Friday, 31 May 2013

Demons

Sometimes, I pick up a story, and it triggers the Bama in me to ponder the story.

Today, there's this oddball story involving the Catholic Church.  For those who aren't aware of it.....the Catholic guys have this belief in demons.  So because of this.....you need exorcists around.

Most guys from Bama have watched a movie or two on this.....and generally....get all peppy because it's got lots of special effects.  If you asked a Bama guy if he knew anyone with demons....the general answer is no.  They know some nutcases, but no one that you'd say for sure had demons.

The Baptist guys?  Well...they don't want to get into this discussion because they'd prefer not to believe in Demons, otherwise, you'd have to have a Catholic priest visit and dump the demon out.  Baptist ministers hate that concept.

Well...in today's story, the top Catholic priest for exorcism admits that he's cast off 160,00 demons....going back to hell.  The old guy is 88 years old, and pretty feisty when it comes to this casting-off business.  In fact, he hates the fact that he has to ask the Pope or some Bishop for permission to cast-off demons.  He thinks that it ought to be purely his insight and decision.

I looked over this, and had this odd view of the business.  Well....yeah, there might be 160,000 demons sent out of 160,000 people.  But they more or less....found new folks to dump themselves into and register as a new nutcase.

He didn't really send them back to hell....they probably just flew out across the county....found some new guy, and infested him.

It would be interesting to see if the Catholic Church kept statistics on this.....infections with men more than women.  More more Democrats are infected than Republicans.  Maybe more folks from New York City infected than folks from Iuka or Shreveport.

What I often wonder is why there aren't more fake exorcism guys out there....pretending to be fake priests, and casting off demons for $699, or making sure that a family reunion is without demons present for $349.  It'd seem like a trendy business, and there's zero laws in America to forbid you from casting off demons....at least not yet.  Course, the Senate could always pick up this topic and build a 2,600-page bill to fit the occasion.

Simply Observations

This statistic of the IRS chief going to the White House 157 times in four years (more than any other cabinet officer)....really means nothing.  You could have a statistic of a guy walking into a bar 157 times over four years, and he might not have ever been drunk.  You could have a statistic of a guy walking into a one-star restaurant over four years, and never getting food poison.  You could have a statistic of a guy walking into a classroom 157 times over four years, and never learning anything.  Yeah, it doesn't mean much.....except he probably did drink a heck of a lot of White House coffee.

There's some smart guys who did this survey....the American Legislative Exchange Council.  What they came to discover oddly.....was that if you lived in a red state (one of those that voted against Democrats).....your economic conditions of the state were better than a blue state.  Now, before you run out and get all peppy....you have to realize there were fifteen things they were observing, and some red states had negatives (lower cost of living was generally accepted, and lesser infrastructure is likely to be one other result).  Course, if you live in a blue state, and were looking for a reason to leave, this research might be enough.

Starbucks started a new policy now.  No smoking with twenty-five feet of the front door.  Enforceable?  Well....unless they hire up some Starbucks police....no.  It's like Hooters guaranteeing all beautiful women in their facility....it sounds nice on paper, but it's not likely to be true.

Virginia cops are at a loss to explain this episode.  Here at a local Costco.....they had a Philippine gal who was a demonstration person in the story, and went wacko.  The general description by observers is that she had a knife in her hand was really acting strange....they called the cops, and the cops arrived to view the situation.  Standing a fair distance from the gal....they first talked to her....with no results.  Then they used their fancy shooting-taser with no positive results.  They then fired their gun.  Normally, a taser will take down almost all mortal men.  No one in the police force can explain why the little gal didn't go down....except that maybe drugs were involved.  Why no one had pepper spray.....hasn't been explained.  I suspect the local cops will let this guy who fired the gun just walk away from the force, and hope that no newspaper brings this up much.

Finally, the Tesla car guys have come out with a master plan to put 'filling' stations around the nation to help their car owners make national trips. The problem is....after you view this....is that you really need to plan to run from one metropolitan city to another.  For Bama?  One station in Mobile.  Arizona?  As long as you hang around Tucson, Phoenix, and Flagstaff....you ought to be ok....but the other seventy-five percent of the state?  Forget it.  Maybe by 2025....there might be a fill-up station every hundred miles on the interstate system across America.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

The Hasan Guy

In the next couple of days....our Fort Hood accused killer....Army Major Nidal Hasan will ask the military judge to allow him to fire his legal team and just represent himself.

By military rules, you can allow most of this, but the judge will force you to have someone at your side to explain things.

Most military folks are now standing there and viewing this court case....which is due to start in a month or so.....as being just a open forum for Hasan to create trouble on a daily basis.  He's accepted the fact that nothing good will come out of any defense....so the belief by a growing number of military folks is that it'll just be statement after statement....defending Muslims.

In the history of military court-martial....there's just not that many episodes that turned in a circus atmosphere.  The court-martial of Billy Mitchell.....might have been viewed as an organized circus, but it didn't matter....he was convicted easily in the end, and other than a movie.....that was the end of the legend.

In this case....no one in the court is going to desire to hear much about the Muslim religion.  I imagine that the prosecutor will spend hours and hours....stopping the Major in mid-sentence and having the judge direct the statements to stop.

As for Hasan?  You could spend ten years looking for a military jury to have a favorable view for the guy, and rig in every fashion possible, and it wouldn't matter.  Hasan will be deemed guilty in the end.  The question is the punishment.  And a bunch of Army folks would prefer to just drag him off to some gun range, and allow fifty folks to fire upon the guy.

And the Army?  Well....it's a court case that you'd rather now have on nightly TV.  Thirty million Americans watched the Arias murder episode of the last four months.  It could be easily thirty million who'd want to watch this case.

My Neighborhood

If you drew a 25-mile circle around the White House in DC....you'd find around twenty hospitals in the region (DC, Maryland, and Virginia).  Eighteen of them....are sustainable.  One is a military hospital, and profits just don't exist.  And finally, there's United Medical Center in SW DC.....which is a bold failure.

The District more or less owns UMC.  Since 2007 (six years), DC has tossed more than $100 million into the facility to keep it going.  This year.....they will likely hit near $11 million.

Located across the 'other' river....the Anacosta River.....this region of DC is a place where few want to stay or move into.  If you've got really bad issues.....it's best to drive out of the neighborhood there, and find some place else in DC.  The other hospitals in DC....would prefer that you kind of stay in your own neighborhood, and not become their problem.

How much free stuff does the UMC give away?  The city council doesn't really want to ask, because it's bound to be an amount that is upsetting.

The HR guy at the UMC?  I'm guessing this is a hard sell to attract any general doctors or regular nurses.  There's probably a deal....you come to UMC for a year, and we move you to a upscale place in the second year, with a pay-raise.

So it's a comedy of sorts.....people with a one-star hospital....accepting that because that's all you can have, and pumping city tax revenue into it....keeping it alive.  Only in DC.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Simply Observations

Over the weekend...that Rand Paul guy.....the Senator from Kentucky.....talked up the the tens of thousands of new medical codes that doctors would use to describe your injury.  There's actually 72 new codes added.....that have to deal with birds harming you.  I sat there and pondered over this.  You add around 120,000 more codes.  There's some guys out there (not women), who would make it a life goal to come in and tell the doctor that they got a 106641 (maybe a code for a mule kicking you), and six months later.....show up with a 106642 (maybe a code for a donkey kicking you), and then show up six months later with a 106643 (maybe a code for a shetland pony kicking you).  It'd be in their records and for some analyst in DC to identify you as having a animal-kicking problem.  This guy would openly brag about this to his buddies, and work for years on getting fifty of these codes....all related to kicking.

Some cruise-boat caught on fire again.  They had everyone in life-jackets by 2AM, and they stood around for at least an hour or two before they said they were safe enough.  Frankly, you'd have to pay me $10,000 to take a cruise now.  I'd even go on a vacation to Mexico, before a cruise.  So it brings me to this whole idea of cruises.....other than the buffet food deals.....why would a guy risk himself in such a situation?

Two Georgia hospitals looked at the approaching Obama Care business, and they've made a radical decision.  Screw the insurance guys.....make your own health insurance policy and pricing deal.  Basically, they are cutting out the whole insurance group that worked up the wording for Obama Care.  No one ever expected hospitals to be bright enough or business-like.....to run such an operation.  They guessed wrong, and these two hospitals might be proving folks wrong by summer of next year.

Finally, there is this odd story out of Arkansas.  We won't discuss the guy's name or town involved.  At some point, on a first-date with some gal.....the guy wanted to really impress her, and had some body come after him....in a fit of rage and a knife.  The hero guy grabbed the knife out of the guy's hand and made himself look good.  Well....the gal had called the cops....the cops came....and the story just didn't work very well.  It's safe to say that there might be a charge or two against the guy, and it's doubtful if the gal would ever date him again.  So, guys.....on the list of 788 things you just shouldn't ought to say or do on a first date....fake attacks is now number 789 things that you need to avoid.  Just stick with a roller-derby situation, a wrestling match, a tractor-pull, or some chick-flick that makes you misty-eyed.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Brilliance Doomed

This is a story that you will have to sit and pause over at the end, and ponder yourself.

Some smart guys sat around and had this notion....what if we aren't getting smarter, but dumber?

Well...so they started up this study.  There's three professor-types who were involved, and from different countries.  There's Michael Woodley of Vrije Universiteit in Brussels, Belgium.   There's Jan te Nijenhuis of the University of Amsterdam.  Finally, there's Raegan Murphy of the University College Cork, naturally....Ireland.

