  You don't know.  It might be dozens.  It might be hundreds.  It might thousands.  A national law to force them to identify and put their clients in a database?  Never will happen.  It's just curious how you clearly see the big mess, and nothing gets done in time.

This Sunday....60 Minutes will feature up a anti-gun push, with parents from Newtown in a talk-to-the-camera segment.  Twenty years ago....I might have sat and watched 60 Minutes really go and do investigative analysis.  Today?  It's a cheerleader squad, and made up wannabe journalists who can't investigate.

About a year ago....I had to travel across the Atlantic, and at the time....there were a couple of movies that they had from the fifty-odd possibilities that I could watch....which were not appropriate for any kid under fifteen years old.  I just sat there and shook my head.  This week....some family noted a pretty action-packed movie playing, with their young kids watching.  The family raised a fuss.  It's an odd thing....the pilot is asked to do something.  In the end....he stops half-way in the flight.....forcing the family to get out and catch a later flight.  The airlines won't say much except it's proper for the pilot to do so.  Personally....this whole wide-option of various videos is getting to a point of being questionable.  They ought to be charging for the service, and thus parents can invoke the "no-video" rule on the kid and fix that problem real quick.

I sat and noticed one of the most thought-provoking statements of the decade be made this week.  Actor Jeremy Irons.....who does some great four-star parts....made this statement over gay marriage and where it all leads to:  "Could a father not marry his son? … It’s not incest between men. Incest is there to protect us from inbreeding, but men don’t breed… If that were so, then if I wanted to pass on my estate without death [taxes], I could marry my son and pass on my estate to him".  I sat there and can readily see a thousand guys standing there and eyeballing this statement and idea.  They've got millions that they'd like to hand over their son....why not use gay marriage as the tool.  Passing the wealth on.....with no opportunity for taxation ever again.  You can imagine the Supreme Court standing there.  The Republican guys would be grinning from ear to ear as the lawyers discuss the case, and the Democratic guys are trying to figure a nice way to deny such a marriage.

War with North Korea?  I actually think they will be nutty enough to fire off a missile or two, and have fifty US missiles shot to knock them out of the sky.  The bigger threat?  All you need is two freighters quietly making their way across the Pacific and hours outside of Seattle and San Francisco ....they unload four thousand boats with eight guys in each....all North Korean guys with bombs and explosives.  You can 32k North Korean special forces guys....running around the western part of the US for weeks.... destroying things left and right.  The US government would be forced to hand out assault rifles to every citizen, with forty-round magazines, and this whole gun ban thing would dry up real quick.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Austin - North Korea Conflict

It kinda reads like a comedy.

North Korea in recent days....has put up a map of where they intend to target the US....when war finally starts up.  Among the standard targets you expect (DC, naturally), they've also selected San Diego, and Austin, Texas.

Naturally, folks in Austin woke up and are a bit shocked.  They just never did expect to be targeted by anyone except mostly right-wing or Republican political candidates.

So far, they haven't gotten any words directly out of North Korea....on why Austin had to be selected.  I'm assuming that someone in the North Korea government possibly went through Austin long ago.  They probably had some drunken episode downtown, got trashed by local Texas ladies, and have decided on the list of possible targets....to put Austin on the list.  Or maybe it was just dumb luck...with Austin picked at random.

What should you do if you live in Austin?  First, you need to pull out the map and eyeball North Korea.  Measure the miles.  Then start to consider the amount of technology that it takes to launch missiles and ask yourself if you worry much about Burma, Poland, or Peru launching attacks against Austin?  Your answer ought to be....no, you might worry about Wal-Mart invading Austin in droves....but generally, you just don't have many invaders there.

So you move on.  Let's say that sequestration did cause a slightly weaker military and one little missile gets through our defense....because it was on a furlough day.  Well...it might hit on the west part of Austin, and most of you real Austin folks won't care.  A direct hit in the center of town....near the bar district would be troubling and difficult to recover from.  But from that distance, you just can't expect accuracy to be that great.