The results of this study included data from 1889 to 2004....roughly a hundred years.

The conclusion?  The average IQ has dropped fourteen points in one hundred years.

The cause?  Well....they came to some curious conclusion....women of high intelligence...just weren't having as many kids, and so the dimwitted gals (they had a nicer word for that) were overcoming statistics, and pumping out stupid kids.

Our population, was besieged by stupid kids, more than smart kids.  Kids grow up.  So by their estimate, we've got a whole bunch of foolish adults around, ruinning everything, and screwing up culture, society, business, government, and lives.

It's an interesting conclusion.  They might be right.  They might be wrong.

Did they test the right folks?  Did they use the right kind of test?  Did they use too many dimwits in their analysis?  Did they even use anybody from the state of Missouri?  Too many math questions?  Too few logic questions?  You just don't know.

So by my estimate....what we need to do....is find a bunch of single engineer gals, and force them to marry up with a bunch of engineer guys, and have five or six kids.  That would be the logic conclusion that a bunch of professors ought to come to.  But in this case, they can't say that in public.

As I suggested in the very beginning, this is a story that will require you to sit, pause and think.  There's some pondering required.  Maybe for the sake of civilization....we need to do something.  Otherwise, in three generations....we might have an entire network made up of just Baywatch, Knight Rider, the Real Housewives of Atlanta, and the Jerry Springer Show.  Heck, we might even be stupid enough to allow Coke to re-market New Coke for a second attempt.

In The Neighborhood

At some point this weekend....here in Arlington....there was an accident that would draw onlookers and provoke curiosity.

You've probably seen these sewage trucks.....the ones with a 1000-gallon tank on the back, which come in and empty out waste tanks?

Well....some guy was driving one down through the streets of Arlington....when this car with five folks in it....came up behind and slammed into the rear of the sewage truck.  Let's just say there was a fair amount  of speed involved, and there's not much left of the front end of this car, and it really crimped the rear of the sewage truck.

So, as in such cases.....the tank cracked, and started spilling.  More than a gallon a minute, if you were wondering.

Yeah, the car was mashed up enough, that two guys had to be cut out....but this took at least twenty to thirty minutes for the fire department to get there and determine the best method of hauling them safely out of the car.

Yeah, you can imagine Joe and Uncle Lester, in the front seat....pretty tied down, and raw sewage smells finding itself into the car.  The journalists didn't say much.....but if it was me....I'd be heaving and puking up a storm.  I'd be begging for that jaws-of-life gadget to cut me free.

Locals came out and observed from a distance.  You don't see a sewage truck leaking out much in life.

Most all of the sewage truck seeped out, and ended up in a local stream.  Locals are a bit disturbed still over the smell.  Things aren't improving that quickly.  It might take a while.  And for us in the local area....by mid-week....it's supposed to be up in the high-80's for temperature readings.  Hot sewage is a bit worse, than cool sewage, on the smell scale.

Slanted, A Bit

As Al Gore departed Current TV, the Al Jazeera crew moved up and paid Mr Gore a fair amount of money.  Reportedly, $500 million.

At the time, several months ago....the Al Jazeera crew said that they had this strategy for pumping up viewership.  Sixty percent of the news would be US-created (meaning mostly for US consumers), and and forty percent would come out of Qatar (packaged for their big audience, who we will just not mention at this point in time).

Well....days, weeks, and months have passed.

The Al Jazeera crew now admit, after a bit of research, that they don't have confidence in strategy one.  They've moved to strategy two.....one hundred percent US news.....packaged at the source.

So you'd sit there and ponder over this matter.  Half-a billion spent on something and no one can be very confident that it'll ever pay off.

Why flip to strategy two?  I would suspect that a couple of media guys went out into the heartland and asked a thousand folks if they cared much about what kind of fish Koreans ate, or who ran the Ukraine, or if there was any fresh joke material out of Norway.  Eventually, they came to discover that Americans don't watch international news much, and frankly....don't care if one hostile tribe group fights another hostile tribe group on some island in the Philippines.

What Al Jazeera will admit is that as folks leave CNN....they've gotten hired over at the converted Current TV.  Course, this would trigger some folks to ask if you got let go by CNN....where exactly could you go these days and hope to make the same pay scale?  After a while, you start to feel sorry for this new crew at Current TV.  They don't want to admit defeat and go back to Channel 9 in Boise or Channel 48 in Huntsville.  It's a sorry life decision....success at forty, and let go by forty-eight.  Maybe Al's old channel is not such a bad place to hang around for eight years and hope to retire early and just teach at some community college in Portland.

So in the months to come....as you flip across the news channels....you might notice Current TV being there.  You've got Headline News, MSNBC, CNN, the Bloomberg Channel, and the Business Channel.....along with Fox News.   Then you start to notice some slant to the news, and maybe after a couple of hours....you start to wonder if these Saudi guys might have some slant to telling a story.  Then you remember that Al Gore had the channel to start with.  At that point, you give up.  You flip the channel back to weather channel and get good safe news with no slant.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

That Little Damn Car

Tesla is this nifty new little car company, who only manufacturers electric or battery-run cars.  To be honest, while most folks were considering this a loser three years ago....in the last six months....they've started to show some excitement, and they just might be able to survive and profit in America.

How?

First, they went out and built top-notch cars.  We aren't talking about crappy workmanship like Chrysler in the 1970s....or even the current decent job that Ford is doing.....they simply built a fine car without issues.

Second, their battery development is peaking at the right time, and surging ahead.  The best and brightest delivered a superior battery.

Third and final....they cut out franchise sales.  Yeah, it's designed in a way that you go to a showroom and there are only X number of these throughout the US and ask tough questions with a guy who can actually answer them.  None of these Larry-characters who can't explain turbo-engines, ABS, or wiper-sensors.  You walk over the showroom after traveling five hours, drink some fine coffee, engage in two hours of chat with the expert at the showroom, and go home.

If you want to buy the car, you go on-line.  You make the order, and pay a down-payment.  You later back this up with the check or the bank loan.

The guys buying the Telsa cars?  They aren't farmers, bar-tenders, or low-end guys.  If you look at the crowd mostly bragging over Telsa ownership....they are engineers or significant income folks.  Sixty to eighty thousand will be what it takes to buy a new one.  The smaller engine deal will run around 55 mph, and get you 230 miles on one charge.  The bigger engine at the same speed.....300 miles on one charge.

The charging time?  It gets to be interesting for an engineer to comprehend.  When it leaves the factory with version one of the charger deal.....you get 31 miles off each hour of charge.  If you were smart and spent the extra $1,500....you'd get a second plug-in to the car and you could 62 miles charged for each hour on the wall.

The garage charger?  Settle yourself in for $1,200.  Some states have tough installation rules, and you'd have to hire a professional.  Some states have lax laws, and Joe, your budddy at work, could do the job for you.

But we need to start mixing in the problem of how they cut the price to such a level, by by-passing franchise operations.  You see, some states weren't happy about that idea.  For years and years....the franchise owners made tons of money, and spread the wealth by paying off Republicans and Democrats.  This was a cash-cow for political folks to enjoy.

So this past week....North Carolina stood up and are working at implementing this law.  You can't sell the Tesla in the state, without a franchise guy in the middle.  Basically, they are making a law that no North Carolina citizen can make the purchase and register such a car.

You can figure....to put even one single franchise in North Carolina, in the normal sense, it's bound to cost an additional $5k onto each car.  Around $3k would rest with the franchise boss, and the rest spread between Republicans and Democrats.  Then, everyone would be happy.  Course, a guy in South Carolina....could still buy the car for $5k less, and folks in North Carolina would just shake their heads in disbelief of the unfairness.

So, a guy from Bama would look at this and ponder for five minutes.  Basically, you go to Tesla and just say that you'd volunteer to be the one and only Tesla salesman in North Carolina.  You'd go up....find some one-dog town in the state, and put up a trailer, and a $10,000 fancy aluminum building with one display car on the floor, and a computer hook-up.  You take a $100 bill from the North Carolina purchaser, and let him use your laptop to make the purchase if he was happy.

When the dimwits from the state office showed up....you'd show your franchise agreement, your cash box, and offer them a soda from your Pepsi-machine.

There would be some hostile feelings by the Republicans and Democrats....that you spoiled their mess.  But you were perfectly legal.

The sad thing here....is that politics or religion always seems to mess up some successful business (bootleg wiskey, honky tonk bars, fireworks, oil drilling, or even construction).  The shocking thing is that someone actually made a car that finally could run for 200 miles on one charge, and likely cost you less than $2 for that charge.  If the car battery could just last six years....it might be worth the hassle involved.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Things Are About to Change

There's two curious events going on in the world....which reflect upon two cultures, and likely will change history in the long-run.

First, in Iran....elections are coming.  The boys from various parties have been active, and there has to be a new President of Iran.  Frankly, the head Mullah guy....is bound and determined that the office ends up with the weakest character possible....so that the relgious authority in Iran...runs everything.  

You can imagine soap opera-like setting.

The whole election has to look authentic, but they just can't allow hard chargers or strong candidates to be authorized to run in the end.

So a national game is underway....if you want to be a major party....you have to put your candidate up for review.  Strangely enough....the last eight guys are pretty interesting characters.  Two of them....are considered planners in a 1994 terrorist attack, but it's never been proven over their participation.  The other six are calm and collected guys....not really the type that you'd want as a national President.  

This all leads to an election.  Folks vote.  And there's a winner.  

In the end, that guy will meet daily with the Mullah-character....take some advice, and just take the position by cues.  Iran?  It'll be run for the next eight years, by a Mullah....who doesn't ever leave the country, and probably has a working knowledge of the world....that would equal some farmer in Mississippi.  

Yeah, it doesn't mean much of any positive direction, but at least it's all scripted and folks like scripts.  Call it the "fake Presidency".

The second story?  Well....some Chinese guys have discovered Jon Stewart from the Comedy Channel.

Jon is a fairly cynical guy who really doesn't give any government officials much of a serious pat on the back.  

These Chinese guys have been waiting two thousand years for a guy who is willing to show up in public....downsize political figures....cast sarcastic comments toward leadership....and just not agree with the trend of national TV.  The Chinese public is on fire....for more Jon Stewart.  

The Chinese government is beginning to realize that this challenge to authority is like a wave.  There are Chinese citizens are now willing to note the same sarcasm.....against their leadership, their own political figures, their own authority.  

Whether Jon Stewart agrees with it or not....he's triggered this event.  American humor has broken the secret code.  It's about to change ways in China that the big guys never dreamed of.  Communism had fifty different ways to stop people in their tracks.  But stopping humor?  Marx, Lenin and Stalin never had to think of a trick against that.  

Better Times

I lifted this photo off a Facebook page (Ms Bullard) of the local (and only) grocery in my hometown.

Otto's store, was off and on, the only store in town.  There'd be some attempt to bring in some other shop....it'd last a year or two, then issues would arise, and it'd shut down.

As a kid growing up in Anderson in the 1960s and 1970s....after school, it was the only place where you could get a soda and a candy bar (10-cents for a Sun-Drop, and 5-cents for a Baby-Ruth).   For the seventh and eighth grades....after basketball practice, that was the place to go and grab a soda, while waiting on a ride home.

You'd walk out front, and sit on the bench.  It'd be a refreshing moment.  The Sun-Drop had maximum content on both sugar and caffeine.  It just took three gulps, and you could feel yourself feeling better.

Here in Anderson, you were safe....beyond belief.  Other than a cool breeze in October, or a brief thunderstorm, there wasn't much to worry about.

Out of Otto's soda refrigerator?  Well....to be honest, there was Coke, Pepsi, Dr Pepper, Sun-Drop, Tab, and some Kick-a-Poo drink.  That was it.  No alcohol.  No diet drinks.  I would imagine that he sold fifteen cases of sodas a day....mostly because there just wasn't anywhere else to buy a soda.

On the shelves?  Luckily, in those days....there were no expiration dates.  Yeah, some things might have been on the shelf for three years.  It's best not to ask about that.

Alcohol? Well....God had blessed the county, and we were dry.  No discussion on this topic.

It's an interesting photo.  Today?  Otto's store is long gone.  There's a gas station with a quarter the amount of stuff that Otto had.  Course, they sell various hot foods, offer forty different sodas, and you've got at least sixty candy bars today (almost all over $1).  Things are still reasonably safe.  Yeah, they've got a cop in town.  And there's some meth and crime around.

There were better times, than these.

Just General Opinions

Lois Lerner, the IRS chief over in Cincinnati?  A serial lair to the ninth degree.  Maybe compulsive.  Maybe habitual.  Maybe an entire personality characteristic.  But she's the least likely person you'd want in an executive position.

Eric Holder, our Attorney General?  Probably has the most forgettable memory of any man ever to hold an office of responsibility.  I'm not sure if he knows room number of his office, the bank he does business with, or the last dinner that he ate out.  For five years.....he's been Attorney General, and we've accepted this?

Matt Lauer of NBC Today Show?  About once a month, for ten lousy minutes....Matt will show brilliance, and then for the rest of the month....sink down to mediocre levels.  You could pull some cowboy off the range in Montana, and likely get just as good of job as Matt does.

Jodi Aras, this murdering gal from Arizona?  You had to be an absolute idiot not to figure out that she's a nutcase, then hang around her for years as her boyfriend, and not expect some great downfall one day.

Justin Bieber?  In twenty years, people will be asking how exactly this kid ever launched his career and stayed that popular.  Justin will eventually end up as some game-show host on the Oprah Network....my humble belief.

The Duck Dynasty guys?  Willie Robertson could probably come out today and announce his candidacy for President in 2016, and probably win.  Not that this would be a positive thing....because there'd be no more Duck Dynasty show.   Plus, he'd manage the nation like his business, and America would be just too successful.

Neil Cavuto of Fox Business News?  He's the only guy in America who could walk in and fill Paul Harvey's shoes today.  He asks all the questions that a regular guy wants answered, and fills in the holes of every story.

Finally, John McCain, senator from Arizona?  Maybe thirty years ago....he was sharp, concise, and capable of doing a good job in the senate.  Today?  He's there more to portray a character, more than a real senator.  He's acting his way through a normal week at the Senate, and it's kind of comical.

Just a Call

This week....the country of Nepal got all wrapped around the axle.  They were terribly upset that some guy had hiked all the way to the top of Mount Everest, and then while on the top....made a cell-phone call.  Apparently, you are supposed to have permission of the Nepal national media office....to do stunts like this.

The big deal?  Well....it was the first cell-phone call ever, from the top of the mountain.

Most countries would be fairly shocked....it's hard enough in twenty percent of the state of Alabama to get cell-phone reception, but you got reception at Mount Everest?  There's got to be something hokey about this story.  Either a fake call, or the guy had some kind of car-battery and antenna device that he lugged to the top, to make this call work.

So government reaction?  An investigation is going on, and they are asking serious questions of the company hired to lead the hikers to the top.  They are supposed to stop or forbid stunts like this from happening.  I'm guessing that a $50-bill probably did the job to just look the other way.

You can imagine this governmental meeting taking place.  A dozen guys around the table....most of them upset about the call....and it's the page one news for Nepal for a day or two.  Luckily, they don't have IRS or Fox News there.

The News Game

Over the past couple of weeks, I've noticed on a Fox News segment.....that they've sent a reporter out to ask folks what they know from the top events of the day.  The general answer?  Most of the folks on the street....don't know much of anything.

The reason?

You sit and look at how people use their time and what do to gain news.

I'd make a pretty good estimation that sixty to seventy percent of the nation....get up around between 5AM and 6AM....watching bits and pieces of the local news.  Around by 7AM, they might catch the first ten minutes of the Today Show or Fox News, then they leave for work or school.

A newspaper?  I doubt if more than fifty percent of the nation still reads a daily newspaper.  Most of what they pay attention to is the front page, local news, and the obituary column for the local area.  Crime reports?  Yeah, they probably pay special attention to crime in the local area.

Driving to work?  It's mostly music stations they listen to.....or the NPR guys who aren't exactly 'pure-news'.

Time and Newsweek?  There might be three percent of the nation who still pick up one of these and read it on a weekly basis....but not the entire magazine.  Most other folks see it in the dentist office, and might read through one article before getting called in.

By late afternoon?  Settling in to eat dinner, and maybe fifty percent of the nation watches local news, and the other fifty percent watch national news....mostly off the platter of ABC, CBS and NBC.  A smaller segment....maybe thirty million Americans....are split between CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC.

The real excuse here?  Things are complicated.  After a dimwit reporter for NBC tells a 90-second story....the guy at home wants to ask twelve questions because there's a bunch of holes in the story.  Well....you don't get that choice.

Then you have the problem of experts appearing from such-and-such foundation.....who mostly all tell one side of the story and avoid telling the entire story.

Paul Harvey?  Dead and six feet under.  He was the only guy who could sum all of America's news in ten minutes and put it into understandable portions that most folks could grasp.

So we come down to this interesting group of twenty million Americans who consume just about everything in the newspapers (maybe reading the Wall Street Journal and a local paper everyday), catching a full hour of national news at night, and reading through the internet to get to a full understanding of Cyprus, Russia, the IRS mess, who the gang of eight really are, and why economics is really important to every single American.

These are the people who watch an hour or two each week of business news.  They read British newspapers occasionally.  They watch the Chinese news channel off their cable network choices.  They get thirty minutes a week of Japanese national news.  They even read oddball journals on the internet concerning medical news, small business ventures, entertainment events, and discussions over if the Redskins ought to change their name.

The public at large....is confused....and really can't put most of the pieces of the puzzle together.  Sadly, this is the best we can do....and frankly, we've got better things to do.  Between mowing the grass, and cleaning out the garage....we shouldn't have to waste any time trying to grasp where the heck Benghazi is located, or why the Justice Department is sneaking around some guy's phone records.  We are on automatic, and it's likely to stay that way.

The nation is depending then....on twenty million Americans to ask stupid questions....for everybody else.   And hopefully, that's enough to get the job done.

So Little?

Yesterday, I had lunch at the Pentagon executive dining facility.  Yeah, it's upscale and I rarely eat there, but it was one of those days.

So I finished the full meal....decent enough, and the lady comes by to tempt me with a French such-and-such desert.  She had a strawberry flavored one.  So I thought.....sure.

Two minutes later, she comes with with this shotglass of some pudding, with half a strawberry cut up into it, and maybe one piece of cake in the middle that.  On the side?  A spoon big enough to put one peanut onto.

I just looked at this and felt.....it was a pretty sorry thing for a French such-and-such desert.

Course, with the peanut-spoon....it took around twelve attempts to finish off the whole thing.