Should you lay in a supply of beef jerky, beer, and bottled water?  If I were Wal-Mart, I'd offer up "invasion-sales" and give a ten-percent discount for bulk purchase.  You could probably get an extra million in purchases easily within a week.  A guy ought to have a fourteen day supply of beer always on hand, and enough toilet paper to survive an entire month if necessary.

Sending an envoy from Austin to North Korea?  Well....sending Willie Nelson might be an interesting angle.  Maybe Willie could talk to the North Koreans, and get them hooked on the idea of hitting Waco or Dallas....ahead of Austin.  Maybe mention up the music industry in Austin, and how folks in North Korea would harm progressive country music.

Finally, to be truthful....if there ever was a time for Austin to break off and become part of Mexico....this is the moment.  Just send over a couple of maps....detailing the fact that Austin is now a state within Mexico, and how Mexico is a good friend of North Korea.  This all might be believed.  Even folks in Austin might start believing this.

A Brew Thing in Bama

There is a special status about Bama that most folks are not aware of.  We are the only state in America....that prohibits residents from brewing their own beer.  You can go and buy the kits up in Tennessee or over in Mississippi, and sit quitely in your Bama den while you brew, but it's illegal.  And you can't really say alot in public about your brewing.....because some local deputy just might get frisky and haul you in for illegal brewing.

Why?  Mostly because of the religious nature of most Bama folks.  We'd like to ensure everyone's safety, sanity, and innocence.  We'd feel better if everyone just drunk spring water, buttermilk, and ice tea.

We've been this way for a fairly long time....probably even before the Indians came to Bama.  Well...to be honest, since the early part of the 1900s.

There are some numbers out there....from various groups...to indicate at least a thousand folks in Bama are privately brewing in their garage or in the house.  It might even go as high as ten thousand folks.  The truth is.....we just don't know.  And maybe it's a good thing that we don't know (it might be fifty thousand Bama folks).

Currently, there's another bill going through the Bama legislature, and bound for the Bama senate.  It might pass (remember, it's mostly Republicans in the Bama senate).

The general writing of the bill limits Bama folks from making more than sixty gallons a beer a year.....with limits per each quarter.  How they came to these limits....only God knows.  To be honest, five gallons of beer a month is probably enough for most guys, unless they were going to share a good bit with their friends or relatives.  My hunch is that half of all Bama guys interested in brewing.....would easily go past the sixty gallons a year, and might even go higher than a hundred gallons a year.

The one catch to this whole bill thing?  Well....if the county is dry.....we just can't let you brew in that county.  Fair is fair.....you can't overcome a counties dry nature.

My humble prediction?  Once it passes....a blitz on brewing will occur with a bunch of guys buying the kits and starting their own process.  Some guys will start to throw in cherries, or pears....to sweeten up the taste.  Some guys will go overboard to brew up six-percent alcohol beer.  They will start to meet up and compare brews.  Even Bama ladies might start brewing, and put some real competition into the business.

While all of this going on.....ministers will be sitting there and praying over our mortal sins, and trying hard to bring us back to the flock.  Brewing will be an topic on the mind of ministers as they write up their Sunday sermons.

In essence, the floodgates are about to open, and we will join forty-nine other states, finally.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Simply Observations

Not that I ever watched Buck Wild on MTV.....but things came to a halt this week....as one of their chief reality stars died.  The guy was out drinking heavily with folks, got into four-wheel drive vehicle....and eventually just plain stuck, with the exhaust deep into the mud.  So the fumes got into the cabin, and the drunks in the cabin all died.  A guy from Bama would state something obvious but it's best just to let the guy pass on, get buried, and then be forgotten.

This war business with North Korea is an thing.  You have a 1950's style military organization that could probably hold up for thirty days against France, and maybe twenty days against Japan.  But the US?  You have to figure it's a nine-day war at best, and then someone actually gets to be a loser this time around instead of the way that things worked in the 1950s.  Most of the North Korean soldiers will be shocked as they head south....find Pepsi machines on each block, and almost every twelve-year old kid has a cellphone.  I just don't see this being a glorious end-all event.