The bill came next.  $1.99 for this shotglass of something fancy.  It was probably 80 calories....at the most.  Maybe that's a positive thing.

Being from Bama.....I felt a bit foolish.  But, that's what you get in a fancy dining establishment.  It's best to plan ahead and carry a honey bun with you as you eat in places like this.

Friday, 24 May 2013

How the Gay Scout Change Will Go

The change is in.....you can have gays in the Boy Scouts, but no gay Scout leaders.  So I'm going to make a prediction on how things go.

First, around ten percent of the Scouts, will up and quit over the next couple of months....finding Baptist or Catholic scout-like groups to join.  Over the next eighteen months....maybe another ten percent will flip over.  You have to expect this, and no one will be upset or really say much.

The second thing is one that you will have to wait on.  Sometime in the next two years....some thirteen year-old Scout, is going to sexually assault a twelve year-old Scout on a camping trip.  Cops will be called.  Statements taken.  The thirteen year-old gay Scout will be taken off to some juvenile home.  Charges will be mounted, and some case will develop.  The parents of the twelve year-old?  They will take the Boy Scouts off to civil court for half-a-million.  Another case or two will develop over the next year....same scenario....same script.

Finally, after the court case.....it'll be hard to recruit or keep Scout groups going.  My humble guess is that half the Scout population today....will be gone in a decade.

People will ask questions but generally.....it's a done deal, and it's about the only direction you could go....with public opinion as it is.

The Satellite Dude

Over the last month...out in Sacramento  California....there's this guy who has call 911....around a hundred times.  The cops and the emergency folks are a bit peeved.  They'd like to do something about this, but yanking his 911 capability isn't possible....at least not yet.

His complaint?  The guy says that satellites are passing over and sending out signals which give him pain.

The emergency guys have tried to reason with him....giving him just a regular number to call, but he's fairly insistent on using that 911 number.

The comment by this is that the government is responsible....possible even the CIA.

No one is quiet sure about how many people believe in the satellite blasting out signals to our minds in America....but you have to figure there are several hundred people as a minimum, who believe this.

Unbalanced?  Yeah....there's probably some element there of craziness.

So this brings me to this odd topic.  We didn't have any satellites in the world until the 1950s (the Russians blasted the first one into space, not the US).

Up until that point, we had crazy folks, and they had to have some complaint about something affecting them.....but the question is....what did they blame?  I would be curious to know.  Perhaps blaming AM radio signals?  Maybe blaming electrical lines?

What we need are TV advertising gimmicks to sell fancy aluminium head protectors....for $19.99.....to give these folks a sense of relief.  It'd have to be shiny, with some batteries attached, and maybe a blinking light to give them a sense that it was operational.  Maybe having some musical tune coming out of the top....with a Barney tune to bring the nutcase down to a comfortable level.  Course, then they'd start to worry about fluoride or the stuff they put Mountain Dew being unpure.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Simply Observations

The cops have been digging into one of the Boston Muslim bomber guys, and it lead down to Florida.  Somewhere in the middle of an interrogation of a close friend....things went out hand, and the guy pulls some knife on a FBI guy....who promptly shoots the friend of the bomber dead.  Cops are still trying to figure out this and aren't exactly flowing with information.  Added to this....from other associates, they've found this one odd thing about the dead Muslim bomber.....as a boxer, he just didn't want music on as he entered the ring.  If you watch enough boxer matches.....every single boxer has music of his liking on as they enter the ring.  This guy?  He wanted silence....to focus on his very first move to take down his opponent.  That says a bit about the guy.

A California couple has this fancy idea of claiming that their yoga organization....is a religion.  So far, the judge involved....just isn't buying off on this.  It'd be hard to take me and spend an hour trying to sell me on some yoga religion.  I'm still waiting for some nutcase who is a General Motors mechanic to stand up and say his garage is really a church, and working on broke GM cars is like a religion.

When Eric Holder and crew went after this Fox News reporter.....they also went after the phone records of his parents.  You can imagine this dimwit lawyer working on this criminal investigation, and looking over a five-hour call between Mom and some neighbor gal, discussing mostly soap opera events, what Barbara Walters wore today on the View, the flavoring to Lipton Ice Tea, and the weather.  This explains why there are so many lawyers within the Justice Department.....spending hours and hours.....on projects like this.

From Monday's edition of the Washington Times.....reporters have now stumbled across Pentagon reports of male-on-male sexual assaults on the rise.  I would imagine the Administration will quietly dump this whole sexual assault topic within the military within days....if this report gets repeated.  From the statistics gathered.....there's this suggestion of possibly 14,000 male-on-male assaults per year.  That's going to freak out a bunch of Senators.

Finally, it's now been pointed out in Bama....that we have eight counties, with more registered voters....than actual population of over-age-18 residents.  One county....Lowndes County from the southern half of the state....has 119-percent of population of the county as registered voters.  How do you do that?  Well....no one is sure about this.  There's some general feeling that a fair amount of dead folks are carried on the voting list....year after year, maybe even decade after decade.  Five high-school kids and some statistics guru....could sort through the voting list and resident list on one Saturday, and probably identify several thousand folks who just can't or shouldn't be listed to vote.  Course, this is Bama, and it's best not to mess up the general affairs of a county.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Storm Shelter?

Folks out in Oklahoma are discussing this shelter business again....for the 500th time.

You see....Oklahoma is this odd place where soil is such....that it doesn't make much sense to dig a basement.  It's all mostly red clay, which leads to leaky basements, and folks get all hyper about that kind of situation.

Yet, there's this feeling that you got to do something for schools and public centers.

Years ago, I worked in an office with a couple of fairly bright engineers.  The topic of tornado shelters came up one day, and you got an enormous amount of focus on a problem for fifteen minutes.

As my associates pointed out....the vast amount of tornado activity relate to a category one or two tornado, which tends to be 300 to a 1000 feet across.  If you jump into the center closet of such a house, or the bathtub.....it's a ninety percent chance of no harm.  The basement?  Almost one hundred percent chance of survival.  The roof might be blown off and windows blasted out, but the bulk of the house ought to stand.

House trailers?  Just forget about survival....trailers aren't made for any scale of a tornado.

So then you come to the category three and four, where the center closet probably isn't going to help, and the house will be destroyed.  The basement?  If you had reinforced beams to ensure nothing falls down on top of you.....you'd make it.  Otherwise, you might be crushed anyway.

Category five tornado?  Forget about the basement entirely.

So we came to this sensitive topic of storm shelters.  My one associate noted as a kid....his dad's shelter was 300 feet from the rear of the house, requiring a full minute or more to get there and another minute to open and get everyone down into the mess.  His dad had trees all around the shelter, and they would have fallen on top of the door, and prevented any exit.

Another associate brought up the topic of spiders and snakes, which is traditionally the biggest problem with southern storm shelters.  No one ever clears out the shelter or fills the holes.

In a category five, the storm shelter is the only way to survive.  The odds of such a storm?  Well, it's an interesting thing....they are so rare....that it's just not worth worrying about them.

So, here's my suggestion.  In your garage, you want to drill some pretty deep holes down and anchor a 3/4" steel plate device onto the floor.  You want some lead pipes capable of holding up this mess against a car or tree falling right on top.  You want a couple of air holes, but frankly it's there to just hold you down and not allow anything to come and crush you.  I admit, you might be there a while because the door won't open (it ought to open to the inside anyway), but you can't tell how these things go.

Frankly, you could do this with your buddy on a Saturday afternoon, with junk from Loews, and have yourself a plain vanilla shelter that you can jump into within sixty seconds, with your cellphone on you as you close the door.  You might have to call your cousin to get you out later.

Course, statistics are in your favor....ninety-nine percent of America, has never had a tornado roar through....in ten thousand years.  That's mighty fine odds....up until the God deems the numbers out of whack.  Even God could arrange for Mississippi State to one day to win the NCAA football championship.

In the News

It didn't really make it into the big-boy press, or any of the nightly news episodes....but the Peace Corps did an interesting thing yesterday.....they agreed to sponsor and take....same-sex couples.

So you can imagine this deal.  Karl and Joe, a married couple from Maryland....will join up with the Peace Corps.  Karl and Joe get sent off to some third-world country that really doesn't have much of a positive view of this type of sexual affair.  The political leadership will question the arrival of Karl and Joe on day one....to basically freeze them out of any real contribution.  They live in a hut at the end of the village, and basically arrange rocks around the village streets because there's an uneasy nature about having the guys out in public.  Karl and Joe eventually return to the US and talk for years about their contribution in some third-world village, but never revealing the real accomplishments.

I suspect that the Peace Corps had some pressure drawn onto it.  They will try to find decent jobs for such couples and try to make the best out of this.  There might be five or six countries where such things might be accepted.  Most African countries?  I'd forget about.  It's likely to be more Asian-related.

How many gay couples would join up?  This would be an interesting number, but I'm guess over five years....it doesn't amount to more than ten couples max.

In general, there's just not a lot of people who jump up and get this fancy idea of running off to some island in the Pacific to teach kids math skills, and paint buildings.  If you went state by state, which the Peace Corp would hate to show the numbers....few of these volunteers (by my humble opinion) come from southern states.

My guess is that we will get some comedy in five years....a lesbian comedy movie, where Jo and Jo Ann got mixed up in the Peace Corps, and fell off the Earth....into some island jungle situation where pygmy tribal folks got all hyped up on the lesbian gals, and made them king-and-queen.  

Medical Literature

Some smart folks have gone out and done some research on all the fancy hand-outs that doctors, clinics, hospitals, school nurses, and the medical community continually hand out to people.  There's some general consensus, which got published in the JAMA Internal Medicine publication this month (thanks to Fox News for the note).

They've all come to realize what most of us have said for the last twenty years....the commentary in the hand-outs....is too complicated for the average American to grasp.

You have a number of medical experts, who have six to eight years of college, who sit and write these publications.  It's nothing personal with me.....but every time you see one of these and attempt to read it....you need to stumble over various phrases and words that you aren't prepared to read.

Last year, the dentist office wanted to hand me literature on gum disease.  I ran through the hand-out and probably got about half of the message.

What the medical establishment needs to do.....is simply hire people who write around the eighth-grade level, and use simple graphics to tell a story.  Thirty percent of the people who read these hand-outs....probably understand every single word, but the rest of us?  The range goes up and down.

The sad thing here is that there is a need for medical literature, and they could write it in a way to be understood.  So far, they just haven't grasped the problem.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Sleeper Cells?

There was a brief moment of analysis off one of the morning shows of yesterday, where someone had the idea that this rogue IRS crew doing the damage to the Tea Party....was likely hired during the Bush II era, and likely a Republican trap on President Obama.

I sat there for a moment thinking about this 'sleeper-cell' situation, pondering the possibility.

Then I kinda noted that if you did believe in this, then there ought to be sleeper-cell's left over from the Clinton era, the Bush I era, the Reagan era, the Carter era, the Ford era, the Nixon era, the LBJ era, the Kennedy era, and the Eisenhower era.

Each of these rogue cells could be operating within the IRS, with orders given to them five....ten....even twenty-five years ago.  At any point, they could suddenly activate and create havoc on America....by order of their boss.

The odds of this.....one in fifty billion.

But if you were some dimwit appearing on MSNBC's morning show, and wanted to really take this mess to the ninth degree, then you could suggest such a thing.

This is probably the reason why I limit myself to eight minutes a day of MSNBC.  It's kinda like the X-Files channel, with some things that just go pretty extreme.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

The Robber from New York City

Guys from Bama have a special appreciation of New York City.  We would quietly admit, in mixed company, that we'd really like to throw some Roll Tide jerseys into a bag with some underwear, put a case of beer into a cooler, and get a roadmap to drive all the way to New York City.  We don't want to stay too long, or really become familiar with the city.  We'd just like to visit for a couple of days....visit some guys like George on Seinfeld, and meet some cool chicks like they had on Friends.

So we pay attention to events in New York City.

This week....they had an atempted bank robbery.

The robber dude came in....fairly well dressed....a tie and suit, with dark Ray-band glasses.

He comes up to the teller and passes some note, that basically says he wants 100s, 50s, 20s, and he'll start shooting if you don't react.

Well....it's an interesting thing.

The robber didn't really know it, but this lady clerk he picked....she wasn't from New York City.  Journalists won't say what state she hails from....but she just ain't a local.

So things take a turn here. Being in the bank teller field.....you really don't expect life-ending situations to occur.  This gal, and we can only assume she is likely from some southern state, freaks out after reading the note.

She starts screaming and going into some kind of panic attack.  The robber?  Well....he didn't really expect that attitude.  He tried to raise his finger and let her know that it'd be better to just be quiet.  That didn't help much.

By this point, she running from her cage area to the other side of the room and hiding under a desk.

There's this pause for the robber.  You can sense some frustration here.  There's probably about twenty seconds of silence here.  He's likely thinking....damn, most New York City gals would just flip the money over and I'd be walking out with four thousands dollars right now.

At this point, he makes a fairly wise decision.  Retreat.

Cops have a mighty fine picture of the guy, released to the papers, and taking up a three inch by six inch space.  Sadly, he's walking on borrowed time right now, and trying hard to stay out of sight.

The gal?  I'm guessing that the bank guys are giving her a day off to chill and relax.  They probably appreciate the fact that they didn't lose any money.  Everyone is looking at this tactic now....and wondering if freaking out....ought to be norm.  The problem is....most all New York City folks are pretty stern and tough individuals.  You'd have to bring in some Bama folks and change cultural perceptions.  Just some advice from a Bama guy.

Our Problem (Explained in Detail)

I sat down this morning, and did about an hour of reading on 501C tax exempt organizations....to really understand the mess with IRS and these Tea Party folks.

So, there's this amazing thing.

Congress and the Senate....in their great moment of incompetence....created a virtual zoo of 501C organizations.

So, lets review these.

501C-1: Corporations Organized Under Act of Congress (including Federal Credit Unions)

501C-2: Title Holding Corporations for Exemption

501C-3: Religious, Educational, Charitable, Scientific, Literary, Testing for Public Safety, to Foster National or International Amateur Sports Competition, or Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Animals Organizations (yeah, it a pretty bastardized group group, even I'll admit that)

501C-4: Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations, and Local Associations of Employees

501C-5: Labor, Agricultural, and Horticultural Organizations (this includes 4H)

501C-6: Business Leagues, Chambers of Commerce, Real Estate Boards, etc.

501C-7:  Social and Recreational Clubs (your youth softball league, your nude swimming club, and your 1966 Ford Mustang Club)

501C-8: Fraternal Beneficiary Societies and Associations (university folks, cops, firemen, etc)

501C-9: Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Associations

501C-10: Domestic Fraternal Societies and Associations

501C-11: Teachers' Retirement Fund Associations

501C-12: Benevolent Life Insurance Associations, Mutual Ditch or Irrigation Companies, Mutual or Cooperative Telephone Companies, etc. (yeah, your ditch diggers of America and the telephone linesman crews)

501C-13: Cemetery Companies

501C-14: State-Chartered Credit Unions, Mutual Reserve Funds

505C-15: Mutual Insurance Associations

501C-16: Cooperative Organizations to Finance Crop Operations (related to farming mostly)

501C-17: Unemployment Benefit Trusts

501C-18: Employee Funded Pension Trust (created before June 25, 1959)

501C-19 Post or Organization of Past or Present Members of the Armed Forces (the VFW guys)

501C-20: Group Legal Services Plan Organizations

501C-21: Black lung Benefit Trusts (the coal-miner guys)

501C-22: Withdrawal Liability Payment Fund

501C-23: Veterans Organization (applies only to groups created before 1880, which beg questions on who exactly falls into this category except Civil War and Revolutionary War members)

501C-24: Section 4049 ERISA Trusts (these are the folks who try to help companies develop retirement accounts, and employees to understand their retirement accounts)

501C-25: Title Holding Corporations or Trusts with Multiple Parents

501C-26: State-Sponsored Organizations Providing Health Coverage for High-Risk Individuals

501C-27: State-Sponsored Workers' Compensation Reinsurance Organizations

501C-28: National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust

501C-29: Qualified Nonprofit Health Insurance Issuers (your Obama Care Law folks)

Twenty-nine special categories.  So this begs the question.....did Congress draw up any questions to fall into these groups?  I'm guessing the dimwits wrote a pretty generic deal, and just said that some idiot in IRS would write the questions and determine if you fit into a group or not.  Yeah, they were likely that stupid.

What prevents you, Farmer Joe from Red Bay, Alabama, from creating your own fake charity deal under 501C-13 (the cemetery guys), and just running all your income as tax deductible?

Well....some dimwit with twenty questions sitting in the same office as the guys who do the Tea Party folks.  And do they even come out to visit Farmer Joe?  Never.  So the questions are the only thing between Farmer Joe getting himself into a fake charity and never paying a dime to the government.

The cause of this entire mess?  Your Senate and House.  Fixing it?  Well....we'll fire a dozen guys in the end, but just keep going full speed ahead.

My advice?  You open up a fake cemetery on the back side of your house.....making sure that there's at least one grave-stone.  You can bury your hunting dog, or your favorite mule, and just stay legit with paperwork over this, and claim your tractor and all farm expenses....as part of the cemetery operation.

America, the land of milk, honey, and dopey paperwork.

A Nifty Gadget

Over the last thirty-five years.....I've traveled a good bit.  What you tend to worry about....on airline travel....did my bag arrive?  My luck has held out on a constant basis.  I know dozens of people who just weren't that lucky.  They spent an extra hour or so....waiting for the airline guy to admit that the bag just never got there, and it'll be another day before it arrives.

This morning....I was watching business news, and there's this new gadget.  Trakdot.

Basically, you put this into your bag, and log onto your smart-phone or laptop while walking the concourse to the bags area.  The Trakdot will tell you the bag is in the airport.....or no, it's not.

This creates this nifty episode.  While in the concourse, you realize the mess in front of you....no bag, and just keep walking to the cab or car-rental, and leave the airport.  No discussion, no hassle, no stress.

You call the airport baggage idiots the next morning and identify yourself, and ask when the bag will arrive, and demand they bring it to your hotel, or home.  Most airlines will do it....just keep you as a customer.

A positive trend?  Well....it's fifty bucks.  If you travel five or six times a year....I'd put the money out and buy it.  A once-a-year traveler....it's more than what you ought to spend.  Course, if I were the airline, I'd try to crimp their gadget by offering a free-email service, which notes that while unloading the plane.....we discovered your bag never made it.  It could be a regretful email, and note that we (the airline) will bring the bag to your secondary point if you just tell us where.

My humble guess is that Trakdot will be around for three years, and the airlines will realize that it's hurting them in various ways, and they will try to muscle the gadget out of business.  For the traveler?  You are going to come out ahead in the future....even if they still continue to lose your bags.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Prayer Question

Among the various groups that IRS decided to mess with in this latest scandal....there was one that had a religious connection of sorts.