We've got this oddball couple here in Virginia, who got arrested by the local cops, for what they suspect are connections to 77 different local and suspicious fires.  Cops aren't saying much and no motives are laid out.  If they can prove the seventy-odd fires....they are going to a state jail for decades, not years.

Doctor Benjamin Carson is an odd character to go and pick on.  When you have a guy who grew up in a one-parent home....with a mother who never got past the third-grade.....and somehow used every single educational opportunity possible to get somewhere in life.....it's pretty much a waste of time to do an argument against the guy.  He knows the slant on life.  You don't go anywhere or achieve anything....on dumb luck or lame educational achievements.  He's proven somethings that most folks don't want to discuss in public.

Finally, there's this odd piece in the news about forcing folks with guns....to have insurance. By attaching insurance companies into the fray, you start to churn up more business, more expensive rates for high-shooting areas, and create bold new opportunities for lawyers to yank on money trees.  If you get into a circumstance where you get shoot by someone, the $250k insurance policy will be milked almost immediately  and you as the shooter, will find the company unwilling to accept you as a client anymore.  You can imagine talking to Randy (your insurance agent), and him suggesting your yearly rate is now $900 a year for the three guns you maintain.  Who would be stupid enough to pay $900?  But why stop there?  Why not a $75 yearly insurance policy for owning hammers?  Why not a $300 yearly insurance policy for owning a lawn-mower?  How about a $10,000 policy for folks who own a fancy 18th century sword?  This could be a big problem for folks to figure insurance on a yearly basis.  We might even have to require insurance for butter knives.

An Odd Political Group

In the last two years....as Greece kinda slid from one position to another, always downward....there was this oddball political party which kept picking up voters.  The Golden Dawn Party.....is now the third largest political party of Greece.  Their angle of politics?  Nazis.   Yes, pure and simple Nazi politics in 2013.

The curious thing is that in the last couple of months.....journalists have noted that wherever there are Greeks....even outside of Greece....the Golden Dawn Party is appearing.  This includes countries like Germany, Canada, and even the US.

The growth?  Well....the best you can say is that Greeks feel betrayed by all the financial screw-ups and the lack of help from other countries.  It's kind of like the feeling of Germany in the 1920s.

What would Hitler say?  I'm guessing he'd be surprised that massive growth like this occurred in Greece. It wasn't one of those countries that you'd expect something like this.

Expansion beyond Greek society?  That's the next question.  If they showed up in some Greek community in New Orleans.....could they interest the locals?  This, you just don't know.  With the various political games being played out in the US, and hostile nature now of the public.....you could see ten percent of the US population drifting over to their political agenda.

In the end.....Nazis, on the rise again.

Monday, 1 April 2013

A Sunday Read

There's an interesting article over at the New York Times today, written by David Stockman (former finance adviser to President Reagan), over his upcoming book (to be released in the next week).

In simple terms....what he lays out is that the US...over the last eighty-odd years....has screwed up capitalism, and we are within years (maybe three, maybe six, maybe even ten)....of a massive economic downturn that would even make the 1929 Depression look pretty good in nature.

The US economy, even without Stockman's analysis, is functioning in various ways that don't make sense.  Major companies operating and making billions....yet paying no taxes.  Political games which translate into taxation revenue being used to "make people happy". A lack of sense when it comes to the future of the economy.  Toss in boy-wonders who develop some IT platform that basically just shows your picture and a few comments, yet makes billions off of mostly nothing.

A massive fall?  At some point, a few gifted people will make some public observations about the total failure of some political finance situation, and within weeks.....we'd be a four-star Cyprus situation....with no fool of a nation prepared to save us.  Saving ourselves?  Only if we grabbed everyone's wealth....and even then, we'd just prepare to destroy ourselves in a secondary sort of way.