So in the questions developed and sent back to the organization.....was this information request...."Please detail the content of the members of your organization’s prayers."

You can imagine the manager and the accountant sitting there....it was a group in Iowa, and just pondering the necessity of listing content of prayers.

In Bama, we would sat there for a long while, and then listed our prayer...in typical Bama-fashion.

Dear God

We ask you to send your angels to the IRS and help bring them to their senses.

We ask you to lift their blindness and give the IRS people sight.

We ask you to take the child-like ways of the IRS, and bring them into the world of maturity.

We ask you to take the devil in each IRS technician, and cast that devil out.

We ask you to lay your hands upon their incompetence, and give them brilliance.

We ask you to give the IRS folks compassion, where they have none.

And Lord, we ask that you tinker with the IRS rules a bit because we really don't want to waste prayer upon the IRS.  We have really more important things to ask your help on, and this ought not be in the top ten issues.  Amen.

I'm sure an IRS guy would read this and start to wonder how he ever got into this line of work, and if maybe he should have gone onto Baptist ministry school like Grandma suggested, instead of hooking up with the IRS.

The Next Scandal?

Well....there is some talk now that when the government walked into the Chrysler and GM mess in 2008, and when the government took up it's ownership scheme....a bunch of dealers were dumped.  Letters were sent out, and franchises were lost.

The political connection to the majority of franchise owners kicked out?

Yeah, there's some growing evidence, the vast majority were Republican in nature, and they funneled money to their local voting area and state....for Republican candidates.

The odds of this being picked up by the committee?  Sooner or later, it's going to be dragged out and the statistics laid on the table.

It won't look pretty.  Will Chrysler and GM leadership confess that they just happened to pick a eight-to-one mix of Republican franchise owners to Democratic franchise owners?  You can imagine them sitting there and mostly grinning.  Someone will eventually pull out a sheet that he got from some government agency that lists the names to dump.

All hell will break loose at that point, and Republicans will close off the option of ever buying a GM or Chrysler product.

Let the Crap Flow

This is one of those odd stories that someone will tell me, and it needs to retold.

My associate at work is married to a gal, who has a sister that probably hasn't done that well-off in life.  The sister still lives up in Minnesota where she grew up.  My associate got convinced years ago, by his wife, to buy a property, and rent it to the sister.....for a very fair price.  It's safe to say that it's in the rurals of Minnesota, didn't cost that much, and requires only occasional maintenance.

Because of the way that he bought the house, the location, and the mortgage involved.....he needs flood insurance.  If there was a recent flood map of the area.....he'd get a more discounted deal.  Currently, he's paying more than what he'd desire.

Who draws up the flood maps?  Usually a city or town will request it, pay some kind of price for it, and it's available to everyone in town as they buy, sell, or trade property.  The town in this case?  Thirty-odd residences.  On their priority list?  No.  There is a mayor to the town, but for roughly three years....this just hasn't been a priority for the town at all.

So yesterday comes, and there's a phone call.  New mayor in town, and he's calling all the way to Maryland to my associate.

The town has a new 'mission'.  They want a real sewage system.  Yes, the thirty-odd residences....have prioritized things, and a one-million-dollar sewage system is on their mind.  Septic tanks?  A thing of the past, and not sufficient.

They had a town-hall meeting.  This idea just didn't sell too well.  There's around twenty-odd votes to this....apparently not enough to get it passed.  I'm assuming that there needs to be a super-majority (maybe two-thirds...maybe even seventy-five percent).  New mayor chats over this......he's new in town....and he really needs this project done.

I stopped my associate at that point, and asked why exactly would you need a one-million-dollar sewage system, for thirty-odd homes?  There just isn't any reason for it or any explanation yet that fits.  Course, if you were trying to attract some mini-manufacturing unit or small business to move into the area....it'd explain a good bit.  But that hasn't been laid out into this story.

My associate confessed to the new mayor.....if they'd give him the flood map....he'd vote for this.  Otherwise, no.

The price of the monthly bill if they go and do this?  Eighty bucks.    So it's around a thousand dollars a year....if they press forward.  The curious thing is that they've arranged for one grant, which took out around $400k on this, and they are fairly close to a second grant for almost $400k.  So the thirty-odd homes would only have to worry about a $200k chunk of money.  The grants?  I'm guessing that one came from the federal government, and I actually helped to pay.  Yeah, that irritates me a bit.....my tax money going to run a sewage plant in the rurals of Minnesota.

Who would run the plant?  Don't know.  I suggested to my associate that you'd have to hire some guy to come in....measure stuff....maintain the plant....ensure proper operation.  So there has to be more cost associated with this, but not being mentioned.

So as a true Bama resident, I asked the real question to fit this all together....doesn't the town have cops and rake in money off speeding tickets?  No.  No cops.  The town lies between two significant cities, with trucks moving on a hourly basis.  There's money to be made here....if you just hired one cop to sit and hand out traffic tickets.  Every town in Bama functions this way, and an average cop makes $100k profit for the town.

I asked, how does the town make money then?  Well....in Minnesota, the local booze establishment must be run by the town itself, and that was the chief money maker for the town.  Practically all the cash for the town, came off their one and only establishment....a booze shop.  But the booze shop had to shut down because it wasn't clearing a profit.

Why?  Well....they had six people on the payroll.  Way more folks than they needed and it was simply a job enterprise.  No real profits for the town.  The new management scheme of the booze shop probably will cure this issue, and create more cash flow for the town's city hall.

At the end of this.....I was thinking, this is the kind of place that a guy could walk into, and in one year....became the mayor.  Some guys walk around and dream of such a goal in life.  You don't have to be a four-star executive or even a college-degree guy....and be a mayor.

As for my associate?  This stupid episode will likely pass and the eighty bucks a month will be drawn from his account.  No, he admitted that he wouldn't pass this onto his sister-in-law....the nice guy that he is.  And no, he didn't really expect the flood map to ever come out of this mess.  Happily though....crap will flow past the house....onto some sewage plant....and end up somewhere else.  Maybe that's worth eighty bucks a month.  Maybe.

Friday, 17 May 2013

The Steve Miller Show (IRS and the Questions)

I sat this morning and watched twenty minutes of the IRS Steve Miller show.  I came away with a couple of impressions.

First, you get that feeling that Andy up and left Mayberry....with Floyd and Barney in charge....for at least two years, and just having Gomer show up....would be a positive thing.

Second, this dimwit Steve-character....is about the worst executive manager I've ever seen.  He might be suited for Piggy Wiggly in town, or maybe some pawn shop....but this guy ran IRS?  What dimwit hired him?

Third, the HR department for IRS really appears to have hired a bunch of idiot technicians for IRS, and some incompetent managers.  I'd drag each of the HR guys in, figure out the best fifty percent and let them stay.....the rest?  Let them go (they can't stay).

Fourth, you get the impression after Steve insisted five or six times....that regulations are so difficult.....that the boys at IRS can't function.  Maybe....it's time for the flat-tax and admit that we can't run a four-star tax agency?

Fifth, the one thing Steve just couldn't answer?  After he finds out about the mess last year (at least twelve months ago)....it doesn't appear that he did much of anything.  He didn't say some regrets to the screwed-over folks.  He didn't fire anyone.  He didn't rush to fix anything.  The attitude was....hmmmm, well I never knew this was happening, and then walked off to have a beer.

Sixth, and final.....it's pretty much crazy for anyone to assume that these guys could run the other side of Obama Care.  Any Senator who won't find an alternate solution....needs to be sent home.  I'd even suggest putting the management of the money stuff.....over to the National Park Service or the Arlington Cemetery guys.  IRS?  No....they are maxed out and can't be trusted for massive projects.  

A Domino of a Different Variety

Yesterday, we ended finding out that the head person in charge of the new IRS mission of running the Obama Care insurance business....was the same person in charge of the unit of IRS that held off the Tea Party 501C folks with various tactics.

That didn't sit well with a number of House members.  So they've begun work on crafting a bill, which is actually just one page.  It basically says that no member of the US Treasury....will be allowed to do anything regarding Obama Care.  No paperwork, no regulations, nothing.

My best guess is that it'll pass within four weeks.  The Senate?  Well....it's a curious thing.  Normally, you'd need sixty Senators to pass this, and the Republicans would not have enough.

But since the Supreme Court stepped in and said the whole was a tax.  A tax falls into a different category, and I believe at this point....only fifty-one Senators would need to support the same type bill.  The odds now?  I suspect you can find six or seven Democratic Senators who feel uneasy about this mess, the power of the IRS, and where this is going.  The Republicans might have 51 votes, enough to take IRS out of the loop.

How does Obama Care then function?  It's kinda like having a 2013 Ford F-150 pick-up....without four tires.  It looks nice, and the engine runs....but it never does move from spot to spot.

There's some domino's flipping over now....of a different variety 

That Strange Press Conference

I sat in the McDonalds at the Pentagon yesterday, and watched this Presidential press conference take place in the Rose Garden of the White House. It turned into a comedy of sorts.

For some reason, they decided this big meeting between the Prime Minister of Turkey, and President Obama.....ought to end with a press conference in the Rose Garden.

Weather reports for the day?  From 5AM on Thursday....all of the local weather guys said that storms would move in and out of the area....with rain, and possibly some lightning.  Even with six hours of weather advance reporting, it didn't matter....plans were plans.

So the press conference unfolded with each guy making some comments, and expecting international press to dominate the questions.  It just didn't happen.

The press attempted to target the President on the scandals.  The camera didn't show the Turkish guy much but I imagine he was just standing there and wondering just how bad things were in the US.

Then, it started raining.

The news folks weren't doing any shots of the sky but I imagine there were various storm clouds brewing, and potentially lightning in the local area.

It amazes me.....a farmer in Bama would stand there....analyze the mess, and ensure he was either in the barn or the shed, or the house....when the storm came through.  He'd brew up some coffee, pull out his newspaper, or polish up his shoes.  These guys in DC?  It's almost like they were hoping for a lightning strike and it'd take out half their reporters.

At the end, the Turkish Prime Minister likely got in his car....wondering what this whole meeting was about, make a run across the river into Virginia to shop and be happy that no one asked him any real questions at the press conference.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Two Things

There were two odd stories from today's news.

First, the US Marshall's Service, who runs the witness protection program.  They came up to admit this week....there's these two Islamic guys who got into the witness program, and frankly....the US Marshall's can't find either one.

Yep, they searched and searched.  Neither are where they are supposed to be.  Neither left a forwarding address.  Neither is being tracked by any US enforcement agency.  Lost, for all practical purposes.

There is some indication, by parties unknown.....that the two guys have left the US.  Where did they go? Don't know.

This apparently popped up around a year ago, and the boys over at the Marshall's Service have been working through the 18,000 folks on their list, to see if any other witness protection folks have just walked away.

An issue?  Well....you wonder if the two guys just got jobs down in Mexico, or went off to Canada, or just jumped off the plane in Columbia.  But in this case, we will never know.  A chance they might show up and blow something up?  Well....it'd be nice to know their background, but we can't let that information out in public.

The second story?  Some smart guys went out and found this odd science thing....guys who smoke a good bit of weed.....mary-j-u-wanna.....don't typically get diabetes.  These regular smokers have a lower chance of being insulin-resistant.

These guys also figured out that there is a relationship between your body-mass index, and regular weed-smoking.  If you smoke a good bit of weed.....you have a fairly slim body.  Reasoning?  The smart guys aren't sure.  Something in the weed?  Yeah, very likely.

So they aren't saying to go and regularly smoke weed....but they are hinting that if you did have some issues with diabetes....you might be better off smoking on a regular basis....some weed.

You can see this report, and a bunch of non-weed smokers discussing the matter.  Naive folks....looking around....asking how to buy weed....how to smoke it.....worried that their neighbors would find out, etc.

The funny thing is that we probably had a pretty good instrument to work against diabetes for the past hundred years, and just didn't realize it.

Toilet Paper and Democracy

You just can't make stuff like this up.  The government of Venezuela is running out of toilet paper.

It appears, based on the current economic policy where the government invents a price they think is fair for a product, and then force everyone in the state to sell at that rate....that they've now got a national shortage on toilet paper.

It's being reported now that the government is rushing to bring fifty million rolls into the country....to boost the toilet paper supply.  You can imagine this ship leaving Brazil or Mexico.....loaded with pallets and pallets of toilet paper.  It arrives at the port with two hundred trucks on the dock....to rush the toilet paper out to the rural areas of the country, and the capital city....to save paper before they are forced into using newspapers.

A modern country forced into a mess like this?  Yes.  Once you get to dictating what prices will be and how things will be sold....you dump yourself into a fairly deep mess.

Politics now?  You can imagine....one party blasting another party, for toilet paper shortages.....going on and on.  There's likely some Venezuelan-like guy like Karl Rove....blasting the leadership of the country.  There's probably some Fox-news-like channel blasting away at such incompetence.  And there's probably a Spanish-language type Limbaugh....talking on the terrible woes of the country, and how he's so close to having nothing to wipe his butt with.

My humble guess is that a dozen Harvard Business School scholars are likely down in Venezuela, examining this whole issue, and pandering the idea if such a problem could ever occur in the US.  Might we come to a point where a roll of toilet paper is worth $6?  Could your local drug dealer be selling meth, weed, and toilet paper?

The sad thing?  People used democracy, and asked for this.  And they got exactly what they desired.  It's a good thing they haven't hand out laxative freely as part of some government program.

Voting at Sixteen?

It's an interesting story.  Over across the river, into Maryland, there's this community of Takoma Park.  The folks there have been busy.  They want to make it legal for all residents....down to the age of sixteen....to vote (strictly city elections, not state or federal).

Some folks have come out in public and noted that these young 'punks' just aren't mature enough and they lack real life experience.  So they note that parents would more or less meddle into influencing the kid to vote one way or another.

You can imagine the scene....sixteen year old Wanda has her dad talking to her constantly about voting such-and-such way on a city election....getting the dimwit council Joe re-elected, even though he's up on assault charges or accused of accepting bribes.  Would Wanda be smart enough to vote right?  Don't know.

I sat and pondered over this.  Why even bother setting this at 16?  Why not lower it down to twelve years old?  Local elections might get pretty interesting then, with advertising geared to younger audiences.  Maybe we'd have cartoon characters featured, or offer speeches at Chucky Cheese Pizza establishments.  A new mayor might promise free ponies to kids who vote.  You could really start to turn the whole election business upside down.

The possibility of this happening?  I'd give it better than fifty-percent chance.  The state might step in and say the Constitution of the state prevents stupidity like this.  Or, it might just fail because a bunch of parents realize their lazy son or nitwit daughter would be voting just like the crazy dad or uncle.

The bottom line?  Democracy at work....sadly.

If He Builds It, They will Come

It's a fairly odd story.

Here in Arlington, there's this wooded area down near Arlington Cemetery and the Key Bridge (named after Francis Scott Key).  It's a six-lane bridge which connects Arlington over to the area near the Lincoln Memorial.  The area would be best described as scenic, and very green.

This wooded area is fairly dense, by any standard.

Well....the cops from Virginia came to discover this house built out in the middle of this.  A cottage of sort.  It was built by an immigrant from El Salvador.....over nine years.  Cops say that it was the size of a football field.

The guy had spent lots of man-hours developing and adding onto this.  There was a bedroom, a kitchen, and even a living room.  There were extra rooms for storage apparently.

What the Virginia guys required in the end was a bulldozer, and at least nine dump-trucks to haul away the whole mess.

They've explain to the guy....you just can't build onto public property, and they were trying awful hard to get into a homeless shelter.  His general attitude?  Why the heck would stay in a homeless shelter, when you can build your own house?

I'm kinda of the opinion that this guy is pretty handy with a hammer and nails.....and he might be right about picking where the heck he wants to live.

Here's the thing of a curious note though.....he built this entire house within two miles of the Lincoln Memorial.....on the Virginia side, and for nine years....no one seemed to notice much of anything.  In DC, that says a lot.  It was hidden in the woods, and helicopter tour the area almost hourly....yet no one noticed.  How many more exist like that in the DC region?  A dozen?  A hundred?  You just don't know. My humble bet is that by Saturday....this guy is out and hunting for a spot where it's safe to re-build and start right back on house II.

And I'm guessing that the cops will eventually find that house....maybe five to ten years from now.

The President

Tomorrow ends up being one of the biggest Presidential press conferences of the past twenty years.  I've come to this opinion about President Obama, which might not be that positive to say.  He's more or less....the accidental President.

If you notice....every time that the press asks when he first learned about a situation....eighty percent of the time...the response is...."well, I was watching the news".  I imagine that I've seen this response given at least forty times over the past four years.

Luckily for America....the President watches the news daily.  I'd hate to say how it'd be if he wasn't watching the news.

I also humbly believe that he's still at this point, in a learning phase.  He hasn't crossed that point where he can feel comfortable and be the leader that people believe he ought to be.  I admit, it's an awful tough job, and most of us would never want the job or experience.  In this case....you get the impression that something happens, and he's waiting on someone to write the scripted response.

Great at speeches?  Absolutely.  Great at giving a commanding performance?  Absolutely.  But you go back and look at Presidents like Ike, Reagan, and LBJ....and you start to realize that they had the ability to turn on a dime, and make decisions on the run.  You just don't see that type of style with the President.

A great politician?  Absolutely no doubt.  The President can arrange a theme and speech, captivating the bulk of the audience, promising just about anything or blaming Bush for the 44th time, and delivers a five-star performance.

But after a while, folks start to want meat and potatoes.  They want substance.  They want something beyond the wannabe-style.  It's nice to want to be the President, but at some point, you have to actually lead and be someone with respect.  And this type of leadership just isn't there.

So  tomorrow's press conference is awful important.  If he comes out and says he learned various things watching TV.....you can start laughing.  If he says that some independent committee is to be appointed shortly, and not a special prosecutor.....you can laugh some more.  If he says that there's too much political turmoil in America, due to the Republicans, Karl Rove, or Limbaugh....you can go ahead and turn the conference off.

We probably deserve something better, but you'd have to move to Canada, Italy, or South Korea to find that something more.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

A Little Fight in Arlington

Over the past couple of months, there's been this brewing battle over Arlington Cemetery....which has stayed local, and few outside of the Arlington region know of the intense argument going on.

Arlington Cemetery got its start in life.....in 1864.  It was property owned by "the Lee Family" (the one and only as far as most Virginians are concerned).  The cemetery has one basic purpose...to be the graveyard for America's mortal heroes.  If you look at the map, it has 624 acres, period.  

We've been at war and sent a number of our best onto Arlington Cemetery.  The blunt truth is....it's filling up.  The people who run the cemetery know this.  So they've looked at every single corner and empty spot, and devised plans to expand it out as far as they can.

Right now, there's this one plan on the burner....basically to cut down 800 trees, take down a retaining wall that built in the late 1800s, and replant 600 trees in a fashion that allows more burials.  The focus of the team running the cemetery....is to use it to it's maximum advantage.

Well....there's a counter-group out there....Preservation Virginia.  They've named the Arlington Cemetery onto it's list of sights under threat.

They basically want the 800 trees to remain, along with the one-hundred year old brick retaining wall.  They want the picturesqueness image of the current cemetery to remain....as is.

The members of this effort?  Mostly all folks from around the Arlington area.

Generally, if you drive around the area....the cemetery is now part of the scenic nature of the county.  The trees?  Part of the image.  The retaining wall?  Part of the image.  The use of it as an actual cemetery?  Well...that's not exactly in the top priorities.

There may be some good intentions here, but this is a cemetery, and not really a national park.  We may have made into one....by actions of Congress.  But as far as any man ever buried there.....you can imagine that none see themselves in a national park.  They reside in a quiet cemetery.

My humble guess is that legal action will be attempted if the preservation group can't draw Congress into it's fight.

The bottom line?  There's only 640-odd acres, and when it's finally used up....either with the 800 trees down or not.....then it's done.  The gate will be closed to further burials, and we will be finished with the site.  We might be closer to maximum capacity than we think.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Explaining Things

Sometimes, you really need to spread out a story and pay attention to various details, but these are usually pretty simple to explain.

The AP Wire-Tap Scandal   Basically, some dimwit within the White House or CIA....gave an AP reporter some very privileged information, which the CIA got upset about.  So they rattled the cage, and the President evidently agreed to let the Justice Department investigate and figure out the one and only source for that information.  Well....they taped in and got a bunch of connections.  So far, no one is saying much but it appears that they have yet to find the leak.  Course, you might guess that the leak is someone who rarely calls the AP reporters, and that was a one-time only hint from some dinner meeting that they were at.  So to clean this up?  I suspect that some Justice Department guys are going to be asked to meet the boss, and the AP isn't going to be satisfied with the one-star "sorry" statement.  So everything gathered?  Dumped and shredded, my best guess....just to prevent Congress from digging into this mess.

The Military Sexual Assault Mess.  Well....the military has rules and it says that any assault (physical or sexual) will be handled by military prosecutors and a military judge, and subject to military punishments.  Evidently, a number of women are now hostile about this, and want the mess handed over to a civilian type operation to prosecute all sexual assaults, likely by a civilian judge, and have some type of punishment handed down that meets civilian standards.  The Pentagon absolutely doesn't want this type of mess (a even bigger mess than the military way of doing it).  But I suspect that the President will rewrite the UCMJ (the code book) and allow some civilian judge, jury and prosecutor to walk into a military situation.  What happens?  A military guy will just shut up, decline to offer any testimony, and likely find that the civilians just aren't able to do much of anything.  In the end, even less punishment will be handed down....than before.

The IRS scandal   Basically, some dimwits out of the White House....convinced some IRS top-level managers to go along with a scheme to make organizational identification to be tax-free....to be very hard if you were related to patriot groups or the Tea Party.  Someone with the upper level of the IRS in DC....is going to jail, and likely for more than three or four years.  The junior players in this?  If they cooperate with the federal prosecution team, they might get just six months in a jail.  The guy or gal in the White House?  They have to be hoping that someone in the IRS will take the fall....otherwise, their name will be tossed out, and jail-time will occur for them.  What they all did....was illegal by federal standards.

Simply Observations

In one week, three massive scandals have developed with the Administration ....the abuse by the IRS folks with Tea Party-related groups, the possible abuse of IRS with US businessmen who were openly complaining about the direction of the country, and the secret tapings of AP reporters covering White House news.  I would suggest two things. First, this is going to be a fairly long summer, with Congressional and Senate hearings....with some serious blows dealt to the Administration by the end. Second, some folks are going to jail by summer of next year.  Nixon era all over again?  Yeah...pretty much so.  History is so easily forgotten, and a bunch of Nixon-era folks will vouch about jail and it's impact on their lives.

Amazingly enough....France is working on this nifty little tax....on all smartphones and computer tablets.  It's a one-percent deal.  Their aim?  Well...it's called a cultural tax.  Since regular and poor French people don't have these....it's right to tax the people who do have them.  The odds of it passing?  Don't know.  The curious thing....you'd likely go and buy your smartphones in some other country, and just sneak it back into France.  So you'd likely kill off French businesses selling such stuff in the end.

During this recent worldwide concert tour of Justin Bieber.....he decided to risk it all and bring his pet monkey aboard his private plane into Germany.  Customs guys came to greet everyone, and because no paperwork was done for the monkey.....they confiscated him.  Well...the Germans have tested the monkey and confirmed no health issues, and are willing to release him back to Justin.  But there's a deadline....roughly seven days left, to collect the monkey.  Charges?  Well....it's best not to suggest that but I'm betting that Justin won't show up to collect his monkey.  You just wouldn't want to be standing there and have Huns explain that you can't leave now because there's some possible jail-time involved in illegal monkey importation.

Finally, word has gotten out in Bama over the salary structure of the Auburn University President, and his  buddy, the University of Alabama President.  It seems that President Jay Gogue (Auburn), is pulling in almost $2.5 million.  His buddy....President Judy Bonner's salary is at $535,000.  There's always an unfairness between the two colleges....one has a four-star football team....the other has usually a three-star football (although no one wants to admit this, and notice, I didn't say which was which).  One is known for producing a high level of engineers, and the other one...agricultural agents (note, I didn't say which).  President Jay likely drives a pick-up truck around with his $2.5 million salary, and I'm guessing that President Judy drives a BMW.  The thing is.....I suspect that President Jay works sixty hours a week and has more than troubles on each and every weekend with parties on campus.


Saturday, 11 May 2013

Dennis "Worm" Rodman for Nobel Peace Prize?

Well....it's an odd story.

Somehow, the North Korean dude who runs things....is best friends with Dennis "Worm" Rodman....retired NBA badboy (there's numerous descriptions for Dennis, but "Worm" is good enough).

Dennis says he's already planning a trip early in August to visit North Korea....to get our American guy....Ken Bae....out of North Korean jail.  Dennis won't promise nothing....well...except maybe a signed basketball, and maybe a later trip with Charles Barkley or some other NBA guys, but there's this remote possibility that Dennis will fly out with prisoner Ken Bae.

Should we put "Worm" up for the Nobel Peace Prize?  I'd say that he's moving up on the list....I wouldn't nominate him yet.

But here's the thing.  Let's say "Worm" get Ken Bae out, and then gets some agreement in the works for dropping the nuke weapons on North Korea's side.

At this point, the US State Department has to talk to "Worm" and give him status.  He might be the integral third party to turn events into a positive trend.

One day....not this year or next....the Nobel dimwits might sip too much brandy one night, and smoke some heavy weed, and get to some point of agreeing that "Worm" is up for the Nobel Peace Prize.  Stranger things have happened....like giving the President the award for virtually nothing but following George Bush.

"Worm"?  Would he even go to accept the award?  I'm guessing he'd call up his North Korea buddy....ask if he'd fly in and they'd have a wild party at some metropolitan hotel....lots of French, Dutch, and Swedish women....booze....and Russian mafia guys.

Strangely, I can see this as a movie script, and "Worm" mostly playing himself.  Whatever credit the NBA failed to give "Worm"....the Nobel guys might make up for.  That's how things work.

My Neighborhood

Down at the Pentagon, we have a major Metro subway station.  There's entrances to it....one from the north side, and one from the south.  You basically climb on one of three escalators on each side, and ride down.

Through the DC complex, there's probably over a thousand of these escalators that support the subway tunnels.  Mechanically speaking....it is a tremendous pain to keep the majority working on a weekly basis.  At any given time....dozens are down for full maintenance or full replacement.

Well...here at the Pentagon....one entire side (three escalators) are down for replacement.  Time it takes?  Approximately six months.  A normal guy would start to ask questions at this point.

I walk by the site on a daily basis.  I'm guessing  that the three or four guys never arrive before eight, and are always gone by four.  If they put in six full hours a day each....they might be lucky.

But then you start to notice the rest of the picture.  Metro decided that for some odd reason....they'd need a full-time security guy at the side that still functions.  So a guy with a gun is just standing there....from 6AM to midnight.  What is he protecting?  Don't know.  More fights or robbery?  No....this is the Pentagon and we just don't tolerate that.  So he's just around pretending to extend more security to something, but we don't know what.

Then, there's the 'other' manager.  You see....down in the tunnel past the swipe point where you get to the platform, there's always a full-time manager there, from 6AM to midnight.  It's always that way.  In case some gal faints....he's supposed to call for help.  That's about the only logical reason he's been there.  And he's been there since they opened in the late 1960s.

But they decided that outside of the swipe point....they wanted another manager.  So they put up some fancy metal office deal, and there's a full-time guy standing there.....from 6AM to midnight.  In the past two months since they started the renovation project....I walk past his shack, and he just sits there.  Never any business......no questions.....nothing.

You can figure for a six-month job.....they are paying out almost $300k for the security guy requirement, and this second station manager requirement....for nothing.

Folks get all pesty about costs with Metro and how they escalate almost yearly, but never pinpoint where the money is really going.  Obviously, there's something wrong.